Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - December 17, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Renowned Sanskrit scholar Bannanje Govindacharya passes away

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


Context

  • Renowned Sanskrit scholar Vidyavachaspati Bannanje Govindacharya passed in Udupi due to age-related illness. He was 85.
  • A propagator of 'Madhwa' ideology and a great orator, Govindacharya had been conferred the Padma Shree in 2009.

Highlights

  • He was well-versed in Veda Bhashya, Upanishad Bhashya, Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Puranas and has written commentaries on Veda Suktas, Upanishads, Shata Rudriya, Brahma Sutra Bhashya, and Gita Bhashya.
  • Some of his translated works are Bana Bhatta's novel 'Bana Bhattana Kadambari', Kalidasa's 'Shakuntala', and Shudraka's ‘Mrichakatika’.
  • Govindacharya was the brand ambassador of India in World Conference on Religion and Peace held in Princeton, USA in 1979.

Source: Times of India.

Morocco latest country to normalise ties with Israel in US-brokered deal

Focus: GS2

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests.


Context

  • Morocco has become the latest Arab League country to agree to normalise relations with Israel in a deal brokered with US help.
  • As part of the deal, the US has agreed to recognise Morocco's claim over the disputed Western Sahara region.

Background

  • It is the subject of a dispute between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, which has been seeking to establish an independent state.
  • Morocco is the fourth state to make such a deal with Israel since August.
  • Agreements have also been struck recently with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
  • Along with Egypt and Jordan, Morocco becomes the sixth Arab League member to normalise ties with Israel.

About the deal

  • The White House said Mr Trump and Morocco's King Mohammed VI had agreed that Morocco would "resume diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel and expand economic and cultural co-operation to advance regional stability".
  • The deal includes the reopening of liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat - shut in 2000 when low-level relations broke down after the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising - and the eventual opening of embassies.
  • Officials said Morocco would grant direct flights to and from Israel for all Israelis.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the "historic" agreement.
  • In Morocco, a palace statement confirmed the deal, saying the king, in a telephone call with Mr Trump, had agreed to diplomatic relations with Israel "with minimal delay".

Source: BBC.

Get Started with UPSC Preparation

Current Affairs

Detailed Analysis

IAS Counselling

by Subject Experts

Free Material

for UPSC Preparation

Myristica Swamp Treefrog

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Context

  • Myristica swamp treefrog, a rare arboreal (living on trees) species endemic to the Western Ghats has been recorded for the first time in Kerala’s Thrissur district.
  • It bears the scientific name Mercurana myristicapalustris.

Background

  • The frog was first spotted in 2013 in the Myristica swamps of Arippa, near the Kulathupuzha Reserve Forest, in the western foothills of Agasthyamalai, in Kollam district.
  • Unlike the Myristica swamp treefrog found in the foothills of the Agasthyamalai, these frogs were found to be active throughout June and early July.

Highlights

  • These frogs are rare and elusive for the reason that they are arboreal and active only for a few weeks during their breeding season.
  • During this season, there is a large aggregation of males that descend from the high canopy of the trees.
  • The breeding season, unlike for other frogs, starts in the pre-monsoon season (May) and ends before the monsoon becomes fully active in June.
  • Before the end of the breeding season, the female frogs along with their male counterparts descend on the forest floor.
  • The female digs the mud and lays eggs in shallow burrows in mud.
  • After breeding and egg-laying, they retreat back to the high canopies of the tree and remain elusive till next breeding season.

Source: The Hindu.

Rare malaria genus Plasmodium ovale reported in Kerala

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Context

  • At a time when Kerala is grappling with a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in the last few weeks, the health department of the state has detected a new genus of malaria called ‘plasmodium oval’, state health minister KK Shailaja tweeted.
  • The disease was detected in a soldier who travelled from Sudan. He was being treated at the district hospital in Kannur.

Background

“Plasmodium oval, a new genus of malaria, has been detected in the State. It was found in a soldier who was being treated at the District hospital in Kannur. The soldier had come from Sudan,” Shailaja wrote on Twitter.

Highlights

  • Protozoa which is responsible for malaria can be found in five varieties: Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malaria, Plasmodium knowlesi and Plasmodium ovale.
  • Among these, Plamodium Vivax and Palsmodium Falciparum are the most common in India. Plasmodium ovale is generally found in Africa.
  • However, there is no reason to worry as the health minister has said that the spread of the disease can be avoided with timely treatment and preventive measures.
  • This type of malaria is not known to be fatal.
  • The malaria test was held at Kannur District Hospital after the soldier who went to Sudan as part of UN service complained of malaria symptoms.
  • The virus was confirmed after a detailed study.
  • India reported its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Thrissur district of Kerala when a student, who was studying in Wuhan University, China and had returned to India.
  • Also in 2018, a Nipah virus disease (NiV) outbreak was reported from Kozhikode district.

