Daily Current Affairs : 15th, 16th and 17th December

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. UNFCCC COP 25
  2. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
  3. Quality Drinkig Water Supply
  4. National Ganga Council
  5. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology
  6. Evaluation of Odd Even Scheme
  7. Mahanadi bird population took a hit due to Cyclone Fani
  8. Protest Against Citizenship Amendment Act
  9. Destruction of Public Property
  10. Photocatalytic paints
  11. Facts for Prelims : Strandhogg, Osiris Rex Mission, Crown Act, Cheetah Bioabsorbable stents

1 . UNFCCC COP 25


Context:- The longest climate talks in the history of United Nations that was held in Madrid, Spain,ended without crucial agreement on carbon market rules of the Paris Agreement.

Summit Highlights

  • The key issues that was aimed to get resolved at the summit was the regulation of carbon market. Carbon market puts prices on carbon dioxide emission. However, no conclusion was reached and the issue is to be taken at the next summit to be held at Glasgow in 2020. 
  • The Paris accord established the common goal of avoiding a temperature increase of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. The summit failed to reach an agreement on the implementation of Article 6 of Paris Agreement which aims at promoting approaches to implement the NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) through voluntary international cooperation. 
  • It also establishes a trading system where in the countries with low emission are allowed to sell their exceeding allowance to countries with larger emissions.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme released its Emission Gap Report at the summit. Also, the report of Global Carbon Projectwas tabled at the summit.
  • The Presidency of the summit, Chile (though summit was held at Madrid, Spain), launched the Climate Ambition Alliance.

How can we call this summit a failed one?

  • Majority of the members are not willing to reduce their emissions at the pace suggested by the conference. 
  • According to World Resources Institute NDC tracker, only 80 countries have so far submitted proposals to enhance their NDCs. These countries are primarily small and developing. They represent only 10.5% of the world population.

2 . Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana


Context : Three years after a pan­-India maternity benefit pro­gramme promising ₹ 6,000 to new mothers was first an­nounced, the chorus on its many exclusions is growing louder leading to a demand for a scheme that is truly un­iversal.

About Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana

  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana  (PMMVY) is a Maternity Benefit Programme that is implemented in all the districts of the country in accordance with the provision of the National Food Security Act, 2013.

Objectives

  • Providing partial compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentive s so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of the first living child.
  • The cash incentive provided would lead to improved health seeking behaviour amongst the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW& LM).

Benefits under PMMVY

  • Cash incentive of Rs 5000 in three instalments i.e. first instalment of Rs 1000/ – on early registration of pregnancy at the Anganwadi Centre (AWC) / approved Health facility as may be identified by the respective administering State / UT, second instalment of Rs 2000/ – after six months of pregnancy on receiving at least one ante-natal check-up (ANC) and third instalment of Rs 2000/ – after child birth is registered and the child has received the first cycle of BCG, OPV, DPT and Hepatitis – B, or its equivalent/ substitute.
  • The eligible beneficiaries would receive the incentive given under the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) for Institutional delivery and the incentive received under JSY would be accounted towards maternity benefits so that on an average a woman gets Rs 6000 / – .

Target beneficiaries

  1. All Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers, excluding PW&LM who are in regular employment with the Central Government or the State Governments or PSUs or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force.
  2. All eligible Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who have their pregnancy on or after 01.01.2017 for first child in family.
  3. The date and stage of pregnancy for a beneficiary would be counted with respect to her LMP date as mentioned in the MCP card.
  4. Case of Miscarriage/Still Birth :
    • A beneficiary is eligible to receive benefits under the scheme only once.
    • In case of miscarriage/still birth, the beneficiary would be eligible to claim the remaining instalment(s) in event of any future pregnancy.
    • Thus, after receiving the 1st instalment, if the beneficiary has a miscarriage, she would only be eligible for receiving 2nd and 3rd instalment in event of future pregnancy subject to fulfilment of eligibility criterion and conditionalities of the scheme. Similarly, if the beneficiary has a miscarriage or still birth after receiving 1 st and 2nd instalments, she would only be eligible for receiving 3rd instalment in event of future pregnancy subject to fulfilment of eligibility criterion and conditionalities of the scheme.
  5. Case of Infant Mortality: A beneficiary is eligible to receive benefits under the scheme only once. That is, in case of infant mortality, she will not be eligible for claiming benefits under the scheme, if she has already received all the instalments of the maternity benefit under PMMVY earlier.
  6. Pregnant and Lactating AWWs/ AWHs/ ASHA may also avail the benefits under the PMMVY subject to fulfilment of scheme conditionalities.

