Daily Current Affairs : 20-Jan-2020

Major Topics Covered :

  1. K-4- MISSILE

  2. LAW AGAINST SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT WORK

  3. YADA YADA VIRUS-(YYV)

  4. IRRAWADDY DOLPHINS

  5. NEARLY EXTINCT NORTHERN WHITE RHINO

  6. PULSE POLIO

  7. D3S-i

  8. NATIONAL HIGHWAYS EXCELLENCE AWARDS

  9. FEWER DEATH SENTENCES OVERALL

  10. STEPPE EAGLE



K-4- MISSILE

Part of GS- 3 Defence & Security


Why in news?

India on 19th January, 2020, successfully test-fired the 3,500-km range submarine- launched ballistic missile, K-4, official sources confirmed. The test was carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from a submerged pontoon off the Visakhapatnam coast around noon.


Highlights:

• The test was conducted from a submerged pontoon and has met the desired parameters. A pontoon simulates the situation of a launch from a submarine.

K-4 is one of the two underwater missiles that were being developed by DRDO.

The other one is the over 700 kilometre strike range BO-5 missile.

INS Arihant, the first and only operational SSBN, is armed with K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km.

• The missile has been tested several times earlier as part of developmental trials to validate different parameters.

• Once inducted, these missiles will be the mainstay of the Arihant class of indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarines and will give India the stand-off capability to launch nuclear weapons submerged in Indian waters.


Source: AIR


LAW AGAINST SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT WORK

Part of GS- 1 Social Issue


Why in news?

The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Amit Shah, which was constituted to strengthen the legal framework to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace, has finalised its recommendations, a senior official said.


Highlights:

• The GoM was constituted first in October 2018 in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement after many women shared their ordeal on social media.

• The recommendations, which include addition of new provisions to the Indian Penal Code, will be put up for comments from the public, the official said.

Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in 2013:

• The Women and Child Development Ministry had steered the Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in 2013, which was applicable to government offices, the private sector, NGOs and the unorganised sector.

• The 2013 Act had shortcomings like giving the powers of a civil court to the internal complaints committee without specifying if the members need to have a legal background.

• It only imposed a fine of Rs. 50,000 on employers for non-compliance.

• The Act said the employer shall provide assistance to the woman if she chooses to file a complaint under the IPC “against the perpetrator after the conclusion of the enquiry”.

• The proposed amendments would be largely based on the Vishaka Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in 1997, on which the 2013 Act was based.

• It made the employer responsible to prevent or deter acts of sexual harassment at the workplace.


About JUDICIAL ACTIVISM:

• In 1992, Vishakha Judgement, came about after the case received unprecedented media attention and for the first time the Supreme Court defined ‘Sexual harassment at work place’. And the Apex Court laid down landmark guidelines.

The Guidelines issued by the court said that-

• It shall be the duty of the employer or other responsible persons in workplace or other institutions to prevent or deter the acts of sexual harassment and to provide the procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment by taking all steps required.

• The rules/regulations of the government and the public sector bodies relating to conduct and discipline should include rules/regulation Prohibiting sexual harassment and provide for appropriate penalties in such rules against the offender.

• As regards private employers, steps should be taken to include the aforesaid prohibitions in the standing orders under the Industrial employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946."


About NCRB data:

• According to NCRB, only one in four cases of rape are convicted.

• The National Crime Records Bureau's (NCRB) National Crime Report says in 2017 out of 46,984 registered rape cases, in 5,855 cases accused were convicted.

• This means 86.6% rape charge-sheets could not be proved.

• The conviction rate is a mere 32.2%.

• As per NCRB, by the end of 2017, there were 14,406 pending rape cases for investigation in the country.

• While 1,012 claims were dismissed due to insufficient evidence, 30 cases were abated during the investigation.


Source: The Hindu



YADA YADA VIRUS-(YYV)

Part of GS- Health


Why in news?

Yada Yada is an alphavirus, a group of viruses that the researchers described as “small, single-stranded positive-sense RNA viruses (that) include species important to human and animal health.


Highlights:

• Yada Yada Virus (YYV) is an alphavirus, a group of viruses that the researchers described as small, single-stranded positive-sense RNA viruses (that) include species important to human and animal health and which are transmitted primarily by mosquitoes and (are) pathogenic in their vertebrate hosts.

