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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 20-April-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Edakkal Caves

  2. New FDI policy

  3. Kepler – 1649C

  4. OIC urges India to take 'urgent steps' to protect rights of Muslims

  5. Modi suggests 'AEIOU' model for youth to adapt to work life after COVID-19


Why in news?

  • A huge crack has developed on the eastern part of Ambukuthi hills, on which the Edakkal caves are situated. The crack was exposed after a fire devastated the area a few days ago. 


About Edakkal Caves :

  • Edakkal caves are two natural caves, around 120 km south-west of Mysuru, in Wayanad district of Kerala.

  • The caves are situated 1,200 m (3,900 ft) above sea level on Ambukutty Mala, on the Mysore Plateau, in the Western Ghats. 

  • The Edakkal caves are believed to be camping shelters of the Neolithic community. The cave walls contain a collection of Neolithic rock engravings and images.

  • They may belong to late Neolithic period.

  • With the exception of Edakkal, no concrete evidence for the existence of a true Neolithic culture in Kerala has so far been discovered.

Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/huge-crack-develops-on-ambukuthi-hills-in-kerala/article31378360.ece )


Why in news?

  • In a decision fraught with geopolitical and economic ramifications, the government on Saturday amended its foreign direct investment (FDI) policy to put a blanket ban on investments through the automatic route by entities from countries that share a border with India. 


  • The move is seen as an attempt to ward off the threat of "opportunistic" Chinese takeover of Indian companies, whose valuations have been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 

  • The curbs, which were already in force for investments from Pakistan and Bangladesh, will extend to entities where Chinese citizens have “beneficial ownership” to ensure that the restrictions are not circumvented by routing investments via Hong Kong, Singapore or other countries. 

  • Most FDI flows into India are under the automatic route, which means companies only need to inform authorities after the investment is made. The latest move signals a growing worry within government that China might seek to acquire Indian companies by exploiting their financial vulnerability.

Source : Times of India ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/walling-off-china-india-changes-fdi-policy-to-block-threat-of-takeovers/articleshow/75227752.cms )


Why in news?

  • Astronomers have found an Earth-size planet in its star’s habitable zone, where conditions may be just right to allow the presence of liquid water on the surface.


  • A team of transatlantic scientists discovered this exoplanet while they were scanning through old observations data from NASA's Kepler space telescope, which the space agency retired in 2018.

  • The planet called Kepler-1649c, located 300 light-years from Earth, is most similar to Earth in size and estimated temperature.

  • The planet is only 1.06 times larger than our own planet. The amount of starlight it receives from its host star is 75 percent of the amount of light Earth receives from our Sun.

  • So researchers estimate that the temperature on the planet may be similar to our Earth.

  • There is still much that is unknown about Kepler-1649c, including its atmosphere, which could affect the planet's temperature.

  • There are other exoplanets estimated to be closer to Earth in size, such as TRAPPIST-1f and, by some calculations, Teegarden c. Others may be closer to Earth in temperature, such as TRAPPIST-1d and TOI 700d. But there is no other exoplanet that is considered to be closer to Earth in both of these values that also lies in the habitable zone of its system.

Source : The Week ( https://www.theweek.in/news/sci-tech/2020/04/18/nasa-discovers-hidden-earth-like-planet-from-old-kepler-data.html )


Why in news?

  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday urged India to take "urgent steps" to protect the rights of its minority Muslim community and stop the incidents of "Islamophobia" in the country.


  • The OIC's Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission in a tweet also said the Indian media was negatively profiling the Muslims and subjecting them to discrimination.

  • There was no immediate reaction from the Ministry of External Affairs. 

  • India has previously hit out at the 57-member grouping of Muslim majority nations, saying bodies like OIC should not make irresponsible statements. 

  • Earlier this week, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava slammed the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for adding "religious colour to our national goal of fighting the COVID 19 pandemic", after the commission commented on a report that patients in a hospital in Ahmedabad were being segregated on the basis of their religion.

About OIC :