Daily Current Affairs - 10-10-2021

A global deal to ensure big companies pay a minimum tax rate of 15% and make it harder for them to avoid taxation has been agreed by 136 countries, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said.

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The OECD said four countries – Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – had not yet joined the agreement, but that the countries behind the accord together accounted for over 90% of the global economy.

Why a global minimum tax? With budgets strained after the COVID-19 crisis, many governments want more than ever to discourage multinationals from shifting profits – and tax revenues – to low-tax countries regardless of where their sales are made.

How would a deal work?

The global minimum tax rate would apply to overseas profits of multinational firms with 750 million euros ($868 million) in sales globally.

Governments could still set whatever local corporate tax rate they want, but if companies pay lower rates in a particular country, their home governments could “top up” their taxes to the 15% minimum, eliminating the advantage of shifting profits.

A second track of the overhaul would allow countries where revenues are earned to tax 25% of the largest multinationals’ so-called excess profit – defined as profit in excess of 10% of revenue.

The hill State of Himachal Pradesh has been gradually witnessing less snow in the past decade and the area under snow is also decreasing.

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The trend triggered by climate change has alarmed environmentalists, considering the importance of seasonal snow cover as a major input in controlling the hydrology of the river basins in the ecologically fragile State.

A recent study, conducted jointly by the State Centre on Climate Change and the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, using Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) satellite data has revealed that all major river basins, including the Satluj, Ravi, Chenab and Beas, have witnessed an overall decrease of 18.5% in area under snow in 2020-21 winters in comparison to 2019-20.

The snowfall in peak winter is reducing slightly and, in fact, is shifting towards the late winter months or even the early summer months.”

This phenomenon is attributed to the rising temperatures. Rapid deforestation, extensive construction and unregulated activities are the contributing factors.

India and Denmark inked four agreements and decided to expand cooperation in a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen in New Delhi.

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The agreement was signed in the field of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, establishing a Centre of Excellence towards natural refrigerants for tropical climates with potential applications and on mapping of ground water resources and aquifers.

Both the  Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress in the bilateral relations since they launched the Green Strategic Partnership during their Virtual Summit on 28 September 2020.

They welcomed the detailed 5-year Action Plan for the period 2021 to 2026  and noted the progress in its implementation.

Manthalirile 20 Communist Varshangal, a novel by Benyamin, has won the 45th Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial Literary Award.

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Instituted by the Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial Trust, the award commemorates the celebrated poet and lyricist.

It carries a purse of ₹1 lakh, a bronze statuette crafted by sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman and a citation.

In Manthalirile 20 Communist Varshangal, Benyamin, presents the inhabitants of Manthalir village, and how the heady mix of politics and religion impacts their daily struggles for existence in this essentially bucolic setting.

Benyamin, born Benny Daniel, hails from Kulanada, Pathanamthitta. He is a recipient of the Kerala Sahithya Akademi Award, the Crossword Book Award, the JCB Prize for Literature and the Muttathu Varkey Award.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) decisively upheld the Linear No-Threshold model to prescribe radiation safety standards, ending the protracted controversy on the topic.

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The LNT model states that biological effects such as cancer and hereditary effects due to exposure to ionising radiation increase as a linear function of dose, without threshold.

The LNT model helps the agencies to regulate radiation exposures to diverse categories of licensees, from commercial nuclear power plants to individual industrial radiographers and nuclear medical practices.

Debate

In 2015 three petitions requested the NRC, “to amend its regulations based on what they assert is new science and evidence that contradicts the linear no-threshold (LNT) dose-effect model that serves as the basis for the NRC’s radiation protection regulations."

The petitioners support “radiation hormesis,” a concept that posits that low doses of ionising radiation protect against the deleterious effects of high doses of radiation and result in beneficial effects to humans.

The NRC denied the three petitions because they failed to present an adequate basis supporting the request to discontinue use of the LNT model. Therefore, the NRC will maintain the current dose limit requirements.

The NRC noted that although there are studies and other scholarly papers that support the petitioners’ assertions, there are also studies and findings that support the continued use of the LNT model, including those by national and international authoritative scientific advisory bodies.

