Today’s Current Affairs: 8th Jan 2024 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Uganda To Host 19th NAM Summit:
India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will be visiting Uganda from January 15-20, 2024, to attend the 19th edition of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit.
- The NAM is a forum of 120 developing countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.
- It aims to represent the political, economic, and cultural interests of the developing world.
- The grouping has 53 members from Africa, 40 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and Belarus from Europe.
- There are also 18 observer countries and 10 observer organizations.
- The summit is expected to discuss issues like global cooperation, solidarity, and advancing common goals of developing countries related to politics, economics, and culture.
- As the incoming chair of NAM for 2024-2027, Uganda will set the agenda and priorities for the grouping over the next few years.
- India will aim to strengthen ties with African nations during the visit.
Alvaro : Tropical Cyclone
Tropical Cyclone Alvaro made landfall in southwest Madagascar on January 1st 2024, becoming the first cyclone to impact the island nation in the ongoing 2023-2024 cyclone season for the southwest Indian Ocean region spanning late October to May.
- According to latest data, Cyclone Alvaro has affected over 16,100 people so far with at least 5 reported dead and 8400 displaced in the southern African country known for vanilla and lemur populations.
- The actual death toll could likely be higher.
- Cyclone Alvaro has hit provinces like Atsimo-Andrefana in southwestern Madagascar which face immense flooding challenges during heavy rains, hampering evacuation and drainage towards the sea.
Uttar Purvi Mahotsav 2024:
The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) is organizing a 5-day cultural festival named Uttar Purvi Mahotsav 2024 in New Delhi from January 13th-17th.
- It is Hosted at Pragati Maidan’s Bharat Mandapam, it will showcase the rich art, crafts and heritage of North-Eastern states.
- Speaking at a media briefing, Secretary DoNER Chanchal Kumar described the Mahotsav as a meticulously curated platform blending traditional elements into one vibrant event.
- It also aims to create economic opportunities by fostering trade in regional products and tourism offerings.
- The event promises an enchanting journey through folk dance performances like Satriya of Assam, Hojagiri of Tripura as well as a fashion show with North-Eastern flair.
Justice BR Gavai : Chairman Of The Supreme Court Legal Services Committee
Supreme Court judge Justice BR Gavai has been nominated as the Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC), succeeding Justice Sanjiv Khanna.
- The Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC) was established under Section 3A of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, to provide “free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of society.”
- The committee is composed of Chairperson BR Gavai and nine members nominated by the Chief Justice of India (CJI). It has the authority to appoint officers and employees as prescribed by the Centre, in consultation with the CJI.
- Article 39A emphasizes the need for accessible justice, ensuring free legal aid for the poor and weaker sections of society
- Articles 14 and 22(1): Promoting equality and informed rights for all under
Rejupave Technology : Border Roads Organisation
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has utilised road construction technology i.e. Rejupave technology to build high-altitude bituminous road sections at the Sela tunnel and LGG-Damteng-Yangste (LDY) road near the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Rejupave Technology is developed by India’s oldest and premier road research organisation, CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI).
- It is beneficial in constructing high-altitude bituminous roads at low and sub-zero temperature conditions.
- This technology brings down the production and rolling temperature of bituminous mixes by 30 degrees Celsius to 400 degrees Celsius with negligible heat loss in the bituminous mix during transit, despite long haulage time amid snowfall.
- This technology’s asphalt modifier is a bio-oil-based product, which significantly lowers the heating requirement of bituminous mixes besides preserving the bituminous mix temperature during transit.
- Rejupave’ asphalt modifier in cold climatic regions will have improved long-term durability and better resistance to thermal cracking under low-temperature conditions.
- It also brings down the greenhouse gas emissions in the pristine eco-sensitive mountainous environment of Arunachal Pradesh.
High-Frequency Plasma Waves:
Scientists have detected the existence of high-frequency plasma waves in the Martian Upper Atmosphere with novel narrowband and broadband features that can help to understand plasma processes in the Martian plasma environment.
- Scientists have examined the existence of high-frequency plasma waves in the Martian plasma environment by making use of the high-resolution electric field data from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft of NASA.
- These waves could be either electron oscillations that propagate parallel to the background magnetic field (Langmuir waves) or electron oscillations that propagate perpendicular to the background magnetic field (upper-hybrid type waves) in the magneto sheath region of Mars.
