Gist of The Hindu: OCTOBER 2023
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Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary
- Bihar is set to get a second tiger reserve in Kaimur district (Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary) by the end of the year or early 2024.
About Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary:
- It is the largest sanctuarylocated in the Kaimur District of Bihar.
- It is nestled in the Vindhayachal hill ranges.
- The sanctuary forms a very important catchment for theKav, Sone, and Durgawati river systems, with important tributaries.
- It is connected with Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary of UP, which again has links with Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve and Panna landscape in Madhya Pradesh through stepping stone forests of Marihan, Sukrit, Chunar ranges and wildlife sanctuaries of Ranipur (UP).
- Vegetation: This region has a thick covering of mosaic prairie, tropical dry deciduous backwoods, and swampy bogs.
- Fauna: The main animals found are Bengal tigers, Indian leopards, Indian boars, sloth bears, sambar deers, chitals, four-horned antelope and nilgais.
- Flora: The plants found here include Salai (BoswelliaSerrata), Siddha, Indian Rosewood (Sheesham), Jamun, Teak, Koraiya,Saal, and Jheengarare some species of plant life.
- Recently, eighteen captive-bred pygmy hogs were released in western Assam’s Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve.
About Pygmy hog:
- It is the smallest and rarest species of wild pig in the world.
- It is one of the very few mammals that build its own home, or nest, complete with a ‘roof’.
- It is an indicator species as its presence reflects the health of its primary habitat, tall and wet grasslands.
- Habitat: It prefers undisturbed patches of grassland dominated by early succession riverine communities, typically comprising dense tall grass intermixed with a wide variety of herbs, shrubs and young trees.
- Currently, the viable population of this pig in the wild is in the Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam.
- IUCN: Critically Endangered
- The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
Key facts about Manas National Park
- It is located in the state of Assam. It is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.
- It is a national park, UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, a Project Tiger reserve, an elephant reserve and a biosphere reserve.
- Flora: It contains some of the largest remaining grassland habitats in the sub-Himalayan grassland ecosystems.
- Fauna: The Park is known for its rare and endangered endemic wildlife such as the Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur and pygmy hog.
- The Manas River is a major tributary of Brahmaputra River, which passes through the Manas National Park.
- Researchers detected senescent macrophages in the lung that not only remained but also supported tumour growth in a recent Cancer Cell study.
- Macrophages are a type of white blood cell that plays an important role in the human immune system.
- They are involved in the detection, phagocytosis, and destruction of bacteria and other harmful organisms.
- The term macrophage is formed by the combination of the Greek terms “makro” meaning big, and “phagein” meaning eat.
- They are essential for the maintenance and defence of host tissues, doing so by sensing and engulfing particulate matter and, when necessary, initiating a pro-inflammatory response.
- They can modify themselves to form different structures in order to fight various different microbes and invaders. In this way, macrophages provide the first line of defense in protecting the host from infection.
- They are also involved in the development of non-specific or innate immunity.
- Macrophages produce a variety of cytokines, which are signaling molecules that communicate with other cells of the immune system. Cytokines play a role in inflammation, tissue repair, and the adaptive immune response.
- They migrate to and circulate within almost every tissue, patrolling for pathogens or eliminating dead cells.
- Macrophages may have different names according to where they function in the body. For example, macrophages present in the brain are termed microglia and in the liver sinusoids, they are called Kupffer cells.
What is Cellular Senescence?
- It refers to a state of stable cell cycle arrest in which proliferating cells become resistant to growth-promoting stimuli, typically in response to DNA damage.
- During this phase, the cell undergoes numerous phenotypic and metabolic changes.
- Senescent cells accumulate during ageing and have been implicated in promoting a variety of age-related diseases.
- Cellular senescence can compromise tissue repair and regeneration, thereby contributing towards ageing.
- Removal of senescent cells can attenuate age-related tissue dysfunction and extend the health span.
- Senescence can also act as a potent anti-tumour mechanism by preventing the proliferation of potentially cancerous cells.
Sela Tunnel Project
- The BRO officials recently said that nearly 96 percent of the work on the strategically crucial Sela Tunnel is complete, and it is likely to be inaugurated by year-end.
About Sela Tunnel Project:
- Location: It is located in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.
- Once completed, the Sela tunnel will be the world’s longest bi-lane tunnel at an altitude above 13,000 feet.
