CURRENT AFFAIRS (28-08-2022 TO 02-09-2022)

INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE

The Ministry of Culture along Sangeet Natak Akademi, the designated nodal agency for ICH, in collaboration with the National Museum and National Museum Institute, organized the celebration of the successful inscription of ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of ICH of Humanity in 2021.

ABOUT ICH

‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ was inscribed on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity during its 16th session held in Paris, France from 13th to 18th December 2021.

India now has 14 intangible cultural heritage elements on the prestigious UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity.

CULTURAL HERITAGE SITES IN INDIA

  • Kutiyattam, Sanskrit Theatre
  • The tradition of Vedic Chanting
  • Ramlila
  • Ramman Festival of Uttarakhand
  • Chhau Dance
  • Kalbelia Folk Dance of Rajasthan
  • Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala
  • Durga Puja
  • Buddhist chanting of Ladakh
  • Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur
  • Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab, India.
  • Novroz
  • Kumbh Mela
  • Yoga

INCLUSION OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN POLICY

There is growing pressure to achieve climate-compatible growth as the world copes with the repercussions of legacy emissions.

The fiscal and monetary authorities will now have to be cognizant (aware) of the feedback from climate change to the economy and suitably adapt their policy responses.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS POSED BY CLIMATE CHANGE?

Climate change poses risks to financial stability in the form of:

Physical risks: Caused by extreme and slow onset weather events

Transition risks: Caused by changes in policy, legal and regulatory frameworks, consumer preferences and technological development and loss of asset value while transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

HOW CAN CLIMATIC EVENTS IMPACT OVERALL FINANCIAL STABILITY?

  • Supply chain disruptions and business continuity problems
  • Decreased labour productivity
  • Lower investment rates
  • Lower agricultural productivity
  • Contraction in collateral values, defaults by businesses and households etc.

HOW CAN MONETARY BODIES INFLUENCE CLIMATE POLICIES?

Prioritize credit flow: Central banks can guide the flow of finance by restricting the flow of credit to fossil fuel-dependent sectors.

Approach: Central Banks also adopt a series of measures and best practices to streamline the flow of green finance.

For example,

  • The Bank of Lebanon sets different reserve requirements for loans linked to energy savings.
  • The People’s Bank of China offers positive incentives to commercial banks for extending green credit.
  • RBI approach considers response based on understanding of the risk profiles of banks

MEASURES TAKEN IN INDIA TO STREAMLINE CLIMATE FINANCE

  • Preferable lending: India includes renewable energy (RE) within priority sector lending (PSL).
  • Global partnerships: In 2021, RBI joined the Network for Greening Financial System, a voluntary group of 116 central banks that promotes the exchange of best practices on green finance.
  • RBI mandate: In recent years, the RBI has moved to acknowledge the risks climate change will pose to financial stability.
  • Survey report: The Report of the Survey on Climate Risk and Sustainable Finance, released by RBI in July, 2022 seeks to understand preferred approaches to identification and disclosure of exposures to climate-related risks, frameworks for management of risks and capacity building within the banking sector. It reflects that RBI prefers to tread carefully by assessing the preparedness of the system rather than indicate its own approach to what a central bank can do.

POST RETIREMENT BENEFITS TO SC JUDGES

ABOUT THE BENEFITS

  • Retired CJIs would also get secretarial assistants. The staff would be paid the salary and allowances of regular employees of the Supreme Court.
  • The first series of amendments in the Rules on August 23 had allowed retired Chief Justices of India and Supreme Court judges chauffeurs, secretarial assistants and security cover only for a year. There was no mention of “domestic help”, who would be an employee in the level of junior court assistant.
  • The benefit of 24-hour security cover has been extended to five years for retired Chief Justices and three years for retired judges of the Supreme Court. The judiciary had recently raised concerns about attacks on judges.
  • Besides, former CJIs and retired judges of the top court can get their monthly mobile phone and Internet bills reimbursed to the extent of ₹4,200.
  • A retired CJI is also entitled to a rent-free Type VII accommodation, other than the designated official residence, in New Delhi for six months immediately after retirement.
  • The notification issued by the Law Ministry however said these post-retirement benefits would be available only if the retirees were not getting similar facilities from any High Court or government body.

