Today’s Current Affairs December 5

December 5, 2019

Front page

Citizenship Amendment Bill ready for tabling in Parliament

The controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill will be tabled in Parliament soon. With the overwhelming majority BJP has in the Lok Sabha, the Bill will sail through the House. However, since the Bill excludes Muslim refugees from seeking citizenship in India, it will run afoul of Article 14 of the Constitution. Civil rights groups are bracing to challenge the Bill in Supreme Court. The parliament does not have the power to circumvent the provisions of the Constitution through a bill like this.
*What is Citizenship Amendment Bill … It seeks to amend the Citizens Act of 1955. It entitles refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to seek citizenship rights in India, if they fear persecution in their countries. People of all major faiths, i.e, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity are eligible for applying for citizenship. Muslim refugees, however, will be barred from this concession.
Good words used .. Sail through, Circumvent, Asylum, Afoul, Persecution

Sundar Pichai gets elevated in Google CEO

Sundar Pichai, the Indian-origin CEO of Google will climb another step in his illustrious career when he will become the CEO of Alphabet, the company that owns Google. The founders of the company, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin will be stepping aside soon to make way for Pichai. Analysts say the two founders wanted to deflect the ongoing probes against the company by U.S. and European authorities with regard to Privacy matters and allegations of Google misusing its dominance as a search engine.
** Difference between Google and Alphabet .. Google was started in 1995 as a search engine in a very modest scale. Sergey Brin, and Larry Page were the founders. Soon, the fledgling venture grew by leaps and bounds to become the most favored search engine worldwide. The founders decided to split the company to a number of subsidiaries with Alphabet being the holding company, and Google its subsidiary. A number of lesser known subsidiaries were also born. They were Nest, Calico, Google Fiber, Verify Life Sciences, GV, x Development, CapitalG, Boston Dynamics. These companies are busy developing and marketing various products such as, Smart Phones, Healthcare Devices, Drones etc.

President Trump to face impeachment, rules Speaker

Even before Trump entered the White House, he has been plagued by various controversies relating to his business empire, marriages, relation with women, and his diatribes against opponents.
After two years of functioning as President, he has around him myriad controversies, the most damaging of them being the collusion with the Russians to defame his rival, Mrs. Hillary Clinton in the last presidential election. The latest controversy that brought him to face the ignominy of impeachment is the way he pressured the Ukranian President to start an investigation against Joe Biden’s son who headed an oil company in Ukraine. Joe Biden is likely to emerge as his Democratic Party rival in the coming elections. Such pressure on Ukraine amounts to misuse of his presidential powers to discredit his opponent, and improve his own chances to win the presidential elections.
After much deliberation, the Democrats who control the U.S. Congress have decided to go ahead with the impeachment proceedings. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker affirmed it. However, even if the Congress passes the impeachment motion, the Senate may possibly reject it because the Democrats do not have 67% voting power there. This is the minimum required for an impeachment motion to be passed. For Congress, the minimum required is 51% votes that the Democrats have.
Good words used ..Ignominy, Collusion, Myriad, Plague, Diatribe

National

Supreme Court agrees to hear a woman devotee’s plea

A thirty-year-old woman has approached the Supreme Court seeking police protection against harassment by male devotees when she visits the shrine next. The Apex Court has agreed to hear this. As on date, the earlier judgment allowing women of all ages to visit the shrine stands, although a review petition is slated to be heard by a 7-bench court later.

Ropeway for Sabrimala on the cards

Humongous quantities of jiggery, rice, and other miscellaneous items are carried daily by a fleet of tractors that traverse the winding path from the base atop the shrine. The tractors cause inconvenience to the pedestrian devotees, and cause obnoxious exhaust smoke to pollute the environment. Now, plans are afoot to install a rope way that would carry the grocery items smoothly to the shrine, thus obviating the difficulties to the pedestrians who find the tractors as a nuisance and an eyesore in their spiritual trek. The Travancore Devaswom Board(TDB) has given its concurrence to the rope way project.

Government procurement of pulses, oil seeds abysmally low

The much-publicised Pradhana MantrI Annadata, Aay Snkrakyan Abhiyan (PM- AASHA) scheme could procure a meager 1.08 lakh tons out of the targeted 37. 59 lakh tons of pulses and oil seeds. The performance has been very discouraging.
Flights over Taj Mahal to be restricted
The Supreme Court has directed that the frequency of flights over the World Heritage site of Taj Mahal must not be allowed to increased. Now, building a second airport that will be permit air crafts to skirt the Taj is being mooted.

Delhi will have free WI-FI

The Kejriwal government is going to make available free WI-Fi to Delhites from 1000 hotspots scattered across the city. Each user can avail up to 15 GB data per month free.

