May 22, 2019

Current Affairs
May 22, 2019

HOT PURSUIT
The Indian Coast Guard seized heroin, estimated to be worth ₹1,000 crore from a Pakistani fishing vessel caught after hot pursuit off the Gujarat coast.

Doctrine of hot pursuit: 

  • The doctrine of hot pursuit emerged as an exception to the fundamental principle of freedom of the high seas — the rights of vessels of all nations to navigate freely on the high seas. 

  • At a time when smuggling and piracy were rampant, this customary doctrine emerged to empower a coastal state to pursue on to the high seas a vessel that had violated its laws within its waters. 

  • Decades later, this customary doctrine was codified in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of High Seas. 

  • Apart from imposing procedural restrictions, the Convention clearly spelt out that the right of hot pursuit ceases as soon as the ship pursued enters the territorial sea of its own country or a third state. 

  • Over the years, some countries have sought to introduce an expanded doctrine of hot pursuit on land, to justify the breaches of territorial sovereignty of foreign states as part of the ongoing pursuit of offenders. 

Important Info :

Costal border: 

  • Territorial boundary:
    • In the case of our coastal border line, our territorial boundary is defined up to 12 nautical miles.
    • This zone is our sovereign territory and other countries have to take permission from India to entering this area.
  • Zone of hot pursuit:
    • Contagious to this zone is the zone of hot pursuit, and it extends upto 24 nautical miles.
    • Any infringement of customs, sanitary, immigration and fiscal regulations in the contagious zone can also attract punishment from coastal staes.
  • Exclusive economic zone (EEZ):
    • EEZ extends from the outer limit of territorial sea up to 200 nautical miles.
    • This is the zone where coastal states hold the right to natural and economic resources such as minerals, oil exploration and fishing. Ships of other countries can pass through this zone as long as they do not pose any threat to the coastal lines.
Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
May 22, 2019

GUR MAHOTSAV (JAGGERY FESTIVAL)
Muzaffarnagar district (in Uttar Pradesh) is hosting a first-of-its-kind Gur Mahotsav (jaggery festival) at the end of this month.

About: 

  • Muzaffarnagar is arguably the biggest mandi (marketplace) of gur in Asia. Here the farmers produce around 60 varieties of it. 

  • Duration: The three-day festival is scheduled to begin on May 30. 

  • Objective: 
    • It promises to bring together different stakeholders involved in the research, production and marketing of jaggery. 

    • It will focus on issues such as packaging and marketing of jaggery and sugarcane juice, more efficient prototypes of crushers and ways to increase the production of organic gur. 

    • The festival aims to address gur versus sugar debate. Gur has medicinal properties and some feel that using gur in tea is healthier than adding sugar. 



  • Parent programme: The event is being organised under the Uttar Pradesh government’s ‘one district, one product’ scheme, in partnership with private players. 

Important Info :

One District, One Product (ODOP) Scheme? 

  • ODOP scheme of Uttar Pradesh government aims to is to promote traditional micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) synonymous with their respective districts to create jobs.
  • Its key strategy is preservation and development of local crafts, improvement in product quality and skill development. 
  • Uttar Pradesh is unique in being famous for product-specific traditional industrial hubs across 75 districts, including Varanasi (Banarasi silk sari), Lucknow (chikan), Kanpur (leather goods), Aligarh (locks), Moradabad (brassware), Meerut (sports goods), Saharanpur (wooden products) etc. 
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
May 22, 2019

SPECIALISED SUPERVISORY & REGULATORY CADRE (RBI)
The RBI's central board decided to create a specialised supervisory and regulatory cadre within the RBI to strengthen the supervision and regulation of commercial banks, UCBs and NBFCs.

About: 

  • The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Central Board met in Chennai under the Chairmanship of Shri Shaktikanta Das, Governor, RBI. 

  • The Central Board reviewed the present structure of supervision in RBI in the context of the growing diversity, complexities and interconnectedness within the Indian financial sector. 

  • With a view to strengthening the supervision and regulation of commercial banks, urban cooperative banks (UCBs) and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), the Board decided to create a specialised supervisory and regulatory cadre within the RBI. 

  • The reason behind a potential overhaul of the RBI supervisory structure are expected due to the non-bank finance crisis, failures of credit rating agencies to flag risks, divergence in asset quality by big banks and alleged lapses on the part of auditors. 

Source : Economic Times
Economy

Current Affairs
May 22, 2019

MEMORY OF THE WORLD PROGRAMME
The Parsi community has digitised its prayers so as to save its age-old traditions. The initiative is inspired by other global projects like ‘Memory of The World Programme’ to digitise traditions.

About: 

  • Programme Objectives: The vision of the Memory of the World Programme is that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance.

  • Established by: UNESCO.

  • Established in: 1992. 

Important Info :

Jikji Prize? 

  • It was established in 2004 in cooperation with the South Korean government. The prize has been awarded biennially since 2005. 
  • It was established to further promote the objectives of the Memory of the World Programme and to commemorate the 2001 inscription of the country's Jikji on the Register. The Jikji is the earliest known book printed with movable metal type in 1377. 
  • The award recognizes institutions that have contributed to the preservation and accessibility of documentary heritage. 
  • The award includes a cash prize of $30,000 from the Korean government. 
Source : The Hindu
Culture

Current Affairs
May 22, 2019

WORLD ECONOMIC SITUATION AND PROSPECTS (WESP) REPORT
According to the World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2019, India's economy is projected to grow at 7.1 % in the fiscal year 2020 on the back of strong domestic consumption and investment.

World Economic Situation And Prospects (WESP) as Of Mid-2019: Key Highlights

  • Global growth projections: Across both developed and developing countries, growth projections for 2019 have been downgraded. Following an expansion of 3.0 % in 2018, world gross product growth is now projected to moderate to 2.7 % in 2019 and 2.9 % in 2020.

  • India’s growth projections: India's economy is projected to grow at 7 % in the fiscal year 2019 and 7.1 % in the fiscal year 2020 on the back of strong domestic consumption and investment.

  • Risks:
    • Risks that could trigger a prolonged growth slowdown in the world economy include a further escalation in trade disputes, a sudden deterioration in financial conditions, and the accelerating effects of climate change.

