4th June, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
(DOWNLOAD THE PDF AT THE END OF THIS PAGE)
Badshahi Ashoorkhana (GS1: Indian architecture, art and craft)
Issue: The Hyderabad government along with Aga Khan Trust for culture has undertaken restoration work on the monument.
About the monument
- Badshahi Ashurkhana is a Shia Muslim mourning place, near Charminar in Hyderabad, India. It was constructed in memory of martyrdom of Imam Hussain, and is used during the festival of Moharram.
- It was built by Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1594, three years after building the Charminar.
- The Ashur Khana stands today with enamel tiles that have retained their lustre and vibrant colours even after four centuries. The intricate design in hexagons is exquisite.
AGNI-5 (GS3: Indigenization of technology)
Issue: Long-range ballistic missile Agni-5 was successfully test fired off Odisha coast on Sunday proving its reliability. This is the sixth successful test of the missile and the second in its pre-induction configuration.
About the missile
- Agni-5 can carry nuclear warhead weighing 1.5 tonnes to a distance of over 5,000 km and is the longest missile in India’s arsenal capable of reaching most parts of China. With a smaller payload, the range can go up much higher. It is a surface to surface ballistic missile
- The missile features many new indigenously-developed technologies, including the very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS), and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System (MINS) which improves the accuracy of the missile
- The missile has been programmed in such a way that after reaching the peak of its trajectory, it will turn towards the earth and continue its journey towards the intended target with an increased speed due to the attraction of earth’s gravitational pull.
Integrated missile development programme
The Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) was an Indian Ministry of Defence programme for the research and development of the comprehensive range of missiles. The programme was managed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Ordnance Factories Board in partnership with other Indian government political organisations. The project started in 1982–83 with popular political support from the successive governments and bestowed under the leadership of Abdul Kalam who oversaw its ending in 2008 after these strategic missiles were successfully developed.
Missiles developed under the programme are:
- Short range surface-to-surface missile (code-named Prithvi)
- Short range low-level surface-to-air missile (code-named Trishul)
- Medium range surface-to-air missile (code-named Akash) and
- Third-generation anti-tank missile (code-named Nag).
- The Agni missile was initially conceived in the IGMDP as a technology demonstrator project in the form of a re-entry vehicle, and was later upgraded to a ballistic missile with different ranges
Differences between a cruise and ballistic missile
A ballistic missile is one that has a ballistic trajectory over most of its flight path. What that means is that once the missile burns up the fuel that propels it, the missile keeps moving, the same way that a bullet does after it’s been fired out of a gun. Once the fuel is gone, the missile’s direction can’t be altered. It follows a path determined by the speed of its launch and the force of gravity trying to pull it back toward the Earth’s surface. Eventually, gravity guides the missile — and its payload, which might be an explosive, a chemical or biological weapon, or a nuclear device — down toward its target.
Cruise missiles are self-propelled for the majority of their time in the air, flying in a relatively straight line and at lower altitudes thanks to a rocket propellant.
‘Tobacco consumption’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: A report from the World Health Organisation on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day (May 31) suggests that India’s efforts to cut the prevalence of cigarette smoking are paying off. Between 2000 and 2015, this fell from 19.4% to 11.5%. By 2025, the report projected, it could drop to 8.5%, putting India well in line to meeting its 2025 target under a WHO global plan to tackle non-communicable diseases. While this is excellent news, it needs to be highlighted that smokeless tobacco is the bigger scourge in the country.
What the report says?
- Even though there is a 2011 government ban on the sale of food items with tobacco or nicotine in them, the consumption of gutkha, khaini and zarda continues to be rampant. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey in 2016, for example, found that 29.6% of Indian men and 12.8% of Indian women were users.
- The WHO report noted that 7.9 million adolescents, between 13 and 15 years, used smokeless tobacco in the South-East Asian region. Given that 66% of the world’s smokeless-tobacco users are in India, a sizeable chunk of this number would be Indian teenagers.
- Gutkha and other chewable tobacco items are equally, if not more, harmful compared to cigarettes. Surveys show that these products are sometimes mixed with carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines. This is why India banned their sale under the 2011 Food Safety and Standards Regulations.
About World No Tobacco day 2018
The focus of World No Tobacco Day 2018 is “Tobacco and heart disease.” The campaign will increase awareness on the:
- link between tobacco and heart and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including stroke, which combined are the world’s leading causes of death;
- feasible actions and measures that key audiences, including governments and the public, can take to reduce the risks to heart health posed by tobacco.
