Daily Current Affairs for 24th November 2020

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Vaccine Nationalism Paper : 

Mains : G.S. II Social Justice, I.R.

Why in news?

In recent days, several biopharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Oxford claimed over it’s efficiency of the vaccine they manufactured to tackle the COVID-19.

Key details

  • Countries are engaging in agreements for purchase of COVID-19 vaccines at an average of more than 1 per person: The United States has entered into multi-billion-dollar agreements with at least six big pharmaceutical companies for assured supplies of vaccines (in development) amounting to more than two doses for every American citizen.
  • Countries are pre-booking vaccine supplies, often throwing billions of dollars at candidate vaccines whose success as of now is uncertain, has given rise to a term called “vaccine nationalism”.
  • When a country manages to secure doses of vaccines for its own citizens or residents and prioritises its own domestic markets, before they are made available in other countries it is known as ‘vaccine nationalism’.
  • The concerns arise from the fact that these advance agreements are likely to make the vaccine inaccessible to large parts of the world that do not have the money to bet on candidates whose success is not guaranteed.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO), along with some other international alliances, have launched a platform called ACT (or Access to Covid19 Tools) Accelerator Programme.
  • Its objective is to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, and also therapeutics and drugs.
  • The vaccine part of the programme is called the COVAX facility.
  • COVAX is supposed to do for the world what the richer countries are doing at an individual level —invest money into the leading candidate vaccines to accelerate their development and production.

Bhutan border village on disputed land Paper :

Mains : G.S. II Polity and Governance, I.R.

Why in news?

Chinese media on Monday claimed that a new border village built by china near Bhutan was on Chinese territory, but released images show it’s location on territory disputed by the two countries.

Key details

  • Chinese state media Global Times confirmed that the village of Pangda had been newly built and residents moved there.
  • Chinese media reporter there were 27 households, and the village was covered by asphalt roads and has a public square, village committee, health room, police room.
  • China has also in the past sought to bolster its territorial claims in disputed areas by building civilian settlements there, as in disputed South China Sea islands.
  • According to China’s maps, the village is within China’s territory, but China’s border extends further South beyond where India and Bhutan border runs.
  • The area is east of the India-Bhutan-China trijunction on the Doklam plateau, which was the site of 72 day standoff in 2017 triggered by China’s road building.
  • Chinese experts blamed India for the unsettled China-Bhutan border and stalled negotiations.
  • The border dispute between China and Bhutan is very minor, but it has not been formally demarcated because of India’s obstruction.

J & K administration publishes list of Roshni Act beneficiaries Paper :

Mains: G.S. II Policy & Governance

Why in news?

The Jammu and Kashmir administration published on its website the list of beneficiaries of Roshni Act

Key details 

  • The J&K government on October 31 decided to declare all the actions taken under the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, also known as the Roshni Act, under which 20 lakh kanals of land was to be transferred to existing occupants, as “null and void”, and has decided to retrieve the land within 6 months.
  • The J&K government has decided to implement the High Court order, where it declared the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 as amended from time to time as unconstitutional, contrary to law and unsuitable.
  • The government’s target was to earn Rs25000 crore by transferring 20 lakh kanals of state land to existing occupants against payment at market rates.
  • A report by the CAG estimated that against the targeted Rs 25,000 crore, only Rs 76 crore had been realized from the transfer of encroached land between 2007 and 2013, thus defeating the purpose of the legislation.
  • The report blamed irregularities including an arbitrary reduction in prices fixed by a standing committee and said this was done to benefit politicians and affluent people.

Kerala puts new libel law on hold Paper :

Mains : G.S. II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

The Kerala government on Monday decided not to put into immediate effect an ordinance that sought to empower the police to prosecute persons disseminating defamatory content.

Key details

  • It is incredible that a State government crafted a law with elements declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, ignoring a major apex court verdict on the law of defamation, and which is repugnant to the provisions of the IPC, a central law, in two ways, besides going against one provision in the Cr.P.C.
  • His defence that the amendment only targeted defamatory social media posts and would not curb reportage, political satire or expression of opinion is quite hollow, when seen in the light of the absence of any such narrow definition of the offence introduced by Section 118A in the Kerala Police Act.
  • In Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India (2015), the top court struck down Section 66A of the IT Act.
  • The section had criminalised the sending of any message through a computer resource that was grossly offensive, menacing, or caused annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury and intimidation.
  • The Court found the offence was ‘overbroad’, that is, it was defined so widely that both innocent and offensive messaging could be brought under its ambit.
  • The same judgment, for the same reason, also struck down Section 118(d) of the Kerala Police Act, which made causing annoyance in an indecent manner through verbal comments or on telephone an offence.
  • The new offence is also vaguely defined, and is made cognisable, whereas criminal defamation under the IPC is non cognisable.

  • Kerala ordinance effectively amends the IPC and Cr.P.C., a move for which the Centre’s assent is mandatory, as it is in conflict with central laws.
  • The ordinance itself required prior presidential assent. It is regrettable that the State sought to arm itself.

Cyclone Nivar

Paper :

Mains : G.S.II Geography

Why in news?

The first cyclonic storm of this year’s Northeast Monsoon, cyclone Nivar is likely to bring heavy rain to Tamil Nadu.

Key details

  • Cyclone is named as Nivar by Iran.
  • Cyclone Nivar might make landfall along the Tamil Nadu coast between Karaikal and Mahabalipuram on the afternoon of November 25.-IMD.
  • A Tropical cyclone is an intense circular storm that originates over warm tropical oceans and is characterized by low atmospheric pressure, high winds, and heavy rain.
  • Cyclones are formed over slightly warm ocean waters. The temperature of the top layer of the sea, up to a depth of about 60 meters, need to be at least 28°C to support the formation of a cyclone.
  • This explains why the April-May and October-December periods are conducive for cyclones.
  • Then, the low level of air above the waters needs to have an ‘anticlockwise’ rotation (in the northern hemisphere; clockwise in the southern hemisphere).

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