NUCLEAR NON PROLIFERATION TREATY

Russia blocked agreement on the final document of a four-week review of the U.N. treaty – Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

NPT, considered as the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament, is reviewed by 191 signatories in every five years.

THE TREATY

  • The NPT is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of disarmament.
  • The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.
  • Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970.
  • A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States.

THE NON SIGNATORIES:

South Sudan, India, Pakistan, and Israel have never joined the NPT.

North Korea joined the NPT in 1985, but withdrew in 2003.

KEY FEATURES

  • The Treaty is regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.
  • The Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the Treaty through inspections conducted by the IAEA.
  • The provisions of the Treaty envisage a review of the operation of the Treaty every five years.
  • The treaty’s term was originally 25 years, but it was extended indefinitely at a review conference in 1995.

NUCLEAR NPT: A SUCCESS?

  • With the adherence of 191 countries, the NPT is close to universal world participation.
  • It remains unique as there is no other international agreement based on a bargain between nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon states.
  • The Treaty facilitates cooperation on peaceful applications of nuclear technology under the watch of the IAEA.
  • It can be credited with embedding the non-proliferation norm that is responsible for keeping the number of countries armed with nuclear weapons lower than ten.

NUCLEAR NPT: A FAILURE

  • NPT in its present form tries to prevent horizontal proliferation but cannot prevent vertical proliferation.
  • There are still almost 16,000 nuclear weapons in existence, many of them on hair-trigger alert and far more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
  • There is no truthful adherence to the treaty. Many countries even after joining NPT continued clandestine (secret) nuclear programmes including Brazil, South Africa, Iran and Iraq.
  • Today NPT has been reduced to a treaty which protects the rights of five nuclear weapon state. These states are contributing to the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons.

FULL COURT MEETING

Within hours of taking over, the new Chief Justice of India U U Lalit called a meeting of the ‘full court’ where the judges discussed how to deal with issues relating to listing and backlog of cases.

What is a Full Court Meeting?

A full court meeting literally means one which is attended by all the judges of the court.

When is it held?

There are no written rules dealing with this. As a full court meeting is convened at the discretion of the Chief Justice of India, it does not follow any particular calendar.

Why is it called/held?

As per convention, full-court meetings are called by the Chief Justice of India to discuss issues of importance to the judiciary. The senior designations of practising advocates in the Supreme Court and high courts are also decided during the full court meetings.

SUBRAMANIAM BALAJI VS STATE OF TAMIL NADU

In the 2013 Balaji case judgment, the Supreme Court had held that making promises in election manifestos do not amount to a corrupt practice under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act (RP).

The Supreme Court has decided to revisit the Balaji verdict.

The Supreme Court referred to a three-judge Bench a series of petitions seeking a judicial direction that political parties who make wild promises of largesse should also reveal in their poll manifestos where they will get the money to pay for them.

REPRESENTATION OF PEOPLE’S ACT

Article 324 to 329 of Part XV of the Indian Constitution contains provisions related to the conduct of free and fair elections in India.

These provisions empowered Parliament to make laws to regulate the electoral process.

In pursuance of these provisions, the Parliament enacted

(1) Representation of the People Act, 1950 and

(2) Representation of the People Act,1951.

Representation of Peoples Act,1950

RPA Act 1950 deals with the following aspects of electoral process:

  • Qualification of voters.
  • Preparation of electoral rolls.
  • Delimitation of constituencies.
  • Allocation of seats in the Parliament and state legislatures.

Representation of Peoples Act, 1951

RP Act 1951 was enacted before first general elections. The act provides for the actual conduct of elections in India.

It deals with the following aspects of the election

  • Actual conduct of elections;
  • Administrative machinery for conducting elections;
  • Poll;
  • Election offences;
  • Election disputes;
  • By-elections;
  • Registration of political parties.

