Daily Current Affairs

To the Point Notes


1.Madagascar Baobab Forests: Restoration Efforts with AI

Good News: Madagascar’s iconic baobab forests are being restored with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) using satellite footage, algorithms, and remote sensing.

About Madagascar Baobab (Adansonia Grandidieri)

  • One of the eight baobab species in the world, six are native to Madagascar.
  • These are large trees known for their massive trunks and exceptional longevity (over 1,000 years).
  • Found in Mahajanga and Antsiranana provinces of Madagascar.
  • Thrives in dry deciduous forests on various soil types.
  • IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (Currently)

Threats to Baobab Forests

  • Habitat loss due to slash-and-burn agriculture (4,000 hectares destroyed annually) – driven by poverty.
  • Extinction of large seed dispersers like giant lemurs and tortoises (around 500 years ago).
  • Climate change causing increased dryness and irregular weather patterns.

Challenges: Despite their current “Least Concern” status, baobab forests face significant threats. Continued efforts are crucial for their preservation.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/how-ai-is-helping-communities-restore-madagascars-ancient-baobab-forests/article68174331.ece



2.Invasive Armoured Sailfin Catfish Spreads in Eastern Ghats (CSIR-CCMB Study)

The Problem:

  • Scientists at CSIR-CCMB found the armoured sailfin catfish (devil fish) has invaded 60% of Eastern Ghats water bodies.
  • This invasive species (Pterygoplichthys) harms fishing nets and disrupts the ecosystem.

The Fish:

  • Introduced for its looks and algae-eating abilities in aquariums.
  • Can survive in low-oxygen environments and even travel on land with its fins.
  • Lacks commercial value and has sharp spines, causing injuries to fishermen and damaging nets.
  • It outcompetes native fish, threatening biodiversity.

Detection Method:

  • A new “eDNA-based quantitative PCR assay” by the institute helps track invasive species.

What is eDNA?

  • Environmental DNA (eDNA) is genetic material shed by organisms into their environment.
  • Scientists can use eDNA samples from water to detect the presence of specific species.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/ccmb-scientists-find-armoured-sailfin-catfish-has-spread-to-60-of-water-bodies-of-eastern-ghats/article68161438.ece


Science and Technology

3.Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs): Solar Storms with a Punch

CMEs are giant eruptions of superheated plasma (charged particles) from the Sun’s corona, the outermost layer of its atmosphere. These intense bursts can travel millions of kilometers and impact Earth’s magnetosphere, the magnetic field protecting our planet.


  • 1859 Carrington Event: The most powerful CME on record caused widespread auroras and disrupted telegraph systems globally.
  • 2003 Halloween Storms: A series of CMEs caused power outages across North America and even damaged satellites.

Impacts: CMEs can disrupt GPS signals, communication systems, and power grids. In extreme cases, they could damage critical infrastructure like transformers.

Sun’s Fury: Flares vs. CMEs

The Sun unleashes two main types of explosions:

  • Solar Flares: Intense bursts of energy and X-rays reaching Earth in just 8 minutes.
  • Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs): Giant clouds of solar material taking 1-3 days to travel to Earth.

These differ in speed and impact:

  • Fast CMEs: Occur more frequently during peak solar activity (11-year cycle).
  • CME Impact: Can disrupt satellites and radio communication upon reaching Earth’s magnetosphere.

While solar flares deliver a quick punch, CMEs pose a longer-term threat with potentially widespread consequences.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/isro-captures-signatures-of-recent-solar-eruptive-events/article68175739.ece


Physical Geography

4.La Nina: The Pacific Ocean’s Cooling Phase (El Nino’s Counterpart)

La Nina in a Nutshell

  • Meaning: “Little Girl” in Spanish
  • Nicknames: El Viejo, anti-El Niño, “cold event”
  • Part of a larger cycle: El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

La Nina’s Mechanism

  • Stronger trade winds push warm surface water westward in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Eastern Pacific cools down (compared to normal).

