24-25 June 2023 – Current Affairs
Daily Current Capsules
24-25 June 2023
- First Skin Bank for North India was inaugurated in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital.
- The country has 16 skin banks — a facility where the skin of deceased persons can be donated — with seven in Maharashtra, four in Chennai, three in Karnataka, and one each in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.
Know! about Skin Bank
- A skin bank is a place where cadaveric skin is processed and preserved under optimal conditions from where it can be used for the benefit of Burn victims.
- Skin can be donated after Death within 6 hours from the time of Death.
- Anyone can Donate Skin irrespective of sex & blood group; the minimum age of the donor should be 18 years.
- There is no upper age limit; even a 100-year-old person can donate his skin, and it will be used for treatment.
- The skin of persons suffering from AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Skin Cancer, Active skin Disease and Septicemia are considered unfit for donation.
- At the time of skin harvesting, a blood sample from the body of the deceased is also taken, and a necessary test for HIV, Viral markers & Hepatitis is carried out at the Skin Bank.
- An old history of trauma or old history of burns does not make the donor unfit for skin donation.
- Skin is generally preserved in 85% glycerol solution. It is stored between 4-5 degree Celsius, and it can be stored for a period of up to 5 years.
India plans to revive trade deal with SACU
- Amid declining merchandise exports due to demand slowdown in the West, India is placing a renewed focus on striking a trade deal with the South African Customs Union (SACU).
- The resource rich Southern African Customs Union (SACU), a customs union among five countries of Southern Africa: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa, is one of the largest suppliers of raw primary or semi-processed commodities.
- According to the ministry of commerce, five rounds of negotiations regarding a potential India-SACU preferential trade agreement have been held thus far.
- The first round of discussions took place in 2007 and talks stalled in 2010.
Know! about the South African Customs Union (SACU)
- It is the world’s oldest customs union which was established in 1910.
- It was administered by South Africa through the 1910 and 1969 Agreements.
- The customs union collected duties on local production and customs duties on members’ imports from outside SACU, and the resulting revenue was allocated to member countries in quarterly instalments utilising a revenue-sharing formula.
- Negotiations to reform the 1969 Agreement started in 1994, and a new agreement was signed in 2002. The new arrangement was ratified by SACU Heads of State.
- The Economic structure of the Union links the Member states by a single tariff and no customs duties between them.
- The Member States form a single customs territory in which tariffs and other barriers are eliminated on substantially all the trade between the Member States for products originating in these countries, and there is a common external tariff that applies to non members of SACU.
6,850 live red-eared slider turtles seized from 2 passengers at Trichy airport
- Officers of the Customs Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) seized 6,850 live red-eared sliders, a species of turtle, from two male passengers who arrived at the Tiruchi international airport
Know! about Red-eared sliders turtle
- It is native to the southeastern USA and Mexico.
- It is a semi-aquatic turtle from fresh and brackish water ecosystems.
- It spends the majority of its time either in the water foraging or basking on rocks and logs.
- The species is considered one of the world’s 100 worst invasive non-native species.
- The red-eared slider is primarily aquatic and will emerge from the water for basking on rocks and logs.
- They can tolerate a wide range of habitats and are sometimes found in estuaries and coastal wetlands with brackish water.
- They can also tolerate a range of water quality and accept high levels of organic pollutants such as effluent and inorganic pollutants.
- Protection Status – IUCN Red List: Least Concern
Order of the Nile award
- Recently, the Egyptian President conferred the country’s highest state honour “Order of the Nile” award to the Prime Minister of India.
About the Order of the Nile Award
- It is Egypt’s highest state honour.
- Instituted in 1915, the ‘Order of the Nile’ is conferred upon Heads of state, Crown Princes, and Vice-Presidents who offer Egypt or humanity invaluable services.
- The ‘Order of the Nile’ is a pure gold collar consisting of three-square gold units comprising Pharaonic symbols.
- The first unit resembles the idea of protecting the state against evils, the second one resembles prosperity and happiness brought by the Nile, and the third one refers to wealth and endurance.
- The three units are connected by a circular gold flower decorated with turquoise and ruby.
- Hanging from the collar is a hexagonal pendant decorated with flowers of the Pharaonic style and turquoise and ruby gems.
- In the middle of the pendant, there is a protruding symbol representing the Nile that brings together the North (represented by the Papyrus) and the South(represented by the Lotus).
- Those who receive the ‘Order of the Nile’ shall be saluted upon their death.
Great Pyramid of Giza
- Indian Prime Minister recently visited the Great Pyramid of Giza during his maiden State visit to Egypt.
Know! about the Great Pyramid of Giza
- The Great Pyramid of Giza also called the Great Pyramid and the Great Pyramid of Khufu, is an ancient Egyptian pyramid that is the largest of the three Pyramids of Giza.
- It is located on the Giza plateau on the west bank of the Nile River near the modern city of Cairo in Egypt.
