Daily Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the best and most relevant editorials of the day from the best dailies known for civil services preparation.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS, 31st December 2020

THERMOPOLIUM POMPEII


Focus: GS1.

Topic: History of the world.

Incredibly Preserved Fast Food Stall Reveals What Romans Snacked on in  Pompeii

Context

  • Researchers have unearthed a Thermopolium, Latin for hot drinks counter, in the Roman Empire town of Pompeii.

  • The snack food counter called the thermopolium at the Pompeii archaeological park was partially excavated in 2019 was found complete with an image of a Nereid riding a sea-horse, decorative still-life frescoes, food residues, animals bones and victims who died during the volcanic eruption of 79 CE.

    The find is significant because it shows the variety of food consumed by the residents of the town — traces of pork, fish, snails and beef have been found in the containers of the stall. Pompeii was a Roman town in Southern Italy’s Campania region situated along the Bay of Naples. The town was completely buried by volcanic ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, over 2000 years ago.

 

Source: The Hindu.

COMMON ENTRANCE TEST FOR VASRITIES

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Centre sets up panel to work out common entrance test for varsities |  Education News,The Indian Express

Context

In what marks the first attempt, after the introduction of the new National Education Policy, at moving away from unrealistic cut-off marks for admissions to universities, the government is exploring the feasibility of holding a common entrance test for undergraduate admissions across all central universities from the next academic year.

Background

  • The UGC set up a seven-member committee on December 23, headed by Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Punjab R P Tiwari, “to consider the issue (of) holding common entrance test at the undergraduate level only from the next academic year in central universities to provide a single platform for admission”.

  • The new NEP, released in July this year, advocates reducing the number of entrance tests to “eliminate the need for taking coaching for these exams”.

Highlights

  • There are 40-odd central universities run by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and, collectively, all of them have about 1 to 1.25 lakh seats across different disciplines at the undergraduate level, said a ministry officer. 

  • Of these, currently about 16 central universities, all set up under the UPA-II government, have a common entrance test for Bachelor’s study.

  • If the NEP suggestion is implemented, the National Testing Agency will be tasked to conduct a common aptitude test as well as specialised common exams for different disciplines at least twice a year, for admission to bachelor’s in central universities.

Source: Indian Express.

 

HYPOTHERMIA

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Predicting a severe cold wave in the national capital and several other  parts of North India, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) urged  residents of India's northernmost states to protect themselves from the

Context

 

  • Amid severe cold wave in the national capital and several other parts of North India, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an unusual advisory. 

  • In an impact-based advisory, the IMD has urged residents of the northernmost states to protect themselves from the biting cold by avoiding alcohol.

Background

 

  • According to reports, severe cold wave conditions are likely in parts of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi from December 29 onwards. 

  • Maximum temperature is also forecast to fall by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius after December 28.

 

Highlights

 

  • In its impact-based advisory, the IMD said the weather conditions were likely to increase the risk of contracting illnesses like the flu, and could also lead to symptoms like runny/stuffy nose and nosebleeds, which usually set in or are aggravated due to prolonged exposure to the cold.

  • The IMD also warned of frostbite, a condition where the skin turns pale, hard and numb and is eventually left with black blisters when exposed to extreme cold conditions. 

  • The notice also pointed out not to ignore shivering.

  • To avoid reactions to the cold wave, the IMD shared a list of recommendations, one of which was avoiding alcohol as it "reduces your body temperature". 

  • The department also urged people to limit outdoor activities, moisturise their skin regularly with oil or cream, eat vitamin-C rich fruits and vegetables.

Source: PIB.

 

WILD SUN ROSE

 

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Portulaca Laljii: A new species of wild sun rose | IASbaba

Context

 

  • Botanists have discovered a new species of wild Sun Rose from the Eastern Ghats in India.

  • The new species named Portulaca laljii was discovered from Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh.

 

About Portulaca Laljii

  • It has unique features such as a tuberous root, no hair in its leaf axils, a reddish-pink flower, prolate-shaped fruits, and copper brown seeds without lustre.

