World Cotton Day – 7th October
- On 7 October 2020, the WTO marks the first anniversary of World Cotton Day.
- The annual celebration of World Cotton Day provides the opportunity
- to recognize the importance of cotton as a global commodity grown in over 75 countries across five continents and
- to highlight its central role in job creation and maintaining economic stability in several least-developed countries.
- At the initiative of the Cotton-4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali), the WTO hosted on 7 October 2019 the launch of World Cotton Day
- in collaboration with the secretariats of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),
- the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD),
- the International Trade Centre (ITC) and
- the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).
- On this Occasion Ministry of Textiles launched the 1st ever Brand & Logo for Indian Cotton on 2nd World Cotton Day on 7th October, 2020.
- Now India’s premium Cotton would be known as ‘Kasturi Cotton’ in the world cotton Trade.
- The Kasturi Cotton brand will represent Whiteness, Brightness, Softness, Purity, Luster, Uniqueness and Indianness.
- India is the 2nd largest cotton producer and the largest consumer of cotton in the world.
- India produces about 6.00 Million tons of cotton every year which is about 23% of the world cotton.
- India produces about 51% of the total organic cotton production of the world, which demonstrates India’s effort towards sustainability.
- leveraging the technology, a mobile app, “Cott-Ally” has been developed by Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) for providing latest news regarding weather condition, Crop situation and best farm practices.
Indefinite “occupation” of a public road
- The Supreme Court found the indefinite “occupation” of a public road by the Shaheen Bagh protestors unacceptable.
- The court said the protest, considered an iconic dissent mounted by mothers, children and senior citizens of Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), became inconvenient to commuters.
- Judgment upheld the right to peaceful protest against a law but made it unequivocally clear that public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied, and that too indefinitely.
- The seeds of protest and dissent were sown deep during the Freedom struggle.
- But dissent against the colonial rule cannot be equated with dissent in a self-ruled democracy
- In a democracy, the rights of free speech and peaceful protest were indeed “treasured”. They were to be encouraged and respected.
- But these rights were also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed in the interest of sovereignty, integrity and public order. Police regulations also weighed in.
- ‘Fundamental rights do not live in isolation. The right of the protester has to be balanced with the right of the commuter. They have to co-exist in mutual respect’.
- The court held it was entirely the responsibility of the administration to prevent encroachments in public spaces.
- They should do so without waiting for courts to pass suitable orders.
Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report
- Global extreme poverty is expected to rise for the first time in 20 years because of the disruption caused by COVID-19,
- exacerbating the impact of conflict and climate change,
- which were already slowing down poverty reduction, the World Bank said.
- The pandemic may push another 88 million to 115 million into extreme poverty or having to live on less than $1.50 per day, resulting in a total of 150 million such individuals.
- Some 9.1% to 9.4% of the world will be affected by extreme poverty in 2020, compared to 7.9% in the counterfactual scenario where the pandemic had not raged across the world.
- Many of the newly poor individuals will be from countries that already have high poverty rates while many in middle income countries (MICs) will slip below the poverty line.
- Some 82% of the total will be in MICs.
- Sub-Saharan Africa, with 27-40 million new poor, and South Asia, with 49-57 million new poor, will be badly hit as per the Bank’s projections.
- “The pandemic and global recession may cause over 1.4% of the world’s population to fall into extreme poverty”.
- In order to reverse this serious setback to development progress and poverty reduction, countries will need to prepare for a different economy post-COVID,
- by allowing capital, labour, skills, and innovation to move into new businesses and sectors.
- World Bank Group support… will help developing countries resume growth and respond to the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19.
- As the government decided not to release the 2017-18 All India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey data from the 75th Round, there is an “important gap in understanding poverty in South Asia”, the report said.
- Consequently, the Bank has estimated India’s poverty numbers for 2017 based on “strong assumptions”, resulting in “considerable uncertainties”.
