ForumIAS: Facts in News (October 8th – 14th)

Facts in news is published on a weekly basis that consists a gist of all crucial news articles from ‘The Hindu’ that may bear relevance to Civil Services Preparation.

Here is the Summary of all current happenings from around the world for the Second week of October.

Download Facts in News PDF file here.

India will play a role in the peacekeeping missionContext:
• Ukraine has asked for Indian peacekeepers to help contain the conflict with Russia in the eastern part of the country.
Why in the news?
• India will play a role in the peacekeeping mission which will soon come up for discussion at the UN Security Council (UNSC).
About UNSC:
• The UNSC is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.
• It charged with the maintenance of international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the UN.
• It powers included the establishment of peacekeeping operations.
• The establishment of international sanctions.
• The authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions.
India and EU relationsContext:
• The talk to negotiate the India European Union trade pact, the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), has not progressed during the 14th India-EU Summit.
Why in the news?
• Both sides continue to recalibrate their bargaining power and understanding of their relative positions on the international stage.
About BTIA:
• On 28th June 2007, India and the EU began negotiations on a broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) in Brussels, Belgium.
• These negotiations are pursuant to the commitment made by political leaders at the 7th India-EU Summit held in Helsinki in October 2006 to move towards negotiations for a broad-based trade and investment agreement on the basis of the report of India-EU High Level Technical Group.
Largest trade partner:
• The EU is India’s largest trade partner.
• The EU is a single market, the world’s largest, but comprises 28 sovereign democratic countries
• India and the EU reaffirmed their commitment to a “rules-based” international order and a “multipolar” world.
• The EU is concerned about China flooding global market with inexpensive steel and its response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative:
• China’s Belt and Road Initiative consist of two parts:
1- One Belt One Road Initiative.
2- Maritime Silk Road project.
Main objectives of BRI:
1- Economic Diversification.
2- Political stability
3- Development of multi-polar global world.
Regional cooperation on environment and disaster managementContext:
• India should foster regional cooperation on environment and disaster management.
Why in the news?
• India will reaffirm its regional leadership in environmental and climate diplomacy as it hosts the first Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic CooperationDisaster Management Exercise (BIMSTEC DMEx 2017
• The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organization involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia.
• These countries are: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
• The BIMSTEC states are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
• The BIMSTEC region, comprising 22% of the global population, is exposed to an ever-increasing threat from natural disasters.
• BIMSTEC, has the opportunity to enable a paradigm policy shift from a traditional relief centric, reactive approach towards a joint, proactive, holistic one.
India, U.K. to firm up defence linksContext:
• India and Britain hope to agree on concrete measures to take forward their defence partnership by next year, ahead of the next meeting of the two Prime Ministers.
Why in the news?
• The two countries agreed to hold regular dialogues, as part of the India-U.K. Defence Consultative Group.
• The talks had ranged from capability development, defence equipment and cybersecurity to counter-terrorism.
Cabinet nod for natural gas cargo-swap deal with JapanContext:
• The Cabinet approved a cargo-swapping arrangement with Japan.
• To create a gas exchange that could reduce India’s logistical costs for natural gas import.
• Japan is the world’s largest importer of gas.
• It could reduce India’s logistical costs for gas import.
U.S. and Israel quit UNESCOContext:
• The U.S. announced its withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), accusing it of “continuing anti-Israel bias.”
• UNESCO is the first UN agency to have admitted Palestine as a full member in 2011.
• The U.S. has stopped funding UNESCO since then.
• The U.S. withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. Until then, it will remain a full member.
India to build more roads on China borderContext:
• The Defence Ministry has decided to enhance infrastructure along the India-China border, including near Doklam, where the two Armies were involved in a two-month standoff.
Why in the news?
• The decision was taken at the Army’s commander’s conference being held recently.
• The conference deliberated on the recent standoff, besides analyzing all possible security challenges on the northern border.
