Current Affairs July 24

Application of Buddhist Values and Principles in Addressing issues of Global Concern


  • The Buddha’s assurance of putting an end to suffering; his emphasis on universal compassion and non-violence; his message to pursue morality and moderation in all aspects of life, have inspired countless people over the last 2600 years
  • Buddha’s well documented life contains invaluable messages for humanity.
  • Lord Buddha commanded great trust and respect even among his critics and opponents. They would become his followers.
  • He had acquired this spiritual power because he remained steadfast in his adherence to the truth.
  • reeling under the impact of COVID-19, the world, more than ever before, needs the healing touch of compassion, kindness and selflessness. These universal values propagated by Buddhism need to be adopted by all in their thoughts and actions. T
  • that today’s world gets inspired by the Buddha’s infinite compassion and resolves to overcome all sources of human suffering.





  • The Dhammapada is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form and one of the most widely read and best known Buddhist scriptures.
  • The original version of the Dhammapada is in the Khuddaka Nikaya, a division of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism.
  • The Buddhist scholar and commentator Buddhaghosa explains that each saying recorded in the collection was made on a different occasion in response to a unique situation that had arisen in the life of the Buddha and his monastic community


Why record-shattering heatwaves are burning the northern hemisphere


  • One, there are just too many such events occurring across the northern hemisphere around the same time.
  • Two, severe heatwave conditions have started way too early — in June, which is usually the cooler month in the summer season with July and August reporting higher temperatures. Copernicus satellite data shows that the temperature rose above 30°C in several parts of the Arctic as early as May.
  • Three, these heatwaves are not only intense, they are staying on longer.
  • Four, at several places, heat records have been broken by a wide margin.


Fit for 55 package

  • The European Union (EU) in December 2020 submitted a revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement: Of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.
  • It also set a long-term goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • . The Fit for 55 package of climate and energy proposals released by the European Commission on July 14, 2021 .
  • It includes a new emissions trading system for transport and buildings, a ban on the sale of polluting cars from 2035 and a carbon border price on imported goods.
  • The new package attempts to deliver the NDC and carbon neutrality goal through proposed changes that would impact the economy, society and industry, as well as ensure “a fair, competitive and green transition by 2030 and beyond”.
  • It claims to achieve a balance between “regulatory policies” and market-based carbon pricing to avoid the pitfalls of each.
  • It proposes to increase the binding target of renewable sources in the EU’s energy mix to 40 per cent (compared to the earlier goal of 32 per cent) and improve energy efficiency by 36 per cent (compared to 32.5 per cent earlier) by 2030.
  • Vehicular carbon emissions must be cut by 55 per cent by 2030 and by 100 per cent by 2035, which means a phaseout of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035.
  • Of the latter, it calls for the creation of an emissions trading system (ETS) for buildings and road transport, separate from the EU’s current ETS, to become operational from 2026
  • To help low-income citizens and small businesses adjust to the new ETS, the EU proposes the creation of a Social Climate Fund, which will take various forms ranging from funding for renovation of buildings, and access to low carbon transport, to direct income support
  • The new package has set a target to enhance the EU’s sink capacity to 310 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, which they hope will be achieved through specific national targets by member countries.


Biology terms in news


  1. Cell mediated immunity (CMI)
  • Cell mediated immunity (CMI) is that arm of the immune response that does not involve antibodies but rather incorporates the activation of macrophages and NK cells enabling them to destroy intracellular pathogens,
  • the production of antigen-specific CD8 cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs), and the release of various cytokines that influence the function of other cells involved in both the adaptive and innate immune responses in response to a non-self-antigen
  • Cell-mediated immunity is directed primarily at removing virus-infected cells, but is also a very important player in defending against fungi, protozoa, intracellular bacteria, and cancers.
  • It also plays a major role in transplant rejection


  1. Innate immunity
  • innate immunity, also known as genetic or natural immunity, is immunity that one is born with. This type of immunity is written in one’s genes, offering lifelong protection. The innate immune response is fast acting and non-specific, meaning it does not respond differently based on the specific virus or bacteria that it detects.
  • The innate immune system encompasses physical barriers and chemical and cellular defences.
  • Physical barriers protect the body from invasion. These include things like the skin and eyelashes.
  • Chemical barriers are defence mechanisms that can destroy harmful agent. Examples include tears, mucous, and stomach acid.
  • Cellular defences of the innate immune response are non-specific. These cellular defences identify pathogens and substances that are potentially dangerous and takes steps to neutralize or destroy them.
  1. Adaptive immunity
  • It is an organism’s acquired immunity to a specific pathogen.
  • As such, it’s also referred to as acquired immunity. Adaptive immunity is not immediate, nor does it always last throughout an organism’s entire lifespan, although it can.
  • The adaptive immune response is marked by clonal expansion of T and B lymphocytes, releasing many antibody copies to neutralize or destroy their target antigen.
  • The first time the body encounters a novel disease agent its response is known as the primary immune response. When B lymphocytes, or B cells, encounter a novel antigen, they create antibodies specific to the antigen designed to destroy or neutralize it.
  • Simultaneously, B cells create memory cells, which are a type of B cell that survives for decades and can detect the pathogen during subsequent exposure.
  1. Herd immunity
  • It is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that can occur with some diseases when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.

