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 Sixth 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)

AAP scores landslide victory in Delhi polls while BJP improves marginally, Congress fails to score yet again
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) scored a landslide victory in Delhi assembly elections for the second time in a row as it swept aside both BJP, which was again restricted to a single digit, and Congress which could not win a single seat.Read More AAP won 62 seats in the 70-member assembly, five seats short of its 2015 tally when it had won 67 seats. The BJP won eight seats, five more than its tally in the previous election. The Congress, which had failed to win a seat in the last election also, saw a dip in its vote percentage.

Trump’s Sets Plans For Delhi, Ahmedabad As He Makes First State Visit To India
President Trump, along with First Lady Melania Trump, will arrive for a two-day India visit on February 24. He will travel to New Delhi and Ahmedabad, which is in PM Modi’s home state of Gujarat. Read MoreDuring his two-day visit, India and the US hope to seal a trade deal pending since 2018 amid a strain in ties. New Delhi hopes the US President will revoke the cancelling of India’s preferential trade status or “Generalized System of Preference (GSP)” status.

SC to Hear Plea of Omar Abdullah’s Sister Challenging His Detention Under PSA
The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday a plea filed by former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s sister challenging his detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978.Read MoreA bench headed by Justice N V Ramana will hear the plea of Sara Abdullah Pilot, who pleads that Abdullah’s detention is manifestly illegal and that he is not a threat to the maintenance of public order. Omar Abdullah, who has been junior foreign minister and commerce minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led Cabinet in 2000, was served with a three-page dossier in which he was alleged to have made statements in the past which were “subversive” in nature.

JVM(P) to merge with BJP on February 17
The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) led by Babulal Marandi on Tuesday announced its decision to merge with the BJP on February 17. Read MoreA central committee meeting of the party has unanimously approved the party’s merger with the BJP. The JVM(P) had last week expelled Yadav from the party’s primary membership days after he met Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda will be guests at the merger ceremony.

US to extend waiver for Iraq to import Iranian energy
The United States has agreed to extend a waiver for Iraq to import Iranian energy supplies, including gas, said Iraqi government officials on Monday. Read MoreWashington has repeatedly extended the exemption for Baghdad to use crucial Iranian energy supplies for its power grid, for periods of 90 or 120 days- its potential time frame. The latest extension would also probably last for a period of 120 days. The extension was agreed because Iraq had shown it was taking steps towards becoming more self-reliant for its energy needs and less dependent on Iran, whose energy sector is under harsh US sanctions.

Bernie Sanders wins New Hampshire primary
Bernie Sanders clinched a hard-fought victory in the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, as he battles with Pete Buttigieg came second while Amy Klobuchar came in third for the Democratic nomination. Read MoreAll of the candidates quickly turned their attention to upcoming states like Nevada, South Carolina and more diverse states that will vote on Super Tuesday like California and Texas. But Sanders took a moment to savour his win, which marked an extraordinary comeback for a candidate who was all but written off by many pundits. All eyes were on New Hampshire after last week’s chaotic Iowa caucuses, where problems with the app used for reporting results delayed the outcome for days.

Assam NRC data gone offline due to pending payment, says Wipro
Officials in Assam have reassured that data pertaining to the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam going offline is a temporary thing and the will be resolved in a few days. Read MoreThis prompted the Opposition Congress to doubt it as a “mala fide act.” The data, containing information on applicants included and missing from the list released in August last year, went missing after NRC officials failed to renew contract with Wipro, the IT firm responsible for cloud storage of the data. It continued to pay hosting service as a “goodwill gesture” until January end before pulling the plug. It assured that the data will be restored once the government makes the payment.


Society and Culture

(By Shruti Jha, Nikunj Gulati, Kanika)

US astronauts return to Earth after the longest mission by women
Christina Koch’s, a North Carolina born engineer who joined NASA Astronauts corps in 2013 set the record for the second-longest single spaceflight in history by a woman. Read MoreHer stay is just 12 days short of the US record set by Scott Kelly in the year 2015-16. Kochi’s 328 days in space eclipsed Peggy Whitson’s record of an American woman on a single spaceflight at 289 days. Koch launched on March 14, 2019. Her mission will provide researchers with valuable data on how weightlessness and space radiation affects the female body on long spaceflight. US President Donald Trump congratulated Koch on Twitter saying she is making the USA proud. After setting a record and also placed her seventh on the list of cumulative time in space for American astronauts with one or more missions, she successfully returned to Earth.

G.Narayana took over as CMD and Guide ISRO’s commercial path
G Narayana took over as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of New Space India Ltd. (NSIL), the newly formed commercial arm of the Indian Space agency that will look to commercialize its technologies. Read MoreIt will manufacture the small satellite launch vehicles (SSLV) in collaboration with the private sector for polar satellite launch vehicles (PSLV). The idea of engaging the Indian space agency in building rockets and satellites is on hold for two years in selecting the industry consortium to build its polar satellite launch vehicles (PSLV). Also, the consortium led by Larson & Toubro, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Godrej, which has been system providers for ISRO, are looking to integrate the PSLV rocket and bidding to make Isro’s small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV).

