UPSC Current Affairs: Bahais to WR Tech, CoViNet, UNESCO, IRENA, Wildlife & more

GS Paper 1


  • News: Human Rights Watch has released a report stating that the prolonged and systematic repression of Baha’is by Iranian authorities constitutes the crime against humanity of persecution.
  • The Bahais :
  • Origin and History: 
      • Bahais are adherents of a religious movement that emerged in Iran during the 19th century.
      • The movement was founded by Baha’u’llah, who is regarded as the prophet-founder of the Bahai Faith.
  • Beliefs and Principles:
      • Bahais adhere to the belief that all religions originate from the same divine source.
      • They advocate for the equality of all individuals, regardless of race, gender, or nationality.
      • Central to their faith is the concept of the oneness of humanity, promoting the abolition of racial, class, and religious prejudices.
  • Focus on Unity and Equality: 
      • Bahais dedicate themselves to fostering unity among diverse peoples and cultures.
      • They actively work towards eliminating social and religious divisions, emphasizing the importance of unity in diversity.
  • Religious Practices and Structure:
      • The Bahai Faith does not have a traditional priesthood or clergy hierarchy.
      • Ritual forms of worship are not observed in Bahai gatherings.
      • Instead, Bahais engage in devotional activities, community service, and the study of sacred texts as part of their spiritual practice.

UNESCO’s Global Geopark (UGGPs)

  • News: UNESCO has approved 18 new Global Geoparks.
  • Geoparks: 
    • Establishment: The UNESCO Global Geopark (UGGP) designation was created in 2015. 
    • Aim: It recognizes geological heritage of international significance. 
    • Importance: Geoparks serve local communities by combining the conservation of their significant geological heritage with public outreach and a sustainable approach to development.
    • Management: Managed by a body having a legal existence recognized under national legislation.
    • Time Period: UNESCO Global Geoparks are given this designation for a period of four years. 
    •  Global Geoparks Network : UGGPs are required to be members of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN).
      • GGN is a non-profit international association established in 2014 under the auspices of UNESCO.
      • GGN was founded as a collaborative partnership aimed at promoting and supporting geoparks globally.
      • It operates under the umbrella of UNESCO, emphasizing the importance of geoparks in conservation, education, and sustainable development.
  • Significance of UNESCO Global Geoparks:
      • UGGPs play a vital role in fostering local pride and strengthening the community’s connection to their region.
      • By showcasing the geological heritage and cultural significance of an area, UGGPs enhance residents’ sense of identity and belonging.
      • UGGPs offer new opportunities for revenue generation through geo-tourism.
      • Visitors are attracted to explore the unique geological features and cultural attractions within UGGPs, contributing to the local economy and sustainable development.

GS Paper 2

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

  • News: Renewable Capacity Statistics 2024 have been released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
  • International Renewable Energy Agency: 
    • History:
      •  The proposal for an international agency dedicated to renewable energy was made in 1981 at the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy, held in Nairobi, Kenya.
      • IRENA was founded in Bonn (Germany) in 2009 with 75 states signing the IRENA Statute at the time. 
    • Aim & Functions: 
      • IRENA is a leading global intergovernmental agency dedicated to energy transformation. 
      • It provides advanced data and analyses on technology, innovation, policy, finance, and investment related to renewable energy.
      • It promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of various renewable energy sources, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar, and wind energy.
    • Members: 
        • 168 countries and the European Union (EU).
        • India is also a member.
    • Major Reports Published by IRENA:
      • World Energy Transition Outlook
      • Renewable Energy Outlook for ASEAN
      • Renewable Energy for Agriculture
    • Headquarters: Abu Dhabi.
  • Key Findings in the Report: 
    • Record Deployment: The global renewable energy deployment reached a historic milestone, with a total capacity of 3,870 GW.
    • Breakdown of Capacity: Among the renewable energy sources, “renewable hydropower” led the way with a capacity of 1,268 GW, excluding pumped storage.
      • Pure pumped storage capacity also contributed significantly, reaching 140 GW, while marine energy saw growth to 527 MW.
    • Renewables Dominance: Renewables accounted for an impressive 86% of total capacity additions in 2023.
      • Despite this substantial growth, the distribution of renewable energy deployment remains uneven across different regions of the world.
    • Challenges Ahead: IRENA warns that this uneven distribution of growth suggests a deviation from the trajectory needed to meet the ambitious target of tripling renewable power capacity by 2030.
      • The agency underscores the urgent need for concerted efforts to address this disparity and accelerate the energy transition.
    • Significance for Climate Goals:
      • IRENA emphasizes that the surge in renewable generation capacity underscores the pivotal role of renewables in rapidly scaling up the energy transition.
      • Renewables emerge as the primary technology capable of aligning with the objectives outlined in the Paris Agreement.

