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Current Affairs 01 & 02 Nov 2023

Daily Current Capsules

01 and 02 November 2023

Gwalior, Kozhikode among 55 new cities to join UNESCO Creative Cities Network

  • Gwalior and Kozhikode from India are among the 55 new cities which have joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
  • While Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh has made it to the coveted list in the ‘Music’ category, Kozhikode in Kerala has earned the place in the ‘Literature’ category
  • World Cities Day designated by the United Nations falls on October 31.
  • With the latest additions, the UCCN now counts 350 cities in more than a hundred countries, representing seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music.

Know! about UCCN

  • The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.
  • Almost 300 cities around the world which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

India and Sri Lanka re-launch negotiations of the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA)

  • India and Sri Lanka held the 12th round of negotiations on the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 30th October 2023 to 1st November 2023.
  • The two countries had 11 rounds of bilateral talks from 2016 to 2018. Thereafter the negotiations were paused.
  • The 12th round marked a significant step in revitalising the bilateral economic relationship.
  • The delegations from both sides delved into a spectrum of critical areas, including Trade in Goods, Technical Barriers to Trade, and Trade in Services.
  • Both sides hailed the progress achieved during the previous discussions, and decided to treat 9 issues as resolved. Both sides agreed to continue discussions on matters including apparel quotas and pharmaceutical procurement
  • India was Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner with an overall bilateral merchandise trade of 5.45 billion dollars in 2021.

Therapeutic drug formulation (TDF)

Hottentotta tamulus - Wikipedia

  • A new therapeutic drug formulation (TDF) comprising of low doses of commercial equine anti-scorpion antivenom (ASA), α1- adrenoreceptor agonist (AAAs) and vitamin C, for inhibiting the Indian red scorpion venom-induced toxicity and associated symptoms can help improve clinical management of scorpion sting patients.
  • Scorpion envenomation is a severe problem in many countries of the world.
  • The Indian red scorpion (Mesobuthus tamulus), with its life-threatening sting, is one of the world’s most dangerous scorpions.
  • Intravenous administration of equine anti-scorpion antivenom (ASA), raised against M. tamulus venom (MTV), is the only available treatment for scorpion stings.
  • The novel TDF efficiently neutralized the Indian red scorpion venom, induced increase in blood glucose level, organ tissue damage, necrosis, and pulmonary edema in Wistar rats, much better than commercial ASA, AAA, and vitamin C.
  • The treatment holds promise for effective treatment against scorpion stings and will save the lives of millions of patients worldwide.

RBI launches two key surveys for monetary policy inputs

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the introduction of two crucial surveys, namely the ‘Inflation Expectations Survey of Households’ and the ‘Consumer Confidence Survey,’ aimed at gathering essential data for the upcoming bi-monthly monetary policy. The next monetary policy review is scheduled to take place from December 6-8.

Inflation Expectations Survey

  • The ‘Inflation Expectations Survey of Households’ is designed to capture subjective assessments on price movements and inflation.
  • It will gather data based on individual consumption baskets in 19 cities, including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Raipur, Ranchi, and Thiruvananthapuram.
  • The survey will solicit qualitative responses from households regarding anticipated price changes, both general prices and specific product groups, for the next three months as well as the one-year period ahead.
  • It will collect quantitative responses on current inflation rates, as well as inflation rates expected in the next three months and one year. The survey results are expected to provide valuable insights for shaping monetary policy decisions.

Consumer Confidence Survey

  • Simultaneously, the ‘Consumer Confidence Survey’ will seek qualitative feedback from households, focusing on their sentiments concerning the general economic situation, employment prospects, price levels, household income, and spending patterns.
  • This survey, conducted regularly in the same 19 cities mentioned earlier, aims to gauge public sentiment on various economic factors.
  • The findings from both surveys are anticipated to offer significant inputs to inform the RBI’s monetary policy strategies

Bhutan becomes the first country to sterilise all stray dogs after 14-year-long project

  • Bhutan has declared itself the first country in the world to have completely sterilised and vaccinated its entire stray dog population, following a 14-year dog population control programme.
  • A global animal charity, Humane Society International (HSI), that helped implement the programme made the announcement.
  • Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering announced the completion of the National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Project, noting that the project has successfully sterilised and vaccinated over 150,000 strays since its inception.
  • The project, which began in 2009, also included microchipping 32,000 pet dogs.

Oral Rabies Vaccination

  • The United Nations organizations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), WHO, and World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) have recommended the use of oral rabies vaccination (ORV) for dogs.
  • This method is seen as more effective in targeted elimination efforts, particularly for regional wildlife populations.

