Current Affairs - News Crux
Recently, researchers in the UK have discovered that graphene, a single-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms, displays an anomalous Giant Magnetoresistance (GMR) at room temperature.
- GMR is a property of materials where electrical resistance is affected by adjacent magnetic fields.
- Graphene-based devices are commonly used to sense magnetic fields.
- Researchers found that a graphene-based device could sense magnetic fields without needing to be cooled to very low temperatures.
- This is unlike conventional devices used for the same purpose.
- The magnetoresistance observed in the graphene-based device was almost 100 times higher than other known semimetals in this magnetic field range.
- This discovery could be used in applications that require magnetic-field sensing in extreme conditions.
State Energy Efficiency Index 2021-22 Report
On 10th April, 2023, the Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy released the State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) 2021-22 report.
- The index aims to drive decarbonisation efforts and achieve a more sustainable future.
- The report is developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in collaboration with Alliance for an Energy-Efficient Economy (AEEE).
- The State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) assesses the progress of states and UTs in energy efficiency implementation for FY 2020-21 and 2021-22.
- SEEI 2021-22 has an updated framework of 50 indicators aligned with national priorities.
- Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, and Telangana are in the Front Runner category (>60 points) in SEEI 2021-22.
- Assam, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Punjab are in the Achiever category (50-60 points) in SEEI 2021-22.
- The SEEI helps states identify areas for improvement, learn from best practices, and adopt an economy-wide approach to energy efficiency implementation.
- The report outlines recommendations to help states drive change in energy efficiency, which will contribute towards the fulfillment of SDGs and NDC.
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) was established by the Government of India on 1st March 2002 under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001, with a mission to develop policies and strategies for reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy. BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies, and other organizations to perform the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act, which provides for regulatory and promotional functions.
On 11th April, 2023, Philippines and the United States began their largest-ever joint military drills, named 'Balikatan' which means 'shoulder-to-shoulder'.
- The expanded annual exercises underscore improved defence ties between the two countries.
- For the first time, the Philippines and the United States will hold live-fire drills at sea.
- The drills will also include training in amphibious operations, aviation operations, cyber defence, urban operations, counter-terrorism and humanitarian and disaster relief.
Nifty REITs and InvITs Index
On 11th April, 2023, NSE Indices Ltd, an arm of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), launched the country’s first-ever Real Estate Investment Trusts and Infrastructure Investment Trusts index — Nifty REITs and InvITs Index.
- The index aims to track the performance of REITs and InvITs that are publicly listed and traded on the NSE.
- A real estate investment trust (REIT) or an infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) is an investment vehicle that owns revenue-generating real estate or infrastructure assets.
- REITs invest in real estate projects, whereas InvITs invest in infrastructure projects with a long gestation period.
- Through these trusts, investors get exposure to diversified regular income-generating real estate and infrastructure assets.
- The Nifty REITs and InvITs index has a base value of 1,000 and the index will be reviewed and rebalanced on a quarterly basis.
5th Cycle of Management Effectiveness Evaluation
On April 9th, 2023, the Centre released the 5th cycle of Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE), which assesses the management of tiger reserves in India.
- The Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala has been ranked as the best-maintained tiger reserve in India.
- While Periyar reserve has obtained an MEE score of 94.3%, it is followed closely by the Satpura Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, Bandipur in Karnataka and Nagarhole in Karnataka.
- None of the country's tiger reserves were graded as 'Poor' in the MEE report.
- The overall mean MEE score has increased from 65% in the second cycle in 2010 to 77.92% in the present assessment, indicating continuous improvement in management effectiveness.
- 12 tiger reserves ranked in the 'Excellent' category, followed by 20 in the 'Very Good' category, 14 in the 'Good' category, and 5 in the 'Fair' category.
- The headline indicator 'carbon capture and climate change' received the lowest score in the current cycle due to the absence of a mandate for it in Tiger Conservation Plans.
