UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 14-July-2020

Topic Covered :


1. Iran, China set to clinch 25-year deal

2. China hits U.S. lawmakers, envoy with sanctions over Xinjiang

3. Virus immunity may disappear within months of recovery: study

IRAN, CHINA SET TO CLINCH 25-YEAR DEAL

Why in news?

  • Iran and China are close to finalising a 25-year Strategic Partnership which will include Chinese involvement in Chabahar’s duty-free zone

Highlights:


1. Iran and China are close to finalising a 25-year Strategic Partnership which will include Chinese involvement in Chabahar’s duty-free zone, an oil refinery nearby, and possibly a larger role in Chabahar port as well.


2. The cooperation will extend from investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and upgrading energy and transport facilities, to refurbishing ports, refineries and other installations, and will commit Iranian oil and gas supplies to China during that period.


3. The proposed tie-up comes even as Iran decided last week to go ahead on its own with the construction of a railway line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, in Afghanistan for which an MoU had been signed with the PSU Indian Railways Construction Ltd (IRCON) four years ago.


4. Despite several site visits by IRCON engineers, and preparations by Iranian railways, India never began the work, ostensibly due to worries that these could attract U.S. sanctions.


5. The U.S. had provided a sanctions waiver for the Chabahar port and the rail line to Zahedan, but it has been difficult to find equipment suppliers and partners due to worries they could be targeted by the U.S., said officials.


6. Iran proposed a tie-up between the Chinese-run Pakistani port at Gwadar and Chabahar last year, and has offered interests to China in the Bandar-e-Jask port 350km away from Chabahar, as well as in the Chabahar duty-free zone.

Source : Hindu ( Page 11, 14 Jul. 20)


CHINA HITS U.S. LAWMAKERS, ENVOY WITH SANCTIONS OVER XINJIANG

Why in news?


China on Monday slapped retaliatory sanctions on three senior Republican lawmakers and a U.S. envoy in a deepening row over Beijing’s treatment of Uighurs in the western Xinjiang region.

Highlights:


1. Some of the most outspoken critics of China — Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz along with Congressman Chris Smith — were targeted by the action, as well as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback.


2. The unspecified “corresponding sanctions” were announced days after the U.S. imposed visa bans and asset freezes on several Chinese officials, including the Communist Party chief in Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo, over rights abuses in the region.


3. Sanctions will also be applied on the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an agency that monitors human rights in the Asian country.


4. The two countries have traded barbs and sanctions on a slew of issues since President Donald Trump took office, from trade to more recent spats over the coronavirus pandemic, a security law in Hong Kong, and Chinese policies in the far west regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.


5. Witnesses and human rights groups say that China has rounded up more than one million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang in a vast brainwashing campaign aimed at forcibly homogenising minorities into the country’s Han majority.

Source : Hindu ( Page 14, 14 Jul. 20 )


Virus immunity may disappear within months of recovery: study

Why in news?

  • Patients who recover from COVID-19 infections may lose their immunity to reinfection within months, according to research released on Monday that experts said could have a “significant” influence on how governments manage the pandemic.

Highlights:


1. In the first study of its kind, a team led by researchers from King’s College London examined the levels of antibodies in more than 90 confirmed virus patients and how they changed over time.


2. Blood tests showed even individuals with only mild COVID-19 symptoms mounted some immune response to the virus.


3. Of the study group, 60% showed a “potent” viral response in the first few weeks after infection.


4. However, after three months only 16.7% had maintained high levels of COVID-19-neutralising antibodies, and after 90 days several patients had no detectable antibodies in their bloodstream.


5. When the body encounters an external danger such as a virus, it mobilises cells to track down and kill the culprit.


6. As it does so, it produces proteins known as antibodies that are programmed to target the specific antigen the body is fighting, like a key cut for a particular lock.


7. The findings may change how governments plan for the next phase of the pandemic, including how they fund and organise vaccine research and development.

Source : Hindu ( Page 14, 14 Jul. 20 )

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