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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-2nd November 2022

SpaceX Launches First Falcon Heavy Mission, After 3 Years

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the world’s most-powerful active rocket, lifted off for the first time in more than three years, from Florida’s Cape Canaveral, with Elon Musk’s company sending a group of satellites into orbit for the U.S. Space Force.

About The Rocket System:

The rocket system, representing three Falcon 9 boosters strapped side-by-side, lifted off at a SpaceX launch pad. The rocket’s two side boosters were due to land in synchrony on adjacent concrete slabs along Florida’s east coast roughly eight minutes after liftoff. The Heavy carried a handful of classified payloads toward geostationary orbit for the U.S. Space Force on a mission called USSF-44.

USSF-44 is the fourth launch for the SpaceX Falcon Heavy overall and its first since June 2019. That low flight rate stands in stark contrast to the company’s Falcon 9 workhorse, which has flown more than once per week this year on average. And while the overwhelming majority of those Falcon 9 launches have used pre-flown boosters, Falcon Heavy launched on three brand-new first stages.

About The Past Falcon Missions:

Past Falcon Heavy missions have also attempted landings of the central booster on one of SpaceX’s automated drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean. However, the mass and orbital requirements of USSF-44’s payloads mandated that the core booster for this mission forgo landing and future re-use in order to dedicate maximum fuel for a direct insertion into geostationary orbit, about 22,000 miles (35,400 kilometers) above Earth.

The Falcon’s Debut:

Falcon Heavy’s February 2018 debut famously launched SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s cherry-red Tesla Roadster into interplanetary space with a mannequin named Starman strapped into the driver seat, wearing the same type of SpaceX flight suit worn by Crew Dragon astronauts. Falcon Heavy flew again in April 2019, when it launched the big Arabsat-6A satellite, and then again in June 2019 for a mission called STP-2.

The Other Heavy Rockets Are In Line:

Though the Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world, there are two massive rockets waiting in the wings to claim that title.

NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket, which is currently slated to attempt its inaugural launch later in November to send the uncrewed Artemis 1 mission around the moon, is sitting in the Kennedy Space Center’s towering Vehicle Assembly Building, which lies just a few miles from the launch pad where the Falcon Heavy will take flight.

And just across the Gulf Coast, At SpaceX’s experimental facilities in South Texas, the company is in the final stages of preparing for the first orbital launch attempt of its Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket. Though the test flight is still awaiting final approval from federal regulators, it could take flight before the end of the year.

Gujarat Government Set Up Committee To Implement Uniform Civil Code(UCC)

With Gujarat headed to Assembly elections and awaiting the release of the poll schedule, state Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi announced that the cabinet had decided to form a committee for the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the state.

A Recent Phenomena:

Gujarat is the second BJP-ruled state after Uttarakhand to constitute a committee of experts on the UCC. Chief Ministers of Himachal Pradesh and Assam, also ruled by the BJP, too have backed the UCC proposal.

What Has Been Said:

Addressing a press conference in Gandhinagar, Union Minister Parshottam Rupala said, “From the days of our youth, we have been making demand for Ram Janmabhoomi, for (abrogation of) Article 370, for UCC. I want to congratulate and express my gratitude to Chief Minister Bhupendra Pate, he has taken the next step towards fulfilling an old demand of the BJP.” “Like Ram Mandir and Kashmir, this issue (of UCC) has been passed by the Gujarat government (in the cabinet). A committee will be formed soon and based on the committee’s report, the way for implementing this law will open up in the state of Gujarat.”

About The Committee:

The committee will be constituted under the leadership of a retired judge of the High Court. The cabinet has given the Chief Minister the right to constitute the committee and it is expected to comprise three-four members. Its scope of work too will be decided.

Earlier Approach:

Since, family and succession laws come under the concurrent jurisdiction of the Centre and states, a state government can bring in a state law. But a uniform law across the country can only be enacted by Parliament. Earlier this month, the Centre told the Supreme Court that the matter will now be placed before the 22nd Law Commission.

Responding to petitions seeking uniformity in laws governing matters of divorce, succession, inheritance, adoption and guardianship, the Centre, in an affidavit, underlined that the Constitution obligates the state to have a Uniform Civil Code for citizens. It said citizens belonging to different religions and denominations following different property and matrimonial laws “is an affront to the nation’s unity”.

The government also told the Supreme Court that no direction can be issued to the legislature to enact a particular legislation. “This is a matter of policy for the elected representatives of the people to decide. It is for the legislature to enact or not to enact a legislation,” its affidavit stated.

The Prevailing Condition:

Article 44 of the Constitution – in Part IV which deals with Directive Principles of State Policy – states: “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

Goa is the only state in India that has a uniform civil code regardless of religion, gender and cast. A former Portuguese colony, it inherited the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867 that is still applicable in the state even after it joined the Indian Union in 1961.

In other parts of the country, different personal laws are applicable to different religious communities. For instance, the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is applicable to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 is applicable to matters related to Parsis, the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 for Christians and the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 is applicable to Muslims in personal matters.

