The Hindu Newspaper 01st March 2020

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1)‘Asiatic cheetah’ is now found in

  1. Iran
  2. Iraq
  3. Afghanistan

Select the correct statements

a) 1 only
b) 1 and 2
c) 1 and 3
d) 2 and 3

2)‘Sampriti’ is a joint military exercise between India and

a) Sri Lanka
b) Bangladesh
c) Maldives
d) Thailand

3)The ‘Kalahari Desert’ covers regions of which of the following countries?

  1. South Africa
  2. Botswana
  3. Namibia

Select the correct statements

a) 1 and 2
b) 2 and 3
c) 1 and 3
d) All of the above


1)U.S. strikes a deal with Taliban to end 18 year long Afghan war :-

GS-2 , International Affairs ( Page 1 and Page 12)

The U.S. signed a deal with the Taliban on Saturday that could pave the way for a full withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Afghanistan over the next 14 months and represents a step towards ending the 18 year war in the nation.

The U.S. said it is committed to reducing the number of its troops to 8,600 from the current 13,000 within 135 days of signing the deal.

What is India’s Position on the Agreement :- India welcomes U.S.Taliban peace agreement. India support all
opportunities that could bring peace, security and stability in the country.

What is Taliban :- The Taliban is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan which is at present waging war within that country. It was founded in 1994 and from 1996 to 2001, it was governing the country enforcing a strict interpretation of Islamic or Sharia law.

Since October 2018, Taliban representatives and US officials have been meeting in Doha, Qatar trying to chalk out a peace treaty.

The negotiations focus on three elements:

  1. Withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
  2. To prevent Afghanistan from being used by international terrorist groups.
  3. Permanent ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghanistan.

India’s position has always been that it does not have any direct conversation with Taliban.
However, in 2018, India sent two retired diplomats, at the non-official level to join negotiations with Taliban at Moscow.

Some experts argue that India should have an open contact with Taliban as Talibans are part of Afghanistan’s political process.

Also, the Taliban has never criticized India. If they come into power, they would like India to continue with the development part. It also supports India’s strategic partnership with Afghanistan.

2)PUFFER FISH :- It’s a Poisonous Variety of Fish.

3) News : ‘Bringing back cheetahs will be a big challenge’ 

(PAGE -8 SOUTH) (Ecology and Environment)

Why in News:- Recently Supreme Court green-lighted the introduction of cheetahs in India, the top scientist at the
laboratory for saving extinct species says it will be a challenge. Cheetah has been extinct in India.

The court recently gave the nod to the National Tiger Conservation Authority to reintroduce African cheetahs, nearly 10 years after the plea was made.

Cheetah is vulnerable in IUCN Classification.

NOTE:- The Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus), also known as Iranian or Persian cheetah, is a Critically Endangered cheetah subspecies surviving today only in Iran.

Human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss and fragmentation, and illegal trade are major reasons for disappearance of these cheetahs.

India needs a protocol for the introduction of wild animals so that that introduction goes smoothly and does not effect the existing species in India.

About NTCA:-  The National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA) was established in December 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force.

The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended to provide for constituting the National Tiger Conservation Authority responsible for implementation of the Project Tiger plan to protect endangered tigers. The National Tiger Conservation Authority is set up under the Chairmanship of the Minister for Environment and Forests.

  • It approves the State Govt. Plans for Tiger Conservation.
  • Lays down Standards and Measures.
  • Also Prepares Report to be laid down in front of Parliament.

Project Tiger was Launched in 1973.
NTCA at Present is a Statutory Body under MOEF.

It conducts Tiger Census every 4 year.
4) News : J&K uses 2011 data for delimitation 
Page 10 , GS- 2
What’s the News:- The new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir ( J&K) will be the only place in the country to undergo a delimitation exercise based on the population figures recorded in the 2011 census.
What’s Difference here??:- The latest readjustment of boundaries of constituencies in the States and other Union Territories concluded in 2008 has been done on the basis of the 2001 census and in future, it will be carried out based on the 2031 census. But for the UT of J&K delimitation will be as per 2011 Census.
Delimitation was last done in J&K in 1995.
J&K reorganization act says the number of seats in the Assembly would be increased from 107 to 114.  The delimitation will be done for 90 seats as 24 seats fall in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
5)17 New Planets Discovered :
Page 12 , Science and Tech.
Kepler Mission:- The Kepler space telescope is a retired space telescope launched by NASA to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars. Named after astronomer Johannes Kepler, the spacecraft was launched on March 7, 2009, into an Earth-trailing heliocentric orbit.
6)FAQ:- Why is COVID-19 not a pandemic yet?

