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Current Affairs Analysis

15th November 2016 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Supermoon; What is a Geographical Indication? China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; Kohinoor Diamond; Transmission Data at 20 Gbps; S.S Mundra Task Force; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
November 15, 2016

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • 272 products registered as geographical indication so far

Environment & Ecology

  • World likely to cross 1.2°C global warming level this year

Bilateral & International Relations

  • CPEC becomes reality as new trade route via Pakistan’s Gwadar port opened

Art & Culture

  • ‘Kohinoor represents sentiments of people’

Science & Technology

  • Biggest and brightest Supermoon observed

Key Facts for Prelims

  • World record of transmission data at 20 Gbps
  • Special Task Force formed to recalibrate ATMs

 

Polity & Governance

272 products registered as geographical indication so far

As per a data of the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, under the Commerce and Industry Ministry, as many as 272 products have been registered as geographical indications since September 2003.

  • During this fiscal, 11 products have been registered so far as GI.

11 GI products added this year are:

Sangli Raisins (Maharashtra)

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Parmigiano Reggiano (Italy)

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Banaras Metal Repouse Craft (Uttar Pradesh)

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Beed Custard Apple (Maharashtra)

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Jalna Sweet Orange (Maharashtra)

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Uttarakhand Tejpat (Uttarakhand)

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Waigaon Turmeric (Maharashtra)

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Purandar Fig (Maharashtra)

ias-toppers-purandar-fig-maharashtra

Jalgaon Brinjal (Maharashtra)

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Solapur Pomegranate (Maharashtra)

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Kashmiri Hand Knotted Carpet (Jammu & Kashmir)

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What is a Geographical Indication?

  • A ‘geographical indication’ (GI) is a place name used to identify the origin and quality, reputation or other characteristics of products.

Why is it important?

  • Article 22 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement says unless a geographical indication is protected in the country of its origin, there is no obligation under the agreement for other countries to extend reciprocal protection.

GI registration confers:

  • Legal protection to the products.
  • Prevents unauthorised use of a GI by others.
  • Helps consumers get quality products of desired traits.
  • Promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods by enhancing demand in national and international markets.

GI registration is essential to get protection in other countries.

[Ref: Business Standard]

 

Environment & Ecology

World likely to cross 1.2°C global warming level this year

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the year 2016 was the warmest year on record globally.

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  • It was mentioned in the WMO’s preliminary assessment provided in its ‘Status of the Global Climate in 2016’ report.
  • WMO is the United Nations’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water.

Highlights of report:

  • Global temperatures for January to September 2016 were 1.2oC above pre-industrial levels and 0.88°C above the average for the 1961-1990 reference period (baseline).
  • Arctic sea ice remained at very low levels, especially during early 2016 and the October re-freezing period. In this region, temperatures were 6 to 7oC above the long-term average.
  • Many other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3oC above average.
  • The temperatures had spiked in the early months of the year 2016 because of the powerful El Niño event of 2015-16.
  • The excess ocean heat by the El Niño event had contributed to coral reef bleaching, and above-average sea-level rise.
  • However, the extra heat from the powerful El Nino event has disappeared, the heat from global warming will continue.
  • Because of climate change, the occurrence and impact of extreme events has risen. Heat waves and flooding are becoming more regular.
  • Sea level rise has increased exposure to storm surges associated with tropical cyclones. Besides, wildfires and major droughts affected several parts of the world.
  • The annual and long-term changes in the climate system will aggravate social, humanitarian and environmental pressure.
  • Population migration is expected to increase as a result of more frequent and potentially more intense weather-related disasters.
  • Rising sea levels will render coastal and low lying zones uninhabitable. Climate Change will also increase competition and conflict over shrinking resources.

Background:

The Paris Agreement last year had adopted 2°C as the absolute threshold for staying within safe global warming levels. However, 1.5°C was advised as an ambitious target, especially bearing in mind the fate of small island countries such as Haiti or Maldives that are threatened with submergence due to sea-level rise and extreme weather events.

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

CPEC becomes reality as new trade route via Pakistan’s Gwadar port opened

Pakistan inaugurated a trade route linking southwestern Gwadar port to the Chinese city of Kashgar as part of a joint multi-billion-dollar project to jumpstart economic growth in the South Asian country.

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  • With the operationalisation of the revamped Gwadar port, the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), linking western China to the Arabian Sea, became a reality.

About the CPEC project:

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a collection of projects currently under construction at a cost of $46 billion.

