US Current Affairs

Scientists discover new state of matter

Scientists Los Alamos National Laboratory, US have discovered a potential new state of matter that may help explain phenomena like superconductivity.

It was discovered in the high-magnetic-field state of the heavy fermion superconductor CeRhIn5. Heavy fermions are intermetallic compounds, containing rare earth or actinide elements.

Key Facts

In the new state, material’s electrons are aligned in such a way, that they apparently reduce the symmetry of the original crystal. This appearance of electronic alignment in a prototypical heavy-fermion superconductor is called nematic behaviour. It is phenomenon of electronic symmetry breaking, common among the superconducting materials in high magnetic fields.

It highlights the interrelation of nematicity and unconventional superconductivity, suggesting that nematicity is common among correlated superconducting materials. It appears to be universal among unconventional superconductors. Unconventional superconductivity develops near a phase boundary separating magnetically ordered and magnetically disordered phases of a material.

Superconductivity

Superconductivity is the ability of certain materials to conduct electric current with practically zero resistance. For a material to behave as a superconductor, low temperatures are required i.e. they act as superconductors when they cooled below a characteristic critical temperature. Superconductivity was first observed in 1911 by H. K. Onnes, a Dutch physicist. Superconductivity is extensively used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), particle accelerators, magnetic fusion devices, microwave filters, high-speed magnetic-levitation trains, ultra-high-speed computer chips and high-capacity digital memory chips etc.

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US designates Hizbul Mujahideen as Foreign Terrorist Organisation

The United States has named Pakistan based Kashmiri terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen as a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO)”. The designation slaps a series of US sanctions on the outfit.

With this, Hizb Mujahideen joins the other terrorist outfits Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on the US list of FTO designated in 2001. Moreover, two other anti-India groups, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (2016) and Indian Mujahideen (2011) are also in the list.

What does it means?

Such designations expose and isolate terrorist groups and individuals, and deny them access to the US financial system. It also assists the law enforcement activities of US agencies and other governments. It blocks all of Hizbul Mujahideen’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction. It also prohibits US citizens from engaging in any transactions with the group. It purpose is to deny Hizbul Mujahideen the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks.

Background

The designation comes against the backdrop of upsurge in the terror activities of the militant group in Kashmir in recent months. Earlier in June 2017, US had adding the Hizbul Mujahideen’s Pakistan-based chief Syed Salahuddin to its list of designated global terrorists.

Comment

The US decision to designate Hizbul Mujahideen as FTO marks a severe blow to Pakistan which has been projecting the militant group as a voice of Kashmiri people. It also validates India’s position on cross-border terrorism as the reason behind the Kashmir issue and the support terrorist organisations getting from Pakistan. It will also help India to put the squeeze on Pakistan, whose top political and military leaders are portraying Hizb cadres as “freedom fighters” at a time of heightened terrorist activity in Kashmir.

About Hizbul Mujahideen

Hizbul Mujahideen (meaning “Party of Holy Warriors”) is one of the largest and oldest terrorist groups operating in Kashmir. It was started in 1989 by Muhammad Ahsan Dar as Kashmiri separatist group and holds pro-Pakistan ideology. Its current commander is a Sayeed Salahudeen who is based in Rawalpindi and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). It has been already designated a terrorist organisation by India and European Union.

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