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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 11th Dec 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 11th Dec 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Green Voyage2050 Project:

India has been selected as the pioneer lead country for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Green Voyage2050 Project.

  • Green Voyage2050 Project overall goal of the Project is to support effective implementation of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy.
  • It provides support to developing countries in their efforts to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions from ships.
  • The Initial IMO Strategy sets out a clear vision and levels of ambition, one of which is to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008.
  • It is envisaged that the project will strengthen MARPOL Annex VI compliance, facilitate sharing of operational best practices, catalyse the uptake of energy efficient technologies and explore opportunities for low- and zero-carbon fuels.
  • The GreenVoyage2050 Project, currently in its first phase which is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment for an initial period up to December 2023

Mesechinus orientalis : New Species Of Hedgehog

Scientists recently identified a new species of hedgehog, Mesechinus orientalis, living in the scrubland and subtropical forests of eastern China.

  • Mesechinus orientalis is a new species of Hedgehog.
  • It is currently known from southern Anhui and northwestern Zhejiang, both in eastern China.
  • It is currently the southeasternmost species of Mesechinus
  • Mesechinus is a small genus of mammals in the hedgehog family.
  • It can be found in scrubland and subtropical broad-leaf evergreen forests at elevations from 30 to 700 m.
  • Hedgehogs are a distinctive group of spiney insectivorous mammals comprising the subfamily Erinaceinae of the Erinaceidae family.
  • They are found across Eurasia and Africa but absent from Australia and the Americas.

Egypt’s Mummified Baboons : Discovery

Origin of Egypt’s mummified baboons has been finally cracked recently.

  • The scientists have recently retrieved ancient mitochondrial DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) from a mummified baboon found at the Gabbanat el-Qurud site in Egypt, which will help discover its origin.
  • The Egyptian god Thoth was represented by a baboon which is odd because baboons aren’t native to Egypt.
  • In 1905, Egyptologists Louis Lortet and Claude Gaillard discovered mummified baboons in Gabbanat el-Qurud.
  • Gabbanat el-Qurud is also known as the ‘Valley of the Monkeys’.
  • The baboons belonged to the ancient city of Adulis in present-day coastal Eritrea, a trade centre between the 1st and 7th centuries AD.
  • The lost city of Punt can be one of the potential locations of its origin.
  • The city of Punt was mentioned in accounts of Greco-Roman historians and was associated with the trade of leopard skin, gold, and live exotic animals.
  • The study aligns with historical accounts, drawing attention to the significance of the Red Sea in trade relationships between India, Egypt, and Europe.

Infinity Forum 2.0:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the 2nd Edition of the flagship Financial Technology event – Infinity Forum 2.0.

  • Distinguished speakers from the Central and State Governments include Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendra Patel, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, and Minister for Railways, Communications and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw will witness the event.
  • Infinity Forum 2.0 hosted by International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) and Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, GIFT City.
  • Theme ‘GIFT-IFSC: Nerve Centre for New Age Global Financial Services.
  • It is Organized as a pre-cursor event to the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024.
  • The 2nd edition of the Infinity Forum 2.0, will be held in hybrid mode, with an invite-only in-person event scheduled in GIFT City and for virtual participation from participants across the globe.
  • The Infinity Forum is a global thought leadership platform on financial services, where progressive ideas, pressing problems, and innovative technologies from across the world get Discovered, Discussed and Developed into solutions and opportunities.
  • The 1st edition of the Forum was organized in December 2021.
  • It will also witness participation and insightful discussions by several luminaries from the financial sector in India and across the globe.
  • The event will be preceded by an Investors Meet for FinTech entities which are authorized by IFSCA or recommended by institutions having MoU with IFSCA or accelerators which are authorized by IFSCA.