- They observed two distinct wave modes with frequency below and above the electron plasma frequency in the Martian magnetosphere.
- These waves are either broadband- or narrowband-type with distinguishable features in the frequency domain.
- The broadband waves were consistently found to have periodic patchy structures with a periodicity of 8–14 milliseconds.
- These waves are often observed in the Earth’s magnetosphere, a magnetic field cavity around the Earth.
- In general, plasma waves are identified as the short-time scale fluctuations in the electric and magnetic field observations.
- These plasma waves play an important role in the energization and transport of the charged particles in the Earth’s magnetosphere.
Ministry Of Social Justice And Empowerment Year End Review 2023:
The year-end-review of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for the year 2023 was released.
- The Department hosted events like a special gathering at Rashtrapati Bhavan and India’s First Festival of Inclusion (Purple Fest) in Goa, involving thousands of Divyangjan and transgenders, setting world records, and fostering a sense of belonging.
- The Union Cabinet signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of India and the Government of South Africa, focused on cooperation in the Disability Sector.
- The Divya Kala Mela 2023, held in different cities throughout the year, stands as a testament to the Government’s commitment to fostering holistic development and empowerment for persons with disabilities.
The DEPwD embarked on a year-long celebration, commemorating various disability awareness like World Braille Day on January 4 to International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, 2023d in 2023.
- Government felicitated Abilympics winners, honoring Indian Deaf Cricket Team and Para Swimmer Shri Satendra Singh Lohia, celebrating excellence in the field of disabilities, and recognizing their contributions.
- The government launched transformative programs like integrating universal accessibility courses into architectural programs, releasing anonymous data through UDID (Unique Disability ID) portal, and introducing portals for skill training, employment opportunities, and online case monitoring
- Government partnered with institutes to support and empower 3000 Persons with Disabilities through enterprise initiatives, fostering collaboration between government, corporate, and institutions.
- The government launched ISL (Indian Sign Language) dictionary terms, Video Relay Service, and online courses in Indian Sign Language, along with ensuring accessible books through SugamyaPustakalaya.
- Inaugurated India’s first high-tech sports training center for Divyangjan, named after former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, emphasizing equal opportunities in sports and talent enhancement.
- Delivered impactful judgments, providing interest rate rebates to divyangjan borrowers, promoting financial inclusion through NDFDC loans, and collaborating for universal design centers for reading.
- DEPwD announces 1% interest rate rebate to divyangjan borrowers under NDFDC Loan.
- The Scheme witnesses remarkable achievements, with grants-in-aid totaling Rs.368.05 crore, benefiting 2.91 lakh beneficiaries.
Pallas Fish Eagle: Sighted
After 10 years, the Pallas fish eagle, was sighted in the Chilika during the bird census carried out by the Chilika wildlife division.
- Pallas fish eagle is also known as Pallas’s sea eagle or band-tailed fish eagle, is a large, brownish sea eagle.
- It can be seen near lakes, marshes and large rivers, from lowlands to 5,000 metres of elevation.
- It feeds primarily on fish, but many other prey are part of its diet.
- It is found in east Palearctic in Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, China, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
- It is partially migratory.
- Conservation status
- IUCN Red List: Endangered
PRITHVI Vigyan Scheme:
To enhance the understanding of the Earth and its vital signs, the Union Cabinet recently approved the “PRITHvi VIgyan (PRITHVI)” scheme.
- PRITHVI Scheme is an initiative of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) to enhance the understanding of the Earth and its vital signs.
- This overarching initiative, with an allocation of Rs 4,797 crore for the period 2021-26, aims to significantly enhance research, modelling, and service delivery across crucial areas like weather, climate, oceans, and the polar regions.
- The Prithvi scheme integrates five existing sub-schemes:
- Atmosphere and Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems and Services (ACROSS)
- Ocean Services, Modelling Application, Resources and Technology (O-SMART)
- Polar Science and Cryosphere Research (PACER)
- Seismology and Geosciences (SAGE)
- Research, Education, Training, and Outreach (REACHOUT).
- These programs collectively aim to enhance our understanding of the Earth’s vital signs and translate scientific knowledge into practical services that benefit society, environment and economy.
- One of the primary objectives of Prithvi is to augment and sustain long-term observations across the atmosphere, ocean, geosphere, cryosphere, and solid earth.
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program:
The United States Department of State recently released data that indicates significant progress in the processing of EB-5 applications that are currently pending, especially those from Indian citizens.
