9 PM Current Affairs Brief – October 21st, 2019

Explained: What is US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative

News:The ninth India-US Defence Technologies and Trade Initiative (DTTI) group meeting is scheduled to happen in New Delhi.

Facts:

About DTTI:

  • The Defence Technologies and Trade Initiative(DTTI) mechanism was launched in 2012.It is not a treaty or a law.  
  • It aims to include strengthening India’s defence industrial base, exploring new areas of technological development and expanding U.S.-India business ties.
  • The initiative is led by Undersecretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment from the United States and Secretary for Defence Protection from India.

What are its aims?

  • Transform the bilateral defense relationship into one that is limited only by independent strategic decisions rather than bureaucratic obstacles or inefficient procedures.
  • Strengthen India’s defense industrial base by moving away from the traditional buyer-seller dynamic toward a more collaborative approach.
  • Explore new areas of technological collaboration from science and technology cooperation through co-development and co-production.
  • Expand the U.S.-Indian business ties.

Anthrax

News:Recently,Veterinarians have confirmed anthrax as the cause of death of two Asiatic water buffaloes in central Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.

Facts:

About Anthrax:

  • Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.
  • The bacteria live in soil and usually infects wild and domestic animals such as goats,cattle and sheep.
  • However,humans,pigs and dogs are comparatively less susceptible and only get infected if exposed to copious amounts of spores.
  • Anthrax responds well to antibiotic treatment but vaccines are necessary as the infection can cause death within two-three days leaving no scope for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Anthrax does not spread directly from one infected animal or person to another as it spread by spores.These spores can be transported by clothing or shoes.
  • In 2001,these spores were used as agents of bio-terrorism when letters containing anthrax spores were sent to some people in America leading to widespread panic.

Additional information:

About Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the floodplains of River Brahmaputra in the district of Morigaon and about 45 kms from Guwahati,the capital of Assam,India.
  • It harbors the highest density of Rhino in the world and the second highest concentration of Rhino in Assam after Kaziranga National Park.
  • Besides rhinoceros, the other mammals found are Leopard, Leopard cat, Fishing cat, Jungle cat, Feral Buffalo, Wild pigs, Chinese pangolins among others.

Other National Parks in Assam:

  • Dibru-Saikhowa National Park,
  • Kaziranga National Park,
  • Manas National Park,
  • Nameri National Park,
  • Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park.

Indian Penal Code

News:The Central Government has constituted two committees comprising legal luminaries to overhaul the Indian Penal Code (IPC) introduced by the British in 1860.

Facts:

About Indian Penal Code,1860:

  • The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the official criminal code of India.It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.
  • The code was drafted in 1860 on the recommendations of first law commission of India established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the Chairmanship of Lord Macaulay. 
  • The Code was passed into law in 1860.The Code came into operation in 1862.
  • The Code has since been amended several times and is now supplemented by other criminal provisions.

Why reforms are needed in IPC?

  • The revamping of the code introduced by the British in 1860 is necessary as it is primarily based on the spirit of master and servant.
  • The complete overhaul is needed as IPC has never been amended in totality after it has been framed.Only some additions and deletions have been made..
  • There is uneven punishment for crimes of grievous nature.For example snatching of chains or bags on road.It could be life-threatening in some cases but the punishment is not commensurate with the gravity of the crime.

Sri Lanka removed from FATF’s Grey List: Report

News:Sri Lanka has been removed from ‘Grey List’ of Financial Action Task Force(FATF).

Facts:

Why was Sri Lanka removed?

  • Sri Lanka was removed following the measures taken by the country on financial security

When was Sri Lanka added?

  • Sri Lanka was first included in the FATF’s blacklist in 2011 and by 2012 it was listed in the list as a dangerous country with no commitment to financial security plan.
  • In 2016, FATF had subjected Sri Lanka to a review for assessing the progress of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism(AML/CFT) effectiveness in country.
  • Sri Lanka was declared a cooperating state in 2016 and FATF had decided to put Sri Lanka on its grey list from November 2017. 

Additional information:

About FATF:

  • The Financial Action Task Force(FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.
  • It is a policy-making body which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.
  • The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris, France.

Objectives:

  • The objectives of the FATF are to (a) set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures (b) for combating money laundering (c)terrorist financing and (d) other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

Listing by FATF:FATF maintains two different lists of countries:

  • Grey list:The grey list contains those countries that have deficiencies in their anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regime.But they commit to an action plan to address these loopholes, 
  • Black list:These countries are those that do not end up doing enough even after having deficiencies in their anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regime.

Bhashan Char Island

News:Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have agreed to be relocated to the newly built camp on the Bhashan Char Island.

Facts:

Who are Rohingyas?

  • Rohingya are an ethnic group, largely comprising Muslims, who predominantly live in the Western Myanmar province of Rakhine. 
  • In Myanmar, they are they are classified as resident foreigners or as associate citizens.
  • Lakhs of Rohingyas have fled to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and India after facing religious and ethnical persecution in Myanmar.  This has led to a historic migration crisis and a large humanitarian crisis.

About Bhashan Char Island:

  • The Bhashan Char is an uninhabited island around 30 kilometre east of Hatiya island in the South East Bangladesh. 
  • Bhashan Char island was formed about two decades ago on the mouth of river Meghna.
  • The Island falls in an ecologically fragile area prone to floods, erosion and cyclone.
  • However,the Bangladesh government has built a three metre high embankment along its perimeter to keep out tidal surges during cyclones.
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