Supreme Court to hear plea against the Poll Bond scheme in January

The Apex Court has agreed to hear a plea b the Association of Democratic Reforms against the practice of making political donations in a very opaque manner. The ace activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan will argue the case to disband this system that vitiates the election process.
Four soldiers perish as avalanche and blizzard buffet parts of Kashmir
Unexpected weather conditions in the Tandhar sector of Kupwara resulted in avalanches and blizzards that fatally buried army patrol units. Four soldiers lost their lives under the snow.

International

NATO summit ends on a unity note
‘The United States will continue to be committed to NATO as before’, asserted Trump. Putting to rest the speculation that America is disillusioned with NATO and feels it is redundant in the present world order, President Trump unequivocally assured the other leaders that America will never waver from its commitment to the military alliance that guarantees the security of Europe.
Good words used .. Disillusion, Redundant, Unequivocal

Pakistani girls sold as brides to Chinese bachelors
China’s influence on Pakistan’s economy and society is increasing in an alarming pace. Chinese young men looking for brides are luring poor Pakistani girls of marriageable age and taking them away to their homes in China. What future awaits them there is uncertain. In the last one year, as many as 629 gullible Pakistani maids have fallen prey to the trickery of the Chinese men. Now, the civil society of Pakistan has woken up to this menace and is trying to curb such practices.
Good words and phrases used .. Gullible, Fall prey to, Menace

U.S. House of Representatives passes bill condemning China’s crackdown on the Uighurs

The world has looked on rather passively at China’s inhuman treatment of its own Uighur citizens who have long practiced Islam as their guiding faith. China has put in place an elaborate confinement facility to forcibly make the Uighur inmates do things prohibited by their faith. They have been forced to eat pork, burn Koran copies, and change their family names to Chinese names. Such reprehensible humiliation of a vast community of Muslims has shaken the conscience of American law makers. U.S. Congressmen have passed the Uighur Act, 2019 that deplores the repression of the Uighurs by the Chinese in very strong language. The Act is a stinging indictment of the Chinese government, who have been battling to rein in worldwide disgust at the way pro-democracy protestors have been brutalized by the police.
Good words used .. Reprehensible, Stinging, Indictment

Climate change ravages the World, Japan and India among the worst hit
Symptoms of climate change are visible across the globe. Japan tops the list of countries the nations bearing the brunt of Climate-induced disasters, like storms, copious rains, and cyclones.
India suffers to, but in somewhat different way. In India, droughts, and floods have become more common, and more alarmingly ground water level has dipped. This has ominous ramifications for agriculture and drinking water availability.

Finance

India’s first Bharat Bond ETF will soon be launched

The floating of these bonds will make available funds drawn from the investing public for utilization by the Public Sector Units for their operational needs. In this arrangement top profit making PSU, Banks, and other such enterprises with AAA rating will be asked to participate by floating their bonds. The investor could by these bonds and get dividend as and when declared. The bonds will be pooled in a basket to make them immune to loss or below-par profitability of any individual enterprise. The Union Cabinet has given its nod for this idea.

DATA Protection Bill receives green light of the government

Personal data like passwords, Financial data will be treated as a person’s private information that can not be stolen, hacked, or sold to others. A bill to give such privacy a legal status has been okayed by the government for tabling in parliament.
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Comprehension exercise..
Read the following story that has disturbed Indians all over the country, and answer the questions at the end of the story.
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Story ..
An Indian dancer has been hospitalised after being shot in the face because she stopped performing at a wedding.
In a video of the incident, the woman is seen dancing on a stage. She pauses, a gunshot is heard, and the woman falls down while holding her face.
Police told the BBC that they have identified the shooter in the video, who is on the run.
The incident happened during a wedding celebration on 1 December in a village in Uttar Pradesh state.
However, it only came to light days later, after the video was widely shared on messaging platforms.
“The suspect is on the run but we are confident that we will arrest him soon,” police told the BBC.
Wedding violence is a common phenomenon in certain parts of the country, where many guests carry guns – mostly to fire in the air to celebrate the occasion.
However, with revelries getting out of control, violence is not uncommon.
A similar incident occurred in 2016 in the northern state of Punjab, when a pregnant woman was killed after she was shot in the stomach while performing a dance at a wedding.
Other tragedies happen by accident.
In November 2016, a gun-toting self-proclaimed god-woman killed three people including the groom’s aunt, after firing celebratory shots at a wedding in the northern state of Haryana.
In 2018, Punjab police arrested a man after he allegedly shot dead his neighbour by mistake during a pre-wedding party.
He had fired shots into the air to celebrate his daughter’s upcoming wedding. But one of the bullets hit his female neighbour in the forehead, killing her instantly.
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Questions …
1. Suggest a name for this story.
2. Why was the girl shot?
3. Do you think arranging such dances during marriage ceremonies should be banned? Justify your answer.

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