• The virus was detected in mosquitoes trapped in three locations in Victoria, Australia.

• YYV takes its name from ‘The Yada Yada’, an episode of the television sitcom Seinfeld, which aired on the American network NBC on April 24, 1997.

• Unlike some other alphaviruses, Yada Yada does not pose a threat to human beings.


Source: Indian Express



IRRAWADDY DOLPHINS

Part of GS- 3 Environment


Why in news?

Odisha Forest Department officials, wildlife experts and researchers sighted 146 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika Lake, which boasts of the highest single lagoon population of the aquatic mammal in the world.


Highlights:

• The dolphin census was simultaneously taken up in Chilika and off Odisha coast.

• The Chilika Development Authority (CDA) is elated that the direct sighting of 146 dolphins meant that its population in the lake would stabilise well above 150.

• According to last year’s census, the Irrawaddy dolphin population in Chilika was 151.

It is Include in -IUCN STATUS Endangered

SCIENTIFIC NAME of the Dolphine Orcaella brevirostris

It is find in the - Lakes, Rivers, Estuaries, and Coasts

• The total population of these animals in the world is estimated to be less than 7,500. Of these, the highest — 6,400 — was reported from Bangladesh. The population in Chilika is considered to be the highest single lagoonal population.

Threat: Dolphins had been under stress in Chilika due to unregulated boating by tourists as well as illegal prawn enclosures. About Chilika Lake:

• It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest brackish water lagoon in the world.

• Chilika Lake is a brackish water lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of over 1,100 km.


Source: The Hindu


NEARLY EXTINCT NORTHERN WHITE RHINO

Part of GS-3 Environment


Why in news?

Researchers said last week that they had created another embryo — the third — of the nearly extinct northern white rhino, a remarkable success in an ongoing global mission to keep the species from going extinct.


Highlights:

• The Kenyan conservancy looking after the last male northern white rhino was forced to euthanise it in March 2018.

• According to IUCN, the subspecies is considered Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct in the Wild).

• The 45-year-old rhino, Sudan, was suffering from age-related complications that had eaten at his bones and given him skin wounds.

The death of Sudan, who was earlier at the Dvur Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic, left the world with only two northern white rhinos, Najin, 30, and Fatu, 19 — both female.

• The other subspecies, the southern white is, by contrast, the most numerous subspecies of rhino, and is found primarily in South Africa.

• There is also the black (or hook-lipped) rhinocerous in Africa, which too, is fighting for survival, and at least three of whose subspecies are already extinct. In vitro fertilization (IVF)

In vitro fertilization (IVF) helps with fertilization, embryo development, and implantation, so you can get pregnant.


Work of IVF :

IVF stands for in vitro fertilization.

• It’s one of the more widely known types of assisted reproductive technology (ART).

• IVF works by using a combination of medicines and surgical procedures to help sperm fertilize an egg, and help the fertilized egg implant in your uterus.


Source: Indian Express



PULSE POLIO

Part of GS- Health


Why in news?

On January 18, 2020 the Rashtrapati Bhavan became the site of a polio vaccination drive, to mark the beginning of this year’s Pulse Polio Programme.


Highlights:

• The Union health ministry has launched the campaign to check the disease that affects children at a young age. The event saw President Ram Nath Kovind and Union health minister Harsh Vardhan administer the vaccine drops to infants.

• The National Health Portal tweeted, “India is free from polio but the disease still persists in some countries & it may come back. Make sure every child under 5 years of age gets polio drops.”


What is the Pulse Polio Programme?

India launched the Pulse Polio immunisation programme in 1995, after a resolution for a global initiative of polio eradication was adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1988.

• Children in the age group of 0-5 years are administered polio drops during national and sub- national immunisation rounds (in high-risk areas) every year.

According to the Ministry of Health, the last polio case in the country was reported from Howrah district of West Bengal in January 2011.

The WHO on February 24, 2012, removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission.

Two years later, the South-East Asia Region of the WHO, of which India is a part, was certified as polio-free.

• The Regional Certification Commission (RCC) on March 27, 2014 stated: “The Commission concludes, from the evidence provided by the National Certificate Committees of the 11 Member States, that the transmission of indigenous wild polio virus has been interrupted in all the countries of the Region.”

• Under the Pulse Polio programme, all states and Union Territories have developed Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to respond to any polio outbreak in the country.

• Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans (EPRP) have also been developed by states, indicating steps to be undertaken in case of detection of a polio case.

• To prevent the virus from coming to India, the government has since March 2014 made the Oral Polio Vaccination (OPV) mandatory for those travelling between India and polio- affected countries, such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon. About POLIO:

Polio or poliomyelitis is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.

The virus is transmitted by person-to-person, spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.

• Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent.

There is no cure for polio; it can only be prevented by immunization.

• The three serotypes of poliovirus, PV1, PV2, and PV3, each have a slightly different capsid protein. Capsid proteins define cellular receptor specificity and virus antigenicity. PV1 is the most common form encountered in nature, but all three forms are extremely infectious.


Source: Indian Express



D3S-i

Part of GS- 3 Economy


Why in news?

In an important initiative to promote the development of key infrastructure sectors in the newly constituted Union Territory of Ladakh, NITI Aayog entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UT’s administration on 17 January 2020.


Highlights:

• Under this MoU, NITI Aayog will be supporting the UT’s administration through its key initiative ‘Development Support Services to States for Infrastructure Projects (D3S-i)’.

• NITI Aayog has implemented a structured initiative for “Development Support Services for States (DSSS) for Infrastructure Projects” with a vision to achieve transformational, sustained delivery of infrastructure projects with state of art capacity disseminated at all levels of governance.

• The key objective behind the objective is creating PPP success stories and rebooting infrastructure project delivery models.

• The DSSS Infrastructure initiative involves providing project level support from Concept plan till financial closure to State Governments / UTs.


Source: PIB



NATIONAL HIGHWAYS EXCELLENCE AWARDS

Part of GS- Award


Why in news?

Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs Shri Nitin Gadkari has lauded the contribution of all stakeholders in NH sector for their contribution in erecting world class road infrastructure in the country.

Highlights:

‘National Highways Excellence Awards’ were instituted in the year 2018.

• The first cycle of awards in 2018 received wide participation from around the country.

• Following the success of the first cycle, the Ministry decided to make the National Highways Excellence Awards an annual feature.

The seven award categories are:

1. Excellence in Project Management

2. Excellence in Operation and Maintenance

3. Excellence in Toll Management

4. Excellence in Highway Safety

5. Innovation

6. Outstanding Work in Challenging Conditions

7. Green Highway.

• The aim is to recognise companies which are performing exceptionally well in the construction, operations, maintenance and tolling stages of highway development as well as in the arena of road safety.

• The motive behind starting an annual awards program is to create a spirit of healthy competitiveness amongst all stakeholders involved in the development of highway infrastructure in the country and to contribute to the larger goal of expanding the road network in the country.

• This year, the nominations were opened on August 19th, 2019. An impartial and independent evaluation process was adopted which had objective and quantifiable assessment parameters.

• Each award category had its own pre-defined eligibility criteria, assessment parameters and scoring rubrics. This year, 104 applications were received across these seven categories on an online application platform designed by NIC.


Source: PIB



FEWER DEATH SENTENCES OVERALL

Part of GS- 2 Polity and Governance


Why in news?

In 2019, fewer death sentences overall; 1 out of 2 sentences for sexual violence- murder; in 3 out of 4 sexual violence-murder death sentences, children were the killer’s victims.


Highlights:

Trial courts in India delivered 102 death sentences in 2019, over 60% fewer than the 162 death sentences passed in 2018.

• However, the proportion of death sentences imposed for murders involving sexual offences was at a four-year high in 2019 at 52.94% (54 out of 102 sentences).

• 2019 also saw the highest number of confirmations by High Courts in four years; 17 out of the 26 confirmations (65.38%) were in offences of murder involving sexual violence.

• One out of two sentences was for sexual violence-murder; in three out of four sexual violence-murder death sentences, children were the killer’s victims.


Source: Indian Express



STEPPE EAGLE

Part of GS- 3 Environment


Why in news?

A lone endangered steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis) has been sighted by a group of birdwatchers in a paddy field at Velagaleru near Vijayawada.


Highlights:

• Large eagle with rich brown plumage, wide wings, and seven well-splayed “fingers” at the wingtip.

• Adults are entirely dark brown; juveniles and immatures at rest show a distinctive wide white band bordered with black on the wing.

It is include IUCN Status- Endangered


Source: The Hindu

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