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19 february 2024 current affairs

 

 

 

 

Republic of Madagascar Location:

  • Republic of Madagascar is located off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean Island Nation: Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo.
  • Bordering Countries: Madagascar is bordered by:
  • East: The island country of Mauritius and Réunion
  • Northwest: Mayotte and the island country of Comoros
  • Capital: Antananarivo
  • Highest Point: Maromokotro
  • The Ankaratra Massif is a major volcanic mass with the highest peak at 2,643 m.
  • Major Rivers: Mananara, Mangoro Sambirano, Mahajamba, Betsiboka, Mania, north and south Mahavavy, Mangoky, Onilahy, and the Ikopa.
  • Major Lakes: Alaotra, Lake Kinkony and Lake Ihotry.
  • Major National Parks: Isalo and Masoala.
  • Both of these parks are home to some of the island’s rare animals, birds, and fauna. Including the forever-famous lemurs that can only be found in Madagascar.

About the Award:

  • It has achieved the recognition of the highest literary award of the country.
  • English along with other Indian languages is considered for the Award.
  • The Award is open for only Indian citizens and is given annually.
  • The prize carries a cash award of Rs. 11 lakhs, a citation, and a bronze replica of Vagdevi (Saraswati), the goddess of learning.
  • It is sponsored by the cultural organization Bharatiya Jnanpith.
  • In 2019, author Amitav Ghosh was felicitated with 54th Jnanpith Award. He became the first English language writer to become a Jnanpith laureate.

Data From Article:

  • Celebrated Urdu poet and Bollywood writer and director Gulzar and Sanskrit scholar Jagadguru Rambhadracharya have been selected for the Jnanpith award, considered by many to be the country’s highest literary honour.
  • Gulzar or Sampooran Singh Kalra is considered one of the finest Urdu poets of his generation and is a top director and writer of Hindi cinema.
  • Rambhadracharya, is a renowned Hindu spiritual leader, educator and writer of more than 240 books and texts, including four epics. He is also the founder and head of Tulsi Peeth in Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh.

It has been decided to give the award (for 2023) to eminent writers from two languages: Sanskrit litterateur Jagadguru Rambhadracharya and wellknown Urdu litterateur Shri Gulzar,” the Jnanpith selection committee said in a statement.

  • This is the 58th edition of the Jnanpith Award given annually for outstanding contributions to Indian literature since 1965. It is presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith, which was established in 1944.
  • The award carries a cash component of ₹11 lakhs, a statue of Vagdevi and a citation. It is the second time the award is being given for Sanskrit and the fifth time for Urdu. Gulzar / Sampooran Singh Kalra
  • Gulzar, born in 1934, has received the Sahitya Akademi Award for Urdu in 2002, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2013, the Padma Bhushan in 2004, and at least five National Film awards for his work.
  • His song “Jai Ho” for the film Slumdog Millionaire, received an Oscar in 2009 and Grammy in 2010.
  • He is known for his work in Maachhis, Omkara, Dil Se, Guru and Aandhi.

Mr Rambhadracharya

  • a polyglot, who speaks 22 languages, is one of the present four Jagadguru Ramanandacharyas of the Ramananda sect and has been holding this position since 1982.
  • A poet and writer in several Indian languages including Sanskrit, Hindi, Awadhi and Maithili, he received the Padma Vibhushan in 2015. He was born in 1950 in Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Data From Article:

  • Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will pay a two-day state visit to India from February 21 with an aim to further deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries.
  • It would be the first visit to India by a head of state of Greece to India after a gap of 15 years.
  • India-Greece relations were elevated to 'strategic partnership' during Mr. Modi's visit to Greece in August last year.

About Greece: -

  • Greece is a country in southern Europe with a long coastline on the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
  • Greece is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and is considered the cradle of Western civilization. It is the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, theater, and the Olympic Games.
  • Government: Parliamentary Republic.
  • Capital: Athens, National
  • Language: Greek
  • Currency: Euro 
  • Major Mountains Ranges: Pindus and the Taurus mountains.
  • The longest river in Greece is the river Haliacmon.
  • Greece's highest mountain is Mount Olympus.

Context:

  • India and Greece have taken a significant step by upgrading their relationship to a strategic partnership. The partnership aims to double trade, enhance defence and security collaboration, and address shared challenges.
  • On this occasion, the Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou conferred the Prime Minister(PM) of India with “The Grand Cross of the Order of Honour”.
  • The Indian PM paid tribute at the ‘Tomb of Unknown Soldier’ in Athens.