Air Force Day
- The Indian Air Force was officially established on 8 October 1932. Its first ac flight came into being on April 1 1933.
- It possessed a strength of six RAF-trained officers and 19 Havai Sepoys (literally, air soldiers).
- The aircraft inventory comprised of four Westland Wapiti IIA army co-operation biplanes at Drigh Road as the “A” Flight nucleus of the planned No.1 (Army Co- operation) Squadron.
- The force will celebrate its 88th anniversary this year.
- The commemoration will be marked by a fly past by a host of aircraft and choppers, including the newly inducted Rafale fighter jets.
India’s GDP to contract by 9.6% this fiscal
- The World Bank said that India’s GDP is expected to contract by 9.6% this fiscal which is reflective of the national lockdown and
- the income shock experienced by households and firms due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
- noting that the country’s economic situation is much worse than ever seen before.
- In its latest South Asia Economic Focus report ahead of the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, forecasts
- a sharper than expected economic slump across the region, with regional growth expected to contract by 7.7% in 2020, after topping 6% annually in the past five years.
- Regional growth is projected to rebound to 4.5% in 2021.
- Income-per-capita in the region will remain 6% below 2019 estimates, indicating that the expected rebound will not offset the lasting economic damage caused by the pandemic.
- There was a 25% decline in GDP in the second quarter of the year, which is the first quarter of the current fiscal year in India.
- World Bank estimates that in one year, the number of people living below the poverty line has increased by 33%.
- After fiscal 2017, during which the economy grew at 8.3%, growth decelerated in each subsequent year to 7.0, 6.1 and 4.2%.
- This was on account of two mutually reinforcing dynamics:
- emerging weaknesses in non-bank financial companies (a major source of credit growth, making up for risk aversion from banks) and
- slowing private consumption growth, the bank added.
- Russia said it had successfully tested a new hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile in a move hailed by President Vladimir Putin as a “great event” for the country.
- The Tsirkon missile was fired from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate in the White Sea on Tuesday morning in the Russian Arctic and successfully hit its target.
- The missile hit its target 450 kilometres away in the Barents Sea and hit a Mach 8 speed — eight times the speed of sound.
- Russia boasts of developing a number of “invincible” weapons that surpass existing systems and include Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.
Advanced Manufacturing Hub
- Tamil Nadu’s Guidance Bureau, the nodal investment promotion and facilitation agency of the state, has partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to establish an advanced manufacturing hub in the state.
- The Advanced Manufacturing HUB or AMHUB is one of the 19 platforms designed by the WEF.
- The AMHUB is expected to help the production ecosystem in Tamil Nadu by identifying and addressing regional opportunities brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution by drawing on regional success stories globally and engaging with other AMHUBs.
- TN aims at leveraging the AMHUB to identify skills gaps and bridge them from global experience.
- The highly industrialized state will be able to harness opportunities in the sectors of electronics, electric mobility, solar energy and textiles through collaboration with the AMHUB.
The dynamic, impact-based cyclone warning system
- India Meteorological Department will soon launch a dynamic, impact-based cyclone warning system,
- aimed at minimising economic losses and damage to property due to the cyclones that hit Indian coasts every year.
- As part of the new system, location or district-specific tailored warnings, which factor in the local population, infrastructure, settlements, land use and other elements, will be prepared and disseminated.
- All disaster management agencies will make extensive use of cartographic, geological and hydrological data available for the district concerned.
- NDMA has taken up a project, entitled, National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP).
- Under this project, NDMA is developing a Web-based Dynamic Composite Risk Atlas (Web-DCRA) in collaboration with IMD and state Governments of coastal states.
- Cyclones are multi-hazardous in nature and thus they cause heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge over the affected region simultaneously and in its wake the associated property loss can be huge.
- This can be in the form of damage to houses and roads, farms and agriculture lands, public infrastructure, and power and telecommunication lines, adding to the overall economic burden for the affected families, local administrations and state governments.