  • The 3,000-km CPEC connecting Xinjiang with Pakistan’s Gwadar Port through PoK is stated to cost $46 billion.
  • This project will shorten the route for China’s energy imports from the Middle East by about 12,000 kms.
  • The project includes building of highways, railways as well as pipelines. It is among the six economic corridors conceived under China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.
  • It is intended to rapidly expand and upgrade Pakistani infrastructure as well as deepen and broaden economic links between Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China.
  • The corridor is considered to be an extension of China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative, and the importance of CPEC to China is reflected by its inclusion as part of China’s 13th five-year development plan.

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Benefits to Pakistan:

  • For Pakistan, the Chinese investment in the south-western region of the country is a game-changer for the economy, especially considering the fact that despite the high concentration of mineral resources in the region it has remained the poorest district.
  • The $46 billion promised by China will be used in generating close to 17,000 megawatts of electricity at a cost of $34 billion through coal, nuclear and other renewable energy projects. The rest of the money would be utilised in building up transport infrastructure.
[Ref: The Hindu, Economic Times]

 

Art & Culture

‘Kohinoor represents sentiments of people’

In its affidavit, the Centre recently told the Supreme Court that the Kohinoor diamond, though a “symbol of victory” for the British Empire, represented the “sentiments of the people of India.”

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  • The affidavit was filed by the Ministry of Culture.
  • The affidavit was perused by a Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur recently on a petition filed by the All India Human Rights and Social Front against the High Commissioner of the U.K.

What government said in affidavit?

  • The affidavit filed by the Centre said India’s credentials regarding the ownership of the Kohinoor diamond was based on historical evidence and could not be doubted.
  • The affidavit has an open-ended conclusion, saying the government was “continuing to explore ways for a satisfactory resolution” over the diamond with the U.K.

Earlier, what government said in this regard?

ias-toppers-ranjit-singh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh
  • The centre, in April 2016, had told Supreme Court that the Kohinoor diamond was neither “forcibly taken nor stolen” by British rulers, but given as a “gift” to East India Company by rulers of Punjab.
  • Therefore, India should not stake claim to Kohinoor because other countries may start pressing India for return of their items.
  • The government had clarified that the diamond was given by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to East India Company in 1849 as compensation for helping them in the Sikh wars.

Key facts:

  • It is not just India that is claiming ownership of the diamond; the list includes Pakistan and Aghanistan, too.
  • It should be noted here that Kohinoor has been in British possession for more than 150 years. It is now priced at 100 million euros.

What’s the issue revolves around Kohinoor diamond?

  • The return of Kohinoor diamond to India has been a long-standing demand, with many claiming that the diamond was taken forcibly. The fight to get back the diamond has been ongoing since India’s independence.
  • The Indian government, believing the gem was rightfully theirs, made the first demand for the return of the Kohinoor diamond soon after independence. A second request followed in 1953, the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Each time, the British government refuted the claims, saying that ownership was non-negotiable.
  • In 2000, several members of the Indian Parliament signed a letter calling for the diamond to be given back to India, claiming it was taken illegally.
  • British officials said that a variety of claims meant it was impossible to establish the gem’s original owner.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Science & Technology

Biggest and brightest Supermoon observed

The Supermoon was observed after the moon was closest to the Earth at 356,509 km.

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Key facts:

  • This is for the first time moon came closest to Earth since 1948.
  • Last time, the moon came closer to earth on 26 January 1948.
  • Next time the supermoon will be observed on 25 November 2034. During this time moon will be even closer than this year.

What is supermoon?

  • Supermoon or perigee full moon is a phenomenon that occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon being the closest to the Earth on its orbit.
  • During this time, the natural satellite appears roughly 30% larger in area and 30% brighter than the smallest full moons. In terms of diameter, the width of the moon is about 14% wider than the smallest full moons.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

World record of transmission data at 20 Gbps

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  • Facebook’s Connectivity Lab has set a world record transmitting at nearly 20 Gbps for 13.2 kilometers using Milli Meter Wave (MMW) technology.
  • With this Facebook broke the previous record set in May 2016 by German scientists of 6 Gbps data transmission over 37 km using MMW technology.
  • Millimeter waves (MMW) is electromagnetic waves with the wavelength from 1 to 10 millimeters. This waves share the features of microwaves and far infrared waves since its wavelength ranges between these two waves.

 

Special Task Force formed to recalibrate ATMs

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  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has formed Special Task Force to speed up the process of recalibration of automated teller machines (ATM) to dispense the new denomination notes.
  • The Special Task Force will be headed by S.S Mundra, Deputy Governor, RBI.
  • The terms of the reference of Task Force include expeditious reactivation of all ATMs in a planned manner and draw up an action plan and ensure its implementation for quick recalibration of the ATMs to enable them to dispense the new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 notes.

 

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