Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 28 November 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 28 November 2019


Govt. assures strict action child pornography

  •  Government today said that strict action will be taken against those who are involved in child pornography.

  •  Intervening in the issue during zero hour in Rajya Sabha, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said that special penal provisions have been made in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to take stringent action against the culprit.

  •  She said, 50 cases were registered against the offenders. She informed that child helpline no 1098 is available wherein people can lodge the complaint.

  •  The Minister said, any incidents must be brought to the notice of the government and it will be assured that action must be taken against the offenders.

  •  Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu expressed concern over the issue and said, adequate rules and guidelines exist but it is painful to see that no action is being taken by the local administration.

  •  Vijila Sathyananth of AIADMK has raised this issue during the zero hour. Ms Irani expressed concern over the content available on the internet related to child pornography and demanded to the government to block such content.

Loksabha passes SPG amendment bill

  •  Lok Sabha today passed the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019. According to the proposed amendment, the SPG will provide security to Prime Minister, and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence.

  •  It will also provide security to former prime ministers, and his immediate family members residing with him at the residence allotted to him for a period of five years.

  •  The Bill says that when the proximate security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, such proximate security shall also stand withdrawn from members of his or her immediate family.

  •  It says it is considered essential to amend the act to focus on the core mandate, as the security of the prime minister, as head of the government, is of paramount importance for the government, governance and national security.

  •  Replying to the debate on the bill, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the bill should not be seen as a political vendetta as the vindictive approach is not the ethos of BJP.

  •  He clarified that the security cover has not been removed from the Gandhi Family but it has been changed to Z Plus security with CRPF and Ambulance.

  •  He said, the decision to withdraw SPG cover from the Gandhi family was taken after proper professional threat assessment and no political vendetta is behind this.

  •  Mr Shah said, it is the responsibility of the government to not only provide security to the Prime Minister but also to every citizen of the country.


Finance minister denies news of economic recession

  •  Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said, the country’s economy is not facing any recession and government is taking concrete steps to further boost it.

  •  Replying to a short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the economic situation of the country, the Finance Minister said, several measures like recapitalization of banks, GST reforms and policy decisions have been taken to augment economy.

  •  She added that 32 steps have been initiated for MSMEs, banks among others. She said, two lakh 50 thousand crore rupees have been allocated to the public sector banks to ease the liquidity in the market.

  •  She said, in comparison to the UPA regime, this government has done well on several economic parameters. Presenting the comparative data, she informed the House that India's real GDP growth was recorded 7.5 per cent during the period of 2014-19 whereas the growth was 6.4 per cent during the UPA-2 regime in 2009-2014.

  •  She further said, to address the twin balance sheet problem, the government has implemented 4 R strategy which are recognition, recapitalization, resolution and reform.

  •  The Minister said, GST council has reduced the GST rates of 400 goods which are benefitting the common people. She said, GST rates of about 90 per cent items have been brought down from 28 per cent slab to 18 to 12 per cent.

Loksabha passes prohibition of e-cigarette bill

  •  The Lok Sabha today passed the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019.The Bill seeks to prohibit the production, trade, transport, storage and advertisement of electronic cigarettes.

  •  It defines electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as electronic devices that heat a substance, which may contain nicotine and other chemicals, to create vapour for inhalation.

  •  Any person who contravenes this provision will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both.

  •  For any subsequent offence, the person will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to three years, along with a fine of up to five lakh rupees.

  •  Under the Bill, no person is allowed to use any place for the storage of any stock of e-cigarettes. If any person stores any stock of e-cigarettes, he will be imprisoned for up to six months, or slapped with a fine of up to fifty thousand rupees, or both.

  •  In his reply, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said banning e-cigarettes was a pre-emptive strike. He said India's large youth population would have been targeted by e-cigarette companies. He said it is difficult to ban a product once it gains a large consumer base and social acceptance.

  •  He pointed out that e-cigarettes do not have a large consumer base in the country, therefore, the ban will be highly effective. The Minister also said the lack of a ban on tobacco cannot be the justification for not banning a new kind of addiction.

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UAE president reiterates support to Palestinians

  •  President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has reiterated UAE’s support for the aspirations of the Palestinian people to self-determination, highlighting the country’s regional and international efforts to ease their suffering.
  •  He made this statement as part of a solidarity message directed to Ambassador Cheikh Niang, Chair of the United Nations, UN, Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian, which falls on 29th November.
  •  The Emirates News Agency reported that Sheikh Khalifa in a message highlighted the unprecedented critical period witnessed by the Palestinian people, stressing that it is the UN’s responsibility to end the suffering of the Palestinian people and urging Israel to end its unilateral measures and occupation.

China U.S rift to continue over Hongkong protest issue

  •  China has warned of countermeasures, yesterday, after President Donald Trump signed a Bill supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The Chinese Foreign Ministry's statements came just hours after Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 into law.

  •  China accused the US of harbouring sinister intentions as the Bill would require the State Department to certify once a year that Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous. This will make Hong Kong retain its special US trading consideration - a status that helps its economy.

  •  The statement said, we are determined in implementing the 'one country, two systems' principle and safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests.

  •  We urge the US not to continue going down the wrong path, or China will take countermeasures, and the US must bear all consequences," it added. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said, this is a severe interference in Hong Kong's affairs, which are China's internal affairs.

  •  The legislation came at a time when China and the US reached an advanced stage of negotiations to sign phase one agreement to end a trade war between the two world's largest economies.


Scientists develop potential vaccine for diarrhoea

  •  The researchers of University of Gothenburg in Sweden have developed a potential Diarrhea vaccine candidate, named as ‘ETVAX’. This vaccine has been proved safe and effective in an early-stage clinical trial in Bangladesh. The findings were published in Science journal, The Lancet.

  •  Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) bacteria are primary cause of diarrhea. At present there is no ETEC vaccine available on the market for use in children in the ETEC high-risk areas. But now, an oral ETEC vaccine candidate, named ‘ETVAX’, was developed at University of Gothenburg in collaboration with Scandinavian Biopharma, Stockholm.

  •  The report stated that 80% to 100% of children aged 2 to 5 years and 50% to 80% of infants aged 6 to 11 months, selected for the study responded to all key immunity generating components of vaccine. The vaccine has been proved safe and effective in an early-stage clinical trial in Bangladesh against enterotoxigenic E. coli diarrhea in children from half year (6 months) to 5 years of age.

  •  Diarrhea leads to substantial illness and death in children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As per the researchers, there is no vaccine yet for use for children and vaccine development for Diarrhea is a World Health Organization (WHO) priority.


Sangram and Varsha wins national shotgun championships

  •  Haryana's Sangram Dahiya and Varsha Varman of Madhya Pradesh clinched double trap titles, winning gold at the 63rd National Shotgun Shooting Championship in New Delhi today.

  •  In men's category, Sangram shot 142 out of 150 targets to leave behind former world champion Ankur Mittal, who managed 137 hits over the five rounds of 30 targets each to win a silver. Punjab's Prithvi Singh Chahal won bronze with a score of 135.

  •  Varsha, in the women's category of 120 targets each, had 97 to her name to clinch the gold ahead of state-mate Manisha Keer, who had 93 hits winning Silver. Mahima Vishwakarma ensured a Madhya Pradesh sweep in the category, winning bronze with 92.

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