Maharashtra-Karnataka Border Dispute
Origin of the dispute
•    The erstwhile Bombay Presidency, a multilingual province, included the present-day Karnataka districts of Vijayapura, Belagavi, Dharwad and Uttara-Kannada.
•    In 1948, the Belgaum municipality requested that the district, having a predominantly Marathi-speaking population, be incorporated into the proposed Maharashtra state.
•    However, the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, which divided states on linguistic and administrative lines, made Belgaum and 10 talukas of Bombay State a part of the then Mysore State (which was renamed Karnataka in 1973).

The Mahajan Commission Report
•    While demarcating borders, the Reorganisation of States Commission sought to include talukas with a Kannada-speaking population of more than 50 per cent in Mysore. Opponents of the region’s inclusion in Mysore argued, and continue to argue, that Marathi-speakers outnumbered Kannadigas who lived there in 1956.
•    In September 1957, the Bombay government echoed their demand and lodged a protest with the Centre, leading to the formation of the Mahajan Commission under former Chief Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan in October 1966.
•    The Commission, which submitted its report in August 1967, recommended that 264 villages be transferred to Maharashtra (which formed in 1960) and that Belgaum and 247 villages remain with Karnataka.
•    Maharashtra rejected the report, calling it biased and illogical, and demanded another review. Karnataka welcomed the report, and has ever since continued to press for implementation, although this has not been formally done by the Centre.

Present Status
•    Maharashtra continues to claim over 814 villages along the border, as well as Belgaum city, which are currently part of Karnataka. Successive governments in Maharashtra have demanded their inclusion within the state– a claim that Karnataka contests.
•    In 2004, the Maharashtra government moved the Supreme Court for a settlement of the border dispute under Article 131(b) of the Constitution, demanding 814 villages from Karnataka on the basis of the theory of village being the unit of calculation, contiguity and enumerating linguistic population in each village.
•    The case is pending in the apex court.

Five Eyes
Recently, the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand (Five eyes), in a joint statement, said that the new Hong Kong policy was a concerted campaign to silence all critical voices.
Five Eyes Alliance
•    In 1946, an alliance was formed between five anglophone countries and their security agencies:  the US (NSA), the UK (GCHQ), Australia (ASD), Canada (CSEC) and New Zealand (GCSB) comprising of a series of bilateral agreements on surveillance and intelligence-sharing.
•    Though these arrangements are commonly referred to as the United Kingdom-United States Communication Intelligence Act (UKUSA) agreement, the documents underpinning the Five Eyes alliance are numerous, intricate, and secret.
•    Pursuant to these arrangements, each of the Five Eyes states conducts interception, collection, acquisition, analysis and decryption activities, sharing all intelligence information obtained with the others by default. Intelligence-sharing agreements have now expanded beyond the Five Eyes to include other states:
9 Eyes: the Five Eyes, with the addition of Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Norway;
14 Eyes: the 9 Eyes, with the addition of Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden;
41 Eyes: all of the above, with the addition of the allied coalition in Afghanistan;
Tier B countries with which the Five Eyes have “focused cooperation” on computer network exploitation, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungry, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey;

Mount Ili
Mount Ili Lewotolok situated in Lembata island in eastern Indonesia erupted recently. A column of ash as high as 4,000 meters (13,120 feet) was sent into the sky and it prompted the evacuation of thousands of people. Mount Ili Lewotolok has been erupting on and off since October 2017. There are more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.

