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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 18 December 2020

Singapore prepares to plate up lab grown chicken | ToI

  • Food is tradition for us.
  • It is also an unending adventure.
  • Homo sapiens have shown a distinct ability to create all kinds of new foods and grow to adore them.
  • We genetically modified wheat well before 8000 BC and in more recent decades we have persuaded chickens to increase their breast size by 35-85%.
  • Singapore Food Agency giving the stamp of approval to an American startup’s cultured chicken, which is billed as “real, high-quality meat created directly from animal cells for safe human consumption.”
  • Before science, technology and data collection, innovation is about the mindset.
  • It is about our attitude to change.
  • Moving faster than countries like the US, Israel and the Netherlands which are leading in research in lab-grown meats reflects an exploratory spirit of Singapore combined with an acute desire to strengthen food security in the longer term, where the environmental costs of current farming practices are crying for change.
  • At the same time Singapore’s high standards of regulating food mean that prospects of cultured meats going to markets in other countries have risen dramatically now.
  • No animal need be killed, no tree need be cut, no biodiversity loss, no zoonotic diseases, no antibiotics abuse, no air pollution.
  • And on the other side, there is the pivotal FAO finding that total emissions from global livestock represent 14.5% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions.
  • As increases in population and prosperity both drive an increase in demand for meat, diverting more land, water and emission footprints to this is a fool’s game – when a much better alternative is at the doorstep.
  • Where there is a will there is a way, the super expedited outlay of the Covid-19 vaccine has underlined.
  • New food technologies need a lot of smart monitoring.

Institutional spine | Pioneer

  • US President Trump tried every trick in his book to weaken all major institutions of democracy in the United States – so that he can win 2nd term.
  • His patent hiring-and-firing spree, refusing to cooperate with the Congress on critical investigations, attacking independent Press to filling up key appointments with supposed loyalists raised serious questions about the free and fair functioning of democracy.
  • Not surprisingly, the US had by 2017 slipped from the status of “full democracy” to “flawed democracy” as per the Democracy Index, as published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
  • The report had noted: “Trust in political institutions is an essential component of well-functioning democracies. Yet surveys by Pew, Gallup and other polling agencies have confirmed that public confidence in the Government has slumped to historic lows in the US. This has had a corrosive effect on the quality of democracy.”
  • Two specific institutions were getting primed for any eventuality i.e. Judiciary and the Armed Forces.
  • Travel ban from several Muslim-majority nations
  • Even Trump’s personal appointees like Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch voted against his interests in certain cases.
  • Trump did exactly that, with the hurried appointment of Justice Amy Barett eight days before elections, creating a powerful 6-3 conservative tilt.
  • As per protocol and professional decorum, the Defense Secretary has a say in suggesting a name of the top post of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • Mattis had preferred Air Force Chief of Staff Gen David Goldfein; however it was Trump who overruled the choice and appointed General Mark Milley instead.
  • General Milley had publicly expressed - “We do not take an oath to a king or a queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual...We take an oath to the Constitution” — unequivocally indicating that the US Military was not beholden to anyone.
  • Similarly, the Supreme Court with an ostensibly favourable 6-3 Trump/conservative tilt, rejected a bid by the Texas’s Attorney General, which was supported by the President, in the strongest ever indication that Trump cannot count on the top courts to overturn election results under flimsy or make-believe grounds.
  • Thankfully, the institutions have shown integrity, steel and resilience despite the umpteen times these were subjected to tinkering, though Trump has almost guaranteed a polarised, fractured and deeply divided society with his continuing vanity and petulance, which will far outlive his stay at the White House.
  • The ongoing Trump saga is a timely reminder for the leaderships and institutions in other democracies where tendencies to take liberties with institutions are apparent.
  • The U.S.’s decision to impose sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russia further complicates the already troubled relationship between the two NATO members.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: Trump administration was obliged to impose sanctions on Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, passed in 2017 and aimed at discouraging third countries from buying weapons from Russia.
  • Earlier, the U.S. had suspended Turkey from its    F-35 fighter jet programme.
  • President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called the sanctions “an attack on Turkey’s sovereignty”.
  • Punishing other countries with sanctions for their decision to buy weapons from a third party is transborder bullying, if not meddling with their sovereignty.
  • The S-400, which has been deployed by Russia in Syria, along its borders with Eastern Europe and in the Arctic Circle, is seen as a highly advanced aerial shield.

