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Daily Current Affairs – 25th Dec. 2020

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 25th Dec. 2020. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

IFFCO gas leak: How dangerous is ammonia?

Context:

A major ammonia gas leakage at the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) unit at Prayagraj.

What is Ammonia?

  1. A tri-hydroid of nitrogen (NH3), ammonia is a building block for ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) that is used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertiliser.
  2. It interacts immediately upon contact with moisture present in the skin, eyes, oral cavity, and respiratory tract to form ammonium hydroxide, which is very caustic and disrupts the cell membrane lipids, ultimately leading to cellular destruction.

What are main uses of ammonia?

  1. Ammonia is critical in the manufacturing of fertilizers, and is one of the largest-volume synthetic chemicals produced in the world.
  2. More than 80 per cent of ammonia made is consumed in the manufacturing of fertilizer, and most of the remainder goes into the production of formaldehyde.

ECONOMY

India files appeal against Vodafone case verdict

Context:

  • The appeal in the Vodafone case against the tribunal award has come in the back of a similar a setback to the Indian tax authorities in the Cairns PLC of the U.K.

Details:

  • An international arbitration court has turned down tax authorities’ demand for 22,100 crore in retrospective taxes and penalties relating to the Vodafone’s acquisition of an Indian operator in the year 2007.
  • The 2012 law that enabled tax authorities to issue tax notices under retrospective tax provisions has been the bone of contention.
  • The tax authorities’ power to reopen past cases, to seek taxes from Vodafone and Cairn over alleged capital gains made several years ago was challenged by both Vodafone and Cairn under bilateral investment protection treaties and initiated the arbitration.

The stand of Government of India:

  • The government is of the opinion that taxation provisions do not come under investment protection treaties.
  • The taxation law is a sovereign function and will be dealt with the law of the land and not by investment protection treaties
  • The treaties are majorly aimed at encouraging private investments and protection of investments, the tax is levied on ‘returns’ earned by entities, thus the investment treaties cannot diminish or take away tax levying powers of a nation.

Conclusion:

  • The Vodafone and Cairn arbitration cases will be watched closely around the world, it has the potential to malign India as a favorable investment destination, thus the matter needs to be handled with considerable care to avoid any future repercussions.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Britain, EU clinch Brexit trade deal

Context:

  • Britain and the European Union have agreed upon a trade deal that is going to govern the trade ties between the two in the future.

Details:

  • The 11-month period termed the ‘Transition Period’ following the UK’s exit from the EU is coming to an end.
  • The EU and UK have reached a post-Brexit trade deal, ending several months of disagreements.
  • The U.K. will leave the bloc’s single market and customs union.

Major points

  1. Fish was a major sticking point.
  • The number of people employed in Britain’s fishing industry has witnessed a decline in recent decades, and the British government wants to revive the industry by cutting European companies’ access to British waters.
  • Britain initially sought a reduction of up to 80% in the share of fish that European Union boats would be allowed to catch in British waters.
  • But after several rounds of negotiation, The European Union’s fishing quota in British waters will be cut by 25 per cent in the next five and a half years.
  • A no-deal scenario would also have forced tariffs on British fishing companies, making it more difficult for them to sell what they caught to the European Union at competitive prices.
  1. Free movement of people
  • Citizens of European Union member states can look for jobs elsewhere in the bloc, work there without needing special permits and stay after they have left their jobs. But the trade deal ends the free movement of people between Britain and the continent.
  • As both a single market and a customs union, the European Union also agreed to adopt the same rules and regulations so that goods, services and capital can move freely across borders of countries within the bloc. And it agreed to apply the same taxes on goods from outside the bloc, implying that they can be shipped within the European Union without having to face additional tariffs.
  • But Britain will now leave both the single market and the customs union and can pursue trade deals with other countries.
  • This point was aggressively fought for by anti-Europe lawmakers in Britain.

Conclusion

  • The trade deal would mean that Britain would not crash out of the Union after 47 years of shared history.
  • The implications of the trade deal on paper will have to be assessed in days to come.

MISCELLANEOUS

What is PASSEX?

A passing exercise is an exercise done between two navies to ensure that the navies are able to communicate and cooperate in times of war or humanitarian relief. Common drills include flashing light drills, semaphore drills, and flaghoist drills.

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What is Visva-Bharati?

  1. Visva-Bharati is a public research central university and an Institution of National Importance located in Santiniketan, West Bengal, India.
  2. It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore who called it Visva-Bharati, which means the communion of the world with India.
  3. Visva-Bharati was declared to be a central university and an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament in 1951.

Why in News?

Centenary celebrations.

Good governance day

Observed annually on December 25.

  1. The day is also celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of India’s former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  2. The day aims to let the citizens, the students, who are the future of the country know about the government’s responsibilities and duties that it needs to fulfill.

National Mathematics Day

Context:

Celebrated every year on December 22.

  1. It is observed to honor the birth anniversary of the famous mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan who greatly contributed towards mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions.

Highlights of Srinivasa Ramanujan’s life:

  1. In 1911, Ramanujan published the first of his papers in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society.
  2. Ramanujan traveled to England in 1914, where Hardy tutored him and collaborated with him in some research.
  3. He worked out the Riemann series, the elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series, the functional equations of the zeta function, and his own theory of divergent series.
  4. The number 1729 is known as the Hardy-Ramanujan number after a famous visit by Hardy to see Ramanujan at a hospital.
  5. Hardy observed Ramanujan’s work primarily involved fields less known even amongst other pure mathematicians.
  6. Ramanujan’s home state of Tamil Nadu celebrates 22 December as ‘State IT Day’, memorialising both the man and his achievements, as a native of Tamil Nadu.

The Dev Patel-starrer ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ (2015) was a biopic on the mathematician.


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