26th Oct, 2020

Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decides to keep Pakistan on its grey list

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decided to keep Pakistan on its “grey list”. 

According to FATF, Pakistan has failed to act on six key mandates. 

It urged Pakistan to complete an internationally agreed action plan by February 2021.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

The FATF is a global watchdog. 

It was founded to tackle money laundering initially but its role became prominent after the 9/11 terror attacks.

It expanded its operations and included terror financing under its purview after 9/11.

Its membership includes 39 jurisdictions.

It maintains two lists – a blacklist and a grey list. 

Countries on its blacklist are those that FATF deems non-cooperative in the global effort to curb money laundering and terror-financing.

The grey list is officially referred to as ‘Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring.’

It constitutes those nations that present significant risks of money laundering and terror-financing but which have committed to working closely with the FATF in the development and implementation of action plans that address their deficiencies.

If the country is not actively tackling money laundering or terror funding, it is then blacklisted. 

So far, only two countries have been blacklisted – Iran and North Korea.


North Korea warns its citizens of Yellow Dust

North Korea has urged its citizens to remain indoors to avoid contact with a mysterious cloud of ‘yellow dust’ which is blowing in from China. 

This cloud could bring Covid-19 with it.

Asian Dust 

It is also known as yellow dust, yellow sand, yellow wind or China dust storms. 

It is actually sand from deserts in China and Mongolia that high speed surface winds carry into both North and South Korea during specific periods every year.

The sand particles tend to mix with other toxic substances such as industrial pollutants. 

Thus, it is known to cause a number of respiratory ailments.


Industry 4.0 Technology jointly developed by IIT Kharagpur and TCS 

IIT Kharagpur and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) have jointly developed a novel Industry 4.0 Technology. 

It is developed for remotely controlled factory operations and real-time quality correction during industrial production so as to deliver quality output at low costs.

 Industrial Revolution 4.0

Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the Geneva-based WEF, published a book in 2016 titled “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” and coined the term at the Davos meeting in the same year.

It refers to how technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and the internet of things are merging with humans’ physical lives.

Examples: Voice-activated assistants, facial ID recognition or digital health-care sensors.

There is a common theme among each of the industrial revolutions: the invention of a specific technology that changed society fundamentally.

Major invention of The First Industrial Revolution: The steam engine. The steam engine enabled new manufacturing processes, leading to the creation of factories.

Major inventions of the Second Industrial Revolution: Light bulb, telephone and internal combustion engine 

Major inventions of the Third Industrial Revolution: The semiconductor, personal computer and the Internet. This is also referred to as the “Digital Revolution.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is different from the third for two reasons: the gap between the digital, physical and biological worlds is shrinking, and technology is changing faster than ever.


Kisan Suryodaya Yojana launched

Indian Prime Minister launched the Kisan Suryodaya Yojana in Gujarat. 

Under the scheme, 16 hours of power supply shall be provided to farmers.

Objective: To provide day-time power supply for irrigation. 

Under this scheme, farmers will be able to avail power supply from 5 AM to 9 PM.

The state government has allocated a budget of Rs.3500 crore for installing transmission infrastructure under this scheme by 2023.

234 ‘66-Kilowatt’ transmission lines will be established under the project, in addition to 220 KV substations.

Districts to be covered in initial phase: Dahod, Patan, Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Chhota Udepur, Kheda, Tapi, Valsad, Anand and Gir-Somnath have been 

The remaining districts will be covered in a phase-wise manner by 2022-23.


Hong Kong BNO Passports not to be considered by China as valid travel documents 

Chinese foreign ministry said that it will consider not recognizing Hong Kong British national overseas (BNO) passports as valid travel documents. 

Recently, the British government had announced new visa rules for British National Overseas citizens in HK.

New visa rules

Britain will start to process BNO visa applications for residents in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from January 31, 2021.

As per new visa rule, BNO Visa holders will have the right to work and study in the UK for a period of five years. They can apply for citizenship after the sixth year.