Importance of the Scheme

  • Under-nutrition continues to adversely affect majority of women in India. In India, every third woman is undernourished and every second woman is anaemic.
  • An undernourished mother almost inevitably gives birth to a low birth weight baby. When poor nutrition starts in-utero, it extends throughout the life cycle since the changes are largely irreversible.
  • Owing to economic and social distress many women continue to work to earn a living for their family right up to the last days of their pregnancy.
  • They resume working soon after childbirth, even though their bodies might not permit it, thus preventing their bodies from fully recovering on one hand, and also impeding their ability to exclusively breastfeed their young infant in the first six months.

Challenges

  • A mother is unable to get the compensation when she needs it the most, i.e. during the nine months of her pregnancy. While the scheme is solely for the first living child, it ironically leaves out those who are most likely to give birth to one 
  • Applicant has to be at least 19 years old also leaves out younger brides, who hesitate in getting their marriages registered as the legal age of marriage is 18 years.
  • Activists say that registration for the scheme requires an applicant to provide her husband’s Aadhaar details along with her own, affecting single women which include unwed mothers, deserted wives and widows. Moreover, a mother seeking benefits needs to provide proof of address of her marital home, which proves challenging for a newlywed expecting a child and often residing in her natal home during pregnancy. She is then forced to go from pillar to post to claim benefits.

Way Forward

  • There is a need for reviewing the scheme and making it universal by removing restrictions on the number of children as well as including all women, whether they are in the formal or informal sector, engaged in paid or unpaid work.
  • The sum promised should also be at least on par with minimum wages for women in self-employment, unpaid work, or working for less than minimum wages.

3 . Quality Drinking Water Supply


Context : Over three lakh rural habita­tions across the country continue to be deprived of the government’s minimum prescribed provision of 40 litre per capita per day (lpcd) of portable drinking water with assured quality.

What does the ministry of Jal Shakti say?

  • With the ambition to now achieve a service level of 55 lpcd by 2024, the data pre­sented by the Ministry of Jal Shakti in the Lok Sabha this past week notes that Rajas­than, West Bengal, Assam top the list where the cover­age is facing quality issues or seeing diminished supply.
  • Bihar, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttarak­hand are the other States which are battling the pro­ blem.
  • The Ministry noted that the coverage was monitored in terms of habitations hav­ing provision of a minimum 40 lpcd with sources at a rea­sonable distance.
  • The fund­ sharing pattern between the Centre and the States/UTs for the National Rural Drink­ing Water Programme, a Centrally sponsored pro­gramme, was 100% for the Union Territories, 90:10 for the Himalayan & the north-eastern States and 50:50 for other States.
  • To provide safe drink­ing water to 27,544 identified arsenic and fluoride affected rural habitations, the Nation­al Water Quality Sub­-Mission was launched.
  • To meet the domes­tic needs of every rural hou­sehold, the Jal Jeevan Mission ( JJM) has been launched in August, 2019 which aims at providing pot­ able water through Func­tional Household Tap Con­nection (FHTC) at service level of 55 lpcd by 2024.

4 . National Ganga Council


Context : Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the first meet­ing of the National Ganga Council in Kanpur.

About National Ganga Council

  • The National Ganga Council was created in October 2016 under the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016, dissolving the National Ganga River Basin Authority.
  • It is headed by the Prime Minister.
  • NGC would have on board the chief ministers of five Ganga basin states—Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal—besides several Union ministers and it was supposed to meet once every year.

5 . Hydrogen cell technology


Context : Ahead of next July’s Tokyo Olympics, Japan is gearing up to put on its roads thousands of vehicles based on a hydrogen cell technology, also known as ‘fuel cells’. This comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court directing the government on November 13 to look into the feasibility of introducing such technology to deal with air pollution in the National Capital Region.

How does the hydrogen fuel cell work?

