Goaltide Daily Current Affairs

Sep 15, 2019

Current Affair 1:
Why are the protests in Hong Kong: Explained in Brief?

People here are protesting for greater democracy, greater power and greater representation. Ok, first we will see here map of Hongkong and in brief. History of Hong Kong.

Map of Hong Kong:


Now here, for Prelims, please observe few places carefully- Beijing, Yellow Sea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc. It can be a question to arrange these places from North to South.

Brief History:

Hong Kong was ceded to the UK after a war in 1842.

Britain and China began talks on the future of Hong Kong - with the communist government in China arguing that all of Hong Kong should be returned to Chinese rule. The two sides reached a deal in 1984 that would see Hong Kong return to China in 1997, under the principle of "one country, two systems" (important for prelims).

Similar question was asked in UPSC Prelims 2018:

This meant that while becoming part of one country with China, Hong Kong would enjoy "a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs”. As a result, Hong Kong has its own legal system and borders, and rights including freedom of assembly and free speech are protected.

Who is the head of Hong Kong?

Since 1997, Communist Party of China is appointing Chief Executive Officer (Administrator, leader of Hong Kong) to Hong Kong. He/She is not democratically Elected. There is no role of the people of Hong Kong to elect him/her.

Now what is the issue:

Carrie Lam is the current Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong, elected by Communist Party of India, not elected by people of Hong Kong. She proposed a law, Extradition Law, that states that if any person commit crime in Hong Kong, he or she will be taken back to mainland China. So, there is fear among people of Hong Kong, if any criminals will be extradited back to mainland China, Chinese governemnt will exploit them, torture them. So, they are opposing.

But now demand of the people of Hong Kong have increased:

  1. Repeal of Extradition Law (already mentioned above)
  2. Release Prisioners who have been arreseted during Protest
  3. Investigation of Police atrocities during protests
  4. Representative Form of Government, Democratically elected governemnt
  5. Right to rallies (more democratic word). Their rallies won’t be called riots (as pronounced by China)

After seeing violent protest, Carrie Lam has repealed this extradition Law. China has asked protestors to come and talk peacefully. But protestors now are demanding rest four demands also to be fulfilled.

What China is saying?

According to China, this is an internal matter. No country should interfere in our internal affairs. But as per the chinese officials, US is supporting Hong Kong protestors by providing arms and finances.

It is important to understand that Hong Kong is a busy trading port, and its economy took off in the 1950s as it became a manufacturing hub. Due to protests, everthing has been stopped. There has been lot of instability in the region now.

What is India’s stand? What Narendra Modi is thinking on it?

India follows strictly Panchsheel Principles, one of these principles is Non-Inteference in the internal Affairs of other countries. This is an internal matter of China. We won’t interfere. We will support China as a responsible neighbour. We not internationalize the matter.

Current Affair 2:
Global Liveability Index 2019

Very few things you need to know about this index.

This index has been released by The Economic Intelligence Unit. The Economist Intelligence Unit's index assesses 140 cities and ranks them according to their performance in over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories - stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

Based on these indicators, we will see ranks of top 10.

  Now we will see about India,

In India, New Delhi and Mumbai rank 118th and 119th out of 140 cities. Both countries have slipped from their last rankings.

According to the report, deterioration in culture and environment scores is of concern including the quality of air in cities like New Delhi. The 2018 update to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Ambient Air Quality Database shows that New Delhi currently boasts the sixth highest annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter among cities around the world.

New Delhi, which has dropped six ranks since last year’s Global Livability Index has also seen an increase in cases of petty crimes.

Mumbai’s rank also fell in this year’s index by two places, as a result of a downgrade in its culture category.

This report you can also quote while writing about air pollution or culture. Nothing more than this required to knw about Index.

Current Affair 3:
WHO South-East Asia Region plans to banish measles, rubella by 2023

Source Link

Member Countries of WHO South-East Asia Region resolved to eliminate measles and rubella by 2023, to prevent deaths and disabilities caused by these highly infectious childhood killers diseases.

The Member countries adopted a “Strategic Plan for Measles and Rubella Elimination 2020-2024” that lays down the road map and focus areas to achieve the elimination targets in the Region

What does elimination means?

Measles elimination means absence of endemic measles transmission or no more cases of measles caused by indigenous virus in a defined geographical area, for greater than or equal to 12 months in the presence of a well-performing surveillance system.

