Monday, 16 October 2017

The Countries Bordering to Red Sea

The Red Sea, one of the most saline bodies of water in the world, is an inlet of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb sound and the Gulf of Aden. In the north are the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez (leading to the Suez Canal). The Sea has played a crucial navigational role since ancient times.
Occupying a part of the Great Rift Valley, the Red Sea has a surface area of about 174,000 square miles (450,000 km²): Being roughly 1,200 miles (1,900 km) long and, at its widest point, over 190 miles (300 km) wide. It has a maximum depth of 8,200 feet (2,500 m) in the central median trench and an average depth of 1,640 feet (500 m), but there are also extensive shallow shelves, noted for their marine life and corals. This, the world's most northern tropical sea, is the habitat of over 1,000 invertebrate species and 200 soft and hard corals.

  • Northern shore:
    • Egypt
    • Israel
    • Jordan
  • Eastern shore:
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Yemen
  • Western shore:
    • Sudan
    • Egypt
    • Eritrea
  • Southern shore:
    • Djibouti
    • Eritrea

See also - The Countries bordering the Mediterranean sea

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Friday, 13 October 2017

U.S. and Israel quit UNESCO

The U.S. on Thursday announced its withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), accusing it of “continuing anti-Israel bias.” UNESCO is the first UN agency to have admitted Palestine as a full member in 2011. As required by law, the U.S. has stopped funding UNESCO since then. The U.S. withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. Until then, it will remain a full member. Israel has also decided to pull out of UNESCO, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “The Prime Minister has instructed the Foreign Ministry to prepare Israel’s withdrawal from the organisation alongside the U.S.,” his office said in a statement. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the decision. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the U.S. would seek a permanent observer mission to UNESCO.

Thursday, 12 October 2017


G7 is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
 The European Union is also represented within the G7.

These countries are the seven major advanced economies as reported by the International Monetary Fund.

 Formally called G8 with Russia in it, but due to Crimean crisis Russia was ejected from the group.

 The organization was founded to facilitate shared macroeconomic initiatives by its members in response to the collapse of the exchange rate 1971, during the time of the Nixon Shock, the 1970s energy crisis and the ensuing recession.

 The group meets annually on summit site to discuss economic policies, while the G7 finance ministers have met at least semi-annually, up to 4 times a year at stand-alone meetings.

 2017 meet scheduled to be held at Sicily, Italy.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

 NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between several North American and European states.

 The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

 NATO's headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons.

 NATO is an Alliance that consists of 28 independent member countries across North America and Europe, the newest of which, Albania and Croatia.

Council of Europe

 The Council of Europe is an international organisation whose stated aim is to uphold human rights, democracy, and rule of law in Europe and promote European culture.

 It has 47 member states and is distinct from the European Union (EU).

 No country has ever joined the EU without first belonging to the Council of Europe.

Unlike the EU, the Council of Europe cannot make binding laws, but it does have the power to enforce select international agreements reached by European states on various topics.

 The best known body of the Council of Europe is the European Court of Human Rights, which enforces the European Convention on Human Rights.

 The Council's two statutory bodies are the Committee of Ministers, comprising the foreign ministers of each member state, and the Parliamentary Assembly, composed of members of the national parliaments of each member state.

 The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution within the Council of Europe, mandated to promote awareness of and respect for human rights in the member states.

 The headquarters of the Council of Europe are in Strasbourg, France.

 The Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress also use German, Italian, Russian, and Turkish for some of their work.

 Turkey is also a member.

 The aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members by safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress.

 Council of Europe conventions/treaties are also open for signature to non-member states, thus facilitating equal co-operation with countries outside Europe.

 Nearly all European states have acceded to the Council of Europe, with the exceptions of Belarus (human rights concerns), Kazakhstan (human rights concerns), and the Vatican City (a theocracy), as well as some of the territories with limited recognition.

European Union

 The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe.

 The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union in 1993 and introduced European citizenship.

 The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.

 The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states.

 EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development.

 Within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished.

A monetary union has been established within union but lacks common Fiscal union.

 EU is composed of 28 member states but only 19 EU member states use the euro currency.

