Daily Current Affairs – 09-06-2023

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    Atlantic declaration

    Syllabus: GS 2/International Relations

    In News

    US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed on an “Atlantic declaration.

    About Atlantic Declaration

    • The Atlantic Declaration and accompanying Action Plan form the basis of a new type of innovative partnership across the full spectrum of economic, technological, commercial, and trade relations.
      • It is the “first of its kind” in covering the broad spectrum of the two countries.
    • It will constitute a new economic security framework covering ever-closer cooperation on critical and emerging technologies and stronger protective toolkits. 
    • It will support the United States and the United Kingdom in efforts to harness the energy transition and technological breakthroughs to drive broadly shared growth, create good jobs, and leave no community behind.
    •  It will explore ways to deepen trade and investment relationships. 
    • Other focused areas: Partnering on an inclusive and responsible digital transformation, 
      • Building the clean energy economy of the future, and
      • Further strengthening our alliance across defense, health security, and space. 

    Objectives 

    • Both countries announced a new strategic pact as their leaders rededicated the “special relationship” to counter Russia, China, and economic instability.
    • It aims to boost industry ties on defense and renewable energy, in the face of growing competition from China.
    • It will allow them to explore increased cooperation in other areas for mutual economic benefit.

    Status of a partnership between both countries

    • The U.S.-UK bilateral investment relationship is the largest in the world, with over $1.5 trillion in stock supporting more than 2.7 million jobs in both countries
    • Over the last century, the essential partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom has enabled them to lead together on issues of global importance.
      • Since the signing of the Atlantic Charter in 1941, They have worked together to shape an open and rules-based international order based on their enduring support for shared values. 
      • In the New Atlantic Charter signed in 2021, they underscored and refreshed this vision

    Challenges 

    • They face new challenges to international stability – from authoritarian states such as Russia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC)
    •  Disruptive technologies;
    •  Non-state actors; and
    •  Transnational challenges like climate change.

    Steps 

    • They are committed to continuing to strengthen NATO’s ability to deter further attempts to undermine Alliance security, in support of NATO’s new Strategic Concept.
    • They have taken significant steps to implement AUKUS, including announcing their plans to support Australia acquiring conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines. 

    Future Outlook 

    • They must keep pace with changes in the world around them and adapt alliances to them. 
    • The global economy is undergoing one of the greatest transformations since the Industrial Revolution. Breakthroughs in innovation offer enormous potential if they can harness them to work for, not against
    • The transition to the clean energy economies of the future is an opportunity to improve jobs and livelihoods and deepen the resilience of our economies.

    Source:FE

    India and Serbia

    Syllabus: GS2/International Relations

    In News

    President Droupadi Murmu visited Serbia and reviewed the bilateral relations.

    Outcomes of the Visit

    • Both the leaders agreed to set a target for bilateral trade from the present 320 million euros to one billion euros by the end of the decade.
    • Serbian President promised simplification of the issue of Visa to Indians and hoped that direct flights between the two countries will begin soon. 
    • A high-powered business delegation consisting of members from three Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM),  The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), and  Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) also held talks with a business delegation from Serbia.

    Geographical Location of Serbia

    • Serbia is a landlocked country situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the far southern edges of the Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. 
    • Serbia shares its borders with eight other European countries: Kosovo, Macedonia, and Montenegro to the south, Bosnia and Croatia to the west, Hungary to the north, and Romania and Bulgaria to the east.
    • The capital of Serbia is Belgrade, which is also the largest city in Serbia.
    • The most significant mountains in Serbia are Kopaonik, Tara, Zlatibor, Stara Planina and Golija. The highest peak in Serbia is Djeravica on Prokletije (2,656 m).
    • Rivers: The Danube flows 588 km through Serbia or as a border river (with Croatia in the northwest and Romania in the southeast). 
      • Other chief rivers in Serbia are tributaries of the Danube including the Sava (flowing from the west), Tisa (flowing from the north), Drina (flowing from the south, forming a natural border with Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Morava. Only the Morava flows nearly entirely through Serbia. 

    Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

    • Former Yugoslavia is the territory that was up to 1991 known as The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). Specifically, the six republics that made up the federation – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia (including the regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina) and Slovenia.
    • On 25 June 1991, the declarations of independence of Slovenia and Croatia effectively ended SFRY’s existence. 
    • By April 1992, the further declarations of independence by two other republics, Macedonia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina, left only Serbia and Montenegro within the Federation.
    • These two remaining republics declared the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) on 27 April 1992. 
    • In 2003, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was reconstituted and re-named as a State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. This union effectively ended following Montenegro’s formal declaration of independence on 3 June 2006 and Serbia’s on 5 June 2006.

