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

(By Ayush Harlalka, and Divyansh Gupta)

Politics

Lebanon’s government resigns as public anger mounts over recent Blast

Lebanon’s government has resigned amid mounting anger over the explosion on Tuesday that devastated parts of Beirut and left more than 200 people dead. The announcement was made in a national TV address by Prime Minister Hassan Diab. Many people have accused the country’s leaders of culpability through their alleged negligence and corruption. Protesters have taken to the streets and clashed with police. Read MoreThe massive blast was caused by the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely at the port for years. The huge blast damaged buildings in a radius of several kilometers in Beirut, leaving more than 200,000 people homeless or living in homes with no windows or doors. Officials estimate that the explosion caused more than $3bn (£2.3bn) of damage and that Lebanon’s collective economic losses may amount to $15bn. The country was already suffering a major economic downturn before the explosion, with families, pushed into poverty and hunger. President Michel Aoun has asked the government to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new cabinet is formed.

J&K politician Shah Faesal quits politics

Over a year-and-a-half, after he resigned from government service to join politics, Shah Faesal, the first Kashmiri to top the Civil Services Examination in 2009, quit politics as well. Faesal stepped down as the President of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM), a political party he founded after resigning from the government. Read MoreThough Faesal resigned from the civil services in January last year, his resignation had not been accepted by the government – even after 19 months – a pending investigation into some of his social media posts. The non-acceptance of his resignation has kept the door open for his return to the old job. With Faesal’s departure, the JKPM has disintegrated within 18 months of its launch. In October last year, one of the senior leaders of the political organization Shehla Rashid Shora had announced quitting politics, and recently its chairman and former minister Javed Mustafa Mir also resigned from the party. Currently, Faesal continues to be under house detention.

Rahul Gandhi objects EIA draft, demands withdrawal

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has objected to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) draft seeking its withdrawal. Gandhi in his tweet argued that the draft is bound to promote further environmental destruction and loot of the nation. He slammed the Central government for helping “Suit-boot friends” of robbing the resources of the country. Read MoreMany Congress leaders have opposed the EIA 2020 draft arguing that it seeks to silence the voice of affected communities. The primary contention here is that the latest draft includes a provision that allows projects to take clearance from nearby communities in a post-facto manner and begin work immediately. In response, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar regarded Gandhi’s comment as unnecessary and premature. He also slammed the Congress for taking big decisions without consultations in their regime.  

 Main Belarusian opposition leader flees for the sake of her children

Belarus’s main opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanouskaya left the country after clashes following the contested re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko. Tikhanouskaya, who is an English teacher turned politician after her husband was jailed, is now in Lithuania. Read MoreShe revealed that she left the country for the sake of her children and her decision was completely independent of any external influence from a video released on her husband’s YouTube channel. According to the electoral commission, President Lukashenko secured 80% of the vote and was re-elected for a sixth term while Tikhanouskaya got 9.9% of the vote. This was followed by several claims of fraud and protests in the country.  At least one person was killed in the clash where police used tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades to disperse thousands of protestors.

 


Society and Culture

Two J&K districts to get 4G on a trial basis after Independence Day

The Special Committee set-up by the Supreme Court for the restoration of 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir has recommended access to high-speed internet on a “trial basis in a calibrated manner in specified limited areas to assess the impact on the security situation”. To begin with, the Committee has recommended the restoration of high-speed internet in one district each in Jammu and Kashmir after August 15. Read MoreThe relaxation will not be in any area adjoining the International Border or the Line of Control, the center told the top court. The areas which will get the 4G internet will be those which have a low intensity of terrorist activities, the center said. The government will review the situation after two months. An NGO called Foundation for Media Professionals had approached the Supreme Court for contempt action against the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the center for not implementing the top court’s orders in restoring 4G internet services. High-speed Internet service in Jammu and Kashmir has been suspended for over a year when the center scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and it into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir.

Daughters become equal coparceners at birth even if born prior to the 2005 amendment to Hindu Succession Act

In its landmark judgment the Supreme Court today held that daughters would have equal coparcenary rights in Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) properties even if they were born before the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and regardless of whether their father coparcener had died before the amendment. Read MoreIn effect, the Court has ruled that the 2005 amendment would have a retroactive effect in conferring rights on daughters who were alive at the time of the amendment, even if they were born prior to it. A three-Judge Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer, and MR Shah passed the verdict in a reference that was made in appeals raising the issue of whether the amendment to the Act granting equal rights to daughters to inherit ancestral property would have retrospective effect. The Court says that goal of gender justice was achieved when in 2005, Section 6 was substituted in the 1956 Act to make female heirs equal coparceners.

