GS PAPER I NEWS

Armenian Genocide in 1915-16

Why in News

On the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, the U.S. President officially recognized the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915-16 as “an act of genocide”.

Genocide

  • The term ‘Genocide‘ was coined by the Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer in 1943.
  • According to the Article II of the UN Convention on Genocide of December 1948, genocide has been described as carrying out acts intended “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”.

Armenia in 1915-16

  • Before the First World War broke out in 1914, there were 2 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
  • According to a study of University of Minnesota’s Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, in 1922, four years after the War, the Armenian population in the region was about 387,800.
  • According to the historians, up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed during the course of the War.
  • The Ottoman Turks unleashed Turkish and Kurdish militias upon them, killing and pillaging tens of thousands.
  • In a way, the Armenians were victims of the great power contests of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

History of Armenia

  • When the Ottoman Empire was in decline on its fringes by the last quarter of the 19th century, Armenians were seen by the rulers in Constantinople as a fifth column.
  • The resentment started building up after the Russo Turkish war of 1877­78 in which the Turks lost territories.
  • In the Treaty of Berlin, big powers dictated terms to the Ottomans, including putting pressure on Sultan Abdülhamid II to initiate reformsin the provinces inhabited by Armenians, and to guarantee their security against the Circassians and Kurds.”
  • The Sultan saw this as a sign of strengthening ties between the Armenians and other rival countries, especially Russia.
  • Post the treaty, there were a series of attacks on Armenians by Turkish and Kurdish militias.
  • In 1908, the Young Turks wrested control from the Sultan and promised to restore imperial glory.
  • Under the Turks when the administration was run by the famous “Three Pashas” (Mehmed Talaat Pasha, the Grand Vizier or Prime Minister; Ismail Enver Pasha, the Minister of War; and Ahmed Cemal Pasha, the Minister of the Navy), the empire became more “Turkik” and persecution against the ethnic minorities picked up.
  • In October 1914, Turkey joined the First World War on the side of Germany.
  • In the Caucasus, they fought the Russians, their primary geopolitical rival.
  • But the Ottomans suffered a catastrophic defeat in the Battle of Sarikamish by the Russians in January 1915.
  • The Turks blamed the defeat on Armenian “treachery”. First, Armenians in the Ottoman Army were executed.
  • On April 24, the Ottoman government arrested about 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders. Most of them were later executed.
  • As the War was still waging, the Ottomans feared that Armenians in eastern Anatolia would join the Russians if they advanced into Ottoman territories.
  • The Ottoman government passed legislation to deport anyone who is a security risk.
  • Then they moved Armenians, including children, en masse to the Syrian Desert. That was a march of death.
  • After the fall of the empire, many Ottoman offi­cials, including a governor in Anatolia, were tried and executed for the atrocities committed against Armenians. But the Three Pashas fled the country and took refuge in Germany.
  • They were sentenced to death in absentia.
  • On March 15, 1921, Talat Pasha, the Grand Vizier and the key architect of the atrocities, was assassinated on the street of Berlin by Armenian student Soghomon Tehlirian.

Conclusion

  • Turkey has acknowledged that atrocities were committed against Armenians, but denies it was a genocide (which comes with legal implications) and challenges the estimates that 1.5 million were killed.
  • A statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry to the US Ministry saying it doesn’t have “a scholarly and legal basis, nor is it supported by any evidence”.
  • This statement will open a deep wound that undermines the mutual trust and friendship between the US and Turkey.
  • On 24th April, the day of remembrance of Tukey’s Genocide, the USA Government recognized the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915-16 as “an act of genocide”.

GS PAPER II

Exercise ‘VARUNA-2021’

Why in News

19th edition of the Indian and French Navy bilateral exercise ‘VARUNA-2021’ is begin in the Arabian Sea on 25th April 2021 and will continue till 27th April.

