DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS: 22 March 2024

Front-running case

Source: IE

Why in News: On Wednesday, the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) announced the dismissal of an employee implicated in a stock market front-running case that was being investigated by the market regulator, Sebi.LIC front-running case: Sebi confirms securities market ban on 5 companies  | News on Markets - Business Standard

About Front-running:

Definition: Front-running involves the use of non-public information to directly or indirectly engage in buying or selling securities, options, or futures contracts ahead of a significant order or impending transaction involving the same or related securities or contracts. This is done in anticipation that the public revelation of the information will lead to a change in the price of these assets.

Illustrative Example:

  • Scenario: A broker receives an order from a client to purchase 50,000 shares of Company A. Instead of immediately executing the client’s order, the broker waits and executes a similar order for their personal account in the same stock.
  • Outcome: As a result of the scale of the client’s order, when the broker finally executes the client’s request, the share price increases. This price rise generates an immediate profit for the broker.

Unfair Advantage:

Front-running provides unjust gains to the individual or entity possessing confidential information that could impact asset prices.

  • Alias: Front-running is alternatively referred to as “tailgating.”



IceCube Neutrino Observatory

Source: IE

Why in News: Researchers utilizing information gathered from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica assert that they may have detected the initial indications of astrophysical tau neutrinos, commonly referred to as “ghost particles.”IceCube Neutrino Observatory Takes A Hit From Exotic Space Particles |  HuffPost Impact

About IceCube Neutrino Observatory:

Purpose and Location:

  • Description: The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a scientific apparatus stationed at the South Pole of the Earth, designed to detect subatomic particles known as neutrinos.
  • Management: Constructed and maintained by the IceCube Collaboration, a consortium comprising numerous universities worldwide, spearheaded by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Design and Scale:

  • Configuration: Comprising thousands of sensors meticulously positioned more than 1.4 kilometers beneath the surface of the ice, in addition to multiple detectors situated above ground.
  • Significance: It holds the distinction of being the largest neutrino telescope globally, facilitating groundbreaking research in particle physics.

Operational Mechanism:

  • Neutrino Interactions: When neutrinos interact with the ice surrounding the sensors, they generate charged particles and radiation.
  • Detection Method: The sensors discern this radiation, enabling the inference of neutrino detection, while also utilizing the properties of the radiation to glean insights into the nature of the particles.

Neutrino Analysis:

  • Different Types: Neutrinos exhibit various types, each with distinct characteristics.
  • Real-Time Identification: IceCube possesses the capability to identify certain types of neutrinos in real-time, enhancing its efficacy in particle detection and analysis.



PAPIKONDA NATIONAL PARK

Source: TH

Why in News: A recent survey has documented over 200 different bird species within the confines of Papikonda National Park (PNP).Papikonda National Park-Andhra Pradesh East and West Godavari District

About PAPIKONDA NATIONAL PARK:

  • Location:  Papikonda National Park (PNP) is situated in the East and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Area: Covering an expanse of 1012.86 square kilometers.
  • Topography: The park stretches across both banks of the River Godavari, traversing the Papikonda hill range within the Eastern Ghats.

Flora and Fauna:

  • Vegetation: Predominantly characterized by moist deciduous forests.
  • Wildlife: The park harbors diverse animal species including tigers, mouse deer, gaur, among others.
  • Unique Species: It is notable for hosting a distinctive dwarf breed of goat known locally as the “kanchu mekha”.
  • Evolution: The park’s conservation journey commenced with its designation as a reserved forest in 1882, followed by elevation to a wildlife sanctuary in 1978, culminating in its recognition as a national park in 2008.
  • Significance: Acknowledged as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, underscoring its ecological importance and biodiversity richness.

 

World Happiness Report 2024

Source: TOI

Why in News: For the seventh year in a row, Finland has secured its position as the happiest country in the world, as per the yearly World Happiness Report sponsored by the United Nations.World Happiness Report 2024: India Ranks 126th Out Of 143 Nations -  PWOnlyIAS

About World Happiness Report:

  • Collaborative Effort: The annual World Happiness Report is a joint initiative involving Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the World Happiness Report’s Editorial Board.
  • Methodology: It relies on global survey data derived from individuals’ self-assessments of their happiness, supplemented by economic and social indicators.
  • Key Factors: The report evaluates six primary factors: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption. It calculates a happiness score by averaging data over a three-year span.

