International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI)
- The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is an informal partnership between Nations and organizations which strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world.
- The Initiative was founded in 1994 by eight governments: Australia, France, Japan, Jamaica, the Philippines, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
- ICRI now counts more than 60 members.
- India is a member.
National Leprosy Eradication Programme
- The National Leprosy Eradication Programme is a centrally sponsored Health Scheme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India.
- The Programme is headed by the Deputy Director of Health Services (Leprosy) under the administrative control of the Directorate General Health Services Govt. of India.
- While the NLEP strategies and plans are formulated centrally, the programme is implemented by the States/UTs.
- The Programme is also supported as Partners by the World Health Organization, The International Federation of Anti-leprosy Associations (ILEP) and few other Non-Govt. Organizations.
- Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign (SLAC) is implemented to reduce stigma against persons affected by Leprosy in the community.
- Leprosy has become fully curable by Multi–Drug Therapy (MDT). This therapy is available free of cost at all the Government health care facilities in the country.
- India is committed for justice and equality of all individuals including persons with disabilities as per the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
- Recently RBI governor gave an ‘India Panglossian’, when talking about the Indian economy.
- He said that RBI is not maintaining a Panglossian countenance and smile away every difficulty of the Indian economy.
- ‘Pangloss’ is a fictional character in Voltaire’s novel ‘Candide’.
- Pangloss means “a person who views a situation with unwarranted optimism”.
- The term “Panglossianism” describes baseless optimism of the sort exemplified by Pangloss’s beliefs.
- A Panglossian way of life is convinced whatever happens is for the best, and hence make no effort to change it.
- The Indian economy is losing steam has been confirmed by numbers from all key sectors and the governor acknowledged all these bottlenecks
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- It is an international agreement between governments also known as Washington Convention.
- Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
- CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN
- CITES entered in force on 1July 1975.
- CITES is legally binding on the Partiesbut it does not take the place of national laws.
- It provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.
- It has 183 parties.
The species covered by CITES are listed in three Appendices, according to the degree of protection they need.
- Appendix I include species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
- Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.
- Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade.
Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission
- NASA’s MMS Finds Its 1st Interplanetary Shock.
- MMS investigates how the Sun’s and Earth’s magnetic fields connect and disconnect, explosively transferring energy from one to the other in a process that is important at the Sun, other planets, and everywhere in the universe, known as magnetic reconnection.
- Reconnection limits the performance of fusion reactors and is the final governor of geospace weather that affects modern technological systems such as telecommunications networks, GPS navigation, and electrical power grids.
- MMS reveals, for the first time, the small-scale three-dimensional structure and dynamics of the elusively thin and fast-moving electron diffusion region.
- It does this in both of the key reconnection regions near Earth, where the most energetic events originate.
- By observing magnetic reconnection in nature, MMS provides access to predictive knowledge of a universal process that is the final governor of space weather, affecting modern technological systems such as communications networks, GPS navigation, and electrical power grids.
- MMS will establish knowledge, methods and technologies applicable to future space weather missions and the future growth and development of space weather forecasting.
- MMS sensors will measure charged particle velocities, as well as electric and magnetic fields, with unprecedented (milliseconds) time resolution and accuracy needed to capture the elusively thin and fast-moving electron diffusion region.
- MMS probes reconnection of solar and terrestrial magnetic fields in the dayside and nightside of Earth’s magnetosphere, the only natural laboratory where it can be directly observed by spacecraft.
- Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus.
- It is transported to, and secreted by, the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.
- It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter.
- The release of oxytocin by the pituitary gland acts to regulate two female reproductive functions: Childbirth and Breast-feeding.
- Oxytocin has also been dubbed the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, moral molecule, and the bliss hormone due to its effects on behavior, including its role in love and in female reproductive biological functions in reproduction.
- It is also used to help abort fetus in cases of incomplete abortion or miscarriage, and control bleeding after childbirth.
- Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy (IC) and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, launched the State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index–SARAL.
- The State of Karnataka has been placed at the first rank in the Index that evaluates Indian states based on their attractiveness for rooftop development.
- Telangana, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have got 2nd, 3rdand 4thrank
- It would incentivise rooftop solar by creating healthy competition among the States.
- SARAL has been designed collaboratively by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (SSEF), Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Ernst & Young (EY).
- The Depository Receipt Scheme 2014 is expected to be operationalised soon by SEBI.
- This will give Indian companies increased access to foreign funds. Depository Receipts:
- A depositary receipt (DR) is a negotiable certificate issued by a bank representing shares in a foreign company traded on a local stock exchange.
- The depositary receipt gives investors the opportunity to hold shares in the equity of foreign countries and gives them an alternative to trading on an international market.
- Depositary receipts can be attractive to investors because they allow investors to diversify their portfolios and purchase shares in foreign companies in a more convenient and less expensive manner than purchasing stocks in foreign markets.
- Biofortification is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through agronomic practices, conventional plant breeding, or modern biotechnology.
- It differs from conventional fortification in that biofortification aims to increase nutrient levels in crops during plant growth rather than through manual means during processing of the crops.
Recovery Programme for Critically Endangered Species
- This programme is one of the component of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH).
- Started in 2008, IDWH is meant for providing support to protected areas (national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation reserves and community reserves except tiger reserves), protection of wildlife outside protected areas and recovery programmes for saving critically endangered species and habitats.
- So far, 21 species have been identified under the recovery programme.