    • The increase in frequency and intensity of natural disasters highlight the rising threats from climate change, particularly for the most vulnerable economies.



  • Recommendations:
    • Tackling the current growth slowdown require a combination of monetary, fiscal and development-oriented measures.

    • There is a need of more coordinated multilateral approach to global climate policy, which includes the use of carbon pricing mechanisms.



Important Info :

WESP report is a joint product of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the five United Nations regional commissions.

Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
May 22, 2019

MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE
Jokha Alharthi, an author from Oman has won the Man Booker International Prize for "Celestial Bodies".

About: 

  • Given by: The Man Booker International Prize is an international literary award sponsored by the Man Group, the same organisation that gives the Man Booker Prize for fiction. 

  • Criteria: It is annually given for a single work of fiction in any language that has been translated into English and published in the United Kingdom in the last year. 

  • Cash prize: It carries a cash prize of 50,000 pounds or 64,000 US dollar for the winning title, shared equally between author and translator. 

Important Info :

Jokha Alharthi

  • Jokha Alharthi is an author from Oman.
  • She has won the Man Booker International Prize for "Celestial Bodies", the story of three sisters of a desert country confronting its slave-owning past and a complex modern world.
  • She is the first Arabic-language writer to take the prize. She will split the cash prize with her UK-based translator, Marilyn Booth.
Source : All India Radio
Awards and Recognitions

Current Affairs
May 22, 2019

HIGH-LEVEL COMMITTEE (HLC) ON CRUDE OIL IMPORTS
A High-Level Committee constituted by the Centre has submitted its recommendations to bring down India’s dependence on crude oil imports.

About: 

  • Composition: The High-Level Committee consisted of Dr Anil Kakodkar, eminent Scientist and Sidharth Pradhan, an expert on financial and tax issues.

  • Mandate: It was setup to examine the issues relating to the –
    • preparation of action plan to create synergy among Research and Development Centres of Oil and Gas Public Sector Undertakings,

    • tax issues and ways to benefit from GST by the Oil and Gas PSUs,

    • merger, acquisition and consolidation of Oil and Gas Public Sector Undertakings and the Joint Ventures and

    • Formation of new entity dealing with oil services and supply of qualified manpower to the Oil and Gas sector around the world.



  • Recommendations: It has recommended short term, medium term and long term strategies in the report, clearly bringing out the strategy to reduce the import dependency of the nation.

  • Way ahead: Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will consider the recommendations submitted by the Committee while formulating policies.

Important Info :

Background: 

  • The import dependency of crude oil and LNG during 2018 was 82.59% and 45.89% respectively (which is likely to increase in days to come) whereas the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas has almost stagnated. 
  • During 2018, petroleum import was 23.42% of total gross import of the nation.
  • India’s projected oil demand is going to grow at CAGR 4% during 2016-2030 against the world average of 1% though the projected oil demand will be much lower as compared to the US and China. 
Source : Economic Times
Economy

Current Affairs
May 22, 2019

COMPETITION COMMISSION OF INDIA (CCI)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) celebrated its Annual Day on 20th May, 2019 which marks the notification of the substantive enforcement provisions of the Competition Act, 2002.

About: 

  • Status: A statutory body established under the provisions of The Competition Act, 2002. 

  • Established in: 2003. 

  • Composition: A Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.

  • Mandate: To implement provisions of The Competition Act, 2002 which –
    • prohibits anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position by enterprises

    • regulates mergers and acquisition (M&A) which can have an adverse effect on competition within India. Thus, deals beyond a certain threshold are required to get clearance from CCI.



Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
May 22, 2019

PSLV-C46/RISAT-2B MISSION
India’s PSLV-C46 successfully launched RISAT-2B satellite on May 22, 2019 from of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.

PSLV-C46: 

  • In this PSLV-C46 mission, the 'Core-Alone' configuration of PSLV was flown (without the use of solid strap-on motors). 

RISAT-2B: 

  • RISAT-2B with a lift-off mass of 615 kg, is a radar imaging earth observation satellite with an advanced technology of 3.6m radial rib antenna. 

  • The satellite is intended to provide services to Agriculture, Forestry and Disaster Management domains. It will have military applications, as well. 

Other payload on this mission: 

  • Piggyback payload was also carried onboard this mission namely, Vikram processor and low cost MEMS based Inertial Navigation System (INS) developed by Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL), Chandigarh and ISRO Inertial Systems Unit, Thiruvananthapuram respectively. 

Important Info :

Risat series? 

  • The first satellite in the Risat series -- Risat 2 --was launched on April 20, 2009. The 300kg satellite used an X-band synthetic aperture radar sensor made by Israel Aerospace Industries. Risat-1 launch was postponed to prioritise the launch of Risat-2 after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
  • Risat-1, an indigenously developed radar imaging satellite, was launched on April 26, 2012. All these satellites had a five-year mission life.
  • Unlike the usual remote sensing and optical imaging satellites, a radar imaging satellite can penetrate through thick cloud cover and identify hidden objects on the ground.
Source : Times of India
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 22, 2019

INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
International Day for Biological Diversity 2019 is being celebrated on 22 May with the theme "Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health".

About: 

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the international legal instrument for "the conservation of biological diversity" that has been ratified by 196 nations. 

  • Given the importance of awareness for the implementation of the Convention, the General Assembly proclaimed 22 May, the date of the adoption of its text, as the International Day for Biological Diversity by its resolution in 2000. 

2019 Theme: Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health 

  • The global diet as a whole - what people actually eat - is becoming more homogenized, and this is a dangerous thing. 

  • In the last 100 years, more than 90 percent of crop varieties have disappeared from farmers’ fields. Locally-varied food production systems are under threat, including related indigenous, traditional and local knowledge. 

  • This year’s celebrations of the International Day for Biological Diversity focus on biodiversity as the foundation for our food and health. 

Important Info :

Do you know? 

