My Notes - 01-15 Nov 2023

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National Security Strategy

  • India has kickstarted the process of bringing in a National Security Strategy.
  • A National Security Strategy document outlines the country’s security objectives, and the ways to be adopted to achieve these.
  • Updated periodically, it defines traditional, non-traditional threats and opportunities while introducing accountability of agencies tasked with the implementation of such responsibilities.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)

  • The city of Kozhikode in Kerala and Gwalior from Madhya Pradesh were added in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN).
  • These cities have been handpicked to represent seven creative fieldscrafts and folk arts, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music. Kozhikode was included in the category of literature and Gwalior in the category of music.
  • The UCCN was created in 2004 to promote cooperation among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. It now includes 350 cities in over a hundred countries.

Five-year extension for free ration

  • Prime Minister has announced an extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)free ration scheme for another five years.
  • The PMGKAY was introduced in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic to provide 5 kg free foodgrains to eligible ration card holders under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).


Prisoner’s dilemma

  • Prisoner’s Dilemma refers to one of the most popular “games” in Game Theory, which is itself a branch of science that helps understand how people/entities behave under different circumstances. By simulating a game, Game Theory also shows how to achieve the best outcome.
  • The concept of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, when applied in the domain of international relations, can explain and analyse various situations where countries face strategic decision-making challenges.
  • For example, when two or more countries engage in an arms race, they often do so out of mutual fear and mistrust.

Indian Navy veterans sentenced to death in Qatar

  • The Indian nationals are all employees of Doha-based Dahra Global, and were working in their private capacity with Dahra Global to oversee the induction of Italian small stealth submarines U2I2.
  • The eight Indians had been charged with spying for Israel. There was no official word on the charges from the Indian side.

The watermelon become a symbol of the Palestine cause

  • A watermelon when sliced shows the colours of the Palestinian flagred, green, black, and white.
  • As carrying and displaying the Palestinian flag has often been barred by Israeli authorities, a watermelon is used to symbolise it
  • The watermelon is also widely cultivated in Palestine, from the West Bank to Gaza, and features prominently in Palestinian cuisine.

Israel is attacking Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital

  • Al-Shifa used to be the cornerstone of Gaza’s healthcare system before the Israel-Hamas war broke out.
  • Located in Gaza City, in the north of the tiny Palestinian enclave, the hospital comprises a group of six-storey buildings.


World’s biggest bank hit by ransomware

  • The US arm of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) was hit by a ransomware (LockBit 3.0) attack that minimally disrupted trades in the US Treasury market.
  • Ransomware is a type of malicious software (commonly referred to as malware) that either blocks access to, or threatens to publish sensitive data until the victim pays a ransom fee to the attacker.
  • LockBit 3.0 was created by Lockbit, a group which effectively sells its malware bad actors on the dark web. Lockbit 3.0 is the most popular strain of ransomware, accounting for around 28 per cent of all known attacks from July 2022 to June 2023.

Science and technology

India getting its own version of Israel’s Iron Dome

  • India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing its own long-range air defence system, similar to the Iron Dome, which will be capable of detecting and destroying incoming stealth fighters, aircraft, drones, cruise missiles, and precision-guided munitions at ranges of up to 350 kilometres.
  • This new LR-SAM will have interception capabilities comparable to the Russian S-400 Triumf air defence system recently inducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • The development of India’s homemade version of the Iron Dome is being done under the Indian Air Force’s Project Kusha.

India’s own CAR-T cell therapy

  • NexCar19 is a type of CAR-T and gene therapy developed indigenously in India by ImmunoACT, which is a company incubated at IIT Bombay.
  • CAR-T is a revolutionary therapy that modifies immune cells, specifically T-cells, by turning them into potent cancer fighters known as CAR-T cells.
  • T-cells are special cells (white blood cells that find and fight illness and infection) whose primary function is cytotoxic, meaning it can kill other cells. In CAR-T therapy, we genetically modify them into cancer-fighting cells.

5G Non-Terrestrial Network

  • This technology is 5G NTN, which stands for 5G Non-Terrestrial Network.
  • It lets phones tap satellites for data when they can’t reach land-based 5G towers, helping users stay connected for sending messages, GPS, and voice and video calls.
  • Before, satellite phones were niche devices separate from regular cellular networks.


Bletchley Park Summit

  • The world’s first ever Artificial Intelligence (AI) Safety Summit was held in Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire near London.
  • The Bletchley Park Declaration was endorsed by Brazil, Ireland, India, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates, incorporates an acknowledgment of the substantial risks from potential intentional misuse or unintended issues of control of frontier AI — especially cybersecurity, biotechnology, and disinformation risks.
  • Frontier AI” is defined as highly capable foundation generative AI models that could possess dangerous capabilities that can pose severe risks to public safety.

Rapid ice melt in West Antarctica

  • The rapid melting of West Antarctica’s ice sheet due to warm waters around it is now unavoidable, no matter how much carbon emissions are cut, according to a new study.
  • If lost completely, the ice sheet would raise the global mean sea level by 5.3 metres or 4 feet — a potentially devastating consequence for millions of people living in vulnerable coastal cities across the world, including in India.
  • An ice sheet is essentially a mass of glacial ice that covers more than 50,000 square kilometres of land — roughly large enough to blanket Uttarakhand in ice.
  • There are various processes through which ice sheets melt. One of them is when warm ocean waters melt ice shelves — the edges of an ice sheet which floats on the ocean.

Euclid mission

  • The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Euclid mission was launched in July this year to investigate the mystery of dark matter and dark energy, released its first five science images.
  • They include views of large clusters with thousands of distant galaxies, close-ups of two nearby galaxies, a nebula, and a gravitationally bound group of stars called a globular cluster.

GPT-4 Turbo vs GPT-4

  • One major upgrade with GPT-4 Turbo is its larger context window.Context refers to the amount of text the AI can process at a time.
  • GPT-4 Turbo can handle up to 128,000 tokens, equivalent to around 300 pages of text.
  • This is one of the largest context windows in any large language model today. Meanwhile, GPT-4 is limited to a more humble 8,000 tokens or 24 pages.


India’s Energy Conservation Building Code 2017

  • Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), in its World Energy Outlook 2023, report has highlighted that India’s Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), 2017 for commercial buildings sets it apart from other developing economies where “energy efficiency in buildings stands out as a laggard”.
  • ECBC sets minimum energy standards for commercial buildings, with the objective of enabling energy savings of between 25 and 50 per cent in compliant buildings.
  • The code is applicable to commercial buildings like hospitals, hotels, schools, shopping complexes, and multiplexes which have a connected load of 100 kW or more, or contract demand of 120 kVA or more.


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