Argutes

Daily Current Affairs – 16 September and 17 September – 2021

NCRB report: A status check on crimes in the country

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)  released the latest report on ‘Crime in India – 2020’

Highlights

  1. The Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown resulted in a drop in traditional crimes like theft, robbery, and assault on women and children in 2020
  2. But there was a drastic jump in disobedience to government orders, primarily arising due to violations of COVID-19 norms, official data showed.
  3. A total of 66,01,285 cognizable crimes comprising 42,54,356 Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes and 23,46,929 Special and Local Laws (SLL) crimes were registered in 2020.
  4. India reported an average of 80 murders daily in 2020, totaling 29,193 fatalities over the year, with Uttar Pradesh topping the chart among states.
  5. This was an increase of one percent over the total 28,915 murders in 2019, with a daily average of 79 killings during the year, the data showed.
  6. Delhi accounted for nearly 40 percent of all rape cases and almost 25 percent murder cases among 19 metropolitan cities in India in 2020.

Jal Jeevan Mission: Action Plan

  1. The mandatory action plans for bringing safe drinking water through individual tap connections to all rural households under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) have been prepared for about 23,000 villages in Rajasthan.
  2. The action plans for other villages will be presented and approved in the Gram Sabhas to be held on October 2.
  3. The action plans, to be implemented as the master plan for meeting the water needs of villages, will depict the history of water availability, rainfall pattern, drought situation, groundwater level, water harvesting, water-borne diseases, and the situation of water resources in each village.
  4. The document also incorporates essential aspects of rural drinking water projects sanctioned under the JJM.

Jal Jeevan Mission:

  1. The JJM envisages a supply of safe and adequate drinking water through tap connections to all households in the rural areas by 2024.
  2. A target has been set for supplying 55 liters of water per person per day to every household in the villages, where the people have been facing scarcity of water.

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 Shoonya

  1. The government thinks tank Niti Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) launched an initiative to promote zero-pollution delivery vehicles by working with consumers and the industry.
  2. The campaign, Shoonya, aims to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the urban deliveries segment and create consumer awareness about the benefits of zero-pollution delivery.
  3. As part of the campaign, a corporate branding and certification program is being launched to recognise and promote the industry’s efforts towards transitioning to EVs for final-mile deliveries.
  4. Urban freight vehicles account for 10 per cent of freight transportation-related CO2 emissions in India, and these emissions are expected to grow by 114 percent by 2030.

PLI scheme for drones

  1. The Civil Aviation Ministry approved a PLI scheme for drones and drone components with an allocation of 120 crore spread over three financial years.
  2. The PLI scheme comes as a follow-through liberalized Drone Rules, 2021, released by the Centre on August 25.
  3. The Indian drone industry will have a total turnover of up to 15,000 crore by 2026
  4. Under the PLI scheme, the incentive for a manufacturer of drones and drone components will be 20% of the value addition made by the company during the next three years.
  5. The value addition should be calculated as the annual sales revenue from drones and drone components (net of GST) minus the purchase cost (net of GST) of drone and drone components.

Sansad TV

  1. Sansad TV, a news channel combining the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha TV, was launched.
  2. It will be the new voice of Parliament and adds another important chapter to the parliamentary system.
  3. The LSTV, which was the brainchild of former Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, has been functioning for 15 years and the RSTV for 10 years providing live coverage of the proceedings.
  4. The new combined channel is expected to bring in synergy and economies of scale
  5. It is significant that Sansad TV’s launch coincided with the International Day of Democracy

Global Ozone Day

  1. India chaired the event for the 27th Global Ozone Day
  2. The theme of World Ozone Day 2021 is ‘Montreal Protocol- Keeping us, our food, and vaccines cool’.
  3. India has successfully phased out the production and consumption of several major ozone-depleting substances
  4. India had met all obligations of the Montreal Protocol by accessing technical and financial assistance from the mechanism of the Protocol.
  5. One of the reasons for India’s success in phasing out ozone-depleting substances (ODS) is the involvement of key stakeholders both at the planning as well as implementation levels.

