In a first, NDRF trains 160 dogs for disaster response
i. In a maiden initiative, a squad of 162 dogs is being raised by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to aid its personnel in rescuing people trapped under debris in the aftermath of natural calamities like earthquake.
ii. The NDRF, which was involved in disaster rescue operations like the deluge in Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Chennai and the earthquake that struck Nepal last year, has undertaken the exercise on a ‘mission mode’
iii. The force is training a batch of 162 dogs for their specialised Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) tasks under which the NDRF teams have to sift through mounds of rubble to look for life trapped beneath.
iv. A number of them have finished their regime and are being subjected to drills and field exercises where they are made to sniff out life in a collapsed concrete structure.
Geographical Indication tag for Basmati rice of 7 states approved
i. The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has ordered Chennai based Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) to issue ‘Geographical Indication’ tag for basmati rice.
ii. This GI tag will be issued to basmati rice variety grown in 7 states in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) on the foothills of the Himalayas.
iii. These states are Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, parts of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. This tag will help to preserve the unique identity of India’s aromatic basmati rice in the international markets.
About Geographical Indication
- (GI) Geographical Indication is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regards to its special quality or reputation attributes.
- It is a mark of authenticity and ensures that registered authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.
- GI registration confers: (i) Legal protection to the products (ii) Prevents unauthorised use of a GI tags by others (iii) Helps consumers to get quality products of desired traits (iv) Promotes economic prosperity of producers of GI tag goods by enhancing their demand in national and international markets.
- Legal Authorities: At international level, GI is governed by World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
- In India, GI registration is governed by the Geographical Indications of goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. Darjeeling tea was the first product in India accorded with GI tag.
- Presently, there are total 218 GI tag products from India. Some of them are Mysore Silk, Mysore Pak, Thanjavaur Veena etc.
Noted Political Catooninst Sudhir Tailang passes away
i. Famous political cartoonist Sudhir Tailang, passed away in Gurgaon, Haryana after battling with brain cancer for a long time. He was 56.
ii. He was known for his political cartoons that chronicled contemporary Indian politics with wit and humour.
Project Sunrise launched for prevention of AIDS in NE states
i. Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda has launched Project Sunrise on for prevention of AIDS specially among people injecting drugs in the 8 North-Eastern states.
ii. The AIDS prevention special project aims to diagnose 90 per cent of such drug addicts with HIV and put them under treatment by 2020.
- Project Sunrise aims at bringing the people living with HIV/AIDS into the national mainstream and create more awareness about the disease in these N-E states.
- It will be implemented in the North East in addition to the existing projects of the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO).
- The project has been sponsored by US based Centre for Disease Control and would be implemented by Family Health International 360.
- It will cover one lakh people living with HIV/AIDS by giving them treatment and care facilities free of cost.
- Other initiatives to be covered it include enhancing capacity of state-level institutions in high burden areas, community mobilization, intervention among females injecting drugs.
Union Govt to set up Natioanl Organic Farming Reearch Institute in Sikkim
i. The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has decided to set up the National Organic Farming Research Institute (NOFRI) in Sikkim.
ii. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh after he met Sikkim Agriculture Minister Som Nath Paudyal in New Delhi.
iii. The NOFRI will be established by upgrading the existing Gangtok based Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). iv. Apart from this, Union Government also has assured State Government to help in sustaining the organic farming and also in marketing of the State’s organic products.
International Fleet Review 2016 kick starts in Vizag
i. The International Fleet Review (IFR) 2016, an international military exercise hosted and conducted by Indian Navy was inaugurated in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
ii. Theme of this edition on IFR is “United through Oceans” and its objective is to enhance mutual trust and confidence with neighbouring navies by inviting their ships to participate in the event.
iii. The last IFR conducted by the Indian Navy in 2001 in Mumbai, Maharashtra in which navies of 29 countries from across the globe had participated.
- Total 11,000 guests are expected to attend the mega naval exercise including members of foreign delegations.
- It is perceived to be the biggest exercise conducted in India so far.
- Naval ships from 50 countries and various dignitaries will also participate in the event and close to 4000 sailors have participated in the fleet review.
- The 4 day review (from 4 to 8 February) aims at assuring the country of the Indian Navy’s preparedness, high morale and discipline.
- For the first time Chinese navy called as People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N) is also participating in the event.
- In this edition of IFR special emphasis is given to Make In India on three dimensions — indigenisation, innovation and ingenuity.
- Indian Navy’s ships participating in this event includes, INS Vikramaditya- India’s biggest aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, destroyers INS Mysore, Kolkata, frigates-Satpura, Shivalik, Teg amongst others.
Sushma Swaraj inaugurated Rise of Digital India Exhibition in Colombo
i. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on 6 February 2016 inaugurated the Rise of Digital India Exhibition in Colombo. The exhibition was a part of Sangam -The Festival of India in Sri Lanka 2015-16.
ii. Swaraj was on a two day visit to Sri Lanka to co-chair the 9th session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission meeting along with her Sri Lankan counterpart, Mangala Samaraweera.
iii. The Rise of Digital India exhibition showcases the initiative of Indian government to take the benefits of Information Technology to the common man. The exhibition is a part of six month long Festival of India celebrations in Sri Lanka.
Zimbabwe’s President declared a state of disaster in rural parts of the country
i. Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on 5 February 2016 declared a state of disaster in rural parts of the country hit by a drought.
ii. The announcement comes days after the European Union urged Mugabe to declare a state of disaster. This declaration of disaster will allow international donors to raise money quickly to provide food aid to the nation.
iii. An estimated 2.4 million people are now in need of food aid, more than a quarter of the population. The government also urged Zimbabweans not to panic, as it is importing maize from neighbouring Zambia.
iv. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in January 2016 said some 14 million people face hunger in southern Africa because of a drought that has been exacerbated by the El Nino weather phenomenon. South Africa, Namibia and Botswana have also been badly hit.
v. It seems that the worst drought in a quarter of the century is expected to increase the problems of the southern African nation, which is struggling to overcome a steep 1999-2008 recession that saw its economy contract by nearly 50 percent.