- A wildlife conservation reserve dedicated exclusively to the blackbuck is coming up in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. There are a few national parks and sanctuaries inhabited by blackbuck in the country, like the Velavadar Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat and the Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary in Karnataka. However, there are not many conservation reserves exclusively dedicated to the antelope.
Smart Anti Airfield Weapon
- The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully tested an indigenously developed light weight glide bomb, Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW), which can target large enemy infrastructure, like airfields.
- India dispatched a C-130J `Super Hercules’ aircraft, along with a 45-member contingent, including Garud commandos, to Israel to take part in the topnotch multilateral `Blue Flag-17′ exercise.
- This is the first time India has sent a contingent to participate in a military exercise in Israel.
- The exercise will also include other countries like the US, France, Germany , Italy, Greece and Poland. “Blue Flag is a biannual multilateral exercise which aims to strengthen military cooperation among the participating nations.
- This is the first time the Indian Air Force is operating with the Israeli Air Force in a multilateral exercise setting.
- All new four-wheelers will need to get FASTags fixed on their front windscreens before they come out of factories or dealer showrooms from December 1.
- FASTags use radio frequency identification technology and allow vehicles to pass through toll plazas without waiting in the queue as the payment is made electronically .
- The government is looking at increasing the penetration of FASTags to end congestion at toll plazas and to ensure no leakage of toll revenue.
Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana
- Govt launched a Pan India scholarship program for school children called Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana to increase the reach of Philately.
- Under the scheme of SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby), it is proposed to award annual scholarships to children of Standard VI to IX having good academic record and also pursuing Philately as a hobby through a competitive selection process in all postal circles.
National Pension System
- Maximum age of joining National Pension System (NPS) has been increased from the existing 60 years to 65 years under NPS- Private Sector.
- Now, any Indian Citizen, resident or non-resident, between the age of 60- 65 years, can also join NPS and continue up to the age of 70 years in NPS.
- The subscriber joining NPS beyond the age of 60 years will have the same choice of the Pension Fund as well as the investment choice as is available under the NPS for subscribers joining NPS before the age of 60 years.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of AsiaPacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world; to defuse fears that highly industrialised Japan would come to dominate economic activity in the Asia-Pacific region; and to establish new markets for agricultural products and raw materials beyond Europe.
- The location of the meeting rotates annually among the member economies, and a famous tradition, followed for most (but not all) summits, involves the attending leaders dressing in a national costume of the host country. APEC is headquartered in Singapore. India has requested membership in APEC. However, officials have decided not to allow India to join for various reasons, considering that India does not border the Pacific Ocean, which all current members do. However, India was invited to be an observer for the first time in 2011.
Initial Coin Offerings
- An ICO, like an equity initial public offer (IPO), is an issuance of digital tokens that
can be converted into crypto currencies and are mostly used to raise funds by startup firms dealing in blockchain technology and virtual currencies like bitcoins and ethereum.
- An Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is used by startups to bypass the rigorous and regulated capital-raising process required by venture capitalists or banks. Unlike an IPO, which is governed by SEBI regulations, there is no regulatory body for ICOs in India.
- A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security.
- A cryptocurrency is difficult to counterfeit because of this security feature.
- A defining feature of a cryptocurrency, and arguably its most endearing allure, is its organic nature; it is not issued by any central authority, rendering it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.
- The anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions makes them well-suited for a host of nefarious activities, such as money laundering and tax evasion.
- The first cryptocurrency to capture the public imagination was Bitcoin, which was launched in 2009 by an individual or group known under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
- Bitcoin’s success has spawned a number of competing cryptocurrencies, such as Litecoin, Namecoin and PPCoin.
Nationally Determined Contributions
- 2015 was a historic year in which 196 Parties came together under the Paris Agreement to transform their development trajectories so that they set the world on a course towards sustainable development, aiming at limiting warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.
- Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of these long-term goals.
- NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
- The Paris Agreement requests each country to outline and communicate their post- 2020 climate actions, known as their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
- NDC are submitted every five years to the UNFCCC secretariat, with the next round of NDCs (new or updated) being submitted by 2020.
- NDCs reflect each country’s ambition for reducing emissions, taking into account its domestic circumstances and capabilities.
- Earlier,the term ‘Intended’ Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) was used because countries were communicating proposed climate actions ahead of the Paris Agreement being finalized. However as countries formally join the Paris Agreement and look forward to implementation of these climate actions – the “intended” is dropped and an INDC is converted into a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
- A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
- In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin.
- Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.
- GIs have been defined under Article 22(1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights(TRIPS) Agreement.
- The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.
- Darjeeling tea became the first GI tagged product in India in 2004-05.
- An exoplanet or extrasolar planet is a planet outside of our solar system that orbits a star.
- The discovery of exoplanets has intensified interest in the search for extraterrestrial life. There is special interest in planets that orbit in a star’s habitable zone, where it is possible for liquid water, a prerequisite for life on Earth, to exist on the surface.
- Besides exoplanets, there are also rogue planets, which do not orbit any star and which tend to be considered separately.
- NASA and other agencies are looking for a special kind of planet: one that’s the same size as Earth, orbiting a sun-like star in the habitable zone.
- The habitable zone is the range of distances from a star where a planet’s temperature allows liquid water oceans, critical for life on Earth.