- With improved technology and increased use of satellite-guided data in recent years, IMD has managed to better cyclones forecast and issue timely warnings.
- Advance and accurate cyclone predictions, combined with efforts from disaster management agencies, have also significantly contributed in bringing down the cyclone mortality rate over the years.
- The post-monsoon months of October and November offer the favourable atmosphere and sea conditions for the occurrence of cyclonic storms,
- which mainly affect coastal Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal in east coast and Gujarat in west coast.
Increased sea surface temperature affecting Indian monsoon
- The climate across the world is changing in many ways, triggered by different global warming phenomena that have resulted in a change in the monsoon onset time and pattern.
- The process is affecting the agricultural yield.
- Any excess or little rainfall is, therefore, detrimental to these crops.
- A new study on variability in the Mascarene High (MH) during global warming hiatus (GWH) revealed that the region experienced significantly increased sea surface temperature (SST) during this period (1998-2016).
- The Mascarene High (MH) is a semi-permanent subtropical high-pressure zone in the South Indian Ocean.
- Apart from its large influence on African and Australian weather patterns, it also helps in driving the inter-hemispheric circulation between the Indian Ocean in the south and subcontinental landmass in the north.
- A global warming hiatus is referred to a global warming pause, or a global warming slowdown, which is a period of relatively little change in globally averaged surface temperatures.
- The hiatus, however, can result in an increase in the SST.
- This warming in SST, according to the study, resulted in a decrease in the pressure gradient between the MH and the Indian landmass,
- which in turn suppressed the intensity of low-level cross-equatorial winds over the western Indian Ocean
- affecting the onset of the monsoon over the Indian subcontinent and rainfall over East Asia.
- The Mascarene Islands is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar from where the cross equatorial winds blow to India.
- It is also called the Indian Ocean subtropical high, which is a high-pressure area located between 20° to 35° South latitude and 40° to 90° East longitude.
- The southwest monsoon caused by this high pressure area is the strongest component of the Indian subcontinent monsoon that contributes about more than 80 per cent of the annual rainfall in entire East Asia.
- The weakening of the MH in the southern Indian Ocean during GWH may affect the strength of the upwelling along the coast of Somalia and Oman and thus, influence the Arabian Sea ecosystem.
- During the study, it was found that increased sea level and heat content in the MH region during the GWH (1998-2016) suppressed the intensity of low-level cross-equatorial winds.
- Phosphorus is essential in agriculture to maintain higher production levels, where it is applied as a fertilizer.
- Some world regions are experiencing high population growth rates, which means more phosphorus will be needed to produce an increasing amount of food needed in the next decades.
- A new study shows that the world regions with high population growth rates are also the regions with the highest deficit in phosphorus supply.
- The study also quantifies the environmental impact of a business-as-usual scenario in the phosphorus supply chain to 2050 and identifies alarming rates of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the phosphorus supply.
- Almost all of our phosphate fertilizers come from the mining and processing of phosphate rock (PR).
- Global population growth is expected to push food demand up by more than 50% to 2050, particularly in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC), South Asia (SA) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) .
- Despite being a vital resource in food production, P is also a key pollutant in water bodies, where it can cause eutrophication.
Nitrous oxide emissions
- Rising nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions are jeopardizing the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, according to a major new study by an international team of scientists.
- The growing use of nitrogen fertilizers in the production of food worldwide is increasing atmospheric concentrations of N2O—a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) that remains in the atmosphere for more than 100 years.
- N2O emissions are increasing faster than any emission scenario developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
- consistent with greenhouse gas scenarios that lead to global mean temperature increases well above 3°C from pre-industrial levels.
- The Paris Agreement aims to limit warming to less than 2°C but ideally no more than 1.5°C.
- The study points to an alarming trend affecting climate change: N2O has risen 20 percent from pre-industrial levels with the fastest growth observed in the last 50 years due to emissions from human activities.
