1. Prologue
  2. Environment & Agriculture: Sept-2016
    1. Ratification of Paris Summit
    2. Kigali summit and HFCs
    3. Env: Disasters and Typhoons
    4. Env: Pollution & Energy
    5. Env: Flora-Fauna
    6. Agriculture
  3. Public Healthcare: Sept-2016
    1. Mosquito & Fever related
    2. Genetics related
    3. Innovation and Research
    4. Yearbook type
    5. Space-Tech: Sept-2016
  4. Mobile & IT: Sept-2016


September 2016: Current affairs development in environment, medicine, IT and space tech. (Defense I’ll combine with diplomacy).

Environment: 2016/Sept

You should update my old PowerPoints with following two new developments on treaties/summits.

Treaty#1: Ratification of Paris Summit

  • UNFCCC- Conference of parties (COP21) was held @Paris, France.
  • COP22 will be held @Marrakesh (Morocco) on 7th November 2016.
  • In G20 summit @Hangzhou (China), India stalled any ratification, but later on made haste because
    • USA and China already ratified Paris deal in 2016, Sept.
    • if EU/Japan/Russia ratified before India, they’ll dominate over the nitty-gritty and implementation of the Paris Deal.
  • So, India became 62nd country to ratify @2nd Oct, 2016.
  • For more details on Paris summit & Ratification process: see this lecture.

Treaty#2: Kigali summit and HFCs

  • 1989: Montreal (Canada) protocol banned CFCs to prevent ozone depletion; hence companies started using HFCs in refrigerators and air-conditioning.
  • Although Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) don’t deplete ozone, they still contribute to greenhouse gas effect and global warming.
  • 2016, Oct: Summit at Rwanada’s Kigali to phase out HFCs.
  • More theory on Kyoto, Montreal and GHG gases: see this lecture

Env: Disasters and Typhoons

Geological epoc
  • Holocene Epoch: 12000BC till 1950: human civilization developed during this phase.
  • Anthropocene: 1950AD onwards: human centric geological time when flora-fauna began vanishing at faster rate, and heading towards an ecological disaster.
  • In news, because Expert Group of Intl. Geologists say we’re living in Anthropocene.
Italy Earthquake in Accumoli killed 120.
Myanmar Earthquake in Bagan damaged ancient Buddhist pagodas.
Typhoon Lionrock Affected Japan’s northern coast. It is the first typhoon to make landfall in this region since 1951.
Typhoon Meranti Taiwan and China’s Fujian affected. Meranti is world’s strongest typhoon this year.
Typhoon Malakas Japan.
Typhoon Megi China.

Env: Pollution & Energy

No more Diesel cars from Renault

After Volkswagon emission mischief, EU tightening pollution-norms on Diesel vehicles. Renault decides to stop Diesel car sales, because it’s too expensive for Renault to comply with these norms.

What’s the difference?
Petrol Diesel
  • 5-12 carbon atoms
  • Mixture of alkane and cyclo-alkane
  • 12 or more carbon atoms.
  • Heavier chain means it can give more power to internal combustion engine.
Boiling point: 40 to 205 Celsius 250-350
less Emits more sulfur, nitrogen oxide, soot particles.

Pollution: other developments

Aviation Emission India says no to proposal by ICAO to cut emission post-2020. Because Indian economy is growing, so obviously by 2020 the air-traffic will increase, compared to US/UK where it has ‘peaked’. (Recall Kuznets Curve.)
Vehicle scrapping “Voluntary Vehicle fleet modernization program” policy (V-VMP)- it aims to scrap 15 years old vehicles to check on pollution. Government planning to start with heavy vehicles first.
  • Due to large scale deployment of renewable energy sources and their grid-connectivity, coal plants will have to cut down their energy production / tweak them according to sunlight / wind-speed / monsoon.
  • CERC has issued guidelines and compensation mechanism in this regard- for the coal power plants and grid-managers.

