IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-February 2023

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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-September 2021

IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-February 2023

  1. Toto is a small tribal community having a population of only 1,632 people living in Toto Para in Alipurduar district, on the edge of north Bengal near the India-Bhutan border, and speaking the eponymous language. Dhaniram Toto (59), a Toto (Dengka) language preserver, whose name was announced as one of the recipients of Padma Shri award in the field of Literature & Education on the eve of Republic Day. The Totos are considered as Mongoloid people, with flat nose, small eye, broad and square cheeks, thick lips and small eyes and black iris. Toto language belongs to Tibeto-Burman family of sub-Himalayan group, as classified by Hodgson and Grierson. They do not have any script. Most of the young members can speak Bengali and Nepali, which are the mediums of instruction in the local schools.
  2. Section 56(2) VII B of the Income Tax Act, colloquially known as the ‘angel tax’ was first introduced in 2012 to deter the generation and use of unaccounted money through the subscription of shares of a closely held company at a value that is higher than the fair market value of the firm’s shares.
  3. Founded by Rabindranath Tagore in 1921, Visva-Bharati University will soon get the ‘heritage’ tag from UNESCO to take the distinction of world’s first living heritage university. For the first time in the world, a living university which is functioning is going to get the heritage tag from UNESCO.
  4. The National Centre for Good Governance, set up in 2014 by the Govt. of India is a premier think tank with mandate to work on policy and governance reforms, also impart training to train civil servants of India and other developing countries. The capacity building programme organized by NCGG are highly sought after and in recent times, the Centre has imparted training to a large number of civil servants from Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, Gambia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Laos, Vietnam, Bhutan, and Myanmar, which has been very useful to them. These programmes and other associated activities like research and studies on policy issue and governance are being expanded in a big way.  
  5. The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, states that the central government can “declare any wild animal other than those specified in Schedule I and Part II of Schedule II to be vermin for any area and for such period as may be specified therein and so long as such notification is in force, such wild animal shall be deemed to have been included in Schedule V.”
  6. Himachal Pradesh falls in high-risk seismic zones IV and V, which are high-damage risk and very high-damage-risk areas, respectively. 
  7. Hormone porcine zona pellucida (PZP) is extracted from the ovary lining of pigs and then made into a PZP vaccine which is then injected into the body of the female, causing the immune system to create antibodies. The vaccine prevents fertilisation and pregnancy via an immune response in the body against its own ova. The PZP has been successfully used in the United States to control the population of mustangs (wild horses) and in Africa for many mammalian species, including elephants.
  8. According to production data of Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT), India is the highest milk producer i.e., rank first position in the world contributing twenty-four percent of global milk production in the year 2021-22. The milk production of India has registered fifty-one percent increase during the last eight years i.e., during the year 2014-15 and 2021-22 and increased to twenty-two crore tonne in the year 2021-22.
  9. Turkey’s Ambassador to India Firat Sunel has said that ‘Operation Dost’ is a “very important operation” and demonstrates the friendship between the two nations.
  10. When Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines blew its top in 1991, it lowered temperatures in the northern hemisphere by about 0.5C for nearly a year.
  11. A preliminary report by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission of Nepal on the crash of a Yeti Airlines ATR 72-500on January 15 in Pokhara says that the propellers of the plane were found in an unusual “feathered” position. In fact, ‘feathering’ is part of the checklist if the crew, faced with an emergency, of such aircraft is planning a forced landing.
  12. A triple junction is a point where three tectonic plates meet and interact. These are important areas of geological activity and can be sites of significant seismic and volcanic activity.
  13. There are two triple junctions in Turkey. One of them is where the Arabian Plate, the African Plate and the Anatolian Plate meet. The breaking of this junction led to the massive earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria, leaving more than 25,000 dead.
  14. A landlocked country does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie in internal drainage systems. A total of 18 states in India are land-locked and they include all the states in the Northeast and all the states above the Tropic of Cancer. Landlocked Union Territories of India are Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Delhi. Double landlocked countries refers to countries that are not only landlocked, but are also surrounded by landlocked countries.
  15. River Cities Alliance (RCA) started with 30 cities in 2021 and currently has 95 cities as members across India. RCA was launched by the Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on November 2021 as a dedicated platform for river cities in India to ideate, discuss and exchange information for sustainable management of urban rivers. River Cities Alliance, first-of-its-kind Alliance in the world, symbolizes the successful partnership of the two Ministries i.e., Ministry of Jal Shakti and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The Alliance focuses on three broad themes- Networking, Capacity Building and Technical Support.
  16. DHARA which stands for Driving Holistic Action for Urban Rivers, the annual meeting of the members of the River Cities Alliance (RCA), is being organised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in association with National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) . The event has strong synergies with the Urban20 (U20) initiative under the ambit of India’s G20 Presidency. 
