Daily Current Affairs 12-10-2023

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    Woman’s Right to End 26-Week Pregnancy

    Syllabus: GS2/Polity and Governance/Health

    In News

    • A Division Bench of two women judges of the Supreme Court were split in their opinions about the decision of a married woman to abort her 26-week pregnancy and the Centre’s resolve to save the “unborn child”.
      • Unable to reach common ground, Justices referred the case to the Chief Justice of India to form a three-judge Bench.

    About

    • The petitioner mentioned that she was taking medication for her mental condition and was not in a position to take care of a third child.
    • Centre says the woman’s reproductive autonomy cannot take away the rights of her unborn child; the case is referred to a larger bench now.

    Abortion Laws in India

    • India has a central law called The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, which permits licensed medical professionals to perform abortions in specific predetermined situations as provided under the legislation.
    • Before the enactment of the MTP Act in 1971, the medical termination of pregnancy was governed by the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
      • Most of these provisions aimed at criminalising abortions, except where the procedure was done in good faith in order to save the woman’s life. 
      • The provisions failed to make a distinction between wanted and unwanted pregnancies, making it extremely onerous for women to access safe abortions.
    • In 1971, the MTP Act was enacted by Parliament as a “health” measure, “humanitarian” measure and “eugenic” measure, to decriminalise abortion in certain defined circumstances and under due supervision of registered medical practitioners.
      • Under the 1971 law, a pregnancy could only be terminated under Section 3(2) if it did not exceed 20 weeks. 
      • It laid down that the pregnancy can be terminated on the opinion of one doctor if it is done within 12 weeks of conception and two doctors if it is done between 12 and 20 weeks.
    • The 2021 amendment to the MTP Act: Rule 3B permitted abortion up to 24 weeks for women due to change of marital status during the ongoing pregnancy (widowhood and divorce), besides in cases of survivors of rape, victims of incest, and other vulnerable women (like differently-abled women and minors).
      • Significantly, the 2021 amendment replaced the word “by any married woman or her husband” with the words “any woman or her partner”, bringing within the fold of the law pregnancies outside marriage institutions.

    Source: TH

    Evolution of India’s relations with Israel & Palestine 

    Syllabus: GS2/ India & Foreign Relations

    In Context

    • Recently, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a devastating attack on Israel known as Operation ‘Al-Aqsa Storm.
      • Israel retaliated under the code name Operation Iron Sword.

    India’s solidarity with Israel

    • The Indian Prime Minister has told his Israeli counterpart that the “people of India stand in solidarity with Israel in this difficult hour”. 
    • The Indian PM has also connoted the Hamas assault as “terrorist attack”.
    Israel Palestine conflict:
    – It is a decades long dispute between Israel and Palestine that began in the middle of the twentieth century when the Jews from various parts of the world were granted the homeland in present-day Israel by Britain.
    – It is one of the world’s longest conflicts where Israel has occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip which the Palestine state claims.
    – Numerous attempts have been made to resolve the conflict as part of the peace process by various groups of countries and the United Nation.
    – With time, the countries around have normalised the ties with Israel through the Abraham Accord, Oslo Accord, etc. (PLO itself).
    – But the deadlock still persists and the world community is persistent in its effort to attain the two-state solution.

    India’s position on Palestine (Till 1991)

    • Post Independence:
      • India’s political attitude towards Israel was set quite firmly shortly after independence in 1947.
      • Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi vowed to support the Palestinian cause.
      • They also rejected the idea of two nations on the basis of religion. 
      • India’s position with regard to Palestine was also guided by the general consensus in the Arab world, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the United Nations.
    • Vote against Israel at UN:
      • When the partition of Palestine plan was put to vote at the UN, India voted against, along with the Arab countries. 
      • When Israel applied for admission to the UN, India again voted against. 
    • Recognition to Israel:
      • Though India recognized Israel in 1950 it did not establish diplomatic relations until 1992.

