Current Affairs 16,17,18,19 & 20Nov 2023

Daily Current Capsules

National Press Day

  • National Press Day is observed on November 16, every year, in India to celebrate the importance of a free and responsible press in a democratic society.
  • The day is celebrated to commemorate the establishment of the Press Council of India, which acts as a regulatory body for the news media in the country
  • On this day in 1966, Press Council of India started functioning as a moral watchdog to ensure that the press maintains the high standards expected from this powerful medium and also ensure that it is not fettered by the influence or threats of any extraneous factors.

ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting – Plus (ADMM-Plus)

  • Defecne Minister held bilateral meetings with his Indonesian and Vietnamese counterparts on the sidelines of 10th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting – Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Defecne Minister attended the 10th ADMM-Plus meeting and congratulated the Indonesian Defence Minister for the successful chairmanship of ADMM-Plus and also welcomed Laos as the new chair of ADMM-Plus and wished them all success for conduct of events in 2024.

Know! about ADMM plus

  • The ADMM-Plus is a platform for the ASEAN member states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its eight Dialogue Partners (India, US, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand) to strengthen security and defence cooperation.

2nd Voice of Global South Summit

  • The second virtual ‘Voice of the Global South Summit’ organized by India, under the theme: ‘Global South: Together for Everyone’s Growth, Everyone’s Trust’.
  • This summit follows the inaugural summit in January 2023, signaling India’s commitment to fostering solidarity among nations and consolidating its leadership in the Global South.
  • This unique initiative brought together 125 countries of the Global South to share their perspectives and priorities on a common platform.

Summit Highlights

  • At the summit, the Leaders resolved to come together amidst the unprecedented challenges facing the global south countries.
  • India successfully hosted the G 20 Summit in New Delhi in September, under the theme “one earth, one family and one future” with the support of the Global South. During its presidency, India made strong interventions in strengthening the voice of the global south including by making the African Union a permanent member of the grouping
  • The 2nd summit focused on sharing with countries of the Global South the key outcomes achieved in various G20 meetings over the course of India’s Presidency.
  • The summit served as a platform to discuss ways to sustain the momentum generated towards our common aspiration of a more inclusive, representative and progressive world order.

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Supply Chain Agreement signed by the 14 IPEF Partners

  • The third Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Ministerial Meeting was held in San Francisco, California on 14 November 2023 hosted by the US.
  • IPEF was launched jointly by the USA and other partner countries of the Indo-Pacific region on May 23, 2022 at Tokyo.
  • IPEF has 14 partner countries including Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam & USA.
  • It seeks to strengthen economic engagement among partner countries with the goal of advancing growth, peace and prosperity in the region.
  • The framework is structured around four pillars relating to Trade (Pillar I); Supply Chains (Pillar II); Clean Economy (Pillar III); and Fair Economy (Pillar IV). India had joined Pillars II to IV of IPEF while it has an observer status in Pillar-I.
  • At this Ministerial Meeting, negotiations under the IPEF Pillar-III (Clean Economy), Pillar IV (Fair Economy) and the Agreement on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (which seeks to establish a ministerial-level council and a commission) were substantially concluded.

Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII)

  • Union Minister for Commerce and Industry participated in the Investor Forum of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) & Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).
  • Thereafter, the Minister participated at the APEC Informal Leader’s Dialogue where he highlighted India’s environmental leadership in successfully meeting the renewable energy target of 175 gigawatt nine years ahead of its target.

Know! about PGII

  • The Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) is a collaborative effort by Group of Seven to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations based on the trust principles of the Blue Dot Network.
  • It is considered to be the bloc’s counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and a key component of the “Biden Doctrine”.
  • The partnership plan was announced for the first time in June 2022 during the 48th G7 summit in Germany

The Blue Dot Network (BDN)

  • The Blue Dot Network (BDN) is a multi-stakeholder initiative formed by the United States, Japan, and Australia to provide assessment and certification of infrastructure development projects worldwide on measures of financial transparency, environmental sustainability, and impact on economic development, with the goal of mobilizing private capital to invest abroad.
  • It was initially led by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Japan Bank for International Cooperation, and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia.

