Goaltide Daily Current Affairs

Oct 20, 2019

Current Affair 1:
Fungi could reduce reliance on Fertilizers

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This is a new research at the University of Leeds.

What is the new research?

A partnership between wheat and soil fungi that could be utilized to develop new food crops and farming systems which are less reliant on fertilizers, reducing their contribution to the escalating climate crisis.

Researchers demonstrated that Introducing fungi to wheat boosted their uptake of key nutrients and could lead to new, 'climate smart' varieties of crops.

What conclusion we can draw:

  1. Fungi could be a valuable new tool to help ensure future food security in the face of the climate and ecological crises. According to researchers, these fungi are not a silver bullet for improving productivity of food crops, but they have the potential to help reduce our current overreliance on agricultural fertilizers.
  2. Agriculture is a major contributor to global carbon emissions, partly due to significant inputs such as fertilizers. Reducing the use of fertilisers can help lower agriculture's overall contribution to climate change.
  3. Across the globe, wheat is a staple crop for billions, and wheat farming uses more land than any other food crop (218 million hectares in 2017). Researchers therefore suggest there is potential to develop new varieties of wheat that are less dependent on fertilisers.

Current Affair 2:
Ease of Doing Business Report 2020

We will learn here only facts important for exam.

Ease of doing business is an index published annually by the World Bank. It is an aggregate figure that includes different parameters which define the ease of doing business in a country.

Now, we will see all parameters and compare last year and this year performance.

We will also see here top 10 countries list:

Nothing more is required for this index.

Current Affair 3:
Global Wealth Report: Credit Suisse

They won’t ask what is mentioned in report in exam for Prelims, but it is important for you to know. It may help you in mains or essay. We have put lot of images. Won’t get bored.

As per the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2019, India’s total household wealth grew by 5.2%. India, however, remains one of the fastest wealth creators in the world, with household wealth in dollar terms growing faster than any other region.

Non-financial wealth accounted for the bulk of new wealth in China, Europe and Latin America, and almost all new wealth in Africa and India.

The report indicates that household debt increased in all regions, and at a double-digit rate in China and India.

The increase in household wealth in India in 2018-19 was mostly driven by rising home prices.

Bulk of Indians are located in the bottom half of the global distribution.

For any given country, the number of millionaires depends on three factors: the size of the adult population, average wealth and wealth inequality. The United States scores highly on all three criteria and has by far the greatest number of millionaires: 18.6 million, or 40% of the world. India holds just 2 percent.

The top 1% share rose between 2007 and 2016 in every one of the selected countries except India.

Wealth can grow faster than GDP if institutional and financial sector deficiencies are addressed. This is the optimistic outcome of economic development and can result in a virtuous cycle in which higher wealth stimulates GDP growth, which in turn raises wealth. China, India and Vietnam provide examples of virtuous cycles in action.

As per the report, Low- and middle-income countries set to increase their share of global wealth. India will grow its wealth very rapidly and add USD 4.4 trillion, an increase of 43% in just five years.

One interesting fact mentioned in report: Total wealth in India increased four-fold between 2000 and 2019, reaching USD 12.6 trillion in 2019. Despite this impressive increase, and despite having four times the population of the United States, total wealth in India is comparable to the level for the United States 70 years ago. We expect it to reach USD 16 trillion in real terms by 2024, similar to the level in the United States at the beginning of the 1960s.

That’s enough for this report.

Current Affair 4:
Colombo Declaration on Sustainable Nitrogen Management

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The Colombo Declaration has been developed with the technical support of the International Nitrogen Management System (INMS), a joint activity of the UNEP and the International Nitrogen Initiative supported by the Global Environmental Facility.

Colombo Declaration is fine, but why this declaration? Has nitrogen become a problem for us? Let see some background related to Nitrogen before directly jumping to declaration.

What are the problems with nitrogen currently?

