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Here are the topics covered for 22th December 2023:
GS-2: Press and Registration of Periodic Bill 2023, Chief Election Commissioner Bill
GS-3: WHO Prequalifies Malaria Vaccine, Cafeteria’ for Oil Spillhit Birds
Facts For Prelims: TEMPO Satellite, Namdapha Flying Squirrel
Press and Registration of Periodic Bill 2023
- Parliament passed the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, repealing the colonial era law of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.
Key Features of the Bill
- The proposed bill introduces a streamlined online procedure for applying for title verification and obtaining a certificate of registration from the Press Registrar General for periodicals.
- Unlike the current process, there is no need to submit a declaration before the local authority or have it authenticated by the local authority.
- Individuals convicted by a court for offenses related to terrorist acts, unlawful activities, or actions against the security of the State will be prohibited from publishing a periodical.
- Additionally, the bill allows printing a facsimile edition of a foreign periodical in India, subject to prior approval from the Central Government and registration with the Press Registrar General.
- The bill stipulates that a printer of a periodical must provide online notification to both the Press Registrar General and the local authority.
- Unlike the current procedure, there is no obligation for the printer to submit any declaration to the local authority or seek authentication from the said authority.
Chief Election Commissioner Bill
- The government has recently presented a bill in the Rajya Sabha seeking to modify the procedure for appointing the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs).
Key Features of the Bill
- The Selection Committee will comprise the Prime Minister as the Chairperson, the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha as a member, and if the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha is not officially recognized, the leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha will serve in that capacity.
- Additionally, a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister will also be a member of the committee.
- The proposed Bill suggests the creation of a Search Committee responsible for compiling a panel of five individuals for potential appointment to the positions of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs).
- The Search Committee will be chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and will comprise two members, not below the rank of Secretary, possessing expertise and experience in electoral matters.
- The appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners (ECs) will remain valid even in the presence of a vacancy or flaw in the constitution of the Selection Committee.
- The proposed Bill seeks to annul the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991.
- If enacted, the new Act will dictate the functioning of the Election Commission.
- While the 1991 Act stipulates that the Election Commissioner\’s salary is on par with that of a Supreme Court judge, the Bill proposes aligning the salary, allowance, and service conditions of the CEC and other ECs with those of the Cabinet Secretary.
- The Bill retains the provision that the business of the Election Commission should ideally be conducted with unanimity. However, in instances of disagreement, the prevailing view will be determined by the majority.
WHO Prequalifies MalariaVaccine
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially prequalified a second malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix-M.
- This prequalification paves the way for countries and organizations to procure the vaccine for a more extensive distribution, following the WHO\’s endorsement of the vaccine in October 2023.
More About News
- The pre-qualification of the R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine by the World Health Organization (WHO) means increased access to vaccines for preventing malaria in children.
- This involves procurement by UNICEF and funding for deployment from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
- The WHO had previously prequalified the first malaria vaccine, RTS,S/AS01, in July 2022.
- Both vaccines, proven to be safe and effective through clinical trials, aim to address the significant burden of malaria in children, particularly in Africa, where the disease is responsible for an estimated 500,000 child deaths annually.
- The R21/Matrix-M vaccine, developed by Oxford University and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), is expected to expand the vaccine supply, with the capacity to produce 200 million doses annually.
Cafeteria’ for Oil Spillhit Birds
- Collaborating experts from the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary (BMAD) are devising plans to set up bird feeding stations along the creek.
- This initiative aims to address the severe decline in the bird population caused by contamination from an oil spill from industries in Manali.
How Oil Impact Birds’ Health?
- Feathers, or plumage, play a vital role in the well-being of birds, serving functions such as aiding in flight, attracting mates, providing buoyancy, and insulating against cold and wet conditions.
- When birds are exposed to oil, their plumage loses its insulation properties, making it challenging to maintain a stable body temperature, often resulting in hypothermia and, ultimately, death.
- Additionally, oil-contaminated birds may spend more time preening, diverting attention from essential activities like foraging, resting, and reproduction, adversely affecting their overall health.
- Accidental ingestion of oil during preening can further exacerbate negative health consequences for birds.
- Oil exposure poses short- and long-term consequences for birds, encompassing issues like plumage damage, compromised health, delayed migration, and mortality.
- Oiled birds may suffer from respiratory problems, harm to internal organs and blood cells, impaired flight, and challenges in regulating body temperature.
- Beyond individual fatalities, oil exposure can contribute to population decline by affecting breeding, hatching, nesting habitats, survival rates of newborns, and altering migration patterns.
- Ongoing scientific research seeks to understand how birds cope with oil pollution, both in the immediate aftermath of a spill and over the long term.
Facts For Prelims
- NASA\’s TEMPO satellite, equipped with the Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution sensor, is a pioneering Earth-observation satellite positioned in geostationary orbit.
- Its primary objective is to offer hourly measurements of pollutants across North America.
- The geographical coverage of TEMPO extends from Canada\’s oil sands to the Yucatán Peninsula, spanning the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
- This extensive coverage enhances the satellite\’s capability to comprehensively monitor air pollution in the region.
Namdapha Flying Squirrel
- The Namdapha flying squirrel exhibits reddish, grizzled fur with a white upper portion, pale grey crown, orangish patagium, and white underparts.
- Unlike birds or bats, flying squirrels cannot truly fly; instead, they glide between trees.
- The animal adjusts its midair direction and speed by altering limb positions, primarily governed by small wrist bones.
- A distinctive cartilage projection from the wrist, exclusive to flying squirrels, is elevated during a glide.
- Alongside the manus, this cartilage forms a wing tip crucial for aerodynamic adjustments.
- The wrist further modulates the tension of the patagium, a furry parachute-like membrane extending from wrist to ankle.
- The tail is an additional airfoil, functioning as an air brake before landing on a tree trunk.