Daily Current Affairs - 19-04-2021

The Table Mountain National Park is located in Cape Town of South Africa. Recently, a fire caught in the park and is burning it rapidly. More than two hundred fire fighters have been deployed in the region to quench the fire. A vacated vagrant fire may have caused the fire. Vagrant is a person without home or who wanders from place-to-place begging.

Table Mountain National Park

It is a flat-topped mountain. It is a significant tourist attraction. It is included in the UNESCO World Heritage site. UNESCO is United Nations Economic and Social Commission. The two most important landmarks in the National Park are the Table Mountains and the Cape of Good Hope. Cape Agulhas is the southern tip of Africa.

Table Mountains

The most popular feature of the Table Mountains is the level plateau that runs approximately three kilometres. The plateau is flanked by Devil’s Peak in the east and Lion’s head in the west.

The mountains are also known for the orographic clouds. These mountains are very frequently covered by orographic clouds unlike any other mountains in the world. This is because of the south easterly winds.

Table Cloth of Table Mountains

The Orographic clouds covering the mountains are generally referred to Table cloth of the mountains. These clouds are formed when the south easterly winds are directed up the slopes of the mountains into colder air. In due process, the moisture condenses to form clouds.

Orographic clouds are formed when air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently notified eight items to be regulated under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. According to the ministry, this had come into effect on April 1, 2021 under the Medical Devices Rules, 2017 that was enacted in 2017.

What are the new eight medical items?

The new eight medical items that has come under the regulation of Drugs and Cosmetics Act are as follows:

What are the new regulations?

According to the new order, the manufacturers and importers are required to take manufacturing license from Central Licensing Authority or State Licensing Authority.

Earlier Developments

In 2020, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced that the medical equipment will be qualified as “Drugs” under Section 3 of Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940

Importance of bringing more medical devices under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act

The French National Assembly recently approved the bill that makes “Ecocide” an offence.

Key Features

Background

In April 2015, the French President Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of Citizens Convention for Climate. The convention aimed to reduce the Green House Gas Emissions by 40% as compared to their levels in 1990.

The convention proposed the idea of making ecocide a crime.

Apart from creating a law against Ecocide, around 149 proposals were made in the convention. Some of them were cutting VAT in train tickets, banning domestic flights, regulating advertising on polluting products, banning domestic flights on journey that can be done by train in less than four hours.

The Convention was launched as result of Gillet Jaunes Crisis. It is also called the Yellow Vests Movement.

Yellow Vests Movement

The movement mainly began condemning the fuel price rise in France. According the French President the fuel tax was imposed to discourage the use of fossil fuels to combat climate change.

The movement called for redistributive economic policies such as increased pensions, wealth tax, higher minimum wages and reduced salaries for politicians.

Definition of Ecocide

The Citizens Convention for Climate defined Ecocide as “Any action that causes serious environmental damage by contributing to overstepping the limits of the planet”.

On May 26, 2021, Syria is to hold Presidential elections. The elections are due in April 2021 according to Syrian Election Law.

Syria Constitution

Syria is a unitary republic. President of Syria is the national level head of the state and legislature. In 2012, Syria approved a new constitution. The new constitution introduced a multi party system in Syria after a referendum. It introduced presidential elections and limited the term of office of president to seven years with a maximum of one re-election. Previously, according to the Syria Constitution, 1973, Syria was a one-party state.

Syrian Civil War

India on Syrian crisis

India has been supporting President Bashar al-Assad. India’s support to Assad is largely seen as a reciprocation for Syria’s stance that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.

Other Countries on Syrian crisis

Russia has also been supporting Assad. The only Mediterranean naval base of Russia is located in Syria. Iran sees Assad Government as its closest ally.

Sunni Powers like Saudi Arabia support the rebels in Syria. USA provides military assistance to the rebels in the country. Turkey supports the rebels. However, it is against the US support in the country.

According to a new study at the University of California more than 2.5 billion Tyrannosaurus rex roamed the earth more than million years ago.

Key findings of the study

How was the population calculated?