India's Relations with Greece Historical Linkages:

  • India’s contacts with Greece began over 2500 years ago.
  • Alexander the Great’s campaign in the 4th century BCE, which reached the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent.
  • Diplomatic, trade, and cultural relations between India and Greece were mentioned in Ashoka’s edicts.
  • Trading between the Mauryan Kings and Greece is evidenced by coinage and writings.
  • Gandhara art, which flourished in the region of present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan, is believed to be a result of Indian and Greek influences.

Commercial Relations

  • Bilateral trade between India and Greece stood at USD 2 billion in 2022-23.
  • India mainly exports aluminum, organic chemicals, fish and crustaceans and iron and steel to Greece, among other things.
  • Meanwhile, Greece’s top exports to India are minerals fuels, mineral oils and products, sulphur and aluminium foil.
  • India Participated as ‘Honoured Country’ in the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair(TIF), 2019, the largest annual commercial exposition of Greece.

Political Relations

  • Diplomatic relations were established between India and Greece in May 1950. Greece opened its embassy in Delhi in 1950 and India opened its embassy in Athens in 1978.
  • Greece has been marked by consistent support to each other on issues of core national interest, such as Kashmir and Cyprus.
  • Greece is also favouring United Nation Security Council (UNSC) expansion, with India as a permanent member.

Defence Relations

  • India and Greece's Defence Cooperation accelerated in 1998, which envisages cooperation in areas such as military training, joint exercises, defence industry collaboration, etc.
  • Indian Air Force participation in EXERCISE INIOCHOS-23.

India-Peru Trade Agreement Negotiations

Context:

  • The sixth session of discussions between India and Peru for a free Trade Agreement took place in Lima, Peru. About India-Peru Trade Agreement Negotiations
  • The first Negotiations for a trade agreement between India and Peru commenced in 2017. Five rounds of discussions were conducted until August 2019.
  • The negotiation process was disrupted due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Objectives Of India-Peru Trade Agreement

  • To boost bilateral trade and investment.
  • To promote trade in services
  • To enhance the economic and commercial ties between India and Peru by reducing trade barriers and promoting cooperation.

India-Peru Relations

  • India and Peru initiated diplomatic relations in March 1963.
  • India and Peru have historically maintained warm and amicable relations.
  • They both have signed Many bilateral agreements such as the Customs Cooperation Agreement, Cooperation in New and Renewable Energy, and Defence Cooperation Agreement.

Commercial Relations Between India and Peru

  • Trade between India and Peru is on the rise.
  • In the financial year 2022-23, the total trade between the two countries was valued at US$3291.64 million.
  • The trade between India and Peru has gone up a lot, starting from US$ 66 million in 2003 to about US$ 3.68 billion in 2023.
  • India’s main exports to Peru: Automobiles, polyester, motorcycles and cotton yarns, pharmaceuticals, iron and plastic products, steel products, rubber, pipes for the oil and gas industry, and tyres.
  • Imports from Peru to India: Gold, copper, synthetic filaments, calcium phosphates, fresh grapes, fish flour, and other items.
  • Pulicat Lake: Mysterious Deaths of Northern Pintail Migratory Birds

Context:

  • Dozens of northern pintail, a migratory duck, and plovers have been found dead in Pulicat lake over the last few days.

Suspected Reason for Their Death

  • Fertiliser and Pesticide: Forest department has suspected that fertiliser or pesticide ingestion may be the major cause behind pintail and plovers’ death.
  • Organized Poaching: There might be the possibility of poaching behind pintail and plover’s death as people do poaching for food, earning money, etc.

About Northern Pintail

  • It is named on the basis of its long central tail feathers ending.
  • Nickname: “The greyhound of the skies.”
  • Habitat:
  • Open wetlands: Northern pintails live in open wetlands.
  • Nest making on the ground: They make nests on the ground, away from water.

Distinctive Features:

  • Black and white striped head: They have a unique appearance with a black and white striped head.
  • They have chestnut-colored breast.
  • Diet and Foraging:
  • Omnivores: Pintail ducks are omnivores, eating both plants and animals.

