Today’s Current Affairs: 8th Dec 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
6th NSA-Level Meeting Of Colombo Security Conclave:
National Security Advisers from India, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka, along with delegates from Seychelles and Bangladesh, participated in the 6th NSA-level meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) in Mauritius.
- NSA Ajit Doval underscored the importance of the Colombo Security Conclave in promoting regional security and stability.
- He emphasized the significance of ongoing engagements across various cooperation pillars to address common security challenges.
- During the meeting, participants collectively agreed on a Roadmap of Activities for 2024, outlining strategic initiatives to enhance security collaboration.
- This roadmap signifies the commitment of member countries to strengthen cooperation and address evolving security dynamics.
- It was Originally known as the Trilateral for Maritime Security Cooperation, the Colombo Security Conclave has evolved to include India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Mauritius as its fourth member.
- Bangladesh and Seychelles participate as observers, reflecting the collaborative nature of maritime nations in addressing security challenges.
Jammu & Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023:
The Lok Sabha has passed two significant bills related to Jammu and Kashmir, aimed at providing rights to those who faced injustice and were deprived of their rights in the Union Territory.
Jammu & Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023:
- Aims to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004.
- Provides reservation in jobs and admission in professional institutions to Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and other socially and educationally backward classes.
- The amendment suggests a change in the nomenclature of a section of people previously described as “weak and underprivileged classes (social castes)” to “other backward classes.”
Introduces changes to Section 2 of the 2004 Act.
- Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 Seeks to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
- Provides representation in the Legislative Assembly to Kashmiri migrants and displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- Proposes the nomination of two members from the Kashmiri migrant community and one person representing displaced persons from PoK to the Legislative Assembly.
Increase in Assembly Seats:
- Proposes an increase in the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly from 83 to 90.
- Introduces provisions to reserve seats for members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- Inserts new sections 15A and 15B in the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, allowing the Lieutenant Governor to nominate members from the community of “Kashmiri Migrants” and “Displaced Persons from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir” to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.
- Two seats reserved for the Kashmiri Migrant community.
- One seat in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly reserved for people displaced from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
- Nine seats reserved for SC/ST communities for the first time.
The JT-60SA : World’s Largest Nuclear Fusion Reactor
The world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor, the JT-60SA in Japan’s Ibaraki Prefecture, has commenced operations, marking a significant step toward achieving clean energy.
- The joint project between the European Union and Japan aims to explore the viability of nuclear fusion as a sustainable and virtually limitless power source.
- The achievement follows recent breakthroughs in nuclear fusion, including a net energy gain by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
- Another, even larger fusion reactor is currently under construction in France and is set to begin operations in 2025.
Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus:
The ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute (ICAR-IVRI), Izatnagar, Bareilly, has found the exact status of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus subtypes (EEHV) and its subtypes circulating among Asian elephant population in India.
- Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus is a double-stranded DNA virus that is classified in the family Herpesviridae.
- It causes acute, fatal hemorrhagic disease in wild and captive juvenile Asian and African elephants.
- It is lethal for young elephants between the ages of one and 12.
- The disease is usually fatal, with a short course of 28-35 hours.
- Transmitted by direct contact with body fluids of infected elephants (saliva, shedding from skin lesions, etc.)
- Some elephants show symptoms such as reduced appetite, nasal discharge and swollen glands.
- It includes a combination of antiviral therapy, aggressive fluid therapy (to counter haemorrhaging), immuno-stimulant drugs (selenium and Vitamins C, E), antipyretics and analgesics (to bring down fever).
- There is no true cure for herpesviruses in animals or in humans because herpes viruses go latent.
European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter : Image Of The Sun’s Full Disc
The European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter recently captured the most detailed image of the Sun’s full disc and outer atmosphere, the corona, to date.
- Solar Orbiter is a Sun-observing satellite with 10 science instruments, all designed to provide unprecedented insight into how the sun works.
- It is conceived to perform a close-up study of our Sun and inner heliosphere-the uncharted innermost regions of our Solar System.
- It is a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.
- It is the most complex scientific laboratory ever to have been sent to the Sun.
- It will take images of the Sun from closer than any spacecraft before and, for the first time, look at its uncharted polar regions.
- The mission, launched on February 10, 2020, released its first images in June of that year.
- After multiple gravitational assist manoeuvres at Earth and Venus, it started its full science operations in December 2021.
- It follows an elliptical orbit around the sun, with the closest point, the perihelion, at about 25 million miles (40 million kilometres) from the sun, which is closer than the orbit of Mercury.
- It carries six remote-sensing instruments to observe the Sun and the solar corona and four in-situ instruments to measure the solar wind, energetic particles, and electromagnetic fields.
- The mission is scheduled to last until at least 2027.
Pregnant Megamouth Shark : Discovered
A pregnant megamouth shark, a rare and elusive deepwater species, was recently discovered washed up on a beach in the Philippines.
- Megamouth Shark is an extremely rare and unusual species of deep-water shark.
- Scientific Name: Megachasma pelagios.
- Their range is believed to span the region between latitudes 40°N and 40°S.
- These sharks inhabit the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans.
- They are found in deep, warm oceanic water.