     

    India Serbia Relations

    • India and Yugoslavia traditionally enjoyed deep friendship as co-founders of the Non-Aligned Movement.  The deep bond of friendship continued in subsequent decades resulting in close and friendly ties between India and Serbia.
    • A Protocol on Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between India and Yugoslavia was signed in June 1995. 
    • Agreements: Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) [2003] – BIPPA would stand terminated in 2020 and New Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) is under negotiation. 
      • Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) [2006] 
      • Trade Agreement (MFN status) [2006] 
      • Tourism Agreement [2004] 
      • MOU on Agricultural Cooperation [2009] 
      • MOU on Cooperation in Science and Technology [2004] 
      • MOU on IT & Electronics [October 2016] 
    • Training: The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme was extended to Serbia in 2008 and since then 160 Serbian ITEC trainees have undergone training in India. 
      • Serbian military officers are also availing UN Peacekeeping training courses in India. 
    • Visas: Serbia unilaterally abolished visas for 30 days’ stay in a year for Indian nationals holding ordinary passports w.e.f. 2nd September 2017. Number of Indian tourists visiting Serbia have increased substantially since then. 
    • Economic & Commercial Relations: Bilateral trade at US$ 198.5 m in 2017 registered an increase of 39% as compared to 2016 with Indian exports worth US$ 187.6 m and imports US$ 10.9 m. 
      • Bilateral trade increased further by 8.2% in 2018 to reach US$ 214.8 million with Indian exports of US$ 202.6 million. 
    • Joint Economic Committee: The India-Serbia JEC was established under the Agreement on Trade & Economic Cooperation signed in 2006. 
    • Cultural Relations: There is also a lot of interest in Serbia on Indian leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore visited Serbia in 1926 and gave two lectures in Belgrade University. 
      • Serbia has two streets named after Mahatma Gandhi and Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru with the busts of the two leaders. 
      • Serbia co-sponsored India’s Resolutions at the UN for declaring October 2 as International Day of NonViolence and June 21 as International Day of Yoga.

    Source: AIR

    Cyclone’s effect on Monsoon Onset

    Syllabus: GS1/Geography

    In News

    Biparjoy, a very severe cyclonic storm that has developed in the Arabian Sea, is likely to affect the progress of the monsoon season.

    What is Monsoon?

    • A monsoon is a seasonal change in the direction of the prevailing, or strongest, winds of a region. Monsoons cause wet and dry seasons throughout much of the tropics.
    • Monsoons always blow from cold to warm regions. The summer monsoon and the winter monsoon determine the climate for most of India and Southeast Asia.

    Factors Affecting the Monsoon

    • Mascarene High: The southwest monsoon derives its name from winds which blow from a south-westerly direction in the Indian subcontinent. These come from a powerhouse located more than 4,000 kilometres from India known as the Mascarene High. This high-pressure region is located between 25°S-35°S and 40°E-90°E near the Mascarene Islands in the southern Indian Ocean. 
      • A stronger high pressure will produce stronger winds or monsoon current. If there is a delay in the formation of Mascarene High, there is also the possibility of a delay in the onset of monsoon in India.
    • Coriolis Force: Coriolis Force is a pseudo force which exists only because of the Earth’s rotational effect. Rotational motion observed in a tropical cyclone is also due to this force. 
      • Hence, these monsoon winds get deflected eastwards and now they blow from south-west to the north-east direction. They split into two branches—the Arabian Sea branch and the Bay of Bengal branch.
    • Differential Heating: A mechanism is needed to attract the monsoon winds from the Arabian Sea or the Bay of Bengal. Winds flow from high pressure to low pressure areas. 
      • The Himalayan range plays a vital role in summer heating by restricting the intrusion of cold air from the north and allowing heating to occur. 
      • It is during this season that the land of India, particularly Rajasthan and surrounding areas (Gujarat and also Pakistan) heat up extensively. 
      • The seas surrounding the country also see a temperature rise. As a result of the differential heating rates and capacities of air over the sea and the land, we observe a gradient between air pressure over the sea and that over India (especially Rajasthan). 
      • The air pressure over India is lower than that over the southern part of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. This acts as an attractor mechanism for the monsoon winds.
    • El Nino Southern Oscillation: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) refers to the oscillatory mode of the sea surface temperatures near the equatorial Pacific Ocean in which a warming (El Nino or cooling (La Nina) or neutrality is observed. 
      • Due to its mostly unpredictable nature, ENSO has been a big challenge for forecasters for a long time. Even trusted models have failed many times.
      • ENSO has been a driver of global weather (particularly in countries surrounding the Pacific Ocean) as it affects atmospheric circulation.
    • Indian Ocean Dipole: In 1999, N H Saji of Japan’s University of Aizu and others discovered an ENSO-like phenomenon in the Indian Ocean which they named the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD).
      • Like ENSO, IOD also has three phases—positive, negative and neutral. During the positive phase of IOD, sea surface temperatures are warmer in the western Indian Ocean (which gives a boost to monsoon winds) as compared to the eastern Indian Ocean—hence a dipole nature.
      • The reverse happens during IOD negative and no gradient is observed during the IOD neutral period.
      • It has been observed that during the period of positive IOD, the Indian summer monsoon rainfall is considerably good as compared to the negative IOD period. Despite 1994 and 2006 being El Nino years, India did not witness  drough as IOD was significantly positive. 

