Current Affair & GK Notes 23-24-25 November 2018
November 25, 2018
Amur Falcons Landing in Nagaland
- A small slender bird of prey, with long, pointed wings, the Amur falcon is noteworthy for undertaking one of the most arduous annual migrations of any bird of prey.
- The male is a largely dark grey bird with a chestnut lower belly and thighs and a white under wing, visible in flight.
Amur falcons from Siberia form clouds above Pangti village in Nagaland.
- In October flocks of Amur falcons from Siberia start landing in a tiny village called Pangti, near the Doyang reservoir, in Wokha district of Nagaland.
- Tens of thousands of these small raptors (Falco amurensis) frolic in the village for about two months before they head for warmer climes in Kenya and South Africa in a non-stop flight over the Arabian Sea.
- The falcon is protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- In all probability, the Doyang reservoir, surrounded by hills, hosts the single largest congregation of Amur falcons anywhere in the world. The abundance of water and insects to feed on is a magnet for the birds.
- The Nagaland government hosted the first Amur Falcon Conservation Week from November 8 to 10.
Till 2012, thousands of them would not make that onward journey. They would be hunted down by the villagers for their meat. The same hunters have now turned the birds’ protectors. Concerted efforts by the State government and non-governmental organisations, with the cooperation of the villagers, have paid off. Bano Haralu, managing trustee of the Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Trust, has been the lead player in the conservation efforts. The village council offers her support.
Sherpa, an anti-corruption NGO from French seeking a probe into Rafale deal and the choice of Anil Ambani as the offset partner.
- In month September 2016, Indian and France government signed a €7.87 billion Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition.
- Pressure continues to mount over allegations of corruption in the purchase of Rafale fighter jets from France from both within and outside the country.
- According to French news portal Mediapart, a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) has approached the National Financial Prosecutor’s office, seeking a probe into the allegations of money laundering and corruption in the deal and the choice of Anil Ambani as the offset partner.
- Controversy surrounding the Rafale deal has steadily grown over last few months.
Sherpa, an anti-corruption NGO, lodged the complaint with the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office highlighting “potential acts of corruption, granting of undue advantages, influence peddling, complicity of these offences and money laundering.
The complaint sought an investigation into the circumstances under which 36 combat aircraft were sold by France to India in 2016 and the choice of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the offset partner which had no experience in the manufacture of fighter jets and was registered only “twelve days” before the announcement of the deal in 2015.
- The Supreme Court has heard arguments in the case and reserved its verdict on whether it merits a court-monitored investigation.
Cyclone Gaja made landfall and swirled through the fertile Cauvery delta
November 16, Vedaranyam, the tip of the nose of peninsular India stretching into the Bay of Bengal, was in the eye of a storm when Cyclone Gaja made landfall and swirled through the fertile Cauvery delta in Tamil Nadu. The cyclone left the delta battered like no other in more than half-a-century.
- The cyclone with high velocity winds gusting up to 120 km an hour sheared trees, huts, tiled houses and every other structure in its path.
- Almost the entire delta spread over Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur and Thanjavur districts, considered the granary of the State, the neighbouring Padukottai and even interior Tiruchi and Dindigul districts staggered under its impact as the cyclone made its way to the Arabian Sea in Kerala.
What was the impact of this cyclone?
- The cyclone swept in wind and water, destroying lakhs of trees, including coconut, banana, cashew, mango, jackfruit, casuarinas, betel vine, eucalyptus, teak and sugarcane on thousands of hectares.
- The paddy crop of the samba/thaladi seasons was also damaged in some places.
- Boats and huts of fishermen were destroyed.
- The Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, a Ramsar site (a wetland of international importance for conservation), was ravaged.
- Carcasses of blackbuck, spotted deer, feral horses and birds were washed on the shores of Karaikkal in Puducherry.
- Scores of villages were wiped out and thousands rendered homeless.
- The steel roofs of petrol stations, grain storage godowns and other buildings were blown away. Nearly a lakh tonne of stocks in salt pans in Vedaranyam were washed away. Over 3.41 lakh houses with thatched or tiled roofs were damaged, according to an estimate. More than 3.78 lakh persons were accommodated in over 550 relief centres. Over 92,500 birds and 12,200 heads of cattle perished.