Who are the members of WHO South-East Asia Region?

The WHO South East Asia Region has 11 Member States: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste (a South-Eastern Asian country).

Here, we will also learn about South East Asia Regulatory Network “SEARN”

This (SEARN) is the website of Network National Regulatory Authorities responsible for regulation of medical products, including medicines, vaccines, biological and medical devices and diagnostics for human use in the eleven countries of the South East Asia Region. WHO is providing secretariat support to the network.

Now, one more important thing is, don’t compare this SEARN (South East Asia Regulatory Network) with other SEARN which is The South East Asia Research Network (SEARN).

SEARN (South East Asis Research Network) provides a forum to support the communication and dissemination of research findings, highlight research areas, and link people in LSHTM (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine) and outside collaborators with an interest in South East Asia. It includes all ASEAN countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Timor-Leste (East Timor) and the Philippines.

With respect to India:

First learn what is Measles and Rubella Disease?

What is Congential Rubella Syndrome (CRS)?

Rubella infection in pregnant women may have serious consequences causing miscarriages, stillbirths or severe birth defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). Children with CRS can suffer hearing impairments, cataracts, heart defects, developmental delay and many other lifelong disabilities.

Current Affair 4:
Lignin from agro waste helps make useful nanocomposites

Source Link

What is Lignin?

Lignin is a complex organic polymer rich in polyphenols with antimicrobial qualities. It is found in almost all dry plants including crop residues and the woody bark of trees. Abundant quantities of lignin are generated as post-harvest agro-biomass and in paper and pulp industries every year, which often go waste.

Why in news?

Researchers at the Mohali-based Centre of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing (CIAB) have developed a lignin-based nanocomposite which could potentially have commercial value. Microbial test results indicate that, in the long run, the lignin-based nanomaterial can act as additive in coating and packaging materials.

Why this news is very important?

According to lead researcher of this study, Burning of post-harvest biomass like straw is common practice among our farmers, which leads to severe environmental pollution. We took up the challenge of converting agro-waste into value-added nanomaterials with antimicrobial properties, thereby not only reducing the pollution but trying to add to farmers’ income.

You won’t waste your single second and will note this point, where you are making notes of- Doubling the income of Farmers by 2022.

Very Important news.

Current Affair 5:
Key enzyme found in plants could guide development of medicines and other products

Source Link

The study was appeared in the print version of ACS Catalysis on September 6, 2019.

Researchers from the Salk Institute studying how plants evolved the abilities to make these natural chemicals have uncovered how an enzyme called chalcone isomerase evolved to enable plants to make products vital to their own survival. The researchers' hope is that this knowledge will inform the manufacture of products that are beneficial to humans, including medications and improved crops.

As an enzyme, chalcone isomerase acts as a catalyst to accelerate chemical reactions in plants. It also helps to ensure the chemicals that are made in the plant are the proper form, since molecules with the same chemical formula can take two different variations that are mirror images of each other (called isomers).

The important part of this news is: “By studying how chalcone isomerase works, we can learn more about how to accelerate the manufacture of the correct isomers of pharmaceuticals and other products that may be important to human health."

Current Affair 6:
Swaccha Iconic Places

Source Link

The Swachh Iconic Places is an initiative under the Swachh Bharat Mission launched in 2016.

The initiative is being coordinated by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (nodal Ministry) in association with the Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and the concerned State governments.

Keep in mind that now, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has been merged into Ministry of Jal Sakti.

Three phases of Iconic places haave been declared. What you will do is go to the link and just give one look to all places, their locations, for example, in third phase, Nagvasuki Temple has been declared for Swaccha Iconic Place. But you don’t know the location of this temple. It is in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. So, please read once all the places.

It was in news as the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine has been adjudged the best Swacch Iconic Place in the country for initiatives such as installing water kiosks, setting up an equid dung management centre, putting up kill waste machines, along with regular mopping up of waste by 1,300 sanitation workers.

We don’t trust you: Here are all three phases of places identified for Swaccha Iconic Places:

Current Affair 7:
Govt launches updated Credit linked Capital Subsidy Scheme for MSMEs

Source Link

Technology is an essential component of every successful business. Until and unless manufacturing is aided by technology, the product does not meet the standards of modern day customers and this negatively impacts the revenue of businesses.

