Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - December 6, 2017

Rohingya Issue

MoA signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar/Role of China

The UNEP’s report titled ‘Solid approach to waste: how 5 cities are beating pollution –

  • Bangladesh and Myanmar recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement to begin the repatriation of more than 6,20,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh in the past few months.
  • Further, a joint working group including officials from Bangladesh, Myanmar and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) will be set up in three weeks, and Myanmar would begin to repatriate the refugees within two months, by January 23, 2018.

Enlighten about the issue

  • Since August, when the Myanmar military began a crackdown on Rohingya villages in Rakhine after a series of terror strikes on army camps, the numbers that have escaped burning homes and alleged atrocities by the authorities, have risen rapidly, with most seeking shelter across the border in Kutupalong camp of Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazaar.
  • The UN has condemned the violence as a case of “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide”, putting pressure on Myanmar’s leadership to end it.

Role of China –

  • Talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar appear to have been guided not by international agencies, but by China.
  • China had announced that it favoured a “three-step” solution, comprising a ceasefire in Rakhine, a bilateral repatriation deal for the Rohingya to Myanmar and long-term solutions including the economic development of the Rohingya areas

Why China intervened –

  • Beijing has deep interests in Rakhine, especially in the Kyaukpyu Port, with oil and energy pipelines to Yunnan province forming part of a $10 billion economic zone in its Belt and Road Initiative.
  • While on the one hand, China has protected the Myanmar regime from international sanctions at the UN thus far, it has tied itself to the success or failure of the repatriation agreement, on which the fate of the Rohingya now rest.

Enlighten about the deal and way forward –

  • According to the deal, Myanmar has committed not to delay sending those repatriated back to their original homes, but this task will be made more difficult by the fact that that many of the Rohingya villages have been burnt down.
  • Also of concern is the stipulation that those who will be accepted by Myanmar must show their Myanmar-issued identity cards, not just their Bangladesh-issued refugee cards.
  • Finally, international human rights agencies have warned that refugees cannot be forced to return while threat of violence against them persists, even as they process the trauma borne of the atrocities they fled from.

International Organisations

Withdrawal of US from UN Global Compact on Migration

  • The United States has pulled out of UN Global Compact on Migration.

Reasons cited by The U.S

  • The Obama-era negotiated UN compact process deal contains numerous provisions that inconsistent with country’s immigration and refugee policies and Trump Administration’s immigration principles.

Enlighten about it –

  • US under Trump administration has pulled out of several global commitments including UNESCO, UN cultural and educational body and 2015 Paris climate change agreement.
  • US participation in Global Compact on Migration process was started in 2016 following Obama Administration’s decision to join UN’s New York Declaration on Migration.
  • US under Trump administration has held that New York Declaration contains numerous provisions that are inconsistent with US immigration and refugee policies and Trump Administration’s immigration principles.
  • Moreover, the global approach in New York Declaration is simply not compatible with US sovereignty.

Enlighten about UN Global Compact on Migration

  • UN Global Compact on Migration will be the first intergovernmental negotiated agreement under auspices of UN to cover all dimensions of international migration in holistic and comprehensive manner.
  • Its genesis can be found in New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted in September 2016 by UN General Assembly.
  • Under this declaration, signatory UN member countries had decided to develop global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.
  • The process to develop this global compact for migration was started in April 2017.
  • It was to reach international consensus at the UN in 2018.
  • The purpose of Global compact of migration is to provide significant opportunity to improve governance on migration, address challenges associated with today’s migration, and strengthen contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.

World’s first IT campus for differently-abled in Hyderabad

  • On the eve of World Disability Day, the Telangana State government has entered into an agreement with Vindhya E-Infomedia Private Limited to set up the IT campus which will focus on creating employment exclusively for PWDs.
  • With this Hyderabad is all set to be a home for world’s first Information Technology campus for persons with disabilities (PWDs).
  • The proposed campus spread over 10 acres, will come up in the IT Park developed by the State government near Hyderabad International Airport and will have all amenities like training, residential facility and delivery centers.
  • The campus which will cater to various clients both domestic and international, is aimed to provide training and employment for 2,000 people in the next five years.

Economy

Petro – Official Cryptocurrency launched by Venezuela

Why –

  • to circumvent US-led financial sanctions
  • It will be backed by the country’s vast natural resource reserves.
  • In this regard, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has approved the creation of Blockchain Base observatory to oversee development and rollout of new cryptocurrency.