- The dominant driver of the increase in atmospheric nitrous oxide comes from agriculture, and the growing demand for food and feed for animals will further increase global nitrous oxide emissions.
- Like CO2, N2O is a long-lived greenhouse gas and is also currently the most significant human-induced agent depleting the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects Earth from most of the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.
- The study found that the largest contributors to global N2O emissions come from East Asia, South Asia, Africa and South America.
- Emissions from synthetic fertilizers dominate releases in China, India and the US, while emissions from the application of livestock manure as fertilizer dominates releases in Africa and South America.
- The highest growth rates in emissions are in emerging economies, particularly Brazil, China and India, where crop production and livestock numbers have increased.
- However, N2O emissions in Europe decreased in agriculture and the chemical industry.
- This was due to a combination of factors, including voluntary measures to remove N2O from flue gases in the Nylon industry and
- the introduction of an emissions trading scheme,
- as well as agriculture in many Western European countries moving to more efficient use of fertilizer to reduce environmental impacts such as pollution of groundwater and surface water.
- Policies on nitrogen fertilizer usage were also introduced.
Nobel Prize in Literature
- American poet Louise Glück has been named the winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature.
- According to the 7-member Nobel Committee, the Prize was given to Ms. Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
- Born 1943 in New York, Ms. Glück, is a professor of English at Yale University.
- She made her debut in 1968 with Firstborn, and was soon acclaimed as one of the most prominent poets in American contemporary literature.
- She has received several prestigious awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize (1993) and the National Book Award (2014).
- Mired in controversy, the award was won by Austria’s Peter Handke last year, alongside Poland’s Olga Tokarczuk who was announced the winner for the 2018 Prize.
- In 2018, the Prize was postponed by the Swedish Academy, which selects the winner, following the allegation on and the subsequent conviction of Jean-Claude Arnault, husband of academy member Katarina Frostenson, for rape.
- The Nobel Prize comes with a medal and a prize sum of 10 million Swedish kronor.
- According to the words of Alfred Nobel’s will, the Prize is given to “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”.
- There have been 112 laureates to date, 15 of whom were women and 4 Prizes having been shared between two persons.
- Hurricane Delta emerged into the Gulf of Mexico and headed toward Louisiana after making landfall just south of the Mexican resort of Cancun.
- Category 2 hurricane was centered about 65 miles (110 kilometers) east-northeast of Puerto Progreso in the afternoon, just off the northern edge of the peninsula.
- Delta had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (155 kph), but was expected to gain strength again before lashing the U.S. Gulf coast.
- Delta could make landfall, possibly as a Category 3 storm, sometime Friday south of Morgan City, Louisiana.
- Russian authorities opened an investigation into suspected toxic waste pollution off the Kamchatka peninsula on its Pacific coast which has led to the mass death of marine animals.
- Locals sounded the alarm in late September as surfers experienced stinging eyes from the water and sea creatures including seals, octopuses and sea urchins washed up dead on the shore.
- The Russian branch of Greenpeace has described the situation as an “ecological disaster”, adding that as yet it remains unclear what has caused it.
- The initial studies of probes from the coastal waters suggest the presence of a pollutant in the seawater similar in consistency to industrial oil or another substance containing oil components.
- The investigators are examining “all potential sources of the water pollution including the territory of military training grounds” adjacent to the polluted areas where toxic chemicals are buried.
- Coming on the heels of a massive oil leak in Siberia, the latest incident has sparked a large-scale investigation with fears that poisonous substances in underground storage since the Soviet era could have leaked into the water.
- According to news agency, the site stores some 100 tonnes of poisonous substances and pesticides, including some 20 tons of arsenic compounds, buried from 1979 to 1982.
The black hole always chirps twice
- A team of gravitational wave researchers led by the ARC Center of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) report that
- when two black holes collide and merge, the remnant black hole “chirps” not once, but multiple times,
- emitting gravitational waves—intense ripples in the fabric space and time—that reveal information about its shape.
