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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 24th May 2021

Today Current Affairs: 24th May 2021 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

 

Cyclone Yaas:

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has informed that a low-pressure area is formed over the north Andaman Sea and adjoining east-central Bay of Bengal around May 22.

  • It is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm by May 24. It has been named Cyclone Yaas.
  • The name ‘Yaas’ was suggested by Oman and refers to a tree with a good fragrance and in English, the word is similar to Jasmine.
  • The next cyclone—after Yaas—is likely to be named Gulab, suggested by Pakistan.
  • Cyclones are formed over the oceanic water in the tropical region.
  • In this region, the sunlight is highest which results in the warming of land and water surface. Due to warming of the surface, the warm moist air over the ocean rises upwards following which cool air rushes in to fill the void, they too get warm and rise the cycle continues.

Zebrafish:

New research in zebrafish has demonstrated how induced hibernation (torpor) may protect humans from the elements of space, especially radiation, during space flight.

  • The researchers exposed zebrafish to radiation like what would be experienced on a six-month journey to Mars.
  • They observed signs of oxidative stress (imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals), DNA damage, stress hormone signaling, and changes to the cell-division cycle.
  • The researchers then induced torpor in the second group of zebrafish which were then exposed to the same dose of radiation.
  • The results showed that torpor lowered the metabolic rate within the zebrafish and created a radioprotective effect, protecting against the harmful effects of radiation.
  • Torpor, a form of hibernation, is a brief spell of suspended animation. It usually lasts less than a day. When in torpor, an animal’s metabolism, heartbeat, breathing, and body temperature are greatly reduced.

Zebrafish:

  • Scientific Name: Danio rerio
  • It is a small (2-3 cm long) freshwater fish found in the tropical and subtropical regions. The fish is native to South Asia’s Indo-Gangetic plains, where they are mostly found in the paddy fields and even in stagnant water and streams.
  • They are classified as a species of least concern on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species.

Havana Syndrome:

Two US officials have shown symptoms of a mystery illness that is linked to Havana Syndrome.

  • In 2020, a report by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS), US found directed microwave radiation to be the plausible cause of the Havana syndrome.
  • An increasing number of cases is being considered a mass psychogenic illness.

Mass Psychogenic Illness:

  • Mass psychogenic illness is when people in a group start feeling sick at the same time even though there is no physical or environmental reason for them to be sick.
  • They could think they’ve been exposed to something dangerous, like a germ or a toxin (poison).

In late 2016, a few diplomats from the USA and their employees had reported certain usual symptoms during their stay in Havana, Cuba.

  • They experienced some odd physical sensations and heard peculiar sounds, after which they started feeling sick.
  • The US had even accused Cuba of carrying out sonic attacks. But Cuba denied the accusations of the sonic attacks and refused awareness of any such illness or syndrome.
  • Ever since many bodies and institutions have been researching the cause of the Havana syndrome and many plausible factors have been discovered to date.
  • The symptoms of the syndrome include Nausea, Severe headaches, Fatigue, Dizziness, Sleep problems, Hearing loss.
  • A few of those who had been affected more faced chronic issues like vestibular processing and cognitive problems.

Microwave Weapons:

  • Direct Energy Weapon (DEW):
    • They are a type of direct energy weapons, which aim at highly focused energy in the form of sonic, laser, or microwaves, at a target.
    • They release electromagnetic radiations which cause sensations in the human body.
    • Electromagnetic radiation heating the water in the human body makes a person feel dizziness and nausea.

Lithuania Quits China’s 17+1:

Lithuania said it was quitting China’s 17+1 cooperation forum with central and eastern European states that include other EU members, calling it “divisive”.

  • Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries (China-CEE, China-CEEC) is an initiative by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote business and investment relations between China and 16 countries of Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC).
  • The format was founded in 2012 in Warsaw.
  • Earlier it was known as 17+1, but after Lithuania quits it in May 2021 it is known as 16+1.
  • Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe, the Baltics, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Europe (the Balkans), usually meaning former communist states from the Eastern Bloc and Warsaw Pact in Europe.
  • Lithuania is a country in the Baltic region of Europe.
  • Its capital is Vilnius.

Kharif Strategy 2021:

The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has formulated Kharif Strategy 2021 to achieve self-sufficiency in edible oils.

