Current Affairs July 22

Fire tornadoes explained

  • It is a spiraling vortex of gases and smoke and fire.
  • They’re rare, because it need a lot of buoyancy from heating of the air by very hot gases coming off the fire.
  • The buoyancy will give the atmosphere instability, but instability alone is not enough to create a fire tornado.
  • it need a very hot fire, which get with dry fuel. The drier the fuel, the more readily the fire’s energy can go into heat, rather than evaporating.
  • Also need a stack of winds shifting in speed or direction with is called wind shear, and the wind shear together with the intense heat could generate a fire tornado



  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight-tested indigenously developed low weight, fire and forget Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM)
  • Low weight, fire and forget Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile
  • Miniaturised Infrared Imaging seeker
  • Major boost to Army and Aatma Nirbhar Bharat
  • Developed by DRDO


Impact on pandemic on children’s

  • As many as 1.19 lakh children in India lost their primary caregivers (one or both parents or one or both custodial grandparents) to COVID-19, placing the country after Mexico (1.4 lakh) and Brazil (1.3 lakh) in this figure, says a new study published in The Lancet.
  • Globally, this figure stood at 11.34 lakh between March 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021.
  • Children who lost either a mother or a father totalled 10.42 lakh, with 1.16 lakh of them in India.
  • The study developed estimates of pandemic-associated orphanhood and caregiver deaths using excess mortality and deaths for 21 countries that accounted for 76.4% of the global deaths during the period.
  • Though India ranks third in absolute numbers, its fi- gure of 0.3 per 1,000 children was much lower than those of countries such as South Africa (5.1), Mexico (3.5), Brazil (2.4), Colombia (2.3), Iran (1.7), the U.S. (1.5), Argentina (1.1) and Russia (1)



Should India engage with Taliban?


  • With the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan in process, New Delhi has decided to ramp down its civilian presence in the war-torn country, bracing for a full-blown civil war.
  • India has ‘temporarily’ closed its consulate in Kandahar and evacuated its diplomats and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel stationed there
  • , India today is left with its Embassy in Kabul and the consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif.
  • New Delhi’s decision to partially “withdraw” from Afghanistan shows that betting only on the government in Kabul was a big mistake, and that New Delhi realises the threat Taliban poses to Indian assets and presence in Afghanistan.
  • Either way, India’s Afghan policy is at a major crossroads; to safeguard its civilian assets there as well as to stay relevant in the unfolding ‘great game’ in and around Afghanistan
  • over a third of Afghanistan’s more than 400 districts under Taliban control, the talk-to-the-Taliban-option is indeed the best .

Why India is not engaging with Taliban?


  • For one, if New Delhi chooses to engage the Taliban directly, it could make Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.
  • Two, decision makers in New Delhi are also faced with the dilemma of who to talk to within the Taliban given that it is hardly a monolith
  • there is little clarity about what the Taliban’s real intentions are going forward and what they would do after ascending to power in Kabul.
  • Finally, it would not be totally unreasonable to consider the possibility of Pakistan acting out against India in Kashmir if India were to establish deeper links with the Taliban

Why India need to engage?

  • For one, whether we like it or not, the Taliban, one way or another, is going to be part of the political scheme of things in Afghanistan, and unlike in 1996, a large number of players in the international community are going to recognise/ negotiate/do business with the Taliban.
  • Two, the Taliban today is looking for regional and global partners for recognition and legitimacy especially in the neighbourhood.
  • Third, even though the Taliban is widely considered to be propped up by Pakistan, it would be a mistake to think that the Taliban will continue to be Pakistan’s servile followers upon gaining power in Kabul
  • Four, India needs to court all parties in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, if it wants to ensure its security of its civilian assets there.
  • if India is not proactive in Afghanistan at least now, late as it is, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and China will emerge as the shapers of Afghanistan’s political and geopolitical destiny, which for sure will be detrimental to Indian interests there.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, opening up the congested north-western frontier is key to bringing India’s continental grand strategy on an even keel, a process New Delhi has already started.


Mumbai flood

  • The revival of the monsoon has overwhelmed Mumbai and its suburbs
  • COVID-19 pandemic, the monsoon malady poses a double jeopardy, adding to the economic misery of the vulnerable who live in hovels in suburban landslide-prone locations
  • The limitations in its infrastructure to accommodate intense monsoons, and its notorious inability to provide affordable inner city housing to the less affluent and even the middle class, are making other cities look more attractive
  • The catastrophic floods in Mumbai and Chennai in 2005 and 2015, respectively, resulted in the emergence of a management plan drawn up by the National Disaster Management Authority and later, the first dedicated storm water drainage manual by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
  • Liberate the city’s rivers and lakes from various impediments, enable perennial flow in the Mithi river, create fresh holding lakes for excess waters, and rehabilitate those who live in risky locations
  • Mumbai’s neglect is not unique, though, and most big cities are amorphously expanding to the suburbs where basic infrastructure including drainage is absent, and lakes and rivers are heavily encroached, often with political support.
  • Such unplanned growth, with no defences against weather disasters, is leaving cities a lot poorer.




