IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-August 2023

IAS Abhiyan is now on Telegram:

IAS Abhiyan Official Telegram Channel: Click Here to Join

For Mains Value Edition (Facts, Quotes, Best Practices, Case Studies): Click Here to Join

IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-September 2021


IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-August 2023

  1. WorldCoin project launched by OpenAI has claimed over 2 million sign-ups across the world. Ethereum has a native coin, Ether, which is the second-largest crypto by market capitalisation. However, anyone can create a token which runs on the Ethereum blockchain. WLD is one such cryptocurrency.
  2. A business correspondent (BC) is an informal bank agent equipped with a biometric Point-of-Sale (PoS) machine, which works like a micro-ATM. If someone needs Rs 500, they have to give their bank details to the BC along with their Aadhaar-based biometric details and the BC will give them the Rs 500.
  3. There are two kinds of blue moons; one definition is for when a full moon appears for the second time in a single month. Despite the expression that comes from it, a blue moon is not rare. Full moons are separated by 29 days and since most months are 30 or 31 days long, it is quite possible for two full moons to fit within a month. In fact, it happens every two and a half years on average, however, a Supermoon coinciding with a blue moon is a much rarer occurrence. The next time such an occurrence will take place only in August 2032.
  4. The Italian city of Venice should be added to a list of world heritage sites in danger, experts from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have stated in a new report. Kyiv and Lviv in Ukraine are also on the recommendation for sites to be put on the danger list this year. For nearly 10 of these sites, the experts recommend that member states put them on the danger list, among which already are the historic centre of Odessa, Ukraine, the town of Timbuktu in Mali and several sites in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
  5. Kohelet Policy Forum is a Jerusalem-based, non-partisan think-tank founded in 2012. It is dedicated to promoting the values of individual liberty and free-markets, Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and representative democracy. Moshe shifted from New York to the West Bank. To secure Israel’s future as the nation-state of the Jewish people and to broaden individual liberty and free market principles in Israel. Kohelet was the key driver behind the Nation-State law passed in 2018, which, for the first time, specifies Israel to be a nation-state of the Jewish people where Jews alone have the right to self-determination.
  6. For more than 2,000 years, Hinduism, Buddhism and the shamanic Himalayan religion of Bonhave venerated Shaligrams — ancient fossils of ammonites, a class of extinct sea creatures related to modern squids. Originating from a single remote region in northern Nepal — the Kali Gandaki River Valley of Mustang — Shaligram stones are viewed primarily as manifestations of the Hindu god Vishnu. The mythology of Shaligrams is associated with two legends. The first is told in a series of three Hindu scriptures, the Varaha, Padma and Brahmavaivarta Puranas. The Kali Gandaki is fed by meltwater from the Southern Tibetan Plateau. But with the glacier disappearing, the river is becoming smaller and shifting away from the fossil beds that contain the ammonites needed to become Shaligrams.
  7. Entry 49 of List 1 of the Seventh Schedule specifies “patents, inventions and designs; copyright; trade-marks and merchandise marks” as subjects the Centre has the exclusive power to legislate over. Entry 97 of the same list brings “any other matter not enumerated in List II or List III, including any tax”, under the purview of the Centre’s exclusive control.
  8. Luna-25 will launch from the Vosthochny cosmodrome in the Russian Far East less than a month after Chandrayaan-3 launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. Luna-25 has a mass of 1.8 tons and carries 31 kilograms of scientific equipment, including some that it will use to take rock samples from up to a depth of 15 centimetres to test for the presence of water that could be used to support future crewed missions to the Moon. The mission was originally scheduled to launch in October 2021 but was marred by many delays.
  9. National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) is a premier research institute created and funded by the Government of India dedicated to environmental science and engineering. The institute’s primary mission is to conduct research and development activities related to various aspects of environmental management, pollution control, and sustainable development. NEERI falls under the Ministry of Science and Technology of the central government. It was established in Nagpur in 1958 with a focus on water supply, sewage disposal, and communicable diseases, and to some extent on industrial pollution and occupational diseases found common in post-independent India. It’s Headquarter is in Nagpur City. NEERI has five zonal laboratories at Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. Organizational Expertise: Climate/Environment, Health, Lab or Field Testing, Monitoring and Evaluation, Policy Development, Research, Standards, Technology and Fuel R&D.