  • Portulaca laljii has been named to honour the contribution of Lal Ji Singh, an eminent botanist of the Botanical Survey of India.

  • The species has been placed under the ‘Data Deficient’ category of the IUCN List of Threatened Species because very little information is available about the population of the species.


About its morphological features

  • These morphological features distinguish the species from other species of genus Portulaca.

  • The flowers, which are reddish-pink in colour, are very minute, at about 0.5mm.

  • The plant was found growing in rocky crevices at an altitude of about 1,800 metres above mean sea level, very close to the ground, at about less than 10 cm.

  • The plants belonging genus Portulaca are classified in the category Sun Rose because they flower in bright sunshine.

  • The genus was described by Linnaeus in 1753 as a type genus of the flowering plant family Portulacaceae.

Source: The Hindu.


COUNTING THE COST 2020

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

A new global report in its analysis of 15 most destructive climate  disasters of 2020 has found that nine of these extreme events, including  two in India, caused damage worth at least $5 billion.

Context

 

  • A new report by Christian Aid, Counting the cost 2020: a year of climate breakdown identifies 15 of the most destructive climate disasters of the year.

  • Ten of those events cost $1.5 billion or more, with nine of them causing damage worth at least $5 billion. 

  • Most of these estimates are based only on insured losses, meaning the true financial costs are likely to be higher.

 

Background

 

  • Among them is Storm Ciara which struck the UK, Ireland and other European countries in February costing $2.7 billion and killing 14. 

  • The UK's Environment Agency issued 251 flood warnings.

 

Highlights

 

  • While the report focuses on financial costs, which are usually higher in richer countries because they have more valuable property, some extreme weather events in 2020 were devastating in poorer countries, even though the price tag was lower. 

  • South Sudan, for example, experienced one of its worst floods on record, which killed 138 people and destroyed the year's crops.

  • Some of the disasters hit fast, like Cyclone Amphan, which struck the Bay of Bengal in May and caused losses valued at $13 billion in just a few days. 

  • Other events unfolded over months, like floods in China and India, which had an estimated cost of $32 billion and $10 billion respectively.

  • Six of the ten most costly events took place in Asia, five of them associated with an unusually rainy monsoon.

  • And in Africa, huge locust swarms ravaged crops and vegetation across several countries, causing damages estimated at $8.5 billion. 

  • The outbreak has been linked to wet conditions brought about by unusual rains fuelled by climate change.

 

Source: Indian Express.


PNEUMOSIL

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Pneumosil Current Affairs Insight

Context

 

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare has inaugurated India’s first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) named “Pneumosil”.

 

Background

 

  • It has been developed by the Serum Institute of India Private Limited (SIIPL) in collaboration with partners like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • Pneumosil was licensed by the Drugs Controller General (India) in July 2020.

 

Highlights

 

  • It is a pneumococcal and a conjugate vaccine used to protect infants, young children and adults against disease caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).

  • Conjugate is a type of vaccine that joins a protein to an antigen in order to improve the protection the vaccine provides.

  • It contains purified capsular polysaccharide of pneumococcal serotypes conjugated to a carrier protein to improve antibody response.

  • The unique feature of the PCV is its composition which is specially tailored to the prevailing serotype prevalence of S Pneumoniae in India and other regions of the world.

 

Source: Indian Express.


NMPB CONSORTIA FOR MEDICINAL PLANTS

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

National Medicinal Plants Board|Government of India

Context

  • National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Ministry of AYUSH has launched Consortia for Medicinal Plants.

  • NMPB envisions the necessity of connectivity between stakeholders in the supply chain and value chain of Medicinal Plants.

 

About National Medicinal Plants Board

 

  • It has been established by Government of India to coordinate with all matters relating to Medicinal Plants and Support Policies and Programs for growth of trade, export, conservation and cultivation. 

  • The board is working under Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathy (AYUSH).

 

Highlights

 

  • NMPB Consortia will address Quality Planting Material, Research & Development, Cultivation, Trade of medicinal plants/market linkage etc.

