- 1. India got 135th rank out of 146 countries in the Gender Gap Report 2022.
- 2. Gujarat forest department will restore 10,000 hectares of the Banni grasslands in the coming year.
- 3. Scientists in India developed a new mechanism to deactivate SARS-CoV-2.
- 4. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare (DA&FW) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA).
- 5. Prasar Bharati unveiled a new logo.
- 6. EU gave final approval for Croatia to adopt the Euro currency.
- 7. Md. Mustafizur Rahman appointed as the next High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India.
- 8. Uttarakhand has become the first state in India to implement New Education Policy (NEP) at the pre-primary level.
- 9. Ola to begin production of India's first indigenous lithium-ion cell in 2023.
- 10. Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice recommended modification to the Mediation Bill.
- 11. Researchers of IIT Madras develop an AI tool to identify cancer-causing genes.
- 12. Arjun Babuta clinched India’s first gold medal at ISSF World Cup in South Korea.
- 13. Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park started a programme to release 20 Red Pandas into the forests in the next five years.
- 14. Next edition of Viswanathan Anand's memoir 'Mind Master' will be released on 15 July.
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Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking
1. India got 135th rank out of 146 countries in the Gender Gap Report 2022.
- The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released the annual Gender Gap Report 2022.
- As per the Gender Gap Index, it would take 132 years to close the gap between men and women around the world.
- India has been ranked at 135th place in terms of gender parity despite an improvement in economic participation and opportunity areas. In 2021, India was ranked 140th out of 156 countries.
- Iceland retained the top position in the Index, followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden.
- India is the worst performer in the ‘health and survival’ sub-index with 146th place. India ranks 143rd in economic participation and opportunity, 107th in educational attainment and 48th in political empowerment.
- India’s score is 0.629, the seventh-highest score in the last 16 years. India’s score on political empowerment has declined.
- Among South Asian countries, India has been ranked the sixth best after Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan.
- At the current pace, the South Asia region will take 197 years to close the gender gap.
- As per the report, one in five countries has managed to close the gender gap by at least 1% in the last year. The gender parity score for estimated earned income has improved.
- Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment are the four key dimensions of the Global Gender Gap Report.
- The performance of a country is measured based on scores on a 0 to 100 scale.
Topic: Environment and Ecology
2. Gujarat forest department will restore 10,000 hectares of the Banni grasslands in the coming year.
- Banni grasslands restoration is part of India’s target of restoring 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
- Under the Indian Forest Act, 1927, Banni grassland was declared a Protected Forest in 1955.
- Around 4.33% (8,490 sq km) of the total geographical area of Gujarat is grassland. It is found in eight districts of Kutch, Saurashtra and the central Gujarat region.
- Due to “heavy uncontrolled grazing”, widespread ingress of Prosopis Juliflora and the construction of dams have caused considerable damage to the area of the Banni grassland.
- The main aim of the restoration project of Banni grasslands is to stop the ingress of Prosopis Juliflora, an alien invasive species.
- Around 20-lakh livestock population and 48 villages depend upon the Banni grassland.
Topic: New Developments
3. Scientists in India developed a new mechanism to deactivate SARS-CoV-2.
- The new class of synthetic peptides can both prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering cells and clump the virus particles together to reduce their ability to infect living cells.
- This new method provides an alternative mechanism to inactivate viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and uncovers a new potential class of peptides as antivirals.
- These peptides have been developed by researchers from the Indian Institute of Science and the CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology.
- The COVID-19 vaccines' effectiveness against the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been reduced by the rapid emergence of new strains, necessitating the development of new ways of preventing virus infection.
- Protein-protein interactions design are typically compared to a lock and a key.
- Utilizing this design, peptides have been developed that can bind and block the spike protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: MoUs/ Agreements
4. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare (DA&FW) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA).
- The agreement has been signed on the commencement of Phase-II activities of the IRRI South Asia Regional Center (ISARC).
- Its main aim is to enhance the existing partnership for food and nutrition security in the South Asian region.
- ISARC was set up five years ago after the approval of the Union Cabinet.
- In addition, ISARC established the Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA), which has a cutting-edge laboratory that can assess the quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw.
- On December 23, 2021, PM Modi inaugurated the state-of-the-art Speed Breeding Facility (SpeedBreed) at ISRAC in Varanasi.
5. Prasar Bharati unveiled a new logo.
- On July 11, 2022, Prasar Bharati, India's public broadcaster, unveiled its new logo.
- Apurva Chandra, Secretary I&B, launched the new logo.
- The element and the map of India in the middle of the new logo is a symbol of trust, security and ideal service to the common people.
- Prasar Bharati is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
- In the past, the organization started as All India Radio (AIR). After that, Doordarshan (DD) came into existence, to cater to television services.
- Later on, it eventually came into existence as Prasar Bharati (PB) through an Act passed in Parliament, which is depicted as Prasar Bharati's logo emerging from the centre and gradually evolving.
- It is headquartered in New Delhi. It was founded on 23 November 1997.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: International News
6. EU gave final approval for Croatia to adopt the Euro currency.
- European Union Finance Ministers have given Croatia the final approval to adopt the euro single currency on January 1, 2023, replacing the Croatian kuna.
- Croatia will join the eurozone as the 20th country.
- It is the currency bloc's first expansion in eight years when the euro has come down to its lowest level against the US dollar in 20 years.
- Adopting the euro provides economic benefits resulting from deep financial ties with the currency bloc's other members and the European Central Bank.
- Lithuania was the last country to join the European single currency area in 2015.
- The euro is the official currency of the European Union.
- This group of countries is known as the eurozone or, officially, the euro area.
