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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-22nd December 2022

BF.7, New Covid Variant driving surge in China, 4 Cases found in India

BF.7, New Covid Variant driving surge in China: The BF.7 sub-variant of Omicron that is prevalent in China is thought to be the cause of the present spike in Covid-19 infections there. This isn’t the first time BF.7 has been in the spotlight; back in October, it began to displace the main variations in the US and several other European nations. The massive Covid rise in China is being caused by the BF.7 sub-variant of Omicron, which has been found in four cases in India. In Gujarat and Odisha, the instances of BF.7 Covid Variant first came to light. Currently, the Covid protocol is not required in the nation.

About BF.7, the New Covid Variant

  • As the main stem of the SARS-CoV-2 tree sprouts branches and sub-branches, so do viruses when they change, creating lineages and sub-lineages.

  • The Omicron sub-lineage BA.5 and the BF.7 are identical. The latter is also known as BA.5.2.1.7.

  • The BF.7 sub-variant has a 4.4-fold higher neutralization resistance than the original D614G variant, according to a study published in the journal “Cell Host and Microbe” earlier this month.

  • This means that in a lab setting, antibodies from a vaccinated or infected individual were less likely to destroy BF.7 than the original Wuhan virus that spread throughout the world in 2020.

However, the study found that another Omicron sub-variant named BQ.1 had a more than 10-fold higher neutralization resistance than BF.7, which is not the most resilient sub-variant.

BF.7, New Covid Variant driving surge in China

After eliminating mandated safety measures like lockout and mass testing as part of its zero-Covid policy, China has been battling to control an out-of-control Covid surge with the BF.7 Covid variant. According to reports, pharmacies are running out of medication while hospitals are desperately attempting to handle the increased patient load because of the New Covid Variant BF.7.

Tuesday saw an increase from Monday’s two Covid-related deaths to five, according to local officials in Beijing. Only those who passed away from respiratory failure brought on by the infection will be included in the Covid mortality numbers, according to health experts.

4 Cases of BF.7 found in India

The patients infected with the BF.7 and BF.12 forms of Omicron were reported in October-November, according to the Gujarat Health Department, where two cases were reported. They received treatment in home isolation and are now completely well. Sources claimed that the first case had come to light in July.

The Center has requested that all Covid-positive cases’ samples be sent to INSACOG genome sequencing facilities. The Health Ministry’s INSACOG forum tracks and studies different Covid strains throughout India, which includes all of the country’s states and Union Territories on a map.

India’s Manned Space Flight Gaganyaan to be Launched in the Fourth Quarter of 2024

The Government has said, the country’s maiden human space flight mission, Gaganyaan, is targeted to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2024. Science & Technology Minister, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, in view of the paramount importance of crew safety, two uncrewed flights are scheduled, before the final human space flight- ‘H1 mission’, to demonstrate the performance of the crew escape system and parachute-based deceleration system for different flight conditions.

More Update Regarding This:

He said, uncrewed ‘G1 mission’ will be targeted in the last quarter of next year, followed by the ‘G2’ in the second quarter of 2024. Dr. Jitendra Singh said the astronaut designates for the Gaganyaan are identified and undergoing mission-specific training at Bengaluru. The first uncrewed flight of Gaganyaan programme ‘G1’ mission is aimed at validating the performance of the human rated launch vehicle, Orbital module propulsion system, mission management, communication system, and recovery operations. The mission will carry a humanoid as a payload. Gaganyaan Mission:

  • Aim:

    • Gaganyaan is an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft that is intended to send 3 astronauts to space for a minimum of seven days by 2022 (delayed due to COVID-19).

  • Launched by:

    • ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk III (3 stages heavy-lift vehicle)

  • Components:

    • Consists of a service module and a crew module, collectively known as an Orbital Module (Crew Module carries astronauts & Service Modules carries propellants.)

    • LEO: It will circle Earth at a low-earth-orbit at an altitude of 300-400 km from the earth for 5-7 days.

    • Vyom Mitra: ISRO to send humanoid Vyommitra in unmanned Gaganyaan spacecraft ahead of human spaceflight (Monitoring module parameters).

Other Major Space Projects:

  • Venus mission: This will be the first mission to Venus by the ISRO.

  • L-1 Aditya solar: India’s first scientific expedition to study the Sun

  • Chandrayaan-3: It is a lander-and rover-specific mission, a follow-up of the Chandrayaan-2 mission.

UNESCO heritage sites tentative list: Sun Temple & Vadnagar town Rock cut sculpture added

UNESCO heritage sites tentative list:

Three new cultural sites in India, including the iconic Sun Temple at Modhera, historic Vadnagar town in Gujarat, and rock-cut relief sculptures of Unakoti in Tripura, have been added to the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites. The UNESCO website describes a tentative list as an “inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination”.