  • Biodiversity and the SDGs: The objectives of halting biodiversity loss and promoting the sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems are included in Sustainable Development Goal 15. 
  • Species Extinction Rates 'Accelerating': According to a report by the Bonn-based Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), nearly one million species risk becoming extinct within decades. 
Source : United Nations
Environment & Ecology

May 21, 2019

Current Affairs
May 21, 2019

THIRD PARTY (TP) MOTOR INSURANCE
Insurance regulator IRDAI proposed an increase in third party (TP) motor insurance premium rates for various categories of automobiles from cars, two-wheelers and school buses to trucks.

Third party cover: 

  • A motor policy has two main components—third-party liability and own damage (OD). 

  • In India, it is mandatory for all registered vehicles to have third-party cover, which covers liabilities arising from damage caused to a third party. It does not cover damage to the vehicle or its owner. 

P.J. Joseph committee: 

  • Mandate: In 2018, IRDAI constituted a committee to examine motor third party insurance pricing aspects and make recommendations on the premium rates for 2019-20. 

  • Chairman: J. Joseph (IRDAI Member - Non Life). 

Important Info :

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)? 

  • Mandate: It is a regulatory body tasked with regulating and promoting the insurance and re-insurance industries in India. 
  • Status: It is an autonomous, statutory body constituted by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999. 
  • Headquarters: Hyderabad, Telangana. 
  • Composition: IRDAI is a 10-member body including the chairman, five full-time and four part-time members appointed by the government of India. 
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
May 21, 2019

REDEFINED UNITS OF MEASUREMENT OF KILOGRAM, KELVIN, MOLE AND AMPERE
On the occasion of World Meterology Day, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL) introduced redefined International System of Units for the country.

About: 

  • The redefined systems are:
    • Kilogram (SI unit of weight),

    • Kelvin (SI unit of temperature),

    • Mole (SI unit of amount of substance), and

    • Ampere (SI unit of current).



  • Timeline:
    • During the open session of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) at BIPM in November 2018, the world’s scientific community, adopted the resolution to redefine four of the seven base units

    • The new SI is being implemented worldwide from 20th May 2019 i.e. the World Metrology Day.



  • Significance of decisions:
    • This decision has now enabled scientists to base the SI units entirely on fundamental properties of nature, which will ensure their ongoing refinement and improvement for years to come.

    • The fundamental constants are invariants of time and space and successfully replaced the artifact based units. This will enable world-wide coherence of measurements.

    • It has opened up the new era for quantum world by linking all seven base units to fundamental constants/quantum standards.



Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 21, 2019

UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL (UNHRC)
India has informed the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) that it will no longer entertain any communication with the HRC’s Special Rapporteurs on its report. This was in response to a submission from the HRC on the alleged violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Recent controversy:

  • The current Special Rapporteurs on Extrajudicial Executions, Torture, and Right to Health had referred to a June 2018 report of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) and written to the government in March 2019, asking about steps taken by India to address the alleged human rights violations listed in the report.

  • The report from the UN body came at the same time a report from two NGOs in the State on the alleged cases of torture was released in Srinagar, which was endorsed by a former UN Special Rapporteur.

Important Info :

UNHRC?

  • What is it? The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system.
  • Location: It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
  • Establishment: It was founded in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) that had been strongly criticised for allowing countries with poor human rights records to be members.
  • Functions:
    • It investigates allegations of breaches of human rights in UN member states.
    • It also addresses important thematic human rights issues such as freedom of expression, women's rights, LGBT rights, and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.
    • The UNHRC works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
  • Membership:
    • The Council is made of 47 Member States, which are elected by the UN General Assembly. The Council's Membership is based on equitable geographical distribution.
    • Members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.
    • In June 2018, the United States announced its withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) terming it “hypocritical and self-serving.”
    • India has been elected to the UNHRC for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2019. India had previously been elected to the UNHRC for the 2011-2014 and 2014-2017 terms.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
May 21, 2019

EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA (EEA)
The UK government has scrapped the requirement of filling out landing cards at airports by international travellers coming to the UK from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) like India, as part of a series of measures aimed at a smoother entry into Britain.

About:

  • History: The Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) entered into force on 1 January 1994.

  • Members: The Agreement on the EEA brings together the EU Member States and the three EEA EFTA States — Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway — in a single market, referred to as the "Internal Market". Switzerland is not part of the EEA Agreement.

  • What is it? It provides for the inclusion of EU legislation covering the four freedoms — the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital — throughout the 31 EEA States.

  • What is the EEA Not? The EEA Agreement does not cover the following EU policies - 
    • Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies (although the Agreement contains provisions on various aspects of trade in agricultural and fish products);

    • Customs Union;

    • Common Trade Policy;

    • Common Foreign and Security Policy;

    • Justice and Home Affairs (even though the EFTA countries are part of the Schengen area); or

    • Monetary Union (EMU).



Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
May 21, 2019

AIRBADMINTION; AIRSHUTTLE AND TRIPLES
The world body governing Badminton, BFA, has launched two new formats of the game --AirBadminton and Triples with new dimensions of the court and an innovative shuttlecock called Airshuttle.

AirBadminton:

  • In the new formats launched globally at Guangzhou last week, AirBadmintion will be outdoor sports. Traditional competitive badminton has been an indoor game.

  • The shuttlecock design and the dimensions of the court are the main difference between traditional badminton and this.

  • The AirBadminton court has a two-metre dead zone at the front of the court. Should the AirShuttle land in that area, it is given a fault. Points cannot be scored off the net area because control of the shuttle up front is very difficult with the Airshuttle.

AirShuttle

  • The AirShuttle has been the key to introducing AirBadminton.

  • The AirShuttle was designed to mimic the trajectory, acoustics and feel of the traditional indoor shuttle. It has minimal impact from side and axial wind and limited influence from humidity variations. The eventual aim is for the shuttlecock to be played in winds up to 12km per hour.

  • The final materials of the AirShuttle will be released once a manufacturer is firmed up, but the prototypes are made of polypropylene and nylon.

Triples format:

  • In Triples format, the match will be played between a team of three players each with presence of at least one female.

  • Players are not allowed to hit two consecutive returns. This rule creates more movement and increases the strategic element of the game.

  • Players serve from behind a three-metre marker. The shuttle ought to be below net height at the point of impact, which means its flight is always upwards from the server’s racket.