  • At the heart of the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) is a device that uses a source of fuel, such as hydrogen, and an oxidant to create electricity by an electrochemical process.
  • Put simply, the fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate an electric current, water being the only byproduct.
  • Like conventional batteries under the bonnets of automobiles, hydrogen fuel cells too convert chemical energy into electrical energy. From a long-term viability perspective, FCEVs are billed as vehicles of the future, given that hydrogen is the most abundant resource in the universe.

So is an FCEV a conventional vehicle or an electric vehicle (EV)?

  • While the fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical process, unlike a battery-electricity vehicle, it does not store energy and, instead, relies on a constant supply of fuel and oxygen — in the same way that an internal combustion engine relies on a constant supply of petrol or diesel, and oxygen. In that sense, it may be seen as being similar to a conventional internal combustion engine.
  • But unlike the combustion engine cars, there are no moving parts in the fuel cell, so they are more efficient and reliable by comparison. Also, there is no combustion onboard, in the conventional sense.
  • Globally, EVs are bracketed under three broad categories:
    • BEVs such as the Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S, which have no internal combustion engine or fuel tank, and run on a fully electric drivetrain powered by rechargeable batteries.
    • Conventional hybrid electric vehicles or HEVs such as the Toyota Camry sold in the country combine a conventional internal combustion engine system with an electric propulsion system, resulting in a hybrid vehicle drivetrain that substantially reduces fuel use. The onboard battery in a conventional hybrid is charged when the IC engine is powering the drivetrain.
    • Plug-in hybrid vehicles or PHEVs, such as the Chevrolet Volt, too have a hybrid drivetrain that uses both an internal combustion engine and electric power for motive power, backed by rechargeable batteries that can be plugged into a power source.
    • FCEVs are widely considered to be the next frontier in EV technology. FCEVs such as Toyota’s Mirai and Honda’s Clarity use hydrogen to power an onboard electric motor. Since they are powered entirely by electricity, FCEVs are considered EVs — but unlike BEVs, their range and refuelling processes are comparable to conventional cars and trucks.

Uses of the technology

  • The hydrogen fuel cell vehicle market is dominated by Japan’s Toyota and Honda, alongside South Korea’s Hyundai. While the successful development of hydrogen would provide energy for transportation and electric power, an advantage is the wide availability of resources for producing hydrogen.
  • Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) published a ‘Strategic Roadmap for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells’ in 2014, with a revised update in March 2016, with a goal to achieve a hydrogen society. Stationary fuel cells — the largest, most powerful fuel cells — are being designed to provide a cleaner, reliable source of on-site power to hospitals, banks, airports and homes. A fuel cell continues to produce energy as long as fuel and oxidant are supplied. Portable fuel cells could find other applications beyond vehicles.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of fuel cells?

  • Fuel cells have strong advantages over conventional combustion-based technologies currently used in many power plants and cars, given that they produce much smaller quantities of greenhouse gases and none of the air pollutants that cause health problems. Also, if pure hydrogen is used, fuel cells emit only heat and water as a byproduct. Such cells are also far more energy efficient than traditional combustion technologies.
  • Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles do not need to be plugged in, and most models exceed 300 km of range on a full tank. They are filled up with a nozzle, just like in a petrol or diesel station.

Disadvantages

  • While FCEVs do not generate gases that contribute to global warming, the process of making hydrogen needs energy — often from fossil fuel sources. That has raised questions over hydrogen’s green credentials.
  • Also, there are questions of safety — hydrogen is more explosive than petrol. Opponents of the technology cite the case of the hydrogen-filled Hindenburg airship in 1937. But Japanese auto industry players argued that a comparison was misplaced because most of the fire was attributed to diesel fuel for the airship’s engines and a flammable lacquer coating on the outside.
  • The other major hurdle is that the vehicles are expensive, and fuel dispensing pumps are scarce. But this should get better as scale and distribution improves.

Progress in India

  • In India, so far, the definition of EV only covers BEVs; the government has lowered taxes to 12%. At 43%, hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen FCEVs attract the same tax as IC vehicles.
  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, under its Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) programme, has been supporting various such projects in academic institutions, research and development organisations and industry for development. Fourteen RD&D projects on hydrogen and fuel cells are currently under implementation with the support of the Ministry. Between 2016-17 and 2018-19, eight projects were sanctioned and 18 completed.
  • The Ministry of Science and Technology has supported two networked centres on hydrogen storage led by IIT Bombay and Nonferrous Materials Technology Development Centre, Hyderabad. These involve 10 institutions, including IITs, and IISc, Bangalore.