New species of gecko

  • Researchers have recently identified a new species of gecko in India, specifically in the town of Vairengte in Mizoram.
  • Named ‘Cyrtodactylus vairengtensis’ after its place of discovery, this gecko species is characterized by distinct features, particularly the number of femoral pores, setting it apart from other members of the Cyrtodactylus family.
  • The common name proposed for this newfound species is the ‘Vairengte bent-toed gecko.’
  • With a global count of 335 gecko species, India is home to 42 of them, showcasing its rich biodiversity.
  • The new species was found in proximity to human habitation in Vairengte, located in the Kolasib district of Mizoram.

INDO-PACIFIC REGIONAL DIALOGUE (IPRD-2023)

  • The three-day long Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2023 (IPRD-2023) concluded in New Delhi.
  • This annual apex-level regional strategic dialogue of the Indian Navy, conducted from 15 to 17 November 2023, engaged globally renowned experts from India and abroad
  • Theme – Geopolitical Impacts upon Indo-Pacific Maritime Trade and Connectivity

Know! about IPRD

  • IPRD is organized by the National Maritime Foundation (NMF), which is also the Navy’s chief knowledge partner for the international event.
  • The IPRD aims to review the prevailing geopolitical situation in the Indo-Pacific region and identify opportunities and challenges emanating from the moves (and counter-moves) of the various regional and global players with respect to the region.

Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI)

  • The Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) organised an International Conference-cum-Exhibition on ‘Aerospace & Aviation in 2047’ at Yashobhoomi Convention Centre in New Delhi
  • This conference-cum-exhibition is being organised to commemorate 75 years of excellence of the AeSI.

Know! about AeSI

  • The AeSI was established in 1948 with the Prime Minister as Patron-in-chief to promote aerospace and aviation in the country.
  • The objective of the society is to promote the advancement and nationwide diffusion of the knowledge of aeronautical sciences and aircraft engineering among various streams including industry, academia and research laboratories.
  • The AeSI has provided significant leadership in the domain of aerospace and aviation with outstanding luminaries as its members and Presidents that include Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Dr Satish Dhawan, Dr VS Arunachalam, Dr VK Saraswat etc.
  • It has been a catalyst for the growth of India’s aerospace industry and fostered collaborations between the government, private sector and academia to nurture a robust aerospace ecosystem.
  • The society is represented by distinguished aerospace professionals from research organisations, aerospace industries and academia.

Measurement, Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MMRV)

  • The United States, along with over a dozen countries and organizations, has established a working group aimed at advancing efforts to measure greenhouse gas emissions throughout the natural gas supply chain.
  • This collaborative initiative seeks to reduce global emissions of pollutants linked to climate change, as announced by the Energy Department.
  • The MMRV Working Group’s primary objective is to enhance the measurement, monitoring, reporting, and verification (MMRV) of emissions, including methane, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases.
  • It intends to apply these practices to the entirety of the natural gas supply chain, encompassing production, processing, transportation, liquefaction, and distribution of natural gas.
  • The coalition consists of several countries and organizations committed to tackling emissions and mitigating climate change.
  • Participants include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mozambique, Norway, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

RISC-V (DIR-V)

  • Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship flagged off the Nationwide Roadshow on Digital India RISC-V (DIR-V) Program.
  • This roadshow is being jointly organized by C-DAC, IEEE India Council and Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) on 17-18 November 2023, with participation from global leaders in the RISC-V design area.

Know! about Digital India RISC-V (DIR-V) Program

  • The DIR-V Program is a forward-looking initiative that aims to uplift India’s semiconductor ecosystem.
  • Its primary goal is to promote indigenous innovation in the field of microprocessors, laying the foundation for self-reliance.
  • The program emphasizes three key principles: innovation, functionality, and performance, shaping its direction for the future.
  • The program acknowledges the increasing demand for silicon chips in today’s digitized world.