Comment:

  • Outdoor badminton is one of India's favourite recreational sports.

  • Infrastructure won't be a hindrance for people interested in Airbadminton as it can be played in different environments like grass in parks, on sands in beaches and the streets and bylanes.

Source : All India Radio
Sports

Current Affairs
May 21, 2019

DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD MEDAL AWARDS
Indian Police Officer Jitender Kumar, an Indian peacekeeper, is among the 119 military, police and civilian personnel who will be honoured this year with Dag Hammarskjöld Medal a prestigious UN medal for courage and sacrifice in the line of duty.

About: 

  • What is it? A posthumous award to members of peacekeeping operations who have lost their life as a result of service in peacekeeping operations of the United Nations. 

  • History: It was established in 1997 by Security Council (through a resolution) on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of peacekeeping). In 1998, the first Medal was presented to the family of Dag Hammarskjöld. 

  • Named after: The medal is named after Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, who died in a plane crash in 1961 while en route to cease-fire negotiations during the Congo Crisis. 

Important Info :

Jitender Kumar: 

  • Police Officer Jitender Kumar made the supreme sacrifice while serving in the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Central African country of Congo. 
  • He will be honoured posthumously with the Dag Hammarskjold Medal as the world organisation observes the International Day of UN Peacekeepers (29 May) at the UN in New York. 
  • India is the fourth largest contributor of uniformed personnel to the UN peacekeeping. It currently contributes more than 6,400 military and police personnel to the UN peace operations in Abyei, Cyprus, Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, West Asia, South Sudan and Western Sahara. 
Source : All India Radio
Awards and Recognitions

Current Affairs
May 21, 2019

NEELAM SANJEEVA REDDY (1913 – 1996)
President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, paid homage to Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy at Rashtrapati Bhavan on his Birth Anniversary (May 19, 2019).

About:

  • He was one of the foremost political leaders from Andhra Pradesh. He participated in various freedom struggles against the British and was imprisoned several times.

  • He was elected to the Constituent Assembly in India.

  • Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh:
    • When the Andhra Province was separated from Madras and T. Prakasam became the Chief Minister of Andhra, Sanjeeva Reddy was appointed Deputy Chief Minister.

    • When the new state of Andhra Pradesh was constituted Sanjeeva Reddy became its first Chief Minister and served in that capacity from 1956 to 1959. He again became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in 1962 for one year.



  • Lok sabha speaker: Sanjeeva was speaker of the Lok Sabha from 1967 to 1969.

  • Presidential election against VV Giri:
    • He then contested for the office of the President as the official Congress candidate against V. V. Giri who was then the Vice-President.

    • The Presidential resulted in the split of the Congress with an overwhelming section siding with Indira Gandhi, who had rebelled against the old guard, headed by Shri Nijalingappa, which came to be known as the Congress (O).

    • Thus the Congress came to be divided into the Congress (O) and Congress (R) parties. The Presidential election went in favour of Mr. V. V. Giri.



  • President of India (25 July 1977 to 25 July 1982): After the defeat of the Congress (R) in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977, Sanjeeva Reddy was elected with the backing of the Janata Party as the sixth President of India. As president, Reddy worked with Prime Ministers Morarji Desai, Charan Singh and Indira Gandhi.

  • Reddy authored a book, Without Fear or Favour: Reminiscences and Reflections of a President, published in 1989.

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
May 21, 2019

NOT ALL ANIMALS MIGRATE BY CHOICE
Ahead of the International Day of Biological Diversity (May 22), an awareness campaign by the name of ‘Not all animals migrate by choice’ was launched to be displayed at major airports across India.

About: 

  • Launched by: UN Environment India and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) of India. 

  • Objective of Campaign: The campaign aims to raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade. It also complements worldwide action on illegal trade in wildlife through UN Environment’s global campaign, Wild for Life. 

  • Species covered: In the first phase of the campaign, Tiger, Pangolin, Star Tortoise and Tokay Gecko have been chosen as they are highly endangered due to illegal trading in International markets. Phase two will see more threatened species. 
    • Tiger is trafficked for its skin, bones and body parts.

    • Pangolin, the most illegally traded wild mammal on the planet is trafficked for its meat and its scales are used in traditional medicines.

    • Star Tortoise is trafficked for meat and pet trade.

    • Tokay Gecko is trafficked for use in traditional medicine mostly into South East Asia and particularly Chinese Markets.



  • Strategy: In collaboration with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and GMR Group, the campaign will travel across 22 airports across India over the next year.

Important Info :

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)? 

  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country. 
  • Under Section 38 (Z) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, it is mandated to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities and to disseminate the same to State and other enforcement agencies. It is also mandated to establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank. 
  • It also assists the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item. 
Source : PIB
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
May 21, 2019

ONGOLE CATTLE BREED
The Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu called for protecting the indigenous Ongole cattle breed while releasing a Compendium on it at the Swarna Bharat Trust in Vijayawada.

About: 

  • Names: 
    • The breed derives its name from the place name, Ongole (Ongole occupy a small area between the Gundlakamma and Musi rivers in Andhra Pradesh). 

    • Some also refer to this breed as Nelore cattle as this area was once part of the Nellore area. 



  • Distribution: 
    • Ongole cattle are indigenous to the Prakasam District in Andhra Pradesh in India. 

    • The ongole bull is in great demand all over the world. The population of Ongole off-breed in Brazil is said to be around several millions. The famous Santa Gertrudis breed developed in Texas, USA have Ongole blood. 



  • Features: 
    • They are known for their toughness, rapid growth rate, and natural tolerance to both foot and mouth disease and mad cow disease. 

    • They are used in bull fights in not only in Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu, but also Mexico and some parts of East Africa. 



Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
May 21, 2019

WORLD DAY FOR CULTURAL DIVERSITY FOR DIALOGUE AND DEVELOPMENT
On 21st May, the UAE is celebrating World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development to highlight its efforts in promoting tolerance and cultural diversity. The event will coincide with the country’s declaration of 2019 as the Year for Tolerance.

About: 

  • Date of observance: Every year on May 21. 

