Facts Corner-Part-128

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International Telecommunication Union (ITU):   

  • Recently the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has announced that it will establish its South Asia Area Office and Technology Innovation Centre at New Delhi.
  • The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an agency of the United Nations (UN) whose purpose is to coordinate telecommunication operations and services throughout the world. Originally founded in 1865, as the International Telegraph Union, the ITU is the oldest existing international organization. ITU headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • There are 193 Member States of the ITU, including all UN member states except the Republic of Palau, plus the Vatican City.
  • Membership of ITU is open to only UN members, which may join the Union as Member States, as well as to private organizations like carriers, equipment manufacturers, funding bodies, research and development organizations and international and regional telecommunication organizations, which may join ITU as non-voting Sector Members.

Prahar

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested the indigenously developed surface-to-surface tactical missile ‘Prahar’, from Launch Complex-III, ITR, Balasore.
  • ‘Prahar’, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is capable of filling the gap between the multi-barrel rocket system ‘Pinaka’ and medium-range ballistic missile ‘Prithvi’. It can also engage multiple targets in different directions.
  • It has length of 7.3 meter, diameter of 420 mm and weighs 1,280 kg. It has operational range of 150 km and flight altitude of 35 km.
  • It is a solid-fuelled short-range missile fitted with inertial navigation system.
  • The missile is equipped with state-of-the-art navigation, guidance and electromechanical actuation systems with advanced on board computer.
  • It is a quick-reaction, all-weather, all-terrain, highly accurate battlefield support tactical weapon system.

Sputum

  • A pilot project for utilising services of Department of Post for transport of sputum specimen for TB Diagnosis was launched by the Health Ministry.
  • Sputum is a thick fluid that is produced in the lungs and the airways leading to the lungs. A sample of sputum is usually collected by the person coughing.
  • The sputum test is often the first TB test to be used in countries with a high rate of TB infection.
  • Sputum microscopy is inexpensive and simple, and people can be trained to do it relatively quickly and easily.
  • Most of the patients are not diagnosed because the specimen does not reach the laboratory due to non-availability of specimen transport mechanisms.
  • Transport of collected specimen also spares the patient’s from travelling to the reference laboratory. Prompt transport of specimen followed by efficacious testing will enable appropriate management of the TB patients and reduced disease transmission.

Lake Victoria

  • Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes.
  • It is divided among three countries: Kenya, Ugandaand Tanzania.
  • The African Great Lakes are a series of lakes constituting the part of the Rift Valley lakes in and around the East African Rift.
  • They include Lake Victoria, the third-largest fresh water lake in the world by area, and Lake Tanganyika, the world’s second-largest freshwater lake by volume and depth.

Masala Bonds

  • London stock exchange group and the national stock exchange of India exploring the options on dual listing of masala bonds.
  • The term is used to refer to rupee-denominated borrowings by Indian entities in overseas markets.
  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank, issued a ₹1,000 crore bond to fund infrastructure projects in India.
  • These bonds were listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
  • IFC then named them Masala bonds to give a local flavour by calling to mind Indian culture and cuisine.
  • They are issued to foreign investors and settled in US dollars.
  • Hence the currency risk lies with the investor and not the issuer, unlike external commercial borrowings (ECBs)

Dual Listing

  • It’s a process that allows a company to be listed on the stock exchanges of two different countries.
  • The company’s shares, which enjoy voting rights, can be traded on both the stock markets.
  • It refers to a listing of any security on two or more different exchanges.
  • Companies use dual listing because its benefits, such as
    • Additional liquidity,
    • Increased access to capital and
    • The ability for its shares to trade for longer periods if the exchanges on which its shares are listed are in different time zones outweigh the costs of a second listing.

IAEA

  • The IAEA is the world’s centre for cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
  • It seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  • IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
  • The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
  • The IAEA serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology and nuclear power worldwide.

Pluto

  • Pluto has five known moons, the largest of which is Charon. Charon is about half the size of Pluto itself, making it the largest satellite relative to the planet it orbits in our solar system.
  • Pluto orbits the Sun about 3.6 billion miles (5.8 billion km) away on average.
  • A year on Pluto is 248 Earth years. A day on Pluto lasts 153 hours, or about 6 Earth days.
  • Pluto has a thin atmosphere of nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide. The atmosphere has a blue tint and distinct layers of haze.

Jhum cultivation

  • Jhum cultivation, also known as the slash and burn agriculture, is the process of growing crops by first clearing the land of trees and vegetation and burning them thereafter. The burnt soil contains potash which increases the nutrient content of the soil.
  • This practice is considered as an important mainstay of food production for a considerable population in North-East India.
  • Recently a recent NITI Aayog report has recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture should take up a “mission on jhum cultivation” to ensure inter-ministerial convergence.

Asia Pacific Policy Group

  • It is the FATF-style regional body for the Asia-Pacific region. It is an inter-governmental organisation founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • The APG consists of 41 member jurisdictions and a number of observer jurisdictions and international/regional observer organisations.
  • Under the APG’s Terms of Reference (updated 2012) membership is available for jurisdictions with a presence in the Asia-Pacific region who commit to the policy objectives of the organisation including undergoing a mutual evaluation (peer review) to determine the level of compliance of the member with the international standards against money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • Observer status is available to any jurisdiction in the Asia-Pacific region interested in becoming a member or any other jurisdiction which supports the goals and work of the APG.
  • International organisations which support the work of the APG may also join as supporting observers.

Smart Fence

  • India’s first ‘smart fence’ pilot project has been launched along the India-Pakistan International Border in Ploura, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The pilot project involves deploying of laser-activated fences and technology-enabled barriers to plug vulnerable gaps along the frontiers.
  • The smart fencing uses a number of devices for surveillance, communication and data storage.
  • The innovative system provides for round-the-clock surveillance on the border, even in different weather conditions be it dust storm, fog or rain.
  • It also reportedly comprises automated surveillance technology and alarm detection systems.
  • The smart fence pilot project is expected to be a massive boon for monitoring security situations in border areas. It is a technological solution devised to make the security system at the borders more strong and effective. The system will virtually make it impossible for terrorists to infiltrate into the Indian side of the border.


Montreal protocol

  • The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone Layer.
  • The original Montreal Protocol was agreed on 16 September 1987 and entered into force on 1 January 1989.
  • The Montreal Protocol includes a unique adjustment provision that enables the Parties to the Protocol to respond quickly to new scientific information and agree to accelerate the reductions required on chemicals already covered by the Protocol. These adjustments are then automatically applicable to all countries that ratified the Protocol.
  • Montreal Protocol stipulates that the production and consumption of compounds that deplete ozone in the stratosphere-chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform-are to be phased out by 2000 (2005 for methyl chloroform).
  • These compounds significantly deplete the stratospheric ozone layer that shields the planet from damaging UV-B radiation.
  • The ozone layer absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet light which is harmful to human life and other life forms. The layer absorbs about 97 to 99% of ultraviolet rays and maintain the ozone-oxygen cycle. Dobson unit is a unit which is used to measure the ozone in the atmosphere at a standard temperature and pressure.

Predator-B or weaponised Sea Guardian drones.

  • They are high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  • They can fire ‘Hellfire’ missiles or ‘smart’ bombs at enemy targets before returning to their bases to re-arm for the next mission like manned fighter jets.
  • Predator and Reaper armed drones were used against Taliban targets in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
  • They are controlled through satellites and flown by ground-based “pilots and weapon operators” at the Creech Air Force Base in Nevada (US) over 7,500 miles away.