Consider the following statements:
1. Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark (FEE) accords the Blue Flag certification.
2. Minicoy Thundi Beach and Kadmat Beach have been given Blue Flag certification.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
- In yet another recognition of India’s commitment to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources, the globally recognized and the coveted International eco-label “Blue Flag”, has been accorded to two new beaches – Minicoy Thundi Beach and Kadmat Beach- both in Lakshadweep.
- This takes the number of beaches certified under the Blue Flag certification to twelve (12).
- The Thundi Beach is one of the most pristine and picturesque beaches in the Lakshadweep archipelago where white sand is lined by turquoise blue water of the lagoon. It is a paradise for swimmers and tourists alike.
- The Kadmat Beach is especially popular with cruise tourists who visit the island for water sports. It is a paradise for nature lovers with its pearl white sand, blue lagoon waters, its moderate climate and friendly locals.
- Both the beaches have designated staff for beach cleanliness and maintenance; and for safety and security of swimmers. Both the beaches comply with all the 33 criteria as mandated by the Foundation for Environment Education (FEE).
- The other Indian beaches in the blue list are Shivrajpur-Gujarat, Ghoghla-Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri-Karnataka, Kappad-Kerala, Rushikonda- Andhra Pradesh, Golden-Odisha, Radhanagar- Andaman and Nicobar, Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry beaches.
About Blue Flag certification:
- Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark (FEE) accords the globally recognized eco-label – Blue Flag certification. In order to qualify for this prestigious award, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria must be met and maintained.
- The mission of Blue Flag is to promote sustainability in the tourism sector, through environmental education, environmental protection and other sustainable development practices.
Which Indian Institute along with NASA have studied microbes on International Space Station (ISS)?
- The Indian Institute of Technology Madras(IIT) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers studied the interactions between microbes in the International Space Station (ISS). The study aims to help devise strategies for the disinfection of space stations to minimize any potential impact of microbes on the health of astronauts.
- The collaboration was under Karthik Raman, Associate Professor at the Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta, School of Biosciences and a core member of the Robert Bosch Centre of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBCDSAI), IIT Madras, along with Dr. Kasthuri Venkateshwaran, the senior research scientist at JPL.
Key Points related to the Study of Microbes in ISS
- Studying the microbes inhabiting the space station will help to understand the risks associated with short-term and long-term space travelon the health of astronauts.
- The study was motivated by earlier observations of the dominance of Klebsiella pneumonia on the surface of the ISS.
- The pathogen has been known to cause pneumonia and other nosocomial infections.
- The researchers analyzed the microbial sample data taken across three space flights at seven locations at the ISS.
- The study found that Klebsiella pneumonia is a major microbe that resides on the ISS.
The UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee meet to be held at which places?
- A special meeting of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee will be hosted in Mumbai and Delhi on 28th and 29th of October.
- The theme will be ‘Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes’.
- The meeting will begin with a ‘Soft Opening Session and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism’ in Mumbai on the 28th of October through a ceremony at Hotel Taj Mahal Palace. Briefing media in New Delhi this afternoon, Secretary West Sanjay Verma said the current 15 and incoming 5 members of the UN Security Council will pay homage at the 26/11 memorial site on the occasion.
- Statements in memory of victims will be read out by Dr Jaishankar and President of the UNSC. Select victims of the Mumbai terror attacks would also be addressing the participants separately. An informal briefing of the CTC will be held on the theme of ‘Combating Terrorism Financing in local and regional contexts,
- The Special meeting of the CTC in Delhi on the 29th of October will commence with a high-level Ministerial plenary session. Discussions during the day will focus on three separate sub-themes.
- These are ‘Countering terrorist exploitation of Information and Communication Technologies, ‘Countering terrorism financing online – threats and opportunities related to new payment technologies and fundraising methods’ and ‘Threats posed by terrorist use of unmanned aerial systems’.
The 27th annual UN meeting on climate, COP27 (Conference of Parties) will take place in which country?
- The 27th annual UN meeting on climate, COP27 (Conference of Parties) will take place in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt from 6th to 18th November. This will be the fifth time a Climate Conference is being hosted in Africa. Governments of more than 200 countries have been invited to participate.
- The region’s governments hope the meet will draw attention to the severe impacts of climate change on the continent. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC says Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world.
- COP27 will focus on three main areas, reducing emissions, helping countries to prepare and deal with climate change and securing technical support and funding for developing countries for climate activities. Some of the issues that were not fully resolved or taken up at the COP26 will also be taken up at this edition of the conference.
- The issues included providing money to help countries recover from the effects of climate change, establishing a global carbon market to price the effects of emissions into products and services globally, and strengthening the commitments to reduce coal use.
- There will also be days with specialized themes for focused talks and announcements on issues including gender, agriculture and biodiversity.
Who has been elected as chairperson of UN’s Air Transport Committee?
- Shefali Juneja, India’s representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), has been elected as the chairperson of United Nations’ specialized aviation agency’s Air Transport Committee (ATC). Juneja, a 1992 batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax cadre), served as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) before joining the ICAO.