  • History: 
    • In 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in 2002, the UN General Assembly declared May 21 to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. 

    • This day was created as a result of the destruction of the Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2001. 



  • Objective: To advance the four goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted in 2005 – 
    • Support sustainable systems of governance for culture. 

    • Achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase mobility of artists and cultural professionals. 

    • Integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks. 

    • Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms. 



Source : All India Radio
Culture

May 20, 2019

Current Affairs
May 20, 2019

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) IN MCA 21
The government plans to introduce artificial intelligence system in the MCA 21 portal as it seeks to make the compliance process easier as well as ensure routine enforcement activities are done round-the-clock on autopilot basis.

About: 

  • What is it? MCA21 is an e-Governance initiative of Ministry of Company Affairs (MCA). 

  • Background: It is the first Mission Mode Project to be launched under the Government of India's National e-Governance plan (NeGP). 

  • Features: 
    • MCA 21 is the electronic backbone for the dissemination of information to all stakeholders, including the regulator, corporates and investors. 

    • All electronic filings of various documents under Companies Act, 2013 are submitted to the ministry through this portal. MCA 21 has fully automated all processes related to enforcement and compliance monitoring under the Act. 



  • Recent Decision: Ministry of Corporate Affairs said the ministry would like to introduce Artificial Intelligence in MCA 21 when version 3 of the portal is rolled out in about a year's time. 

Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
May 20, 2019

KOYNA DAM
Maharashtra is likely to face power shortage due to depleted water stock in the Koyna dam, which generates 1000 MW in the fourth phase of Koyna hydroelectric project.

Koyna dam: 

  • Location: It is located in Satara district of Maharahstra. The dam is dam constructed on Koyna River. 

  • The dam has created the Shivasagar Lake. 

Koyna River: 

  • The Koyna River is a tributary of the Krishna River. 

  • Course of the river: 
    • The river originates in Mahableshwar, Satara district and meets the Krishna River in Karad, satara district. 

    • Koyna and Krishna river originate at Mahabaleshwar, they diverge at their origin, and travel for about the same distance to meet again in Karad which is 100 km from mahabaleshwar. 

    • Krishna and koyna river's confluence is called Preeti Sangam, meaning Confluence of Love. Karad is well known for sugar production.  



  • Direction: Unlike most of the other rivers in Maharashtra which flow East-West direction, the Koyna river flows in North-South direction. 

Important Info :

Mahabaleshwar is the source of five rivers namely Krishna, Koyna, Venna (Veni), Savitri, and Gayatri. 

Source : All India Radio
Location in News

Current Affairs
May 20, 2019

UNITED NATIONS NOT A STATE UNDER ARTICLE 12
The Delhi High court has held that United Nations Organization (UNO) is not ‘State’ in terms of Article 12 of the Constitution of India and is thus not amenable to Article 226 jurisdiction.

Background: 

  • The judgment was passed in a petition concerning the immunity enjoyed by the UNO under the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947. 

  • The petitioner was a former UNO employee who was found guilty of misconduct pursuant to the findings of a Procurement Task Force. The Petitioner also faced trial in the United States and after serving his sentence, he was deported to India. 

  • Thereafter, the petitioner sought permission of the Ministry of External Affairs to initiate legal action against the UNO in terms of section 86 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908. 

  • The Ministry stated that the consent of the Government of India was not required to initiate a legal suit against UNO as it was not a foreign State and was only an International Organization. It, however, added that UNO and its officials enjoyed immunity under the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947. 

  • The same became the subject matter of the petition filed before the High Court. 

 

Important Info :

Do You know? 

  • Article 12: In this part, unless the context otherwise requires, “the State” includes the Government and Parliament of India and the Government and the Legislature of each of the State and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India. 
  • Article 226: It empowers the high courts to issue, to any person or authority, including the government (in appropriate cases), directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, certiorari or any of them. 
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
May 20, 2019

SHYAM SARAN NEGI
The first Indian voter, Shyam Saran Negi, 101, cast his vote at Kinnaur district’s Kalpa polling booth under Mandi Lok Sabha seat.

About: 

  • Shyam Saran Negi, born in Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh, is a retired schoolteacher who cast the first vote in the 1951 general election in Chini constituency, later renamed Kinnaur— the Independent nation's first election. 

  • Although the majority of the election took place in February 1952, residents of Himachal Pradesh were given the chance to vote five months early because of the probability that heavy snowfall would make it impossible for citizens to reach the polling stations. 

  • Negi has voted in every general election since 1951, and is believed to be India's oldest voter as well its first. 

  • He is a role model for the younger generation, as he keeps on exhorting them to vote and elect good leaders. He was even appointed a brand ambassador by the state election commission. 

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
May 20, 2019

WTO’s APPELLATE BODY
Over 20 developing countries met in New Delhi recently to discuss ways to prevent the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) dispute resolution system from collapsing due to the logjam in appointments.

About: 

  • Composition: WTO’s Appellate Body is a standing committee of seven members that presides over appeals against judgments passed in trade-related disputes brought by WTO members. 

  • Established in: 1995. 

  • Functioning: 
    • Countries involved in a dispute over measures purported to break a WTO agreement or obligation can approach the Appellate Body if they feel the report of the panel set up to examine the issue needs to be reviewed on points of law. 

    • The Appellate Body can uphold, modify, or reverse the legal findings of the panel that heard the dispute. Countries on either or both sides of the dispute can appeal. 

    • The Appellate Body has so far issued 152 reports. The reports, once adopted by the WTO’s disputes settlement body, are final and binding on the parties. 



  • Significance: The WTO’s dispute settlement procedure is seen as being vital to ensuring smooth international trade flows. 

  • Indian scenario: India has so far been a direct participant in 54 disputes, and has been involved in 158 as a third party. 