Know! about RISC

  • The term RISC stands for “reduced instruction set computer” which executes few computer instructions whereas ‘V’ stands for the 5th generation.
  • It is an open-source hardware ISA (instruction set architecture) used for the development of custom processors targeting a variety of end applications.
  • It also enables designers to create thousands of potential custom processors, facilitating faster time to market. The commonality of the processor IP also saves on software development time.

Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC)

  • It is the leading R&D institution under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), specializing in IT, Electronics, and related areas.
  • Established in 1988 to counter the denial of supercomputer imports, C-DAC’s journey began with the development of India’s first Supercomputers PARAM.

Kill Switch

  • In a major breakthrough, scientists have reportedly discovered a ‘kill switch’ that triggers the death of cancer cells.
  • California experts from UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in Sacramento said they identified a protein on a receptor that can be designed to kill cancer cells.
  • CD95 receptors, also known as Fas, are called death receptors. These protein receptors reside on cell membranes.
  • When activated, they release a signal that causes the cells to self-destruct

How is the therapy carried out?

  • The researchers have named it CAR T-cell therapy, which involves collecting T cells from the patient’s blood and then genetically modifying them in a lab to produce receptors called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs).
  • After modifying them, these cells are then injected back into the patient’s body, in the bloodstream.
  • CAR T-cell therapy has shown promising efficacy against liquid cancers, including leukemia and other blood-related cancers. However, its success against solid tumors, such as breast, lung, and bowel cancers, has been limited.

Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC)

  • NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) experiment has achieved a groundbreaking milestone, demonstrating “first light” by successfully sending data via laser to and from a location nearly 10 million miles away (16 million km) – approximately 40 times farther than the Moon is from Earth.
  • The DSOC experiment, part of the recently launched Psyche spacecraft, accomplished this feat by beaming a near-infrared laser, loaded with test data, to the Hale Telescope at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory in California.
  • This achievement marks the farthest-ever demonstration of optical communications, positioning DSOC as a transformative technology for deep space communication, said NASA.
  • NASA said the “first light” achievement occurred on November 14 when DSOC’s flight laser transceiver, located on Psyche, locked onto an uplink laser beacon transmitted from the Optical Communications Telescope Laboratory at JPL’s Table Mountain Facility near Wrightwood, California.

Know! about Psyche mission and DSOC’s role

  • DSOC’s goal is to send high-bandwidth test data to Earth during its two-year technology demonstration while Psyche travels to the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
  • The successful “first light” achievement is a crucial step towards enabling high-data-rate communications capable of supporting future space exploration, including human missions to Mars
  • DSOC aims to demonstrate data transmission rates 10 to 100 times greater than current state-of-the-art radio frequency systems used by spacecraft.
  • This advancement holds the potential for transmitting scientific information, high-definition imagery, and streaming video, contributing significantly to future human missions to Mars.

Annual UN Forum 2023 on ‘International Humanitarian Law & Peacekeeping’

  • United Service Institution of India (USI), the country’s oldest think-tank established in 1870 for research and debate on national security and military affairs organised the annual UN Forum 2023 in New Delhi
  • The forum on ‘International Humanitarian Law and Peacekeeping’ is being organised in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Centre for UN Peacekeeping Operations.

AAINA Dashboard for Cities

  • The ‘AAINA Dashboard for Cities’ portal www.aaina.gov.in has been made live by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) on 13th November, 2023 where Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) across the country can participate in this pioneering initiative to voluntarily submit their key data on a regular basis, through a simple, easy-to-fill, data entry form on the portal.
  • The primary objectives of the AAINA Dashboard are to help cities to (i) see how they are faring vis-à-vis other cities, (ii) inspire them by pointing to possibilities and areas of improvement and (iii) providing opportunity to learn and engage with frontrunners. While not ranking the ULBs, the AAINA dashboard would serve as a tool for comparing similarly placed cities and promoting peer learning among cities.
  • The Dashboard will present the data submitted by the ULBs on the basis of indicators across five broad pillars namely, (i) Political & Administrative Structure, (ii) Finance, (iii) Planning, (iv) Citizen Centric Governance and (v) Delivery of Basic Services.
  • The ULBs will submit their data, including audited accounts, and self-reported performance metrics by logging in to the dashboard’s portal.
  • ULBs would be free to update the information initially provided by them, anytime on the portal as per need.
  • The Dashboard has been envisaged as a permanent platform for ULB related data, that would be updated on a regular basis.
  • With active cooperation of all ULBs, the ‘AAINA Dashboard for Cities’ aims to create a robust database of the key performance metrics of Urban Local Bodies, which could be accessed by all stakeholders, and subsequently would open for public view once it gets populated.
  • The Ministry through Digital India Corporation will provide handholding support to ULBs / States in the data submission process on a need basis.

