January 13, 2020 – UPSC Current Affairs: Key Prelims News Topics

Top Risks 2020 by Eurasia Group

  • Eurasia Group’s “Top Risks 2020” report identifies India as the 5th highest global geopolitical risk, noting PM Narendra Modi’s focus on social policies over economic reforms.
  • The report anticipates intensified communal instability and economic setbacks for India.
  • Globally, the report highlights risks including US domestic politics, US-China technological decoupling, and multinational corporations facing nationalistic regulatory frameworks.
  • Climate change and regional instabilities are also significant concerns, with potential impacts on global security and economics.

Open-loop Scrubber Usage in Ships

  • The extensive use of open-loop scrubbers in ships, a method to reduce sulphur emissions, raises environmental concerns.
  • MARPOL Annex VI regulates these emissions, but open-loop scrubbers release pollutants back into the sea, unlike closed-loop scrubbers.
  • This growing trend highlights the need for sustainable maritime practices and raises questions about the effectiveness of current regulations in controlling marine pollution.

State Energy Efficiency Index 2019

  • The State Energy Efficiency Index 2019, developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency and the Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy, assesses energy efficiency initiatives across Indian states.
  • It categorizes states into groups based on their energy supply and demand, highlighting the best and least performers in energy efficiency.
  • The index is crucial for India, one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters, as it aligns with the national goal of reducing its carbon footprint and fulfilling international climate commitments.

Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)

  • The inauguration of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) marks a significant step in India’s fight against cybercrimes.
  • I4C aims to centralize cyber security investigations and develop response tools, involving collaboration with academia and private sectors.
  • It reflects India’s proactive approach in addressing the increasing cyber threats, especially given the vast number of internet users in the country.

SC Verdict on Internet Shutdowns

  • The Supreme Court’s ruling on internet shutdowns in Jammu and Kashmir post-Article 370 revocation underlines that the right to the internet is a fundamental right under Article 19, subject to reasonable restrictions.
  • The court mandated reviewing all restrictive orders under Section 144 of CrPC and suspension of internet services within a week.
  • This landmark verdict establishes a legal framework for internet suspension, emphasizing that such actions should be a last resort and subject to judicial scrutiny.
  • The ruling also criticized the prolonged internet shutdown in Kashmir, highlighting its impact on fundamental rights and daily life.

Coronavirus Outbreak

  • The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, has raised global health concerns.
  • Coronaviruses are a family of viruses causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.
  • This new virus, leading to pneumonia-like symptoms, highlights the need for international cooperation in disease surveillance and response, considering the rapid global spread of infectious diseases.
  • Extinction of Chinese Paddlefish
  • The extinction of the Chinese paddlefish, one of the largest freshwater fishes, represents a significant loss of biodiversity.
  • Overfishing and habitat fragmentation, including dam building on the Yangtze River, led to its decline.
  • This extinction serves as a stark reminder of the impact of human activities on wildlife and underscores the urgency of conservation efforts.

India’s Border Management with Pakistan and Bangladesh

  • India’s plan to erect non-cut steel fences along its borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh signifies a strategic approach to enhance security.
  • This initiative addresses the challenges of border management and illegal activities while maintaining the integrity of its international borders.

World Hindi Day 2020

  • World Hindi Day, celebrated annually on January 10th, commemorates the anniversary of the first World Hindi Conference in 1975.
  • This day highlights the global promotion of Hindi, contrasting with National Hindi Diwas, which focuses on Hindi as India’s official language.
  • It underscores the importance of Hindi in global cultural exchange and its role in international diplomacy.

Malabar Naval Exercise 2020

  • The inclusion of the Australian navy in the 2020 Malabar naval exercise, alongside India, the U.S., and Japan, signifies a strategic shift in regional military cooperation.
  • This development, bringing together all members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), reflects a collective response to regional security challenges, particularly in the context of China’s rising influence.
  • The exercise emphasizes the importance of maritime security and cooperation among leading democracies in the Indo-Pacific region.

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