    Rationale behind India’s (then) Pro-Palestine stance

    • Sensitive to Muslim population:
      • India was home to a sizable Muslim population. 
      • After Partition, Indian leaders were particularly sensitive to their opinion — and Muslims in India, by and large, were sympathetic towards the Arabs. 
    • Supporting the side of Arab countries:
      • Also, Indian leaders were wary of alienating the Arab countries; Pakistan was firmly in support of Palestine, and India had to match that stance.
    • India’s Soviet-tilted position:
      • During the Cold War, the West, especially the Americans, were firmly behind Israel, and thus the Soviets had come out in support of the Arabs
      • India, which despite its non-aligned position found itself tilted towards the Soviets, simply thought it had very little choice but to continue with its pro-Palestine stance.

    India’s position on Palestine (Post Cold War)

    • After the end of the Cold War, the government of P V Narasimha Rao finally took the extremely bold decision to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, without caring about the fallout with the Arab countries. 
    • However, Prime Minister Rao also continued to show vocal support for the Palestinians.
    • The then PM, in no way abandoned India’s principled policy of backing the Palestinian cause.
    • As diplomatic decisions are made based on national interest, maintaining good relations with Israel as well as keeping up support for Palestine and further developing relations with the Arab world was the chosen action.

    India’s (Current) Pro-Israel stand

    • Pro-Israel stand:
      • India is closer today to Israel than ever before. 
      • India and Israel have also developed a close economic relationship, especially in the defence sector, where India is one of Israel’s biggest clients.
    • Choosing National interests:
      • There is a feeling that India’s pro-Palestine stance over the years has not yielded dividends in terms of national interest.
        • In fact, Palestine has often offered unqualified support to Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir.
    • India’s engagement in West Asia:
      • In the last decade or so, ties have deepened in security, defence, and connectivity with Israel, but also with partners in West Asia — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and Iran.
      • The Indian strategic approach to engage with all sides in the complex West Asian region is born out of necessity:
        • The 90 lakh-strong Indian community in the region and connectivity to West Asia and Europe. 
        • Crucially, more than 50% of India’s energy imports are sourced from West Asia.
    • ‘Formally’ Unchanged position:
      • That said, India’s formal position remains unchanged — India supports the two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side as good neighbours.

    Way ahead

    • Israel is considered by many Indians as an example to follow in dealing with cross-border terrorist attacks. But, it is important to note here that our situations are not alike.
      • Israel is dealing with an extremely weak adversary, unlike Pakistan which is a strong military power and has a nuclear arsenal.
    • While the Hamas attack will bring back the issue of Palestine in conversations, it is unlikely to affect India’s relationship with these countries. 

    Source: TH

    3.21 lakh appeals pending with Information Commissions: Report

    Syllabus: GS2/Governance- Right to Information

    News

    • More than three lakh appeals and complaints are pending in 27 State Information Commissions across the country, according to the report of Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS), a citizens’ group working to promote transparency and accountability in governance.

    About:

    • Of the 3,21,537 pending appeals, the maximum number was reported in Maharashtra (1,15,524) followed by Karnataka (41,047). Tamil Nadu declined to provide the information.
    • The ‘Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India, 2022-23’ said that the 2019 assessment had found that as of March 31 that year, a total of 2,18,347 appeals/complaints were pending in the 26 Information Commissions from which data was obtained, which climbed to 2,86,325 as of June 30, 2021 and then crossed three lakh as of June 30, 2022.
    • Four Information Commissions are defunct— Jharkhand, Telangana, Mizoram and Tripura, as no new Information Commissioners were appointed upon incumbents demitting office. 
    • Six Information Commissions are currently headless — the Central Information Commission, and the State Information Commissions of Manipur, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Punjab. 
    Right to Information Act 2005:
    – RTI Act 2005 was passed based on the“Shourie Committee” report and RTI movement by Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangthan in the 1990s… 
    Applicable to government at all levels: Central, state, local and bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed by government, including NGOs.
    Suo moto declaration: Every public authority should provide possible suo moto information to the public at regular intervals.
    Three levels for attaining information: Public information officers (PIOs) followed by the first appellate authority, followed by appeal to the State Information Commissions(SICs)  and Central Information Commission(CICs).
    Fixed timelines to provide information:
    1. PIOs have to provide information within 30 days in normal cases, 48 hours if it is a matter of life or liberty of a person.
    2. First appellate authority within 30 days (45 days in exceptional cases) from the date of filing appeal.
    3. SIC/CIC – No time limit for disposal.

