- It is a spider belonging to the family of jumping spiders (Salticidae).
- Scientists recently rediscovered this species, which was believed have become extinct, from Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) located in the Western Ghats region of Kerala.
- It was previously discovered in Periyej Lake in Gujarat in 1868.
- But subsequently it had vanished.
- A new mission plan named K2 “Second Light” was presented for consideration in 2013 by NASA.
- The K2 mission represents a new concept for spacecraft operations that enables continued scientific observations with the Kepler space telescope.
- K2 would involve using Kepler’s remaining capability, photometric precision of about 300 parts per million, to collect data for finding and studying more exoplanets.
- In this proposed mission plan, Kepler would search a much larger area in the plane of Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
- It entails a series of sequential observing Campaigns of fields distributed around the ecliptic plane and offers a photometric precision approaching that of the original Kepler mission.
- The K2 mission welcomes all proposals including, but not exclusive to, exoplanet, stellar, extragalactic, and solar system science.
Par-Tapi-Narmada inter-state river link project
- Gujarat government has expressed its inability to divert 434 MCM water for Maharashtra in Tapi basin as requested by Maharashtra as part of the Par-Tapi-Narmada inter-state river link project.
- The projects envisages transfer of surplus water of rivers in Maharashtra and south Gujarat to feed the command area of the Miyagam branch of Narmada canal.
- It will save water in Narmada dam, which will be taken to Saurashtra and Kutch.
- The project is aimed at diverting “surplus” water from parts of west flowing rivers like the Par, the Nar, the Ambika and the Auranga basins in Maharashtra.
- Besides providing irrigation benefits to the enroute command and Narmada command, the link will generate hydropower of the order of 93.00 Mkwh through the power houses installed at four dam sites viz. Jheri, Paikhed, Chasmandva and Chikkar and in two feeder canals taking off from Dabdar and Kelwan dams.
- The reservoirs will also provide flood relief to the people residing in downstream areas.
- The project of Par-Tapi-Narmada link generally falls in the state of Gujarat except Jheri reservoir which falls in Maharashtra state.
- Norman is an artificial intelligence (AI) system created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
- It is also known as the first psychopathic artificial intelligence.
- The goal is to explain in layman’s terms how algorithms are made, and to make people aware of AI’s potential dangers.
- Norman represents a case study on the dangers of Artificial Intelligence gone wrong when biased data is used in machine learning algorithms,
- The AI was named after the psychopathic killer Norman Bates in the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film “Psycho.”
- NASA plans to install on the International Space Station (ISS) an instrument that will measure the temperature of plants from space, enabling researchers to determine plant water use and to study how drought conditions affect plant health.
- The instrument, called ECOSTRESS, or ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station, will hitch a ride to the space station on a SpaceX cargo resupply mission scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
SAGAR Programme (Security and Growth for All in the Region)
- It is a maritime initiative which gives priority to Indian Ocean region for ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of India in Indian Ocean region.
- The goal is to seek a climate of trust and transparency; respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries; sensitivity to each other`s interests; peaceful resolution of maritime issues; and increase in maritime cooperation.
Ink from Pollutants
- A team of Indian engineers has figured out how to capture some of the generator exhaust and turn it into ink, keeping the emissions from entering the atmosphere.
- They have created the first-ever device to capture emissions specifically from diesel generators.
- The Chakr Innovation’s device captures emissions from diesel generators and turns it into ink.
- It is a welcome invention for a country that has 14 of the world’s 15 most polluted cities, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
- The company has collected over 500 kg of soot, which has been used to create more than 20,000 litres of ink.
National Health Resource Repository
- The Union ministry of health and family welfare launched the National Health Resource Repository (NHRR), the first-ever registry in the country registry of authentic, standardised and updated geospatial data of all public and private healthcare.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the project technology partner for providing data security.
- It will now be possible to provide comprehensive data on all private and public health establishments and other resources, including Railways, Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), defence and petroleum healthcare establishments.
- This resource repository shall enable advanced research towards ongoing and forthcoming healthcare challenges arising from other determinants of health such as disease and the environment.
- The NHRR project aims to strengthen evidence-based decision making and develop a platform for citizens and provider-centric services by creating a robust, standardised and secured IT-enabled repository of India’s healthcare resources.
- The health minister also released the National Health Profile (NHP)-2018, prepared by CBHI (Central Bureau of Health Intelligence).
- The National Health Profile covers demographic, socio-economic, health status and health finance indicators, along with comprehensive information on health infrastructure and human resources in health.
Automation of Crime Records Bureau
- The Andhra Pradesh police have become the first in the country to complete automation of the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB).
- i-App cloud is now helping the police access the entire information of crimes under various IPC sections.
