Hindu Notes from General Studies-02
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WEF 2018: Modi meets Swiss President Alain Berset
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 22, 2018, met Swiss President Alain Berset and discussed ways to deepen bilateral ties on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual summit.
- Mr. Berset said the discussions marked the meeting of the biggest and the oldest democracies in the world.
- Two leaders had productive discussions on steps to further deepen our bilateral cooperation built upon our shared values of democracy and diversity.
- Sources said the two leaders are also believed to have discussed the progress on automatic exchange of tax information.
A legislation in this regard was passed by the Swiss Parliament, following which banks and financial institutions have begun collecting data for the first exchange that is to begin from next year.
Negotiations on EFTA (European Free Trade Association) trade pact and the bilateral investment protection agreement were also discussed, among various business and trade matters, they added.
Hindu Notes from General Studies-03
Sensor-based technology to testify genuineness of organic crops
- Information technology application can now help ensure genuineness of organic crops.
- Already, various foreign countries have started adopting this technology that involves use of sensors in the soil, where the crop is grown, to record various parameters, including the nature of inputs provided.
- The data from the sensors would be incorporated in the form of a bar code on the package containing the organic food.
- Consumers could read the bar code using the relevant app in their mobile phones to confirm that what they are eating is genuinely organic.
- In addition to this, they would also know the source of their produce such as the place of cultivation and the farmers’ groups that have grown the crop.
- This technology is set to be tried on a pilot basis in Karnataka for the first time.
It may be tried on paddy and corn, to begin with.
Project would need a minimum of 1,000 acres so that the financial burden would not be huge on farmers.
NGO on a mission to rejuvenate Tamirabharani
In an effort to rejuvenate the Tamirabharani river that plays a critical role in the livelihood, culture and the economy of south Tamil Nadu, the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) has begun an extensive outreach programme involving the communities living along the river.
The NGO will adopt 37 villages from Papanasam to Cheranmadevi and will conduct weekend programmes for people from all walks of life.
The activities planned include garbage removing, wall painting, planting of saplings and their maintenance, conducting a river festival once in every six months.
The Tamirabharani, which is the only perennial river that originates and ends in Tamil Nadu, is also the site of an ancient civilisation that excelled in education partly because of the surplus from agriculture.
Police struggle to keep pace with cyber thieves
The city police of Chennai have filed more than 1,000 cases of credit card fraud and over 2,000 cases of debit card fraud in the last two years.
Even though complaints have been pouring in on a daily basis, not even a single arrest has been made in the past year.
However, the stakeholders have somehow managed to recover 25% of the money lost in the last two years.
A status report released by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) recently stated that over 3.58 crore was recovered and returned to the victims by initiating quick action on the complaints.
Phishing, a common form of online fraud, is typically carried out by e-mail or instant messaging, and often directs users to enter details at a website, although phone contact has also been used at times.
According to police, after getting the details, the scammers make payments to mobile phone and online payment service providers, which are quite difficult to trace or retrieve.
Now, an app to report roadkill in wildlife habitats
A mobile-based application, ‘Roadkills’, launched on January 21 by the Wildlife Conservation Trust, will help citizens report such wildlife deaths by uploading geotagged photographs to a public forum.
The data generated can be used to identify crucial road or rail stretches that urgently require mitigation measures.
With the resulting geotagged photographs, users can also include what taxon the animal belongs to (bird, mammal, reptile or amphibian), the species’ name (if known) and the area where the roadkill was seen.
The information generated from the application can help identify crucial sections of roads or railway lines where animal deaths are high to pinpoint regions that require urgent mitigation measures.
The data can also help determine what species are more at risk on specific road or rail stretches and plan the ideal mitigation measures suited for the location – from underpasses or overpasses for large mammals to canopy bridges for arboreal ones, such as monkeys.
Pollution in Yamuna hits water supply
Delhi Jal Board said that,water supply in almost all parts of the Capital will be affected as increase in pollution levels in the Yamuna led to water treatment plants working under capacity.
Due to rise in pollution level in the Yamuna and reduced supply of raw water in the carrier lined channel [CLC] by Haryana, production of drinking water has been curtailed at all water treatment plants.
The level of ammonia in raw water had increased to 1.6 parts per million (ppm), while the DJB can only treat water with an ammonia level of 0.9 ppm or lower.