Daily Current Affairs 19 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

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Daily Current Affairs 19 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

1. First sighting of a new lapwing in India was made at Warangal Lake.

Topic: GS3 – Environment and Ecology –  Important Species
Relevance to UPSC: Draws attention to the nation’s biodiversity in line with the environmental and ecological components of the test.

– During the Hyderabad Bird Race, Telangana birdwatchers discover a spur-winged lapwing that may be the first in India, close to Warangal.

Additional information on this news:

  • Potentially the first sighting of a spur-winged lapwing in India, a Telangana birdwatching team finds one.
  • During the 14th Hyderabad Bird Race, the bird, scientifically known as Vanellus spinosus, was discovered close to Bhattupalle village.
  • It is native to the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean region; no records of it exist in the subcontinent.
  • It was initially thought to be a common river lapwing, but its unique features, call, and flight patterns proved otherwise.
  • Professional birdwatchers confirmed the finding and emphasized its importance for ornithological study and avian biodiversity.

Spur-Winged Lapwing
– Name in science: Vanellus spinosus
IUCN Status: The least concerned species
Description: The Wing-Spurred The medium-sized Lapwing bird is easily recognized by its striking black spur on its shoulder, white face, and black crown. Its wings have a white belly, and its back is brownish-grey.
Habitat: Found in Africa, the Middle East, and some regions of Europe in a range of wetland habitats, such as marshes, lakeshores, and riverbanks.
Behavior: Well-known for its loud, monotonous “kleep-kleep-kleep” calls, particularly in the spring when it’s breeding. It frequently establishes tiny colonies and is territorial.
Feeding Habits: Mostly eats insects, tiny invertebrates, and sometimes tiny fish. With its long legs and narrow bill, it uses damp mud or shallow water for feeding.
Breeding: constructs a ground nest in open spaces, frequently near a body of water. Both sexes take part in the process of incubating the eggs and tending to the young.
Conservation Status:  Although this species is usually regarded as least concerning, localized threats to wetland habitats may have an effect on nearby populations. Preserving appropriate areas for breeding and feeding is the main goal of conservation efforts.

2. What the genomes of our ancestors can teach us about contemporary health

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology 
Important for UPSC: Provides interdisciplinary insights that improve comprehension of historical contexts by shedding light on diseases, cultural practices, and human evolution.

– The essay looks at how studying ancient DNA can provide light on our ancestors’ genetic composition and provide information about their tools, lifestyles, diseases, and infectious disease history.

Additional information on this news:

  • Studies of ancient DNA, or aDNA, provide information about the genetic composition of ancestors and provide answers to queries regarding their tools, diseases, and way of life.
  • Reconstructing genetic profiles from ancient skeletal remains using genomic techniques reveals genetic diversity, patterns of migration, and disease prevalence.
  • aDNA is used by researchers to gain insight into the origins, dissemination, and evolution of infectious diseases over the course of human history.
  • Recent studies demonstrate how aDNA sequences can be used to investigate genetic illnesses in prehistoric humans, offering new perspectives on the tools and medications these societies may have utilized.
  • aDNA can be used to study genetic diseases brought on by chromosomal abnormalities, such as Turner syndrome, Down syndrome, and Klinefelter’s syndrome.
  • The analysis of chromosomal abnormalities in fragmented and degraded DNA from ancient samples is made possible by advancements in whole-genome sequencing.
  • Using aDNA, researchers are able to pinpoint early occurrences of genetic disorders such as Turner syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome, and Down’s syndrome in Iron Age Britain.
  • By examining genetic variations linked to the condition, cardiovascular disease risk is evaluated in ancient people, indicating that the disease has been prevalent for at least 5,000 years.
  • An examination of birch pitch using a DNA analysis provides information about oral health microbes and suggests food habits, providing insights into prehistoric human lifestyles.
  • As demonstrated by the excavation of a cave in Ranis, Germany, aDNA studies also aid in our understanding of the origins and evolution of stone tool technology.
  • Based on high-throughput sequencing of the cave’s bone remains, Homo sapiens began making tools approximately 45,000 years ago.

Practice Question: What insights do investigations into ancient DNA hold for our knowledge of genetic disorders, human evolution, and cultural practices? Provide pertinent examples to support your discussion. (10 m / 150 words)

3. The cycles of life are called ultradian rhythms

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology
UPSC Significance: Knowledge of ultradian rhythms is essential to understanding health, biological processes, and general well-being.

– The article talks about ultradian rhythms, which are regular physiological patterns that affect hormone release, sleep cycles, and other vital functions in all living things.