- i-App is providing comparative analytics of gender violence, bodily offences and property offences in each unit, range, region and State using data charts.
- The i-App cloud application can collect, store, process and retrieve data and generate reports every month.
- The data is further integrated into the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) data banks.
- The Punjab govt has launched an app “I-hariyali” aimed at increasing the green cover and to provide fresh air in the stat.
- Ludhiana will distribute 2.5 lakh saplings through newly-launched mobile app ‘ihariyali’.
- The people can book saplings of their choice in the app.
- There are several varieties of saplings including fruit, medicinal, tree, timber, ornamentals, and shrubs.
- GLONASS is an acronym, which stands for Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema, or Global Navigation Satellite System. GLONASS is Russia’s version of GPS (Global Positioning System).
List of Global Navigation Satellite Systems:
- GPS of the United States of America.
- Galileo of the European Union.
- IRNSS or NAVIC of India.
- Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) of Japan.
- Opportunity Rover was launched by NASA in 2003 to land in red planet Mars.
- The rover landed in 2004 and begin traversing the planet in search of signs of past life.
- It is still actively exploring the Martian terrain.
- It was originally planned for 90-day mission. But it has far outlasted its planned mission by 55 times longer than originally planned.
- Mars is prone to dust storms due to its thin atmosphere and desertic conditions.
- Recently, it witnessed an immense dust storm which led to the impenetrable, perpetual night in the planet.
- Since, opportunity rover is a solar powered, the amount of light the spacecraft receives has dropped to less than 1 percent of normal levels.
Banks Board Bureau (BBB)
- It was set up in February 2016 as an autonomous body– based on the recommendations of the RBI-appointed Nayak Committee.
- It was the part of Indradhanush Plan of government.
- Its broad agenda was to improve governance at state-owned lenders.
- Its mandate also involved advising the government on top-level bank appointments and assisting banks with capital-raising plans as well as strategies to deal with bad loans.
- It can only recommend candidates, but the appointment is made only by the government.
- In many instances, its recommendations being simply ignored by the government.
- Rather than going to the Cabinet for approval, its recommendations are re-scrutinised and sometimes overruled by the finance ministry.
- Banks calculate the lending rates to its customers based on the base rate and Marginal Cost of Funds Based Lending Rate (MCLR).
- Base rate is the minimum rate set by the RBI below which banks are not allowed to lend to its customers.
- Components of base rate system are Cost of funds (interest rates offered by banks on deposits), Operating expenses to run the bank, Minimum Rate of return ( margin or profit), Cost of maintaining the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR).
- MCLR was later introduced by RBI, modifying the existing base rate system.
- Components of MCLR are Marginal cost of funds, cost for the banks in maintaining CRR with the RBI, operating expenses incurred by the banks and Tenor premium.
- The problem with the base rate system is that the repo rate and other borrowing rates were not explicitly considered.
- Whereas, MCLR is determined largely by the marginal cost for funds and especially by the deposit rate and by the repo rate.
- Thus, it makes the lending rates in line with RBI’s repo rate.
- Repo rate is the interest rate at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks and it is calculated based on the prevailing inflation in the market.
- It is basically a tool deployed by RBI to control inflation through money supply.
- RBI is yet to mandate banks to allow customers to shift from base rate system to MCLR.
- Thus, customers who signed up for loans in the erstwhile ‘Base Rate’ regime are paying higher rates and they can’t shift to the current ‘MCLR’ structure, which is lower than the base rate.
- Devrais (Dev – ‘God’ and Rai – forest) is the name given to sacred groves located in Western Ghats of Maharastra.
- A sacred grove can range from a few trees to several hundred trees in a cluster with a local deity.
- They have been nurtured by local communities residing there, who draw upon traditional knowledge to conserve these patches of forestland.
- Owing to rising urban migration and eroding ties to nature, younger generation have little awareness about the importance of preserving these groves.
- Recently, a city-based environmental NGO has come up with a unique initiative to comprehensively document sacred groves in Maharashtra.
- It is not only to encourage local communities to carry their traditions forward, but to document regional deities in what proposes to be a socio-cultural assessment.
100th Smart City
- The Centre has finally announced Shillong (Meghalaya) as the 100th and the last city under the “Smart City Project”.
- Every city gets five years to complete its projects and the end date for Shillong is 2023.
- Each selected city is required to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle which will carry out the mission.
- Recently, Indian President visited Suriname. This is the first ever visit of an Indian President to Suriname.
- Suriname is located on the northern coast of South America.
- It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, by French Guiana to the east, by Brazil to the south, and by Guyana to the west.
- It is deposited by the southern equatorial currents from the area surrounding the mouth of the Amazon River