My Notes - 16-30 Nov 2023

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Section 497 of IPc

  • The Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs has suggested that adultery should be re-instituted as a crime in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), 2023, the proposed law to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860.
  • Until 2018, the IPC contained Section 497, which defined adultery as a criminal offence that attracted up to five years in prison, or a fine, or both. However, only men could be punished under Section 497, not women.
  • In Joseph Shine vs Union of India (27 September 2018), a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court unanimously struck down Section 497 (define adultery) of the IPC on grounds that included discrimination.

Special Category Status

  • The Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Cabinet passed a resolution seeking the grant of special category status (SCS) to Bihar.
  • It is a classification granted by the Centre to assist the development of States that face geographical or socio-economic disadvantages.
  • The SCS was introduced in 1969 on the recommendation of the fifth Finance Commission (FC).

Kashmiri students held under UAPA

  • Seven students of an agriculture university in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district were arrested and booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
  • The UAPA gives powers to the governmentto probe and prosecute people for acts of terrorism, and to designate an organisation as an “unlawful association” or a “terrorist organisation”, or an individual as a “terrorist”.

UNLF signed peace deal

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the signing of a peace agreement with the Meitei separatist groupUnited National Liberation Front (UNLF) in Manipur, terming it a “historic milestone.”
  • The UNLF was formed on 24 November 1964, and is the oldest valley-based insurgent group — distinct from the insurgent groups’ active in the state’s Naga-dominated and Kuki-Zomi dominated hills.


'Operation 1027

  • Myanmar's military government faces a significant challenge following a coordinated offensive by three ethnic minority forces known as the Three Brotherhood Alliance.
  • This offensive, named 'Operation 1027', began in late October, initially targeting junta-controlled areas on the China border in northern Shan State.
  • The alliance consists of the Arakan Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and Ta'ang National Liberation Army.

The BDS movement

  • German newspaper accused Indian poet and curator Ranjit Hoskote of “anti-Semitism” and sympathising with the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. Hostoke then resigned from the Finding Committee for Documenta.
  • The movement was launched in 2005 by more than 170 Palestinian groups to garner international support for Palestinian people’s rights.
  • It describes itself as an “inclusive, anti-racist human rights movement that is opposed on principle to all forms of discrimination, including anti-semitism and Islamophobia.”

Houthis seized an India-bound ship

  • The Yemen rebel group of Houthis seized an Israel-linked ship bound for India, raising fears of another dimension being added to the ongoing Gaza conflict.
  • The ship, Galaxy Leader, was heading from Turkey towards Pipavav in Gujarat, and had no cargo on board. Its crew members are from Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Mexico, and the Philippines.
  • The Houthis are a rebel group locked in a civil war with the Yemen government for almost a decade.

Humanitarian pause in Gaza

  • Qatar announced the success of mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas, resulting in an agreement for a humanitarian pause.
  • The United Nations defines a “humanitarian pause” as a “temporary cessation of hostilities purely for humanitarian purposes”.
  • The UN defines “a ceasefire” it as a “suspension of fighting agreed upon by the parties to a conflict, typically as part of a political process”.


India sign supply chain resilience agreement

  • India, the US and 12 other members of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) entered into a supply chain resilience agreement that aims to cut dependence on China and help shift manufacturing of crucial goods to member nations.
  • The 14 countries that are part of IPEF include India, Australia, the US, Japan, Fiji, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand, and make up for 40% of global gross domestic product and about a third of global goods and services trade.
  • The IPEF is structured around four pillars relating to trade, supply chains, clean economy and fair economy (issues like tax and anti-corruption). India has joined all the pillars except the trade pillar.

Science and technology

India is embracing NFC

  • This technology, which uses radio waves to transmit data over short distances, has become something of a global phenomenon and is being used by billions worldwide, primarily for payments.
  • Near-field communication (NFC) is a way of making devices like phones and smartwatches exchange tiny snippets of data with other devices or read NFC-enabled cards over short distances.

Tantalum found in Sutlej

  • A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar has found the presence of tantalum, a rare metal, in the Sutlej river sand in Punjab.
  • Tantalum is a rare metal with the atomic number 73 — the number of protons found in one atom of the element.
  • Tantalum is most prominently used in the electronic sector. The capacitors made from tantalum are capable of storing more electricity in smaller sizes without much leakage than any other type of capacitor.