Additional information on this news:

  • All living things follow ultradian rhythms, which are essential physiological patterns, as part of their cyclical processes of life.
  • Ultradian rhythms, which control breathing, heart rate, hormone release, and brain wave activity, recur more frequently than circadian rhythms, which follow a 24-hour cycle.
  • The sleep cycle, a well-known ultradian rhythm, lasts roughly 90 minutes and is characterized by alternating REM and non-REM sleep stages.
  • While non-REM sleep is essential for memory consolidation and physical healing, REM sleep involves dreaming.
  • Growth hormone, cortisol, and insulin release patterns are all influenced by circadian rhythms and are essential for controlling energy levels, metabolism, and stress reactions during the day.

4. What are assessment reports from the IPCC?

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Environmental impact assessment.
Important to UPSC: The IPCC’s evaluations influence international efforts to combat climate change and reflect scientific insights that shape global climate policies.

– The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its recent activities are discussed in this article, along with the results of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) and the start of the Seventh Assessment Cycle (AR7).

Overview of IPCC Assessment Reports:

  • Since 1988, the IPCC has released six assessment reports covering the science behind climate change, its effects, adaptation, vulnerability, and mitigation strategies.
  • Reports with an emphasis on human responsibility for global warming are authored by scientists from 195 countries.

The Sixth Assessment Report’s (AR6) conclusions:

  • AR6 highlights the urgency of approaching adaptation limits and issues a time constraint for keeping the rise in global surface temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • offers methods for improving adaptation, reducing global warming, and boosting system resilience in both natural and man-made environments.

Seventh Assessment Cycle (AR7) Commencement:

  • Following the release of the AR6 synthesis report, the IPCC’s AR7 cycle was launched, with talks on funding, schedules, and work program taking place in Turkey.
  • Consolidated lessons learned from AR6 into a paper that influenced conversations about special reports, report kinds, and the importance of “full assessment reports.”

AR7 Cycle and Global Stocktake (GST):

  • Every five years, GST assesses how well the Paris Agreement goals are being met; the first GST took place in 2022–2023.
  • Before the second GST in 2028, member nations request AR7 assessment reports from the IPCC, which synchronizes its work with subsequent stocktakes.

Timeline and Cycle Reports for AR7::

  • The bureau consents to provide one special report, synthesis reports, methodology reports, and comprehensive assessment reports.
  • Short-lived climate drivers and carbon removal are the main topics of methodology reports; technical guidelines on impacts and adaptation will be updated.
  • The bureau chooses to create a single special report on cities and climate change despite several suggestions from member nations.
  • Concerns regarding the content, engagement, and completion of modeling efforts are present in the assessment reports’ timeline, and special and methodology reports are scheduled for publication in 2027.

PYQ: By AD 2100, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects a one-meter rise in sea level worldwide. What effects might it have on India and the other nations surrounding the Indian Ocean? (15 minutes, 250 words) (CSE (M) GS-3 2023) UPSC

5. ISRO Launches INSAT-3DS Satellite Successfully Notwithstanding the ‘Naughty Boy’ reputation of GSLV Rocket

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Achievements of Indian S&T; Indigenization of technology
Given that space exploration, cryogenic engines, and rocket technology are important facets of India’s scientific and technological achievements, this topic is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– INSAT-3DS, a next-generation meteorological satellite intended for improved monitoring of Earth’s surface, atmosphere, oceans, and environment, was successfully launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
– Nevertheless, the rocket that was utilized to launch the satellite into orbit was also the center of attention during this launch.

Additional news: GSLV-F14: Rocket, the “Naughty Boy”:

  • One of ISRO’s primary rockets, along with PSLV and LVM3, the GSLV-F14 rocket launched INSAT-3DS into its intended geostationary orbit.
  • Because of its comparatively uneven performance in comparison to other rockets in ISRO’s fleet, GSLV has acquired the nickname “naughty boy.”

Performance History and Obstacles of GSLV:

  • Throughout its flight history, GSLV has encountered difficulties and a high failure rate, especially when compared to the more dependable PSLV.
  • Four of the fifteen GSLV flights have ended in failure, raising questions about the aircraft’s performance and dependability.

Cryogenic Engine Issues:

  • The cryogenic engine that powers GSLV’s third and final stage is the main problem affecting the rocket’s performance.
  • Cryogenic engines pose difficulties because they run at extremely low temperatures, using liquid hydrogen as fuel.
  • Reverse-engineered from a Russian design, GSLV’s cryogenic engine has presented ISRO with technical challenges.

