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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-6th January 2023

Silent Valley Welcomes 175 Species and 17 New Species of Birds

Silent Valley National Park in the last month identified 141 species of birds of which 17 were new species of birds. A total of 175 species of birds have been spotted in Silent Valley.

Silent Valley Bird Species Goes Up to 175

Silent Valley National Park, located in Kerala, in the last month identified 141 species of birds of which 17 were new species of birds. A total of 175 species of birds have been spotted in Silent Valley. The bird survey was conducted at Silent Valley on the 27th, 28th, and 29th of December 2022 and marked the 30th Anniversary of the first bird survey in Silent Valley.

The bird survey was first conducted in the last week of December 1990, however, due to Covid-19, the anniversary could not be celebrated in December 2020.

P.K Uthaman and C.Sushant, the veteran birders were the only members of the 7th Survey team who had attended the first survey held in 1990. For the survey, 30 birders and forest staff took part in the bird survey by staying in seven camps inside the core area of the Silent Valley. The survey was held in association with the Kerala Natural History Society.

New Bird Species in Silent Valley National Park

There were a total of 17 new species of birds in the Silent Valley including-

Brown wood owl

Banded Bay Cuckoo

Malabar Woodshrike

White-throated Kingfisher

Indian Nightjar

Jungle Nightjar

Large Cuckooshrike

From the survey held in 2006, 139 birds have been identified and the number of species went up to 142 in the last survey held in 2014. Birds like the Crimson-backed sunbird, Yellow-browed bulbul, Black Bulbul, Indian white-eye, and Indian Swiftlet were found in abundance in Silent Valley.

About Silent Valley

Silent Valley is a National Park located in Kerala, India. It is surrounded by Nilgiri hills and covers an area of 82.52 km square. The Silent Vally National Park is famous having some of the rare species of birds and animals.

Impacts of Europe’s Extreme Winter Heat Wave Visible From Space

New satellite imagery reveals the effect of Europe's 'winter heatwave' in the thick of the continent's winter skiing season.

New satellite imagery reveals the effect of Europe’s ‘winter heatwave’ in the thick of the continent’s winter skiing season. An image posted by the European Union’s Copernicus Programme shows a distinct lack of snow surrounding the Swiss town of Altdorf, which is close to skiing resorts.  In Altdorf, the temperature reached 66.5°F (19.2°C) on New Year’s Day and did not fall below 60.9°F (16.1°C) during the night, breaking a previous record set in 1864. Warsaw in Poland also hit 66°F (18.9°C), smashing its own January record by over 9°F (5°C).

What More Has Been Seen:

The new satellite image was captured by Sentinel 2, one of the Earth observation satellites that makes up the Copernicus Programme. According to the programme, 2023 has started with ‘a historic heatwave‘ affecting Europe, with many countries observing the warmest temperature on record for January 1, potentially due to human-caused climate change.

Most Affected Countries:

According to meteorologists, European countries including Denmark, Netherlands, Poland and Czech Republic had their warmest January day on record on New Year’s Day.  Abed in Denmark reached 54.6°F (12.6°C), while Korbielow in Poland reached 66.2°F (19°C) and Javornik in Czech Republic hit 67.2°F (19.6°C).  Bilbao in Spain also experienced its hottest ever January day on January 1, reaching 77.2°F (25.1°C).

India Takes Over Leadership of the Asian Pacific Postal Union

India has taken over the leadership of the Asia Pacific Postal Union (APPU) in January 2023. Dr Vinaya Prakash Singh will take over the charge of Secretary General of the Union for a tenure of 4 years

India has taken over the leadership of the Asia Pacific Postal Union (APPU) in January 2023. Dr Vinaya Prakash Singh will take over the charge of Secretary General of the Union for a tenure of 4 years. This is the result of the elections during the 13th APPU Congress held in August-September 2022.

What is Asian Pacific Postal Union:

There are 32 members in this international organisation from the Asia-Pacific. It is a specific department inside the UN. The sole Restricted Union of the Universal Postal in the area is this one. The Asia Pacific Postal Union’s headquarters are in Bangkok, Thailand.

It was formed by International treaty through an Asian-Pacific Postal Convention signed in Yogyakarta on 27 March 1981.

The organisation has origins dating back to 1961.

