Daily Current Affairs 14 – 15 January 2021 With Video Lecture

Insect Apocalypse

  • The entomologists from all over the world attended the proceedings of National Academies of Sciences recently. According to the entomologists, the insect population is declining at rapid rate.

What is Insect Apocalypse?

  • The Earth is losing 2% of its insects every year.
  • This is being termed as “Insect Apocalypse”.

What are the main reasons for the Insect Apocalypse?

The main reasons of Insect Apocalypse are as follows:

  • Insecticides
  • Climate Change
  • Light Pollution
  • Herbicides
  • Invasive Species
  • Changes in land use
  • Intensive agriculture

Which two insects best illustrate insect decline?

  • Honey Bees and Butterflies.

Why are insects important?

  • Insects outweigh humanity by seventeen times. They are essential for the proper functioning of the ecosystem as pollinators, food for other creatures and as recyclers of nutrients.

Global Ebola vaccine stockpile

  • The Global Ebola Vaccine stockpile was established by four international health and humanitarian organizations are: World Health Organization (WHO), Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and UNICEF.
  • Together WHO, MSF, UNICEF and IFRC (the above 4 organizations) are called the International Coordinating Group.
  • The Ebola Vaccine was licensed by the European Medicines Agency in Nov 2019.

Who is to provide financial support to the Global Ebola Vaccine Stockpile?

  • GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), the vaccine alliance.

What is the current status of Ebola vaccine?

  • The Ebola Vaccine was licensed by the European Medicines Agency in November 2019. The vaccine was pre-qualified by World Health Organization. It has also been licensed by US Food and Drug Administration. Also, the vaccine has been licensed in eight African countries.

Who is to manage the Ebola vaccine stockpile?

  • UNICEF is to manage the Ebola vaccine stockpile on behalf of ICG.

What are the other vaccines stockpiles managed by UNICEF?

  • Meningitis, Cholera and Yellow Fever vaccine stockpiles.

How will the vaccines be delivered under the Global Ebola Vaccine Stockpile?

  • The decision to allocate the vaccine is to be made within 48 hours of receiving the request from a country.
  • The vaccines are to be made available together with ultra-cold chain packaging.
  • The overall delivery time of the vaccine from the stockpile to the countries is seven days.

US names Cuba as State Sponsor of Terrorism

  • The United States has designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism.
  • The United States lists the countries that repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism under the State Sponsors of Terrorism. The list was first released in 1979 with Iraq, Libya, Syria and South Yemen in it.
  •  the other countries that are currently in the list of state sponsors of terrorism are: Iran, Syria and North Korea.
  • Sudan country was recently removed from the list.

What is US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism?

  • The United States lists the countries that repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism under the State Sponsors of Terrorism. The list was first released in 1979 with Iraq, Libya, Syria and South Yemen in it.

Why was Sudan removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism?

  • Sudan was recently removed to sign Israel-Sudan Normalisation Agreement. The agreement was signed in October 2020 to normalize relations between Israel and Sudan. The agreement was signed after Bahrain and UAE signed peaceful agreements with Israel.

What sanctions can US place listing a country under State Sponsor of    Terrorist List?

The United States can place four categories of sanctions on countries that are part of the list. They are as follows:

  • Restrictions on US foreign assistance
  • Ban on defence exports and sales
  • Controls over exports of dual use items
  • Miscellaneous financial and other restrictions

Supreme Court suspends implementation of Farm Laws

  • The Supreme Court recently suspended the implementation of three farm laws to end the disagreement between the farmers and Government of India.
  • The Supreme Court has directed to form a committee to resolve the issue.
  • The laws lay the framework to sell the produce directly to the corporates. The farmers do not trust the corporates.
  • According to the farmers, this might end the Minimum Support Price system in the country.

What are the Farm Laws?

The three farm laws that were recently enacted by the Union Government are as follows:

  • Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020. This act creates a national framework for contract farming between farmer and buyer.
  • Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020. The act permits inter-state and intra-state trade of farmers produce beyond the premises of Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC). The act abolished market fee. It allows electronic trading. Also, it facilitates lucrative prices for the farmers through alternative trading channels to promote barrier free inter-state and intra-state trade of agricultural produce.
  • Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

 Why are the farmers protesting against the Farm Laws?

