Daily Current Affairs : 13-Jan-2020

Major Topics Covered :


  1. KAZIRANGA - 96 SPECIES OF WETLAND BIRDS

  2. H9N2

  3. DRDO'S NAVAL VARIANT OF LIGHT COMBAT AIRCRAFT

  4. 2019 SEVENTH WARMEST YEAR

  5. NEPAL’S SEKE LANGUAGE ‘NEAR-EXTINCT’

  6. PRIVATE PROPERTY IS A HUMAN RIGHT: SUPREME COURT

  7. OLIVE RIDLEY TURTLES - AT RUSHIKULYA

  8. TO EASE AUCTION OF COAL MINES

  9. GENOME OF THE INDIAN COBRA - DECODED

  10. NEON PROJECT



KAZIRANGA - 96 SPECIES OF WETLAND BIRDS

Part of GS-3 Environment


Why in news?

  • Kaziranga, home of the world's most one-horned rhinos, has 96 species of wetland birds — one of the highest for wildlife preserves in India.

📷


Highlights:

  • Officials of the Kaziranga National Park and avian specialists conducted the second wetland bird count on January 9-10. The teams counted a total of 19,225 birds belonging to 96 species under 80 families.

  • Kaziranga, about 220 km east of Guwahati, has a total area (tiger reserve) of 1,030 sq km with a core area of 430 sq. km.

  • "With 6,181 individuals, the bar-headed goose led the species count, followed by the common teal at 1,557 and northern pintail at 1,359.

  • The park also has more than 250 seasonal water bodies, besides the Dipholu River running through it.

  • The first waterfowl census in 2018 had yielded 10,412 birds covering 80 families from 21 families.


Kaziranga National Park

  • Kaziranga National park’s 430 square kilometer area sprinkled with elephant-grass meadows, swampy lagoons, and dense forests is home to more than 2200 Indian one-horned rhinoceros, approximately 2/3rd of their total world population.

  • Formed in 1908 on the recommendation of Mary Curzon, the park is located in the edge of the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots – Golaghat and Nagaon district in Assam

  • In the year 1985, the park was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

  • Along with the iconic Greater one-horned rhinoceros, the park is the breeding ground of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.

  • Over the time, the tiger population has also increased in Kaziranga, and that’s the reason why Kaziranga was declared as Tiger Reserve in 2006.


Source: The Hindu



H9N2

Part of GS-Health


Why in news?

  • Indian scientists have detected the country’s first case of infection with a rare variant of the virus that causes avian influenza, or bird flu.


Highlights:

  • H9N2 is a subtype of the influenza a virus, which causes human influenza as well as bird flu.

  • The H9N2 subtype was isolated for the first time in Wisconsin, US in 1966 from turkey flocks.

  • According to the US National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), H9N2 viruses are found worldwide in wild birds and are endemic in poultry in many areas. However, they are somewhat neglected.

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), with avian influenza viruses circulating in poultry, there is a risk for sporadic infection and small clusters of human cases due to exposure to infected poultry or contaminated environments. Therefore, sporadic human cases are not unexpected.

  • H9N2 virus infections in humans are rare, but likely under-reported due to typically mild symptoms of the infections.

  • According to a recent report by NCBI researcher T P Peacock, H9N2 viruses could potentially play a major role in the emergence of the next influenza pandemic.

  • Cases of human infection have been observed in Hong Kong, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt. One case was detected in Oman recently.

  • The first case globally was reported from Hong Kong in 1998.

  • A total of 28 cases in China have been reported since December 2015. Cases continue to be reported mainly from mainland China and Hong Kong.


Source: Indian Express



DRDO'S NAVAL VARIANT OF LIGHT COMBAT AIRCRAFT

Part of GS-3 Defence and Security


Why in news?

  • The naval version of indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, LCA, made its first successful landing on the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on 12th January, 2020. This aircraft is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization, DRDO.

📷


Highlights:

  • After completing extensive trials on the Shore Based Test Facility, LCA Navy did an arrested landing on INS Vikramaditya.