Bills, Programs, Policies, Schemes, orders, Judgment
SC nod to abort 31-week foetusContext:
• The Supreme Court has allowed a woman, to abort her 31-week foetus after it was detected that both its kidneys were not functioning.
Why in the news?
According to the doctors’ opinion, the foetus had severe congenital problems, both its kidneys were not functioning, and the condition was not compatible to life after birth.
Draft committee on draft Haj policyContext:
• Recently, the draft committee on Haj policy appointed by the Centre.
Why in the news?
• The policy had been drafted in the light of a 2012 Supreme Court order asking the Centre to abolish the Haj subsidy gradually by 2022.
Major reform for women
• It allows women above 45 to travel in a group of at least four without a male member Mehram in a group of four.
• Till now, women pilgrims could not travel without a male Mehram.
• The term Mehram refers to a male a woman cannot marry at anytime in her life (i.e. father, brother or son etc).
Parsi woman’s plea for Constitution BenchContext:
• The Supreme Court referred to a Constitution Bench the question whether a Parsi woman can keep her religious identity intact after getting married to someone from another faith under the Special Marriage Act.
Article 25:
• Article 25 of the Indian constitution provides the freedom to practice any religion of one’s choice.
Interfaith marriages in India:
• In India inter-faith marriages are allows one to convert to a different religion from what one was born with and further the personal laws of the religion have provisions.
• It provides all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to profess, practice and propagate a religion of his/her wishes.
Doctrine of coverture:
• ‘Doctrine of coverture’, which holds that a woman loses her identity and legal right with marriage, is violative of her fundamental rights.
• The doctrine is not recognised by the Constitution of India.
• The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by Goolrokh M Gupta, a Parsi woman, against the Gujarat High Court’s March 23, 2012 judgment.
SC lays stress on safety norms for schoolsContext:
• The Supreme Court recently stressed the need for safety guidelines for children in schools across India.
Why in the news?
• The court was hearing a petition filed by the father of Pradyuman, who was found brutally murdered on the premises of Gurugram's Ryan International School.
• The Centre has also modified the National Disaster Management guidelines, focusing on the safety of school children.
• It will make authorities accountable and result in adverse consequences upon them in cases of violation.
Hear marital cases in camera: SCContext:
• The Supreme Court overruled its earlier orders to conduct matrimonial disputes cases through video conferencing.
Court’s observation:
• The court agreed that matrimonial disputes should be conducted in camera in the spirit of Section 11 of the Family Courts Act of 1984.
• Video conferencing would destroy the privacy of the proceedings and probably defeat the cause of justice.
SC verdict on sexual intercourseContext:
• The Supreme Court held that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, who is below 18 years of age, is rape.
Court observations:
• “Human rights of a girl child are very much alive and kicking whether she is married or not and deserve recognition and acceptance,”
• A girl child below 18 can’t be treated as a commodity.
• Child remains a child even if she is married.
POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012):
• The judgment only reinforced the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012) provisions, under which any sexual contact with someone below the age of 18, even in marriage, was an offence.
SC verdict on Sabarimala caseContext:
• The Supreme Court recently pronounce verdict on whether to refer to a Constitution Bench a bunch of petitions challenging the age-old practice in Kerala’s famed Sabarimala temple to restrict entry of women of a certain age.
Why in the news?
• The temple prohibits women aged between 10 and 50 from undertaking pilgrimage to Sabarimala — which means women are banned from even making the arduous trek to the shrine.
Sabarimala temple:
• Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha temples in Kerala.
• The temple is situated on hilltop named Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta district, which is unique in many respects.
• The uniqueness gathers its voice, as the temple is open to all, irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
IISc team fabricates nanomaterial to treat Parkinson’sContext:
• A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru has fabricated a metal oxide nanomaterial.
Its applications:
• It is capable of mimicking all three major cellular antioxidant enzymes, thereby controlling the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside cells.
