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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 8th July 2023

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

Threads App : Meta

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has recently developed a new app called Threads to compete with Twitter.

  • The launch of the app in the European Union (EU) has been postponed due to regulatory concerns.
  • Meta’s Threads app, designed to provide a platform for discussions and community engagement.
  • It is currently not being launched in the EU.
  • The company’s decision stems from regulatory concerns regarding compliance with the DMA, a framework introduced to address the dominance of large digital platforms and ensure fair competition within the digital market.
  • The DMA is a regulatory initiative that aims to regulate the behavior of “gatekeeper” platforms, which possess substantial market power.
  • It establishes stringent regulations for major internet companies operating in Europe, including Meta.
  • One key regulation prohibits platforms from sharing data across different services, ensuring fair competition and data privacy.
  • The company’s attempt to leverage data from WhatsApp to strengthen Instagram and Facebook, which violated EU rules, raised data privacy concerns

Farmers Distress Index:

The Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) in India has developed a unique early warning system known as the “farmers’ distress index.”The index is currently being worked out in the form of a mobile or desktop application.

  • The purpose of this index is to minimize agrarian distress, including crop loss, failure, and income shocks, which have led to an increase in farmer suicides.
  • The index’s methodology involves monitoring local newspapers, news platforms, and social media for reports of distress, followed by telephonic interviews with small and marginal farmers to assess early signs of distress using standardized questions.
  • The index allows for targeted interventions, such as focusing on improving women’s incomes if the distress is gender-based.
  • The index will have values from 0-1. A value between 0-0.5 will indicate ‘low distress’, 0.5-0.7 will indicate ‘moderate’ distress and above 0.7 will indicate ‘severe’ distress. If the index is severe, it will identify which component, among the seven, is more severe and contributes maximum to farmers’ distress.

Jenin Refugee Camp : Israel Launched a Military Operation

Israel launched a military operation in the Jenin Refugee Camp in the occupied West Bank, resembling wide-scale operations carried out during the second Palestinian uprising (2000-2005).

  • The operation aimed to destroy and confiscate weapons and targeted specific militant groups.
  • It involved around 2,000 soldiers and utilized military drones for strikes.
  • The Jenin camp has historically been a stronghold for armed struggle against Israeli occupation and a focal point for violence.
  • Jenin Refugee Camp is a Palestinian refugee camp located in the northern West Bank, specifically in the city of Jenin.
  • Established in 1953, the camp was created to accommodate Palestinian refugees who were displaced during the 1948 Arab Israeli war, also known as the Nakba .
  • The camp has also been a site of frequent clashes between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces over the years.
  • It gained particular attention during the second Palestinian uprising, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000-2005), when it became a stronghold for armed resistance against Israeli occupation.
  • Jenin Refugee Camp remains a symbol of the Palestinian refugee issue and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

International Conference On Green Hydrogen (ICGH-2023):

The three-day International Conference on Green Hydrogen (ICGH-2023) has commenced in New Delhi.

  • The conference aims to establish a Green Hydrogen ecosystem and foster a systemic approach to global decarbonisation goals.

Themes of the Conference:

  • Hydrogen Production Technologies: This theme will focus on various methods of producing green hydrogen such as electrolysis, thermochemical, biological, photocatalysis, etc.
    • It will also discuss the challenges and opportunities in scaling up these technologies and reducing their costs.
  • Hydrogen Storage and Distribution: This theme will address the issues related to storing and transporting green hydrogen such as compression, liquefaction, metal hydrides, ammonia, etc.
    • It will also explore the potential of hydrogen pipelines, refueling stations, etc.
  • Hydrogen Applications: This theme will showcase the various applications of green hydrogen in different sectors such as mobility, industry, power generation, etc.
    • It will also highlight the benefits and challenges of using green hydrogen as a fuel or feedstock.
  • Green Financing: This theme will explore the various sources and mechanisms of financing green hydrogen projects such as green bonds, carbon credits, subsidies, etc.
    • It will also discuss the role of public-private partnerships, multilateral agencies, etc. in supporting green hydrogen initiatives.
  • Human Resource Development: This theme will focus on the need for developing skilled manpower for the green hydrogen sectors such as engineers, technicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, etc.
    • It will also discuss the strategies for upskilling and reskilling the existing workforce and creating awareness among stakeholders.
  • Startup Ecosystem: This theme will highlight the role of startups in innovating and disrupting the green hydrogen sector.
    • It will also showcase some of the successful startups in this domain and their products or services.

China’s OpenKylin : Open-Source Desktop Operating System

China recently released its first open-source desktop operating system, named OpenKylin.

  • OpenKylin is China’s first open-source desktop operating system (OS).
  • It is a Linux-based operating system built by a community of about 4,000 developers.
  • OpenKylin users have access to the software’s lines of code and can modify them as they wish, unlike Microsoft and Apple, which keep the workings of Windows and MacOS systems secret.
  • An Open-source OS is the OS in which source code is visible publicly and editable.
  • The generally known Operating Systems like Microsoft’s Windows, Apple’s iOS and Mac OS, are closed OS.
  • Closed Operating Systems are built with numerous codes and complex programming and that is called source code.
  • This source code is kept secret by the respective companies (owners) and inaccessible to third parties.
  • In the case of an Open-Source Operating system, everyone can access and edit the source code.

Ubinas Volcano : Ongoing Activity

Peru recently announced a state of emergency in the Moquegua region due to the ongoing activity of the Ubinas volcano.

