Topic 1: Depleted Uranium Munitions

Context: The British government recently said that it would provide Ukraine with armour-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium.

What is depleted uranium?

Which countries have depleted uranium munitions?

Risks of using such weapons

Where have depleted uranium munitions been used?

The International Coalition to Ban Uranium WeaponsThe International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) is a global coalition of 160 groups in 33 countries.ICBUW was formed in 2003 in Berlaar, Belgium.Aim:To promote a campaign based on reliable information on depleted uranium (DU) weapons.Headquarters:Until 2018 it was based in ManchesterEngland, then the office has been transferred from Manchester to Berlin.Working of ICBUW:ICBUW campaigns for a ban on the use, transport, manufacture, sale, and export of all conventional weapon systems containing uranium (usually called depleted uranium weapons).It also seeks health monitoring and compensation for communities affected by the use of uranium weapons and the environmental remediation of such sites.A draft convention:ICBUW has prepared a draft Convention for a ban on depleted uranium weapons.ICBUW’s Draft Convention contains a general and comprehensive prohibition of the development, production, transport, storage, possession, transfer, and use of uranium ammunition, uranium armour-plate, and of any other military use of uranium.The Convention also outlines obligations concerning the abolition of uranium weapons and the destruction of uranium weapons construction facilities.It obliges states to ensure a rapid decontamination of radioactive battlefields and test ranges, emphasising the protection of civilians living in these areas, and obliges states to compensate the victims.

Topic 2: Marburg virus disease

Context: Five people have died and three others are infected with the Marburg virus  in Tanzania.

What is the Marburg virus disease?

Topic 3: Nowruz

Context: The Parsi community in India, which follows Zoroastrianism, celebrated Nowruz on March 21, marking the beginning of the New Year.

About Nowruz:

Topic 4: Earth Hour

Context: Lights at public places and some temples in different cities including Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi were turned off between 8.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. as part of the global ‘Earth Hour’ event.

What is Earth Hour?

About WWF:

Topic 5: Quote – Mere faith and blind faith is dangerous: It dulls the brain and makes a man reactionary

Key details:

Topic 6: Some tigers from India may be sent to Cambodia

Context: India is considering translocating some tigers to Cambodia.

Key details:

Topic 7: India rejected J&J’s patent on TB drug

Context: Recently, the Indian Patent Office rejected an application by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to extend its patent on the drug bedaquiline.

What is Bedaquiline?

What is drug-resistant TB?

How is drug-resistant TB treated?

Significance of bedaquiline:

Why was the patent application rejected?

Significance of the rejection:

Topic 8: India’s first cable-stayed railway bridge

Context: India’s first cable-stayed bridge and the first-of-its-kind in the country, is currently under construction and will soon be completed.

Key details:

Topic 9: IMF bailouts

Context: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed a $3 billion bailout plan for Sri Lanka’s struggling economy.

What is a bailout?

Why do nations seek an IMF bailout?

How does the IMF help countries?

Conditions to an IMF bailout

About IMFThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization that:promotes global economic growth and financial stability,encourages international trade, andreduces poverty.Quotas of member countries are a key determinant of the voting power in IMF decisions.Votes comprise one vote per 100,000 special drawing rights (SDR) of quota plus basic votes.SDRs are an international type of monetary reserve currency created by the IMF as a supplement to the existing money reserves of member countries.It is based in Washington, D.C.The organization is currently composed of 190 member countries.The IMF was originally created in 1945 as part of the Bretton Woods agreement, which attempted to encourage international financial cooperation by introducing a system of convertible currencies at fixed exchange rates.One of the IMF’s most important functions is to give loans to countries that are experiencing economic distress to prevent or mitigate financial crises.IMF funds come from two major sources: quotas and loans.Quotas, which are pooled funds of member nations, generate most IMF funds.The size of a member’s quota depends on its economic and financial importance in the world.Nations with greater economic significance have larger quotas.The quotas are increased periodically as a means of boosting the IMF’s resources in the form of special drawing rights.Special drawing rights are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets maintained by the International Monetary Fund.SDRs are units of account for the IMF, and not a currency per se.They represent a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged.

Topic 10: Biotransformation technology

Context: A U.K.-based startup claims to have developed biotransformation technology that can alter the state of plastics and make them biodegradable without leaving behind any microplastics.

What is biotransformation technology?

Need for such technology in India:

(However, Amazon India has now eliminated single-use plastics across its fulfilment centers. Flipkart has also done the same in 2021 across its supply chain.)

Where can this technology be used?

Is this being used in India?

Initiatives by Indian Government:

Alternatives to reducing plastic waste

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