Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2023

Sep 19, 2023

Current Affair 1:
Santiniketan finds a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage list


Santiniketan, a town located in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, set up by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore on September 17 made it to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The site was established as an ashram and given its name in 1863 by Tagore’s father, Debendranath Tagore. The property was proposed under the criteria of (iv) and (vi) (check below).

The Criteria for Selection: To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.

Total sites in UNESCO world Heritage List stands 42. (Last two are Santiniketan and Hoysalas)

The recommendation was made by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which is the advisory body to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, based on a file moved by the Indian government.


ICOMOS is a non-governmental international organisation dedicated to the conservation of the world's monuments and sites.

The Second Congress of Architects and Specialists of Historic Buildings, in Venice in 1964, adopted 13 resolutions, the first one being the International Restoration Charter, better known as the Venice Charter, and the second one, put forward by UNESCO, provided for the creation of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

Current Affair 2:
ISRO-NASA Join space efforts


Recently, India-US joint statement talked about discussions to send Indian astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), currently orbiting the Earth.

Only two people of Indian origin — Sunita Williams and Raja Chari — have been to the ISS and both were American citizens at the time of their flight. 

As part of a joint exercise for human spaceflight, ISRO and NASA have started discussions on capacity building and training to fly Indian astronauts to the ISS in 2024.

The framework for this is expected to be finalised by the end of this year. This will likely work in tandem with the Indian human spaceflight programme (IHSP), which is expected to launch ‘Gaganyaan’, the first human spaceflight from India, within the next two years.


In 1962, when India set up ISRO predecessor Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR), it was one of the few countries to have a space agency. Collaborations with the US started immediately.

In the 1960s, ISRO (then INCOSPAR) and NASA conducted joint tests from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station

In 1975-76, the two agencies collaborated on a Satellite Instrumental Television Experiment, or SITE. Under this programme, NASA’s ATS-6 satellite was engaged to transmit educational programmes via early televisions to over 2,000 remote Indian villages, where children and adults gathered to watch them.

In the 1980s, the US launched Indian satellites on rockets and space shuttles.

However, after the Pokhran-II nuclear tests conducted by India at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range in May 1998, the US imposed a series of economic, trade, and military sanctions that affected ISRO’s cooperation with the US.

Cut to the present, India is party to the Artemis Accords, the US-led non-binding agreement outlining a common set of rules for civil space exploration. India became a signatory to the accords in June. India becoming a signatory to Artemis Accords opens multiple avenues to bring out synergies between industries of both geographies.


Private space missions

The India-US joint statement also addresses collaborations on commercial space missions, under the ambit of the Indo-US Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation, which was set up in 2005. The NASA payloads in Chandrayaan-1 were the first direct outcome of the group.

The establishment of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) — an independent body that has facilitated the inclusion of private startups in India’s space business.

NEO protection

ISRO and NASA have also agreed to increase cooperation and coordination on planetary defence: not from aliens, but from rocks.

NEOs are near-Earth objects, an entire category of hundreds of asteroids that orbit the Sun close to Earth and potentially pose a risk of collision with Earth. This is especially crucial when tracking rocks that come blind, from the direction of the Sun, thus preventing astronomers from observing them until too late.

A test of such a defence was performed as part of NASA’s DART mission, where an impactor hit a harmless asteroid’s moon, far away from Earth, and modified its orbit.

The mission was the first-ever test of impacting an object from Earth with the objective of changing its orbit. It is expected that when any NEO comes too close to Earth, they will be detected early enough to send a craft to collide with it, so that it can deviate slightly from its path and miss the planet altogether.

The joint statement said India and the US “intend to increase coordination on planetary defence to protect planet Earth and space assets from the impact of asteroids and near-Earth objects.

Current Affair 3:
Sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS)


Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are quarantine and biosecurity measures which are applied to protect human, animal or plant life or health from risks arising from the introduction, establishment and spread of pests and diseases and from risks arising from additives, toxins and contaminants in food and feed.

These measures are governed by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures

The SPS Agreement provides a framework of rules to guide WTO Members in the development, adoption and enforcement of sanitary (human or animal life or health) and phytosanitary (plant life or health) measures which may affect trade.

All WTO Members are required to uphold the principles and obligations of the SPS agreement.

The SPS Agreement provides WTO Members with the right to use SPS measures to protect human, animal or plant life or health. Each WTO Member is entitled to maintain a level of protection it considers appropriate to protect human, animal or plant life or health within its territory. This is called the appropriate level of protection (ALOP).

The right to adopt SPS measures is accompanied by obligations aimed at minimising negative impacts of SPS measures on international tra​de. The basic obligations are that SPS measures must:

  1. be applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health and not be more trade restrictive than necessary;
  2. be based on scientific principles and not maintained without sufficient scientific evidence; and
  3. not constitute arbitrary or unjustifiable treatment or a disguised restriction on international trade.

Current Affair 4:
Omega block Phenomenon


Blocking patterns in the upper levels of the atmosphere can lead to some interesting weather on the ground.

One such pattern is called an "Omega block." The name comes from a resemblance to the Greek letter Ω on a weather map.

It’s created when two low-pressure systems become cut off from the main flow of the jet stream, and a high-pressure system is sandwiched in between them.

How does the omega block impact the jet stream?

Weather systems usually move from west to east at our latitude, but sometimes they can get blocked when the jet stream weakens.

The jet stream is a core of strong winds high above the Earth's surface which helps to develop low pressure around the globe.

When there is a lot of tropical storm activity in the North Atlantic, this can bend the jet stream, which is what has happened on this occasion.

The position and strength of the jet has resulted in a blocking pattern where the high pressure becomes stuck between the two low pressure systems.

The image you see below resembles letter Ω.



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