UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 25-June-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Pakistan to continue in FATF's 'Grey List' for failing to check funding to LeT, JeM

  2. Cabinet opens space assets for all

  3. Pratyush and Mihir

  4. Order of the Nine Angles

  5. Cabinet clears ordinance to bring cooperative banks under RBI supervision & Other reforms


PAKISTAN TO CONTINUE IN FATF'S 'GREY LIST' FOR FAILING TO CHECK FUNDING TO LET, JEM

Why in news?

  • The global terror financing watchdog, FATF, on Wednesday decided to keep Pakistan in the "Grey List" as it has failed to check flow of money to terror groups like the LeT and the JeM.


Highlights:

  • The decision was taken at the Financial Action Task Force's third and final plenary held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

  • The plenary was held under the Chinese Presidency of Xiangmin Liu. 

  • The FATF decision comes on a day the US Country Reports on Terrorismslammed Pakistan as a safe harbour for "regionally focused terrorist groups" and allowing LeT and JeM to operate from its soil. 

  • With Pakistan's continuation in the 'Grey List', it will be difficult for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, World Bank, ADB and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the nation which is in a precarious financial situation. 

  • If Pakistan fails to comply with the FATF directive by October, there is every possibility that the global body may put the country in the 'Black List' along with North Korea and Iran. 

  • India has been maintaining that Pakistan extends regular support to terror groups like LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen, whose prime target is India, and has urged FATF to take action against Islamabad. 

Background:

  • Pakistan was placed on the 'Grey List' by the FATF in June 2018 and continues to be in the list since then as it has failed to comply with the tasks given by the FATF to stop terror financing. 

About FATF :

  • The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. 

  • The FATF currently has 39 members including two regional organisations -- the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council. 

  • India is a member of the FATF consultations and its Asia Pacific Group.


Source : TOI ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/fatf-continues-pakistan-in-grey-list-in-virtual-meeting/articleshow/76585233.cms )


CABINET OPENS SPACE ASSETS FOR ALL 

Why in news?

  • In a historic decision, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to open up the country’s space assets for all with an aim to boost the private sector’s participation in the entire range of space activities and also approved setting up of a new space board called Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe).


Highlights:

  • The reforms will boost private sector participation as well.

  • This will not only result in an accelerated growth of this sector but will enable Indian Industry to be an important player in global space economy.

  • With this, there is an opportunity for large-scale employment in the technology sector and India becoming a Global technology powerhouse.

  • The new board will provide a level-playing field to private companies to use India’s space infrastructure and will also hand-hold, promote and guide the private industry in space activities through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment. 

  • ISRO will continue to function like earlier and these reforms will allow the parent organisation to focus more on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme. 

  • Another recently formed New Space India Ltd (NSIL) will see its role extended. “It will endeavour to re-orient space activities from a ‘supply driven’ model to a ‘demand driven’ model, thereby ensuring optimum utilisation of our space assets.

  •  ISRO, NSIL and the space board will supplement each other’s work and not work at cross-purposes.

  • While Isro will continue to take all key decisions on space activities, projects and missions, NSIL and IN-SPACe will help facilitate and regulate these activities, and fulfil demands of the private sector


Source : TOI ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/union-cabinet-approves-setting-up-of-in-space-a-new-space-board/articleshow/76554135.cms )


PRATYUSH AND MIHIR

Why in news?

  • Every year the list of fastest supercomputers comes out. Published by TOP500, the list this year features two supercomputers from India once again. 


Highlights:

  • Pratyush and Mihir, the two supercomputers of India, ranked in at 67th and 120th spot on the list.

  • These rankings were announced on June 22 at the ongoing virtual event ISC (International Supercomputing Conference) High Performance 2020 Digital. 

  • The two Indian supercomputers’ rankings, however, has fallen down compared to last year. According to the 2019 rankings, Pratyush supercomputer was in 57th spot whereas Mihir supercomputer’s ranking was 100. 

  • The TOP500 list is a project that regularly ranks and evaluates the top 500 fastest supercomputer systems in the world. 

  • Prathush is India’s fastest supercomputer with 3.7 petaflops high performance. The supercomputer is at the Indian Institute of Meteorology, Pune. 

  • Mihir, which was ranked 120th, had a capacity of 2.5 petaflops. This particularly fast machine is at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast in Noida. 

  • The two supercomputers are used to help the quality of not just weather forecasts like monsoon but also of cyclones, earthquakes and other extreme events. They can also help forecast air quality, flood, drought among other things. 

  • As for the fastest supercomputer in the world, that title was accorded to Fukagu, a Japanese system backed by Fujitsu and RIKEN. For comparison sake, Fukagu had a performance of 415.53 petaflops.



Source : TOI ( https://www.gadgetsnow.com/tech-news/meet-pratyush-and-mihir-indias-two-supercomputers-among-the-worlds-best/articleshow/76543424.cms?utm_source=toiweb&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=toiweb_hptopnews )


ORDER OF THE NINE ANGLES ( O9A)

Why in news?

  • A US Army private has confessed to plotting an attack on his own unit by sharing secret information with an obscure satanic neo-Nazi group called the Order of the Nine Angles (O9A). The private, identified as 22-year-old Ethan Melzer, was arrested by the FBI on June 10


Highlights:

  • O9A is considered to be a satanic, anarchist group founded in the UK in the 1970s that now operates around the world, including in the US.

  • The group describes itself as “a diverse, and world-wide, collective of diverse groups, tribes, and individuals, who share and who pursue similar sinister, subversive, interests, aims and life-styles, and who cooperate when necessary for their mutual benefit and in pursuit of their shared aims and objectives…”

  • David Myatt is considered to be the main ideologist for the group and, according to the book, “The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity”, Myatt has actively participated in violent neo-Nazi and Islamist terrorist groups, hoping to bring down the “old order”.

  • The group has also expressed support for former al-Qaeda emir Osama bin Laden and has praised Nazi Germany as being a “practical expression of the satanic spirit”.

  • They also believe that since the time of Nazi Germany, western civilisation has become perverted by Judeo-Christian values, among other things and therefore, they seek to overthrow this civilisation by violent means.


Source : Indian Express ( https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-what-is-order-of-the-nine-angles-the-obscure-nazi-satanist-group-6474275/ )


CABINET CLEARS ORDINANCE TO BRING COOPERATIVE BANKS UNDER RBI SUPERVISION & OTHER REFORMS

Why in news?

  • The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ordinance to bring Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs) and multi-state cooperative banks (MSCBs) under the RBI’s supervision.


Highlights:

  • This decision will give added protection and comfort to depositors of the UCBs and the MSCBs.

  • As on date, there are 1,540 UCBs and MSCBs with a customer base of 8.6 crore and deposits of nearly ₹5-lakh crore.

  • The Cabinet also approved a scheme for interest subvention of 2 per cent to eligible Shishu loan (up to ₹50,000) category borrowers under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana outstanding as on March 31, for a period of 12 months.

  • The Cabinet approved the setting up of a ₹15,000-crore Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund for promoting private participation in the dairy and animal husbandry sector.


Source : Livemint ( https://www.livemint.com/news/india/cabinet-approves-ordinance-to-bring-cooperative-banks-under-rbi-supervision-11592993962733.html )


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