Highlights of World Happiness Report 2024:

  • Continued Nordic Dominance: Nordic countries maintain their supremacy in the top rankings, with Finland securing the top position for the seventh consecutive year.
  • Ranking: Other countries in the top 10 include Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Australia.
  • Lowest-Ranked Country: Out of 143 surveyed countries, Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the list.
  • Notable Shifts: The United States and Germany have slipped out of the top 20 happiest nations for the first time in over a decade, landing at 23rd and 24th place, respectively.
  • Population Dynamics: The report highlights a shift where the happiest countries no longer include any of the world’s most populous nations. Only the Netherlands and Australia, both with populations exceeding 15 million, are present in the top 10.

Position of India:

  • India’s Rank: India retains its 126th position on the list, unchanged from the previous year.
  • Gender and Age Dynamics: Older Indian men, especially those in higher age brackets, currently married, and educated, tend to report higher life satisfaction. Conversely, older Indian women report lower life satisfaction.
  • Factors: Satisfaction with living arrangements, perceived discrimination, and self-rated health emerged as the top three predictors of life satisfaction in India.

 

Subduction Zone

Source: TOI

Why in News: A recent study conducted by researchers in Portugal suggests that the ‘Ring of Fire’ subduction zone located beneath the Gibraltar Strait could potentially result in the closure of the Atlantic Ocean in approximately 20 million years.Subduction: The Sinking of Tectonic Plates

About Subduction Zones:

Subduction zones are areas where two of the Earth’s tectonic plates collide, leading one to descend, or subduct, beneath the other.

Plate Movement: Tectonic plates are segments of the Earth’s rigid outer layer that gradually shift across the planet’s surface over extensive periods.

Plate Tectonics Theory:

  • Principle: This phenomenon constitutes a fundamental aspect of plate tectonics theory, which posits that segments of the Earth’s shell move over the underlying mantle, carrying continents with them.
  • Components: The outer layer, referred to as the lithosphere, encompasses the Earth’s crust and the upper portion of the mantle, a dense, hot layer below the crust.

Subduction Process: When two tectonic plates converge at a subduction zone, one plate descends beneath the other, causing lithospheric material to bend into the underlying hot mantle.

Geological Consequences: This tectonic activity can generate some of the planet’s most potent earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.

Types and Formation:

  • Plate Composition: Subduction zones often arise due to the collision of tectonic plates composed of differing lithospheric materials, namely continental and oceanic.
  • Oceanic Lithosphere: Oceanic lithosphere, being denser than continental lithosphere, sinks beneath it during subduction.

Formation Process:

  • Lithospheric Renewal: Subduction zones also form when both colliding plates consist of oceanic material, wherein older, denser oceanic lithosphere plunges beneath younger, more buoyant oceanic lithosphere.
  • Lithospheric Generation: New oceanic lithosphere emerges at plate boundaries, facilitating the ascent of hot mantle material. As it cools away from these regions, the lithosphere densifies and becomes prone to sinking.

Structural Characteristics:

  • Plate Bending: The descending plate, or “slab,” typically inclines at approximately a 30-degree angle from the Earth’s surface, though deviations from this angle occur.
  • Spontaneous Initiation: Subduction can initiate spontaneously, independent of plate collision forces, as the lithosphere destabilizes and succumbs to gravity, forming a subduction zone.

Geographical Distribution:

  • Geographic Boundaries: Subduction zones encircle the Pacific Ocean in a horseshoe configuration, extending from regions offshore of the USA, Canada, and Russia to Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the southern perimeter of South America.
  • Significance: Termed the “Ring of Fire,” these zones constitute the most seismically and volcanically active regions globally, accounting for over 80% of major earthquakes and the majority of active volcanoes on Earth.

 

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