Global Impacts of La Nina

  • Increased Rainfall: Southeast Asia, northern Australia, parts of South America.
  • Droughts: Southwestern US, parts of Africa.
  • Stronger Atlantic Hurricanes: Reduced wind shear creates favorable conditions.
  • Cooler Temperatures: Pacific Northwest (US), parts of South America.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/australian-weather-bureau-sees-50-chance-of-la-nina-this-year/article68174213.ece



5.Understanding Wholesale Price Inflation in India (WPI)

What is WPI?

  • WPI (Wholesale Price Index) tracks price changes for bulk goods traded between businesses.
  • Calculated by the Office of Economic Advisor (Ministry of Commerce and Industry).
  • Published monthly: reflects average price level for the entire month.
  • Purpose: Monitors supply-demand dynamics in key sectors (industry, manufacturing, construction).
  • Inflation Indicator: Rising WPI suggests inflationary pressure; falling WPI suggests deflation.

WPI vs. CPI Inflation

  • WPI tracks wholesale prices.
  • CPI (Consumer Price Index) tracks average prices paid by households for a basket of goods & services.
  • WPI includes only goods, while CPI includes both goods & services.
  • RBI Policy: RBI uses CPI (retail inflation) to set monetary policy, not WPI.

Recent WPI Increase (April 2024):

  • WPI inflation rose to a 13-month high of 1.26%.
  • Reasons: Uptick in food inflation & 1.4% rise in fuel/power prices (after deflationary period).

WPI Calculation:

  • WPI is a weighted average of prices for a basket of goods.
  • Each item’s weight reflects its share of total wholesale sales.
  • The basket includes:
    • Primary Articles (22.62% weight)
    • Fuel and Power (13.15% weight)
    • Manufactured Products (64.23% weight)
  • 2011-12 series of WPI tracks prices of 697 items (117 primary, 16 fuel/power, 564 manufactured).

Base Year Update:

  • In April 2017, WPI’s base year was updated from 2004-05 to 2011-12 to align with other economic indicators (GDP, IIP).


Source : https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/wholesale-price-inflation-rises-to-126-in-april/article68173899.ece



6.Understanding India VIX: A Gauge of Market Volatility

What is a Volatility Index?

  • The VIX (Volatility Index or Fear Index) measures market expectations of short-term volatility.
  • Volatility refers to the speed and magnitude of price changes (often considered a risk indicator).
  • During volatile periods (sharp price swings), the VIX typically rises. Conversely, it falls when volatility subsides.
  • The Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) launched the first VIX in 1993 for US markets based on S&P 100 options.
  • In 2003, the methodology was revised to use S&P 500 options.

India VIX: A Local Take on Volatility

  • The National Stock Exchange (NSE) calculates India VIX based on NIFTY options order book data.
  • It reflects investor sentiment regarding near-term market volatility (expected volatility over the next 30 days).
  • As per NSE, higher India VIX values indicate greater anticipated volatility, and vice versa.

Recent Surge (Context):

  • India VIX recently crossed the 21 mark, signifying a rise in market volatility expectations.

Source : https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-economics/india-vix-index-market-volatility-9327742/



7.Indo-U.S. Joint Counter-Terrorism Exercise “Tarkash” Concludes in Kolkata

Exercise Details:

  • Type: Joint counter-terrorism exercise
  • Name: Tarkash (7th edition)
  • Participants: Indian National Security Guard (NSG) & U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF)
  • Dates: April 22, 2024 – May 15, 2024 (3 weeks)
  • Location: Kolkata, India (previous edition: Chennai, Jan 2023)
  • Focus: Urban counter-terrorism scenarios


  • Enhance interoperability between Indian and U.S. special forces.
  • Improve bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism.
  • Share best practices in tactics, techniques, and procedures for:
    • Close-quarter battle
    • Building intervention
    • Hostage rescue


  • This exercise strengthens India-U.S. cooperation in countering terrorism threats.
  • It improves the preparedness of both nations’ special forces for urban counter-terrorism operations.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-us-joint-exercise-to-counter-urban-terrorism-contingencies-to-conclude-in-kolkata-today/article68176069.ece



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