[Newsbits] 16.10.2023

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World Food Day 2023

World Food Day is a global observance held annually to raise awareness about the importance of proper nutrition and ensuring access to adequate food for everyone. Organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, this day holds significant meaning and promotes vital discussions about food security and sustainability.

The Purpose of World Food Day

The primary purpose of World Food Day is to draw attention to the critical issue of global food security. It serves as an international platform to emphasize the importance of providing nutritious food for all and addressing hunger and malnutrition worldwide. This day reminds us of our collective responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind when it comes to access to food and water.

Theme for 2023: "Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind."

The theme for World Food Day 2023, "Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind," underscores the pivotal role that water plays in food production and nutrition. It highlights the need to manage water resources sustainably to ensure an adequate supply of food for present and future generations while also addressing the issue of water scarcity.

Organized by FAO

World Food Day is organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, a leading global agency dedicated to eradicating hunger, promoting food security, and fostering sustainable agriculture practices.

Commemorating the Establishment of FAO

World Food Day is celebrated on October 16th each year, marking the day when the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization was established. This agency plays a critical role in addressing global food challenges and promoting agricultural and nutritional advancements worldwide.

Historical Origins

The concept of World Food Day was first proposed by Dr. Pal Romany, the former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture and Food, in November 1979. Since then, it has become an annual global event, drawing attention to the vital issue of food security.

Martti Ahtisaari

In recent news, the world mourns the passing of Martti Ahtisaari, the 10th President of Finland, who died at the age of 86. Ahtisaari leaves behind a legacy of remarkable achievements in the field of diplomacy and conflict resolution, and his contributions to peace efforts around the world are celebrated.

Who Was Martti Ahtisaari?

Martti Ahtisaari served as the 10th President of Finland, holding office from 1994 to 2000. His tenure as president marked a significant chapter in Finnish history, but it was his accomplishments on the global stage that truly set him apart.

Significance of Martti Ahtisaari's Achievements

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

In 2008, Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his outstanding efforts in resolving conflicts and promoting peace. His mediation and diplomacy skills were instrumental in achieving peaceful resolutions to some of the world's most challenging disputes.

Broker of Peace

Martti Ahtisaari's impact on international diplomacy was profound, as he successfully brokered peace in several conflict zones, including:

  1. Kosovo
    • He played a pivotal role in negotiating Serbia's withdrawal from Kosovo in the late 1990s, bringing an end to a long-standing conflict.
  2. Indonesia
    • Ahtisaari was instrumental in securing autonomy for Aceh province in Indonesia in 2005, bringing an end to decades of conflict.
  3. Namibia
    • In the 1980s, Ahtisaari was involved in the mediation process that led to Namibia's bid for independence.
  4. Northern Ireland
    • He played a crucial role in monitoring the Irish Republican Army's (IRA) disarmament process in the late 1990s, contributing to the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Why Martti Ahtisaari's Legacy Endures

Renowned Diplomat

Martti Ahtisaari's legacy is rooted in his qualities as a diplomat. He was known for his willingness to engage with all parties involved in conflicts, his patience in waiting for the right moment to achieve compromise, and his steadfast belief that wars and conflicts were not inevitable. His diplomatic approach was characterized by a commitment to dialogue and peaceful resolution.

Founder of the Crisis Management Initiative

In recognition of the importance of conflict resolution and peace mediation, Martti Ahtisaari founded the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) in Helsinki. The primary purpose of CMI is to prevent and resolve violent conflicts through dialogue and mediation. This initiative reflects his dedication to promoting peace and stability in the world.

Expert Panel on Submerging Islands

In a recent development, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken a significant step towards addressing the threats posed by sea-level rise and the submergence of low-lying lands by forming an expert panel.

News: NGT's Decision and Expert Panel Formation

The NGT has issued notices to the Coastal Zone Management Authorities (CZMAs) of coastal states and union territories, with the aim of incorporating the expert panel's recommendations into the Integrated Island Management Plans.

What is the Expert Panel?

The expert panel's primary focus lies in comprehensively assessing the dangers posed by sea-level rise and the submergence of low-lying lands, especially on India's vulnerable islands.