  1. As di-nitrogen (N2), it forms 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere. It makes the sky blue and provides a safe medium for the oxygen we breathe. Yet, once converted into reactive nitrogen (Nr) compounds it contributes to a plethora of unintended pollution problems.
  2. Nitrogen in rivers, lakes and oceans is causing dead zones and killing fish in combination with other nutrients, while threatening human health through pollution of drinking water.
  3. In the air, nitrogen pollution from fossil fuel burning and agricultural practices (here in combination with sulfur and volatile organic carbon) is contributing to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide and tropospheric ozone, which together threaten human health and crop production.
  4. Humans have similarly increased emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, which also contributes to stratospheric ozone depletion.
  5. Nitrogen emissions to air, eventually return to earth, altering terrestrial ecosystems and threatening precious biodiversity.
  6. Finally, nitrogen pollution contributes to soil acidification, further exacerbating problems for drinking water and health.

Every enzyme in our bodies, every molecule of protein, amino acid and DNA is a nitrogen compound. Yet human activity currently wastes around 80% of produced nitrogen compounds.  It is bad for the environment, and it is bad for the economy. Globally, human activities waste US$200 billion of Nr annually, with even larger costs through nitrogen pollution for environment, health and livelihoods

What must be a challenge now?

The emerging vision is that nitrogen is not just another problem, but rather it must be part of the solution to so many of our environmental challenges. By improving the efficiency of overall nitrogen use across society and by developing a coherent strategy to reduce nitrogen waste, this can help overcome the barriers to many existing environmental goals simultaneously. This challenge was accepted at Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Here comes the Colombo Declaration for Sustainable Nitrogen Management.

The vision of Sustainable Nitrogen Management is that all these issues are linked together through the nitrogen cycle. By developing a coherent approach that considers the opportunity for synergies, the goal is to harvest multiple co-benefits, while minimizing the risk of trade-offs between policies.

What was pronounced at Colombo Declaration?

Acknowledging Nitrogen as a critical element for building structures of living organisms and as an essential element for the survival of all living things,

Recognizing that unreactive di-nitrogen is extremely abundant in the atmosphere and is converted naturally to reactive forms through lightning and biological nitrogen fixation, which cycle through roots of plants into food chains and made available to life,

Appreciating agricultural wisdom and traditional best practices of ancient civilizations relevant for sustainable nutrient management, as this has descended over generations, noting that humans are used to fertilize soil with reactive nitrogen in order to sustain global food and feed production,

Reaffirming the resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management, adopted at the Fourth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4), emphasizing that global economy – wide nitrogen use is extremely inefficient with over 80% of anthropogenic reactive nitrogen lost to the environment,

Concerned that nitrogen overuse has negative impacts on air, land, water, biodiversity and climate change,

Recognizing the International Nitrogen Initiative’s commitment, made at the Our Ocean Conference 2018 in Bali, Indonesia, to support a global goal to halve nitrogen waste by 2030, which would offer quantified co-benefits for water quality, air quality, biodiversity, climate resilience, food and livelihoods,

Acknowledging the efforts being made by the United Nations Environment Programme, the Global Environment Facility and the International Nitrogen Initiative, in their establishment of the International Nitrogen Management System to link science and policies on sustainable nitrogen management.

Also learn about International Nitrogen Initiative:

The International Nitrogen Initiative

The International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) is an international program, set up in 2003 under sponsorship of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP). The key aims of the INI are to:

  1. optimize nitrogen’s beneficial role in sustainable food production, and
  2. minimize nitrogen’s negative effects on human health and the environment resulting from food and energy production.

The INI holds a conference every three years, inviting members of the international nitrogen community to meet up and discuss ideas and exchange knowledge on nitrogen issues. The next INI conference will be held in Berlin, Germany, in 2020.

Indian scientist-academician, N Raghuram, has been elected Chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) in 2018. Just for information.

Current Affair 5:
Global eradication of wild poliovirus type 3 declared on World Polio Day

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Today, no confusion should be left with Polio status of the world and India.

