China cashes in on the cannabis boom
Topic: GS–II: Health
Two of China’s 34 regions are quietly leading a boom in cultivating cannabis to produce cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-intoxicating compound that has become a consumer health and beauty craze in the United States and beyond.
More in news:
• Cannabidiol has not been authorized for consumption in China, a country with some of the strictest drug-enforcement policies in the world.
• The chemical is marketed abroad — in oils, sprays and balms as treatment for insomnia, acne and even diseases like diabetes and multiple sclerosis. (The science, so far, is not conclusive.)
• The easing of the plant’s stigma in North America has generated global demand for medicinal products especially for cannabidiol that companies in China are rushing to fill.
• China has, in fact, cultivated cannabis for thousands of years for textiles, for hemp seeds and oil and even, according to some, for traditional medicine.
• The People’s Republic of China, after its founding in 1949, took a hard line on illegal drugs, and cultivating and using marijuana are strictly forbidden to this day, with traffickers facing the death penalty in extreme cases.
• After signing the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances in 1985, China went even further. It banned all cultivation of hemp.
• Farmers produced hemp to make rope and textiles and China had banned it even though it has only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the mind-altering compound found in marijuana.
Anantapur villagers welcome winged visitors
Topic: GS -III: Bio-diversity
For six months in a year, the Veerapuram and Venkatapuram villages of Chilamathur mandal of Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur district turn home to beautiful Painted Storks which fly here from far-off places for breeding.
• These large birds, along with Black, White and Grey Ibis, migrate from Southeast Asia to the Indian subcontinent in November-December, and occupy almost every tree in the area which is just a stone’s throw from the Karnataka border.
• The birds are noisy, but the villagers have got used to the birds as they have been regular visitors to the area for several decades now.
• The shallow waters of Veerapuram tank used to be a popular hunting ground for these avians, which look for only small fish (about a maximum of 9 cm).
• However, the tank has not received water for the past three years, and the birds are now found to be flying for over 40 km up to Bukkapatnam near Puttaparthi, Penukonda, Gudibanda and Chintamani, Devanahalli in Karnataka in search of food.
• There are about 1,230 nests in Veerapuram and Venkatapuram villages, making the area a paradise for bird enthusiasts.
• The number of migratory birds is on the decline, as availability of water and fish has become scarce.
• Though the village is known to be a destination for these migratory birds for over 100 years, it was only in 1982 that the Forest Department formally identified it for protection. No tangible efforts to protect the birds have been taken so far. Tourists and photographers too make a beeline on the weekends as the place is close to the famous stone-carved Nandi of Lepakshi.
• Uric acid found in the droppings of these birds is causing damage to trees, with many people not taking any interest in planting new ones. Only the tamarind tree seems to be able to withstand the effects of the acidic droppings.
There is a proposal to build some huts/guest houses for the tourists and the District Collector was looking for land for the Tourism Department to develop the facility.
India, U.K. in talks to build a naval super carrier
Topic: GS -III: Security
The United Kingdom is in talks with the Indian government on building a new state-of-the-art aircraft carrier along the lines of Britain’s HMS Queen Elizabeth as part of the ongoing ‘Make in India’ negotiations, according to a media report.
More in news:
• The talks are under way for the Indian Navy to buy detailed plans for the 65,000-ton British warship to build a so-called “copycat supercarrier” to be named INS Vishal in 2022.
• The report noted that the new naval carrier would serve alongside India’s 45,000-ton carrier INS Vikramaditya bought from Russia in 2004 and the currently under-construction 40,000-ton INS Vikrant, and could give India a larger carrier fleet than Britain.
U.S. to hike tariffs on $200 bn of Chinese goods
Topic: GS -III: Economic Development
President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% this week, because trade talks are moving “too slowly.”
More in news:
• Mr. Trump’s action came ahead of the arrival of a major Chinese delegation to Washington for the latest round of talks a round, it is believed, could possibly lead to a deal.
• For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50 Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods. The 10% will go up to 25%.
• The two sides have imposed tariffs on $360 billion in two-way trade since last year. But Mr. Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to a truce in December to refrain from further escalation.
News In brief
Why Polling Agent?
It is not possible for a candidate to be physically present at every polling station on the day of voting in her constituency. Therefore, the law allows the candidate, or his/her election agent, to appoint a polling agent to act as a representative at every polling station to watch his/her interests.
• The work of polling agents includes ensuring that EVMs and VVPATs are in order, detecting and preventing impersonation of voters, and helping to secure and seal the EVMs, VVPATs and election records after polling is over.
• Those holding government positions and those who have been given security cover at the state’s expense, including Ministers, are not allowed to be polling agents.
Editorial Section :
65total visits,1visits today