Enabling the business with the latest technology proves financially difficult, especially for MSMEs which have limited access to capital. That is why to promote MSMEs to have state-of-the-art technological facilities the Government offers Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS) for Technology Upgradation

What this scheme provides for:

The objective of the Scheme is to facilitate technology up-gradation in MSEs by providing an upfront capital subsidy of 15 per cent (on institutional finance of upto Rs 1 crore availed by them) to MSEs, including tiny, khadi, village and coir industrial units, for induction of well-established and improved technology.

Now, it is a demand-driven one without any upper limit on overall annual spending on the subsidy disbursal. In the relaunched scheme, there is an additional 10 per cent subsidy for SC-ST entrepreneurs while special provisions have been made for 117 'aspirational' districts, hill states and the northeastern region.

In other words the major objective is to upgrade their plant & machinery with state-of-the-art technology, with or without expansion and also for new MSEs which have set up their facilities with appropriate eligible and proven technology duly approved under scheme guidelines.

According to Union mInister, this scheme would be crucial in raising MSME contribution to gross domestic product from the current 29 per cent to 50 per cent, in addition to increasing exports from the sector to 50 per cent from 40 per cent now.

Also remember that MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari announced the government would prepare a final report on the recommendations of the U K Sinha committee, which had been set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to suggest expeditious ways to strengthen MSMEs, within the next eight days (U K Sinha Committee)

Current Affair 8:
The 4th South Asian Speakers' Summit on Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held in Male, Maldives.

As part of India's delegation, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Harivansh Narayan Singh, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha attended the Summit.

This news was not so important, but adoption of Male Declaration made it a bit important.

What was there in Male Declaration, that GoalTide felt that, it was important:

Under Male Declaration, The summit “unanimously” felt Kashmir was India’s internal matter. Nothing more in Male Declaration.

But we won’t leave you here, We will learn about 8 degree channel here. If you know already, do try to recall. Rest see below:

8 Degree Channel ( 8 degrees north latitude) separates islands of Minicoy and Maldives.

Current Affair 9:
Eastern Economic Forum

The Eastern Economic Forum was established by decree of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in 2015 to support the economic development of Russia’s Far East and to expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

This year, 2019, it was the 5th Eastern Econoimic Forum.

The forum aims at bringing investment and development to what is known as the Russian Far East, a region extending between Lake Baikal - world's largest freshwater lake and deepest lake, and the Pacific Ocean. See the map below.

This region shares borders with China, Mongolia, North Korea and Japan (maritime).

Undersatnding Eastern Econimic Forum with respect to India.

PM Modi recently announced a credit line of $1 billion for the development of this region (useless to know this, if you don’t know why he is investing 1 Bn $). This investment will allow India businesses to be set up in Far East Region of Russia. Other important reasons mentioned below.

Realising its geostrategic significance, the sea route from Chennai to Vladivostok has been proposed.

Why this route has been proposed?

  1. In Russian, Vladivostok is ‘Ruler of the East’. It is the largest port on Russia’s Pacific coast. It is the eastern railhead of the legendary Trans Siberian Railway, which connects the far east of Russia to the capital Moscow, and further west to the countries of Europe.
  2. This proposed sea route will connect India with North-East Asia and Western Pacific region.
  3. It is right time to strenghthen the bilateral relations between New Delhi and Moscow. Both could benefit greatly from strategic alignment given the current geopolitical rivalry unfolding in the Asian theater between Beijing and Washington.
  4. It will curb China’s Influence in this region.
  5. This will reduce the transport time from existing 40 days to 24 days, as you can see in the image below.

One important thing for prelims here is, which two important Sea routes will come in between fom Chennai to Vladivostok: Strait of Malacca and Sea of Japan.

Below are the three important points you will use in your mains exam about current picture of India-Russia relationships

  1. Firstly, India and Russia find themselves with very few political issues between them. Recently, a statement by our India’s External Affairs Minister pointed: India-Russia relationship has remained a relatively stable factor in international relations, more so than any other significant relationship since the heydays of the Cold War.
  2. Secondly, both countries are trying to build on economic dimension of their partnership, evidenced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s participation as the chief guest in the Eastern Economic Forum to boost Indian investments and business in Russia’s Far East.
  3. Thirdly, and most importantly, India and Russia have a common interest in reducing their dependence on the United States and China in matters of regional importance. While India is seen forced by United States to deepen their military partnership, Russia’s current strategic closeness with China is not guaranteed in the long run.