CORRUPT PRACTICES UNDER RPA, 1951

Section 123 of RP Act 1951 defines the corrupt practices in the electoral process. Following practices have been defined as the corrupt practices:

  • Bribery – Any gift or offer or promise or gratification to any person as a motive or reward
  • Undue influence – any direct or indirect interference or attempt to interfere with the free exercise of any electoral right
  • Promoting hatred – The promotion of feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or language.
  • Furnishing incorrect information – The publication of any statement of fact which is false in relation to the personal character or conduct of any candidate or in relation to the candidature.
  • Hiring of vehicle – The hiring or procuring of any vehicle for the free conveyance of any elector to or from any polling station.
  • The incurring or authorizing of expenditure in contravention with the approved limit is also a corrupt process.

CYBER THREAT TO MOBILE BANKING

The lack of adequate cybersecurity and the dearth of talent in banking could potentially lead to a further rise in cyberattacks on user devices.

FACTS ABOUT MOBILE BANKING

According to a 2020 Statista survey across 25 States in India, two-third respondents said they had a smartphone.

Of these, half said they sent and received money digitally, and about 31% said they had a mobile app for banking. Nearly 14% said they used their mobile phones for banking-related purposes.

Global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky warns of an increase in cyberattacks on Android and iOS devices in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.

One mobile banking trojan, called Anubis, has been targeting Android users since 2017. Roaming Mantis is another prolific malware targeting mobile banking users.

There is push from regulators to make payment platforms interoperable at a time when the demand for technical experts is a serious concern in the banking industry.

SMALL CELLS

To expedite the roll-out of 5G, telecom operators in the country will leverage street furniture such as poles, advertisement hoardings and bus shelters for deploying low-power base stations called ‘small cells’ that will help bring the network closer to the consumers.

ABOUT SMALL CELLS

Small cells are needed for deploying 5G as opposed to earlier generations such as 4G, because of the frequency. The higher the frequency, the lower the wavelength, which means that the distance they travel is less.

Small cells are low-powered radio access nodes or base stations that have a coverage range from a few metres up to a few hundred metres. They are portable, easy to deploy and help provide localised coverage.

As per the TRAI paper, small cells provide coverage for very short distances and therefore they are installed in a large number — even more than 200 per square kilometre — for good geographical coverage to provide highly reliable and high-capacity broadband.

FRAUD REGISTRY

The Reserve Bank is considering setting up a fraud registry to create a database of fraudulent websites, phones and various modus operandi used for digital fraud.

ABOUT THE DATABASE

Such a database would help prevent fraudsters from repeating the offence as the websites or phone numbers would be blacklisted, RBI executive director Anil Kumar Sharma said on Monday.

There is no definite timeline for setting up of the fraud registry.

Payment system participants would be provided access to this registry for near-real time fraud monitoring. The aggregated fraud data would be published to educate customers on emerging risks.

Sharma also said that the customers of the Credit Investment Company (CIC) would come under the Reserve Bank — Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RB-IOS), 2021.

SEED SCHEME

In February 2022, Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED) was launched by the Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment.

The implementation of the scheme is still pending as the categorization of communities, to be covered under the scheme, is yet to be completed.

WHO ARE DENOTIFIED TRIBES?

  • DNTs are the tribes which were notified as criminal tribes under Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, by the British colonial government.
  • Under this Act, millions of nomadic and semi-nomadic communities were declared criminals and put under continuous surveillance.
  • After decades of facing horrors of this racial Act, they were denotified by the Government of independent India on August 31, 1952.

Every year this day is celebrated as Vimukti Diwas or Liberation Day by DNTs across the country.

After denotification in 1952, some of these communities were included in Scheduled Tribe (ST), Scheduled Caste (SC) and Other Backward Caste lists because they come from diverse social backgrounds.