Important Info :

Problem in the WTO Appellate Body: 

  • Over the last two years, the membership of the body has reduced to just three persons instead of the required seven. This is because the United States, which believes the WTO is biased against it, has been blocking appointments. 
  • The understaffed appeals body has been unable to stick to its 2-3 month deadline for appeals filed in the last few years, and the backlog of cases has prevented it from initiating proceedings in appeals that have been filed in the last year. 
  • Unless the issue is resolved, the body could become defunct, and countries locked in international trade disputes will be left with no forum for recourse. 
  • Recent development: In this background, over 20 developing countries met in New Delhi last week to discuss ways to prevent the WTO’s dispute resolution system from collapsing due to the logjam in these appointments. 
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
May 20, 2019

EXIT POLLS
Most exit polls have predicted that the BJP-led NDA is all set to return to power in 2019.

About: 

  • Meaning: Exit polls are a survey of voters exiting polling stations after casting their votes. They gives a broad trend as to where the mood of the nation is heading. However, on various instances exit polls predictions turned out to be wrong. 

  • Who conducts them: Exit polls are conducted by numerous organisations which use different methods for the purpose. 

  • Methods of conducting: 
    • One of the most common methods is sampling. These agencies might opt for random or systematic sampling. 

    • The random sampling at times can be of an entire electorate and not just of voters outside a booth — covering parameters such as age, sex, caste, region and more. 



  • View of Section 126A of the Representation of the People's Act, 1951 on exit polls: 
    • No person shall conduct any exit poll and publicise by means of the print or electronic media or in any other manner the result of an exit poll during such period as may be notified by the Election Commission in this regard. 

    • Any person who contravenes the provisions of this section shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both. 



  • Election Commission advisory on exit polls: Earlier, in late March, the Election Commission had announced that Exit polls can be telecast by agencies, including all websites, only after final phase of polling. 

  • History: Exit polls in India began back in 1957 during the second Lok Sabha elections when the Indian Institute of Public Opinion conducted a poll.

Source : Economic Times
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
May 20, 2019

WORLD METROLOGY DAY
The World Metrology Day is being celebrated on May 20, 2019 with the theme "The International System of Units - Fundamentally better."

About: 

  • Objective: The day commemorates anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. 

  • Date of observance: It is annually celebrated on May 20. 

  • Organizers: The World Metrology Day project is realized jointly by the BIPM and the OIML. 

Theme of 2019: The International System of Units - Fundamentally better 

  • This theme was chosen because in November 2018, the General Conference on Weights and Measures agreed revisions to the International System of Units (the SI). 

  • Research into new measurement methods, including those using quantum phenomena, underpin the change, which comes into force on 20 May 2019. 

  • The SI is now based on a set of definitions each linked to the laws of physics and have the advantage of being able to embrace further improvements in measurement science and technology. 

Important Info :

Terminologies: 

  • Metrology is the study of measurement. 
  • The Metre Convention of 1875, provides the basis for a coherent measurement system worldwide that underpins scientific discovery and innovation, industrial manufacturing and international trade, as well as the protection of the global environment. 
  • The International Organization of Legal Metrology (in French it is known as Organisation Internationale de Métrologie Légale - OIML), is an intergovernmental organization, created in 1955 and based in Paris, to promote the global harmonization of the legal metrology procedures that underpin and facilitate international trade. 
  • The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (in french it is known as Bureau international des poids et mesures-BIPM) is an intergovernmental organization that was established by the Metre Convention, through which member states act together on matters related to measurement science and measurement standards. 
Source : All India Radio
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 20, 2019

VAYOSHRESHTHA SAMMAN
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has invited nomination for Vayoshreshtha Samman- National Awards for Senior Citizens 2019 for Individuals/Institutions.

About: 

  • Vayoshrestha Sammans are conferred every year in thirteen categories. 

  • These are given to eminent senior citizens and Institutions involved in rendering distinguished services for the cause of elderly persons. 

  • The series of awards were instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in the year 2005 and were elevated to the level of national awards in 2013. 

  • Generally, the awards are conferred conferred by the President of India on the 1st October i.e. on the occasion of International Day of Older Persons (IDOP). 

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
May 20, 2019

MULLaRP
The Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu, while addressing the annual Group Meet of AICRP on MULLaRP & ARID Legumes 2019, called for increasing the acreage and productivity of pulses.

About: 

  • Full Name: Mungbean, urdbean, lentil, lathyrus, rajmash and fieldpea (MULLaRP). 

  • Share in pulse production: MULLaRP together accounts for about 37 % of total pulse production in India. 

  • All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on MULLaRP: 
    • To give impetus for research on these crops in a coordinated manner at national level, the AICRP on MULLaRP was established in 1993 under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

    • The network operates through more than 25 centers across the country.



Important Info :

Key highlights of his address: 

  • Pulses are an inexpensive source of plant-based proteins, vitamins and minerals for people. They provide fodder for animal and also enrich soil through biological nitrogen fixation. Some legumes have medicinal and therapeutic properties also. Hence, they were rightly termed as 'Unique Jewels' of Indian crop husbandry. 
  • Legumes were an essential component in Indian cropping pattern, especially in dry land farming, India was the world’s largest producer, accounting for 34% of the area and 24% of production followed by Myanmar, Canada, China, Nigeria, Brazil and Australia. 
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
May 20, 2019

SIMBEX-19
Indian Navy Ships (INS) Kolkata and Shakti are scheduled to participate in the SIMBEX-2019 from 16 May to 22 May 19 at Singapore.

About: 

  • Full name: Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX).

  • When held: Annually. 

  • History: It was first held in 1993. 

  • Key highlights of SIMBEX-19: 
    • India will be represented by INS Kolkata, INS Shakti and long range maritime patrol aircraft Poseidon-8I (P8I). Singapore will be represented by RSN ships Steadfast and Valiant, maritime patrol aircraft Fokker-50 (F-50) and F-16 fighter aircraft. 

    • It will include various maritime combat exercises such as firing on aerial/ surface targets, advanced aerial tracking, coordinated targeting exercises and tactical exercises on surface/ air scenarios. 



Source : PIB
International

May 19, 2019

Current Affairs
May 19, 2019

NATIONAL PHARMACEUTICAL PRICING AUTHORITY (NPPA)
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has slashed the prices of 9 non-scheduled cancer drugs by up to 87 %. Earlier, in February this year, the government had capped 42 cancer drugs at 30 %.

About: 

  • Mandate: It is an independent Regulator for pricing of drugs and to ensure availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices. 

