Today’s Current Affairs: 14th January 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Neelakurinji Plant : Listed As a Protected Species
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) has listed Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) under Schedule III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, including it on the list of protected plants.
- This move is aimed at protecting the plant from being destroyed or uprooted, which has become a major threat to the flowering areas. The new order also includes strict penalties for those found guilty of destroying or uprooting the plant.
- Neelakurinji is an endemic plant found in a small stretch in the Western Ghats, from the Mangaladevi hills to the Nilgiris hills.
- The most popular Neelakurinji is Strobilanthes kunthiana which blooms once in 12 years.
- However, some other rare varieties of Neelakurnji are also found in the Western Ghats region.
Pineapple Express : Common Atmospheric Phenomenon
Over the past two weeks, California and other parts of the West Coast have been hit with a series of what meteorologists call atmospheric rivers.
- Forecasters have said that the rain arriving in California on January 12 is being caused by a true Pineapple Express a specific example of a common atmospheric phenomenon that resembles a conveyor belt for moisture.
- Pineapple Express is a specific example of a common atmospheric phenomenon known as atmospheric rivers.
- These rivers in the sky, also known as rivers in the sky according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are long, narrow regions in the atmosphere that transport most of the water vapor outside the tropics.
- They carry a lot of moisture enough water vapor to equal or sometimes exceed the average flow of the Mississippi River at the point where it flows into the Gulf of Mexico.
Notification Of Minority Communities:
The Central Government submitted the views of 24 States to the Supreme Court on whether religious and linguistic minority communities should be identified and notified by the Union Government or the respective State Governments.
- Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Zorastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992.
- The Central Government decides who gets the minority community status in India.
- It is done under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
- Only those belonging to the communities notified under Section 2(c) of the 1992 law are regarded as minority citizens.
- The central government has notified only six communities as having the minority status at the national level. Five of them were declared minority communities in October 1993 Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis. In January 2014, the Centre added Jains to the list.
- States generally don’t have their separate lists of the minority communities. But there are exceptions. For example, Maharashtra has notified Jews as a minority community in the state.
- Article 29 and Article 30 guarantee certain rights to the minorities.
NOTAM(Notice To Air Missions):
Thousands of flights were grounded in the US after a major glitch in the computer system. The flights were grounded due to the failure of a key pilot notification system called Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM).
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that its Notice to Air Missions system, or NOTAM, had failed and was not processing new information.
- The system, which dates to the middle of the last century, gives pilots real-time updates on flight conditions.
- According to the FAA’s website, NOTAM communicates “information essential to personnel concerned with flight operations, but not known far enough in advance to be publicized by other means.”
- In India, NOTAM or Notice to Airmen are notices distributed by means of telecommunication containing information concerning the establishment, condition or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations.
- Air traffic operations started using NOTAMs in 1947, according to FAA documents.
- At the time, the notices were modeled after the Notice to Mariners, which advised ship captains about hazards on the seas.
- When it was created, the air-notification system was called “Notice to Airmen.”
- It was renamed to the more inclusive “Notice to Air Missions” late last year.
- NOTAMs used to be telephone-based, with pilots calling dedicated flight service stations for the information, but have now moved online with the advent of the internet.
FSSAI Standards For Basmati Rice:
For the first time in the country, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has specified the identity standards for Basmati Rice.
- As per these standards, Basmati rice shall possess natural fragrance characteristics of basmati rice and be free from artificial colouring, polishing agents and artificial fragrances.
- It was issued to Brown Basmati Rice, Milled Basmati Rice, Parboiled Brown Basmati Rice and Milled Parboiled Basmati Rice.
- The standards are aimed at establishing fair practices in the trade of Basmati rice and protecting consumer interest, both domestically and globally. These standards will be enforced from 1st August 2023.
- Basmati Rice is cultivated in the Himalayan foothills of the Indian sub-continent and is universally known for its long grain size, fluffy texture and unique inherent aroma and flavour.
13th Ministerial-Level Meeting Of India –US Trade Policy Forum:
The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry of India and the US Trade Representative Ambassador co-chaired the 13th Ministerial-level meeting of India – US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) in Washington D.C.
- The India-US TPF aims to activate its working groups in the fields of agriculture, non-agriculture goods, services, investment, and intellectual property to meet frequently and address issues of mutual concern in a mutually beneficial manner.
- The idea is to deliver tangible benefits to both countries by resolving outstanding market access issues.
Highlights of the Meeting:
- The US welcomed India’s participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).
- Both the countries have like-minded views about the efficiency of IPEF for continued growth, peace, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The Ministers welcomed the finalization of the Turtle Excluder Device (TED) design with the technical support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
- The TED will help in minimizing the impact of fishing on sea-turtle populations.
- A new TPF Working Group on Resilient Trade was launched to help the officials deepen bilateral dialogue on a range of issues.
Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2023:
The Human Rights Watch in its World Report 2023 (33rd edition) said that Indian authorities had “intensified and broadened” their crackdown on activist groups and the media throughout year 2022.
- It also claimed that the current Central ruling party used abusive and discriminatory policies to repress minorities.
World Report 2023’s Findings about India:
- The report found the Central govt. promoting Hindu majoritarian ideology, provoking authorities and supporters to engage in discriminatory and at times violent actions against religious minorities.