  • To establish the linkage between the farmers and manufacturers, a ‘Seed to Shelf’ approach is being introduced, wherein, aspects related to Quality Planting Materials (QPM), Good Agriculture Practices (GAP’s), Good Post Harvest Practices (GPHP’s) would be addressed.

  • In the first phase, NMPB consortia is proposed for medicinal plant species – Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Pippali (Piper longum), Aonla (Phyllanthus emblica), Guggulu (Commiphora wightii), Satavari (Asparagus racemosus).


Source: Times of India.

 

NATIONAL COMMON MOBILITY CARD 

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

PM Narendra Modi launches India's first-ever driverless train for Delhi  Metro - NamasteCar

Context

 

PM Modi virtually inaugurated India’s first ever driverless train operations on the Delhi Metro’s Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden route, as well as the fully operational National Common Mobility Card services on the Airport Express Line.

 

Highlights

 

  • The fully automated trains will reduce human intervention in operations and offer more reliability and safety for commuters. 

  • This system also brings more flexibility in train operations. 

  • As a result, the number of trains in service can be regulated based on demand without depending on the availability of crew.


Source: Indian Express.


Map of the Day–Turkey

Map of Turkey


Quote for the Day

“None can destroy iron, but its own rust can! Likewise, none can destroy a person, but its own mindset can” – Ratan Tata 

Mains Answer Writing


  1. Explain the features of major islands of India and to mention about the potential of Andaman and Nicobar islands. (250 Words).

  2. Briefly mention about indigenous communities and tribes of Western Ghats. Mention relevant facts and figures. (250 Words).

  3. Explain the ongoing Sino-Australian dispute and how India can offer solution to Australian reliance on China. (250 Words).


Test your Knowledge


  1. With reference to a report ‘Counting the Cost 2020: A Year of Climate Breakdown’, consider the following statements:

    1. It has been prepared by UNFCCC.

    2. In its analysis of 15 most destructive climate disasters of 2020 has found that nine of these extreme events, including two in India, caused damage worth at least $5 billion.

    3. The cyclone ‘Amphan’, which struck the Bay of Bengal in May, had caused financial losses valued at $13 billion in just a few days in India and Bangladesh and caused loss of 128 human lives.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

 

      1. 1 and 2 only

      2. 1 and 3 only

      3. 2 and 3 only

      4. 1, 2 and 3

 

  1. Consider the following statements:

    1. Hypothermia is a severe medical condition where the body loses heat before it can generate it, resulting in a dangerously low body temperature.

    2. Hypothermia is a severe medical condition where the body loses heat before it can generate it, resulting in a dangerously low body temperature.

    3. Alcohol cannot decrease the core temperature of the body and increase the risk of hypothermia during cold exposure.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

 

      1. 1 and 2 only

      2. 1 and 3 only

      3. 2 and 3 only

      4. 1, 2 and 3

 

  1. Consider the following statements:

    1. Zero coupon bonds are tradable, the lender has kept them in the Held-To-Maturity (HTM) bucket, not requiring it to book any mark-to-market gains or losses from these bonds.

    2. Zero coupon bonds by private companies are normally issued at discount, but since these special bonds are not tradable these can be issued at par.

    3. Though zero coupon, these bonds are different from traditional zero coupon bonds on one account — as they are being issued at par, there is no interest; in previous cases, since they were issued at discount, they technically were interest bearing.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

 

      1. 1 and 2 only

      2. 1 and 3 only

      3. 2 and 3 only

      4. 1, 2 and 3

 

  1. What is thermopolium?

 

      1. Mineral found in Moon

      2. Recently excavated snack food counter at the Pompeii archaeological park’s Regio V

      3. New Covid vaccine

      4. New exoplanet

 

  1. R P Tiwari panel is related to:

 

      1. Non-Banking Financial Companies (NFBCs)

      2. find the problems faced by the farmers

      3. consider the issue (of) holding common entrance test at undergraduate level only from the next academic year

      4. AIIMS administration


Answers

  1. C 2.A 3.C4.B 5.C