What was the news?

In an historic announcement on World Polio Day, an independent commission of experts concluded that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide. Following the eradication of smallpox and wild poliovirus type 2, this news represents a historic achievement for humanity.

Understand the different types of Polio strains:

There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains: wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1), wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) and wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3). Symptomatically, all three strains are identical, in that they cause irreversible paralysis or even death. But there are genetic and virologic differences which make these three strains three separate viruses that must each be eradicated individually.

WPV3 is the second strain of the poliovirus to be wiped out (2019), following the certification of the eradication of WPV2 in 2015. P1 strain continues to circulate in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Today, only type 1 remains at large — in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If it’s eradicated, polio will join smallpox as the only two human scourges wiped off the face of the planet.

About Polio

Polio is caused by Polio Virus type 1,2,3 single stranded RNA virus (Natural or Wild Polio Virus). There are three serotypes of poliovirus, each of which causes poliomyelitis, an infectious disease which mostly affect under-5 children.


Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralyzed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.

What about India?

India, where polio was paralyzing 500 to 1,000 children per day in the 1990s, eliminated the disease in 2014. In 2014, India was officially declared polio-free, along with the rest of the South-East Asia Region.

What is difference between Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) and Oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV)?

Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV)

IPV consists of inactivated (killed) poliovirus strains of all three poliovirus types. IVP produces antibodies in the blood to all three types of poliovirus. In the event of infection, these antibodies prevent the spread of the virus to the central nervous system and protect against paralysis.

Oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV)

Oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV) are the live attenuated vaccine used in the fight to eradicate polio. There are different types of oral poliovirus vaccine, which may contain one, a combination of two, or all three different serotypes of attenuated vaccine.

Current Affair 6:
AP likely had a flourishing port, 2000 years ago

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What was the news:

An excavation carried out by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) near Naidupeta (about 80 km from Tirupati and Nellore), has found that maritime trade centre based out of a fortified settlement near the banks of the Swarnamukhi river in Andhra Pradesh’s Gottiprolu may have had a trade guild with its own army to protect its interests around 2,000 years ago.

So far only 10 per cent of the site has been excavated and ASI will soon start its second round of survey to find out more about the maritime trade 2000 years ago.

Remember name of such places. If you remember a question from prelims 2019, such places become important for exam. See the question below:

About the Excavations

  1. The first round of excavation at the site unearthed a huge settlement surrounded by a brick enclosure that may have had a moat around it. The excavation unearthed brick- built structures in elliptical, circular and rectangular shapes.
  2. The size of bricks (43 to 48 cm) can be compared to those in the Satavahana/Ikshvaku period structures in the Krishna valley, according to the ASI. This means the site may date back to 2nd century to 1st century BCE.
  3. A four-armed 2-metre tall sculpture of Vishnu was unearthed at the site that can be dated back to the Pallava period (8th Century CE) as per its features including head gear and drapery.
  4.  The excavation also unearthed a series of broken terracotta pipes that fit into each other and this point towards a form of drainage which existed in those times.
  5. So, as per the excavations, it can be said that the site appears to be a trade centre in south coastal Andhra Pradesh which can also be inferred from the strategic location of the site.
  6. Again, as per the excavations, it can be inferred that the Trade guilds used to control such centres and they used to have their own armies to protect their interests. Evidence also suggests that those kingdoms which had contacts with guilds, also used to give them a role in administration.

Wait for further excavations. We will keep you updated.

Current Affair 7:
Many hydropower projects could face closure

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What was the news?

Hydropower projects that do not comply with the Centre’s ecological flow notification, which mandates that project developers ensure a minimum supply of water all through the year, could face closure.

So, here we will try to understand the 2018 notification for the Environmental flows (e-flows) of Ganga issued by Indian Government. What notification says?

Indian Government in October 2018 issued a notification for the Environmental flows (e-flows) of Ganga with an aim to maintain the natural pattern of the river flow.

