UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 22-April-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. ICMR asks States to stop using rapid tests for the next 2 days

  2. Indian Ocean Commission

  3. @CovidIndiaSeva

  4. Trump to suspend immigration to us

  5. Pakistan removes names from terrorism watch list

  6. Eurasian ice sheet collapse raised seas eight metres: Study



ICMR ASKS STATES TO STOP USING RAPID TESTS FOR THE NEXT 2 DAYS

Why in news?

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday directed the States not to use the COVID-19 rapid testing kits for the next two days following reports of wide variations in results.


Highlights:

  • The kits would be tested and validated by ICMR teams and an advisory issued in the next two days.

  • If they were found to be not up to the mark, replacements would be sought from the manufacturers, ICMR spokesperson Dr. R.R. Gangakhedkar said. 

  • The Rajasthan government on Tuesday decided to halt rapid antibody tests after an experts’ team questioned the use of the newly distributed Chinese kits following inaccurate results. 


Source : The Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-india-stops-rapid-antibody-tests-for-two-days/article31397179.ece?homepage=true )



INDIAN OCEAN COMMISSION


Why in news?

  • India was added as an observer to the IOC during its 34th Council of Ministers meeting.


Highlights:


About IOC:

  • It was founded in 1982.

  • It is an intergovernmental organisation comprising five small island states in the western Indian Ocean –

  • The Comoros

  • Madagascar

  • Mauritius

  • Reunion Islands ( French department)

  • Seychelles

  • Decisions in the IOC are consensus based.

  • Secretariat: It is located in Port Louis, Mauritius.

  • The Commission has five observers — China, EU, Malta and International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) and India.

  • In 2012, the IOC was one of the four regional organisations to launch the MASE Programme — the European Union-funded programme to promote Maritime Security in Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean.

  • Under MASE, the IOC has established a mechanism for surveillance and control of the Western Indian Ocean with two regional centres-

  • The Regional Maritime Information Fusion Center (RMIFC), based in Madagascar, is designed to deepen maritime domain awareness by monitoring maritime activities and promoting information sharing and exchange.

  • The Regional Coordination Operations Centre (RCOC), based in Seychelles, will eventually facilitate joint or jointly coordinated interventions at sea based on information gathered through the RMIFC. 

  • The IOC has also wielded a disproportionate degree of convening power. In 2018 and 2019, it served as Chair of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). 

  •  The IOC style of ‘bottom-up regionalism’ has produced a sub-regional view and definition of maritime security problems and local ownership of pathways towards workable solutions.

Indian Interests in the IOC :

  • To establish our regional hegemony

  • Maritime security


Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/putting-the-sagar-vision-to-the-test/article31399219.ece )


@COVIDINDIASEVA LAUNCHED

Why in news?

  • Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday launched the ‘COVID India Seva’, an interactive platform to establish a direct channel of communication during the pandemic.


Highlights:

  • The initiative is aimed at enabling transparent e-governance delivery in real-time and answering citizen queries swiftly, at scale, especially in crisis situations like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, an official statement said.

  • Through this, people can pose queries @CovidIndiaSeva and get answers in almost real time.

  • The @CovidIndiaSeva works off a dashboard at the backend that helps process large volumes of tweets, converts them into resolvable tickets and assigns them to the relevant authority for real-time resolution, the statement said.

  • “Trained experts will share authoritative public health information swiftly at scale, helping to build a direct channel for communication with citizens,” the Minister said in a tweet.

  • Over time, Twitter has proved to be an essential service for both the government and citizens to interact and exchange information, especially in times of need,” Mr. Vardhan said.


Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/covidindiaseva-to-share-health-information-launched/article31398787.ece )



TRUMP TO SUSPEND IMMIGRATION TO US

Why in news?

  • U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will temporarily suspend immigration in order to protect Americans’ jobs.


Highlights:

  • While Mr. Trump did not clarify the scope — in terms of visa categories or time — of this planned order, it will likely temporarily stop new green cards and work visas, as per several reports. 

  • The order is in line with the tightening of visa policies that the administration has undertaken over the years, backed by immigration hawks such as Mr. Trump’s adviser Stephen Miller. 

  • The State Department issued 4,62,422 immigrant visas in the 2019 fiscal year — down from just over 6,17,752 in 2015, while U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services granted permanent residence to nearly 5,77,000 individuals.


Source : ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/trump-immigration-ban-to-last-60-days-target-those-seeking-permanent-residency/article31402097.ece )



PAKISTAN REMOVES NAMES FROM TERRORISM WATCH LIST

Why in news?

  • Pakistan has quietly removed around 1,800 terrorists from its watch list, including that of the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind and LeT operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, ahead of a new round of assessments by the global anti-money-laundering watchdog FATF.


Highlights:

  • The so-called proscribed persons list, which is maintained by Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority ( NACTA), is intended in part to help financial institutions avoid doing business with or processing transactions of suspected terrorists.

  • The list in 2018 contained about 7,600 names. It has been reduced to under 3,800 in the past 18 months.

  • Pakistan is working to implement an action plan that has been mutually agreed to with the Paris-based The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), part of which involves demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions.

  • It is possible that these removals are part of Pakistan’s action plan to implement the FATF recommendations, it said. The FATF will evaluate Pakistan’s progress in June 2020. 


Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistan-removes-thousands-of-names-from-terrorist-watch-list-report/article31394622.ece )



EURASIAN ICE SHEET COLLAPSE RAISED SEAS EIGHT METRES: STUDY

Why in news?

  • The melting of the Eurasian ice sheet around 14,000 years ago lifted global sea levels by about eight metres, according to new research published on Monday that highlights the risks of today's rapid ice cap melt. 


Highlights:

  • Earth's last Glacial Maximum period began around 33,000 years ago, when vast ice sheets covered much of the Northern Hemisphere. 

  • At the time, the Eurasian ice sheet -- which covered much of Scandinavia -- contained approximately three times the amount of frozen water held in the modern-day Greenland ice sheet. 

  • But rapid regional warming saw the ice sheet collapse over a period of just 500 years, according to authors of the study published in Nature Geoscience. 

  • Analysing sediment drill cores from the Norwegian Sea, the team found that the ice sheet's collapse contributed to an event known as Meltwater 1A -- a period that saw as much as 25 metres added to global sea levels between 13,500-14,700 years ago. 

  • The study showed that the entire Eurasian ice sheet melted in a matter of a few centuries, adding more than four centimetres to sea levels annually -- around 4.5-7.9 metres in total. 


Source : Times of India ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/eurasian-ice-sheet-collapse-raised-seas-eight-metres-study/articleshow/75264581.cms )


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