Topic 1 : Endangered Species in the World
This is Orangutan
New Species of orangutan identified: Scientists say it is the most endangered great ape(an animal like a large monkey with no tail, that uses its arms to move through trees) in the world, with just 800 individuals left.Its skull, teeth and genes are different from the two other orangutan species.
What are Orangutans?
The orangutans are three exclusively Asian species of extant great apes.Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, orangutans are currently found in only the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. From 1996, they were divided into two species: the Bornean orangutan and the Sumatran orangutan. And now the third species of orangutan has been identified, the Tapanuli orangutan, Pongo tapanuliensis.
What and where are Borneo and Sumatra?
Sumatra is a large Island in western Indonesia that is part of the Sunda Islands.It is the Largest Island that is entirely in Indonesia and the sixth-largest Island in the world. The Indian Ocean borders the west, northwest and southwest coasts of Sumatra. The northern tip of Sumatra borders the Andaman Islands.
Borneo is the third largest Island in the world and the Largest in Asia.
At the geographic center of Maritime Southwest Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi and east of Sumatra. The Island is politically divided among three countries: Malaysia and Brunei in the north and Indonesia to the south.
Topic 2: Changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and the effects of such changes.
Greenland’s ice at greater risk than assumed: Up to four times more coastal glaciers in Greenland are at risk of accelerated melting than previously thought, say scientists who have mapped the region’s coastal sea floor and bedrock beneath its massive ice sheet.
Who has done this research?
NASA and the University of California Irvine created this most comprehensive, accurate and high-resolution relief maps ever made of Greenland’s bedrock and coastal sea floor. NASA’s Ocean Melting Greenland (OMG) Campaign surveyed large sections of the Greenland coast for the first time ever. The new maps reveal that two to four times more ocean-front glaciers extend deeper than 200 m below sea level than earlier maps showed.
Impact of this data: This is a bad news because the top 182 meters of water around Greenland comes from the Arctic and is relatively cold. The water below it comes from the farther south and is 3-4°C warmer than the water above. Deeper-seated glaciers are exposed to this warmer water, which melts them more rapidly.
Researchers team estimates: The team used the maps to refine their estimate of Greenland’s total volume of ice and its potential to add to global sea level rise if the ice were to melt completely, which is not expected to occur within the next few hundred years. The new estimate is higher by seven centimeters for a total of 7.42 meters.
About Greenland: It is an autonomous constituent country within the Kingdom of Denmark between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Greenland is the world’s largest island (Australia, although larger, is generally considered to be a continental landmass rather than an island). Three-quarters of Greenland is covered by the only permanent ice sheet outside Antartica.Greenland is the least densely populated country in the world.
Topic 3: International Relations
Russian film fete to be held in Delhi, Mumbai, and Panaji: ‘Russian Film Days’, a film festival organized as part of an Indo-Russian government co-operation initiative, will be held in Delhi, Mumbai, and Panaji. The festival is being organized to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and India. This is the first time that the festival is being held in Goa. The film festival will travel from Delhi to Mumbai and culminate in Goa at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
Interesting about this festival?
The opening ceremony will see a tribute paid to the legendary Raj Kapoor and his hallmark 1970s film Mera Naam Joker that ran successfully across the USSR 45 years ago.
Organizers of the festival?
Cinemarus, a production company in cooperation with Russkoe Kino company and supported by:-
- Ministry of Culture
- Russian National Fund of Copyright Holders’s Support
- The filmmakers Union of the Russian Federation
- The Embassy of the Russian Federation in India
- Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India
- Directorate of film festivals, and
Topic 4: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests
ISA, EBRD ink pact on solar energy: The International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on signed a Joint Financial Partnership Declaration for the promotion of solar energy.
How will It affect India’s Interest?
“India has been in the forefront of the 42-nation International Solar Alliance,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while speaking on the occasion. “Our energy requirements are huge and [we] want to make optimal use of our new and renewable sources of energy.”
Benefit of African and other countries after this pact:
Interim Director General of the ISA Upendra Tripathy said that the collaboration between the ISA and the EBRD would also help to fund of solar projects both in African and other countries.
About ISA: The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which come either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization. The alliance is also called International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (IASPA).The alliance’s primary objective is work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. This initiative was first proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech in November 2015 at Wembley Stadium, in which he referred to sunshine countries as Surya Putra (“sons of the sun”). Countries that do not fall within the Tropics can join the ISA and enjoy all benefits as other members, with the exception of voting rights. The initiative was launched by Modi at the India Africa Summit.
Headquarters: In 2016, Our PM Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande jointly laid the foundation stone of the ISA headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the ISA at National Institute of Solar Energy in Gwalpahari, Gurugram.
