Daily Current Affairs for 29th June 2021

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Baihetan Hydro Power Plant

Why in News

Two units of the giant Baihetan hydropower plant on the Yangtze River were now turned in southwest China, generated electricity for the first time.

Baihetan hydropower plant

  • The project’s first two 1-gigawatt (GW) turbines will go into formal operation after a three-day trial that began on 28th June.
  • It is built by the China Three Gorges Corporationoperator of the world’s largest hydropower plant in the world, the Three Gorges Damthe Baihetan is located on the border between the southwestern provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan.
  • It is on the Jinsha, the upstream section of the Yangtze River, the longest in Asia.
  • The dam has been operationalised on July 1.
  • With a total installed capacity of 16 million kilowatts, the hydropower station is equipped with 16 hydro-generating units, each with a capacity of 1 million kilowatts, the largest single-unit capacity in the world. That will make it second in size after the Three Gorges Dam.
  • The trial operation is limited to generators 1 and 14 while the remaining 14 generators of the hydropower station are expected to be put into use by July 2022.
  • One of China’s biggest and most challenging engineering projects – as it had to tackle a set of complex geological and technical issues with a dam height of 289m – it has taken only four years to build.

Wudongde hydropower station

  • In May 2021, all 12 units of the Wudongde hydropower station, the world’s seventh-largest, on Jinsha river near the Yunnan and Sichuan border were also operationalised.
  • With a total installed capacity of 10.2 million kilowatts, the Wudongde hydropower station is a key project in China’s west-east power transmission programme.
  • The station’s construction began in late 2015, and it started to generate electricity in late June 2021.
  • By the middle of June, the station had produced 24.5 billion kWh of electricity, equal to that generated by around 7.68 million tonnes of standard coal.
  • In its latest five-year plan covering the period of 2021-25, Sichuan province aims to complete the construction of 10 hydropower plants and start building another seven.

Baihetan Dam

  • Baihetan Dam is a large hydroelectric dam on the Jinsha River which is an upper stretch of the Yangtze River in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, in southwest of China.
  • It is 277 m tall double-curvature arch dam with a crest elevation of 827 m, and a width of 72 m at the base and 13 m at the crest.
  • It is considered the last large hydropower project in China to be completed since a series of projects starting with the Three Gorges Dam, the third largest dam in China and the fourth in the world, in terms of dam volume.

Three Gorges Dam

  • The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric gravity dam that spans the Yangtze River.
  • It has been the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW) since 2012.
  • It generates an average 95±20 TWh of electricity per year, depending on annual amount of precipitation in the river basin.
  • The dam body was completed in 2006. The power plant of the dam project was completed and fully functional as of July 4, 2012, when the last of the main water turbines in the underground plant began production.


2021 Fukuoka Grand Prize

Why in News

Journalist P. Sainath has been selected as one of the three recipients of the Fukuoka Prize for 2021.

Key Points

  • Mr. Sainath will receive the ‘Grand Prize’ of the Fukuoka Prize while the Academic Prize and the Prize for Arts and Culture will go to Kishimoto Mio of Japan and filmmaker Prabda Yoon of Thailand, respectively.
  • The Secretariat noted his work for creating a new form of knowledge through his writings and commentaries on rural India and for “promoting civil cooperation”.
  • Professor Mio has been recognised for her understanding of Chinese history.
  • Prabda Yoon will receive them prize for increasing understanding of Japan in Thailand and for pursuing “a deeper philosophical insight into the future of humanity.
  • This year’s award ceremony will be held online on September 29.

Fukuoka Prize

  • The Fukuoka prize was established in 1990. It was established by the city of Fukuoka and the Fukuoka City International Foundation to honour the outstanding work of individuals or organizations in preserving or creating Asian culture.
  • There are three prize categories: Grand Prize, Academic Prize, and Arts and Culture Prize.
  • The Fukuoka Prize is given annually to distinguished people to foster and increase awareness of Asian cultures, and to create a broad framework of exchange and mutual learning

among the Asian people.

  • The Grand Prize has earlier been awarded to Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh, historian Romila Thapar, and sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan.
  • Eleven Indians have received the Fukuoka Prize so far.
  • A total of 115 people from 28 countries and areas have received the prize in the past 30 years.


Sea Breeze drills 2021

Why in News

Ukraine and the United States launched joint naval exercises in the Black Sea in a show of Western cooperation with Kiev as it faces off with Russia.


  • The drills come just days after the British Royal Navy’s HMS Defender passed near Russian annexed Crimea in the Black Sea, with Moscow saying it fired warning shots at the destroyer to ward it off.
  • Russia said it fired warning shots at the HMS Defender after what it said was a violation of its territorial waters.
  • Britain said it was making “an innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.”
  • Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and claims the waters around the peninsula as part of its territory. Most countries do not recognise the takeover and stand behind Ukraine’s claims to the waters.
  • Washington is a key ally of Kiev in its conflict with Moscow over Crimea and pro-Moscow separatist regions in eastern Ukraine.
  • In 2018 Russian forces boarded and took control of three Ukrainian Naval ships off the Black Sea peninsula.

Sea Breeze Drills 2021

  • The Sea Breeze drills, which have taken place 21 times since 1997 — will involve some 5,000 military personnel from more than 30 countries.
  • The exercises will last two weeks and involve around 30 ships, including the missile destroyer USS Ross.
  • The exercise set to involve about 30 warships and 40 aircraft from US and its NATO allies and Ukraine. US destroyer Ross has arrived in the Ukrainian port of Odessa for the drills.
  • The drills follow a rise in tensions between NATO and Moscow had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it out of Black Sea waters off the coast of Crimea.
  • Ukraine says the main goal is to gain experience in joint actions during multinational peacekeeping and security operations.


