CAO The Hindu NOTES – 22nd April, 2018 (Daily News Paper Current Affairs Analysis)

📰THE HINDU NEWSPAPER DAILY  Hindu Current Affairs Analysis


Date:- 22nd April, 2018

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Cabinet approves death for rape of girls under 12 years {Public Policy}

In news

In response to the outrage over recent cases of rapes in Kathua and Unnao the Union Cabinet on Saturday approved the promulgation of an ordinance to provide death penalty for rapists of girls below 12 years

Current law

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance provides for stringent punishment of a jail term of minimum 20 years or life imprisonment or death for rape of a girl under 12 years.

Amendments to be made

  • An official of the Ministry of Women and Child Development said amendments would be made to the Indian Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Indian Evidence Act.
  • As per the ordinance, for the crime of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, which can be extended to imprisonment for the rest of life.
  • Minimum punishment for rape of women has also been increased from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, which can be extended to life imprisonment.
  • It provides for speedy investigation and trial, which must be completed in two months. There will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012

It was formulated in order to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 received the President’s assent on 19th June 2012 and was notified in the Gazette of India on 20th June, 2012.

The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age. It defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography.

It deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor.

The Act also casts the police in the role of child protectors during the investigative process. Thus, the police personnel receiving a report of sexual abuse of a child are given the responsibility of making urgent arrangements for the care and protection of the child, such as obtaining emergency medical treatment for the child and placing the child in a shelter home, and bringing the matter in front of the CWC, should the need arise.

The Act further makes provisions for avoiding the re-victimisation of the child at the hands of the judicial system. It provides for special courts that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child, in a manner that is as child-friendly as possible.


Ramsar tag likely for Sunderbans {Bio-diversity}

Why in news?

Experts and activists say the status is not enough to preserve the unique and endangered ecosystem

  • The Sunderban Reserve Forest, spread of 4,260 sq. km. with over 2,000 sq. km. of mangrove forests and creeks, is likely to be declared a Ramsar Site soon.
  • Earlier this week, the West Bengal government gave its approval to the State Forest Department to apply for recognition under the Ramsar Convention.

Why Ramsar Convention is required?

  • Experts, however have been raising questions about increased encroachment at the East Kolkata Wetlands.
  • “Spread over 125-square-km (12,500 hectare) the wetland area of the water bodies have been decreasing over the past three decades. In 1986, the percentage of water bodies was 30.6% which dropped to 26.3% and in 2011 further dropped to 24.7%,”

 Ramsar Convention

  • TheRamsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the Convention was signed in 1971.
  • Every three years, representatives of the Contracting Parties meet as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), the policy-making organ of the Convention which adopts decisions (Resolutions and Recommendations) to administer the work of the Convention and improve the way in which the Parties are able to implement its objectives.

Brief on Sundarbans

The Sundarbans mangrove forest, one of the largest such forests in the world (140,000 ha), lies on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal. It is adjacent to the border of India’s Sundarbans World Heritage site inscribed in 1987. The site is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests, and presents an excellent example of ongoing ecological processes. The area is known for its wide range of fauna, including 260 bird species, the Bengal tiger and other threatened species such as the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python.

The Sundarbans Reserve Forest (SRF), located in the south-west of Bangladesh between the river Baleswar in the East and the Harinbanga in the West, adjoining to the Bay of Bengal, is the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world. Lying between latitude 21° 27′ 30″ and 22° 30′ 00″ North and longitude 89° 02′ 00″ and 90° 00′ 00″ East and with a total area of 10,000 km2, 60% of the property lies in Bangladesh and the rest in India. The land area, including exposed sandbars, occupies 414,259 ha (70%) with water bodies covering 187,413 ha (30%).

The three wildlife sanctuaries in the south cover an area of 139,700 ha and are considered core breeding areas for a number of endangered species. Situated in a unique bioclimatic zone within a typical geographical situation in the coastal region of the Bay of Bengal, it is a landmark of ancient heritage of mythological and historical events. Bestowed with magnificent scenic beauty and natural resources, it is internationally recognized for its high biodiversity of mangrove flora and fauna both on land and water.

A wetland is a place where the land is covered by water, either salt, fresh or somewhere in between. Marshes and ponds, the edge of a lake or ocean, the delta at the mouth of a river, low-lying areas that frequently flood—all of these are wetlands.


U.S. raises spectre of Russia sanctions {International Relation}

In news

India and the U.S. are engaged in senior-level consultations over recent American sanctions against Russian entities, even as two visiting U.S. defence officials have told New Delhi that India is not fully immune to the sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

 Highlights

On January 29, the U.S. began imposing sanctions on foreign companies under Section 231 of CAATSA for transactions made with Russian defence and intelligence sector.

Russia is India’s biggest arms supplier to India, accounting for 62% of acquisitions in the past five years, show latest estimates.

U.S. position

According to Section 231 of CAATSA, any country or entity that carries out “transactions with the intelligence or defence sectors” of the Russian government would face sanctions from the U.S.

 


‘Road map for manufacture of commercial planes soon’ {Economic Development}

In news

The Indian government is preparing a road map for the manufacture of commercial aircraft and drones in the country in order to stem the drain of foreign exchange, to become self-reliant and to create high-value jobs.

Highlights

  • “Indian carriers have placed orders for over 1,000 commercial aircraft worth Rs. 10 lakh crore with foreign companies,” the minister said on the occasion of a ground breaking ceremony of a smart industrial city close to Aurangabad.
  • Drone manufacturing can create 1,50,000 jobs and we are very serious about this sector.

IACS team designs logic devices for DNA-based computation {Science & Tech}

In news

Scientists at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Kolkata, have been successful in designing DNA-based logic devices that would find application in DNA-based computation.

They have designed reusable YES and INHIBIT logic systems by using a small molecule that serves as a fluorescent probe and binds to both a four-stranded DNA structure (G-quadruplex) present in human telomeres and nucleic acid cleaving enzymes (nucleases).

16 combinations

The researchers were able to get 16 different combinations by adding one, two, three or four enzymes (nuclease S1, Exo I, T7 Endo I and DNase I) to the DNA-bound small molecule. The different combinations of the four enzymes are taken as inputs and the fluorescence response at 530 nm is taken as the output.

Of the 16 combinations, only four combinations are fluorescent (output taken as 1) and 12 are non-fluorescent (output taken as zero). The square numbers (1, 4, 9, 16) are assigned as fluorescent combinations, whereas the rest are assigned as non-fluorescent combinations. “So by suitable programming we can modulate the system to carry out complex calculations (for example, identification of square numbers up to 16) by varying the inputs.

Logic gates

A logic gate is an elementary building block of a digital circuit. Most logic gates have two inputs and one output. At any given moment, every terminal is in one of the two binary conditions low (0) or high (1), represented by different voltage levels. The logic state of a terminal can, and generally does, change often, as the circuit processes data. In most logic gates, the low state is approximately zero volts (0 V), while the high state is approximately five volts positive (+5 V).

There are seven basic logic gates: AND, OR, XOR, NOT, NAND, NOR, and XNOR.


IIT Roorkee develops a potent molecule to treat chikungunya {Health care}, {Science & Tech}

In news

A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee has achieved a measure of success by finding a small molecule that has good antiviral activity against chikungunya virus. The antiviral activity was so high that the small molecule was able to achieve almost 99% reduction in the virus when 5 microMolar was used.

Currently, there are no drugs to treat chikungunya or any vaccine to prevent it

The team tested whether the molecules were specifically inhibiting only the chikungunya virus. They used Sindbis virus, the model virus of the genus alphavirus to which chikungunya belongs, to test the specificity.


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