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World Affairs

ICANN

Why in news?

Global internet body ICANN and Indian IT industry body Nasscom announced collaboration to develop identifier technology that can be used for managing devices and infrastructure using internet.

About ICANN

  • ICANN is a non-profit body that administrates domain names and Internet protocol addresses (IPs) globally.
  • ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
  • ICANN was created in 1998 to take over the task of assigning web addresses.
  • It has assumed the responsibility for functions previously performed under U.S. Government contract.
  • IP address space allocation
  • Protocol parameter assignment
  • Domain name system management
  • Root server system management
 
  • It is not ICANN but the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, sets and publishes regulations and standards relevant to electronic communication and broadcasting technologies of all kinds including radio, television, satellite, telephone and the Internet.

What is DNS?

  • The Domain Name Systems (DNS) is the phonebook of the Internet.
  • Humans access information online through domain names, like nytimes.com or espn.com.
  • Web browsers interact through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
  • DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load Internet resources.
  • Each device connected to the Internet has a unique IP address which other machines use to find the device.
  • DNS servers eliminate the need for humans to memorize IP addresses such as 192.168.1.1.
Access, Watch and Reserve (AWaRe)

Why in news?

WHO has urged all countries to adopt the Access, Watch and Reserve guidelines to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, adverse events and costs.

About the news

  • ‘Rx: Keep it simple’ is the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) prescription to combat the growing menace of antibiotic abuse and burgeoning resistance worldwide.

About Access, Watch and Reserve (AWaRe)

  • It is a global campaign urging governments to adopt a tool to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, adverse events and costs.
  • The AWaRe tool was developed by the WHO Essential Medicines List to contain rising resistance and make antibiotic use safer and more effective.
  • It classifies antibiotics into three groups
  1. Access
  2. Watch
  3. Reserve
  • It specifies which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections, which ones should be available at all times in the healthcare system, and those that must be used sparingly or preserved and used only as a last resort.
  • The new campaign aims to increase the proportion of global consumption of antibiotics in the ‘Access’ group to at least 60%, and to reduce use of the antibiotics most at risk of resistance.
  • Using ‘Access’ antibiotics lowers the risk of resistance because they are ‘narrow-spectrum’ antibiotics (that target a specific microorganism rather than several).
  • They are also less costly because they are available in generic formulations.
  • In India, the Health Ministry has made it mandatory to display a 5mm-thick red vertical band on the packaging of prescription-only drugs to sensitise people to be cautious while buying these medicines that are widely sold without prescriptions.

Environment

Great Indian Bustard
 

Why in news?

Along with all other measures to revive Great Indian Bustard numbers, the aspect of regulating noise pollution levels also needs to be incorporated.

How does noise affect the GIB?

  • During the mating and courtship practices of the GIB, the male GIB inflates his 'gular' pouch (near the neck) which almost touches the ground, in order to produce a large booming sound which reverberates across the grassland.
  • The male GIB does this to attract GIB females and to inform them of his exact location in the vast expanse of the grassland.
  • The noise generated by human activities, whether be it by vehicles, tractors, music during processions, firecrackers, may interfere with the GIB’s mating call and drown it out.

About Great Indian Bustard

  • The great Indian bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) or Indian bustard is a bustard found on the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is a large bird with a horizontal body and long bare legs, giving it an ostrich like appearance.
  • It is one among the heaviest of the flying birds.
  • The great Indian bustard can easily be distinguished by its black crown on the forehead contrasting with the pale neck and head.
  • The body is brownish and the wings are marked with black, brown and grey.

Historical Habitats

  • Punjab, Haryana, UP, MP, Chattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Currently restricted to

  • Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, MP and Rajasthan.
  • It is locally known as Godavan, in Rajasthan.

Threats

  • Habitat loss & fragmentation
  • Change of land use pattern
  • Desertification
  • Ill-thought plantation of exotic & invasive species in grassland ecosystems
  • Neglect of state institutions due to classification of ‘grasslands’ as ‘wastelands’
  • Conversion of grasslands to agriculture lands due to increasing irrigation potential
  • Decline of nature/GIB-friendly agrarian practices 
  • Occasional poaching outside Protected Areas
  • Collisions with high tension electric wires
  • fast moving vehicles and free-ranging dogs in villages
  • Widespread agricultural expansion and mechanized farming
  • Infrastructural development

Conservation Status

  • Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
  • Listed in the CMS Convention
  • Listed in Appendix I of CITES
  • Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016).
  • It has also been identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.
 

Culture

‘Washi’ Paper

Why in news?

Japan’s Washi paper’s market value is dwindling despite its UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage tag.

About the news

  • Washi is a traditional Japanese paper.
  • The traditional hand-made paper is manufactured from plants called kozo, or mulberry, which has fibres that are much longer than materials used for paper in the west such as wood and cotton.

What is intangible cultural heritage?

  • An intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is a practice, representation, expression, knowledge, or skill, as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts, and cultural spaces that are considered by UNESCO to be part of a place's cultural heritage.
  • It does not only represent inherited traditions from the past but also contemporary rural and urban practices in which diverse cultural groups take part.
  • It is traditional, contemporary and living at the same time.
  • It includes monuments, collections of objects, traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.
  • It contributes to social cohesion, encouraging a sense of identity and responsibility which helps individuals to feel part of a community or society at large.
  • It is a community based initiative and knowledge of traditions, skills and customs are passed on to the rest of the community, from generation to generation.

India and intangible heritage

  • A total of 13 Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) elements from India have been inscribed till date on the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi, an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Culture is the nodal office for matters relating to the intangible cultural heritage.

2008

1.     Tradition of Vedic chanting

2.     Ramlila, the traditional performance of the Ramayana

3.     Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre

2009

4.     Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas, India

2010

5.     Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala

6.     Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan

7.     Chhau dance

2012

8.     Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir, India

2013

9.     Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur

2014

10.  Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab, India

2016

11.  Yoga

12.  Nowrouz

2017

13.  Kumbh Mela

 

Economy

Monetary Policy Committee

Why in news?

Growth impulses have weakened significantly as per the Minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee Meeting.

About MPC

  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a committee of the Reserve Bank of India headed by its Governor to fix the interest rate to contain inflation.
  • Monetary Policy Committee is defined by the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and is constituted the same Act.
  • The MPC replaced the earlier system where the RBI governor had complete control over monetary policy decisions.
  • A Committee-based approach will add lot of value and transparency to monetary policy decisions.

Composition

  • Altogether, the MPC will have six members
  • The RBI Governor (Chairperson)
  • The RBI Deputy Governor in charge of monetary policy
  • One official nominated by the RBI Board
  • Three members representing the Government of India
  • These Government of India nominees are appointed by the Central Government based on the recommendations of a search cum selection committee chaired by the cabinet secretary.

Map Aided Programme     

National Parks of Manipur
  • Keibul Lamjao National Park
  • Sirohi National Park

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)

  1. Recently, linking of which of the following rivers was undertaken?
  2. Cauvery and Tungabhadra.
  3. Godavari and Krishna
  4. Mahanadi and Sone
  5. Narmada and Tapti