1. Golden rice
- Bangladesh is to be the first country to approve golden rice planting in the country.
- Golden rice is a genetically modified variety of rice.
- It is developed by the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
- This variety of rice is claimed to be able to fight vitamin A deficiency.
- Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness among children and can also lead to death due to infectious diseases such as measles.
- This rice variety will not be more expensive than the conventional variety.
- The presence of beta-carotene pigment is the reason for its golden colour.
- The conventional rice is naturally low in the pigment beta-carotene.
- The beta-carotene is used by the human body to make vitamin A
- Vitamin A Deficiency
- Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that maintains healthy vision, skin, bones and other tissues in the body.
- Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) can lead to night blindness, a higher risk of the throat, chest, and abdomen infections, follicular hyperkeratosis (dry, bumpy skin), fertility issues and delayed growth in children, etc.
- Women and children are the most vulnerable to VAD which is the leading cause of childhood blindness and inability of the immune system to combat disease.
- International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
- IRRI is an independent, non-profit, research and educational institute, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations with support from the Philippine government.
- The institute, headquartered in Los Baños, Philippines, has offices in 17 rice-growing countries in Asia and Africa.
- The IRRI South Asia Regional Centre is located at Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).
- It aims to improve the health and welfare of rice farmers and consumers; and protect the rice-growing environment for future generations.
2. Sumatran Rhino
- Its scientific name is Dicerorhinus sumatrensis and is the smallest of all rhino species.
- It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- The World Wild Life (WWF) estimates that there are only about 80 of them and are left mainly in Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia.
- Black Rhino, White Rhino, Greater One-Horned Rhino, Javan Rhino and Sumatran Rhino are the five different species of Rhino.
- The three species of Rhino in Asia — Greater one-horned, Javan and Sumatran. Javan and Sumatran Rhino are critically endangered and the Greater one-horned (or Indian) rhino is vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.
- They are spread across India, Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia and Malaysia. These countries are also known as Asian Rhino Range Countries.
- Only the Great one-horned rhino is found in India.
3. Rohtang tunnel
- The world’s longest tunnel (8.8km) above 10,000 feet -Rohtang Tunnel is under construction to connect villages in Lahaul-Spiti (Himachal Pradesh) to the rest of the country even during winters.
- In winters,heavy snowfall in the Rohtang pass cuts off villages in Lahaul-Spiti From the rest of the country.
- Rohtang Pass (elevation 3,978 m) is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
- It is present on the Pir Panjal Range of Himalayas.
- It connects the Kullu Valley with Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh.
- The Ravi river rises west of the Rohtang pass in the Kullu hills of Himachal Prade
5. India zero –tolerance on terror crime nexus
- India has called for a zero-tolerance approach, without any double standards, to combat the existential global threat of the terror-crime nexus.
- At the 3rd High-level Special Event of United Nations and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, UN-SCO, held yesterday night in New York, India said that UN-designated terrorist organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to destabilise regions through their cross-border financing and propaganda.
- Speaking at the event, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin said that the terror-crime nexus is an existential global threat, the contours of which are mutating every day.
- In order to combat this menace, Akbaruddin said the international community will need to keep ahead of the new trends and technologies, something that can only be achieved if the global community work together, with a zero-tolerance approach, bereft of double standards.
- Mr.Akbaruddin said India looks forward to organising an SCO event in India on combating illegal financial flows related to narcotics trafficking in 2020.
- The Indian envoy emphasised that an added challenge in the nexus between terror and organised crime is the role of new and emerging technologies, including virtual currencies, encrypted communications and artificial intelligence.
5. First electric plane by NAS
- NASA, most prominent for its many Florida-launched exploits into space, showcased an early version of its first all-electric experimental aircraft, the X-57 “Maxwell,” at its lesser-known aeronautics lab in the California desert.
- Adapted from a Italian-made Tecnam P2006T twin-engine propeller plane, the X-57 has been under development since 2015 and remains at least a year away from its first test flight in the skies over Edward Air Force Base.
- But after attaching the two largest of 14 electric motors that will ultimately propel the plane – powered by specially designed lithium ion batteries – NASA deemed the Maxwell ready for its first public preview.
- NASA also showed off a newly built simulator that allows engineers, and pilots, to get the feel of what it will be like to maneuver the finished version of the X-57 in flight, even as the plane remains under development.
- The Maxwell is the latest in a proud line of experimental aircraft the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has developed over many decades for many purposes, including the bullet-shaped Bell X-1 that first broke the sound barrier and the X-15 rocket plane flown by Neil Armstrong before he joined the Apollo moon team.
- Due to current battery limitations, the Maxwell’s design is envisioned for use in short-haul flights as an air-taxi or commuter plane for a small number of passengers.