Justice App

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  • JustIS Mobile App is developed for the Judges of District & Subordinate Courts in the country.
  • Embracing technology at the forefront, Justice App – A digital tool for efficient court management provides Judicial Officers the Electronic Case Management, bringing innovation to the courtroom and reducing inordinate delays while disposing of the cases.

India-UK Electric Propulsion Capability Partnership

  • India and the United Kingdom discussed the future of electric propulsion in naval vessels during the second India-UK Electric Propulsion Capability Partnership Joint Working Group meeting, which took place in New Delhi
  • During a 2022 Defence Expo in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, organisations from India and the UK’s defense industry united to create a new defence industry joint working group for more effective cooperation.
  • Following the Gandhinagar expo the Electric Propulsion Capability Partnership was later established with the aim of helping India develop maritime electric-propulsion technology for its future warships.
  • India’s naval warships do not currently have electric propulsion systems. The Indian Navy is considering adding them to future warships.
  • The British and Indian sides discussed issues of the Electric Propulsion Partnership like finalisation of the Statement of Technical Requirements (SOTR), Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) procedures, maintenance, Manning Philosophy and System Integration requirements.

PM-PVTG Development Mission

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the PM-PVTG Development Mission
  • It is aimed at the comprehensive development of approximately 28 lakh people from Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  • It was launched on November 15, coinciding with the birth anniversary of the renowned tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda.
  • The launch of the PM-PVTG Development Mission conducted in Jharkhand’s Khunti district, following a visit to Ulihatu village, which is the birthplace of Birsa Munda.
  • The PM-PVTG Mission is strategically designed to provide critical infrastructure such as power, water, road connectivity, housing, education, and healthcare to the 75 PVTG communities residing in remote villages.
  • Multiple government ministries will collaborate on this mission, bringing about 11 interventions to the targeted villages, including the PM-Gram Sadak Yojana, PM-Gram Awaas Yojana, and Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • Prime Minister Modi is the first sitting Prime Minister to set foot in the village.
  • Last year, on Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas, President Droupadi Murmu also made a historic visit to the village, marking the first such visit by any President.

Know! also about Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra

  • In addition to the PM-PVTG mission, Prime Minister Modi launched the “Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra” from Khunti.
  • This yatra aims to achieve the saturation of flagship government schemes across the entire country.
  • The journey will commence from tribal-dominated districts, with the goal of covering all districts by January 2024.

EXERCISE VAJRA PRAHAR

  • 14th Edition of the Indo-US Joint Special Forces exercise “VAJRA PRAHAR 2023” commenced at the Joint Training Node, Umroi
  • Exercise VAJRA PRAHAR is a joint exercise conducted between Indian Army and US Army Special Forces.
  • It aims at sharing best practices and experiences in areas such as joint mission planning and operational tactics.
  • The first edition was conducted in the year 2010 in India and the 13th edition of the Indo-US Joint Special Forces exercise was conducted at the Special Forces Training School (SFTS), Bakloh (HP).
  • The current edition is being conducted in Umroi Cantonment, Meghalaya from 21st November to 11thDecember 2023.

Nest

  • In a move to promote sustainable and environmentally friendly construction practices in the domestic housing sector, the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), a part of the Confederation of Indian Industry, has launched a new rating and certification initiative called ‘Nest.’
  • ‘Nest’ would encourage individual homeowners and the residential sector to embrace green building features, leading to reduced electricity consumption, lower water usage, and the creation of healthier living spaces.
  • The success of the green building rating and certification programs, covering 31 categories ranging from commercial spaces, factories, railway stations, special economic zones (SEZs), and schools, was highlighted during the event.
  • These programs have collectively resulted in green buildings encompassing a total area of 10.42 billion square feet across over 11,586 projects.