- .A few elders compared the devastation to a cyclone in the 1950s.
- Every family was left counting its losses.
- The coconut growing belt of Padukottai, Peravurani and Orathanadu in Thanjavur district took a severe beating. “Coconut growers are ruined.
Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
As per the latest data released by the Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion (CDFI) that uses technology for financial inclusion, the government has transferred over Rs 1,600 crore to eligible mothers under Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana through direct benefit transfer so far. Rs 16,04,66,63,000 have been transferred through direct benefit transfer to 48.5 lakh women.
CAS (Common Application Software) System:
- CDFI is a non-profit organisation.
- It had conceptualized, designed and implemented the PMMVY-CAS (Common Application Software) System through which disbursements were made.
Facts of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)
- Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a maternity benefit rechristened from erstwhile Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY). The IGMSY was launched in 2010.
- The scheme is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women of 19 years of age or above for first live birth.
- It provides partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.
Exceptions: The maternity benefits under Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) are available to all Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) except those in regular employment with the Central Government or State Government or Public Sector Undertaking or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force.
Funding: The scheme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under which cost sharing ratio between the Centre and the States & UTs with Legislature is 60:40 while for North-Eastern States & three Himalayan States; it is 90:10.
It is 100% Central assistance for Union Territories without Legislature.
Relocating monkeys could spread infection
Bonnet macaques living near people have more intestinal parasites than those living in forests, shows a study recently published in PLOS ONE. So monkeying around by relocating such commensal macaques could spread parasites to wild macaques and other forest species.
- Just like big cats or jumbos, monkeys too are sometimes relocated to forests from human-dominated areas.
Instances of relocation
- To find out, researchers from Coimbatore’s Bharathiar University and Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History first compiled information on instances of primate relocation in India and found that of the 25 relocations between 1998 and 2017 (none of which attempted to relocate the entire group or screen the monkeys for diseases or end parasite infections), 13 were of bonnet macaques across south India.
- Focusing on bonnet macaques and their gastrointestinal parasites (end parasites, which can be transmitted to other macaques in the vicinity through faeces or water) the team followed 20 macaque troops across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala in 2014-15 and collected 161 macaque poop samples to study parasites levels.
- For comparison, they also followed macaques in the forests of Karnataka’s Sirsi–Honnavara between 2015 and 2016 and collected 205 poop samples. They quantified parasite eggs and cysts in these samples.
- They found as many as 24 end parasites (19 taxa of helminthes or worms and five taxa of protozoans) in both urban (commensal monkeys living near humans) and forest macaques. Almost all macaque groups had at least one endoparasite in them.
- They found that the amount of food that an urban macaque group availed from human-dominated areas determined the number of endoparasite taxa and levels of endoparasites in them.
- Macaque groups that accessed such food from dumps and other areas had more species of endoparasites.
- Immature macaques had the highest levels of endoparasites.
- Endoparasite levels across seasons revealed that the parasites persisted in the monkeys every month.
- The species richness of endoparasites was highest in summer.
Relocating such infected monkeys to the wild as part of conflict mitigation measures could transfer new parasites into wild populations in the area, write the authors. Just like in people, higher parasite loads in animals can affect physiological functions.
Austria withdraw from UN New Migration Fact
- The Austrian government decided to withdraw from the new migration pact of the United Nations. The U.S., Hungary, the Czech Republic and, most recently, Australia and Poland, had done the same, and it is not a coincidence that politics in most of these countries is dominated by right-wing leaders.
- The UN’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migrations is aiming to make migration all over the world safer.
- We view some points of the migration pact as very critical, such as the mixing up of seeking protection with labour migration.
- The Chancellor also said Austria’s “sovereign migration policy” is endangered by the pact. Since Mr. Kurz’s government, consisting of his Conservative Party and the far-right Freedom Party, came to power a year ago, several controversial policies have been adapted.
