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Daily Current Affairs

5-October-2023

1. Seven dead as glacial lake bursts in Sikkim.

Topic: GS3 – disaster management

Context:

  • Flash floods struck Sikkim, resulting in at least seven deaths and numerous injuries and missing individuals.
  • The floods were triggered by the overflow of a lake formed by the gradual melting of a Himalayan glacier.
  • The overflowing lake inundated the Teesta river basin and caused the destruction of the Chungthang dam, a crucial component of Sikkim’s largest hydroelectric project.
  • Highways, villages, and towns were washed away by the floodwaters.

What are glacial lakes:

  • Glacial lakes are bodies of water that form in or near glaciers, typically in mountainous regions with significant ice and snow accumulation.
  • These lakes are a result of various glacial processes, and they come in different shapes and sizes.
  • Formation: Glacial lakes form through several processes, including the melting of glacial ice, the damming of meltwater behind moraines (deposits of rocks and sediments left by a glacier), and the calving or breaking off of glacier ice into water bodies.

Question: How do glacial lakes form, and what are their ecological, geological, and hydrological impacts in mountainous regions?

2. Physics Nobel celebrates techniques to measure changes in electron properties

Topic: GS3 – science and technology

Context:

  • Nobel Prize in Physics 2023 awarded to Anne L’Huillier, Pierre Agostini, and Ferenc Krausz for developing tools to study ultrafast electron behavior in matter at the attosecond level.

What is their work about:

  • Electrons in matter exhibit rapid changes within a few hundred attoseconds (10^-18 seconds) as per quantum mechanics.
  • LHuillier’s work involved using an infrared beam on noble gases, producing multiple overtones and studying the relationship between wave frequency and intensity, a significant milestone.
  • Agostini’s team demonstrated the production of light with a pulse duration of 250 attoseconds in 2001, while Dr. Krausz isolated a single 650-attosecond pulse for electron kinetic energy measurements.
  • The impact of attosecond physics may not be immediately apparent, but it has potential applications in various fields, including biochemistry, diagnostics, superconductivity, and manufacturing techniques.
  • Attosecond physics opens doors to exploring previously unknown phenomena and discoveries that occur within attoseconds, even if their practical applications are not yet fully understood.

3. New defence indigenisation list has futuristic weapons, systems

Topic: GS3 – defence manufacturing

Context:

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh released the fifth Positive Indigenisation List consisting of 98 items to be procured by the Indian Armed Services from domestic sources.
  • The list is compiled by the Department of Military Affairs in consultation with stakeholders and emphasizes import substitution, especially components of major systems and platforms.
  • The items on the list include futuristic infantry combat vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, precision kill systems, radars, and more.

What is defence indigenisation list:

  • A Defence Indigenisation List is a compilation of military items and equipment that are planned to be procured by a country’s armed forces from domestic sources.
  • The list is developed to promote and prioritize the indigenous production of defense equipment and reduce reliance on imports.
  • It includes a range of items, from major weapon systems and platforms to components and spare parts.
  • Defence Indigenisation Lists are typically created through consultations between the defense ministry, armed forces, and relevant stakeholders to identify areas where domestic production can be enhanced.
  • These lists play a crucial role in supporting a nation’s defense self-sufficiency, technological advancement, and reducing the defense budget’s reliance on foreign acquisitions.
  • The aim is to strengthen the country’s defense industrial base, enhance security, and foster economic growth in the defense sector.

Question: What is the significance of a Defence Indigenisation List in a nation’s defense preparedness, and how does it contribute to self-reliance in defense production?

4. Green shipping plan to position maritime sector as eco-friendly

Topic: GS3 – marine shipping

Context:

  • The Director General of Shipping, Shyam Jagannathan, highlights the importance of India’s national action plan for green shipping.
  • The plan aims to promote eco-friendly practices and offer incentives for low emission ships in the maritime sector.

India’s Green shipping plan:

 India’s Green Shipping Plan is a comprehensive roadmap for reducing the environmental impact of the country’s maritime sector. It was launched in 2023 by the Ministry of Shipping and is aligned with India’s National Climate Change Action Plan.

The plan has four key objectives:

  • To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping sector by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
  • To improve energy efficiency in shipping operations.
  • To promote the use of clean fuels and technologies.
  • To develop a sustainable blue economy.

The plan includes a number of initiatives, such as:

  • Mandating the use of energy-efficient ships and technologies.
  • Promoting the use of alternative fuels, such as green hydrogen and ammonia.
  • Developing infrastructure for shore power and bunkering of alternative fuels.
  • Encouraging research and development in green shipping technologies.
  • Providing financial incentives for shipowners to adopt green practices.

