News: Revisiting history On the eve of 103 years of Jallianwala Bagh massacre, people visit the memorial in Amritsar.
About Jallianwala Bagh Massacre:
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919.
A large peaceful crowd had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab to protest against the arrest of pro-Indian independence leaders Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satya Pal.
In response to the public gathering, the Anglo-Indian Brigadier R. E. H. Dyer surrounded the protesters with his Gurkha British Indian army unit, Sindh Sikh regiment and 52nd Sikh regiment.
The Jallianwala Bagh could only be exited on one side, as its other three sides were enclosed by buildings.
After blocking the exit with his troops, he ordered them to shoot at the crowd, continuing to fire even as the protestors tried to flee.
The troops kept on firing until their ammunition was exhausted.
This incident shocked Rabindranath Tagore, an Indian polymath and the first Asian Nobel laureate, to such an extent that he renounced his knighthood.
2. SOVEREIGN DEFAULT
News: Sri Lanka on Tuesday announced a pre-emptive default on all its foreign debt totalling $51 billion as a “last resort”, while the island nation struggles to cope with a grave economic crisis.
About Sovereign Default:
Sovereign default is the failure by a government to repay its national debts.
Countries are typically hesitant to default on their national debt since doing so will make borrowing funds in the future more difficult and more expensive
However, sovereign nations are not subject to normal bankruptcy laws and always have the power to escape responsibility for their debts, often without legal consequences.
Nations that maintain their own currency and whose debt is denominated in that currency will have the option to effectively default by inflating their currency and printing more money to cover the outstanding portion.
Sovereign default is rare and often happens in response to an economic crisis in the defaulting country. Some of the precipitating factors for sovereign default can include an economic downtown, sustained political upheaval, and excessive government spending supported by unsustainable public debt.
As bond purchasers and lenders watch developments like these, they may decide that the nation may fail to pay its debt The resulting debt crisis can cause interest rates to skyrocket, exacerbating the crisis. This is especially problematic for governments that rely on short-term borrowing. Eventually, the cycle of distrust and its impact ends when the government fails to service a particular debt.
The causes of sovereign default are actually very similar to the impact of sovereign default. Once some precipitating cause like political upheaval or a recession starts the process toward a default, the impact on the economy and the public begins.
Lenders may impose austerity measures, often resulting in job losses and recession, while a rise in interest rates will make everyone’s debt more expensive. And, while there may be more exports and tourism because reduced price of the potential defaulting country’s currency, those who live in that currency will find that everything is more expensive, especially if it comes from offshore.
Eventually, these impacts can combine to create a severe recession, leaving long-term impacts on the national economy of the defaulting nation.
3. COMMON BABBLER
News: A common babbler feeds its fledgling at Bhubaneswar in Odisha.
About Common Babbler:
The common babbler (Argya caudata) are found in dry open scrub country mainly in India.
Two populations are recognized as subspecies and the populations to the west of the Indus river system are now usually treated as a separate species, the Afghan babbler (Turdoides huttoni).
The species is distinctly long-tailed, slim with an overall brown or greyish colour, streaked on the upper plumage and having a distinctive whitish throat.
This small, slim babbler with a long tail is buff to grey above with dark streaks. The underside is unstreaked and paler, the throat being nearly whitish.
4. ELECTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA
News: The tenure of the current President of India Ram Nath Kovind is set to end in July this year, which is also when the 16th Indian Presidential election will be held to elect his successor.
About the Elections of the President of India:
The Indian President is elected through an electoral college system, wherein the votes are cast by national and State-level lawmakers.
The elections are conducted and overseen by the Election Commission (EC) of India.
The electoral college is made up of all the elected members of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs), and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of States and Union Territories (MLAs).
This means, in the upcoming polls, the number of electors will be 4,896 — 543 Lok Sabha MPs, 233 MPs of the Rajya Sabha, and 4,120 MLAs of all States, including the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry.
Before the voting, comes the nomination stage, where the candidate intending to stand in the election, files the nomination along with a signed list of 50 proposers and 50 seconders.
These proposers and seconders can be anyone from the total of 4,896 members of the electoral college from the State and national level.
The rule for securing 50 proposers and seconders was implemented when the EC noticed, in 1974, that several candidates, many without even a bleak chance of winning, would file their nominations to contest the polls.
An elector cannot propose or second the nomination of more than one candidate.
A vote cast by each MP or MLA is not calculated as one vote. There is a larger vote value attached to it.
The fixed value of each vote by an MP of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha is 708. Meanwhile, the vote value of each MLA differs from State to State based on a calculation that factors in its population vis-a-vis the number of members in its legislative Assembly.
As per the Constitution (Eighty-fourth Amendment) Act 2001, currently, the population of States is taken from the figures of the 1971 Census. This will change when the figures of the Census taken after the year 2026 are published.
The value of each MLA’s vote is determined by dividing the population of the State by the number of MLAs in its legislative Assembly, and the quotient achieved is further divided by 1000.
A nominated candidate does not secure victory based on a simple majority but through a system of bagging a specific quota of votes. While counting, the EC totals up all the valid votes cast by the electoral college through paper ballots and to win, the candidate must secure 50% of the total votes cast + 1.
Unlike general elections, where electors vote for a single party’s candidate, the voters of the electoral college write the names of candidates on the ballot paper in the order of preference.
5. EL NINO
News: The southwest monsoon is likely to be “normal” in 2022, though rainfall in August, the second rainiest month, will likely be subdued.
About El Nino:
El Niño is a climate pattern that describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
El Nino is the “warm phase” of a larger phenomenon called the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
La Nina, the “cool phase” of ENSO, is a pattern that describes the unusual cooling of the region’s surface waters.
El Niño and La Niña are considered the ocean part of ENSO, while the Southern Oscillation is its atmospheric changes.
El Niño has an impact on ocean temperatures, the speed and strength of ocean currents, the health of coastal fisheries, and local weather from Australia to South America and beyond.
El Niño events occur irregularly at two- to seven-year intervals. However, El Niño is not a regular cycle, or predictable in the sense that ocean tides are.
During an El Niño event, westward-blowing trade winds weaken along the Equator.
These changes in air pressure and wind speed cause warm surface water to move eastward along the Equator, from the western Pacific to the coast of northern South America.