Illegal farming of Bt Brinjal
Two laboratories confirmed illegal Bt brinjal cultivation in Haryana recently. The samples have also been sent by the Haryana Government to National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR).
In India, Brinjal is grown in around 550,000 hectares. India is the second largest producer of Brinjal after China.
However, the most common problem faced in brinjal cultivation is attack from pests and insects.
In order to avoid this problem, cry1Ac gene that possess insecticidal protein was injected into brinjal crop.
The genes were sourced from soil bacterium. These genetically modified brinjals called Bt Brinjals were approved by Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) in 2009. But was turned down by the then Environment Ministry in 2010.
Last Squadron of fighter jet Decommissioned
The MiG-27, which is known to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) as the ‘Flogger’ and to Indian Air Force (IAF) as ‘Bahadur’, flew its last sortie in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
After this flight, IAF bid adieu to its squadron of seven aircraft as all were decommissioned.
The last MiG-27 unit to operate the jet, Number 29 Squadron, bid farewell to jet in Jodhpur Air Base where the aircraft participated in a flypast.
The ace attacker was commissioned into Indian Air Force in 1985 and remained an integral part of Indian Air Force’s combat strength since then. The lethal aircraft, for their role during the 1999 Kargil War, earned the nickname ‘Bahadur’ from IAF pilots.
The swing-wing fighter has been the backbone of IAF’s ground-attack fleet for several decades.
The upgraded variant of this last swing-wing fighter fleet has been pride of IAF strike fleet since 2006.
All other variants, like MiG-23 BN and MiG-23 MF and pure MiG-27 have already retired from IAF.
This fleet earned its glory in historic Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan, when it delivered rockets and bombs with accuracy on enemy position.
It actively participated in ‘Operation Parakram’.
Reason for Decommissioning:
For 35 years, MiG-27, a curiously designed fighter-bomber has been at forefront of IAF’s attack fleet.
However, while MiG-27 had been backbone of IAF for the past three decades, the jets were also infamous for routine accidents throughout their career with Indian Air Force. In three decades plus of operations, at least a squadron’s strength (18 aircraft) are thought to have been lost with several fatal injuries to pilots. Two MiG-27s have been lost in crashes this year alone.
National Tribal Dance Festival begins in Raipur
The 2019 edition of National Tribal Dance Festival has begun in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh.
The three-day dance fest will be held from 27-29 December 2019.
The festival was inaugurated by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and the inaugural function was presided over by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
This is for the first time that National Tribal Dance Festival is being organized in Chhattisgarh.
Over 1300 participants from 25 states & Union Territories (UT) of India are participating in this national event.
The artists from 6 countries including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Belarus, Maldives, Thailand and Uganda will also perform at the event.
The folk dance teams will be presenting their respective folk art cultures.
During these three days, 29 tribal troupes will present over 43 styles of four different dance forms.
The festival will showcase traditional tribal dances performed on weddings, crop harvesting, festivals, as well as on other occasions. This unique festival is an important step towards showcasing & protecting India’s rich tribal cultural heritage.
About National Tribal Dance Festival:
It is an annual festival celebrated by aborigines and tribal of India.
The festival is used to mark and celebrate the dances of Adivasi and tribal people in India as well as their indigenous tribal dance culture.
This Tribal Dance Festival is held annually during the month of December and is organised by Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, in collaboration with respective state government where the fest will be held.
Union Territory of Ladakh is celebrating Losar Festival on 27 December 2019, to mark the Ladakhi or Tibetan New Year.
Until 2018, Losar gathering use to have ‘UT Status for Ladakh’ as a resolution for New Year.
This year, it will be joyous Losar festival celebrations in newly born Union Territory Ladakh.
Losar festival, which has its origin in 15th century, is also observed in all Himalayan states of country but in different times.
About Losar Festival:
People of various parts of Ladakh region, annually celebrate Losar Festival on 1st Day of Eleventh Month of Tibetan Calendar correlating to a date in Gregorian calendar.
The celebrations continue for 3-9 days in different parts of Ladakh.
The festival is regarded as the most important socio-religious event of Ladakh. It is also one of the major attractions for tourists in winter season, as the festival coupled with several ritual performances and traditional events.