• Based on in vitro test results, the nanomaterial appears a promising candidate for therapeutic applications against oxidative stress-induced neurological disorders, particularly Parkinson’s.
• This is the first time the activity of all three major antioxidant enzymes are seen in a nanomaterial.”
Excess ROS:
• Oxidative stress due to excessive ROS causes damage to DNA, proteins and lipids; oxidative stress is implicated in several diseases such as neurodegeneration, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
No toxicity:
• In vitro studies using human neuronal cell lines found that the nanomaterial caused no cellular toxicity when internalised by the cells and hence safe.
• Metal-based complexes are generally toxic to cells.
Antibodies to treat a few genetic diseasesContext:
• Inherited genetic diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and nephrogenic diabetes may become treatable.
What is Retinitis pigmentosa?
• Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited, degenerative eye disease that leads to progressive loss of vision as one gets older, while genetic nephrogenic diabetes arises from kidney cells’ inability to retain water leading to extreme thirst and dehydration.
• The cause of disease is a mutation in the G-proteincoupled receptors (GPCR).
• It causes the receptors to be pulled from the plasma membrane to the inside of the cell just as the receptors reach the cell membrane to start signalling.
• In the absence of the receptors (rhodopsin GPCR in the case of retinitis pigmentosa and vasopressin GPCR for genetic nephrogenic diabetes) the cells fail to signal and do not function normally.
• The antibodies can work equally well immaterial of the cell type involved.
• The big advantage of using antibodies is that they selectively block receptor endocytosis but not signalling.
Self-managing abortions safelyContext:
• Medical abortion (MA) is a method of termination of early pregnancy using a defined combination of drugs.
• MA was approved by the Drug Controller General of India in 2002 as a Schedule H drug; it is not an over-the-counter medication.
• Unsafe abortion practices were the third largest contributor of maternal deaths in India.
Gene therapy halts a fatal brain diseaseContext:
For the first time, doctors have used gene therapy to stave off a fatal degenerative brain disease, an achievement that some experts had thought impossible.
The study opens new avenues for using gene therapy to treat brain diseases.
The disease:
• The patients were children who had inherited a mutated gene causing a rare disorder.
• Children lose the ability to walk or talk.
• They become unable to eat without a feeding tube, to see, hear or think.
• They usually die within five years of diagnosis.
• The disease strikes about one in 20,000 boys; symptoms first occur at an average age of 7.
• The only treatment is a bone-marrow transplant — if a compatible donor can be found — or a transplant with cord blood, if it was saved at birth.
Odisha students win Asia’s inter-college rocket competitionContext:
• Students of the State-run Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT) of Odisha were felicitated by the State government for winning the champion trophy and the best innovation award at Asia's first inter-college rocket competition.
• The event was organised by the Space Development Nexus and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
About BRICS:
• BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies.
• It includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
• The BRICS members are all leading developing or newly industrialized countries, but they are distinguished by their large, sometimes fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional affairs, all five are G-20 members.
New material may help build ‘superplanes’Context:
Boron nitride nanotubes are lightweight and can withstand high temperatures.
Carbon nanotubes:
• Carbon nanotubes can stay stable at temperatures up to 400 degrees Celsius, our study found that BNNTs can withstand up to 900 degrees Celsius.
• They are also extremely lightweight.
• Scientists have identified an extremely lightweight material that can withstand high temperature and stress, a step towards developing hypersonic aircraft able to travel at five to 10 times the speed of sound.
• The research by researchers at NASA and Binghamton University in the U.S. could lead to a drastic decrease in flight times.
• The first of the concerns is finding a material that can hold up to hypersonic travel.
• The study used boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs).
• NASA currently owns one of the few facilities in the world able to produce quality BNNTs.
Nobel Prize in PhysicsContext:
• This year’s Nobel Prize for Physics, awarded for the discovery of gravitational waves.
Why in the news?