Urban Flood Mitigation Project:

PM approves the first urban flood mitigation project for the ‘Integrated Urban Flood Management Activities for Chennai Basin Project (IUFM)‘

  • This initiative, under the National Disaster Mitigation Fund (NDMF), includes Central assistance of Rs. 500 crore and aims to make Chennai flood-resilient.
  • Chennai, once again, finds itself grappling with the devastating effects of floods, marking the third such calamity to besiege the metropolis in less than a decade.
  • The city’s struggle with extreme weather events has brought to light the increasing vulnerability of India’s urban landscape to sudden and severe flooding due to excessive rainfall.
  • IUFM is a holistic approach that stresses the interrelationship between socioeconomic development, environmental sustainability, and flood-risk management.
  • The ‘Integrated Urban Flood Management activities for Chennai Basin Project’ represents a proactive measure to address the challenges posed by urban flooding.
  • It is designed to enhance Chennai’s resilience to such natural disasters by implementing comprehensive flood management strategies.

Fourth-Generation Nuclear Plant : China

China has launched the world’s first commercial operations of a fourth-generation gas-cooled nuclear reactor power plant, the Shidao Bay plant in eastern Shandong province.

  • This plant utilizes small modular reactors (SMRs), which are high-temperature reactors cooled by gas instead of pressurized water.
  • SMRs are considered more efficient and cost-effective and can be employed for various applications such as heating, desalination, or steam for industrial purposes.
  • SMRs are advanced nuclear reactors with a capacity of up to 300 MW per unit, offering advantages such as simplicity, safety, and cost-effectiveness.
  • SMRs can be factory-made and transported to a site for installation.
  • SMRs are economical and time-efficient, and unlike traditional reactors that require refuelling every 1-2 years, SMRs only need refuelling every 3-7 years.

Ban On Using Sugarcane Juice And Sugar Syrup For Ethanol Production:

The government has temporarily banned the use of sugarcane juice and sugar syrup for ethanol production due to uncertainties in cane output for the current season as per the Sugar (Control) Order 1966.

  • The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) forecasts a 9% reduction in gross sugar production for the 2023-24 marketing year, further complicating the situation.
  • India has emerged as the world’s largest producer and consumer of sugar as well as the world’s 2nd largest exporter of sugar after Brazil, in Sugar Season (Oct-Sep) 2021-22.
  • Government intends to maintain adequate domestic sugar availability and price stability, due to an estimated fall in sugar production in the current season. Sugar mills find it more profitable to sell sugarcane and syrup to Oil marketing companies for ethanol blending. However, this may create a shortage of sugar in the Indian market.
  • The government ban would not impact India’s goal of achieving its 20% ethanol blending target by 2025-26.
  • The government plans to promote ethanol production using alternative feedstocks such as B and C-heavy molasses, damaged rice, and maize.
  • The government is also exploring the use of maize as a feedstock for ethanol production, with plans to procure maize directly from farmers at a minimum support price.

India Announced USD 250 Million Line Of Credit To Kenya:

India has announced a USD 250 million line of credit to Kenya for modernisation of its agricultural sector during the recent visit of Kenya’s President to India.

  • A line of credit (LOC) is a predetermined borrowing limit that is accessible whenever necessary. The borrower can withdraw funds as required until reaching the established limit, and once repaid, the funds can be borrowed again in the case of an open line of credit.
  • India and Kenya signed five pacts providing for cooperation in a range of areas including sports, education and digital solution, and unveiled a joint vision document tso scale up maritime engagement in the Indian Ocean region.
  • India also raised the issue of two Indian nationals who went missing in the east African country last year.
  • Both sides agreed to strengthen bilateral ties in the field of defense, trade, energy, digital public infrastructure and healthcare.
  • Both sides deliberated on defense cooperation and emphasized on military exercises, capacity building as well as linking the defense industries of both the countries .
  • Kenya invited Indian companies to take advantage of the conducive and attractive environment to invest in Kenya, especially in agriculture, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, health, green energy and green mobility sectors.
    Terrorism is the most serious challenge and both sides have decided to increase counter-terror cooperation

Potteromyces asteroxylicola : Old Fungus Fossil

Researchers discover a 407-million-year-old fungus fossil, Potteromyces asteroxylicola in the Rhynie Chert, marking the oldest evidence of fungi causing diseases.

