Table of Contents
1. EVOLUTION OF UNITED NATIONS
TAG: GS 2: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
THE CONTEXT: The Charter of the United Nations is the founding document of the United Nations. It was signed on 26 June 1945, in San Francisco, at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, and came into force on 24 October 1945.
- The United Nations was founded amid a period of turmoil in international relations. The Second World War (1939-45) had just ended, coming a few years after the devastation caused by the First World War (1914-18).
THE BIRTH OF THE UNITED NATIONS:
- The United Nations (UN) was born on October 24, 1945, in the wake of World War II.
- The war had devastated much of the world and left millions of people dead. The leaders of the Allied powers were determined to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again.
- On August 14, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter, which set out the principles of a post-war world order based on peace, security, and cooperation.
- In 1942, 26 countries signed the Declaration by United Nations, which pledged to fight together against the Axis powers and to establish a new international organization to maintain peace and security.
- In 1944, representatives of 50 nations attended the founding conference in San Francisco, where they drafted the UN charter.
- The required number of nations ratified the charter on October 24, 1945 (officially United Nations Day).
- The Charter was finalized at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, California, in 1945.
- The Charter was signed by 51 countries on June 26, 1945, and came into force on October 24, 1945.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE UN:
- While at the time of its formation, the UN consisted of only 51 member states.
- Independence movements and de-colonisation in the subsequent years led to an expansion of its membership. At present, 193 countries are members of the UN.
- The UN boasts of several significant achievements in the last 75 years.
- It has also expanded its scope to cover a large number of global issues such as health, environment, women empowerment, among others.
- Soon after its formation, it passed a resolution to commit to the elimination of nuclear weapons in 1946.
- In 1948, it created the World Health Organisation (WHO) to deal with communicable diseases like smallpox, malaria, HIV.
- At present the WHO is the apex organisation dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
- In 1950, the UN created the High Commissioner for Refugees to take care of the millions who had been displaced due to World War II.
- It continues to be on the frontlines of crises faced by refugees from countries across the world.
- In 1972, the UN environment programme was created.
FAILURES OF THE UN:
- The UN has also met with its share of criticisms.
- In 1994 the organisation failed to stop the Rwandan genocide.
- In 2005, UN peacekeeping missions were accused of sexual misconduct in the Republic of Congo, and similar allegations have also come from Cambodia and Haiti.
- In 2011, the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan was unsuccessful in eliminating the bloodshed caused by the civil war that broke out in 2013.
- Further, the UN has been seen as unrepresentative of its members, particularly countries in the Global South.
2. MIGRATION TO OECD COUNTRIES
TAG: GS 3: ECONOMY
THE CONTEXT: As per the ‘International Migration Outlook 2023, India saw the highest migration flows to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in 2021 and 2022.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT:
- India replaced China as the main country of origin of new migrants to OECD countries in 2020.
- In 2021, for the second consecutive year, India, with 0.41 million new migrants, was the top country of origin.
- China, with 0.23 million new migrants, was at a distant second, followed by Romania with around 200,000 new migrants.
- In terms of nationalities, 0.13 million Indian citizens acquired the nationality of an OECD country in 2021.
- As in previous years, these acquisitions took place mostly in the United States (56,000), Australia (24,000) and Canada (21,000).
- Mexico again ranked second in 2021, with 0.19 million Mexicans granted nationality of another OECD country, virtually all of them becoming US citizens.
- Inflows of refugees from Ukraine reached the highest level on record, OECD-wide, due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
- In terms of workers, migration flows from India (+172 per cent), Uzbekistan (+122 per cent) and Turkey (+240 per cent) rose sharply, making them primary countries of origin after Ukraine.
- It pointed out that policy responses to displacement directly and indirectly impacted by climate change have been gaining interest from policy makers and the international community.
- Few OECD countries have introduced explicit policies to respond to climate-induced displacement.
- In April 2023, Colombia’s Congress began discussing a bill to recognise climate-induced displacement, the first of its kind in Latin America.
- Adopting a broad definition of climate-displaced people, it sought to prioritise access to housing, health services and education and to establish a national register of climate-displaced people.
- The bill has received approval in the first of four rounds of discussion required to pass.
INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION OUTLOOK 2023:
- It is published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
- The 2023 edition of International Migration Outlook analyses recent developments in migration movements and the labour market inclusion of immigrants in OECD countries.
- It also analysed recent policy changes in migration governance and integration in OECD countries.
- This edition includes two special chapters on the labour market integration of migrant mothers and on fertility patterns among migrant populations in OECD countries.
- The Outlook also includes country notes and a detailed statistical annex.
ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT (OECD):
- It is a group of 38 member countries that discuss and develop economic and social policy.
- The most recent country to join the OECD is Costa Rica, which became a member on May 25, 2021.
- Members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are typically democratic countries that support free-market economies.
- The stated goal of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for all.
- The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was established on Dec. 14, 1960, by 18 European nations, plus the United States and Canada.
- The organization is headquartered in the Chateau de la Muette in Paris, France.
3. GHOST PARTICLE DETECTOR
TAG: GS 3: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
THE CONTEXT: China is building an enormous telescope called “Trident” in the western Pacific Ocean to detect “ghost particles”, also known as neutrinos.
GHOST PARTICLES/ NEUTRINOS:
- To understand what a ghost particle or neutrino is, firstly, understand the importance of atoms.
- Atoms make up our universe. Anything that has mass is made up of atoms.
- For a long time, scientists thought atoms were the smallest particle in existence before discovering “subatomic” particles: protons (which have a positive charge), electrons (negative charge) and neutrons (no charge).
- Neutrinos are a type of electron but, like neutrons, they do not have any charge.
- They are among the most abundant and tiniest particles in our universe with trillions of neutrinos passing through you at any given second.
- Neutrinos were long believed to be massless, until scientists found evidence that they do have a very small mass.
- Neutrinos’ weak charge and almost non-existent mass have made them notoriously difficult for scientists to observe. They can only be “seen” when they interact with other particles.
- The rarity of interactions with other particles makes them almost impossible to track. That’s why they’re called ghost particles.
HOW DO SCIENTISTS DETECT GHOST PARTICLES?
- Ghost particles rarely interact with other particles.
- China is building its ghost molecule telescope underwater because they interact with water molecules.
- Scientists have observed ghost particles in fleeting instances when the particles create byproducts after traveling through water or ice.
- These “muons” create flashes of light that can be detected by sophisticated underwater telescopes and offer one of the few ways to study the energy and source of neutrinos.
- Muons are similar to electrons but weigh more than 207 times as much. The muon is part of the lepton group.
- The largest neutrino-detecting telescope is the University of Madison-Wisconson’s “IceCube” telescope.
- Situated deep in the Antarctic, the telescope’s sensors span around 1 cubic kilometer. Whereas China telescope will span 7.5 cubic kilometers in the South China Sea.
- Scientists say that its size will allow it to detect more neutrinos and make it “10,000 times more sensitive” than existing underwater telescopes.
4. DOKLAM CONFLICT
TAG: GS 2: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
THE CONTEXT: India has cautioned Bhutan against compromising on the Doklam corridor under Chinese pressure as talks between Bhutan and China to settle their boundary disputes gain momentum.
- Bhutan and China held their 25th round of boundary talks on August 18-19, 2023, in Beijing, China. The talks were the first in seven years, after the previous round was held in 2016.
- The talks were led by Bhutan’s Foreign Minister and China’s Vice Foreign Minister.
- Both sides agreed to expedite the boundary demarcation process and to work towards a comprehensive settlement of the boundary dispute.
- China also pushed for full diplomatic ties with Bhutan during the talks. However, Bhutan has so far resisted Chinese pressure to establish formal diplomatic relations.
- The Kingdom of Bhutan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have never formally demarcated their 470-kilometre (292 mi) border, which has been disputed since the 17th century.
- Since 1984, both sides have held 24 rounds of formal talks in an attempt to resolve the dispute, but no solution has been reached.
- The Chinese government claims the Doklam Plateau as its territory, while the Bhutanese and Indian government’s claim it as a part of Bhutan.
- In June 2017, a Chinese construction team began building a road near Bhutan’s Doklam Plateau.
- The Bhutanese government objected to the construction, stating that it was violating Bhutan’s sovereignty.
- The Indian government also objected to the construction, stating that it was a violation of the trijunction agreement between India, China, and Bhutan.