• Nobel Chemistry Prize for the discovery of the green fluorescent protein, a standard tool that is used as a biological marker, went to three persons and omitted Douglas Prasher, who first cloned it and suggested its use as a marker.
Panel to review GST composition schemeContext:
• A Group of Ministers (GoM) has been set up under Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to make the composition scheme more attractive and revisit GST rates on restaurants.
About Composition scheme:
Composition Scheme is a simple and easy scheme under GST for taxpayers.
Small taxpayers can get rid of tedious GST formalities and pay GST at a fixed rate of turnover.
IMF lowers forecasts for IndiaContext:
• India’s economic growth for 2017 and 2018 will be slower than earlier projected, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest World Economic Outlook released recently.
Why in the news?
• The recently released report cited “lingering impact” of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax for the expected slowdown during the current and the next year.
IMF projections :
The IMF projected India to grow at 6.7% in 2017 and 7.4% in 2018, which are 0.5 and 0.3 percentage points lower than the projections earlier this year, respectively.
India’s slowdown is happening even as the world economy is picking up steam.
About IMF:
• The International monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, DC of “ 189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth.
• Reduce poverty is also main function.
World Bank sees a dipContext:
• India’s GDP may slow from 8.6% in 2015 to 7% in 2017 because of disruptions by demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax, the World Bank has said
Why in the news?
• The International Monetary Fund recently had lowered India’s growth projection to 6.7 % in 2017, 0.5 percentage points less than its earlier forecast.
India’s investors eye impact of tax overhaul on July-September earningsContext:
• Profits from India’s top firms are expected to have swung back to growth in July September from a decline in the previous quarter, though economic headwinds are likely to have kept the pace of growth sluggish.
Why in the news?
• The latest results are critical for investors, marking the first quarter since the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST) on July 1 and coming amid a wider retreat in share markets on investor concern about stocks being overvalued.
• Profits are expected to be driven by energy and metals firms benefiting from stronger commodity prices.
• Forecasts compiled by Reuters show net profits are expected to rise 12.8% in the latest quarter for members of the main NSE index, known as Nifty, marking a recovery from the 1% fall in net profits in April-June.
National Issues
East, NE States score high in curbing infant mortalityContext:
• States from the east and northeastern part of the country have registered a significant drop in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), reveals data released by the Sample Registration Survey (SRS) bulletin last month.
• According to the SRS bulletin, Bihar, which has the highest density of population in the country, has recorded a drop of four points in IMR from 42 in 2015 to 38 in 2016.
Infant Mortality Rate:
• Infant Mortality Rate is counted as the number of deaths per 1,000 live births
State wise data:
• In Assam, the IMR has dropped from 47 to 43 and in Jharkhand, it has dropped from 32 to 29, the SRS bulletin, published by the office of Registrar General of India, states. In Odisha, the IMR have dropped from 46 to 44.
All-India IMR
• West Bengal, which has been showing a steady decline over the past few years, has recorded a drop of one point from 26 in 2015 to 25 in 2016.
• The all-India IMR has also decreased from 37 in 2015 to 34 in 2016.
• Among the five big States in eastern India, only West Bengal and Jharkhand have recorded IMR above the national average of 34.
• One of the targets of the Millennium Development Goals was reduction of child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.
• In terms of IMR, this translated to 29 deaths per 1,000 live births to be achieved by 2015, which India fell short of achieving.
• The Centre has plans to bring down neo-natal mortality, which accounts for two thirds of IMR, to a single digit by 2030.
ILO defends report on ‘modern slavery’Context:
• The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has defended its recent report on “modern slavery” after the Union government questioned the authenticity of its estimates recently.
Why in the news?
• The ILO, which produced the report titled ‘Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage 2017’ along with Australia-based Walk Free Foundation (WFF), said that it doesn’t focus on specific countries but provides a global picture.
• The estimates in the report do not focus on any one country but instead provide global and regional pictures of the situation.