State Educational Achievement Survey 2023 – PARAKH

  • The State Educational Achievement Survey by PARAKH was conducted to understand the baseline performance in the development of the competencies at the end of the foundational, preparatory, and middle stages.
  • The successful completion of the State Educational Achievement Survey, conducted on 3 November 2023, marks a significant achievement in the assessment of educational competencies among students at the block level in India at grades 3, 6, and 9.
  • The primary objective of this survey is to assess the learning competencies of students at the end of each educational stage, i.e., foundational, preparatory, and middle with a primary focus on Language and Mathematics.
  • Barring Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal, all other States and UTs participated in the implementation of the survey.
  • One of the noteworthy features of the State Educational Achievement Survey (SEAS) 2023 conducted by PARAKH was the expansion of the sample size to understand the learning gaps at the block level, a strategic shift from the district

Know! about PARAKH

  • In line with the NEP 2020, the National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) has been set up as a body for setting norms, standards, and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognized school boards of India.
  • It will also guide the State Achievement Survey (SAS) and undertake the National Achievement Survey (NAS); monitor achievement of learning outcomes; and encourage and help school board to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century.

Rapid Innovation and Startup Expansion (RISE)

  • AIM, NITI Aayog launched a new accelerator called Rapid Innovation and Startup Expansion (RISE) to support Australian and Indian circular economy startups.
  • The India Australia RISE Accelerator is delivered in partnership between CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), the Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • The program focusses on startups and SMEs that have mature technologies and a desire to expand between India and Australia.
  • There is no charge for startups to participate in the program, which will be delivered virtually, with a number of opportunities to travel between Australia and India. Participating startups may also be eligible for up to INR 40,00,000 in non-equity grants.

Sadar festival

  • Hyderabad is gearing up for the annual Sadar festival, a lively celebration centered around buffalo cattle, held every year on the second day after Diwali.
  • This vibrant festival is a cherished tradition of the Yadav community and is also known as Dunnapothula Panduga.
  • It serves as a significant occasion for community bonding and merriment in villages and towns.

GWP star

  • Some of the world’s big, industrialised meat and dairy companies have been promoting a new metric for measuring methane emissions, called GWP* (pronounced as GWP star), which they argue is a more accurate way to calculate emissions from the greenhouse gas (GHG). However, by adopting this new method, they can manipulate their overall GHG emissions and escape accountability by falsely claiming climate neutrality, a new report has revealed.

Know! about GWP 100

  • The established metric under the 2015 Paris Agreement for measuring the global warming potential of a gas over a 100-year period is GWP100, which is the global warming potential evaluated over a 100-year timeline. It focuses on the absolute level of emissions.

How GWP 100 is different from GWP star

  • GWP100 measures the warming effect of a quantity of a non-carbon dioxide (CO2) GHG, emitted at a given point in time, relative to an equal amount of CO2.
  • On the other hand, GWP* focuses on changes in emissions over decadal timescales rather than absolute levels.

GWP*

  • GWP* was developed in 2016 by a team of researchers from Oxford University, led by two academics who argued it was more accurate than the current systems used to report national methane emissions at the international level.
  • It was then introduced in 2018 at 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Naitwar Mori Hydro Electric Project

  • State-run power producer SJVN has achieved a significant milestone as the first unit of the 30 MW capacity at the Naitwar Mori Hydro Electric Project (NMHEP) commenced supplying power to the national electricity grid. This development marks a crucial step in enhancing the region’s power infrastructure.
  • The Naitwar Mori Hydro Electric Project is strategically located on the River Tons, a major tributary of the Yamuna, situated in the picturesque Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
  • The project’s foundation stone was laid in 2018 by Union Power Minister R K Singh and former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivender Singh Rawat.
  • This project is designed as a run-of-the-river project, featuring two generating units, each with a capacity of 30 MW. The second unit is expected to be synchronized with the grid later this month.

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