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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 8th April 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 8th Apr 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Rare Earth Elements (REE) : Found In Andhra Pradesh:

Rare earth elements are a set of seventeen metallic elements in the periodic table.

  • The 17 Rare Earths are cerium (Ce), dysprosium (Dy), erbium (Er), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), holmium (Ho), lanthanum (La), lutetium (Lu), neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), promethium (Pm), samarium (Sm), scandium (Sc), terbium (Tb), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb), and yttrium (Y).
  • They are characterized by high density, high melting point, high conductivity, and high thermal conductance.
  • They do not occur in a free state rather are found in mineral oxide ores.
  • They occur abundantly but are often not concentrated enough to undertake viable extraction.
  • India is almost 100% import-dependent for most rare earth.
  • India possesses the 5th highest reserves of rare earth in the world

Pseudomonas aeruginosa:

The US Centers for Disease Control flagged Indian eye drop for death, and blindness caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an aerobic microorganism.
  • It is a motile, Gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria distributed throughout different habitats in the world.
  • The bacterium also has several industrial applications where it is cultivated for the production of primary and secondary metabolites.
  • These are also used as agents of biosurfactants for environmental cleanup, restoration, and remediation.

Disease caused by P. aeruginosa:-

  • Pneumonia caused by P. aeruginosa is often hospital-acquired with the common source being contaminated bronchoscopes.
  • The common clinical symptoms associated with this infection include fever and chills and difficulty in breathing.
  • The Sepsis is indicated by irregular alterations of the cardiac dynamics, which ultimately leads to decreased cardiac output, metabolic acidosis, and even multiorgan failure.
  • Urinary tract infection by P. aeruginosa has also been observed in some patients that use external medical devices or during dialysis. The source of urinary tract infection by P. aeruginosa is the entry of the organism from the skin.

Global Trade Outlook and Statistics : WTO

World merchandise trade will grow slower ( 1.7% in 2023) before picking up to 3.2% in 2024

  • Risks to the forecast are tilted to the downside, including geopolitical tensions, food insecurity, potential financial instability stemming from monetary policy tightening, and increasing levels of debt.
  • Trade volume growth in 2022 was slower than expected at 2.7% following a fourth quarter slump, but still stronger than worst casescenarios considered at the start of the war in Ukraine.
  • The value of world merchandise trade rose 12%to US$ 25.3 trillion in 2022, inflated in part by high global commodity prices.
  • The value of world commercial services trade increased 15% in 2022 to US$ 6.8 trillion.
  • Digitally delivered services exports were worth US$ 3.82 trillion in the same year.

About WTO:

  • The World Trade Organization (est. 1995; HQ: Geneva, Switzerland) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade. With effective cooperation in the United Nations System, governments use the organization to establish, revise, and enforce the rules that govern international trade.

Centralised Web Portal : RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced that it will launch a web portal to help beneficiaries retrieve unclaimed deposits.

  • The portal will allow users to search for unclaimed deposits across multiple banks, using AI tools to enhance the search results.
  • The portal will be password-protected, and only claimants will have access to search for unclaimed deposits.
  • Banks are required to display the list of unclaimed deposits on their websites.
  • Deposits of individuals in any bank account that remain unclaimed for 10 years.
  • These unclaimed deposits are transferred to the Depositor Education & Awareness Fund maintained by the RBI.

Olive Crown Awards:

The India Chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) hosted the 13th edition of its annual property, the Olive Crown Awards 2023, on 5th April at the ITC Grand Central, Parel, Mumbai.

  • The awards acknowledged the work of those individuals and corporates who drove the message of sustainability or ‘green advertising’.
  • Famous Innovations bagged 10 awards across categories including the: ‘Green Agency Of The Year’; ‘Corporate Crusader Of The Year’ was awarded to Kirloskar – Limitless for their work ‘A Minute For Nature’;‘Green Campaign of the Year’- Gold went to Livpure – for ‘Rally for rivers’; Kirloskar -Limitless won the ‘Green Brand of the Year’- Gold, for their work ‘Powered by nature’ Centrick Marketing Solutions LLP.
  • Furthermore, the awards were presented across 17 different categories, including the title ‘Green Crusader of the Year’ award, which was presented to P N Mohan for his vision and commitment to restore lakes, dedication in mobilizing people and funds for this cause, for his single-minded focus that led to seven lakes (near Chennai) coming back to life.

Biotech-KISAN Scheme:

Biotech-KISAN Scheme has been successful in providing benefits to over 1 lakh 60 thousand farmers in the last one year.