Here, we wll also learn about International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). It is often in news and also, this corridor connects India and Russia.

International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

It is a multi modal transportation established in 12 SEP 2000 in St. Petersburg, by Iran, Russia and India for the purpose of promoting transportation cooperation among the Member States.

This corridor connects India Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Islamic republic of IRAN, then is connected to St. Petersburg and North European via Russian Federation.

The INSTC was expanded to include eleven new members, namely: Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Armenia, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey, Republic of Ukraine, Republic of Belarus, Oman, Syria, Bulgaria (Observer).

India in Feb 2019, signed MoU with Russia to fast track North-South Corridor.

Below are the important points which talks about India Russia Relations. These below mentioned points will be highly relevant for your Mains and Prelims Exam:

  1. 20th India -Russia Annual Summit was held in 2019. It was started in 2000.
  2. Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia (mark these two key words. Special and Privileged)- As per the latest statement, India and Russia relationship will not be affected by external influence.
  3. Inter-Parliamentary Co-operation (In December2019, a delegation led by Our Speaker, Om Birla will be visiting Russia to understand procedures of  Parliamentary Functions)
  4. Intergovernmnetal Commission of Trade, economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Co-Operation. A body has been created to promote relations between both the countries.
  5. 30 Bn $ Bilateral Trade has been set as a target by 2025 (now its 10 Bn $)
  6. Negotiations on Agreement on Promotion and Mutual Protection of Investors are going on.
  7. A trade Agreement of India with Eurasian Economic Union (already covered in Daily Quiz) is still on the table.
  8. Rupee and Rouble (Russian) currencies can be used as a solution to payment in dollar.
  9. India- Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue -to promote trade and investment in both countries. 2nd edition of the India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue on 10 July 2019 was held in New Delhi.
  10. Rough Natural Diamond, Coking Coal and LNG is found in Far East. India will import these products.
  11. Russia agreed to expedete the work of 6 Pressirized Heavy Water Reactors in Kudankulam.
  12. India and Russia will promote sustainable Nuclear Energy in third countries. One example is: Ropur Nuclear Powerplant in Bangladesh.
  13. In energy sector, a road map for co-operation in Hydrocarbons (2019-24) has been signed between India and Russia.
  14. 2nd Tiger Summit will be held in Russia in 2022. India and Russia enhanced co-operation in Tiger Conservation.
  15. Defence Co-operation between India and Russia is guided by Long Term Programme for Military and Technical Co-operation (2011-20)- Whatever defence ties you see between India and Russia, is based on this Long Term Programme.
  16. Logistics support Agreement will be signed very soon between India and Russia
  17. Cultural Exchange Programme between India and Russia to promote cultural ties.
  18. To simplify e-visa to promote tourisms
  19. Russia supporting India for permanenet membership in United Nation Security Council
  20. India and Russia will co-operate in various platforms such as- BRICS, SCO, RIC, G-20, to promote globalizations, peace process in Afghanistan, to deal with sanctions issue, etc.
  21. Counter Terrorism Cooperation, work against Chemical and Biological weapons
  22. Russia suppported India on Kashmir Issue, NSG memebership.

Nothing more than this is required now. If something is needed, we will update you.

Current Affair 10:
Union Governement announced that CBI to get Centralised Technology Vertical next year

Source Link

Now, this news looks simple, but if in Prelims, it is asked, (Centralized Technology Vertical was in news recently, it is related to-), you will say paper was tough. So, please remember this term.

This was announced at 1st national conference on cyber-crime investigation and forensics organised by the CBI.

It was announced to handle complex financial crimes, like 2G scam, coal block irregularities, Ponzi schemes and capital market scams.


What is Centralized Technology Vertical?

In simple terms, It facilitates real-time information sharing with investigators across the country. If you want to know more elaborate defination of CTV, here is a clipping from CBI website.

During First Conference, Union Minister also urged to tackle cyber crimes, as number of internet users in India has increased exponenetially. This statement can be supported from below image:

Let us here learn about one important Convention: Budapest Convention

The Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention, is the first global treaty seeking to address Internet and cyber crime by harmonising national laws, improving investigative techniques and increasing cooperation among nations.

India has not signed and ratifies this treaty.

We hope, you all are aware of that, CBI operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, not Ministry of Hoime Affairs.