    What are Cyclones?

    • The word Cyclone is derived from the Greek word Cyclos meaning the coils of a snake. It was coined by Henry Peddington because the tropical storms in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea appear like coiled serpents of the sea.
    • Cyclones are caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area distinguished by swift and often destructive air circulation. The air circulates inward in an anticlockwise direction in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern hemisphere. 
    • Cyclones are classified as: (i) extra tropical cyclones (also called temperate cyclones); and (ii) tropical cyclones. 

    • Worldwide terminology: Cyclones are given many names in different regions of the world – They are known as typhoons in the China Sea and Pacific Ocean; hurricanes in the West Indian islands in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean; tornados in the Guinea lands of West Africa and southern USA.; willy-willies in north-western Australia and tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean. 

    How Does the Formation of Cyclones Effect Monsoon?

    Some cyclones in the North Indian Ocean have had both positive and negative impacts on the onset of the monsoon.

    • The development of the cyclone has delayed the onset of the Southwest Monsoon, which usually begins in June and ends in September. 
    • The powerful weather system in the Arabian Sea may spoil the advancement of the monsoon deep inland. Under their influence, the monsoon stream may reach coastal parts but will struggle to penetrate beyond the Western Ghats.
    • When the circulation of winds around the cyclones is in the anticlockwise direction, the location of the cyclone is critical as far as the cyclone’s impact on the transition of the monsoon trough is concerned (The monsoon trough is a low-pressure region that is a characteristic feature of the monsoons.). 
      • For example, if a cyclone lies further north in the Bay of Bengal, the back-winds blowing from the southwest to the northeast can pull the monsoon trough forward, and assist in the monsoon’s onset.
    • Earlier this year, the Bay of Bengal had Cyclone Mocha develop in the first half of May and intensify briefly into a ‘super cyclonic storm’, before weakening rapidly upon landfall. 
      • Mocha dissipated and the back-winds helped the monsoon set in on time over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
    • Cyclone Biparjoy is not interacting much with the monsoon trough at this time. However, its late birth as well as the late onset of the monsoon are both closely related to typhoons in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.
      • Westerly winds, which pull the monsoon towards the Indian mainland, are weak now. All the moisture is rotating around the cyclone.
      • Winds have been blowing strongly towards the northeast over the Bay, a key reason why the monsoon trough has been struggling to reach Kerala.
    • Cyclonic storms in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea have been intensifying rapidly and retaining their intensity for a longer duration due to climate change.

    Source: TH

    El Niño

    Syllabus: GS 1/Geography 

    News

    • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States announced that El Niño is back in the Pacific Ocean after seven years.

    About

    •  El Niño in Spanish means “little boy.”
    • It is a climate pattern that develops along the equatorial Pacific Ocean after intervals of a few years ranging between 2 and 7 years.
    • In this, water on the surface of the ocean sees an unusual warming in a band straddling the equator in the central and east-central pacific — broadly extending from the International Date line and 120°W longitude, i.e., off the Pacific coast of South America.

    How does El Niño happen?

    • When the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is in its neutral phase, the trade winds blow west along the equator and take the warm water from South America towards Asia.
    • However, during an event of El Niño, these trade winds weaken (or may even reverse) — and instead of blowing from the east (South America) to the west (Indonesia), they could turn into westerlies.
    • As the winds blow from the west to east, they cause masses of warm water to move into the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, and reach the coast of western America.

    Impact of El Nino conditions

    • El Niño can affect weather significantly. The warmer waters cause the Pacific jet stream to move south of its neutral position
    • Globally, El Niño has been associated with severe heatwaves, floods, and droughts in the past.
    •  Climate change can exacerbate or mitigate certain impacts related to El Niño. It could lead to new records for temperatures, particularly in areas that already experience above-average temperatures

    India and El Niño

    • Over the last hundred years, there have been 18 drought years in India. Of these, 13 years were associated with El Niño. Thus, there seems to be a correlation between an El Niño event and a year of poor rainfall in India.
    •  Between 1900 and 1950, there were 7 El Niño years but during the 1951-2021 period, there were 15 El Niño years. Thus, the frequency of El Niño events has been increasing over time.
    • The 2023 event is the fifth since 2000 — which means they develop every 4-5 years on average.

