GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World.

Japan Marks 72 Years Since World’s First Atomic Bomb Attack At Hiroshima.

Background-

  • Japan on Sunday, 6th August 2017 marked 72 years since the world’s first nuclear attack on Hiroshima, with the nation’s traditional contradictions over atomic weapons again coming into focus.
  • The anniversary came after Japan sided last month (July, 2017) with nuclear powers Britain, France and the US to dismiss a UN treaty banning atomic weapons, which was rejected by critics for ignoring the reality of security threats such as North Korea.
  • Japan is the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, in 1945.

What is Important –

  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking at the annual ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park near the ground zero, said Japan hoped to push for a world without nuclear weapons in a way that all countries can agree.
  • Abe added without directly referring to the UN treaty that Japan is committed to leading the international community by encouraging both sides to make progress toward abolishing nuclear arms.
  • Japanese officials have criticised the UN Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty as deepening a divide between countries with and without nuclear arms. None of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons took part in the negotiations or vote on the treaty.
  • Japanese officials routinely argue that they abhor nuclear weapons, but the nation’s defence is firmly set under the US nuclear umbrella.
  • Japan suffered two nuclear attacks at the end of the World War II by the United States — in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and in Nagasaki three days later.
  • The bombings claimed the lives of 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 74,000 people in Nagasaki. Some died immediately while others succumbed to injuries or radiation-related illnesses weeks, months and years later.
  • Japan announced its surrender in World War II on August 15, 1945.
  • Many in Japan feel the attacks amount to war crimes and atrocities because they targeted civilians and due to the unprecedented destructive nature of the weapons.
  • But many Americans believe they hastened the end of a bloody conflict, and ultimately saved lives, thus justifying the bombings.
  • Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima in May last year (2016), paying moving tribute to victims of the devastating bomb.

Sources- Hindustan Times.

GS Paper II- Polity, International Relations.

United Nations Bans Key North Korea Exports Over Missile Tests.

 

Background

  • The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday, 5th August, 2017 that could slash by a third the Asian state’s $3 billion annual export revenue over its two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July, 2017.
  • The U.S.-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.

Key Points Of The Development-

  • Ambassador Nikki R. Haley of the United States, which introduced the resolution, said its adoption by all 15 Council members signified what she called a strong, united step toward holding North Korea accountable for its behavior.
  • North Korea has accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills.
  • China and Russia slammed U.S. deployment of the THAAD anti-missile defense system in South Korea. China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi called for a halt to the deployment and for any equipment in place to be dismantled.
  • Liu also urged North Korea to cease taking actions that might further escalate tensions.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the vote in a Twitter message on 5th August evening.
  • Trump wrote that the United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea. China and Russia voted with them. Very big financial impact!
  • The measure’s unanimous approval was a diplomatic victory for the Trump administration and partly reflected growing impatience with North Korea by China, which historically has called relations between them as “close as lips and teeth.”

Sources- Reuters, The New York Times.

GS Paper III- Technology, Security.

Isro Signs MoU With CSIR-NPL To Make Desi GPS A Reality.

Background

  • Seeking to make desi GPS – indigenous regional positioning system named as Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) – independent from the US clock system, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday, 4th August, 2017 signed an MoU with CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) for time and frequency traceability services.
  • The move will help the desi GPS get formally synchronized with the Indian Standard Time (IST) which is being maintained by the Delhi-based NPL.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The step will help in making the desi GPS fully operational in the market for commercial purposes as time synchronisation is essential for all kinds of services – be it financial transactions, stock handling, digital archiving, time stamping, national security or prevention of cyber crimes.
  • Dinesh Aswal, director of NPL said that they can’t depend for ever on the US-based National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
  • After signing the MoU, the space clocks will be synchronised to that of the Primary National Atomic Clocks at National Physical Laboratory and therefore will have independence.
  • Though India can source the IST from the US-based NIST, the accuracy of time may vary. Though millisecond or microsecond accuracy is sufficient for day-to-day activities, the ISRO needs accuracy up to nanoseconds level for navigation, surveillance and other national missions.
  • The NPL maintains accuracy of ±20 nanoseconds and thereby gives the most accurate time which is essential for satellite navigation system. It has the “Primary Reference Clock”, which is traceable to the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) provided by International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) located in Sevres, France.
  • The UTC consists of a time-scale that combines the output of more than 400 highly precise atomic clocks worldwide, including five at the CSIR-NPL.

Sources- The Economic Times.