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29 November Current Affairs

Annual Emissions Gap Report

In News:

UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released its annual Emissions Gap Report for the year 2019.

Key Highlights of the report:

Anticipated emissions:

Greenhouse gas emissions have risen 1.5 per cent per year over the last decade. Emissions in 2018, including from land-use changes such as deforestation, hit a new high of 55.3 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Even if all current unconditional commitments under the Paris Agreement are implemented, temperatures are expected to rise by 3.2°C over pre-industrial levels.

Culprit countries:

The United States is the highest producer of greenhouse gases when measured on a per capita basis. Overall, China is the world’s largest producer.

India is the third-largest emitter behind the United States and China respectively. India’s per capita emissions, however, are significantly below the United States, China and many others.

G20 nations collectively account for 78 per cent of all emissions, but only five G20 members have committed to a long-term zero emissions target.

Way ahead:

To meet the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, global greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 7.6 per cent each year between 2020 and 2030.

To deliver on these cuts, the levels of ambition in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) must increase at least fivefold for the 1.5°C goal and threefold for the 2°C.

‘Named Driver Policy’

In News:

The working group set up by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) has suggested telematics motor insurance and ‘named driver’ policy for motor vehicles.

Named Driver policy:

It has recommended Named Driver policy as an option for private car and two wheeler policies.

A ‘named driver policy’ as an automobile insurance policy provides coverage only for drivers specifically named on the policy and not for other individuals driving the vehicle.

Telematics:

It is recommended to adopt Telematics for Motor Insurance. A central repository of telematics data can be created where data from various sources flows to create a common pool.

Insurance Information Bureau of India (IIBI), which acts as data repository for insurance companies, can manage the data and its protection

Telematics, or black box insurance, is a car insurance where a small box is fitted to the car. The device will have four components — a GPS system, a motion sensor (or accelerometer), a SIM card, and a computer software.

The black box measures various aspects of how, when and where the car is driven. This data can be used to calculate a personalised renewal quote or premium, or in services like the accident alert and theft recovery.

Revised Framework On Currency Swap Arrangement For SAARC Countries

In News:

To further economic cooperation within the SAARC region, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put in place a revised Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC countries for the period 2019 to 2022.

Salient Features:

Under the framework for 2019-22, RBI will continue to offer swap arrangement within the overall corpus of $2 billion.

The RBI would enter into bilateral swap agreements with SAARC central banks, who want to avail swap facility.

The drawals can be made in US Dollar, Euro or Indian Rupee. The Framework provides certain concessions for swap drawals in Indian Rupee.

The Currency Swap Facility will be available to all SAARC member countries, subject to their signing the bilateral swap agreements.

The new Framework is valid from November 14, 2019 to November 13, 2022.

Earlier, the SAARC currency swap facility came into operation on November 15, 2012 with an intention to provide a backstop line of funding for short term foreign exchange liquidity requirements or balance of payment crises till longer term arrangements are made.

Crime against Children in India

In News:

The Child Rights and You recently released a report “How Vulnerable are Children in India to crime?” The report was based on the analysis of National Crime Records Bureau for 2016-17.

Details:

The report says that the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh topped the list of states for crimes against children. There were over 19,000 cases in both the states.

Key Findings:

The highest increase in crimes between the years 2016 and 2017 was seen in Jharkhand. The Child labor in the country saw a substantial increase of 126%. The report says that in 2016 child labor was 204 and it increased to 462 in 2017.

As far as Child Marriage is concerned there was an increase of 21.17%. The numbers were based on the cases registered under Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006.

Though the numbers in child labor and child marriage has increased, CRY considers it as a positive step. This is because among all the other child crimes, these two are the most unreported.

Recommendations of the CRY:

The organization suggests that there has to be increase in financial investments in child protection.

The focus should be on capacity building among officials working in child protection systems.

About CRY:

Child Rights and You commonly abbreviated as CRY, is an Indian non-governmental organization, which aims to restore children’s rights.

The organization was founded in 1979 by Rippan Kapoor.