India Mobile Congress
India Mobile Congress is the largest digital technology forum in South Asia. Organised by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI), India Mobile Congress 2020 is scheduled for 8 December through 10 December 2020 & will be held virtually.IMC has established itself as a leading platform for bringing together the industry, Government, academia, and other ecosystem players, to discuss and display the latest in the technology world. Not only is India Mobile Congress the biggest technology event in South Asia, it is also the biggest networking event in India in the digital technology space. This year IMC's theme is going to be - "Inclusive Innovation -

Smart I Secure I Sustainable". Objectives of the IMC platform:
•    Promoting Local Manufacturing
•    Fostering International Regional Cooperation
•    Inspiring Inclusive & Sustainable Development
•    Promoting Entrepreneurship & Innovation
•    Driving Foreign & Local Investments
•    Pushing for Greater Number of Technology Exports
•    Facilitating Supportive Regulatory & Policy Frameworks
•    Encouraging R&D in the Telecom & Technology Sectors

Statue of Peace- Rajasthan
Indian Prime Minister recently unveiled the ‘Statue of Peace’ in Rajasthan’s Pali to mark the 151st Jayanti celebrations of Jainacharya Shree Vijay Vallabh Surishwer Ji Maharaj, via video conferencing. The 151-inch tall statue has been made from Ashtadhatu- 8 metals, with Copper being the major constituent. The saint, Shree Vijay Vallabh Surishwer Ji Maharaj, lived during 1870-1954, and worked selflessly to spread the message of Lord Mahavira. It is common knowledge that the saint also worked tirelessly for the welfare of masses, abolition of social evils, and spread of education. He also actively supported the freedom and Swadeshi movement. As per the official statement, more than 50 educational institutions of eminence, including schools, colleges, and study centres have been built with his inspiration, and are operational across several states.

Global Innovation and Technology Alliance
Recently, Union Minister of Science & Technology has underlined how Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA) served as a catalyst for nurturing innovation and industrial R&D by fostering bilateral academic industry and government collaborations.Global Innovation & Technology Alliance (GITA) is a “not–for–profit” Section-8 Public Private Partnership (PPP) company promoted jointly by the Technology Development Board (TDB), Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The Prime Minister’s Council on Trade & Industry had, in 2010, recommended incorporation of a Government’s arm’s length entity under PPP mode to professionally manage the Government’s funds for providing flexibility to industry for undertaking R&D along with global partners.

The GITA platform encourages industrial investments in innovative technology solutions by
•    Mapping technology gaps,
•    Undertaking expert evaluation of technologies available across the globe,
•    Facilitating techno–strategic collaborative partnerships appropriate for Indian economy
•    Connecting industrial and institutional partners for synergistic matchmaking and
•    Providing soft funding for technology development / acquisition / deployment.

Urban Mobility India conference
The 13th Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference was organized in a virtual mode by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on 9th November 2020. The main theme of this year’s event was “Emerging Trends in Urban Mobility” with focus on innovative measures taken at national and international level to address the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic to provide accessible and convenient transport to the people. The annual Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference and Expo is a flagship event held under the aegis of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India. The genesis of UMI is from the National Urban Transport Policy of the Government of India, 2006 (NUTP), which lays a very strong emphasis on building capabilities at the State and city level to address the problems associated with urban transport and undertake the task of developing sustainable urban transport systems. Awards are also presented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to best urban transport projects / initiatives selected by an Award Selection Committee in various categories.

Kerala Police Act Amendment- 118A
Kerala Governor has recently signed the Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance, envisaged by the state government to prevent cyber-attacks against women and children which the opposition had alleged would curtail freedom of expression.

Key provisions of the amendment
•    Anyone creating or sending offensive message or that which is intended to offend or threaten another person, through any means of communication, is liable to face imprisonment of five years or fine of Rs 10,000 or both.
•    Police can slap criminal charges on citizens by interpreting any kind of communication through any medium as defamatory.
•    It finds even “injury to the mind” a reason for slapping criminal charges not just on the petition of the victim, but also anyone “in whom they have interest” or as a suo motu act by a police official.

Why is It Controversial?
•    The amendment has stretched the law to such an extent that every communication or publication has been left to the subjective interpretation of the police to slap criminal charges against anyone.
•    The move comes on the heels of failed efforts by the government to control the narrative in the media, especially social media, in the wake of discussions of ongoing investigations by central agencies in the state.