3 killed in Bengaluru amid clash over derogatory Facebook post 

3 people were killed in police firing and around 60 police personnel have been injured in Bengaluru after mob vandalized MLA’s home over a derogatory Facebook post that allegedly insulted Prophet Muhammad.  The post was allegedly put by the nephew of the Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, after which the mob of about a 1000 people went on a rampage in Kaval Byrasandra area damaging vehicles. Read MoreNephew Naveen, however, claims that his account had been hacked. Police have arrested around 110 people including the MLA’s nephew and a detailed investigation is being done in the matter. Mob attacked two police stations, KG Halli and DJ Halli, with stones and attempted a burndown. Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in Bengaluru city avoiding assembly of more than four individuals in an area and curfew has been imposed in DJ Halli and KG Halli police station areas.

 COVID-19 to have a negligible impact on climate change says study 

Reduction in emissions due to a drop in human activity caused by the lockdown will have a negligible impact on climate change and is insufficient to substantially impact global warming according to a study by the University of Leeds. Read MoreAccording to the research, even if lockdown extends until the end of 2021, the overall impact on warming by 2030 will be as low as 0.01 degrees Celsius. While global emissions fell by 10-30% during the lockdown where nitrogen and carbon dioxide emission fell by 30% and sulfur dioxide fell by 20%, the benefits got neutralized by the interplay between gases as the latter is responsible for cooling the earth. According to the authors, economic recovery plans have that an element of green recovery will provide an opportunity to keep the rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The researchers analyzed the data from 123 countries that contribute to 99% of global emissions. 

 

Science and Technology

Russia names its 1st COVID-19 vaccine ‘Sputnik V’ after space race triumph

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing. The vaccine’s registration is conditional and trials will continue while the production gets underway, said Health Minister. Read MoreMoments after announcing the launch of the world’s first coronavirus vaccine today, Russia has now dubbed its new Covid-19 vaccine “Sputnik V” after the Soviet satellite, the head of the country’s sovereign wealth fund said Tuesday. The vaccine is developed jointly by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry. Amid the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of its scientific prowess. Currently, WHO and Russian health authorities are discussing the process for possible WHO prequalification for its newly approved COVID-19 vaccine.

The global magnetic field of Sun’s atmosphere measured for the first time

An international team of solar physicists, including academics from Northumbria University, in Newcastle upon Tyne, has recently measured the global magnetic field of the outermost layer of the Sun’s atmosphere, the solar corona, for the first time. Read MoreThe Sun is a magnetized star, and its magnetic field plays a critical role in shaping the solar atmosphere. The magnetic field governs many aspects of the Sun’s behavior, leading to an 11-year solar cycle, spectacular solar eruptions, and the heating of the hot gas (plasma) in the solar corona to millions of degrees Celsius. The magnetic field threads through the different layers of the Sun’s atmosphere, which means that information on the magnetic field of the whole atmosphere is required in order to understand the interplay between the solar plasma and magnetic field. However, up until now, routine measurements of the solar magnetic field have only been achieved at the surface of our star (the area of the Sun known as the photosphere).

Dwarf planet Ceres an underground ocean world with salty water finds a mission

Dwarf planet Ceres, which is also the largest object in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars is an ocean world according to major exploration missions. High-resolution images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft which made observations between 2015 and 2018 when it was merely 22 miles away from the surface, revealed a 40 km deep extensive reservoir of salty water under the surface. Read MoreAccording to the researchers, while the ocean froze over time, its remnants may still be present beneath the Occator Crater which was formed 22 million years ago. The mysterious spots on Ceres are believed to be salt crusts that were left behind the water. Beyond Earth, Jupiter’s, Saturn’s, and Neptune’s moon along with Pluto is believed to have subsurface oceans.  

 Geologists confirm 2016 Atlantic Ocean quake as a Boomerang Earthquake

Geologists have tracked a quake at the deep seabed under the Atlantic Ocean of August 2016 and found it to be a rare boomerang earthquake. The earthquake of 7.1 magnitudes, known as “back-propagating supershear rupture” took place at the Romanche fracture zone. Read MoreThe rupture went one way, then reversed its path instead of moving in a single direction and came back at even greater speed breaking the seismic sound barrier. While geologists are still speculative on the cause, some researchers believe that the first phase of the quake released large energy to begin the rupture reversal. Dr. Stephen Hicks, author of the study said that while researchers earlier believed such a reverser mechanism to be true only theoretically, the new study provides the clearest evidence of its reality. 

 

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