- The two sides engaged in a standoff for over two months, before the Chinese government withdrew its troops in August 2017.
- The Doklam issue remains unresolved, and both sides continue to assert their claims to the territory.
- The issue is sensitive because it involves the strategic Siliguri Corridor, which connects India’s northeast to the rest of the country.
- The Chinese government could potentially use its control of Doklam to threaten the Siliguri Corridor and cut off India’s northeast from the rest of the country.
- India has a long history of supporting Bhutan’s territorial integrity.
- India also has a strategic interest in the Doklam Plateau, as it overlooks the Siliguri Corridor.
- In 2017, India intervened in support of Bhutan when China began building a road near the Doklam Plateau.
- India sent troops to deter China from continuing the construction.
- The Indian government has stated that it is committed to upholding the trijunction agreement between India, China, and Bhutan.
Doklam is important to India for a number of reasons:
- First, it provides India with a strategic advantage over China.
- The Doklam plateau overlooks the Siliguri Corridor, a narrow strip of land that connects India’s northeast with the rest of the country.
- China could potentially use its control of Doklam to threaten the Siliguri Corridor and cut off India’s northeast from the rest of the country.
- Second, Doklam is a key transit point for trade between India and Bhutan.
- India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner, and Doklam is a major route for goods that travel from India to Bhutan.
- If China were to control Doklam, it could disrupt this trade and damage the Bhutanese economy.
- The Chinese government claims the Doklam Plateau as its territory.
- China has stated that it is willing to negotiate with Bhutan to resolve the boundary dispute, but China has also stated that it will not give up its claims to the Doklam Plateau.
- The Chinese government has accused India of interfering in the boundary dispute between China and Bhutan.
- China has also stated that India’s presence in the Doklam Plateau is a violation of Chinese sovereignty.
5. FAST RADIO BURSTS (FRB)
TAG: GS 3: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
THE CONTEXT: Scientists have measured the most distant fast radio burst named “FRB 20220610A” ever detected: an 8-billion-year-old pulse that has been travelling for more than half the lifetime of the universe.
FAST RADIO BURSTS (FRB):
- FRBs are enigmatic millisecond-duration bursts of radio waves that originate from galaxies billions of light-years away.
- Their origin is still a mystery, but scientists believe that they may be produced by neutron star mergers, supernovae, or other cataclysmic events.
- FRB 20220610A was discovered using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope.
- ASKAP’s wide field of view allowed the astronomers to pinpoint the location of the burst to within a few arcseconds.
- Follow-up observations with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile revealed that the source of FRB 20220610A is a faint galaxy that is 8 billion light-years away.
- This makes FRB 20220610A the most distant FRB ever detected, and the oldest FRB ever seen.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE DISCOVERY OF FRB 20220610A:
- FRBs can occur in a wide range of environments.
- FRB 20220610A was detected in a faint galaxy, which is different from the majority of FRBs that have been detected so far.
- This suggests that FRBs can occur in a wider range of environments than previously thought.
- FRBs may be more common than previously thought.
- This is because FRB 20220610A is the most distant FRB ever detected, and therefore the hardest to see.
- The fact that astronomers were able to detect FRB 20220610A suggests that there could be many more FRBs out there that have not yet been detected.
- FRBs can provide new insights into the early universe.
- FRB 20220610A is estimated to be 8 billion light-years away, which means that the light from the burst began traveling to Earth when the universe was only half its current age.
- This makes FRB 20220610A the oldest FRB ever seen.
- By studying FRBs like FRB 20220610A, astronomers can learn more about the early universe and the conditions that existed at that time.
FUTURE RESEARCH ON FRBS:
- Astronomers are now continuing to study FRBs using a variety of telescopes and instruments. It is hoped that more can be known about the origin of FRBs, their evolution, and their role in the universe.
- One of the key goals of future FRB research is to identify the specific objects that produce FRBs. This will help scientists to better understand the physics of FRBs and their role in the universe.
- Another key goal of future FRB research is to use FRBs to probe the interstellar medium and the intergalactic medium.
- FRBs can travel through space relatively unhindered, so they can be used to study the distribution of matter in the universe.
- FRBs are a new and exciting area of research. By studying FRBs, astronomers can learn more about the universe and the objects that exist within it.