  • The laws lay the framework to sell the produce directly to the corporates. The farmers do not trust the corporates. According to the farmers, this might end the Minimum Support Price system in the country.

Why are the protests high in Punjab and Haryana?

  • The agriculture in Punjab and Haryana is high as Green revolution was first introduced in these states. So is the MSP procurement in these states. Around 89% of rice produced in Punjab and 85% produced in Haryana are procured by the Government.

Henley Passport Index was launched by the IATA

  • The Henley Passport Index was launched by the International air Transport Association. The index is released based on the number of destinations the holders can access without visa.
  • Nepal at rank 104 and Pakistan at 107 continue to be the “Worst passports to hold” category.
  • The Japanese citizens can travel to 191 countries and Japan was the top performer.
  • Singapore was in second position with a score of 190.
  • India ranked 85th in the Henley Passport Index.

 What are the Key findings of Henley Passport Index?

  • The countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria were the countries with the worst passport to hold with a score of 26, 28 and 29.
  • The report said that Japanese citizens can travel to 191 countries and Japan was the top performer.
  • Singapore was in second position with a score of 190.
  • South Korea and Germany were at third position with a score of 189.
  • Countries such as UK, USA, New Zealand and Switzerland were at the seventh position. They are considered as the most powerful passports in the world. Their score was 185.
  • Australia was at eighth position with a score of 184.

What is new about Henley Passport Index, 2021?

  • Over the past sixteen years, the top positions of Henley Passport Index were taken by the European Union countries, USA and UK. This year, the Asia Pacific countries have become the top performers.

What is Passport Index?

  • The Passport Index is an online tool. It provides insights about visa-free travel option. The Passport Index includes World Openness score, Visa-free scores and Global mobility scores.

One Planet Summit was held in France.

  • The summit aims to advance the protection of nature.
  • It aims to promote worldwide ecological transformation.
  • The United Nations, World Bank and France organizes One Planet Summit

What is One Planet summit?

  • The One Planet summit is an international event that focused on biodiversity to mobilize commitments to protect the ecosystems and make links to human health.

What is the aim of One Planet summit?

  • The One Planet Summit aims to promote worldwide ecological transformation. The summit will measure environmental and climate protection combined with innovation and economy.

What is the theme of One Planet Summit, 2021?

  • Let us act together for nature.

Who organizes One Planet Summit?

  • United Nations, World Bank and France.

Why is One Planet Summit important?

  • The COVID-19 has reminded the importance of nature for our daily lives and economies. It is highly challenging to reverse trend set by the pandemic. The One Planet Summit will help to transform the value chains, consumption habits and business models.
  • With the global economic powers like the United States withdrawing from Paris Agreement, it is important for international organizations act swiftly. The One Planet Summit will help the world in this direction.

Hisar Airport Inaugurated Under RCS-UDAN

  • First flight to the newly constructed Hisar airport in Haryana from Chandigarh was flagged off under the Regional Connectivity Scheme  Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (RCS-UDAN) of the Government of India.
  • The flagging off marks the operationalization of 54th airport under the UDAN scheme.
  • These UDAN flights will reduce the journey time between Hisar to Chandigarh from 4.50 hours to a comfortable 45 minute journey.
  • In 2nd phase, services for Hisar to Dehradun will be started on 18 January. In the 3rd phase, two more routes from Chandigarh to Dehradun and Hisar to Dharamshala will be added on 23 January. The company also plans to include Shimla, Kullu and more Haryana routes.
  • Hisar airport is a public licensed airport that is suitable for 18 seat type aircraft. The development of the Hisar airport was undertaken by the MoCA as it aligns with the dual objectives of the UDAN scheme; “letting the common citizen of the country fly” & make air travel affordable and widespread in the country.

