News: Eight beaches from India have received the ‘coveted’ Blue Flag certification.
- Which are those Eight Beaches? The eight Indian beaches that have received the Blue Flag certification are:
- Shivrajpur Beach in Dwarka, Gujarat
- Ghoghla Beach in Diu
- Kasarkod and Padubidri beaches in Karnataka
- Kappad Beach in Kerala
- Rushikonda Beach in Andhra Pradesh
- Golden Beach in Odisha and
- Radhanagar Beach in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- Blue flag certification: It is an international recognition conferred on beaches that meet certain criteria of cleanliness and environmental propriety.
- Who gives the certification: The certification programme is run by international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education).
- Criteria: The certification is based on 33 stringent criteria in four major heads (i) Environmental Education and Information (ii) Bathing Water Quality, (iii) Environment Management and Conservation and (iv) Safety and Services in the beaches.
- Headquarters: Copenhagen, Denmark.
News: The World Migratory Bird Day(WMBD) 2020 is being observed on 10th October,2020.
- World Migratory Bird Day: It is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats.
- Who organises it? It is organized by Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) – together with Environment for the Americas(EFTA).
- When is it organized? Since,2018 the day is organized twice a year on the second Saturday in May and in October.
- Theme: Birds Connect Our World.
- AEWA: It is an intergovernmental treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago.
- It was developed under the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and administered by the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP).
- CMS or the Bonn Convention: It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of UNEP.It was signed in 1979 in Bonn, Germany, and entered into force in 1983.It is the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats and migration routes.
News: A report card has been brought out by the Satark Nagrik Sangathan and the Centre for Equity Studies to mark the 15th anniversary of the Right to Information(RTI) Act coming into force.
Key Facts from the report:
- Pending Cases: More than 2.2 lakh cases are pending at Central and State Information Commissions which are the final courts of appeal under the RTI Act.
- Highest Pending Appeals: Maharashtra had the highest number of pending appeals followed by Uttar Pradesh and the Central Information Commission(CIC).
- Vacancies: Nine out of 29 information commissions are functioning without a chief information commissioner.Even the CIC is functioning without chief information commissioner and only 5 commissioners.
- Under the law, every commission should have a chief and up to 10 commissioners.
- Penalties: The government officials face hardly any punishment for violating the law.Only 2.2% of cases that were disposed of faced penalties despite previous analysis showing about 59% violations which should have triggered the process of penalty imposition.
- Right to Information Act, 2005: It provides for timely disclosure of information by citizens from both central and State Public Authorities.It seeks to empower citizens and promote accountability and transparency.
- Under the act, Public Authorities are required to make disclosures on various aspects such as a) disclosure on their organisation, functions and structure b) powers and duties of its officers and employees and c) financial information.
News: The rare Brahma Kamal, the only flower known to bloom after sunset and just once a year has been spotted in the higher reaches of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand.
- Brahma Kamal (Saussurea Obvallata): It is a species of flowering plant native to the Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, India, Mongolia, Burma and southwest China.It is also the state flower of Uttarakhand.
- Named after? The flower is named after God Brahma who is believed to have created the universe.The flower only blooms for a few hours and is said to bring good luck and prosperity.
- Significance: The flower also finds itself mentioned in the scriptures and is offered in many holy shrines including Kedarnath, Badrinath and Tunganath.
- Uses: The flower is highly valued in Tibetan medicine and Ayurveda for its healing properties.It is extensively used by the local population to treat cuts and bruises.
News: The “India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Strengthening Project” will invest $1.5 billion over four years in India to help its healthcare system tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
- About the Project: The project has been financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB) and World Bank.
- Aim: To prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and strengthen national health systems for preparedness in India.
- Components: The project has components dealing with emergency Covid-19 response, shoring up the healthcare system and strengthening pandemic research among others.
- AIIB: It is a multilateral development bank established in 2016 with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia. Headquarters: Beijing,China.Members: 103.India is one of the founding members.
News: Indian Air Force(IAF) has celebrated its 88th Anniversary by achieving a new record of the highest Skydive Landing at Khardungla Pass.
- Khardung La: It is a mountain pass in the Leh district of the union territory of Ladakh.The pass is located on the Ladakh Range, north of Leh and is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys.
- Climate: It has an arctic tundra climate (ET) with short, cool summers and long, very cold winters.
- Significance: It is historically important as it lies on the major caravan route from Leh to Kashgar in Central Asia.
- The tourists are required to carry the Inner Line Permit (ILP) to pass through Khardung La.
News: Kyrgyzstan is facing its worst political crisis in decades after the opposition said that the election was rigged which led to protesters capturing government buildings forcing the President to flee the presidential palace and plunging the country into chaos.
- Kyrgyzstan: It is a landlocked country in Central Asia bordering Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- Capital: Bishkek.
- Significance: It is often referred to as ‘Central Asia’s only democracy.
- Member of? Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).
- CSTO is a Russia-led military alliance formed toensure the collective defence of any member that faces external aggression.
- Protests: The country had seen violent anti-government protests in the past.In 2005 and 2010, sitting presidents were forced out of office in popular protests- ‘Tulip’ and ‘Melon’ revolutions.
News: According to a new study, climate change is driving butterflies, moths higher up Himalayas
- The study was funded by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and carried out by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
Reasons for attitudinal shift of habitat of butterfly and moth species:
- Rising mean temperature
- Receding ice caps and glaciers leading to a scarcity of water in the Himalayas.
- Increasing human habitation
Significance of the study: The findings of the study will be used as a baseline indicator to track the impact of climate change on animal species over the coming decade
News: A total of 322 projects in a length of 12,413 Km have been awarded under Bharatmala Pariyojana till August, 2020. Further, 2921 Km has been constructed under the Project till the same date.
- Bharatmala Pariyojana is an umbrella program for the highways sector that focuses on optimizing efficiency of freight and passenger movement across India.
- Objective: optimal resource allocation for a holistic highway development and improvement.
- Interventions under the scheme: Development of Economic Corridors, Inter Corridors and Feeder Routes, National Corridor Efficiency Improvement, Border and International connectivity roads, Coastal and Port connectivity roads and Green-field expressways.
- Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.
News: International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is celebrated every year on 13th October.
- Background: was started in 1989 by United Nations General Assembly.
- Celebrated by: United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
- In 2016, the UN Secretary-General launched “The Sendai Seven Campaign” to promote each of the seven targets over seven years. The 2020 target is Target E: “Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020”.
- Adopted in 2015 at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.
- It is a 15-year voluntary, non-binding agreement on disaster risk reduction.