Kharif Season:

  • Crops are sown from June to July and Harvesting is done in between September-October.
  • Crops are: Rice, maize, jowar, bajra, tur, moong, urad, cotton, jute, groundnut, soyabean etc.
  • States are: Assam, West Bengal, coastal regions of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Maharashtra.

About the Kharif Strategy 2021:

  • An ambitious plan for the free distribution of high-yielding varieties of seeds to the farmers for the Kharif season 2021 in the form of mini-kits.
  • Strategy for both area and productivity enhancement has been formulated for soybean and groundnut under the National Food Security Mission (Oil Seeds and Oil Palm).
  • It will bring an additional 6.37 lakh hectare area under oilseeds and is likely to produce 120.26 lakh quintals of oilseeds and edible oil amounting to 24.36 lakh quintals.
  • Oilseed crops are the second most important determinant of the agricultural economy, next only to cereals within the segment of field crops.
  • The self-sufficiency in oilseeds attained through the “Yellow Revolution” during the early 1990s, could not be sustained beyond a short period.
  • Oilseed crops are primarily grown for the purpose of obtaining vegetable oils from them. Oil content in them varies from 20% in soybeans to 40% in sunflowers and canola (rapeseed).
  • India is able to produce a huge amount of oilseeds because of the favorable environmental conditions.
  • Castor seed, sesamum, rapeseed, groundnut, mustard, soybean, linseed, niger seed, sunflower, and safflower are some of the important oilseeds India is known to produce.

Net Zero Emissions (NZE) Roadmap:‘Net Zero by 2050’:

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its Net Zero Emissions (NZE) Roadmap – named ‘Net-Zero by 2050’.

  • It is the World’s first comprehensive energy roadmap which comes ahead of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 climate change convention in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021.
  • ‘Net zero emissions’ refers to achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere.
  • Climate pledges by governments till date even if fully achieved would fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C.
  • To examine the impacts of announced NZE pledges and what they might mean for the energy sector.
  • New Energy Pathway:
    • To develop a new energy-sector pathway towards achieving NZE globally by 2050.
  • Recommend Governments:
    • To set out key policy recommendations for governments to act upon in the near term, and a long-term agenda for change to achieve net-zero goals, including with a view to reaching other Sustainable Development Goals.

International Energy Agency:

  • IEA is an autonomous Intergovernmental Organisation established in 1974 in Paris, France.
  • IEA mainly focuses on its energy policies which include economic development, energy security and environmental protection.
  • These policies are also known as the 3 E’s of IEA.
  • India became an Associate member of IEA in March 2017 but it was in engagement with IEA long before its association with the organization.
  • Recently, India has inked a Strategic Partnership Agreement with the IEA to strengthen cooperation in global energy security, stability, and sustainability.
  • The World Energy Outlook Report is released by the IEA annually.
  • Recently, it has released the India Energy Outlook 2021 Report.
  • IEA Clean Coal Centre is dedicated to providing independent information and analysis on how coal can become a cleaner source of energy, compatible with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Data Protection In India:

The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has sent a notice to WhatsApp asking it to withdraw a controversial update to its privacy policy which might be a threat to the Data Protection of Indians.

  • According to WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy, users would no longer be able to stop the app from sharing data (such as location and number) with its parent Facebook unless they delete their accounts altogether.
  • Its privacy updates are designed to make the business interactions that take place on its platform easier while also personalizing ads on Facebook.
  • That is how it will have to make its money.
  • According to the Government, the messaging app discriminates against Indian users vis-à-vis users in Europe on the matter of a choice to opt-out of the new privacy policy.
  • WhatsApp users in Europe can opt-out of the new privacy policy owing to the laws in the European Union (EU) called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which shield them from sharing data from Facebook or grant them the power to say no to WhatsApp’s new terms of service.

Data Protection:

  • Data protection is the process of safeguarding important information from corruption, compromise, or loss.
  • Data is the large collection of information that is stored in a computer or on a network.
  • The importance of data protection increases as the amount of data created and stored continues to grow at unprecedented rates.
  • According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)’s Digital in India report 2019, there are about 504 million active web users and India’s online market is second only to China.
  • A large collection of information about individuals and their online habits has become an important source of profits. It is also a potential avenue for the invasion of privacy because it can reveal extremely personal aspects.
  • Companies, governments, and political parties find it valuable because they can use it to find the most convincing ways to advertise to you online.