BNO Passport

The British National (Overseas) passport, commonly referred to as the BN(O) passport, is a British passport for persons with British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status.

The passport was first issued in 1987 after the Hong Kong Act 1985 from which this new class of British nationality was created.

Holders of BN(O) passports are permanent residents of Hong Kong who were British Dependent Territories citizens until 30 June 1997 and had registered as BN(O)s.


Historic ceasefire announced in LIBYA

Rival parties in Libya announced a historic ceasefire followed by five days of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission (JMC) talks in Geneva. 

This gives way to the possibility that the long-drawn conflict might be coming to an end.

 New Ceasefire Agreement

As per this new agreement facilitated by the UN, all foreign mercenaries and armed forces will have to withdraw within the next 90 days. 

The parties also agreed that any violations in the ceasefire will be dealt by a joint military force, which will be under a unified command.

The agreement has also established a Joint Police Operations room that will implement and propose special arrangements to secure the areas that are cleared of military units and armed groups.

Further, the 5+5 have also agreed to open the land and air routes that connect the regions and cities of Libya.


Khadi being manufactured in the region of Oaxaca

Indian Prime Minister made a reference to the region of Oaxaca (pronounced O-aa-ha-ka) in Mexico where Khadi was being manufactured. 

Khadi Oaxaca is a farm-to-garment collective which comprises around 400 families. 

They live and work on traditional farms and homesteads in the Oaxaca region of southern Mexico

It uses cotton produced and cultivated on the Oaxaca coast, and produces chemical-free clothing,

relying on locally harvested plant-based dyes.


International Snow Leopard Day

International Snow Leopard Day is observed on 23rd October. 

Aim: To raise awareness on conservation and protection of snow leopards.

International Snow Leopard Day came into being on 23rd October, 2013 when Bishkek Declaration was adopted by 12 countries on the conservation of snow leopards.

The 12 countries included: India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Snow Leopard 

It is also known as Ghost of the mountains. 

They are positioned as the top predator in the food web.

It acts as an indicator of the health of the mountain ecosystem in which they live. 

Habitat: Higher Himalayan and trans-Himalayan landscape in  J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

India is home to 5 big cats: Snow Leopard, Lion, Tiger, Common Leopard, and Clouded Leopard.

Snow Leopard capital of the world: Hemis, Ladakh.

Threat: Reduction in prey populations, illegal poaching and increased human population infiltration into the species habitat and illegal trade of wildlife parts and products 

IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

CITES: Appendix I

Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): Appendix I

Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: Schedule I

Conservation Efforts by India: 

(1) HimalSanrakshak: It is a community volunteer programme, to protect snow leopards, launched on 23rd October 2020;

(2) In 2019, First National Protocol was also launched on Snow Leopard Population Assessment;

(3) SECURE Himalaya: Global Environment Facility (GEF)-UNDP funded project on conservation of high altitude biodiversity;

(4) Project Snow Leopard  launched in 2009;

(5) Snow Leopard is in the list of 21 critically endangered species for the recovery programme of the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change.

Hemis National Park is the biggest national park of India and also has a good presence of Snow Leopard.


Girnar Ropeway

Indian Prime Minister recently launched the world’s longest temple ropeway project at Girnar in Junagadh.

Girnar ropeway project consists of a total of 25 cabins. 

It operates at a capacity of 800 passengers per hour and 8000 per day.

It will attract more tourists and pilgrims to this historical place which will boost employment opportunities.

Mount Girnar is a major igneous plutonic complex which intruded into the basalts towards the close of the Deccan Trap period.

Dhammachakra Pravartan Day

Dhammachakra Pravartan Day (DhammaChakra Anupravartan Din) is a day to celebrate the Buddhist conversion of B. R. Ambedkar and approximately 600,000 followers in October 1956 at Deekshabhoomi on the occasion of Vijayadashami.

It is primarily celebrated at Deeksha Bhoomi every year.

Deekshabhoomi is a sacred monument of Navayana Buddhism located at Nagpur city in Maharashtra where B. R. Ambedkar embraced Buddhism.