  • Potteromyces asteroxylicola was found infecting the ancient plant Asteroxylon mackiei, showcasing a predator-prey interaction that occurred while the plant was alive.
  • The unique reproductive structures of Potteromyces, known as conidiophores, stood out with their unusual shape and formation, leading to its designation as a new species.
  • Its reproductive structures, known as conidiophores, had an unusual shape and formation.
  •  Scotland is known for its well-preserved Early Devonian communities of plants and animals, including fungi and bacteria.

Banni Grassland : Setup Of Cheetah Breeding And Conservation Centre

The Gujarat Government recently said that the Central Government has approved setting up a cheetah breeding and conservation centre in the Banni Grassland.

  • Banni Grassland is located along the northern border of Kachchh district.
  • It is one of the largest grasslands in the Indian subcontinent with an area of over 2500 sq. km.
  • Many factors have served to shape Banni over time, including the damming of rivers, the introduction and spread of the invasive Prosopis juliflora tree, and the continually varying composition and density of livestock that have grazed these grasslands for many centuries.
  • The Banni is also home to 22 ethnic groups, the majority of whom are pastoralists, spread across 48 settlements in 19 Panchayats, with a population of close to 40,000 people.
  • It is home to great biological diversity, having 37 grass species, 275 bird species, and domesticated animals like Buffalo, Sheep, Goat, Horses and Camel, as well as wildlife.
  • The Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary which spans over an area of 380 sq. km and the recently notified 227 Sq. km Chhari Dhand Conservation Reserve are part of the Banni Grasslands.
  • The vegetation here mainly comprises Prosopis Juliflora, Cressa critica, Cyperus spp, Sporobolus, Dichanthium, and Aristida.
  • It is home to mammals such as the Nilgai, Chinkara, Blackbuck, Wild boar, Golden Jackal, Indian Hare, Indian Wolf, Caracal, Asiatic Wildcat and Desert Fox etc.
  • The region also serves as a breeding ground for the Banni buffalo and the Kankrej cow.

Goldilocks Effect On The Economy:

The RBI’s growth and inflation forecasts indicate a Goldilocks Effect on the economy by the second quarter of the next fiscal year.

  • Goldilocks Effect or the Goldilocks Principle, is the premise that people are inclined to seek ‘just the right’ amount of something.
  • People prefer something that is neither too extreme nor too moderate but falls within an optimal or desirable range, fitting their specific needs or preferences.
  • The concept is derived from the children’s story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where Goldilocks preferred the porridge, chair and bed that were neither too hot nor too cold, too big nor too small, but just right.
  • It has a place in several fields and disciplines. It applies to elements of psychology, hard sciences, economics, marketing and engineering, and each one has its own twist on how the principle is applied.
  • Goldilocks Pricing is one of the effect’s more prominent applications. It’s a psychological pricing strategy that rests on the concepts :
    • Product differentiation
    • Comparative pricing
    • Bracketing

Syphilis : Cases Reported In US

Cases of ocular syphilis has been recently reported in Michigan, US.

  • Syphilis is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).
  • It is caused by the bacteria, Treponema pallidum.
  • After the infection happens, syphilis bacteria can stay in the body for many years without causing symptoms.
  • But the infection can become active again.
  • Syphilis spreads from person to person through direct contact with these sores.
  • It can also be passed to a baby during pregnancy, childbirth and sometimes through breastfeeding.
  • Syphilis develops in stages. The symptoms vary with each stage and is often painless.
  • During the first stage, one or more sores develop on the genitals, rectum, or mouth, and are often painless.
  • During the second stage, people may get a rash and experience flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, a sore throat and muscles aches.
  • After the second stage, the symptoms of syphilis are hidden (latent stage).
  • Without treatment, syphilis can damage the heart, brain, or other organs.
  • It can become life-threatening.
  • Syphilis is curable with quick diagnosis and treatment.
  • It is curable with the right antibiotics.