International Whaling Commission (IWC)
- Recently Japan withdrawal from IWC.
- The withdrawal would enable Japan to resume commercial whaling activities.
- The International whaling commission was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed on 2nd December 1946 at Washington DC.
- The IWC aims at providing for the proper conservation of whale stocks and make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.
- IWC is accompanied by legally binding schedule which sets out specific measures that the IWC has collectively decided as necessary in order to regulate whaling and conserve whale stocks.
- Schedule can be amended by at least three quarters majority agreement unlike convention.
- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems, including your liver and kidneys in particular.
- It is especially harmful to infant and pregnant women as it can cause damage to the central nervous system in children.
- Since lead is a heavy metal it can get stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time. In pregnant women, prolonged exposure to lead can result in miscarriage, prematurity, low birth weight, etc.
- MSG, short for Monosodium glutamate, is an amino acid found in your body and most foods. It is a flavour enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups, and processed meats.
- When consumed in excess, it can cause several health issues, including a headache, nausea, sweating, weakness, chest pain, tingling or burning in the face as well as neck and other areas. It is claimed that MSG can cause asthma and even brain damage.
- MSG may cause adverse symptoms in some people, including a condition called Chinese restaurant syndrome or MSG symptom complex. However, there is no definitive evidence that MSG is solely responsible for causing these symptoms.
Green – Ag
- The Government has launched the “Green – Ag: Transforming Indian Agriculture for global environmental benefits and the conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes” in association with Global Environment Facility (GEF).
- The project would be implemented in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in high-conservation-value landscapes of five States namely, (i) Madhya Pradesh: Chambal Landscape, (ii) Mizoram: Dampa Landscape, (iii) Odisha: Similipal Landscape, (iv) Rajasthan: Desert National Park Landscape and v) Uttarakhand: Corbett-Rajaji Landscape.
- The Green-Ag project seeks to integrate biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management objectives and practices into Indian agriculture.
- The project aims to catalyze a transformative change of India’s agricultural sector to support the achievement of national and global environmental benefits and conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes.
- The project supports harmonization between India’s agricultural and environmental sector priorities and investments to realise the national and global environmental benefits without compromising on India’s ability to strengthen rural livelihoods and meet its food and nutrition security.
- Panj Tirath, which got its name from the five pools of water present there, also contains a temple and a lawn with date palm trees.
- It is believed that Pandu, a mythical king in the Mahabharata, belonged to this area and Hindus used to come to these pools for bathing during the month of Karteek and worship for two days under the trees.
- The site was damaged during the reign of the Afghan Durrani dynasty in 1747, however it was restored by local Hindus during the period of Sikh rule in 1834 and worship started again.
Lokpal Act of 2013
- The Act allows setting up of anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State-level.
- The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.
- The Lokpal will cover all categories of public servants, including the Prime Minister. But the armed forces do not come under the ambit of Lokpal.
- The Act also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while the prosecution is pending.
- The States will have to institute Lokayukta within one year of the commencement of the Act.
- The Act also ensures that public servants who act as whistleblowers are protected.
- Makaravilakku festival is the most important event in the two-month-long annual festival season.
- Makara jyothi is a star that appears in the sky on Makara Samkramam on the first day of the Malayalam month of Makaram.
- Makara vilakku is a light lit at Ponnambalamedu, a plateau across the Sabarimala shrine.
- The light, believed to have celestial origins, is shown three times by the chief priest of Pamba temple.
- Pamba is the base station of Sabarimala.
- The light is dubbed as Makara vilakku.
- This ritual is done after the Sirius star appears in the sky.
- This ritual had been done by Malaya araya tribals in the past.
- When the Travancore Devaswom Board took over the administration of the temple in the early 1950s, the tribal community lost that right.
Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (CCHS)
- CCHS is a disorder of the nervous system in which the cue to breathe is lost when the patient goes to sleep.
- This results in a lack of oxygen and a build-up of carbon dioxide in the body, which can sometimes turn fatal.
- A typical presentation of the lack of breathing is when the lips start turning blue and it is a typical feature of a carbon dioxide build-up.
- It is also seen in babies with congenital heart problems when the extremities of the body are deprived of oxygen. The disease is also known as Ondine’s Curse.
- Ondine, a nymph in French mythology, had cursed her unfaithful husband that he would forget to breathe the moment he fell asleep.
- The mutation of a gene called PHOX2B, which is crucial for the maturation of nerve cells in the body, can cause CCHS.
- It can also be genetically acquired, which is when it is congenital.
- However, sudden mutation is more common than a transmission of the mutated gene from parent to child
- Apart from the apparent signs of oxygen deficiency, CCHS patients also have problems in regulation of heart rate and blood pressure, sweat profusely, often have constipation and cannot always feel pain.
- Many of them suffer from neural tumours. In some patients, there are ophthalmological symptoms.
- In others, there is a deficiency of the growth hormone and a propensity of the body to produce much more insulin than is normal.
Vaduvoor Bird Sanctuary
- Vaduvoor Bird sanctuary is situated in Thanjavur, region of the southern State Tamil Nadu.
- The delta region is known as the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu and granary of south India.
- Vaduvoor Lake, situated in Thanjavur, is home to thousands of avian visitors every year from different continents.
- The lake is surrounded by fertile wetlands and offers a perfect spot for the birds for food, shelter and reproduction.
- It is a ideal spot when the temperture drops in their home countries in Europe, the Americas and sometimes Russia.
- The entire sanctuary is declared a protected area and the lake is periodically desilted.
- China has named the lunar rover, successfully deployed to carry out a string of experiments on the far side of the moon, as ‘Yutu-2’. The rover’s touchdown is part of China Chang’e-4 lunar probe.
- It follows the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System — China’s homegrown Global Positioning System that started worldwide service last month.
- The rover has been programmed to launch ground penetration radar that would help map the moon’s inner structures.
- It would also analyse soil and rock samples for minerals, apart from activating a radio telescope to search for possible signals from deep space.
Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN)
- Government has announced a ‘one-time financial assistance’ for Rare diseases. The standing finance committee has approved a proposal for adding a sub-component under the umbrella scheme of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) for provision of one-time financial assistance to those below threshold poverty line for specified rare diseases which require one-time treatment.
- A rare disease, also referred to as an orphan disease, is any disease that affects a small percentage of the population.
- Most rare diseases are genetic, and are present throughout a person’s entire life, even if symptoms do not immediately appear. In Europe a disease or disorder is defined as rare when it affects less than 1 in 2000 citizens.
- Rare diseases are characterised by a wide diversity of symptoms and signs that vary not only from disease to disease but also from patient to patient suffering from the same disease. Relatively common symptoms can hide underlying rare diseases, leading to misdiagnosis.
- The most common rare diseases recorded in India are Haemophilia, Thalassemia, sickle-cell anaemia and primary immuno deficiency in children, auto-immune diseases, Lysosomal storage disorders such as Pompe disease, Hirschsprung disease, Gaucher’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Hemangiomas and certain forms of muscular dystrophies.
Mandal Dam project
- Mandal Dam is being built on the North Koel River.
- The Mandal Dam project will help around one lakh eleven thousand hectares of agricultural land in Jharkhand and Bihar to get irrigation facilities. 60% of the project cost would be financed by the central government as a grant from Long-Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY). Remaining 40% will be borne by the States through loan financed by NABARD.
- North Koel River originates on Ranchi plateau in Jharkhand and joins the Sone River, a few miles north-west of Haidarnagar in Jharkhand.
- The river meanders through the northern part of Betla National Park. The principal tributaries of the North Koel River are Auranga and the Amanat.