- 1. 1,793 estuarine crocodiles have been counted in Bhitarkanika.
- 2. Pankaj Kumar Singh has been appointed Deputy National Security Adviser (NSA).
- 3. Bhavin Rabari of the Gujarati film Chhello Show wins International Press Academy (IPA) award.
- 4. Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) researchers identified the presence of solitary waves in the Martian magnetosphere.
- 5. ‘Kanti Velugu’ initiative has been launched in Khammam, Telangana.
- 6. Two 1200-year-old miniature stupas have been discovered by ASI at Nalanda.
- 7. PM Modi inaugurated the second phase of Saansad Khel Mahakumbh 2022-23 in Basti District of Uttar Pradesh through video conferencing.
- 8. Fifth Foreign Policy and Security Dialogue between India and South Korea concluded on 17 January 2023.
- 9. World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2023 has been released by the ILO.
- 10. ISRO's Shukrayaan-1 mission may be postponed till 2031.
- 11. Abdul Rehman Makki has been declared a global terrorist by United Nations.
- 12. Russia and Belarus started joint military exercise on 16 January.
- 13. India-Bangladesh Friendship pipeline will begin supplying diesel to Bangladesh on an experimental basis from June 2023.
- 14. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University in the US have created thin, thread-like strands of molecules called supramolecular filaments.
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Topic: Environment and Ecology
1. 1,793 estuarine crocodiles have been counted in Bhitarkanika.
- According to the annual reptile census, the population of saltwater crocodiles in the water bodies of Bhitarkanika National Park and its nearby areas has increased marginally.
- 1,793 estuarine crocodiles including 20 whitish ones have been counted in Bhitarkanika. Last year, 1784 crocodiles were reported by forest officials.
- During this year’s census, 569 hatchlings (two feet), 388 yearlings (2-3 feet), 325 juveniles (3-6 feet), 166 sub-adults (6-8 feet long) and 345 adult reptiles (longer than 8 feet) seen.
- 22 teams have been formed to count the estuarine crocodiles. Spotlights at night and Global Positioning System have been used by teams to count the saltwater crocodiles.
- The ministry of forest and environment in association with the United Nations Development Programme launched the crocodile breeding and rearing project in Dangamala within Bhitarkanika in 1975.
- The breeding and rearing programme for saltwater crocodile, muggers and gharials was launched in 1975 in West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states.
- Bhitarkanika National Park became a Ramsar site on 19 August 2002. It is situated in the Kendrapara district of Odisha.
- Saltwater crocodiles, Indian python, black ibis, wild boars, etc. are mainly found in the Bhitarkanika National Park.
Topic: National Appointments
2. Pankaj Kumar Singh has been appointed Deputy National Security Adviser (NSA).
- He is a 1988-batch IPS officer of the Rajasthan cadre. He retired as the Director General of BSF on December 31, 2022.
- He has been appointed as Deputy NSA in National Security Council Secretariat for a period of two years.
- In addition to BSF, he has also served in CRPF. He played a key role in reducing cattle smuggling through West Bengal and Assam borders.
- His father and retired IPS officer, Prakash Singh, had also headed the BSF.
- Prakash Singh is considered a crusader of police reforms in the country.
Topic: Awards and Prizes
3. Bhavin Rabari of the Gujarati film Chhello Show wins International Press Academy (IPA) award.
- Bhavin Rabari is the lead child actor in Pan Nalin’s Gujarati film Chhello Show (The Last Film Show).
- Bhavin Rabari has won the IPA award in the ‘Best Breakthrough Performance’ category at the 27th Satellite Awards held in the United States.
- Rabari played the character of the protagonist named Samay.
- Rabari is among the youngest recipients of the prestigious award.
- Edward Norton, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Russel Crowe, and Hale Berry are former recipients of the award.
- SS Rajamouli's film RRR was given the Honorary Satellite Award by the International Press Academy.
- The Satellite Awards are annual awards given by the International Press Academy.
Topic: Space and IT
4. Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) researchers identified the presence of solitary waves in the Martian magnetosphere.
- The first evidence of the existence of solitary waves around Mars has been found by a team of Indian scientists.
- The solitary waves in the Martian magnetosphere have been identified by IIG researchers with the help of high-resolution electric field data.
- The data was recorded by Langmuir Probe and Waves instrument on NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft.
