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12th May 2022

Cyclonic storm Asani

Context

The cyclonic storm Asani weakened into a deep depression and crossed the Andhra Pradesh coast.

About

About Cyclone Asani:

  • Cyclone Asani is brewing in the southern Andaman Sea.
  • The name Cyclone Asani has been given by Sri Lanka. It means 'wrath' in Sinhalese.
  • Cyclone Asani has weakened into a deep depression with a wind speed of 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph. 
  • Gulab, Titli, Hudhud, Helen, and Lehar — these five cyclones have made landfall over Andhra Pradesh in the last 10 years.
  • The cyclone that will form after Asani will be called Sitrang, a name given by Thailand.
     

What are Tropical Cyclones?

  • Tropical cyclones, also known as typhoons or hurricanes, are among the most destructive weather phenomena.
  • They are intense circular storms that originate over warm tropical oceans, and have maximum sustained wind speeds exceeding 119 kilometres per hour and heavy rains.
  • However, the greatest damage to life and property is not from the wind, but from secondary events such as storm surges, flooding, landslides and tornadoes.
  • Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone.
  • Hurricane: Atlantic Ocean
  • Typhoon: North-western Pacific Ocean
  • Tropical cyclones: South Pacific or the Indian Ocean


The new list:

  • The list comprises names of 13 cyclones each for the 13 member countries, totaling to 169.
  • The names for India include Gati, Tej, Murasu, Aag, Vyom, Jhar, Probaho, Neer, Prabhanjan, Ghurni, Ambud, Jaladhi and Vega.
  • Some of the names for Bangladesh are Nisarga, Biparjoy, Arnab and Upakul.
  • Tropical cyclones forming over different ocean basins are named by the concerned RSMCs & TCWCs.
  • For north Indian Ocean, including Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea, the RSMC, New Delhi, assigns the name to tropical cyclones following a standard procedure, an IMD release stated.

Indian Meteorological Department:

  • Indian Meteorological Department was established in the year 1875 with its headquarters at Calcutta.
  • IMD’s headquarter shifted to Shimla in 1905, to Pune in 1928 and then to Delhi in 1944.
  • Worldwide, there are six Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (RSMCs) and five regional Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs) which issue advisories and names of tropical cyclones.
  • The IMD is one of the six RSMCs to provide tropical cyclone and storm surge advisories to 13 member nations, which include Bangladesh, India, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the UAE and Yemen.

National Technology Day

Context

May 11th is celebrated as National Technology Day to remind Indians of the country's technological advancements.

About

National Technology Day 2022:

  • It is celebrated every year on May 11 across the country as National Technology Day.
  • The first time the National Technology Day was celebrated was on May 11, 1999.
  • The day celebrates the achievements in the Science and Technology sector.
  • Technology Development Board (TDB):
  • A statutory body within the Department of Science and Technology at the Centre has been celebrating the day by honouring technological innovations that have added to the national growth.
  • Each year the Board organises an event where the President of India confers awards to scientists for their contributions.
  • It also provides financial assistance for concerns of Indian industries and other agencies for commercialization of indigenized technologies or adoption of imported technologies for wider domestic applications.
  • Theme: Each year a different theme is given for celebrating this important day.
  • This is decided by the Technology Development Board (TDB).
  • The theme of Year 2022 is: "Integrated Approach in Science and Technology for a Sustainable Future".

Significance of the day:

  • On the same day in 1998, India carried out three successful nuclear tests under the name Operation Shakti, at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range which is located in Rajasthan, which had following features:
    • It was the code name given to the nuclear tests.
    • The tests were led by the late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
    • These nuclear tests gave India entry into the elite group of nations with nuclear weapons.
    • India became the sixth nation to join the `nuclear-club’.
    • The Indian Army in collaboration with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMDER) and scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted the tests.

Center of Excellence for Khadi inaugurated at NIFT, Delhi

Context

National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), in collaboration with Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), has started the Centre of Excellence for Khadi (CoEK) at its Delhi campus.

About

What is a center of excellence?