  • Ubinas Volcano is a stratovolcano located in the Central Volcanic Zone of the Andes.
  • It is one of the most active volcanoes in Peru, with more than 26 eruptive episodes recorded in the last 500 years.
  • The Ubinas volcano is part of a group of seven volcanoes in southern Peru located within a volcanic zone that extends from southern Peru to northern Chile.
  • The affected area is situated within the “Ring of Fire,” a region encompassing the edges of the Pacific Ocean that is renowned for its volcanic activity and seismic events, such as earthquakes.
  • The upper portion of the volcano is made from lava flows from the Pleistocene.
  • The depression (caldera) at the summit contains a cone of volcanic ash sporting a vent shaped like a funnel.
  • Stratovolcano is a tall, steep, and cone-shaped type of volcano.
  • Unlike flat shield volcanoes like in Hawaii, they have higher peaks.

Global Peace Index 2023:

The 2023 Global Peace Index (GPI) recently released its annual ranking of the most peaceful countries in the world.

Highlights of Global Peace Index 2023:

  • The average level of global peacefulness deteriorated by 0.42 per cent.
  • Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world – a title it has held since 2008. It is accompanied at the top by Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, and Austria.
  • Conversely, Afghanistan is the least peaceful country in the world for the eighth consecutive year. It is followed by Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.]
  • India has occupied the 126th spot in the rankings, two higher than its previous position.
  • The report stated that India experienced an improvement of 3.5 per cent in overall peacefulness over the past year, owing to improvements in violent crime, neighbouring countries’ relations, and political instability.
  • Among other countries, Nepal, China, Sri Lanka, United States of America, and Pakistan, and have been ranked 79, 80, 107, 131, 146, respectively.

Global Peace Index:

  • It is released annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
  • 2023 Global Peace Index (GPI) ranked 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness.
  • It measures the state of peace across three domains:
    • Societal safety and security
    • Ongoing domestic and international conflict
    • Militarization

Solar Shooting Stars : Discovery

Astronomers have made a stunning discovery of meteor-like streaks falling on the surface of the Sun.

  • Solar shooting stars are massive clumps of plasma that plummet to the Sun’s surface at incredible speeds.
  • These looks like a massive rain of fireballs that play a key role in heating up the corona which is the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere.
  • The researchers observed these solar shooting stars using the Solar Orbiter spacecraft of the European Space Agency.
  • This is the first time such impacts have been spotted.
  • These observations were made from a close distance of just 30 million miles from the sun.
  • The Coronal rain which is plasma firework displays consisting of gas with temperatures exceeding two million degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Instead of water, coronal rains form when localised temperature drops, causing solar plasma to condense into dense lumps.
  • These lumps then fall to the cooler surface of the Sun, known as the photosphere, as fiery rain at speeds of up to 220,000 miles per hour.

Exercise SALVEX 2023:

Indian Navy – US Navy (IN – USN) Salvage and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) exercise, SALVEX was conducted from 26 Jun – 06 Jul 23 at Kochi.

  • EXERCISE – SALVEX is Indian Navy – US Navy have been participating in joint Salvage and EOD exercises since 2005.
  • It is the Seventh edition of SALVEX.
  • The exercise saw participation from both the navies which included the ships – INS Nireekshak and USNS Salvor in addition to Specialist Diving and EOD teams.
  • It also saw conduct of joint training exercises towards enhancing interoperability, cohesiveness and gaining from best practices mutually in Maritime Salvage and EOD operations.
  • The constructive engagements on operational terms enhanced the skill-sets of the Diving teams in a number of diverse disciplines such as mine detection and neutralisation, wreck location and salvage.

Santa Fe : Unusual Frog

Argentinian scientists have discovered a rather unusual frog named the Santa Fe frog

  • Santa Fe frog :Scientific Name: Leptodactylus laticeps
  • It is an extremely rare species found only in South American countries namely Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.
  • The frog is under threat as its habitat the Dry Chaco is cut down.
  • Grana Chaco is lowland alluvial plainin interior south-central South America.
  • It is subject to climates that vary from tropical in the north to warm-temperate in the south.
  • The Grana Chaco is a large expanse of forest and dusty plains straddling parts of Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Near Threatened

National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment Portal:

Secretary of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances launched the third edition of the National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment (NeSDA) portal.

  • NeSDA portal launched in August 2018 was conceptualized with an overall objective to measure the depth and effectiveness of existing e-Governance service delivery mechanisms.
  • The Department has successfully released 2 editions of NeSDA study, viz., NeSDA 2019 and NeSDA 2021.
  • This framework is based on the Online Service Index (OSI) of UN eGovernment Survey.
  • The framework covers six sectors, Finance, Labour & Employment, Education, Local Government & Utilities, Social Welfare (including Agriculture & Health) and Environment (including Fire) sectors.
  • Improvement in the country’s e-Governance landscape due to last 2 editions of NESDA study may be summarized in the following key take aways:
    • Increase in e-Service Delivery
    • Rise in use of Integrated / Centralized Portals for delivery of e-Services
    • Improvement across assessment parameter scores
    • The department undertakes NeSDA study biennially.
    • This study assesses States, Union Territories (UTs), and focus Central Ministries on the effectiveness of e-Governance service delivery.
  • NeSDA helps the respective governments improve their delivery of citizen centric services and shares best practices across the country for all States, UTs and Central Ministries to emulate.