India and Montreal Protocol

  1. India, as a party to the Montreal Protocol since June 1992, has been successfully implementing the Montreal Protocol and its ozone-depleting substances phase-out projects and activities in line with the phase-out schedule of the Protocol.
  2. India has phased out chlorofluorocarbons, carbon tetrachloride, halons, methyl bromide, and methyl chloroform for controlled uses in line with the Montreal Protocol.
  3. Currently, hydrochlorofluorocarbons are being phased out as per the accelerated schedule of the Montreal Protocol.
  4. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage-I has been successfully implemented from 2012 to 2016 and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage-II is currently under implementation from 2017 and will be completed by 2023
  5. India recently ratified Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol
  6. It addresses the issues relating to minimizing industrial obsolescence and adverse economic impacts that should appropriately be addressed while developing a hydrofluorocarbon phase-down strategy for implementing it.

Insights

  1. World Ozone Day is celebrated on September 16 each year to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental treaty for phasing out of production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances, that came into force on this day in 1987.
  2. The Day is celebrated every year to spread awareness among people about the depletion of the ozone layer and the measures taken to preserve it.
  3. The Ozone Cell, Ministry of Environment, has been celebrating World Ozone Day since 1995 at the national and state levels, the ministry said.

India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)

  1. India also released the action plan for implementing recommendations of the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) for thematic area space cooling in buildings.
  2. The Action Plan has been developed after mapping the recommendations given in the ICAP and after detailed discussions with various stakeholders, including line departments and ministries.
  3. The ICAP, the first-of-its-kind in the world to be developed by the environment ministry, addresses cooling requirements across sectors and lists out actions that can help reduce the cooling demand through synergies in actions for securing both environmental and socio-economic benefits. The ICAP aims to reduce both direct and indirect emissions.

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WhatsApp launches test of in-app business directory

  1. Facebook’s messaging service WhatsApp launched a new feature to make it possible to search for businesses within its app for the first time.
  2. It allows WhatsApp users to find shops and services through a directory in the app, which is the latest feature in Facebook’s drive to bolster e-commerce on its services.
  3. WhatsApp, unlike Facebook and Instagram, does not run ads in its app.
  4. WhatsApp said the new test would include thousands of businesses in categories like food, retail, and local services across certain São Paulo neighborhoods.
  5. It was said that India and Indonesia were good next candidates to expand the feature.
  6. The company, which has faced user backlash amid confusion over privacy updates and was fined by the Irish data protection regulator over privacy breaches, said Whatsapp will not know or store the location of people’s search or results through the new directory feature.
  7. Idema did not rule out the possibility that WhatsApp could introduce in-app ads in the future.

Future Ready Talent program

  1. The tech company has launched the Future Ready Talent program, an internship program for undergraduate students.
  2. The Future Ready Talent Program provides a holistic skilling experience that connects learners more readily with new job opportunities
  3. Microsoft has partnered with AICTE, NASSCOM, EY, GitHub, and Quess Corp to train over 1.5 lakh students in technologies like data, AI, cloud computing, and cybersecurity, and make them job-ready under this Program
  4. The program will offer students an end-to-end experience, from digital skilling to working on critical projects in a sandbox environment, mentoring from industry experts, and access to potential employers.

Microsoft Learn

  1. The U.S.-based company will provide learning modules and certifications through its learning platform, Microsoft Learn.
  2. AICTE will ensure the curriculum is aligned with the National Education Policy, 2020.
  3. SSC NASSCOM will provide alignment of relevant courses to the National Occupational Standards.
  4. EY will provide technology and industry mentorship to students during their internship tenure.
  5. GitHub will provide students with free access to developer tools as well as the opportunity to collaborate on projects with other developers on GitHub.
  6. Quess Corp will host a virtual career fair for participants.