The scientists calculated the population of the dinosaurs based on the general biological rule that the bigger the animal, the less dense is their population. They then calculated the amount of energy needed by T rex to stay alive. They also used the fact that these dinosaurs lived for twenty eight years and reached maturity around fourteen to seventeen years.

Indian Fossil records of Dinosaurs

The oldest Indian Fossil record of dinosaurs belongs to the Triassic period. Triassic period is between 251.9 million years ago and 201.3 million years ago.

Dinosaurs

Triassic-Jurassic Extinction event

The event that killed all the terrestrial ecological niches is called Triassic-Jurassic Extinction event. It killed more than 23% to 34% of marine species. After this event, the dinosaurs became the most dominant species.

The researchers from Key Biodiversity Areas Secretariat at Cambridge have figured out the amount of “Intact Habitat” on the earth. An Intact habitat is an unbroken natural landscape with no signs of human activity. However, the study has included an additional factor to define “Intact Habitat”, which is, in these regions the plant and animal life has been intact as they were five hundred years ago.

Key Findings

Habitat Intactness

It is the region that has no sign of human disturbances.

Faunal Intactness

It is the region that retains all the original animal species that are known to reside for a particular period.

Functional Intactness

It is achieved when animal numbers in the region are high enough to support a healthy functioning ecosystem.

Way Forward

The world is now developing post 2020 Global Diversity Framework after Convention on Biological Diversity. Intact Habitat has been recognised as the most important target of the framework.

Israel and Greece have signed their biggest ever defence procurement deal. The agreement amounted to 1.65 billion USD. It will strengthen economic and political ties between the countries. Also, the countries launched a joint exercise.

What is the agreement?

Background

The agreement was signed after a meeting held in Cyprus between Greek, UAE, Cypriot and Israel. Israel and Greece have practiced against the S-300 missiles during their exercises in the past. The S-300, a Russian made air defence system has been deployed in Iran and Syria. However, the recent joint exercises did not use S-300 missiles. Israel considers Iran and Syria as its foe.

Recent Developments

Greece, Cyprus and Israel have taken several steps recently to cement their ties. This includes building a 2,000 MW undersea electricity cable and 1,900 km undersea gas pipeline.

Recently, the three countries Israel, Cyprus and Greece conducted a joint naval exercise.

Issues with Turkey

Turkey recently sent gas prospecting vessels into the waters claimed by Greece. Also, Turkey sent drilling ships into an area where Cyprus claims exclusive rights.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently sanctioned 162 Pressure Swing Adsorption Plants to increase oxygen capacity in the country.

Key Highlights

The new plants will reduce the burden on the National grid for its supply of medical oxygen.

Of these 162 Pressure Swing Adsorption plants, 33 have been installed. Of these five have been installed in Madhya Pradesh, three in Chandigarh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three each in Uttarakhand and Gujarat, one each in Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Puducherry. Fifty-nine of these plants are to be installed by April end and eighty are to be installed in May.

Recent Development

Background

The need for medical oxygen in the country has increased with raising COVID-19 infections due to the double mutant. The double mutant COVID-19 that is increasing in the country and is spreading at a faster rate as compared to the earlier mutants. India recently became the second most COVID-19 infected country in the world overtaking Brazil.

Maharashtra

Maharashtra is the most affected state. The consumption of medical oxygen in the state has reached its maximum of 1,250 tonnes. Maharashtra is additionally taking fifty tonnes from Gujarat and another fifty tonnes from Maharashtra.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology recently launched three new initiatives of National Internet Exchange of India. They were NIXI Academy, IP Guru and NIXI-IP-INDEX.

Three Initiatives of NIXI

IPv6

IP stands for Internet Protocol. It sets rules on data delivery over the public network. Version 6 is the most recent version of IP. It is also called IPng, which is, Internet Protocol next generation.

National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI)

The NIXI is a Non-Profit Organisation that was established under Section 8 of Companies Act, 2013. It was established in 2003 to spread internet infrastructure to the citizens of India. This is achieved by the following:

The res.in, gov.in, ac.in are operated by ERNET, National Internet Exchange of India and Ministry of Defence.

The President of India recently promulgated “The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and conditions of Service)” Ordinance, 2021. It dissolved appellate authorities under nine acts and transferred their functions to high courts.