6 . Evaluation of Odd Even Scheme in Delhi


Context : For 12 days between November 4 and November 15, the Delhi government rolled out an odd-even scheme, based on licence plate numbers, to restrict the number of vehicles on the roads and reduce pollution. Figures tabled by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recently, in response to a question in Parliament, showed 12-day trends for air pollution before, during and after the scheme.

Effect of the Scheme

  • The average concentration of PM2.5 fell from 275 micrograms per cubic metre before the scheme (October 23-November 3) to 131 micrograms/cu.m.
  • In the 12 days immediately following the scheme (November 16-27). During the scheme the average concentration was 252 micrograms/cu.m.
  • The range of PM2.5 varied between a low of 133 and a high of 486 before the scheme, between 109 and 399 during the scheme, and between 64 and 214 after the scheme.
  • For PM10, the average concentration fell from 428 micrograms/cu.m. (maximum 289, minimum 592) before the scheme to 380 micrograms/cu.m. (220-582) during October 23-November 27, and then 231 micrograms/cu.m. (127-3622) after the scheme.
  • The average concentration of sulphur dioxide remained the same before and during the scheme, at 14 micrograms/cu.m, and fell slightly to 13 after the scheme. Nitrogen dioxide concentration dropped from 58 micrograms/cu.m. to 57 to 55.
  • The Ministry said that according to recent studies, the main contributors to PM2.5 and PM10 for Delhi are transport, industries, agriculture burning, residential and dust (soil, road and construction) along with meteorological conditions such as wind speed, temperature etc.

7 . Mahanadi bird population took a hit due to Cyclone Fani, says study


Context: Recent study has found that the impact of super cyclonic storm Fani had affected the bird populations along Mahanadi River.

What did the study observe?

  • The population of sandbar-nesting birds along a 40-km stretch along the Mahanadi river has declined by 81% .
  • The study also found that the population of the birds a day before the cyclone was about 800 which has dropped to 153 after the cyclone.
  • The highest decline was observed in the case of Glareola lactea (little pratincole) whose population dropped from over 500 to 50 before and after the cyclone.
  • The study was also conducted on the following species along Mahanadi River Delta:
    • Rynchops albicollis (Indian skimmer) listed as Vulnerable under IUCN
    • Sterna aurantia (river tern) listed as Near Threatened under IUCN 
    • Vanellus duvaucelii (river lapwing) listed as Near Threatened under IUCN 
    • Esacus recurvirostris (great thick-knee) listed as Near Threatened under IUCN Red list.

About Mahanadi River

  • The Mahanadi River is a river of eastern India.The river is one of the largest Indian peninsular rivers that drains into the Bay of Bengal. 
  • The river is 858 Kilometers long and flows through the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
  • The river originates from the highlands of Chhattisgarh through collection of an array of streams and reaches Bay of Bengal.
  • Hirakud Dam is built across the Mahanadi River about 15 kilometres from Sambalpur in the state of Odisha in India.

8 . Protest Against Citizenship Amendment Act


 Context:- Recently,the police action in Jamia Millia Islamia has raised questions on what the Constitution and laws of India say on the right of police to intervene in protests and agitations.

What does the Constitution says?

  • The right to protest peacefully is guaranteed by the Constitution of India. Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(b) give to all citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression, and to assemble peaceably and without arms.
  • However, Articles 19(2) and 19(3) also says that the right to freedom of speech is subject to reasonable restrictions.
  • The reasonable restrictions are (a)sovereignty and integrity of India (b)security of the State (c)friendly relations with foreign States (d)public order (e)decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court and (f)defamation or incitement to an offence.

Supreme Court Observations

  • In ‘Karam Singh vs Hardayal Singh And Ors’ the High Court of Punjab and Haryana underlined in its judgment in 1979, that before any force can be used three prerequisites are to be satisfied.

The three conditions are 

  • It should be an unlawful assembly with the object of committing violence or an assembly of five or more persons likely to cause a disturbance of the public peace
  • Such assembly is ordered to be dispersed and 
  • In spite of such orders to disperse, such assembly does not disperse.

