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News in Short

News in Short - 04-April-2019

India-Ukraine Trade and Economic Cooperation Meeting

Date: 04 April 2019 Tags: India & World
  • The 4th Meeting of India-Ukraine Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation (IU-WGTEC) held at New Delhi.
  • The deliberation included India and Ukraine discussion on bilateral trade featuring mutual importance of exports and imports.
  • Both countries agreed to cooperate in fields of small and medium entrepreneurship (MSMEs), Leather, Tobacco, Gems and Jewelry, Tea sector, Industry, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Investment.
  • They also agreed to promote trade, both should share mandatory requirement to be fulfilled at time of exporting or importing of any product. 5th meeting will be held in Kyiv, Ukraine.

 IIT Madras successfully converted petroleum waste toluene into useful product

Date: 04 April 2019 Tags: Nanotechnology
  • IIT Madras scientists have successfully converted, petroleum waste-product toluene into benzoic acid, using platinum nanocatalyst.
  • Toluene into benzoic acid conversion is by selective and controlled oxidation in presence of binaphthyl-stabilised platinum nanoparticles (Pt-BNP) catalyst.
  • Benzoic acid uses are, as food preservative (E210), medicine for fungal/bacterial infection etc.
  • Organic reactions are carried out using organic solvents, which makes it expensive and generates toxic waste.
  • Scientists also had used water as solvent to make it environment-friendly, and a green oxidant (70% aqueous tert-butyl hydroperoxide- TBHP) for converting toluene into benzoic acid.
  • On oxidation toluene gives four products, but with catalyst used only benzoic acid and not alcohol, aldehyde or ester is produced.

Hump-backed Mahseer given Critialy Endangered Status

Date: 04 April 2019 Tags: Biodiversity
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed Hump-backed Mahseer as Critically Endangered in its Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Its scientific name is “Tor remadevii”, named after noted ichthyologist K. Remadevi of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
  • It is also called ‘tiger of the water’, and is a giant game fish, most iconic and highly-prized.
  • The freshwater fish is found in Cauvery river basin including Kerala’s Pambar, Kabini and Bhavani rivers.  It can grow up to 1.5m length, 55 kg weight and qualifies as megafauna.
  • Five other species included in threatened categories are- two wild orchids, Arabian scad (a marine fish) and two wild coffee species found only in few localities in Western Ghats.
  • IUCN also has updated great hornbill’s (found in India and southeast Asia) status from “Near Threatened” to “Vulnerable” due to high hunting pressure along with habitat loss and deforestation; and wreathed hornbill moved from “Least Concern” category to “Vulnerable”.

4th April: International Mine Awareness Day

Date: 04 April 2019 Tags: Days & Dates
  • Every year 4th April is observed as United Nation’s ‘International Mine Awareness Day’. It is celebrated to raise awareness about landmines and actions needed towards their eradication.
  • Theme for IMAD 2019 is “United nations promotes ‘SDG –Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) –Safe Ground –Safe Home’”.
  • On this occasion, UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) organized a multimedia exhibition at United Nations headquarters in New York to raise awareness about threats caused by mines.
  • UNMAS is a specialized service located within UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations that coordinates and implements activities to limit threat posed by mines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Credit Rating agency Fitch rates India as BBB-

Date: 04 April 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Fitch Ratings, a US based rating agency, retained India's long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at lowest investment grade of “BBB-“with a 'stable outlook'.
  • It forecasted India’s economic growth at rate of 6.8% in financial year 2019-20 and 7.1% in FY 2020-21.
  • Since 2006, this is continued 13th year that India is ranked “BBB” from Fitch. On August 1, 2006, Fitch had upgraded India’s rating from “BB+” to “BBB”.
  • Reason for non-upgradation of rating is: Although Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regulations are eased and red tape reduced but still difficulties in doing business in India lingers, along with lackluster FDI inflows.