Central Vigilance Awareness Week is observed from 31st October to 6th November 2022

Central Vigilance Commission observes Vigilance Awareness Week during the week in which 31st of October, the birthday of the late Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel falls. This year, Vigilance Awareness Week is being observed from 31st October to 6th November 2022 with the following theme: “Corruption-free India for a developed Nation”.

As a precursor to Vigilance Awareness Week 2022, the Central Vigilance Commission had carried out a three-month campaign highlighting certain preventive vigilance initiatives as focus areas for all the Ministries/ Departments/ Organizations.

The six focus areas include the following:

a) Property Management

b) Management of Assets

c) Record Management

d) Technological Initiatives comprising two parameters

  • Website Maintenance & updation

  • Identification of new areas for service delivery for customers to be brought on the online portal and initiation of steps for creating an Online platform.

e) Updation of guidelines/circulars / Manuals wherever found necessary

f) Disposal of complaints

About the Vigilance Awareness Week:

In course of observance of Vigilance Awareness Week, public meetings will be held at district and block levels involving the students, youth, academics, serving and retired Govt. officials, Self Help Groups, NGOs and members of civil society in order to raise public awareness against perils of corruption and enlist the support of all the stakeholders in the anti-corruption campaign.

Further, debate, quiz, cartoon, slogans, painting, rangoli & poster competitions on anti-corruption theme amongst the school and college students have been planned. Public rallies, walkathon and marathon etc. involving students and different sections of society will also be organised at different places to raise awareness.

About the Central Vigilance Commission:

  • The Central Vigilance Commission has the mandate under the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 to fight corruption and to ensure integrity in public administration.

  • It is charged with monitoring all vigilance activities under the Central Government and advising various authorities in Central Government and organizations under it, in planning, executing and reviewing their vigilance work in order to bring out systemic improvement in governance.

  • In addition, the Commission with its outreach activities also endeavours to create awareness amongst the common man, especially the youth, towards the policy of achieving transparency, accountability and corruption-free governance.

WHO Global TB Report 2022

The WHO released the Global TB Report 2022 on October 27, 2022. The Report notes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis, treatment and burden of disease for TB all over the world. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has taken note of the WHO Global TB Report 2022, and clarified that India has performed far better on major metrics as compared to other countries over time.

India’s TB Incidences:

India’s TB incidence for the year 2021 is 210 per 100,000 population – compared to the baseline year of 2015 (incidence was 256 per lakh of population in India); there has been an 18% decline which is 7 percentage points better than the global average of 11%. These figures also place India at the 36th position in terms of incidence rates i.e. from largest to smallest incidence numbers.

The Pandemic Effect & India:

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted TB Programmes across the world, Even then India was able to successfully offset the disruptions caused, through the introduction of critical interventions in 2020 and 2021 – this led to the National TB Elimination Programme notifying over 21.4 lakh TB cases – 18% higher than 2020. This success can be attributed to an array of forward-looking measures implemented by the Programme through the years, such as the mandatory notification policy to ensure all cases are reported to the government. Further, intensified door-to-door Active Case Finding drives to screen patients and ensure no household is missed, has been a pillar of the Programme.

In 2021, over 22 crore people were screened for TB. The aim has been to find and detect more cases to arrest onwards transmission of the disease in the community which has contributed to the decline in incidence. For this purpose, India has also scaled up diagnostic capability to strengthen detection efforts. Indigenously-developed molecular diagnostics have helped expand the reach of diagnosis to every part of the country today. India has over 4,760 molecular diagnostic machines across the country, reaching every district.

Key Findings Of The Report:

  • Over 10.6 million people fell ill because of tuberculosis in 2021. This is a 4.5 per cent increase when compared with 2020 figures.

  • 6 million people have lost their lives to tuberculosis. Of these, 187,000 are HIV patients.

  • The burden of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) has risen by 3 per cent between 2020 and 2021. Last year, 450 000 new cases of rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) were recorded.

  • COVID-19 pandemic and the on-going conflicts in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East are disrupting TB responses across the world. This is exacerbating the situation further.

  • Due to challenges related to accessibility to essential TB services, many people with tuberculosis have not been diagnosed and treated.

  • According to the report, the number of reported cases of TB fell from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020. The situation improved in 2021, with 6.4 million people reporting TB.

  • Reduction in the number of reported TB cases means that there is an increase in the number of untreated TB patients. The number of TB deaths have increased as well along with more community transmission of TB infection.

TB & India’s Performance:

    • With 28% cases, India was among the eight countries accounting for more than two-third (68.3%) of the total TB patients’ count.

      • The other countries were Indonesia (9.2% cases), China (7.4%), the Philippines (7%), Pakistan (5.8%), Nigeria (4.4%), Bangladesh (3.6%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2.9%).

    • India accounted for 36% of the global TB related deaths among HIV negative people.

    • India was among the three countries (along with Indonesia and the Philippines) that accounted for most of the reduction in 2020 (67% of the global) and made partial recoveries in 2021.

    • India’s Stand on the Report: India has performed far better on major metrics as compared to other countries over time.

