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Daily Current Affairs – 11th Dec. 2020

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 11th Dec. 2020. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

The highlights of Karnataka’s new anti-cow slaughter bill

Context:

The government in Karnataka passed the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill (2020) in the Assembly.

How are ‘beef’ and ‘cattle’ defined in the latest Karnataka Bill?

  1. ‘Beef’ is defined as the flesh of cattle in any form.
  2. ‘Cattle’ is defined as “cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock, and he or she buffalo below the age of thirteen years”.
  3. ‘Gau Shalas’: Shelters established for the protection and preservation of cattle registered with the Department of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.

Who has the power to conduct searches?

  1. Police officers ranked sub-inspector and above or a competent authority will have the power to search premises and seize cattle and materials used or intended to use to commit the offence.
  2. Such seizures, if any, will then be reported before the Sub Divisional Magistrate without unreasonable delay.

What are the penalties?

  1. It is a cognizable offence, violators can attract three to seven years of imprisonment.
  2. While a penalty between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh can be levied for the first offence, second and subsequent offences can attract penalties ranging between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakh.

EMPLOYMENT

Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY)

Context

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) to boost employment in formal sector and incentivize creation of new employment opportunities during the Covid recovery phase under Atmanirbhar Bharat Package 3.0.

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About the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY)

  1. Under this, Government of India will provide subsidy for two years in respect of new employees engaged on or after 1st October, 2020 and up to 30th June, 2021.
  2. Government will pay both 12% employees’ contribution and 12% employers’ contribution i.e. 24% of wages towards EPF in respect of new employees in establishments employing upto 1000 employees for two years.
  3. Government will pay only employees’ share of EPF contribution i.e. 12% of wages in respect of new employees in establishments employing more than 1000 employee for two years.

Eligibility

  1. An employee drawing monthly wage of less than Rs. 15000/- who was not working in any establishment registered with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) before 1st October, 2020 and did not have a Universal Account Number or EPF Member account number prior to 1st October 2020 will be eligible for the benefit.
  2. Any EPF member possessing Universal Account Number (UAN) drawing monthly wage of less than Rs 15000 who made exit from employment during Covid pandemic from March 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020, and did not join employment in any EPF covered establishment up to September 30 will also be eligible to avail benefit.

ECONOMY

Asian Development Outlook (ADO)

  • It is a series of annual economic reports released by the Asian Development Bank.
  • The ADO provides a comprehensive analysis of macroeconomic and development issues, for most countries in Asia.

Projections

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) upgraded its forecast for the Indian economy, projecting 8% contraction in 2020-21 as compared to 9% estimated earlier
  • Highlighting that India was recovering more rapidly than expected, the ADB said the earlier South Asia forecast of 6.8% contraction was upgraded to (-)6.1% in line with an improved projection for India.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Quantum key distribution (QKD)

Context:

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully demonstrated communication between its two labs using Quantum Key Distribution technology.

  1. The Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and The Research Centre Imarat (RCI) were the two labs that participated in this demonstration.

What you need to know about this technology?

Typical encryption relies on traditional mathematics and while for now it is more or less adequate and safe from hacking, the development of quantum computing threatens that.

  1. Quantum computing refers to a new era of faster and more powerful computers, and the theory goes that they would be able to break current levels of encryption.
  2. QKD works by using photons — the particles which transmit light — to transfer data.
  3. QKD allows two distant users, who do not share a long secret key initially, to produce a common, random string of secret bits, called a secret key.
  4. Using the one-time pad encryption this key is proven to be secure to encrypt and decrypt a message, which can then be transmitted over a standard communication channel.

Significance of this technology:

  1. The encryption is “unbreakable” and that’s mainly because of the way data is carried via the photon. A photon cannot be perfectly copied and any attempt to measure it will disturb it. This means that a person trying to intercept the data will leave a trace.
  2. The implications could be huge for cyber security, making businesses safer, but also making it more difficult for governments to hack into communication.