Tripartite summit of Iraq, Egypt and Jordan

Why in News

Egypt, Jordan and Iraq agreed to bolster security and economic cooperation at a tripartite summit that saw an Egyptian head of state visit Iraq for the first time in three decades.

Key Points

  • The visits by Egypt’s President and Jordan’s King came as Iraq seeks to move closer to Arab allies of the United States in the Middle East.
  • Iraq is also seeking to establish itself as a mediator between Arab countries and Iran, after reportedly hosting talks in April between Tehran and Riyadh.
  • Iraq’s recovery paves the way to an integrated system for our region built on the fight against extremism, respect for sovereignty and economic partnership.
  • The leaders discussed a “political solution” to Syria’s civil war based on UN resolutions “that would preserve its security and stability and provide adequate conditions for the return of refugees”.
  • The Syria conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions, with refugees flooding the borders of neighboring countries including Jordan, which lacks in resources and faces economic hardships.
  • They called for renewed efforts to reach a “just and comprehensive peace” between Israel and the Palestinians, and for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.


India-Pak Pride Meet

Why in News

A group of young peacebuilders from India and Pakistan organised the first-ever virtual ‘India-Pak Pride Meet’ to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community.

Key Points

  • The meet ‘Rainbow over Wagah’ saw participation of several members from LGBTQIA+ community from both India and Pakistan, who shared their experiences and poured their hearts out through song, dance and poetry.
  • The meet was a joint initiative of the India-Pak Pride Collective which is an organisation of Indian and Pakistani Peacebuilders for LGBTQIA+ Equality and ‘Queengarh’, is a Chhattisgarh based LGBTQIA+ initiative.
  • According to the India-Pak Pride Collective, June is celebrated as Pride Month across the globe so the initiative was taken to create a platform for the amalgamation of India-Pak peace efforts and equality for LGBTQIA+ community members, who are facing multiple issues in both countries.

LGBTQIA+ community

  • The fluidity of gender and rainbow of sexuality have been part of our rich history and culture.
  • The LGBTQ+ community is a loosely defined grouping of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, LGBT organizations, and subcultures, united by a common culture and social movements.
  • It found acceptance and inclusion and was just one among the many diversities of our region.
  • It was, in fact, the colonial rulers with their Victorian morality who institutionalised a set of laws and social norms reeking of homophobia and transphobia.
  • We currently live in a society which normalises heteronormative love and identity, and demonises the existence of diverse sexualities.
  • Not only this, the queer community in both countries continue to be oppressed under laws which make it difficult for them to live equal, safe, dignified lives like their heteronormative counterparts.
  • Socially they face discrimination in livelihoods, education, as well as residence, amongst others.
  • But, on 6th September 2018, the Supreme Court issued its verdict that Section 377 is unconstitutional as it infringed on the fundamental rights of autonomy, intimacy, and identity, thus legalizing homosexuality in India.

Section 377

  • Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was introduced in 1861 during the British rule of India.
  • Modelled on the Buggery Act of 1533, it makes sexual activities “against the order of nature” illegal.
  • It states that: Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • It was made unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2018 and legalize the ‘Homosexuality’.


Agni – P Missile launch

Why in News

A new generation nuclear capable ballistic missile, Agni­P (Prime) was successfully test fired by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on 28th June.

Key Points

  • Agni­P is a new generation advanced variant of Agni class of missiles. It is a canisterised missile with range capability between 1,000 and 2,000 km.
  • The test was conducted from the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Island, Balasore, off the coast of Odisha.

High accuracy

  • Various telemetry and radar stations positioned along the eastern coast tracked and monitored the missile.
  • The missile followed textbook trajectory, meeting all mission objectives with high level of accuracy.
  • Many advanced technologies including composites, propulsion systems, innovative guidance and control mechanisms and state-of-the-art navigation systems have been introduced.
  • The Agni­P missile would further strengthen India’s credible deterrence capabilities.
  • Agni­P had improved parameters, including manoeuvring and accuracy.

Cuts launch time

  • Canisterisation of missiles reduces the time required to launch the missile while improving its storage and mobility.
  • The Agni class of missiles are the mainstay of India’s nuclear launch capability which also includes the Prithvi short­range ballistic missiles, submarine launched ballistic missiles and fighter aircraft.
  • The longest of the Agni series, Agni­V, an Inter­Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km, has already been tested several times and validated for induction.
  • In the past few years, India has also operationalised its submarine based nuclear launch capability, completing the nuclear triad.
  • In January 2020, successfully test fired a 3,500­km range submarine launched ballistic missile, K­4, from a submerged pontoon off the Visakhapatnam coast.
  • Once inducted, these missiles will be the mainstay of the Arihant class of indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SSBN) and will give India the stand­off capability to launch nuclear weapons submerged in Indian waters.
  • INS Arihant, the only SSBN in service, is armed with K­15 missiles with a range of 750 km.

Agni Missile

  • The Agni missile is a family of medium to intercontinental range ballistic missiles developed by India, named after one of the five elements of nature.
  • Agni missiles are long range, nuclear weapons capable surface to surface ballistic missile.
  • The first missile of the series, Agni-I was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) and tested in 1989. After its success, Agni missile program was separated from the IGMDP upon realizing its strategic importance.
  • It was designated as a special program in India’s defence budget and provided adequate funds for subsequent development.
  • Before Agni-P, six series of Agni were launched and this one is the 7th of its series.


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