Daily Current Affairs for 7th Aug 2023

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Why in News?

  • A recent publication by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) points out that about 5% of the birds found in the country are endemic and not reported in other parts of the world. The publication, 75 Endemic Birds of India, was recently released on the 108th foundation day of the ZSI.
  • 75 Endemic Birds of India came at a time when the country was celebrating 75 years of Independence with the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.

Findings of the report

  • India is home to 1,353 bird species, which represents approximately 12.4% of the global bird diversity. Of these, 78 (5%) are endemic to the country. Three of the 78 species have not been recorded in the past few decades.
  • These include the Manipur bush quail (Perdicula manipurensis), listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species with its last recorded sighting in 1907; the Himalayan quail (Ophrysia superciliosa), listed as “critically endangered” with its last recorded sighting in 1876; and the Jerdon’s courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus), listed as “critically endangered” with its last confirmed sighting in 2009.

Majority in the Western Ghats

  • The highest number of endemic species have been recorded in the Western Ghats, with 28 bird species.
  • Some of the species recorded in the country’s bio-geographic hotspot are the Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus); Malabar parakeet (Psittacula columboides); Ashambu laughingthrush (Montecincla meridionalis); and the white-bellied sholakili (Sholicola albiventris).




Why in News?

  • Palm manuscripts from the 18th Century, titled Gnanamuyarchi, have been discovered in an Armenian monastery in northern Italy. Tamil Bharathan, a doctoral scholar of the Special Centre for Tamil Studies at JNU, was allowed to access the manuscripts.

About the news

  • Mr. Bharathan, was invited to participate in a seminar on Greek Paleography at the headquarters of the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice.
  • According to Margherita Trento, it could be a copy of the first Tamil translation of Spiritual Exercise, written by St. Ignatius of Loyola in the 16th century. She said that this translation is most likely by Michele Bertoldi, known in Tamil as Gnanaprakasasamy.
  • Margherita Trento is a professor who has studied the history of the literary and social techniques employed by Roman Catholics to localise Christianity in pre-modern Tamil Nadu.




Why in news?

  • Revolutionary balladeer and folk singer Gaddar passed away at a private hospital, while undergoing treatment for a heart-related ailment. He was 74. He underwent a bypass surgery on August 3 and was recovering.

Balladeer Gaddar’s Life

  • A household name in the two Telugu States, Gaddar, who was born as Gummadi Vithal Rao in Toopran of Medak district in 1949, was known for his revolutionary songs.
  • His contribution to people’s movements in the combined Andhra Pradesh during the peak of the Naxal movement fetched him a cult status among the Telugu people.
  • His role in the Telangana agitation cannot be forgotten and his iconic song — Podustunna Poddu Meeda Nadustunna Kaalama Poru Telanganama — was a feature of every agitation meeting.
  • Gaddar spent the prime of his youth working underground for the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People’s War Group in the 1980s.
  • He ended the underground phase of his life when the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Marri Chenna Reddy lifted the ban on the People’s War Group. He escaped a murder attempt in 1997.
  • A couple of months ago, he announced the launch of Gaddar Praja Party and indicated that he would contest the election. Though he was against electoral politics, he voted for the first time in the previous Assembly election.




Why in News?

  • New study reveals endangered species does not follow any specific pattern of operating in a space, unlike other carnivores.
  • Two scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have found that the clouded leopard in western Assam’s Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve seems to play a mysterious game of hide-and-seek in the tropical canopy forests.

About Clouded Leopard

  • The mainland clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is often likened to the Ice Age sabretooth because it has the largest canines in proportion to its skull size among all cat species.
  • It also has rotating rear ankles that enable it to climb down head first from trees, unlike the other felines.
  • The cat with cloud-like spots on its hide does not follow any specific pattern of operating in a certain space, unlike other carnivores. They seemed to go wherever they pleased without worrying about other predators, primarily because of their ability to climb trees, even hang upside down from large branches.

Conservation Status

  • The clouded leopard is categorised into two species: the mainland clouded leopard distributed from central Nepal to peninsular Malaysia, and the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) native to Borneo and Sumatra.
  • The mainland clouded leopard is tagged vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and is considered at high risk of extinction in the wild due to deforestation and poaching.




Why in News?

  • The 130-year-old Kuttikkanam Palace in Idukki, once the summer residence of the kings of erstwhile Travancore, is set to be declared a historical monument. It was found eligible to be declared a monument as per the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act.

About Kuttikkanam Palace

  • The palace, is situated on 14 acres in Kuttikkanam, a picturesque hill station lying between Wagamon and Thekkady, in Idukki district.
  • The palace was also called Ammachi Kottaram at one period. It was built around 1890. Some additions happened in the 1900s.
  • The palace was constructed during the reign of Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma who ruled the Travancore princely state from 1885 to 1924. British planter J.D. Munro supervised its construction.
  • In the book Idukki – Desham Charithram Samskaram by Manoj Mathirappally, the author stated that Travancore rulers, including Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma, Sree Chithira Thirunal and Regent Rani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, had stayed at the palace several times. According to the book, the palace had a special hall for discussing day-to-day administrative matters and a stud farm.
  • An abandoned tunnel which opens from a room inside the palace is believed to link it with the famed Peermade Sreekrishna Swami temple.
  • The palace was also featured in several Malayalam films. Some of the scenes in movies such as CarbonIndriyamLucifer and Pilot were shot at the palace.




Why in News?

  • Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will host a regional summit with planetary stakes, as leaders of the countries that share the Amazon seek a roadmap to save the world’s biggest rainforest.

About the Meeting

  • The meeting of the eight-nation Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation in Belém, capital of the Amazon state of Para, will serve as something of a dress rehearsal for the COP-30 UN climate talks, which the city will also host in 2025. It is the 28-year-old organisation’s first summit since 2009.
  • Veteran leftist Mr. Lula, plans to work together with the group’s other members — Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela — to develop the Amazon basin “without destroying” it.

Amazon Rainforest and Climate Change

  • With its hundreds of billions of carbon-absorbing trees, the Amazon is a key buffer against global warming. But scientists warn deforestation is pushing it dangerously close to a “tipping point,” beyond which trees would die off, with catastrophic consequences for the climate.
  • Already, carbon emissions from the Amazon increased by 117% in 2020 compared to the annual average for 2010 to 2018, according to the latest figures from researchers at Brazil’s national space agency.

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