Adobe New Payment System

  1. Adobe Inc plans to add payment services to its e-commerce platform this year to help merchants accept credit cards and other ways of paying, deepening a rivalry with e-commerce firm Shopify Inc.
  2. Adobe started providing software to help retailers run their online stores in 2018 when it purchased Magento Commerce from private equity firm Permira for $1.68 billion.
  3. Adobe will roll out the new payment system by the end of this year in the United States and is tapping PayPal Holdings to process a variety of payment types, including credit and debit cards as well as PayPal’s own payment and pay-later offerings.
  4. Until now, Adobe’s e-commerce customers have had to build their own payment systems. That works for larger businesses that can negotiate with payment processors, but Adobe wanted a simpler service for smaller merchants.
  1. SpaceX’s first private flight blasted off with two contest winners, a health care worker and their rich sponsor, the most ambitious leap yet in space tourism.
  2. It was the first time a rocket streaked toward orbit with an all-amateur crew — no professional astronauts.
  3. The Dragon capsule’s two men and two women are looking to spend three days circling the world from an unusually high orbit — 160 km higher than the International Space Station — before splashing down off the Florida coast.
  4. The recycled Falcon rocket soared from the same Kennedy Space Center pad used by the company’s three previous astronaut flights for NASA.
  5. This time, the Dragon capsule aimed for an altitude of 575 km, just beyond the Hubble Space Telescope.
  6. Arceneaux is set to become the youngest American in space and the first person in space with a prosthesis, a titanium rod in her left leg.

Exercise Peaceful Mission

  1. A combined team of 200 Army and Air Force personnel are in Russia to participate in Exercise Peaceful Mission
  2. It is being held between the member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) from September 13 to 25 that also includes Pakistan and China
  3. The 6th edition of Exercise Peaceful Mission is being hosted by Russia in the Orenburg Region of southwest Russia.
  4. The aim of the exercise is to foster close relations between SCO member-states and to enhance the abilities of the military leaders to command multi-national military contingents.

Indian Army Chief’s Conclave

  1. Separately, the 8th edition of the Indian Army Chief’s Conclave, a gathering of the serving and former Chiefs of the Army Staff, is scheduled to be organised in the national capital from September 16 to 18.
  2. The highlight of the three-day event will be the invite extended to former Chiefs of the Nepali Army, who were also Honorary Chiefs of the Indian Army

Han Guang military exercise

  1. It is Taiwan’s five-day exercise designed to prepare the island’s forces for an attack by China, which claims Taiwan as part of its own territory.
  2. The annual exercise was smaller this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  3. Taiwan has focused on stepping up its defence capabilities in response to the rise in tensions and military harassment.
  4. Taiwan’s defense ministry submitted a new budget of $16.8 billion for the next year, a modest increase from last year’s $16.19 billion. Some of the funds are to purchase 66 F-16V fighter jets.
  5. Taiwan proposed on Thursday extra defence spending of T$240 billion ($8.69 billion) over the next five years, including new missiles, as it warned of an urgent need to upgrade weapons in the face of a “severe threat” from giant neighbor China.
  1. IHS Markit data firm releases forecast
  2. Semiconductor shortages and the delayed packaging and testing of the chips will cause the production of global light vehicles to drop by five million this year marking the biggest cut to its outlook in nine months.
  3. It was cutting its light vehicle production forecast by 6.2% for 2021 and 9.3% for 2022, to stand at 75.8 million units and 82.6 million units, respectively.
  4. Packaging and testing operations within the semiconductor sector in Malaysia were impacted due to the government’s lockdown measures, Malaysia is responsible for 13% of the global supply of semiconductors for the automotive industry, which has become more pessimistic.
  5. Automakers from General Motors to Japan’s Toyota have slashed output and sales forecasts due to scarce chip supplies, made worse by a COVID-19 resurgence in key Asian semiconductor production hubs.

Indo-Pacific security partnership

  1. Australia is joining a new Indo-Pacific security partnership with the U.S. and U.K. that will allow it to acquire nuclear-powered submarines
  2. The new partnership scuppers Australia’s 2016 deal with a French shipbuilder Naval Group to build up to 12 submarines — a project that had blown out to an estimated A$90 billion.
  3. A sparking a rift with France at a time when the Biden administration is pushing allies to counter Chinese assertiveness.
  4. The decision to scrap the program was contrary to the letter and spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia

China Military Capability

  1. The new framework comes as Beijing increases its military capability and influence in the Asia-Pacific.
  2. As part of the agreement, the countries intend to increase cooperation on other defense measures, such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
  3. This comes in the backdrop of the US posing complain about Beijing’s lack of engagement on bilateral and global issues such as climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Australia Relations

  1. The pact will be Australia’s involvement in U.S.-led pacts in a bid to counter what he sees as an assertive China in the Indo-Pacific.
  2. That’s included crafting the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network into a group that’s issuing statements criticizing Beijing’s human rights record and bolstering the Quad security arrangement that also involves Japan and India, and is due to hold its first leaders’ level meeting in Washington
  3. Australia’s relations with China — its largest trading partner — have nosedived in the wake of his government’s call last year for independent investigators to enter Wuhan to probe the origins of the coronavirus.
  4. Beijing has since inflicted a range of trade reprisals, including crippling tariffs on Australian barley and wine while blocking coal shipments.