  10. Vela Constellation is located in the southern sky about 50degree south in declination. Declination is the angular distance of a point north or south of the celestial equator. Its brightest star is Gamma Velorum, with a magnitude of 1.6. The largest known emission nebula, the Gum Nebula, is found here and in the neighbouring constellation Puppis. The Vela pulsar is the brightest celestial source of gamma rays. This constellation was originally part of the much larger Argo Navis.
  11. There are several theories about the origin of the name ‘Kerala’. The earliest epigraphic record that mentions Kerala is emperor Asoka’s Rock Edict II of 257 BC. The inscription refers to the local ruler as Keralaputra (Sanskrit for “son of Kerala”), and also “son of Chera” referring to the Chera dynasty.
  12. Unlike in the case of renaming cities, to change the name of a state, approval from the Centre’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is required. This means that a Constitutional amendment becomes necessary to affect this change. The proposal has to first come from the state government. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) then takes over and gives its consent after it receives No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from several agencies such as the Ministry of Railways, Intelligence Bureau, Department of Posts, Survey of India and Registrar General of India. If the proposal is accepted, the resolution, introduced as a Bill in the Parliament, becomes a law and the name of the state is changed thereafter.
  13. CJI Chandrachud announces launch of ‘Suswagatam’ portal for e-passes to enter Supreme Court. Suswagatam is a web-based and mobile-friendly application that allows users to register themselves online. The app enables advocates, visitors, interns and others to register themselves online and get e-passes to enter the apex court. The users can request for e-passes for various purposes such as attending court hearing, meeting etc. The CJI Chandrachud announced about the new digital facility in presence of a five-judge bench hearing the matter related to abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
  14. Defending the use of the Sanskrit term Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam(The world is one family) in its G-20 logo, the Ministry of External Affairs said it uses only the “English version” of the phrase — “One Earth, One Family, One Future” — in its summary documents and outcome statements.
  15. National Cooperative Development Corporation had earlier launched its own initiative named Sahakar– 22, during FY 2017-18.
  16. Coil Guns is a type of electromagnetic weaponcapable of launching projectiles with extremely high speed in the blink of an eye. They are also known as Gauss guns or magnetic accelerators. It operates on the principle of electromagnetic induction, applying the principles of electromagnetism to propel a projectile. Coil guns feature a series of coils arranged along the barrel of the gun, each one constituting a stage. Each coil is energised one after another to create a magnetic field that can levitate and propel a projectile forward. The projectile typically stays suspended in the centre of the coil during launch. The larger a coil gun, the better its ability to fire projectiles similar to those fired by traditional artillery. 
  17. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a penalty on Platinum Trust for Gun Jumping. Gun Jumping is all about competition and merger control. Gun Jumping in competition jurisprudence occurs when parties to an M&A deal go ahead and consummate a transaction without keeping the competition authorities, the CCI in the loop. Most competition regimes, including India, requires pre-merger notification (in India it is the CCI), In the process of investigation, CCI expects parties not to proceed with merger till the standstill period is over. The term ‘Gun Jumping’ has not been defined anywhere in the Competition Act. The law requires parties to a deal satisfying certain monetary thresholds, to first notify the CCI about the impending transaction.
  18. Since 2006, the world has been battling a shortage of helium, which despite being the second most abundant element in the universe, is a rare commodity on earth. The only way to source helium is to extract it from natural gas reserves. While used in a variety of applications — from electronic components to rocket propulsion — helium’s most common use is as a coolant in large superconducting magnets powering Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners. The Russia-Ukraine war has further squeezed liquid helium supply with ripple effects on diagnostic facilities around the world, including India, thus unable to fully utilise their MRI scanners. MRI, while the definitive tool to provide three-dimensional images of tissues, and the best bet for warning of nascent tumours, continues to be inaccessible to several Indians who require it.
  19. Recently, SpaceX successfully launched the Hughes’ Jupiter 3, which could be the largest private communications satellite ever. Jupiter 3 (Also known as EchoStar XXIV) is the highly anticipated, next generation Ultra High Density Satellite (UHDS) that will double the capacity of the Hughes JUPITER satellite fleet.
  20. The IPC was first enacted in 1860, the CrPC in 1882 and the Evidence Act in 1872.
  21. India’s first Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drone) Common Testing Centre under Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS) will be established in Tamil Nadu. 