Highlights: Expert Panel Recommendations

The recommendations put forth by the expert panel encompass a wide range of measures aimed at addressing the challenges posed by sea-level rise and ensuring the sustainable development and protection of coastal areas. These include:

  1. Island-Specific Sustainable Development and Tourism Policy
    • Emphasizing consideration of climate risks.
  2. Diversified Economic Development
    • Promoting nature-based growth and blue-economy activities on marine and coastal fronts.
  3. Alternative Climate-Resilient Practices for Island Livelihoods
    • Advocating for the exploration of nature-based ecosystem restoration.
  4. Installation of GPS/GNSS Stations
    • For estimating vertical land motion (VLM) and quantifying future sea-level rise over Andaman and Lakshadweep islands.
  5. Protection Actions for Coral Reefs
    • With a focus on monitoring during coral bleaching events.
  6. Monitoring Shoreline Change Rates
    • Aiming to identify hotspot zones vulnerable to erosion.
  7. Construction of Coastal Structures
    • Intended to protect highly eroded shoreline zones.
  8. Nationwide Island Assessment
    • To gain a better understanding of the accurate vulnerability of coastal areas through field-based topographic surveys.

Why These Recommendations Are Essential

Current Challenges

The urgency of these recommendations stems from various ongoing challenges, including the vulnerability of 1,382 of India's islands to sea-level rise, unseasonal cyclonic storms, sea erosion, and new development projects.

Research Findings

Research has shown that all Lakshadweep islands are vulnerable to sea-level rise, with projections indicating inundation along larger coastline areas under all emission scenarios.

Who Makes Up the Expert Panel

Panel Formation

The expert panel was formed by the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal.

Key Members

The panel comprises esteemed institutions and organizations with expertise in oceanography, coastal management, geoinformatics, and technology. Key members include:

  1. CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).
  2. National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Chennai.
  3. National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai.
  4. National Institute for Geo-informatics Science & Technology.
  5. Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, Hyderabad.
  6. IIT, Kharagpur.

Tilapia Parvovirus

In recent news, India has reported its first case of Tilapia Parvovirus (TiPV) in the state of Tamil Nadu.

TiPV: What You Need to Know

What is TiPV?

  • TiPV is a virus that infects tilapia fish.
  • It is characterized by being a single-stranded DNA virus and is unenveloped.
  • The virus can be detected in various fish tissues, including the spleen, liver, kidney, brain, and mucus.

Significance of TiPV

High Mortality Rate

  • TiPV is associated with a high mortality rate among tilapia fish.
  • In farms, the mortality rate can range from 30% to 50%, while in laboratory conditions, it can reach 100%.

Global Reports

  • India's recent report of TiPV marks it as the third country to report the occurrence of this virus.
  • The virus was first reported in China in 2019 and in Thailand in 2021.

Where TiPV has Been Reported Previously

Previous Reports

  • The initial report of TiPV occurred in China in 2019, signaling its emergence.
  • Thailand reported the virus in 2021, indicating its spread beyond China.

Facts About Tilapia Fish Types and Farming in India

Tilapia Fish Types

  1. Mozambique Tilapia (Jilabi in Tamil)
    • Often referred to as the "poor-man's fish."
    • Exhibits high survival rates in low-oxygen water levels.
    • An invasive species across India.
    • Introduced in India in the 1950s.
  2. Nile Tilapia
    • Larger in size compared to Mozambique tilapia.
    • Commands a market rate ranging from ₹100 to ₹150 per kg.
    • Introduced in India in the 1970s, with only authorized imports by the Indian government, including Oreochromis niloticus and red hybrids.
    • Chosen for its fast growth and high market demand.

Tilapia Farming in India

  • Tilapia farming is primarily conducted in states like Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
  • Tilapia is sold as whole fish in domestic markets.
  • In 2022, the estimated production of tilapia in India was 70,000 tonnes, with 30,000 tonnes coming from aquaculture.

Foetal Viability

In recent news, the Supreme Court of India made a significant decision regarding foetal viability, highlighting complex issues surrounding the rights of the unborn child.

News: Supreme Court Decision

The Supreme Court recently refused a woman's plea to terminate her 26-week pregnancy, based on the AIIMS medical board's report that stated there was no immediate danger to the woman's health, and the foetus was healthy. The government committed to covering the delivery expenses and facilitating adoption if desired by the parents. The woman, a 27-year-old married mother of two sons, was facing an unplanned pregnancy, insufficient family income, and mental instability requiring post-partum depression medication.