Key Points

  • The participants from the Indian Navy are:
  • Guided missile stealth destroyer INS Kolkata,
  • Guided missile frigates INS Tarkash and INS Talwar,
  • Fleet Support Ship INS Deepak,
  • Seaking 42B and Chetak integral helicopters,
  • Kalvari class submarine and
  • P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
  • The French Navy participants are:
  • Aircraft Carrier Charles-de-Gaulle with Rafale-M fighter,
  • E2C Hawkeye aircrafts and
  • Helicopters Caïman M and Dauphin embarked,
  • Horizon-class Air defense destroyer Chevalier Paul,
  • Aquitaine-class multi-missions’ frigate FNS Provence
  • Caïman M helicopter
  • It will see high tempo-naval operations at sea, including advanced air defense and anti-submarine exercises, intense fixed and rotary wing flying operations, tactical manoeuvres, surface and anti-air weapon firings, underway replenishment and other maritime security operations.
  • They both will endeavor to enhance and hone their war-fighting skills to demonstrate their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the maritime domain.
  • It will consolidate accrued best practices and enhance interoperability.
  • Indian Navy’s guided missile frigate INS Tarkash will continue to exercise with the French Navy’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from 28th April to 1st May 2021. During this period, the ship will take part in advanced surface, anti-submarine and air-defense operations with the French CSG.
  • This Exercise highlights growing bonhomie and showcases increased levels of synergy, coordination and inter-operability between the two friendly navies.
  • These interactions further underscore the shared values as partner navies, in ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.

Exercise VARUNA

  • The VARUNA naval exercise held annually between France and India is a strategic relation of 21st century which consists of naval cooperation drills between the French Navy and the Indian Navy.
  • The relation was initiated in 1983 with the aim to improve with the Indo-French coordination on capabilities like cross-deck operations, replenishment-at-sea, minesweeping, anti-submarine warfare and information sharing.
  • The joint vision for a “free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.”

VARUNA-2021

  • The first part of VARUNA 2021 is ongoing from 25th April to 27th April at Arabian Sea.
  • The second part of VARUNA-2021 is scheduled to be held at the end of May in Djibouti.

GS PAPER II

PM-CARES Fund

Why in News

PM CARES Fund has given in-principal approval for allocation of funds for installation of 551 dedicated Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Medical Oxygen Generation Plants inside public health facilities in the country.

Key Points

  • The procurement will be done through Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • It will be established in identified Government hospitals in district headquarters in various States/UTs.

Significance of Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Medical Oxygen Generation Plants

  • This step has been taken by the Centre to boost the availability of oxygen to hospitals.
  • The Objective behind establishing PSA Oxygen Generation Plants is:
  • to strengthen the public health system and
  • to ensure that each of these hospitals has a captive oxygen generation facility.
  • This oxygen generation facility would address the day-to-day medical oxygen needs of these hospitals and the district.
  • The Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) would serve as a “top up” to the captive oxygen generation.
  • It will ensure that Government hospitals in the districts do not face sudden disruption of oxygen supplies.
  • It will also ensure that the access to adequate uninterrupted oxygen supply to manage the COVID-19 patients and other patients needing such support.

PM CARES Fund

  • The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was established on 27 March 2020, in the emergence of COVID-19.
  • The PM-CARES Fund is headed by the Prime Minister of India.
  • Other members of the PM-CARES Fund are Home Minister, Finance Minister and Defense Minister.
  • It is a Public Charitable Trust and will count towards mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure.
  • Similar fund ‘Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF)’ was created on 1948 by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, to assist displaced persons from Pakistan.

GS PAPER III

Oxygen Express

Why in News

Indian Navy ships are progressing with the mission of OXYGEN EXPRESS in order to render support to the local administration of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep (UTL) as a part of COVID-19.