 The Lisbon Treaty now contains a clause under Article 50, providing for a member to leave the EU.

 United Kingdom enacted the result of a membership referendum in June 2016 and is currently negotiating its withdrawal.

 The EU as a whole is the largest economy in the world.

 EU has a common foreign and security policy, thus developing a coordinated external relations and defence.

The membership of EU entails a partial delegation of sovereignty to the institutions in return for representation within those institutions, a practice often referred to as "pooling of sovereignty".

 To become a member, a country must meet the Copenhagen criteria, of the European Council which requires a stable democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law; a functioning market economy; and the acceptance of the obligations of membership, including EU law.

 The four countries that are not EU members have partly committed to EU's economy and regulations - Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

 The European Council gives political direction to the EU.

 Council of European Union acts together with European Parliament as a legislature.

 European Commission is the Executive arm.

 Court of Justice Of European Union ensures uniform application and interpretation of European Law.

 European Central Bank together with national central bank determines monetary policy.

Common Wealth of Nations

 Common wealth nations or British Commonwealth is an intergovernmental organisation of 52 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.

 The Commonwealth operates by intergovernmental consensus of the member states, organised through the Commonwealth Secretariat and non-governmental organisations, organised through the Commonwealth Foundation.

 Queen Elizabeth II who is the Head of the Commonwealth and also the monarch of 16 members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realms.

 Member states have no legal obligation to one another.

 Instead, they are united by language, history, culture and their shared values of democracy, free speech, human rights, and the rule of law.

 The Commonwealth of Nations is represented in the United Nations General Assembly by the secretariat as an observer.

 In addition, some members treat resident citizens of other Commonwealth countries preferentially to citizens of non-Commonwealth countries.

 Britain and several others, mostly in the Caribbean, grant the right to vote to Commonwealth citizens who reside in those countries.

 In non-Commonwealth countries in which their own country is not represented, Commonwealth citizens may seek consular assistance at the British embassy.

 The first member to be admitted without having any constitutional link to the British Empire or a Commonwealth member was Mozambique

 In 2009, Rwanda became the second member admitted not to have any such constitutional links.

11th Oct Daily current affairs for UPSC Civil Service Exam

Compound to destruct cancer cells

  • Scientists have discovered a new compound that directly drives cancer cells to commit suicide while sparing healthy cells.
  • It paves the way for faster and more efficient treatment of cancer cells.
  • The compound which causes the self-destruction of cancer cells is “BTSA1”.
  • It combats cancer by triggering “Apoptosis”, a process that rids the body of malfunctioning cells.
Quasi-Zenith Satellite System
  • Quasi-Zenith is a regional terrestrial positioning network system launched by Japan.
  • The satellite system consists of 4 satellites which will operate at an altitude of between 33,000 and 39,000 km above the earth in geosynchronous orbit.
  • Its function is to improve GPS data accuracy for smartphones and vehicle navigation systems and complementary use of GPS.
  • Japan recently launched its fourth and final quasi-zenith satellite into orbit.
  • These satellites will be to establish communications during a malfunction of traditional networks due to a natural disaster.
Mitra Shakti
  • It is India-Sri Lanka joint military exercise.
  • It had started in 2012 as a response to China’s efforts to increase its influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
  • This year exercise, fifth in the series will be held in Pune.
  • The armies of India and Sri Lanka also serve together in the United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
Wind farm
  • Wind farm is a group of wind turbines used for producing electricity.
  • Turbines need a wind speed at least 16km/hr.
  • Ideal location-related criteria for wind farm include near-constant flow of non-turbulent wind all year round, minimum likelihood of sudden burst of powerful wind.
  • The top 4 wind power countries are China, US, Germany and India.
  • Recent research has found that wind farms located over open seas can produce five times the amount of energy as compared to the ones situated on land.
  • Europe is currently the world leader in offshore wind power, with the first farm (Vindeby) being installed in Denmark in 1991.
  • In India, major wind power producing states are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
  • India’s total wind energy output – 28,700 MW.
  • India set a new national record producing 3600 MW from new installations in 2016 which helps in attaining 4th largest market country.
International Day of the Girl Child
  • Since 2012, 11th October has been marked as the International Day of the Girl, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
  • UNICEF observes the day to spur global attention and action to the challenges and opportunities girls face before, during, and after crises.
IMF’s growth projection
  • In IMF’s recent world economic outlook report, it has raised its projection for economic growth of major economies, but it drastically reduced the growth rate for India.
  • It projects that India would grow by 6.7% in 2017 and 7.4% in 2018 which are 0.5 and 0.3 percentage points lower than earlier projections.
  • It cited demonetisation and GST as the reason for slower growth.
  • At this rate, India will lose the tag of the fastest-growing major economy. China is projected to grow by 6.8 per cent in 2017.