Origins of Cryogenic Technology:

  • The cryogenic engine utilized in GSLV is the result of an agreement with Russia from the late 1980s that was terminated due to opposition from the United States.
  • Reverse engineering attempts were prompted by ISRO’s inability to access technology, even though it managed to acquire a few cryogenic engines from Russia.

Localized Cryogenic Motor in LVM3:

  • Unlike GSLV, ISRO has created an effective in-house cryogenic engine that is used in the LVM3 rocket.
  • The ISRO-designed and developed engine has propelled multiple successful launches, such as the Chandrayaan-2 and Chandrayaan-3 missions, demonstrating India’s progress in rocketry.


  • Although GSLV is still facing difficulties with its cryogenic engine, India’s space program has made great strides with ISRO’s successful development of an indigenous cryogenic engine for LVM3.
  • With further advancements in rocket technology, ISRO hopes to improve upon previous failures and attain increased dependability in upcoming launches.

Significance of the GSLV-F14/INSAT-3DS Mission
– Out of the fifteen launches made with the GSLV thus far, at least four have failed.
– Alternatively, of the 60 missions that ISRO’s reliable Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has completed to date, only three have failed, and of the seven that LVM-3 has completed, none have failed.
– Thus, the mission’s success will be critical for the GSLV, which is expected to launch the Earth observation satellite, NISAR, later this year. NASA and ISRO are developing NISAR together.
– With a ten-year mission life, INSAT-3DS will assume the responsibilities of the soon-to-be-retired INSAT-3D (launched in 2013) and INSAT-3DR (2016). It
– The mission will support climate studies, forest fire, smoke, snow cover, and short-range forecasts of extreme weather events like thunderstorms. It will also estimate aviation visibility.

PYQ: Examine the following claims regarding India’s satellite launch vehicles: (2018) 

1. While GSLVs are primarily intended to launch communication satellites, PSLVs launch satellites that are helpful for monitoring Earth resources.
2. From a specific point on Earth, satellites launched by PSLV seem to stay fixed indefinitely in the same place in the sky.
3. The GSLV Mk III is a four-stage launch vehicle that uses liquid rocket engines for its second and fourth stages and solid rocket motors for its first and third stages.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3
(c) 1 and 2
(d) 3 only 

Ans: (a)
Practice Question: Analyze the difficulties the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) encountered while creating and implementing the GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) program. Analyze the impact of ISRO’s homegrown cryogenic engine developments and how they affect India’s capacity for space exploration. (15 m/250 words)

6. First case of bubonic plague reported in Oregon, US, since 2005: An Overview of the Illness, Its Historical Significance, and Current Concerns

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Health
GS3 – Science & Technology
In the context of comprehending the nature of the disease, its transmission, symptoms, and historical impact, this topic is pertinent for both Prelims and Mains.

– The first case of the bubonic plague to be confirmed in Oregon, US, since 2005 has raised concerns about the disease’s possible resurgence.
– According to reports, the person most likely caught the illness from a sick pet cat, underscoring the zoonotic nature of the bubonic plague.

More about the news:Understanding Bubonic Plague:

  • The bacteria Yersinia pestis, which can infect both humans and animals, is the cause of bubonic plague.
  • There are three main ways that infections spread, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
    • by way of infected fleas,
    • contact with contaminated materials or bodily fluids, and
    • respiratory droplets from a pneumonic plague patient inhaled.

Signs and Types of the Plague::

  • There are several ways that plague can appear; bubonic plague, which is usually caused by flea bites, is typified by fever, headache, weakness, and painfully swollen lymph nodes.
  • When the bacteria enter the bloodstream, the plague can become septicemic, resulting in more severe symptoms.
  • The most dangerous type of plague, pneumonic, is almost always fatal if left untreated because it causes pneumonia to develop quickly and can be transmitted by inhaling infectious droplets.

Historical Impact of the Black Death:

  • Millions of people in Europe perished during the Black Death, one of the deadliest disease outbreaks in history, which was brought on by the bubonic plague in the 14th century.
  • Certain genetic mutations may have improved survival rates during the Black Death, according to recent research, though this may have consequences for autoimmune illnesses today.

Contemporary Concerns and Modern Measures:

  • Although the bubonic plague was significant historically, doctors do not expect widespread transmission or deaths because of contemporary antibiotics, better hygiene habits, and increased knowledge of the illness.
  • Although thousands of cases of the plague are reported annually around the world, mostly in particular areas such as Peru, Madagascar, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the death rate is still relatively low at about 11 percent.


