UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 01-July-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. India’s app ban threatens China’s rise as a global tech power

  2. Govt declared entire Nagaland 'disturbed area' for 6 more months

  3. China must reconsider Hong Kong security law, 27 countries tell UN

  4. China opens border dispute with India ally Bhutan

  5. G4, a virus with pandemic potential which has just been found in China 

  6. Ban on apps ‘ambiguous, against international trade practice’, says China

  7. CanSino’s Covid vaccine 

  8. Globbaandersonii


INDIA’S APP BAN THREATENS CHINA’S RISE AS A GLOBAL TECH POWER

Why in news?

  • China over the past decade built an alternate online reality where Google and Facebook barely exist. Now its own largest tech corporations from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Tencent Holdings Ltd. are getting a taste of what a shutout feels like. 


Highlights:

  • India’s unprecedented decision to ban 59 of China’s largest apps is a warning to the country’s tech giants, who for years thrived behind a government-imposed Great Firewall that kept out many of America’s best-known internet names.

  • If India finds a way to carry out that threat, it may present a model for other countries from Europe to Southeast Asia that seek to curtail the pervasiveness of apps like ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok while safeguarding their citizens’ enormously valuable data. 

  • With China’s tech companies poised to become some of the most dominant in emerging industries like artificial intelligence, India’s actions may spur countries around the world to weigh the extent to which they let China gain user data -- and potentially economic leverage in future disputes. 

  • Techno-nationalism will manifest itself increasingly across all aspects of geopolitics: national security, economic competitiveness, even social values.

  • The country’s government procurement website has barred purchases of Chinese-made goods.

  • Authorities have asked the largest e-commerce companies, including Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart, to start showing “country of origin” on goods sold. And India is said to be dragging its heels on clearing goods imported from China, stranding electronics at ports. 


Source : TOI (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/indias-app-ban-threatens-chinas-rise-as-a-global-tech-power/articleshow/76715699.cms )


GOVT DECLARED ENTIRE NAGALAND 'DISTURBED AREA' FOR 6 MORE MONTHS

Why in news?

  • The Centre on Tuesday declared the entire Nagaland as "disturbed area" for a further period of six months till December-end. 


Highlights:

  • The Home Ministry said the central government is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary. 

  • Nagaland has been under the coverage of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for almost six decades and it was not withdrawn even after a framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015.

  • The decision to maintain the status quo in Nagaland regarding coverage of AFSPA, a law slammed by many civil society groups as "draconian", came amidst reports of deteriorating law and order situation there. 

  • The AFSPA gives the armed forces sweeping powers to search and arrest, and to open fire if they deem it necessary for "the maintenance of public order".


Source : TOI ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/govt-declared-entire-nagaland-disturbed-area-for-6-more-months/articleshow/76718503.cms )


CHINA MUST RECONSIDER HONG KONG SECURITY LAW, 27 COUNTRIES TELL UN

Why in news?

  • China must reconsider its sweeping national security law imposed on Hong Kong which "undermines" the city's freedoms, 27 countries said in a joint statement Tuesday. 


Highlights:

  • Beijing must also allow the United Nations rights chief meaningful access to its western Xinjiang province, said the states -- including Britain, France, Germany and Japan -- in a rare oral rebuke of China at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

  • The 27 countries have "deep and growing concerns" over the new security law, which has clear implications on the human rights of people in Hong Kong, the statement said. 

  • Imposing the law without the direct participation of Hong Kong's people, legislature or judiciary "undermines" the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle guaranteeing Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy, rights and freedoms, the signatories said. 

  • Signatories included Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and 15 European Union states including the Netherlands and Sweden. 

  • A study by a German researcher said Monday that Chinese authorities were carrying out forced sterilisations of Uighur and other ethnic minority women in an apparent campaign to curb the population. 


Source : TOI ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/china-must-reconsider-hk-security-law-27-countries-tell-un/articleshow/76718223.cms )


CHINA OPENS BORDER DISPUTE WITH INDIA ALLY BHUTAN

Why in news?

  • At a virtual meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in the first week of June, Beijing objected to the grant for Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) in eastern Bhutan’s Trashigang district bordering India and China, claiming that the location was disputed.


Highlights:

  • Continuing with its expansionist agenda, China has now created a new border dispute with Bhutan, one of India’s traditional ally.

  • Even as the rest of the world is struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Wuhan city of China’s Hubei province, Beijing has been aggressively attempting to alter the status quo in East China Sea, South China Sea and with India in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.

  • The majority of the GEF council members supported Bhutan’s view and the draft summary of the chair was approved by the council and despite objection from the Chinese council member, the work programme was adopted.

  • Bhutan and China have a border dispute since 1984. Talks between Thimphu and Beijing have been limited to three areas of dispute (two in North Bhutan -- Jakarlung and Pasamlung areas -- and one in West Bhutan). Sakteng is not part of any of the three disputed areas


Source : Hindustan Times ( https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/china-opens-border-dispute-with-india-ally-bhutan/story-vUh1dTWHWNqlEyM9sDfaeN.html )


G4, A VIRUS WITH PANDEMIC POTENTIAL WHICH HAS JUST BEEN FOUND IN CHINA

Why in news?