- It was built by Khufu (Cheops), the second king of Egypt’s 4th dynasty(c. 2575–c. 2465 BCE), and was completed about 2560 BCE.
- The pyramid was first excavated using modern techniques and scientific analysis in 1880 by Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (l.1853-1942), the British archaeologist.
- It is the largest Egyptian pyramid which rises to a height of 479 feet (146 metres) with a base of 754 feet (230 metres) and is comprised of over two million blocks of stone.
- The pyramid’s sides rise at an angle of 51.87° and are accurately oriented to the four cardinal points of the compass.
- The Great Pyramid’s core is made of yellowish limestone blocks, and the inner passages are of finer light-coloured limestone.
- The interior burial chamber is built of huge blocks of granite.
- The designations of the pyramids—Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure—correspond to the kings for whom they were built.
- The northernmost and oldest pyramid of the group was built for Khufu, the second king of the 4th dynasty.
- The middle pyramid was built for Khafre, the fourth of the eight kings of the 4th dynasty.
- The southernmost and last pyramid to be built was that of Menkaure, the fifth king of the 4th dynasty.
India joins US-led critical mineral club
- India has been inducted into the Mineral Security Partnership (MSP), a US-led collaboration of 14 countries that aims to catalyse public and private investment in critical mineral supply chains globally.
Know! about Mineral Security Partnership (MSP)
- It is an ambitious new initiative to bolster critical mineral supply chains, announced by the United States (US) and key partner countries in June 2022.
- The goal of the alliance is to ensure that critical minerals are produced, processed, and recycled in a manner that supports the ability of countries to realise the full economic development benefit of their geological endowments.
- The focus of the grouping would be on the supply chains of minerals such as Cobalt, Nickel, Lithium and also the 17 “rare earth” minerals.
- Mineral deposits with high economic vulnerability and high global supply chain risk. The major critical minerals are Graphite, Lithium and Cobalt.
- They are used for making EV batteries and are also critical for making semiconductors and high-end electronics manufacturing.
- These minerals are also used in manufacturing fighter jets, drones, radio sets and other critical equipment.
- The major producers of critical minerals globally are Chile, Indonesia, Congo, China, Australia and South Africa.
- The Karnataka government recently submitted a revised proposal to the National Wildlife Board (NWD) and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFC) for the Kalasa-Banduri project.
Know! about Kalasa-Banduri Project
- The project involves the construction of dams and a canal system to divert water from the Mahadayi River, located in Goa, to the Malaprabha River (a tributary of Krishna River) basin in Karnataka.
- The main goal of the project is to meet the drinking water needs of the districts of Belagavi, Dharwad, Bagalkot, and Gadag in Karnataka.
- Though the project was first proposed in the early 1980s, it has remained on paper owing to a dispute between Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
- As per plans, barrages are to be built against Kalasa and Banduri streams — tributaries of Mahadayi — and water will be diverted towards Karnataka’s parched districts.
- Mahadayi River rises in the Western Ghats from the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary in Khanapur taluk of Karnataka’s Belagavi district.
- The river travels 35 km in Karnataka; 82 km in Goa before joining the Arabian Sea at Panji (North Goa).
- Also called Mandovi in Goa, Mahadayi is a rain-fed river that is shared between Karnataka and Goa for their water needs.
- The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located on the island of Chorao in the Mandovi River.
- Major Tributaries: Kalasa Nala, Banduri Nala, Surla Nala, Haltar Nala, Poti Nala, Mahadayi Nala, Pansheer Nala, Bail Nala, Andher Nala.
- Prime Minister has gifted an eco-friendly lab-grown “7.5-carat green diamond” to US First Lady Jill Biden
- This “made-in-India” diamond produced by a lab based in Gujarat’s Surat was placed in a Kashmiri Papier mâché box while it was being presented.
Characteristics of diamond gifted to Jill Biden and its making
- The diamond possesses similar chemical and visual characteristics to naturally mined diamonds.
- It is referred to as a ‘green diamond’ because it is environmentally friendly, created using eco-friendly resources like solar and wind power.
- This diamond is a lab-grown 7.5-carat gem produced in Surat and has been certified by the Gemological Lab, IGI (International Gemological Institute).
- The 7.5-carat weight represents India’s 75 years of independence and sustainable international relations
- The diamond is made using Carbon Vapor Deposition (CVD), a technique that produces pure diamonds. It falls under a kind of “Type 2A diamonds”, known for their high purity and excellent thermal conductivity. These diamonds are often colourless due to their minimal nitrogen or boron impurities.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP)
- A recently conducted ecological survey has found the presence of 18 highly protected species in the alignment of Thane-Borivali Link Road (TBLR) which involves constructing twin tunnels under the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP)
Know! about Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP)
- It is located within suburban region of Mumbai, Maharashtra. The park covers about 20% of Mumbai’s geographical area.
- It is popularly known as “Krishnagiri Upvan” or “Borivali National Park”.
- The 2400-year-old Kanheri caves are sculpted out of the rocky cliff that lies within the park.