Legal provisions

  • The legal provisions and avenue available to police for handling agitations, protests, and unlawful assemblies are covered by the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC),1973, the Indian Penal Code (IPC),1860, and The Police Act,1861.
  • The CrPC’s Sections 129-132 deal with Dispersal of assembly by use of civil force use of the armed forces in situations of civil unrest and protection against prosecution for acts done under these sections.
  • The IPC’s Sections 141-158 deal with unlawful assembly, and the responsibilities, liabilities, and punishments related to this offence.

What does the United Nations say?

  • The ‘Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials’ adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Havana, 1990 talks about the use of force by Police.
  • It says that law enforcement officials in carrying out their duty, shall as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms.
  • Further,it also says that whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall exercise restraint.

9 . Destruction of Public Property


Context :-Recently,the Supreme Court has expressed displeasure over rioting and destruction of public property while hearing petitions on alleged police excesses on students in Jamia Millia Islamia.

Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act,1984

  • The Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act,1984 punishes anyone who commits mischief by doing any act in respect of any public property with a jail term of up to five years and a fine or both.
  • Public property under this Act includes any property used in connection with the production, distribution or supply of water, light, power or energy or any means of public transportation or of telecommunications or other property used in connection therewith.

Issues

  • However,despite a law against the destruction of property, incidents of rioting, vandalism, and arson have been common during protests across the country. 
  • This is because the identification of protesters remains difficult, especially in cases where there is no leader who gave the call to protest.

Supreme Court Guidelines

  • In 2009, in the Destruction of Public & Private Properties v State of AP and Ors, the Supreme Court has issued guidelines based on the recommendations of the two expert Committees.

Thomas Committee

  • The Thomas Committee had recommended reversing the burden of proof against protesters.
  • The apex court accepted the recommendation and said that the law must be amended to give the court the power to draw a presumption that the accused is guilty of destroying public property and it would then be open to the accused to rebut such presumption.

Nariman Committee

  • The Nariman Committee recommendations were with respect to extracting damages for destruction. 
  • The court accepted the recommendations and said that the rioters would be made strictly liable for the damage and compensation should be collected to make good the damage.
  • In 2017,the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ruled to recover the damages from the Dera whose followers were involved in vandalism of Public property.

10 . Photocatalytic paints


Context : Painting roads with photocatalytic coating to clean air, using anti-smog guns at construction sites to reduce dust pollution and setting up of a 20 metre-high ‘smog tower’ with air purifiers are among the pilot projects suggested by a High Level Committee (HLC) to the Supreme Court to control air pollution in Delhi and NCR

Main Recommendations provided by the committee

Painting roads

  • There are companies that develop photocatalytic paints, which can remove pollutants from the air in the presence of sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) rays. “It can be applied on a range of surfaces, such as roofing tiles or even on the surface of roads.
  • Photocatalytic paints contain titanium dioxide [TiO2] which acts as a catalyst when exposed to UV rays and removes atmospheric pollutants
  • The catalyst converts the pollutants into other species.
  • Risk involved : Nano materials may result in production of other undesirable species such as nitrous acid and formaldehyde, which will have adverse health impacts

Smog tower

  • The HLC has also suggested that a pilot project of “smog tower”, as suggested by an expert panel of IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay and Department of Science and Technology, may be taken up.
  • A panel from IIT-Bombay and IIT-Delhi in association with the University of Minnesota had proposed a 20 metre-high smog tower. The proposal had stated that 65% reduction in pollution can be achieved on an average up to 700 metres from the the tower. It is expected to influence air quality of more than 1 km in the downwind direction, according to officials.

Anti-smog gun

  • Anti-smog gun is a device that sprays nebulised water droplets into the air through high pressure propellers, which help particles to settle down.
  • The committee, based on the finding of a study by the CPCB and DPCC, informed the court that anti-smog guns may be effective in controlling localised dust during the period of application and more suitable to high dust emission zones such as large construction sites

Oxy furnace

  • Oxy furnace uses only oxygen as fuel instead of atmospheric air (which contains nitrogen), thus reducing the production of NOx by about 90% in industries.
  • “The report recommended that a study led by Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises in association with Centre for Development of Glass Industry, National Institute of Foundry & Forge Technology (NIFFT) and others may be conducted to assess feasibility of implementation of oxy furnaces in glass, metallurgical and power industries in India
  • But the report also said that NOx is mostly released in urban centres from vehicles and not industries.
  • The committee has also recommended the use of chemical methods, including dust suppressants, to control air pollution.