    Government steps to mitigate the impact of El Niño:

    Source:IE

    National Exit Test (NExT)

    Syllabus :GS 2/Education

    In News

    Union Health Ministry announced that the National Exit Test (NExT) will be held in 2024. 

    About National Exit Test (NExT

    • It will replace the final-year MBBS examination and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-Postgraduate (NEET-PG), acting as the test for registration for doctors and admission to medical postgraduate courses.
    • The combined NExT exam will also serve as the mandatory licentiate examination for undergraduate medical students to practice modern medicine in India.

    Objectives

    • The importance of the NExt lies in the fact that it will be the same for everyone whether trained in India or any part of the world and hence it will solve the problem of foreign medical graduates (FMGs) and mutual recognition,

    Source:TH

    HIMALAYAN BROWN BEARS

    Syllabus: GS-3/Environment

    News

    A Himalayan brown bear was captured by the Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife Department at Rajwara in the North Kashmir district of Handwara, days after it was found wrecking graveyards, reportedly in search of human cadavers to eat.

    • One explanation for the bears’ weird behaviour is the insufficient food in their habitats.  Due to the remote terrains they occupied, the Himalayan brown bear was a rare sight for the last two decades

     About HIMALAYAN BROWN BEAR

    • Scientific Name: Ursus arctos isabellinus.
    • Diet: The normal food of brown bears is insects, small crustaceans, alpine bulbs, roots of plants, shoots of young grasses, domestic goats, sheep and voles. Their sense of smell is acutely developed and believed to be their principal means of finding food.
    • Behaviour: They are nocturnal.
    •  Features: The Himalayan brown bear is the largest mammal found in Kashmir, with adult individuals weighing 250 kilograms or more.
    •  Habitat: They inhabit altitudes ranging from 2,000 to 2,500 metres, predominantly above the tree line.
    • Distribution:Brown bears are distributed worldwide. The northern mountains of India and Pakistan are home to the species’ Himalayan variant.

    o   In India, brown bears are present in 23 protected areas (PA) in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

    • Population: Their Global number of Brown Bear is estimated to be less than 1,000 and possibly half that in India (Only an estimated 500 brown bears left in India).
    • Threats: Habitat destruction due to various anthropogenic pressures such as habitat encroachment, tourism, and grazing pressure.
      • According to a study carried out in the western Himalayas by scientists of Zoological Survey of India in 2020, there will be a decline of about 73 per cent of the bear’s habitat by 2050.
    • IUCN Red List status of Himalayan Brown bear: Critically Endangered.

    Image Courtesy : DTE

    NEW EEL DISCOVERED

    Syllabus: GS-3/Environment

    News

    The scientists of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered a new species of eel from Palur canal in Odisha’s Ganjam district.

    Eels

    • Eels are elongated ray-finned fish belonging to the order Anguilliformes, which consists of eight suborders and about 800 species.
    • Eels live both in salt and fresh water, and some species are catadromous.

    New Species of Eels

    • Scientific Name: The new species has been named Pisodonophis kalinga after the name of ancient Odisha.
    • Common Name: The scientists have proposed kalinga snake eel as the common name of the new species.
    • Family: It belongs to the family Ophichthidae and order Anguilliformes.
    • Features: It has a snake-like appearance and varies in length from 560 millimetres to 7 metres.

    o   The dorsal side of the body of new species is dark olive-brown, ventrally pale white and both the colors meet at the lateral side.

    • Distribution: The species was found in the Chilika lagoon, Asia’s biggest brackish water lagoon, and the adjoining Palur canal, where water flow is completely tide dependent.

    o   The Palur canal connects Chilika with River Rushikulya.

    Source:DTE

    WOLF-DOG HYBRIDISATION / INDIAN WOLF

    Syllabus: GS-3/Environment

    News

    • Researchers have found the first evidence of wolf-dog hybridisation in the country.
      • The findings claimed that wolf (Canis lupus)-dog (Canis lupus familiaris) hybridisation may lead to immense reduction of certain adaptations in wolves eventually causing a drop in wolf populations.

    Indian wolf

    • Scientific name: Canis lupus pallipes.
    • Distribution: It is a subspecies of gray wolf that ranges from Southwest Asia to the Indian subcontinent.
    • Features: It is intermediate in size between the Himalayan wolf and the Arabian wolf, and lacks the former’s luxuriant winter coat due to it living in warmer conditions. It has shorter fur with little to no underfur.
    • Behaviour: The Indian wolf travels in smaller packs and is less vocal than other variants of the gray wolf.
    • IUCN Status: Endangered
    • Mahuadanr Wolf Sanctuary in the state of Jharkhand is only wolf sanctuary in the country.

    Source:DTE