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Daily Current Affairs : 16-Dec-2019

Major Topics Covered :

  1. LONGEST UN CLIMATE TALKS END WITH NO DEAL ON CARBON MARKETS

  2. ARTICLE 30(1)

  3. GLOBAL SULPHUR CAP

  4. ANDROID VULNERABLE TO CYBERATTACK: STRANDHOGG

  5. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CELL

  6. GOVERNMENT TESTING GIMS, ITS SECURE MESSAGING APP

  7. HYDROGEN CELL TECHNOLOGY

  8. MAORI NEW ZEALAND



LONGEST UN CLIMATE TALKS END WITH NO DEAL ON CARBON MARKETS

Part of GS- 3 Environment


Why in news?


The longest UN climate talks ended in Madrid with no deal on carbon markets. Delegates from almost 200 countries failed to come up with more ambitious targets to cut green house gases at UN climate talks.


Highlights:

  • It failed to fulfill the terms of the 2015 Paris agreement prompting UN chief Antonio Guterres to lament a "lost opportunity" to fight global warming.

  • The two-week long negotiations which extended till yesterday saw no agreement on major issues such as Article 6, loss and damage, and long term finance.

  • Under the Article 6 of the Paris agreement signed in 2015, the countries had agreed to set up a global carbon market system to help developing countries decarbonise their economies at lower cost.

  • However, the countries have tried and failed to agree the rules governing this mechanism.

  • Despite holding the longest climate talks ever in 25 nearly annual editions, the sleep-deprived negotiators, left one of the thorniest issues for next year summit COP26 in Glasgow in UK - how to deal with carbon emissions.

  • In a tweet UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is disappointed with the results of COP25. The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis."

  • Few countries came to this year's talks with d plans to reach the Paris agreement, even as the EU agreed its long-term target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Experts say more ambitious emissions cuts are needed globally if the Paris pledge is to be met.


Source: AIR

ARTICLE 30(1)

Part of GS-2 Polity and Governance


Why in news?


The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea challenging a Kerala High Court order which held that an educational institution to claim minoritystatus has be “established and administered” by the minority community, and not merely administered by it.


Highlights:

  • The court said the main objective of Article 30(1) is to accord protection to minorities and create a sense of feeling among them that they have equal rights with the majority and to bring up institutions to compete with any other institution of excellence.

  • Thus, an educational institution purchased by a minority and dedicated for the cause of minority would also fall within the meaning of the word “established” under Article 30(1), the HC ruled.

  • Article 30(1) of the Constitution of India gives linguistic and religious minorities a fundamental right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

  • The Supreme Court in T.M.A. Pai Foundation vs. State of Karnataka (2002) held that a minority, whether linguistic or religious, is determinable only by reference to demography of the State and not by taking into consideration the population of the country as a whole

  • The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act has been enacted to safeguard the educational rights of the minorities enshrined in Article 30(1) of the Constitution.

  • Section 2(g) of the Act defines a Minority Educational Institution as a college or institution (other than a University) established or maintained by a person or group of persons from amongst the minorities.

Source: Indian Express

GLOBAL SULPHUR CAP

Part of GS-3 Environment


Why in news?


Lok Sabha the Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) and Chemical & Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Mandaviya informed that the Government has taken many steps to clear the uncertainty of the Shipping industry arising out of impending IMO regulations to reduce the level of sulphur oxide emissions from ship's exhaust from January, 2020.


Highlights:

  • International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations to reduce sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions from ships first came into force in 2005, under Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (known as the MARPOL Convention).

  • Since then, the limits on sulphur oxides have been progressively tightened.

  • From 1 January 2020, the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas will be reduced to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass).

  • This will significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxides emanating from ships and should have major health and environmental benefits for the world, particularly for populations living close to ports and coasts.


Source: PIB


ANDROID VULNERABLE TO CYBERATTACK: STRANDHOGG

Part of GS-3 Security


Why in news?

The Union Home Ministry has sent an alert to all States warning them about the vulnerability of the Android operating system to a bug called ‘StrandHogg’ that allows real-time malware applications to pose as genuine applications and access user data of all kind.


