Argutes

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 18 October 2021

1. Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI)

London-based Ernst & Young (EY) has released the 57th edition of the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI).

Insights

  1. It is a biannual index that lists the top 40 countries by renewable energy investment and deployment attractiveness.
  2. It looks at individual categories such as solar PV, concentrated solar power, onshore wind, offshore wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydro.
  3. The 57th edition estimated that future development to achieve net-zero will require a further investment of $5.2 trillion and highlighted the role of institutional investors in financing the energy transition.

Key Highlights

  1. The United States remained  the most attractive market, followed by China for overall renewables
  2. The re-acceptance of the Paris Accord, coupled with the recent announcement to cut GHG levels by 50-52% as early as 2030and achieve 100% carbon-free power by 2035, will likely see increased investment interest in the U.S.
  3. China’s position was helped by the addition of 72.4 GW of new wind power in 2020.
  4. Australia ranked fourth, followed by Egypt and Israel.
  5. Egypt’s score was helped by the nation’s ambition to increase the supply of energy generated from renewable sources to 42% by 2035.
  6. The United Kingdom rose one place to rank fourth for renewables investment which was driven by close to 8 GW of new offshore wind capacity allotted for development.
  7. The East Asian markets Japan and South Korea(ranking the 8th and the 17th positions respectively) also made commitments toward net zero in the past year.

India in Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index

  1. The index has once again ranked India as the most attractive destination for solar PV investment and deployment.
  2. India scored 62.7 in solar attractiveness, with the sector expected to grow significantly and with generation from solar PV set to surpass coal before 2040.
  3. India rose one place to rank third in the overall renewables rankings.
  4. India’s position in the RECAI has fluctuated many times, including the slip from the 2nd position in 2017to the 4th position in 2018.
  5. India moved up from the 7th to the 4th position in the 56th EY RECAI as a result of installed solar PV capacity skyrocketing, reaching more than 35GW.

Click here to know about Renewable Energy of India

2. Healthy Smile

  1. A bilingual mobile application ‘Healthy Smile’ was launched by AIIMS in a bid to raise awareness on maintaining oral hygiene among children.
  2. This app is an initiative of the Department of Paediatric and Preventive Dentistry, with the help of an AIIMS intramural research grant.
  3. This initiative was launched with the aim of spreading awareness on maintaining oral hygiene among children right from infancy.
  4. It will also motivate them to brush thoroughly twice a day.
  5. The app will provide information on how they can keep dental decay under control through simple home care measures.

Insights

The app comprises a musical two-minute brushing timer along with preventive dental care tips for all age groups of children, child-friendly colorful panels, motivational songs, FAQs & oral care tips during pregnancy, and brushing demonstration videos.

3. Shenzhou-13 spaceship

China launched a three-person crew for a six-month mission aboard its space station that is planned at setting a new record for the length of time spent in space by Chinese astronauts as the country moves toward completing the orbiting structure.

Insights

  1. The Shenzhou-13 spaceship carrying the three astronauts was launched by a Long March-2F rocket.
  2. It is expected to complete docking with the Tianhe module and will continue the work of the first three-person crew that spent 90 days aboard.
  3. China’s military-run space program plans to send multiple crews to the station over the next two years to make it fully functional.
  4. Shenzhou-13 is the fifth mission to the structure, including trips without crews to deliver supplies.
  5. China was excluded from the International Space Station largely due to U.S. objections over the Chinese program’s secretive nature and close military ties, prompting it to launch two experimental modules before starting on the permanent station.
  6. China has expanded its work on lunar and Mars exploration, including placing a rover on the little-explored far side of the Moon and returning lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s.
  7. China this year also landed its Tianwen-1 space probe on Mars, whose accompanying Zhurong rover has been exploring for evidence of life on the red planet.
  8. Other Chinese space programs call for collecting soil from an asteroid and bring back additional lunar samples.
  9. China has also expressed an aspiration to land people on the moon and possibly build a scientific base there, although no timeline has been proposed for such projects
  10. A highly secretive space plane is also reportedly under development.