• Although country-wise figures were not mentioned in the 2017 ILO-WFF report, the study showed that 40.3 million people were victims of ‘modern slavery’ in 2016.
About ILO:
• The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency dealing with labour problems, particulary international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all.
• The ILO has 187 member states: 186 of the 193 UN member states plus the Cook Island are members of the ILO.
• In 1969, the organization received the Nobel Peace Prize for improving peace among classes, pursuing decent work and justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to other developing nations.
• The ILO registers complaints against entities that are violating international rules.
WHO releases new guidelines to manage obesity in childrenContext:
• With increasing evidence that childhood obesity is a “global epidemic” affecting even the poorer nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released new guidelines on how trained professionals can better identify youngsters in need of help.
Why in the news?
• India has the second highest number of obese children in the world after China, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June this year.
• “In 2016, one half of all children overweight or obese lived in Asia and one quarter lived in Africa.
• The WHO guidelines titled “Assessing and managing children at primary healthcare facilities to prevent overweight and obesity in the context of the double burden of malnutrition” provides updates for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI). The guideline includes counselling, dieting and assessment of eating habits along with the usual weight and height measurements.
Spreading the message
• The Indian Medical Association (IMA) is disseminating the WHO guideline to all its members.
About WHO:
• The WHO is a specialized is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.
• It was established on 22 July 1946 headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
• The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
• Its predecessor, the Health organization was an agency of the League of Nations.
Saving child bridesContext:
• By ruling that marriage cannot be a licence to have sex with a minor girl, the Supreme Court has corrected an anomaly in the country’s criminal law.
• Under the Indian Penal Code, it is an offence to have sex with a girl below 18 years of age, regardless of consent. However, it made an exception if the girl was the man’s wife, provided she was not below 15.
• By reading down the exception to limit it to girls aged 18 and older, the court has sought to harmonise the various laws in which any person under 18 is a minor.
• The judges draw extensively on studies that demonstrate child marriage is a social evil that adversely affects the physical and mental health of children, denies them opportunities for education and self-advancement, infringes on their bodily autonomy and deprives them of any role in deciding on many aspects of their lives.
• The age of consent under the IPC was raised in 2013 from 16 to 18 to bring it in line with the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
• The age of consent under the IPC was raised in 2013 from 16 to 18 to bring it in line with the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
• The age above which marriage is an exception to rape was retained at 15, as fixed in 1940.
• POCSO criminalises even consensual teenage sexual activity and the latest ruling has brought this into the domain of marriage.
• Treating all below 18 as children may be good for their care and protection, but whether 18 is the right age for consent in this day and age remains a moot question.
Man-Animal conflictContext:
• The Bombay High Court quashed an order by the Maharashtra Forest Department to shoot a tigress in the Bramhapuri region after she killed two persons.
Why in the news?
• The death warrant was overturned as a result of a Public Interest Litigation petition by an animal rights activist, which argued that the tigress’s behaviour had been forged by illegal human intrusion into her territory.
• In 2015, there was a global hue and cry over the killing of the Hwange National Park’s star attraction, Cecil the Lion, by an American dentist.
• Countries such as Namibia have shown that well-managed trophyhunting schemes help conserve charismatic megafauna, by pumping revenue from hunting licences back into conservation.
• The idea is to mitigate conflict with humans, which itself is a danger to the species.
• A major challenge for India in the coming years will be to engage rural communities in conservation, because our burgeoning population and a revival in tiger numbers will only increase the intensity of conflict.
About Hwange National Park:
• Hwange National Park is the larges natural reserve in Zimbabwe.
• The park is close to the edge of the Kalahari desert, a region with little water and very sparse, xerophile vegation.
• The Kalahari woodland is dominated by Zambezi Teak, Sand Camwood and Kalahari bauhinia.
• Seasonal wetlands form grasslands in this area.
About trophy hunting scheme:
• Trophy hunting is the selective hunting of wild game for human recreation.
