Current Affairs - Vocabulary - SPLessons

Current Affairs Vocabulary Day 4

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Current Affairs Vocabulary Day 4

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A Newspaper is a printed or online publication that provides readers with news and articles i.e. the current affairs of a country and the world. Current Affairs play a prominent role in several government related recruitment exams in India. To better understand the current state of affairs, a candidate should acquire rich vocabulary primarily used by editors and publications of newspaper articles and editorials. SPLessons has made an effort to provide a comprehensive list of commonly used words in newspaper articles and editorials. Current Affairs Vocabulary Day 4 provides the readers with a collection of useful vocabulary for newspapers.

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The Link between poor harvests and Violence

LAST year over 102,000 people died in nearly 50 armed conflicts across the world, according to the Peace Research Institute Oslo, a think-tank. Much of this violence is caused by tensions between ethnic groups—two-thirds of civil wars have been fought along ethnic lines since 1946. Yet historians differ over whether cultural differences or economic pressures best explain how tensions explode into violence.

A new study by Robert Warren Anderson, Noel Johnson and Mark Koyama suggests that, historically, economic shocks were more strongly associated with outbreaks of violence directed against Jews than scholars had previously thought. The authors collected data for 1,366 anti-Semitic events involving forced emigration or murderous pogroms in 936 European cities between 1100 and 1800. This was then compared with historical temperature data from a variety of sources, including tree rings, Arctic ice cores and contemporary descriptions of the weather.

Cold spells hit medieval agriculture hard: a one-degree Celsius fall in temperatures reduced the growing season by up to four weeks. Lower yields caused widespread economic pain: up to 57% of people relied on farming for work in medieval England, for instance. The authors find that a fall in average temperatures of only a third of a degree increased the probability of a pogrom or expulsion by 50% over the next five years. They argue that violence against Jews was not simply caused by religiously-motivated anti-Semitism: “The Jews were convenient scapegoats for social and economic ills.”

The authors find that economic shocks had greater effects where soils were less suited to farming or where governments were weaker, and so less able to stop violence. A fall in anti-Semitic attacks in the 17th and 18th centuries was due to the emergence of strong nation-states able to smooth out economic bumps and protect minorities during periods of strain, the paper concludes.

Echoes of these patterns are discernible today. Many economists have linked the weather—particularly droughts and heatwaves in agricultural economies—to outbreaks of inter communal violence in developing countries. Another paper published last year, by Carl-Friedrich Schleussner and his colleagues, found that between 1980 and 2010 23% of civil wars coincided with climate-related disasters in countries with deep ethnic divides. Global warming may worsen this problem further. The lesson of history is that better political institutions can help soothe tensions. But these institutions take decades to develop. A quicker solution—insurance that pays out in years of bad weather—may not just be a boon for farmers, but for the world’s ethnic minorities, too.

shape Vocabulary

Word Definition Synonyms Usage
Boon (Noun) A Thing that is helpful or beneficial
  • Blessing
  • Godsend
  • Bonus
  • Good thing
  • Benefit
The route will be a boon to many travellers
Contemporary (Adj) Belonging to
or occurring in the present
  • Modern
  • Present-day
  • Present
  • Current
  • Immediate
The tension and complexities of our contemporary society.
Discernible (Adj) Able to be discerned;
  • Visible
  • Detectable
  • Noticeable
  • Perceptible
  • Observable
The figure was scarcely discernible in the pale moonlight.
Ethnic (Adj) Relating to a population
subgroup (within a larger or dominant national or cultural group)
with a common national or cultural tradition
  • Racial
  • Race-related
  • Ethnological
  • Genetic
Ethnic and
cultural rights and
Expulsion (Noun) The action of forcing someone to leave an organization
  • Removal
  • Debarment
  • Dismissal
  • Exclusion
  • Discharge
They faced expulsion
from the party.

Word Definition Synonyms Usage
Instance (Noun) An example or single occurrence of something
  • Example
  • Occasion
  • Occurrence
  • Case
  • Representative case
There was not a single instance of religious persecution
Pogroms (Noun) An organized massacre
of a particular ethnic group,
in particular that of Jews in Russia
or eastern Europe.
  • Massacre
  • Slaughter
  • Wholesale slaughter
  • Mass slaughter
  • Mass killing
The Nazis began a pogrom
against Jewish people in Germany.
Rely (Verb) depend on with full trust or confidence
  • Count
  • Bank
  • Place reliance
  • Bargain
  • Plan
I know I can rely
on your discretion
Scapegoats (Noun) A person who is blamed for the wrongdoings,
mistakes, or faults of others,
especially for reasons of expediency.
  • Whipping boy
  • Victim
The older boy bullied his younger brother into being the scapegoat for the crime he committed.
Soothe (Verb) Gently calm (a person or their feelings).
  • Calm
  • Calm down
  • Quiet
  • Pacify
A shot of brandy might soothe his nerves