15 December Current Affairs
December 15, 2020
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December 17, 2020
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16th December Current Affairs

NIA chargesheets ‘Khalistani’ activists

In News:

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a chargesheet against 16 “foreign-based Khalistanis”.


The accused, based in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, have been chargesheeted under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly indulging in seditious activities and promoting enmity on the grounds of region and religion in the country.

What’s the issue?

The chargesheet alleged that the accused were involved in a conspiracy for launching a secessionist campaign under the banner of ‘Referendum 2020’ for the creation of ‘Khalistan’.

What Was The Khalistan Movement?

It is the fight for a separate Sikh state and owes its origins to the Punjabi Suba Movement.

The Akali Dal – a Sikh-dominated political party – sought to create a separate Sikh Suba or Province.

When the States Reorganization Commission, constituted to assess the demand for separate states by linguistic groups, made its recommendations, it rejected the Akali Dal’s demand.

The state was trifurcated into Punjabi-majority Punjab, Hindi-majority Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Some hilly regions of the state were merged into Himachal Pradesh.

What Was The Anandpur Sahib Resolution?

Shiromani Akali Dal adopted this resolution. This would serve as a blueprint for the party’s future agenda. The resolution demanded autonomy for the state of Punjab, identified regions that would be part of a separate state, and sought the right to frame its own internal constitution.

Why parts of the US may be able to see the Northern Lights today?

In News:

The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are usually witnessed far up in the polar regions or the high latitude regions of Europe. But, today, they could be visible in parts of Illinois and Pennsylvania in the US.


This is happening due to a solar flare, which emerged from a Sunspot. The flare is accompanied by a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) — a large bubble of radiation and particles emitted by the Sun that explodes into space at high speed. This causes the Northern Lights to be visible in more number of areas than usual.

What is Aurora?

An Aurora is a display of light in the sky predominantly seen in the high latitude regions (Arctic and Antarctic). It is also known as a Polar light.


There are two types- the aurora borealis and aurora australis – often called the northern lights and southern lights.

Where do they occur?

They commonly occur at high northern and southern latitudes, less frequent at mid-latitudes, and seldom seen near the equator.


While usually a milky greenish color, auroras can also show red, blue, violet, pink, and white. These colors appear in a variety of continuously changing shapes.

Science behind their occurrence:

Auroras are a spectacular sign that our planet is electrically connected to the Sun. These light shows are provoked by energy from the Sun and fueled by electrically charged particles trapped in Earth’s magnetic field.

The typical aurora is caused by collisions between fast-moving electrons from space with the oxygen and nitrogen in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

The electrons—which come from the Earth’s magnetosphere, the region of space controlled by Earth’s magnetic field —transfer their energy to the oxygen and nitrogen atoms and molecules, making them “excited”.

As the gases return to their normal state, they emit photons, small bursts of energy in the form of light.

When a large number of electrons come from the magnetosphere to bombard the atmosphere, the oxygen and nitrogen can emit enough light for the eye to detect, giving us beautiful auroral displays.

Where do they origin?

They origin at altitudes of 100 to more than 400 km.

Why do auroras come in different colors and shapes?

The color of the aurora depends on which gas — oxygen or nitrogen — is being excited by the electrons, and on how excited it becomes. The color also depends upon how fast the electrons are moving, or how much energy they have at the time of their collisions.

High energy electrons cause oxygen to emit green light (the most familiar color of the aurora), while low energy electrons cause a red light. Nitrogen generally gives off a blue light.

The blending of these colors can also lead to purples, pinks, and whites. The oxygen and nitrogen also emit ultraviolet light, which can be detected by special cameras on satellites.


Auroras affect communication lines, radio lines and power lines.

It should also be noted here that Sun’s energy, in the form of solar wind, is behind the whole process.

The highlights of Karnataka’s new anti-cow slaughter bill

In News:

The government in Karnataka passed the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill (2020) in the Assembly.

How are ‘beef’ and ‘cattle’ defined in the latest Karnataka Bill?

‘Beef’ is defined as the flesh of cattle in any form.

‘Cattle’ is defined as “cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock, and he or she buffalo below the age of thirteen years”.

‘Gau Shalas’: Shelters established for the protection and preservation of cattle registered with the Department of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.

Who has the power to conduct searches?

Police officers ranked sub-inspector and above or a competent authority will have the power to search premises and seize cattle and materials used or intended to use to commit the offence.

Such seizures, if any, will then be reported before the Sub Divisional Magistrate without unreasonable delay.

What are the penalties?

It is a cognizable offence, violators can attract three to seven years of imprisonment.

While a penalty between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh can be levied for the first offence, second and subsequent offences can attract penalties ranging between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakh.

Vaccination drive after anthrax kills elephants

What happened?

Anthrax was confirmed as the cause of the death of two female elephants a week ago in the Joypur rainforest in Assam. The two elephants died after ingesting anthrax spores that can remain buried underground for 25-30 years.

Following this, the authorities have undertaken a drive to vaccinate livestock around this area.

This is the second case of anthrax in the State after two Asiatic water buffaloes died in the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in October 2019.

What is anthrax?

Anthrax is a disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, a spore-forming bacteria.

Affects animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats more often than people.

People can get anthrax from contact with infected animals, wool, meat, or hides.

Spread: It does not spread directly from one infected animal or person to another; it is spread by spores. These spores can be transported by clothing or shoes.

Symptoms & Infection:

Respiratory infection in humans initially presents with cold or flu-like symptoms for several days, followed by pneumonia and severe (and often fatal) respiratory collapse.

Gastrointestinal (GI) infection in humans is most often caused by consuming anthrax-infected meat and is characterized by serious GI difficulty, vomiting of blood, severe diarrhea, acute inflammation of the intestinal tract, and loss of appetite.

Cutaneous anthrax, also known as Hide porter’s disease, is the cutaneous (on the skin) manifestation of anthrax infection in humans.

Use in Bioterrorism:

Anthrax has been used in biological warfare by agents and by terrorists to intentionally infect. It was spread in US through a mail. It killed 5 people and made 22 sick.

Vaccine by India:

In June last year, DRDO and JNU scientists developed a potent Anthrax vaccine. They Claim new vaccine superior than existing ones as it can generate immune response to anthrax toxin as well as spores.