South China Sea dispute

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Current affairs that is needed for UPSC IAS exam preparation is updated every day (except Sundays) along with General Studies Quiz. These current events are prepared from The HinduPIB, Business Standard, Wikipedia and other standard sources. These current events are free of cost and we request you NOT to buy these from photocopy shops which are illegally sold without our permission.

South China Sea dispute

Context: In the middle of the global coronavirus pandemic, China has been busy increasing its presence in the South China Sea.

If the dispute were to aggravate, Asia-Pacific researchers believe it could have serious consequences for diplomatic relations and stability in the region.

South China Sea dispute

What’s the issue now?

The focus this time is on two disputed archipelagos of the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands in the middle of the South China Sea waters, between the territory of Vietnam and the Philippines.

Beijing unilaterally renamed 80 islands and other geographical features in the area, drawing criticism from neighbouring countries who have also laid claim to the same territory.

What is the Spratly Islands dispute about?

  • The ongoing territorial dispute is between China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia concerning the ownership of the Spratly Islands archipelago and nearby geographical features like corals reefs, cays etc.
  • Brunei has contained its objections to the use of its maritime waters for commercial fishing.
  • The islands may have large reserves of untapped natural resources including oil.

What is the Paracel Islands dispute about?

Located in the South China Sea, almost equidistant from China and Vietnam.

Beijing says that references to the Paracel Islands as a part of China sovereign territory can be found in 14th century writings from the Song Dynasty.

Vietnam on the other hand, says that historical texts from at least the 15th century show that the islands were a part of its territory.

With increased tensions accelerated by Colonial powers, China and Vietnam fought over their territorial disputes in January 1974 after which China took over control of the islands.

  1. In retaliation, in 1982, Vietnam said it had extended its administrative powers over these islands.
  2. In 1999, Taiwan jumped into the fray laying its claim over the entire archipelago.
  3. Since 2012, China, Taiwan and Vietnam have attempted to reinforce their claims on the territory by engaging in construction of government administrative buildings, tourism, land reclamation initiatives and by establishing and expanding military presence on the archipelago.

Understanding UNCLOS:

United Nation Convention on the Laws of the Sea defines the rights, responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, environment, and the management of marine natural resources.

Facts for Prelims


Saudi Arabia abolishes flogging:

Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging as a punishment for crime. 

  • Now, with flogging abolished, judges will have to choose between fines, jail sentences and non-custodial alternatives such as jail sentences.
  • This reform was made in order to “bring the kingdom into line with international human rights norms against corporal punishment”.
  • In 2018, Saudi had lifted the ban on women drivers. And, women not requiring permission from their male guardians to apply for a passport anymore.

Unified Geologic Map of the Moon:

It is the first ever digital, unified, global, geological map of the moon.

  • It was released virtually by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) and the Lunar Planetary Institute on April 22, 2020.
  • The map is a ‘seamless, globally consistent, 1:5,000,000-scale geologic map’.
  • It will serve as a blueprint for future human missions and a source of research and analysis for the educators and the general public interested in lunar geology.
Geological_map_moon

Total Nobels for the Curie family:

The Curies have received a total of four of Nobel prizes, the highest won by a single family.

They also have the unique distinction of having three Nobel-prize winning members in the family.

  • In 1903, Marie Curie received the Nobel Prize in Physics making her the world’s first woman to win the prize. Curie shared the 1903 Nobel with her fellow researcher Pierre Currie and Becquerel for their combined work on radioactivity. 
  • In 1911, she created history again by becoming the first woman to have won two Nobel awards. The 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Marie after she managed to produce radium as a pure metal.
  • The 1935 Nobel in Chemistry went to Irène Curie and her husband and co-researcher Frédéric Joliot for their joint work on the artificial creation of new radioactive elements. 

Rohtang Pass:

It is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km (32 mi) from Manali.

  • It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh, Manali-Leh Highway, a part of NH 21, transverses Rohtang Pass.
  • River Ravi rises west of the Rohtang pass in the Kullu Hills.

Yemen separatists declare self-rule in south:

  • Separatists in southern Yemen have declared self-rule, breaking a peace deal signed in November with the internationally recognised government.
  • The coalition consists of the UAE-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the Saudi-backed government forces.
  • Yemen has been devastated by a civil war between the Houthis and the government-backed coalition.
Yemen

Pitch Black 2020:

  • Australia’s multilateral air combat training exercise, Pitch Black 2020 has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation.
  • In the last edition of Pitch Black in 2018, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had for the first-time deployed fighter aircraft for the exercise.
  • The multilateral air combat exercise provides a unique opportunity for exchange of knowledge and experience with forces across the globe in a dynamic warfare environment.

About CERT-In:

CERT-In (the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) is a government-mandated information technology (IT) security organization. CERT-In was created by the Indian Department of Information Technology in 2004 and operates under the auspices of that department.

It’s purpose: The purpose of CERT-In is to respond to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout the country. According to the provisions of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, CERT-In is responsible for overseeing administration of the Act.

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