- It highlighted the government’s discriminatory stance toward minority communities in cases of violence against women
- Even after 3 years of removal of Article 370 and subsequent creation of two UTs (J&K and Ladakh), “the government continued to restrict free expression and peaceful assembly” in the two UTs.
- HRW appreciated the increasingly liberal steps taken by the Supreme Court of India such as the ruling to halt all use of the colonial-era Sedition law.
- It also referred to the SC’s ruling on extending abortion rights to all women regardless of marital status and widening the definition of a family to include same-sex couples, single parents, and other households.
- It also took note of the SC’s banning of the two-finger tests in a step to protect survivors of sexual assault.
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
- It is an international non-governmental organisation founded in 1978 as “Helsinki Watch,” initially aimed at investigating rights abuses in countries that signed the Helsinki Accords.
- Currently, its ambit has expanded to about 100 countries worldwide.
- It is headquartered in New York City.
- Helsinki Accords (1975) was a major diplomatic agreement signed in Helsinki, Finland, at the conclusion of the first Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (now Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).
- Primarily an effort to reduce tension between the Soviet and Western blocs, they were signed by all the countries of Europe, the US and Canada.
- The agreement made the 35 signatory nations pledge to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Remains Of Dinosaurs Species:
Scientists have found the remains of four species of dinosaurs, including a megaraptor, in an inhospitable valley in Chilean Patagonia for the first time.
- Megaraptor was a large theropod of the Cretaceous Period, 84 to 65 mya.
- Megaraptors possessed strong arms that wielded sickle-like claws that could inflict fatal wounds on prey, along with a more lightly built skull and jaws studded with smaller teeth.
- They also had air-filled, bird-like bones.
- Megaraptor was about 25–26 feet (7.5–8 meters) long.
- Incomplete Megaraptor remains were found in 1996 in Northwest Patagonia, Argentina, by paleontologist Fernando E. Novas. Novas named it in 1998.
- The Cretaceous Period, in geologic time, is the last of the three periods of the Mesozoic Era.
- The Cretaceous began 145.0 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago.
- It followed the Jurassic Period and was succeeded by the Paleogene Period.
By analyzing Antarctic ice cores, scientists have revealed the most detailed look yet at the planet’s recent climatic history, including summer and winter temperatures, dating back 11,000 years to the beginning of what is known as the Holocene, according to a study.
- The Holocene Epoch is the current period of geologic time.
- The Holocene Epoch began 12,000 to 11,500 years ago at the close of the Paleolithic Ice Age and continues through today.
- The Holocene begins at the end of the last major ice age and marks a “warm period” between ice ages.
- The Holocene is characterized with variable climate changes, from both natural and anthropogenic (human) causes.
- Another term that is sometimes used is the Anthropocene Epoch, because its primary characteristic is the global changes caused by human activity.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD):
IIT Jodhpur, Dystrophy Annihilation Research Trust (DART) and AIIMS Jodhpur are working on developing an affordable treatment for a rare and incurable genetic disorder called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
- Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is the most common and fatal type of muscular dystrophy marked by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness due to alterations of a protein called “dystrophin” that helps keep muscle cells intact.
- Patients (usually children) have reduced bone densityand an increased risk of developing fractures.
- India has over 5 lakh patients in the country suffering from DMD and the condition is predominantly seen in boys, but in rare cases, it can also affect girls.
- It can begin as early as age 2 or 3, first affecting the proximal muscles (those close to the core of the body) and later affecting the distal limb muscles (those close to the extremities).
- Symptoms: Enlargement of calves, a waddling gait, and lumbar lordosis (an inward curve of the spine)
- The current therapeutic options available to treat DMD are minimal and highly expensive treatment and are mostly imported from abroad.
Agri-Clinics And Agri-Business (AC&ABC) Scheme:
On National Youth Day, 82 best Agripreneurs who were trained under the Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business (AC&ABC) Scheme were awarded for their significant contribution to farmers through agri-clinic and agribusiness services.
- Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business Schemes is a mega flagship Scheme of Govt. of India implemented in the country in collaboration with NABARD since 2002.
- Aim is to transform unemployed youth into self-employed Agripreneurs through a 45-day free residential training in different parts of the country with a provision for availing loans and subsidies from the banks.
- It is being implemented by the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad in different states in the country with a network of 136 Nodal Training Institutes (NTIS) spread across all the states.
Makar Sankranti, Magh Bihu And Pongal : 14th January 2023
The President of India greeted fellow citizens on the eve of Lohri (which falls on 13th January 2023) Makar Sankranti, Magh Bihu and Pongal (which fall on 14th January 2023).
- Bihu is one of Assam’s most prominent cultural events, celebrating the changing seasons.
- The festival of Bihu has three forms: Bohag Bihu, Kati Bihu and Magh Bihu.
- Each of these falls in the agriculture calendar.
- This day is considered auspicious in the Hindu lunar year as well and is known as the Makar Sankranti, i.e., the day when the sun begins its northward journey or Uttarayan and transitions into the Hindu zodiac sign of Makara.
- On this day the Sun God is worshipped in various parts of India in the form of different festivals such as Pongal (Tamil Nadu), Maghi (Punjab) and Uttarayan (Gujarat).