INFRASTRUCTURE

New Parliament building

Context:

Foundation stone of the new Parliament building.

  1. This took place nearly a hundred years after the foundation for the existing Parliament was laid by Duke of Connaught on February 12, 1921.

Key Points:

  1. It is expected that the structure would be completed by 2022, coinciding with 75 years of India’s independence.
  2. The theme of the new building would celebrate the cultural diversity of the country.
  3. It would also incorporate regional arts and crafts. Artisans and sculptures from across the country would be employed the complete the new structure making it a symbol of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).
  4. In September this year, Tata Projects Limited won the bid to construct the new parliament building at cost of Rs 861.90 crore.
  5. The new building will be constructed close to the existing one under the Central Vista redevelopment project.

What is Central Vista project that Supreme Court has halted?

  1. It is a grand redevelopment project for building what will be the power corridor of India, having a new Parliament building, a common central secretariat and revamped three-km-long Rajpath, from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the India Gate.
  2. The Supreme Court warned the government not to carry out any work on the Central Vista project until it decides on a bunch of 10 petitions challenging the mega redevelopment plan.

HEALTH

Vaccination drive after anthrax kills elephants

What happened?

Anthrax was confirmed as the cause of the death of two female elephants a week ago in the Joypur rainforest in Assam. The two elephants died after ingesting anthrax spores that can remain buried underground for 25-30 years.

Following this, the authorities have undertaken a drive to vaccinate livestock around this area.

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  1. This is the second case of anthrax in the State after two Asiatic water buffaloes died in the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in October 2019.

What is anthrax?

Anthrax is a disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, a spore-forming bacteria.

  1. Affects animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats more often than people.
  2. People can get anthrax from contact with infected animals, wool, meat, or hides.
  3. Spread: It does not spread directly from one infected animal or person to another; it is spread by spores. These spores can be transported by clothing or shoes.

Symptoms & Infection:

  1. Respiratory infection in humans initially presents with cold or flu-like symptoms for several days, followed by pneumonia and severe (and often fatal) respiratory collapse.
  2. Gastrointestinal (GI) infection in humans is most often caused by consuming anthrax-infected meat and is characterized by serious GI difficulty, vomiting of blood, severe diarrhea, acute inflammation of the intestinal tract, and loss of appetite.
  3. Cutaneous anthrax, also known as Hide porter’s disease, is the cutaneous (on the skin) manifestation of anthrax infection in humans.

Use in Bioterrorism:

Anthrax has been used in biological warfare by agents and by terrorists to intentionally infect. It was spread in US through a mail. It killed 5 people and made 22 sick.

Vaccine by India:

In June last year, DRDO and JNU scientists developed a potent Anthrax vaccine. They Claim new vaccine superior than existing ones as it can generate immune response to anthrax toxin as well as spores.


INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus)

Why in News:

Recently, India’s defence minister attended the 14th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus organized online at Hanoi, Vietnam.

  • It marked the 10th anniversary of ADMM Plus.
  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional organization which was established to promote political and social stability amid rising tensions among the Asia-Pacific’s post-colonial states.

Key Points:

  • About ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus:
    • Creation: The 2nd ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) in 2007 at Singapore adopted a resolution to establish the ADMM-Plus.
    • The first ADMM-Plus was convened at Hanoi, Vietnam in 2010.
    • Objective: The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and it’s eight Dialogue Partners to strengthen security and Defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.
    • Membership: The ADMM-Plus countries include ten ASEAN Member States and eight Plus countries, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, and the United States.
    • Chairman: The chairmanship of the ADMM-Plus follows the chairmanship of the ADMM.
    • This year it was chaired by Vietnam.
    • Aim: It aims to promote mutual trust and confidence between Defence establishments through greater dialogue and transparency.
    • Areas of cooperation: Maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping operations and military medicine.
  • The current meet comes at the time when India and China remain engaged in a military standoff along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, and tensions continue to mount in the South China Sea.
  • India’s Stand at the Meet:
    • Future: The future of the South East Asian Countries will be defined by their ability to collectively respond to challenges in the region, based on the fundamentals of freedom, inclusivity and openness.
    • Covid-19: The response to the pandemic needs to be collective and collaborative.
    • Challenges: Threats to the rules-based order, maritime security, cyber-related crimes and terrorism.
    • Challenges are becoming increasingly trans-boundary in character which requires closer military-to-military interactions and cooperation amongst the ADMM-Plus countries.
    • Tools for Cooperation: The conduct of field training exercises and table-top exercises amongst the ADMM-Plus countries are important tools to understand each other, cooperate to enhance security and maintain peace in the region.