Amendments

The ordinance dissolved appellate tribunals under nine acts as follows:

Also, the ordinance said that the chairperson and members of tribunals will be appointed by the Central Government based on the recommendations made by a Search-cum Select Committee. The committee will consist of Chief Justice of India, secretaries nominated by the central governments, secretary of the ministry under which the tribunal is constituted and the outgoing chairperson or a retired CJI or a retired supreme court judge.

Section 184 of Finance Act, 2017

Apart from these nine acts, the Tribunal Reforms Ordinance, 2021 also amended Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017. It has added the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission within the purview of Finance Act, 2017. It has removed the following bodies from the purview of Finance Act, 2017:

Article 123

The Article 123 of the Indian Constitution provides powers to president to promulgate an ordinance. An ordinance laid under the act has the same effect as that of an act.

The Roscosmos is to launch Luna 25 by October 2021. The Roscosmos is the State Space Corporation of Russia that is responsible for space flights, aerospace research and cosmonautics programmes.

About Luna 25

Payloads of the Lander

The lander of Luna 25 will carry the following National Science instruments:

ESA role in Luna 25

The European Space Agency has been developing a package called PROSPECT for Luna 25. It is to be used for lunar drilling and sample analysis. PROSPECT is Package for Resource Observation and in-Situ Prospecting for Exploration.

Earlier Luna missions

The last of the Luna series was Luna 24 that was launched in 1976. It was the third Soviet Union mission to retrieve lunar surface samples. The first Luna mission was launched in 1970.

Lunar-A

Lunar-A was a proposed orbiter of Luna 25 mission. It was to be developed through a merger between Roscosmos and JAXA (Japanese Space Agency). However, the merger was aborted.

The two biggest polluters of the world China and US have agreed to work together in tackling climate change issues. They recently issued a joint statement that they will work together to uphold Paris Agreement. The announcement comes days before the Earth Day Leaders Summit.
The announcement was made after Kerry, the former US Secretary met China’s special envoy for Climate Change. Kerry is the first official to visit China from President Biden’s administration.

Earth Day Leaders Summit

The US President Joe Biden has invited forty world leaders including PM Modi and President Xi Jing Ping to the World Leaders Summit on Climate. The summit is to be held on World Earth Day, that is on April 22.

Nationally Determined Targets of China

China had set NDC targets to be achieved by 2020 and also by 2030. They were as follows:

In December 2020, the Chinese President Xi Jingping announced new 2030 Climate Targets. They were as follows:

Nationally Determined Contributions of the US

US had withdrawn from the Paris Agreement in 2020.

Italy recently launched the first “Mega Food Park” in India involving food processing facilities. It is the first Italian-Indian Food Park project launched in the country.

About the Project

Mega Food Park Scheme in India

The Department of Science and Technology recently launched the National Climate Vulnerability Report. According to the report, eight Eastern States in the country are highly vulnerable to climate change. They are Mizoram, Bihar, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Assam.

Key Findings of the report

Vulnerability Indices

Major Drivers of Vulnerability

The states were ranked based on their drivers of vulnerability. The drivers are as follows:

The Rankings of the states are as follows:

Rank 1: Jharkhand

Rank 2: Mizoram

Rank 3: Odisha

Rank 4: Chhattisgarh

Rank 5: Assam

Rank 6: Bihar

Rank 7: Arunachal Pradesh

Rank 8: West Bengal

Rank 9: Uttar Pradesh

Rank 10: Tripura

Rank 11: Gujarat

Rank 12: Meghalaya

Rank 13: Jammu and Kashmir

Rank 14: Rajasthan

Rank 15: Madhya Pradesh

Rank 16: Manipur

Rank 17: Andhra Pradesh

Rank 18: Karnataka

Rank 19: Himachal Pradesh

Rank 20: Telangana

Rank 21: Sikkim

Rank 22: Punjab

Rank 23: Uttarakhand

Rank 24: Haryana

Rank 25: Tamil Nadu

Rank 26: Kerala

Rank 27: Nagaland

Rank 28: Goa

Rank 29: Maharashtra