The DNTs are a heterogenous group engaged in various occupations such as transport, key-making, salt trading, entertaining — acrobats, dancers, snake charmers, jugglers — and pastoralists.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NOMADIC, SEMI NOMADIC AND DNT

The nomadic tribes maintain constant geographical mobility while semi-nomads are those who are on the move but return to fixed habitations once a year, mainly for occupational reasons.

All nomadic tribes are not DNTs, but all DNTs are nomadic tribes.

There are nearly 1,500 nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes and 198 denotified tribes, comprising 15 crore Indians, according to the Renke Commission (2008).

These tribes remain socially and economically marginalised even now, depriving many of them of basic human rights.

THE SCHEME

  • The Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs, SNTs &NTs (SEED) was launched in February, 2022.
  • The scheme has been formulated with four components that affect their livelihood.
  • The four components of the SEED scheme are –
    • Educational Empowerment – Free coaching to students from these communities for Civil Services, entry to professional courses like medicine, engineering, MBA, etc.
    • Health Insurance – Through Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana of National Health Authority
    • Livelihoods – To support income generation,
    • Housing – Through Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
  • Expenditure of Rs 200 crore to be spent over five years 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • One important feature of this scheme is the online portal which has been developed by the Department. This portal will ensure seamless registration and will also act as a repository of the data on these communities.

REASONS FOR DELAY IN IMPLEMENTATION OF SEED

Inconsistencies in terms of categorization of DNTs have been hindering the process of SEED applications.

The categorisation of these communities by the Idate Commission left room for inaccuracies as outlined by the commission in its 2018 report.

Idate Commission was formed by the Government of India in 2015 to study and prepare state-wise lists of different castes of DNTs.

For instance, some communities such as the Banjara were under the SC list in Delhi, the ST list in Rajasthan and the OBC list in Uttar Pradesh.

The categorisation of DNTs, NTs and SNTs is essential for the implementation of SEED because there is no schedule in the Constitution providing for their reservation.

CRIMES IN INDIA

Violent crimes such as rape, kidnapping, atrocities against children, and robberies registered across India increased in 2021, after the pandemic-related restrictions led to a decline in these severe offences in 2020.

ABOUT THE DATA

  • Murders, which did not come down even in 2020, continued to increase in 2021 too, according to data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)’s 2021 report.
  • The number of registered rape cases increased from 28,046 in 2020 to 31,677 in 2021, closer to the 2019 figure of 32,032. Cases related to kidnapping and abduction fell to 84,805 in 2020 from 1,05,036 cases in 2019, but again rose to 1,01,707 in 2021.
  • On the other hand, murder cases continued their consistent increase with 29,272 cases in 2021, up from 29,193 in 2020 and 28,915 in 2019.
  • However, the number of overall registered cognisable crimes decreased from 66 lakh in 2020 to 60.9 lakh in 2021, a 7.6% fall.
  • The crime rate (crimes per 1 lakh people) also decreased from 487.8 in 2020 to 445.9 in 2021.

The decline in overall crimes in 2021 can be attributed to a sharp decrease in cases registered under ‘disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant (Section 188 of the IPC).

WHAT IS NCRB?

NCRB is an Indian government agency (headquartered in New Delhi) established in 1986 and is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India.

It was set up based on the recommendation of the National Police Commission, 1977 and a Task force, 1985.

It is responsible for collecting and analysing crime data (as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws) as well as serving as a repository of such information to aid investigators in tracing crimes and criminals.

NCRB was entrusted with the responsibility for monitoring, coordinating and implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project in the year 2009.

In 2017, NCRB launched the National Digital Police Portal, which allows police officers to look for a criminal or suspect on the CCTNS database and gives citizens with services such as online complaint filing, etc.

Along with the Crime in India report (oldest and most prestigious publication brought out by NCRB), It also publishes – Prisons Statistics India Report.

FLOODS IN PAKISTAN

Extending “heartfelt condolences” to victims of the floods in Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the crisis, in a rare outreach to the neighbouring country on a day Pakistan’s Finance Minister said he could consider reopening trade routes with India.

