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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 02-April-2020

Major Topics Covered :


  1. DOLLAR SWAP AGREEMENT

  2. CORONAVIRUS IMPACT ON ANDAMAN’s INDEGENEOUS TRIBE

  3. NEW EXPERIMENTAL DRUG FOR COVID-19

  4. NATUNA ISLAND DISPUTE

  5. COATING DEVELOPED BY JNCASR MAY PREVENT TRANSMISSION OF INFECTION

  6. 'FORCE MAJEURE', 'ACT OF GOD' & 'DOCTRINE OF FRUSTRATION' UNDER INDIAN CONTRACT ACT

  7. KABUL GURUDWARA ACT

  8. KASHMIR IN UNSC

  9. J&K DOMICILE RULES


DOLLAR SWAP AGREEMENT

Why in news?

  • The US Federal Reserve on Tuesday gave the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), as well as all other central banks, currency swap facility to help them fund their dollar requirements. The facility was so far extended to select central banks that did not include the RBI or the People’s Bank of China.


Highlights:

  • The Fed’s move is a very positive and accommodative step and will help stabilize markets, reduce volatility, and ease pressure on currencies such as the rupee, said analysts.

  • The facility, effective 6 April, will be in place for at least six months, the Fed said.

  • The RBI had expressed the desire for a currency swap agreement with the Fed because of the pressure on the rupee over the last couple of weeks.

  • With the currency swap option being given to central banks and other international monetary authorities, they can now enter repurchase agreements with the Fed and temporarily exchange their US treasuries held with it for US dollars.


Source : Livemint



CORONAVIRUS IMPACT ON ANDAMAN’s INDEGENEOUS TRIBE

Why in news?

  • The Andaman Islands, home to the Jarawa, Onge and Shompen indigenous people, whose low natural immunity makes them particularly vulnerable to diseases, have recorded several coronavirus cases directly linked to the religious congregation in South Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz, organized by Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic missionary movement.


Highlights:

  • In the past week, the islands have seen an alarming rise in infections since reporting the first case on 26 March.

  • Confirmed cases currently stand at 10 with more than 1,500 under home and special quarantine.

  • Experts said the current situation poses a grave risk to the tribes, especially the Jarawas who live in tribal reserves barely 100km from capital Port Blair, where most infections have been reported.

  • In past measles epidemic had impacted the Jarawa tribe. The Jarawas, numbering around 300 today, have survived the outbreak twice. In the first, in 1999, 108 Jarawa were known to have been infected but there were no reports of fatalities. There was a second outbreak in 2006 but it is not clear how many contracted the disease.

  • The Great Andamanese were once the most numerous of the five, with an estimated population of 6,000, but only around 50 survive today, most succumbing to diseases brought in by colonial settlers British rule. Diseases, mainly syphilis, claimed many lives of the Great Andamanese, driving them to near extinction


Source : Livemint



NEW EXPERIMENTAL DRUG FOR COVID-19

Why in news?

  • MIT scientists have designed a drug candidate that they say may block coronaviruses' ability to enter human cells, an advance that could help develop a possible treatment for COVID-19. 


Highlights:

  • The potential drug is a short protein fragment, or peptide, that mimics a protein found on the surface of human cells, the researchers said. 

  • They have shown that their new peptide can bind to the viral protein that coronaviruses use to enter human cells, potentially disarming it, according to the findings published on BioRxiv, an online preprint server. 

  • The researchers have sent samples of the peptide to collaborators who plan to carry out tests in human cells. 

  • The team began working on this project in early March, after the Cryo-EM structure of the coronavirus spike protein, along with the human cell receptor that it binds to, was published by a research group in China. 

  • Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, which is causing the current COVID-19 outbreak, have many protein spikes protruding from their viral envelope. Studies of SARS-CoV-2 have also shown that a specific region of the spike protein, known as the receptor binding domain, binds to a receptor called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).


Source : Deccan Herald



NATUNA ISLAND DISPUTE

Why in news?

  • China sparked a major maritime confrontation with Indonesia near the South China when dozens of Chinese fishing vessels, along with a coast guard escort, entered waters off the Natuna Islands, which are within Jakarta’s exclusive economic zone but are also claimed by China. 


Highlights:

  • Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Indonesia claims a 200 nautical mile EEZ, including exclusive fishing rights, around Natuna. China is also a party to UNCLOS.

  • Indonesia divides its waters into 11 fishing management areas according to its Indonesian acronym: WPP. Natuna Sea or WPP 711 includes the waters around the Indonesian islands of Natuna. It is located at the western tip of West Kalimantan province, but administratively it’s a regency under the Riau Islands province east of Sumatra.

  • The problem is China maintains that they have ‘traditional fishing rights’ there. Lately they also mentioned ‘maritime rights,’ although they never detail what these terms entail

  • Jakarta, meanwhile, has strongly rejected those arguments. 

  • China’s claims to the exclusive economic zone on the grounds that its fishermen have long been active there… have no legal basis and have never been recognized by the UNCLOS 1982.

  • According to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Affairs, the potential fish catch in the Natuna Sea is around 961,145 tonnes.