Current Affairs 2017 (August)

Two new species of Earthworm discovered in Kerala

Scientists have discovered two new species of earthworm belonging to the primitive family Moniligastridae in Western Ghats ranges of Kerala.

The new earthworms distinguished by a set of characters have been named as Drawida polydiverticulata and Drawida thomasi.

Key Facts

In total, there are about 200 species of earthworm known in genus Drawida. To date, there are 73 earthworm species belonging to genus Drawida living in Indian subcontinent. The greatest concentration (43 species) is found in Western Ghats.

Drawida polydiverticulata: It has multiple lobes called diverticulums. It is an organ located in the front of its body which is unique amongst the members of the genus. It was found to be widespread in the protected shola grasslands of the Munnar region, including Eravikulam National Park, Pampadun Shola National Park and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

Drawida thomasi: It was discovered at the Kozhippara Waterfalls near Kakkadampoyil, at the border between Malappuram and Kozhikode. The species has been named as a tribute to Professor A.P. Thomas who initiated the taxonomical studies on earthworms in Kerala.

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India, US establish Two-By-Two Ministerial Dialogue

India and US have established new two-by-two (2 by 2) ministerial dialogue to enhance strategic coordination between them and maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The new dialogue format will replace the earlier India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. It will be similar to the India-Japan 2+2 dialogue format between foreign and defence secretaries of the two countries.

Key Facts

India and US had elevated their Strategic Dialogue in 2009 which mainly focuses on regional security, economic cooperation, defence, trade and climate challenges. The purpose of two-by-two ministerial dialogue is to put strategic, defence and security relationship between the two countries at the forefront and centrestage. The new format would include External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister from India and their American counterparts Secretary of State and Defence Secretary.

Comment

The new ministerial dialogue would enhance strategic coordination between the two nations. It will aslo elevate strategic consultations between both countries. It will be helpful to coordinate more closely on Afghanistan, developments in the Asia Pacific, Indian Ocean and also in the Middle East (West Asia). It will insulate the India-US strategic relationship from feuds over trade and deep divide on economic integration policies as trade and commercial issues were discussed in the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue earlier.

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