Losar Festival Celebrations:
It includes making symbolic meals and offerings to God and Goddess.
The houses are decorated with good luck signs for prosperous New Year and bounty of crops.
People keep Dough Models of Sun, Moon, Goats, Sheep,Ibex and Antelope in kitchen shelves for good omen.
To mark the beginning of New Year, prayer flags will be hoisted at important religious places in the UT.
Ladakh Buddhist Association in collaboration with Union Territory Administration is also organizing a grand celebration at Chokanga Vihara in Leh, which will be attended by Lieutenant Governor R K Mathur as chief guest.
UN increases budget
The United Nations has adopted 3.07 billion USD budget on December 27, 2019.
The organization for the first time included investigation of war crimes in Myanmar and Syria in its fund allocation.
The budget proposal for the year 2020 is slightly greater than that of 2019. In 2019, UN budget was 2.9 billion USD.
The increase in the budget is mainly due to inflation, additional missions and exchange rate adjustments.
This year the investigation of crimes in Syria, Myanmar has been made as compulsory contributions to the member countries for the first time.
It is to be noted that United Nations faced severe Financial crisis in October 2019. However, it recovered itself after the major contributors like US, China paid their dues.
Expenditure of the UN:
The United Nations has categorized its spending in to 5 general groups namely.
The top most preference is given to humanitarian assistance (34%).
The other categories include development assistance (24%), peacekeeping operations (19%), knowledge-creation operations (16%) and technical cooperation (7%).
Standing Committee on Economic Statistics Constituted
On December 28, 2019, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation constituted standing committee on statistics.
The objective of the committee is to improve data of the government.
The committee will be headed by Chief Statistician Pronab Sen.
The committee is set to meet on January 6, 2020.
There are around 28 members forming the committee.
The committee is being formed over the criticism of “political interference” in statistical data.
Consumer Expenditure Survey:
Earlier GoI decided not to release Consumer Expenditure Survey results of 2017-18 complaining data quality issues.
The MoSPI had then announced that the survey will be conducted in 2020-21 after incorporating data quality refinements.
UN to draft new international treaty on cyber crime
The United Nations on December 27, 2019, approved a new resolution in order to draft an international treaty to combat cyber crime.
Under the new draft, an expert committee will be established. It includes all regions of the world and will meet in August 2020.
The Russian drafted resolution was approved by 193 member countries.
The United States suggests that the world should expand the accord on existing 2001 Budapest Convention.
The Budapest Convention was the first ever treaty on cyber crime that addressed internet and computer crimes.
It was drawn by Council of Europe. At present, it is the only treaty of cyber crime under the United Nations.
Countries like India and Brazil have not adopted the convention on the grounds that they did not participate in its drafting.
Council of Europe:
It is an international organization that aims to uphold human rights in Europe.
IT was founded in 1949. There are around 47 member states associated with the organization.
It is totally independent of European Union though it has adopted its flag and partly adopted its flag.
China has successfully launched its largest carrier rocket, Long March-5, carrying the Shijian-20 satellite, from Wenchang Space Launch Center (WSLC) in south China’s Hainan Province.
China’s most powerful rocket is a critical ingredient in nation’s ambitious space programme.
About Long March-5:
The rocket which is also known as CZ-5 is China’s heaviest and most advanced communications satellite.
It can carry a maximum payload of 25 tonnes into low Earth orbit (LEO) and 14 tonnes into geosynchronous orbit.
The successful launch is a major step forward for China’s planned mission to Mars in 2020.
It blasted off with more than 1,000 tonnes of thrust.
The mission was declared a complete success by Chinese space authorities after lift-off when Shijian-20 satellite it carried entered its designated orbit.
This is China’s third attempt to launch rocket and first attempt was made in 2016.
However, during first attempt, the rocket failed to reach speed required for early phase of flight. The second attempt also failed.
About Shijian-20 satellite:
It is a new technology test and verification satellite.
The satellite will lay foundation for development of highly sensitive space probes. Shijian-20 weighs more than 8 tonnes and will carry out orbit experiments for a series of key technologies.
It is China’s heaviest and most advanced communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit. It is made by ‘China Academy of Space Technology (CAST)’ under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).