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Daily Current Affairs – 11th Jan. 2021

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 11th Jan 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

Organisers of cockfights warned of penal action

Context:

Organisers of cockfights have been warned that cases would be booked against those organising and taking part in rooster fights and bull races under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and in gambling under the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act

  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was enacted in 1960 and was authored by acclaimed dancer and animal lover, Rukmini Devi Arundale.
  • It was enacted to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering on animals.
  • As per the provisions of the law the Government of India formed the Animal Welfare Board of India in 1962.
  • The Animal Welfare Board of India was started under the stewardship of Rukmini Devi Arundale.
  • It falls under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

Provisions:

  • The Act provides for punishment for causing unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals.
  • It defines animals and different forms of animals.
  • It also discusses different forms of cruelty, exceptions, and killing of a suffering animal in case any cruelty has been committed against it, so as to relieve it from further suffering.
  • It provides the guidelines relating to experimentation on animals for scientific purposes.
  • The Act enshrines the provisions relating to the exhibition of performing animals, and offences committed against the performing animals.

ECONOMY

Arunachal harbours a vanadium source

Context:

  • Exploration being carried out by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has placed Arunachal Pradesh on the vanadium map of the country, and geologists are confident of identifying a deposit soon.
  • Arunachal Pradesh, considered a sleeping hydropower giant, is likely to become India’s prime producer of vanadium.

Vanadium

  • Vanadium is a hard, silvery-grey, malleable transition metal.
  • It is a high-value metal used in strengthening steel and titanium.
  • The elemental metal is rarely found in nature.
  • It is recovered as a by-product from the slag collected from the processing of vanadiferous magnetite ores (iron ore).
  • According to data provided by the GSI, India consumed 4% of about 84,000 tonnes of vanadium produced across the globe in 2017.
  • The largest deposits of vanadium of the world are in China, followed by Russia and South Africa.
  • China, which produces 57% of the world’s vanadium, consumed 44% of the metal in 2017.
  • India is a significant consumer of vanadium but is not a primary producer of the strategic metal.

Details:

  • Promising concentrations of vanadium have been found in the palaeo-proterozoic carbonaceous phyllite rocks in the Depo and Tamang areas of Papum Pare district in Arunachal Pradesh.
    • Vanadium content was also found in the Pakro area of Pakke-Kesang district, Palin-Sangram in Kra Daadi, Kalamati in West Siang, Kalaktang in West Kameng and Kaying in Siang district.
  • This was the first report of a primary deposit of vanadium in India, with an average grade of 0.76% V2O5 [vanadium pentoxide].
  • Vanadium mineralisation in Arunachal Pradesh is geologically similar to the stone coal vanadium deposits of China hosted in carbonaceous shale.
  • This high vanadium content is associated with graphite, with a fixed carbon content of up to 16%.
  • The expected grade of vanadium mineralisation in Arunachal Pradesh is comparable to the important vanadium deposits of the world.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Decoding a meteorite that fell near Jaipur in 2017

Context:

  • The year 2017 witnessed a rare event of the bright trail in the sky followed by a thunderous sound.
  • Soon the people of Mukundpura village near Jaipur who had seen the event unfold on the sky spotted a burning object with a sulphur smell on the soft agricultural land.

Details:

  • The meteorite was dismembered into several pieces, the Geological Survey of India has been carrying out investigation on the remnants of the meteorite to discover vital information about the solar system.
  • A meteorite is a term given to a piece of a comet or asteroid that falls into the earth’s atmosphere and survives to hit the surface. These objects come in three easy-to-remember categories: stony, metallic and stony metallic

Meteorites classification:

  • Meteorites are broadly classified into three groups – stony (silicate-rich), iron (Fe–Ni alloy), and stony-iron (mixed silicate–iron alloy).
  • Chondrites are silicate-droplet-bearing meteorites, and this Mukundpura chondrite is the fifth carbonaceous meteorite known to fall in India.

Carbonaceous chondrite:

  • The meteorite was named Mukundpura CM2 and was classified to be a carbonaceous chondrite.
  • The meteorite has been said to have belonged to a section of primitive, meteorites.
  • The Mukundpura CM2 has a stony exterior and is believed to be a remnant of the first solid bodies to accrete in the solar system. The composition of carbonaceous chondrites is also similar to the Sun.
  • He adds that.

