The First Forum is an initiative which focuses on covering the latest happenings in a brief format. This is in lieu with the importance of knowledge about current happenings in this fast changing world.
In the Thirty Eighth Edition of The First Forum we would be covering the following topics:
1. Politics
2. Society and Culture 
3. Science and Technology

(By Ankita Punjani, Mehak Gupta and Divyansh Gupta)


Donald Trump threatens to use military to quell violent protests across US
US President Donald Trump threatened that he would deploy the military to quell violent protests against the custodial killing of African-American George Floyd, if the states and cities fail to take necessary actions. The president said he has mobilized all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson, and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including the Second Amendment rights. Read MoreHe also said all Americans were “rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death” of Floyd and asserted that justice will be served. Considered to be the worst ever civil unrest in the US in decades, the violent protests have engulfed at least 140 cities across America.

Joe Biden sees fundraising surge in wake of George Flyod death and Trump’s response
Joe Biden’s campaign for president is seeing a surge in fundraising in the wake of George Floyd’s death, particularly as President Donald Trump comes under scrutiny for his response to protests across the country. Biden supporters and bundlers have seen a massive uptick in new contributions and donor commitments since the protests began last week. Read MoreFundraisers said that they have each helped to raise between $200,000 and more than $1 million over the past week. In some cases, bundlers say they are raising money at a much faster clip than they had in similar lengths of time.

Trump’s Plan to invite India, Russia to G7 doomed to fail, says China
China on Tuesday strongly reacted to US President Donald Trump’s plans to invite India, Russia, Australia and South Korea to G7 summit, saying that any attempts to draw a “small circle” against Beijing will be “doomed to fail and become unpopular”. G7 is the group of top seven developed economies including the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada. Heads of States of these countries meet annually to discuss issues of global governance, including climate change, security and the economy. Read MoreDonald Trump has expressed his desire to expand the “outdated” bloc to G10 or G11, including India and 3 other nations to the grouping of the world’s top economies.

China’s Opposition to THAAD
China has issued a statement reiterating its long-standing objections to the presence of the USA’s THAAD missile defence system in South Korea. This comes after the reports of an overnight operation to bring in new, replacement interceptor missiles to the USA base in South Korea. THAAD is an acronym for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, a transportable, ground-based anti-ballistic missile defence system.It is designed to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles in their final flight phase. Read MoreTHAAD is coupled with space-based and ground-based surveillance stations, which transfer data about the incoming missile and inform the THAAD interceptor missile of the threat type classification. China is concerned about the missiles itself and more about the system’s inbuilt advanced radar systems that can track China’s actions.The USA’s presence and influence in East Asia, through its military bases in Japan and South Korea, hamper the geopolitics and complex conflicts of the region. It also interferes with Beijing’s long-term military, diplomatic and economic interests in the region.

Delimitation Commission to redraw the Lok Sabha and the Assembly constituencies
Recently, the Lok Sabha Speaker has nominated 15 MPs from Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh to assist the Delimitation Commission in redrawing the Lok Sabha and the Assembly constituencies of the northeastern States and the Union Territory of Ladakh. Read MoreThe appointments are made after the Delimitation Commission’s request to the presiding officers of Lok Sabha and the Assemblies to nominate associate members. The Commission is headed by the former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai. The Commission intends to delimit the constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act (2019) and delimitation in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland will be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Delimitation Act, 2002. Article 82 of the Indian Constitution provides the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census

Society and Culture

China Codifies Sexual Harassment by Law for the first time in a nod to “#MeToo Movement”
Last week Zhou and dozens of other women who started China‘s #MeToo movement won a small victory when the nation’s parliament enacted legislation that for the first time defines actions that can constitute sexual harassment. The reference in the new civil code, approved by a session of the National People’s Congress, is largely a symbolic step. Read MoreWhile it holds schools, businesses, and other organisations responsible for preventing and dealing with sexual harassment, it does not lay out guidelines for enforcement. Article 1,010 of the new code says a person may be held liable “for speech, words, images or bodily actions that have been used to carry out sexual harassment against a person’s wishes.”

Pride march in Chennai to be held online
Pride Month celebrations, which are usually held in June will all go online. For the time in 12 years, Chennai will not be having its Rainbow Pride March, in order to reduce the risk of novel coronavirus transmission. While the national lockdown may be lifted, social distancing remains key as the pandemic rages on. Read MoreWhile play will be streamed online. The performance will be followed by a panel discussion on LGBTIQ+ activism and the arts. Transgender activist and founder of sahodari foundation Kalki Subramanium said that they will be reaching out younger audience via Instagram and activists, professionals and corporates interested in activism through zoom.