Secretary general leads the activities of the Union and is also the director of the Asian Pacific Postal College (APPC) which is the largest inter-governmental postal training institute in the region.

Asian Pacific Postal Union(APPU)’s Goals:

The goal of APPU is to extend, facilitate and improve postal relations between member countries and to promote cooperation in the field of postal services. As the regional center for various UPU projects, APPU also takes the lead in ensuring that all technical and operational projects of the UPU are fulfilled in the region so that the region is integrated into the global postal network in the best possible way.

Significance of India’s chair:

The Asia Pacific region accounts for around one-third of the world’s postal workforce and about half of the world’s mail volume.

India seeks to improve the regional coordination with postal players in the Asia Pacific region to improve the growth of the business through the postal network, to ensure the sustainability of the Union.

This is the first time an Indian is leading an international organization in the postal sector.

PM Modi to Launch World’s Longest River Cruise “Ganga Vilas”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi to launch the world's longest river cruise, "Ganga Vilas" from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh to Dibrugarh, Assam on 13th January 2023.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi to launch the world’s longest river cruise, “Ganga Vilas” from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh to Dibrugarh, Assam on 13th January 2023. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has informed us that all preparations for the arrival of the Prime Minister and the launch ceremony in Varanasi should be finished.

PM Modi to Launch World’s Longest River Cruise “Ganga Vilas”- Key Points

The “Ganga Vilas” cruise will travel 3,200 kilometers from Uttar Pradesh to Dibrugarh.

It will make stops at more than 50 significant architectural locations including World Heritage Sites, as it will travel through rivers of India and Bangladesh.

The Sundarbans Delta and Kaziranga National Park are only two of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

The Ganga Vilas cruise, which departed Kolkata on December 22 with 32 Swiss visitors abroad, will arrive in Varanasi on 6th January.

According to the Director of Ganga Vilas Cruises, Raj Singh, Swiss visitors will travel to Varanasi and explore the city’s spiritual and religious sites.

On November 11, the cruise schedule was revealed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The Uttar Pradesh government was striving to improve the amenities for visitors to Varanasi.

President Murmu Inaugurated the 18th National Jamboree of BS&G

The President of India Droupadi Murmu inaugurated the 18th National Jamboree of the Bharat Scouts and Guides at Pali, Rajasthan on 4th January 2023.

The President of India Droupadi Murmu inaugurated the 18th National Jamboree of the Bharat Scouts and Guides at Pali, Rajasthan on 4th January 2023. The President of India noted that the Bharat Scouts and Guides is the largest voluntary, non-political, uniformed youth organization and educational movement in the country.

The Bharat Scouts and Guides work for the character-building of boys and girls without any distinction of creed, race, or gender. The organization is working with a spirit of dedication and service which promotes the welfare of humanity.

President Murmu inaugurates the 18th National Jamboree of the Bharat Scouts and Guides in Rajasthan – Key Points

In the 18th National Jamboree, over 35,000 scouts and guides from all over the country will participate.

The 18th National Jamboree will be held from 4th January 2023 to 10th January 2023 in Rajasthan.

Rajasthan is hosting the National Jamboree of the Bharat Scouts and Guides after 66 years.

To accommodate the participants, a smart Village has been set up with all the facilities on a 220-hectare area at Nimble Village and 3500 hundred tents have been erected at the venue.

President Droupadi Murmu said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bharat Scouts and Guides have shown exemplary courage in serving society.

Scouts and Guides can play an important role in making people aware by adopting renewable energy, reducing their carbon footprint, and promoting sustainable development practices.

The President also noted that Scouts and Guides must educate people about the importance of protecting biodiversity, maintaining the environmental balance, and promoting responsible tourism practices.

India is considered a young country in the world, as youth are the builders of the future nation.

Kosovo-Serbia Conflict & India’s Stand Over It

Kosovo Serbs who have been blocking roads in northern Kosovo for 19 days have agreed to start removing barricades, bowing to calls by the United States and the European Union to defuse tensions.

Kosovo Serbs who have been blocking roads in northern Kosovo for 19 days have agreed to start removing barricades, bowing to calls by the United States and the European Union to defuse tensions. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who met Serbs from northern Kosovo in the Serbian town of Raska, said the process of removing barricades will begin.

