Special Issue Current Affairs UPSC CSE -Sept Week 1
INTERPOL RED NOTICE
Home Minister Amit Shah has conveyed to Interpol Secretary-General Jurgen Stock that India would like the international police agency to expedite its process of publishing Red Notices (RNs).
As many as 18 requests for RNs from India are pending with Interpol, including against fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi, who is, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, a key accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank scam.
Definition and process:
- Criminals or suspects often flee to other countries to evade facing justice.
- An RN alerts police forces across the world about fugitives who are wanted internationally.
- Interpol describes an RN as “a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action”.
- RNs contain information that helps identify wanted persons, such as their names, dates of birth, nationality, and physical attributes such as the colour of their hair and eyes, as well as pictures and biometric data such as fingerprints, if they are available. RNs also mention the crime(s) they are wanted for.
- An RN is published by Interpol at the request of a member country.
- The fugitives may be wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence.
- The country issuing the request need not be the home country of the fugitive; Interpol acts on the request of a country where the alleged crime has been committed.
Number of Red Notices:
- The Interpol says some 58,000 RNs are currently valid, of which around 7,000 are public. Most RNs are restricted to law enforcement use only.
- In cases where the help of the public is needed to locate an individual, or if those individuals pose a threat to public safety, a public extract of the RN is published on the Interpol’s website.
- In 2018, Interpol issued 13,516 RNs.
It is not a warrant of arrest:
- The Interpol itself does not want individuals; they are wanted by a country or an international tribunal.
- Also, an RN is an international wanted persons’ notice; it is not an international arrest warrant.
- It means that the Interpol cannot compel the law enforcement authorities in any country to arrest the subject of an RN.
- It is up to individual member countries to decide what legal value to give to an RN, and the authority of their national law enforcement officers to make arrests.
Check and Balances:
- The Interpol says that an RN must comply with its constitution and rules.
- It says on its website that “every Red Notice request is checked by a specialised task force to ensure it is compliant with (Interpol) rules”.
- The Interpol argues that an RN is issued only after a competent court has taken cognisance of a chargesheet against the fugitive.
- In the case of Nirav Modi, the CBI filed a chargesheet in May 2018, and Interpol issued an RN in July that year.
- However, in the case of Choksi, India has been frustrated: while the chargesheet was filed in June 2018, the RN is yet to be issued.
Importance of RNs:
- RNs are issued to simultaneously alert police in all member countries about internationally wanted fugitives. An RN can help bring a fugitive to justice, sometimes many years after the crime was committed.
- However, because an RN is not an arrest warrant, action against a fugitive frequently rests on the diplomatic clout that the country making the request has with the country where the fugitive is located.
- Nations with a big international profile, and economic or political heft, are often more successful than the rest.
FIROZ SHAH KOTLA STADIUM
Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla stadium is set to be renamed Arun Jaitley Stadium after the former Finance Minister, who passed away recently. The stadium takes its name from a 14th century fortress .
Legacy of Firoz Shah – who built the fortress:
- In his autobiography Futuhat-i-Firozshahi, Firoz Shah described himself: “Among the many gifts which God bestowed upon me, his humble servant, was a desire to erect public buildings. So, I built many mosques and colleges and monasteries… I was led to repair and rebuild the edifices and structures of former kings and ancient nobles which had fallen into decay with the passage of time.”
- And so, he built Feroz Shah Kotla (kotla means fortress), peppered Delhi with gardens, constructed canals, hunting lodges, and repaired Qutub Minar, Hauz Khas (royal tank) and Surajkund (lake of the Sun).
- In the 21st century, however, Surajkund is mostly known for its annual crafts mela, Hauz Khas for its bars and restaurants, and an auto ride to Feroz Shah Kotla on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg usually ends at the stadium next to it.
- Firoz Shah was the first ruler to build a fortress next to river Yamuna. It was quite an urban sprawl.
Biography of Firoz Shah:
- Born to a Hindu princess, Firoz Shah came to power in 1351, and died in 1388.
- He built Feroz Shah Kotla, the fortress, on the banks of the Yamuna and called it Firozabad.
- In fact, Emperor Ashoka’s pillar, erected near Ambala in 250 BC, was transported to Delhi and placed in Firozabad.
- He found it when hunting and as he liked old monuments, he transported it to Delhi on a great carriage with 42 wheels.
- At the Ridge in north Delhi stands another Ashokan pillar, smaller in size, near Hindu Rao Hospital. It was moved from Meerut to Delhi by Firoz Shah.
- During his reign, Firoz Shah did public construction activity on a massive scale. “Welfare projects — gardens, serai (inn), water supply — were his priority.
- By improving sources of water supply and irrigation facilities in Delhi and surrounding areas, he helped bring down the price of food grains too.
- It’s a known fact that Haryana’s irrigation systems go back to his era.
Other monuments and literary work:
- Firoz Shah also built Dargah Qadam Sharif, which is located in Delhi’s Sadar Bazar.
- His other great contribution is a number of beautiful shikargah (hunting lodges) and hydraulic structures.
- Firoz Shah is regarded as the honorary founding president of The Conservation Society of Delhi and that the British called him the ‘father of the irrigation department’ because of the many gardens and canals that he built.
- Apart from indulging in building his own structures, Firoz Shah “felt a sense of responsibility” towards old structures that needed repair, among which Qutub Minar, Huaz Khas and Surajkund stand out.
- In his reign, an earthquake damaged the two top storeys of Qutub Minar.
- He repaired the Minar and added a little pavilion at the top.
- In the late 18th century, however, during another round of repair, an engineer called Major Smith replaced it with his own pavilion.