    Way Forward:

    • Constitutional Status to CIC and ICs needs to be given to function in an autonomous way.
    • Centre for Law & Democracy classifies RTI among the top 5 laws in the world and right to Question is a hallmark of democracy. Hence, disclosure should be the norm and holding back should be an exception. 

    Source: TH

    Mera Yuva Bharat

    Syllabus: GS2/Government Policies and Interventions

    News

    • The Union Cabinet recently approved the establishment of an autonomous body Mera Yuva Bharat (MY Bharat).

    About:

    • Age Group: Mera Yuva Bharat (MY Bharat) will benefit the youth in the age-group of 15-29 years, in line with the definition of ‘Youth’ in the National Youth Policy.
      • In case of programme components specifically meant for the adolescents, the beneficiaries will be in the age-group of 10-19 years.
    • Mandate: It aims to serve as an overarching enabling mechanism powered by technology for youth development and youth led development.
      • It also aims to provide equitable access to youth to actualize their aspirations and build Viksit Bharat across the entire spectrum of the Government.
    • Approach: It will engage youth and their empowerment will be guided by the principles of ‘whole of government approach’(activities involving support from all segments of the government). 

    Need of the platform: 

    • In a rapidly changing world, which has an environment of high velocity communications, social media, new digital opportunities and emergent technologies the Government has decided to establish an overarching enabling mechanism.
    • It seeks to harness the immense youth energy for nation-building.

    Expected Impacts: 

    • Community change agents and nation builders: Under the new arrangement, with access to resources & connection to opportunities, youth would become community change agents and nation builders allowing them to act as the Yuva Setu between the Government and the citizens. 
    • Leadership Development in the Youth: It would improve the leadership skills through experiential learning by shifting from isolated physical interaction to programmatic skills.
    • Active drivers of development: Investing more in youth will make them social innovators and leaders in the communities. Focus of the Government on Youth Led development will make the Youth “active drivers” of development and not merely “passive recipients”.
    • It expects better alignment between youth aspirations and community needs.
    • Further, it will usher enhanced efficiency through convergence of existing programmes and act as a one stop shop for young people and Ministries.

    Source: PIB

    New royalty rates for mining of Critical and Strategic minerals

    Syllabus:GS3/Economy

    News

    • The Union Cabinet approved amendment of the  Second Schedule of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act) in order to specify competitive royalty rates for the mining of three strategically significant minerals — lithium, niobium, and rare earth elements (REEs). 

    Background

    • Recently, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment act, 2023 was passed by the Parliament. 
    • The Amendment delisted six minerals, including Lithium and Niobium, from the list of atomic minerals, thereby allowing grant of concessions for these minerals to the private sector through auction. 
    • Further, the amendment provided that mining lease and composite license of 24 critical and strategic minerals , including Lithium, Niobium and REEs (not containing Uranium and Thorium), shall be auctioned by the Central Government.

    Significance of move

    • The Second Schedule of the MMDR Act provides royalty rates for various minerals. Item No. 55 of The Second Schedule of the MMDR Act, 1957, currently specifies a royalty rate of 12% of the average sale price (ASP) for minerals that are not specifically listed in that Schedule. This rate is much higher than global benchmarks.
    • As the royalty rate for Lithium, Niobium and REE is not specifically provided, then their default royalty rate would be 12% of ASP, which is considerably high.
    • The specification of new royalty rates effectively aligns India’s royalty rates with global benchmarks, and paves the way for commercial exploitation of these minerals through auctions, which can be conducted by the Centre or states.

    Lower royalty rates

    • Lithium:  3% of London Metal Exchange price,
    • Niobium: 3% of Average Sale Price (both for primary and secondary sources),
    • REE: 1% of Average Sale Price of Rare Earth Oxide (the ore in which the REE is most commonly found).

