World Customs Organisation (WCO)
- India has become the Vice-Chair (Regional Head) of the Asia Pacific Region of WCO for a period of two years (2018-2020).
- WCO established in 1952, is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.
- WCO is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters.
- It represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.
- The organisation has divided its membership into six regions. Each of the regions is represented by an elected vice-chairperson to the WCO council.
- It is considered as the voice of the International Customs community.
- Harrier birds are migratory raptor species that regularly visits vast swathes of India.
- India has one of the largest roosting sites in the world for Pallid Harriers and Montagu’s Harriers.
- Recent reports highlights that the numbers of birds visiting the site are declining.
- While a general declining trend was observed in all the monitored sites, researchers noted the most dramatic changes at the Rollapadu Bustard Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district.
- In Hessarghatta on the outskirts of Bengaluru, Western Marsh Harriers declined significantly, leaving the area nearly deserted.
- The gravest concern is the loss of grasslands, either to urbanisation or to agriculture.
- Excessive use of pesticides in farms in and around the roosting sites could also be a reason for the lowered population counts.
First Global Compact for Migration
- First time United Nations member states, except the US, have agreed on a deal to create Global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.
- It is the first intergovernmental negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of migration.
- It will be formally adopted by world leaders in Morocco in December.
- It is non-binding and was signed by adopting “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants” in 2016.
- It does not encourage migration, nor does it aim to stop it.
- The objective is to address the challenges for migration, strengthen migrant rights.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
- Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it.
- As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.
MeerKAT radio telescope
- MeerKAT telescope is a scientific mega-project in South Africa.
- It will be an array of 64 interlinked receptors to unlock cosmic conundrums from dark energy to detecting extraterrestrial life.
- A receptor is the complete antenna structure, with the main reflector, sub-reflector and all receivers, digitisers and other electronics installed.
- It will be incorporated into the complex Square Kilometre Array (SKA) instrument.
- It is the biggest radio telescope of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Local Electrode Atom Probe
- IIT Madras has launched “world’s first” remotely operatable microscope that would enable a precise atom-by-atom view of a material.
- The Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) was developed in a collaborative exercise involving eight top research institutions headed by IIT Madras.
- The microscope also enables a true 3D atomic scale reconstruction which would impart a major thrust to research in nanotechnology, among other fields.
- The partnering institutions in the collaborative include – IITs of Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Ropar along with Nuclear Sciences and Department of Science and Technology, International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI).
- A neutrino is a subatomic particle that is very similar to an electron but has no electrical charge and a very small mass, which might even be zero.
- Neutrinos are one of the fundamental particles which make up the universe.
- These are only particle other than gravitational waves that can zip through the universe at speeds very close to that of light.
- The largest nuclear reactor that most life on earth derives energy from is the sun.
- Like all nuclear reactors, in addition to giving out energy, the sun also emits neutrinos.
- There are three types of neutrinos differing based on mass, these are-
(a) Electron neutrinos (ve)
(b) Muon neutrinos(vu)
(c) tau neutrinos(vT)
- Fertiliser major IFFCO has partnered with Singapore-based technology firm iMandi to start an e-commerce platform for farmers with an investment of about Rs 80 crore.
- An e-commerce app, ‘IFFCO iMandi’, has been launched that would cater to 5.5 crore farmers already associated with the cooperative.
- A web portal has also been developed.
- Under the agri inputs marketplace, the farmer can presently buy all IFFCO products, including fertilisers, agrochemicals and seeds at a discounted price and get free delivery at their doorstep.
- The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution 2427, which won unanimous approval of the 15 members of the council.
- The resolution aimed at a framework for mainstreaming protection, rights, well-being and empowerment of children throughout the conflict cycle.
- It also condemns attacks against schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access by parties to armed conflict.
- It demands that all relevant parties immediately put an end to such practices and take special measures to protect children.
- Destruction of mangrove cover in the Bandar Reserve Forest is forcing the golden jackal out of its habitat.
- The conservation status of the animal is the ‘least concern’ and it preys on wild crab and fish.
- The Golden Jackal is widespread in North and north-east Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Eastern Europe and the entire Indian Subcontinent.
- In India, jackal populations achieve high densities in pastoral areas such as Kutch, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Haryana.
- It is present in all protected areas of India except for those in the high elevation regions of the Himalayas.
- The species is included in CITES Appendix III (in India).
- Jackals feature on Schedule III of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) of India and are afforded the least legal protection (mainly to control trade of pelts and tails).
National Culture Fund (NCF)
- National Culture Fund (NCF) was set up as a Trust under the Charitable Endowment Act, 1890 in November 1996 by the Government, with a view to mobilize extra resources through Public Private Partnerships.
- The National Culture Fund is managed and administered by a council headed by Hon’ble Culture Minister to decide the policies and an Executive Committee headed by Secretary, Culture to actualize those policies.
- The Fund aims at inviting the participation of the corporate sector, non-government organizations, private/public sector as well as individuals in the task of promoting, protecting and preserving India’s cultural heritage.
- All the projects undertaken by the NCF are completed within a specified period, in accordance with an MoU signed by NCF with the concerned donor organization.
- The donations/contributions to NCF are eligible for 100% tax deduction under the Income Tax Act, 1961 subject to the limits and conditions prescribed in the said Section and relevant Rules.
Tribal Atlas of Odisha
- Odisha Government has unveiled first-ever ‘Tribal Atlas of Odisha’, a compilation of demographic and cultural information of the tribal population in the state.
- This book will help provide comprehensive data on tribal population.
- It is claimed to be first-of-its-kind tribal compilation in the country.
- The book was published by SC and ST Research and Training Institute in collaboration with Academy of Tribal Language and Culture (ATLC).
- As per Census 2011, Odisha has the second highest tribal population in the country after Madhya Pradesh.
- INS Tarangini is part of the first Training Squadron based at Kochi, under the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.
- The word Tarangini means ‘the one that rides the waves’.
- It is the first ship of the Indian Navy to have circumnavigated the globe in the year 2003-04.
- It commenced ‘Lokayan-18’ from Kochi, to cover a distance of over 20,000 nautical miles to display the Indian flag at 15 ports across 13 countries.
- During its Lokayan voyage, it will participate in the prestigious ‘tall ship races – 2018’ at Sunderland Port in the UK.
- It has already participated in tall ship races conducted around the world in 2007, 2011 and 2015.
- Recently Prime Minister of India dedicated the Bansagar Canal Project to the Nation in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh.
- This project will provide a big boost to irrigation in the region and will be greatly beneficial for the farmers of Mirzapur and Allahabad districts of Uttar Pradesh.
- It is a multipurpose river Valley Project on Sone River situated in the Ganges Basin in Madhya Pradesh, India with both irrigation and 435 MW of hydroelectric power generation.
- The bansagar Dam project is a joint venture of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
- Son River of central India is the second largest of the Ganges’ southern tributaries after Yamuna River.
- The Son originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh.