1. A​​s a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented. Read more: International Maritime Organisation. India has been re-elected as Member of International Maritime Council for two years (2018-19) in December 2017 under Category “B”. The IMO Council consists of 40 member countries. In Categories “A” and “B” there are 10 members each and in Cateogary “C” 20 members, who are elected by the IMO Assembly. IMO Council plays a crucial role to play in deciding various important matters within the mandate of the IMO, in relation to the global shipping industry, including its work programme strategy and budget. Read more at PIB.
  2. The Parker Solar Probe, a robotic spacecraft the size of a small car, is set to fly into the sun’s corona within 3.8 million miles from the solar surface to study this outermost part of the stellar atmosphere that gives rise to the solar wind. Unpredictable solar winds cause disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field and can play havoc with communications technology on the earth. Read more at The Hindu.
  3. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) are agreements between two or more countries, which create obligations under international law for governments to assist one another in criminal investigations and prosecutions. Law enforcement officers or prosecutors use them when they need help to obtain evidence from within another country’s jurisdiction. Read more at MLAT. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has entered into Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties/Agreements on Criminal Matters with 39 countries which provide for serving of documents and United Kingdom is one of them. Minstry of External Affairs.
  4. Salicornia, a plant that grows in salty marshes in the mangrove wetlands, can be used as the substitute to salt with low sodium content.  The Andhra Pradesh government has documented the presence of the Salicornia along the coastline of Krishna district, exploring the possibilities to extract the salt substitute through various methods. Read more at The Hindu.
  5. The Indian army is procuring the K-9 Vajra – T tracked self-propelled artillery guns from South Korea.
  6. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) has been formulated amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation; Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources; and only the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) component of National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation. Read more at PIB. The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), which is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) seeks to address issues associated with climate change.
  7. Ministry of Tourism has identified 17 sites in 12 clusters in the country for development under Iconic Tourist Sites Development Project, pursuant to Budget Announcements of 2018-19. Following are the 17 sites: Uttar Pradesh- Taj Mahal & Fatehpur Sikri; Maharashtra- Ajanta & Ellora; Delhi- Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort & QutubMinar; Goa- Colva beach; Rajasthan- Amer Fort; Gujarat- Somnath & Dholavira; Madhya Pradesh- Khajuraho; Karnataka- Hampi; Tamil Nadu- Mahabalipuram; Assam- Kaziranga; Kerala- Kumarakom; Bihar- Mahabodhi. Read more at PIB.
  8. In a bid to bring down pollution levels and having cleaner cars on the road, the Government has decided to skip directly to BS VI norms by 2020. India currently operates on Bharat Stage IV emission norms for two-, three- and four-wheelers. Read more at The Hindu. The BS IV norms were introduced in 13 cities apart from the National Capital Region from April 2010 onwards. According to the roadmap, the entire nation was to be covered under BS IV by April 1, 2017.  Read more at The Hindu Business Line. BS V norms were never applicable in India and are being skipped to BS VI norms from April 2020.
  9. The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water between Europe and Asia. Five countries — Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan — border the inland sea. The Caspian’s strategic importance lies in its abundance of energy resources. The sea contains large volumes of oil and natural gas reserves both in offshore deposits and in onshore fields in the immediate region. Sourced from: Startfor. The legal status of Caspian Sea is currently under challenge. Read more at: Azernews.
  10. Red Notice – To seek the location and arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition or similar lawful action.; Blue Notice – To collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime.; Green Notice – To provide warnings and intelligence about persons who have committed criminal offences and are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries.; Yellow Notice – To help locate missing persons, often minors, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves; Black Notice – To seek information on unidentified bodies; Orange notice – To warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety; Purple Notice – To seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals; INTERPOL – United Nations Security Council Special Notice-Issued for groups and individuals who are the targets of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees. Read more at INTERPOL.

Categories: POINT IAS

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