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News in Short

News in Short - 10-April-2021

Indian double mutant virus named B.1.617

Date: 10 April 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • The ‘double mutant’ virus that scientists had flagged for causing spread of the pandemic in India, has been named B.1.617.
  • The variant is common in India and has a couple of defining mutations, E484Q and L425R, that enable them to become more infectious as well as evade antibodies.
  • Certain variants of the coronavirus have been termed the ‘United Kingdom’ and ‘South Africa’ variant respectively because they have mutations associated with large spikes in these countries or reduce the efficacy of vaccines and are termed ‘Variants of Concern (VOC)’.

Varanasi court orders ASI survey on Gyanvapi mosque

Date: 10 April 2021 Tags: Judiciary & Judgments
  • A Varanasi court has ordered an archaeological survey of a centuries-old mosque complex near Kashi Vishwanath temple, to decide on pleas that allege the mosque was built by Mughal emperors after partially demolishing a Hindu shrine.
  • The decision came on a series of petitions that claimed that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb demolished a portion of the Kashi Vishwanath temple to build the Gyanvapi Masjid in the 17th century.
  • The religious dispute is decades old and first reached the courts in 1991, when local Hindu priests sought permission to worship in the mosque area. The hearing was later suspended by the Allahabad high court.

New species of bird from Arunachal Pradesh

Date: 10 April 2021 Tags: Biodiversity
  • A bird spotted in Arunachal Pradesh at an altitude higher than its recorded perch in adjoining China has become the 1,340th species of the bird family in India.
  • The three-banded rosefinch is a resident of southern China and a vagrant in Bhutan. The new species of bird was found during an intensive survey across the Eastern Himalayas as a part of an ongoing study.
  • The three-banded rosefinch belongs to the family Fringillidae, which are seed-eating passerine birds with a distinctively conical bill.
  • Prior to the addition of the three-banded rosefinch in the bird list of India, there were 1,339 avian species reported from across the country.

US Navy conducts operation in India’s EEZ

Date: 10 April 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • The U.S. Navy conceded that it had violated India’s maritime policy by exercising in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
  • The U.S. Navy said one of its warship carried out Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in Indian EEZ.
  • The US Navy regularly conducts such patrols in the contentious South China Sea to challenge China’s aggressive territorial claims over its neighbours.
  • Indian warships in the past have chased away a few Chinese research vessels entering the Indian EEZ and engaging in “suspicious military activity” after suitable warnings.

IFFCO hikes fertilizer prices

Date: 10 April 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • India’s largest fertilizer maker IFFCO Limited (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited) has effected a sharp hike in fertilizer prices.
  • The IFFCO said that farmers would not have to pay the revised prices as existing stocks of 11.26 lakh metric tonnes of complex fertilizers would be sold at the old rates.
  • Apart from the over 58% hike in DAP, the new retail prices for different formulations of NPKs (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potash and Sulphur) fertilizers were raised in the range of nearly 46% to 51.9%.