News: The World Investment Report 2020 has been released by the UN Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD).
- The World Investment Report has been published annually since 1991.It covers the latest trends in foreign direct investment around the world.
- India was the world’s 9th largest recipient of foreign direct investments (FDI) in 2019 with $51 billion in foreign investment.
- In 2018, India was the world’s 12th largest recipient with $42 billion foreign investment.
- Global FDI flows are forecast to decrease by up to 40% in 2020 from their 2019 value of $1.54 trillion.This would bring FDI below $1 trillion for the first time since 2005.
- UNCTAD: It is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland
- Reports: a) The Trade and Development Report b) Technology and Innovation Report c) Digital Economy Report among others.
News: World Competitiveness Index 2020 has been released by the Institute for Management Development(IMD).
- World Competitiveness Index is an annual report published since 1989.
- Parameters: It ranks 63 countries using 235 indicators grouped under four factors: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.
- Top Rankers: Singapore has topped the index followed by Denmark and Switzerland.
- India: It has been ranked at 43rd in the index.In 2019 also, it was ranked at 43rd.
- BRICS Countries: India is ranked second after China(20th) followed by Russia (50th), Brazil (56th) and South Africa (59th).
News: Scientists at NASA have observed Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) in for the first time in space offering unprecedented insight that could help solve some of the quantum universe’s most intractable conundrums.
- Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC): It is the fifth state of matter whose existence was predicted by Albert Einstein and Indian mathematician Satyendra Nath Bose in the early 1920s.
- Gases, liquids, solids and plasmas are the other four matters.
- How are they formed: They are formed when atoms of certain elements are cooled to near absolute zero (0 Kelvin/-273.15 Celsius).
- At this point, atoms become a single entity with quantum properties wherein each particle also functions as a wave of matter.
- Features: They are extremely fragile and slightest interaction with the external world warms them past their condensation threshold.This makes their study nearly impossible on Earth where gravity interferes with magnetic fields required to hold them in place for observation.
- Significance: Scientists believe BECs contain vital clues to mysterious phenomena such as dark energy — the unknown energy thought to be behind the Universe’s accelerating expansion.
News: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is being observed on June 17.
- World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought has been observed since 1995.
- Aim: To spread awareness among people about the cooperation required to combat desertification and the effects of drought.
- Theme: Food. Feed. Fibre. – the links between consumption and land.
- Desertification: It is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations.
- UN Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD): It is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.It was established in 1994.
- Goal 15 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states our resolve to halt and reverse land degradation.
- Bonn Challenge: It is a voluntary global effort to bring 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.
- India has pledged to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by the year 2020 and additional 8 million hectares by 2030.
News: The first ever “Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region” report has been published by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences(MoES).
- Thereport is based on the climate forecasting model developed at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM),Pune.
- Average surface air temperatures over India could rise by up to 4.4 degrees Celsius by 2100 as compared to the period between 1976 and 2005.
- Frequencies of future warm days and warm nights are projected to increase by 55% and 70% respectively relative to the reference period of 1976-2005.
- Summer heat waves over India are also projected to be three to four times higher by the end of the 21st century.
- Temperatures of the warmest day and the coldest night of the year have risen by around 0.63°C and 0.4°C in the recent 30-year period (1986-2015).
- These temperatures are projected to rise by some 4.7°C and 5.5°C respectively by 2100.
- Increase in the frequency of droughts, floods and cyclones in the past few decades.
- Rise in intensity of tropical cyclones in the North Indian Ocean (NIO) by the end of the 21st century.
- Sea surface temperature over the Indian Ocean has risen by 1°C in the 64 years between 1951 and 2015 compared to the global average sea surface warming of 0.7°C.
- By the end of the century, sea level is expected to rise by 30cm as compared to its level in the last two to three decades.
- Summer monsoon precipitation (June to September) over India has also declined by around 6% from 1951 to 2015 with notable decreases over the Indo-Gangetic Plains and the Western Ghats.
News: NASA has finalised the contract for the initial crew module called habitation and logistics(HALO) support for Gateway lunar orbiting outpost.
- HALO: Itrefers to the pressurised living quarters where astronauts will spend their time while visiting the Gateway lunar orbiting outpost.
- Gateway Lunar Orbit outpost: It is a small spaceship that will orbit around the Moon meant for astronaut missions to the Moon and later for expeditions to Mars.
- Purpose: It will act as a temporary office for astronauts by providing living quarters for astronauts, a lab for science and research, ports for visiting spacecraft among others.
- The unique feature of the Gateway is that it can be moved to other orbits around the Moon to conduct more research.
- Developed by: It is led by NASA in collaboration with commercial and international partners: Canada (CSA), Europe (ESA), and Japan (JAXA).
- Significance: It is expected to play a major role in NASA’s Artemis program after 2024.
- Artemis program: It is a NASA’s mission that aims to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024.
News: Scientists in UK have claimed that dexamethasone reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalized patients. The results are a part of UK-based RECOVERY trial.
- Dexamethasone is a generic steroid. It is widely used in other diseases to reduce inflammation.
- It is used to treat a range of diseases including rheumatism, asthma, allergies and even to help cancer patients better handle the nausea triggered by chemotherapy.