    Way Ahead

    • Critical minerals such as Lithium and REEs have gained significance in view of India’s commitment towards energy transition and achieving net-zero emission by 2070. 
    • Lithium, Niobium and REEs have also emerged as strategic elements due their usages and geo-political scenario. Encouraging indigenous mining would lead to reduction in imports and setting up of related industries and infrastructure projects. The move is also expected to increase generation of employment in the mining sector.
    Niobium
    – Niobium is a silvery metal with a layer of oxide on its surface, which makes it resistant to corrosion. It is used in alloys, including stainless steel, to improve their strength, particularly at low temperatures.
    – Alloys containing niobium are used in jet engines, beams and girders for buildings, and oil and gas pipelines. Given its superconducting properties, it is also used in magnets for particle accelerators and MRI scanners.
    – The main source of this element is the mineral columbite, which is found in countries such as Canada, Brazil, Australia, and Nigeria.
    Rare Earth metal
    – Rare earth metals are a group of 17 elements – lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, scandium, yttrium. 
    – These metals have unusual fluorescent, conductive, and magnetic properties, which make them very useful when alloyed, or mixed, in small quantities with more common metals such as iron. They are lustrous silvery-white soft heavy metals.
    – China accounts for 90% of the world’s rare earth production. The other major producers are Australia, USA, Russia, Malaysia and Vietnam.  
    Lithium
    – Lithium is a chemical element with the symbol Li and atomic number 3. It is a soft, silvery-white alkali metal. 
    – Like all alkali metals, lithium is highly reactive and flammable, and must be stored in vacuum, inert atmosphere, or inert liquid such as purified kerosene or mineral oil.
    – Chile, Australia, Argentina, Bolivia and China contain most of the reserves discovered so far globally. Argentina, Bolivia and Chile also known as the ‘Lithium Triangle’ contain 54% of the world’s Lithium reserves.

    Source: PIB

    Facts In News

    World Sight Day

    Syllabus: GS2/Health

    Context

    • World Sight Day is observed every year to raise awareness about blindness and vision impairment. 

    World Sight Day 2023

    • Date: This day is observed annually on the second Thursday of October. This year it is observed on October 12.
    • Theme: The theme for 2023 is ‘LOVE YOUR EYES AT WORK’

    About the World Sight Day

    • Also known as ‘World Eye Day’, and ‘World Vision Day’.
    • It is an international day of awareness to focus on and encourage everyone to think about the importance of their eye health. 
    • It is globally observed to raise awareness about eye health and to recognize the work done by thousands of ophthalmologists worldwide to fix vision impairment.
    • According to WHO, globally there are approximately 1 billion people who have near or distance vision impairment.
    • Background: It is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). 
      • The day began to be officially observed as an IAPB event in the year 2000 and has been marked in several different ways in nations across the world each year since then.

    Source: PIB

    Special Campaign 3.0 Under DARPG

    Syllabus: GS-2/Governance

    Context

    • The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions has launched Special Campaign 3.0 under the theme of “Digital DARPG”.

    About

    • In Special Campaign 1.0, all the efforts were made to redress pending grievances with a focus on citizen-centric governance to bring “Ease of Living” for the common man; and Special Campaign 2.0 was undertaken for swachhata in government offices and disposal of pending matters.

    Special Campaign  3. o 

    • Under 3. o campaign, the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances took several steps:
      • To promote the Pan-India Unified Service Delivery Portal: Implementation of the Right to Service Act to identify services that can be delivered on a pan-India basis.
      • Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, and Odisha achieved 100% of their services through their identified Single Unified Service Delivery Portal i.e., e-UNNAT, e-Sevanam, and Odisha One, respectively. 
      • Reduce pendency in Public Grievances: DARPG released the report on the Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS)  to sensitize all Ministries/ Departments on the timely and qualitative redressal of public grievances.
      • Adopt AI/ Emerging Technologies for effective redressal of public grievances: The Intelligent Grievance Monitoring System (IGMS) 2.0 Dashboard has been implemented with an MoU with DARPG for upgrading CPGRAMS with Artificial Intelligence capabilities. 
      • The Dashboard provides instant tabular analysis of Grievances Filed and disposed of, State-wise and district-wise Grievances Filed, and ministry-wise data. 
      • Adoption of Bharat GPT in CPGRAMS: A non-disclosure agreement was signed with the Bharat GPT team for working on India Specific Large Language Models (LLM) powered by Bhashini to give a demonstrable large language model for CPGRAMS to further simplify the redressal of citizen grievances.
    About Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS)
    – It is an online platform available to the citizens 24×7 to lodge their grievances to the public authorities on any subject related to service delivery.
    –  It is a single portal connected to all the Ministries/Departments of the Government of India and States. 
    – Every Ministry and State has role-based access to this system. 
    – It is also accessible to the citizens through standalone mobile applications downloadable through the Google Play store and mobile applications integrated with UMANG.
    Tracking of status :
    a. The status of the grievance filed in CPGRAMS can be tracked with the unique registration ID provided at the time of registration of the complainant. 
    – CPGRAMS also provides an appeal facility to the citizens if they are not satisfied with the resolution by the Grievance Officer. 