Querdenken movement

  1. Facebook removed almost 150 accounts and pages linked to anti-lockdown demonstrators in Germany,
  2. This ban comes under a new policy focused on groups that spread misinformation or incite violence but who don’t fit into the platform’s existing categories of bad actors.
  3. The accounts on Facebook and Instagram spread content linked to the so-called Querdenken movement, a disparate group that has protested lockdown measures in Germany and includes vaccine and mask opponents, conspiracy theorists, and some far-right extremists.
  4. Posts from the accounts included one making the debunked claim that vaccines create viral variants and another that wished death upon police officers who broke up violent anti-lockdown protests in Berlin.

Albania approved Cabinet dominated by women

  1. Albania’s Parliament approved Cabinet dominated by women, aiming to bring the country back to economic growth focusing on tourism and agriculture, infrastructure, and energy.
  2. Following a 20-hour debate, the 140-seat parliament voted 77-53 for Prime Minister Edi Rama’s new Cabinet and programme.
  3. The left-wing Socialist Party secured a record third consecutive mandate in an April 25 parliamentary election, with 74 seats. The main opposition center-right Democratic Party got 59 seats.

El Salvador

  1. El Salvador this month became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender.
  2. The government has also launched a digital wallet, Chivo, which is linked to newly-built cryptocurrency cash machines that allow users to withdraw physical money from their digital bitcoin holdings.
  3. Its roll out has been plagued by glitches.
  4. Cristosal requested an audit of the authorization processes for the purchase of bitcoins and to review the construction of the booths used for the ATMs linked to the digital wallet of Chivo, a company established with public resources.
  5. Cristosal’s complaint was against six members of the Board of Directors of the Bitcóin Trust, consisting of members of the Finance and Economy ministries, as well as the secretariat of Commerce and Investments

Australia tests facial recognition software

  1. Australia’s two most populous states are trialling facial recognition software that lets police check people are home during COVID-19 quarantine, expanding trials that have sparked controversy to the vast majority of the country’s population.
  2.  New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, home to Sydney, Melbourne and more than half of Australia’s 25 million population, were trialing its facial recognition products.
  3. The trials were being conducted on a voluntary basis.
  4. The Perth, Western Australia-based startup developed the software in 2020 with WA state police to help enforce pandemic movement restrictions.
  1. China has applied to join an 11-nation Asia-Pacific free trade group in an effort to increase its influence over international policies.
  2. An application to the Trade Minister of New Zealand as a representative of the Comprehensive and Progress Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
  3. The application cements Beijing’s “leadership in global trade” and leaves the United States “increasingly isolated.”
  4. China’s government has promised to increase imports of goods but faces complaints it is failing to carry out promises made when it joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001 to open finance and other service industries.
  5. The CPTPP, which took effect in 2018, includes agreements on market access, movement of labor, and government procurement.

Insights

  1. The CPTPP originally was the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a group promoted by then-President Barack Obama as part of Washington’s increased emphasis on relations with Asia.
  2. China was not included in the initial group and Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, pulled out in 2017.
  3. President Joe Biden has not rejoined the group.
  4. Other members include Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Britain is negotiating to join. If China joins, that would quadruple the total population within the group to some two billion people.
  5. China is also a member of various other trading arrangements, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which includes many nations in Asia that are not part of the CPTPP.

Satoshi Nakamoto

  1. An imposing bronze statue was unveiled in Hungary’s capital, which its creators say is the first in the world to pay homage to the anonymous creator of the Bitcoin digital currency.
  2. Erected in a business park near the Danube River in Budapest, the bust sits atop a stone plinth engraved with the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym of the mysterious developer of Bitcoin whose true identity is unknown.