What is e-flow? E-flows are a regime of flow in a river that mimics the natural pattern of the river's flows. It refers to the quality, quantity and timing of water flows required to maintain the components, functions, processes and resilience of aquatic ecosystems that provide goods and services to people.

As per the notifications, in the dry season (November to March) the e-flow will be 20 per cent, in April to May it will be 25 per cent and from June to September it at 30 per cent of the monthly flow of high flow season.

The notification issued gave companies three years to modify their design plans, if required, to ensure that a minimum amount of water flowed during all seasons. Power producers generally hoard water to create reserves to increase power production.

Government advanced time period:

In September, the government advanced this deadline, from October 2021 to December 2019. This was after it tasked the Central Water Commission (CWC) to ascertain actual flows and the amount of water present in the river through 2019. There are 19 power projects along the river and of the 11 sites studied, eight were fully compliant. This was the reason cited by the government to advance the deadline as existing projects can easily comply with these norms.

Ok, we will also see the status of Hydropower energy.

Hydro power projects are generally categorized in two segments i.e. small and large hydro. In India, hydro projects up to 25 MW station capacities have been categorized as Small Hydro Power (SHP) projects.

  1. Micro: up to 100 KW
  2. Mini: 101KW to 2 MW
  3. Small: 2 MW to 25 MW
  4. Mega: Hydro projects with installed capacity >= 500 MW
  5. Thermal Projects with installed capacity >=1500 MW

While Ministry of Power, Government of India is responsible for large hydro projects, the mandate for the subject small hydro power (up to 25 MW) is given to Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

At present, India has an installed power-generation capacity of 357,875 megawatts (MW), of which around 13% or 45,399.22 MW is generated through hydroelectric power projects. See the below chart:



India’s installed hydro capacity at the end of 2018 was around 45,400 MW, an annual growth of just 1%, the lowest since 2009. What’s more, between 2008 and 2018, hydel power’s share of India’s total installed electricity capacity has halved from 25% to 13%.

One more important point: Hydropower is called renewable source of energy because it uses and not consumes the water for generation of electricity, and the hydropower leaves this vital resource available for other uses.

Current Affair 8:
IMF members delay quota changes, agree to maintain funding

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Before understanding this news, understand what the sources of IMF Funds are.

Presently, the lending capacity of the IMF is around $ 1 trillion. The IMF raises money in the following manner:

  1. Quota: Financial Contribution made by the member countries
  2.  New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB): Through the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) a number of member countries and institutions stand ready to lend additional resources to the IMF. The NAB constitutes a second line of defense to supplement IMF resources.
  3. Bilateral Borrowing Agreements: They serve as a third line of defense after quotas and the NAB. Under this mechanism, the IMF has entered into several rounds of bilateral borrowing agreements with certain member countries to ensure that it could meet the financing needs of its members.

Now what is the news?

The members of the International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC) have recently decided to increase the non-permanent sources of IMF funds i.e. New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) and Bilateral borrowings from other countries. However, it has failed to make changes to the quota and voting rights in the IMF, which has been a long-standing demand of developing countries such as India and China.

Recent decision of the IMFC:

During the recent meeting of the IMFC, it was been decided to maintain the total lending capacity of IMF at $ 1 trillion without enhancing the quota/ voting rights of the developing countries including India.

It has sought to double the borrowing limit under the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB). The Bilateral borrowing agreements which were required to be in operation till 2019 have now been extended by 1 year till the end of 2020.

It is to be noted that presently, 15th quota review is underway, and India has been demanding for an increase in its quota and voting shares in the IMF. However, the developed economies led by USA are opposed to increase in the voting rights of the developing countries such as India and China.

That makes this entire exercise difficult is that, the quota changes can be approved only through 85% of the votes and since USA enjoys more than 15% of the voting rights, it can exercise a virtual veto over the decisions of the IMF. The USA has so far resisted the

International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC).