  • The risk has receded that the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said to hold the world’s largest untapped crude reserves, might quit the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
  • The end to the UAE’s weeks-long impasse with Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s biggest crude exporters, and Russia, a non OPEC state, was brought about by Sunday’s deal.
  • Under its terms, the UAE’s demand for an increase in its oil output quotas, in recognition of its higher production capacity, has been conceded
  • The output boost is in response to rising oil prices in the wake of the rebound in economic activity following the easing of lockdown restrictions and increased COVID-19 vaccinations in different parts of the world.
  • Bilateral relations between the traditional allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have been especially strained since the UAE established diplomatic ties with Israel last year and withdrew troops from the Saudi-spearheaded war in Yemen the year before.
  • A more recent arena of tension is the tariffs Riyadh has imposed on imports from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council
  • The OPEC, echoing other assessments, forecast in 2016 that a strict implementation of the Paris climate accord could see the demand for oil peak by 2030, owing to the proliferation of alternative fuels and electric cars
  • Conversely, its report last year pins hopes on population growth and expansion of the middle class for continued increase in oil demand

About OPEC

  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent, intergovernmental organization, created at the Baghdad Conference in 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
  • It aims to manage the supply of oil in an effort to set the price of oil in the world market, in order to avoid fluctuations that might affect the economies of both producing and purchasing countries.
  • It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
  • OPEC membership is open to any country that is a substantial exporter of oil and which shares the ideals of the organization.
  • As of 2019, OPEC has a total of 14 Member Countries viz. Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates(UAE), Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, Ecuador and Venezuela are members of OPEC.


UK vs EU

Impact of BREXIT

  • The U.K. imports 70% of the fish it consumes; the industry only contributes 0.12% of GDP and employs 0.1% of the workforce (, but has political traction.
  • In May, after 60 French fishing boats massed to blockade Jersey over fishing rights, naval units from both Britain and France deployed off Jersey, a farcical reminder of the loose ends of Britain’s exit from the EU.
  • Northern Ireland, part of the U.K. but in the EU’s single market, and therefore obliged to follow EU rules, is another case in point.
  • Tensions predictably arose between Britain and the EU over the import of chilled meat products from Britain to Northern Ireland, with Britain seeking an extension of the transition arrangements from June 30 by three months
  • In Scotland, the National Party, which seeks an exit from the U.K., has grown in popularity since the Brexit vote.
  • Scots voted in the referendum by 62% against 38% to remain in the EU, but were dragged out by the overall result.
  • For many Scots, leaving the U.K. is the clearest path back to the EU, and anticipate that among other benefits, the EU will grant Scotland least developed status and subventions on the scale enjoyed by the Irish Republic.
  • The International Monetary Fund warned that the British economy faced a 10% GDP decline in 2020
  • In first quarter 2021, food and drink exports to the EU declined by nearly 50% and export of services also shrank.
  • At least 500 British companies have relocated to Europe
  • The Brexiteers who forecast a clean break with the EU either underestimated or ignored the practical inconveniences of leaving, including the vast paperwork involved in exporting and importing with the EU.

Present demand of Britain

  • Britain demanded that the European Union renegotiate post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland after rioting and business disruption hit the province, but the EU immediately rejected the offer.
  • London stopped short of suspending the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol — introduced at the start of the year, and which requires checks on goods arriving from mainland Britain — and instead called for “significant changes”.
  • It wants the European Union to indefinitely abandon ad-hoc grace periods for certain border checks and freeze legal action launched against the U.K. for non-compliance, as part of a “standstill period” allowing for fresh negotiations.


#News in short

  • A new generation of Akash surface-to-air missile was successfully flight-tested by the DRDO from an integrated test range off the Odisha coast in a boost to air defence capabilities.
  • It is learnt that the new variant of the Akash missile (Akash-NG) has a slightly better range compared to the original version that can strike targets at a distance of around 25 km.
  • The English city of Liverpool has been removed from UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites after the United Nations’ cultural agency found new buildings, including a football stadium, undermined the attractiveness of its Victorian docks.
  • Liverpool was named a World Heritage Site in 2004, joining cultural landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal.
  • The only other sites stripped previously of the title are a wildlife sanctuary in Oman in 2007 after poaching and habitat loss, and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany in 2009 when a four-lane motorway bridge was built over the river.