Degrees of alteration:

  • The study has disclosed that Mukundpura CM2 had experienced varying degrees of alteration during the impact.
  • Minerals such as forsterite and FeO olivine, calcium aluminium rich inclusion (CAI) minerals escaped alteration.
  • Few magnetites, sulphides and calcites were also discovered, a detailed spectroscopic study revealed that the meteorite had very high (about 90%) phyllosilicate minerals comprising both magnesium and iron.
  • X-ray studies have further gone on to confirm that it also possessed aluminium complexes.

Relevance to asteroids:

  • The studies concerning Mukundpura CM2 are relevant to the surface composition of near-Earth asteroids Ryugu and Bennu.
  • NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission collected samples from Bennu during 2020 and is expected to reach planet earth by 2023.
  • Another mission that deserves attention is Japan’s Hayabusa-2 mission, which landed on Earth after collecting from Ryugu.
  • Infrared spectroscopy results have indicated that the spectral properties of the surface of these asteroids are consistent with CM carbonaceous meteorites.
  • Therefore, a better understanding of the nature and evolution of such meteorites that have been aqueously altered will help considerably in the interpretation of the results of these missions.

Early solar system:

  • Meteorites are representative of asteroids. Asteroids are the remnant debris of the inner solar system formation process and thus offer vital information about the building blocks of the planets.
  • Undertaking studies of meteorites in the laboratory and asteroids by exploration and sample return mission will give a better sneak-peak into the formation of the solar system.
  • Also, asteroids are often rich in volatiles and other minerals and thus will provide information that will be crucial for planning future planetary explorations.

HEALTH

Vaccination drive to start on January 16

Context:

  • The COVID-19 vaccination drive in India will commence on January 16, the vaccination drive will be along the lines of the vaccination policy announced by the government.
  • The vaccination policy has identified certain sections of the population based on their vulnerability and exposure.

Details:

  • To date India has had over 10 million COVID-19 cases and over 1.5 lakh deaths, this precarious situation has mandated a detailed vaccination plan.
  • Drugs Controller General of India had granted Emergency Use Authorisation to two vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin.
  • India is aiming to vaccinate around 300 million people against COVID-19 during the course of 6-7 months.
  • The vaccine drive will hope to diminish the pace at which the virus spreads as there is no conclusive cure available as of today.

The announcement:

  • There was a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister which dealt with reviewing of the status of COVID-19 in the country,
  • The meeting also focused on the preparedness of the States and the Union Territories for the vaccination programme.
  • The vaccination exercise will use the principles of people’s participation (Jan Bhagidari), the experience of elections (booth strategy) and the Universal Immunisation Programme.
  • There will be no compromise of existing healthcare services, especially national programmes and primary healthcare.

Co-WIN platform:

  • A new digital platform called ‘Co-WIN’ is being used for COVID-19 vaccination drive.
  • This is a user-friendly mobile app for recording vaccine data is working as a beneficiary management platform having various modules.
  • The platform would help assist the programme managers across all levels through automated session allocation for pre-registered beneficiaries, their verification and for generating a digital certificate upon successful completion of the vaccine schedule.

ART & CULTURE

Kalaripayattu academy braces for action

What is in news?

  • The Kerala state government has decided to establish an academy at Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Kalaripayattu is a traditional martial art technique in Kerala.
  • The martial art has survived for hundreds of years and is believed to have a legacy in excess of 3,000 years.

The academy:

  • The Academy will be set up at the Vellar Crafts Village under the Department of Tourism.
  • The academy is expected to have children and adults as students.

Kalaripayattu:

  • Considered one of the most ancient martial arts in the world.
  • The fighting form indigenous to the Gods Own Country is popularly known as the mother of martial arts.
  • The term Kalaripayattu is derived from two words – “Kalari” meaning place of exercise or gymnasium and “payattu” meaning to fight or exercise.
  • Traditionally, the Kalari centers are like a temple. The kalari is constructed four feet dug down the ground, the interiors of kalari are 42 feet in length and 21 feet width.
  • Towards the south west corner, the poothara is placed and houses the guardian deity of Kalari. The seven-tier step resembling a pyramid symbolizes the seven qualities a kalari practitioner must possess.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

U.S. removes restrictions on diplomatic contact with Taiwan

Context:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the State Department is voiding longstanding restrictions on how U.S. diplomats and others have contact with their counterparts in Taiwan.

