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Current Affairs 23 March 2023

CONTENTS

  1. IPCC Synthesis Report for the Sixth Assessment
  2. World Happiness Report 2023
  3. BrahMos Supersonic cruise missile
  4. Interpol
  5. OneWeb India-2 Mission
  6. Equinox

IPCC Synthesis Report for the Sixth Assessment


Context:

Recently, Highlighting the need for urgent climate action, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Synthesis Report for the Sixth Assessment Cycle in Interlaken, Switzerland.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the Report:
  2. Implications and Recommendations from IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report Synthesis for India

Highlights of the Report:

The Synthesis Report of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report is a compilation of the main findings from three Working Groups (WGs):

  1. Physical Science Basis of Climate Change (WG I)
  2. Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (WG II)
  3. Mitigation (WG III)
The report highlights the following key points:
  • Urgent action needed: The report emphasises the need for effective and equitable action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change for a “liveable sustainable future for all.”
  • Temperature rise: The report notes that despite warnings in 2018, greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase, resulting in a global surface temperature rise of 1.1°C over pre-industrial levels. The report highlights the urgency of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels set by the Paris Agreement.
  • Impact of temperature rise: The report states that the rise in temperature has led to extreme and/or unpredictable weather events, making people more susceptible to food insecurity and water shortages. Vulnerable populations disproportionately face the brunt of climate change.
  • Economic loss and damages: The report highlights the economic losses and damages caused by climate change and stresses the need for financial resolution for a more equitable world.

Implications and Recommendations from IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report Synthesis for India

  • Climate resilient development: The report suggests that climate resilient development can mitigate the effects of climate change while providing wider benefits such as access to clean energy, improving air quality, increasing employment opportunities, boosting healthcare through technology, and delivering equity. India should focus on development that is both climate resilient and sustainable.
  • Financial investments: The report emphasises the role of financial investments in achieving climate goals and encourages public funding through central banks, government and financial regulators to reduce emissions, scale up climate resilience, and protect marginalised communities.
  • Minimise loss and damage: India’s priority should be to minimise loss and damage in terms of lives, livelihood, and biodiversity and accelerate equitable action and adaptation.
  • Lower per-capita emissions: India can lower its per-capita emissions through energy efficiency policies that are already being implemented in almost every sector.
  • Decarbonisation of energy sector: India can also decarbonise its energy sector by using cleaner options like solar and renewable energy.

Source: The Hindu


World Happiness Report 2023


Context:

India has been ranked at the 126th place among 146 countries in the recently released World Happiness Report.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About World Happiness Report:
  2. World Happiness Report 2023 Highlights
  3. About United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)

About World Happiness Report:

  • The World Happiness Report is an annual publication by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
  • The report is based on global survey data collected from individuals in over 150 countries.
  • The report takes into account people’s own assessment of their happiness, along with economic and social data.
  • The report considers six primary factors that contribute to happiness: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption.
  • The report assigns a happiness score to each country based on an average of data collected over a three-year period.

World Happiness Report 2023 Highlights

  • Finland has retained its position as the world’s happiest country for the sixth year in a row, according to the World Happiness Report 2023.
  • India has been ranked 126 in the report, ten places higher than its ranking of 136 in 2022. However, it still ranks lower than most neighboring countries, including Pakistan (108) and Sri Lanka (112).
  • The report aims to provide policymakers with data and insights to improve the well-being of their citizens and promote sustainable development.

About United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)

  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) was launched in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General.
  • The SDSN aims to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • The SDSN collaborates closely with United Nations agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, and civil society to achieve its goals.
  • The network comprises of members from various sectors, including universities, research organizations, civil society, and private sector entities.
  • SDSN conducts research, develops solutions, and provides technical support to help countries achieve sustainable development goals in various areas such as poverty eradication, health, education, climate change, and more.

-Source: Indian Express


BrahMos Supersonic cruise missile


Context:

Recently, CEO and Managing Director of BrahMos Aerospace said that 75% indigenous capacity has been achieved in the BrahMos missile project.

Relevance

 GS-III Internal Security Challenges, Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About BrahMos supersonic cruise missile
  2. About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

About BrahMos supersonic cruise missile

  • The BrahMos is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft, or land.
  • It is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world.
  • BRAHMOS is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation of India (DRDO) and the NPOM of Russia.
  • Brahmos is named on the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva.
  • It is a two-stage (solid propellant engine in the first stage and liquid ramjet in second) air to surface missile with a flight range of around 300 km.
  • However, India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has extended the range of the BRAHMOS missile to reach 450 km-600km, a shade above its current MTCR capped range of 300 km.
  • Brahmos is a multiplatform i.e., it can be launched from land, air, and sea and multi capability missile with pinpoint accuracy that works in both day and night irrespective of the weather conditions.
  • It operates on the “Fire and Forgets” principle i.e., it does not require further guidance after launch.
  • Brahmos is one of the fastest cruise missiles currently operationally deployed with speed of Mach 2.8, which is 3 times more than the speed of sound.

About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is an agency of the Government of India, charged with the military’s research and development.
  • It is headquartered in Delhi, India and has its 50+ labs all across the country.
  • It was formed in 1958.
  • It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India.
  • With a network of 52 laboratories, which are engaged in developing defence technologies covering various fields, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, land combat engineering, life sciences, materials, missiles, and naval systems, DRDO is India’s largest and most diverse research organisation.
Objectives of DRDO
  • Design, develop and lead to production state-of-the-art sensors, weapon systems, platforms and allied equipment for our Defence Services.
  • Provide technological solutions to the Services to optimise combat effectiveness and to promote well-being of the troops.
  • Develop infrastructure and committed quality manpower and build strong indigenous technology base.
Issues with DRDO:
  • Inadequate Budgetary Support
  • It also suffers from inadequate manpower in critical areas to the lack of proper synergy with the armed forces.
  • Cost escalation and long delays have damaged the reputation of DRDO.
  • DRDO is big on promise and small on delivery. There is no accountability. Nobody is taken to task for time and cost overruns.
  • Equipments are obsolete and is just tinkering with World War II equipment instead of working on cutting-edge technology.

-Source: The Hindu


Interpol


Context:

The removal of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi’s name from the Interpol database of Red Notices has drawn condemnation from the Opposition parties in India, while the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought the restoration of the notice.

Relevance:

GS III: Security challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the case against Mehul Choksi?
  2. About Interpol
  3. What is a Red Notice?
  4. Is an RN a warrant of arrest?

What is the case against Mehul Choksi?

  • Mehul Choksi is the owner of Gitanjali Group, a jewellery firm with 4,000 stores in India.
  • He, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, are wanted in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam. Choksi and Modi are accused of conniving with bank officials to have fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoU) and Foreign Letters of Credit issued to companies owned by them.
  • In this case, no securities were kept by the PNB before issuing the LoUs.
  • The case came to light in January 2018, when the PNB submitted a fraud report to the Reserve Bank of India. CBI filed an FIR in the case a week later. By this time, Choksi had already fled the country.
  • Choksi is wanted in India for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and financial misappropriation. An arrest warrant has been issued against him.
  • Choksi had acquired citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 and was living there from 2018.
  • However, he went missing from Antigua and Barbuda on May 23, 2021, and was soon caught in Dominica. While Choksi claimed he was kidnapped, he was charged with illegal entry by the police in Dominica.
  • In May 2022, Dominica dropped these charges against him.
  • The Red Notice was issued against Choksi in December 2018 after a request from the CBI and Enforcement Directorate. His appeals against the decision were rejected in 2020.

About Interpol

  • The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO), commonly known as INTERPOL, is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.
  • Headquartered in Lyon, it has seven regional bureaus worldwide and a National Central Bureau in all 194 member states, making it the world’s largest police organization.
  • INTERPOL provides investigative support, expertise, and training to law enforcement worldwide, focusing on three major areas of transnational crime: terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime.
  • Its broad mandate covers virtually every kind of crime, including crimes against humanity, child pornography, drug trafficking and production, political corruption, copyright infringement, and white-collar crime.
  • The agency also facilitates co-operation among national law enforcement institutions through criminal databases and communications networks.
  • Contrary to popular belief, INTERPOL is itself not a law enforcement agency.
  • INTERPOL is mostly funded by annual contributions by member police forces in 181 countries.
  • It is governed by a General Assembly, composed of all member countries, which elects the Executive Committee and the President.
  • Pursuant to its charter, INTERPOL seeks to remain politically neutral in fulfilling its mandate, as it is barred from interventions or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial nature or involving itself in disputes over such matters.
  • The agency operates in four languages: Arabic, English, French, and Spanish.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the nodal agency in the INTERPOL for India.

What is a Red Notice?

