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11-January-2024-Daily-Current-Affairs

January 11 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

IISC DEVELOPS WARM VACCINE FOR COVID-19

GS 3 (SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY): SOURCE – THE HINDU

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a heat-tolerant COVID-19 vaccine effective against existing SARS-CoV-2 strains and adaptable for future variants.

  • Led by Prof. Raghavan Varadarajan, they designed a synthetic antigen, detailed in the npj Vaccines journal, with the potential for mass production as a vaccine candidate.
  • Current vaccines, while effective initially, face reduced efficacy due to the virus’s rapid mutations.
  • This innovation addresses the challenge by providing broader protection against various strains and maintaining effectiveness amid evolving virus variants.
  • heat-tolerant nature facilitates easier distribution, especially in regions with logistical challenges in maintaining a cold chain.

CHANGE FOR THE WORSE

GS 2 (INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS): SOURCE – THE HINDU

India-Maldives relations have witnessed a concerning downturn, marked by a swift decline in ties following Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with Maldivian President Muizzu. The situation escalated due to controversial tweets by Maldivian Ministers, sparking calls for an economic boycott and raising geopolitical concerns.

Deteriorating Ties:

  • Maldivian Ministers’ tweets criticized Modi’s actions in Lakshadweep, alleged ties with Israel, and made derogatory remarks about Indians.
  • Despite deletions and suspensions, the incident strained diplomatic relations and led to summoning of Ambassadors.

Impact of Political Change:

  • President Muizzu, elected after an “India Out” campaign, shifted priorities by choosing Turkey and China for early bilateral visits, diverging from the usual practice.
  • Persistent pressure on India regarding military personnel withdrawal signals a potential shift in Maldives’ foreign policy.

Need for Reflection:

  • Rising hypernationalistic sentiments and calls for a boycott necessitate a reevaluation of responses from both Delhi and Male.
  • India, as a larger neighbor, must recognize the limited utility of assertive tactics, considering historical ties and regional stability.

Conclusion:

India and Maldives should recalibrate their approaches to prevent further deterioration in relations. The historical benefits of a strong partnership, demonstrated during the Solih government, highlight the need for a strategic, cooperative stance to ensure stability in the region amid evolving political landscapes.

WHY DID NORTH INDIA FOG HEAVILY IN LAST WEEKS OF 2023?

GS 3 (ENVIRONMENT): SOURCE – THE HINDU

As winter tightened its grip on northern India in the last weeks of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, a heavy blanket of fog descended, causing disruptions in daily life and travel. This phenomenon raised questions about its causes and impacts on various modes of transportation.

Factors Contributing to Fog Formation:

  • Fog is a collection of small water droplets formed when evaporated water cools and condenses.
  • Former IMD director Madhavan Nair Rajeevan explains that fog forms when there’s a temperature disparity between the ground and the air, particularly during Indian winters.
  • Two primary mechanisms, infrared cooling and radiation fog, contribute to the rapid condensation of water vapour, creating fog.

Extent of Fog in North India:

  • Weather reports in late December 2023 indicated dense fog in states like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, with reduced visibility in many areas.
  • Several northern states, including Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand, reported fog for a few hours in the morning.

Impacts on Transportation:

  • Air travel was severely affected, with nearly 450 flights delayed or canceled at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on December 27.
  • Delhi-bound trains also faced delays on December 29, impacting both arrival and departure schedules.

Understanding Northern India’s Proneness to Fog:

  • Rajeevan highlights that the entire Indo-Gangetic plains are prone to fog during the winter season due to low temperatures, low wind speed, moisture availability, and abundant aerosols.
  • Moisture incursion, often facilitated by Western Disturbances or Arabian Sea influences, contributes to fog formation.

Conclusion:

The heavy fog in northern India during late 2023 and early 2024, impacting daily life and transportation, stems from specific atmospheric conditions prevalent in the region. Understanding the factors contributing to fog formation is crucial for managing its effects on various sectors, especially during the winter season.

ARMED UAVS IN THE HANDS OF NON-STATE ACTORS POSE A CHALLENGE, SAYS NAVY CHIEF

GS 3 (SECURITY): SOURCE – THE HINDU

Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar expressed concerns over the increasing use of armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) by non-state actors, emphasizing the challenges they pose in recent maritime incidents. This revelation came during the unveiling of the Drishti-10 starliner UAV in Hyderabad, manufactured by Adani Defence and Aerospace.