- The Kanheri Caves are a group of caves and rock-cut monuments cut into a massive basalt outcrop in the forests of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
- The Kanheri caves comprise more than 110 different rock-cut monolithic excavations and are one of the largest single excavations in the country.
- These excavations were primarily undertaken during the Hinayana phase of Buddhism but also have several examples of the Mahayana stylistic architectureas well as a few printings of the Vajrayana order.
- The name Kanheri is derived from ‘Kanhagiri’ in Prakrit and occurs in the Nasik inscription of the Satavahana ruler Vasisthiputra Pulumavi.
- They contain Buddhist sculptures and relief carvings, paintings and inscriptions, dating from the 1st century CE to the 10th century CE.
- The earliest reference to Kanheri is ascribed to Fa-Hein, who visited India during 399-411 CE.
Belize certified malaria-free by WHO
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has certified Belize as malaria-free, following the country’s over 70 years of continued efforts to stamp out the disease.
- A total of 42 countries and 1 territory have been certified as malaria-free by WHO
- Over the last 3 decades, Belize has achieved a dramatic reduction in its malaria burden – from a peak of about 10 000 cases in 1994 to zero indigenous cases in 2019.
- With support from USAID, PAHO has provided technical cooperation throughout Belize’s anti-malaria campaign.
- This success in Belize contributes to PAHO’s Disease Elimination Initiative which aims to eliminate more than 30 communicable diseases, including malaria, in the Americas by 2030.
- Belize is also a member of the “E-2025” initiative – a group of countries identified by WHO as having the potential to eliminate malaria by 2025.
- Belize is the third country to be awarded a malaria-free status in 2023, following the certifications of Azerbaijan and Tajikistan in March.
Know! about Belize
- It is located on the northeast coast of Central America and south of the Yucatán Peninsula. It has a land of mountains, swamps, and tropical jungle.
- It is bounded by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
- Along the coast of this country, there is Belize Barrier Reef which is the second-largest barrier reef in the world.
- The reef reserve system was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.
- In a landmark deal that gives a massive boost to ties between the US and India, General Electric (GE) Aerospace signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)to produce fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force.
- The agreement, includes the potential joint production of GE Aerospace’s F414 engines in India
- The F414 engines will power the IAF’s Light Combat Aircraft Mk2 jets.
- India’s first indigenous fighter jet LCA Tejas is powered by GE’s F404 engines – India failed to develop a jet engine despite repeated attempts by DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment.
- As many as 75 F404 engines have been delivered and another 99 are on order for LCA Mk1A by GE
- Eight F414 engines have been delivered as part of an ongoing development programme for LCA Mk2.
- This recent agreement will advance GE Aerospace’s earlier commitment to build 99 engines for the Indian Air Force as part of the LCA Mk2 program
F404 engine currently powers the LCA Mk1
Know! about GE’s F414 Engines
- F414-GE-400 engines power the US Navy’s Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.
- Saab’s Gripen E/F fighters use the F414G, the single-engine variant of the F414-GE-400.
- It is a turbofan engine which has been in use by the US Navy for more than 30 years.
- It is featured with advanced technology such as Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) — the latest aircraft ignition and engine control system that controls engine performance digitally.
- Only eight nations have F414-powered aircraft in operation in the world.
Know! about Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) programme with its F414-INS6 engine.
- AMCA Mk2 engine programme
- It is an advanced version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk1A, which is being used by the Indian Air Force (IAF).
- It is capable of integrating all indigenous weapon systems and a number of foreign armaments along with eight Beyond Visual Range Missiles (BVRMs).
- No other fighter aircraft of this class is capable of carrying eight BVR missiles simultaneously.
- It will have a mission endurance of 120 minutes and is capable of carrying 6.5 tonnes of weapons payload.
- It will be equipped with standoff weapon systems. The weaponry will also include an air-to-ground, long-range deep strike missile, SCALP.
- Prime Minister of India paid his respects at the Heliopolis (Port Tewfik) Memorial in the Heliopolis War Cemetery in Cairo, Egypt.
Know! about Heliopolis Memorial
- It is part of the larger Heliopolis Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.
- This memorial commemorates the memory of 3,727 Indian soldiers who died fighting in various campaigns in Egypt and Palestine in the First World War.
- The original Port Tewfik (now Port Suez) memorial was unveiled in 1926 and was situated at the entrance to the Suez Canal.
- The memorial was destroyed in the Israeli-Egyptian War of 1967 by retreating Egyptian soldiers, and a new memorial was erected in Heliopolis Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in 1980.
- The Indian troops played a key role in securing the Suez Canal in Egypt and in Palestine, where Indian cavalry participated in the Battle of Haifa and also played a key role in Mesopotamia in the First World War.
- It is located in Egypt along the northern coastline of the Gulf of Suez.
- The port and city mark the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, which runs north-south through Egypt from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez.
- The port serves vessels transporting general cargo, oil tankers, and both commercial and private passenger vessels.
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