Rapid Fire Current Affairs | 27 Nov 2023

Warm Temperatures Led to Massive Pest Attack in Assam

Continuous warm temperatures for prolonged periods may have led to the serious pest (Namely Mythimna separata) infestation in Assam that damaged around 28,000 hectares of paddy crop in at least 15 districts.

  • The pest (Mythimna separata) is known as the ear head cutting caterpillar, rice ear-cutting caterpillar, or armyworm. It feeds on leaves and can cut off panicles from the base of a crop plant, frequently leaving the field looking like it has been grazed by cattle.
  • In a warming world, changes in both temperature and rainfall are the two big drivers of shifts in how and where pests and diseases spread.
  • Every small rise in global temperatures will reduce the lifecycle of insects, resulting in a higher population of pests, increasing generations, an extension of geographical range and development season, high risks of invasion by migrant pests and overwintering.

Read More: Armyworm Attack, White Fly

Humanitarian Pause in Gaza

Qatar successfully mediated between Israel and Hamas, leading to a four-day humanitarian pause, facilitated by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States. Although not a ceasefire, the agreement aims to bring relief to Gaza, subject to possible extension.

  • The United Nations (UN) defines a “humanitarian pause” as a “temporary cessation of hostilities purely for humanitarian purposes”. Such pauses are usually limited to a defined period, and to a specific area where the humanitarian activities are to be carried out.
  • A ceasefire, on the other hand, goes much further. The UN defines it as a “suspension of fighting agreed upon by the parties to a conflict, typically as part of a political process”, with the goal being to “allow parties to engage in dialogue, including the possibility of reaching a permanent political settlement”.

Read More: Israel-Palestine Conflict, UNSC Resolution on Gaza Strip

Girish Chandra Murmu Elected Vice-Chair of UN Panel of External Auditors

Girish Chandra Murmu, the current Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, has been appointed as the Vice-Chair of the United Nations Panel of External Auditors for the year 2024, marking a significant milestone in India's involvement in global audit governance.

  • This position was conferred during the sixty-third session of the Panel of External Auditors held at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
  • The Panel of External Auditors, composed of Heads of 12 Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) globally, oversees the external audit of the UN Secretariat, Funds and Programmes, and Specialized Agencies.
    • Their responsibilities encompass a wide spectrum, ranging from financial and performance audits to ensuring compliance within UN entities.
  • It includes representatives from Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Philippines, Russia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Read more: Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG)

Zero Draft Text to Mitigate Plastic Pollution

Recently, the 3rd session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) concluded at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • This session focused on the development of an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, encompassing concerns related to the marine environment.
  • However, amidst the progress, challenges emerged as INC-3 encountered difficulties in reaching a consensus on the zero draft text of the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.
  • The zero draft of INC 3 outlines proposed elements for the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, emphasizing the marine environment.
    • It aims to address prevention, regulation, and mitigation, encompassing technical, regulatory, institutional, and procedural elements crucial for effective implementation.
    • India actively supports this development and actively participates in the INC process.
  • INC-4 and INC-5 are scheduled to be hosted by Ottawa, Canada a few months from now and by Busan, South Korea in November 2024, respectively.

Read more: Eliminating Plastic Pollution by 2040, Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee

Guru Nanak Jayanti

Recently, the President of India greeted the citizens on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti.

  • Guru Nanak Jayanti, also known as Gurpurab, is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the first guru and the founder of the Sikh religion.
    • The festival is celebrated on the fifteenth lunar day of the Hindu month of Kartik, typically falling in November.
  • Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539) was born in a village, Talwandi Rai Bhoe, near Lahore (it was renamed later as Nankana Sahib).
  • Guru Nanak Dev initiated inter-faith dialogue way back in the 16th century and had conversations with most of the religious denominations of his times.
  • Compositions penned by Guru Nanak Dev were integrated into the Adi Granth by Guru Arjan (1563-1606), the fifth Sikh guru.
    • Later enhanced by the 10th Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), it evolved into Guru Granth Sahib.
  • Guru Nanak Dev's commitment to equality is evident in the social institutions he advocated: Langar (collective cooking and sharing of food), Pangat (partaking in food without distinctions of high and low caste), and Sangat (collective decision-making).
    • Advocated equality without distinctions of caste, creed, and gender.

Read more: Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti, Guru Nanak Dev

Lachit Diwas

Recently, the Prime Minister of India has paid tributes to Lachit Borphukan on Lachit Diwas (24th November annually).

  • Lachit Borphukan was a commander and Borphukan (viceroy) in the Ahom kingdom, located in present-day Assam, India
  • He is known for his leadership in the 1671 Battle of Saraighat, where he defeated the Mughal army sent by Emperor Aurangzeb to conquer Assam.
  • He was born on 24th November 1622 to Momai Tamuli Borbarua, a high-ranking official in the Ahom administration.
  • He is celebrated as a symbol of Assam’s historical autonomy and cultural identity.
  • His birth anniversary is observed as Lachit Divas on 24th November every year across the state.
  • The Lachit Borphukan Gold Medal instituted in 1999, is awarded to the best cadet from the National Defence Academy.

Read more: General Lachit Borphukan of Ahom Kingdom