Example: MAITREE which is an annual training event that is conducted in India and Thailand alternatively, since 2006.

Morocco to normalise ties with Israel

Context:

  • Morocco has agreed to resume diplomatic relations with Israel, becoming the fourth Arab nation to recognise Israel under a deal brokered by the US in 2020.

Details:

  • The development comes as the US is expanding the number of countries under the “Abraham Accords”, as part of which the United Arab Emirates and Israel resumed bilateral ties
  • Bahrain and Sudan had followed the UAE, becoming the second and third Arab countries respectively to resume ties with Israel.
  • Along with Egypt and Jordan, Morocco becomes the sixth Arab League member to normalise ties with Israel.
  • King Mohammed VI of Morocco agreed to resume diplomatic ties between his kingdom and Israel to expand economic and cultural cooperation, which would advance regional stability.
  • As part of this deal, Morocco will establish full diplomatic relations and resume official contacts with Israel. It will grant overflights and direct flights to and from Israel for all Israelis.

What about Western Sahara?

  • As part of the agreement, US President Donald Trump changed longstanding US policy and recognised Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
  • Western Sahara territory a former Spanish colony, was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Since then it has been the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and its indigenous Saharawi people, led by the pro-independence Polisario Front.
  • Morocco says it has always been part of its territory, while the African Union recognises it as an independent state.
  • An UN-brokered truce took place in 1991 and the promise of a referendum on independence, which is yet to take place.

How the deal will affect Western Sahara?

  • Trump’s backing of Morocco’s claim to sovereignty over Western Sahara is a big deal because it diminishes the hope of a people who have aspired for the independence of that territory for decades.
  • The UN is still mandated to oversee a referendum for the independence of Western Sahara – although this hasn’t materialised since 1991 when it established its mission there known as Minurso.

Impact

Much of the momentum behind the deal-making has been to present a united front against Iran and roll back its regional influence.


MISCELLANEOUS

‘Jagananna Jeeva Kranthi’ scheme

Launched by the Andhra Pradesh government.

  1. Under which 2.49 lakh sheep and goats will be distributed to women in a phased manner at a cost of ?1,869 crore.
  2. The scheme will help improve the living standards of women with less investment.

HelpAge India presented UN Population Award for 2020:

HelpAge India has been presented the UN Population Award for 2020 (institutional category).

  1. For the first time in the history of the UN Population Award, the honour is being conferred on an Indian institution.
  2. The last time the Award came to an Indian was 28 years ago, back in 1992, when it was awarded to Mr. J.R.D. Tata as an individual laureate. HelpAge India has been working for ‘the cause and care of disadvantaged older persons to improve their quality of life’ for over four decades.

About the Award:

Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, the United Nations Population Award recognises contributions in the fields of population and reproductive health.

Hanukkah:

It is a Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. It is also known as the Festival of Lights.

Worlds’ first, satellite-based narrowband-IoT network in India:

BSNL, in partnership with Skylo, to introduce worlds’ first, satellite-based narrowband-IoT network in India.

  1. This new ‘Made in India’ Solution, which is indigenously developed by Skylo, will connect with BSNLs satellite- ground infrastructure and provide PAN-India coverage, including Indian seas.
  2. The coverage will be so vast that it will not leave any dark patch within the boundary of India, from Kashmir & Ladakh to Kanyakumari, and from Gujarat to the North East, including the Indian seas.

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