  • LCA Navy is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization, DRDO.

  • LCA is the smallest and lightest Multi-Role Supersonic Fighter Aircraft of its class.

  • The LCA programme intends to further expand and advance India's indigenous aerospace capabilities.

  • With the successful landing of Light Combat Aircraft, LCA on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, India has entered into the club of selected nations having the capability to design a fighter jet which can land on an aircraft carrier.


Source: PIB



2019 SEVENTH WARMEST YEAR

Part of GS-3 Environment


Why in news?

  • The year 2019 was one of extremes — heat, cold, rain and cyclones — for India, killing a total of 1,562 people. The previous year, total deaths caused due to similar weather vagaries was 1,428.


Highlights:

  • The average temperature during 2019 rose by 0.36 degrees Celsius, making this the seventh warmest year on record. The year 2016 was by far the warmest year recorded.

  • The decade 2011-19 was the warmest on record for the country. The report highlighted that India had warmed by 1 degree Celsius since 1901.

  • Arabian Sea brewed more cyclonic storms than the Bay of Bengal in 2019.

  • This was only the second time in 117 years that the Arabian Sea saw such intense and frequent cyclones.

  • Rain and flood alone claimed 849 lives, with Bihar being the worst affected state due to unprecedented weather events experienced during all the seasons last year.

  • The causes of deaths due to extreme weather events last year were as follows: heavy rain and floods 849, heat wave 349, thunderstorm 210, lightning 75, snow avalanche 51 and cold wave 28.

  • The year 2019 was one of extremes heat, cold, rain and cyclones — for India, killing a total of 1,562 people. The previous year, total deaths caused due to similar weather vagaries was 1,428.


Source: Indian Express



NEPAL’S SEKE LANGUAGE ‘NEAR-EXTINCT’

Part of GS-1 A&C


Why in news?

  • A press release issued by the UN in December 2019 quoted President of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande as saying that despite efforts throughout the year, one indigenous language disappears every fortnight.


Highlights:


Which language is Safe?

  • Which are the languages spoken by all generations and their intergenerational transmission is uninterrupted;

Which are vulnerable languages?

  • Which are spoken by most children but may be restricted to certain domains;

Which are endangered languages?

  • Which are no longer being learnt by children as their mother tongue.

Which are severely endangered are languages?

  • Spoken by grandparents and older generations, and while the parent generation may understand it, they may not speak it with the children or among themselves.

Which are critically endangered languages?

  • Those of which the youngest speakers are the grandparents or older family members who may speak the language partially or infrequently; and

Which are extinct languages?

  • Which no speakers are left.


Source: Indian Express



PRIVATE PROPERTY IS A HUMAN RIGHT: SUPREME COURT

Part of GS-2 Polity and Governance


Why in news?

  • A citizen’s right to own private property is a human right. The state cannot take possession of it without following due procedure and authority of law, the Supreme Court has held in a judgment.


Highlights:

  • The state cannot trespass into the private property of a citizen and then claim ownership of the land in the name of ‘adverse possession’, the court said.

  • Grabbing private land and then claiming it as its own makes the state an encroacher.


Adverse possession

  • The top court referred to the "doctrine of adverse possession", under which a person who is not the original owner becomes the owner because of the fact that he has been in possession of the property for a minimum of 12-years, within which the real owner did not seek legal recourse to oust him.

  • A welfare state cannot be permitted to take the plea of adverse possession, which allows a trespasser i.e. a person guilty of a tort, or even a crime, to gain legal title over such property for over 12 years.

  • The State cannot be permitted to perfect its title over the land by invoking the doctrine of adverse possession to grab the property of its own citizens.


Source: The Hindu



OLIVE RIDLEY TURTLES - AT RUSHIKULYA

Part of GS-3 Environment


Why in news?

  • This January 2020, “large crowd mating” of Olive Ridley turtles can be spotted near the Rushikulya rookery on the Odisha coast. This has increased hopes for mass nesting at this coast later this year.