  • As we’re struggling to combat covid-19, news from China indicates a growing presence of the G4 virus, a strain found in pigs that can usher the way for the next pandemic.


Highlights:

  • A new flu virus strain called G4, identified among pigs in China, is now being detected amongst workers in the swine industry, according to a study published in journal PNAS.

  • The study also says that the pathogen has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus.”

  • The researchers found that the influenza virus strain, with genetic material termed as G4 genotype, has become predominant in swine populations since 2016.

  • Symptoms :

  •  G4 viruses affect the human respiratory system and start multiplying speedily.

  • severe clinical symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and a mean maximum weight loss ranging from 7.3 to 9.8% of the body mass.

  • Humans aren’t immune to this new virus and therefore health agencies are asking for better monitoring. 

  • Blood sample analysis of workers in the swine industry indicated that nearly 10.4% (35/338) of them were positive for the G4 flu virus.

  • According to the study, G4 virus is deadly in nature.


Source : Healthshots ( https://www.healthshots.com/health-news/meet-g4-a-virus-with-pandemic-potential-which-has-just-been-found-in-china/?utm_medium=ht&utm_source=widget )


BAN ON APPS ‘AMBIGUOUS, AGAINST INTERNATIONAL TRADE PRACTICE’, SAYS CHINA

Why in news?

  • The spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, Ji Rong, said the move goes against the general trend of international trade and e-commerce and is not conducive to consumer interests and the market competition in India.


Highlights:

  • Reacting to the ban on TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps by India, China Tuesday said the move “selectively and discriminatorily” aims at certain apps on “ambiguous and far-fetched grounds” and was in violation of international trade rules.

  • Amid the tense border standoff with China in Ladakh, the government on Monday banned 59 Chinese apps, including Tik Tok, based on information that they were engaged in activities “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity”, defence, security and public order.

  • Rong said the deleted apps had a large user base in India and they had been “operating strictly in accordance with Indian laws and regulations” and provide “efficient and fast services for Indian consumers, creators and entrepreneurs”.

  • Banning 59 mobile apps that have Chinese overhang is both a statement of intent and a strong signal.

  • This may not hurt India given the alternatives in the app space but for China, the Indian app market is growing and valuable.


Source : Indian Express ( https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-china-app-ban-tik-tok-border-dispute-6483746/ )


CANSINO’S COVID VACCINE

Why in news?

  • An experimental vaccine against Covid-19 from China, which was also the first candidate in the world to proceed to human trials, has received approval from the Chinese government for use by the country’s military for a period of one year.


Highlights:

  • Developed jointly by the Chinese vaccine company CanSino Biologics and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology in the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the vaccine has reportedly shown promising results in the Phase 2 clinical trials, although the results of the second phase are yet to be published.

  • The CanSino vaccine had been found to be safe and effective in generating an immune response against SARS-CoV-2 in humans in the phase 1 trials last month.

  • According to a Reuters report, the company said the vaccine is currently limited to military use only and it cannot be expanded to a broader vaccination range without the approval of the Logistics Support Department of the Central Military Commission.

  • The vaccine, known as Ad5-nCoV, is one of the eight vaccine candidates being developed by Chinese companies.

  • It uses a weakened common cold virus called adenovirus, which infects human cells easily but does not cause disease.

  • The adenovirus is used as a delivery system — it carries the genetic material which helps create the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to the cells.

  • The spike protein helps the novel coronavirus enter and infect the human cells. These cells then produce the coronavirus spike protein, triggering the immune system to create antibodies that will fight off the virus.

  • All doses of the vaccination triggered some level of the immune response within two weeks.

  • After 28 days of vaccination, most participants had a four-fold increase in binding antibodies. These antibodies can bind to the coronavirus but do not necessarily attack it.

  • Furthermore, half of the participants in the low- and middle-dosage groups and three-quarters of those in the high-dosage group showed neutralising antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

  • The vaccine also triggered a T-cell response in a majority of the volunteers.


Source : The Print ( https://theprint.in/health/all-you-need-to-know-about-cansinos-covid-vaccine-approved-for-military-use-in-china/451554/ )


GLOBBAANDERSONII

Why in news?

  • Botanists from Maharashtra and Kerala ‘re-discover’ Globbaandersonii, commonly known as ‘dancing ladies’ or ‘swan flowers’, near the Teesta river valley


Highlights:

  • The plant, known commonly as ‘dancing ladies’ or ‘swan flowers’ was thought to have been extinct until its “re-collection”, for the first time since 1875, by noted city-based botanist Sachin Punekar, founder of the city-based environmental NGO Biospheres, during a field trip to Sevoke in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal.

  • Globba andersonii are characterised by white flowers, non-appendaged anthers (the part of a stamen that contains the pollen) and a “yellowish lip”.

  • Classified as “critically endangered” and “narrowly endemic”, the species is restricted mainly to Teesta River Valley region which includes the Sikkim Himalays and Darjeeling hill ranges.

  • Micro-propagation, tissue culture of this taxon and multiplication of this species and its re-introduction in the natural habitat could be the key for it to survive and thrive in the future


Source : Hindu (Page 18, 1 Jul. 20 )


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