    Source: PIB

    Tele-MANAS Service

    Syllabus: GS-2/ Health Management

    Context

    • Recently, the Tele-MANAS, India’s round-the-clock mental health helpline, has completed one year on World Mental Health Day.

    About

    • On this occasion, the National Mental Health Conclave was organized on World Mental Health Day (October 10).
    • The States/union territories were awarded certificates of appreciation with mementos for achieving the highest number of calls in the National Tele Mental Health Programme. 
    • Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (From first to third) were awarded in large states category
    • Telangana, Jharkhand, and Kerala were awarded in the smaller States category. 

    Source: TH

    Fact Check Unit under IT Rules

    Syllabus: GS2/Polity and Governance

    In News

    Background

    • Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEiTY) promulgated the 2023 IT Rules, which amended the Information Technology Rules, 2021, and allowed the Ministry to appoint a fact checking unit (FCU).
      • The amendment brings about significant changes to Rule 3(1)(b)(v) of the IT Rules, 2021, which deals with the responsibilities of intermediaries. 
    • Subsequently, writ petitions were filed before the Bombay High Court challenging Rule 3(1)(b)(v) of the IT Rules that permit the constitution of a FCU.
      • The petitioners contend that the provision would enable government-led censorship online and empower the government to be the “prosecutor, the judge, and in that loose sense, the executioner” of what constitutes the ‘truth’ online. 
    • Defending the provision, the government has argued that the FCU will only notify intermediaries or online platforms that the content they are hosting is fake, false, or misleading, and that intermediaries can choose to take it down or leave it up with a disclaimer.

    What is FCU?

    • The Rules permit a Fact Check Unit (FCU) of the Union Government to identify “fake or false or misleading” online content “related to the business of the Central Government” and demand its removal.
    • It puts intermediaries under an obligation to make “reasonable efforts” to ensure that users do not “host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update, or share any information” which is “identified as fake or false or misleading by a fact check unit of the Central government” in respect of “any business of the Central government.”
      • Failure to comply with this puts intermediaries at risk of losing the safe harbour protection provided under Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000. 
      • The safe harbour safeguard exempts intermediaries from liability for any third-party information made available or hosted by them.
    • High Court will pass its ruling on the controversial amendment on December 1. The government has apprised the Court that the FCU will not be notified until the judgment is delivered.

    Source: TH

    Goan Cashew

    Syllabus: GS3/ Economy

    News

    • Recently, the geographical indication (GI) tag was granted to the Goan cashew (kernel), which is organic and sweeter in taste and it has a unique flavour. 

    Background:

    • Cashew was native to northeast Brazil in Latin America and was introduced to Goa by the Portuguese in the 16th century (1570).
    • At the time of its introduction on Indian coasts, cashew was known mainly as a crop for afforestation and soil conservation.
      • However, the economic value of cashew nuts was discovered by Goan prisoners exiled to the Portuguese territory of Africa (Mozambique) during Goa’s freedom movement in the mid-18th century.
    • According to research, the first cashew factory in Goa started operations in 1926 and the first consignment of cashew kernels was exported in 1930.
    • In the 10 years before Goa was liberated in 1961, it exported on average over Rs 20 lakh worth of processed cashew nuts, some of which were locally grown and others imported and processed in seven units.
    • The import of nuts from Portuguese East Africa induced foreigners to establish factories in Goa due to the lower import duty, favourable port dues, shipping and clearing expenses, lower rents, wages, and salaries. 
    • By 1961, the cashew processing industry accounted for about 60 percent of industrial production in Goa, a bulk of which was exported.