- Black holes are among the most fascinating objects in the universe.
- At their surface, known as the event horizon, gravity is so strong that not even light can escape. Usually, black holes are silent objects that swallow anything that falls too closely to them.
Poor Geologists Drill
- Impact craters have been called the “poor geologists’ drill,” since they allow scientists to look beneath to the subsurface of a planet without actually digging down.
- It’s estimated that Mars has over 600,000 craters, so there’s plenty of opportunity to peer into the red planet’s strata—
- especially with the incredible HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter,
- which has been orbiting and studying Mars from above since 2006.
- This beautiful image shows the interior of an impact crater in the Hellas Planitia region of Mars—just north of the gigantic Hellas impact basin located in the southern hemisphere of Mars.
- HiRISE can operate in visible wavelengths—the same as human eyes—but it also uses near-infrared wavelengths to obtain information on the mineral groups present.
Planetary nebula designated IPHASX J191104.8+060845
- An international team of astronomers has investigated a bipolar planetary nebula designated IPHASX J191104.8+060845. Results of the new study provide essential information about the morphology and physical properties of this object.
- Planetary nebulae (PNe) are expanding shells of gas and dust that have been ejected from a star during the process of its evolution from a main sequence star into a red giant or white dwarf.
- They are relatively rare, but are important for astronomers studying the chemical evolution of stars and galaxies.
- IPHASX J191104.8+060845 (J191104 for short) is a PN identified by Isaac Newton Telescope Photometric H-Alpha Survey (IPHAS) and confirmed by Gran Telescopio de Canarias (GTC).
- The distance to J191104 was estimated at around 16,000 light years and it has a kinematical age of about 11,000 years.
- The effective temperature of this PN was measured to be approximately 8,000 K, while its electron density is at a level of 200 cm-3.
- The astronomers found that J191104 is rich in helium, oxygen and nitrogen.
- The GTC spectra suggest that J191104 is a Peimbert Type I source, given its high nitrogen and helium abundances, filamentary structures, and low mean scale heights above the galactic plane.
Up’s Biggest Oxygen Plant
- Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister inaugurated a new state-of-the-art cryogenic oxygen plant, the biggest in the state, which will help with supplies in hospitals.
- The ultra-high purity air separation plant with a capacity of 150 tonnes per days (TPD) in Ghaziabad’s Modinagar will produce liquid oxygen, liquid nitrogen and liquid argon.
- According to INOX AP, the plant has come up as a part of a memorandum of understanding they entered into with the UP government during the ‘Investors Summit 2018’.
- The foundation stone for the project was laid by PM Modi on July 29, 2018.
- The plant will fulfil the need of medical oxygen as well as aid the state’s industrial growth with a robust supply of industrial gases.
- It will fulfil the oxygen demand of more than 200 hospitals and medical colleges in the state as well as cater to the industrial gases needs of various industries.
- INOX AP, one of India’s largest manufacturers of industrial and medical gases.
Foreign Direct Investment (Fdi) From Mauritius
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a letter to the industry body for venture capital and private equity funds, has said that
- finance companies cannot be set up with foreign direct investment (FDI) from Mauritius and other such jurisdictions that do not meet the benchmarks laid down by the Financial Action Task Force.
- Indian manufacturing or any other non-financial services companies have no such restrictions on FDI.
- Also, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) from such jurisdictions are free to register with the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to trade on Indian stock exchanges.
- However, according to RBI, the rules are tighter for finance companies since they are permitted to leverage several times their equity with public funds.
- RBI stance originates from suspected round-tripping of funds by promoters of Indian companies.
DBT-BIRAC Clean Tech Demo Park
Ministry of Science & Technology inaugurated the “DBT-BIRAC Clean Tech Demo Park” at Barapullah drain site, near Sundial Park, Sarai Kale Khan, New Delhi.