- It will ensure all-weather connectivity between Guwahati in Assam and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
- It is being excavated below the Sela Pass on the NH-13 component of the Trans-Arunachal Highway system.
- It is being built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO)under Project Vartak and the tunnel’s construction commenced on April 1, 2019.
- Tunnel 1: This single-tube tunnel has a length of 980m.
- Tunnel 2: This bi-lane tunnel has a length of 1555m. It includes one escape tube for emergencies.
- Roads: Approach to Tunnel 1 is 7100m, the road between the two tunnels is 1340m, and the approach to Tunnel 2 is 340 m long.
Key Facts about Sela Pass:
- It is a high-altitude mountain pass located in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
- Elevation: 4,170 meters above sea level
- It connects Tawang Valley to the rest of India.
- Open throughout the year, Sela Pass is managed by the BRO.
Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
- The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court recently ordered notice to the State on a public interest litigation petition that sought a direction to restrict the entry of outsiders and vehicles inside Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
About Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve:
- Location: It is located in the Southern Western Ghats in the Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts of Tamil Nadu.
- It was established as a Tiger Reseve in 1988.
- This reserve is a mixture of three main sanctuaries: Kalakad Sanctuary, Mundanthurai Sanctuary, and a part of Kanyakumari Sanctuary.
- Nestled between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the Agastya Malai Hill Range forms the core area of the sanctuary and is part of one of the world’s 18 biodiversity hotspots.
- The reserve is also known as the “River Sanctuary”, with as many as 14 rivers originating from this Tiger Reserve.
- Terrain: Undulating with several valleys and porous rocks.
- It varies from thorny shrub jungles to lush evergreen forests.
- In addition to forests, savannah woodlands, and grasslands, there are tea and coffee plantations within the reserve.
- Flora: Important species include Sarcandra, Paphiopedulum, druryi, Hopea parviflora, Hopea utilis, Calophylum elatum, Cullenia exarillata, etc.
- Fauna: Tiger, leopard, rusty spotted cat, wild dog, sloth bear, elephant, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, mouse deer, nilgiri langur, slender loris, bonnet macaque, lion tailed macaque, etc.
International Coral Reef Initiative
- Recently, the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) said it would secure public and private investment to help conserve and restore coral ecosystems.
About International Coral Reef Initiative:
- It was launched in 1994 by Australia, France, Japan, Jamaica, the Philippines, Sweden, Britain and the United States.
- Its members now include 45 countries that represent three quarters of the world’s coral reefs.
- India is also a member country of this initiative.
- It is a global partnership between Nations and organizations which strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world.
- Its decisions are not binding on its members.
- The work of ICRI is regularly acknowledged in United Nations documents, highlighting the Initiative’s important cooperation, collaboration and advocacy role within the international arena.
- Encourage the adoption of best practice in sustainable management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems
- Raise awareness at all levels on the plight of coral reefs around the world.
United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime
- Recently, the union Minister of State for Home Affairs participated in the two-day UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime Ministerial Conference at Palermo in Italy.
About United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime:
- It is a multinational treaty against transnational organized crime that was established by the United Nations in 2000.
- It is often known as the Palermo Convention.
- The UNTOC has a total of 147 signatories and 190 parties to the convention.
- The Convention is further supplemented by three Protocols
- The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children;
- The Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; and
- The Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition.
- India signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its three Protocols on December 12, 2002.
- The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the nodal agency for all dealings with UNTOC.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
- According to the Review of Maritime Transport 2023 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, in 2023, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping were 20 percent higher than in the last 10 years.
Key highlights of the review:
- Overall, the shipping industry contributes to over 80 percent of the world’s trade volume and nearly three percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Containerised trade, which had declined by 3.7 per cent in 2022, is expected to grow by 1.2 per cent in 2023 and grow further by three per cent between 2024-2028.
- Oil and gas trade volumes showed robust growth in 2022, while tanker freight rates saw a strong revival driven by geopolitical events.
About the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD):
- It is the UN’s leading institution dealing with trade and development.
- It is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.
- It supports developing countries to access the benefits of a globalised economy more fairly and effectively.
- It provides economic and trade analysis, facilitates consensus-building and offers technical assistance to help developing countries use trade, investment, finance, and technology for inclusive and sustainable development.
- Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland.
- Reports published by the UNCTAD
- Trade and Development Report
- World Investment Report
- The Least Developed Countries Report
Courtesy: The Hindu