Nepal Current Affairs - 2020

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GM Crop: White Flies Resistant Cotton Field Trials begins

The National Botanical Research Institute developed pest resistant cotton variety. The cotton variety is to be field tested at the Center of Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana.

Need

In 2015, the whiteflies devastated more than two-third cotton crops in Punjab. Of all the crops, cotton is the worst hit by whiteflies. Whiteflies are considered as the top 10 devastating pests in the world. They damage more than 2000 plant species.

Why not Bt Cotton?

When Bt cotton, a genetically modified crop already exists, why should scientists go for a new GM cotton crop? This is because, Bt cotton is resistant only to two pests and not to whiteflies.

The technology

In order to develop the pest resistant variety scientists have explored 250 plants. From these plants they have identified novel protein molecules that are harmful to whiteflies. Out of the 250 plants, the protein was found in Tectaria marcrodonta. This fern that causes toxicity in whiteflies is used as salad in Nepal.

How does it work?

When the fern enters the bloodstream of the whiteflies, it interferes with their life cycle. The insects start laying abnormal eggs resulting in extraordinary poor emergence of flies.

Whiteflies

Whiteflies feed on the underside of plant leaves. They are common in warm tropical climates. They are more prevalent in greenhouses. The world economic losses due to whiteflies are estimated to be more than 100s of millions of dollars annually.

The Whiteflies feed into the phloem of the plants and secrete toxic saliva into them. Phloem are rich in sugar. This is because they are responsible for transporting sugar produced in leaves to different parts of the plants.

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2019 South Asian Games concluded in Nepal: India finish on top

South Asian Games 2019 concluded on 10 December in Nepal, with India finishing on top with a best-ever medal haul of 312 medals comprising of 174 gold, 93 silver and 45 bronze. Host Nepal remained second and Sri Lanka got third place in the regional multi-sporting. The year 2019 marks the 13th edition of South Asian Games.

Key Highlights

India finished on top, continuing its undisputed domination in regional multi-sporting event by finishing on top for the 13th time-in-a-row. India has topped the medal tally of every South Asian Games since its establishment in 1984.

In this 13th edition India surpassed its 309 medal tally (189 gold, 90 silver and 30 bronze) it had won in the previous edition in Guwahati and Shillong in 2016. However, the number of gold India won this time was 15 less than 2016 edition. India had sent 487 athletes in this edition.

Hosts Nepal stood 2nd with 206 medals (51 gold, 60 silver and 95 bronze) while Sri Lanka was 3rd with 251 medals (40 gold, 83 silver and 128 bronze).

Basketball: Indian cagers fetched both the men’s and women’s basketball gold by defeating host Nepal (127-46) and Sri Lanka (101-62) in their respective summit clashes.

Squash: In squash, India won a gold and a silver in women’s and men’s team events respectively.

Boxing: Indian boxers brought home a rich haul of 12 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze. 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Pinki Rani (women’s 51kg category) and Commonwealth Games (CWG) gold medallist Vikas Krishan (men’s 69kg category) guided India to 6 more gold medals. Other boxers among men who bagged the gold were, Sparsh Kumar (52kg), Narender (+91kg). While Sonia Lather (57kg) and Manju Bamboriya (64kg) also contributed to India’s gold medal tally among women.

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