  22. According to RBI, “Unclaimed Deposits” refers to funds held in savings or current accounts that have remained inactive for a duration of 10 years, or in the case of fixed deposits (FDs), have not been withdrawn within 10 years from the maturity date.
  23. The Central Water Commission launched an app, called ‘Floodwatch’, which can forecast the chances of floods a day in advance. It also provides a seven-day advisory on the chances of floods at various stations in the country where the CWC maintains its measurement gauges.
  24. President Droupadi Murmu launched the ‘INS Vindhyagiri’ in Kolkata at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE)
  25. Zero revenue deficit is a fiscal strategy that aims to balance revenue receipts and revenue expenditure. There is no requirement for borrowing to clear interest payment pending. It urges governments to judiciously utilize borrowings primarily for capital investments.
  26. As per the RBI definition, personal loans are the loans given to individuals and consist of consumer credit, education loan, loans given for the creation or enhancement of immovable assets (such as housing loans), and loans given for investment in financial assets (shares and debentures).  When a customer takes a home loan, the interest rate reset clause in the loan agreement allows the lender to review the interest rate after a certain period, as per the occurrence of a scheduled reset date of the loan. The reset rate is the new interest rate that a borrower must pay effective from the scheduled reset date. EMI of a floating rate loan changes with periodical changes in reset interest rates. These rates and the calculation are not uniform for all the banks as the cost of funds differs from banks.
  27. Recently, the last survivors of an Amazon rainforest tribe- Piripkura found in Brazil. They are a nomadic tribe from the Mato Grasso region of Brazil. The tribe is known for its isolation and efforts to maintain its traditional way of life. These people have faced significant challenges due to encroachment on their land by illegal logging, mining, and other forms of land exploitation. Their territory has been under threat from deforestation and resource extraction.
  28. NASA’s Voyager 1 probe will take 300 years to reach the Oort cloud, the most distant region of our solar system. The Oort Cloud is the most distant region of our solar system. Even the nearest objects in the Oort Cloud are thought to be many times farther from the Sun than the outer reaches of the Kuiper Belt. Unlike the orbits of the planets and the Kuiper Belt, which lie mostly in the same flat disk around the Sun, the Oort Cloud is believed to be a giant spherical shell surrounding the rest of the solar system. Because the orbits of long-period comets are so extremely long, scientists suspect that the Oort Cloud is the source of most of those comets. The distance from the Sun to the Oort Cloud is so enormous that it’s useful to describe it not in the more common units of miles or kilometers, but astronomical units.
  29. Tomahawk Missile is a US-made long-range cruise missileused for deep land attack warfare. It can be launched from a ship or submarineand can deliver its warhead precisely to a target at a long range. It is used primarily by the U.S. and United Kingdom navies.
  30. Union Minister of Science recently unveiled a variety of lotus called ‘Namoh 108’. The lotus has 108 petals and was discovered several years ago in Manipur and kept at the institute as part of its collection of flowers and plants, on which the institute conducts research. However, it was not until four years ago that one of the scientists discovered that it had 108 petals. This is the only lotus variety in India to have had its genome sequenced. It was only after the number of petals was discovered that the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) cloned and worked on improving its germplasm and modifying its characteristics. The name of the variety was given by an internal committee of the NBRI. CSIR-NBRI would be initiating a ‘Lotus Mission’ as part of a larger ongoing horticultural mission to have more of the 108 Namo flowers grow in other parts of India.
  31. Gabon announces $500 million debt-for-nature swap deal for marine conservation. Debt-for-nature swaps allow heavily indebted developing countries to seek help from financial institutions in the developed world with paying off their debt if they agree to spend on conservation of natural resources.
  32. The first live specimen of a yellow-legged hornet, which “poses a threat to honeybees and other pollinators,” has been detected in the wild in the United States.
  33. In May 2023, Indonesia issued a first-of-its-kind Blue Bond in the Japanese debt capital market, raising JPY 20.7 billion (US$ 150 million). This issuance marks the world’s first publicly offered sovereign Blue Bond aligned with International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Its issuance demonstrates Indonesia’s commitment to tapping innovative sources of financing for investments that benefit communities and the sustainable use of marine ecosystems – the blue economy.