UPSC Current Affairs: Unpacking Science & Investment – Vortex, Seamount, IFD & More

GS Paper 3

Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary

  • News: Telangana is currently grappling with forest fires in Tadvai region of Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary in Mulugu.
  • Location: Telangana. The perennial river Dayyam Vagu flows through this sanctuary.
  • Flora and Fauna:
    • The Sanctuary has tropical dry deciduous forests.
    • The plethora of water in the sanctuary attributes to the presence of reptiles like the famous Mugger crocodiles and snakes like the Cobra, Python and Krait.
  • Festival: The sanctuary is also famous for the Sammakka Saralamma Jatara (tribal festival). 

White Rabbit (WR) Technology

  • News: White Rabbit (WR) is a technology being developed at CERN.
  • White Rabbit (WR) Technology:  
    • Introduction: White Rabbit (WR) technology is an innovative creation originating from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
    • Aim: It offers sub-nanosecond synchronization and dependable data transfer capabilities.
    • Functionality of White Rabbit (WR): WR serves as an exceptionally precise clock, crucial for accurately recording the timing of particle collisions in high-speed experiments.
      • It can measure time down to billionths of a billionth of a second (sub-nanosecond), surpassing the accuracy of regular clocks.
      • Similar to a reliable mail carrier, WR ensures that data from experiments, such as images or scientific data, is transferred quickly and consistently.
      • This reliability is essential for capturing and analyzing critical information in scientific research.
    • Applications Beyond Science Labs: 
      • Financial Trading: WR technology can aid in high-frequency trading by ensuring timely and accurate data transmission, providing traders with a competitive advantage in fast-paced markets.
      • Improvement in Communication Networks: By facilitating smooth and timely data transmission, WR can enhance communication networks, reducing delays and improving overall connectivity.
      • Satellite Communication and Navigation: The precise timing accuracy of WR is valuable for satellites, enabling flawless communication and navigation in space. It ensures that satellites can communicate with each other and navigate accurately in the vastness of space.


  • News: Skyroot Aerospace, the leading space-tech company, has successfully test-fired the Stage-2 of Vikram-1 space launch vehicle, called Kalam-250.
  • Kalam-250: 
    • Development by Skyroot Aerospace: The Kalam-250 engine serves as the second stage propulsion system for the Vikram-1 launch vehicle.
      • It is being developed by Skyroot Aerospace, an Indian private space agency.
    • Vikram-1 Launch Vehicle: Vikram-1 is a three-stage launch vehicle designed by Skyroot Aerospace for deploying small satellites into various orbits.
      • The maiden launch of Vikram-1 is anticipated by September 2024.
    • Solid Propellant Propulsion: Kalam-250 engine utilizes solid propellant to ensure efficient and reliable operation during the launch.
    • Advanced Composite Construction: Constructed from advanced high-strength carbon composite materials, the Kalam-250 engine is lightweight yet robust, enhancing its performance.
    • State-of-the-Art Thermal Protection System: The Kalam-250 engine incorporates a cutting-edge thermal protection system based on Ethylene-Propylene-Diene terpolymers (EPDM) to manage the intense heat generated during operation. 