The Arctic Has Warmed Three Times More Quickly Than The Planet As A whole:

The Arctic has warmed three times more quickly than the planet as a whole, and faster than previously thought, a report warned.

  • Arctic sea ice looks set to be an early victim of rising temperatures and the chance of it disappearing entirely in summer is 10 times greater if Earth warms by 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels compared to 1.5 C, the goal set by the 2015 Paris Accord.
  • The alarming finding comes from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) in a report timed to coincide with a ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in Reykjavik, which gathers countries bordering the region.
  • In less than half a century, from 1971 to 2019, the Arctic’s average annual temperature rose by 3.1 C, compared to 1 C for the planet as a whole.
  • The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) is one of six Working Groups of the Arctic Council.
  • Since its establishment in 1991, AMAP has produced various reports that detail the status of the Arctic with respect to climate and pollution issues.

Gujarat Freedom Of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2021:

Gujarat Governor has given his assent to the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which has been projected as the “anti-love jihad” Bill.

  • The Bill was passed in the state assembly during the budget session held in March 2021.
  • The Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill 2021 proposes punishment of 3-10 years in jail for forcible or fraudulent religious conversions through marriage.
  • The bill amends the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003.
  • The amendment aims to reduce the “emerging trend” where women are “lured to marriage” for the purposes of religious conversion.
  • The 2003 act dealt with religious conversions through “force or by misrepresentation or by any other fraudulent means”.
  • The amendment bill mentioned promises of a better lifestyle, impersonation, and ‘divine blessing’.
  • The states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh also enacted similar “anti-love jihad” laws that banned “fraudulent” conversions through marriage.

e-Courts Services Mobile app:

Supreme Court of India’s E-Committee released a manual for its top citizen-centric service-free “e-Courts Services Mobile app” in 14 languages.

  • The app is available in English, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarathi, Kannada, Khasi, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu.
  • The “e-Courts Services Mobile app” aimed to benefit litigants, citizens, lawyers, law firms, police, government agencies, and other institutional litigants has so far crossed 57 lakh downloads.
  • The App which acts as a personalized digital case diary with case details available on the handset at any hour of the day and free of cost.
  • Dr. Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India and the Chairperson of e-Committee, fore-worded the manual and stressed the importance of this free mobile app, and highlighted the reach of this citizen-centric mobile app .

SITA Passenger Service System:

National carrier Air India has notified its passengers of a data breach that occurred in February 2021 at the SITA passenger service system.

  • The airline said the breach involved data of 45 lakh passengers being leaked.
  • SITA or Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques is a multinational information technology company providing IT and telecommunication services to the air transport industry.
  • The company was started in 1949 by 11 member airlines and now has over 2,500 customers in more than 200 countries.
  • It is Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Air India had entered into a deal with SITA in 2017 to upgrade its IT infrastructure to enable it to join Star Alliance.
  • At Air India, SITA also implemented an online booking engine, departure control system, check-in, and automated boarding control, baggage reconciliation system, and the frequent flyer program.

Mount Nyaragongo: Erupted Again:

As the active volcano in Congo, Mount Nyaragongo, erupted again, the Indian Army contingent under the United Nations peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) assisted in protecting civilians and U.N. officials as well as assets during the evacuation.

  • Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470 m in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift.
  • It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, about 12 km north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu.
  • The main crater is about two kilometers (1 mi) wide and usually contains a lava lake. Nyiragongo’s lava lake has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake in recent history.
  • Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40 percent of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions.
  • Lava lakes are large volumes of molten lava, usually basaltic, contained in a volcanic vent, crater, or broad depression.

INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY:

Iran said that a three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and IAEA has expired and that its access to images from inside some Iranian nuclear sites would cease.

  • The announcement raised further questions about the future of indirect talks underway between the United States and Iran on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
  • Name: It is widely known as the world’s “Atoms for Peace and Development” organization within the United Nations family.
  • Mandate: It is the world’s central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the nuclear field. It works for the safe, secure, and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.
  • Though established as an autonomous organization, independently of the United Nations through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute, the IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
  • Headquarters: Vienna, Austria.
  • The IAEA has 173 member states. Most UN members and the Holy See are Member States of the IAEA.
  • The IAEA and its former Director-General, Mohamed ElBaradei, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
  • The current Director-General is Rafael Grossi, an Argentinian diplomat who was appointed in 2019. He is the first Latin American to hold this position.

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