My Notes - 16-31 Dec 2023

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ULFA peace accord

  • The pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) signed a historic tripartite peace deal with the Government of India and the state government of Assam.
  • ULFA emerged from the All Assam Students Union anti-immigrant agitation that began in 1979 demanding a sovereign State for the Assamese people.
  • The ULFA wanted to establish a sovereign Assamese nation through an armed struggle against the Indian state.

Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra

  • The Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra is a government initiative being undertaken across the country, to raise awareness about and track the implementation of flagship central schemes, such as Ayushman Bharat, Ujjwala Yojana, PM Surkasha Bima, PM SVANidhi, etc.
  • it has four aims:reach out to the vulnerable who are eligible under various schemes but have not availed benefit so far; dissemination of information and generating awareness about schemes; interaction with beneficiaries of government schemes through their personal stories/ experience sharing; and enrolment of potential beneficiaries through details ascertained during the Yatra.

Kashi Tamil Sangamam

  • Starting last year, the Kashi Tamil Sangamam is aimed at celebrating the many aspects of the historical and civilisational connection between India’s North and South.
  • The overarching objective of this people-to-people connect programme is to revive the living bonds between Kashi and Tamil Nadu — two important centres of learning and culture in ancient India.

Indian Penal Code to Nyaya Sanhita

  • The BNS introduces Clause 69 that seems to ostensibly tackle the “love jihad” narrative by criminalising “deceitful” promise to marry.
  • The BNS provisions codify offences linked to mob lynching and hate-crime murders, for cases when a mob of five or more individuals commits murder based on factors such as race, caste, community, or personal belief. The provision has punishment that extends from life imprisonment to death.
  • For the first time, tackling organised crime is brought under the realm of ordinary criminal law.
  • While rape laws continue to operate only for women, the BNS has tweaked some other laws, especially those dealing with children, to bring gender neutrality.

The Telecommunications Bill, 2023

  • The Telecommunications Bill, 2023 was passed in the parliament by Union minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw.
  • The new Bill seeks to replace the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950.
  • The Bill allows the government to take over telecom services and intercept messages in the interests of national security and in case of emergencies.

Mathura's Shahi Idgah mosque case

  • The Supreme Courtdeclined to stay an order issued by the Allahabad High Court a day earlier allowing a survey of the Shahi Idgah mosquein Mathura, believed to have been built at Krishna Janmasthan, the site where Lord Krishna was born.
  • The mosque was built in the 17th century during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
  • These claims are supported by the official court bulletin of February 1670.


Maldives to not renew 2019 water survey pact

  • The Maldives government has decided to not renew an agreement with India that allowed India to conduct hydrographic surveys in Maldivian waters.
  • Hydrographic surveys are carried out by ships, which use methods such as sonarto understand the various features of a water body.
  • These surveys help “map out water depth, the shape of the seafloor and coastline, the location of possible obstructions, and physical features of water bodies”, to ensure the efficiency and safety of maritime transportation.

Bhutan’s mega city project

  • Bhutan plans to build a mega “international city” near the Indian border, covering an area of 1,000 square kilometre.
  • Known as the ‘GelephuSmartcity Project’, King Jigme Wangchuck touted it as an “economic corridor connecting South Asia with Southeast Asia via India’s northeastern States”.

Red Sea attacks

  • The Red Sea attacks have been carried out by Yemen-based Houthi rebels, who have been in a civil war with the Yemeni government for about a decade.
  • Two crucial choke points – the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal – threaten to disrupt over a third of global trade.
  • A disruption in maritime transport is a crucial concern for the world economy, as over 80 per cent of the global goods trade is carried by sea.
  • The share of trade via sea is much higher for developing countries such as India.

The donkey flight

  • Dunki, the film, is based on the “donkey route”, a popular but illegal immigration technique used to enter countries like the United States, UK and
  • Dunki’, a regional pronunciation of donkey, originated from a Punjabi idiom that means “hopping from one place to another”.
  • It is a dangerous immigration route taken by several lakhs of Indians to reach countries like the US, the UK or


UPI scales new high in December

  • Unified Payment Interface (UPI) transactions scaled a fresh peak in December by clocking Rs 18.23 trillion in value and 02 billion in volume, rising 5 per cent and 7 per cent in those terms from November.
  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood.
  • It also caters to the “Peer to Peer” collect request which can be scheduled and paid as per requirement and convenience.

Science & Technology

INS Imphal commissioned

  • INS Imphal (Pennant D68), the third of four warships of Project 15B that together form the Visakhapatnam class stealth-guided missile destroyers was commissioned into the Indian Navy.
  • The lead ship of Project 15B, INS Visakhapatnam (Pennant No D66), was commissioned into the Indian Navy in November 2021 and the second ship INS Mormugao (D67) in December 2022.
  • The fourth ship, D69, which when commissioned will be christened INS Surat, was launched in May last year.

‘Unabated’ fossil fuel

  • At the COP28 climate summit, one phrase that has taken the centrestage is “unabated” fossil fuels.
  • It comes to fossil fuels, “unabated” means doing nothing to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that are released from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas.
  • Conversely, “abated” refers to the attempts to decrease the release of polluting substances to an acceptable level.

Cow-dung methane rocket engine tested

  • A Japanese space startup has taken a big step toward developing its first orbital rocket — which will be powered by gas from cow dung.
  • Interstellar Technologies Inc. performed a combustion chamber static fire test at Japan's Hokkaido Spaceport as part of the development of the Cosmos engine for its Zero rocket.

AI tool can make weather forecasts

  • At the recent COP28, NASA and IBM announced that an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool called ai would be available on the open-source AI platform Hugging Space.
  • ai will help users monitor the Earth from space, measuring environmental changes that have already happened while also making predictions about the future.
  • Utilising NASA’s trove of data and IBM’s AI technology, the model can help scientists estimate the past and future extent of wildfires, floods, and urban heat maps.


What is ketamine?

  • “Friends” actor Matthew Perry suddenly passed away, an autopsy report, saying Perry died from the “acute effects” of ketamine.
  • Ketamine is an anaesthetic that has been listed as a hallucinogen by the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
  • It’s referred to as a “dissociative anaesthetic hallucinogen” because it creates a feeling of detachment from pain and the environment.

England, Wales caution judges over AI

  • Judges in England and Wales can now use generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems like ChatGPT for basic tasks, a guidance issued by the UK judiciary.
  • Generative AI is a form of AI that can generate new content, including text, images, sounds, and computer codes, the guideline said.
  • Similarly, the Supreme Court of India developed the Supreme Court VidhikAnuvaad Software (SUVAS), a machine-assisted translation tool trained by AI to promote regional languages in judicial procedure that can translate English judicial documents into eleven vernacular languages.

Russia’s penal colonies

  • Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been located in a penal colonynorth of the Arctic Circle.
  • Penal colonies of Russia are known for their harsh living conditions.
  • They are descendants of gulags — the Stalin-era forced labour camps that existed throughout the Soviet Union and where more than a million died.

Banned Muslim League

  • The Union Home Ministry banned the Masarat Alam-led Muslim League, a separatist organisation, for a period of five years under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for “anti-national and secessionist” activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Muslim League is the fifth separatist organisation banned by the Centre since 2019.

AI and copyright

  • The New York Times (NYT) has become the first major news publisher to sue OpenAI and Microsoft, the creators of ChatGPT and other popular artificial intelligence (AI) platforms, citing “unlawfuluse of copyrighted content.
  • Generative AI platforms such as ChatGPT and Google’s Bard have ignited a debate on IP rights over original content on the internet.

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