- These are the Snow Leopard, Bustard (including Floricans), Dolphin, Hangul, Nilgiri Tahr, Marine Turtles, Dugongs, Edible Nest Swiftlet, Asian Wild Buffalo, Nicobar Megapode, Manipur Brow-antlered Deer, Vultures, Malabar Civet, Indian Rhinoceros, Asiatic Lion, Swamp Deer, Jerdon’s Courser, Northern river terra pin, Hump back whale, Clouded leopard and Red panda
- It is the World’s 1st ‘Floating Nuclear Power Plant’ (FNPP) developed by Russia’s ROSATOM.
- It is designed to make it possible to supply electricity to hard-to-reach areas, regardless of transport infrastructure & landscape.
- It left the Arctic port of Murmansk to begin its 5,000 kilometre voyage to Pevek in northeastern Siberia.
- The reactor has the potential to work particularly well in regions with power supply shortages, limited access to electrical grids.
- The plant, loaded with nuclear fuel, will replace a coal-fired power plant.
- For fossil fuel-based electricity generation, up to 40% of the cost is attributed to the price of coal, oil or gas and for delivery.
- It is the “General Security Of Military Information Agreement”.
- It was signed in 2016 to streamline intelligence sharing between the U.S., Japan and South Korea about North Korean nuclear activity.
- It automatically renews annually unless one of the countries decides to pull out.
- Before the GSOMIA, the U.S. had two separate intelligence-sharing agreements with South Korea and Japan.
- Asymmetric federalismor asymmetrical federalism is found in a federation or confederation in which different constituent states possess different powers:
- One or more of the sub states has considerably more autonomy than the other sub states, although they have the same constitutional status.ie the division of powers between substates is not symmetric.
- This is in contrast to symmetric federalism, where no distinction is made between constituent states.
- Asymmetrical federalism can be divided into two types of agreements or arrangements.
- The first type resolves differences in legislative powers, representation in central institutions, and rights and obligations that are set in the constitution. This type of asymmetry can be called de jure
- The second type reflects agreements which come out of national policy, opting out, and bilateral and ad hoc deals with specific provinces, none of which are entrenched in the constitution. This type of asymmetry is known as de facto
- The Government of India(referred to as the Union Government or Central Government) was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of a federal union of 28 states and 9 union territories.
- The governance of India is based on a tiered system, wherein the Constitution of India appropriates the subjects on which each tier of government has executive powers.
- The Constitution uses the Seventh Schedule to delimit the subjects under three categories, namely the Union list, the State list and the Concurrent list.
- A distinguishing aspect of Indian federalism is that it is asymmetric.
Advisory Board for Banking Frauds (ABBF)
- The Central Vigilance Commission CVC) has constituted the Advisory Board for Banking Frauds (ABBF) headed by former Vigilance Commissioner T.M. Bhasin to examine bank fraud of over 50 crore and recommend action.
- The panel was earlier called the Advisory Board on Bank, Commercial and Financial Frauds.
- It has formed in consultation with the RBI.
- The ABBF would function as the first level of examination of all large fraud cases before recommendations or references are made to the investigative agencies by the respective public sector banks (PSBs).
- The four member board’s jurisdiction would be confined to those cases involving the level of officers of General Manager and above in the PSB in respect of an allegation of a fraud in a borrowing account.
- Lenders would refer all large fraud cases above 50 crore to the board and on receipt of its recommendation or advice, the bank concerned would take further action in such matter.
- The Central Bureau of Investigation may also refer any case or matter to the board where it has any issue or difficulty or in technical matters with the PSB concerned.
- Coprolites are fossilised faeces belonging to animals that lived millions of years ago.
- Scientists have found the oldest parasite DNA ever recorded.
- The discovery was made in the Coprolite of a prehistoric puma in Argentina.
- With the help of carbon dating, it is estimated that the age of the coprolite is between 16,500-17,000 years ago.
- Using ancient mitochondrial DNA analysis, it was confirmed that the coprolite came out of a puma.
- This led to the identification of the oldest parasite DNA found yet dated back to a few thousand years ago.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
- The Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever has made an appearance in Gujarat after three years.
- Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral haemorrhagic fever transmitted by ticks, caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae
- It can be responsible for severe outbreaks in humans but it is not pathogenic for ruminants, their amplifying host.
- The principal reservoir and vector of CCHF are ticks of the genus Hyalomma, although other tick genera can be infected with CCHF virus.
- CCHF is endemic in all of Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and in Asia.
- The mortality rate from CCHF is approximately 30%.
- The first case of CCHF in India was also reported from Gujarat in 2011. Transmission:
- The CCHF virus is transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter.
- Human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons.
- Hospital-acquired infections can also occur due to improper sterilization of medical equipment, reuse of needles and contamination of medical supplies.
- Researchers have sighted a species of tarantula for the first time beyond its known habitat in the Eastern Ghats.
- The spider belonging to the genus Poecilotheria, commonly known as the Peacock Parachute Spider or Gooty Tarantula was spotted in the Pakkamalai Reserve Forests.
- The species, known to be endemic to India, was found at different locations in the reserve forests. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorised it as Critically Endangered.
- Tarantulas are biological pest controllers and there is a huge demand for them by collectors in the pet trade.
- Escherichia coliis a bacterium that is commonly found in the gut of humans and other warm-blooded animals. While most strains are harmless, some can cause severe foodborne disease.
- Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) is a bacterium that can cause severe foodborne disease.
- coli infection is usually transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food, such as undercooked meat products and raw milk.
- Symptoms:Include abdominal cramps and diarrhoea, which may be bloody. Fever and vomiting may also occur.
- Most patients recover within 10 days, although in a few cases the disease may become life-threatening.
- Babies develop ‘werewolf syndrome’ after medicine mix-up in Spain.
- Werewolf syndrome, also known as hypertrichosis, is the excess production of hair, either in one specific area or all over the body.