  34. Blue Bonds are a crucial means of financing conservation and sustainable management of ocean and coastal resources. This Blue Bond and potential future issuances can help to bridge Indonesia’s financing gap for the SDGs, which is estimated to reach US$1 trillion by 2030.  Moreover, Blue Bonds contribute to the Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum objectives. Established in 2018, the AIS Forum serves as a platform for development cooperation for archipelagic and small-island states. The success of the Indonesian Blue Bond in international markets can be a blueprint for other Forum member countries to finance their ocean agendas.
  35. A Star, HD 45166, that could become the strongest magnet in the universe has been discovered by astronomers. HD 45166, is a giant helium-rich star that is several times larger than the sun and is located 3,000 light years away from Earth. It was spotted from several telescopes from all over the planet. HD 45166 has a remarkable feature: it has the most powerful magnetic field ever detected in a massive star, 43,000 gauss, to be precise. The star is also part of a binary system, meaning that it has another star orbiting around it.
  36. Scientists have discovered a remarkable ‘demon particle’ that holds the potential to usher in a new era of superconductors. A superconductor, a special type of metal or alloy, possesses the remarkable ability to transmit electrical currents without any hindrance. However, current superconductors require the temperature to fall below 100 degrees Fahrenheit-mark to maintain their properties.
  37. Iraq becomes the 50th country to be acknowledged by the United Nations health agency for eliminating at least one neglected tropical disease globally. 
  38. Amitabh Kant committee was constituted in 2023 to examine stalled real estate projects and to recommend ways to complete the stalled projects.
  39. Clethodim is an oxime O-ether resulting from the formal conversion of the acyclic keto group of oxime with chloroallyl group. It is used as a selective post emergence herbicide for the control of annual and perennial grasses in numerous crops. The crops includes alfalfa, celery, clover, conifers, cotton, cranberries, garlic, onions, ornamentals, peanuts, soybeans, strawberries, sugar beet, sunflowers, and vegetables. It has a role as an herbicide and is regarded as an organic sulfide.
  40. Hydroponics is a viable alternative to traditional farming methods for soil less cultivation for enhancing productivity and water use efficiency. Hydroponics is a new concept in India and gaining popularity among entrepreneurs and innovative farmers, who are looking for sustainable and efficient ways to grow crops. At present, this technology is mostly confined to urban farming, rooftop gardening and commercial farming. Cocoponics” or the Soilless production of vegetables, using cocopeat as a substrate, which has been found to be comparatively more successful in many vegetable crops.
  41. Most insurance products in the market cover for LASIK surgeries when the refractory error power is => 7.5 dioptre. The surgical procedures aimed at improving the focusing power of the eyes are called refractive surgery. In LASIK surgery, precise and controlled removal of corneal tissue by a special laser reshapes the cornea changing its focusing power. When performed on both eyes, the entire procedure of LASIK surgery takes about 20 minutes. It helps the patients to get rid of the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. In order to undergo the LASIK procedure, one should be at least 18 years old. This is because the vision of people younger than 18 usually continues to change. The procedure helps to treat conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
  42. As India celebrates the success of the Chandrayaan-3 Lunar landing, the Indian space agency is gearing up for the launch of its maiden mission to study the Sun, in less than two weeks. Known as Aditya-L1, this is a mission where an Indian spacecraft would travel the furthest away from the earth and it would be placed 1.5 million kilometres away, at a vantage point known as Langrangian point 1.
  43. Legionella bacteria are found in lakes and ponds, but they can also develop in tanks and other water systems. They cause an infection called, Legionnaires’ disease. When people breathe in water contaminated with the bacteria, they get infected. Once these bacteria reach the lungs, they cause pneumonia.
  44. Recently, in a step towards financial literacy, Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) launched two Investor Awareness Vans titled “Niveshak Sarathi as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.
  45. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid buildup of skin cells. This buildup of cells causes scaling on your skin’s surface. It causes a rash with itchy, scaly patches, most commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp. It is a common, long-term (chronic) disease with no cure. It can be painful, interfere with sleep and make it hard to concentrate.  The condition tends to go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a while. It is not contagious. It has no cure.