What More Is On The Cards:

The United States and European Union, which are mediating talks between Belgrade and Pristina to resolve outstanding bilateral issues, have guaranteed that none of the Serbs who set up barricades will be prosecuted. Removal of the barricades is expected to defuse ongoing tensions between Belgrade and Pristina.

Where is Kosovo:

Kosovo is a small, landlocked country in the Balkans, bordering Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Many Serbs consider it the birthplace of their nation.

But of the 1.8 million people living in Kosovo, 92% are Albanian  Muslims and only 6% Serbian. The rest are Bosniaks, Gorans, Turks and Roma.

How The Tensions Escalate:

Serbia had put its army on the highest combat alert following days of escalating tensions between Belgrade and Pristina. Serbia’s defence ministry said that given the latest events in the region and Belgrade’s belief that Kosovo was preparing to attack Serbs and forcefully remove the barricades, Vucic had ordered Serbia’s army and police to be put on the highest alert.

Why are there tensions:

Kosovo won independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after a guerrilla uprising against Belgrade’s repressive rule. Serbia, however, still considers Kosovo to be an integral part of its territory and rejects suggestions it is whipping up tensions and conflict within its neighbour’s borders. Albanian-majority Kosovo declared independence with the backing of the West, following a 1998-99 war in which NATO intervened to protect ethnic Albanians.

Around 50,000 ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo refuse to recognise the government in Pristina or the status of Kosovo as a separate country. They have the support of many Serbs in Serbia and its government.

What do the Serbs of Kosovo want:

Serbs in Kosovo want to create an association of majority-Serb municipalities that would operate with greater autonomy. Serbia and Kosovo have made little progress on this and other issues since committing in 2013 to the EU-sponsored dialogue.

What is the role of Nato, the EU and Russia:

For more than 20 years, Kosovo has been a source of tension between the West, which backed its independence, and Russia, which supports Serbia in its efforts to block Kosovo’s membership of global organisations, including the United Nations.

NATO has about 3,700 troops stationed in Kosovo to maintain the peace. The alliance said it would intervene in line with its mandate if stability in the area were jeopardized. The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), which arrived in 2008, still has around 200 special police officers there.

Russia, for its part, denied the Kosovo interior minister’s claims that Russia was influencing Serbia to destabilise Kosovo, saying that Serbia was defending the rights of ethnic Serbs.

India’s Stand:

India, Brazil, China, Russia, and Mexico among others have not recognised the territory. India has maintained that Kosovo’s declaration of independence contradicts UNSC Resolution 1244 which sought to establish an “interim administration for Kosovo” to solve the political crisis there at the time.

China Becomes First Country in Asia to Launch Hydrogen Powered Train

China's CRRC Corporation Ltd. Launched a hydrogen urban train, and it is the first in Asia and the second such train in the world.

China’s CRRC Corporation Ltd. Launched a hydrogen urban train, and it is the first in Asia and the second such train in the world. Germany introduced green trains a few months back. The hydrogen trains have a speed of 160 km per hour and the operational range without refueling is 600 km.

The trains launched by Germany have a record of 1175 km range set. The Indian Railway on the other hand is moving fast to induct the ‘World’s Greenest Train’ soon.

India will get its first-ever Indigenous Hydrogen trains by December 2023. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav informed that Indian Railways is working on new environment-friendly trains and the engineers are designing them.

China Becomes First Country in Asia to Launch Hydrogen-Powered Train- Key Points

The hydrogen train was developed ok the basis of a high-speed platform and includes 4 cars with it.

CRRC also introduced such a shunting locomotive in 2021 and hydrogen trams were produced earlier in the mid-2010s.

The train will also get Digital solutions from the CRRC including GoA2 automation, component monitoring sensors, and 5G data transmission equipment.

It is expected that the operation of the train will reduce CO2 emissions compared to diesel traction by 10 tons per year.

World’s First Hydrogen Train

Germany became the first country to operate the world’s first-ever hydrogen-powered passenger train fleet. The German government has informed that 15 diesel trains will be replaced.

These trains were previously being operated on tracks that lacked electric supply in Lower Saxony, Germany. The fleet comprises 14 trains, which use fuel cells to generate power, making it the cleanest-greenest train fleet ever.

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