Page – 14 , GS-2, GS-3

Besides China, how many countries have reported at least one confirmed case?
As on February 29, 5,233 confirmed cases have been reported from 60 countries.

Since the virus has spread globally, what is the World Health Organization calling it?
In a press briefing on February 26, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made it clear that WHO will not declare COVID-19 a pandemic at this moment. He said: “We should not be too eager to declare a pandemic without a careful and clear minded analysis of the facts… Using the word pandemic carelessly has no tangible benefit, but it does have significant risk in terms of amplifying unnecessary and unjustified fear and stigma, and paralyzing systems.”

When was the last time a pandemic was declared?
A pandemic is defined as the worldwide spread of a new disease. The last pandemic reported was in 2009 with the H1N1 flu, which killed hundreds of thousands globally.

What steps should countries take to stop the virus from spreading?

  1. The priority should be to detect cases early and isolate people who test positive for the virus.
  2. Once a case is detected, the focus should be to trace the contacts and treat them if already infected.
  3. Though the average incubation period is five-seven days, a few have shown up symptoms at the end of 24 days. Efforts should also be centred on preventing outbreaks in hospitals and spread in the community. One way to stop the spread in the community is to avoid mass gathering in enclosed spaces.

7) NPR 2020 skids
Page 14, (GS-2)

Why in News:- On February 25, the Bihar Assembly passed a unanimous resolution stating that there is no need for a National Register of Citizens in the State and that the implementation of the National Population Register (NPR) would be done strictly according to the 2010 format.

What is the National Population Register (NPR)?
The NPR is a database of usual residents in the country who have stayed in a local area for the past six months or more and who intend to remain in the same place for the next six months or more. The NPR is individual and identity specific unlike the Census which only provides information on the status of the residents of India and population swings.

The NPR database was first created in 2010. The electronic database of more than 119 crore usual residents of the country has already been created under the NPR in English as well as the regional languages. The data collection is done under the aegis of the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.

The NPR is undertaken under the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. The NPR was last updated, except in Assam and Meghalaya, in 2015-16.

Is NPR related to NRC?:- The data collected through NPR becomes the crux for determining the citizenship of a person.

What is the NPR format of 2010?:- Fifteen identity particulars of the individual members of the household are sought in the 2010 format. These include name, relationship to the head of the household, sex, date of birth, marital status, educational qualification, occupation/activity, names of parents, place of birth (of everybody staying in the household at the time), nationality, present address of usual residence, duration of stay at the present address and permanent residential address.

What does the updated manual of 2020 say?
The NPR 2020 enumeration exercise will be undertaken during April–September this year. Certain new information will be collected by enumerators in a house-to-house collection exercise such as Aadhaar, mobile, voter ID, passport and driving licence, if available with the residents on a voluntarily basis.

Where is the Difference:-Unlike in the 2010 NPR, the new format for NPR 2020 requires residents to disclose their mother tongue and the places and dates of birth of their parents even if they are not living in the same household at the time or not alive. Individuals have to disclose the districts and States of their parents’ birth.

What is the problem?:- State governments are nervous that the NPR data would be used to target citizens on the basis of their identity and deprive them of their citizenship. Fears about the NPR-NRC have been compounded with the passage of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or the CAA of 2019, which fast-tracks citizenship by naturalisation process of persons from six religious communities, other than Muslims, who have fled persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

8)Venus’ asteroid:- The very first asteroid whose orbit lies entirely within that of Venus has been discovered.
Named 2020AV2, this asteroid was found to be unstable. Within a million years this would either collide with
Venus or get scattered to an Earth crossing path.

(Page 15, Science and Technology).



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