India and Nepal reviewed implementation of ongoing cross-border railway links and overall bilateral cooperation in the railway sector in the 5th Joint Working Group and the 7th Project Steering Committee meetings in New Delhi.

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Both sides signed the Standard Operating Procedures for start of passenger train services on the Jaynagar-Kurtha section and the Memorandum of Understanding for Final Location Survey of the proposed broad gauge railway line between Raxaul and Kathmandu.

The proposed Raxaul-Kathmandu broad gauge railway line will further boost connectivity between India and Nepal.

Both sides discussed the ongoing works of Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas and Jogbani-Biratnagar broad gauge railway lines between India and Nepal, being developed with grant assistance from Government of India.

NASA is set to launch ‘Lucy’ , its first mission to explore the Jupiter Trojan asteroids.

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These asteroids are believed to be the remnants of the early solar system, and studying them will help scientists understand its origins and evolution, and why it looks the way it does.

The solar-powered mission is estimated to be over 12 years long, during the course of which the spacecraft will visit eight asteroids covering a distance of about 6.3 billion km to deepen the understanding of the “young solar system”.

The mission is named after ‘Lucy’, a 3.2 million-year-old ancestor who belonged to a species of hominins (which include humans and their ancestors).

The spacecraft’s first encounter will be with an asteroid that lies in the main belt that can be found between Mars and Jupiter. This asteroid is named ‘Donald Johnson’ after the paleoanthropologist who discovered the fossilised remains of ‘Lucy’.

The spacecraft will launch from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida on an Atlas V 401 rocket during a 21-day launch period that will start on October 16, 2021.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch Indian Space Association (ISpA) on October 11, 2021.

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Indian Space Association is the Premier Industry Association of Space and Satellite companies, which aspires to be the collective voice of the Indian Space industry.

It will undertake policy advocacy and engage with all stakeholders in the Indian Space domain, including the Government and its agencies.

ISpA is represented by leading home grown and global corporations with advanced capabilities in space and satellite technologies.

Its founding members include Larson and Toubro, Nelco , OneWeb, Bharti Airtel, Mapmyindia, Walchandnagar Industries and Ananth Technology Limited. Other core members include Godrej, Hughes India, Azista-BST Aerospace Private Limited, BEL, Centum Electronics and  Maxar India.

The Government of Bangladesh and the United Nations signed an MoU for the relocation of Rohingya refugees to the newly developed facility at the Bhasan Char Island.

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The MoU sets out the policy framework of services and common protection for the Rohingya humanitarian response on the island.

The MoU recognises the  generosity of the government of Bangladesh for hosting almost 9 lakh Rohingya refugees in the country. It covers key areas of  protection, education, skill development, training, livelihood and health which will help prepare them for sustainable return to Myanmar in the future.

Bhashan char is an uninhabited Island which has been developed at a cost of Tk 3100 crore as a relocation centre for refugees currently living in the refugee camps at Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh.

It has a capacity to accommodate approximately1 lakh Rohingya refugees.

Earlier several environmental groups expressed concern over the fragile ecological situation on the island which emerged less than 20 years back from the sea. They point out the threat of cyclone, erosion and other natural disasters for the people who will live on the Island.

However, the govt of Bangladesh maintains that the facility is well protected as sufficient arrangement has been made with cyclone shelters and high embankment on the island. The facility at Bhashan char is considered better compared to the overcrowded camps at Cox's Bazar.

Till now close to 20,000 Rohingya refugees have already been settled on the Bhashan Char Island by the government.

Union Minister for Communications greeted Universal Postal Union and Postal family on World Postal Day. The theme for this year’s World Post Day is ‘Innovate to recover’.

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World Post Day is celebrated each year on 9th of October to mark the anniversary of establishment of the Universal Postal Union in 1874.

India has been a member of the Universal Postal Union since 1876.

The purpose of World Post Day is to create awareness about the role of postal sector in the lives of people and businesses as well as contribution to the socio-economic development of countries.