  • Although the return of the bubonic plague to Oregon is concerning, the threat posed by Yersinia pestis is greatly reduced by the availability of contemporary antibiotics and improved medical knowledge.
  • These days, the risk of fatalities and widespread transmission is minimal with appropriate medical care and public health initiatives.

What was the Black Death?
– The term “Black Death” refers to the bubonic plague that ravaged Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Western Asia between 1346 and 1353.
– Most experts agree that the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which caused the Black Death that killed millions of people, was spread by fleas carried by rodent hosts.
– A microbe known as Yersinia pestis entered human populations and eventually spread to other individuals by human flea vectors or the respiratory system.
– At the time, authors of accounts often mentioned the hard, inflammatory lymph nodes known as “buboes” as the hallmark clinical feature of the epidemic.
– In the fourteenth century, the pandemic was referred to as the “great pestilence” or the “great death” due to the destruction it inflicted upon the populace.
– The lack of comprehensive historical data from that era makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact death toll.

Practice Question: Talk about the symptoms, forms, and modes of transmission of the bubonic plague as well as current efforts to lessen its impact and spread. (10 m / 150 words)

7. Seven Cheetah Cubs Are Born in Kuno National Park, Indicating Project Cheetah’s Advancement

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Conservations
Given that the reintroduction of cheetahs to India is a major conservation initiative aimed at restoring a species that has been extinct in the nation for decades, this topic is pertinent to both Prelims and Mains exams.

– The birth of seven cheetah cubs in January is being celebrated by wildlife officials in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park. This is a major milestone for Project Cheetah, which aims to bring cheetahs back to India.
– After prior losses, there is hope that cheetahs will eventually adapt to Indian conditions after the birth of four cubs to Namibian cheetah Jwala and three to Asha.

More about the news:Stages in a Cub’s Life:

  • A cheetah cub’s life is described by the Cheetah Conservation Fund, beginning at birth when the young animal is blind and depends on its mother for protection and warmth.
  • After spending several weeks alone in their nests and moving around a lot to keep out predators, the cubs eventually join their mother in her daily activities.
  • Cubs start to get more active at six months and start climbing “play trees,” and at a year old, they start going hunting with their mother.

Protocol for Caring for Cubs:

  • Experts at the South African Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre stress how crucial it is for cubs to live with their mother in order to develop their hunting instincts.
  • They emphasize the necessity of immunizations and dietary supplements to guarantee healthy growth.
  • Hand-rearing is a last resort, but intervention may be required if the mother abuses or neglects the cubs.

Challenges and Survival Chances:

  • Debates about genetic diversity and artificial protection from dangers arise despite efforts to raise cheetah cubs in protected enclosures in Kuno.
  • According to research, first-time cheetah moms frequently lose their entire first litter but nonetheless gain knowledge from it.
  • The comparatively low survival rates of cheetah cubs in open systems, such as Tanzania’s Serengeti, highlight the difficulties encountered in reintroduction initiatives.

Debate over Rearing Practices:

  • Experts from South Africa argue against keeping cubs in cages; wildlife officials in Kuno, on the other hand, support a more regulated method before releasing the young into the wild.
  • The housing of cheetahs in small enclosures has been linked to reduced reproductive performance and stress-related behaviors.


  • The birth of cheetah cubs in Kuno National Park is a positive development for Project Cheetah, but there are still issues to be resolved in order to guarantee the survival of the young and a successful reintroduction into the wild, despite disagreements over genetic diversity and rearing methods.

What is the Cheetah Reintroduction Project?
– The Indian Cheetah Reintroduction Project aims to replenish the cheetah population, which was officially declared extinct in 1952.
– Officially, the project started on September 17, 2022.
– As part of the project, cheetahs from South Africa and Namibia will be moved to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park.
– The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is carrying out the project in association with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, and cheetah specialists from South Africa and Namibia.

– The swiftest land mammal, cheetahs, are known to hunt during the day, or at sunrise and sunset.
– Cheetah females give birth to a litter of three or five cubs during their 92–95 day gestation period.

PYQ: Consider the following: (2012) 

1) Black-necked crane
2) Cheetah
3) Flying squirrel
4) Snow leopard 

Which of the above are naturally found in India? 
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4 

Ans: (b)
Practice Question: Consider Project Cheetah and the larger conservation efforts in India in light of the recent cheetah cub births in Kuno National Park. Talk about the difficulties and tactics of reintroducing cheetahs to Indian habitats, taking into account factors like genetic diversity, cub rearing, and long-term sustainability. (15 m/250 words)

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