- According to the researchers, Earth’s magnetic field protects us from high-speed charged particles emitted from the Sun as the solar wind.
- However, Mars does not have any intrinsic magnetic field. It allows the high-speed solar wind to interact directly with the Mars atmosphere.
- Researchers have now discovered that the Martian magnetosphere is formed due to the direct interaction of solar winds with the Martian atmosphere and the Martian magnetosphere is weak but highly dynamic.
- The solitary waves are distinctive electric field fluctuations in the Martian magnetosphere.
- They follow constant amplitude-phase relations. Their shape and size are less affected during their propagation.
- These waves are mainly visible in the dawn and afternoon-dusk sectors at an altitude of 1000–3500 km around Mars.
- They control particle energization, plasma loss, and transport through wave-particle interactions.
- Indian Institute of Geomagnetism is located in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is an autonomous research institution set up by the Department of Science and Technology.
Topic: State News/Telangana
5. ‘Kanti Velugu’ initiative has been launched in Khammam, Telangana.
- On 18 January, Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao formally launched the second phase of the Kanti Velugu initiative, the Eye Screening program, in Khammam district.
- This program is considered the world's largest eye screening program.
- Under Kanti Velugu, free eye screening will be done in special health camps for 100 days with 1500 medical teams.
- The first phase of Kanti Velugu was conducted for eight months by 827 health teams in 2018.
- Health camps will start from January 19 in the rest of the state.
- The Special programs will be carried out to raise knowledge of the government's flagship program among all households, and efforts will be made to deliver high-quality service to the people.
Topic: Art and Culture
6. Two 1200-year-old miniature stupas have been discovered by ASI at Nalanda.
- During landscaping activities near Sarai Tila mound within the premises of 'Nalanda Mahavihara,' the Patna circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) discovered two 1200-year-old miniature stupas.
- The stupas, carved from stone, have Buddha figures.
- The stupa is a hemispherical structure symbolizing the burial mound of the Buddha.
- Such stupas were popular as votive offerings in India as early as the 7th century.
- Nalanda Mahavihara:
- It is a World Heritage Site in the Nalanda district of the state.
- Nalanda Mahavihara site was one of the largest educational institutions in the ancient world from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE.
- Stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational structures), and major pieces of art have been found at Nalanda Mahavihara site.
- Kumargupta I of the Gupta dynasty established Nalanda Mahavihara in the fifth century CE.
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Topic: State News/Uttar Pradesh
7. PM Modi inaugurated the second phase of Saansad Khel Mahakumbh 2022-23 in Basti District of Uttar Pradesh through video conferencing.
- As part of Khel Mahakumbh, indoor and outdoor sports like wrestling, Kabaddi, Kho Kho, Basketball, Football, Hockey, Chess, Badminton, and Table Tennis are organised.
- In addition to these, competitions in essay writing, painting, and rangoli making are also organised.
- Harish Dwivedi, a Lok Sabha member from the Basti district, has been organising the Saansad Khel Mahakumbh since 2021.
- It is organised in two phases. The first phase of Khel Mahakumbh was held from 10th to 16th December 2022.
- The second phase of Khel Mahakumbh started on the 18th January. It will conclude on 28th January.
- Khel Mahakumbh provides an opportunity and platform for the youth of Basti district and neighbouring areas to showcase their talent.
8. Fifth Foreign Policy and Security Dialogue between India and South Korea concluded on 17 January 2023.
- This dialogue was held in Seoul. During the two-day dialogue, both sides agreed to deepen cooperation in various areas.
- These areas include trade and investment, security and defense, science and technology, as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
- Both countries have agreed to work to make global supply chains more resilient and robust.
- They also agreed to take steps to realize the vision of taking bilateral trade from 28 billion US dollars to 50 billion US dollars by 2030.
- They also discussed opportunities for cooperation in new and emerging technologies.
- Both sides also agreed to work together to develop Special Strategic Partnership this year.
- Fifth Foreign Policy and Security Dialogue is the first high-level meeting between India and South Korea in 2023.
- The year 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties between them.
Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking
9. World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2023 has been released by the ILO.
- According to the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2023, the current global economic slowdown will widen social and economic inequalities.
- Due to the economic slowdown, more workers will have to accept lower quality and poorly paid jobs.
- In the Asia Pacific region, the total working hours per person are still low than the pre-pandemic levels.
- Global employment is projected to grow by only 1% in 2023, which is less than the 2.3% growth rate of 2022.
- Global unemployment is likely to increase by around three million in 2023. It would increase due to tight labour supply in high-income countries.
- This would reverse the fall in global unemployment seen between 2020-2022.
- The global unemployment will remain 16 million above the pre-crisis benchmark (set in 2019).
- Job quality and the current slowdown are the main concerns of employment. Prices rise is faster than nominal labour incomes.
- In 2022, the labour force participation rate of women was 47.4 % while it was 72.3% for men.
- Annual employment growth is projected to be around 1 per cent in Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean regions.
- Employment growth in Africa and the Arab region will be around 3 per cent or more in 2023.
- As per the report, Young people (aged 15–24) are facing more difficulty in finding decent employment. The Unemployment rate among young people is three fold times more than of adults.
Topic: Space and IT
10. ISRO's Shukrayaan-1 mission may be postponed till 2031.
- The ‘Shukrayaan’ mission to Venus was scheduled to be launched in December 2024.
- Shukrayaan I mission idea was conceptualized in 2012.
- The launch windows from Earth to Venus come on every 19 months. ISRO has ‘backup’ launch dates in 2026 and 2028.
- Originally, ISRO planned to launch the Shukrayaan I mission in mid-2023.
- Shukrayaan I will be an orbiter mission and has a high-resolution synthetic aperture radar and a ground-penetrating radar.
- It will study the geological and volcanic activity of Venus and wind speed, cloud cover, and other planetary characteristics.
- ₹13,700 crores has been allocated to ISRO in the 2022-23 budget.
- The US and European space agencies also plan to send their own missions to Venus in 2031.
Topic: Personality in News
11. Abdul Rehman Makki has been declared a global terrorist by United Nations.
- Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki has been listed as a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
- The decision came after China lifted a hold on a proposal to list Makki as a terrorist. Last year, China blocked the proposal to list Makki.
- In June 2022, India and the US proposed to list Makki under the 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council.
- The UN Security Council’s 1267 ISIL and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UNSC added Makki to its list of Designated Terrorists, which lead to an asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.
- Makki has been involved in fund raising, recruiting and radicalizing youths to plan attacks in India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir.
- On May 15, 2019, Makki was arrested by the Government of Pakistan and Pakistani court convicted Makki of terrorism financing and sentenced him to prison in 2020.
(Source: News on AIR)
12. Russia and Belarus started joint military exercise on 16 January.
- The exercise raised fears in Kyiv and the West that Moscow could use its ally to launch a new ground offensive in Ukraine.
- Both countries began a joint military exercise involving a mechanized brigade subdivision.
- Both allies will conduct air force exercises using all military airfields in Belarus until 1 February.
- Last February, Russia used neighbouring Belarus as a springboard to invade Ukraine.
- Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Belarus has conducted several military exercises both on its own and jointly with Moscow.
- Together with Russia, Minsk is also increasing the exercise with weapons and military equipment.
Topic: International News
13. India-Bangladesh Friendship pipeline will begin supplying diesel to Bangladesh on an experimental basis from June 2023.
- The pipeline has been constructed for importing diesel from India. Its length is about 131.5 kilometre long.
- Out of this, 126.5 kilometre pipeline is in Bangladesh and 5 kilometre is in India.
- The pipeline will carry diesel from the Siliguri-based marketing terminal of the Numaligarh Refinery Limited to the Parbatipur depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation.
- It has a capacity of one million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA).
- The groundbreaking ceremony for the India-Bangladesh Friendship pipeline was held in September 2018 by PM Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina via video conferencing.
Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases
14. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University in the US have created thin, thread-like strands of molecules called supramolecular filaments.
- These molecules can be sprayed into the nose to block the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering the lungs.
- The COVID-19 virus enters the body through the lungs when people breathe.
- The filaments work like a sponge to absorb the COVID-19 virus and other viruses before they bind to cells in our airways.
- A receptor called angiotensin converting enzyme-2, or ACE2 is present in the filaments. This is also present in the cells in the nasal lining, the lung surface and the small intestine.
- Coronavirus enters our bodies primarily through interactions with this receptor.
- The newly developed filament, called fACE2, serves as a decoy binding site for the virus.
- The filaments attract SARS-CoV-2’s characteristic spike protein. So, they will work on future variants also.