Psyche mission fires lasers at Earth

  • A NASA experiment on the Psyche spacecraft has beamed back a near-infrared laser that contains test data from almost 16 million kilometres away.
  • The distance is 40 times that between the Moon and the Earth and is the farthest-ever demonstration of optical communications.
  • Optical communications have been demonstrated previously in low-Earth orbit and even to the Moon, but NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) is the first test in deep space.

‘Air glow’ to understand Space weather

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is set to launch the Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) to study one of the important drivers of Space weather – the Earth’s weather.
  • AWE will be launched and mounted on the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS).
  • From the vantage point, it will look down at the Earth and record the colourful light bands, commonly known as

25 years of the International Space Station (ISS)

  • The first segment of the ISS — the Zarya Control Module — was Russian and launched 20 November 1998.
  • It passes over our heads 16 times every 24 hours — traveling through 16 sunrises and sunsets — at an altitude of a mere 430 kilometers (267 miles).

Sickle cell breakthrough

  • The UK drug regulator recently approved a gene therapy for the cure of sickle cell disease and thalassaemia, seen as a landmark breakthrough by many.
  • Called Casgevy, the therapy edits the faulty gene that leads to these blood disorders, potentially curing the person for life.
  • So far, the only permanent treatment has been a bone marrow transplant, for which a closely matched donor is needed.

Metadata role in fact-finding

  • Metadata plays an important role in fact-checking. Usually described as ‘data about other data’, it provides essential information such as the origin, context, and the history of a piece of text or image.
  • There are various types of metadata that can be associated with digital assets.

AstroSat detects over 600 gamma-ray bursts

  • India's AstroSat space telescope has achieved a significant milestone by detecting more than 600 Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB), each marking the death of a massive star or merging of neutron stars.
  • GRBs last from a fraction of a second to several minutes, and are accompanied by the birth of a black hole.
  • Astrosat was launched in 2015 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), had a design life of five years, but continues to be in good health, making observations for astronomers.


Water reserves in southern India

  • Water levels in the reservoirs of India’s southern states are set to fall further in the next few months, leading to concerns amid the stocks already being at a low this year.
  • According to a recent report from the Central Water Commission (CWC), water levels in these states’ reservoirs are low compared to last year and compared to other regions of the country in 2023.
  • The CWC monitors 42 reservoirs located in the southern states: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Their collective storage capacity is 334 Billion Cubic Metre (BCM).

Ban on halal certificates products

  • Uttar Pradesh authorities imposed a state-wide ban on the "production, storing, distribution and sale of halal certified edible items".
  • Halal is an Arabic word that loosely translates to ‘permissible’ in English. In the Quran, the term ‘halal’ is contrasted with the term ‘haram’ — meaning ‘forbidden’ — and is used to designate the categories of lawful (and allowed) and unlawful (and forbidden).
  • In the Indian context, halal is mostly used to refer to the slaughtering technique used by Muslims.
  • This involves killing the livestock or poultry through a single cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery (which carries blood from the brain to the heart and vice versa), and the windpipe with a sharp knife at the front of the neck.

Mandatory reporting provision under POCSO

  • Failure to report sexual crimes against minors is a bailable offence, the Himachal Pradesh High Court ruled.
  • Section 19 of the POCSO states that anyone having “apprehension” that an offence under POCSO is likely to be committed, or knowledge that such an offence has been committed, “shall” provide such information to the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) or the police.

Kerala nurse facing death penalty in Yemen

  • Yemen’s Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of Nimisha Priya, an Indian nurse facing the death penalty in that country.
  • Priya stands convicted of killing a Yemeni citizen in 2017. The HC was hearing a petition moved by Priya’s mother Prema Kumari, seeking the Centre’s permission to go to Yemen and conduct negotiations for her release.

Bengaluru hosts Kambala races

  • It is a folk sportpractised in coastal Karnataka districts, especially in regions where Tulu speakers form a majority.
  • The folk sportshas come under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court in the pastKambala, along with Jallikattu and bullock-cart racing, was outlawed in 2014. Subsequently, state governments amended legislation to allow them to continue.

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