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17 July Current Affairs

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)

In News:

Taking cognizance of the recent cases of illegal adoptions, Ministry of Women and Child Development directs state governments to ensure registration of all child care institutions and linking to CARA within the next one month.

Background:

The mandatory registration of CCIs and linking to Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been provided in Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

About CARA:

  • Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  • It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  • CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
  • CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.

What is the Hague Convention?

The Hague Convention protects children and their families against the risks of illegal, irregular, premature or ill-prepared adoptions abroad.

To do this, the Hague Convention puts:

Safeguards in place to make sure that all intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of the child and respects their human rights,

A system in place of cooperation among countries to guarantee that these safeguards are respected, and to prevent the abduction of, sale of, or traffic in children.

For Hague adoptions, the authorities in both countries must agree to go ahead with the adoption. For non-Hague adoptions, requirements may vary from one country to another. The Hague Convention does not allow private adoptions in the child’s home country.

Adoption is a handled by the provinces and territories, and they all have and follow laws implementing the Hague Convention.

Facts for Prelims:

Know where Hague is located: Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland.

Source: The Hindu

Assam Bill against witch-hunt

In News:

President Ram Nath Kovind has Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015 passed by State Assembly in August 2015.

Details:

The law was prepared to rein in the rising incidents of witch-hunting cases across the State, following demand from cross-section of society.

It was prepared in lines with spirit of universal declaration of human rights, crimes in witch hunting cases cause gross violation of basic human rights.

Highlights of the Bill:

The Bill contains provisions for imprisonment up to seven years along with a fine up to Rs 5 lakh for identifying and calling a person witch. This will come with Section 302 of the IPC if someone is killed after branding as witch.

The punishment for leading a person to commit suicide after intimidating, stigmatising, defaming and accusing as witch may be extended to life imprisonment and fine up to Rs 5 lakh.

The Bill also contains provisions about various measures that the administration and police need to initiate along with NGOs and civil society to educate people about witch hunting.

According to the bill, the fine realised as punishment for an offence shall be paid to the victim or his/her next of kin as compensation by following the procedures.

Source: The Hindu

National Database of Arms Licenses system

In News:

Union Home Ministry is planning to create National Database of Arms Licenses system from April 2019. The decision has been taken by exercising powers under Section 44 of the Arms Act, 1959 (54 of 1959) by amending the Arms Rules, 2016. These rules will be called the Arms (Second Amendment) Rules, 2018.

Significance of the move:

The move is aimed at keeping tab on authorised private gun holders, many of whom are often found involved in crimes and celebratory firing leading to loss of lives. It will also eliminate possibilities of issuing arms licence to persons whose antecedents are not bona.

About the National Database of Arms Licenses system:

All the arms licence holders, new or old, will be included in a national database of arms licenses system and they will be issued a unique identification number (UIN) as well.

Every licensing and renewing authority will have to enter the data in the National Database of Arms Licenses system, which will generate a UIN, and with effect from April 1, 2019, any arms licence without UIN shall be considered invalid.

Additionally, any existing licensee holding multiple licenses – under Form III – shall on or before April 1 make an application for grant of a single license in respect of all firearms held by him or her under his or her UIN to the concerned licensing authority.

Where the applicant applying for a licence for restricted category of arms or ammunition is also a holder of a licence for permissible category, or where the applicant applying for permissible category of arms or ammunition is also a holder of a licence for restricted category, the licensing authority concerned shall issue a new licence for restricted or permissible category of arms or ammunition under the existing UIN of the licensee.

Separate licence books will be generated in case of each licence, separately for restricted and permissible categories of arms and ammunition with an overall ceiling of three firearms under a single UIN.

Background:

Under Section 3 of the Arms Act, it is essential to obtain an arms possession licence issued by a competent licensing authority, by any person for acquisition, possession or carrying any firearms or ammunition.

Source: The Hindu

U.N. agrees first-ever global compact for migration

In News:

United Nations for first time has finalized Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to better manage international migration, address its challenges, strengthen migrant rights and contribute to sustainable development. The agreement will be formally adopted by world leaders in Morocco in December 2018.

Key facts:

The compact is the first intergovernmental agreement to cover wide-ranging dimensions of international migration in holistic and comprehensive manner, agreed upon by all the UN member states minus the United States.

It sets out 23 objectives to deal issues ranging from factors that compel people to move, legal channels for migration, combating trafficking and smuggling, harnessing the economic benefits of migration and return of the migrants.

It is not legally binding.

Need for a global compact:

Over 250 million migrants worldwide account for 3% of the world’s entire population, but contribute 10% of the global gross domestic production (GDP). Migrants remittance is huge contributor to their home countries’ development.

Way ahead:

The Global Compact for Migration (GCM) offers the international community the opportunity to improve workplace productivity and deliver decent work outcomes for migrant and national workers, as well as to shift current misperceptions of migration, by readjusting migration policies to effectively include all labour market aspects.

Facts for Prelims:

The GCM is meant to be consistent with target 10.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – in which Member States committed to cooperate internationally to facilitate orderly, safe and responsible migration.