      • India’s TB incidence for the year 2021 is 210 per 100,000 population – compared to the baseline year of 2015 (which was 256 per 100,000 population).

      • There has been an 18% decline (7 percentage points); better than the global average of 11% placing India at the 36th position in terms of incidence rates.

Google Buys Twitter-Backed AI Avatar Startup Alter for $100 mn

Tech giant Google has acquired Alter, an artificial intelligence (AI) avatar startup that was working on using AI to generate avatars for social media users and brands to express their virtual identity. According to TechCrunch, Google buys the startup for about $100 million in an effort to improve its content game and compete with TikTok.

About Alter:

The U.S. and Czech-headquartered, Alter started as Facemoji, a platform that offered plug-and-play technology for helping game and App developers add avatar systems to their Apps. Among its investors are Play Ventures, Roosh Ventures and Twitter, which invested $3 million in the startup. Later Facemoji rebranded as Alter.

What Has Been Said:

According to several media reports, Google had acquired Alter, an AI Avatar Startup, two months back. However, they have not released any official statement regarding the same yet. Reportedly, some of the top executives of Alter have updated their LinkedIn profiles mentioning their collaboration with Google. However, they have not specifically hinted towards the acquisition. As per several media reports, a Google spokesperson has confirmed the acquisition of Alter by Google but has denied to unveil further details about the financial and transaction details.

Google’s AI Move:

In recent years, Google has been investing heavily in its AI technology. From language learning models to image generators, the company is putting AI at the center of its suite of products. For example, with Search, Google is using AI not only to help people filter out bad results, but also to help those struggling with personal crises.

With its hardware, like the recently released Pixel 7, Google is integrating AI processing cores into the phone’s processor to better help process photos or translate speech. While Google’s social media aspirations fizzled out in 2018, it is finding renewed momentum with YouTube Shorts, the company’s short-form video platform meant to compete with Tik-Tok. It’s possible Google Avatars could integrate with Shorts sometime in the future.

1st ASEAN-India Start-up Festival 2022 inaugurated in Indonesia

The 1st ASEAN-India Start-up Festival (AISF) was inaugurated by Dr. Srivari Chandrashekhar, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology on 27th October 2022 in Bogor, Indonesia. The inaugural event was felicitated by Mr. Satvinder Singh, Deputy Secretary General for ASEAN Economic Community, and Ambassador, Mr. Jayant Khobragde, Indian Mission to ASEAN (IMA).

Key Points related to the 1st ASEAN-India Start-up Festival

  • Deputy Secretary General for ASEAN Economic Community, Satvinder Singh highlighted that ASEAN has a vibrant and promising start-up ecosystem.

  • In 2021, 25 new unicorns in ASEAN were included with their combined valuation at USD 55.4 billion.

  • The 1st ASEAN-India Start-up Festival will further strengthen the ASEAN-India cooperation to accelerate the start-up economy.

  • The National COSTI Chairperson of Indonesia and the Chairman National Research and Innovation Agency, were also present at the inaugural ceremony.

  • The festival is part of the overall ASEAN-India Science, Technology, and Innovation Corporation program between the ASEAN Committee on Science Technology, and Innovation (COSTI) and the Department of Science and Technology (GoI).

  • It is supported under the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund (ADF) of Govt of India.

  • The four-day event is being hosted in conjunction with the Indonesian Research and Innovation Expo (INA-RIE) from the 27th until the 30th of October 2022 at the Innovation Convention Centre, Cibinong Bogor, Indonesia.

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists: 2 November

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2022:

November 2nd has been observed as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI) since 2013. The day came into existence when the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution in December 2013. The day draws attention to impunity, i.e., culprits going unpunished, to crimes against journalists. It took a couple of years of work and extensive lobbying from IFEX (formerly International Freedom of Expression Exchange) and others to get the Resolution for marking the day passed.

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2022: Theme

The main event to celebrate the 2022 International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is a High-Level Multi-Stakeholder Conference on the Safety of Journalists with the theme “Protecting Media to Protect Democracy” in Vienna, Austria. This year’s slogan is Knowing the “Truth is Protecting the Truth”.

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2022: Significance

IDEI brings attention to crimes against media persons and how criminals often get away with such offences. To observe the day, states are urged to do their best to contain violence against journalists, to ensure accountability, and bring perpetrators to justice.

The day is significant as putting a stop to impunity for crimes against journalists is a pre-requisite to guaranteeing freedom of expression and upholding justice in society. Continued impunity would not only result in more killings. It is also a sign of heightening conflict and the breakdown of law and judicial systems.

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists: History

The date for IDEI was chosen to commemorate the assassination of two journalists in Mali on November 2, 2013. Al Qaida claimed responsibility for the death and kidnapping of French media workers Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont. The culprits remain unapprehended to this day. Official figures show a grim picture for other journalists as well. According to UNESCO’s observatory of killed journalists, between 2006 and 2020, over 1,200 journalists were killed for doing their job. In 90% of these cases, the killers went unpunished.

Observation of the day is especially important in India, where 2021 was one of the deadliest years for Indian journalists in the past decade. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, six journalists were killed in the country between 2021 and 2022.

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