The news mentions about International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC). So, we will learn here about International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC).

The highest decision- making body of the IMF is the Board of Governors. It consists of one governor and one alternate governor for each member country. The governor is appointed by the member country and is usually the minister of finance or the head of the central bank.

The IMFC advises and reports to the IMF Board of Governors on the supervision and management of the international monetary and financial system.

The IMFC has 24 members who are drawn from the pool of 189 governors. Its structure mirrors that of the IMF Executive Board. The IMFC meets twice a year and discusses matters of common concern affecting the global economy and also advises the IMF on the direction its work.

About Quota

The Quotas determine the maximum amount of financial resources a member is obliged to provide to the IMF. The financial contribution of each member country is mainly determined based on 4 indicators- Size of GDP, Openness, Economic Variability and International Reserves. Developing countries like India and China has performed well in all the four indicators in last few years. So, they are demanding to increase their quota.

The Quotas are denominated in Special Drawing rights (SDRs) which is the IMF's unit of account. The Quotas in the IMF also determines the member country's financial and organizational relationship with the IMF in the following manner:

  1. Voting Power: The Quota also largely determines the voting power of the member countries.
  2. Borrowing Limit: The Quota also determines the amount of loans which a member country can avail from the IMF.

How does the Quota review work?

The IMF's Board of Governors usually undertakes the review of the Quotas at regular intervals (usually once in 5 years). Any change in Quota has to be approved by 85% majority of the total votes and a member's quota cannot be changed without its consent.

During the 14th Quota review in 2010, it was decided to increase the quotas of the developing countries by shifting more than 6% of the quota shares from the over- represented countries to the under-represented countries. Subsequently, India's quota and voting rights have increased to 2.76% and 2.64% respectively. The USA has the highest quota and voting rights at 17.46% and 16.52% respectively.

Below is the quota and voting rights of few BRICS nation:

Recent decision of the IMFC:

During the recent meeting of the IMFC, it was been decided to maintain the total lending capacity of IMF at $ 1 trillion without enhancing the quota/ voting rights of the developing countries including India.

It has sought to double the borrowing limit under the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB). The Bilateral borrowing agreements which were required to be in operation till 2019 have now been extended by 1 year till the end of 2020.

It is to be noted that presently, 15th quota review is underway, and India has been demanding for an increase in its quota and voting shares in the IMF. However, the developed economies led by USA are opposed to increase in the voting rights of the developing countries such as India and China.

That makes this entire exercise difficult is that, the quota changes can be approved only through 85% of the votes and since USA enjoys more than 15% of the voting rights, it can exercise a virtual veto over the decisions of the IMF. The USA has so far resisted the changes in the voting rights since it would lead to dilution of its shares and enhancement in the shares of countries such as China.

Wait for the updates.

Current Affair 9:
ASI clears further excavations at four sites in Tamil Nadu

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The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has approved the Tamil Nadu’s request to continue excavations at four locations including Keeladi. This development is expected to bridge the 1000 years gap in history between the Sangam Age and the Indus Valley civilization. The excavation will be undertaken at the following sites:

Keeladi- Located in Sivaganga district on the banks of river Vaigai. It is an urban settlement of Sangam Age.

Kodumanal- Village located in Erode district, TN. Flourishing ancient trade city known as Kodumanam (as inscribed in Pathitrupathu of Sangam Literature). It is located on the northern banks of Noyyal River (a tributary of the Cauvery).

Sivagalai- Village in the Tuticorin district, TN. It was once known as ‘Small Ceylon’ by Britishers. Evidence of megalithic archaeological remains were found here in 2018.

Adichanallur- Located in Thoothukudi district, TN. In 2004, iron-age (1500 BC to 500 BC) burial sites were unearthed by ASI from here.

Current Affair 10:
Odisha’s Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture

The Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank signed a US$165 million loan agreement for the Odisha Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture.