- India secured this position in ICAO after 28 years when Juneja was unanimously elected to the post. She is the first woman to represent India in the ICAO. ATC is a standing committee of the ICAO created by the Chicago Convention in 1944.
- “It is the most important committee (of ICAO), as it decides on standards in air transport policies,” India in ICAO, tweeted, adding “India wins the coveted position in ICAO to become – Chairperson of Air Transport Committee, after 28 years. Representative of India, Dr Shefali Juneja gets unanimously elected in Council.
- MoCA officials said that India will be chairing the important committee after 28 years and has had the opportunity of chairing the ATC only twice so far.
- “This committee handles a big component of ICAO work relating to air transport as nine technical panels report to it. It is therefore a tremendous opportunity to steer issues in the policy arena and deal with new emerging challenges to carve out a better future for international air transport,” Dr Juneja said.
- According to Article 54 d) of the Chicago Convention, the Council appoints and defines the duties of an ATC, which is chosen from among the representatives of the members of the Council.
- India is set to emerge as the third largest aviation market globally by 2025. The country’s representative has held this position twice in the 78 years of ICAO’s existence, in 1987 and 1994.
- In September last year, Juneja was elected as the chairperson of the ICAO’S Aviation Security Committee (ASC) and made an Indian taking charge of the position after a gap of 12 years.
- Juneja has been serving as India’s representative in the council of the ICAO since 2019.
Which Country has started administering an inhalable Covid vaccine?
- The Chinese city of Shanghai started administering an inhalable Covid vaccine in what appears to be a world first.
- The vaccine, a mist that is sucked in through the mouth, is being offered for free as a booster dose for previously vaccinated individuals, according to an announcement posted on an official city social media account.
- Needle-free vaccines may persuade people who don’t like getting a shot to get vaccinated, as well as help expand vaccination in poor countries because they are easier to administer.
- China doesn’t have vaccine mandates but wants more people to get booster shots before it relaxes strict pandemic restrictions that are holding back the economy and increasingly out of sync with the rest of the world.
- A video posted by an online Chinese state media outlet showed people at a community health centre sticking the short nozzle of a translucent white cup into their mouths. A vaccine taken in the mouth could also fend off the virus before it reaches the rest of the respiratory system, though that would depend in part on the size of the droplets, one expert said.
- Larger droplets would train defences in parts of the mouth and throat, while smaller ones would travel further into the body, said Dr Vineeta Bal, an immunologist in India.
- Chinese regulators approved the vaccine for use as a booster in September. It was developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Cansino Biologics Inc. as an aerosol version of the same company’s one-shot adenovirus vaccine, which uses a relatively harmless cold virus.
- Cansino has said the inhaled vaccine has completed clinical trials in China, Hungary, Pakistan, Malaysia, Argentina and Mexico.
- The vaccine, which appears to be world’s first, is a mist that is sucked in through the mouth
- It is being offered for free as a booster dose for previously vaccinated individuals
Consider the following statements:
1. NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) is a constellation of seven satellites that is similar to the American GPS and the Russian GLONASS.
2. The NavIC’s reach is about 1,500 km beyond Indian territory.
Which of the following statements is/are incorrect?
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working on a series of improvements to the NavIC, or India’s equivalent of the Global Positioning System (GPS), so that more people are motivated to install it and use it. Plans are also afoot to make its reach global rather than circumscribe it to India and a limited territory around it, said S. Somanath, Chairman, ISRO on the sidelines of the India Space Congress.
- NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), or the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is a constellation of seven satellites that is akin to the American GPS, the European Galileo and the Russian GLONASS, and can be used to track location. The first of these satellites (IRNSS-1A) were launched in 2013 and the latest in 2018.
- Though available for use in mainland India as well as a range of 1,500 km around it, it isn’t in wide regular use in India primarily because mobile phones haven’t been made compatible to process its signals. The Indian government has been pressing manufacturers to add compatibility and has set a deadline of January 2023 but media reports suggest this is unlikely before 2025.
- According to Mr. Somanath, a major forthcoming change, is to add the L1 band into NavIC. This bandwidth is part of the GPS and is the most used for civilian navigational use. “Currently NavIC is only compatible with the L5 and S bands and hasn’t easily penetrated into the civilian sector. We are therefore getting ready with L1 band satellites now.
- The other major step would be to increase the “safety” of the signals. “There’s Long Code and Short Code. Currently (NavIC) only provides short code. This has to become Long Code for the use of the strategic sector. This prevents the signal from being breached. This had been part of the original scheme for NavIC but less work has gone into it so far. We are now asking the government to allow us to do all this,” he added. “Unless we do this, the user base will not widen.”
- There are five more satellites in the offing to replace defunct NavIC satellites that would be launched in the coming months. However, to make NavIC truly “global” like GPS, more satellites would need to be placed in an orbit closer to earth than the current constellation, said Mr. Somanath. “Right now, NavIC’s reach is only 1,500 km beyond Indian territory. But for our ships and airplanes travelling beyond that we’d need satellites in Medium Earth Orbit. To make this global at some point, we can keep adding MEO satellites.”