Source: Hindustan Times.

NMCG organises 4th India Water Impact Summit 2019 in Delhi

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Context

  • The Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga) led by IIT-Kanpur organised the fourth India Water Impact Summit, which discussed water-related issues and steps taken to save the planet's most precious resource.
  • The event, which was held here from December 5 to 7 at the Vigyan Bhawan, was inaugurated by Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Background

  • Reports on 'Ambassadors' Meet', 'River Restoration and Conservation - A Concise Manual and Guide', as well as documents on 'Ganga Hubs' developed so far were released by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • The summit focused on integrated management of water resources in rural and urban areas, and experts from various fields discussed various water-related issues.

Highlights

  • 'Valuing Water - Transforming Ganga' was the theme of this year's summit.
  • An important objective of the summit was bringing together global financial investors and institutions to focus on water impact in smart cities.
  • European Union (EU) countries, Israel, Ghana and other nations are present. 10 MoUs related to technologies were also exchanged.
  • The most challenging aspect is how to manage water more efficiently.
  • As water security is a global issue, the NMCG has been taking a global call to action to invite countries from around the world to save the most precious resource on the planet.

Source: Business Standard.

Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


Context

  • Recently, NITI Aayog has released a white paper: Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India.
  • NITI Aayog’s mandate is to provide strategic directions to the various sectors of the Indian economy. 

Background

  • In line with this mandate, the Health Vertical of NITI Aayog released ‘Health Systems for New India: Building blocks – Potential Pathways to Reforms’ in 2019.
  • The recent document is a continuation of the work on Health Systems Strengthening. 

About the vision

  • To make India’s public health surveillance system more responsive and predictive to enhance preparedness for action at all levels.
  • Citizen-friendly public health surveillance systems will ensure individual privacy and confidentiality, enabled with a client feedback mechanism.
  • Improved data-sharing mechanism between Centre and states for better disease detection, prevention, and control.
  • India aims to provide regional and global leadership in managing events that constitute a public health emergency of international concern.

Highlights

  • India can create a skilled and strong health workforce dedicated to surveillance activities.
  • Non-communicable disease, reproductive and child health, occupational and environmental health and injury could be integrated into public health surveillance. 
  • An amalgamation of plant, animal, and environmental surveillance in a One-Health approach. 
  • Laboratory capacity could be strengthened with new diagnostic technologies. 

Source: Indian Express.

Himalayan Serow

Focus: GS3.                                

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Context

  • A Himalayan Serow has been sighted for the first time in the Himalayan cold desert region.
  • Himalayan Serow resembles a cross between a goat, a donkey, a cow, and a pig.

About Himalayan Serow

  • They are herbivores and are typically found at altitudes between 2,000 metres and 4,000 metres (6,500 to 13,000 feet).
  • They are known to be found in eastern, central, and western Himalayas, but not in the Trans Himalayan region.
  • They are a medium-sized mammal with a large head, thick neck, short limbs, long, mule-like ears, and a coat of dark hair.
  • There are several species of Serow s, and all of them are found in Asia.

Highlights

  • According to the IUCN, Himalayan Serow s have experienced significant declines in population size, range size and habitat in the last decade, and this is expected to continue due to intensive human impact.
  • Previously assessed as ‘near threatened’, the Himalayan Serow is now been categorised as ‘vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • It is listed under Schedule I of The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which provides absolute protection.

Source: Indian Express.

***********************************************************

Test your Knowledge

  1. With reference to Meteors, consider the following statements:
  • Meteors are bits of rock and ice that are ejected from comets as they manoeuvre around their orbits around the sun.
  • When a meteor reaches the Earth, it is called a meteorite and a series of meteorites, when encountered at once, is termed a meteor shower.
  • Meteors are best visible on a cloudless night and when the Moon is not extremely bright.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

       A. 1 and 2 only
       B. 2 and 3 only
       C. 1 and 3 only
       D. AOTA

Solution: D

  1. Hybrid Renewable Energy Park, world’s biggest Renewable Energy Park is being set up in:

        A. Karnataka
        B. Telanagana
        C. Kerala
        D. Gujarat

Solution: D

    Talk to us for

    UPSC preparation support!









Options

Do you want to become an IAS officer like Saumya Sharma?
Study Online at  Neostencil Logo

Your Exam segments is being saved. Please wait....

Select Exam(s) you are interested in

IAS IES/GATE IIT-JEE NEET STATE PSC CSIR UGC NET OTHERS
please enter valid OTP