  1. The project aims to support small landholding farmers in order to strengthen the resilience of their production systems against adverse climatic conditions by improving access to climate resilient seed varieties and production technologies.
  2. For increasing the income of the farmers, the project strives to diversify towards more climate-resilient crops and improve access to better water management and irrigation services.
  3. The project will also provide marketing support to farmers who are able to generate a marketable surplus.
  4. The project will be implemented in rural areas that are vulnerable to droughts and are largely dependent on rainfed agriculture.
  5. Supporting farmers to reduce the current emphasis on food grains (especially paddy- a water guzzler crop) and increase the share of high-value and more nutritious products like fruits and vegetables, and
  6. Practicing aquaculture in rehabilitated tanks so as to help farmers access affordable and quality fingerlings and disseminate improved aquaculture practices and post-harvest management.

This project is under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) of the government so as to achieve the sustainable agriculture-related targets of the SDGs by 2030. This is important, so remember this.

Current Affair 11:
Study shows how vital coral algae adapts to warming seas

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Scientists at the University of Southampton have shown how a specific type of symbiotic algae, which lives in coral tissue, is able to adapt and survive the hotter seawater temperatures caused by global warming.

The team identified that one particular species of the photosynthetic organisms called zooxanthellae is able to change part of its chemical make-up to survive warmers seas, which prove fatal to other similar species of zooxanthellae. The survival of these single-celled organisms is important as they help protect corals from the risk of bleaching.

Corals live in a mutually beneficial relationship, a symbiosis, with zooxanthellae—where the tiny algae gain shelter, carbon dioxide and nutrients, while corals get photosynthetic products that can provide them with up to 90 percent of their energy needs.

If temperatures rise just 1?C above the summer maximum the photosynthetic machinery of the zooxanthellae can start to malfunction, and symbiosis breaks down. As a consequence, the brownish-coloured algal symbionts are lost and the coral's white limestone skeleton shines through its transparent tissue—a phenomenon known as coral bleaching. This can lead to a coral starving, falling victim to disease and often dying.

It's already known that some species of zooxanthellae are more tolerant to heat than others, but this latest study paves the way to more accurately identifying which corals will be able to survive successfully in warmer waters of the future.

Findings are published in the journal Coral Reefs.

Current Affair 12:
Artificial leaf successfully produces clean gas

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Syngas is currently made from a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and is used to produce a range of commodities, such as fuels, pharmaceuticals, plastics and fertilisers.

It can be made in a number of ways, but usually involves the leftover products from coal or petroleum-based materials. Thus, the final product isn't always carbon neutral.

But now something different has been discovered.

The new leaf device is dipped in water and powered by sunlight - but can still operate on cloudy days; it can produce sustainable syngas without releasing any carbon dioxide into the air.

We may not have heard of syngas itself but every day, we consume products that were created using it. Being able to produce it sustainably would be a critical step in closing the global carbon cycle and establishing a sustainable chemical and fuel industry.

The leaf mimics the photosynthesis we see in plants, combining incoming light, water and carbon dioxide with a cobalt catalyst called perovskite. At the other end you get hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which can then make syngas.

Current Affair 13:
White Bellbird, the world’s loudest bird

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Humans looking for a bit of romance might whisper sweet nothings in the ears of their prospective partners.

The white bellbird, a small Amazonian species with some serious vocal power, opts for a less subtle approach. When a desirable female approach, the male bellbird whips its head around and screams a shattering note in her direction—a song that is, in fact, the loudest of any bird, according to a new study in Current Biology.

According to a study published in Current Biology, the screaming “piha” was thought to be the loudest bird on the planet before researchers trekked through the Amazon to record the bellbird. They were able to determine that the bellbird actually superseded the piha by at least 9 db.

It is listed on the ‘Least Concern’ category under the IUCN.

Current Affair 14:
Guidelines for Evaluation of Nano pharmaceuticals in India

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The ministry has launched “Guidelines for Evaluation of Nano-pharmaceuticals in India", stating that the general requirements and guidelines specified for approval of manufacture/import of any new drug or to undertake clinical trial as specified in the New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019 apply to nano-pharmaceuticals also.

