Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - November 21, 2017

National

Qaumi Ekta Week will be observed from November 19-25, 2017

  • With a view to foster and reinforce the spirit of Communal Harmony, National Integration and pride in vibrant, composite culture and nationhood, the “Qaumi Ekta Week” (National IntegrationWeek) will be observed all over the country, from the 19th to 25th November, 2017.
  • The National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH), an autonomous organisation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, organises Communal Harmony Campaign coinciding with the Qaumi Ekta Week and observes the Communal Harmony Flag Day on 25th November.

Infrastructure Development

International Ship Repair Facility

  • Shri Nitin Gadkari lays foundation stone for Cochin Shipyard’s Rs 970-crore International Ship Repair Facility
  • The facility will double the number of ships that can be repaired every year
  • Inaugurated the conference Build The Ship – 2017 organized by the Ministry of Shipping in Cochin today.
  • The event deliberated upon the recommendations of a study regarding the growth strategies for promotion of Shipbuilding, Ship Design, Ship Repair and Marine Ancillaries in India.
  • At the conference the Minister announced the start of Center of Excellence in Maritime and Shipbuilding(CEMS), a start up in skill development for maritime and shipbuilding sector.
  • CEMS will have campuses at Vishakhapatnam and Mumbai.
  • It is being set up by the Ministry of Shipping in collaboration with Siemens under the flagship programme Sagarmala.

Science & Tech

NBRC team uncovers how damaged neurons recover functions

  • Researchers at the National Brain Research Centre, Gurgaon, have experimentally demonstrated how neurons that are injured or damaged can be functionally restored by fusion of the severed axons.
  • Neurons can break during accidental injury and day-to-day stress-induced injury.
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome is a typical case of peripheral nerve damage arising from several severed axons.
  • Neuronal damage arises when the axons are severed into distal and proximal fragments.
  • Functional recovery takes place in an age-dependent manner, with better recovery in the late larval stage and less recovery in adult worms.
  • The researchers used two femtosecond lasers to locate and cut the axons involved in touch sensation.
  • During regeneration, only the axons that successfully fuse with their distal counterparts contribute to functional recovery

Report

The lowdown on the dengue epidemic

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  • The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) records show that 1,29,329 people fell sick with dengue this year, while 200 died.
  • India’s official numbers are well known to be gross underestimates, with private hospitals often not reporting the disease.
  • 2017 is an extraordinary year.
  • This is due to three reasons.
  • First, India is getting better each year at reporting dengue, leading to more cases being counted. Second, dengue itself is becoming more endemic due to urbanisation.
  • The dengue mosquito thrives in urban habitats, in water pooled under a flower pot for example.
  • As population explodes in rural areas, what was initially an urban disease has moved to these regions too,
  • The dengue virus has four serotypes, or types that are classified by the type of antigen (a molecule on the viral surface which human antibodies recognise) they have.
  • These serotypes are DENV-1, DENV2, DENV-3 and DENV-4.
  • When a person is affected by one dengue serotype, she develops antibodies against it, which protect her for the rest of her life.
  • If the same person is then infected by a different serotype, she is likely to develop severe disease.
  • This is because, in some cases, antibodies against the first serotype worsen the second infection, instead of protecting against it.
  • This phenomenon is called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) and results in a more dangerous illness called dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF).

Environment

The UNFCCC Climate Change Conference (COP23)

Where –

  • was held in Bonn, Germany
  • and was presided over by Government of Fiji.

What -

  • It concluded with countries putting in place a roadmap for ‘Talanoa Dialogue’, a year-long process to assess countries’ progress on climate actions.
  • The Conference also made progress on framing rules for implementing 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and brought rich nations on board on their pre-2020 commitments as demanded by developing nations.

Enlighten about COP-23

  • The conference provided countries around world took opportunity to showcase their actions taken to full pledges under landmark 2015 Paris agreement as well as took other decisions including ‘Talanoa Dialogue’.
  • It also made progress on framing rules for implementing Paris Agreement post-2020 and brought rich nations on board to walk the talk on pre-2020 commitments.
  • However, the differences over climate financing continued

Enlighten About Talanoa Dialogue

  • Talanoa is a traditional approach used in Fiji and other Pacific islands to engage in an inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue to resolve differences without putting any blame on any one.
  • As per COP23 decision, it has been structured around three questions to arrive at answers with consensus: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?
  • The dialogue will be conducted in a manner that promotes enhanced ambition.
  • It will help parties to UNFCCC review their actions and discuss way forward in terms of raising ambitions before 2020.
  • It will consider efforts of Parties on mitigation action and financial and technical support, as appropriate, as one of its elements, in the pre-2020 period under 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Obligations under Kyoto Protocol

  • The COP23 outlined what all the rich nations need to do as far as their pre-2020 actions under Kyoto Protocol are concerned.
  • It was crucial demand of developing countries.
  • The pre-2020 actions refer to existing obligations of small group rich and developed nations to take mitigation actions under Kyoto Protocol.
  • On the other hand, post-2020 actions are meant for all countries as per their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under 2015 Paris Agreement.

Conference of Parties (COP)

  • COP is the supreme decision-making body of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • All States that are Parties to UNFCCC are represented at COP.
  • At COP, all parties review implementation of Convention and take decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of Convention.

Biodiversity

Gleadovia konyakianorum: Parasitic plant found in Nagaland

  • Scientists from Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered a new species of parasitic flowering plant named Gleadovia konyakianorum.
  • The species was named in honour of Konyak tribe of Nagas.
  • The plant was discovered in the semi-evergreen forest at an altitude of 1,500-1,600 metres during an exploration near Tobu town of Mon district in eastern Nagaland.
  • Parasitic plants are often referred to as curious plants, as they steal their nutritional needs from the host

Gleadovia konyakianorum

  • Gleadovia konyakianorum is a holoparasite (complete parasite) plant that derives its entire nutritional requirement from the host plant, which is a Strobilanthes species.
  • It has no chlorophyll (which helps a plant make its own food using sunlight).
  • Though it has no chlorophyll, the plant has a vascular system and extracts its nutrition from the host plant with the help of a haustorium.
  • A haustorium is specialised structure with which plant parasites attach themselves to host plants and derive nutrition.
  • Gleadovia konyakianorum species is root parasite that grows up to 10 cm in height, and bears white, tubular owers.
  • It is only the fourth species from the genus Gleadovia to be found in the world.
  • The other three are Gleadovia banerjiana (discovered in Manipur), Gleadovia mupinense (found in China) and Gleadovia ruborum (discovered in Uttarakhand and also reported from China).
  • Its protection status has been described as ‘data decient’ as per International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species criteria