  46. Prime Minister of India was recently conferred with Greece’s Grand Cross of the Order of Honour by the Greek President Katerina N Sakellaropoulou. The honour is bestowed by the Greek President to Prime ministers and eminent personalities who, by reason of their distinguished position, have contributed to enhancing the stature of Greece. The Order of Honour was established in 1975 as a replacement for the Order of George. It is the 2ndhighest honour in the country in terms of priority and importance. The head of goddess Athena is depicted on the front side of the Star with the inscription “only the righteous should be honoured”. It is a gold-plated cross with a red enamelled medallion in the centre. The badge is worn around the neck on a blue and white ribbon.
  47. In order to reduce cyber frauds performed through fraudulently acquired SIM cards, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will now require police verification for SIM dealers, the enforcement move follows the launch of the Sanchar Saathi portal.
  48. Invasive alien species are a key driver of biodiversity loss and they are part of the targets set under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) adopted by 193 members of the Convention on Biological Diversity in December 2022. The GBF has 23 targets that have to be met by 2030. 
  49. Recently, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) launched a new mobile application called SAMUDRA for seafarers and the fishing community. Smart Access to Marine Users for Ocean Data Resources and Advisories (SAMUDRA) application offers comprehensive information on all ocean related services. It is a cutting-edge tool helping users to navigate the marine domain with confidence on their safety, and profitable fishing operations. It embodies the institute vision and mission in serving the nation with ocean data, information, and advisory services. It will catalyse sustainable ocean activities, thus enabling a way forward for the Blue Economy, It empowers users with real-time updates and critical alerts on oceanic disasters such as tsunamis, storm surges, high waves, and swell surge alerts, for the individuals and communities to stay informed and take necessary precautions towards the protection of lives and property. It will be especially beneficial to the fishing community as it disseminates Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) advisories which will guide them to the probable fish aggregation locations. It is currently serving in English, soon eight coastal languages are proposed to be included soon. 
  50. The cryogenic stage is technically a very complex system due to its use of propellants at extremely low temperatures and the associated thermal and structural problems. It uses liquid fuels (Oxygen liquifies at -183 deg C and Hydrogen at -253 deg C) that are cooled to very low temperatures.
  51. Mahendragiri Frigate is the seventh and last stealth frigate of Project 17A Frigates. It is named after a mountain peak in Eastern Ghats located in Odisha. The ship is being built by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.
  52. Israel’s Defense Ministry and the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) recently announced they completed two years of outfitting the ORON aircraft with advanced intelligence-gathering technology. It is an Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) mission aircraft. It was developed by the Israeli Defence Ministry’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), the Israel Air Force and the Israel Defense Force (IDF) Intelligence unit’s naval arm and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
  53. A large flightless bird named Takahe, which was believed to be extinct decades ago, has made a comeback to the forests of New Zealand’s South Island. The triumphant return of these prehistoric avian creatures to the alpine slopes marks a significant moment for conservation efforts in the region. Takahe birds have a unique history, evolving in an environment devoid of native land mammals, and adapting to ecological niches that would have been occupied by mammals. Their journey on Aotearoa (New Zealand) took a dire turn in 1898 when they were officially declared extinct.
  54. The Indian government recently warned against a new scam called ‘Smishing’. The term “smishing” is a combination of “SMS” (Short Message Service) and “phishing.” When cybercriminals “phish,” they send fraudulent emails that seek to trick the recipient into clicking on a malicious link. Smishing simply uses text messages instead of email. Smishing attacks often involve messages that appear to be from legitimate sources, such as banks, government agencies, or well-known companies.
  55. Somatic mutations,which refer to alterations in the DNA sequence that occur in the cells of an individual’s body after conception. Somatic genetic variants are important for a number of normal physiological processes. For example, the immune cells in our body, which produce antibodies, undergo an enormous amount of somatic changes to create diverse proteins.
  56. Morelia spilota, commonly referred to as the carpet python, is a large snake of the family Pythonidae. It is found in Australia, New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea), the Bismarck Archipelago, and the northern Solomon Islands.
  57. Gond Painting is a famous folk art of the Gond tribal community of central India. It is done to preserve and communicate the culture of the Gond tribal community. Gond tribes are highly interlinked with nature, and this appears in their paintings too. They include animals, the mahua tree, mythological stories, Hindu gods, local deities and folktales, etc. The artist uses his distinctive pattern and style to fill the images. These style signatures are used in collages to make a complete picture, such as dots, fine lines, curved lines, dashes, fish scales, etc.
  58. The Indian Prime minister was recently conferred with the Grand Cross of the Order of Honour by the Greek President in Athens.
