18 Sep 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

18 Sep 2020 CNA:-

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Pak. to make Gilgit-Baltistan a full-fledged province: report
2. Pak. told to allow Queen’s Counsel
3. U.S. keen on finalising BECA at 2+2 dialogue
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Special Benches to hear cases against legislators
C. GS 3 Related
SECURITY
1. ‘Telcos must conduct special security audit of networks’
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Not all convalescent plasma may have protective effect
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Wetlands being identified in Rajasthan to protect biodiversity
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Is the Quad rising after China’s challenge at the LAC?
ENVIRONMENT
1. For the welfare of animals
2. Reject this inequitable climate proposal
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


2. Pak. told to allow Queen’s Counsel

Context:

• After being stuck on the issue of who will represent Kulbhushan Jadhav in the civilian court in Pakistan, India has invoked the Commonwealth grounds to end the debate over the appointment of his counsel.
• The External Affairs Ministry has suggested that Pakistan should consider appointing a Queen’s Counsel for the Kulbhushan Jadhav case to ensure a free and fair trial.

What is Queen’s Counsel?

• Queen’s Counsel is a barrister or advocate, appointed Counsel to the UK Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.
• Queen’s counsels are recognised in almost all courts around the world.

Details:

• The International Court of Justice had asked Pakistan to ensure a fair review of the death sentence.
• Pakistan has not yet addressed the basic issues with respect to the case, which includes:
• Provision of all documents related to the case.
• Appointment of an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s Counsel to ensure a free and fair trial.

3. U.S. keen on finalising BECA at 2+2 dialogue

Context:

The U.S. is keen that India sign the last foundational agreement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA), at the next India-U.S. 2+2 ministerial dialogue.

Details:

Note:

• There has been a sharp increase in India’s maritime interactions with the Quad countries on a bilateral basis centred around information sharing for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the Indian Ocean Region and Indo-Pacific.
• A maritime information agreement is also under active deliberation between India and the U.S.
• Once concluded, India will have such arrangements with all Quad countries — Australia, Japan and the U.S.

1. Special Benches to hear cases against legislators

Supreme Court Order:

The Supreme Court (three-judge Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana) has asked the Chief Justices of High Courts to head Special Benches and immediately hear long-pending criminal cases against sitting and former legislators.

Issue:

• Over 4,400 criminal trials have been held up, some for decades, because the powerful MPs and MLAs had approached the High Courts and got an interim stay. Some date back nearly 40 years.
• Most are stuck at the stage of framing of criminal charges.
• There are over 2,500 criminal cases against sitting legislators alone.

Read more on this topic covered in 10th July 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis

1. Not all convalescent plasma may have protective effect

Context:

A multi-institutional study says that not all plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19 in India may contain enough protective antibodies.

What is convalescent plasma therapy?

• Plasma therapy is the administration of filtered serum from the blood of those who had recovered from the infection to those who are battling it.
• It is among the permitted off-label interventions recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in patients with moderate disease but whose oxygen saturation levels are not improving in spite of the use of steroids.

This topic has been covered in 11th April 2020 PIB Summary and Analysis.

Details:

• There are at least three kinds of antibodies produced in an infection: IgG, IgA, IgB but the neutralising effect was most visible only in the case of the IgGs.
• The study underscored that only those IgG (Immunoglobulin G) antibodies that bind to the receptor-binding region of the coronavirus spike protein, which attaches itself to the body’s healthy cells and infiltrates, had a neutralising response.
• Antibodies that bind to other parts of the virus did not succeed in provoking such a response.
• Thus, doctors, when assessing plasma therapy, must evaluate the quality of the plasma via an assay, or a chemical test, that specifically evaluates the levels of RBD (receptor-binding domain)-specific IgG titres and not just crude IgG levels.

1. Wetlands being identified in Rajasthan to protect biodiversity

Context:

• Efforts are being made in Rajasthan to protect the wetlands which have played an important role in the storage of sediment and nutrients.
• While six wetlands are already identified in the State, 52 more have been earmarked for time-bound development.

Steps taken:

• Such wetlands are being identified to stop encroachments on them and enable the local authorities to maintain them.
• The wetlands would be strengthened for increasing vegetation of aquatic plants and protecting biodiversity.
• No waste would be allowed to be dumped at the wetlands and effective steps would be taken for water conservation.
• Strict action would be taken against those running submersible pump sets for illegal salt mining in the world-famous Sambhar Lake.
• A large number of migratory birds died last year in the Sambhar Lake.
• The State Government’s Directorate of Environment and Climate Change will function as the secretariat of the State Wetland Authority.
• Environment committees would take up the works for the conservation of wetlands and water bodies.
• Fresh and saline lakes supporting unique ecosystems in the State would be protected with the strict implementation of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2019.
Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2019
• As per the Wetlands Rules, the Wetlands Authority within a state is the nodal authority for all wetland-specific authorities in a state/UT.
• The Wetlands Authorities are responsible for ensuring the enforcement of the Wetlands Rules and other relevant acts, rules and regulations.
• Prohibited activities under the rules:
• Setting up any industry and expansion of existing industries on wetlands.
• Dumping solid waste or discharge of untreated wastes and effluents.
• Encroachment or conversion of wetlands for non-wetland uses.

Importance of Wetlands:

• Wetland systems help check floods, prevent coastal erosion and mitigate the effects of natural disasters like cyclones and tidal waves. They store water for long periods.
• Their capacity during heavy rainfall to retain excess floodwater that would otherwise cause flooding results in maintaining a constant flow regime downstream, preserving water quality and increasing biological productivity for both aquatic life as well as human communities of the region.
• Flooded wetlands are very effective in storing rainwater and are the primary source for recharging groundwater aquifers.
• Wetlands provide shelter to wading birds, waterfowl and mammals.