  • A COE (Center of Excellence) is a centralized unit of dedicated people with a mission to streamline access to scarce, high-demand capabilities for rapid execution across the business. 
  • A center of excellence (COE) brings together people from different disciplines and provides shared facilities/resources. 
  • It is sometimes called a “competency center” or “capability center” in academia.

About Centre of Excellence for Khadi:

  • The Centre of Excellence for Khadi has been conceived by Ministry of MSME to address the needs of the Khadi & Village Industries (KVIC) in India.
  • The objective is to help Khadi Institutions (KIs) to effectively design, produce and market high quality differentiated khadi products in the Indian and global market.
  • CoEK is envisaged to be a centre for experimentation to innovate and design khadi fabrics for apparel, accessories and home fashions.
  • The CoEK will be set up at 5 NIFT campuses as a Hub & Spoke Model:
  • CoEK will create new fabrics and products in collaboration with the designers and Khadi Institutions.
  • In order to enhance branding and publicity, interesting narratives around khadi, visual merchandising and packaging for new khadi products will be developed to increase the global reach of khadi.

National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT):

  • It was set up in 1986 as the pioneering institute of fashion education in the country.
  • It has been in the vanguard of providing professional human resource to the textile and apparel industry.
  • It was made a statutory institute in 2006 by an Act of the Indian Parliament.
  • Over the years NIFT has also been working as a knowledge service provider to the Union and State governments in the area of design development and positioning of handlooms and handicrafts.

What is the law on marital rape, and what has the Delhi High Court ruled?

Context

A two-judge Bench of the Delhi High Court recently delivered a split verdict in a batch of petitions challenging the exception provided to marital rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

About

About the case:

  • The court was hearing a clutch of four petitions challenging the constitutionality of the exception to Section 375.
  • Apart from the petitioners, who include the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), the court heard several intervenors, including a men’s rights organisation.

Section 375:

  • Section 375 defines rape and lists seven notions of consent which, if vitiated, would constitute the offence of rape by a man.
  • However, the provision contains a crucial exemption: “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under eighteen years of age, is not rape.”
  • This exemption essentially allows a marital right to a husband who can with legal sanction exercise his right to consensual or non-consensual sex with his wife.

Challenge to this exemption:

  • The exemption is also under challenge before the Gujarat High Court on the grounds that it undermines consent of a woman based on her marital status.
  • Separately, the Karnataka HC has allowed the framing of marital rape charges against a man despite the exemption in law.

What happens when a split verdict is delivered?

  • In case of a split verdict, the case is heard by a larger Bench.
  • This is why judges usually sit in Benches of odd numbers (three, five, seven, etc.) for important cases, even though two-judge Benches or Division Benches are not uncommon.
  • The larger Bench to which a split verdict goes can be a three-judge Bench of the High Court, or an appeal can be preferred before the Supreme Court.
  • The Delhi High Court has already granted a certificate of appeal to move the Supreme Court since the case involves substantial questions of law.

Takeaway from recent verdict:

  • Even though the court has delivered a split verdict, its intervention moves the needle in favour of doing away with the marital rape exemption in law. 
  • Also, the Supreme Court recently refused to stay the Karnataka High Court order that for the first time put a man on trial for marital rape.
  • The SC’s refusal to stay the order indicates that the higher judiciary is willing to carry out a serious examination of the colonial-era provision.

What is the law on marital rape elsewhere?

  • The marital rape immunity is known to several post-colonial common law countries.
  • Australia (1981), Canada (1983), and South Africa (1993) have enacted laws that criminalise marital rape.
  • In the United Kingdom, the House of Lords overturned the exception in 1991.
  • In their landmark decision in the case known as R v R, the Lords took the view that the time had “arrived when the law should declare that a rapist remains a rapist subject to the criminal law, irrespective of his relationship with his victim”.
  • They also said that the verdict was not creating a new offence, rather only removing a common law fiction that has its roots in ecclesiastical law.
  • Subsequently, in 2003 marital rape was outlawed by legislation in the UK.

