Daily Current Affairs for Competitive Exams: November 14, 15, 2016

2016 will be the hottest year in record, says WMO

  • According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the year 2016 was the warmest year on record globally. It was mentioned in the WMO’s preliminary assessment provided in its ‘Status of the Global Climate in 2016’ report. WMO is the United Nations authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water.

Key Highlights of report

  • Global temperatures for January to September 2016 were 1.2-degree  above the pre-industrial levels and 0.88 degree above the average for the 1961-1990 reference period (baseline).
  • Ice and snow cover: Arctic sea ice remained at very low levels, especially during early 2016 and the October re-freezing period. In this region, temperatures were 6 to 7 degree above the long-term average. Many other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3 degree above average.
  • Oceans: The temperatures had spiked in the early months of the year 2016 because of the powerful El Nino in 2015-16. The excess ocean heat by the El Nino event had contributed to coral reef bleaching, and above-average sea-level rise. However, while the extra heat from the powerful El Nino event has disappeared, the heat from global warming will continue.
  • The annual and long-term changes in the climate system will aggravate social, humanitarian and environmental pressure. Population migration is expected to increase because of more frequent and potentially more intense weather-related disasters. Rising sea levels will render coastal and low lying zones uninhabitable. Climate change will also increase competition and conflict over shrinking resources.
  • world is coming dangerously close to breaching the 1.5 degree warming level, which is an ambitious target to stay safe from the worst impacts of climate change.

Biggest and brightest supermoon observed

  • Sky-gazers took to high-rise buildings, observatories and benches on November 14, 2016, to catch a glimpse of the supermoon in almost seven decades. Technically called the Perigee-Syzygy, supermoon is a phenomenon when the moon is closest to the Earth and is 30 percent brighter and 13 percent bigger.  The next supermoon can be observed on November 25, 2034.

What causes a supermoon?

  • The moon’s orbit around Earth is ellipse (a kind of squashed circle) and not in a circle.  When an orbit is elliptical, Earth in the middle sits at one of two foci of ellipse. The moon is inevitably closer to the Earth when it passes one side of the ellipse and further away as it passes the other side. When it is at the closest side (called “perigee”) it is a full moon. If this distance is to closer to the Earth, then it is called a supermoon.

Why are all supermoons not the same size?

  • The reason is that the shape of the ellipse that the moon draws around the Earth is changing all the time as it is pushed and pulled by other gravitational forces.

Researchers isolate a bacterium in chicken transmitting multidrug resistant pathogen to humans

  • Researchers from Hyderabad have isolated the Helicobacter pullorum bacterium in chicken that may be a source of transmission of the multidrug resistance pathogen to humans. This is the first evidence on prevalence and isolation of H. pullorum multidrug resistance bacterium from broilers and free-range chicken sold in Indian markets.

About Helicobacter pullorum?

  • Helicobacter pullorum is a pathogen commonly found in the liver and gut of poultry birds including chickens. It is untreatable and may stimulate cancer cells. It is being suspected that H. pullorum is resistant to a wide range of antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, sulfonamides and macrolides.

What are its ill effects on human health?

  • Infected chicken with Helicobacter pullorum bacterium when consumed are known to cause gastrointestinal infections in humans. Besides, Helicobacter pullorum is known to produce a cancercausing agent called cytolethal distending toxin. This toxin damages the DNA and interferes with the cell cycle. Since this multidrug resistance bacterium also infects the liver, it increases the risk of cancer in the organ.

Union Government launches ‘Kahin Bhi-Kabhi Bhi’ medical facilities for ESIC beneficiaries of Delhi

  • The Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) launched ‘Kahin Bhi-Kabhi Bhi’ medical facilities for its beneficiaries in Delhi. Kahin Bhi means atdispensary/hospital and Kabhi Bhi means anytime.
  • With this initiative, all the network of dispensaries in Delhi has been made accessible to insured persons and their family members at all time. The initiative aims at saving time and the effort of beeficiaries when they avail the services.

Future Course of ESIC

  • ESIC has decided to develop Day Care Centres in three more ESIC Dispensaries in Delhi having high OPD attendance in Nandnagari, Mangolpuri and Jwalapuri. These dispensaries will cover all zones of Delhi. It has also decided to open six bed Day Care Centres in various ESI Dispensaries, all over the country. These centres will become a complete unit in it with medical facilities.

India, US launched USD 95 million clean energy projects

  • As part of its efforts to continue the global transition to zero-and-low carbon energy sources, the United States (US) has announced two financial projects worth 95 million US dollars for India. The projects announced on 14 November 2016 aims at bringing more energy-efficient appliances to the rural sector of the country.
  • The White House in its statement said the US has committed 75 million dollars in Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) financing for renewable energy projects in India. The 75 million US dollar OPIC, sponsored by ReNew Power Projects, is for a utility-scale PV project in Telangana.
  • The remaining 20 million dollars will be used to launch a partnership with the philanthropic sector to bring more efficient appliances to Indian villages. It is a part of 250 million facilities committed by the United States to support India’s 400 MW new solar power projects in different states of India.
  • The process, known as the US-India Clean Energy Finance program (USICEF), will address a key financing gap in the Indian distributed solar market by funding early-stage project preparatory work. It is anticipated that the USICEF will unlock up to 400 million US dollars in long-term debt financing from OPIC and private sector investors.
  • The White House fact sheet says that the Rockefeller Foundations Smart Power for Rural Development Initiative will announce a new partnership with the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP). This will help in accelerating the deployment and use of energy efficient off-grid devices in rural India. This decision on funding the Global LEAP is subject to Congressional notification. LEAP will support in developing and rolling out a programme to deploy energy-efficient devices at selected Smart Power supported mini-grid sites.
  • A strategy will be developed to reduce energy costs for some of the poorest people residing in India. As believed, deployment of the LEAP programme will reduce energy consumption by at least 50 percent of rural households. Programme implementation would result in
  • Increasing revenue for mini-grid operators by over 300 percent per household
  • It will help in generating rural employment by involving people in distribution and supply chain management of the devices.