World No Tobacco Day 2018 coincides with a range of global initiatives and opportunities aimed at addressing the tobacco epidemic and its impact of public health, particularly in causing the death and suffering of millions of people globally. These actions include the WHO-supported Global Hearts and RESOLVE initiatives, which aim to reduce cardiovascular disease deaths and improve care, and the third United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs , being held in 2018.
The WHO MPOWER measures are in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and can be used by governments to reduce tobacco use and protect people from NCDs. These measures include:
- Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies;
- Protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke by creating completely smoke-free indoor public places, workplaces and public transport;
- Offer help to quit tobacco (cost-covered, population-wide support, including brief advice by health care providers and national toll-free quit lines);
- Warn about the dangers of tobacco by implementing plain/standardized packaging, and/or large graphic health warnings on all tobacco packages, and implementing effective anti-tobacco mass media campaigns that inform the public about the harms tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure.
- Enforce comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and
- Raise taxes on tobacco products and make them less affordable.
‘Blue flag tag’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: The Chandrabhaga beach on the Konark coast of Odisha will be the first in Asia to get the Blue Flag certification — the tag given to environment-friendly and clean beaches, equipped with amenities of international standards for tourists.
The standards were established by the Copenhagen-based Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in 1985.
To achieve the Blue Flag standards, a beach must be plastic-free and equipped with a waste management system. Clean water should be available for tourists, apart from international amenities. The beach should have facilities for studying the environmental impact around the area
The Environment Ministry embarked on the Blue Flag project in December 2017.
‘Socotra rescue’ (GS3: Disaster management)
Issue: In a swift operation, the Navy on Sunday rescued 38 Indians from Socotra in Yemen where they were stranded for nearly 10 days after Cyclone Mekenu devastated the island.
The Navy diverted its ship INS Sunayna from the Gulf of Aden to Socotra on Saturday to undertake Operation NISTAR to rescue the Indians
Gulf of Aden
The Gulf of Aden, also known as the Gulf of Berbera, is a gulf amidst Yemen to the north, the Arabian Sea and Guardafui Channel to the east, Somalia to the south, and Djibouti to the west. In the northwest, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, and in the southeast, it connects with the Indian Ocean through the Guardafui Channel. It shares its name with the port city of Aden in Yemen, which forms the northern shore of the gulf. Historically, the Gulf of Aden was known as “The Gulf of Berbera”, named after the ancient Somali port city of Berbera on the south side of the gulf.
The waterway is part of the important Suez Canal shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean, with 21,000 ships crossing the gulf annually
‘Pardon powers’ (GS2: Role of President of India)
Issue: President Ram Nath Kovind has rejected his first mercy petition of a death-row convict
About Article 72 of Indian Constitution
Article 72 of the Indian Constitution confers it on the president: “The President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence: (a) in all cases where the punishment or sentence is by a Court Martial; (b) in all cases where the punishment or sentence is for an offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the Union extends; and (c) in all cases where the sentence is a sentence of death”.
- Pardon -It removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict from all sentences, punishments and disqualifications.
- Commutation -It denotes the substitution of one form of punishment for a lighter form. For example, a death sentence may be commuted to rigorous imprisonment, which in turn may be commuted to a simple imprisonment.
- Remission -It implies reducing the period of sentence without changing its character. For example, a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for two years may be remitted to rigorous imprisonment for one year.
- Respite – It denotes awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded due to some special fact, such as the physical disability of a convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender.
- Reprieve – It implies a stay of the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary period. Its purpose is to enable the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from the President.
‘Volcano’ (GS1: Geophysical phenomenon)
Issue: Twenty-five people have been killed and hundreds injured in the most violent eruption in decades in Guatemala.
About the volcano
The Fuego volcano, about 40km (25 miles) south-west of the capital Guatemala City, has been spewing rocks, black smoke and ash into the sky. A flow of lava hit the village of El Rodeo, killing people inside houses. The main airport in Guatemala City has been closed.
Geography of Guatemala
Guatemala is mountainous, except for the south coastal area and the vast northern lowlands of Petén department. Two mountain chains enter Guatemala from west to east, dividing the country into three major regions: the highlands, where the mountains are located; the Pacific coast, south of the mountains; and the Petén region, north of the mountains. These areas vary in climate, elevation, and landscape, providing dramatic contrasts between hot and humid tropical lowlands and highland peaks and valleys.
Climate is hot and humid in the Pacific and Petén Lowlands. It is more temperate in the highlands, to freezing cold at the high of the Cuchumatanes range, and hot/drier in the easternmost departments.
Guatemala’s location on the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean makes it a target for hurricanes, including Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and Hurricane Stan in October 2005, which killed more than 1,500 people. The damage was not wind related, but caused by flooding and landslides.