Key Points

  • The mission moved from the Southern Naval Command at Kochi.
  • On 25 Apr 21, INS Sharda, based at Kochi, undertook transfer of essential medical supplies to the capital of UTL, Kavaratti.
  • It consists of 35 Oxygen cylinders, Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT) kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), masks and other items to fight the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • Also, 41 empty Oxygen cylinders from the islands have been embarked onboard Indian Navy hired vessel, Meghna. It will head back to UTL with filled cylinders soon to ensure that the Oxygen Express continues unabated.
  • HQSNC has also reserved ten beds including ICU facilities for patients from Lakshadweep at INHS Sanjivani, Kochi to cater for shortages in beds at the islands.
  • Also, Naval Air Station INS Garuda has also been placed on alert to extend Naval airfield facilities for UTL helicopters ferrying patients.

Oxygen Express

  • In the amid of rise of COVID-19, the Indian Railways took initiative to run ‘Oxygen Express’ for the transportation of medical oxygen on 24th April 2021 which became a crucial issue for India.
  • Indian Railways took it as a challenge and successfully ran the first oxygen express from Kalamboli to Vizag and back up to Nasik.
  • And that was the moment when railways got the request, it made ramps at various places immediately for the movement of liquid medical oxygen tankers.
  • The ramp was made in only 24 hrs time at Kalamboli.

Challenges in ‘Oxygen Express’ initiative

  • As Oxygen is the hazardous chemical and Railways avoid such chemicals to move, especially in case of full tank. Despite of it, Railways took it as a Challenge and successfully succeed in it.
  • Second most challenging part was the height in the movement. There were various constraints like Ghat sections, Road Over Bridges, Over Head Equipment etc. so, the longer route via Vasai was charted as Over Dimensional Cargo (ODC) is not permitted to travel in Ghat sections over Mumbai division.

Significance of ‘Oxygen Express’

  • Transportation of oxygen through trains is faster over long distances than road transport.
  • The green corridor is created for the faster movement of these tankers and monitoring of movement was done at the apex level.

GS PAPER III

Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-19

Why in News

Recently the Department of Biotechnology had conducted a public webinar on the “Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-19“.

Key Points

  • It aimed at demystifying the science behind mutations in the viral genome, viral genome sequencing, and public health implications of the mutations in the viral genome.
  • They discussed on:
  • Different aspects of genome sequencing,
  • Highlighted the importance of sequencing the Genome of SARS-CoV-19,
  • Also highlighted the work done by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium in ascertaining the presence of variants of SARS-CoV-2, establishing sentinel surveillance for early detection, and determining the genomic variants in the unusual events/trends.
  • They well emphasized that there is no scientific term such as “double” or “triple” mutation of virus.
  • The terms double or triple mutants are colloquial and these are used to emphasize features of a variant.
  • Double or triple mutations as used recently in media reports, were to signify the number of mutations which escape immunity (immune escape mutant).
  • These variants otherwise harbor 15 lineage defining mutations.
  • However, clinical correlations and epidemiological correlation data determines if the mutation of the virus is a Variant of Interest (VoI) or Variant of Concern (VoC).
  • Current data does not suggest that the surge is solely due to any one variant or any one factor.

Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium (INSACOG)

  • The Government of India had created a national multi-agency consortium, Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium (INSACOG) in December 2020.
  • It consisting of:
  • Ten laboratories of the Department of Biotechnology,
  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR),
  • Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHF&W)
  • Its Objective is to monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2 on a regular basis.
  • The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) under MoHFW is responsible to correlate the clinical aspects and coordinate the collection of samples from states.
  • It has a data repository at IGIB, New Delhi and NIBMG, Kalyani.

Genome

  • Genome is the complete set of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNAs).
  • It includes all hereditary instructions for creating and maintaining life, as well as instructions for reproduction.
  • The human genome is like all other cellular life forms, consists of DNA and includes both the nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.

Genome Sequencing

  • Genome sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome in order of Adenine, Cytosine, Guanines, and Thymine that make up an organism’s DNA.
  • The human genome is made up of over 3 billion of these genetic letters.
  • It will represent a valuable shortcut, helping scientists to find genes much more easily and quickly.
  • According to the Scientists it will may help them to understand how the genome as a whole works and how genes work together to direct the growth, development and maintenance of an entire organism.