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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 9th Jan 2024

Today’s Current Affairs: 9th Jan 2024 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Impact Of Logging And Climate Change On Biodiversity : IISc Research

An IISc research investigating impacts of logging and climate change on biodiversity-rich tropical mountain forests has revealed intriguing ecological shifts.

  • Analysis of insect-eating tropical bird data collected over 10 years showed logging is pushing smaller species to higher cooler elevations due to hotter temperatures while larger birds declined in logged forests.
  • Large birds need more energy and are suffering disproportionate declines in degraded forests unable to meet their ecological needs, unlike smaller adaptable species better colonizing such emerging niches.
  • The findings thus underscore the critical importance of preserving intact old-growth forests to mitigate biodiversity threats from logging and provide climate migration pathways to species forced to shift habitats due to rising heat.
  • Experts suggest that to aid climate adaptation, wildlife managers should prioritize conserving old-growth forests across extensive elevation gradients.
  • This allows temperature-sensitive fauna to keep shifting uwards as lowlands get hotter.

African Raptors : Population Declines

A new study has revealed that 37 out of 42 African raptor species analyzed have experienced significant population declines of around 88% in the past 40 years.

  • Out of these, 29 species constituting 69% have seen drops over 3 generation lengths that qualify them as globally threatened under IUCN criteria of endangerment.
  • The analysis found 6 raptor species endemic or near-endemic to Africa already overshot the minimum threshold of loss of habitat and numbers that signals heightened extinction risk.
  • There is pressing need to reassess the status of over 10 declining yet currently least-concern species which might be more endangered than categorized.
  • Habitat destruction, loss of nesting sites and prey base along with poisoning and hunting have accelerator declines, especially in West Africa’s high poverty, corruption and misgovernance contexts.

Zosurabalpin : New Class Of Antibiotics

Researchers have identified a new class of antibiotics, specifically zosurabalpin, with the potential to combat drug-resistant bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii.

  • This antibiotic was found to be effective against CRAB (carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii)-induced pneumonia and sepsis in mouse models.
  • Zosurabalpin, a drug candidate, was developed through the optimization of a tethered macrocyclic peptide (MCP) that selectively kills A. baumannii.
  • The antibiotic’s unique mode of action involves inhibiting the transport of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an essential process for creating the outer-membrane structure of Gram-negative bacteria.
  • Zosurabalpin blocks LPS transport, leading to the abnormal build-up of LPS in the cell and the subsequent death of the bacterium.
  • Gram-negative bacteria have a thin peptidoglycan layer in the cell wall, which is sandwiched between two lipid membranes, giving them a complex structure.
  • This outer membrane acts as a barrier, making them more resistant to antibiotics.

Starlink Satellites With Direct-To-Cell:

SpaceX successfully launched the first set of Starlink satellites equipped with direct-to-cell capabilities.

  • Direct-to-cell refers to a technology that enables communication signals, such as text messages, voice, and data, to be transmitted directly from space-based satellites to mobile devices (cell phones) without the need for traditional ground-based infrastructure.
  • In the context of SpaceX’s Starlink project, direct-to-cell capabilities allow the delivery of wireless services, including network access and communication services, to mobile users in specific geographical areas using satellite connectivity.
  • This technology is particularly useful in remote or underserved regions where establishing traditional terrestrial networks may be challenging or economically unfeasible

Lunar Gateway Station : NASA

The UAE recently announced its participation in developing a module on NASA’s Lunar Gateway Station alongside the USA, Japan, Canada, and the European Union.

  • Lunar Gateway Station is a primary component of NASA’s Artemis program.
  • Artemis intends to establish a long-term base on the Moon (Artemis base), and the Lunar Gateway will serve as a multi-purpose outpost that orbits the Moon.
  • The Gateway is a multinational project involving four of the International Space Station partner agencies: NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
  • The Gateway Station is similar to the International Space Station currently in low Earth orbit, but the Gateway will orbit the Moon.
  • Incidentally, the Gateway will be the first space station ever to exist outside of low Earth orbit, or LEO.
  • From the Gateway, NASA and international partners can provide essential support for long-term human presence on the lunar surface, as well as launch additional missions for deep space exploration.
  • Its flight path is a highly elliptical orbit, bringing it both relatively close to the Moon’s surface and also far away, making it easier to pick up astronauts and supplies from Earth, around a five-day trip.
  • It will also offer a place to relay communications and act as a base for scientific research.
  • The Gateway will weigh around 40 tonnes and consist of a service module, a communications module, a connecting module, an airlock for spacewalks, a place for the astronauts to live, and an operations station to command the Gateway’s robotic arm or rovers on the Moon.
  • Astronauts will be able to occupy it for up to 90 days at a time, occasionally travelling to the lunar surface to conduct science and test new technologies.

Taurus Missile:

Pressure is mounting on the German Chancellor to give the green light for long-range Taurus missiles that would be a significant boost to Kyiv’s weapons arsenal for striking critical Russian assets.

  • Taurus KEPD 350, known as the ‘bunker buster’, is a Swedish-Germanlong-range air-to-surface cruise missile.
  • The high-precision stand-off guided missile system can penetrate through dense air defence systems and destroy hard and deeply buried stationary and semi-stationary military targets on the ground.
  • The missile attacks target bridges, ships in ports, runways, command, control and control centres, bunkers, port facilities, and air base buildings.
  • It is in service with the German (Luftwaffe) and Spanish Air Forces.