‘Rule breaking’ plants may be climate change survivors
According to researchers from the University of Queensland and Trinity College Dublin, plants that break some of the ‘rules’ of ecology by adapting in unconventional ways may have a higher chance of surviving climate change. Read MoreOne of these theories describes how genetic diversity or variation in genes embedded in DNA are produced by changes in population size. Small populations tend to have little genetic diversity, while large populations with many offspring, such as those with lots of seeds, have more genetic diversity. Ecologists use different theories to understand how nature works, it was observed that in new environments, these rule breakers were adapting better than most other plants. Professors at the college said the DNA analysis revealed that ongoing introductions into Australia, NZ, North America, Japan and South Africa quickly prompted genetic diversity giving them this higher capacity for adaption.

One small grain of moon dust, one giant leap for lunar studies
In a recent study in Meteoritics & Planetary Science, scientists found a new way to analyze the chemistry of the Moon’s soil using a single grain of dust. Their technique can help us learn more about conditions on the surface of the Moon and formation of precious resources like water and helium there. Read More“We’re analyzing rocks from space, atom by atom” says the paper published. The technique is called atom probe tomography (APT), normally used by materials scientists working to improve industrial processes like making steel and nanowires. It’s the first time scientists can see both the type of atoms and their exact location in a speck of lunar soil. This process has also at the same time, made it possible for us to understand another concept of space weathering in detail which refers to the effect of the conditions of space on the soil of moon opening another field. Though, there still remain many more secrets in space, understanding them definitely got easier now.

White House calls for NASA Budget in decades to reach the Moon and Mars
President Donald Trump wants to raise the NASA budget to $25.2 billion for the fiscal year 2021 beginning in October, a nearly $3 billion increase over the current $22.6 billion.Read More This would meet the president’s goal of landing astronauts on the moon and mars and boast the National Aeronautics and space administration budget by 12%. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said, ” They are backing up our vision for a renewed era of discovery by giving NASA ever-increasing budgets every year”. The fiscal year 2021 budget, one of the largest overall spending increases for NASA since the decades. Nearly half of the budget $12.3 billion would go towards the Artemis program and nearly $3.3 billion for human lunar landers while more than $700 million would go towards funding activities of the moon.

History

(By Gunika Vij, Manraj Uppal, Somya Yadav)

First academy award ceremony
The 92nd Academy Awards were held on 10th February, 2019 in the lavishly beautiful Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. Compared to the Oscar ceremonies of today, the first ceremony was relatively modest.Read More It was held on 16th May, 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. The ceremony lasted only for a period of 15 minutes and was not broadcast on radio or television. Emil Jannings took home the Best Actor award while Janet Gaynor bagged the Best Actress award. An honorary Oscar was also awarded to Charlie Chaplin. Over the years, the Oscars have become much more sophisticated and extensive.

First Legislative elections in Delhi
The first legislative election in Delhi was held on 27 March 1952. A total of 48 seats were up for grabs in this election. Read MoreOut of these 48 seats, 39 were won by the Indian National Congress which marked a resounding win for the party associated with the freedom struggle. The second best showing was from Bhartiya Jan Sangh which raked up a paltry total of 5 seats. The turnout in this election was about 58%. Chaudhary Brahm Prakash became the first Chief Minister of Delhi. In 1956, the state of Delhi was converted into a union territory and the next elections were only held in 1993.

The First TV debate in US elections
Nowadays, there is a trend that the two US presidential candidates go head to head in 3 high octane TV debates right before the elections. The first such debate was held on September 26, 1960 between the Democrat candidate, John F Kennedy and the Republican candidate, Richard M Nixon.Read More An estimated 70 million viewers watched the first debate between these two candidates. Nixon found it hard to outshine the young and handsome Kennedy whose persona held great sway among the youth population of the country. Surveys indicated that those listening on radio felt that Nixon had won while the opposite was true for those watching on the television. This ushered in a new era of TV debates which are quite common nowadays.

Cuban missile crisis
In October 1962, Soviet Union decided to deploy nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba (Soviet Ally). The deployment of nuclear weapons on certain strategic locations was quite common during the cold war. Read MoreHowever, Cuba was only about 90 miles away from the United States of America. Thus, it posed a direct threat to major cities in USA. This sent the White House into frenzy as President Kennedy and his advisers clamored to solve the crisis. After 3 weeks of extensive discussions and back door diplomacy, Kennedy decided to quarantine Cuba by using the Navy. The goal was to block every Soviet ship heading towards Cuba while carrying a nuclear warhead. The strategy worked as the Soviet ships turned back and the world avoided a catastrophe.

First us presidential visit to India
India will be welcoming US president Donald Trump later this month. This event marks the continuity of cordial US-India ties which first came to the forefront during Dwight D Eisenhower’s visit to India in 1959. Read MoreHe became the first US president to visit India and he visited despite India adopting a non aligned stance during the cold war. After arriving in New Delhi, he travelled to Agra to watch the Taj Mahal. Throughout the course of his trip, he held several meetings with president Rajendra Prasad and Prime Minister Nehru related to the changing geopolitical environment of the South Asian region.

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