News: Prime Minister has launched Digital India ”Atma Nirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge”.
- Aim: To facilitate the techies and start-up community to create world-class Made in India Apps.
- Bodies Involved: The challenge has been launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission- NITI Aayog.
- Components: The challenge will have two tracks-
- Promotion of Existing Apps(Track 1): It aims to identify the best Indian Apps that are already being used by citizens and have the potential to become world class Apps in their respective categories.
- Development of New Apps(Track 2): It seeks to identify Indian start ups / entrepreneurs /companies and encourage them with ideation, incubation, prototyping and roll out of applications.
News: China has made territorial claims over Sakteng wildlife sanctuary in eastern Bhutan at an online meeting of the Global Environment Facility(GEF).
- Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary: It is located in Trashigang District, Eastern Bhutan.
- It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan’s Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.
- The sanctuary represents the easternmost temperate ecosystems and is part of the Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests ecoregion.
- Global Environment Facility(GEF): It is a Trust Fund established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
- Aim: To help developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements.
- Trustee: World Bank serves as the GEF Trustee administering the GEF Trust Fund (contributions by donors).
- Financial Mechanism: GEF is a financial mechanism for five major international environmental conventions:
- Minamata Convention on Mercury
- Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants(POPs),
- United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity(UNCBD),
- United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD)
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
News: The Mars Colour Camera(MCC) onboard ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission has captured the image of Phobos, the closest and biggest moon of Mars.
- Phobos: It is the closest and biggest moon of Mars and is largely believed to be made up of carbonaceous chondrites.
- Significance: Phobos is nearing Mars at a rate of six feet every hundred years and at that rate, it will either crash into Mars in 50 million years or break up into a ring.
- Mars Orbiter Mission(MOM) or Mangalyaan: It is a space probe launched by the ISRO in 2013 and has been in the Martian orbit since 2014.
- Launcher: It was launched using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket C25.
- To explore Martian surface features, mineralogy, morphology and atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.
- To develop technologies required in planning, designing, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.
- Instruments: The Mars Orbiter has five scientific instruments – Lyman Alpha Photometer(LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars(MSM), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser(MENCA), Mars Colour Camera(MCC) and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer(TIS).
News: India’s armed forces may soon be using winter diesel for operations in high altitude areas such as Ladakh where winter temperatures plummet to extremely low levels.
- Winter Diesel: It is a specialised fuel that was introduced by Indian Oil Corporation(IOC) for high altitude regions and low-temperature regions such as Ladakh where ordinary diesel can become unusable.
- Why can’t we use regular Diesel? The flow characteristics of regular diesel change at such low temperatures and using it may be detrimental to vehicles.
- Features of Winter Diesel:
- Winter diesel contains additives to maintain lower viscosity so that it can be used in temperatures as low as -30°C.
- It has higher cetane rating — an indicator of the combustion speed of diesel and compression needed for ignition.
- It has lower sulphur content which would lead to lower deposits in engines and better performance.
News: Prime Minister performed Sindhu Darshan puja at Nimu, the forward brigade place in Ladakh.
- Sindhu Darshan festival: It is celebrated along the banks of the River Indus (River Sindhu) in Ladakh every year on the day of Guru Purnima (full moon day).
- Significance: Thes festival is also called as Singhe Kebab Festival and it draws focus to the Sindhu river and promotes the waterbody as a symbol of the country’s communal unity and harmony.
- Nimu: It is a village located in the south-eastern part of Ladakh region.It is surrounded by the Zanskar range.
- It is famous for offering a view of the confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers.
News: Delhi Chief Minister has inaugurated India’s first plasma bank at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences(ILBS).
- Plasma Bank: It functions like a blood bank and has been created specifically for those who are suffering from Covid-19 and have been advised Convalescent Plasma therapy by doctors.
- Convalescent Plasma Therapy: It seeks to make use of the antibodies developed in the recovered patient against the coronavirus.
- The whole blood or plasma from such people is taken and plasma is then injected in critically ill patients so that the antibodies are transferred and boost their fight against the virus.
News: CPI(Marxist) has said that the government should issue compulsory licences for the manufacture of a generic version of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug being used to treat COVID-19 patients.
- Compulsory licensing(CL): It is a process where a government allows someone else to produce the patented product or process without the consent of the patent owner.
- It is one of the flexibility on patent protection included in the WTO’s agreement on intellectual property –TRIPS Agreement.
- Section 84 of the (Indian) Patent Act,1970 provides that any time after three years from date of sealing of a patent, application for compulsory license can be made,provided:
- the reasonable requirements of the public with respect to the patented invention have not been satisfied
- the patented invention is not available to the public at a reasonably affordable price
- patented invention has not worked in the territory of India.
- Section 92 of the (Indian) Patent Act,1970 provides that compulsory licenses can also be issued by the Government if there is either a “national emergency” or “extreme urgency” or in cases of “public non-commercial use”.
News: According to Australian Parliamentary report, Koalas could become extinct by 2050 unless the government immediately intervenes to protect them and their habitat.
- Koalas: They are a tree-dwelling marsupial animal endemic to Australia.
- IUCN Red list: Vulnerable
- Threats: Habitat destruction, climate change & severe weather (Droughts, extreme temperatures).
- Marsupial: They are those animals which are born in an incompletely developed state and are typically carried and suckled in a pouch on the mother’s belly.Well-known marsupials include kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, wombats, Tasmanian devils among others.