  • History: It was constituted by a Government of India Resolution in 1997.

  • Parent Ministry: It is as an attached office of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.

  • DPCO: The NPPA regularly publishes lists of medicines and their maximum ceiling prices under the Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO).

  • Headquarters: New Delhi.

Source : All India Radio
Health

Current Affairs
May 19, 2019

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
A study, published in the journal PLoS One, found that Magnetic stimulation of the brain under repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) therapy improves working memory that may lead to a new therapy for individuals living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

About: 

  • What is it? Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away (degenerate) and die.

  • Causes: The exact causes of Alzheimer's disease aren't fully understood. Scientists believe that for most people, Alzheimer's disease is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time.

  • Symptoms: The early signs of the disease may be forgetting recent events or conversations. As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer's disease will develop severe memory impairment and lose the ability to carry out everyday tasks.

  • Health effects:
    • Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia — a continuous decline in thinking, behavioural and social skills that disrupts a person's ability to function independently.

    • In advanced stages of the disease, complications from severe loss of brain function — such as dehydration, malnutrition or infection — result in death.



  • Treatment: There is no treatment that cures Alzheimer's disease or alters the disease process in the brain. Current Alzheimer's disease medications may temporarily improve symptoms or slow the rate of decline.

Important Info :

Working memory? 

  • Working memory is the process of recalling and then using relevant information while performing a task. 
  • It is a key component of day-to-day tasks like driving to a new location, making a recipe, or following instructions. 
Source : All India Radio
Health

Current Affairs
May 19, 2019

WEARABLE SUPERCAPACITOR
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay have fabricated a wearable supercapacitor that can store and deliver large amount of electrical energy, exceeding other similar devices.

About: 

  • Features: The wearable energy storage device can be stitched on to any fabric. It can deliver power ranging from microwatt to milliwatt. 

  • Mechanism: 
    • The idea is when the supercapacitor is integrated with a piezoelectric energy generator then it will become completely self-sustaining. 

    • The electrode of the supercapacitor was fabricated by uniformly coating cotton yarn with carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The coating converts the electrical insulating yarn into a metallic conductor thereby behaving like an electrode. 



  • Application: The energy stored in the device can power GPS location-based transmitters or a 1.8 volt LED. When stitched to the fabric, the supercapacitor can be used for powering GPS location based devices or a LED lamp or even charge small electronic devices.

Important Info :

Terminologies:

  • Capacitor: The capacitor is a passive electrical element which stores electrical charge and is capable of discharging it whenever required. Due to its characteristics, a capacitor is widely used in the electronic circuits.
  • Supercapacitor:
    • A supercapacitor is also known as an ultracapacitor or a double-layer capacitor.
    • A supercapacitor differs from the ordinary capacitor in that it has much higher capacity and energy density, while at the same time having a higher power density.
    • The supercapacitor can be charged and discharged continuously.
    • These characteristics make it a convenient power source for devices that require high power and durability of the power unit.
Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 19, 2019

HORNBILLS / PAKKE TIGER RESERVE
A study carried out in Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh noted that hornbills, one among the large-sized frugivores (fruit eater) birds, are the top seed dispersers.

Recent study:

  • The study was carried out by researchers from Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore.

  • Among the different bird species, hornbills were found to be the most effective seed dispersers. They were found to swallow and disperse most of the fruits they handled. They also removed maximum number of fruits — and therefore seeds — in every visit to a fruiting tree.

  • They swallow the fruit as a whole causing no damage to the seed. They are known to disperse seeds far away from the parent plant (up to 13 km).

  • Plants depend on frugivore birds to disperse the seeds at favourable sites, which have low competition and predation pressures, to expand their geographic range. And so the decline of frugivores could severely affect the ecosystem.

Pakke Tiger Reserve: 

  • Names: Pakke Tiger Reserve, also known as Pakhui Tiger Reserve, is a Project Tiger reserve.

  • Location: It is located in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Neighbouring areas and rivers: Towards the south and south-east, the sanctuary adjoins Nameri National Park of Assam. To the east lies the Pakke River and to the west, the park is bounded by the Bhareli or Kameng River.

Important Info :

Hornbill?

  • There are 9 hornbill species in India of which Great Hornbill is the most famous.
  • Great hornbill:
    • Scientific name: Buceros bicornis.
    • Common name: great Indian hornbill or great pied hornbill.
    • Range: It is found in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The bulk of the population is found in India, where it is restricted to the Himalayan foothills, hill forests in northeast India and, disjunctly, the wet evergreen forests of west India.
    • IUCN Status: Near Threatened.
    • It is listed in Appendix I of CITES.
    • The great hornbill is the state bird of Kerala and Arunachal in India. It is not a state bird of Nagaland, although the hornbill festival is celebrated in Nagaland every year from 1st - 10th December, in Nagaland.
    • Logo of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is Great hornbill.
Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
May 19, 2019

THE ALABAMA HUMAN LIFE PROTECTION ACT
The Alabama Senate has passed the most restrictive abortion Bill in the U.S., which places a near-total ban on the termination of pregnancy. It was later signed by Republican governor Kay Ivey.

About: 

  • It places a near-total ban on the termination of pregnancy — even in cases of rape and incest.

  • Abortions would only be legal if the life of the mother is in danger or the foetus has a fatal condition.

  • Performing an abortion is a crime that could land doctors who perform it in prison for 10 to 99 years.

  • Unlike the doctors carrying out the procedures, women who undergo abortions would not be prosecuted.

Comment:

  • It is the most restrictive abortion Bill in the U.S. 

  • The largest human rights defence organisation in the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), promised to file a lawsuit to block its implementation.

  • But, the Bill’s backers have expressly said they want to bring the case to the Supreme Court. Some Republicans want to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognised women’s right to abortion.

  • Several other conservative States are weighing or have recently implemented harsh anti-abortion laws.

Source : All India Radio
Ethics

Current Affairs
May 19, 2019

DIVERGENCE (BAD LOANS)
At least three public sector banks that have reported earnings for the January-March quarter have mentioned ‘divergence’ in bad loan recognition and have made provisions for such loans.