Ok, we will define here first Nano-pharmaceuticals

A nano-pharmaceutical is defined as a pharmaceutical preparation containing nanomaterials intended for internal use or external application on human for the purpose of therapeutics, diagnostics and health benefits. The nanomaterial is generally defined as material having particle size in the range of 1 to 100 nm in at least one dimension. However, if a material exhibits physical, chemical or biological phenomenon or activity which are attributable to its dimension beyond nanoscale range up to 1000 nm, the material should also be considered as nanomaterial. Therefore, any pharmaceutical containing such material should also be considered as nano pharmaceutical.

Nano-formulations are not entirely new drugs but medicines that have better quality because of the technology-led delivery mechanisms that are used to make its administration in the body more effective. There are no internationally accepted uniform guidelines for nano-pharmaceuticals.

Nano-pharmaceuticals Guidelines

These guidelines have been developed in line with the provisions of Schedule Y of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 as well as Second Schedule of the New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019 with specific requirements for nano-pharmaceuticals.

The guidelines include,

  1. The nano-size range should be declared in the product specification. The particles should be within the claimed nano-size range in all given testing conditions.
  2. The detailed methods of the manufacturing process and the impact of nanomaterial waste disposal on the environment should also be declared.
  3. The added advantage and possible disadvantage of nano-pharmaceuticals in comparison to conventional/traditional drug/API should be clearly stated on the products.
  4. Though Nanocarrier based targeted drug delivery and nano-formulations have higher efficacy, lower toxicity and are safer than the conventional drugs.
  5. A Nanocarrier is a nanomaterial being used as a transport module for another substance like a drug. The stability testing for Nano formulations should focus on functionality, integrity, size range of nano pharmaceuticals.
  6. It will cover nano pharmaceuticals in the form of finished formulation as well as Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) of a new molecule or an already approved molecule with altered nanoscale dimensions, properties.
  7. It also covers the phenomenon associated with the application of nanotechnology intended to be used for treatment, in vivo diagnosis, mitigation, cure or prevention of diseases and disorders in humans.
  8. The guidelines define the nano-pharmaceuticals and categorize it according to its level of degradability and organic or inorganic nature.

Current Affair 15:
New global commitment report reveals progress towards eliminating plastic pollution

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Plastics will be very important for your exam next year. So, wherever you see plastics, don’t let it go easily.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UN Environment Programme publish first annual New Plastics Economy Global Commitment progress report.

This new annual report is being released 12 months after the launch of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which sets out a circular economy vision for plastic.

What was this New Plastics Economy Global Commitment?

Launched in October 2018, the Global Commitment now has over 400 organizations committed to eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging and undertaking innovations so that all plastic packaging is 100 per cent reusable, recyclable, or compostable, as well as safely and easily circulated without becoming waste or pollution.

What this report about:

  1. This report aims to provide an unprecedented level of transparency on how almost 200 businesses and governments are changing their plastic production and use to achieve this. It shows promising early progress.
  2. Examples of corporate progress cited include, Unilever has announced it will reduce its use of virgin plastic in packaging by 50 per cent; and PepsiCo aims to reduce the use of virgin plastic in its beverage business by 20 per cent by 2025.
  3. Some of the most commonly identified problematic plastic items and materials are being eliminated at scale. For example, around 70 per cent of relevant signatories are eliminating single-use straws, carrier bags and carbon black plastics, and around 80 per cent are eliminating PVC from their packaging.
  4. The report shows that on average 60 per cent of business signatories’ plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable today. Through the Global Commitment they have committed to make this 100 per cent by 2025.
  5. Packaged goods and retail signatories have pledged to increase recycled plastic in packaging more than five-fold, from four to 22 per cent, by 2025.
  6. The New Plastics Economy will publish the next Global Commitment progress report in Autumn 2020, and every year following up to 2025.

