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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 26th Sep 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 26th Sep 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Five Eyes Alliance:

The recent India-Canada standoff regarding allegations of Indian government involvement in the killing of a separatist leader in Canada has brought attention to the role of the Five Eyes Alliance.

  • Five Eyes Alliance refers to an intelligence-sharing partnership among five countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
  • These nations collaborate closely on intelligence matters, sharing information to protect their shared national interests.
  • The alliance traces its origins back to World War II when the UK and the US decided to share intelligence after successfully breaking German and Japanese codes.
  • It began as the Britain-USA (BRUSA) agreement, later evolving into the UK-USA (UKUSA) agreement, with Canada joining in 1949 and New Zealand and Australia in 1956.

India’s First Lighthouse Festival:

India’s First Lighthouse Festival is set to begin in Goa.

  • The festival will take place with the aim of transforming historic lighthouses into tourist destinations.
  • This festival is a part of the ‘Lighthouse Heritage Tourism’ campaign, which aims to revamp 75 historic lighthouses across India and promote them as tourist spots.
  • The initiative aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to transform these lighthouses into captivating tourism sites, showcasing their cultural significance and economic potential.

Trilateral Maritime Partnership Exercise:

The Indian Navy’s warship, INS Sahyadri, participated in the first trilateral Maritime Partnership Exercise with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Indonesian Navy from September 20-21, 2023.

  • The exercise allowed the three nations to strengthen their partnership and improve their collective capability to support a stable, peaceful, and secure Indo-Pacific region.
  • INS Sahyadri, the third ship of the indigenously designed and built Project-17 class multirole stealth frigates was built at Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai.
  • The Project 17 class, also known as the Shivalik class.
  • These frigates were the first stealth warships built in India.
  • Shivalik is fitted with a mix of indigenous Russian, Indian, and Western weaponry and sensor systems.

International Day Of Sign Languages 2023:

On the occasion of International Day of Sign Languages (23rd September), the Government of India has introduced several initiatives to improve communication and accessibility for the hearing-impaired.

  • Initiatives for the hearing-impaired include online Indian Sign Language (ISL) courses, introduction of 267 signs for financial terms in ISL, a comprehensive ISL dictionary, tailored courses for special schools, and a WhatsApp-based video relay service for improved communication.
  • International Day of Sign Languages is an annual event that promotes the linguistic and cultural diversity of deaf communities around the world.
  • In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 23rd September as the official day to celebrate the International Day of Sign Languages.
  • It is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of sign languages in the lives of deaf communities and the need to protect them as an essential part of human diversity.
  • Millions of people around the world use sign language as their primary means of communication.
  • They are complex visual-gestural communication systems with their own grammar and syntax.
  • Theme of 2023: A World Where Deaf People Can Sign Anywhere.

Annular Solar Eclipse 2023:

The Annular solar eclipse will occur on October 14 and will be visible across different parts of the world.

  • Annular solar eclipse is often referred to as the “ring of fire.
  • This eclipse happens when the moon is at or near its farthest point from Earth in its orbit.
  • The moon appears smaller than the sun in the sky and does not fully cover it, creating a striking visual effect.
  • The moon appears as a dark disk superimposed on the larger, bright face of the sun, forming a glowing ring or “ring of fire.”
  • The path of this upcoming eclipse will span several countries in North, Central, and South America.

Emerging Markets Bond Index:

JP Morgan Chase & Co has announced it will include Indian government bonds to its emerging markets bond index from June 2024.

  • India’s local bonds will be included in the Government Bond Index-Emerging Markets (GBI-EM) index of the JP Morgan.
  • It is expected to reach the maximum weight of 10 per cent in the GBI-EM Global Diversified Index (GBI-EM GD).
  • Emerging Markets Bond Index is a benchmark index for measuring the total return performance of international government and corporate bonds issued by emerging market countries that meet specific liquidity and structural requirements.
  • Emerging market bonds are debt instruments issued by developing countries, which tend to carry higher yields than government or corporate bonds of developed countries.
  • Total 23 Indian Government Bonds (IGBs) with a combined notional value of $330 billion are eligible.
  • All fall under the category of “fully accessible” for non-residents.
  • This move promises increased demand for the Indian rupee, potentially buffering against depreciation.
  • Lower borrowing costs can fuel essential infrastructure projects.
  • Increased liquidity may foster more efficient trading conditions.

19th Edition Of  Exercise Yudh Abhyas:

The 19th edition of “EXERCISE YUDH ABHYAS” will be conducted from 25th September to 8th October 2023 in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, USA.