About: 

  • Divergence takes place when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) finds that a lender has under-reported (or not reported at all) bad loans in a particular year and hence asks the lender to make disclosures if under-reporting is more than 10% of bad loans or the provisioning. 

  • Three state-run banks — Union Bank of India, Indian Bank and Central Bank of India — had reported divergence in bad loan recognition while announcing the results. 

  • In all these banks, divergence was spotted for the financial year 2017-18. Higher provisioning for divergence was one of the reasons for them to report losses for the quarter. 

  • Interestingly, divergence was identified not because these banks hadn’t classified the loan as non-performing assets (NPA) but because they were late in classifying them. 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
May 19, 2019

RISK TO COMPANIES FROM CLIMATE CHANGE
Recently, institutional investors from 11 countries convened by the U.N. Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) made public a report that helps investors understand how to calculate the risk companies face from climate change.

Background: 

  • Climate change is already impacting economies around the world. Several reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warn of risk to economies but so far there’s been no specific assessment of how companies can account for such risks. 

  • In this background, this investor guide was made in line with recommendations by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), a 32-member board formed as a result of an agreement at a G20 summit in London, 2009. 

  • This board consisted of representatives from large banks, insurance companies, asset managers, pension funds, large non-financial companies and credit rating agencies. 

Key findings of the report: 

  • The 1.5°C scenario, exposes companies to a significant level of transition risk, affecting as much as 16% of overall portfolio value of investors which would represent a value loss of $10.7 trillion. 

  • Utilities, transportation, agriculture as well as mining and petroleum refining sectors are at high levels of policy risk. 

  • On the bright side, there was potentially $2.1 trillion as ‘green profits’. However, green revenues generated from the sale of low carbon technologies, which support the transition, will help companies offset costs from complying with greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policies. 

  • Finally, if governments delay action to enact climate policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the 30,000 companies in the universe faced a further cost of $1.2 trillion. 

Important Info :

United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)?

  • UNEP FI is a partnership between United Nations Environment and the global financial sector. More than 240 financial institutions, including banks, insurers, and investors, work with UN Environment.
  • It was created in the wake of the 1992 Earth Summit with a mission to promote sustainable finance. 
  • UNEP FI hosts its Global Roundtable every other year and has done so since 1994. In 2017, UNEP FI established regional roundtables to celebrate its 25th Anniversary. 
Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
May 19, 2019

ULTIMA THULE
Researchers from NASA’s New Horizons Team have published a paper in Science analysing the Kuiper belt object ‘Ultima Thule’s’ shape and red colour.

About: 

  • Location: Ultima Thule is a trans-Neptunian object located in the Kuiper belt.

  • Timeline:
    • It was discovered in 2014 by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope as part of a search for a Kuiper belt object for the New Horizons mission

    • With the New Horizons space probe's flyby on 1 January 2019, 2014 MU69 became the farthest object in the Solar System visited by a spacecraft.



  • Nomenclature: Its scientific name is (486958) 2014 MU69. It is nickname, Ultima Thule (a Greco-Latin term for a place beyond the known world) was chosen as part of a public competition in 2018.

  • Features of the object:
    • It is a contact binary 31 km long, composed of two joined bodies 19 km and 14 km across that are nicknamed "Ultima" and "Thule", respectively.

    • With an orbital period of 298 years and a low inclination and eccentricity, it is classified as a classical Kuiper belt object.

    • It is believed to be the most primitive object in the Solar System, both bodies being planetesimal aggregates of much smaller building blocks.

    • In color and composition, Ultima Thule resembles many other objects found in its area of the Kuiper Belt. It’s very red – redder even than Pluto. Its reddish hue is believed to be caused by modification of the organic materials on its surface.

    • There is evidence for methanol, water ice, and organic molecules on Ultima Thule’s surface – a mixture very different from most icy objects explored previously by spacecraft.



Source : The Hindu; NASA
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 19, 2019

ENVIRONMENTAL COSTS OF A DIGITAL PLANET
According to France's CNRS research centre, it takes 25 watts per hour, representing 20 grammes of carbon dioxide emissions to send a one-megabyte email.

Key findings of the report:

  • Sending 1 MB e-mail takes around 25 watts per hour, representing 20 gm of carbon dioxide emissions. It is expected that 293 billion emails will be sent every single day this year and the power will be mostly generated from fossil fuels.

  • The share of greenhouse gas emissions from information and communication technologies (ICT) will rise from 2.5% in 2013 to 4% in 2020. That makes the sector more carbon-intensive than civil aviation (a 2% share of emissions in 2018) and on track to reach automobiles (8%).

  • Apps can quickly drain and shorten the life of phone batteries.

  • Then there are the server farms which require huge amounts of electricity both to run and to power air-conditioning which keeps the equipment from getting too hot.

  • The surge in Video streaming services poses a challenge. In 2017, Greenpeace estimated that the viral K-pop sensation Gangnam Style, viewed more than 2.7 billion times, had consumed a year’s worth of production from a small nuclear power plant.

Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
May 19, 2019

THENPENNAI RIVER
Efforts to transport 300-tonne stone in Perandapalli village along the Krishnagiri-Hosur stretch has altered the course of Thenpennai river in Tamil Nadu.

About: 

  • Names: The South Pennar River is known as Thenpennaiyaru in Tamil and Dakshina Pinakini in Kannada. It is also referred as Ponnaiyar. 

  • Route: 
    • The river originates from the South-Eastern side of the Chennakesava hills and the North-Western side of the Nandi Hills or Nandidurg in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka state. 

    • It flows for a distance of about 85 kilometres within Karnataka, to the north of Bangalore. 

    • Just before the interstate border, excess water from Bellandur and Vartur lakes in Bangalore flows into the river and then it flows towards south east and enters Tamil Nadu at a distance of 4 kilometres to the west of Pagalur. 

    • It flows 400 kilometres (km) from its point of origin before joining the Bay of Bengal at Cuddalore district of Tamilnadu. 



  • Chief Tributaries: En route, its chief tributaries are the Chinnar (Markanda nadhi), Vaniyar and Pambaru rivers. 

Source : The Hindu
Location in News
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