THE SPREAD AND CAUSES OF FLOODS

Reports say about 110 of the 150 districts in the country are affected by the flooding. Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Sunday that over 1,000 people were confirmed dead in the floods so far.

The flooding, the result of an unusually wet monsoon season in Pakistan this year, started in July, but has worsened over the last couple of weeks.

The same southwest monsoon that brings the bulk of India’s annual rainfall causes rain in Pakistan as well.

The monsoon season in Pakistan, however, is a little shorter than in India. That is because the rain-bearing monsoon winds take time to travel northward from India into Pakistan.

TRADE BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN

Bilateral trade reached its peak of $ 2.7 billion in 2013-14. Since then, it gradually declined till Pakistan decided to suspend bilateral trade with India in 2019.

Since then, Pakistan had made only two exceptions. These were:

  • for the import of pharmaceutical products during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • for India to ship 50,000 tonnes of wheat as humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

In FY19, total exports to Pakistan were $2.06 billion, while imports were $495 million.

UN HIGH SEAS TREATY

Negotiations involving 168 countries, including the European Union, to agree on a UN treaty for protecting oceans failed on August 27.

WHAT IS THE PROPOSED TREATY?

Also referred to as the ‘Paris Agreement for the Ocean’, the treaty to deal with Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction has been under discussion for several years.

The proposed treaty concerns the ocean existing beyond the Exclusive Economic Zones that lie from the coast of a country to about 200 nautical miles or 370 km into the sea, till where it has special rights for exploration. Waters beyond that (200 NM) are known as open seas or high seas.

The treaty was to be negotiated under the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982 which governs the rights of countries regarding marine resources.

As there is no treaty for conserving the health of vast swathes of the earth’s oceans, a UN resolution in 2017 had decided to rectify this while setting 2022 as the deadline.

ROADBLOCKS IN THE TREATY

  • The pandemic resulted in many delays and the negotiations were not held on many issues.
  • The negotiating parties have not agreed on the legal nature of this treaty.
    • Many institutions, such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are demanding this treaty to be legally binding in order to become more effective.
  • Some countries in the Caribbean alleged that richer countries of the Global North did not actively participate until the last few days of the talks.
  • Also, the treaty is facing resistance from countries that engage in deep sea mining of minerals or are heavily invested in fishing.

DISPARITIES IN INFLATION

There are wide disparities in the pace of price rise experienced by consumers across the country, with a dozen States clocking an average inflation of less than 6% and another 12 States averaging more than 7% through 2022 so far.

ABOUT

Headline inflation/Retail Inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index has averaged 6.8% in the first seven months of 2022, well above the 6% upper tolerance threshold set by policy makers.

However, consumers in Telangana, West Bengal and Sikkim faced the steepest spike in prices, with their combined retail inflation for rural and urban areas averaging 8.32%, 8.06%, and 8.01%, respectively.

Smaller States such as Manipur, Goa and Meghalaya have had an average inflation of less than 4% through this period, at 1.07%, 3.66%, and 3.84%, respectively.

FAKE CURRENCY

Nearly 60% of all fake notes seized in 2021 were of ₹2,000 denomination, the Crime in India 2021 report compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows.

ABOUT

Of the fake Indian currency notes with a face value of ₹20.39 crore seized in 2021, ₹12.18 crore was in the denomination of ₹2,000.

The new ₹2,000 and ₹500 currency notes were introduced in 2016 after the old ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes were scrapped by the Union government. The government had said that curbing of fake notes was one of the primary objectives of the 2016 demonetisation exercise.

Post-2016, there has been an increase in seizure of fake money, the NCRB data reveal.

The highest recovery of fake ₹2,000 notes was made in Tamil Nadu (₹5 crore), followed by Kerala (₹1.8 crore) and Andhra Pradesh (₹1 crore).

DEATH OF MIKHAIL GORBACHEV

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader who brought the Cold War to a peaceful end, has died aged 91.

