UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 08-July-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. US weighs ban on TikTok amid crackdown on Chinese tech and STEM invasion

  2. India targets Pakistan at UN body over counter-terrorism record

  3. WHO acknowledges emerging evidence of airborne covid-19 transmission

  4. Big flap : Golden Birdwing



US WEIGHS BAN ON TIKTOK AMID CRACKDOWN ON CHINESE TECH AND STEM INVASION

Why in news?

Appearing to take the cue from India, the Trump administration is considering banning TikTok amid concerns that the social media platform poses a threat to US national security.


Highlights:

  • US secretary of state Mike Pompeo told Fox News that Washington is taking “very seriously” reports that the app collects users’ cellphone data and shares it with Beijing.

  • Americans should only download the app "if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party," he warned. 

  • TikTok, a short-form video app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, was banned in India last week along with 58 other Chinese apps although it distanced itself from China and claimed that its data centers are located outside the country. 

  • Apps and platforms such Twitter and TikTok are not available for Chinese people themselves but Chinese officials, nationalists, and shills for the ruling junta in Beijing make extensive use of the platform for global propaganda. 


Source : TOI ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/us-weighs-ban-on-tiktok-amid-crackdown-on-chinese-tech-and-stem-invasion/articleshow/76840013.cms )



INDIA TARGETS PAKISTAN AT UN BODY OVER COUNTER-TERRORISM RECORD

Why in news?

  • India on Tuesday mounted a sharp attack on Pakistan during a virtual meeting of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, accusing it of sheltering and supporting terrorists and pushing a false narrative on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.


Highlights:

  • Mahaveer Singhvi, joint secretary (counter-terrorism) in the external affairs ministry who led the Indian delegation for the webinar organised by the UN body, pointed out the meeting was being held on a day when the Indian embassy in Kabul was attacked by a Pakistan-backed terror group 12 years ago and Indians and Afghans were killed.

  • Singhvi added, “Even as Pakistan provides shelter and support to terrorists, it continues to peddle a false and motivated narrative on the situation in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is seeking to portray its military, financial [and] logistical support to cross-border terrorism against India as a freedom struggle. It is also peddling misinformation about India’s domestic legislation and policies.”

  • At the global level, terrorists have tried to exploit financial and emotional distress caused by the pandemic, and used the increased presence of people online and on social media to disseminate misinformation through hate speech, fake news and doctored videos

  • Singhvi described Pakistan’s statement claiming credit for eliminating al-Qaeda as “ludicrous” and said the group’s founder, Osama Bin Laden, was recently glorified as a “martyr” by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Parliament. 


Source : Hindustan Times ( https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-targets-pakistan-at-un-body-over-counter-terrorism-record/story-wLb4CA11IDrtHoqtybgOaM.html )



WHO ACKNOWLEDGES EMERGING EVIDENCE OF AIRBORNE COVID-19 TRANSMISSION

Why in news?

  • The World Health Organization on Tuesday acknowledged the emerging evidence of airborne spread of the novel coronavirus after an open letter by over 200 scientists outlined evidence that showed floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in.


Highlights:

  • The possibility of airborne transmission in public settings - especially in very specific conditions, crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described, cannot be ruled out.

  • However, the evidence needs to be gathered and interpreted, and we continue to support this

  • So far, the disease was considered to have transmitted through droplets that were transmitted through contact with nose, eyes and mouth.

  • So far, the Geneva-based agency as well as various other medical bodies encouraged people to regularly wash hands, maintain social distance, and precautions against coming in contact with droplets.

  • They did not recognize airborne transmission of the SARS-COV2, except for aerosol-generating procedures performed in healthcare settings.

  • However, with various sources of evidence coming in about the airborne transmission of the disease, the WHO has said that it is now considering that possibility.

  • If the multilateral agency makes changes to its guidelines on prevention from covid-19, it will lead to widespread review of social distancing guidelines across the world.

  • The Indian government itself is advising at least a 1 metre distance between people to prevent the spread


Source : Livemint ( https://www.livemint.com/news/world/who-acknowledges-emerging-evidence-of-airborne-covid-19-transmission-11594143946003.html )



BIG FLAP : GOLDEN BIRDWING

Why in news?

  • A Himalayan butterfly named golden birdwing is now India’s largest, a record the southern birdwing held for 88 years.


Higlights:

  1. With a wingspan of 194 mm, the female of the species is marginally larger than the southern birdwing (190 mm) that Brigadier William Harry Evans, a British military officer and lepidopterist, recorded in 1932. But the male golden birdwing (Troides aeacus) is much smaller at 106 mm. 

  2. The new measurements of this and 24 other species of butterflies were published in the latest issue of Bionotes, a quarterly newsletter for research on life forms.

  3. While the female golden birdwing was recorded from Didihat in Uttarakhand, the largest male was from the Wankhar Butterfly Museum in Shillong.


Source : The Hindu ( Page 1, 8 Jul. 20 )



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