Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 11 May 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 11 May 2020

::NATIONAL::

Majority advocates support collegium system for selection to higher posts

  • Over 68% of the advocates surveyed from eight High Courts were of the opinion that the collegium system of appointments — wherein the Supreme Court appoints judges to itself and the HCs — ensures the selection of the most competent judges, a report by Delhi-based Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy has revealed.
  • The survey covered advocates’ perceptions about the judges with regard to different aspects of their functioning, their relationship with the Bar Council and their perceptions about their earnings and other professional conditions.
  • On whether the advocates think they get a fair hearing before the judge, 82% of the surveyed Delhi HC advocates said it depended on the judge or the bench.
  • It also found that 80% of the surveyed advocates from the Delhi HC said that the average monthly income in the first two years of practice is between ₹5,000 and ₹20,000. For the remaining seven HCs, over 78% of the advocates surveyed said this was in the range of ₹2,000 and ₹10,000.
  • The survey also found that only 7.58% of the surveyed Delhi High Court lawyers have themselves or any other lawyer they know received assistance from the Advocates’ Welfare Fund that was established by a law in 2001. This percentage, however, was much higher at the other seven HCs at around 64.

BPRD rejects online manual for identifying fake news

  • A day after it published a step-by-step guide for law enforcement agencies to identify ‘fake news’ and communally sensitive posts in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) removed the manual from its website.
  • On Sunday, after The Hindu carried the report, several Twitter users objected to the inclusion of certain portals on an indicative list of websites that could be accessed for fact check, including www.thehindu.com, pib.gov.in and reporterlabs.org and others.
  • The report, ‘Fake News & Disinformation: A Guide for LEAs - How to spot and investigate,’ was prepared by the Modernisation division of the think tank under the Union Home Ministry.

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::ECONOMY::

Indian forex reserves up by 1.6million dollars

  • India's foreign exchange reserves has increased by 1.622 million dollars to reach 481.078 billion dollars in the week ended 1st May. 
  • A RBI press release has informed that foreign currency assets, a major part of the overall reserves rose by 1.752 billion dollars to 479.455 billion dollars. 
  • In the previous week, the reserves had declined by 113 million dollars to end at 479.455 billion dollars. Gold reserves depleted by 623 million dollars to end at 32.277 billion dollars. 
  • India's special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund went up by 5 million dollars to 1.426 billion dollars, while the country's reserve position also increased by 489 million dollars to 4.059 billion dollars.

Sowing are of summer crops increases significantly

  • Agriculture Ministry has said that sowing area coverage of Summer Crops has increased significantly in the country. About 34.87 lakh hectare area have been brought under summer rice coverage as compared to 25.29 lakh hectare during the corresponding period last year.
  • The Ministry said, pulses have been sown in nearly 10.35 lakh hectare area as compared to 5.92 lakh hectare during the corresponding period of last year. Coarse Cereals have been sown in about 9.57 lakh hectare area while about 9.17 lakh hectare area have been brought under oilseeds coverage.
  • The Ministry further said that during Rabi Marketing Season 2020-21, a total of 241.36 Lakh Metric Tonnes wheat have arrived in Food Corporation of India, out of which 233.51 Lakh Metric Tonnes were purchased. A total of 3,206 designated procurement centers for Rabi pulses and oilseeds are available in eleven States.
  • It also said 2.74 Lakh Metri Tonnes Gram have  been procured from nine States, 1.71 Lakh Metric Tonnes Toor from eight States and 3.40 Lakh Metric Tonnes Mustard from five States.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Pak claims complete adherence to ICJ order on KulbhushanJadhav

  • Pakistan said on Sunday that it has “fully complied” with the ICJ’s judgment in the KulbhushanJadhav case, days after India’s lead counsel Harish Salve asserted that New Delhi had hoped it might be able to persuade Islamabad through “back channel” to release the Indian death-row convict.
  • Mr.Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017. Weeks later, India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Mr.Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
  • The court ruled in July last year that Pakistan must undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Mr.Jadhav and also grant consular access to India without further delay.

WHO says live animal markets crucial in providing food for millions

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that although a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan selling live animals likely played a significant role in the emergence of the Novel Corona virus, it does not recommend that such markets to be closed globally.
  • In a press briefing yesterday, WHO Food Safety and Animal Diseases Expert Peter Ben Embarek said, live animal markets are critical to providing food and livelihoods for millions of people globally. 
  • He said, authorities should focus on improving such markets rather than outlawing them - even though they can sometimes spark epidemics in humans.
  • Mr Embarek said, investigations are continuing in China to pinpoint the animal source from which COVID-19 jumped into humans. He said, it might take considerable time to identify the original animal source for the Novel Corona virus, explaining that extensive studies need to occur first. China is yet to invite WHO or other external experts to be part of that investigation.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

NIV develops indigenous ELISA test kit

  • The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, has developed an immunological assay — enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) — to detect antibodies that the body develops in response to infection by the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, an official source told The Hindu. The test will detect antibodies in blood samples. ELISA is routinely used for detecting HIV infection.
  • “This kit was validated at two sites in Mumbai and has high sensitivity and accuracy. Besides, it has the advantage of testing 90 samples together in a single run of 2.5 hours,” Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan tweeted.
  • This is the first time India has developed an indigenous ELISA test for coronavirus. While ELISA tests for coronavirus are already available in other countries, procuring them in large numbers may be a challenge, particularly during a pandemic. In contrast, availability will be a non-issue when a locally developed test is manufactured in India.
  • The ELISA test developed by NIV gains significance as the rapid antibody tests imported from China were found to be unreliable and hence the States were instructed not to use them for detecting previous novel coronavirus infection.
  • While the RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test, which detects the RNA of the coronavirus, enables detection of current infection, it will not be useful if the testing is carried out days after the infection clears as the virus will no longer be present.
  • However, antibodies developed in response to the coronavirus infection will be present in the blood for a longer duration and hence the ELISA test can help detect past infection.

::SPORTS::

China wins online chess nations cup

  • China won the inaugural $180,000 FIDE Chess.com Online Nations Cup following a 2-2 draw against USA on Sunday.
  • China, which lost to USA in the concluding league match on Saturday evening, was declared the winner on the basis of its topping the points table in the round-robin stage.
  • China won $48,000, USA $36,000 and others received $24,000 each.

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