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    31st Dec, 2023

International Relations (GS-II)

Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)

The 8th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Conclave of Chiefs (CoC) was conducted by Royal Thai Navy at Bangkok.


  • During the Conclave of Chiefs, Thailand assumed the duties of Chair of IONS and Work Plan for next two years was finalized.
  • As a first, Flag designed by India was selected as the IONS Flag.
  • India also took over as the co-Chair of IONS Working Groups on Maritime Security and HADR for the forthcoming cycle.
  • Republic of Korea Navy was welcomed by the Conclave as the latest ‘Observer’, raising the collective strength of IONS to 34 members.

India is also scheduled to take over as the Chair of IONS (2025-27) during 9th CoC planned to be conducted in India in end 2025.

Polity and Governance (GS-II)

Physical Training Instructor (PTI) designated as a ‘Teacher’

The Supreme Court (SC) has held that Physical training instructors (PTIs) come within the definition of “teachers” though they may not necessarily take classes within the four walls of a building.

About SC’s views:

  • Physical training instructors impart to students the skills and rules of various sports and games.
  • In this view, it is inherent in the duties of a physical director that he imparts to the students various skills and techniques of these games and sports.
  • There are a large number of indoor and outdoor games in which the students have to be trained.
  • Therefore, he has to teach them several skills and techniques of these games apart from the rules applicable to these games.

Economy (GS-III)

China bans export of rare earth processing technologies

Recently, China, the world's top processor of rare earths, has banned the export of technology to extract and separate the strategic metals, as it overhauled a list of technologies deemed key to national security.

About the information:

  • It also banned the export of production technology for rare earth metals and alloy materials as well as technology to prepare some rare earth magnets.
  • The move comes as Europe and the United States scramble to wean themselves off rare earths from China, which accounts for 90% of global refined output.
  • China has mastered the solvent extraction process to refine the strategic minerals, which Western rare earth companies have struggled to deploy due to technical complexities and pollution concerns.

Solvent extraction process:

  • Solvent extraction is the process of removal of a solute component from a solid using a liquid solvent and is one of the modern extraction processes.
  • It is also called leaching or solid–liquid extraction.
  • In solvent extraction, two immiscible liquids are shaken together.
  • The more polar solutes dissolve preferentially in the more polar solvent, and the less polar solutes in the less polar solvent. In this experiment, the non-polar halogens preferentially dissolve in the non-polar mineral oil.

Economy (GS-III)

106th Indian Economic Association (IEA) Conference

106th Indian Economic Association (IEA) Conference began at the Giri Institute of Development Studies (GIDS) in Lucknow.

Key Highlights-

Call to the working economists to step up their game and devise a workable roadmap to increase the per capita income of the households.

About IEA-

  • The IEA was established in 1917 with the primary objective of promoting the study and application of economics in India.
  • It provides a forum for economists to engage in academic discussions, research, and policy-related activities.
  • The IEA publishes the "Indian Economic Journal," which features articles, research papers, and reviews on various economic issues.
  • The IEA organizes conferences, seminars, and workshops to facilitate the exchange of ideas among economists and scholars.

Species in News

Black Tiger

As per the 2022 cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation, 16 individuals were recorded at Similipal Tiger Reserve, out of which 10 were melanistic.

About the Species:

  • Black Tigers are a rare colour variant of the Bengal tiger and are not a distinct species or geographic subspecies.
  • The coat colouration and patterning that make the wild cats appears dark boil down to a single mutation in the TransmembraneAminopeptidase Q (Taqpep) gene.
  • Pseudo Melanistic:
  • The abnormally dark or black coat in such tigers is termed pseudo melanistic or false coloured.
  • Melanistic refers to having very dark skin/hair due to higher-than-normal level of the pigment (substance that gives pigmentation to skin/hair is called melanin).
  • There is a high probability (about 60%) that the tiger will have the mutant gene, if randomly selected from Similipal.

Similipal Tiger Reserve:

  • It was formally designated a tiger reserve in 1956 and brought under Project Tiger in the year 1973.
  • It was declared a biosphere reserve by the Government of India in June, 1994.
  • It has been part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserve since 2009.

Species in News

Red giant flying squirrel (Petauristapetaurista)

A nocturnal flying squirrel has resurfaced in Arunachal Pradesh after going missing for 42 years.

About the Species:

  • Geographic Range: It ranges from the eastern border regions of Afghanistan to Java and from Kashmir, Taiwan, and southern China to Sri Lanka.
  • Its greatest numbers are found in the forest regions of Pakistan.
  • Physical Features:
    • The giant flying squirrel has a distinctive, thickly haired flying membrane that extends from its wrists to its hind legs and is further expanded by a skin fold between the tail root and the hind legs.
    • This membrane is composed of sheets of muscles that can be tensed or relaxed at will, thus controlling the direction of glide.
    • Petauristapetaurista is characterized by its large eyes and mahogany-red coloring, though coloration varies with environment.
  • Relative to other squirrels, this species is very large; its head and body length average 398mm and its tail adds an additional 422mm.
  • The lifespan of these squirrels can be up to 16 years in captivity.
  • They do not hibernate, but they may migrate to areas where food is more abundant.

Species in News


Recently, the new species belongs to the family Cyperacea was discovered in the lateritic hillocks of Kannur district.


  • Fimbristylisvahl is one of the largest genera within Cyperaceae.
  • The genus has 320 species globally, distributed in tropical and subtropical regions.
  • In India, the Fimbristylis genus is represented by 124 species.
  • Out of these, 97 species are found in the Western Ghats and along the west coast.

Habitat and Threats:

  • Fimbristylisjaleeliana thrives in lateritic grasslands.
  • Found at an elevation of 60 meters above sea level.
  • Faces a threat to existence due to habitat destruction caused by mining activities, especially on the lateritic plateau.
  • Populations are fragmented.

Location in News

Volcano Fagradalsfjall

Recently, the Government of Iceland has confirmed that the volcanic eruption near the capital Reykjanes poses no threat to human life.


  • Iceland is located on thes Mid-Atlantic Ridge,technically the longest mountain range in the world, but on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The eruption began betweenSýlingarfell and Hagafell, just north of the fishing town of Grindavik which is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Iceland: The land of Fire

  • Iceland is home to33 active volcanoes, the highest in Europe. This unique landscape has given Iceland the epithet, ‘Land of Fire and Ice’.
    • Eyjafjallajökull, one ofIceland's most famous volcanoes, erupted in 2010, causing a widespread ash cloud.
  • Other notable volcanoes include Hekla, Grímsvötn, Hóluhraun, and Litli-Hrútur, part of the Fagradalsfjall system.

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