Env: Flora-Fauna

Gorialla now critically endangered

Apes Four apes in critically endangered species

  1. Western Gorilla
  2. Eastern Gorilla
  3. Sumatran Orangutan
  4. Bornean Orangutan

Two apes in endangered list

  1. Chimpanzee
  2. Bonobo
Panda ICUN reduced the danger level of Panda from “endangered” to “vulnerable” because their population has substantially increased.
Kaziranga Park
  • IUCN report says from Assam’s Kanziranga an other national parks, rhino-poachers smuggling horns to China via Myanmar route, because now Nepal has tightened the anti-poaching campaign.
  • Assam government begins evicting (Bangladeshi) people who’ve encroached in this area to build Jhopad-patti. Jholachhap NGOs don’t like it. Not one bit.
Giraffe After genetic analysis, Scientists concluded Giraffe is not one species but four species viz 1) Southern 2) Northern 3) Reticulated 4) Masai.
Longest glass bridge
  • Zhangjiajie park- UNESCO world heritage site located in Hunan province of China.
  • Famous for cloud-weathered mountains that inspired Avatar movie scenes.
  • World’s longest glass bridge installed here but closed down within 2 weeks of opening because far too many visitors to handle the rush.


  • Mustard flower is self-pollinating, it contains both male and female organs. Hence difficult to hybrid. But GM- variety fixes this by making the male organ sterile.
  • GM variety Developed by Deepak Pental, Ex-VC of DU, Approved by GEAC.
  • Contains two types of soil bacterium- none of them have Bacillus thuringiensis though.
  • Will increase mustard production, and thereby self-reliance in edible oil production.
  • Bayer (world’s 2nd largest agro-chem company) acquired Monsato (world’s largest seeds-genomics company)
  • Jholachhaap NGOs worried such consolidation among MNCs will lead to cartelization/monopolgy and thereby exploitation of farmers.
  • El Nino = drought in 2014-15.
  • La Nina = good monsoon for India. IMD hoped this year 106% monsoon (than normal expectation) but La Nina was not that ‘intense’, hence only 96% monsoon (than normal expectation.)

Public Healthcare: Sept-2016

Mosquito & Fever related

Malaria-free Sri Lanka becomes the 2nd country after Maldives to be declared Malaria-free by WHO.
Malaria Map Researchers prepare Malaria map: the Malaria parasite has travelled with humans to continents. From India to Europe (4-5 Cent), then from Europe to America (when Columbus arrived).
Dengue vaccine
  • Sanofi-Pasteur’s Dengue vaccine named “Dengvaxia”- already introduced in Mexico, Brazil etc.
  • But India not to introduce it this year, because
  • A college in London raised doubts about efficacy of this vaccine.
  • ICMR looking at other strategies including a bacteria “wolbachia” to control vectors.
Scrub Typhus or Bush Typush
  • Symptoms like viral fever but actually caused by a parasite Orientia tsutsugamushi (originated from Japan-russia region).
  • Vector: mites living in small shrubs.
  • Deaths reported in Himachal during grass-cutting seasons.
  • Chikungunya- originated from southern Tanzania in 1952; the name is derived from the local Kimakonde language- means to become contorted
  • Two species of mosquitoes can spread: Aedes aegypti (Day biters) and Aedes albopictus (not dominant in India)

Genetics related

Three parent baby
  • USA researchers breed three parent baby in Mexico- for a Jordanian couple.
  • Baby has nuclear DNA from both parents but mitochondrial DNA from third donor woman- to ensure no genetic defects due to mitochondria.
Wilson’s disease
  • Genetic disorder wherein body can’t get rid of extra copper. This excessive copper then harms liver, kidney etc.
  • Lifesaving drug D-Penicillamine : but shortage in Indian market, so CDSCO orders inquiry.

Innovation and Research

Glucometer for GS3
  • The present glucometers cost about Rs.2-3k and per strip costs about Rs.15-20 each.
  • BITS Pilani came up with new low-cost model to help poor diabetic patients. ICMR gave contract to a private firm but unable to launch product in market yet, hence blame games.
  • London researchers says the TB patients in India are double than the official estimates given. Many patients go for private healthcare, but private doctors don’t forward data to government , hence discrepancy in data.
  • Young India are most vulnerable to skeletal TB- especially TB affecting Spine. Says another study. As such ~2% of all Indian TB patients have skeletal TB.
Baracktrema Obamai New parasite discovered by Obama’s 5th cousin in USA.