- The EB-5 (employment-based, 5th preference), or US golden visa, provides a special road for overseas investors and their families to seek permanent residency and Green Cards in the United States.
- It is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- It was created in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.
- Under this program, investors (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence (become a Green Card holder) if they:
- Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States, and
- Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
Futuristic Fuel Cell-Based Power System : ISRO
ISRO recently said it has successfully tested a futuristic fuel cell-based power system.
- A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity by a chemical reaction.
- Fuel cells can be used in a wide range of applications, providing power for applications across multiple sectors, including transportation, industrial/commercial/residential buildings, and long-term energy storage for the grid in reversible systems.
- A fuel cell consists of two electrodes—a negative electrode (or anode) and a positive electrode (or cathode).
- Both electrodes must be immersed in and separated by an electrolyte, which may be a liquid or a solid but must, in either case, conduct ions between the electrodes in order to complete the chemistry of the system.
- A fuel, such as hydrogen, is supplied to the anode, where it is oxidised, producing hydrogen ions and electrons.
- An oxidizer, such as oxygen, is supplied to the cathode, where the hydrogen ions from the anode absorb electrons from the latter and react with the oxygen to produce water.
- The difference between the respective energy levels at the electrodes (electromotive force) is the voltage per unit cell.
- The amount of electric current available to the external circuit depends on the chemical activity and amount of the substances supplied as fuel.
- A single fuel cell generates a tiny amount of direct-current (DC) electricity. In practice, many fuel cells are usually assembled into a stack.
- Fuel cells have lower or zero emissions compared to combustion engines. Hydrogen fuel cells emit only water, addressing critical climate challenges as there are no carbon dioxide emissions.
30 Doradus B : A Supernova
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory recently captured a stunning image of 30 Doradus B, a supernova remnant that is part of a vibrant region of space where stars have been forming for millions of years.
- The team of astronomers studying the remnant discovered that it could not have been formed by a single supernova. Instead, the researchers believe it was created by at least two.
- A supernova is the explosion of a star whose luminosity after an eruption suddenly increases many millions of times its normal level.
- Supernovas are “the largest explosion that takes place in space.”
- A star can go supernova in one of two ways:
- Type I supernova: Thestar accumulates matter from a nearby neighbour until a runaway nuclear reaction ignites.
- Type II supernova: Thestar runs out of nuclear fuel and collapses under its own gravity.
- Supernovas can briefly outshine entire galaxiesand radiate more energy than our sun will in its entire lifetime.
- They’re also the primary source of heavy elements in the universe.
- They heat up the interstellar medium, distribute heavy elements throughout the Galaxy, and accelerate cosmic rays.
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory:
- It is a telescope specially designed to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the Universe, such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes.
Indrayani River : Toxic Foam
The recent reappearance of toxic foam on the Indrayani river once again raised concerns about pollution here.
- Indrayani River is a tributary of the Bhima River, which again is a tributary of the Krishna River.
- It originates in Kurvande village near Lonavla, a hill station in the Sahyadri mountains of Maharashtra.
- It flows east from there to meet the Bhima River.
- It follows a course mostly north of the city of Pune.
- The river has great religious importance, and the two sacred towns of Alandi and Dehu are situated on its banks.
- Dehu is known to be a sacred place for being the hometown of the poet Saint Tukaram, who was a popular saint of Maharashtra, and Alandi holds the samadhi of the poet Dnyaneshwar.
- Valvan Dam at Kamshet, situated on the Indrayani River, is a hydroelectric generating station.
Norms For Politically-Exposed Persons : RBI
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently updated Know Your Customer (KYC) norms for politically exposed persons (PEPs) who transact with regulated entities (REs), seeking to comply with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
- In the amended KYC master direction, the central bank defines PEPs as “individuals who are or have been entrusted with prominent public functions by a foreign country, including the heads of states/governments, senior politicians, senior government or judicial or military officers, senior executives of state-owned corporations, and important political party officials”.
- REs have the option of establishing a relationship with PEPs (whether as customers or beneficial owners).
- REs have to perform regular customer due diligence and also follow additional conditions prescribed by the RBI to transact with PEPs.
- Some additional conditions include establishing an appropriate risk management system to determine whether the customer or the beneficial owner is a PEP.
- REs have to take reasonable measures to establish the source of funds/ wealth.
- They also need to get approval from senior management to open an account for a PEP.