11 May Current Affairs
May 11, 2020
13 May Current Affairs
May 13, 2020
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12 May Current Affairs

Olive Ridley Turtles

In News:

Mass hatching of Olive Ridley turtles has begun at Odisha’s Rushikulya rookery (near Ganjam district).

The coast of Odisha in India is the largest mass nesting site for the Olive-ridley, followed by the coasts of Mexico and Costa Rica.

Key Points:

  1. a) Features:

The Olive ridley turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world.

These turtles are carnivores and get their name from their olive colored carapace.

  1. b) Habitat: They are found in warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
  2. c) Migration: They migrate thousands of kilometers between feeding and mating grounds in the course of a year.
  3. d) Arribada (Mass Nesting): They are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
  4. e) They lay their eggs over a period of five to seven days in conical nests about one and a half feet deep which they dig with their hind flippers.

Threats:

They are extensively poached for their meat, shell and leather, and their eggs.

However, the most severe threat they face is the accidental killing through entanglement in trawl nets and gill nets due to uncontrolled fishing during their mating season around nesting beaches.

  1. f) Protection Status:

IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

CITES: Appendix I

Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I

  1. g) Step Taken for Conservation: To reduce accidental killing in India, the Odisha government has made it mandatory for trawls to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), a net specially designed with an exit cover which allows the turtles to escape while retaining the catch.

National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research and Covid-19

In News:

National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research,Goa has contributed in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic through significant analytical work in the different laboratories for research work.

It also actively participated in the various webinars and sessions organized by the Ministry of Earth Sciences during the lockdown.

National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research:

National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) was established as an autonomous Research and Development Institution of the Ministry of Earth Sciences in 1998.

It is located in Goa.

It is the nodal agency for planning, promotion, coordination and execution of the entire gamut of polar and southern ocean scientific research in the country as well as for the associated logistics activities.

Its responsibilities include:

Management and upkeep of the Indian Antarctic Research Bases “Maitri” and “Bharati”, and the Indian Arctic base “Himadri”.

Management of the Ministry’s research vessel ORV Sagar Kanya as well as the other research vessels chartered by the Ministry.

Scientific research activities being undertaken by several national institutions and organizations in Antarctica, the Arctic and in the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean.

Geoscientific surveys of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and its extended continental shelf beyond 200m, deep-sea drilling in the Arabian Sea basin through the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), exploration for ocean non-living resources such as gas hydrates and multi-metal sulphides in mid-ocean ridges.

IODP is an international marine research collaboration that explores Earth’s history and dynamics using ocean-going research platforms to recover data recorded in seafloor sediments and rocks and to monitor subseafloor environments.

New Road to Kailash Mansarovar

In News:

Recently, the Defence Minister of India has inaugurated a new 80-km road in Uttarakhand connecting the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and opening a new route for Kailash Mansarovar yatra via Lipulekh Pass (China border).

It is scheduled to be completed by December 2022 and will significantly reduce the travel time for pilgrims.

Key Points:

The Link Road is named as the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra Route under which the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) achieved road connectivity from Dharchula (Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand) to Lipulekh.

Lipulekh Pass also known as Lipu-Lekh Pass/Qiangla or Tri-Corner is a high altitude mountain pass situated in the western Himalayas with a height of 5,334 metre or 17,500 feet.

It is an International mountain pass between India, China and Nepal.

The road was made under directions of the China Study Group (CSG) and is funded by Indo-China Border Road (ICBR).

It was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in 2005.

The last 5-km of the road could not be finished due to a temporary ban placed on the last-mile connectivity in 2016 by the Director General Military Operations, which is yet to be lifted.

Advantages:

It is the shortest and cheapest route with just one-fifth distance of road travel as compared to other old routes. The other route is via Sikkim.

There is no air travel involved and the majority of the travel (84%) is in India and only 16% in China compared to other routes where 80% road travel is in China.

Except for a 5-km trek, whole travel will be on vehicles  reducing the 5-day trek to 2- days road travel.

Helicopter Money

In News:

Recently, the Telangana Chief Minister suggested that the helicopter money can help states to come out of the economic chaos created by Covid-19 pandemic.

Key Points:

  1. a) Helicopter money:

It is an unconventional  monetary policy tool, which involves printing large sums of money and distributing it to the public, to stimulate the economy during a recession (decline in general economic activity) or when interest rates fall to zero.

Under such a policy, a central bank “directly increases the money supply and, via the government, distribute the new cash to the population with the aim of boosting demand and inflation.”.

The term was coined by American economist Milton Friedman. It basically denotes a helicopter dropping money from the sky.

  1. b) Difference between helicopter money and quantitative easing:

Helicopter money should not be confused with quantitative easing, because both aim to boost consumer spending and increase inflation.

In case of helicopter money, currency is distributed to the public and there is no repayment liability.

Whereas in case of quantitative easing, it involves the use of printed money by central banks to buy government bonds. Here the government has to pay back for the assets that the central bank buys.

  1. c) Benefits of helicopter money:

It does not rely on increased borrowing to fuel the economy, which means that it doesn’t create more debt.

It boosts spending and economic growth more effectively than quantitative easing because it increases aggregate demand – the demand for goods and services – immediately.

  1. d) Issues with helicopter money:

It does not involve repayment liability, therefore many people argue that it’s not a feasible solution to revive the economy.

It may lead to over-inflation.

It may devalue the currency in the foreign exchange market.

SMALLPOX

In News:

World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN’s postal agency released a commemorative postage stamp on the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox.

About:

Cause: Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by one of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor.

Transmission: It was contagious i.e. spread from one person to another.

Symptoms: The initial symptoms of the disease included fever and vomiting. This was followed by formation of sores in the mouth and a skin rash. Over a number of days the skin rash turned into characteristic fluid-filled bumps with a dent in the center.

Mortality: The risk of death following contracting the disease was about 30%, with higher rates among babies.

Eradication: The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977, and the World Health Organization (WHO) certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980.

Important Info:

Smallpox is one of two infectious diseases to have been eradicated, the other being rinderpest in 2011.

Edward Jenner (1749 – 1823) was an English physician who was a contributor to the development of the smallpox vaccine.

PAKISTAN-OCCUPIED KASHMIR (PoK)

In News:

The India Meteorological Department has started mentioning areas in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) — Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad — in its regional forecast bulletin as part of its Jammu & Kashmir Met subdivision.

About:

Though the IMD had been mentioning PoK areas in its national forecast for the last six months after J&K’s bifurcation last year, its regional forecasts started specifying the areas explicitly in its bulletins from May 5.

The move assumes significance, considering India’s official position that PoK belongs to India.

The inclusion of Muzaffarabad and Gilgit-Baltistan comes amid Pakistan’s Supreme Court allowing elections in Gilgit-Baltistan recently, to which India had strongly reacted.

Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK)?

Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) historically belonged to the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. This territory has been under Pakistan’s unlawful control since October 1947.

POK comprises the so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and has remained an amorphous.

The Trans Karakoram Tract, comprising Shaksgam from Baltistan and Raskam from Gilgit, which Pakistan ceded to China in 1963, is also a part of POK. China promised to assist Pakistan in building the Karakoram Highway as a payoff.

Muzaffarabad is the capital of the so called Azad Kashmir (AJK).

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