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Current Affairs for 26 April 2024

Current Affairs for 26 April 2024 Banner - The Best IAS Coaching in Delhi | SHRI RAM IAS Study Centre

The 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) saw India voicing a strong stance on the permanent solution for public stockholding for food security. India emphasized a shift in the WTO’s focus, urging it to prioritize addressing fundamental concerns such as food security and sustaining livelihoods over solely catering to the trade interests of agricultural exporters. India argued that public stockholding programs are crucial for developing countries to ensure food security for their populations, especially vulnerable sections. While the current WTO rules provide some leeway for developing countries regarding public stockholding programs, India advocated for a permanent solution that acknowledges their development needs. G-33 nations also supported the right of developing countries to use the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) as an important instrument against major import surges or sudden price declines. India stressed the necessity of creating a level playing field in international agriculture trade, particularly for low-income or resource-poor farmers worldwide. Additionally, India highlighted the disparities in domestic support provided by countries to their farmers, with subsidies in developed countries reported to be significantly higher than those in developing nations. India, as a member of G-33 nations, also urged the WTO to find a permanent solution to public stockholding.


Shifting to space exploration, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft made headlines by resuming readable communications after months of transmitting gibberish back to Earth. Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 is part of the Voyager program, aiming to study the outer Solar System and beyond, including flybys of Jupiter and Saturn. Notably, Voyager 1 was the first human-made object to cross the heliosphere and enter interstellar space in August 2012, making it the most distant human-made object from Earth. Its mission is expected to continue sending data until at least 2025, contributing significantly to our understanding of outer space.

In the realm of satellite technology, the U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) celebrated Satellite Technology Day (STD) – 2024, marking the 50th anniversary of India’s first satellite, Aryabhata, launched in 1975. Aryabhata, built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and launched by the Soviet Union, was instrumental in exploring conditions in Earth’s ionosphere, measuring neutrons and gamma rays from the Sun, and conducting investigations in X-ray astronomy. This celebration highlighted India's achievements in space exploration and technological advancements over the past decades.


India's engagement extended to international forums, as seen in their participation in the 1st ASEAN Future Forum. India's External Affairs Minister delivered remarks supporting ASEAN unity and centrality, emphasizing the importance of a strong and unified ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific region. The ASEAN Future Forum serves as a platform for ASEAN member states and partner countries to share new ideas and policy recommendations, contributing to promoting and shaping ASEAN’s development path. India's involvement underscores its commitment to regional cooperation and development initiatives.


On the economic front, Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the CSIR – National Geophysical Research Institute to foster long-term collaboration in the critical and strategic minerals sector. KABIL, a Joint Venture Company formed with the participation of National Aluminium Company Ltd. (NALCO), Hindustan Copper Ltd. (HCL), and Mineral Exploration Company Ltd. (MECL), aims to identify, acquire, develop, process, and make commercial use of strategic minerals in overseas locations for supply in India. This collaboration reflects India's strategic focus on securing critical resources for its economic growth and development.


Turning to global challenges, the recently released Global Report on Food Crisis (GRFC) highlighted the acute food insecurity faced by nearly 282 million people in 59 countries in 2023. The report identified conflicts, extreme weather events, and economic shocks as the main drivers exacerbating food crises globally. Notably, conflict and insecurity became the primary driver in 20 countries, directly affecting 135 million people. Meanwhile, weather extremes affected over 72 million people in 18 countries, emphasizing the urgent need for coordinated efforts to address food insecurity and promote sustainable food systems globally.


Environmental conservation efforts were also in focus, with Bhutan and the Tiger Conservation Coalition committing to catalyzing US$1 billion for tiger conservation at the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference. The Tiger Conservation Coalition, comprising NGOs and experts, aims to conserve wild tiger populations in protected habitats and promote tiger conservation at scale. This commitment reflects a collective effort to protect endangered species and preserve biodiversity in their natural habitats.

Back in India, the National Colloquium on “Governance at the Grassroots after Three Decades of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment” was inaugurated in New Delhi to mark National Panchayati Raj Day 2024. The event honored the best panchayats for their efforts in improving the lives of rural households and highlighted the importance of local self-governance in India's grassroots development. The Panchayati Raj system, established through the 73rd Amendment Act of 1992, plays a crucial role in inclusive growth and addressing various socio-economic challenges at the grassroots level.


Scientific advancements were showcased through a study revealing a novel adaptation mechanism of the Mpox virus, enhancing its ability to infect humans amidst recent outbreaks. The study highlighted the virus's transmission from animals to humans and underscored the need for improved prevention and control measures. The outbreak, affecting over 100,000 people in more than 118 countries in 2022-2023, led to coordinated efforts by global health organizations to contain its spread and mitigate its impact.

Lastly, unusual weather phenomena were observed, such as heavy rainfall in Dubai following a severe thunderstorm that hit the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The historic rainfall event, attributed to climate change and natural climate variability, highlighted the challenges posed by extreme weather events in arid regions. Efforts like cloud seeding were mentioned as strategies to increase precipitation in water-scarce environments, reflecting ongoing initiatives to address climate-related challenges globally.


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