Plovers

  • Plovers are wading birds.
  • They are found in many places except Antarctica.
  • These are water birds.
  • They belong to a subfamily – Charadriinae.
  • Plovers who nest in the north are migratory birds.
  • They travel and feed in flocks. Pulicat Lake
  • It is a brackish water lake.
  • Location: It is located between Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
  • Rivers Feeding Lake: Arani river, Kalangi river, and Swarnamukhi river
  • Sriharikota: It’s separated from the Bay of Bengal by a narrow area called Sriharikota.

Significance:

  • Part of Living Lakes: Pulicat Lake is part of a global network called Living Lakes and represented by CReNIEO.
  • Second biggest salty water area: It’s the second biggest salty water area in eastern India and home to a lot of different plants and animals.
  • Jardiance (Empagliflozin):

A News Drug for Chronic Kidney Disease

Context:

  • Recently, CDSCO has approved Boehringer Ingelheim’s anti-diabetic drug for the treatment of Chronic kidney disease in India.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

  • It means when kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should.
  • Main Risk factors: Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart disease, and a family history of kidney failure.
  • CKD Burden in India: An estimated 33 million adults live with CKD in India.

Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO)

  • It is the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) of India regulates the quality, safety, and efficacy of drugs including vaccines & the medical devices industry.
  • Regulation: Drugs & Cosmetics Act 1940 & New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • Headed by: Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI)
  • Headquarters: New Delhi. About Jardiance Drug Efficacy
  • Reduce the risk of sustained decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) which is done to check how well the kidneys are filtering, and end-stage kidney disease.
  • Reduce Cardiovascular death (Earlier, it was approved only for the treatment of heart failure.)
  • Reduce Hospitalization of Adults with CKD.

 

UN Honors Seven World Restoration Flagships Context:

  • Recently, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) have named seven initiatives from Africa, Latin America, the Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia as UN World Restoration Flagships.
  • Restoration of Devastated Land: These initiatives include ecosystems at the tipping point of outright degradation resulting from wildfires, drought, deforestation, and pollution.
  • Technical and Financial Support: These initiatives are eligible for technical and financial UN support. About Recently Recognized Seven World Restoration Flagships from Fires to Forests – Resilience in the Mediterranean: This Initiative involves Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Türkiye.

Consists:

  • A novel approach to protect and restore these natural habitats and vulnerable ecosystems and has led to around two million hectares of forests being restored across the region since 2017, with over eight million hectares planned for restoration by 2030. Living Indus – Restoring a Cradle of Civilizations: This initiative was approved by Pakistan’s parliament in the wake of the devastating 2022 climate-change-induced floods and was officially launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh (COP27).
  • Aim: It aims to restore 25 million hectares of river basin by 2030.
  • A Living Entity: It designates the Indus River as a living entity with rights, a measure taken to protect rivers elsewhere, including in Australia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, India, New Zealand, Peru, and Sri Lanka.

Acción Andina – Saving a Global Water and Climate Hotspot:

  • This social movement is led by the Peruvian conservation non-profit organization, ECOAN (Association Ecosistemas Andinos).
  • Aim: To protect and restore a one million hectares’ forest area.
  • Security: It also works to secure land titles for local communities, protecting the forest from future mining, timber exploitation and other drivers of degradation.
  • The Sri-Lanka Mangrove Regeneration Initiative:
  • It is science-driven, co-led by local communities, and focused on restoring the natural balance in the ecosystem. Since its launch in 2015, efforts have already resulted in 500 hectares of restored mangroves.
  • Target: Some 10,000 hectares are slated for restoration by 2030.
  • Benefit: More than 4,000 new jobs to be created.

Terai Arc Landscape: Reviving Asia’s Mega-Fauna:

  • This initiative was launched in 2001 and has focused on restoring the forests of critical corridors of the Terai Arc Landscape and collaborates with local communities.
  • Aim: To restore 350,000 hectares of forests by 2030.
  • Area Covered: It stretches between the Yamuna in the west and the Bhagmati in the east.
  • Deals: It aims to conserve and protect tigers, along with rhinos and elephants, due to poaching, habitat loss, degradation, and human-wildlife conflict.

The Regreening Africa initiative:

  • It was adapted to restore over 350,000 hectares in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, and Somalia.
  • Aim: By 2030, a further five million hectares are planned to be restored. Growing Forests in Africa’s Drylands:
  • Under this initiative, through researched agroforestry techniques, unsustainable farming practices are replaced and nature regenerates.
  • Aim: By planting tens of millions of trees every year, it aims at expanding from 41,000 restored hectares today to 229,000 hectares by 2030.
  • Benefit: Supporting many more through 230,000 jobs created.