Enlighten about Petro -

  • The Petro aims to help Venezuela to advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome financial blockade.
  • Its value will be pegged to country’s vast reserves of oil and gas as well as its mineral wealth, including gold.
  • In recent time, OPEC member Venezuela which boasts world’s largest proven reserves of crude oil is struggling against plunge in oil prices which began in 2014
  • With new official cryptocurrency, Venezuela hopes to overcome economic blockade imposed by US which has caused the country’s national currency Bolivar to lose around 57% of its value in the last four weeks.

Crypto Currencies

  • Crypto Currencies or Virtual Currencies are type of unregulated digital money that is neither issued by central bank/public authority, nor is necessarily attached to fiat currency, but is used and accepted among the members of specific virtual community.
  • They are capable of being transferred, stored or traded electronically.
  • Cryptocurrencies are founded as peer-to-peer (P2P) electronic payment system.
  • They enable transfer of money between parties, without going through banking system.
  • They can be transferred directly between peers and the transactions are confirmed in a public ledger, accessible to all the users.
  • The process of maintaining this ledger and validating the transactions is known as mining and is carried out in a decentralised manner.

Defence

Vigilant Ace

  • Annual U.S.-South Korean aerial drill.
  • It is their largest ever joint exercise.
  • It is designed to enhance their readiness and operational capability and to ensure peace and security on Korean peninsula.

Science & Tech

NOXENO – Nasal foreign body removal device

  • Government has launched Noxeno, a nasal foreign body removal device developed by start-up InnAccel Technologies Private Limited, Bangalore.
  • It was developed by fellow trained under Biodesign program.
  • Noxeno is It is first dedicated tool for anterior nasal foreign body (NFB) removal that allows doctors in any setting to quickly and safely remove objects that people (mostly children aged 2 to 10 years) put into their noses.

Enlighten about Noxeno -

  • Noxeno has been 100% invented, designed, engineered and manufactured in India.
  • It has ergonomic handle along with built-in light source and hinge.
  • This allows user to slip behind NFB and remove it in matter of seconds by simply squeezing the trigger and pulling the device.
  • The modular nature of the system allows for sterilization of hinge through autoclaving it.
  • It is reusable device and is also both easy to use and cost-effective. InnAccel Technologies is hoping to deploy this device across primary health care centres (PHCs), community health care centres (CHCs), clinics and smaller hospitals nationwide by 2020.

Summits

11th Annual MedTech Summit of Biodesign Programme held in New Delhi

  • The XIth Annual MedTech Summit of Biodesign Programme was held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
  • The summit was organised by Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Bio Design Programme.
  • It was attended by leaders of government organisations, academia, medical device industry, start-ups, hospitals, design, business and engineering institutes from Australia, Finland, Canada, India, Germany, Japan, Singapore, UK and USA.

Bio Design Programme

  • Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology is implementing Bio Design Programme to develop innovative and affordable medical devices to cater to clinical needs of country.
  • It aims to train next generation of medical technology innovators in country.
  • It is implemented by DBT at All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) and IIT Delhi in collaboration with international partners.
  • DBT has authorised Biotech Consortium India Limited for management of its intellectual property and other techno- legal activities.

World Day

5 December: World Soil Day

  • The World Soil Day is celebrated every year on 5th of December by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
  • It aims to communicate messages on the importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being.
  • The Theme for year 2017 is ‘Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground’.
  • The theme seeks to highlight importance of soil in human livelihoods and increase in degradation of soil resources worldwide due to inappropriate management practices, population pressure driving unsustainable intensification and inadequate governance over this essential resource.

Importance of soil

  • Soil is the upper layer of earth. It is mixture of organic and inorganic matter, in which plants grow.
  • It is a finite natural resource. On a human time-scale it is non-renewable.
  • According to FAO, soil holds three times as much carbon as atmosphere and can help to meet challenges of a changing climate.
  • 95% of our food comes from soil and 33% of global soils are already degraded.

Enlighten about Soil day

  • The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) had adopted resolution proposing 5th of December as World Soil Day in 2002 to celebrate importance of soil as critical component of natural system and as vital contributor to human wellbeing.
  • Later in June 2013, the FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day and requested official adoption at 68th UN General Assembly.
  • In December 2013, 68th UNGA declared 5th of December as the World Soil Day.