Tomato flu cases detected in Kerala

Context

Tamil Nadu has ramped up surveillance at its borders in the wake of “tomato flu” cases being detected in Kerala.

About

About Tomato Flu:

  • Tomato flu is a viral disease, which causes red rashes, skin irritation, and dehydration.
  • The fever is affecting children below the age of five in Kerala.
  • The flu that gets its name because of the red blister it causes.
  • Around 80 children have so far been infected with the Tomato flu.
  • There is no confirmation yet on whether the Tomato Fever is a viral fever or is an after-effect of chikungunya or dengue fever. 
  • Symptoms of Tomato flu:
      • The main symptoms include high fever, rashes, and skin irritation. Hand and leg skin colour can change with rising blisters.
      • Children might also experience abdominal cramps, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea.
  • Treatment of Tomato flu:
    • If a child shows symptoms, they should be taken directly to a doctor.
    • Children are advised to be kept hydrated.
    • If infected, the child must avoid scratching the blisters and maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

Preventive measures:

  • Contact doctor immediately
  • Do not scratch the blisters
  • Stay hydrated by drinking boiled water.
  • Maintain proper hygiene.
  • Avoid close contact with the infected person.
  • Use warm water for bathing
  • Take proper rest to avoid its long-lasting effect

What is a ‘marsquake’, and what causes it?

Context

NASA's InSight lander has recently detected a quake on Mars, the largest ever observed on another planet.

About

About Marsquake:

  • The InSight rover first landed on Mars in November 2018, and has since heard 1,313 quakes.
  • A magnitude 5 quake shook the surface of Mars, the strongest temblor ever detected not only on Mars but on any planet besides Earth.
  • The marsquake surpassed the previous record-holder, a 4.2-magnitude quake that took place in August 2021.
  • On Earth, quakes are caused by shifts in tectonic plates. Mars, however, does not have tectonic plates, and its crust is a giant plate.
  • Therefore, NASA notes, ‘marsquakes’ are caused due to stresses that cause rock fractures or faults in its crust.

About InSight rover:

  • InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport), is a Mars lander which is the first robotic explorer to study the crust, mantle and core of Mars.
  • The InSight rover has two primary science objectives:
  • to understand the formation and evolution of the terrestrial planet by investigating the interior structure and processes of Mars and
  • to determine the present level of tectonic activity and meteorite impact rate on the planet
  • Apart from helping learn how Mars was formed, understanding its patterns will also help prepare for human exploration of the planet.
  • It uses its instruments to dig deep beneath the surface of the red planet and seek the ‘fingerprints’ of the process that formed the planet.
  • To do this, it measures the planet’s “vital signs”: seismology, heat flow and precision tracking.

Do you know?

  • InSight is not looking for life on Mars, but is studying what Mars is made of, how its material is layered, and how much heat seeps out of it.
  • Some missions studying the possibility of life on Mars include UAE’s Hope, China’s Tianwen-1, and NASA’s Perseverance.

 

Sedition law and Supreme Court’s fresh directive

Context

The Supreme Court recently directed the Centre and states to keep in abeyance all pending trials, appeals, and proceedings with respect to the charge framed under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), till the central government completes the promised exercise to reconsider and re-examine the provision.

About

About the Sedition Law

  • The sedition law is enshrined in Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  • Thomas Macaulay, who drafted the Indian Penal Code, had included the law on sedition; it was not added in the code enacted in 1860. 
  • Later in 1890, sedition was included as an offence under section 124A IPC through the Special Act XVII.
  • The punishment prescribed then, transportation “beyond the seas for the term of his or her natural life”, was amended to life imprisonment in 1955.
  • According to the section 124A, the charges could be put on whomever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in India.
  • He/She shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which a fine may be added; or, with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which a fine may be added; or, with fine.”
  • The provision also contains three explanations:
  1. The expression “disaffection” includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity;
  2. Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section;
  3. Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.

Sedition law during freedom Struggle:

  • The law was used to suppress the writings and speeches of Indian nationalists and freedom fighters.
  • The first application of the law was the trial of newspaper editor Jogendra Chandra Bose in 1891.
  • Other prominent examples of the application of the law include the trials of Tilak (1897) and Gandhi (1922).
  • Jawaharlal Nehru, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, and Abul Kalam Azad were also charged with sedition.

Legal challenges to IPC Section 124A

  • As early as 1950, the Supreme Court in Romesh Thapar v State of Madras held that “criticism of the government exciting disaffection or bad feelings towards it, is not to be regarded as a justifying ground for restricting the freedom of expression and of the press.
  • Subsequently, two high courts — the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Tara Singh Gopi Chand v. The State (1951), and the Allahabad High Court in Ram Nandan v. State of Uttar Pradesh (1959)declared that Section 124A of the IPC was primarily a tool for colonial masters to quell discontent in the country and declared the provision unconstitutional.
  • However, in 1962, the issue came up before the Supreme Court in Kedarnath Singh v State of Bihar.
  • Kedar Nath Singh versus State of Bihar (1962):
  • In Kedar Nath Singh versus State of Bihar (1962), the Supreme Court had made it clear that ‘strong words used to express disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to their improvement or alteration by lawful means’ did not amount to sedition.
  • This ruling puts the onus on law enforcers to come up with indisputable evidence of incitement to violence or disturbance of public peace.
  • The court also issued seven “guidelines”, underlining when critical speech cannot be qualified as sedition.

Law Commission of India on Sedition Law

  • In August 2018, the Law Commission of India published a consultation paper recommending that it is time to re-think or repeal the Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code that deals with sedition.
  • In its 39th Report (1968), the Law Commission had rejected the idea of repealing the section.
  • In its 42nd Report (1971), the panel wanted the scope of the section to be expanded to cover the Constitution, the legislature and the judiciary, in addition to the government to be established by law, as institutions against which 'disaffection' should not be tolerated.
  • In the recent consultation paper on the sedition, the Law Commission has suggested invoking 124A to only criminalize acts committed with the intention to disrupt public order or to overthrow the Government with violence and illegal means.

What is the fresh challenge to sedition law?

  • The Supreme Court has agreed to hear fresh challenges against the provision after a batch of petitions were filed.
  • This would involve a seven-judge bench considering whether the Kedar Nath ruling was correctly decided.
  • Although the government initially defended the provision arguing that “isolated incidents of misuse” do not necessitate removal of the provision itself, it has now told the court that it is mulling a fresh review of the colonial law.
  • The court’s intervention is crucial because in case it strikes down the provision, it will have to overrule the KedarNath ruling and uphold the earlier rulings that were liberal on free speech.
  • However, if the government decides to review the law, either by diluting the language or repealing it, it could still bring back the provision in a different form.

Sedition laws in other countries

  • In the United Kingdom, the sedition law was officially repealed under Section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act, 2009, citing a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression.
    • The common law on sedition, which is traced to the Statute of Westminster, 1275, when the King was considered the holder of Divine right, was termed “arcane” and “from a bygone era when freedom of expression wasn’t seen as the right it is today.”
  • In the United States, sedition is a federal felony under the Federal Criminal Code, Section 2384, and is now being used against rioters involved in the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
    • Despite the First Amendment that forbids any restrictions on free speech, “conspiracy to interfere directly with the operation of the government” and not just speech is considered sedition.
  • Australia repealed its sedition law in 2010
  • In 2021, Singapore also repealed the law citing that several new legislations can sufficiently address the actual need for sedition law without its chilling effects.

“YALI” is the first Indian entry at the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge

Context

YALI, an energy-efficient boat created by students from Coimbatore, becomes the first from India to compete in the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge.

About

About YALI:

  • Name YALI is inspired by the Indian mythological creature that is part horse, part lion and part elephant.
  • The name emphasise that the boat is fast as a horse, strong as an elephant and powerful as a lion
  • It is characterised by a small solar panel, white rudders, an electrical battery and a cockpit.
  • It will compete in the ninth edition of the prestigious Monaco Energy Boat Challenge: a first for India.
  • It is the first student-made energy-efficient boat that will represent the country in July.
  • The primary source of energy will be the battery, while the secondary source is the solar panel.
  • The solar panel will be charged from the sun and it will be stored in the battery, from which it will be sent to the propulsion system.