Description About The 3 Cultural Sites:

  • Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat

The Sun Temple in Modhera, Gujarat, is dedicated to Surya Dev and is situated on the left bank of the Pushpavati River, a tributary of the River Rupan. It is the earliest of such temples, setting trends in architectural and decorative features and perfectly illustrating the Solanki style. Its components—the main temple shrine (garbhagriha), a hall (gadhamandapa), an outer hall or assembly hall (Sabhamandapa or rangamandapa), and a sacred pool (Kunda), now known as Ramakunda—are all built in the Maru­gurjara architectural style. This east­facing temple is built of bright yellow sandstone.

  • Vadnagar – A multi­layered Historic town, Gujarat

Vadnagar is a municipality in Mehsana district of Gujarat. It is a multi­layered historic town that has been inhabited continuously for more than 2,700 years, dating back nearly to the 8th century BCE (Before Common Era). The town still has a significant number of historic buildings, mostly residential and religious in nature. The historic town’s survival demonstrates its resilience and exceptional universal value, in contrast to places such as Harappa and Kalibangan, which were eventually abandoned.

  • Rock­cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti, Tripura

Unakoti, the chiselled “Angkor Wat of the North­East,” is a series of Shaivite rock sculptures found in the northern region of Tripura. It is renowned as an ancient holy site associated with Shaiva worship. Unakoti, located in the Raghunandan hills about 180 kilometres from Agartala, is home to massive bas­relief sculptures from the 8th and 9th centuries.

About the Sites on the Tentative List:

  • The 52 “Sites on the Tentative List,” as defined by UNESCO, also include Temples in Bishnupur, West Bengal (added to the list in 1998), Mattanchery Palace in Kerala (added in 1998), Wild Ass Sanctuary, and Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat (added in 2006). So far in 2022, 6 Indian sites have been included to the tentative list.

  • There are 40 sites in India that have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These include 32 “cultural sites” such the Agra Fort in Uttar Pradesh, the Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, Harappan era site at Dholavira in Gujarat, the Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra, the Red Fort complex in Delhi, and the Mahabodhi Temple complex in Bodh Gaya in Bihar.

World Bank hints that Global Economy on a steep Slowdown

Global Economy on a steep Slowdown: According to the most recent World Bank study, the global economy is experiencing a sharp decline after almost a year of uncertainty in 2022. The World Bank report noted that the COVID-19 pandemic’s repercussions are still being felt today in the form of education losses, worldwide inflation, supply chain disruptions, and other issues on a global scale.

Global Economy on a steep Slowdown: Key Points

  • The global economy is currently experiencing its steepest slowdown after a post-recession recovery since 1970, according to the report 2022 in Nine Charts, which also discussed growth.

  • Global consumer confidence has already fallen significantly more sharply than it did in the years leading up to previous global recessions.

  • The economy of the three biggest economies in the world—the United States, China, and the euro zone—have been rapidly slowing.

  • It went on to say that given the situation, even a slight blow to the world economy over the course of the ensuing year may send it into a recession.

  • In its study, the World Bank also noted that the escalating intensity of natural disasters continues to shed light on the social and economic effects of climate change.

Findings of the Report by World Bank

  • The Ukraine war, high inflation, supply chain disruptions, and the global economic downturn all worked together to drive significant price increases for many agricultural products and inputs, such as fertilisers, according to the report, which claimed that 2022 was marked by a marked increase in food insecurity around the world.

  • According to the research, the Covid-19 pandemic caused the biggest setback to attempts to reduce global poverty in decades, and the recovery has been incredibly uneven.

  • Additionally, it noted that the debt crisis affecting developing nations has worsened over the previous year, with almost 60 percent of the world’s poorest nations either in debt distress or at risk of it.

The epidemic and vulnerabilities in the real estate market had caused the World Bank to lower its China growth prediction for the year. The World Bank announced that it had reduced its projection from the 4.3% expected in June to 2.7% in an official statement. Additionally, it decreased the prediction for the next year from 8.1% to 4.3%.

Sri Lanka and Russia in talks to use the rupee in foreign trade

Use of rupee in foreign trade: In order to facilitate international trade, Sri Lanka has agreed to utilize the Indian Rupee (INR). It occurs shortly after the Indian government announced it was looking into ways to include nations who are particularly short on dollars in the Indian rupee trade settlement process.

Use of rupee in foreign trade: Sri Lanka and Russia

  • The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) clearance is required before the Indian rupee can be designated as Sri Lanka’s official foreign currency, according to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).

  • According to reports, banks in Sri Lanka have set up special accounts for trading in INR dubbed Special Vostro rupee accounts, or SVRA.

  • Additionally, the SAARC region’s neighbouring island country has asked RBI to support and encourage trade as well as tourism.

  • Sri Lanka has been dealing with a severe economic crisis and a shortage of dollars for almost a year.

  • The island nation will receive much-needed liquidity support if the Indian rupee is recognised as legal tender.