- Many Austrians believe that their country is isolating itself with this decision. “I think it is sad and embarrassing. Austria is already making a lot of negative headlines with this government. But this step is a new peak. Our country now appears to be heading backwards; we are now on the same level with Donald Trump and Viktor Orbán.
The UN pact, which is not binding, addresses issues such as how to protect migrants and how to integrate them into new countries or how to return them to their original home countries.
Far-right blogs and social media warriors close to the Freedom Party have mounted criticism against the pact in recent months. Many of these sites started to spread misinformation, often quoting context-less or wrongly translated passages from the document.
Source: The Hindu+PIB
The Government of India has restricted the practice of manual scavenging from 2013. So in order to compliance the Indian Railways has decided to introduce bio-toilets in the trains.
- This is an Eco-friendly bio toilet
- Set up in Hubballi Railway Station
- This bio toilet is made free to all railway passengers and general public
- It ensure that the area is free of open defecation
What is Bio-toilet?
- Bio-toilet is a decomposition mechanized toilet system which decomposes human excretory waste in the digester tank using high graded bacteriaand further converting it into Carbon dioxide gas, methane gas and water.
- Only 15% of People in the world have a flush toilet.
- It will be surprised to know that only 3% peoples of ruralIndia and 25% of urban Indians have flush toilets.
Indian Railways have said that its goal is to install 1,440,000 bio-toilets in all 55,000 coaches under the “Clean Rail-Clean India” program by the end of 2019. More than 49,000 bio-toilets have been installed by the Indian Railways in the passenger coach till October 31, 2016.
How bio toilet works?
- Bio-digester technologytreats human waste at the source.
- A collection of anaerobic bacteriathat has been adapted to work at temperatures as low as -5°C and as high as 50°C act as inoculates or seed material to the bio-digesters and convert the organic human waste into water, methane, and carbon-dioxide gases.
Bio toilet is completely different toilet as compare to the traditional. It saves a lot of water and helps in keep our environment clean.
The anaerobic process inactivates the Pathogens responsible for water-borne diseases and treats the shit without the use of an external energy source.
The bio-digester tank in every toilet is filled with inoculums containing four types of bacteria. The water trap system in the toilet prevents air from getting into the tank, the human waste is processed by anaerobic bacteria in seven chambers in the tank and the methane gas is allowed to escape into the air.
After the completion of this process methane, carbon dioxide and water remains. These gases are left in the environment whereas water can be Recycled and used in toilets again.
What are the benefits of Bio-Toilets?
- Human excreta were released on the rail tracks directly causing damage to the metal of Railway tracks as well as spreading the dirt in the environment. It will not happen in bio toilets
- Traditional toilets spent approx 5-6 liters of water in one flush, while vacuum-based bio-toilets needed just half a liter of water.
- Indian railway stations will now become clean and which will support “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” of the Government of India.
- These bio toilets will provide respite to those who manually clean the dirt/shit at the platforms.
- By this initiatives those disease caused by pollute environment will overcome and the massage of clean and healthy country will become.
Between India and Pakistan Letters exchanged to build infrastructure for Sikh pilgrims to visit holy place
- India and Pakistan exchanged letters committing to build the required infrastructure for visa-free direct travel by Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan’s Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara, allowing them to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devin November 2019.
- Pakistani Minister described the move as the victory of peace lobbiesin both countries.
- Pilgrims on the Indian side will take from Dera Guru Nanak Dev in Gurdaspur district, will lead directly to the border, and from the Pakistani side of the border directly to the Kartarpur Darbar Sahib
American killed in the restricted zone in Andamans by Sentinelese
Who is the Sentinelese?
- The Sentinelese is a Negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans.
- The inhabitants are connected to the Jarawaon the basis of physical, as well as linguistic similarities, said by researchers. Based on carbon dating of kitchen middens by the Anthropological Survey of India, Sentinelese presence was confirmed in the islands to 2,000 years ago.
How are they protected?
- The Govt. of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Regulation (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes), 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves, and prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorization.
- Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence.
- The rules were amended later to enhance penalties. But restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands recently.
How many are there?
- In 1991 their head count was put at 23. Census 2001 counted 39 inhabitants.