4. China First Nuclear capable hypersonic missile

  1. China’s military has carried out its first-ever test of a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile.
  2. It circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability.
  3. The missile missed its target by about two-dozen miles
  4. But China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons

Insights

  1. Only the U.S., Russia, and China were developing hypersonic glide vehicles, that are launched on rockets and then orbit the earth at their own speed.
  2. They are difficult to track because unlike ballistic missiles, they do not follow the fixed parabolic trajectory.
  3. The test would pose a big challenge to U.S. missile defense systems because the weapon could, in theory, fly over the South Pole.
  4. That would pose a big challenge for the U.S. military because its missiles defense systems are focused on the northern polar route

5. NASA Lucy Mission

  1. NASA launched a spacecraft called Lucy on a 12-year mission to explore Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids for the first
  2. It aims in gathering new insights into the solar system’s formation.
  3. The Atlas V rocket responsible for propelling the probe took off from Cape Canaveral.
  4. Named after an ancient fossil of a pre-human ancestor, Lucy will become the first solar-powered spacecraft to venture so far from the Sun
  5. It will observe more asteroids than any probe before it eight in all.
  6. Lucy will also make three Earth flybys for gravity assists, making it the first spacecraft to return to our planet’s vicinity from the outer solar system.
  7. Each one of those asteroids, each one of those pristine samples, provides a part of the story of the solar system.
  8. Lucy’s first encounter will be in 2025 with asteroid Donaldjohanson in the Main Belt, between Mars and Jupiter.
  9. The asteroid is named after the discoverer of the Lucy fossil.
  10. Between 2027 and 2033, it will encounter seven Trojan asteroids — five in the swarm that leads Jupiter, and two in the swarm that trails the gas giant.
  11. Lucy will fly by its target objects within 250 miles of their surfaces, and use its onboard instruments and large antenna to investigate their geology, including composition, mass, density, and volume.
  12. The Jupiter Trojan asteroids, thought to number well over 7,000, are leftover raw materials from the formation of our solar system’s giant planets
  13. Scientists believe they hold vital clues about the composition and physical conditions in the protoplanetary disk from which all the Sun’s planets, including Earth, formed.

6. Yudh Abhyas 2021

  1. The 17th edition of the India-U.S. bilateral exercise, Yudh Abhyas 2021, got underway at the Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska, U.S.,
  2. The two sides set to hone their skills in counter-terror operations in mountainous terrain and cold climate conditions.
  3. Interestingly, this is the only India-U.S. service exercise continuing in a bilateral format.

7. Global Hunger Index

  1. The value of a key indicator used in the Global Hunger Index is ‘inflated’ as there are only 3.9% of Anganwadi children found to be undernourished, according to GOI
  2. The GHI 2021 ranked India at 101 positions out of 116 countries.
  3. The index is based on four indicators — under-nourishment, wasting, stunting, and under-five mortality.
  4. Of these, India’s performance is shown to deteriorate only for undernourishment, which is what the Government has challenged.
  5.  According to FAO’s data, which is used in the Index, the prevalence of undernourishment in India rose from 14% in 2017-2019 to 15.3% in 2018-2020

Selective approach

  1. The Government has also alleged that there has been a “selective approach adopted by the publishing agencies to deliberately lower India’s rank on the GHI 2021”
  2. It was calculated by relying on higher values of indicators such as stunting and wasting from different datasets available.
  3. The Government also maintains that it is not possible to evaluate the extent of malnutrition for the period before 2018 as there were no growth monitoring devices available at anganwadis until they were introduced under the Poshan Abhiyaan.

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8. Sri Lanka credit line from India

  1. Sri Lanka has sought a $500 million credit line from India to pay for its crude oil purchases amid a severe foreign exchange crisis in the island nation.
  2. The state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) owes nearly $3.3 billion to the two main government banks Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank.
  3. The state oil distributors import crude from the Middle East and refined products from other areas, including Singapore.
  4. The government has put on hold the expected retail price hike of fuel despite the last week’s increase in cooking gas and other essentials.
  5. Lanka is facing a severe foreign exchange crisis after the pandemic hit the nation’s earnings from tourism and remittances.

9. India clinched the championship

  1. India clinched the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship for the eighth time defeating Nepal 3-0 in Male.
  2. India dominated possession in the first half but they failed to score any goal.
  3.  However, captain Chhetri put India ahead minutes into the second half, and even before Nepal could settle down, Suresh made it 2-0.
  4. Notably, this is the Indian football team’s first title victory under head coach Igor Stimac.
  5. The final was the 12th for India in 13 editions, which also shows their domination in this regional tournament.