Current Affairs in Short: 3 April 2019
ICC to join hands with Interpol to fight corruption in sport
• The International Cricket Council (ICC)has sought closer working relations with the Interpol to widen the scope of its fight against corruption in the sport.
• The cooperation was discussed during ICC Anti-Corruption Unit General Manager, Alex Marshall's visit to the Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France.
• In a press notification, Marshall said that the ICC and Interpol are keen on working together and the meetings in Lyon last week were productive.
• The key objective behind the decision is to ensure that players are better educated about the corruptors and Interpol's vast network would be helpful in this.
South Korea to launch world’s first national 5G network
• South Korea would be launching the world's first fully-fledged 5G mobile networks on April 5, 2019.
• Hyper-Wired South Korea has a reputation for technical prowess and it has made the 5G rollout a priority as it seeks to stimulate stuttering economic growth.
• The superfast communications heralded by fifth-generation wireless technology will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity - 20 times faster than the existing 4G.
• It is crucial for the future development of devices ranging from self-driving vehicles that send data traffic to one another in real time, industrial robots, drones and other elements of the Internet of Things.
• 5G's hyper speed would be able to connect one million devices within a one square kilometre zone simultaneously.
• Until now, no mobile networks have offered nationwide 5G access. Japan is expected to roll out a limited deployment in 2019 before full services start in time for next year's Tokyo Olympics.
CBSE plans to hire retired government officials for conducting probes
• The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to set up a panel of retired senior government officials from where officials can be appointed as inquiry officers for conducting departmental inquiries.
• The validity of the panel will be for three years and the number of disciplinary cases assigned to an inquiry officer will be restricted to eight cases in a year with not more than 4 cases at a time.
• The board is seeking applications from the retired officials and will be paid honorarium as per prescribed rates.
• A review of an inquiry officer will be done after receipt of two reports, where adherence to timelines and quality of work will be assessed by the office. Subsequent allocation of work may be done only after such evaluation.
WhatsApp launches new fact-checking service to fight fake news ahead of elections
• WhatsApp on April 2, 2019 launched a fact-checking service in India to help curb the spread of misinformation ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
• The internet-based instant messaging platform said in a statement that it has tied up with Indian startup Proto and two other organisations, Dig Deeper Media and Meedan, for the service called Checkpoint Tipline.
• The service will enable users to send messages, including images, video and text in English, Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam. The tip line will classify the messages as true, false, misleading or disputing. The number is 919643000888.
• The project’s aim is to study the misinformation phenomenon at scale – natively in WhatsApp.
First black, gay woman elected as Chicago Mayor
• In a historic first on April 2, 2019, a gay African-American woman was elected as the mayor of America's third-largest city-Chicago.
• Lori Lightfoot, a 56-year-old former federal prosecutor and practicing lawyer who has never before held elected office, won the Midwestern city's mayoral race in a lopsided victory.
• She beat Toni Preckwinkle, the chief executive of Cook County in which Chicago is located, by a wide margin of 74 to 26 percent in early voting results with most ballots counted. Preckwinkle is also African-American.
• Lightfoot will become Chicago's first openly gay mayor and the first African-American woman to hold the post.
• Since 1837, Chicago voters have elected only one black mayor and one female mayor.
Brunei enacts strict Sharia law that imposes death by stoning for adultery, gay sex
• Brunei on April 3, 2019 enacted the strict Islamic law, a new penal code that imposes death by stoning for adultery and gay sex, as well as amputations as punishment for theft, despite widespread criticism.
• The oil-rich Brunei is an absolute monarchy, ruled for 51 years by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. The 72-year-old Sultan is the world's second-longest reigning monarch and ranks as one of the world's wealthiest people.
• The new law mostly applies to Muslims, though some aspects will also apply to non-Muslims. It stipulates the death penalty for a number of offences, including rape, adultery, sodomy, robbery and insulting or defaming the Prophet Muhammad.
• It also introduces public flogging as punishment for abortion as well as amputation for theft and criminalises exposing Muslim children to the beliefs and practices of any religion other than Islam.
• The Sultan first announced the new penal code in 2013, but the full implementation has been delayed since.
• The laws will make Brunei the first country in East or Southeast Asia to impose the new penal code at the national level, joining several mostly Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia.
New method to purify water used in oil refinement
• Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a process to remove nearly all traces of oil in produced water, a byproduct from the oil refinery and extraction process.
• About 2.5 billion gallons of produced water is generated each day in the US. Handling that water is a major challenge in the oil refinery industry, particularly because it is deemed unusable for household and commercial use because of remaining contaminants.
• Several commercial treatments are available, but they are expensive, do not remove all traces of contaminants from water and can be energy-intensive.
• Researchers at Purdue University in the US have developed a process to remove nearly all traces of oil in produced water.
• The process uses activated charcoal foam and subjects it to solar light to produce heat and purify the water. The foam absorbs the oil contaminants from the water.
• The process could be integrated with existing disposal systems to purify a large amount of water and reduce the current stress on water grids.