Block proving by axle counter (BPAC) system

  • The Central Railway has commissioned the block proving by axle counter (BPAC) system in the Vasind-Asangaon section of Mumbai Division

Know! about BPAC system

  • The BPAC system plays a pivotal role in maintaining the utmost safety of train operations.
  • Specifically, it meticulously examines the last vehicle of a section, subsequently confirming the section’s clearance before granting authorization for another train to enter.
  • This technology counts the number of axles of wheels of train coaches passed in particular section and it ensures safe clearance of all those coaches without leftover of any coach in middle of the section. And after its technical confirmation o­nly, the system allows following 2nd train to enter into that particular section, thus ensuring 100% safety to avoid more than 1 number of trains in a particular section between 2 stop signals.
  • This state-of-the-art technology acts as a vigilant guardian, ensuring that train movements occur without any compromise to passenger safety or operational efficiency.

2023 State of the Climate Report

  • This year has witnessed an alarming increase in the number of days with global mean temperatures exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • This year, exceptional heat waves have swept across the world, leading to record-high temperatures.
  • The oceans have been historically warm, with global and North Atlantic sea surface temperatures both breaking records and unprecedented low levels of sea ice surrounding Antarctica
  • 2023 State of the Climate Report: Entering Uncharted Territory,’ published in the BioScience journal

Interconnected Disaster Risks Report 2023

  • Tipping points are reached when the systems we rely on stop functioning as designed, amplifying the risk of catastrophic impacts, according to new research published by the United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS).
  • The Interconnected Disaster Risks Report 2023 finds that the world is fast approaching risk tipping points on multiple fronts.
  • UNU-EHS has raised a red flag regarding India’s dwindling groundwater levels.
  • The report indicates that 78% of wells in the state of Punjab are considered overexploited, and the entire northwestern region is expected to face critically low groundwater availability by 2025.
  • The ‘Interconnected Disaster Risks Report 2023’ focuses on six environmental tipping points, including groundwater depletion, and reveals a dire situation worldwide.

The report analyses six interconnected risk tipping points.

  1. Accelerating extinctions that trigger a chain reaction to ecosystem collapse
  2. Groundwater depletion that drains water risking food supply
  3. Mountain glaciers melting
  4. Space debris causing loss of multiple satellites, “our eyes in the sky”
  5. Unbearable heat making it hard to live in some areas
  6. Uninsurable future when rising risks make homes unaffordable

Know! about UNU-EHS

  • UNU-EHS, founded in December 2003, addresses the risk and vulnerability aspects of human security and the consequences of complex natural hazards and global change.
  • UNU-EHS assumes that human security can be increased through education and appropriate adaptation measures.
  • The research of UNU-EHS therefore aims at improving the understanding of cause-effect relationships and finding ways to reduce vulnerability for sustainable development.

Lok Sabha Ethics Committee

  • Trinamul Congress Lok Sabha member Mahua Moitra appeared before the Ethics Committee of the lower house.
  • The Committee is probing BJP Lok Sabha member Nishikant Dubey’s bribe-for-query allegations against Moitra.

Know! about Ethics Committee

  • The Ethics Committee was established on March 4, 1997, by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha with the purpose of supervising and ensuring the moral and ethical behaviour of members.
  • “Its role involves reviewing cases referred to it in relation to the ethical and other misconduct of members
  • The members of the Ethics Committee are appointed by the speaker for a period of one year.
  • Any individual can file a complaint against a Member of Parliament (MP) by going through another Lok Sabha MP.
  • This complaint should include supporting evidence of the alleged misconduct and an affidavit confirming that the complaint is not “false, frivolous, or vexatious.”
  • Meanwhile, the committee examines every complaint relating to unethical conduct of a member of Lok Sabha referred to it by the Speaker and makes such recommendations as it may deem fit.
  • After a preliminary inquiry, if there is no prima facie case then, the matter might be dropped.
  • The Committee submits its report to the Speaker, who then seeks the House’s opinion on whether the report should be deliberated.

Know! also about Privileges Committee

  • The work of the Ethics Committee and the Privileges Committee often overlap. An allegation of corruption against an MP can be sent to either body, but usually more serious accusations go to the Privileges Committee.
  • The mandate of the Privileges Committee is to safeguard the “freedom, authority, and dignity of Parliament”.
  • These privileges are enjoyed by individual Members as well as the House as a whole.
  • An MP can be examined for breach of privilege; a non-MP too can be accused of breach of privilege for actions that attack the authority and dignity of the House.

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