Daily Current Affairs : 11-April-2020

Major Topics Covered :

  1. G20 EXTRAORDINARY ENERGY MINISTERS MEETING

  2. PARLIAMENTARY PANEL TO STUDY LINKAGE BETWEEN CLIMATE CHANGE WITH PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE BACKDROP OF COVID – 19 SPREAD

  3. GANGA SHARK

  4. MRITYUNJAYA RIVER

  5. SHOULD GOOGLE PAY NEWS PUBLISHERS?

  6. AI FOR HEALTH

  7. FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES AS IMPORTANT AS RIGHTS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC : BOMBAY HC

  8. MEXICO POURS WATER ON SAUDI-RUSSIA DEAL TO END GLOBAL OIL PRICE WAR




G20 EXTRAORDINARY ENERGY MINISTERS MEETING

Why in news?

  • Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel, participated in the G20 Extraordinary Energy Ministers’ virtual Meeting on 10th April 2020.


Highlights:

  • The meeting was called by Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as the G20 Presidency, and chaired by Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz. The meeting was attended by Energy Ministers of G20 countries, guest countries and heads of international organizations including OPEC, IEA and IEF.

  • The G20 Energy Ministers’ focused on ways and means to ensure stable energy markets, which are affected due to demand reduction as result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing surplus production -related matters.

  • Shri Pradhan reiterated Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s call for G20 taking a human-centric approach for overcoming challenging hardships, especially for the vulnerable.

  • he Minister highlighted the decision of Hon’ble Prime Minister, under the aegis of the Ujjwala scheme, to provide 80.3 million poor families free LPG cylinders, as part of a 23 billion dollars relief package. He emphasized that India was, and will continue to be, the global energy demand centre. He also highlighted Government of India’s efforts to fill in our Strategic Petroleum Reserves.

  • Minister stated that India has always advocated for a stable oil market, which is reasonable for producers and affordable for consumers. 


Source : PIB ( https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1613093 )



PARLIAMENTARY PANEL TO STUDY LINKAGE BETWEEN CLIMATE CHANGE WITH PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE BACKDROP OF COVID – 19 SPREAD

Why in news?

  • In the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Parliamentary panel has sought suggestions from experts and stakeholders on linkages of environment and climate change with public health — an initiative which scientists found quite relevant at this juncture. 


Highlights:

  • The move was announced by chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology and Environment, Jairam Ramesh, on Friday. 

  • Experts and stakeholders can send their suggestions directly to the 31-member panel through email on its dedicated address at the Rajya Sabha portal. 

  • Calling it a “good initiative”, the ministry of earth sciences (MoES) secretary, Madhavan Rajeevan, said, “There is a good link between climate variability and public health and disease outbreaks.” 

  • As we recover from the COVID-19, we must also address longer-term risks like climate change by making people priority, listening to global perspectives and trusting experts


Source : Times of India ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/a-parliamentary-panel-steps-in-to-study-linkages-of-climate-change-with-public-health-in-the-backdrop-of-covid-19-spread/articleshow/75087058.cms )



GANGA SHARK

Why in news?

  • The rare species that went missing for over a decade was spotted on sale at a local fish market in Mumbai, in February 2016, an event that shocked scientists who were studying the animal.


Highlights:

  • The shark is endemic to India.

  • It inhabits the River Hooghly in West Bengal, as well as the rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra, and the Mahanadi.

  • It is amongst the 20 most threatened shark species and is listed as a Critically Endangered species in the IUCN Redlist. 

  • Unlike other members of this family, the eyes of the Ganges shark are tilted dorsally, instead of laterally or ventrally, indicating that it may swim along the river bed scanning the waters above for prey. 

  • Its sharp and slender teeth suggest that it is primarily a fish eater. It is often confused with the bull shark, which is known to attack humans. 

  • Its population has been steadily decreasing due to over fi shing, habitat degradation, increasing river utilisation, and building of dams. Its fin and jaws are in high demand in the international trade, and it is also fished by locals for its meat and oil.

  • The Ganges shark is a true river shark, which means it does not need salt water to survive. 


Source : Times of India ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/extinction-watch-this-shark-doesnt-need-saltwater-to-survive/articleshow/75083262.cms )




MRITYUNJAYA RIVER

Why in news?

  • Mrityunjaya river of western ghats is missing causing concern amongst environmentalists and activists.


Highlights:

  • Mrityunjaya is one of the nine tributaries of the Nethravathi, a west-flowing river that joins the sea in Mangaluru. It originates at Madugundi in Chikkamagaluru district, about 120km from Mangaluru, and joins the Nethravathi near Gadayikallu in Belthangadi taluk of Dakshina Kannada. 

  • Environmentalists say heavy rains and the landslide of 2019 may have caused a blockade, causing the river to change course.

  • Hydrologists say rivers of the Western Ghats do go dry in summer, beginning March; and are known to change direction as the slopes are washed down during heavy rains and block the course of the river.

  • Activists, on the other hand, argue that the “natural” phenomena are increasingly becoming man-made, exacerbated by unscientific developmental projects, illegal construction and encroachments. 