Current Affair 11:
India Behind Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand in Eliminating Hepatitis B

Source Link

According to WHO, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand have become the first countries in WHO South-East Asia Region to achieve Hepatitis B control, with prevalence of the deadly disease dropping to less than one per cent among five-year-old children.

Let us learn about Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection in the world. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus that attacks and injures the liver.

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is transmitted through blood and infected bodily fluids. It can be passed to others through direct contact with blood, unprotected sex,  use of illegal drugs, unsterilized or contaminated needles, and from an infected woman to her newborn during pregnancy or childbirth.

The good news is that hepatitis B is preventable and treatable. There is a safe vaccine to prevent hepatitis B. There are effective drug therapies that can manage a chronic hepatitis B infection.

If you see UPSC Prelims paper 2019, you will find one question given below. You don’t even need to look other options. Just see option b. It is wrong statement.

Hepatitis B with respect to India:

Despite the introduction of hepatitis B vaccine in the Universal Immunisation Programme in 2002 and scaling-up nationwide in 2011, about one million people in India become chronically infected with the virus every year. According to the Health Ministry, as on February 2019, an estimated 40 million people in India were infected (source, The Hindu, 6 September, A weak chase: On controlling hepatitis B).

According to the WHO, the coverage of hepatitis B third dose had reached 86% in 2015. However, despite the high vaccination coverage, disease prevalence in children aged less than five years has not dropped below 1%. One of the reasons for this is the sub-optimal coverage of birth dose in all infants within 24 hours of birth.

Now one more important news about Hepaptits B:

It is important to understand that Vaccination prevents new HBV infections, but for people who are chronic carriers of the virus, a cure has not yet been found. Available drugs only prevent the virus from continuing to replicate in liver cells, but they cannot eliminate it. In the long term, this can lead to complications such as liver cancer or liver cirrhosis.

The new research for the first time succeeded in conquering a chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus in a mouse model. The team showed in its publication, that T-cell therapy can provide a permanent cure. Up to now it has not been possible to fully control the virus.

Current Affair 12:
Advance Princing Agreement.

Source Link

Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) provisions were introduced in the Income-tax Act, 1961 (Act) w.e.f. 1 July 2012. The rules in respect of the APA scheme have been notified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

Advance Pricing Agreement was introduced with an aim of minimising any confusion regarding the pricing of international transactions through a mutual agreement between the taxpayer and tax authority

Understand by an example,

A parent company say in Japan may charge a convenient price from its subsidiary in India to minimise its tax payment in India. For example suppose that Maruti Suzuki India has higher profit and has to pay higher tax to the Government of India. In this case, if Suzuki Japan charges a high price for a component it sold to Maruti, profit of Maruti will come down and the tax payment of the company to GoI will also come down. On the other hand, the revenue of Suzuki Japan will go up. Altogether, the Suzuki Motor Coroporation (SMC) who owns India’s Maruti improves is position; but GoI’s tax revenue affected (this example has been taken from: https://www.indianeconomy.net/splclassroom/what-is-advanced-pricing-agreement/)

To avoid such a manipulation, tax department of India presets the price charged for different components between Maruti and SMC. At the beginning of a year, the price charged for intra company transactions will be determined in advance and will be kept for the coming five years or so. This price arrangement between Maruti and India’s tax department is called advance price agreement.

The Indian APA programme provides for all three kinds of APAs - unilateral, bilateral and multilateral. However no multilateral APA application has been received so far, with the maximum number of applications for unilateral APAs.

The total number of APAs now stands at 297, which includes 32 Bilateral APAs.

Benefits of Advance Price Agreements

  1. It put a brake on Tax evasion.
  2. Following the APA guidelines minimizes the time and effort that goes into audit tasks. This removes the threat of audit for an enterprise taxpayer who has business across several countries.
  3. As for tax authorities in various countries, the formulation and application of APAs removes extra pressure on their resources and reduces the cost of administration as well.

From mains perspective, you can add one important point.

There has been delay in clearance of APAs applications. There are also some APA applications filed during the earlier years of the programme, which are yet to be concluded. In these cases covered APA period may have also expired. This has created challenges for taxpayers, and surely for the government. It needs governemnt interventions. You won’t believe unless we support the statement with example. Don’t worry, we ill provide you graph.

Current Affair 13:
National Green Tribunal ordered to prepare plan for the protection of Great Indian Bustard.