  59. Meta, the technology company formerly known as Facebook, recently unveiled an advanced multilingual multimodal AI translation and transcription model named ‘SeamlessM4T.’SeamlessM4T, which stands for Massively Multilingual and Multimodal Machine Translation, is an advanced multilingual multimodal AI translation and transcription model. It was developed by Meta, the technology company formerly known as Facebook. SeamlessM4T is capable of performing various tasks including speech-to-text, speech-to-speech, text-to-speech, and text-to-text translations.
  60. The recent discovery of two sculptures at Basrur in the Udupi district of Karnataka has proved that the ancient Mylara cult existed in the coastal region. Mylara is a folk deity identified as a manifestation of Lord Shiva. This deity, commonly known as Mailara in Karnataka and as Khandoba in Maharashtra, has a plethora of other names as well, such as Khanderao and Khandnatha. This cult is prevalent in the southern part of India, including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
  61. The Hubble Space Telescope recently captured an image of the irregular galaxy ESO 300-16, located at a distance of 28.7 million lightyears in the southern constellation of Eridanus. An irregular galaxy is a galaxy that does not have a distinct regular shape, like a spiral or an elliptical galaxy. They range from dwarf irregular galaxies with 100 million times the Sun’s mass to large ones weighing 10 billion solar masses. They also contain abundant amounts of gas and dust.
  62. Pibot is the world’s first humanoid pilot. It can fly an aeroplane just like a human pilot by manipulating all the single controls in the cockpit, which is designed for humans.
  63. The Malaiyali tribes’ people were foragers who settled in the upper Nillavur region of Yelagiri and began cultivating its tabletop peak for food. The Malaiyali tribe – malai meaning “hill” and yali meaning “people” – is strewn across Tamil Nadu’s hilly regions.
  64. Bubonic plague infection is spread mostly by rodents. The cases of the highly infectious disease are low in China, with most found in Inner Mongolia and northwestern Ningxia region in recent years. Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague, which can be fatal if not treated in time, World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
  65. Takakia that has survived for millions of years is now threatened by climate change. It is a rare genus of moss that adapted over millions of years to life at high altitudes. 
  66. Grand Canyon is a massive geological formation located in the state of Arizona, USA. The canyon was carved by the Colorado River over millions of years and exposes a stunning cross-section of Earth’s geological history. It cuts across the Grand Canyon National Park. The 1.5-kilometer deep gorge ranges in width from 500 m to 30 km.
  67. Recently, astronomers used the James Webb Space Telescope to capture new image of Messier 57, more popularly known as the Ring Nebula.
  68. Palau is one of the few countries that recognizes Taiwan and maintains diplomatic relations with the island, which split from mainland China during a civil war in 1949 and set up a rival government to the victorious Communists in Beijing. Palau is an island country in the Micronesia subregion.
  69. Located in the Western Pacific, in the Micronesia sub-region of Oceania, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) consists of four island states, Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae and Pohnpei (where the capital Palikir is located), all in the Caroline Islands. Also known as the Carolines, it is a scattered archipelago of small islands that are divided between Micronesia and the Republic of Palau.
    FSM is composed of 607 islands and islets with a total land area of 702 square km. While this area is rather small, the islands stretch across an estimated 2,900 sq km of sea, giving the nation the 14th largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world. EEZs grant countries special right over marine resources up to 370 km from their coasts. The Federated States of Micronesia shares its sea borders with other small island nations and territories in the Micronesia region like Guam, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Kiribati, and the Mariana Islands. Its larger neighbouring states — separated by large swathes of the Pacific Ocean — include the Philippines in the west, Hawaii in the east, Papua New Guinea and Australia to the south, Japan to the north.
  70. ‘Very Large Online Platforms’ (VLOPs) and ‘Very Large Online Search Engines’ (VLOSEs), that is, platforms with more than 45 million users in the EU, have more stringent requirements. Direct supervision by the European Commission: These requirements and their enforcement will be centrally supervised by the European Commission itself, ensuring that companies are not able to sidestep the legislation at the member-state level. 
  71. The Small Farmers, Large Field (SFLF) model is founded on the same principles of aggregation and achieving economics of scale, through strengthening backward and forward integration along the supply chain and lowering costs by synchronising key agricultural operations from field preparation to harvest. The SFLF was conceptualised in Vietnam in 2011.
