# 18 July 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 18th July 2021:-

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Concerns remain over anti-trafficking Bill
2. Live-streaming court proceedings is key: CJI
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. U.S., Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan to form quad group
C. GS 3 Related
INTERNAL SECURITY
1. Independent defence policy in place now, claims Amit Shah
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Rare Arctic lightning storms strike north of Alaska
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. Curbs on Mastercard
F. Prelims Facts
1. Mercury’s iron heart
2. Volcanoes on Venus
G. Tidbits
1. AI tool developed to study cancer-causing mutations
2. Is Twitter acceding to takedown requests?
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


2. Live-streaming court proceedings is key: CJI

Context:

Significance of live streaming:

• As noted by the CJI, live-streaming of court proceedings is crucial for dissemination of information and the spread of information is sacrosanct to free speech.

Challenges with live streaming:

• As noted by the CJI, with live-streaming Judges who will have to work under public scrutiny, is liable to be swayed by multiple public debates and may tend to loose objectivity. Hence the live streaming may be a stressful environment for the judge to work in.
• The live streaming does pose some challenges for the protection of privacy and security of victims and witnesses.

1. U.S., Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan to form quad group

Context:

• The U.S., Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform.

Details:

• The diplomatic platform would focus on building transit links and enhancing regional connectivity which could help expand interregional trade and strengthen business-to-business ties.

Significance of the platform:

Take advantage of the strategic location of Afghanistan:

• Afghanistan’s strategic location functions as a competitive advantage for the country.
• Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north, and China to the northeast.

• Located at the heart of the historic Silk Road, Afghanistan lies at the crossroads of commerce between Asian countries and European countries.
• The diplomatic platform could help leverage Afghanistan’s strategic location advantage to its growth and development.

Bring peace and stability to Afghanistan:

• The diplomatic effort gains significance in the backdrop of US troop’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and the rising violence. Given the mutually reinforcing nature of peace and regional connectivity, this diplomatic platform could contribute to bringing long-term peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Countering BRI:

• The formation of the new quad group is important amid China’s desire to extend its Belt Road Initiative (BRI) to Afghanistan.
• The BRI aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.

1. Rare Arctic lightning storms strike north of Alaska

Context:

• Three successive thunderstorms swept across the Arctic region resulting in unusual lightning bolts.

Details:

• Lightning are a relatively rare phenomenon in the arctic region.
• Given that in the arctic region the water is usually covered with ice, the air over the Arctic Ocean lacks the convective heat needed to generate lightning storms.
• However there are indications of a change in this trend with episodes of summer lightning within the Arctic Circle having tripled since 2010.
• This trend could be attributed to climate change and increasing loss of sea ice in the region. As sea ice vanishes, more water is able to evaporate, adding moisture to the warming atmosphere.
• Notably climate change has been warming the Arctic faster than the rest of the world.

Concerns:

• These lightning threaten boreal forests around the Arctic, as they could spark forest fires in remote regions already experiencing high temperatures due to global warming.
• On the water, the lightning is an increasing hazard to mariners as the vessel traffic has been increasing with retreating sea ice.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Mercury’s iron heart

Context:

• New study by researchers from the University of Maryland on the structure of Mercury.

Details:

• Mercury has a big-sized core relative to its mantle.
• The new research reveals that Sun’s magnetism is the reason for this. The researchers developed a model showing that the density, mass and iron content of a rocky planet’s core are influenced by its distance from the Sun’s magnetic field
• The new model shows that during the early formation of the solar system, when the young Sun was surrounded by a swirling cloud of dust and gas, grains of iron were drawn toward the centre by the Sun’s magnetic field. When the planets began to form from clumps of that dust and gas, planets closer to the sun incorporated more iron into their cores than those further away.

2. Volcanoes on Venus

• Cornell University researchers have suggested the presence of explosive volcanoes on the surface of Venus that emit phosphides which forms the phosphine.
• This study suggests that the previously detected traces of phosphine in Venus’s atmosphere may not necessarily imply the presence of life on Venus.

For related information refer to:

UPSC Comprehensive News Analysis of 16th Sep 2020

G. Tidbits

1. AI tool developed to study cancer-causing mutations

• Researchers at IIT Madras have developed an AI tool called NBDriver (neighbourhood driver) for use in analysing cancer-causing mutations in cells.
• By looking at the genomic neighbourhood of a mutation in the genome, the new tool can look at harmful cancer “driver” mutations and distinguish them from neutral “passenger” mutations.
• The “driver” mutations enable the cancer cells to grow while the “passenger” mutations do not have any effect on the progression of the disease.

2. Is Twitter acceding to takedown requests?

• As per the Social media platform Twitter’s latest Transparency Report, India was the single largest source of government information requests and it was also one of the prominent sources of legal demands for removal of content.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the given statement/s with respect to pressure swing adsorption (PSA) is/are
incorrect?
1. It is a process that separates single gases from a gas mixture through a cryogenic air separation process.
2. It takes place at very low temperatures.
3. It is mostly used in the chemical industry and the petrochemical industry.

Options:

1. 1 and 3 only
2. 3 only
3. 1 and 2 only
4. None of the above

Explanation:

• Pressure swing adsorption (PSA) is a process that separates single gases from a gas mixture through a non-cryogenic air separation process.
• It takes place at near ambient temperatures.
• It is mostly used in the chemical industry and the petrochemical industry.
Q2. Which of the given statements with respect to Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
is/are correct?
1. The fund comes from the Universal Service Levy (USL) charged from all the telecom operators on their Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR).
2. The fund is deposited in the Consolidated Fund of India.
3. USOF is funding the Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects.

Options:

1. 3 only
2. 1 and 2 only
3. 2 and 3 only
4. 2 only

Explanation:

• The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) was established in 2002.
• The fund comes from the Universal Service Levy (USL) charged from all the telecom operators on their Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) and is deposited in the Consolidated Fund of India.
• USOF is funding the BharatNet project.
Q3. Which of the following dam/s is/are built/being built in Afghanistan in partnership with
India?
1. Salma Dam
2. Sokhtuk Dam
3. Shahtoot Dam
4. Band-e Sardeh Dam

Options:

1. 1 only
2. 1 and 3 only
3. 2 and 4 only
4. 1 and 2 only

Explanation:

• The Salma Dam (Afghan-India Friendship Dam) inaugurated in 2016 was built in partnership with India.
• Shahtoot dam is another major dam being built by India in Afghanistan.
Q4. Consider the following statements:
1. The cores of Mercury, Venus and Earth are about one-third of their mass.
2. Both Mercury and Venus do not have moon or rings.
3. Mercury is the hottest planet in the solar system due to its proximity to the Sun.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

1. 2 only
2. 1 and 2 only
3. 2 and 3 only
4. 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

• While the cores of Venus and Earth are about one-third of their mass Mercury’s core is 85 percent by volume.
• Both Mercury and Venus do not have a moon. Both the planets do not have rings because the powerful solar wind blasts destroy icy rings around the planets.
• Despite being further from the Sun than Mercury, Venus experiences higher temperatures. Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system.
Q5. Which one of the following is not the most likely measure the Government/RBI takes to stop
the slide of Indian rupee? (UPSC 2019)
1. Curbing imports of non-essential goods and promoting exports
2. Encouraging Indian borrowers to issue rupee denominated Masala bonds
3. Easing conditions relating to external commercial borrowing
4. Following an expansionary monetary policy