Source: The Hindu, Indian Express.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

10th Oct Daily current affairs for UPSC Civil Service Exam

Vayoshreshtha Samman
  • President confers ‘Vayoshreshtha Samman’ to eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their services towards the cause of elderly persons.
  • In 2013, it has been upgraded as a “National Award”.
  • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment serves as the nodal ministry for the cause of senior citizens.
  • The Awards are given to institutions/organisations/individuals from any part of the country. 
  • Nominations are invited from Governmental and Non-Governmental Agencies.
  • International Day of Older Persons is observed on 1st of October every year pursuant to the adoption of a resolution by the UN General Assembly.
  • The Ministry has been celebrating the International day of Older Persons since 2005.
BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise
  • Home Ministry will inaugurate the First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’.
  • The Exercise will be conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency.
  • It was decided in the 17th BIMSTEC meeting held in Kathmandu in February this year that India would organize the first annual Disaster Management Exercise for the region.
  • The exercise is seen as a platform for sharing best practices of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Disaster management among all 7 nations of BIMSTEC.
  • BIMSTEC grouping - Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand
New Proposal of Election Commission
  • EC has urged the law ministry to amend election laws to include failure to clear dues of public utilities as a disqualification from contesting Lok Sabha and assembly polls.
  • The dues include government house rent, electricity and power bills etc.
  • Barring candidates will require amendment to the chapter-III of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) which deals with electoral offences.
  • However, the Government has rejected the proposal.
  • The rationale behind the rejection was the authority issuing the no-dues certificate to a candidate could be biased and may not give the required papers.
  • In cases of dispute on the dues, the matter could be referred to a court and may take time to settle.
  • In such cases, it would not be desirable to deny the candidate with the no dues certificate.
Achievements of CSIR
  • Platinum Jubilee celebration of CSIR was recently celebrated.
  • It is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Science and Technology and the largest R&D organization in India.
  • It has developed the system called “Drishti” - a visibility measuring system provides information to pilots on visibility for soft landing and take-off operation.
  • It has established the India’s first Lithium Ion Battery fabrication facility based on indigenous novel materials.
  • It developed Ksheer-Scanner, a new technical invention to detect the level of milk adulteration and adulterants.
  • It has designed the first ever standalone reading machine for visually impaired system called as “Divya Nayan”.
  • It pioneered DNA finger printing technique for medico-legal applications. India became the 3rd country to develop its own DNA finger printing.
  • It developed the world’s first non-steroidal oral contraceptive for women under the brand name of Chhaya and Saheli in National Family Planning Programme.
  • It pioneered India’s first five- seater aircraft.
  • It created a system called “Dhvani” which is used as modern indigenous marksmanship training system.
Conference of Partner NGOs
  • The first ever conference of Partner NGOs of Women and Child Development Ministry was recently held in New Delhi.
  • It aimed at sensitizing NGOs about the various schemes of the ministry and to give them an opportunity to share their experiences and insights.
  • An online facility will be created by WCD Ministry for receiving complaints/suggestions from NGOs in the field of women and children.
  • The broad themes of the conference include violence against women, national policy for women, trafficking of women and children, cyber crime and children and implementation of juvenile justice act.
Swachh Iconic Place
  • Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Madurai has been adjudged the best ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ (clean place) in India.
  • It is a special clean-up initiative focused on select iconic heritage, spiritual and cultural places in the country.
  • The initiative is being coordinated by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in association with the Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and the concerned State governments.

Source: PIB, The Hindu