Sanctions overreach

    • The U.S.’s decision to impose sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russia further complicates the already troubled relationship between the two NATO members.
    • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: Trump administration was obliged to impose sanctions on Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, passed in 2017 and aimed at discouraging third countries from buying weapons from Russia.
    • Earlier, the U.S. had suspended Turkey from its    F-35 fighter jet programme.
    • President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called the sanctions “an attack on Turkey’s sovereignty”.
    • Punishing other countries with sanctions for their decision to buy weapons from a third party is transborder bullying, if not meddling with their sovereignty.
    • The S-400, which has been deployed by Russia in Syria, along its borders with Eastern Europe and in the Arctic Circle, is seen as a highly advanced aerial shield.

    • The U.S.-Turkey tensions, coupled with the war of words between French President Emmanuel Macron and Mr. Erdoğan and the Greece-Turkey spat over the Eastern Mediterranean region, point to cracks in NATO.
    • The U.S. should ask itself whether it wants to widen these further or take a broader view of the changes that are under way in the global order.
    • There are many rising powers and their demands may no longer be dictated by the wishes of Washington.

Converting waste to energy

  • On December 2, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa laid the foundation stone for a 11.5 MW waste-to-energy plant near Bidadi.
  • This plant is expected to process 600 tonnes per day of inorganic waste.
  • Bengaluru generates close to 5,000 tonnes of waste daily, of which about 2,500 tonnes is organic, about 1,000 tonnes inert material (sweeping waste) and 1,500 tonnes inorganic.
  • This inorganic material, which consists of bad quality plastics and used cloth pieces, can be processed as Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF).
  • This material has a calorific value of more than 2,500 kJ/kg, and can be used to generate steam energy, which can be converted into electric energy instead of burning coal and other materials used in traditional waste-to-energy plants.
  • The waste-to-energy plants usually accept the RDF material generated in organic composting plants.
  • They also segregate the wet and inorganic material near the plant, convert organic waste to compost, and inorganic waste to energy
  • Typically, about 50 tonnes of RDF generate 1 MW of power, which indicates that the plant at Bidadi has been appropriately designed.
  • Eight organic waste processing plants are operational within the city.
  • Although about 30%-40% of the material received is segregated organic waste and the remainder is mixed waste, the latter consists of about 40% inorganic waste which can be converted into RDF.
  • Handling inorganic waste that is not fit for recycling has always been a challenge.
  • The proposed plant can source 600 tonnes per day of this RDF and generate 11.5 MW of power equivalent to 2.4 lakh units of power per day
  • Over the last decade, several Indian cities have been trying to set up such plants but a good demonstration model is yet to be established.
  • Technology suppliers are international organisations who struggle with the change in quality and nature of waste generated in Indian cities.
  • The plants require fine inorganic material with less than 5% moisture and less than 5% silt and soil contents, whereas the moisture and inert content in the mixed waste generated in the city is more than 15%-20%.
  • The other big challenge for this plant is the power tariff.
  • Generally, the tariff at which the power is purchased by such plants across the country is around ₹7-8 KwH which is higher than the ₹3-4 per KwH generated through coal and other means.

The good news on Covid-19 | HT

  • In the past week, India has reported 27,672 new infections of the coronavirus disease a day on average.
  • When the Covid-19 wave was at its peak in the country in mid-September, this number was 93,617 cases a day.
  • This is a 70% drop in cases in three months, and it takes the Covid outbreak in India back to levels that were last seen in mid-July.
  • This is the first time numbers are receding in every major state in the country.
  • India’s dropping positivity rate tells us two things
    1. The testing strategy currently being enforced is adequate
    2. The rate of spread of the virus in the community is being brought under control
  • World Health Organization: if the positivity rate remains 5% or below for two weeks, a region can be said to be keeping its outbreak under control and is testing adequately.
  • But the government, and the people, can’t get carried away.
  • Trends in Europe and the United States must serve as a strong reminder of how the situation can quickly go out of control even if the first peak is contained.
  • And each subsequent wave abroad has been stronger than the one preceding it.
  • India has done well but must not let down its guard.

NEWS

  • PM Modi to address farmers of Madhya Pradesh through video conferencing
  • Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar asserts that reforms will make the country's Farmers more empowered and Independent
  • National COVID-19 recovery rate improves to 95.31 per cent
  • ISRO launches new communication satellite CMS-01 successfully
  • WHO team expected to visit China in January 2021 to probe COVID-19 origins
  • Cricket: India resume their first innings with a score of 233/6 against Australia in Adelaide Test
  • Around 46 lakh farmers benefitted from the current Kharif Marketing Season Procurement Operations with MSP value of over Rs.75,263
  • MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari to inaugurate the 23rd Hunar Haat of indigenous master artisans in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh
  • NCB issues notice to filmmaker Karan Johar, seeking details of parties he organised
  • PM Modi to deliver keynote address at ASSOCHAM Foundation Week 2020 on Saturday
  • UN Secy Gen Antonio Guterres appeal rich nations to support poor countries in the purchase of coronavirus vaccines