Insights Daily Current Affairs, 07 November 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 07 November 2017


 

Paper 1:

Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

 

2017 ‘very likely’ in top three warmest years on record

 

warmest year 2017

The year 2017 is “very likely” to be in the top three warmest years on record, according to provisional figures from the World Meteorological Organization.

 

Factors responsible for this:

  • The long-term trend of warming driven by human activities continues unabated.
  • Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are the highest on record.

 

About WMO:

What is it?

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to meteorology (weather), climatology (climate), operational hydrology (water) and other related geophysical sciences such as oceanography and atmospheric chemistry.

 

What does WMO do?

  • WMO coordinates the activities of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in 191 States and Territories so that basic weather, climate and water services are made available to anyone who needs them, when they need them.
  • WMO guarantees the publication of observations and statistics and furthers the application of meteorology and hydrology (including the monitoring and predictions of climate change and ozone) to all aspects of human activities such as aviation, shipping, water management and agriculture.
  • WMO also encourages research and training in meteorology and hydrology and their related applications and contributes towards reducing the impact of weather- and climate-related hazards. This is accomplished through regular, reliable forecasts and early warnings on flooding, drought, tropical cyclones, tornadoes and other extreme events.
  • Predictions concerning locust swarms and the transport of pollutants (nuclear and toxic substances, volcanic ash) are also provided by WMO Members.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Paper 2:

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

Public credit registry to speed up digitisation

 

 

public credit registry

Context:

Reserve Bank deputy governor N.S.Vishwanathan recently said the introduction of a public credit registry will further speed up digitisation that has already changed the way banking is done in the country.

 

About Public Credit Registry:

What is it?

The PCR will be an extensive database of credit information for India that is accessible to all stakeholders. The idea is to capture all relevant information in one large database on the borrower and, in particular, the borrower’s entire set of borrowing contracts and outcomes.

 

Management of PCR:

Generally, a PCR is managed by a public authority like the central bank or the banking supervisor, and reporting of loan details to the PCR by lenders and/or borrowers is mandated by law. The contractual terms and outcomes covered and the threshold above which the contracts are to be reported vary in different jurisdictions, but the idea is to capture all relevant information in one large database on the borrower, in particular, the borrower’s entire set of borrowing contracts and outcomes.

 

Benefits of having a PCR:

  • A PCR can potentially help banks in credit assessment and pricing of credit as well as in making risk-based, dynamic and counter-cyclical provisioning.
  • The PCR can also help the RBI in understanding if transmission of monetary policy is working, and if not, where are the bottlenecks.
  • Further, it can help supervisors, regulators and banks in early intervention and effective restructuring of stressed bank credits.
  • A PCR will also help banks and regulators as credit information is a ‘public good’ and its utility is to the credit market at large and to society in general.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

COP23

 

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is hosting the 23rd annual conference at Bonn, Germany.

cop23

 

What’s in the COP 23?

The conference named as COP23 is being held to further the provisions of the Paris Agreement, and achieve results in the execution guidelines.

  • While the aim of the event is much larger, nations attending the COP23 are scheduled to finalise the rulebook of the Paris Agreement. This process was started in Marrakesh 2016 meet. These rules will dictate how the Agreement would be monitored and executed. It will change the famous 1997 Kyoto Protocol by 2020.
  • The rulebook will include new international standards for measuring carbon emissions. These standards will ensure comparison of efforts made by various countries. However, a few negotiators, like the US, deny the impacts of climate change and argue that the efforts cost a huge amount of resources.

 

Paris Agreement:

The Paris Agreement is meant to make sure that the average surface temperature all over the world does not rise above two degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial times. To achieve this goal, countries have promised under the Paris Agreement to take a variety of self-determined actions to restrain the current rate of global warming.

 

About UNFCCC:

The UNFCCC was adopted in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, which marked the beginning of the international community’s first concerted effort to confront the problem of climate change. Known also as the Rio Convention, the UNFCCC established a framework for action to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. The UNFCCC entered into force in 1994, and nearly all of the world’s nations—a total of 195—have now signed on.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

India to contribute USD 100 million to UN partnership fund

 

India has pledged an additional USD 100 million towards the UN partnership fund, significantly scaling up its support to sustainable development projects across the developing world.

indiaandunitednation

 

About the India-UN Development Partnership Fund:

What is it? The India-UN Development Partnership Fund was set up as a partnership between India and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

What is it for? Managed by UNOSSC, the fund will support Southern-owned and led, demand-driven, and transformational sustainable development projects across the developing world. Focusing on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States, United Nations agencies will implement the Fund’s projects in close collaboration with partnering governments.

Focus areas: Reducing poverty and hunger, improving health, education and equality, and expanding access to clean water and energy.

 

Facts for Prelims and Mains:

About UNOSSC:

What is it?

The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) was established to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the United Nations system. UNOSSC, hosted by UNDP since 1974, was established by the UN General Assembly with a mandate to advocate for and coordinate South-South and triangular cooperation on a global and UN system-wide basis.

