Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Daily News Mail - News of 21/04/2015

India has 988 species on IUCN ‘Red List’
  • India has added 15 more species to the “Red List” of threatened species published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2014, but the country has climbed down a spot to the seventh position.
  • By the year-end, India had 988 threatened species on the list, which lists critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species. In 2013, the number was 973. With 659 species in 2008, the increase over seven years is 50 per cent, in part due to better research identifying more threatened species and deforestation.
  • By adding 37 species, China seemed to have helped India improve its rank.
  • “Apart from habitat loss, it is research and surveys that add species to the ‘Red List’. Studies for some endemic species are yet to be conducted in India, to give a better picture of their status,” said P.O. Nameer, South Asian coordinator, in situ, Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Species Survival Commission, IUCN.
  • “This is definitely a concern … There is a tendency of decision-makers to focus on ‘charismatic’ mammals for conservation, while others are left out of programmes … A more holistic approach is needed to conservation in India.”
  • A recent World Bank mapping of endangered mammals shows India as having the fourth largest number of threatened species in the world, 31 of them endemic to the region.
List of endangered animals in India

NASA seeks ideas to safeguard Mars journey
  • NASA is offering an award of up to $30,000 for innovative designs to protect a spacecraft’s crew on the journey to Mars.
  • The US space agency, which recently awarded $12,000 to five winners of a challenge to mitigate radiation exposure on deep space missions, is developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s.
  • “We are very impressed with the enthusiasm and sheer number of people from the public, who showed interest in solving this very difficult problem for human space exploration,” said Steve Rader, deputy manager of the NASA-supported Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation.
Radiation concerns
  • Galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), high-energy radiation that originates outside the solar system, are a major issue facing future space travellers venturing beyond low-Earth orbit.
  • These charged particles permeate the universe and exposure to them is inevitable during space exploration.
  • Anyone can participate in the challenge, which will be open from April 29 to June 29, 2015.

What is space radiation?

Radiation may be defined as energy in transit in the form of high-speed particles and electromagnetic waves. Electromagnetic radiation is very common in our everyday lives in the form visible light, radio and television waves, and microwaves. Radiation is divided into two categories - ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation.

Ionizing radiation is radiation with sufficient energy to remove electrons from the orbits of atoms resulting in charged particles, and it is this type of radiation that is evaluated for purposes of radiation protection. Examples of ionizing radiation include gamma rays, protons, and neutrons. Ionizing radiation is different from ion formation that occurs in ordinary chemical reactions, such as the generation of table salt from sodium and chlorine. In such a reaction, only the outermost electron is removed to form a positively charged ion. With ionizing radiation, if the energy is sufficient, electrons other than those in the outermost orbits can be released; this process renders the atom very unstable, and these ions are very chemically reactive.
Non-ionizing radiation is radiation without sufficient energy to remove electrons from their orbits. Examples are microwaves, radio waves, and visible light.
   Space radiation consists primarily of ionizing radiation which exists in the form of high-energy, charged particles. There are three naturally occurring sources of space radiation: trapped radiation, galactic cosmic radiation (GCR), and solar particle events (SPE).

Space Radiation(Please click on the link below)

Investment via P-Notes surges
  • Investments into Indian markets through participatory notes (P-Notes) has surged to the highest level in over seven years at Rs.2.72 lakh crore (over $43 billion) at the end of March 2015.
  • P-Notes, mostly used by overseas HNIs (high networth individuals), hedge funds and other foreign institutions, allow such investors to invest in Indian markets through registered foreign institutional investors (FIIs).
  • This saves time and costs for investors, but the flip side is that the route can also be used for round tripping of black money. According to the data released by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the total value of P-Note investments in Indian markets (equity, debt and derivatives) rose to Rs.2,72,078 crore at the end of March from Rs.2,71,752 crore in the preceding month.
Highest investment
  • This is the highest investment since February 2008, when the cumulative value of such investments stood at Rs.3.23 lakh crore.
  • The quantum of FII investments through P-Notes, too, climbed to 11.3 per cent last month from 11.1 per cent in February. Till a few years ago, P-Notes used to account for more than 50 per cent of the total FII investments, but their share has fallen after SEBI tightened the disclosure norms and other regulations for such investments.
  • P-Notes have been accounting for mostly 15-20 per cent of the total FII holdings in India since 2009, while it used to be much higher — in the range of 25-40 per cent — in 2008.
  • It was as high as over 50 per cent at the peak of Indian stock market bull-run in 2007.
What is Participatory Notes(P-Notes)?
  • Participatory Notes commonly known as P-Notes or PNs are instruments issued by registered foreign institutional investors (FII) to overseas investors, who wish to invest in the Indian stock markets without registering themselves with the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India - SEBI.
  • SEBI permitted foreign institutional investors to register and participate in the Indian stock market in 1992.
  • Investing through P-Notes is very simple and hence very popular amongst foreign institutional investors.

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