Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 28 November 2022

Bowlis in Qutub Shahi Tombs bag UNESCO ‘award of distinction’

GS Paper - 1 (Art and Culture)

Stepwells in Qutub Shahi necropolis bagged an award of distinction at the 2022 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation at Bangkok. In another cheer for Telangana, the Domakonda Fort, 115km off Hyderabad in Kamareddy district, also won an award of merit from 50 entries across 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

What

  1. The UNESCO award stated that conservation released an ambitious, long-term vision to renew the extensive complex of architectural and social spaces within the 16th century necropolis.
  2. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) is spearheading the conservation of the Qutub Shahi necropolis in conjunction with Telangana government’s department of culture and heritage.
  3. The UNESCO award demonstrates that heritage conservation can fulfil several government objectives, including employment creation, rainwater harvesting and generating tourism.
  4. Another feather in the cap for Telangana was the Award Of Merit to Domakonda Fort, which houses a palatial building — Addala Meda or the glass house.
  5. Spread over 30 acres, the fort also known as khila or gadi, was constructed on a circular plan with two entrances – one on the east and another on the west and carries the hallmark of Kakatiya architectural splendour.
  6. The oldest surviving structure in the fort is the Shivalaya or Mahadev temple, which dates back to the Kakatiyan period.
  7. This 800-year-old temple was restored in 2006 by the department of archaeology, Telangana government.

 

RH200 records 200th successful launch

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

RH200, the versatile sounding rocket of ISRO has registered its 200th consecutive successful launch from the shores of Thumba, Thiruvananthapuram. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) termed it a "historic moment".

More about sounding Rocket

  1. Indian sounding rockets are used as privileged tools for the scientific community for carrying out experiments on meteorologyastronomy and similar branches of space physics.
  2. Campaigns such as Equatorial ElectroJet (EEJ)Leonid Meteor Shower (LMS)Indian Middle Atmosphere Programme (IMAP)Monsoon Experiment (MONEX)Middle Atmosphere Dynamics (MIDAS), and Sooryagrahan-2010 have been conducted using the sounding rocket platform for scientific exploration of the Earth's atmosphere.
  3. The Rohini Sounding Rocket (RSR) series have been the forerunners for ISRO's heavier and more complex launch vehicles, with a continued usage even today for atmospheric and meteorological studies.
  4. The 200th consecutive successful flight stands testimony to the commitment of Indian rocket scientists towards unmatched reliability demonstrated over the years.

 

Wildlife Conference ended

GS Paper - 3 (Environments and Ecology)

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ended in Panama. In a record for the conference, delegates enacted protections for over 500 species. The United Nations wildlife conference also rejected a proposal to reopen the ivory trade. An ivory ban was enacted in 1989.

International Wildlife Trade Treaty Status

Ø  The international wildlife trade treaty, which was adopted 49 years ago in Washington, D.C., has been praised for helping stem the illegal and unsustainable trade in ivory and rhino horns as well as in whales and sea turtles.

Ø  An international wildlife conference moved to enact some of the most significant protection for shark species targeted in the fin trade and scores of turtles, lizards and frogs whose numbers are being decimated by the pet trade.

Status of Trading Protection

  1. The reliance on cash-strapped developing countries to combat illegal trade that’s become a lucrative $10 billion-a-year business.
  2. One of the biggest achievements this year was increasing or providing protection for more than 90 shark species, including 54 species of requiem sharks, the bonnet head sharkthree species of hammerhead shark and 37 species of guitarfish.
  3. Many had never before had trade protection and now, under Appendix II, the commercial trade will be regulated.

Efforts for Protection

Ø  Appendix II of CITES: "With Appendix II listing, CITES Parties can allow trade only if it is not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wildgiving these species the help they need to recover from over-exploitation.

Ø  The conference also enacted protections for dozens of species of turtle, lizard and 160 amphibian species including glass frogs whose translucent skin made them a favorite in the pet trade.

Ø  Several species of song birds also got trade protection as well as 150 tree species.

Ø  Already under immense ecological pressure resulting from habitat loss, climate change and disease, the unmanaged and growing trade in glass frogs is exacerbating the already existing threats to the species

Ø  Some African countries and conservation groups had hoped to ban the trade in hippos. But it was opposed by the European Union.

 

Darjeeling tea industry crisis

GS Paper -1 (Crops)

During the annual general meeting, the Tea Board of India said it had sought a special financial package of 1,000 crore from the Centre for the tea Industry over five years. It admitted that Indian tea had not been able to establish itself globally, and that one of its key brands, Darjeeling Tea, was under acute stress.

Why to save Darjeeling Tea?

  1. Darjeeling Tea, called the ‘Champagne of Teas’, was the first Indian product to get the GI (Geographical Identification) tag in 2004 for its distinctive aroma and flavour.
  2. About 87 gardens in Darjeeling which employ about 55,000 workers produce approximately 7 million kg of tea, most of which is exported.
  3. According to insiders, over the past few months a lot of gardens in the hills have changed hands because the owners were reeling under higher costs of production and other issues.

What is the threat from Nepal’s gardens?

  1. A report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Commerce, tabled in Parliament in June, said unhampered and easy influx of substandard tea from neighbouring countries, especially Nepal is jeopardising the tea industry of India.
  2. The document pointed out that inferior quality tea from Nepal was being imported, and then sold and re-exported as premium Darjeeling Tea.
  3. Under the Revised Treaty of Trade between the Governments of India and Nepal in October 2009, both parties had agreed to exempt from basic customs duty, as well as from quantitative restrictions, the import of mutually agreed primary products.
  4. Industry experts said Nepal, which shares similar climatic conditions and terrain, produces tea at a lower price because of less input costs, particularly labour, and fewer quality checks

 

India lone absentee at China’s Indian Ocean forum

GS Paper -2 (International Relations)

China convened a first “China-Indian Ocean Region Forum” bringing together 19 countries from the region and all of India’s neighbours, except for India itself, the lone absentee from a new Beijing strategic initiative.

More about the forum

  1. The forum, held in Kunming in south western Yunnan province, brought representatives from 19 countries including Indonesia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Oman, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Djibouti, and Australia.
  2. The forum underlined China’s stepped up diplomacy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  3. According to the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), India was not invitedThe CIDCA is China’s new development aid agency, and is currently headed by former Vice Foreign, who also earlier served as envoy to India and Pakistan.

4.   The Chinese forum aimed at countering India's strong influence in the Indian Ocean region where India-backed organisations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association, (IORA), which has a membership of 23 countries have taken strong roots.China is a dialogue partner in the IORA formed in 1997.

Flashback

  1. IORA became an observer to the UN General Assembly and the African Union in 2015.
  2. Besides the IORA, India has proposed “Security and Growth for All in the Region” (SAGAR) in 2015 for active cooperation among the littoral countries of the Indian Ocean region.

 

  1. The Indian Navy-backed ‘Indian Ocean Naval Symposium’ (IONS) seeks to increase maritime cooperation among navies of the region.
  2. Earlier this year, during a visit to Sri Lanka, Foreign Minister proposed creating another forum “on the development of Indian Ocean island countries” to “build consensus and synergy, and promote common development”.

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