• The trophy is the animal or part of the animal kept, and usually displayed, to represent the success of the hunt.
• The primary game sought is usually the oldest and most mature animal from a given population.
• This is typically a male with the largest body size or largest antlers or horns.
• Parts of the animal may be kept as a hunting trophy or memorial or sometimes donate to local community.
23rd Conference of Parties (COP-23)Context:
• Renegotiation of the Paris Agreement on climate change is not a viable option.
Why in the news?
• Delegates from various countries and others from business will gather at Bonn for the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP-23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
• The meeting will primarily concentrate on various aspects associated with the implementation of the Paris Agreement (PA), which was negotiated at COP-21.
• COP-23 will be presided by Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji.
Area of discussion:
• The discussions will be about the implementation of targets that were decided by each country ahead of the Paris meeting referred to as the nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
• According to the procedures of the UNFCCC, the meetings in Bonn will include the session of COP-23, the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
• The second part of the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1.2).
Warming target
• At the Paris COP, countries agreed to try and limit global warming to 1.5°C.
• The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has therefore undertaken the task of preparing a special report on the impacts of a warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and the global response needed to achieve these.
• Article 14 of the Agreement provides the details on the targets, taking stock and reviewing them and the progress made towards longterm goals.
About IPCC:
• The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change.
• It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific view on climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
• In the same year, the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.
Nationally Determined Contributions(NDCs):
• NDCs are contributions that each country should make in order to achieve the worldwide goals.
• The level of NDC that each country sets determines the targets to be achieved by the particular country.
• These contributions should be reported every five years.
• Nicaragua and Syria are the only countries who have not signed the agreement.
• South Africa recently joined the league as America announced to pull itself out of the Paris Agreement.
The Palk Bay conflict requires a multi-dimensional approachContext:
• The Tamil Nadu Fisheries University (TNFU) organised a one-day workshop in Chennai on deep sea fishing, the aim being to promote deep sea fishing as an alternative to trawling in the Palk Bay.
Why in the news?
• Proponents of deep sea fishing argue that the lure of better catch in faroff seas and avoiding the risks of cross-border fishing in Sri Lankan waters will ensure its success.
Deep sea fishing:
• Deep sea fishing has always been an integral part of the country’s Blue Revolution vision to exploit fishing resources to the maximum within the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
• The present plan in the Palk Bay is to extract 2,000 trawlers from the bay and replace them with deep sea vessels that fish in the Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mannar.
• The time period for this transition is three years (2017-2020), with 500 boats to be replaced in the first year alone.
• Each vessel will be fitted for tuna long-lining and/or gillnetting, and have a unitcost of ₹80 lakh.
Complex issue:
• The Palk Bay fishing conflict has figured prominently in high-level meetings between India and Sri Lank.
Government steps:
• The government is now creating a new deep sea fishing harbour at Mookaiyur, located just south of the Palk Bay in the Gulf of Mannar, where many of these vessels are likely to be berthed.
• Beneficiaries are not allowed to sell their boats within five years of obtaining them though it is unclear how that will be enforced.
• The Indian government report of the Working Group for Revalidating the Potential of Fishery Resources in the Indian EEZ suggests that oceanic regions have a maximum potential yield of 208,000 tonnes.
• Some fishermen have expressed doubts about the high operational costs of deep sea fishing and the loan repayment schedule imposed by the Pandyan Grama Bank.
About Blue Revolution:
Blue Revolution, the Neel Kranti Mission has the vision to achieve economic prosperity of the country and the fishers and fish farmers as well as contribute towards food and nutritional security through full potential utilization of water resources for fisheries.
Pondicherry shark may have become extinct, fear scientistsContext:
• IUCN conducts assessment in waters of the Arabian Seas Region.
Why in the news?