- This species has only been observed in the wild a few times, and less than 60 individuals are known by scientists to have ever been captured or observed.
- They are easily recognised by their huge, soft head and large mouth, which is positioned at the anterior margin of the head.
- The colour varies from grey to blueish-black above and is pale grey below.
- They have a series of small, hooked teeth along their top and bottom jaws.
- They are filter feeders, and they swim with their mouths constantly wide open in order to filter out their preferred planktonic prey.
- The inside of their mouths is covered with light-producing organs that may be used to attract pelagic crustaceans and other potential prey.
- Conservation Status:
- IUCN Red List: Least Concern
Group of Companies Doctrine:
A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court recently held that an arbitration agreement can bind non-signatories as per the “group of companies” doctrine
- The “group of companies” doctrine states that a company that is a non-signatory to an arbitration agreement would be bound by the agreement if such a company is a member of the same group of companies that signed the agreement.
- The doctrine deems that the parties to the arbitration agreement mutually intended for such a non-signatory to be bound by it.
- Arbitration is a mechanism to resolve disputes between parties without going to court.
- A neutral person is appointed to adjudicate the dispute, and the judgement of an arbitrator is legally enforceable.
- The “group of companies” concept, unlike other non-signatory theories that are based on domestic law principles, is based on international arbitration jurisprudence.
- The doctrine was first recognised by the Indian Supreme Court in Chloro Controls India Private Limited v. Severn Trent Water Purification Inc. (2013). Since then, Indian courts have applied the doctrine to bind group companies of signatories to arbitration agreements.
- The main purpose behind bringing the ‘group of companies’ doctrine in India was to prevent fragmentation of disputes in composite transactionse., disputes consisting of several parties and multiple contracts.
Gemini AI Model : Google
Google announced the launch of its latest, most powerful AI model, Gemini.
- Gemini AI model is a new multimodal general AI model, which means it can understand, and work with different formats, including text, code, audio, image, and video, at the same time
- It is now available to users across the world through Bard, some developer platforms and even the new Google Pixel 8 Pro devices.
- It can understand, explain and generate high-quality code in the world’s most popular programming languages, like Python, Java, C++ and Go.
- It comes in three sizes — the yet -to-be-launched Ultra, Pro and Nano.
- Gemini Ultra, the largest and most capable model, will be meant for highly complex tasks. It is available now only to select customers, developers, partners and safety and responsibility experts for early experimentation and feedback.
- Gemini Pro will be best at scaling across a wide range of tasks and is now available in Bard for regular users across the world.
- Gemini Nano will manage on-device tasks and is already available on Pixel 8 Pro, powering new features like Summarise in the Recorder app and Smart Reply via Gboard.
International Civil Aviation Day 2023:
International Civil Aviation Day (ICAD) is celebrated annually on 7th December. The day was established in 1994 as part of the 50th anniversary of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
- The United Nations General Assembly officially recognized the day in 1996.
- The purpose of ICAD is to promote global recognition of international civil aviation’s vital role in the social and economic development of nations.
- It underscores ICAO’s unique position in fostering cooperation among states to establish an inclusive and efficient global transit network for the benefit of humanity.
- Theme for 2023: “Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development”.
- The ICAO is a United Nations agency that coordinates international air navigation.
- It was established in 1944 to manage the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention).
- India is a member of ICAO, it is headquartered in Montreal, Canada.
India Infrastructure Report 2023:
The India Infrastructure Report 2023 on Urban Planning and Development was recently released virtually.
- The report is a collaborative effort by the IDFC Foundation, Infrastructure Development Corporation (Karnataka) Ltd. (iDeCK), and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA).
- The report, part of the India Infrastructure Report series, covers various complex issues related to urban planning and development.
- The report include Planning and Governance, Smart Initiatives, PPPs and Financing, Housing and Migration, Public Service Delivery, Integrating Infrastructure, and Urban Redevelopment.
Highlights of the Report 2023:
- Spotlight on the transformative potential of digital technology in shaping the urban landscape of India.
- Focus areas include the concept of ‘smart cities’ and the significance of performance ranking criteria.
- Examination of financial dimensions of urban development, with a special emphasis on public-private partnerships (PPPs), the financial sustainability of urban local bodies, and the efficacy of municipal bonds as potent financing instruments.
- Urban transportation planning and urban redevelopment as pivotal components of effective urban governance through transit-oriented development, efficient urban goods movement, and floor space and land price regulation in India.
Genome Sequencing Of Jamun:
The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have conducted the first-ever genome sequencing of the jamun tree (Syzygium cumini).
- The study aimed to gain insights into the genomic and evolutionary basis of jamun’s medicinal properties.
- The research team used Oxford Nanopore and 10x Genomics sequencing technologies to sequence the S. cumini genome.
- The analysis revealed a higher number of coding genes in the jamun genome, suggesting a neopolyploidy event.
- The study identified key genes involved in the adaptive evolution of jamun, contributing to its anti-diabetic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- A neopolyploidy event refers to the occurrence of polyploidy, a condition in which an organism has multiple sets of chromosomes, leading to an increase in the number of chromosomes in its cells.
- Polyploidy can arise through different mechanisms, including errors during cell division or hybridization between different species