- The Bombay Natural History Society, founded on 15 September 1883, is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research.
- BNHS is the partner of BirdLife International in India. It has been designated as a ‘Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’ by the Department of Science and Technology.
- The BNHS logo is the great hornbill.
- IT consultancy firm Accenture and the Bombay Natural History Society have developed Internet of Birds platform that identifies bird species found in India using Artificial Intelligence technology, including machine learning and computer vision, from digital photos that are uploaded by the public.
- UN Environment is the leading agency at the world body focussed on the environment
- It works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organisations across the world
- It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) in June 1972 and has overall responsibility for environmental problems among United Nations agencies
- UN Environment activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance and green economy
- But international talks on specialized issues, such as addressing climate change or combating desertification, are overseen by other UN organizations, like the Bonn-based Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
- NAFTA is the initialism for the North American Free Trade Agreement, an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States that reduced or eliminated trade barriers in North America. (Since the U.S. and Canada already had a free trade agreement (signed in 1988), NAFTA merely brought Mexico into the trade bloc.)
- Negotiations for the trade agreement began in 1990 under the administration of George H.W. Bush and were finalized under Bill Clinton’s presidency in 1993. The agreement went into effect on January 1, 1994.
- In 1993 the European Union (EU) created a “single market”—one territory without any internal borders or other regulatory obstacles to the free movement of goods and services. This allowed every country and business in the EU to have access to more than 500 million consumers.
- NAFTA, which was approved that same year, was designed to have a similar effect, providing a way to allow the exchange of goods and services to flow more freely across national borders without the artificial restrictions.
- NAFTA provided for progressive elimination of all tariffs on any goods qualifying as North American. The deal also sought to protect intellectual property, establish dispute-resolution mechanisms, and, through corollary agreements, implement labor and environmental safeguards.
- Aeolus is the first satellite mission to acquire profiles of Earth’s wind on a global scale. These near-realtime observations will improve the accuracy of numerical weather and climate prediction and advance our understanding of tropical dynamics and processes relevant to climate variability.
- Aeolus is the fifth in the family of ESA’s Earth Explorer missions, which address key scientific challenges identified by the science community and demonstrate breakthrough technology in observing techniques.
- Named after Aeolus, who in Greek mythology was appointed ‘keeper of the winds’ by the Gods, this novel mission will not only provide much-needed data to improve the quality of weather forecasts, but also contribute to long-term climate research.
- The Aeolus satellite carries just one large instrument – a Doppler wind lidar called Aladin that will probe the lowermost 30 km of the atmosphere to measure the winds sweeping around our planet.
- Recently the European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully launched Aeolus satellite that will measure winds around the globe and help improve weather forecasting. The Earth Explorer Aeolus satellite was launched into polar orbit on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Lakhwar Multi- Purpose Project:
- Lakhwar Project is a multipurpose scheme, primarily a peaking power station, on river Yamuna in the district of Dehradun in Uttarakhand.
- The scheme envisages construction of 204 m high concrete dam on river Yamuna near Lohari village. The Multipurpose scheme also envisages construction of Vyasi HEP (2×60 MW) (Hathiari power station) downstream of Lakhwar HEP.
- The scheme also includes construction of a barrage at Katapathar about 3 Km downstream of Hathiari power station (Vyasi HEP) on river Yamuna.
- Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi are the six Upper Yamuna Basin states. Upper Yamuna refers to the stretch of River Yamuna from its origin to the Okhla Barrage in Delhi.
- It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest lagoon in the world after The New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia.
- It is the largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on the Indian sub-continent.
- It is one of the hotspot of biodiversity in the country, and some rare, vulnerable and endangered species listed in the IUCN Red List of threatened Animals inhabit in the lagoon for atleast part of their life cycle.
- On account of its rich bio-diversity and ecological significance, Chilika was designated as the 1st “Ramsar Site” of India.
- The Nalaban Island within the lagoon is notified as a Bird Sanctuary under Wildlife (Protection) Act, the National Wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs Committee of Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, have also identified the lagoon as a priority site for conservation and management.
- Chilika Lagoon lies in the districts of Puri, Khurda and Ganjam of Odisha State along the eastern coast of India. It is well connected to the Chennai and Kolkata through National Highway No 5, and the Chennai Kolkata rail line passes along the western bank of the Lagoon Balugaon, with Balugaon, Chilika and Rambha being the main stations along the Western shoreline of the lagoon.
G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting
- In the framework of the Argentinian presidency of G20, the 2018 edition of Digital Economy ministerial meeting is being held in Salta, Argentina. The ministerial meeting was preceded by the second meeting of the G20 Digital Economy Task Force.
- Argentina has selected the theme, ‘Building consensus for fair and sustainable development,’ for the 2018 G20 Leaders’ Summit, and has identified three key issues for the agenda: the future of work, infrastructure for development, and a sustainable food future.
- The Digital Economy Task Force (DETF) was established under the 2017 German presidency, based on the decision adopted in Hangzhou in 2016 under the Chinese Presidency.
- In Antalya, under the Turkish presidency in 2015, G20 leaders recognized the modern period as a critical era of digital transformation, influenced by the advent of new technologies as key elements for economic development.
- Wolbachia is a tiny bacterium that is present in 60% of all species of insects, including several mosquito species.
- But the bacterium is not usually in the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is primarily responsible for transmitting dengue, chikungunya and Zika.
