Table of Contents
1. SOUTH CHINA SEA
TAG: GS 2: INTERNATIONAL RELATION
THE CONTEXT: China-Philippines tensions in the South China Sea
Issues between China and Philippines:
- China claims the entire South China Sea, including areas away from its coast, and is more assertive to Philippines.
- China installed a barricade near the South China Sea’s Scarborough Shoal.
- Both countries have been embroiled in a tussle over the shoal’s territorial claim since 2012.
- Manila has also accused Beijing of blocking its shipping vessels in and around the Scarborough Shoal
- Scarborough Shoal is a triangular reef encircling a resource-rich lagoon that China seized from the Philippines in 2012.
What is the South China Sea dispute?
- The South China Sea is situated just south of the Chinese mainland and is bordered by the countries of Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
- The countries have bickered over territorial control in the sea for centuries, but in recent years tensions have soared to new heights.
Importance of the South China Sea:
- The South China Sea has huge deposits of natural resources, for example it has 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
- It is home to rich fishing grounds. For example, according to the BBC report more than half of the world’s fishing vessels operate in this area.
- It is a crucial trade route. For example, According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimates that over 21% of global trade transited through these waters.
- The claimants in the area must be willing to give up their combative approach and agree to find a middle ground.
- According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), all claimants may be able to restrict their claims to a 200 nautical mile area of the Special Economic Zone.
- Another option would be for the parties involved to establish common ownership of the disputed areas, whereby all South China Sea-related profits would be fairly distributed among the littoral nations.
2. POCSO ACT
TAG: GS 3: SOCIAL JUSTICE
THE CONTEXT: 22nd law commission recommended the union government to retain the existing age of consent under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
- The Law Commission of India has advised the government against lowering the age of consent under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
- The Commission suggested introducing guided judicial discretion in the matter of sentencing in cases involving tacit approval of children in the 16-18 age bracket.(Tacit approval: Agreeing to something or approving it without actually saying so.)
- The Law Commission said that lowering the age of consent would have a number of negative consequences:
- It would make it easier for adults to have sex with minors, even if the minors are willing participants.
- It would increase the risk of child marriage and child trafficking.
- It would make it more difficult for authorities to investigate and prosecute cases of child sexual abuse.
- In order to give child legal protection from sexual abuse, exploitation, and pornography, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act was passed in 2012.
- It identifies many types of sexual offenses against children and imposes severe penalties on offenders.
- It requires the reporting of such cases, the child’s medical assessment and counseling, financial compensation and victim rehabilitation, and protection of the child’s name and privacy.
- To protect the rights and dignity of children who are the targets of sexual exploitation and abuse.
- To provide a quick and kid-friendly justice delivery system, special courts, public prosecutors, juvenile police units, and child welfare committees have been established.
- Lack of knowledge and sensitivity regarding this Act’s contents and processes among many stakeholders, including parents, teachers, police officers, judges, lawyers, and medical experts, etc.
- The special courts, police units, and child welfare committees do not have the necessary infrastructure, personnel, or resources to function effectively.
- Lack of sufficient infrastructure and resources, including qualified staff, kid-friendly settings, forensic labs, etc., to conduct effective investigations and bring cases under this Act to justice.
- The judicial officials, prosecutors, police officers, and medical experts involved in addressing such instances lack sufficient training and orientation.
- The victim’s and their families’ social stigma and pressure to keep quiet or make a deal with the offenders.
In order to safeguard children from sexual offenses and uphold their best interests, the POCSO Act is a necessary tool. However, having solid legislation on paper is not enough; it is also crucial to have a strong dedication and determination to put the law into practice. In order to create a favorable environment for the prevention, detection, reporting, and prosecution of such incidents, all parties involved must work together in concert. Only then can we ensure that every child has access to their constitutional right to a childhood that is safe, secure, and dignified.
3. PINK BOLLWORM(PBW)
TAG: GS 3: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
THE CONTEXT: From Rajasthan to Haryana, a pest is wreaking havoc on cotton fields.
Cotton pink bollworm scientifically known as Pectinophora gossypiella. It is among the most harmful bugs to cotton.
Distribution: Originally from India, it is now found in almost every country that produces cotton.For example Pakistan, Africa, Australia, etc.
Host range: Cotton, bhendi, holly hock and other malvaceous plants.
- The adults are tiny moths with forewing patterns that are about 3/8 inch long and dark brown in color.
- The damaging and recognizable stage is the larval stage.
- Before they pupate, the larvae can grow to a length of half an inch and have recognizable pink bands.
- Adults lay their eggs on cotton balls; when the eggs hatch, the larvae consume the cotton seeds and wreak havoc on the fibers, lowering the yield and quality.
- When the larvae are fully developed, they remove the boll, drop to the ground, and spin a cocoon close to the soil’s surface.
- Additionally, it has been seen to attack hollyhock, okra, and hibiscus plants.
- The damage caused by the PBW larvae tunneling into cotton plant developing fruits (bolls) affects both the weight and quality of the harvested bolls that contain the lint fiber and seeds.
- The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, which includes crop rotation of cotton with other crops,
- Biological insect control with the aid of insects and parasites that eat pink bollworms.
- Remove the crop residue and garbage in the field.
- The return of the government to Bollgard has also been suggested by NSAI.
- Farmers should switch quickly to crop kinds that can be harvested quickly.
4. ARMAGEDDON REEDTAIL
TAG GS 3: ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT
CONTEXT: A new damselfly species has been discovered in Kerala’s southern Western Ghats.
- The insect was named as ‘Armageddon reedtail’ or protosticta armageddonia, to draw attention to the global decline of insect populations due to rampant habitat loss and climate change.
- The Armageddon reEdtail (Protosticta armageddonia) is a damselfly species that is endemic to the Western Ghats of India.
- It is a small and slender damselfly, with a body length of about 30 mm and a wingspan of about 40 mm.
- The males are black with bright red markings on their wings and abdomen.
- The females are brown with yellow markings on their wings and abdomen.
- The Armageddon reedtail is also a reminder of the importance of protecting our natural resources.
Here are some of the reasons why the Armageddon reedtail is declining:
- Habitat loss:
- The Armageddon reedtail is a habitat specialist, and it is only found in areas with clean water and abundant vegetation.
- The loss of habitat due to deforestation, development, and agricultural practices is a major threat to the Armageddon reedtail.
- The Armageddon reedtail is sensitive to pollution.
- It is particularly vulnerable to water pollution caused by pesticides and fertilizers.
- Climate change:
- Climate change is also a threat to the Armageddon reedtail.
- Climate change is leading to more extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods.
- These events can destroy the habitat of the Armageddon reedtail and make it difficult for the species to survive.
- Damselflies are delicate and beautiful insects that are closely related to dragonflies.
- They are found all over the world, and there are over 3,000 known species.
- They are typically smaller and more slender than dragonflies.
- They have two pairs of delicate wings that are held together over their bodies when they are resting.
- They spend most of their lives in the water, where they lay their eggs and develop into nymphs.
- The nymphs are aquatic predators, and they feed on small insects and other invertebrates.
- After several months, the nymphs emerge from the water as adults.
- Adult damselflies are also predators, and they feed on small insects, such as mosquitoes and flies.
- Damselflies are important members of the ecosystem, and they help to control populations of insect pests.
- Damselflies are also known for their beautiful colors and patterns. Some damselflies are bright blue or green, while others are more subdued in color. Damselflies often have intricate patterns on their wings and bodies.
- We can all help to protect the Armageddon reedtail by reducing our impact on the environment.
- We can do this by planting trees, reducing our use of pesticides and fertilizers.
- It is important to reduce pollution from sources such as agriculture, industry, and sewage.
- The most important way to protect the Armageddon reedtail is to protect its habitat. This can be done by creating and managing protected areas, such as wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.
- It is important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the effects of climate change.
5. SASTRA RAMANUJAN PRIZE
TAG: GS 3: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
CONTEXT: Ruixiang Zhang, Assistant Professor, University of California, Berkeley, USA will be awarded with the 2023 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for his outstanding contributions in mathematics.
DR ZHANG CONTRIBUTION TO MATHEMATICS:
- Zhang is a young mathematician whose fundamental work spans from analytic number theory, combinatorics, Euclidean harmonic analysis to geometry.
- His major achievement is considered to be in Inventiones Mathematicae in 2019.
- He contributed to solving two long-standing problems in restriction theory:
- Carleson’s problem on pointwise convergence of solutions to the Schr¨odinger equation, and
- the two-dimensional case of Sogge’s local smoothing conjecture for wave equations.
- The highly skilled mathematician has had a major impact in a wide range of areas like harmonic analysis and its striking applications.
- Zhang received his PhD in mathematics at Princeton University in 2017.
- After holding various positions at different institutions, he is now at the University of California since 2021.
- Besides many awards, Dr. Zhang currently holds a Sloan Fellowship (2022-24) and an NSF CAREER award (2022-27).
SASTRA RAMANUJAN PRIZE:
- The award was instituted by the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA) in 2005.
- The SASTRA Ramanujan Prize is a $10,000 annual award given to mathematicians not exceeding the age of 32 years.
- It is awarded for path-breaking contributions in areas influenced by the Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan.
- The prize has been unusually effective in recognising extremely gifted mathematicians at an early stage in their careers who have gone on to accomplish even greater things in mathematics.
- This is due to the enthusiastic support from leading mathematicians around the world and the calibre of the winners.
- The age limit of 32 is because Ramanujan lived only for 32 years, and in that brief life span made revolutionary contributions.
- The challenge for the prize candidates is to show what they have achieved in that same time frame.
- The notable recipients of the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize include:
- Manjul Bhargava (2005)
- Kannan Soundararajan (2006)
- Terence Tao (2007)
- Ben Green (2008)
- Peter Scholze (2012)
- Akshay Venkatesh (2013)
- James Maynard (2014)
- Maryna Viazovska (2017)
- Jakob Ellenberg (2018)
- Adam Harper (2019)
- Yunqing Tang (2022)
- Ruixiang Zhang (2023)
- Ramanujan was born on 22nd December 1887 in the village Erode (400 km from Chennai, then known as Madras).
- The famous British mathematician Godfrey Harold Hardy recognised his talent in 1913.
- He went to Cambridge, on Godfrey Harold Hardy’s invitation.
- Ramanujam made substantial contributions to the analytical theory of numbers and worked on elliptic functions.
- He also worked on the partition of the whole number, hypergeometric series and Euler’s constant.
- His papers were published in English and European journals, and in 1918 he was elected to the Royal Society of London.
- He died on April 26th, 1920, at the age of 32, just after returning to India after a long illness.
- In India, 22nd December is celebrated as National Mathematics Day in the memory of Srinivasa Ramanujan.