This Clean Tech Demo Park would be a good attraction not only for Innovators/ Investors but also for students and common public for awareness and popularization of clean technological solution for waste management.
The novel indigenous technologies developed for the treatment of sewage and industrial waste waters should be promoted and given wide publicity to ensure their commercialization and adoption for achieving Swachh Bharat and Atmanirbhar Bharat goals.
This will be used to demonstrate innovative Waste-to-Value technologies with support from Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
This park will be managed by the Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC), a public-private-partnership incubator set up jointly by DBT, BIRAC and Tata Power.
DBT has undertaken several initiatives under Swachh Bharat Mission for the development, demonstration and promotion of
innovative clean waste-to-value technologies including biomethanation, constructed wetlands, algal treatment and water membrane filtration.
The DBT-DESMI project in collaboration with Denmark for cleaning of floating debris from Barapullah nallah, and
the LOTUS-HR project in collaboration with Netherlands are already successfully demonstrated at the Barapullah site.
Technologies developed by Startups at different locations in the Country will be demonstrated on this site.
AI assists NASA to spot craters on Mars
- Recently, NASA said it spotted previously unknown craters on Mars with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) for the first time.
- The space agency developed an AI tool to analyse images captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which led to the discovery.
- Scientists identified craters made by pieces of a meteor on the red planet. The largest of the craters is about 13-feet (4 meters) wide, and in total, the craters span about 100 feet (30 meters) of the planet’s surface.
- MRO has been orbiting the planet for 14 years, and its data has been used to locate more than 1,000 new craters.
- Scientists used a two-step process to confirm the craters on the red planet.
- First, they deployed AI to take a look at orbiter’s Context Camera’s low-resolution images and analyse if they captured any craters.
- Then, using HiRISE instrument, they verified the images picked by the AI.
- On August 26, HiRISE confirmed that a dark smudge detected by the classifier in a region called Noctis Fossae was in fact the cluster of craters.
- The AI tool was trained using a small set of images from the Context Camera, including locations, with previously discovered impacts, and with no fresh impacts.
- Later, it was used to scan the camera’s entire repository of over one lakh images.
Sulphur Dioxide Emissions
- India’s sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions, which contribute to air pollution, recorded a significant decline of approximately 6% in 2019 as compared to 2018, the steepest dip in four years.
- However, India continues to occupy the top emitter’s position for the fifth consecutive year, the report based on an analysis by Greenpeace India and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
- Sulphur dioxide is a poisonous air pollutant that increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and premature death.
- In 2019, India emitted 21% of global anthropogenic (human-made) SO2 emissions, nearly double that of second-ranked global emitter, Russia.
- China occupies the third position.
- The biggest emission hotspots in India are thermal power stations (or clusters of power stations) at Singrauli, Neyveli, Sipat, Mundra, Korba, Bonda, Tamnar, Talcher, Jharsuguda, Kutch, Surat, Chennai, Ramagundam, Chandrapur, Visakhapatnam and Koradi.
- The report said India has been faring reasonably well in its clean energy transition and has set itself one of the world’s most ambitious renewable energy targets but lack of flue-gas desulfurisation(FGD) units in most power plants overshadows it.
- In India, we are getting a glimpse of how reduction in coal usage can impact air quality and health.
- In 2019, renewable energy capacity expanded, coal dependency decreased and we saw a corresponding improvement in air quality.
- In 2015, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change introduced SO2 emission limits for coal power stations.
- But power plants missed the initial deadline of December 2017 for the installation of FGD units.
- Though the deadline was extended till 2022, as of June 2020 most of the power plants are operating without compliance to standards.
- The most efficient and easiest way to reduce PM2.5 levels is to install FGD and reduce SO2 emissions from power plants as they form a significant fraction of total PM2.5 pollution at different locations across the country.
- In August last year, a study by Greenpeace had claimed that India is the world’s largest emitter of anthropogenic sulphur dioxide, which is produced from coal burning, and greatly contributes to air pollution.