- The Kordylewski clouds are always changing.
- They might be stable in orbit and may have existed for millions of years, but the ingredients that make the clouds — the dust particles — are always getting swapped for others.
- Some escape to gravitational pulls from Earth or the moon, while others come from interplanetary spaces and meteor showers.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
- APEC is an inter-governmental forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promote free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
- It aims to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.
- The 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit was held recently in Papua New Guinea.
- It works to help all residents of the Asia-Pacific participate in the growing economy.
- APEC members also implement initiatives to increase energy efficiency and promote sustainable management of forest and marine resources.
- APEC Members account for approximately 40% of the world’s population, approximately 54% of the world’s gross domestic product and about 44% of world trade.
- India’s first private satellite “ExseedSAT 1” developed under the aegis by Hyderabad-based startup Exseed Space.
- ExseedSAT 1 was launched on Nov 19 from SpaceX launchpad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
- Exseed makes advanced small satellites and scientific spacecraft for commercial, government and academic customers.
- Exseed SAT 1 operates on very high frequency (VHF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF) signals, and will take UHF signals up and transmit VHF signals back down, thus enabling easy communication for private radio operators
- ExseedSAT 1, which is expected to provide a major boost to private radio operators after HAMSAT ceased operations about four years ago, was built with the contributions of several Ham operators.
Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP):
- Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) is a three weeks Flagship leadership development training programme (2 weeks domestic and one week foreign training) for second level academic functionaries in public funded higher education institutions.
- The main objective is to prepare second tier academic heads who are potentially likely to assume leadership roles in the future.
- The programme would provide senior faculty, with high academic credentials, the required leadership and managerial skills including skills of problem-solving, handling stress, team building work, conflict management, developing communication skills, understanding and coping with the complexity and challenges of governance in HEIs, financial & general administration.
- The implementation of LEAP Programme will be through 15 NIRF top ranked Indian Institutions namely. The foreign Universities identified for the training are also within the top 100 in the world global rankings.
Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT):
- Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) is a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 15 lakh higher education faculty using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM.
- For implementing ARPIT, 75 discipline-specific institutions have been identified and notified as National Resource Centres (NRCs) in the first phase, which are tasked to prepare online training material with focus on latest developments in the discipline, new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum.
- ARPIT will be an ongoing exercise so that every year NRCs will continuously develop new refresher module in their earmarked discipline each year. The training materials will be uploaded and made available through SWAYAM. NRC will publish the list of the faculty who have been certified. The NRCs will revolutionize professional development of faculty by catering to massive numbers by leveraging ICT and online technology platform of SWAYAM.
- NRCs are located in a mixed range of institutions such as, Central Universities, IISc, IUCAA, IITs, IISERs, NITs, State Universities under the Ministry’s Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT); UGC’s Human Resource Development Centres (HRDCs), National Institutes for Technical Teachers Training (NITTTRs), IIITs and IGNOU.
Indian Health Fund
- IHF was launched in 2016 by Tata Trusts in collaboration with The Global Fund, to drive innovations towards key infectious disease challenges in India.
- It supports individuals and organisations with already germinated innovative strategies, services, products, such that they become sustainable and scalable solutions in addressing TB and malaria.
- The initiative is a long-term exercise aligned with country’s goal of eliminating TB by 2025 and malaria by 2030. It will promote innovative solutions such that they are widely accessible and are affordable.
Indian Ocean Naval Symposium
- IONS, the 21st century’s first significant international maritime security initiative launched in February 2008, provides a forum for discussion of regional maritime issues and promotes friendly relationships among member nations. It presently has 24 members and eight observer navies.
- It is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues and, in the process, endeavors to generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly agreements on the way ahead.
- Under the charter of business adopted in 2014, the grouping has working groups on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Information Security and Interoperability (IS&I) and anti-piracy now renamed as maritime security.
Indian Wind Turbine Certification Scheme (IWTCS)
- Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, in consultation with National Institute of Wind Energy Chennai, has prepared a draft of new Scheme called Indian Wind Turbine Certification Scheme (IWTCS) incorporating various guidelines.
- The IWTCS is a consolidation of relevant National and International Standards (IS/IEC/IEEE), Technical Regulations and requirements issued by Central Electricity Authority (CEA), guidelines issued by MNRE and other international guidelines. It also incorporates various best practices from other countries to ensure the quality of the wind energy projects.
- The draft Scheme enlists the guidelines for the benefit of all the stakeholders from concept to lifetime of wind turbine, including Indian Type Approved Model (ITAM), Indian Type Certification Scheme (ITCS), Wind Farm Project Certification Scheme (WFPCS) and Wind Turbine Safety & Performance Certification Scheme (WTSPCS).
- The IWTCS is envisaged to assist and facilitate the following stakeholders; (i.) Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) (ii.) End Users -Utilities, SNAs, Developers, IPPs, Owners, Authorities, Investors and Insurers (iii.) Certification Bodies (iv.) Testing Laboratories.
- GSAT-29 is a multiband, multi-beam communication satellite, intended to serve as test bed for several new and critical technologies. Its Ku-band and Ka-band payloads are configured to cater to the communication requirements of users including those from remote areas especially from Jammu & Kashmir and North-Eastern regions of India.
- In addition, the Q/V-Band communication payload onboard is intended to demonstrate the future high throughput satellite system technologies. Geo High Resolution Camera will carry out high resolution imaging. Optical Communication Payload will demonstrate data transmission at a very high rate through optical communication link.
- Prime Minister has recently interacted with the members of Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
- It is a 21-member panel, advise the Prime Minister on all matters related to S&T, innovation and monitor the implementation of PM’s vision on the same.
- It is chaired by government’s Principal Scientific Advisor.
- It is expected to act as a high-level advisory body to several ministries and execute mission-oriented programmes.
- Secretaries of various scientific ministries such as education, environment and health would be ‘special invitees’ to the council meetings.
- Scientific Advisory Committees (SAC) – Cabinet and SAC-PM was dissolved and replaced by PM-STIAC.