GORBACHEV’s LIFE AND CONTRIBUTIONS

  • Mikhail Gorbachev (1931 – 2022) was a Russian and Soviet politician who served as the last leader of the Soviet Union.
  • As the country’s head of state from 1988 to 1991, he served as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990 and President of the Soviet Union from 1990 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
  • Ideologically, Gorbachev initially adhered to Marxism–Leninism, but he moved towards social democracy by the early 1990s.
  • Gorbachev believed significant reform was necessary, particularly after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
  • He withdrew from the Soviet–Afghan War and embarked on summits with United States president Ronald Reagan to limit nuclear weapons and end the Cold War.
  • Domestically, his policy of glasnost (“openness”) allowed for enhanced freedom of speech and press, while his perestroika (“restructuring”) sought to decentralize economic decision-making to improve efficiency.
  • The recipient of a wide range of awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, he was widely praised for his pivotal role in ending the Cold War.

CORE SECTOR GROWTH

Growth in the output of eight core infrastructure sectors decelerated sharply for a second straight month to hit a six-month low of 4.5% in July from a year ago as the pace of expansion in oil refining, power production & cement significantly slowed down.

Given that the core industries make up for 3% of the IIP, this slowdown may weigh down the growth of the index of industrial production (IIP) in July.

INDEX OF CORE INDUSTRIES (ICI)

  • ICI is a production volume index which is released on monthly basis.
  • The Office of Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade under Ministry of Commerce & Industry is mandated with releasing the Index.
  • The base year of the ICI has been revised to 2011-12 from 2004-05.
  • The index measures combined and individual performance of production in selected eight core industries.
    Coal (10.33%),
    Crude Oil (8.98%),
    Natural Gas (6.88%),
    Petroleum Refinery (28.04%)
    Fertilizers (2.63%),
    Steel production (17.92%),
    Cement production (5.37%),
    Electricity generation (19.85%)

INDEX of INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION (IIP)

  • The IIP number measures the industrial production for the period under review, usually a month, as against the reference period.
  • There is a lag of six weeks in the publication of the IIP index data after the reference month ends.
  • It is currently calculated using 2011-2012 as the base year.
  • National Statistical Organisation (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) releases the IIP data.

IIP Index Components

IIP is a composite indicator that measures the growth rate of industry groups classified under,

  • Broad sectors: Mining (14.4%), Manufacturing (77.6%) and Electricity (8%)
  • Use-based sectors: Basic Goods, Capital Goods and Intermediate Goods etc.

UYGHUR MUSLIMS IN CHINA

The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (HRC) accused China of serious human rights violations that may amount to “crimes against humanity” in a report examining a crackdown on Uighurs / Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang province.

ABOUT THE UYGHUR MUSLIMS

Human rights groups have accused China of sweeping a million or more people from the minority groups into detention camps, where many have said they were tortured, sexually assaulted, and forced to abandon their language and religion.

There are about 12 million Uyghurs, mostly Muslim, living in Xinjiang, which is officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

The Uyghurs speak their own language, which is similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. They make up less than half of the Xinjiang population.

Recent decades have seen a mass migration of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) into Xinjiang, allegedly orchestrated by the state to dilute the minority population there.

China has also been accused of targeting Muslim religious figures and banning religious practices in the region, as well as destroying mosques and tombs.

SUPER TYPHOON HINNANMOR

The strongest tropical storm of 2022, dubbed Super Typhoon ‘Hinnamnor’, has been barrelling across the western Pacific Ocean and is presently hurtling back towards the islands of Japan and South Korea, packing wind speeds of upto 241 kilometres per hour.

ABOUT

As of September 1, 2022, the category 5 typhoon — the highest classification on the scale — was about 230 km away from Japan’s Okinawa prefecture.

One of the factors contributing to the Super Typhoon rapidly intensifying and expanding is the fact that it has started absorbing other local meteorological systems. Warm tropical waters and other pre-existing meteorological disturbances have also led to the system’s escalation.