    Significance of GI tag for the cashew industry in Goa?

    • The GI tag would help consumers differentiate between authentic Goan cashews and cashews sourced from outside the state, which are often marketed as ‘Goan cashews’.
    • Goan cashew will come with the GI logo. Traders cannot use Goa cashew logo on the packets without registration and the government will take steps to promote it.
    • GI tag would be useful for export too.

    Geographical Indication (GI) Tag

    • A GI tag is conferred upon products originating from a specific geographical region, signifying unique characteristics and qualities. 
    • Essentially, it serves as a trademark in the international market. 
    • A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
    • Given by: Geographical Indications Registry, Chennai, under the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    • Validity: 10 years, following which it can be renewed.
    • Paris Convention: It is a part of the intellectual property rights that comes under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
    • Act in India: Geographical Indications registration is administered by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999.
    • Benefits of GI Tag: 
      • It confers legal protection to Geographical Indications in India.
      • Prevents unauthorised use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others.
      • It promotes the economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.

    Source: IE

    Changes in PLI Scheme for White Goods

    Syllabus:GS3/Economy

    News

    • Recently changes have been made to simplify the operation of the Production Linked Incentive Scheme for White Goods (ACs and LED Lights).

    PLI Scheme for White Goods

    • The PLI Scheme for White Goods is designed to create a complete component ecosystem for Air Conditioners and LED Lights Industry in India and make India an integral part of the global supply chains. 
    • The Scheme was approved in 2021. It is to be implemented over a seven years period, from FY 2021-22 to FY 2028-29 and has an outlay of ₹ 6,238 crore.

    Changes incorporated under Scheme Guidelines 

    • Adoption of Cost-Plus method in place of CUP (comparable uncontrolled price) method for calculation of sales prices in case of captive consumption or supplies to group companies. It also required amendment in the definition of ‘Arm’ length’;
    • Consider investments in Tool room for manufacturing of Mould & Dies etc. as eligible investment under Capital Investment;
    • Allowing one more year over and above two years, permitted for informing by beneficiaries about establishment of additional manufacturing facility;
    • Revision of last date of submission of filing the claim and refund of excess incentive by the beneficiary on account of discrepancy between statutory compliance and records provided at the time of filing of claim(s), if any;
    • Site visit by Administrative Ministry;
    • Roll over of Bank Guarantee;
    • Appropriate changes in Annexures to the Scheme Guidelines.

    Source: PIB

    Operation Ajay

    Syllabus: GS3/Internal Security

    In News

    • India has launched Operation Ajay, a major operation to evacuate Indian citizens who wish to return from conflict-hit Israel.

    About

    • Under this, all those Indians who have registered themselves to return to India will be boarding a special flight.
    • According to the Indian Mission in Tel Aviv, there are around 18,000 Indians in the country.

    Background

    • The announcement has come days after Air India suspended its service in the Delhi-Tel Aviv route as Hamas carried out a crippling attack on Israel.
    • Following that ground, sky and sea attack, Israel has launched a massive military strike against Gaza Strip.
    • The rapid escalation has also drawn Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, which has lobbed rockets at Israel’s northern territory drawing Israeli strikes.

    Source: TH

    Badis limaakumi

    Syllabus :GS 3/Species in news 

    In News 

    • Scientists have recently discovered a new fish species’ Badis limaakumi’ from the Milak river, Nagaland. 

    About Badis limaakumi

    • It has been named after Limaakum, assistant professor and head of the zoology department at Fazl Ali College, Nagaland.
    • It has a distinct opercular blotch at the base of its opercular spine (a bone series that serves as a facial support structure and a protective covering for the gills). 
    • It belongs to the family of Badidae, a small freshwater fish found in streams with slow or moderate water flow.
    • It is also known as chameleon fish for their ability to change colour. 
    • Distribution  :  Apart from channels of rivers, the edible fish are found in ditches and stagnant water bodies across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand and Myanmar. 