Court's Proceedings

  • On October 9, a two-judge Bench consisting of Justices Hima Kohli and B V Nagarathna allowed termination due to contraceptive failure, which resulted in a forced pregnancy. Termination was allowed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
  • On October 10, an AIIMS doctor's email raised the need for a Supreme Court directive for foeticide, stating that the foetus was currently viable and had a strong survival possibility.
  • On October 11, the Bench split on the decision. Justice Nagarathna supported respecting the petitioner's choice, while Justice Kohli denied termination due to her "judicial conscience."
  • The case was subsequently placed under a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, which called for a fresh medical report assessing both the foetal health and the woman's medical condition.

Key Discussion Topics

Foetal Viability

  • Foetal viability refers to the ability of a foetus to survive outside the uterus.

Rights of the Unborn Child


The case marks a new benchmark in India's interpretation of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP Act) by introducing "foetal viability" as a criterion for abortion decisions.


  • The viability standard has evolved over time. In 1973, it was 28 weeks (7 months), while currently, it stands at 23-24 weeks (6 months), leading to concerns about its arbitrariness.

General Understanding

  • In medical terms, viability typically falls between 23-24 weeks of gestational age.


Historical Judgments

  • In 1973, the US Supreme Court's 'Roe v Wade' decision allowed abortion until foetal viability.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP Act)

  • The MTP Act regulates abortion in India:
    • Up to 20 weeks: Requires one doctor's advice.
    • 20-24 weeks: Requires the approval of two registered medical practitioners, with exceptions under specific categories.
    • After 24 weeks: Decisions are made by a medical board in approved facilities, based on foetal abnormality.


  • Critics argue that shifting the decision-making authority after 20 weeks to doctors removes it from the woman's hands, potentially limiting her autonomy.
  • A legislative gap is evident in India's legal framework, which favors a woman's autonomy over the rights of the unborn child.

Related Legislation and Judgments

  • The Rajasthan High Court's 2005 judgment in 'Nand Kishore Sharma vs. Union of India' rejected a challenge to the MTP Act, asserting that it does not violate the unborn child's right to life. The basis of this legislation includes succession laws, laws banning sex determination, and Section 416 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which postpones the death sentence for pregnant women.

Radiation Detection Equipment

In recent news, India has taken a significant step towards enhancing its security measures by deploying Radiation Detection Equipment (RDE) at various strategic locations across its borders.

RDEs Installation Locations

Land Crossing Points

  • India's borders are equipped with RDEs to enhance security.
    • Pakistan
    • Bangladesh
    • Myanmar
    • Nepal

Specific Install Points

  • Integrated Check Posts and land ports serve as key locations for RDE installation.
    • Attari (Pakistan border)
    • Petrapole (Bangladesh border)
    • Agartala (Bangladesh border)
    • Dawki (Bangladesh border)
    • Sutarkandi (Bangladesh border)
    • Raxaul (Nepal border)
    • Jogbani (Nepal border)
    • Moreh (Myanmar border)


Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) with High Cross-Border Movements

  • ICPs are selected due to high cross-border movements of people and goods.

RDE Placement

Drive-Through Monitoring Stations

  • RDEs are deployed as drive-through monitoring stations.
    • Monitoring includes scanning of trucks and cargo for radioactive materials.

Why RDEs are Deployed

Main Purpose

  • The primary purpose of RDEs is to prevent trafficking of radioactive materials.
    • These materials can have potential use in nuclear devices, posing a significant threat to national security.


Smuggling Threats

  • RDEs play a crucial role in mitigating smuggling threats, particularly related to radioactive materials.
    • This includes the risk of nuclear devices and radiological dispersal devices.

How RDEs Work

RDE Capabilities

  • RDEs are equipped with the following capabilities to detect and address potential threats effectively:

Raise Alarms

  • RDEs can raise alarms in the presence of specific types of radiation.
    • Gamma radiation
    • Neutron radiation

Generate Video Frames

  • RDEs have the capability to generate video frames, allowing for visual inspection of suspected objects.

Differentiation Abilities

  • RDEs can differentiate between special nuclear material and naturally occurring radiation.
    • This is essential to prevent false alarms triggered by harmless substances like fertilizers and ceramics.
  • RDEs can also detect high-energy gamma isotopes, a characteristic attribute of recycled uranium, further enhancing their detection capabilities.

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