  72. India’s Parliament has no fixed calendar of sittings. In 1955, a Lok Sabha committee had proposed a timetable for parliamentary sessions. It recommended that the Budget session of Parliament begin on February 1 and go on till May 7, and the Monsoon session start on July 15 and end on September 15. The committee suggested that the Winter session, the last session of the year, commence on November 5 (or the fourth day after Diwali, whichever is later) and finish on December 22.
  73. The Constitution specifies that six months should not elapse between two parliamentary sessions. This provision is a colonial legacy. The framers of the Constitution borrowed it from the Government of India Act of 1935.  The Constitution does not use the term “special session”. The term sometimes refers to sessions the government has convened for specific occasions, like commemorating parliamentary or national milestones.
  74. International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted revised strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), meeting at the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80), have adopted the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, with enhanced targets to tackle harmful emissions. The revised IMO GHG Strategy includes an enhanced common ambition to reach net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping close to 2050, a commitment to ensure uptake of alternative zero and near-zero GHG fuels by 2030, as well as indicative check-points for 2030 and 2040.
  75. 3D printers build from the bottom up by piling on layer after layeruntil the object looks exactly like it was envisioned. India’s first 3D-printed post office was virtually inaugurated by Union Minister in Bengaluru’s Cambridge Layout.
  76. Madan Lal Dhingrawas an Indian revolutionary who was hanged to death on August 17, 1909, at the age of only 24, for killing British official Curzon Wyllie.
  77. There is a new COVID variant – EG.5, also known as Eris. The WHO classified EG.5 as a Variant of Interest(VOI) due to rising infection rates attributed to the variant. It spreads fast and it has an ability called “immune escape”.
  78. The Sulina Channelis a 63 km long distributary of the Danube, connecting major Ukrainian ports on the river to the Black Sea.
  79. Tidal Disruption Event (TDE) is a phenomenon in astronomy that occurs when a star passes too close to a supermassive black hole or a massive stellar-mass black hole. The intense gravitational forces from the black hole cause tidal forces that can tear the star apart. This process is also known as “tidal disruption.”
  80. The Propulsion Module of Chandrayaan-3 has been doing the job of the Orbiter component in Chandrayaan-2. It is equipped with one instrument called SHAPE (Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth) whose job is to make spectroscopic study of the Earth’s atmosphere from that distance, and try to pick up signals that will help scientists understand the markers of life on planets outside our solar system.
  81. The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, under Article 341 stipulates that no person professing a religion different from Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism can be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste. The original order under which only Hindus were classified as SCs was amended in 1956 to include Sikhs, and in 1990 to cover Buddhists.
  82. According to Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), a gender stereotype is a generalized view or preconception about attributes or characteristics, or the roles that are or ought to be possessed by, or performed by, women and men.A gender stereotype is harmful when it limits women’s and men’s capacity to develop their personal abilities, pursue their professional careers and/or make choices about their lives. Whether overtly hostile (such as “women are irrational”) or seemingly benign (“women are nurturing”), harmful stereotypes perpetuate inequalities. For example, the traditional view of women as care givers means that child care responsibilities often fall exclusively on women. Further, gender stereotypes compounded and intersecting with other stereotypes have a disproportionate negative impact on certain groups of women, such as women from minority or indigenous groups, women with disabilities, women from lower caste groups or with lower economic status, migrant women, etc. Gender stereotyping refers to the practice of ascribing to an individual woman or man specific attributes, characteristics, or roles by reason only of her or his membership in the social group of women or men. Gender stereotyping is wrongful when it results in a violation or violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  83. The national MPI measures deprivations across the three dimensions of health and nutrition, education, and standard of living. Within health, it tracks three variables: nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, and maternal health. In education, it tracks two variables: years of schooling, and school attendance. And in standard of living, it tracks seven variables such as sanitation, drinking water, bank account, etc. The index is based on the methodology used by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to construct the Global MPI. OPHI and UNDP are technical partners in the formulation of the national index. But India’s MPI is not exactly the same as the Global MPI. For instance, India’s MPI has 12 variables, while the Global MPI has 10. The two additional variables in India’s MPI are maternal health and bank account.

To Read Previous Months Monthly Prelims inFocus: Click here

To Download our Monthly Current Affairs Digest (Free Prelims inFocus): Click here