DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS: 21 March 2024

NATO’s DIANA Initiative

Source: FE

Why in News: Recently, the board of the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) initiative greenlit a plan to create an accelerator and two testing facilities in Finland. The objective is to promote technology, innovation, and business growth for applications spanning civil and defence domains.Hungary Ratifies Sweden's NATO Membership

About DIANA Organization:

  • Establishment and Purpose: DIANA is an organization established within the framework of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with the aim of accelerating the capacity for dual-use innovation throughout the Alliance.
  • Mission: It offers companies resources, networks, and guidance to advance deep technologies addressing critical defence and security challenges.
  • Membership Inclusion: All NATO nations are participants in DIANA, fostering a collaborative approach to innovation.
  • Board of Directors: Governance is overseen by the DIANA Board of Directors, composed of representatives from each Allied country, responsible for strategic decision-making and direction.

 

World Air Quality Report 2023

Source: HT

Why in News: According to the World Air Quality Report 2023, Delhi was pinpointed as the capital city with the most degraded air quality.Eighty Three Of 100 Most Polluted Cities Are In India, But Lack Of  Monitoring Influences Global Ranking - Health Policy Watch

About World Air Quality Report 2023:

Publisher: Published by the Swiss organization IQAir.

India’s Air Quality Ranking:

  • India ranked third-worst globally in terms of average annual particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) concentration, with a recorded value of 54.4 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • India’s air quality was superior only to its neighboring countries Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Regional Comparison:

  • Bangladesh retained its position as the most polluted country worldwide, with an average PM2.5 concentration of 79.9 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • Pakistan followed closely as the second-most polluted country, with a PM2.5 level of 73.7.

Specific Findings for India:

  • Delhi was identified as the most polluted capital city globally for the fourth consecutive time.
  • Begusarai in Bihar was labeled as the world’s most polluted metropolitan area.
  • India dominated the list of the top 11 most polluted cities globally, with ten cities from India and one from Pakistan (Lahore).
  • A staggering 96 percent of the Indian population experiences PM2.5 levels exceeding the World Health Organization’s annual PM2.5 guideline by more than seven times.

 

Sosamma Iype and the Vechur cow

Source: TH

Why in News: In 2022, Dr. Sosamma Iype was honored with the Padma Shri award for her efforts in conserving and reviving the indigenous Vechur Cow breed.How Sosamma Iype became the icon of native cow breed conservation

About Vechur Cow:

  • Origins: Originating from Vechur village in Kerala, the Vechur Cow is recognized as one of the smallest cattle breeds worldwide.
  • Marriage Tradition: In Kottayam, Alappuzha, and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala, there existed a custom of gifting Vechur cows as marriage presents to daughters, fulfilling their nutritional needs during pregnancy and providing staple food for newborns.

Characteristics of Vechur Cow:

  • Physical Attributes: Typically standing at 90 cm tall and measuring one meter in length, Vechur cows require minimal food and maintenance.
  • Milk Quality: Their milk is high in fat content, and they exhibit heat tolerance and resistance to various diseases, including foot-and-mouth disease.
  • Adaptability: Vechur cows demonstrate resilience in adverse climates.
  • Icon of Conservation: Vechur cows have emerged as symbols of India’s indigenous cow conservation movement, with over 6,000 of these cows meeting the milk and dung needs of people across the nation.

Historical Context and Conservation Efforts:

  • Threat of Extinction: The milk revolution of the 1950s, coupled with government-driven crossbreeding initiatives, posed a significant threat to native cow breeds like the Vechur cow.
  • Conservation Measures: Despite challenges, efforts to conserve the Vechur breed prompted the preservation of 28 endangered native breeds, such as the Siri cow of Sikkim and the Tharparkar of Rajasthan.

Quick Facts about Vechur Cow and Related Breeds:

  • Thenmala Kullan: A dwarf cow with unique characteristics, including a small hump, reared by tribes in Arippa and Thenmala.
  • Indigenous Breed Registration: The Kerala Animal Husbandry department plans to officially register the ‘Thenmala Kullan’ as an indigenous breed.
  • Variety: Other indigenous cow breeds include Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Deoni, Kankrej, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi, Kangeyam, Ongole, among others, while indigenous buffalo breeds encompass Murrah, Jaffrabadi, Pandharpuri, Mehsana, and more.

 

Spring Equinox

Source: TH

Why in News: On March 19, the vernal equinox occurred, heralding the onset of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.March equinox 2024: All you need to know

About Spring Equinox:

  • Definition of Equinoxes: As Earth orbits the Sun, there are two instances annually when the Sun aligns directly above the equator. These occurrences, known as equinoxes, typically happen around March 19, 20, or 21 and September 22 or 23.
  • Equal Night Concept: Equinox, derived from Latin, translates to “equal night,” as during these times, the duration of day and night is almost equal across all regions of the globe.
  • Northern Hemisphere Transition: The March equinox signifies the Northern Hemisphere’s shift toward the Sun, initiating longer and sunnier days, symbolizing the beginning of spring.
  • Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes: In the Northern Hemisphere, the March equinox is termed the vernal equinox, signifying the commencement of spring, while the September equinox is referred to as the autumnal equinox, marking the onset of fall.

Seasonal Shifts:

  • As the Northern Hemisphere tilts towards the Sun during spring, the Southern Hemisphere tilts away, ushering in autumn.
  • Consequently, in the Southern Hemisphere, the March equinox is dubbed the autumnal equinox, while the September equinox is labeled the vernal equinox.

Northern and Southern Hemisphere Contrasts:

  • In the Southern Hemisphere, the March equinox entails later sunrises, earlier sunsets, cooler winds, and the shedding of dry leaves, signifying the arrival of autumn, while the opposite occurs in the Northern Hemisphere, signaling the onset of spring.
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