- You can see the two storeys which [Firoz Shah] Tughlaq built because they are built of white marble and are quite smooth. The lower three storeys are the ones which Qutbuddin and Iltutmish built of red sandstone.
- Firoz Shah also repaired Hauz Khas, the royal tank built during Alauddin Khalji’s reign in the late 13th century.
- Firoz Shah built a madrasa on its banks, and his own tomb is located at the corner of where the college stood.
- The college was ruined by Timur’s invasion
- Under his patronage, premakhyan which is Sufi poetry written in Awadhi grew.
- It was a new genre of literature.
- He built many institutes for musicians and poets too.
COLOR CODES FOR ALERTS AND WARNINGS
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) recently issued a ‘Red’ alert for Mumbai for the next 24 hours owing to active weather systems leading to continuous downpour across the city and suburbs. The alert is for Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, and Raigad.
Meaning of the warning:
- A ‘Red’ warning denotes the likelihood of extremely heavy rainfall. Over 200 mm of rain is expected over the next 24 hours.
- The warning means that the authorities — in this case the Mumbai Police, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai Fire Brigade, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Railways, etc. — must take action.
Color codes for alerts:
- Alerts by the IMD are colour-coded from Green to Red. ‘Green’ stands for ‘No warning’: no action needs to be taken by the authorities, and the forecast is of light to moderate rain.
- A ‘Yellow’ alert signifies “Watch”, and authorities are advised to “Be updated” on the situation.
- An ‘Orange’ warning stands for “Alert”, and authorities are expected to “Be prepared”. The forecast during an Orange warning is of heavy to very heavy rainfall.
- A ‘Red’ alert stands for “Warning”, and asks authorities to “Take action”.
- The forecast is for extremely heavy rainfall. The IMD, however, clarifies that “Red colour warning does not mean ‘Red Alert’,” and that it only means “take action”.
- According to the weather department, 15.6 mm to 64.4 mm rain is considered “moderate”, 64.5 mm to 115.5 mm is considered “heavy”, 115.6 mm to 204.4 mm “very heavy”, and more than 204.5 mm “extremely heavy” rain.
- The Met Department had issued an Orange alert with forecast of heavy rainfall for Mumbai.
- However, at afternoon, when the Santacruz weather observatory recorded 206.6 mm of rain, which falls under the “extremely heavy” category in six hours (8.30 am to 2.30 pm), the alert level was changed to Red.
CATEGORIES FOR HURRICANE
The National Hurricane Center said that Dorian was expected to hit the east coast of Florida over the weekend as a “major” hurricane, in Category 3 or possibly Category 4.
Meaning of the categories:
- Powerful winds are what define a hurricane, so they are named and classified based on how hard their winds are blowing.
- To qualify as a hurricane, a storm must have sustained winds of 74 mph or more.
- All hurricanes are dangerous, but some pack more punch than others.
- So meteorologists try to quantify each storm’s destructive power by using the Saffir-Simpson scale, placing it in one of five categories based on sustained wind speed:
Category 1, 74 to 95 mph: These storms’ winds may knock down some trees and power lines and do a bit of damage to buildings. Dorian was in Category 1 when it blew through the Virgin Islands on Wednesday.
Category 2, 96 to 110 mph: These storms are likely to uproot many trees, disrupt electric power over wide areas and do significant roof and siding damage.
Category 3, 111 to 129 mph: These are major storms that can take roofs off even well-constructed houses and knock out electric and water systems for days or weeks. Roads will be blocked by falling trees and poles. Dorian is forecast to be at least this strong when it makes landfall.
Category 4, 130 to 156 mph: These major storms do catastrophic damage, felling most trees and power poles and wrecking some buildings. Affected areas may be uninhabitable for days or weeks afterward.
Category 5, 157 mph or more: Storms this powerful are rare, and when they strike, they are immensely destructive. Few structures will come through a direct hit unscathed, and a large percentage of frame buildings will be destroyed. Recovery may take weeks or months.
Category 3 – Hurricane Katrina was in Category 3 when it slammed into the Louisiana coast on Aug. 29, 2005, devastating New Orleans and other communities. But it had weakened a bit by then; at its peak over the Gulf of Mexico, Katrina was a Category 5 monster.
Hurricane Sandy in 2012 peaked as a Category 3 storm, but by the time it came ashore to wreak havoc on the New York metropolitan region, its winds had slowed to the point that it was no longer technically a hurricane.
Category 4 – Hurricane Maria was a Category 4 storm when it hit Puerto Rico in 2017, ultimately leading to thousands of deaths and blacking out the island for months, with effects that linger today. Tens of thousands of homes on the island still have blue tarpaulins for roofs.
Hurricane Harvey was another Category 4 storm in 2017, making its first landfall in Texas at peak strength, jogging back out into the Gulf of Mexico and then coming ashore again as Category 3.
Category 5 – Just four Atlantic hurricanes since 1924 have been this powerful when they made landfall in the United States. The most recent, Hurricane Michael, struck the Florida Panhandle last year, causing at least 59 deaths in the United States and about $25 billion in damage.
Before Michael, the country had gone 26 years without a Category 5 landfall, since Hurricane Andrew walloped South Florida in August 1992. Andrew was one of the biggest natural disasters in American history, blamed for 61 deaths and about $50 billion in damage in today’s dollars.
Hurricane Irma, which swept through the Caribbean and Cuba before heading for Florida in 2017, peaked at Category 5 strength. But it had weakened to Category 4 when it hit the Florida Keys and then Category 3 when it reached the mainland.
Current Affairs UPSC CSE