Vision and Mission of ISA: Provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where the global community, including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders, can make a positive contribution to assist and help achieve the common goals of increasing the use of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.
How is it different from other organizations working in the energy sector?
It will not duplicate or replicate the efforts that others (like International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership(REEEP), International Energy Agency (IEA), Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), United Nations bodies, bilateral organizations etc.) are currently engaged in, but will establish networks and develop synergies with them and supplement their efforts in a sustainable and focused manner.
Topic 5: Global Terrorism Issue
U.S. ‘terror list’ to Pakistan includes LeT: The U.S. has shared with Pakistan a list of 20 terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) that Washington believes are operating from its soil to target India and Afghanistan. On the top of the list is the Haqqani network which the U.S. says has safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in northwestern Pakistan and uses them to launch attacks into Afghanistan. The list includes three types of militants groups: those that launch attacks in Afghanistan, those that attack targets inside Pakistan and those that are focussed on Kashmir.
India hits out at China’s stance: India hit out at double standards in the war on terrorism on Thursday, hours after China blocked a move at the United Nations Security Council to place Masood Azhar, the Pakistan-based chief of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, in a list of global terrorists.
“We are deeply disappointed that once again, a single country has blocked international consensus on the designation of an acknowledged terrorist and leader of the UN-designated terrorist organisation,” said a late evening statement from the Ministry of External Affairs. China blocked an attempt by the U.S., U.K., and France to place Masood Azhar in the list of global terrorists of the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council citing “no consensus” as a ground for its objection.
Topic 6: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
BRO builds world’s highest motorable road in Ladakh: In a major feat, the Border Roads Organisation has constructed the world’s highest motorable road in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, passing through Umlingla Top at a height of over 19,300 feet. The feat was achieved under ‘Project Himank’ of the organisation. Being close to Hanle, the 86km long strategic road connects Chisumle and Demchok villages, located 230 km from Leh. These villages are stone’s throw away from the India-China border in eastern sector.
Topic 7: Judiciary
Delhi LG Cannot sit on govt. schemes: Supreme Court: The Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi cannot stultify proposals or schemes forwarded by the Council of Ministers to him by simply sitting on it, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud orally observed on Thursday. He [the LG] is bound to pass the difference of opinion [between the LG and the Council of Ministers] to the President for early resolution,” Justice Chandrachud said. His observations came on the first day of a five-judge Constitution Bench hearing of a batch of nine appeals filed by the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government against an August 4, 2016, judgment of the Delhi High Court.
The AAP government argued that the High Court declared that the LG has “complete control of all matters regarding National Capital Territory of Delhi, and nothing will happen without the concurrence of the LG. The Kejriwal government wants the Supreme Court to lay down the law on whether the LG can unilaterally administer the National Capital without being bound by the “aid and advice” of the elected government. The Delhi High Court actually said this LG has special powers greater than the President, greater than other Governors of States,” senior advocate Gopal Subramanium submitted for the Delhi government.
Constitutional Provision: The 69th Amendment of the Constitution in 1992 gave the National Capital of Delhi special status with its own democratically elected government and legislature. Sub-section (4) of Article 239AA mandates that a Council of Ministers shall aid and advise the LG in his functions regarding laws made by the Assembly.
Focus on proviso: The focus of the current controversy is a proviso to Article 239AA (4), which mandates that in case of a difference of opinion between the LG and the Council of Ministers, the former has to refer the issue to the President. In the meanwhile, while that decision is pending before the President, the LG, if the matter is urgent, can use his discretion to take immediate action.
Supreme Court’s Verdict: The Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra prima facie said the Delhi government’s ability to ‘aid and advise’ the Lieutenant Governor is limited to subjects other than public order, police, and land in the National Capital. It said that the proviso to Article 239AA (4), on a plain reading, seems to give primacy to the Lieutenant Governor.
Other Judges View on it: Justice Ashok Bhushan remarked that the LG is entitled to take a different view and is not bound by the aid and advice of the Delhi Cabinet.
Major Issue in this conflict: Mr. Subramanium alleged that the LG has misused the discretion in this proviso to block governance to such an extent that decisions from the appointment of teachers in municipal schools to the opening of mohalla clinics have been pending for over a year. The Chief Secretary and other officers simply forward the files to the LG, where it remains indeterminately.
Views of Gopal Subramanium, Counsel for Delhi: The Purpose of Article 239AA was to provide some kind of voice to the people. We are not contesting parliamentary supremacy. But there must be an elbow room for the Legislative Assembly…Everything we do does not require the concurrence of the LG.
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