Source Link

Here we will learn two important things:

  1. Great Indian Bustard
  2. Nationalgreen Tribunal

Great Indian Bustard:

The great Indian bustard inhabits dry grasslands and scrublands on the Indian subcontinent; its largest populations are found in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

It is listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972 and in the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Convention and in Appendix I of CITES.

Initiatives taken by the Government:

Indian Governement has initiated a project, titled ‘Habitat Improvement and Conservation Breeding of Great Indian Bustard-An Integrated Approach’, with a financial support of Rs 33.85 crore for five years from the ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) for conservation, breeding of the Indian bustard with technical support from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

It is also identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (we have covered this in our Daily Quiz)of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Rajasthan, home to one of the last remaining populations of the Great Indian Bustard, has charted out a plan to recover the population of the critically endangered bird- Project Great Indian Bustard.

Recently Governement has invested 33 crore to save critically endangered Great Indian Bustard.

National Green Tribunal:

The National Green Tribunal has been established on under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.

The chairperson shall be appointed by the central government in consultation with the chief justice of India. Judicial member & expert member shall be appointed on the recommendations of select committee as provided by the central government.

Chairperson, judicial member & expert member shall hold office for a term of 5 years but shall not be eligible for re- appointment.

Current Affair 14:
Kilauea lava fuels phytoplankton bloom off Hawai'i Island

Source Link

Here we will see three important things:

  1. Hawaiian Islannd
  2. Kilauea Volcano
  3. Phytoplankton Bloom

Hawaii Island

K?lauea is an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands.


Phytoplankton Bloom:

Phytoplankton are microscopic organisms that live in watery environments, both salty and fresh.

Like land plants, phytoplankton have chlorophyll to capture sunlight, and they use photosynthesis to turn it into chemical energy. They consume carbon dioxide, and release oxygen.

Phytoplankton growth depends on the availability of carbon dioxide, sunlight, and nutrients. Phytoplankton, like land plants, require nutrients (large concentration of nutrients in this case led to phtoplankton bloom)such as nitrate, phosphate, silicate, and calcium at various levels depending on the species. Other factors influence phytoplankton growth rates, including water temperature and salinity, water depth, wind, and what kinds of predators are grazing on them.

When conditions are right, phytoplankton populations can grow explosively, a phenomenon known as a bloom. More generally, a bloom can be considered as a phytoplankton population explosion-blooms occur when sunlight and nutrients are readily available to the plants, and they grow and reproduce to a point where they are so dense that their presence changes the color of the water in which they live.

One more important news regarding Phytoplankton Bloom in Atlantinic Ocean:

NASA is conducting a study (The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study, NAAMES) of the world’s largest phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic to see how the tiny sea critters influence the climate in every season.

Current Affair 15:
Mapping lightning across India

Source Link

For the first time (that’s why it is important), a report has mapped lightning strikes across the country, and the lives they have claimed.

It has been prepared by Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council (CROPC), a non-profit organisation that works closely with India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The report, prepared as part of a three-year study period under Lightning Resilient India campaign, used date from IMD’s lightning forecasts, Indian Institute of Tropical Management’s lightning network data, Indian Space Research Organsiation (Isro), National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) and from ground impact reports.

How lightning occurs?

Lightning can be explained in terms of charges produced due to rubbing. During a thunderstorm, the air currents move upwards and the water droplets move downwards. And this caused due to the separation of charge due to this vigorous motion. As a result of this process, the positive charges collect near the upper edge and the negative charges accumulate near the lower edge of the cloud and also near the ground.

As the charge gets accumulated, its magnitude becomes very large. Water droplets in the air act as a conductor of this charge. These charges flow to meet, thus producing strikes of lightning and thunder. For this phenomenon to occur, a sufficiently high electric potential between two regions and a high resistance medium must be present.



It counted 65.55 lakh lightning strikes in India during this four-month period, of which 23.53 lakh (36 per cent) happened to be cloud-to-ground lightning, the kind that reaches the Earth. The other 41.04 lakh (64 per cent) were in-cloud lightning, which remains confined to the clouds in which it was formed.

Odisha recorded over 9 lakh incidents of lightning (both kinds), the maximum for any state.

With 224 deaths, Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest casualties, followed by 170 in Bihar and 129 in Odisha. Tamil Nadu saw the least number of deaths due to lightning strikes in the corresponding period.

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