Source: The Hindu

BrahMos missile

In News:

BrahMos, the supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired recently. The test-firing conducted from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher was part of service life extension programme for Indian Army under extreme weather condition.

About BrahMos missile:

Weighing 2.5 ton, BrahMos ALCM is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on India’s Su-30 fighter aircraft. It has been modified by HAL to carry weapons.

It is a world-class weapon with multi-platform, multi-mission role and is capable of being launched from land, sea and air.

BrahMos is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India and NPOM of Russia.

The name Brahmos has been taken from two rivers – Brahmaputra and Moskva.

The heavyweight missile, integrated with the long-range fighter, is seen as a force multiplier for the IAF.

The Brahmos cruise missiles have an effective strike range of around 290-300 km.

The land and warship versions have already been inducted by the armed forces.

Source: The Hindu

IIT-Madras unveils word’s first remotely operable LEAP microscope

In News:

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras has commissioned remotely operable Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) microscope. It is claimed to be world’s first remotely operable LEAP microscope, as it can be remotely operated through special terminal by researchers divided geographically.

About LEAP microscope:

LEAP is high-performance microscope that can provide a precise atom-by-atom view of materials. It provides atomic-scale insights into metallic, which will influence wide spectrum of industries ranging from steel to automobiles and energy to transportation sector. It will also give major thrust to research in nanotechnology, among other fields

Who developed it?

The remotely operable LEAP microscope has been developed in a collaborative exercise involving eight top research institutions in country, spearheaded by IIT-M. Other partner institutions are IITs of Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Ropar, International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS).

Potential applications:

Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) allows the user to extract atoms from materials sequentially and are detected using a Time of Flight Mass spectrometer.

This facility will be able to provide atomic-scale insights into metallic materials thereby impacting a wide spectrum of industries ranging from steel to automobiles and energy to transportation sector.

Source: The Hindu

Petcoke

In News:

The Petroleum Ministry has told the Supreme Court that it is in favour of a ban on the import of petroleum coke. However, the environment ministry is yet to take the final call and will consult with all stakeholders before arriving upon a decision.

Background:

The apex Court had, in December last year, refused to lift the ban on the use of pet coke and furnace oil in many industrial units in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana keeping in view the increasing level of pollution. It had also refused to give any relief to industrial units like the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) and Hindalco.

What is petcoke?

Petroleum coke, the bottom-of-the-barrel leftover from refining Canadian tar sands crude and other heavy oils, is cheaper and burns hotter than coal. But it also contains more planet-warming carbon and far more heart- and lung-damaging sulphur.

Concerns:

The petcoke burned in factories and plants is contributing to dangerously filthy air in India, which already has many of the world’s most polluted cities. It contains 17 times more sulfur than the limit set for coal, and a staggering 1,380 times more than for diesel.

Need for regulation:

The country has seen a dramatic increase in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions in recent years, concentrated in areas where power plants and steel factories are clustered. Those pollutants are converted into microscopic particles that lodge deep in the lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing breathing and heart problems.

Petcoke, critics say, is making a bad situation worse across India. About 1.1 million Indians die prematurely as a result of outdoor air pollution every year, according to the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and industry.

Source: The Hindu

Vikas Engine

  • Vikas is a family of liquid fuelled rocket engines that powers India’s launch vehicles PSLV and GSLV.
  • It is aimed at improving the payload capability of PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mk-III launch vehicles.
  • It is used in second stage of PSLV which consists of four stages in its operation (Solid-Liquid-Solid-Liquid).
  • It is used in second stage and four strap-on stages of GSLV.
  • GSLV is a three stage vehicle (Solid-Liquid-Cryogenic Engine) with four liquid strap-on boosters.
  • ISRO has recently improved the thrust of the Vikas engine which is expected to boost the rocket engine.
  • The main beneficiary of the high-thrust Vikas engine is GSLV-Mark III launcher, which is expected to lift 4,000-kg satellites to space.
  • GSLV-Mark III uses twin engine core liquid stage (L110).
  • GSLV – Mark III with upgraded Vikas engine would be the third Mk-III and the first working one to be designated MkIII Mission-1 or M1.

Child Care Institutions

  • Central government has directed state government to ensure that all the child care institutions should be registered and linked to CARA.
  • Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  • It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  • It is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.

Bill against witch hunting

  • President has recently given assent to the Assam government’s bill against witch-hunting.
  • Witch-hunting involves casting a spell on women victims to gain control over them by magic.
  • The victim who is branded as a witch is subjected to numerous forms of torture, beatings, burns, paraded naked through the village, forced to eat human excrement and sometimes even raped.
  • In India, witch hunting dates back hundreds of years.
  • It emanated in the Morigaon district of Assam which is now infamously known as the ‘Indian Capital of Black Magic’.
  • Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015 considers the act of witch hunting as cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offense.
  • It prescribes a prison term of up to seven years and up to Rs. 5 lakh in fine for calling a person witch.
  • It also has provisions to come with Section 302 of the IPC (punishment for murder) if someone is killed after being branded a witch.

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