‘Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade’ report : by FATF
•Recently, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has released the first global report on the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) named, “Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade”
•The report has also described Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) as a “global threat”, which also has links with other organised crimes like modern slavery, drug trafficking and arms trade
•The illegal trade is estimated to generate revenues of up to $23 billion a year
•It has been observed that the criminals are relying on “established” methods to launder proceeds from IWT, including mobile or social media-based payments, third party payments and the placement and layering of funds through the formal financial sector.
【The report comes amid increasing international concern that the crime could lead to more zoonotic diseases in the future】
Navigating the New Normal campaign : NITI Aayog
•The portal focuses on easy implementation of four key behaviours in the unlock phase: [It lays emphasis on the Behaviour Change Model for living with Covid-19.]
1. mask-wearing (essential focus)
2. social distancing,
3. Hand hygiene,
4. Not spitting in public.
•The campaign has two parts:
1. Covid-safe behavioural norms: The first is a web portal, containing resources informed by behavioural science and the use of nudge and social norms theory, related to Covid-safe behavioural norms during the ongoing Unlock phase, and
2. Wearing of Masks: The second is a media campaign focused on the wearing of masks.
Increased Ozone Pollution levels
•Recently, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has observed an increase in ozone (a harmful pollutant) levels in the several cities of the country
•It has also observed that the particulate matter and nitrous oxide levels fell during the lockdown to control Covid-19 outbreak
•The ozone is primarily a “sunny weather problem” in India as the presence of sunlight has a direct impact on formation of ground level ozone.
•Heat acts as a catalyst, facilitating photochemical reactions. Hence, higher concentrations of ozone are seen during the summer months.
[Additionally, the intense heat waves are one of the factors responsible for increased ozone levels in the country.]
• ‘Good’ ozone present in the earth’s ozone layer protects human beings from harmful Ultraviolet (UV) radiation whereas the ground level ozone is highly reactive and can have adverse impacts on human health
•It is a disease caused by infection with leishmania parasites
•Kala-azar is endemic to the Indian subcontinent in 119 districts in four countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal).
•This disease is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world
•Recently, a team of researchers from the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune have found new biomolecules to fight drug resistance in Kala- azar (visceral leishmaniasis)
•Leishmaniasis: It is a neglected tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries including India.
[It is caused by a parasite called Leishmania, which is transmitted through the bite of sand flies]
•It was initiated by the non-profit Pollinator Partnership and the USA’ Senate in 2007
•Around 40% of invertebrate pollinator species, particularly bees and butterflies, face extinction across the world.
•In India, wild honeybees of the genus Apis, including the Asian bee and the little bee, have declined steadily for the past 30 years.
•Reasons for the Decline
1. Land-use change and fragmentation.
2. Changes in agricultural practices including the use of chemical pesticides, fungicides and insecticides.
3. Change in the cropping pattern and crops like the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and mono-cropping.
4. High environmental pollution from nitrogen and heavy metals.
5. Growth of invasive alien species.
6. Higher temperatures associated with climate change. etc.
What are Pollinators?
•Vectors that move pollen within the flower and from flower to flower are called pollinators.
•Recently, the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) has carried out the study of Coccolithophores and found that there is a decrease in the concentration of oceanic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the southern Indian ocean
•Coccolithophores are single-celled algae living in the upper layers of the world’s oceans.
•They calcify marine phytoplankton that produce up to 40% of open ocean calcium carbonate and are responsible for 20% of the global net marine primary productivity.
•They build exoskeletons from individual CaCO3 plates consisting of chalk and seashells.
Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020
•Recently, the Central government has introduced the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 to amend various provisions in the Electricity Act 2003
•It aims to address critical issues weakening the commercial and investment activities in the electricity sector
•The current challenges plaguing the Indian power sector is derived from negligence in addressing the structural issues.
•Also bringing transparency and accountability to protect the interest of consumers and ensuring healthy growth of the power sector.
•Instead of the separate Selection Committee (for appointment of Chairperson and members of State Electricity Regulatory Commissions-SERCs), there is a proposal to set up a National Selection Committee
•India is a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement. It is therefore proposed to have a separate policy for the development and promotion of generation of electricity from renewable sources of energy.
•Introduction of Direct Benefit Transfer will be beneficial for both the State Governments and as well as Distribution Companies