Functions: UNOSSC receives policy directives and guidance from the General Assembly and through its subsidiary body, the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation. UNOSSC submits its strategic planning frameworks to the UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS Executive Board for approval and funding.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Paper 3:

Topic: IPR.

 

Banaganapalle mangoes get GI tag

 

banganapalli mangoes

The famous Banaganapalle mangoes of Andhra Pradesh and Tulaipanji rice of West Bengal are among the seven commodities that have been granted Geographical Indication (GI) this fiscal year by the Indian patent office.

The other five products which have received the GI tag this year include Pochampally Ikat of Telangana; Gobindobhog rice of West Bengal; Durgi stone carvings and Etikoppaka toys of Andhra Pradesh; and Chakshesang shawl of Nagaland.

 

About GI tag:

What is it? A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.

Significance of a GI tag: Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.

Security: Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.

Examples: Darjeeling tea, Tirupati laddu, Kangra paintings, Nagpur orange and Kashmir pashmina are among the registered GIs in India.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: awareness in space.

 

Proxima Centauri may host planetary system

 

Scientists have detected dust belts around Proxima Centauri, a finding that indicates the presence of an elaborate planetary system hosted by the closest star to the solar system.

proxima-centauri

 

Key facts:

  • These new observations were made by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) observatory in Chile. The new ALMA observations reveal emission from clouds of cold cosmic dust surrounding the star.
  • ALMA observatory revealed the glow coming from cold dust in a region between one to four times as far from Proxima Centauri as the Earth is from the Sun.
  • The data also hints at the presence of an even cooler outer dust belt and may indicate the presence of a system of planets. These structures are similar to the much larger belts in the solar system and are also expected to be made from particles of rock and ice that failed to form planets.

 

About Proxima Centauri:

What is it? Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Sun. It is a faint red dwarf lying just four light years away in the southern constellation of Centaurus. It is orbited by the Earth-sized temperate world Proxima b, discovered in 2016 and the closest exoplanet to the solar system.

 

IS PROXIMA B HABITABLE?

Proxima b orbits its star at a distance of 0.05 astronomical units, which is well within the habitable zone.

  • In a recent study, researchers calculated different possible radii and compositions for the planet. They say Proxima b may be an ‘ocean planet’ with water similar to the subsurface oceans seen on icy moons around Jupiter and Saturn.
  • According to this theory, the planet would have a radius of 5,543 miles (8,920km) and made up of 50% rock and 50% water that forms a massive ocean. Along with this, it would have a thin, gas atmosphere like Earth’s.
  • In another scenario, they say Proxima b could be ‘very dense planet,’ with a metal core that accounts for 65% of its mass, while the rest is a rocky, silicate mantle. This would occur at a radius of just 3,722 miles (5,990km), giving it a make-up similar to Mercury’s.

 

Facts for Prelims:

About ALMA telescope:

What is it?

ALMA -the largest astronomical project in existence- is a single telescope of revolutionary design, composed of 66 high precision antennas located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile.

Who has built it?

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an international partnership of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan, together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.

What is it for?

ALMA allows scientists to unravel longstanding and important astronomical mysteries, in search of our Cosmic Origins.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

China launches 2 navigation satellites

 

China, which is building its own navigation system to rival United States GPS, has launched two BeiDou-3 satellites into space though a single carrier rocket. The satellites were launched aboard a Long March-3B carrier rocket.

  • The two newly-launched satellites represent the third phase of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.

 

china launches satellites

 

About BeiDou project:

What is it?

Named after the Chinese term for the plough or the Big Dipper constellation, the BeiDou project was formally initiated in 1994. It began to serve China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region at the end of 2012. If everything goes according to the plan, China will become the third country in the world after the US and Russia to operate its own navigation system.

Operational area:

Beidou currently consists of 10 satellites and covers a swath of the Asia-Pacific region from Australia in the south to Russia in the north. The system is accurate to within 82 feet (25 meters) and now serves China and surrounding areas on a pilot basis.

Significance:

The emergence of Beidou should make China far less dependent on the GPS constellation, which is operated by the United States military and is currently the world’s dominant satellite navigation network.

 

Facts for Prelims:

Global navigational systems: Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)- India, GPS (Global Positioning System)- US, Glonass- Russia and Galileo- Europe.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

  • Women’s Asia Cup hockey title:

India has won the women’s Asia Cup hockey title defeating China. With this, India also qualified for next year’s World Cup as Continental champion.

 

  • ICIJ:

Context:

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists today releases The Paradise Papers, a global investigation that reveals the offshore activities of some of the world’s most powerful people and companies.

What is ICIJ?

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is a global network of more than 200 investigative journalists in 70 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories. Founded in 1997 by the respected American journalist Chuck Lewis, ICIJ was launched as a project of the Center for Public Integrity, focusing on issues that do not stop at national frontiers: cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power.