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 Fourth Edition of The First Forum we would be covering the following:
1. Politics
2. Society and Culture 
3. History

Politics

(By Ankita Punjani, Divyansh Gupta, Mehak Gupta)

Andhra Pradesh Assembly Passes resolution to abolish legislative council
The Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Monday passed a statutory resolution seeking to abolish the state Legislative Council, days after the YSR (Yuvajana Sramika Rythu) Congress government failed to get two crucial bills on its plans to have three capitals Read Morecleared by the Opposition Telugu Desam Party dominated Upper House. All 133 members present in the 175-member House, when the division vote was taken, voted in favour and the resolution under Article 169 (1) of the Constitution was adopted unanimously. Speaker Tammineni Seetaram announced that the resolution was adopted by a majority as stipulated under Article 169 (1) related to abolition or creation of Legislative Councils in states.

EC issues notice to BJP leader Anurag Thakur
The Election Commission (EC) issued a show-cause notice to Union minister Anurag Thakur on Tuesday for his “desh ke gaddaron ko” slogan at a poll meeting, Read Moresaying prima facie the remarks had the “potential of disturbing communal harmony” and the BJP MP had violated the election code and electoral law. The Delhi CEO Office said it had submitted a report to the Election Commission on the “provocative” language used by Thakur while canvassing for BJP candidates contesting the 8 February Delhi Assembly polls.

POTUS Impeachment Enters Volatile New Phase
After six days of carefully choreographed oral arguments, President Trump’s impeachment trial is about to enter a volatile phase as senators are allowed to ask whatever they want of House prosecutors and White House lawyers. Read MoreIt is a moment of opportunity and peril for both parties, as 100 senators question the House impeachment managers and Trump’s legal defence team in as many as 16 hours over two days that could shape the endgame of the trial. Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, was impeached by the Democrat-controlled house for using his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival.

BJP MP Parvesh Verma claims to receive threat call
After BJP MP Parvesh Verma, outrageous remarks over the anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, on Wednesday morning claimed to have received a threat from an unidentified caller. Read MoreThe West Delhi MP posted a screenshot of the phone call that he received at 8:11 am on Twitter adding that he would lodge a complaint. On Tuesday, he raised the spectre of Shaheen Bagh’s anti-CAA protesters in their lakhs entering homes to rape and kill women, provoking opposition outrage as the Delhi election chief submitted a report on his remarks to the Election Commission.

Saina Nehwal joins BJP
Badminton ace and Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal on Wednesday joined the BJP at its national headquarters in New Delhi ahead of the crucial Delhi Assembly elections. Read MoreAfter she met BJP president J.P. Nadda, a formal announcement of her joining the party was made. “Today, I am joining a party that performs well for the country. Modi Ji has done so much for sports in India with initiatives like ‘Khelo India’. Looking forward to work hard for the country and the people,” she said. Saina’s elder sister Abu Chandranshu Nehwal also joined BJP with her.

Boris Johnson faces huge backlash after allowing Huawei 5G role
Boris Johnson is facing a huge backlash on both sides of the Atlantic over his decision to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to build parts of Britain’s 5G network. Read MoreAs backbench Tory MPs threaten a rebellion in the Commons on the move, Mr Johnson will try to smooth things over with Donald Trump’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo as he arrives in London for talks. It comes as MEPs are set to vote through the withdrawal deal and seal the UK’s exit. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage claimed Brexit was “the beginning of the end” of the EU – but said Britain might still secure a “pretty reasonable” trade deal.

Trump releases Middle East Peace Plan, says it’s a win-win situation
President Trump on Tuesday unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan with a flourish, releasing a proposal that would give Israel most of what it has sought over decades of conflict while offering the Palestinians the possibility of a state with limited sovereignty. Read MoreTrump’s plan would guarantee that Israel would control a unified Jerusalem as its capital and not require it to uproot any of the settlements in the West Bank that have provoked Palestinian outrage. Trump promised to provide $50 billion in international investment to build the new Palestinian entity and open an embassy in its new state.


Society and Culture

(By Shruti Jha, Nikunj Gulati, Kanika)

Ratification of peace pact with Bodos’
The step towards peace for Northeast, the central and Assam government on Monday signed the Tripartite agreement with National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), which has been spearheading a movement for Bodoland state was also a signatory to the accord. Read MoreThis is the third Bodo Accord to be signed since 1993. The demand for a separate Bodoland state is almost five decades old. “The agreement will ensure a golden future for Assam and the Bodo people,” Amit Shah said and added that the agreement will fulfil political and economic demand besides safeguarding the Bodo language and culture. As many as 1550 militants of NDFB will surrender with arms on January 30 on Gandhi’s death anniversary. An economy program of Rs.1550 crore has been sanctioned with an equal contribution of Rs.750 each from central and state govt. to implement the accord for the next three years.

SC notice on plea against Transgender Act
The plea filed by Assam’s first transgender judge Swati Bidhan Baruah challenged the validity of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019 on the ground that it violates the right to life, privacy, and equality of transpersons under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution. Read MoreThe plea stated that sections 4 to 7 of the Act constituted a disproportionate interference with the right to privacy of a trans-person. Section 4 to 7 of the act provides a method of state identification of transpersons by a process of certification by a district magistrate. The provision also violates the right to life of transpersons by prescribing grossly inadequate punishment for sexual abuse. The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Central government on Monday on a petition alleging that legislation drafted to protect transgender persons was violative of their rights.

