Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 15 December 2022

The Geminids meteor shower

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

It is that time of the year when the universe puts up its easiest-to-view meteor shower, the Geminids. This year, the Geminids peaked around 13-14 December, when, with a clear sky and away from bright city lights, you can watch scores of meteors streak across the sky.

What causes meteor showers?

  1. Meteors are usually fragments of comets. As they enter the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, they burn up, creating a spectacular “shower”.
  2. According to NASA, “Meteors come from leftover comet particles and bits from asteroids. When these objects come around the Sun, they leave a dusty trail behind them.
  3. Every year Earth passes through these debris trails, which allows the bits to collide with our atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and colorful streaks in the sky.”

Why are they called Geminids?

  1. That comes from the constellation Gemini, from whose location in the sky the meteor shower appears to originate.
  2. According to NASA, “The constellation for which a meteor shower is named only serves to aid viewers in determining which shower they are viewing on a given night.
  3. The constellation is not the source of the meteors. Also, you should not look only to the constellation of Gemini to view the Geminids – they are visible throughout the night sky.”


Pacific Ocean holds highest share of water

GS Paper - 3 (Environment)

Earth is totally covered with 70 per cent of water and 30 per cent of land. If the earth’s total water is one hundred percent, 96.5 percent of it is saltwater and the rest is fresh water. All the five oceans (the Arctic OceanSouthern OceanIndian OceanAtlantic Ocean and Pacific Oceancomprise 96.5 per cent of the earth’s total water. Out of the total Earth’s ocean basins, there’s one big ocean that holds the highest share of water, i.e., the Pacific Ocean.


  1. As per the World Register of Marine Species reports 2021, there are 240,000 marine species in this world, and some are yet to be discovered and documented.
  2. These species flow along these five oceans, considering them as a shelter home for tons of marine life.
  3. The Arctic Ocean accounts for around 6.1 million square miles of water space of the Earth’s ocean basins. Whereas, the Pacific Ocean, known as the largest of all the oceans, accounts for approximately 63 million square miles of the Earth’s ocean basins.
  4. Compared to the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean is ten times bigger. On an average, an average person wastes 30 gallons of water every day, either intentionally or unintentionally.
  5. Thanks to the water cycle, it helped the water to keep flowing from one place to another by taking different forms like water vapor, icecaps, glaciers, etc.
  6. The next biggest ocean to the Arctic Ocean is the Atlantic Ocean, spanning around 41 million square miles of the Earth’s total ocean basins.
  7. The Atlantic Ocean joins the Arctic Ocean and Southern Ocean. Bering Strait is the only entry point that joins the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.


Tensions persist between Kosovo and Serbia

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo flared anew during the past week after Serbs erected barricades on the main roads in the north of Kosovo, a former Serbian province. They were protesting the arrest of a former Kosovo Serb police officer. Shots were fired from the barricades, and a Kosovo Albanian police officer was injured. Someone lobbed a stun grenade at a European Union peacekeeping patrol mission.

Why are Serbia and Kosovo at Odds?

  1. Kosovo is a mainly ethnic Albanian territory that declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
  2. The Serbian government has refused to recognize Kosovo’s statehood and still considers it part of Serbia, even though it has no formal control there.
  3. Over 100 countries have recognized Kosovo’s independence, including the United States and most Western countries. RussiaChina and five European Union nations have sided with Serbia.
  4. The deadlock has kept tensions simmering and prevented the Balkan region’s full stabilization following the bloody breakup of former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

How deep is the conflict?

  1. The dispute over Kosovo is centuries-old. Serbia cherishes the region as the heart of its statehood and religion.
  2. Numerous medieval Serb Orthodox Christian monasteries are in Kosovo. Serb nationalists view a 1389 battle against Ottoman Turks there as a symbol of its national struggle.
  3. Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanians, most of whom are Muslim, view Kosovo as their country and accuse Serbia of occupation and repression.
  4. Ethnic Albanian rebels launched a rebellion in 1998 to rid the country of Serbian rule. Belgrade’s brutal response prompted a NATO intervention in 1999, which forced Serbia to pull out and cede control to international peacekeepers.


  1. There are constant tensions between Kosovo’s government and ethnic Serb residents who keep close ties with Belgrade.
  2. Government attempts to impose more control in the Serb-dominated north are usually met with resistance. Mitrovica, the main city in northern Kosovo, is effectively divided into an ethnic Albanian part and a Serb-held part, and the two sides rarely mix. There are also smaller Serb-populated enclaves in southern Kosovo.
  3. Tens of thousands of Kosovo Serbs live in central Serbia, where they fled together with the withdrawing Serb troops in 1999.
  4. Kosovo is a poor country, with much of its prewar industry not running. Crime and corruption are rampant in both the ethnic Albanian and Serb-controlled areas. Serb’s made up 10% of the population before the war, but now it’s lower.


No body to examine Dalit converts' SC status

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, A. Narayanaswamy, stated in the Lok Sabha that the Union government has not established any commission to investigate the granting of Scheduled Caste (SC) status to Dalit converts.

  1. Mr. Narayanaswamy was answering Margani Bharat's query on whether or not the government has established a commission to examine granting Dalit converts SC status.
  2. Despite the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment issued a notice on 6 October about the formation of a Commission of Inquiry to look into the demand for Dalit individuals of religions other than those listed in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 receiving SC status.
  3. To examine the issue of granting Scheduled Caste status to new individuals who claim to historically have belonged to the Scheduled Castes but have converted to a religion other than those mentioned in the Presidential Orders issued from time to time under Article 341 of the Constitution. This was the first term of reference for the commission in the notification.
  4. The Supreme Court is now debating whether to grant Dalits who converted to Islam or Christianity SC status.


  1. People from the lowest caste in India are referred to as Dalits, also known as untouchables in the past.
  2. Today, Dalits practise a wide range of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity, Islam, and a number of other faiths.
  3. According to the Indian Constitution, Dalits are referred to as Scheduled Castes.

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