    Amazon river dolphin

    Syllabus : GS 3/Species in news 

    In News

    The carcasses of 120 river dolphins have been found floating in a tributary of the Amazon River. 

    About Amazon river dolphin

    • Scientific Name:  Inia geoffrensis
    • It is also known as the pink river dolphin or boto, and lives only in freshwater.
    • Habitat and Distribution:  It is found throughout much of the Amazon and Orinoco river basins in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela.
      •  It is a relatively abundant freshwater cetacean with an estimated population in the tens of thousands.
    • IUCN Red List status :   listed as Endangered 

     Armageddon reedtail

    Syllabus :GS 3/Species in news 

    In News

    • A new damselfly species  ‘Armageddon reedtail’  has been discovered in Kerala’s southern Western Ghats.

    About  Armageddon reedtail( protosticta armageddonia)

    • Researchers named the insect ‘Armageddon reedtail’ to draw attention to the global decline of insect populations due to rampant habitat loss and climate change.
    • Its only habitat is primary montane streams, where it thrives beneath dense canopy cover.
    • The term ‘ecological armageddon’ is used to describe the devastating decline of insect populations around the world.
      • This phenomenon, also called insect apocalypse, affects entire ecosystems because insects pollinate, cycle nutrients and provide food for other animals.

    About Damselfly 

    • Damselfly is  any of a group of predatory, aerial insects that are in the order Odonata.
    •  Damselflies are found mainly near shallow, freshwater habitats and are graceful fliers with slender bodies and long, filmy, net-veined wings.

    Arabian Wolf and Arabian Leopard

    Syllabus: GS3/ Conservation, Species in News

    In News

    • The ongoing Palestinian-Israle war has put the population of Arabian wolf (Canis lupus arabs) and the Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) in danger. 

    About

    • The Arabian wolf (Canis lupus arabs) and the Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) are found across the whole of the Arabian Peninsula.
    • Dhib and Nimr are the Arabic terms of Arabian wolf (Canis lupus arabs) and the Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr). They have featured in the culture and folklore of the region’s peoples.

    Distribution

    • In the northern half of their range, both animals are critically endangered. The deserts of the Holy Land — the Negev, that dominates southern Israel till the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Judaean desert which is shared by Israel and the Palestinian West Bank — were once home to both.
    • The Arabian leopard is extinct in its entire northern range, including all historic distribution ranges on the Sinai Peninsula, the Negev, and the Judaean Desert.
    • Remnant nuclei of Arabian leopards are today restricted to Oman, Yemen, and possibly some animals in the southern part of Saudi Arabia.
    • The Arabian wolf remains the sole apex predator across most of its range since the extirpation of the Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) and the near-eradication of the Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) during the last several decades.

    Conservation efforts 

    • Conservation efforts should focus on increasing tolerance and coexistence within pastoralist landscapes by promoting education around the ecological importance of the Arabian wolf and strategies towards coexistence

    Source: DTE

    KTB- Bharat Hain Hum

    Syllabus: Miscellaneous

    News

    • The trailer of KTB- Bharat Hain Hum, an animated series, produced by Central Bureau of Communication, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Graphiti Studios has been launched.

    About

    • The series consists of two seasons and 52 episodes, featuring stories from the Indian Freedom struggle from the 1500s to 1947. Every episode will have popular characters Krish, Trish, and Baltiboy — previously renowned from the acclaimed KTB Movie series.
    • Objective: The series is an effort to educate the youth about the lesser known but significant contributors of the freedom struggle. A major focal point in the series is the contribution of women and tribal freedom fighters.
    • Language: The series is being produced in 12 languages i.e Hindi (Master), Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Assamese, Odia and English.
    • Heroic characters: The series will feature heroic figures, such as Rani Abbakka, Tilka Manjhi, Tirot Singh, Peer Ali, Tatya Tope, Kotwal Dhan Singh, Kunwar Singh (an 80-year-old freedom fighter), Rani Chennamma, Tikendra Jeet Singh etc. 

    Source: PIB