- It is one of the world’s most common parasitic microbes and the most common reproductive parasite in the biosphere.
- If this bacterium is introduced in mosquitoes, it could stop disease-spreading viruses from replicating, growing and spreading the diseases.
- India and several countries are carrying out experiments to look in to the possibility of breeding Wolbachia in Aedes aegypti.
- The experiment has proved remarkably effective in a small town in Australia, preventing fresh outbreaks of dengue.
- At present, large-scale trials are under way in Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia.
- Scientists have recently developed novel lithium-ion batteries with components that prevent them from catching fire and causing injuries to users.
- Lithium-ion batteries are all about the movement of lithium ions.
- The ions move one way when the battery charges (when it’s absorbing power); they move the opposite way when the battery discharges (when it’s supplying power).
- Lithium ion batteries are more reliable than older technologies such as nickel-cadmium.
- Nickel batteries appear to become harder to charge unless they’re discharged fully first, it is not the case with lithium ion batteries.
- Lithium-ion batteries don’t contain cadmium, a toxic, heavy metal.
- It has high energy density i.e. it stores more energy per unit of weight when compare to other kind of batteries.
- But it still stores a hundred times less energy dense than gasoline (which contains 12,700 Wh/kg by mass or 8760 Wh/L volume).
- It is used in every modern cellphone, laptop, tablet, and most other rechargeable gadgets.
- Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month) is being celebrated in the month of September as part of Jan Andolan under POSHAN Abhiyaan.
- PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment (POSHAN) Abhiyan strive to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies.
- It targets to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anemia and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
- Mission 25 by 2022 – Although it targets to reduce stunting by 2%, Mission would strive to achieve reduction in Stunting from 38.4% (NFHS-4) to 25% by 2022.
- It may include the following nutrition strategies and interventions
- supplementary nutrition,
- IYCF(Infant and Young Child Feeding)immunisation,
- food fortification,
- adolescent nutrition,
- dietary diversification
- maternal health
- Behaviour change communication is the key component of POSHAN Abhiyaan for converting it into Jan Andolan (People’s movement).
- All the States and districts will be covered in a phased manner i.e. 315 districts in 2017-18, 235 districts in 2018-19 and remaining districts in 2019-20.
- It will be funded 50% by the Government of India and 50% by World Bank or other Multinational Development Banks.
Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement
- India and Singapore have recently signed the Second Protocol amending the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).
- The CECA was the first comprehensive agreement covering trade in goods, services and investments, which India had signed with any of its trading partners.
- CECA involve tariff reduction/elimination in a phased manner on listed or all items except the negative list and tariff rate quota (TRQ) items.
- Singapore is the second largest trading partner of India within ASEAN and India is the largest trading partner of Singapore in South Asia.
- Art 35A was inserted as part of the amendments made through a 1954 presidential order, imposed under Article 370.
- It empowers J&K to define a class of persons as constituting “permanent residents” of the State.
- Also, it allows the government to confer on these persons, special rights and privileges.
- These relate to matters of
- public employment
- acquisition of immovable property in the State
- settlement in different parts of the State
- access to scholarships
- other such aids that the State government might provide
- It exempts such legislation from being annulled on the ground that they infringe on any of the fundamental rights.
National Mission for Manuscripts
- National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM) is developing an app to make 3 lakhs manuscripts online accessible.
- NMM was set up in 2003 by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to identify, document, conserve, digitise and publish Indian manuscripts.
- A manuscript is a handwritten composition on paper, bark, cloth, metal, palm leaf or any other material dating back at least seventy-five years that has significant scientific, historical or aesthetic value.
- NMM is working towards fulfilling its motto, ‘conserving the past for the future’.
- India possesses an estimate of 10 million manuscripts, probably the largest collection in the world, which covers a variety of themes, textures and aesthetics, scripts, languages, calligraphies, illuminations and illustrations.
Indian Ocean Conference:
- The Indian Ocean Conference initiated by India Foundation along with its partners from Singapore, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is an annual effort to bring together Heads of States/Governments, Ministers, Thought Leaders, scholars, diplomats, bureaucrats and practitioners from across the region.
- Two successful editions of the Conference have been hosted so far in 2016 and 2017 in Singapore and Sri Lanka respectively. Both the Conferences were supported by the Ministry of External Affairs of India and had participation from over 35 countries with a global media coverage.
- Recently the third edition of Indian Ocean Conference is being held at Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
- This year, the Indian Ocean Conference will emphasise on better cooperation, strategic collaboration and governance architectures. This conference will serve a platform to the countries to come closer and exchange better views on the economic and strategic importance of the region and neighbourhood.
- Theme of the conference is “Building Regional Architectures”.
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
- It is the national Standards Body of India working under the aegis of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
- It is established by the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986.
- The Minister in charge of the Ministry or Department having administrative control of the BIS is the ex-officio President of the BIS.
- As a corporate body, it has 25 members drawn from Central or State Governments, industry, scientific and research institutions, and consumer organisations.
- It also works as WTO-TBT enquiry point for India.
National Tiger Conservation Authority
- It is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it under the said Act.
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority has been fulfilling its mandate within the ambit of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for strengthening tiger conservation in the country by retaining an oversight through advisories/normative guidelines, based on appraisal of tiger status, ongoing conservation initiatives and recommendations of specially constituted Committees.