Yearbook type

Open Defecation
  • Gujarat and Andhra become first states to declare their urban areas free from open defecation (declared on Gandhi-Jayanti 2nd October 2016)
  • Alcoholic beverage standards 2016:
  • It must have min. 0.5% ethyl alcohol
  • It must be made from agriculture.
  • Yes, FSSAI/Food-labelling has become sacred cow for UPSC preparation since 2016’s Prelim.
L’Oreal Paris
  • Their beauty products test positive for mercury.
  • Mercury salts inhibit melanin pigment formation in skin- thus giving whiter look.
  • But side effects: kidney damage, skin rash, depression.
Chinese Medicine
  • Cancer ridden Chinese Actress Xu Ting chose traditional Chinese medicines, acupuncture, cupping instead of chemotherapy. Situation got worst, she dies because immunity already low to when she tried to revert back to Chemotherapy at later stage.
  • Moral of the story: AYUSH/traditional medicinal system is not panacea for everything.

Space-Tech: Sept-2016

ISRO's Scramjet

“and by launching these things UPSC aspirants ko pareshaan korbe chaalo”, said ISRO Chairman

ISRO’s Scramjet
  • Space transportation vehicle that can return back to earth for reuse.
  • Full name: supersonic combustion ramjet.
  • US, Russia, European space agency already have it. (yes UPSC asks like that- whether India is the only country to have xyz technology!)
  • Fuel: Hydrogen + atmospheric oxygen. (other use and throw type rockets use chemical fuel and on-board oxygen.)
  • Speed: above 3 mach. (1 mach = speed of sound in the air = 332m/s or 1234 kmph)
  • Launched with help of PSLV-C35.
  • Weight- 371 kg (yes spacecraft weight also importance since aforementioned prelims.
  • Purpose: weather forecasting, cyclone detection and tracking.
  • Same PSLV flight also carried seven other satellites as well- including USA’s Pathfinder-1.
  • Heaviest satellite so far launched from India (2211 kg)
  • Vehicle: GSLV-F05; with desi Cryogenic upper stage engine.
  • Purpose: weather satellite, monitor sea-surface temperature.


Rosetta Spacecraft
  • Built by European Space agency (ESA) to monitor an icy comet-67P for nearly 12 years since 2004 launch.
  • Finally it has crash landed on the said comet.
  • Earth like planet, orbiting 4.2 light years away.
  • Planets outside our milky way galaxy are called “exo-planets”
Space-X rocket Exploded in Florida. No person died.
Osiris-Rex This NASA spacecraft will lend on asteroid Bennu to collect samples and brings them back to earth. (yes such obscure spacecraft have also become important for UPSC, since 2016’s Prelim trend.)
GAIA This ESA space telescope mapped 1 billion stars.

Mobile & IT: Sept-2016

  • Will share user data with facebook, unless user opts out within a selected deadline. Matter challenged in Delhi HC.
  • HC ordered company to delete user data until September 25, when it changes the privacy policy.
NCCC National cyber security coordination centre will be setup by IT ministry, for real time threat assessment.
  • Reliance 4G to launch from September. Free voicecalls, internet data at Rs.50 per GB.
  • Point of Interconnection: It’s a physical linking between the network of one operator to the equipment of another.
  • This enables subscribers to make calls to each other.
  • Since Reliance offering free voice call, it demands other operators like Airtel,Vodafone to give it more Points of interconnection, otherwise this will lead to call failures.
  • Meanwhile Anil Ambani’s Rcom merges with Aircel.
  • This gossip blog / media company declared bankruptcy, after court order it to cough up millions of dollars as compensation to Hulk Hogan for breaching his privacy by showing sex-tape.
  • Lesson for GS4: limits of journalistic freedom.
IIT Kharagpur Starts courses on happiness. क्योकि इंजीनियरिंग करके लोगो को नौकरी मिल नही रही(!?)
  • Google station: public-wifi platform. Inspired from Railway platform wifi at India.
  • Youtube Go: works on low-bandwidth situation and allows sharing among family members.

Mobile phone battery: Theory

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7: Incidents of device catching fire. US and DGCA banned it on aircrafts.
  • Mobile batteries use lithium Cobalt oxide in their lithium ion batteries because its more stable than lithium.
  • Lithium atomic number 3; lightest metal, highest electro-chemical potential (ECP), violently reacts with oxygen hence stored in vegetable oil jars.
Mobile Battery consists of
Anode Lithium +positive charge
Cathode Graphite negative charge
  • In mobile battery- Lithium ions (Li+) move from anode to cathode, and electrons also travel through the wire from anode to cathode because they are at a higher energy in the anode than in the cathode.
  • During battery recharging- the process is reversed: ions and electrons move from lithium cathode to graphite anode.

Upcoming: Polity, Diplomacy, Economy, Sports and States in News during 2016, September.