9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 9th, 2019

International Anti-Corruption Day

News: December 9 is observed as the International Anti-Corruption day

Facts:

About International Anti-Corruption Day

  • The United Nations General Assembly on October 31, 2003, adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and designated December 9 International Anti-Corruption Day.
  • Anti-corruption Day sis celebrated annually since 2005 when the Convention came into force. The United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) coordinates the celebrations of the day
  • The day aims to raise awareness about corruption and of the role of Convention in fighting and preventing it.
  • The theme for 2019 Anti-Corruption Day is ‘United against Corruption’. It focuses on corruption as one of the biggest obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Further, a campaign called #YouthForJustice has been launched which focuses on mobilizing and empowering youth as a key for ensuring sustainable solutions to combating corruption.

Additional Information:

Sustainable Development Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

  • SDG 16 is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building accountable institutions at all levels.
  • SDG 16.5 calls to substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.

United Nations Convention against Corruption

  • It is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. It was adopted in 2003 and came into force in 2005.
  • It covers many different forms of corruption, such as bribery, trading in influence, abuse of functions, and various acts of corruption in the private sector.
  • The Convention covers five main areas: preventive measures, criminalization and law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery, and technical assistance and information exchange.
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) serves as Secretariat for the UNCAC
  • India is a party to the Convention.

About UNDP:

  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN’s global development network.
  • UNDP was established in 1965 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. It is headquartered in New York, US.
  • It provides expert advice, training and grants support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries.

About UNODC:

  • UNODC was established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention. It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
  • UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.

Opening Ceremony joint Exercise Hand-In-Hand-2019

News: The Eighth Edition of India China joint training exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand-2019’ commenced at Umroi, Meghalaya on 07 December 2019.

Facts:

About Hand-in Hand Exercise

  • Hand in Hand exercise is an annual military exercise between India and China. The first Hand in Hand exercise was held in Kunming, China in 2007.
  • The exercises are tactical-level operations that aims to build closer relations between Indian and Chinese armies.

Additional Information:

Sino – Indian Joint Exercise:

  • It is held between Indian and Chinese armies under the provisions of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, 2013.
  • The first edition was held in Chusul garrison, Eastern Ladakah in February 2016 and Second Joint Exercise ‘Sino India Cooperation 2016’ was held in Ladakh in October 2016.
  • The exercises aimed at increasing level of trust and cooperation between the two border guarding forces along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.

2.3 million children in India unvaccinated for measles

News: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reported on the state of measles around the world.

Facts:

Key Takeaways

  • In 2018, measles caused an estimated 10 million cases and 1, 42,000 deaths globally.
  • There were nearly 70,000 cases of measles in India in 2018, the third highest in the world.
  • With 2.4 million, Nigeria has the most number of unvaccinated children. At 2.3 million, India has the second highest number of unvaccinated children.

Additional Information:

Measles and Rubella

  • Measles and Rubella (German measles) are contagious viral disease that is spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Measles is caused by Rubeola virus and Rubella is caused by Rubella virus.
  • Both of them can be entirely prevent with a two-dose of MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine.

Elimination Efforts

India:

  • India has initiated the world’s largest Measles-Rubella (MR) Campaign in 2017. It targets vaccination of 410 million children and adolescents aged between 9 months and 15 years.
  • It is also covered under Mission Indradhanaush. Launched in 2014, the mission aims to cover all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated, or are partially vaccinated against vaccine preventable diseases

Global:

  • Global Vaccine Action Plan: Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, WHO has targeted to eliminate measles by 2020
  • ‘Measles Elimination and Rubella/CRS Control by 2020’: In 2013, WHO SEAR initiated ‘Measles Elimination and Rubella/CRS Control by 2020’ which sought to curb and control measles and rubella through immunization, surveillance and developing and maintaining an accredited measles laboratory network.

The seas have less oxygen now than they used to. Why, and what does this mean?

News: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has released a report titled “Ocean deoxygenation: Everyone’s problem”. It reports the scale and nature of the changes being driven by ocean deoxygenation

Facts:

Ocean Deoxygenation: It is defined as the reduction in oxygen content of the ocean due to anthropogenic effects.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • The levels of oxygen in oceans fell by around 2% from 1960 to 2010.
  • The deoxygenation of the oceans occurred due to climate change and other human activities such as the nutrient runoff from farm fertilizers into waterways (nutrient pollution).

Impact of Ocean deoxygenation:

  • Reduction in the habitat available for pelagic, mesopelagic, and benthic organisms.
  • Reduction in the abundance of fish population
  • Expansion of the volume of anoxic zones (Waters with totally depleted oxygen levels) since 1960
  • Alteration in the balance of marine life by favouring low-oxygen tolerant species (e.g. microbes, jellyfish and some squid)

Measures to be taken:

  • Nutrient management: Reducing nutrient and carbon loads to coastal waters
  • Reducing the threat of global warming: Reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions through commitments  in  four  areas-  policy,  technology,  finance  and  patterns  of  consumption
  • Adaptation in the face of oxygen decline: This should be done through ecosystem-based management of fisheries, spatial planning enhance ecosystem resilience, actions that reduce local stress on ecosystems etc.

Additional Information:

IUCN

  • It is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It was established in 1948 and is headquartered in Gland, Switzerland.
  • IUCN has observer and consultative status at the United Nations.
  • It is best known for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.

The laws on rape and sexual crimes

Facts:

Provisions under Indian Penal Code (IPC)

Section 375:

  • Under the section, the act of sex by a man with a woman if done against her will or without her consent is considered rape and is punishable.
  • The definition of rape also includes sex when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.
  • Sex with or without consent, when the woman is under 18 years is considered rape.
  • Note: In 2017, The Supreme Court in the case Independent Thought vs. Union of India ruled that sex with minor wife (below 18 years of age), despite consent, is rape.

Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act of 1983

  • It inserted Section 114A in the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. The Section presumes that there is absence of consent in certain prosecutions of rape if the victim says so.
  • Section 228A was added to IPC which makes it punishable to disclose the identity of the victim of certain offences including rape.

Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013

  • Minimum punishment in case of rape of women was increased from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
  • The punishment for gang rape was increased to 20 years to life imprisonment from the earlier 10 years to life imprisonment.
  • It provided for the death penalty in rape cases that cause death of the victim or leaves her in a vegetative state.
  • It also created new offences, such as use of criminal force on a woman with intent to disrobe, voyeurism and stalking.

POCSO Act

  • The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to protect the children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography.
  • The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age. Further, the Act is gender neutral.
  • The Act has been amended in 2019. The amendment provides for gender neutral application of stringent punishment, including death penalty, for aggravated penetrative sexual assault of both girl and boy below 16 years of age.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013:

  • It seeks to protect women against sexual harassment at all workplaces both in public and private sector, whether organised or unorganised
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