Biocentrism vs Anthropocentrism


  • The Great Indian Bustard, a gravely endangered species, with hardly about 200 alive in India today.
  • The Court said, in M.K. Ranjitsinh & Others vs Union of India & Others , that in all cases where the overhead lines in power projects exist, the governments of Rajasthan and Gujarat shall take steps forthwith to install bird diverters pending consideration of the conversion of overhead cables into underground power lines.
  • The overhead power lines have become a threat to the life of these species as these birds frequently tend to collide with these power lines and get killed.
  • “The Great Indian Bustard (“GIB”) lacks frontal vision. Due to this, they cannot detect power lines ahead of them, from far.
  • As they are heavy birds, they are unable to manoeuvre across power lines within close distances
  • In protecting the birds, the Court has affirmed and emphasised the biocentric values of eco preservation.
  • The philosophy of biocentrism holds that the natural environment has its own set of rights which is independent of its ability to be exploited by or to be useful to humans.
  • Biocentrism often comes into conflict with its contrarian philosophy, namely anthropocentrism.
  • Anthropocentrism argues that of all the species on earth humans are the most significant and that all other resources on earth may be justifiably exploited for the benefit of human being.
  • Humans share the world with countless other species, many of which are nearing extinction on account of man’s imprudent insensitivity.
  • About 50 years ago, there were 4,50,000 lions in Africa. Today, there are hardly 20,000.
  • Indiscriminate monoculture farming in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra is leading to the extinction of orangutans.
  • Rhinos are hunted for the so-called medicinal value of their horns and are slowly becoming extinct.
  • From the time humans populated Madagascar about 2,000 years ago, about 15 to 20 species of Lemurs, which are primates, have become extinct.
  • The compilation prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists about 37,400 species that are gravely endangered.
  • The Constitution is significantly silent on any explicitly stated, binding legal obligations we owe to our fellow species and to the environment that sustains us.
  • It is to the credit of the judiciary that out of these still and placid waters, it has fished out enduring principles of sustainable development and read them, inter alia, into the precepts of Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Pieces of legislations are slowly evolving that fall in the category of the “Right of Nature laws”.
  • These seek to travel away from an anthropocentric basis of law to a biocentric one.
  • In September 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognise “Rights of Nature” in its Constitution.
  • Bolivia has also joined the movement by establishing Rights of Nature laws too.



Good Friday agreement


  • The Belfast Agreement is also known as the Good Friday Agreement, because it was reached on Good Friday, 10 April 1998. It was an agreement between the British and Irish governments, and most of the political parties in Northern Ireland, on how Northern Ireland should be governed.
  • The aim was establish a new, devolved government for Northern Ireland in which unionists and nationalists would share power.
  • The Good Friday Agreement states that “the Secretary of State” should call a referendum “if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.

Rainfall variation

  • Amid the revival of monsoon since the second week of July, there has been a significant variation in rainfall across the country. Several parts of the western Konkan coast and the southern peninsula were witnessing instances of extreme rainfall.
  • According to the India Meteorological Department data on the regional distribution, the ‘South Peninsula’ received 29% more rain than normal during the period June1-July 23.
  • In the same period, northwest and central India witnessed a 10% and 2% deficit respectively and northeast India a 14% deficit
  • The frequency and strength of cyclones over the Arabian Sea has increased in the past two decades.
  • There is a 52% increase in the frequency of cyclones over the Arabian Sea from 2001 to 2019 and an 8% decrease over the Bay of Bengal compared with the period 1982- 2002, when historically most cyclones have been in the Bay of Bengal, according to a study published in Climate Dynamics.
  • Even the duration of cyclones has increased by 80%. More cyclones were bringing in more moisture from the Arabian Sea and contributing to extreme rainfall events


Gatekeeper model


  • In a bid to prevent suicides triggered by mental health issues in prisons across the country, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, has recommended the “Gatekeeper Model” where selected inmates, trained to identify prisoners at risk of suicide, would refer them to treatment or supportive services
  • The advisory said the concept of a ‘Buddy System’ — social support through trained prisoners called “buddies” or “listeners” — was found to have a good impact on the well-being of suicidal prisoners.
  • Periodic telephone conversations with friends and family would also foster support