December 2019

Daily Current Affairs (09-12-19)



Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:  

International Relations [Paper-I]: International Organisations, International Treaties and Forums, their structure and mandate

Why in News?

  • OPEC group of oil-producing countries and their allies, including Russia, have decided to cut oil production by 500,000 barrels per day.
  • The group decided to cut output to support the price of energy and bolster their revenues.

News in Detail

  • The cuts come on top of a reduction of 1.2 million barrels a day that they have been observing for the past three years.
  • In a meeting in Vienna, they agreed to reduce production to stem pressure on prices from abundant reserves and weak global economic growth.
  • Ministers gathered at OPEC headquarters decided for an additional adjustment of five lakh barrels per day, effective from 1st January 2020.
  • This would bring production 1.7 million barrels per day below October 2018 levels.
  • In addition, several countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, will continue their additional voluntary contributions. It will lead to an overall production cut to 2.1 million barrels per day.
  • Oil prices surged following the announcement, with US benchmark WTI and its European counterpart Brent crude by about two per cent higher.

About OPEC

  • It is a group consisting of 14 of the world’s major oil-exporting nations.
  • OPEC is a cartel that aims to manage the supply of oil in an effort to set the price of oil on the world market, in order to avoid fluctuations that might affect the economies of both producing and purchasing countries.
  • It is a permanent, intergovernmental organization, created at the Baghdad Conference in 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
  • The other member countries are United Arab Emirates (UAE), Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola and Ecuador.
  • It was founded to coordinate the petroleum policies of its members and to provide member states with technical and economic aid.
  • It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.


According to current estimates, 79.4% of the world’s proven oil reserves are located in OPEC Member Countries, with the bulk of OPEC oil reserves in the Middle East, amounting to 64.5% of the OPEC total.

[Source: All India Radio, Investopedia]




Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus: 

Environment [Paper-II]: Policies and treaties for the protection of environment at the National and the International level, Biodiversity – its importance and concerns


Researchers have developed the ‘FrogPhone’, a novel device which allows scientists to call up a frog survey site and monitor them in the wild.

What is Frog Phone?

  • It is the world’s first solar-powered remote survey device that relays environmental data to the observer via text messages, whilst conducting real-time remote acoustic surveys over the phone.
  • The device has been developed at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra and the University of Canberra in collaboration with the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Region Frogwatch Program and the Australian National University.


  • With FrogPhone, researchers can simply “calla frog habitat. After a call is made to one of the FrogPhones already on a site, the device will take three seconds to receive it.
  • During these few seconds, the device’s temperature sensors will get activated and environmental data such as air temperature, water temperature and battery voltage will be sent to the caller’s phone via a text message.
  • The calls will have minimal background noise and clear sound quality that will give the callers the ability to identify different frog species based on their knowledge of frog calls – croaks.
  • Because frogs are most active during night, researchers are usually required to make nightly observations in order to monitor them on site.
  • The FrogPhone will allow researchers to dial these devices remotely, and analyse the data later.


  • The FrogPhone will help to drastically reduce the costs and risks involved in remote or high intensity surveys.
  • Its use will also minimize potential negative impacts of human presence at survey sites.
  • These devices also allow for monitoring of local frog populations more frequently than before, which is important because these populations are recognised as indicators of environmental health.
[Source: Indian Express, sciencedaily]




Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:  

Indian Constitution [Paper-I]: Indian Constitution and its salient features, imporatant provisions relating to Constitutional amendments


Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Law and Justice, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, on December 9, 2019.

About the Bill

  • The Bill amends provisions related to reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
  • The Constitution provides for reservation of seats for SCs and STs and representation of the Anglo-Indian community by nomination, in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies of states (Article 334).
  • This has been provided for a period of 70 years since the enactment of the Constitution and will expire on January 25, 2020.
  • The Bill seeks to extend the reservation for SCs and STs by another 10 years till January 25, 2030.
  • The reservation for Anglo-Indians in the form of “nomination” is set to expire on January 25, 2020 as the bill does not extend the facility to the community.



  • China has stepped up efforts to promote “red tourism” which features visits to sites with significance of revolutionary history.
  • State planners have methodically developed a robust ecosystem, energised by carefully choreographed stories of how the founding father of Red China, Mao Zedong, and his comrades battled for the communist revolution in 1949.
  • The tales woven around prominent locations — markers on the path that led to the emergence of Red China — are now being leveraged for tourism.
  • Red tourism is not only helping the authorities in eliminating rural poverty, but also promoting the legitimacy of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
  • A human library, a concept which seeks to replace books with humans, was organised in Mysuru on December 8, 2019.
  • The human library aims to break past long-standing prejudices and stereotypes by creating a safe framework for conservations by using a library analogy of lending people rather than books.
  • It intends to generate greater human cohesion across various social, religious and ethnic diversities.
  • In India, Human Library is spread across various metropolitan cities such as Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, etc.
  • The key is to create a society where everyone can coexist peacefully, irrespective of their social, religious, ethnic, cultural or gender backgrounds or identities, which ultimately comes down to understanding and social acceptance.
  • The readers of human library have an opportunity during a planned event to borrow Human Books and to engage in conversation with the books.
  • An event like this has the potential to acknowledge the need for a change in societal attitudes and encourage social reforms.
  • Human Library is a registered international non-profit organisation with its administrative headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • The notion of Human Library was initially launched in 2000 in Copenhagen and currently exists in more than 85 countries, known as The Human Library Organisation’.
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up 270 tyre pyrolysis units in 19 States for employing technology that is polluting and harmful to the health of workers employed.
  • Tyre pyrolysis refers to a technique of breaking down used tyres in the absence of oxygen. Shredded tyres, at temperatures between 250º C and 500º C, produce liquid oil and gases.
  • Eventhough it is considered as a safer technique than burning tyres, pyrolysis leaves fine carbon matter, pyro-gas, oil as residue and the inadequate management of these by-products poses health risks.
  • National Green Tribunal in 2014 prohibited used tyres from being burnt in the open or being used as fuel in brick kilns, because of the toxic emissions.
  • Karnataka State government has amended rules directing industrial establishments that have taken any support from the government to give priority to Kannadigas in jobs on the shop floor in C’ and ‘D’ category of employees.
  • The notification was issued after amending the Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing Orders), Rules, 1961.
  • According to State labour department, industries getting incentives from the government must provide 100 percent reservation in their bluecollared jobs and those not availing any benefits are required to accord priority to Kannadigas.
  • The notification does not cite Sarojini Mahishi report that recommended reservation for Kannadigas in jobs in the private sector, but states lack of a common language as the cause of a majority of accidents on the shop floor.
  • The notification only asks industrial establishments to give priority to Kannadigas, but neither makes it mandatory nor states any punitive measures if the establishments fail to do so.
  • The Israeli student satellite Duchifat 3 is a a small remote sensing satellite weighing 2.3 kilogram, built by students from Sha’ar HaNegev High School and few other schools in collaboration with Herzliya Space Center (HSC) in Israel.
  • The satellite is designed to serve children from across the country toobserve the Earth. It is a photo satellite used for ecological research of Earth from space.
  • It will be launched by ISRO Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C48) on December 11, 2019.
  • Besides Duchifat 3, the PSLV C48 will carry place India’s RISAT-2BR1 and 8 other foreign satellites as payload.
  • Duchifat 3 is the third in the series of Israeli student-made satellites.

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