Dynamic Asset Allocation:

Asset management company (AMC) PPFAS Mutual Fund recently filed for an open-ended dynamic asset allocation scheme with the capital market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

  • DAA is an investment strategy that involves the frequent adjustment of the weights in a portfolio based on the overall market performance or the performance of certain securities.
  • Most of the funds in this category are invested and spread across various sectors, including equity funds, real estate, stocks, and bonds.
  • Under the dynamic allocation strategy, a portfolio manager assesses the current market conditions and the performance of each asset class.
  • He uses the results of the assessment to reduce the weights of assets with bad performance and increase the weights of assets with strong performance.
  • Generally, a dynamic strategy is used in reaction to existing risks and market downturns.
    Unlike the strategic asset allocation strategy, dynamic asset allocation does not involve a target mix of assets.
  • Thus, portfolio managers enjoy a high degree of flexibility in their choice of investments.
  • Dynamic allocation requires active portfolio management. Therefore, the success of the strategy depends not only on the market conditions but also on the portfolio manager’s ability to make good investment decisions and to adequately respond to changes in the market.
  • The frequent adjustments in the mix of assets can possibly provide higher returns on the investment portfolio.
  • Unlike static asset allocation, dynamic allocation is highly flexible.
  • The strategy can quickly respond to market changes and market risks.

Hog Deer : Spotted

The hog deer has been spotted for the first time at the Rajaji Tiger Reserve.

  • Rajaji Tiger Reserve is spread over three districts of Uttarakhand: Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal.
  • It is situated along the hills and foothills of the Shiwalik ranges.

Hog deer:

  • It is a solitary creature but sometimes spotted feeding in small groups in open fields when food there is plentiful.
  • For the most part it is sedentary and does not migrate.
  • Males tend to be territorial and mark their territory with glandular secretions.
  • This species exhibits sexual dimorphism. The females are slightly smaller than males and lack antlers.
  • It has a native geographic range throughout India, including the Himalayan foothills and Southeast Asia.
  • Humans have introduced free-ranging populations of this deer in Sri Lanka, Australia and the United States, including Texas, Florida, and Hawaii.
  • It appears to prefer dense forests; however, they are often observed in clearings, grasslands and occasionally wet grasslands.
  • This variation is usually associated with time of year and food distribution.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Endangered
    • Wildlife Protection Act 1972: Scheduled I

Innovations For Defence Excellence : Set To Participate In The Tenth Edition Of The Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2024

Innovations for Defence Excellence- Defence Innovation Organization (iDEX-DIO) is all set to participate in the tenth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2024 from 10 to 12 January 2024 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

  • iDEX is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Defence, Govt of India launched in 2018.
  • The objective of the scheme is to cultivate an innovation ecosystem in the Defence and Aerospace sector by collaborating with startups, innovators, MSMEs, incubators, and academia.
  • iDEX offers grants and support for R&D with significant potential for future adoption in Indian defence and aerospace.
  • It is currently engaged with around 400+ Startups and MSMEs.
  • It is recognized as a game-changer in the defence ecosystem, iDEX has received the PM Award for Innovation in the defence sector.
  • It will be funded and managed by a ‘Defence Innovation Organization (DIO)’ which has been formed as a ‘not for profit’ company as per the Companies Act 2013 for this purpose, by the two founder memberse. Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) – HAL & BEL.
  • iDEX will function as the executive arm of DIO, carrying out all the required activities while DIO will provide high level policy guidance to iDEX.

Products From Odisha : GI Tag

Products from Odisha, ranging from the Similipal Kai chutney made with red weaver ants to the embroidered Kapdaganda shawl, have bagged the coveted Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

Newly GI Tagged products:

  • Kapdaganda Shawl
    • It is woven and embroidered by the women of the Dongria Kondh tribe, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) in the Niyamgiri hills in Odisha’s Rayagada and Kalahandi districts.
    • The shawl reflects the rich tribal heritage of the Dongria Kondhs.
  • Lanjia Saurpa Painting
    • It is one of the oldest tribal art forms, is also known as Idital.
    • The artworks are famous for their beauty, aesthetics, ritualistic association and iconography.
    • It belongs to the Lanjia Saura community, a PVTG largely residing in the Rayagada district.
  • Koraput Kala Jeera Rice
    • The black-coloured rice variety, also known as the ‘Prince of Rice’, is famous for its aroma, taste, texture and nutritional value.
    • As the rice grains resemble cumin seeds, it is also called Kala Jeera.
    • Its consumption helps in increasing haemoglobin levels and improves metabolism in the body.
  • Nayagarh Kanteimundi Brinjal
    • It is known for its prickly thorns on the stems and the whole plant.
    • The green and round fruits contain more seeds as compared to other genotypes.
    • The plants are resistant to major insects and can be grown with minimal pesticide.
  • Odisha Khajuri Guda (Jaggery)
    • It is a natural sweetener extracted from date palm trees and has its origin in the Gajapati district.
    • Traditionally, the jaggery is prepared in a trapezoidal form called ‘Patali Gur’ and is organic by nature. It is dark brown and has a unique taste.
  • Dhenkanal Magji
    • It is a type of sweet made from cheese from buffalo milk, with distinct characteristics in terms of appearance, taste, flavour, shape, and size.