Bumble Bees’ Favorite Flowers Identified to Aid Bee Restoration
To protect various species of North American bumble bees, a set of flowers has been identified keeping in mind the test results when a set of bumble bees are scattered in a plot with various flower species depicting that there are certain species of flowers to which almost all species of bees are attracted Read Morewhereas there are some other to which only a selected set of species are attracted. After these reports were formed, the Forest Reserve workers have already collected the seeds of those preferential species of plants and thus are already in course with the restoration process.

New Construction Materials Can Transform Buildings into CO2 sinks
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has recently reported that a change in construction material from cement and steel in the urban construction will have double benefits towards reducing the amount of carbon dioxide. Read MoreFirstly, less greenhouse gases will be emitted with lowering cement and steel production and secondly, buildings will act as a carbon sink as they act as a store of carbon dioxide taken up from the air by trees and are harvested and used for engineered timber. This operation though will need a big team of international workers working towards a more sustainable way for forest preservation. Some researchers have estimated that a five-story residential building constructed with laminated timber can hold upto 180 kilos of carbon per square metre.

N.B.A. Star Kobe Bryant Dies in California Helicopter Crash
The retired Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna departed from calif to his Youth basketball academy died in a helicopter crashed due to a blanket of fog near Calabasas on Sunday along with seven others. LeBron James posted about Bryant’s death: “I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!!”. Read MoreGranity Studios, the NBA Star’s multimedia production company made the Academy award-winning film available for free on the dearbasketball.com website. “Dear Basketball” is an Oscar-winning short film created and produced by Bryant and is based on a poem he wrote in 2015 to announce the retirement. The NBA has postponed the Lakers Clippers game and the decision was made out of respect grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe and his daughter and seven others. Kobe Bryant was boosting women basketball since his retirement from the NBA.

History

(By Gunika Vij, Manraj Uppal, Somya Yadav)

2003 SARS epidemic of china
The recent outbreak of Coronavirus in China has led to many people drawing comparisons with the SARS epidemic which spread in China about 17 years ago. As a direct result of that outbreak, 8000 people had to be hospitalized and over 800 of them lost their lives. Read MoreThe patients developed basic flu symptoms that quickly transformed into chronic pneumonia in a matter of days. The SARS epidemic was not just restricted to China. It went on to affect more than 26 countries (especially in the South East Asian region). This spread was largely attributed to the gross mismanagement of the crisis by the Chinese authorities. Hence, China received international condemnation, especially at the hands of the World Health Organization. The crisis was further compounded by the fact that China tried to cover it up. The Chinese administration denied the existence of a major health threat for a period of 9 months after the initial breakout. WHO has warned China against committing the same mistakes with regards to the Coronavirus.

Kobe and Olympics
It is a well-known fact that Kobe Bryant ruled NBA for about two decades. He won the NBA title 5 times with his team Los Angeles Lakers. However, apart from playing club basketball, he has also delivered on the International stage.

He is a recipient of 2 Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) where he led the American team to glory. In fact in 2008, he played with an injured finger because he knew that a surgery would mean that he won’t be able to play in the Olympics. Winning at the Olympics made him a global superstar. Even after retiring, he had stayed close to the Olympics movement. He actively advocated for Women’s basketball and helped raise funds for it. He even attended the 2016 US women gymnastic trials for the Olympics. He had expressed eager interest in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics before his tragic death on 26th January, 2020.

Winter Olympics
January 25, 1924, the city Chamonix in the French Alps hosted the first Winter Olympics. The 10-day event witnessed participation of over 16 countries and more than 10,000 people in sports like figure skating, speed skating, hockey, curling and more. Read MoreAccording to the official records, the proposal was presented at the seventh session of the IOC’s Olympic Congress held in June 1921. Although the winter Olympics faced a set back from the ongoing Nordic Games, the IOC agreed to an “International week of winter sport, part of a celebration of the Games of the VIII Olympiad” for 1924 in Paris, later Chamonix. Even after almost a century, this event hasn’t changed in the sense of having a dominant Canadian hockey team, fewer nations competing with each other than they do in the Summer Olympics and athletes who were known beyond their sport. It wasn’t until 1992, that the Winter Olympics gained recognition and involved more countries, more sports, more athletes, more events and more medals.

Bill Clinton’s impeachment
On December 19, 1998, the forty second president of United States of America was charged for lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice and subsequently the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to impeach the president. Read MoreThe roots of the matter range to the sexual relationship Bill Clinton was sharing with a 22-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. Monica was later transferred to pentagon. Shortly after this, Linda Tripp, a civil servant revealed that she had surreptitiously recorded her phone conversations with Lewinsky in which there is concrete proof of the fact that Bill Clinton had a sexual relationship with her. In the following months, the American public followed every update on this case and some even questioned the relevance of the same. On August 17, 1998, following his testimony before a federal grand jury on the matter, Clinton accepted his mistake of misleading the people of the nation and the embarrassment that had caused to his family. But, he didn’t take the charges of lying or forcing some to lie to cover up the entire matter.

History of Hongkong
Hong Kong’s political history has been quite turbulent. It became an official British Colony in 1842. Contrary to the popular wave of decolonization after the Second World War, UK did not cede control of Hong Kong in the 40s or 50s. Read MoreIt was only in 1979 that Britain entered into official negotiations with China over Hong Kong’s status. In 1984, it was decided that Britain would hand over Hong Kong to China in 1997. However, it was agreed that Hong Kong would be allowed to maintain its political and economic systems until 2047. This means that there are still 27 years to go before Hong Kong fully assimilates into China. However, China has repeatedly tried to flout this agreement by interfering in Hong Kong’s domestic laws. A controversial extradition bill was one such attempt by the Chinese authorities. This law triggered widespread protests which have held the attention of the world for more than 3 months.

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