Factly articles for 27th June 2020

10 min read

1.One-fifth of Earth’s ocean floor is now mapped

News: The mapping of nearly one-fifth of the world’s ocean floor has been finished under the Seabed 2030 Project.

Facts:

  • Seabed 2030 Project: It is a collaborative project between the Nippon Foundation of Japan and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO).
  • The project was launched at the United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference in 2017 and is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
  • Aim: To bring together all available bathymetric data to produce the definitive map of the world ocean floor by 2030 and make it available to all.
    • Bathymetry is the measurement of the shape and depth of the ocean floor.
  • Significance:
    • Knowing the depth and shape of the seafloor (bathymetry) is fundamental for understanding ocean circulation, tides, tsunami forecasting, fishing resources among others.
    • The maps would also ensure a better understanding of climate change since floor features canyons and underwater volcanoes which influences the weather and climate.

Additional Facts:

  • Nippon Foundation: It is a non-profit philanthropic organisation in Japan which is active around the world.
  • GEBCO: It is an international group of mapping experts developing a range of bathymetric data sets and data products.
    • It operates under the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission(IOC).

2.Nasha Mukt Bharat: Annual Action Plan (2020-21)

News: Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the Nasha Mukt Bharat: Annual Action Plan (2020-21).

Facts:

  • The Nasha Mukt Bharat Annual Action Plan for 2020-21 would focus on 272 most affected districts.
  • The plan aims to launch a three-pronged attack combining efforts of the Narcotics Control Bureau, Outreach/Awareness by Social Justice and Treatment through the Health Department.
  • The Action Plan has the following components:
    • Awareness generation programmes
    • Focus on Higher Educational institutions
    • University Campuses and Schools
    • Community outreach and identification of dependent population;
    • Focus on Treatment facilities in Hospital settings and
    • Capacity Building Programmes for Service Providers.

Additional Facts:

  • National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction(NAPDDR), 2018-2025:
    • The plan was drafted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
    • It aims to reduce the adverse consequences of drug abuse in India through a) education, b) de-addiction and c) rehabilitation of affected individuals and their families.
    • A steering committee under the chairmanship of the secretary, Social Justice Ministry monitors the implementation of the Action Plan.
  • Narcotics Control Bureau: It is the nodal drug law enforcement and intelligence agency of India.It functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs.It was established in 1986 under the NDPS Act,1985.It is headquartered in New Delhi.

3.Navy Inducts Indigenously Developed Torpedo Decoy System

News: Indian Navy has inducted an Indigenously developed Advanced Torpedo Decoy System named Maareech.

Facts:

  • Maareech Advanced Torpedo Defence System(ATDS): It is a torpedo detection and countermeasure system to be used by the Indian Navy.
  • Developed by: It has been designed and developed indigenously by the DRDO labs – Naval Science and Technological Laboratory(NSTL) and Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory(NPOL).
  • Significance: It is capable of detecting, locating and neutralizing incoming torpedoes and to apply countermeasures to protect naval platforms against torpedo attack.
  • How does it work?The ATDS first detects and then confuse and divert the torpedo attack on ships from under the water.By diverting torpedoes’ original course, it forces it to lose its energy thus preventing it from being effective on target.

Additional Facts:

  • Torpedoes: They are self propelled weapons with a warhead and can be used under or on the water surface.They are one of the mainstay of sea-warfare attack systems.

4.COVID-19 Initiative: Protecting Global Food Security Through Open Trade

News: Cairns Group has launched a “COVID-19 Initiative: Protecting Global Food Security Through Open Trade” to support the global agricultural and food system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facts:

  • Cairns Group:It was established in 1986 in Cairns, Australia.It is a coalition of 19 agricultural exporting countries and one observer country.
  • Objective: To liberalize global trade in agricultural produce by abolishing export subsidies and trade-distorting domestic support for agricultural products.
    • The coalition also attempts to present a common front in multilateral trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization(WTO).
  • Members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay and Vietnam.
  • Observer: Ukraine.

5.Ancient algae play a role in building a healthy marine ecosystem: Study

News: A study of a microscopic ancient marine algae (Coccolithophores) has found that there is a decrease in the concentration of oceanic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the southern Indian ocean.

Facts:

  • Coccolithophores: They are single-celled algae living in the upper layers of the world’s oceans.
  • Significance:
    • They play a key role in marine ecosystems as they calcify marine phytoplankton that produce upto 40% of ocean calcium carbonate and are responsible for 20% of the global net marine primary productivity.
    • They also play an important role in the carbon cycle because they remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • Threats: The coccolithophores are reducing due to an increase in the presence of diatom algae which occurs after sea ice breakdown with climate change and ocean acidification and increases the silicate concentration in the waters of the Southern Ocean.

6.Money in Swiss banks: India at 77th place accounts for 0.06% of all foreign funds

News: Swiss National Bank has released the analysis of the latest annual banking statistics.

Facts:

Key Takeaways:

  • Top Countries: UK was ranked first as it accounted for close to 27% of the total foreign funds parked with Swiss banks at the end of 2019.
    • The UK was followed by the US, West Indies, France and Hong Kong in the top five.
  • India: India has moved down three places to 77th rank in 2019 as it accounted for just about 0.06% of the total foreign funds parked with Swiss banks.
    • The money parked by Indians in Swiss Banks has fallen by 5.8% to CHF 899 million (Rs 7,100 crore) in 2019.
  • BRICS Countries: India is ranked the lowest while Russia is ranked the highest at the 20th place followed by China at 22nd, South Africa at 56th and Brazil at 62nd.
  • Neighbouring countries: India’s neighbouring nations are ranked lower than India with Pakistan ranked 99th, Bangladesh 85th, Nepal 118th, Sri Lanka 148th, Myanmar 186th and Bhutan 196th.