GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

Russia Has Been Banned From The 2018 Winter Olympics.

Background-

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 5th December, 2017 scrubbed Russia’s a from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
  • The nation’s flag will not fly at the opening ceremony, its anthem will not sound at any podium, its medal tally will remain at zero. Even if its athletes compete, they will not do so under the Russian banner.
  • The ban follows a three-year IOC investigation that reaffirmed what has long been suspected: the Russian state has engaged in widespread doping of its athletes at major international sports competitions.

 

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • At the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, this included a clandestine operation to tamper with more than 100 urine samples at a laboratory that handled testing for performance-enhancing drugs; it resulted in more than two dozen athletes being retroactively struck from their standings.
  • The Kremlin has denied orchestrating the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs at Sochi. Nonetheless, Russia now joins a group of nations that have been excluded from the Olympics, which counts among its members Axis powers Germany and Japan in 1948, apartheid-era South Africa in 1964, and Kuwait in 2016.
  • While the ban on Russian representation is comprehensive, the IOC has left some wiggle room for athletes that have a rigorous history of drug testing. Those who pass muster with an IOC panel may be permitted to compete in neutral uniforms.
  • In a rare concession, these neutrally attired competitors will be identified as “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” rather than “Independent Olympic Athletes” as was the case with Kuwaiti competitors in at the Rio Summer Games last year (2016). Still, any medals they win won’t be awarded to Russia.
  • Putin sees international sports competitions as a means of boosting national pride, and spent $50 billion on hosting the 2014 Winter Games at Sochi. Projects like Sochi and next year’s (2018) soccer World Cup, which reportedly comes with an $11 billion price tag, showcase the international clout of the country and its ability to ability handle mega-projects.
  • Now, the latter could be in jeopardy. The chairman of the World Cup’s organizing committee Vitaly Mutko, who is also Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, was implicated in the Sochi doping scandal and banned for life from the Olympics by the IOC.
  • But in a statement Tuesday, soccer’s governing body FIFA said the IOC’s punishments would have “no impact” on the June 2018 tournament.

Sources- TIME.

 

GS Paper II- Polity.

Uttar Pradesh First State To Endorse Centre’s “Triple Talaq” Draft Bill.

Background

  • The Yogi Adityanath government has endorsed the centre’s draft bill that makes the practice of instant “triple talaq” a criminal offence, making the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh the first state in the country to approve the centre’s draft bill.
  • The draft bill proposes three-year jail with no scope for bail for the controversial Islamic practice that allows men to leave their wives immediately by saying “talaq” or divorce three times.
  • The Uttar Pradesh government approved the draft bill on 5th December night at a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Mr Adityanath, who is also the head priest of the Gorakhnath temple.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Uttar Pradesh government spokesperson and cabinet minister Siddharth Nath Singh said that the centre’s draft bill on ‘triple talaq’ has been endorsed by the cabinet. The centre had asked the states to send their respective views on it by December 10, 2017.
  • In doing so, Uttar Pradesh has become the first state to endorse the draft bill to be introduced in the winter session of parliament starting December 15.
  • The Supreme Court in August, 2017 banned the practice of “triple talaq”, calling it “unconstitutional”. The verdict vindicates the stand of the government, which had said “triple talaq” violates fundamental rights of women.
  • The Supreme Court verdict was delivered by a panel of five judges from different major faiths — Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Arguments concluded in May, 2017.
  • Several Muslim women who have been divorced because of it, including on Skype and on WhatsApp, had appealed to the top court to end the practice.
  • The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), a non-governmental body which oversees the application of Muslim personal law, opposes any ban on “triple talaq” and argues this is a religious matter and not for the courts.
  • The BJP has long pushed for a uniform civil code to be enforced which would end the reach of different religious laws in civil issues, sanctioned originally to protect the independence of different faiths.

Sources- NDTV.

 

GS Paper III- Security.

Armed Forces Flag Day Observed On 7th December, 2017.

Background

  • Armed Forces Flag Day or Flag Day of India has been celebrated since 1949 and is dedicated towards commemorating the valour of servicemen as well as collecting welfare funds from the citizens of India to assist the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen in need as well as aid the widows and dependents of martyrs.
  • After India attained independence, the government felt the need to constitute a welfare fund to take care of the defence personnel. Hence, a committee was set up on August 28, 1949 that decided a Flag Day shall be celebrated annually on December 7.
  • The reason it was called a flag day was because small flags were distributed across the country among the general population which served two purposes – collection of welfare funds and creating a sense of camaraderie and harmony between the Army and citizens. Over the years, the observance of the day became a tradition.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The day also reminds the citizens to care for the living heroes who were either wounded in action or retired from service at a fairly young age.
  • Each year, 60,000 defence personnel are compulsorily retired. The necessity to release personnel between 35-40 years of age is required in the armed forces so that the service personnel remain young, physically fit and have qualities of discipline, drive and leadership.
  • The Flag Day, therefore, highlights citizens’ responsibility and obligation towards looking after the disabled servicemen, and the widows and the dependants of martyrs. Citizens are thus urged on this day to take it as an opportunity to contribute generously to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF).
  • The Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) distributes token flags, car stickers in red, deep blue and light colours denoting the three Services. In man places, Armed Forces formations and units conduct programmes to raise charity. The KSB administers the AFFDF and it is operated by a managing committee that is headed by the defence minister.

Sources- The Indian Express.