geography

Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020

BRAHMAPUTRA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES

About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 13th July 2021

    1.     MEDICINAL PLANTS

    • News: A drive for growing medicinal plants at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been launched in Rajasthan, with the task forces appointed for distributing saplings to all households along with the message for increasing natural immunity to the fight the infection.
    • Details:
      • The medicinal plants of tulsi, giloy, ashwagandha and kalmegh, prepared by the State government’s Forest Department.
      • The ‘Ghar Ghar Aushadhi’ (medicine in each household) scheme had been started after the getting the opinion of experts based on research in traditional medicine.
    • About Medicinal Plant:
      • The term “medicinal plant” include various types of plants used in herbalism (“herbology” or “herbal medicine”). It is the use of plants for medicinal purposes, and the study of such uses.
      • The word “herb” has been derived from the Latin word, “herba” and an old French word “herbe”. Now a days, herb refers to any part of the plant like fruit, seed, stem, bark, flower, leaf, stigma or a root, as well as a non-woody plant. Earlier, the term “herb” was only applied to non-woody plants, including those that come from trees and shrubs. These medicinal plants are also used as food, flavonoid, medicine or perfume and also in certain spiritual activities.
      • Indigenous cultures such as Rome, Egypt, Iran, Africa and America used herbs in their healing rituals, while other developed traditional medical systems such as Unani, Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine in which herbal therapies were used systematically.
      • Medicinal plants such as Aloe, Tulsi, Neem, Turmeric and Ginger cure several common ailments. These are considered as home remedies in many parts of the country. It is known fact that lots of consumers are using Basil (Tulsi) for making medicines, black tea, in pooja and other activities in their day to day life.

    2.     ORTHODOX CHURCH

    • News: Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, passed away early Monday after a prolonged illness. He was 74.
    • About Orthodox Church:
      • The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members.
      • It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods.
      • The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the bishop of Rome (Pope), but the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares (“first among equals”) of the bishops among the world’s Eastern Orthodox prelates and is regarded as the representative and spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians.
      • Eastern Orthodox theology is based on holy tradition which incorporates the dogmatic decrees of the seven ecumenical councils, the Scriptures, and the teaching of the Church Fathers.
      • The church teaches that it is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, and that its bishops are the successors of Christ’s apostles.

    3.     CENTRAL ASIA

    • News: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar travels to Central Asia on Tuesday for two back-to-back meetings focusing on Afghanistan, which will see him face-to-face with the Foreign Ministers of both Pakistan and China as well as attending a conference with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
    • About Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):
      • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), or Shanghai Pact, is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance, the creation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai, China by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Charter, formally establishing the organization, was signed in June 2002 and entered into force on 19 September 2003.
      • The original five members, with the exclusion of Uzbekistan, were previously members of the Shanghai Five group, founded on 26 April 1996.
      • Since then, the organization has expanded its membership to eight states when India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members on 9 June 2017 at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
      • The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO, it meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation.
      • Military exercises are also regularly conducted among members to promote cooperation and coordination against terrorism and other external threats, and to maintain regional peace and stability.
      • The SCO is the largest regional organisation in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, covering three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the human population.
      • The SCO is widely regarded as the “alliance of the East”, due to its growing centrality in Asia-Pacific, and has been the primary security pillar of the region.
      • In 2017, SCO’s eight full members account for approximately half of the world’s population, a quarter of the world’s GDP, and about 80% of Eurasia’s landmass.
    • Map of Central Asia:

    4.     SESSION OF THE PARLIAMENT

    • News: For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in March 2020, sessions of both Houses of Parliament — the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha — will be held simultaneously, ending the two-shift routine followed since September last.
    • About the Session of the Parliament:
      • The period during which the House meets to conduct its business is called a session. The Constitution empowers the President to summon each House at such intervals that there should not be more than a six-month gap between the two sessions. Hence the Parliament must meet at least twice a year. In India, the Parliament conducts three sessions each year:
        • Budget session: January/February to May
        • Monsoon session: July to August/September
        • Winter session: November to December

    5.     INTERNATIONAL NORTH – SOUTH TRANSPORT CORRIDOR

    • News: Special train is snaking its way from Finland to India. From Helsinki to Mumbai (at the Nhava Sheva port) in just about 22-25 days. It is part of something called the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which seeks to build transport routes that connect Central Asia, Europe, Iran, Russia and India.
    • About International North – South Transport Corridor:
      • The International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road route for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.
      • The route primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road.
      • The objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Bandar Abbas, Astrakhan, Bandar Anzali, etc.
      • Dry runs of two routes were conducted in 2014, the first was Mumbai to Baku via Bandar Abbas and the second was Mumbai to Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas, Tehran and Bandar Anzali.
      • The objective of the study was to identify and address key bottlenecks.
      • The results showed transport costs were reduced by “$2,500 per 15 tons of cargo”.
      • Other routes under consideration include via Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
      • This will also synchronize with the Ashgabat agreement, a Multimodal transport agreement signed by India (2018), Oman (2011), Iran (2011), Turkmenistan (2011), Uzbekistan (2011) and Kazakhstan (2015) (figure in the bracket indicates the year of joining the agreement), for creating an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.

    6.     WILDFIRES RAGE AS HEATWAVES HIT U.S., CANADA

    • News: The western United States and Canada was suffering under scorching temperatures to start the week, with heat warnings still in place Monday and authorities struggling to reign in wildfires in both countries.
    • About Heat Wave:
      • A heat wave, or heatwave, is a period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity, especially in oceanic climate countries.
      • While definitions vary, a heat wave is usually measured relative to the usual weather in the area and relative to normal temperatures for the season.
      • Temperatures that people from a hotter climate consider normal can be called a heat wave in a cooler area if they are outside the normal climate pattern for that area.
      • The term is applied both to hot weather variations and to extraordinary spells of hot which may occur only once a century.
      • Severe heat waves have caused catastrophic crop failures, thousands of deaths from hyperthermia, and widespread power outages due to increased use of air conditioning.
      • A heat wave is considered extreme weather that can be a natural disaster, and a danger because heat and sunlight may overheat the human body. Heat waves can usually be detected using forecasting instruments so that a warning call can be issued.