  • Exercise Yudh Abhyas is an annual exercise conducted jointly by the Indian Army and the United States Army.
  • Indian Army contingent comprising 350 personnel will participate in this edition of the Exercise.
  • The lead battalion from the Indian side is affiliated to MARATHA Light Infantry Regiment.
  • Both sides will practice a series of tactical drills to enhance interoperability in conducting UN peacekeeping operations.
  • The theme is ‘Employment of an Integrated Battle Group in Mountain/ Extreme Climatic Conditions’ under Chapter VII of the United Nations mandate.
  • The scope of the Field Training Exercise includes validation of Integrated Battle Groups against hostile forces at the Brigade level, Integrated Surveillance Grid at the Brigade/ Battalion level, employment of Heliborne/ Airborne elements and Force Multipliers etc.
  • The Exercise will also involve exchange of views and best practices in drills on a wide spectrum of combat skills including combat engineering, obstruction clearance, mine and Improvised Explosive Devices warfare.

India-UN Capacity Building Initiative:

India and the United Nations recently launched a joint capacity-building initiative called the “India-UN Capacity Building Initiative,” designed to foster growth and development in the Global South.

  • India-UN Capacity Building Initiative is aimed at building the capacity of countries in the Global South.
  • The goal is to share India’s development experiences, best practices, and expertise through capacity-building and training programs.
  • It extends the success of India’s G20 Presidency, which prioritised the inclusion of voices from the Global South in the G20 agenda.
  • The initiative builds upon the extensive cooperation in development and capacity building that India already has bilaterally with the partner countries.
  • As part of this initiative, the UN India team and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will “partner to leverage India’s Technical and Economic Cooperation platform to share India’s development experiences and best practices across the world.

Floating Barrier In The South China Sea’s Disputed Area:

The Coast Guard of China was accused by the Philippines recently of installing a “floating barrier” in the South China Sea’s disputed area.

  • South China Sea is an arm of the western Pacific Ocean that borders the Southeast Asian mainland.
  • It is bordered by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Vietnam.
  • It is connected by the Taiwan Strait with the East China Sea and by the Luzon Strait with the Philippine Sea (both marginal seas of the Pacific Ocean).
  • The South China Sea and the East China Sea together form the China Sea.
  • The two major archipelagos are known as the Paracel Islands, controlled by China, and the Spratly Islands.
  • It is the second most used sea lane in the world. It is a significant trade route for crude oil from the Persian Gulf and Africa through the Strait of Malacca to Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
  • Major Ports: Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.
  • Several countries claim various parts of the sea, and these claims often overlap.
  • In particular, China’s sweeping claims – which include sovereignty claims over land parcels and their adjacent waters – have angered competing claimants like Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

Overseas Citizen Of India : Process Of Cancelling The Registration

India is in the process of cancelling the registration of more than a dozen Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders for carrying out pro-Khalistan activities and anti-India propaganda

  • Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) is given to overseas Indians.
  • OCI Scheme was introduced by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955, in August 2005.
  • It provides long-term visa-free travel and stay in India and gives the cardholders a host of privileges normally not given to a foreign national.
  • A registered OCI is granted multiple entry, multipurpose, life-long visa for visiting India.
  • He/she is exempted from registration with the Foreign Regional Registration Officer or Foreign Registration Officer for any length of stay in India.

Sea Urchins : Mass Death

The Red Sea’s spectacular coral reefs face a new threat, marine biologists warn—the mass death of sea urchins that may be caused by a mystery disease.

  • Sea urchins belong to a group of marine invertebrates called echinoderms, which means spiny-skinned animals.
  • It includes other well-known marine creatures like starfish and sea cucumbers.
  • Sea urchins are characterized by their spherical to somewhat flattened, spiny bodies, and they are found in oceans worldwide, from shallow coastal waters to deep-sea environments.
  • They live on the ocean floor, usually on hard surfaces, and use tube feet or spines to move about.
  • The largest urchin (known from a single specimen) is Sperostoma giganteumof deep waters off Japan.
  • They have a globular body and a radial arrangement of organs, shown by five bands of pores running from mouth to anus over the test (internal skeleton).
  • The pores accommodate tube feet, which are slender, extensible, and often sucker-tipped.
  • They have a hard exoskeleton, or test, made up of interlocking plates or ossicles, which are often covered with movable spines.
  • From nodules on the test arise long, movable spines and pedicellariae (pincerlike organs); these structures may have poison glands.

Indian-Spot Billed Duck : Spotted

An Indian spot-billed with pale plumage was sighted at Manickapuram tank in Tiruppur district, Tamil Nadu, recently.

  • Indian-Spot Billed Duck is a large dabbling duck that is a non-migratory breeding duck throughout freshwater wetlands in the Indian subcontinent.
  • The name is derived from the red spot at the base of the bill that is found in the mainland Indian population.
  • Scientific Name: Anas poecilorhyncha
  • It is a resident throughout Pakistan and India in freshwater wetlands.
  • They inhabit both inland and coastal wetlands such as ponds, lakes, pools, streams, creeks, estuaries, tidal flats and marshes.
  • They tend to avoid very large patches of open water and prefer medium-sized wetlands with vegetation cover.
  • It has a scaly patterned body with a green speculum and a band of white tertials.
  • These are mainly grey ducks with a paler head and neck and a black bill tipped bright yellow.
  • They mostly feed on grasses and other vegetations. Sometimes they may feed on insects.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Least Concern