Facts Corner-Part-171

Surajkund International Crafts Mela

  • The cultural extravaganza Surajkund International Crafts Mela (33rd) has been inaugurated at Faridabad (Haryana).
  • This year Maharashtra is the theme state and Thailand is the Partner Nation.
  • At least 20 countries and all the states of India will be participating in the Mela.
  • Artistes will showcase the art, culture, heritage, handicrafts, and cuisine of the state.
  • Mela will remain open for public from 10:00 AM to 07:00 PM till 17th February.
  • Surajkund is located near the Surajkund village between the villages of Baharpur and Lakkarpur in Faridabad district of Haryana.
  • Surajkund built in the backdrop of the Aravalli hills with an amphitheatre-shapedembankment constructed in a semi-circular form.


  • The central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia have launched a common digital currency called “Aber”.
  • It will be used in financial settlements between the two countries through Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies.
  • Through this digital currency, both the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) are studying the impact on the improvement and reduction of remittance costs and the assessments of risks.

P5+1 Countries

  • The P5+1 refers to the UN Security Council’s five permanent members (the P5); namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; plus Germany.
  • It is a group of six world powers which, in 2006, joined together in diplomatic efforts with Iran with regard to its nuclear program.

Presidential Address

Article 87(1) says: the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons:

  • At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and
  • At the commencement of the first session of each year

Some Facts about President’s Address

  • The Address at the beginning of the first session each year takes place at the time and date notified for the commencement of the session.
  • Barring some exceptions in the early years of the Republic, it has generally taken place at 11 am.
  • The President reads the Address either in English or in Hindi.
  • After the conclusion of the Address, there is a roll of drums followed by the National Anthem.
  • Half an hour after the President has finished speaking, the two Houses assemble separately in their respective Chambers for the transaction of formal business.

Polar Vortex

  • It is described as a whirling cone of low pressure over the poles that is strongest in the winter months due to the increased temperature contrast between the polar regions and the mid-latitudes, such as the US and Europe.
  • The counter-clockwise flow of air helps keep the colder air near the poles.
  • It spins in the stratosphere, a layer of the atmosphere 10-48 km above the ground and above the troposphere, where most familiar weather patterns develop.
  • Usually, when the vortex is strongest, cold air is less-likely to plunge deep into North America or Europe.
  • In other words, it forms a wall that protects the mid-latitudes from cold Arctic air.
  • In winter, the polar vortex sometimes becomes less stable and expands.
  • Many times during winter in the northern hemisphere, the vortex expands, sending cold air southward with the jet stream.
  • This is called as the “breaking off” of a part of the vortex.
  • Normally, when the vortex is strong and healthy, it helps keep a current of air known as the jet stream traveling around the globe in a pretty circular path.
  • This current keeps the cold air up north and the warm air down south.
  • But without that strong low-pressure system, the jet stream doesn’t have much to keep it in line. It becomes wavy and rambling.

El Niño

  • El Niño is the largest climate phenomenon that occurs frequently, producing droughts, floods, wildfires, dust and snow storms, fish kill, and even elevated risks of civil conflicts.
  • The theatre of action for El Niño is the tropical Pacific Ocean but its global reach costs the global community tens of billions of dollars each time.
  • El Niños occur every two-to-seven years, with very strong El Niño’s occurring about every 15 years.
  • How the frequency, time and strength between two events will change because of global warming remains a grand challenge for climate models.
  • This also impacts projections of future climate since El Niños redistribute the heat gathered by the ocean between two El Niño events to cause a mini global warming.
  • El Niño is measured by an index that averages sea surface temperature anomalies over the central-eastern tropical Pacific.
  • This has been an issue in finding a consensus among models as far as the El Niño response to global warming is concerned.
  • But by using a model-specific El Niño index to make room for the inter-model differences, the latest projection shows that strong El Niños and extreme weather events associated.
  • The results should serve as a warning to countries on all continents that suffer from these extreme weather events during strong El Niño events such as the ones during 1982-83, 1997-98 and 2015-16.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

  • To provide an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers, the Government is launching the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN).
  • Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year.
  • This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal installments of Rs. 2,000 each.
  • This programme will be funded by Government of India.
  • Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit from this.
  • The programme would be made effective from 1st December 2018 and the first installment for the period upto 31st March 2019 would be paid during this year itself.
  • It will entail an annual expenditure of Rs.75, 000 crore.
  • It would not only provide assured supplemental income to the most vulnerable farmer families, but would also meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season.
  • It would pave the way for the farmers to earn and live a respectable living.

Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan Yojana

  • The scheme announced in the Budget 2019 has proposed to launch the scheme for the unorganised sector workers with monthly income upto Rs 15,000.
  • The Government will deposit equal matching share in the pension account of the worker every month.
  • It is expected that at least 10 crore labourers and workers in the unorganised sector will avail the benefit of the scheme within next five years making it one of the largest pension schemes of the world.
  • A sum of Rs 500 crore has been allocated for the Scheme.
  • The scheme will also be implemented from the current year.
  • This pension yojana shall provide an assured monthly pension of Rs 3,000 from the age of 60 years on a monthly contribution of a small affordable amount during their working age.
  • An unorganised sector worker joining pension yojana at the age of 29 years will have to contribute only Rs 100 per month till the age of 60 years.
  • A worker joining the pension yojana at 18 years, will have to contribute as little as Rs 55 per month only.

Guru Padmasambhava

  • Guru Padmasambhava was born in India and has visited Bhutan two times.
  • He spent a large amount of his time in Nalanda there and then he travelled across the Himalayas.
  • He is known as the second Buddha because he brought Buddhism in Bhutan and other Himalayan countries.
  • There is an image or painting of the guru in every Bhutanese home or temple.
  • Thangka paintings, sculptures and photographs portrayed the life and teachings of the Guru.
  • Thangka is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, silk usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala.

Sidhha Medicines

  • Siddha medicine is a system of traditional medicine originating in ancient Tamilakam (Tamil Nadu) in South India and Sri Lanka.
  • Traditionally, it is taught that the siddhars laid the foundation for this system of medication.
  • Siddhars were spiritual adepts who possessed the ashta siddhis, or the eight supernatural powers.
  • Agastyar is considered the first siddha and the guru of all siddhars; the siddha system is believed to have been handed over to him by Shiva.
  • Siddha is focused on “Ashtamahasiddhi,” the eight supernatural power. Those who attained or achieved these powers are known as Siddhars.
  • There were 18 important Siddhars in olden days and they developed this system of medicine.
  • The Siddhars wrote their knowledge in palm leaf manuscripts, fragments of which were found in parts of South India.

Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath

  • Dhamek Stupa is a massive stupa located at Sarnath, 13 km away from Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
  • It was built in 500 CE to replace an earlier structure commissioned by Ashoka in 249 BCE, along with several other monuments, to commemorate the Buddha’s activities in this location.
  • While visiting Sarnath in 640 CE, Xuanzang recorded that the colony had over 1,500 priests and the main stupa was nearly 300 feet (91 m) high.
  • In its current shape, the stupa is a solid cylinder of bricks and stone reaching a height of 43.6 meters and having a diameter of 28 meters.
  • The basement seems to have survived from Ashoka’s structure: the stone facing is chiseled and displays delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin.
  • The wall is covered with exquisitely carved figures of humans and birds, as well as inscriptions in the Brāhmī script.
  • The Dhamek Stupa is said to mark the spot Rishipattana, where Buddha gave the first sermon to his first five Brahmin disciples after attaining enlightenment, “revealing his Eightfold Path leading to nirvana”.
  • In several of the ancient sources the site of the first sermon is mentioned to have been at a ″Mriga-dayaa-vanam″ or a sanctuary for animals.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2454

  • The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR) for another year.
  • Resolution 2454, adopted unanimously by the 15-member council, decides to renew the sanctions regime – an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020.
  • The French-drafted resolution says the council intends to establish benchmarks by April 30 on security sector reform, the demobilization and reintegration of combatants, and the management of weapons and ammunition.
  • It asks the panel of experts monitoring the arms embargo and sanctions against individuals, which were also extended, to assess progress on the benchmarks by July 31.
  • It further says that the council will review the arms embargo measures by Sept. 30.
  • The panel of experts said in its latest report that it granted several exemptions to allow shipments of weapons from France, Russia, China, the United States and Belgium for CAR’s army.

Bharat Rang Mahotsav

  • The 20th edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), the international theatre festival of India, one of the prominent training institutions in the world was recently held.
  • It is organized by National School of Drama (NSD).
  • The 20th BRM comes with 111 national and international acts in its basket that includes folk and other traditional theatre forms, invitee plays, and productions by the students of the National School of Drama.
  • BRM has evolved to international scope, hosting theatre groups from around the world, and is now the largest theatre festival of Asia.
  • The National School of Drama (NSD) is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.

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