- On 16 December 1995, the name euro was officially adopted in Madrid.
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Topic: International Appointments
7. Md. Mustafizur Rahman appointed as the next High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India.
- Government of Bangladesh has decided to appoint him as the next High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India.
- He is currently serving as the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations Offices in Geneva.
- He will replace Muhammad Imran as High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India.
- It is located in the east of India on the Bay of Bengal.
- Its capital is Dhaka, and the currency is Bangladeshi Taka.
- Jatiya Sangsad is the legislature (Parliament) of Bangladesh.
- Prime Minister: Shiekh Hasina, President: Abdul Hamid
Topic: State News/Uttarakhand
8. Uttarakhand has become the first state in India to implement New Education Policy (NEP) at the pre-primary level.
- Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami inaugurated 'Bal Vatikas' at anganwadi kendras all over the state to make the pre-primary education system strong.
- The 'Bal Vatikas' will function at 4,457 anganwadi kendras in Uttarakhand.
- They will be equivalent to the nursery classes at a private school.
- The Chief Minister said the Uttarakhand government has already constituted a committee to prepare a draft of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
- This committee is headed by Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai.
- In 2025, Uttarakhand will be celebrating the silver jubilee of its formation.
- Education Minister of Uttarakhand, Dhan Singh Rawat said that NEP will be fully implemented in the state by 2030.
Topic: Infrastructure and Energy
9. Ola to begin production of India's first indigenous lithium-ion cell in 2023.
- India’s largest electric vehicles company, Ola Electric, will start the mass production of its indigenously developed lithium-ion cell ‘NMC 2170’.
- In this cell, NMC has been used on the cathode side while Graphite and Silicon have been used on the anode side.
- The use of specific chemicals and materials enables the cell to store more energy and improves its overall life cycle.
- The government has recently allocated 20GWh capacity under the ACC PLI scheme to Ola electric for developing advanced cells in the country.
- Ola is also building the world's most advanced cell research centre. It launched its first electric vehicle in August 2021.
- Lithium-ion batteries are generally used in electric vehicles because of their high power-to-weight ratio.
Topic: Indian Polity
10. Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice recommended modification to the Mediation Bill.
- The Parliamentary standing committee headed by Sushil Modi has submitted its report on Mediation Bill, 2021 to the Lok Sabha Speaker.
- The Committee held 10 meetings and recorded the views of more than 125 witnesses.
- The Committee observed that the time limit given for the completion of the mediation process in the Bill is too long.
- The Committee recommended completing the mediation process in 90 days with an extended period of 60 days.
- The bill has a provision to exclude the Central and state governments from non-commercial disputes, with the government as one of the parties.
- The committee recommends that disputes relating to the government should not be kept out of the purview of the Bill.
- The committee recommends the rearrangement of clauses 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the bill for better clarity. It also suggested reconsidering the compulsory provisions of pre-litigation mediation.
- The main objective of the Mediation Bill 2021 is to settle any civil or commercial disputes through mediation before the court or tribunal’s intervention.
- Mediation Bill 2021 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on December 20, 2021.
Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases
11. Researchers of IIT Madras develop an AI tool to identify cancer-causing genes.
- Pivot, the AI tool, can identify cancer-causing genes in an individual.
- It will not only reduce the side effects of drugs but also help in the better recovery of patients.
- The researchers have used the prediction models for breast invasive carcinoma, colony adenocarcinoma and lung adenocarcinoma. Now, they are using it for cancer.
- The main aim of this AI tool is to help in developing a strategy for personalized cancer treatment.
- The research has been published in the journal Frontier in Genetics.
- This AI tool is based on the machine learning model, it divides genes as tumour suppressors, neutral or oncogenes.
- The model uses information on gene mutations, gene expressions and variations in genes.
- The researchers are working on a list of personalized cancer-causing genes, which will help in identifying suitable drugs for patients based on their personalised cancer profile.
12. Arjun Babuta clinched India’s first gold medal at ISSF World Cup in South Korea.
- Arjun Babuta won the gold medal at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup by defeating Lucas Kozeniesky by 17-9.
- Israel’s Sergey Richter won the bronze medal with a score of 259.9 and India’s Paarth Makhija finished on the fourth position.
- It is India’s first medal under new national foreign rifle coach Thomas Farnik.
- The duo of Mehuli Ghosh and Shahu Tushar Mane won India’s second gold medal in the 10m Air Rifle Mixed event.
- Indian pair of Palak and Shiva Narwal bagged bronze in the 10m Air Pistol mixed event.
Topic: Environment and Ecology
13. Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park started a programme to release 20 Red Pandas into the forests in the next five years.
- The Padmaja Naidu Park is located at a height of about 2,000 metres above sea level in West Bengal.
- It is one of the high-altitude zoos where captive breeding of mammals has been quite successful.
- The number of Red Pandas has been declining in the Singalila and Neora Valley National Parks.
- These are the two protected areas where Red Pandas are found in the wild in West Bengal. Currently, there are 38 Red Pandas in Singalila and 32 in Neora.
- Himalayan Red Panda and Chinese Red Panda are the main two species of Red Panda found in India.
- Red Pandas are protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. They are categorized in the “Endangered” category of the IUCN Red List.
- Red Panda is the state animal of Sikkim. It is generally found in the forest of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and southern China.
Topic: Books and Authors
14. Next edition of Viswanathan Anand's memoir 'Mind Master' will be released on 15 July.
- The book is titled 'Mind Master: Winning Lessons from a Champion's Life'.
- It has been written by Anand with author-journalist Susan Ninan.
- In this edition, the book has a bonus chapter on how to navigate uncertainty and rapidly changing realities in the wake of the pandemic.