Monaco Energy Boat Challenge:

  • The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge is an international challenge open to the public, which welcomes students and professionals from all over the world to race.
  • The competition is divided into three categories: Energy, Solar and Open Sea.
  • The Energy category has been there since 2018.
  • They focus a lot on alternate propulsion systems and encourage the use of clean energy in the marine industry.
  • This event aims to stimulate the creativity of tomorrow’s engineers and the industry to develop propulsion methods using clean energy.

Pakkamalai- Gangavaram hills region

Context

Conservationists have sought better protection for the Pakkamalai and Gangavaram hills, and demand to declare the area encompassing over 7,000 hectares into a wildlife sanctuary.

About

Pakkamalai and Gangavaram hills

  • Pakkamalai and Gangavaram hills is a biodiversity-rich area near Gingee in Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu.
  • It is an ecologically important area in the eastern ghats.
  • The demand for notifying Gingee hills a wildlife sanctuary was first mooted in 2019.
  • The area was first notified as a Reserve Forest in 1897 and since then it has given protection to the flora and fauna found here.

Flora and Fauna of the region:

  • The forests in Pakkamalai were unique with rocky terrain and houses several rare varieties of flora from tropical dry evergreen forests and dry deciduous forests.
  • Pakkamalai and Gangavaram have a rich wealth of biodiversity and are a geographically important area in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The forests have a good population of grizzled giant squirrel, grey langur, Pangolin, and the critically endangered golden gecko listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • The grizzled giant squirrel was first discovered from Pakkamalai in 2019.
  • There have also been recorded findings of Bamboo pit viper and Gunthers toad, one of the most poorly known endemic toad.
  • There are rare sightings of large carnivores like leopards and sloth bears and different species of cave bats.
  • About 21 endemic plant species like the Adhatodasengiana and Drypetes porteri have also been recorded in the hills.

Benefit of declaring it a wildlife sanctuary:

  • Declarating it as a wildlife sanctuary will certainly help protect the endangered flora and fauna in the long run apart from initiating conservation activities.
  • The declaration of the hills as a wildlife sanctuary would ensure the protection of both native and endemic species besides maintaining a healthy biodiversity reserve.
  • It would also ensure the protection of the living gene bank of endemic and endangered taxa.

Editorial

Shallow and deep ecologism

Heat waves are known to have been a reality for hundreds of years. But the long­term effects of climate change have exacerbated them, making the waves more extreme, frequent and prolonged. As India continues to grapple with the unrelenting waves, it becomes pertinent to unpack two strands of environmental philosophy that reinvent the relationship between nature and humans — shallow and deep ecologism.

Two styles of ecologism

  • Evolution of concept- The concepts emerged in the 1970s, when Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss sought to look beyond the popular pollution and conservation movements of his milieu to address environmental degradation
  • Shallow ecologism- He terms the powerful and fashionable fight against pollution and resource depletion as shallow ecologism or environmentalism. Exponents of this philosophy believe in continuing our present lifestyle, but with specific tweaks aimed at minimising the damage to the environment.
  • Deep Ecologism- Deep ecologism believes that humans should radically change their relationship with nature. Its proponents reject shallow ecologism for prioritising humans above other forms of life, and subsequently preserving the environmentally destructive way of life in modern societies.
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ThinkQ

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QUIZ - 12th May 2022

Mains Question:

Q. The issue of criminalisation of marital rape opens up frontier for a battle between law and morality. In this context suggest reforms in the legal system. (150 words)

Approach

  • Introduction- Martial rape and important provisions
    • Section 375 (which prescribes the marital rape exception) )
  • SC’s stand on the issue
  • Women’s right (equality, freedom, sexuality, consent)
  • Challenges (threat to marriage set up, false accusation, social issues)
  • Legal vs moral dilemma
  • Suggest measures
  • Conclude accordingly
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