Autonomous Systems as Global Preference:

  • Admiral Kumar highlighted the global trend of countries favoring autonomous systems in their military strategies.
  • He emphasized that recent incidents in the northern Arabian Sea underscore the challenges when such systems fall into the hands of non-state actors and terrorists.

Drishti-10 Starliner UAV:

  • The Drishti-10, an indigenously built version of the Hermes-900 UAV from Elbit Systems (Israel), was unveiled with over 70% indigenous content.
  • Both the Army and Navy have procured two Hermes-900s each under emergency procurement.

Concerns and Forensic Examination:

  • Admiral Kumar addressed concerns about drone attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea, revealing 35 such attacks in the past 40 to 42 days.
  • The targets were vessels linked to Israel, primarily in the Red Sea, north Arabian Sea, and central Arabian Sea.
  • The Indian Navy is conducting forensic examinations on debris from attacked vessels to identify the attack’s origin.

Army’s Acquisition Plans:

  • Gen. A. K. Suri, Director General, Army Aviation, stated that the Army anticipates receiving Drishti-10s in the next two or three months.

Conclusion:

The Navy Chief’s acknowledgment of the challenges posed by armed UAVs in the hands of non-state actors underscores the evolving nature of modern warfare. The unveiling of the indigenous Drishti-10 starliner UAV reflects India’s commitment to advancing its defense capabilities, with collaboration between the public and private sectors. The ongoing forensic examinations on debris aim to enhance security measures against potential threats in maritime regions.

NASA’S SOLAR DYNAMICS OBSERVATORY (SDO) CAPTURED THE STRONGEST SOLAR FLARE SINCE 2017

GS 3 (SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY): SOURCE – THE INDIAN EXPRESS

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recently detected the most potent solar flare since 2017, classified as an X5.0. This solar event emitted a burst of high-energy radiation, leading to a radio blackout over the Americas. Solar flares are sudden bursts of energy on the Sun’s surface, often linked to sunspots.

 

Solar Flares and Their Causes:

  • Solar flares result from the release of magnetic energy stored in the Sun’s atmosphere.
  • Sunspots, concentrations of magnetic fields surfacing from deep within the Sun, are associated with the formation of solar flares.

Classification of Solar Flares:

  • Classified into three categories based on peak X-ray flux: C (weakest), M (Medium), and X (Strongest).
  • Further classified from 1 to 9, with higher numbers indicating more powerful flares.

Effects on Earth:

  • Interference with radio communications, navigation systems, and satellites.
  • Radiation storms pose risks to astronauts, spacecraft, and people at high altitudes or polar regions.
  • Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) following solar flares cause geomagnetic storms affecting power grids, pipelines, and railways. They also induce auroras.

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO):

  • Launched in 2010, SDO is part of NASA’s Living with a Star Program (LWS).
  • LWS aims to comprehend solar variability causes and their impacts on Earth, studying solar activity and its contribution to space weather.

Conclusion:

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory’s observation of a powerful solar flare emphasizes the significance of understanding solar activity and its potential impact on Earth. The classification and effects of solar flares underline the need for continuous monitoring and preparedness to mitigate any adverse consequences on communication systems, space missions, and our planet’s magnetic field.

 

MACHINE-TO-MACHINE (M2M) AND WIRELESS PERSONAL AREA NETWORK/WIRELESS LOCAL AREA NETWORK (WPAN/WLAN)

GS 3 (ECONOMY): SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS

The Department of Telecommunications has expanded Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN)/Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) registration to all business entities.

  • WPAN, a personal network, employs wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for communication between connected devices.
  • WLAN, a wireless distribution method for multiple devices, utilizes high-frequency radio waves and typically includes an access point to the internet.
  • This technology enables users to move within a coverage area, like a home or office, while staying connected to the network.
  • The extension of registration aims to facilitate seamless communication and connectivity for diverse businesses.

NATIONAL SPORTS AWARDS (NSA) 2023

GS 2 (POLITY AND GOVERNANCE): SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS

The President of India conferred the National Sports Awards 2023, administered by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.

The awards comprise six core categories:

  • Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna (highest sporting honor), Arjuna Award (for consistent performance over 4 years),
  • Dronacharya Award (highest sports honor for coaches),
  • Major Dhyan Chand Award (for lifetime achievement),
  • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy (top performance in interuniversity tournaments), and
  • Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar (recognizing sports promotion by organizations or corporates).

These awards acknowledge excellence in sports and contributions to the development and promotion of sports in India.

Details

Date:
January 11
Time:
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: