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Current Affairs for 20 April 2024

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Lakshmana Tirtha River: Completely Dried Up

The severe drought and intense heat have caused the Lakshmana Tirtha River, a tributary of the river Kaveri in Karnataka, to dry up completely. The river originates in the Brahmagiri hills, Kodagu or Coorg District, Karnataka, and flows eastward before joining the Kaveri River in the Krishna Raja Sagara Lake. One of its notable features is the Lakshmanatirtha Falls, also known as the Irupu Falls, which is a popular freshwater cascade on the river bordering Kerala, en route to the Nagerhole National Park. Kaveri River, originating at an elevation of 1,341 m at Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri range near Cherangala village of Kodagu district, drains into the Bay of Bengal at Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu's Mayiladuthurai district. The Cauvery Basin spans Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and the Union Territory of Puducherry, bordered by the Western Ghats on the west and the Eastern Ghats on the east and south, with ridges separating it from the Krishna basin and Pennar basin to the north.

Global Alliance For Incinerator Alternatives Urges ASEAN Action Against Plastic Pollution

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific has called on the ASEAN to take decisive action against plastic pollution. GAIA is an alliance comprising over 1,000 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals worldwide. It aims to transition from our current linear and extractive economy to a circular system supporting people's right to a safe environment. Their vision is a just, zero-waste world respecting ecological limits and community rights, free from toxic pollution, and sustainably conserving resources. They focus on combating pollution, promoting regenerative solutions, and building campaigns, policies, research initiatives, and movements in cities. The alliance's primary areas of intervention include incineration, zero waste, plastic, and climate issues. Incineration involves burning hazardous materials at high temperatures to destroy contaminants, with incinerators designed for this purpose treating various hazardous materials like soil, sludge, liquids, and gases.

Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) and Its Impact on the Indian Economy

The Indian economy has faced challenges due to the private Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) failing to accelerate significantly as a percentage of GDP at current prices. GFCF refers to the growth in an economy's fixed capital, which includes tangible or intangible assets produced and used repeatedly for over a year. It comprises resident producers' investments in fixed assets during a specific period, contributing to economic growth and improving living standards. Private GFCF serves as an indicator of private sector investment willingness, while overall GFCF encompasses government investments too. This capital formation, seen in India's significant increase from INR 32.78 lakh crore in 2014-15 to INR 54.35 lakh crore in 2022-2023, reflects substantial infrastructure, industry, and public goods investments. The rise in GFCF positively impacts economic output and consumer purchasing power, crucial for economic development. Developed economies like the U.S. typically possess more fixed capital per capita, highlighting its role in economic growth.

Discovery of the Clouded Tiger Cat and Its Threats

A new species of forest-dwelling tiger cat, the clouded tiger cat (Leopardus pardinoides), was discovered in Brazil. However, it faces threats from deforestation and illegal hunting. This long-tailed cat with short-round ears and weighing 2.27 kg inhabits the cloud forests of southern Central America and the Andean Mountain chains. Its unique features include a margay-like head with dense, soft fur in varying reddish, orangish, and grayish-yellow tones adorned with irregular cloudy rosettes.

Mount Ruang Eruption and Its Impact

Mount Ruang, a stratovolcano in Indonesia's North Sulawesi province, recently erupted, sending an ash cloud over a mile into the sky. Stratovolcanoes, unlike flat shield volcanoes, are tall, steep, cone-shaped and typically found above subduction zones. They often experience explosive eruptions due to their viscous lavas like andesite and dacite, comprising about 60% of Earth's individual volcanoes.

NASA's Dragonfly Mission to Saturn's Moon Titan

NASA's Dragonfly rotorcraft mission to Saturn's moon Titan is set for launch in July 2028 with a budget of $3.35 billion. The mission aims to explore prebiotic chemical processes on Titan, marking NASA's first scientific vehicle flight on another planetary body. Dragonfly, a "dual quadcopter," will fly across Titan's surface, powered by a radioisotope system like the Curiosity rover on Mars. It will conduct science operations, flights, and data transmission during daylight, recharging at night, and exploring various locations for potential life indicators.

Testing of DRDO's DURGA-2 System

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is reportedly testing its DURGA-2 (Directionally Unrestricted Ray Gun Array) system, utilizing focused energy like lasers, microwaves, or particle beams for target damage. These directed energy weapons offer advantages like light-speed transmission, precision, and tailored effects, potentially transforming warfare and enhancing defense capabilities.

GPS Spoofing and Its Impact

GPS spoofing involves manipulating GPS receivers with false signals, leading to inaccurate location data critical for navigation and time synchronization. This cyberattack's practicality has increased with accessible software and hardware, posing security challenges.

Launch of CDP-SURAKSHA Platform for Horticulture Farmers

The Central government introduced the CDP-SURAKSHA platform to streamline subsidy disbursal to horticulture farmers under the Cluster Development Programme (CDP), fostering sectoral growth and digital accessibility.

Regulatory Sandbox Recommendations by TRAI

TRAI issued recommendations for overseeing the Regulatory Sandbox (RS) in the Digital Communication Sector, emphasizing ethical customer engagement, data protection, transparency, and regulatory compliance for innovative technologies and services.

Malaysia's Rejection of Commonwealth Games Hosting Offer

Malaysia declined to host the Commonwealth Games (CWG) due to short notice and funding constraints, highlighting logistical challenges for major international events.

100% FDI in India's Space Sector

India allowed 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in specific categories of the space sector, promoting satellite manufacturing, data products, and launch systems, aligning with global technological advancements and investments in the industry.

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