What Causes Northern Lights?

What Causes Northern Lights?

As of 2016, the percentage of tourists visiting Norway to watch the Northern Lights has increased by 378% since 2006. However, the real cause of this phenomenon was unknown until a few days ago, when a theory was proven at Iowa University. Let’s understand this theory and dive into this fascinating phenomena.

Crux of the Matter

Auroras
Auroras is a natural luminous phenomenon where natural light is displayed in the sky. They are mostly seen in the higher latitudes (near Arctic and Antarctic regions). They are called Aurora Borealis in Northern and Aurora Australis in Southern Hemisphere.

Features

  • Green is the most common colour in auroras and they produce faint sounds of claps, crackles and static sounds.
  • The name is derived from the name of the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora. As per the myth, she travelled from east to west to announce the arrival of the sun.
  • Boreas is the Greek term for the north wind
  • Auroras are visible from space. Planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune also have the same phenomenon.

Cause

  • They are caused by “powerful electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms,” according to a study by Iowa University. Geomagnetic storms on the Sun disturbs the magnetic field of Earth.
  • These disturbances produce electromagnetic waves, known as Alfven waves, which accelerate electrons and produce these lights.
  • This theory, called Landau damping, was proposed by Russian physicist Lev Landau in 1946.

In History

  • According to Scandinavian legends, these lights served as a gateway to Valhalla. In Norse mythology, Valhalla is believed to be the place where martyred soldiers spent their afterlife.
  • It is considered a bad omen in European Culture. Blazed red lights were visible over the British Isles a week before the French Revolution started.
  • In Japan, a child born during the northern lights is believed to be blessed with good looks, intellect and good luck.

Curiopedia
  • The term Aurora Borealis was coined by Galileo Galilei in 1619 A.D. It was named after Aurora, the Roman goddess of morning.
  • The International Space Station is at around the same elevation as the Northern Lights. The astronauts in the ISS can see the lights from the side.

Operation Trojan Shield: FBI Arrested 800 People

Operation Trojan Shield: FBI Arrested 800 People

Operation Trojan Shield, which began in 2018 was conceived by the FBI and Australian Police. Recently, in a global sting, over 800 people from organised crime were arrested. Read the story to know how this operation became successful.

Crux of the Matter

Recent News
On 9th June, 800 people around the world were arrested by an international coalition. Back in 2018, US and Australian officials developed an app called ANOM.

ANOM
It was designed to appear as an app where the user messages are encrypted. Though there was encryption, FBI and other law enforcements had a master key using which they could decrypt the messages.

The Global Sting
FBI sold ANOM enabled phones with limited functionality in black market. 12,000 devices were sold, costing $2000 for a six-month contract. FBI, alongwith Australian police and European law enforcement agencies, used these devices to monitor criminal enterprises.

Curiopedia
  1. The Central Bureau of Investigation was established on April 1, 1963. It is overseen by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions of India.
  2. The International Criminal Police Organization(INTERPOL) is the international organization that supports worldwide police cooperation and crime control. It was founded in 1923, in Vienna, Austria. 

How Are Global Nations Trying To Control Big Tech?

How Are Global Nations Trying To Control Big Tech?

The G7 nations recently met to address tax avoidance by big tech companies. Tech companies have been using ‘Tax Havens’ for many years to reduce their federal tax liability. Let’s have a look at how G7 decided to crackdown on tech companies and other MNCs doing tax avoidance.

Crux of the Matter

What is The G7?
Group of Seven is an informal group of world’s 7 largest developed democracies. The objective is to address issues regarding world economy. G7 includes United Kingdom, United States, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, and Japan.

G7 Summit 2021
G7 made a “historic” deal for taxing multinational companies. This deal was made to prevent tax avoidance by making MNCs pay tax in the country they operate. Countries will now charge 15% minimum corporate tax rate on the MNCs.

How Tech Giants Are Taxed?
They are taxed based on where they are headquartered. The international tax system, since pre-digital era, focused on labour, production and capital. In case of tech companies, no physical product is produced and thus identification of where economic activity is taking place is difficult.

Tax Havens
It is a place where tax rates are low. Tech companies set-up shell companies in such countries and channel their profits through them. Countries lose around $427 billion every year due to tax evasion (2019) whereas India lost around $10 billion due to similar evasion (2019).

Problems With The Proposal
Some countries rely on low taxation rates to attract foreign investments. Global minimum taxation rate will take away the tool which these developing countries have. This will slow down the economic growth of such countries.

Impact On India
It won’t affect the MNCs doing business in India as India’s effective corporate taxation rate is higher than the global minimum tax rate. India attracts foreign investment through cheap labour rates and large internal market instead of lower taxation rates.

War In India – Google Tax
Tech giants can avoid paying 6% ‘Google tax’ in India if they set-up an Indian unit. The new IT rules also compel tech companies to set up Indian units for grievance redressal. However, if they set up Indian unit to avoid Google tax or for grievance redressal, they will be taxed at a higher rate of 40%.

Curiopedia
  • Originally called BRIC, the name was an acronym of the countries Brazil, Russia, India and China. The term was coined by economist Jim O’ Neill in 2001. South Africa joined the organization in 2010 officially and the acronym since then is BRICS.

India Elected To UN ECOSOC For 2022-24 Term

India Elected To UN ECOSOC For 2022-24 Term

India recently got elected in the UN ECOSOC for the term of 2022-24. In that light, let us know more about this UN body which is at the centre of sustainable development and also acts as forum for discussions on global issues. 

Crux of the Matter

Recent News
On 8th June, India was elected to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the 2022-24 term along with Oman, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan in the Asia- Pacific States category.

UN ECOSOC

  • In 1945, the UN charter established The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
  • ECOSOC is one of the 6 principal organs of the United Nations. 
  • The 54-member council promotes sustainable development in social, economic and environmental dimensions across the World. 
  • The General Assembly elects the 54 members of the council each year for 3-year terms that overlap.

Seat Allocation In ECOSOC

Current Position Of India In UN
Meanwhile, India is serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2021-22 term. In Aug 2021, India will take over the Presidency of this 15-nation UN body.

Curiopedia
  • Along with Italy, China is home to the maximum number (65) of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world. Some of the frequently visited sites include The Great Wall of China, Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City and the Summer Palace.
  •  India was first elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 1950. Since then, India has been elected eight times as a member of the UN Security Council.

Thanks To NPCI 24X7, Your Salaries Can Now Be Credited Even On Sundays!

Thanks To NPCI 24X7, Your Salaries Can Now Be Credited Even On Sundays!

RBI announced that from 1st August, NPCI operated NACH payment system will be enabled to make transfer 24×7. Hence, soon payments and settlement systems will be functioning for 365 days a year, barring zero exceptions. Let’s see how that would function.

Crux of the Matter

NPCI 24X7
India’s payment settlement system National Automated Clearing House (NACH), operated by NPCI, will now be available for 365 days a year.

Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) facility will now be functional on bank holidays as well. NACH is primarily used to make one-to-many payment transfers like salary, dividends, pension, etc.

Nations Which Avail Such Services
Few nations in the world, such as the UK, Sweden, Australia, Hong Kong, SA, South Korea, Singapore, and China avail such round the clock payment transfer services.

Curiopedia
  • Founded in 2008, NPCI is currently governed by the Reserve bank of India and the ministry of finance. It has Dilip Asbe (IAS) as its MD and CEO. NPCI governs systems like RuPay and Aadhar enabled Payment system.