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November 27, 2019
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November 29, 2019
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28 November Current Affairs

Sumatran Rhinos go extinct in Malaysia

In News:

The last surviving Sumatran Rhino in Malaysia, Iman, died in Borneo Rhino Sanctuary. The Rhino died of cancer.

Details:

With this Sumatran rhino have become extinct in Malaysia.

Iman was captured in 2014 from Danum Valley in Malaysia.

Sumatran Rhinos:

The Sumatran Rhinos are the smallest of the five extant rhino species in the world. The other rhino species include Black Rhinos, White Rhinos, Greater on-horned Rhinos and Javan Rhinos.

With the death of Iman, there are only 80 Sumatran Rhinos left in the world. All the 80 are currently in Indonesia in the Indonesian part of Borneo and Sumatra Island. Poaching and loss of habitat are the main reasons behind their extinction.

Sumatran Rhinos in India:

In India the Sumatran Rhinos occurred in parts of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Chittagong hills in the 19th century.

However, the last Sumatran Rhino of India was killed in 1967. The species is now extinct in India.

IUCN Status:

The International Union of Conservation of Nature Red List has put the Sumatran Rhinos in the Critically Endangered category.

Sumatran Rhino Rescue Project:

The Sumatran Rhino Rescue is an international project that intends to save the species. It is being implemented by the World Wildlife Fund, National Geographic Society, Global Wildlife Conservation, International Rhino Foundation and the IUCN Commission.

Prosperity & Inclusion City Seal and Awards (PICSA) Index

In News:

The first-ever Prosperity & Inclusion City Seal and Awards (PICSA) Index has been released.

About the Index:

The index has been prepared by the Basque institutions and compiled by D&L Partners.

The index measures factors such as the affordability of housing and access to education and healthcare, besides GDP per capita.

The index has ranked 113 cities across the globe in terms of their inclusive prosperity.

This is the first time that the world’s major cities have been ranked not just by the size and health of their economy, but for their efforts to build inclusive and prosperous environments for all its citizens.

Highlights of the index:

The index has been topped by Zurich in Switzerland.

It is followed by Vienna and Copenhagen in the second and third place respectively.

The Zurich was ranked first as it scores strongly across all measures, particularly on quality of life, work, housing, leisure, safety, and education with the Swiss higher education system attaining an especially high score.

Bangalore has emerged as India’s highest-ranked city at No. 83 in the index.

Delhi at 101 and Mumbai at 107 are the other Indian cities to make at the index.

The index has also said that many of the world’s wealthiest cities are failing to create inclusive economies for their citizens.

The report further noted that a large number of cities in Africa, Asia and South America are ranked towards the bottom of the index, underscoring the huge poverty and inequality challenges they face.

Golden Rice

In News:

Bangladesh could be on the verge of becoming the first country to approve plantation of Golden Rice.

About Golden Rice:

Golden rice is a variety of rice (Oryza sativa) produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesize beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A in the edible parts of rice.

It is intended to produce a fortified food to be grown and consumed in areas with a shortage of dietary vitamin A.

Research has indicated that one cup of Golden Rice can provide up to 50% of the daily requirement of an adult for vitamin A.

But presently, it has a low shelf life of not more than 3 months as it may lose its nutrients after that.

Highlights:

The Golden Rice that is being reviewed in Bangladesh has been developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

According to the institute, this rice variety will not be more expensive than the conventional variety.

About Vitamin A:

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is good for healthy vision, skin, bones and other tissues in the body.

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) or hypovitaminosis A is a lack of vitamin A in blood and tissues.

It is common in poorer countries but rarely is seen in more developed countries.

Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a variety of problems which includes :

  1. a) night blindness
  2. b) a higher risk of infections
  3. c) follicular hyperkeratosis leading to dry skin
  4. d) fertility issues and
  5. e) delayed growth in children.

About IRRI:

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is an international agricultural research and training organization with headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna in the Philippines.

IRRI is known for its work in developing rice varieties that contributed to the Green Revolution in the 1960s which preempted the famine in Asia.

Its aim to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and ensure environmental sustainability of rice farming.

ISRO successfully launches CARTOSAT-3 into space aboard PSLV- C47

In News:

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched an advanced high resolution imaging satellite CARTOSAT-3 into space.

Details:

The satellite lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh aboard one of the most reliable rockets, the PSLV.

About CARTOSAT 3:

An earth-observation satellite weighing nearly 1,625 kgs, it was placed into a low earth orbit, 509 kms above the earth’s surface.

Its loaded with panchromatic (PAN) cameras with a resolution of 0.25 metres, highest so far in any of the CARTOSAT series launched by the agency so far.

It’s lifespan is estimated to be 5 years.

Significance:

The satellite would map the earth’s surface, providing exhaustive detailed topographic and spatial data which would be important for management and monitoring of land resources, urban planning, disaster management and coastal surveys.

Apart from the main satellite, there are 13 other commercial nanosatellites from the US which are being launched as part of a commercial arrangement, with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), ISRO’s commercial arm.

Background:

The mission is part of the Indian Space Remote Sensing Programme, under which ISRO has launched IRS series, which were later replaced with CARTOSAT.

Earlier CARTOSAT satellites:

  • CARTOSAT 1
  • CARTOSAT 2
  • CARTOSAT 2A
  • CARTOSAT 2B
  • CARTOSAT 2C
  • CARTOSAT 2D
  • CARTOSAT 2E
  • CARTOSAT 2F

 

Chhattisgarh Panchayats To Have Disabled Quota

In News:

The Chhattisgarh Cabinet has approved an amendment to the State Panchayati Raj Act, 1993, which makes mandatory the presence of a person with disabilities in all panchayats across the state.

Details:

This will make it the only State to have such members in all panchayats.

Key facts:

Every panchayat will now have differently abled members, either elected or nominated.

If differently abled members are not elected through the electoral process, then one member, either male or female, would be nominated as a panch.

And as for janpads and zilla panchayats, the State government would nominate two such members, one male and one female, to them.

Constitutional rights of the disabled:

Under the Constitution the disabled have been guaranteed the following fundamental rights:

  • The Constitution secures to the citizens including the disabled, a right of justice, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and of opportunity and for the promotion of fraternity.
  • Article 15(1) enjoins on the Government not to discriminate against any citizen of India (including disabled) on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  • Article 15 (2) States that no citizen (including the disabled) shall be subjected to any disability, liability, restriction or condition on any of the above grounds in the matter of their access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment or in the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of government funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.
  • There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens (including the disabled) in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
  • No person including the disabled irrespective of his belonging can be treated as an untouchable. It would be an offence punishable in accordance with law as provided by Article 17 of the Constitution.
  • Every person including the disabled has his life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

 

Exchange Traded Funds

In News:

The centre is planning to launch India’s first fixed income Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) comprising debt securities of large central public sector enterprises (PSUs).

Features and significance:

The ETF is expected to have a size of Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore.

The fund will comprise only AAA-rated papers of the PSU companies.

It provides a new option to conservative investors to own securities of government-owned companies along with the facility of overnight liquidity as ETF units will be listed on exchanges.

Compared with bank fixed deposits that generate a post-tax return of around 5.5 per cent, this product could generate a return of over 7 per cent for the investors.

It can comprise corporate debt securities in the form of bonds, credit-linked note, debentures, promissory notes as underlying instruments.

About ETFs:

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are mutual funds listed and traded on stock exchanges like shares.

Typically, an ETF mirrors a particular index, which means the group of stocks in the ETF would be similar to those in the index that it is benchmarked to.

Usually, ETFs are passive funds where the fund manager doesn’t select stocks on your behalf. Instead, the ETF simply copies an index and endeavours to accurately reflect its performance.

In an ETF, one can buy and sell units at prevailing market price on a real time basis during market hours.

Benefits of ETFs:

  • ETFs are cost efficient. Given that they don’t make any stock (or security choices), they don’t use services of star fund managers.
  • They allow investors to avoid the risk of poor security selection by the fund manager, while offering a diversified investment portfolio.
  • The stocks in the indices are carefully selected by index providers and are rebalanced periodically.
  • They offer anytime liquidity through the exchanges.

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