News: The Global Bribery Risk Matrix 2020 has been released.
- About the index: It is released by TRACE, an anti-bribery standard setting organisation that measures business bribery risk in 194 countries, territories and autonomous and semi-autonomous regions.
- Parameters: The score is based on four factors — business interactions with government, anti-bribery deterrence and enforcement, government and civil service transparency and capacity for civil society oversight, including the role of the media.
- Lowest Bribery risk: Denmark has topped the list followed by Norway, Finland, Sweden and New Zealand.
- India’s Rank: India has been ranked at 77th in the 2020 index.In 2019, India was at 78th position.
- India has performed better than that of China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.Bhutan was the only neighbour that was ranked better than India as it secured 48th rank on the list.
- Highest Bribery Risk: North Korea, Turkmenistan, South Sudan, Venezuela and Eritrea present the highest commercial bribery risk.
News: Indian Army has rejected a fake report which had claimed that the Chinese army had used “microwave weapons” to drive Indian soldiers away from their positions in eastern Ladakh.
- Microwave weapons: These are supposed to be a type of direct energy weapons, which aim highly focused energy in the form of sonic, laser, or microwaves at a target.
- How does it target? It works much the same as regular microwaves.It uses beams of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation to heat the water in a human target’s skin causing pain and discomfort.
- Which countries have these ‘microwave weapons’?
- China had first put on display its “microwave weapon”, called Poly WB-1 at an air show in 2014.
- The United States has also developed a prototype microwave-style weapon which it calls the “Active Denial System”.
News: Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs has launched Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge in 243 cities across the country.
- Aim: To ensure that no life of any sewer or septic tank cleaner is ever lost again owing to the issue of ‘hazardous cleaning and to promote mechanized cleaning of septic tanks.
- Focus of the challenge: The Challenge will focus extensively on creating citizen awareness on this critical issue along with infrastructure creation for mechanized cleaning and capacity building of the workforce.
- Under this challenge, actual on-ground assessment of participating cities will be conducted in May 2021 by an independent agency and results of the same will be declared on 15 August 2021.
- Cities will be awarded in three sub-categories – with a population of more than 10 lakhs, 3-10 lakhs and upto 3 lakhs.
News: Prime Minister will inaugurate the virtual 3rd Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo(RE-INVEST 2020).
- RE-INVEST 2020: It has been organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE),Government of India.
- Aim: To accelerate the worldwide effort to scale up development and deployment of renewable energy and connect the global investment community with Indian energy stakeholders.
- Theme: ‘Innovations for Sustainable Energy Transition’.
News: Climate Transparency has released the report “Climate Transparency report, 2020”(previously known as Brown to Green Report)
- Aim: To provide the most comprehensive annual review of G20 countries climate action and their transition to a net-zero emissions economy.
- India is the only country on track among the G20 nations to meet its climate change mitigation commitments and is contributing its fair share to meet the goal of curbing global warming by 2 degrees Celsius.
- However, other nations and the European Union’s targets do not go far enough to curb global warming between 1.5 to 2 C.
- China’s Greenhouse Gases(GHG) emissions also continue to be above the G20 average and are expected to peak by 2030.Further, US which formally exited the Paris Agreement has GHG emissions more than double the average of all G20 nations.
- Hence, the projected temperature increases under these commitments are now expected to be more than 2.7 C of warming by 2100.
- Climate Transparency: It is a global partnership that brings together experts from research organisations and NGOs in the majority of the G20 countries.It’s mission is to encourage ambitious climate action in the G20 countries.
- Paris agreement: It was adopted at the UNFCCC COP21 held in Paris in 2015.It aims to keep global temperature rise in the 21st century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- India’s intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) under Paris Agreement:
- reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33% to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level,
- increase total cumulative electricity generation from fossil free energy sources to 40% by 2030,
- Create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons through additional forest and tree cover.
News: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare has addressed the Ministerial meeting of the Global Prevention Coalition(GPC) for HIV Prevention.
- Global Prevention Coalition (GPC) for HIV Prevention: It was established in 2017 as a global coalition of United Nations Member States, donors, civil society organizations to support global efforts to accelerate HIV prevention.
- Objective: To strengthen and sustain political commitment for primary prevention by setting a common agenda among key policy-makers, funders and programme implementers.
- Membership: It includes the 25 highest HIV burden countries, UNAIDS Cosponsors, donors, civil society and private sector organizations.
- HIV: It is the human immunodeficiency virus which targets the immune system and weakens people’s defense systems.AIDS is the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
- Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria(GFATM): It was created in 2002 as a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases.
- Aim: To raise, manage and invest the world’s money to end epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
- Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
News: Willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) was spotted for the first time in India in Vellayani-Punchakkari Paddy Fields, Kerala.
- Willow Warbler: It is one of the longest migrating small birds which breeds throughout northern and temperate Europe and the Palearctic.
- Vegetation: It is a bird of open woodlands with trees and ground cover for nesting, including most importantly birch, alder and willow habitats.
- IUCN Status: Least Concern.
- Vellayani-Punchakkari Paddy Fields: It is a birding hotspot in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram,Kerala.It is known to harbour more than 213 species of birds which includes both resident and migratory birds.