Source : Times of India ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/why-a-missing-river-in-western-ghats-is-cause-for-concern/articleshow/75076728.cms )



SHOULD GOOGLE PAY NEWS PUBLISHERS?

Why in news?

  • Publishers are up in arms to fight the internet giant and may have secured their very first victory. French anti-competition watchdog on Thursday ordered Google to negotiate with publishers and news agencies to give remuneration for using their content on its platforms. 


Highlights:

  • Google Search and Google News have increasingly become the gateway for users to consume news from different sources.

  • As Google products gain more dominance, publishers are getting more and more reliant on Google for discovery and subsequently for traffic and also advertisements. 

  • All of this happens without Google paying anything to publishers for utilising their content, for example, the snippets in Search or Google News. This is what the French publishers are against. 

  • The move could have pan-EU implications as well as in other markets where watchdogs have been scrutinising Google’s dominance.

  • The French ‘Autorite de la Concurrence’ body in its ruling noted that the negotiation must cover remuneration retrospectively with effect from October, 2019 when France extended publishers’ rights under the copyright reform voted in by the EU parliament in March, 2019.

  • In its response, so far, Google has maintained that its searches aren’t sold and that ads are clearly marked. 

  • The EU Parliament passed a Copyright reform in March last year. Article 11 of the reform proposed to extend digital copyright to news stories that are used by aggregators such as Google News. 

  • The new Copyright Directive gives press publishers a new right to strengthen their bargaining position and improve their remuneration when they negotiate the use of their content by online platforms. It is a similar right to the ones already enjoyed by music or film producers. This improved better bargaining position will allow publishers to negotiate fairer licences for their content


Source : Hindustan Times ( https://www.hindustantimes.com/tech/should-google-pay-news-publishers-french-watchdog-s-latest-ruling-revives-the-debate/story-KFSiOGqavn2hu09F2zGC2K.html )



AI FOR HEALTH

Why in news?

  • In a big to fight Covid-19 and help those on the front lines, Microsoft has announced that it will dedicate $20 million to its ‘AI for Health’ initiative “to advance the health of people and communities around the world.” 


Highlights:

  • Microsoft says its focus is on –

  • Data and insights to inform for people’s safety and economic impacts.

  • -Treatment and diagnostics, enabling research to further the development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

  • -Allocation of resources, including recommendations on the allocation of limited assets, such as hospital space and medical supplies.

  • -Dissemination of accurate information to minimize misinformation sharing.

  • -Scientific research to study and understand COVID-19.

  • One of the major partnerships is that the firm is helping researchers at COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium with powerful computing resources, which can speed-up the scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus. 

  • AI for Health is a new $60 million, five-year philanthropic program from Microsoft created to empower nonprofits, researchers, and organizations working across these areas:


Source : Hindustan Times ( https://www.hindustantimes.com/tech/covid-19-microsoft-pushes-ai-for-health-initiative-with-20-million/story-0OiRQW3lj5f7LbCZvxfeTI.html )





FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES AS IMPORTANT AS RIGHTS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC : BOMBAY HC

Why in news?

  • The court had initiated suo-moto public interest litigation (PIL) after taking cognizance of news reports about the plight of some labourers, who were on their way to their hometowns in Madhya Pradesh but were stopped and kept in a zilla parishad school, where they were not being provided proper facilities. 


Highlights:

  • Holding that it is the constitutional right of migrants, labourers and citizens to get their basic needs fulfilled, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court (HC) stated that it was also their duty to maintain peace, harmony and the spirit of brotherhood, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • The court further observed, “While this court expects effective measures from the respondent state authorities and corporation, it also expects that citizens would remind themselves fundamental duties and would discharge them to deal with the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.”


Source : Hindustan Times ( https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/fundamental-duties-as-important-as-rights-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-hc/story-ojv4FD2a0OFdrRr7hC1MCL.html )



MEXICO POURS WATER ON SAUDI-RUSSIA DEAL TO END GLOBAL OIL PRICE WAR

Why in news?

  • An agreement between Saudi Arabia and Russia for record oil-production cuts was endangered late on Thursday as Mexico refused to participate in the curbs and left the meeting without approving the deal.


Highlights:

  • The impasse cast doubt over a global effort to revive the oil market from a debilitating coronavirus-induced slump.

  • The OPEC+ group won’t cut output without Mexico’s participation and doesn’t intend to meet again on Friday, instead focusing on talks at the G-20 gathering also scheduled that day,.

  • Earlier on Thursday, OPEC+ had tentatively agreed to cut production by about 10 million barrels a day in May and June, delegates said, effectively ending a one-month oil price war. Saudi Arabia and Russia, the biggest producers in the group, would each take output down to about 8.5 million a day, with all members agreeing to cut supply by 23%.

  • The unexpected setback doesn’t change the urgent need for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to reduce production. 


Source : The Print ( https://theprint.in/economy/mexico-pours-water-on-saudi-russia-deal-to-end-global-oil-price-war/399000/ )




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