  • Biotech-KISAN scheme is a farmer-centric scheme for farmers, launched in 2017, developed by and with farmers under the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • It is a pan-India program, following a hub-and-spoke model and stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation in farmers and empowers women farmers.
  • It has a unique feature to identify and promote local farm leadership in both genders.
  • Such leadership helps to develop science-based farming besides facilitating the transfer of knowledge.
  • Biotech-KISAN Hubs have been established covering all 15 agroclimatic zones and Aspirational Districts in the country.
  • The programme links available science and technology to the farm by first understanding the problem of the local farmer and then providing scientific solutions to those problems.
  • The Biotech-KISAN hubs are expected to fulfill the technology required to generate agriculture and bio-resource related jobs and better livelihood ensuring biotechnological benefits to small and marginal farmers.

Extended Range Anti-Submarine Rocket:

The Extended Range Anti-Submarine Rocket (ER-ASR) designed by two Pune-based facilities of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was recently successfully test-fired for the first time.

  • Extended Range Anti-Submarine Rocket (ER-ASR) was designed and developed by Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL).
  • It is designed to intercept submarines at specific depths.
  • It will be deployed in anti-submarine operations and will be fired from an indigenised rocket launcher mounted onboard various Indian naval ships.
  • It can be fired in single or in salvo mode depending on the tactical mission requirements
  • It has been designed to replace the existing Russian origin RGB rockets which are already fitted in ships.
  • While the RGB has a range of five kilometers, the ER-ASR can achieve a range over eight kilometers.
    • It consists of two motor propulsion systems which can fire the rocket in Short Range mode and Long Range mode to achieve different range capabilities

Cepheid Star:

A recent study carried out by the researchers were able to achieve the most accurate calibration of Cepheid stars.

  • Cepheid star is a type of variable star which brigthen and dim periodically.
  • Variable stars are essentially stars that experience fluctuations in their brightness
  • Cepheids stars are special type of variable star in that they are hot and massive – five to twenty times as much mass as our Sun – and are known for their tendency to pulsate radially and vary in both diameter and temperature.
  • Cepheid star’s period is directly related to its luminosity or brightness.
  • They have luminosities 500-30,000 times greater than that of the Sun.
  • They are used as cosmic yardsticks out to distances of a few tens of millions of light-years.

United Nations Statistical Commission: India Has Been Elected

India has been elected to the highest statistical body of the United Nations for a four-year term beginning January 1, 2024.

  • United Nations Statistical Commission was established in 1947(HQ: New York) and is the highest body of the global statistical system.
  • It brings together the Chief Statisticians from member states from around the world.
  • It is the highest decision-making body for international statistical activities, responsible for setting statistical standards and the development of concepts and methods, including their implementation at the national and international levels.
  • The Statistical Commission oversees the work of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), and it is a Functional Commission of the UN Economic and Social Council.
  • The Commission consists of 24 member countries of the United Nations elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council based on an equitable geographical distribution according to the following pattern:
    • Five members from African States
    • Four members from Asia-Pacific States
    • Four members from Eastern European States
    • Four members from Latin American and Caribbean States
    • Seven members from Western European and other States
  • The term of office of members is four years.
  • India was a member of the Statistical Commission last in 2004 and the country is returning to the UN agency after a gap of two decades.

Hybrid Solar Eclipse:

A ‘hybrid’ solar eclipse called the Ningaloo Eclipse is set to happen on April 20, 2023.

  • Hybrid solar eclipse is a type of solar eclipse that looks like an annular solar eclipse or a total solar eclipse, depending on the observer’s location along the central eclipse path.
  • During a hybrid solar eclipse, the Earth’s curvature brings some sections of the eclipse path into the Moon’s umbra, the darkest part of its shadow that creates total solar eclipses, while other areas remain outside the umbra’s reach, causing an annular eclipse.
  • Eclipse happens when the moon while orbiting the Earth, comes in between the sun and the Earth, due to which the moon blocks the sun’s light from reaching the Earth, causing an eclipse of the sun or a solar eclipse.

International Seabed Authority:

The International Seabed Authority has decided that it will start taking permit applications from companies that want to mine the ocean floor.

  • International Seabed Authority is an autonomous international organization established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • It has the mandate to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from deep-seabed-related activities.
  • It has its headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica
  • Its primary function is to regulate the exploration of poly-metallic nodules.
  • Polymetallic nodules are rounded accretions of manganese and iron hydroxides that cover vast areas of the seafloor.
  • These are most abundant on abyssal plains at water depths of 4000-6500 metres.
  • They are mainly found in the north-central Pacific Ocean, the southeastern Pacific Ocean, and the northern Indian Ocean.