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26th June Current Affairs

Antarctic Treaty

In News:

23 June 2021- 60th anniversary of the entry into force of the Antarctic Treaty (23 June 1961)

Significance of the treaty:

Negotiated during the middle of the Cold War by 12 countries with Antarctic interests, it remains the only example of a single treaty that governs a whole continent.

It is also the foundation of a rules-based international order for a continent without a permanent population.

But, the treaty was negotiated in a very different era and is it still relevant today?

While the Antarctic Treaty has been able to successfully respond to a range of challenges, circumstances are radically different in the 2020s compared to the 1950s.

Antarctica is much more accessible, partly due to technology but also climate change.

More countries now have substantive interests in the continent than the original 12.

Some global resources are becoming scarce, especially oil.

There is also uncertainty as to China’s intentions in Antarctica. China joined the treaty in 1983 and became a consultative party in 1985.

This will inevitably result in increased attention being given to the potential for Antarctic mining to take place sometime in the future.

Therefore, Calls to revisit the prohibition on Antarctic mining would seem inevitable.

About the Antarctic Treaty:

Signed between 12 countries in Washington on 1st December 1959 for making the Antarctic Continent a demilitarized zone to be preserved for scientific research only.

The twelve original signatories are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the UK and the US.

The treaty entered into force in 1961 and currently has 54 parties.

Headquarters: Buenos Aires, Argentina.

For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude.

Provisions:

  • Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only(Art. I).
  • Freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica and cooperation toward that end shall continue(Art. II).
  • Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available(Art. III).
  • Article IV effectively seeks to neutralise territorial sovereignty in Antarctica.
  • The treaty also put a freeze on any disputes between claimants over their territories on the continent.

Antarctic Treaty System:

As disputes have arisen over the years, many have been addressed through the expansion of the treaty framework with these agreements. This framework is now referred to as the “Antarctic Treaty System”.

The Antarctic Treaty system is made up of four major international agreements:

  • The 1959 Antarctic Treaty.
  • The 1972 Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals.
  • The 1980 Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
  • The 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.

Peter Pan Syndrome (PPS)

In News:

A person accused of sexually assaulting a minor recently said in a special court in Mumbai that he suffered from “Peter Pan Syndrome”.

The court eventually granted bail to the accused based on different grounds.

But, what is Peter Pan syndrome?

The syndrome is named after a 1900s fictional character. Peter Pan is a care-free young boy, who never grows up. The character was created by Scottish novelist James Matthew Barrie.

It is said that people who develop similar behaviours — of living life carefree, finding responsibilities challenging in adulthood, and basically, “never growing up” — suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome.

Please note that this syndrome has not been recognised by WHO as a health disorder.

What are the Concerns?

It is seen as a “social-psychological phenomenon”. It is a mental health condition that can affect one’s quality of life.

It could affect one’s daily routine, relationships, work ethic, and result in attitudinal changes.

Who can be affected?

It affects people who do not want or feel unable to grow up, people with the body of an adult but the mind of a child. They don’t know how to or don’t want to stop being children and start being mothers or fathers.

The Syndrome can affect anyone, irrespective of gender, race or culture. However, it appears to be more common among men.

Chandrayaan-2

In News:

Chandrayaan-2, hovering over the Moon, has found new developments on the hot outermost layer of the bright star known as Corona. These include:

  • Abundances of magnesium, aluminium and silicon in the solar corona.
  • Around 100 microflares were observed, providing new insights about coronal mass heating.

Reasons behind coronal heating problem:

The corona emits ultraviolet, X-rays and consists of ionised gas at temperatures exceeding 2 million degrees Fahrenheit, while just 1,000 miles below, the surface known as the photosphere simmers at just 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This mysterious difference in temperatures is called the coronal heating problem.

As per the latest findings, the high temperatures could be due to strong magnetic fields present above the Sunspots (dark patches seen in visible images of the Sun).

Chandrayaan-2 Mission:

The Chandrayaan-2 mission, which was lost after it hard landed on the dark side of the Moon in 2019, remains active in the form of its orbiter hovering over the Moon.

Scientists used the Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM) onboard Chandrayaan-2 in September 2019 to study the Sun.

The primary objective of Chandrayaan 2 was to demonstrate the ability to soft-land on the lunar surface and operate a robotic rover on the surface.

The mission consisted of an Orbiter of the Moon, Vikram (after Vikram Sarabhai) – the lander and Pragyan (wisdom) – the rover, all equipped with scientific instruments to study the moon.

Task force for Mission Karmayogi

In News:

Former Infosys CEO S D Shibu Lal has been appointed chairperson of a three-member task force formed to help the government in bringing major bureaucratic reforms through its ambitious “Mission Karmayogi“.

Details:

The task force has been constituted to draw a clear road map for the guidance and operationalisation of the ‘Karmayogi Bharat’ and the constitution of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).

About Mission Karmayogi:

The ‘National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building – Mission Karmayogi’ was launched to effect a transformational shift from rule based training to role-based capacity development of all civil services in the country so as to enhance citizen experience for government services and improve availability of competent workforce.

The core guiding principles of the Programme will be:

  • To emphasize on ‘on-site learning’ to complement the ‘off-site’ learning,
  • To create an ecosystem of shared training infrastructure including that of learning materials, institutions and personnel,
  • To calibrate all Civil Service positions to a Framework of Roles, Activities and Competencies (FRACs) approach and to create and deliver learning content relevant to the identified FRACs in every Government entity.
  • To make available to all civil servants, an opportunity to continuously build and strengthen their Behavioral, Functional and Domain Competencies in their self-driven and mandated learning paths.

Institutional framework and implementation of the programme:

  • PM led Public Human Resources (HR) Council to approve and monitor Civil Service Capacity Building Plans.
  • Capacity Building Commission to harmonize training standards, create shared faculty and resources, and have supervisory role over all Central Training Institutions.
  • Wholly owned Special Purpose Vehicle to own and operate the online learning platform and facilitate world-class learning content market-place.
  • Coordination Unit headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

 Larger significance of the programme:

It aims to prepare the Indian Civil Servant for the future by making him more creative, constructive, imaginative, innovative, proactive, professional, progressive, energetic, enabling, transparent and technology-enabled. Empowered with specific role-competencies, the civil servant will be able to ensure efficient service delivery of the highest quality standards.