  • People in Sri Lanka can now hold USD 10,000 (Rs 8,26,823) in real form thanks to the establishment of Vostro accounts.

  • Additionally, Sri Lankans and Indians can transact internationally without using US dollars by using Indian rupees instead.

Use of rupee in foreign trade: Key Points

  • Notably, the Indian government has been attempting to entice nations with dollar shortages to use its rupee settlement system since July of this year.

  • The Indian rupee trade settlement system allows for the use of the Indian rupee in place of dollars and other major currencies in all international transactions.

  • The RBI announced the creation of a system to conduct foreign trade in Indian rupees on July 11.

  • While the market determines the exchange rate between the trading partners, the method will allow all exports and imports to be denominated and billed in Indian rupees.

  • In order to educate stakeholders on the rupee trade, the Indian Finance Ministry has also requested that the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and the FIEO launch an awareness campaign.

When using the process, importers in India must pay in rupees against the invoices for the supplies of goods or services from the foreign seller or supplier. These rupees must be credited into the Vostro account of the correspondent bank of the partner country. Similar to this, exporters of India who use this method to export products and services must be paid the export earnings in Indian rupees from the remaining balance in a specific Vostro account held by the correspondent bank of the partner nation.

Social Progress Index (SPI) for States and Districts Being Released

Social Progress Index (SPI) for States and Districts made by the Institute for Competitiveness and Social Progress Imperative was submitted to Economic Advisory Council- Prime Minister and released. Based on the SPI scores, states and districts have been ranked under six tiers of social progress.

The Tiers are:

Tier 1: Very High Social Progress; Tier 2: High Social Progress; Tier 3: Upper Middle Social Progress; Tier 4: Lower Middle Social Progress; Tier 5: Low Social Progress; and Tier 6: Very Low Social Progress.

About Social Progress Index (SPI):

SPI is a comprehensive tool that can serve as a holistic measure of a country’s social progress at the national and sub-national levels. The index assesses states and districts based on 12 components across three critical dimensions of social progress – Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity. The index uses an extensive framework comprising 89 indicators at the state level and 49 at the district level.

  • Basic Human Needs assess the performance of states and districts in terms of Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, Water and Sanitation, Personal Safety and Shelter.

  • Foundations of Wellbeing evaluates the progress made by the country across the components of Access to Basic Knowledge, Access to Information and Communication, Health and Wellness, and Environmental Quality.

  • Opportunity focuses on Personal Rights, Personal Freedom and Choice, Inclusiveness, and Access to Advanced Education.

Who Achieved What:

  • Puducherry has the highest SPI score of 65.99 in the country, attributable to its remarkable performance across components like Personal Freedom and Choice, Shelter, and Water and Sanitation. Lakshadweep and Goa closely follow it with scores of 65.89 and 65.53, respectively. Jharkhand and Bihar scored the lowest, 43.95 and 44.47, respectively.

  • For the dimension of Basic Human Needs, Goa, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, and Chandigarh are the top four states with the best performance in Water and Sanitation and Shelter as compared to the other states and union territories. In addition, Goa has the highest component score for Water and Sanitation, followed by Kerala, scoring the highest across the Nutrition and Basic Medical Care component. For Shelter and Personal Safety, Chandigarh and Nagaland have emerged as the front-runners, respectively.

  • Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, and Goa have emerged as the best-performing states for the Foundations of Wellbeing. Within the dimension for the Access to Basic Knowledge component, Punjab has the highest component score of 62.92, while Delhi has topped the list for Access to Information and Communication with a score of 71.30. For Health and Wellness, Rajasthan has the highest component score of 73.74. For Environmental Quality, the top three states belong to the northeast region, namely, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Meghalaya.

  • Lastly, Tamil Nadu has achieved the highest component score of 72.00 for the Opportunity dimension. Within this dimension, Andaman and Nicobar Islands have the highest component score for Personal Rights, while Sikkim has topped the list for Inclusiveness. It is commendable to witness Puducherry attaining the highest scores across two components in this dimension, i.e., Personal Freedom and Choice and Access to Advanced Education.

J&K’s Bandipora hosts the first-ever Tribal Winter Festival

Tribal Winter Festival:

A first-of-its-kind Tribal Winter Festival was held in the Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir. The festival is organised by the district administration in collaboration with various departments at Ketson, the festival witnessed huge public participation. The festival witnessed music, dance, and cultural events that left the people enthralled.

About the Tribal Winter Festival:

People from the Kashmiri community, Gujjars and Bakerwals danced together to the beats of dhol (drum) in a unique portrayal of cultural unity in diversity. The ‘gatka’ was another attraction performed by two tribal communities portraying the fighting spirit of the Gujjars amid all geographic, social and political odds, he said. A skit highlighting the ills of drug abuse was also presented by school children. The day also witnessed attractive Kabbadi match and a unique tug of war between senior citizens and young participants.

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