Wireless Sensor Network

  • Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) technology to monitor air pollution is still in developmental stage and IIT and NEERI are reviewing its performance.
  • “The committee has informed that WSN may be used as an indicative monitoring tool for a few activities like mining, large construction sites, to supplement air quality data and report to regulator for conducting further investigation,” the official said.

LiDAR

  • LiDAR or Light Detection and Ranging is a high-end application of LASER-based technology for monitoring pollution. The HLC has recommended that this technology may be adopted for vertical monitoring at a few places to track transport of pollutants at higher altitude.

11 . Facts for Prelims


STRANDHOGG

  • StrandHogg is a Malware.
  • It allows real-time malware applications to pose as genuine applications and access user data of all kinds.
  • It can listen to the conversations, access photo album, read/send messages, make calls, record conversations, get login credentials to various accounts, access private images, files, contact details, call logs and location information without being apparent to the affected users.
  • Warning Signs : Links and buttons that become non-­functional, apps asking for permissions that are not required are among the other warning signs.

OSIRIS Rex Mission

  • It will be NASA’s first mission to collect samples from an asteroid and return to Earth. 
  • OSIRIS-REx will travel to a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu and bring a small sample back to Earth for study.
  • The mission launched Sept. 8, 2016, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As planned, the spacecraft will reach Bennu in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023.
  • It will touch down on one of two selected sites, give out a puff of nitrogen and gather the dirt sample that is raked up
  • The target area, known as the Nightingale site, is just 16 metres across and sits inside a large crater, 140­metre wide, in Bennu’s northern hemisphere.

Cheetah

  • The word ‘cheetah’ is derived from the Sanskrit chitraka, which means ‘spotted’.
  • Breeding captive cheetahs was such an incredible rarity that in 1613, Emperor Jahangir formally recorded the first and only instance, up to the 20th century, of a cheetah bred in captivity anywhere in the world in the book Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri.
  • The earliest reference to their domestication for the sport of coursing is from Manasollasa, the 12th century chronicle of the court activities of King Someshvara III of Kalyani. 
  • In 1951-52, cheetahs were considered de facto extinct by the Indian government. But there were some credible, albeit rare, sightings reported well into the early 1970s — two from the forests of Koriya and the adjoining Surguja in Madhya Pradesh in 1967 and 1968, and then from the open forests around a village named Danto Kalan in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district in 1975.
  • IUCN Red list status : Endangered
  • Main Threats faced in India earlier : Hunting, Domestication, Inability to breed in captivity, It was declared as vermin by Britishers, its intrinsically docile nature. The big cat was so benign that it has been likened to a dog. It never evoked the fear that tigers, lions and leopards did.

Bioabsorbable stent

  • In medicine, a stent is any device which is inserted into a blood vessel or other internal duct to expand it to prevent or alleviate a blockage.
  • Traditionally, such devices are fabricated from metal mesh and remain in the body permanently or until removed through further surgical intervention.
  • bioresorbable stent (also called bioresorbable scaffoldbiodegradable stent or naturally-dissolving stent) serves the same purpose, but is manufactured from a material that may dissolve or be absorbed in the body.

Crown Act

  • In July this year, California became the first state in the US to make discrimination over natural hair illegal. New York followed suit and now New Jersey has become the latest US state to pass such a legislation, called Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act.
  • CROWN aims to protect people of colour from being discriminated against for their natural hair, especially at the workplace.
  • The legislation takes into account discrimination because of traits that are historically associated with a particular race, “based on hair texture and style”. It also takes into account the historical norms and societal norms that equated “blackness” and its associated physical traits such as dark skin, kinky and curly hair “to a badge of inferiority, sometimes subject to separate and unequal treatment”, the California version of the law states.
  • One of the reasons for such legislation is to separate “professionalism” from features and mannerisms, thereby getting rid of workplace grooming or dress code policies that would deter black people from applying.

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