- Currently, NavIC satellites orbit earth in a geostationary or geosynchronous (GEO) orbit, or about 36,000 km from earth. MEO orbits occupy a space between GEO and Low Earth Orbit (LEO), or about 250-2,000 km from earth.
The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) recently approved commercial cultivation of which genetically modified crop?
- The approval will make GM mustard only the second approved transgenic crop in India after Bt cotton, and the first such food crop that can be commercially cultivated by farmers. The GEAC approval is valid for the next four years.
- Though the GEAC had cleared the proposal in 2017, the Ministry had vetoed it and suggested that the GEAC hold more studies on the GM crop. The recommendation will now again go for the approval of the Environment Ministry.
- Hybridisation involves crossing two genetically dissimilar plant varieties that can even be from the same species. The first-generation (F1) offspring from such crosses tend to have higher yields than what either parent can individually give.
- Scientists at Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) have developed the hybrid mustard DMH-11 containing two alien genes isolated from a soil bacterium called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens.
- The CGMCP scientists have deployed the barnase-barstar GM technology to create a robust and viable hybridisation system in mustard. This system was used to develop DMH-11 by crossing a popular Indian mustard variety ‘Varuna’ (the barnase line) with an East European ‘Early Heera-2’ mutant (barstar).
- DMH-11 is claimed to have shown an average 28% yield increase over Varuna.
- The move is seen as giving a boost to cultivation of mustard and eventually reducing the country’s edible oils import bills.
- India had to import edible oil worth nearly $19 billion in 2021-22. Though mustard is cultivated in India in around seven million hectares of land, the per hectare yield of current variety is very low at 1-1.2 tonnes per hectare compared to the global average of around 2.3-3 tonnes.
The SJVN has started commissioning of its 75 MW solar power project in which state?
- The SJVN has started commissioning of its 75 MW solar power project in Parasan Solar Park near Kanpur, UP.
- The process of commissioning will finish by month end.
- “The project will be third commissioned solar project of the SJVN. With commissioning of this project, the installed capacity of the SJVN will now be 2091.5 MW,” said SJVN chairman Nand Lal Sharma.
- Sharma also said that SJVN bagged the 75 MW Parasan Solar Power Project at a tariff of Rs 2.68 per unit on Build, Own, and Operate basis under the competitive tariff bidding held by Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Development Agency (UPNEDA).
- The cost of Construction Development of the project is Rs 392.3 crore.
The Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) is located at which place?
- The ambitious Kufri re-development project to revive ski slopes of this tourist destination and make it stink free from piles of horse dung has hit a roadblock as there has been no response from Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) in regard to no objection certificate (NOC) for the proposed land.
- The Shimla district administration had identified one hectare land near Chini Bangla to est ablish a horse stable, parking, biomethanation plant and an integrated complex with rural ‘haat’ and parking.
- The project estimated to come up at around Rs 50 crores envisages setting up a stable to accommodate 1,500 horses and a biomethanation plant adjacent to the stable to produce methane gas from horse dung besides construction of parking spaces to decongest the area, beautification with installation of street sitting, fountain and light and sound show, pedestrian paths, toilets, rain shelters and a rural ‘haat’ (food and craft bazaar).
- “The said land is under the ownership of Himachal government but the possession is with the CPRI and we have written several times to the agriculture department and CPRI but there is no response yet,” said Deputy Commissioner Shimla Aditya Negi, when contacted.
- As per the proposal, the biomethanation plant funded by the state Pollution Control Board in collaboration with the Science and Technology Department would go a long way in providing a clean and serene environment, as horse dung that creates unhygienic conditions would be treated there.
- The possibility of reviving skiing and associated activities to increase the footfall was also being explored. Moreover, the Detailed Project report (DPR) to upgrade the Kufri-Chail road and increase its width from 5 – 7 metres to 7 -9 metres at a cost of Rs 39 crores have been also prepared for overall development of the area.
- A large number of resorts have come up in the area and ‘Chini Bangla’ is located on the Kufri-Chail road. Hundreds of vehicles heading to Chail pass through this stretch and the beautification and creation of more facilities would improve tourist experience.
- At present, the tourist attractions in Kufri include Kufri Fun Worlds, Hip Hip Hurray adventure park, Himalayan Nature Park, Indira Tourist Park, Tobogganing, horse riding in Mahasu peak, trekking, cycling, Kufri main Bazaar, nature and culture photography and yak Ride and another mega private project coming up at Kufri is India’s first indoor ski park.
- Skiing was a major winter attraction in Shimla and Kufri where hill slopes covered with a thick blanket of snow provided thrill and excitement to skiers and tourists. The last ski carnival at Kufri was held in February 1968 but over the years, the snowline had shifted upwards and barring a few sessions in 1982 and 1991, skiing in Kufri had been a fond memory of the past.