Amendment to the IT Rules, 2021
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has released an amendment to the IT Rules, 2021, to regulate "online real money games”.
- The I&B Ministry objected to recent instances of mainstream English and Hindi newspapers carrying such advertisements and warned of legal action for non-compliance.
- MeitY's amendment to the IT Rules requires real money gaming platforms to register with a self-regulatory body (SRB) to determine whether the game is "permissible."
- Three SRBs will be recognized soon.
- Games that are not deemed "permissible" may not get protection under the amendment, and states may take action against them for being gambling or betting platforms.
Advanced Gravitational-Wave Detector
Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved a project to build an advanced gravitational-wave detector in Maharashtra.
- LIGO-India will be the third of its kind, made to the exact specifications of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories (LIGO) in Louisiana and Washington in the U.S.
- It is expected to be completed by 2030.
- It will work in tandem with the LIGO observatories in the U.S.
- The facility will enable the global network of LIGO gravitational wave detectors to study gravitational waves emitted by very massive objects in the universe in extreme environments.
- The project is collaboration between a consortium of Indian research institutions and the U.S. observatories, plus several international partners.
Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories (LIGO) are highly sensitive scientific instruments that are designed to detect the tiny ripples or distortions in space-time known as gravitational waves.
- These ripples are caused by the collision of very massive objects such as black holes or neutron stars, and can provide important insights into the nature of the universe.
- The LIGO observatories use laser beams to detect these waves by measuring the minute changes in the length of two perpendicular arms of the observatory caused by the passing gravitational wave.
Tri Services' Special Forces Exercise
Recently, The Shatrujeet Brigade of the Indian Army participated in a major multi-domain exercise with the tri-services Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC) to enhance its rapid reaction capabilities on the strategically important Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- The exercise was carried out in conjunction with the Indian Air Force and Navy.
- The purpose was to test the joint manship and interoperability among the special forces of tri-services.
- Various plans and contingencies were simulated in realistic tactical settings.
- Paratroopers from Uttar Pradesh's Agra took off and landed with surgical precision on a remote island.
- The C130 J super Hercules aircraft of the IAF was used for the operation.
- The exercise witnessed the validation and deployment of specialized equipment, combat free fall jumps, and ground-based maneuvers.
- The 50th Parachute Brigade, a brigade-sized formation of the Indian Army, played a pivotal role in the exercise.
- The brigade consists of airborne battalions, artillery batteries, a para field hospital, signal and engineer sections.
- The highly skilled Paratroopers are trained to conduct various missions, ranging from prevention and pre-emption tasks to multifaceted, high-intensity combat fighting.
India Elected to UN Statistical Commission
Recently, India has been elected to the highest statistical body of the United Nations, the UN Statistical Commission, for a four-year term beginning on January 1, 2024.
- India won the election with 46 out of 53 votes, leaving behind competitors Republic of Korea, China, and the United Arab Emirates.
- India's expertise in the field of statistics, diversity, and demography has earned it a seat on the UN Statistical Commission according to External Affairs Minister.
- A second candidate is yet to be decided between South Korea and China.
- The balloting process to elect the remaining Asia Pacific states member is yet to be concluded, with a decision expected later in the day.
From 03 to 08 April 2023, the 10th edition of the India-Sri Lanka bilateral maritime exercise SLINEX-23 is scheduled to take place in Colombo.
- SLINEX-23 is being conducted in two phases.
- It aims to enhance interoperability and exchange best practices through joint maritime operations.
- The Indian Navy is represented by two vessels: INS Kiltan, an indigenous Kamorta class ASW corvette, and INS Savitri, an Offshore Patrol Vessel.
- The Sri Lanka Navy is represented by SLNS Gajabahu and SLNS Sagara.
- Maritime Patrol Aircraft, helicopters, and Special Forces from both sides will participate in the exercise.
- Professional, cultural, and sporting events, as well as social exchanges, are planned during the Harbour Phase.
- These activities are intended to further bolster the bonds of friendship and camaraderie between the two navies.