CRY partners with grassroots level non-governmental organisations to uplift thousands of underprivileged Indian children denied of basic rights.

CRY identifies projects across the country and funds the sincere efforts of many individuals and groups who work at a local and regional level and directly interact with the children to ensure happy, healthy and creative childhoods.

Anti Tank Guided Missiles Spike

In News:

The Indian Army has inducted Israel made Anti Tank Guided Missiles Spike along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

About Spike missile:

Spike is an Israeli fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile and anti-personnel missile.

The missiles have been manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

The missile is known for their precision targeting with an ability to pierce even bunkers.

The Spike missile can hit targets at a range of 4 kilometers.

It can be deployed in both mountains and plains.

The missiles have automatic self-guidance system.

It also possess imaging infrared system.

‘Smog Towers’ Across Delhi To Deal With Air Pollution

In News:

Recently, the Supreme Court has directed the Centre and the Delhi government to draw up a comprehensive plan to install ‘smog towers’ across Delhi to deal with air pollution.

About Smog towers:

Smog towers are structures designed to work as large-scale air purifiers.

They are usually fitted with multiple layers of air filters, which clean the air of pollutants as it passes through them.

China has the world’s largest smog tower and has reduced the particulate matter pollution by 19% in an area of around 6 sq km in the tower’s vicinity.

Smog tower project – Delhi:

The smog tower project in Delhi will be headed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay in collaboration with IIT-Delhi and the University of Minnesota.

The smog tower is expected to reduce particulate matter by 50% in the area.

The smog tower filters being installed would use carbon nanofibres as a major component.

However, the proposed smog tower is focused only on reducing particulate matter load at present.

About Smog:

Smog is derived from two words i.e smoke and fog which is also described as the type of fog having smoke or soot particles in it or a mixture of various gases with dust and water vapour and makes breathing difficult.

It is a yellowish or blackish fog mainly formed by a mixture of air pollutants like nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and some other organic compounds that combine with sunlight to form ozone.

Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR–RC)

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved India’s approach for the 25th Conference of Parties (COP) scheduled to be held in Spain.

Details:

India’s approach will be guided by principles and provisions of the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement particularly the principles of Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capability (CBDR-RC).

About CBDR- RC:

Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR–RC) is a principle within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

It acknowledges the different capabilities and differing responsibilities of individual countries in addressing climate change.

Reflecting CBDR-RC, the Convention divided countries into “Annex I” and “non-Annex I,” the former generally referring to developed countries and the latter to developing countries.

Under the Convention Annex I countries have a greater mitigation role than non Annex-I countries.

CBDR-RC and the annex classifications were codified in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and Annex I country emissions reductions were legally bound.

Meghalaya’s Living Root Bridges, Study Sees Global Potential

In News:

Researchers from Germany investigated 77 bridges over three expeditions in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya during 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Details:

New research investigates the structures and proposes to integrate living root bridges of Meghalaya in modern architecture around the world, which helps make cities more environment-friendly.

The bridges can be considered a reference point for future botanical architecture projects in urban contexts.

About these Bridges:

The jing kieng jri or living root bridges — aerial bridges built by weaving and manipulating the roots of the Indian rubber tree — have been serving as connectors for generations in Meghalaya.

Spanning between 15 and 250 feet and built over centuries, the bridges, primarily a means to cross streams and rivers, have also become world-famous tourist attractions.

There are three main properties of these Bridges: they are elastic, the roots easily combine and the plants grow in rough, rocky soils.

Global Diplomacy Index 2019

In News:

China has overtaken the United States as the country with the most diplomatic posts across the world.

Details:

According to the report from the Lowy Institute, China now has 276 diplomatic posts globally, three more than the US.

Highlights of the report:

The report is published by the Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank.

France, Japan, and Russia are ranked at 3rd, 4th, and 5th, after China.

India is ranked 12th in terms of such diplomatic heft, with 123 embassies and high commissions, and 54 consulates, across the world.

Pakistan, which benchmarks itself against India, ranks 28th in the list with 85 embassies and 30 consulates across the world.

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