Cicada Species

  • News: New species of cicada has been discovered in Meghalaya.
  • Cicada Species:
    • The Cicada was discovered around Balpakram National Park in South Garo Hills District in 2017 by Dr. Vivek Sarkar of the Wildlife Institute of India.
    • The discovery of a cicada belonging to the genus Becquartina marks the first-ever record of this genus in the country.
    • The cicada’s colourful wings have earned it the nickname “butterfly cicada,” with the name “bicolour” reflecting its distinctive two-color pattern. 
    • Cicadas are a group of insects known for their distinctive sound.


    •  They belong to the family Cicadidae and are part of the order Homoptera
    • Cicadas have two pairs of membranous wings, prominent compound eyes, and three simple eyes called ocelli. 
    • They are typically medium to large in size, ranging from 2 to 5 cm (0.8 to 2 inches).
    •  Male cicadas create loud noises by vibrating membranes, called tymbals, near the base of their abdomen. 
    • Meanwhile, female cicadas often deposit their eggs within the tissues of woody plants, and these eggs typically fall from the plant either when or shortly after hatching. 
  • Habitat: 
    • The genus Becquartina comprises six species found distributed in countries such as China, Thailand, and Vietnam.
    • This species is localized in Garo Hills and Ri-Bhoi district, preferring dense forests and native vegetation.
    • It is not found in other parts of Northeast India.

H5N1 Bird Flu

  • News: H5N1 has been posing an existential threat to birds and wildlife across the globe.
  • Definition: Bird flu, also known as avian flu, refers to an infectious viral illness that mainly infects and spreads among poultry and some wild birds.
  • Origin:  The currently circulating type of H5N1 has descended from a virus that caused an outbreak on a goose farm in Guangdong, China, in 1996.
  • Spread: The new version of H5N1 first emerged in Europe in 2020 and then rapidly reached Europe, Africa, and Asia. 
    • By late 2021, it had spread to North America and in the fall of 2022, it appeared in South America. 
    • In February 2024, the virus stormed through mainland Antarctica.
  • Threat: Along with affecting farm birds, the virus has also significantly harmed wild birds, particularly those species that are already facing the threat of extinction.
    • The spread of the virus among mammals raises concerns due to the potential for increased virulence and cross-species transmission in overcrowded conditions.
    • The marine mammals such as sea lions and dolphins’ seals, elephant seals have also been killed due to virus.
  • Symptoms:  A person may experience more serious typical flu symptoms, including:
    • a fever of above 100.4ºF (38ºC)
    • a cough
    • muscle aches
  • Treatment:  Antivirals can prevent some cases from becoming fatal.


  • News: The WHO has launched ‘CoViNet’ which is a global laboratory to monitor emerging coronaviruses. 
  • Key Facts:
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a global network of laboratories to identify and monitor potentially novel coronaviruses that could emerge shortly. 
    • CoViNet will assess other coronaviruses, including MERS-CoV, with enhanced laboratory capacity.
    • The network will now have animal health and environmental surveillance and timely risk assessment to feed WHO policies and protective measures. 
    • In low- and middle-income countries, CoViNet will support the building of more laboratories to monitor MERS-CoV and novel coronaviruses of public health importance.
    • CoViNet comprises 36 laboratories from 21 countries in all six WHO regions, including three Indian laboratories.  These are:
      •  the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, 
      • the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology in Pune, and 
      • the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute.
    • COVID-19 was the first ‘Disease X’ and it may happen again.
      • Disease X is a placeholder for an unknown disease anticipated by the WHO to be of unprecedented magnitude. 
      • It is mostly likely to be a zoonotic disease with a ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus. Coronaviruses are a large family of RNA viruses.

Facts for Prelims 

Abel Prize

  • News: Michel Talagrand wins Abel Prize 2024 for randomness studies.
  • Abel Prize:
    • The prize was established by the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) in 2002. 
    •  It recognises pioneering scientific achievements in mathematics
    • It is named after Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel (1802-29), who in his short life made pioneering contributions in a multitude of fields.
    •  It is often considered to be an equivalent of the Nobel prize – which does not have a category for mathematics – and has been modelled as such.
    • The prize includes a monetary award of 7.5 million kroner (roughly $ 720,000) and a glass plaque designed by Norwegian artist Henrik Haugan.
    •  It is awarded by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, on behalf of the Ministry of Education.
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