Highlights:

  • The Rushikulya rookery is a major mass nesting site for Olive Ridley turtles on the Indian coast.

  • The sea near this coast is regularly patrolled by two trawlers, two speedboats and a country boat to prevent harm to Olive Ridley from illegal fishing trawlers. In 2019, mass nesting of the marine reptiles did not occur.

  • However there was double mass nesting at this coast, in February and April of 2018, with over 4,73,000 nests totally.


About Olive Ridley Turtle

  • The Olive ridley turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world, inhabiting warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.

  • They are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.


Rushikulya River

  • The Rushikulya River is one of the major rivers in the state of Odisha and covers entire catchment area in the districts of Kandhamal and Ganjam of Odisha.

  • The Rushikulya originates at an elevation of about 1000 metres from Daringbadi hills of the Eastern Ghats range.

  • The place from where the river originates, Daringbadi is called the ' Kashmir of Odisha '.


Protection:

  • The species is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List, Appendix 1 in CITES, and Schedule 1 in Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

  • Bhitarkanika Park is the home of migratory Olive Ridley turtle.


Source: The Hindu



TO EASE AUCTION OF COAL MINES

Part of GS-3 Economy


Why in news?

  • The government on 11th January, 2020, announced promulgation of the ordinance for amendment in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Act, 1957 and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 in order to ease auction of coal mines, allow FDI and enhance ease of doing business.


Highlights:

  • The amendments in the laws would offer unexplored and partially explored coal blocks for mining through prospecting license-cum-mining lease (PL-cum-ML), an official statement said.

  • The amendments will allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the coal mining sector by removing the restriction and eligibility criteria for participation.

  • Allowing of successful bidder/allottee to utilise mined coal in any of the plant of its subsidiary or holding company Attracting large investment in coal mining sector as restrictions of end use has been dropped.

  • It will also lead to democratisation of coal mining sector by opening it up to anyone willing to invest, it said.


Source: Economics Times



GENOME OF THE INDIAN COBRA - DECODED

Part of GS-3 S&T


Why in news?

  • International team of researchers reported that they have sequenced the genome of the Indian cobra, in the process identifying the genes that define its venom. This, they hope, can provide a blueprint for developing more effective anti venom.


Highlights:

  • Venom is a complex mixture of an estimated 140-odd protein or peptides.

  • Antivenom is currently produced by a century-old process a small amount of venom is injected into a horse (or a sheep), which produces antibodies that are then collected and developed into antivenom.

  • In the Indian cobra genome, the authors identified 19 key toxin genes, the only ones that should matter in snakebite treatment.

  • They stress the need to leverage this knowledge for creation of antivenom using synthetic human antibodies.

  • Only some of these constituents are toxins that cause the physiological symptoms seen after snakebite. But antivenom available today does not target these toxins specifically.

  • Targeting these 19 specific toxins using synthetic human antibodies should lead to a safe and effective antivenom for treating Indian cobra bites.


Source: Indian Express



NEON PROJECT

Part of GS-3 S&T


Why in news?

  • Pranav Mistry, President and CEO of STAR Labs (Samsung Technology & Advanced Research Labs), talks about the Neon project, where Mistry and team are hard at work creating "artificial humans."


Highlights:

  • The NEON stall at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was an anomaly it had no products to show, just some large screens with human-looking characters going about some pre-programmed functions.

  • Yet, it was one of the biggest crowd pullers at the Las Vegas Convention Centre hundreds streaming in for a glimpse of the world’s first artificial humans.

  • Neons are Artificial Intelligence virtual beings capable of showing human-like emotions and intelligence.

  • Neons are capable of human-like interactions and have the ability to communicate with human affect, learn from experiences and even form new memories.

  • They can serve as an individualised teacher, a personal financial advisor, a healthcare provider, or a concierge.

  • Neons look and behave like a real human, with the ability to show emotions and intelligence.

  • Neons can learn new skills and form memories from experiences.


Source: Indian Express

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