Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 12 July 2019
Centre says automated facial recognition system will not amount
to violation of privacy
The Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) will not
violate privacy of citizens and is only being developed to help the law
enforcement agencies to identify criminals, missing children and
unidentified bodies in a scientific and speedy manner, a senior government
official said on Thursday.
The AFRS, being implemented by the National Crime Records Bureau
(NCRB), is a component of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS),
a national database of crimes and criminals. An official said the database would
be accessible only to law enforcement agencies.
The NCRB last week invited bids for the AFRS that would even
“capture face images from CCTV feed and generate alerts if a blacklist match is
found”, triggering privacy concerns.
At present, there are 7.71 lakh cases of missing persons in the
CCTNS database that includes 98,000 children, the official said.
“This software will be used only in respect of such persons who
figure on the CCTNS data base — accused persons, prisoners, missing persons,
unidentified dead persons – and is not going to be used on any other database,”
the official said.
The AFRS will add another information layer to investigation by
allowing matching photograph of suspect or missing person with the database of
CCTNS. “This is already done manually,” the official said.
Centre brings in stiffer penalties under POCSO act
The Cabinet has approved a new definition for child
pornography in its amendments to the POCSO Act, which is likely to be
introduced in Parliament next week.
The new definition reads, “Any visual depiction of sexually
explicit conduct involving a child which include photographs, video, digital or
computer generated image indistinguishable from an actual child and an image
created, adapted or modified but appear to depict a child.”
Neither Section 67 of the IT Act nor Section 293 of the Indian
Penal Code define child pornography. Its definition derived from what
constitutes pornography, which is defined as “any material which is lascivious
or appeals to the prurient interests or if its effect is such as to tend to
deprave or corrupt the minds of those who are likely to see, read and hear the
According to the spokesperson of the Women and Child Development
Ministry, the amended law will also apply to pornographic content where adults
or young adults pretend to be children.
The Cabinet has also enhanced the fine for possessing child porn
but not deleting or reporting it to Rs. 5,000 from the earlier proposal of Rs.
1,000. If a person stores such content for distributing it further, except for
when presenting it in court as evidence, he could face a punishment of upto
Centre’s decision to raise gold duty might reduce demand by
The government’s decision to increase duties on gold could
result in 2.4% decline in the global demand for the precious metal in 2019,
while the long-term demand in the Indian market could fall by around 1%
every year if the duty becomes permanent, according to the World Gold
While presenting the Budget on July 5, Finance Minister
NirmalaSitharaman proposed increasing the customs duty on gold and other
precious metals from 10% to 12.5%.
Incidentally, the All-India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council
had sought a reduction in import duty on gold, in its pre-budget recommendations
submitted to the Finance Ministry.
Meanwhile, WGC is of the view that broad structural economic
reforms that are being implemented in both India and China are likely to support
long-term demand for gold. The global body also expects central bank gold
demand, led by emerging markets, to remain positive in the near future.
“For the rest of the year, we believe that consumer demand may
be soft and speculative activity could amplify price movements but, overall, it
is likely that investment demand will remain robust and central banks will
continue their net purchasing trend,” added the report.
According to WGC, over the next 6-12 months, financial market
uncertainty and accommodative monetary policy are likely to support gold
Centre prepares road plan to reduce accident casualties in
Road Transport and Highways Minister NitinGadkarihas said
that the government has prepared a 14 thousand crore rupees project to
identify accident black spots and plug gaps on National Highways to reduce
In reply to a question in the LokSabha today, Mr Gadkari said,
the Finance Ministry has given its in- principle approval to the project.
He said, it is a highly sensitive subject for Central government
and for the last five years, the government is trying its level best to reduce
road accidents but the success ratio is not satisfactory.
He appreciated the work being undertaken by the Tamil Nadu
government to reduce road accidents. He said, due to efforts of the Tamil Nadu
government, there has been a 15 per cent drop in accidents in the state while
for the rest of the country , the reduction is just 1.5 per cent .
India – EU talks on migration and mobility held
The 5th India-EU High-Level Dialogue on Migration and
Mobility was held in New Delhi yesterday.
External Affairs Ministry said in a release said the discussion
was held in a highly friendly and constructive spirit.
It encompassed a wide range of issues of mutual interest in the
context of migration and mobility along the India-EU corridor.
Both sides reaffirmed that migration and mobility are important
dimensions of the strategic partnership between India and EU and exchanged views
on further initiatives and steps aimed at realizing the full potential of
further strengthening cooperation in this area.
Japanese crypto currency exchange faces huge loss
A Japanese cryptocurrency exchange has reported a hack
causing the loss of 3.5 billion yen, or $32 million, worth of virtual money.
Tokyo-based Remixpoint, which runs the BITPoint exchange as well
as travel, used car and energy businesses, apologised on Friday, saying the
losses were confirmed starting Thursday.
The reason for the losses, which include bitcoins as well as
Ethereum, Ripple and other kinds of cryptocurrencies, is under investigation.
About two-thirds of the losses affected customers while the rest
of the missing assets belonged to Remixpoint, the company said in a statement.
All transactions have been halted.
Japan has been relatively open to cryptocurrencies, which use a
technology called blockchain, despite some high-profile heists.
It has set up a licensing system to oversee their use. Bitcoin
has been a legal form of payment in Japan since April 2017.Remixpoint said the
lost money was in what is called the “hot wallet.” Money in the “cold wallet,”
which has tighter security, was safe.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Japan’s Hayabusa 2 reaches Ryugu asteroid
Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe made a “perfect” touchdown on
Thursday on a distant asteroid, collecting samples from beneath the surface
in an unprecedented mission that could shed light on the origins of the
Confirmation of the landing came only after Hayabusa2 lifted
back up from the asteroid and resumed communications with the control room.
Research director Takashi Kubota told reporters that the touchdown operation was
“more than perfect.” And Mr.Tsuda, with a grin, said he rated it “1000 points
out of 100.”
Thursday’s touchdown was intended to collect pristine materials
from beneath the surface of the asteroid that could provide insights into what
the solar system was like at its birth, some 4.6 billion years ago.
To get at those crucial materials, in April an “impactor” was
fired from Hayabusa2 towards Ryugu in a risky process that created a crater on
the asteroid’s surface and stirred up material that had not previously been
exposed to the atmosphere.
Hayabusa2’s first touchdown was in February, when it landed
briefly on Ryugu and fired a bullet into the surface to puff up dust for
collection, before blasting back to its holding position.
Indian weightlifters win gold at commonwealth
In Weightlifting, Youth Olympics gold medallist Jeremy
Lalrinnunga smashed three records in a power-packed performance but failed
to register a clean and jerk lift on day three at the Commonwealth
Championships in Apia, Samoa today.
In a remarkable performance, the 16-year-old Jeremy, competing
in the 67 kg category, obliterated the Youth World, Asian and Commonwealth
records in the snatch category with a lift of 136 kgs.
Other Indian lifters continued impressive show by winning four
golds, two silvers and a bronze.AchintaSheuli lifted a total of 305 kgs to win
the senior and junior men’s 73kg gold.
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