UN Military Gender Advocate of the year Award for Major Suman Gawani
United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the year Award recognises the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles within the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.This resolution affirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction.Read More Major Suman Gawani, an Indian Army officer who served as a peacekeeper with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in 2019, has won the prestigious award this year. She is the first Female Indian Army Officer to be honoured with this award. She received the award during an online ceremony being organised at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters, New York (USA) on the occasion of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

National Career Service Project
The Ministry of Labour and Employment has started offering free online career skills training through its National Career Service (NCS) project for job-seekers registered with it. The training will assist the learners in enhancing personality development with modules on corporate etiquette, improving interpersonal skills, making impactful presentations including other necessary soft skills demanded by the industry today. Read MoreThe course has been launched in partnership with TCS iON (a unit of Tata Consultancy Services). The digital centralized portal provides a wide range of career related services including job search, job matching, rich career content, career counselling, information on Job Fairs, services of local service providers like drivers, plumbers, etc. for households and various other services. This portal also facilitates registration of Job Seekers, Employers, Skill Providers, Career Counsellors, Local Service Providers (LSP’s), Career Centers, Placement Organisations, Households (for availing the services of the LSP’s) and Government Department.

Science and Technology

Commercial rocket takes humans into space for the first time
On May 30, a commercial rocket for the first-time ferried astronauts into Earth orbit. Elon Musk’s company SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft took off at 3:22 p.m. EDT from the Kennedy Space Centre. It carried U.S. astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station (ISS). Read MoreCalled Demo-2, the launch and flight is the ultimate test of the ability to use this new system to take a crew into orbit. The Falcon 9 rocket then returned to Earth and safely landed on a floating platform. Such missions will lead the way in the future of commercial space travel.

Planets with hydrogen skies could harbour life
Astronomers have always been curious about whether the far flung rocky planets with skies filled with different gases could host life or not. While Earth is mostly made of nitrogen gas and some oxygen. However, the air on some rocky exoplanets’ might be mostly hydrogen. Read MoreTo test that, they set-up an experiment using yeast and E. coli wherein they tested if they would reproduce in different gases such as mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, hydrogen and helium. The microbes did not just survive, they also gave off distinctive gases known as biosignatures such as E. coli emitted ammonia. However, that would be enough but is a necessary first step.

Banana COVID: A Novel Fungal Strain
Recently, a novel fungus strain Fusarium wilt TR4 has started infecting the Banana plantations in India. It has been described as the equivalent of Covid-19 in Bananas. Similar to Covid-19, there is no treatment yet for the new fungal disease. It was first identified in Taiwan, and has moved from Asia to the Middle East and Africa, reaching as far as Latin America. It cripples plantations by first attacking the leaves, which turn yellow from their trailing edges before wilting away. Read MoreAccording to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, TR4 is one of the “the most destructive of all plant diseases”. In the midst of the coronavirus disease outbreak, Fusarium wilt TR4, has devastated plantations across the globe. Ecuador, the largest exporter of Banana is currently the epicentre. Banana is the world’s most globally exported fruit and the disease is breaching borders through international trade.The spreading disease has impacted the $26 billion global banana trade.

Tianwen-1:China’s Mars Mission
China will launch its first Mars Mission – Tianwen-1- in July, 2020. It will lift off on a Long March 5 rocket, from the Wenchang launch centre and 13 payloads (seven orbiters and six rovers) that will explore the planet.It is an all-in-one orbiter, lander and rover system. The spacecraft is designed to orbit a celestial body (astronomical body) without landing on its surface. The special Lander is a strong, lightweight spacecraft structure, consisting of a base and three sides “petals” in the shape of a tetrahedron (pyramid-shaped). Read MoreIt is a protective “shell” that houses the rover and protects it, along with the airbags, from the forces of impact. The mission will be the first to place a ground-penetrating radar on the Martian surface, which will be able to study local geology, as well as rock, ice, and dirt distribution. China’s previous ‘Yinghuo-1’ Mars mission, which was supported by a Russian spacecraft, had failed after it did not leave the earth’s orbit and disintegrated over the Pacific Ocean in 2012.

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