- Established in March 2013 during the Fifth BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] Summit held in Durban, South Africa, The BRICS Business Council aims to facilitate cooperation between the five countries in various sectors, as well as promote trade and industry amongst them. Source: BRICS Business Council. China introduced the “BRICS Plus” format at the Xiamen summit last year by inviting a few countries from different regions. China invited Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand as guest countries for the Xiamen BRICS summit in 2017. Read more at Firstpost. The 2018 BRICS summit was the tenth edition of the annual BRICS summit.
- ‘World Report’ by the Human Rights Watch summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. World Report 2018.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Bamboo Mission (NBM) under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) during remaining period of Fourteenth Finance Commission (2018-19 & 2019-20). An outlay of Rs.1290 crore (with Rs. 950 crore as Central share) is provisioned for implementation of the Mission during the remaining period of 14th Finance Commission (2018-19 and 2019-20). Read more at PIB.
- Under the Indian Forest Act, the definition of ‘tree’ includes palms, stumps, brush-wood, and canes. A recent amendment in the Act has removed ‘bamboo’ from the definition. Consequent to the amendment, felling or transportation of bamboos growing in non-forest areas will not require any permits. Source: PRS Legislative Research. However, bamboo grown in the forest areas shall continue to be governed by the provisions of Indian Forest Act, 1927. Read more at PIB.
- The ‘New Southern Policy’ of South Korea’s is meant for development of its relations with Southeast Asia and ASEAN. India forms a significant part of the New Southern Policy. Also read: The Diplomat and The Hindu.
- The drug, a synthetic version of a human hormone, is a life-saver for women. Doctors use it to induce labour in pregnant women and to stem postpartum bleeding. So critical is its role in maternal health that the World Health Organization recommends it as the drug of choice in postpartum haemorrhage. Oxytocin stimulates lactation in cattle, dairy farmers inject the drug indiscriminately to increase milk production.Citing overuse and abuse of the hormone in dairy farms, Union Health Ministry’s has banned the retail sale and private manufacture of oxytocin. Read more at The Hindu.
- Central Pollution Control Board is executing a nation-wide programme of ambient air quality monitoring known as National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP). Under N.A.M.P., four air pollutants viz ., Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Oxides of Nitrogen as NO2, Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM / PM10) and Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) have been identified for regular monitoring at all the locations. The monitoring of meteorological parameters such as wind speed and wind direction, relative humidity (RH) and temperature were also integrated with the monitoring of air quality. Source: Central Pollution Control Board.
- Countries across the globe adopted an historic international climate agreement at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015. In anticipation of this moment, countries publicly outlined what post-2020 climate actions they intended to take under the new international agreement, known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The climate actions communicated in these INDCs largely determine whether the world achieves the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement: to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C, to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C, and to achieve net zero emissions in the second half of this century. Read more at World Resource Institute.
- Sabang Island is located in Indonesia. Sentosa Island is located in Singapore. Sabang Island is strategically important for India from the angle of maritime defence. Read: The Diplomat. Sentosa Island has been in news as the first meeting between Mr. Donald Trump and Mr. Kim Jong-Un took place on Sentosa Island. Assumption Island is another strategically located Island for India from the purpose of defence.
- Delhi and Varanasi are among the 14 Indian cities that figured in a list of 20 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM2.5 levels in 2016. Other Indian cities that registered very high levels of PM2.5 pollutants were Kanpur, Faridabad, Gaya, Patna, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur. Read more at The Hindu Business Line. (Note: The data relating to 2016 study was released recently in 2018).
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