Highlights:

  • StrandHogg allows real-time malware applications to pose as genuine applications and access user data of all kind.

  • While all versions of Android, including Android 10, are vulnerable to this bug, it may not be apparent to the affected users that malware applications are already on board their device.

  • These malwares can then potentially listen to their conversations, access photo album, read/send messages, make calls, record conversations and getlogin credentials to various accounts.

  • The information was shared by the Threat Analytical Unit, Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs.


Source: The Hindu


SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CELL

Part of GS-3 Environment


Why in news?

Coal Ministry has decided to establish a Sustainable Development Cell, SDC, to promote environmentally sustainable coal mining in the country.


Highlights:

  • It will address environmental concerns during the decommissioning or closure of mines.

  • The move gains significance as the new private entities are now going to form a significant part of the future.

  • The Cell will advise, mentor, plan and monitor the mitigation measures taken by the coal companies for maximizing the utilization of available resources in a sustainable way, minimizing the adverse impact of mining and mitigating it for further eco-system services.

  • It will also formulate the future policy framework for the environmental mitigation measures including the Mine closure Fund.

  • The Sustainable Development Cell envisages to address the environmental mitigation measures in a systemic manner and to provide a better environment to people working and residing in the vicinity of Mines.


Source: AIR


GOVERNMENT TESTING GIMS, ITS SECURE MESSAGING APP

Part of GS- 3 S&T


Why in news?

The government is testing a prototype of an Indian equivalent of popular messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, for secure internal use.


Highlights:

  • Codenamed GIMS or Government Instant Messaging System, the platform is in the pilot testing stage across some states, including Odisha - and is learnt to have been released to the Indian Navy to be tried out on trial basis.

  • Designed and developed by the Kerala unit of National Informatics Centre (NIC), GIMS is being packaged for employees of Central and state government departments and organisations for intra and inter organisation communications.

  • It is being developed as a secure Indian alternative without the security concerns attached with apps hosted abroad or those owned by foreign entities. Like WhatsApp, GIMS employs end-to-end encryption for one-to-one messaging.

  • The launch of the new app comes amid the recent controversy over the WhatsApp breach after The Indian Express first reported that some Indian users’ mobile devices were targeted through a spyware called Pegasus.


Source: Indian Express


HYDROGEN CELL TECHNOLOGY

Part of GS- 3 S&T


Why in news?

Ahead of next July’s Tokyo Olympics, Japan is gearing up to put on its roads thousands of vehicles based on a hydrogen cell technology, also known as ‘fuel cells’.


Highlights:

How does the hydrogen fuel cell work?


At the heart of the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) is a device that uses a source of fuel, such as hydrogen, and an oxidant to create electricity by an electrochemical process.


Put simply, the fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate an electric current, water being the only by-product.


Like conventional batteries under the bonnets of automobiles, hydrogen fuel cells to convert chemical energy into electrical energy.


From a long-term viability perspective, FCEVs are billed as vehicles of the future, given that hydrogen is the most abundant resource in the universe.


  • Advantages of fuel cells: Fuel cells produce much smaller quantities of greenhouse gases and none of the air pollutants that cause health problems. Such cells are also far more energy efficient than traditional combustion technologies. Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles do not need to be plugged in.

  • Disadvantages of fuel cells: The process of making hydrogen needs energy which is often from fossil fuel sources. That has raised questions over hydrogen’s green credentials. There are questions of safety as hydrogen is more explosive than petrol. The vehicles are expensive, and fuel dispensing pumps are scarce.


Source: Indian Express


MAORI NEW ZEALAND

Part of GS- 2 IR


Why in news?

As the toll in the New Zealand volcano disaster climbed to 16 with the death of an injured Australian man admitted to a Sydney hospital on December 15.


Highlights:

  • The Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.

  • In the 2018 census, there were 775,836 people in New Zealand identifying as Māori, making up 16.5 per cent of the national population.

  • In addition, more than 140,000 Māori live in Australia.


Source: Indian Express

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