• Three marine species — the Pondicherry shark, the Red Sea torpedo and the tentacled butterfly ray might be possibly extinct in the oceanic waters of the Arabian Seas Region (ASR) since no evidence of their existence has surfaced in the last three decades.
Arabian Seas Region(ASR):
• The ASR covers the waters of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Sea of Oman, and the Gulf.
• The region is bordered by 20 countries including India, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Israel and Pakistan.
First status report
• The first-ever assessment of the conservation status of sharks, rays, and chimaeras (collectively called chondrichthyans) in the region has left scientists grim-faced as 78 of the 153 species revived were found fighting for survival.
• The guitar fish found in coastal waters of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the Ganges shark found in the Arabian Sea were classified as “critically endangered.
• The “extinction risk and conservation status of all chondrichthyans naturally reproducing” in the region were reviewed by the IUCN species survival commission shark specialist group.
• Though 184 species of sharks, rays, and chimaeras occur in the region, only the confirmed 153 species were considered for the analysis.
• The assessment also revealed that 27 species were “near threatened” and 19 others were of least conservation concerns.
• It was also noted that little information was known about 29 species to evaluate their risk of extinction.
• By-catch — the unwanted fish and other marine creatures trapped by commercial fishing nets during fishing for a different species — was found to be the biggest threat to the majority of chondrichthyan fishes besides the “pressure from artisanal and industrial fisheries”.
• India, which banned the exploitation and trade of 10 species of sharks and rays, had in 2015 banned the export and import of shark fins of all species.
About IUCN:
• The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations.
• It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.
Category 5 hurricanes in the Caribbean Context:
• In recent times, Category 5 hurricanes in the Caribbean and in the American mainland; record floods across Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
Facts :
• TOPEX/Poseidon, the first satellite to precisely measure rising sea levels, was launched 25 years ago.
About category 5 hurricanes:
• Category 5 hurricanes are tropical cyclones that reach Category 5 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.
• They are strongest hurricanes that can form on planet Earth.
• They are rare in the eastern Pacific Ocean and generally form only once every several years.
• In general, Category 5s form in clusters in single years.
• Landfalls by such storms are rare due to the generally westerly path of tropical cyclones in the northern hemisphere.
Emma the robot masseuse gets to work in SingaporeContext:
• A robot masseuse named Emma is offering Singaporeans high-tech back rubs with a gigantic metal arm and warm silicone tips which its creators say perfectly mimic the human touch.
Why in the news?
• The robot, the brainchild of local startup AiTreat, began work at a clinic in the city-state this week and performs “tui na”, a type of massage practised in traditional Chinese medicine.
• Emma, which stands for Expert Manipulative Massage Automation, consists of a white metal arm with heated silicone tips that mimic the human palm and thumb, with customers massaged while lying on a bed.
Tu Na:
• “Tui na” involves applying pressure to certain points of the body. Practitioners of Chinese medicine believe it can help relieve various ailments from headaches to depression.
Nobel Peace PrizeContext:
• Recently, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
Why in the news?
• This year’s Peace prize to ICAN (International campaign to Abolish Weapons) comes at a time when the threat posed by nuclear weapons has been all too evident in the global crisis triggered by North Korea’s nuclear programme.
• This was the second time in the last decade; the Nobel Committee awarded its annual peace prize to the laudable goal of nuclear disarmament.
Nuclear Prohibition Treaty:
• It creates a legal basis for proscribing nuclear weapons among adhering states.
• The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons prohibits States Parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
• Signatories are barred from transferring or receiving nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.
• States are also prohibited from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.
What is ICAN?
• Launched in 2007, ICAN is described as a global civil society coalition and is based in the offices of the World Council of Churches.
• It comprises 468 partner organizations in 101 countries.
• ICAN is funded by private donations as well as the EU and countries including Norway, Switzerland, Germany and the Vatican.
• ICAN is a coalition of civil society groups and governments campaigning for total disarmament.
• It helped achieve the UN treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, which exposes the dangerous narcissism of the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
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