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Concerns:

  • The latest move is expected to upset China.
  • China’s state media lashed out at the Secretary of State for seeking to maliciously inflict a long-lasting scar on China-U.S. ties.

One China Policy:

  • The One China policy recognizes the long-held position in Beijing that there is only one China, and that Taiwan is a part of that.
  • According to the One-China policy: Any country wishing to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing must acknowledge there is only “One China” and sever all formal ties with Taiwan.
  • China has been stepping up its threats to bring the self-governing island under its control by military force with frequent war games and aerial patrols.
  • It has been using its diplomatic clout to stop Taiwan from joining any organisation that requires statehood for membership.

Details:

  • The Trump administration has sought to strengthen bilateral relations with Taiwan.
  • It announced that UN Ambassador Kelly Craft would go to Taiwan.
  • Taiwan Foreign Minister welcomed the move.
  • In August 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar became the first Cabinet member to visit Taiwan since 2014.

Qataris head to Saudi Arabia after reopening of border

Context:

Gulf leaders signed a “solidarity and stability” deal after leaders of Saudi Arabia and Qatar publicly embraced, bringing Qatar back into the regional fold after a three-year-long rift.

Background:

  • Saudi Arabia shut its side of Qatar’s only land border in June 2017 as part of a package of sanctions it said was a response to Doha’s backing of radical Islamist groups and closeness to Iran.
  • Qatar always denied the charges.
  • Recently, Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, all of which had also imposed embargoes on travel and trade, agreed to lift the restrictions at a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in the kingdom.

Details:

  • Qataris celebrated crossing their border with Saudi Arabia, calling the Kingdom “our second country”.
  • Qatar Airways and Saudi Airlines said that they would soon begin resuming flights between their countries.

MISCELLENOUS

Gangasagar Festival

  • The Gangasagar festival is celebrated between 13th – 15th January at the Sagar Island (West Bengal) located at the confluence of river Ganga and the Bay of Bengal.
  • This confluence is also called Gangasagar. The Kapil Muni Temple is located near the confluence.
  • The globally acclaimed spiritual and cultural event is known as Gangasagar Mela 2020 or Ganga Sagar Yatra or Ganga Snan.
  • Gangasagar Mela is famous worldwide and this mela is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur in West Bengal.
  • Every year on the day of Makar Sankranti, Hindu pilgrims gather to take a holy dip at the confluence.
  • The Gangasagar pilgrimage and fair is said to be the second-largest congregation of mankind after the triennial ritual bathing of Kumbha Mela.

National Youth Parliament Festival

Context:

Second National Youth Parliament Festival (NYPF) to be concluded on 12 January.

Details:

  • The second NYPF was launched in December 2020 through virtual mode.
  • 34 lakh youth from across the country participated in the first stage.
  • It was followed by State Youth Parliaments through virtual mode in January 2021.
  • The finals of the second NYPF will be held in the Central Hall of the Parliament on 11th January 2021.
  • The top three winners will get the opportunity to speak before the Prime Minister of the country on the concluding day.

About the National Youth Parliament Festival:

  • The objective of the National Youth Parliament Festival (NYPF) is to hear the voice of youth between 18 and 25 years of age, who are allowed to vote and will join various careers in the coming years, including public services.
  • NYPF is based on the idea given by the Prime Minister in one of his Mann Ki Baat Addresses in 2017.
  • The first NYPF was organised in 2019 (Jan – Feb) with the theme “Be the Voice of New India and Find solutions and Contribute to Policy”.

About National Youth Festival:

  • The National Youth Festival is celebrated every year from 12th to 16th
  • 12th January, being the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, is observed as National Youth Day.
  • The objective of the National Youth Festival is to bring the youth of the country together to showcase their talents; provide them with an arena, by creating a mini-India, where they interact in formal and informal settings and exchange their social and cultural uniqueness.
  • It is also to promote national integration, the spirit of communal harmony, brotherhood, courage and adventure.
  • The basic aim is to propagate the spirit, essence and concept of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’.
  • National Youth Festival 2021 theme: ‘YUVAAH – Utsah Naye Bharat Ka’

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