- Tamil Nadu State government has recently launched awareness programme among farmers to fight invasive pest fall armyworm.
- It has been wreaking havoc in the farmlands of Maize in the state of Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Assam.
- It is a major maize pest in North America and it arrived in Africa in 2016.
- It has spread to Central and Western Africa in 2016 and has proved very hard to control.
- It prefers Maize, but can feed on 80 species of plants, including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane and cotton.
- It can be controlled with insecticides, through natural enemies or by inter-cropping.
- Chang’e 4 is the fourth mission in the country’s lunar mission series which is being named after the Chinese moon goddess.
- The tasks of the Chang’e-4 probe include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon.
- According to experts, landing on the far side of the moon is undoubtedly one of the most challenging missions ever launched by any of the world’s superpowers.
- In simple terms, REDD+ means “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”, conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
- REDD+ is a mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
- It creates a financial value for the carbon stored in forests by offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.
- Developing countries would receive results-based payments for results-based actions. REDD+ goes beyond simply deforestation and forest degradation and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
- Zika virus is similar to dengue fever, yellow fever and West Nile virus. Carried by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitos, Zika is largely transmitted through bites, but can also occur through intrauterine infection.
- It was first identified in 1947 in Zika Forest, Uganda from where it derives its name.
- If a woman is bitten by an infected mosquito and becomes infected, Zika can cross into the placenta and affect the fetus. While anyone can contract Zika, pregnant women are the most at risk due to the potential for fetal microcephaly and other neurologic abnormalities.
- Symptoms include fever, headache, red eyes, skin rash, fatigue, muscle pain etc.
- There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available to treat Zika. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites and clearing stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.
BeiDou Navigation Satellite System
- China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), touted as a rival to the widely-used American GPS, has started providing global services.
- The positioning accuracy of the system has reached 10 metres globally and five metres in the Asia-Pacific region. Its velocity accuracy is 0.2 metres per second, while its timing accuracy stands at 20 nanoseconds.
- Pakistan has become the first country to use the BeiDou system ending its reliance on the Global Positioning System (GPS).
- It will be the fourth global satellite navigation system after the US GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo.
- The four global GNSS systems are – GPS (US), GLONASS (Russia), Galileo (EU), BeiDou (China). Additionally, there are two regional systems – QZSS (Japan) and IRNSS or NavIC (India).
National Council for Science and Technology Communication
- It is mandated to communicate science & technology to masses. The programmes of the Council aim at building capacity for informed decision making in the community.
- NCSTC encourages research in areas of S & T communication, training of communicators, development of books, manuals, posters, exhibitions, films, radio programmes, and television programmes on different facets of science & technology and recognizing outstanding efforts through awards and incentives all over the country.
- It is a registered body guided by a Board of Governors with headquarters at Delhi. It has about eighty members spread in all states and union territories. Volunteers in districts lend it great strength and capability for implementing projects that reach the common man and woman.
- The famous dal lake in Srinagar is frozen. The city recently witnessed the lowest temperature ever in 11 years at minus 7.6 degree.
- Also known as the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, dal lake, which is the second largest in the state, is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is named the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” or “Srinagar’s Jewel”. The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.
- The lake is part of a natural wetland, including its floating gardens. The floating gardens, known as “Rad” in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August.
- The lake is located in the Zabarwan mountain valley, in the foothills of the Shankracharya hills, which surrounds it on three sides.
- The lake has four main interconnected basins namely, Hazratbal, Bod dal, Gagribal and Nagin.