APEDA has organized a Webinar

  • For strengthening the supply chain of exporters of Isabgol products from Rajasthan, APEDA in association with South Asia Biotechnology Centre and DBT-SABC Biotech Kisan Hub, Department of Biotechnology, ICAR-DMAPR, Department of Agriculture and RSAMB, Government of Rajasthan organized a “Webinar on Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), Processing and Value Addition of Isabgol (Psyllium)”.
  • More than 70 participants from various Central / state govt departments, DBT-SABC, NABARD, SFAC, Isabgol processors association, industries and exporters took part.

   The major issues emerged during the Webinar are:

  • Requirement of organizing capacity building programs for farmers and FPOs in Rajasthan for seed production and management of Isabgol, good agronomic practices to be followed by farmers.
  • Isabgol is a sensitive crop and gets damaged in dew or rain during harvesting period. There is a need to develop varieties of isabgol sustainable in adverse weather condition with high yield productivity so that Industry can get more processed products.
  • Quality seed production, variety development for better yield and technical knowhow for farmers for protection of crops from disease.
  • Need for variety development, seed treatment, and crop protection from weed, fungicide and pesticide through seed replacement.
  • Increasing production through intercropping, GAP requirement for judicial usage of pesticide to meet international standard.
  • Need for promotion of FPO based aggregation in line with target set by Govt. of India for setting up of 10,000 FPOs in India.
  • Need of FPOs in value addition of Isabgol, hand holding, connecting with market and technical collaboration.
  • Bringing youth in setting up of food processing units, organic production and export.
  • Strategy for increasing demand of Isabgol products and their value addition.

Polio National Immunization Day: 31st January 2021

  • The massive countrywide COVID-19 vaccination drive will be rolled out by Hon’ble Prime Minister from 16th January 2021. This would-be world’s largest immunization exercise.
  • Therefore, it has been decided by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) in consultation with the office of the Hon’ble President of India to reschedule the Polio vaccination day also known as the National Immunization Day (NID) or “Polio Ravivar” to 31st January 2021 (Sunday).
  • The President will launch the Polio National Immunisation Day on 30th January 2021 (Saturday) by administering Polio drops to some children at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan has dedicated an Innovation Portal

  • The Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Health & Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan dedicated an Innovation Portal, developed by National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India to the nation.
  • Innovation Portal is a step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat, it is an excellent resource for students, entrepreneurs, MSME’s, Technology Business Incubators (TBI’s) and common people engaged in a variety of occupations.
  • In terms of domain areas, presently the innovations cover energy, mechanical, automobile, electrical, electronics, household, chemical, civil, textiles, farm/cultivation practice, storage practice, plant variety, plant protection, poultry, livestock management, nutraceuticals.
  • The Minister emphasized on the growing importance of outstanding Traditional Knowledge, particularly herbal practices which stem from tribal areas, and is one of the key highlights of the Innovation Portal.
  • The Innovation Portal will create an eco-system where the Institutions will stand behind all those who can convert their ideas and innovations into entrepreneurship.
  • The Innovation Portal in coming days could be one of the significant contributions amongst all of our digital progress so far and would act as a bridge between people who are looking for Innovative solutions and those who had been at the helm of their evolution.

QUICK REVIEW

  1. Which among the followings are reasons for the Insect Apocalypse?
  2. Climate Change
  3. Light Pollution
  4. Herbicides
  5. All of above

ANSWER: D

  • Which of the following international organizations has established Global Ebola Vaccine Stockpile?
  • WHO
  • UNICEF
  • IMF
  • Both A and B

ANSWER: D

  • Which country has been removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism?
  • Sudan
  • Iran
  • Syria
  • All of above

ANSWER: A

  • In which state the protests are high against the farm law?
  • Punjab
  • Haryana
  • Both A and B
  • Maharashtra

ANSWER: C

  • India ranked at which place in the Henley Passport Index?
    • 80
    • 85
    • 101
    • 99

ANSWER: B

  • Which organisation has organized One Planet Summit?
  • UN
  • World Bank
  • France
  • All of above

ANSWER: D

Hemanth Kasturi

    General Studies Tutor at SSBCrackExams, Graduate in Aeronautical Engineering, Cleared NDA, CDS, INET, AFCAT exams.

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