Current Affair 16:
Why peatlands matter?

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Why Peatlands were in news?

Tropical peatlands have been in the news recently with the very serious fires in Indonesia’s Jambi Province. Our learning will be inclined more towards Peatlands.

What are Peatlands?

Peatlands are a type of wetlands which are among the most valuable ecosystems on Earth: they are critical for preserving global biodiversity, provide safe drinking water, minimize flood risk and help address climate change. Peatlands are the largest natural terrestrial carbon store; the area covered by near natural peatland worldwide (>3 million km2) sequesters 0.37 gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year – storing more carbon than all other vegetation types in the world combined.

Understand Peat also:

Peat is partially decayed plant material that accumulates under water-logged conditions over long time periods. Natural areas covered by peat are called peatlands. Terms commonly used for specific peatland types are peat swamp forests, fens, bogs or mires. Peat is found around the world – in permafrost regions towards the poles and at high altitudes, in coastal areas, beneath tropical rainforest and in boreal forests.

Why Peatlands are important?

  1. Damaged peatlands are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, annually releasing almost 6% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Peatland restoration can therefore bring significant emissions reductions.
  2. In their natural, wet state peatlands provide vital ecosystem services. By regulating water flows, they help minimize the risk of flooding and drought and prevent seawater intrusion.
  3. In many parts of the world, peatlands supply food, fiber and other local products that sustain local economies. They also preserve important ecological and archaeological information such as pollen records and human artefacts.
  4. Draining peatlands reduces the quality of drinking water due to pollution from dissolved compounds. Damage to peatlands also results in biodiversity loss.
  5. For example, the decline of the Bornean Orangutan population by 60% within a sixty-year period is largely attributed to the loss of its peat swamp habitat. The species is now listed as Critically Endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Why are those peatland fires happening?

Peatland health is under threat from drainage for agriculture, commercial forestry, peat extraction, infrastructure development and, of course, the effects of global heating. There are three main reasons why forest and peatland fires occur: various actors (companies, small scale farmers) use fire to clear land for development and agriculture; fires are often used to stake claims to land in disputes between big companies and small farmers; and drained peatlands are highly flammable during the dry season, so small-scale clearing and camp fires can easily burn out of control.

This situation is not specific to Indonesia—fires happen around the world, from the Arctic to the Amazon to the Congo Basin.

What can be done to manage peatlands?

Urgent action worldwide is required to protect, sustainably manage and restore peatlands. This involves protecting them from degrading activities such as agricultural conversion and drainage, and restoring the waterlogged conditions required for peat formation to prevent the release of carbon stored in peat soil.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has presented strategic actions that can ensure peatlands contribute their full potential to global agreements such as the Paris Agreement on climate change and Sustainable Development Goals. These include:

  1. assessing the distribution and state of peatlands
  2. measuring and reporting emissions from peatlands
  3. protecting and restoring peatlands with targeted financial support
  4. stimulating market-based mechanisms to support peatlands
  5. engaging and supporting local communities
  6. sharing experience and expertise on peatland conservation, restoration and improved management.

A 2016 IUCN Resolution ‘Securing the future for global peatlands’ supports the FAO’s strategic actions and encourages their adoption within country-focused peatland programmes. The Resolution further recommends:

  1. peatlands to be included alongside forests in all relevant intergovernmental agreements relating to climate change, geodiversity and biodiversity;
  2. a moratorium on peat exploitation until legislation is strengthened to ensure peatlands are protected or managed through wise use principles.

Also learn about Brazzaville Declaration:

Why left Global Peatlands Initiative? Learn this also.

The Global Peatlands Initiative is an effort by leading experts and institutions formed by 13 founding members at the UNFCCC COP in Marrakech, Morocco in 2016 to save peatlands as the world’s largest terrestrial organic carbon stock and to prevent it being emitted into the atmosphere.

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