QS World University Rankings (2021)
•Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) is a leading global career and education network for ambitious professionals looking to further their personal and professional development
[It is an annual publication of university rankings which comprises the global overall and subject rankings]
•Recently, QS World University Rankings 2021 shows a decline in the rankings of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc)
•Despite the Centre’s flagship Institutes of Eminence (IoE) scheme to boost the Indian presence in these global rankings, the total number of Indian institutions in the top 1,000 global list has fallen from 24 to 21.
•Only three educational institutes from India, the IIT Bombay (172), IISc Bengaluru (185) and IIT Delhi (193) feature in the top 200 list.
•In private universities, BITS Pilani and the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) have dropped out of the top 1,000 list, but OP Jindal Global University has climbed to the 650-700 band in the rankings
Microplastics in Deep Oceans
•Microplastics are small plastic pieces of less than five millimeters(5 mm) in size.
•It includes microbeads (solid plastic particles of less than one millimeter in their largest dimension) that are used in cosmetics and personal care products, industrial scrubbers
•Recently, researchers have observed that deep sea hotspots of biodiversity are also likely to be microplastic hotspots
•The researchers have studied the spatial distribution and ultimate settling position of the microplastics and its effects on the biodiversity hotspots in the deep oceans
•Deep sea or deep layer is the lowest layer in the ocean, existing below the thermocline and above the seabed, at a depth of 1000 fathoms or more.
[Fathom is a unit of length equal to six feet (1.8 metres)]
•There is a need to prioritise the reduction of single-use plastic such as multi-layer packaging, bread bags, food wrap, and protective packaging which are major and dangerous sources for plastic pollution
Production of Saffron and Heeng (asafoetida) in India
•Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) and the Government of Himachal Pradesh, have jointly decided to increase the production of these two spices
•The introduction of IHBT developed crops of heeng and saffron is expected to reduce the import of these spices
1. Saffron Production in India:
•In India, the annual demand for Saffron spice is 100 tons per year but its average production is about 6-7 tons per year. (Hence a large amount of Saffron is being imported.)
•Recently, the Kashmir saffron got Geographical Indication (GI) tag status.
2. No production of heeng in India
•There is no production of heeng in India and currently about 1200 tons of raw heeng worth Rs 600 crore is being imported from Afghanistan, Iran, and Uzbekistan.
•Heeng is a perennial plant and it produces resin from the roots after five years of plantation
The Justice in Policing Act , 2020
•It is a civil rights and police reform bill drafted by Democrats in the United States Congress, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus
•It aims to overhaul police practices as Americans gather daily to protest excessive use of force and systemic racism.(after the death of George Floyd)
•Proposals in bill
1. Reform “qualified immunity” for officers, making it easier for people whose constitutional rights were violated to recover damages
2. Stop the use of “no-knock” search warrants in drug cases in the U.S
3. Require training on racial bias and implicit bias at the federal level,
4. Classify lynching as a federal hate crime etc.
•Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs(CBIC) has launched its flagship programme Turant Customs, at Bengaluru and Chennai.
•Under this, Importers will now get their goods cleared from Customs after a faceless assessment is done remotely by the Customs officers located outside the port of import.
•Now, the goods imported at Chennai may be assessed by the Customs officers located at Bengaluru and vice versa, as assigned by the Customs’ automated system
•It is a massive celebration of the Coral Triangle, the world’s epicentre of marine biodiversity, which encompasses the seas of 6 countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste
•Coral Triangle is considered as one of the 3 mega ecological complexes on Earth, together with Congo Basin and the Amazon Rainforest.
[The region contains 76% of all known coral species, 37% of all known coral reef fish species and 53% of the world’s coral reefs.]
•The event brings together individuals, organizations, and establishments on one special day of the year to shed light on ocean conservation and the numerous ways to protect and conserve the Coral Triangle