Question: What are the key objectives of India’s Green Shipping Plan?

5. DISASTER IN SIKKIM: HOW DO GLACIAL LAKE OUTBURST FLOODS HAPPEN?

Topic: Disaster Management

Context:

  • At least eight people were dead and 48 others, including 22 Army personnel, were missing after South Lhonak lake, a glacial lake at a height of 17,000 ft in northwest Sikkim, burst following incessant rain, leading to flash floods downstream.
  • The glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) led to the Teesta spilling over its banks in at least four districts.

What are Glacial Lakes?

  • These are large bodies of water that sit in front of, on top of, or beneath a melting glacier.
  • They are mostly dammed by unstable ice or sediment composed of loose rock and debris, and thus become more dangerous as they grow bigger.
  • A breach in the lake wall leads to huge amounts of water rushing down the mountain, and causing what is called a glacial lake outburst flood or GLOF.

Reasons for GLOF

  • GLOF can be triggered by several reasons:
    • earthquakes,
    • very heavy rain,
    • ice avalanches

Vulnerability of South Lhonak Lake

  • Rising global temperatures have led to rapid glacier melting in the Sikkim Himalayas, resulting in the formation and expansion of glacier lakes.
  • Sikkim Himalayas currently host more than 300 glacial lakes, with 10 identified as vulnerable to outburst floods.
  • South Lhonak Lake’s size has significantly increased over the past five decades, rendering it susceptible to GLOF events.
  • Earthquakes, such as a magnitude 4.9 quake in 1991 and a magnitude 6.9 event in 2011, have raised concerns about the potential triggering of GLOFs in the region.

6. WHY THE PEACE NOBEL IS AWARDED IN NORWAY, AND OTHERS IN SWEDEN

Topic: Prelims

Context:

  • The Annual Nobel Prize announcements are underway with three of the 2023 awards unveiled so far by prize committees in Stockholm.
  • The prizes in literature, peace and economics are to follow, with one announcement every weekday until October 9.

Details:

  • The Nobel Prizes were created by Alfred Nobel, a 19th-century businessman and chemist from Sweden.
  • His claim to fame before the Nobel Prizes was inventing dynamite.
  • Interestingly, Nobel decided that the peace prize should be awarded in Norway and all the other prizes in Sweden.

Role of Sweden’s militarism:

  • Historians suspect Sweden’s history of militarism may have been a factor behind this.
  • During Nobel’s lifetime, Sweden and Norway were in a union, which the Norwegians reluctantly joined after the Swedes invaded their country in 1814.
  • It’s possible that Nobel thought Norway would be a more suitable location for a prize meant to encourage “fellowship among nations.”

Current Scenario:

  • To this day, the Nobel Peace Prize is a completely Norwegian affair, with the winners selected and announced by a Norwegian committee.
  • The peace prize even has its own ceremony in the Norwegian capital of Oslo on December 10 which is the anniversary of Nobel’s death, while the other prizes are presented in Stockholm.

7.Defence Minister releases fifth positive indigenisation list at 2-day Navy seminar

Topic: Defence

Context:

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh released the fifth positive indigenization list of 98 items for which there would be an import ban beyond indicated deadlines against them.
  • He released this list comprising a range of weapons, ammunition, and sensors alongside other announcements during the plenary session of ‘Swavlamban 2.0’, the two-day seminar of Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO).

Details:

The list includes:

  • Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle,
  • Articulated All-Terrain Vehicles,
  • Remotely Piloted Air Borne Vehicles up to 25 Km with 2 Kg Payload for Army,
  • Naval Shipborne Unmanned Aerial System,
  • Medium Upgrade Low Endurance Class Tactical Drone,
  • Electric Light Vehicle for Army,
  • Medium Range Precision Kill System for Artillery,
  • Next Generation Low Level Light Radar for Arm

8. Dominican Republic V-P, Dhankhar hold talks on enhancing cooperation

Topic: GS2-IR

Context:

  • Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar met his Dominican Republic counterpart Raquel Pena Rodriguez and discussed enhancing cooperation in sectors such as trade, pharmaceuticals and agriculture.

Details:

  • Two cooperation memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed after the meeting.
  • The first MoU was signed between India’s CSIR-NIO (National Institute of Oceanography) and the Dominican Republic’s National Institute of Maritime Affairs for scientific cooperation in ocean sciences.
  • The second MoU was signed between Union Health Ministry’s Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation and Drug Regulatory Authority of Dominican Republic on medical product regulation.
  • Rodriguez and Dhankhar had a detailed and fruitful discussion on enhancing cooperation in diverse sectors, including trade, pharmaceuticals, ICT, agriculture, food processing, space, higher education, capacity building, Ayurveda and yoga.

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