  • Criminals or suspects often flee to other countries to evade facing justice.
  • A Red Corner Notice, or Red Notice (RN) alerts police forces across the world about fugitives who are wanted internationally.
  • RNs contain information that helps identify wanted persons, such as their names, dates of birth, nationality, and physical attributes such as the colour of their hair and eyes, as well as pictures and biometric data such as fingerprints, if they are available. RNs also mention the crime(s) they are wanted for.
  • An RN is published by Interpol at the request of a member country.
  • The fugitives may be wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence.
  • The country issuing the request need not be the home country of the fugitive; Interpol acts on the request of a country where the alleged crime has been committed.
  • These RNs are restricted for use by law enforcement authorities only.
  • An RN is published on Interpol’s website only in cases where the help of the public is needed to locate an individual, or if those individuals pose a threat to public safety.

Is an RN a warrant of arrest?

  • An RN is only an international wanted persons’ notice; it is not an international arrest warrant.
  • Interpol itself does not want individuals; they are wanted by a country or an international tribunal.
  • This means the Interpol cannot compel law enforcement authorities in any country to arrest the subject of an RN.
  • It is up to individual member countries to decide what legal value to give to an RN, and the authority of their national law enforcement officers to make arrests.
  • Every Red Notice request is checked by a specialised task force to ensure it is compliant with (Interpol) rules.
  • The Interpol argues that an RN is issued only after a competent court has taken cognisance of a chargesheet against the fugitive.

-Source: Indian Express


OneWeb India-2 Mission


Context:

In its second commercial launch, ISRO’s (Indian Space Research Organisation) heaviest launch vehicle LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark 3) will launch a fleet of 36 OneWeb satellites, completing the first generation of the huge broadband constellation.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About LVM3-M3/OneWeb India-2 Mission
  2. About OneWeb Constellation

About LVM3-M3/OneWeb India-2 Mission

  • The LVM3-M3/OneWeb India-2 Mission is the 18th launch of OneWeb, a UK-based company, and will add to its existing constellation of 582 satellites.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) commercial arm, NSIL, had signed a contract with OneWeb to launch 72 satellites in two phases.
  • The first set of 36 satellites was launched in the LVM3-M2/OneWeb India-1 mission on October 23, 2022.
  • The LVM3-M3/OneWeb India-2 Mission is the second OneWeb fleet that India is launching, marking India’s entry into the commercial heavy lift-off space.

About OneWeb Constellation

  • OneWeb Constellation is a network of satellites that operate in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Polar Orbit.
  • The satellites are arranged in 12 rings, or orbital planes, with 49 satellites in each plane.
  • The orbital planes are inclined to be near-polar, with an inclination of 87.9 degrees.
  • Each satellite is located approximately 1200 km above the Earth’s surface and completes a full trip around the Earth every 109 minutes.
Significance:
  • OneWeb Constellation already provides connectivity solutions in various key locations worldwide and continues to expand its network to bring more areas online.
  • The high-speed, low-latency solutions offered by OneWeb will help connect communities, businesses, and governments around the world, demonstrating the immense potential of LEO connectivity.

-Source: Indian Express


Equinox


Context:

The vernal equinox is observed on March 21st 2023.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Equinox
  2. Significance of Equinox

About Equinox

  • The equinox occurs twice a year, around 21st March and 23rd September, when the sun is directly above the equator.
  • During the equinox, both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres experience equal day and night time.
  • In the Northern Hemisphere, the vernal equinox (spring equinox) occurs around 20th or 21st March, while in the Southern Hemisphere, it takes place on 22nd or 23rd September.
  • Conversely, during the autumn season in the Northern Hemisphere on 23rd September (autumnal equinox), it is springtime in the Southern Hemisphere, and on 21st March, it is the opposite.

Significance of Equinox

  • During the equinox, the Sun is directly above the equator, and both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres receive almost equal amounts of sunlight.
  • The spring equinox, which occurs in March in the Northern Hemisphere, results in more hours of daylight with earlier sunrises and later sunsets as the northern hemisphere tilts closer to the Sun.
  • In Hindu astrology, the vernal equinox is known as Vasant Vishuva or Vasant Sampat.
  • The spring equinox brings earlier sunrises, later sunsets, and sprouting plants in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • In the Southern Hemisphere, the autumnal equinox brings later sunrises, earlier sunsets, chillier winds, and dry and falling leaves.
  • The equinox plays a significant role in astronomy, and it is observed as a significant event in various cultures and traditions around the world.

-Source: The Hindu


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