Factly articles for 8th July 2020

10 min read

1.Sustainable space heating solutions in the Himalayan region can reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030

News: WWF India (World Wide Fund for Nature) and The Energy and Resources Institute(TERI) have released a report titled “Sustainable Space Heating Solutions in the Himalayan Region”.

Facts:

  • This report is part of an ongoing initiative of WWF-India’s ‘Climate Solver’ programme.
  • Climate Solver Programme: It is a climate innovations platform by WWF which first began in Sweden in 2008 and launched in India in 2012.
    • Aim: To strengthen development and widespread use of low carbon technologies developed by startups and SMEs which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions or provide clean energy access.

Additional Facts:

  • WWF: It is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961 to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.It is headquartered in Gland, Switzerland.
  • TERI: It is a non-profit research institute established in 1974.It conducts research work in the fields of energy, environment and sustainable development for India and the Global South.

2.U.S. position on CAATSA unchanged despite China’s actions in neighbourhood

News: The United States will not change its position on putting sanctions against India under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act(CAATSA) for buying fighter jets from Russia.

Facts:

  • CAATSA: It is a US federal law enacted in 2017 to impose sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia.
  • The Act empowers the US President to impose sanctions against countries that engage in a significant transaction with Russian defence and intelligence sectors.
  • Concerns: India could face US sanctions for purchasing high-value military defense items, in particular the S-400 Triumf missile defense system from Russia under the act.

Additional Facts:

  • S-400: It is an advanced air defence system that can simultaneously track numerous incoming objects — all kinds of aircraft, missiles and UAVs in a radius of a few hundred kilometres and launch appropriate missiles to neutralise them.

3.Ofek 16: Israel launches new spy satellite

Facts: Ofek 16 is an optoelectronic reconnaissance (intelligence or spy) satellite launched by Israel to provide high-quality surveillance for its military intelligence.

4.MoRTH prepares blueprint for scheme of cashless treatment of motor accident victims

News: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has prepared a blueprint for implementing the scheme of cashless treatment of motor accident victims as contemplated under the Motor Vehicles Act,2019.

Facts:

  • Aim: To provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in the country.
  • Insurance cover: The scheme will have an insurance coverage cap of Rs 2.5 lakh per case.
  • Fund: The scheme also includes creation of a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which would be utilized for treatment of road accident victims and for payment of compensation in hit and run cases.This includes treatment of victims during the crucial Golden hour.
  • Nodal Agency: National Health Authority (NHA) which is the nodal agency for Ayushman Bharat will implement the scheme.

Additional Facts:

  • Golden hour: It refers to the first hour after the accident during which if first aid or treatment is administered, the chances of survival of the victim drastically improve.

5.Bhopal’s zardozi artists hanging by a thread

News: Coronavirus induced lockdown has left them with mounting losses and joblessness with no customers even during the wedding season.

Facts:

  • Zardozi Art: The word ‘Zardozi’ is made up of two Persian terms, Zar meaning gold and Dozi meaning embroidery.The art was patronised by the Mughals especially Akbar during the 17th century.
  • Features: Zardozi embroidery work involves making elaborate designs, using gold and silver threads.Further adding to the magnificence of the work are the studded pearls and precious stones.
  • Significance: In 2013 the Geographical Indication Registry (GIR) accorded the Geographical Indication (GI) registration to the Lucknow Zardozi.

6.India ranks 34 on real estate transparency index

News: Global Real Estate Transparency Index(GRETI) has been released by JLL and LaSalle, a global real estate services company.

Facts:

  • The index is released biennially.It ranks 99 countries and territories and 163 cities globally.
  • Parameters: It assesses real estate market transparency based on over 200 individual indicators relating to: investment performance, market fundamentals, governance of listed vehicles, regulatory & legal environment, transaction process and sustainability.

Key Takeaways:

  • Top Rankers: United Kingdom(UK) followed by United States(US) and Australia.
  • India: It has been ranked at 34th in the index.In 2018,India was ranked 35th.

7.Why India’s trade surplus is a warning signal

News: Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has released the data on India’s balance of payments (BoP) for Q4 of January-March 2019-20.

Facts:

Key Takeaways:

  • Current account Surplus: India has managed a small current account surplus of US$ 0.6 billion (0.1%:of GDP) in Q4 of 2019-20
  • Reason: The surplus in the current account is largely driven by a lower trade deficit as there was a sharp decline in imports led by gold, petroleum goods, coal, electronics and machineries
  • Significance: This is a rare occurrence because since 1976-77, there has not been a single year when India did not incur a substantial merchandise trade deficit.
  • Concerns: This is a warning sign for the Indian economy as the decline in imports especially in merchandise goods points towards a contraction of demand in the real economy.

8.Detecting RNA virus in saliva samples using Raman spectroscopy

News: Researchers have turned to Raman Spectroscopy to detect RNA viruses present in saliva samples.

Facts:

  • Raman Spectroscopy: It is an analytical technique where scattered light is used to measure the vibrational energy modes of a sample.
  • Significance: Raman spectroscopy can provide both chemical and structural information as well as the identification of substances through the detection of Raman scattering from the sample.

Additional Facts:

  • Raman Scattering or Raman Effect: It is a change in the wavelength of light that occurs when a light beam is deflected by molecules.
  • When a beam of light traverses a dust-free,transparent sample of a chemical compound,a small fraction of the light emerges in directions other than that of the incident (incoming) beam.
  • Most of this scattered light is of unchanged wavelength.However, a small part has wavelengths different from that of the incident light; its presence is a result of the Raman effect.