  17. According to the I-T Department, “transfer pricing generally refers to prices of transactions between associated enterprises which may take place under conditions differing from those taking place between independent enterprises”. Transfer pricing refers to the “value attached to transfers of goods, services, and technology between related entities, and between unrelated parties that are controlled by a common entity”.
  18. Leprosy is a chronic bacterial infection which affects skin, nerves, lungs and eyes. 
  19. Global warming melts sea ice, which leads to further warming because water absorbs more heat than ice, creating what scientists call a “climate feedback loop.”
  20. The 4thedition of India-Japan bilateral Army exercise ‘Dharma Guardian’ began at Camp Imazu in Shiga province, Japan. Exercise Dharma Guardian is an annual training event with Japan.
  21. India’s first hybrid sounding rocket by private players was launched from Pattipulam village, Chengalpattu. Martin Foundation, in association with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation and Space Zone India, launched the APJ Abdul Kalam Satellite Launch Vehicle Mission- 2023. The rocket can be used for research in weather, atmospheric conditions and radiations.
  22. The Sansad Ratna Awards were instituted in 2010, inspired by the teachings of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who launched the first edition of the Award function in Chennai. They seek to recognise and felicitate the top-performing MPs on the basis of their work in the apex legislative body. The Sansad Ratna Awards are not given by the Government of India, though over the years, its jury members have included individuals in the government. The awards were instead the brainchild of K Srinivasan, a communication strategist who founded the Prime Point Foundation in 1999. Started to “promote communication awareness”, it is this foundation which runs the awards show, alongside the foundation’s monthly eMagazine PreSense. The awards were started with support from IIT Madras. So far, 90 Parliamentarians have been given this award.
  23. An international treaty known as the Minamata Convention has set mercury limits in skin lightening products to one milligram per kilo.
  24. Whale stranding is a phenomenon in which whales are stuck on land, usually on a beach. Other aquatic animals like dolphins and porpoises are also known to beach. Most of the stranding events involve single animals but sometimes, mass strandings, consisting of hundreds of marine animals at a time, can happen.
  25. The Khalistan movement is a fight for a separate, sovereign Sikh state in present day Punjab (both India and Pakistan). Over the years, it has survived in various forms, in various places and amongst different populations.
  26. The Punjabi Suba movement had galvanised the Akali Dal which became a major force in the new Sikh-majority Punjab, and gave the Congress hard fights in the Legislative Assembly elections of 1967 and 1969.
  27. WITH THE demand for foreign planting materials of fruits like apple, avocado and blueberry rising over the years, the Centre plans to set up 10 ‘Clean Plant Centres’, on the lines of those in developed countries such as the US, Netherlands and Israel, to boost domestic production of the selected crops. These centers will be set up under the ‘Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Program’, which was announced by Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2023-24. The concept of Clean Plant Centres is unique in itself and does not exist in India. The 10 centres will be established for fruit crops like apple, walnut, almond, grapes, mango, pomegranate, among others. The Clean Plant Centres will provide services of disease diagnostic, therapeutics, multiplying of plants and generation of mother plants. The centres will be fully funded by the Centre. It will be implemented in a PPP mode in partnership with research organisations, agriculture universities and private sector partners adding that the National Horticulture Board (NHB) will anchor the clean plant programme.
  28. For perspective, coins in India are issued in denominations of 50 paise, one rupee, two rupees, five rupees, ten rupees and twenty rupees. Coins of up to 50 paise are called ‘small coins’ while those of one rupee and above are called ‘rupee coins’.
  29. The Ministry of Health has adopted a ‘blow hot blow cold’ approach towards online pharmacies. 
  30. The El Niño is a complementary phenomenon in which warmer water spreads west-east across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  31. India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Singapore’s PayNow were officially connected to allow for “real-time payment linkage”. Singapore is the first country with which cross-border Person to Person (P2P) payment facilities have been launched. For users at the Indian end, State Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Bank and ICICI Bank will facilitate both inward and outward remittances, while Axis Bank and DBS India will only facilitate inward remittances for now. 
  32. A320neo and A321neo are members of Airbus’ single-aisle A320 family.
  33. An All-India Association of Industries report labels India as the third largest domestic aviation market in the world, which is expected to grow into the third largest air passenger (international and domestic) market by 2024, based on International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts. 
  34. Poliovirus can invade the central nervous system and as it multiplies, destroy the nerve cells that activate muscles, causing irreversible paralysis in hours. There are three types of polio virus serotypes: types 1, 2 and 3. According to the India Polio Learning Exchange (along with UNICEF), of those paralysed, 5-10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilised.
  35. The Standard Model (SM) is the theory that describes the properties of all subatomic particles, classifies them into different groups, and determines how they’re affected by three of the four fundamental forces of nature: strong-nuclear force, weak-nuclear force, and the electromagnetic force (it can’t explain gravity). The SM’s most precise prediction is of the electron’s magnetic moment. Physically, the magnetic moment describes how willing an electron is to align itself in the direction of a magnetic field. The electron and the muon are very similar particles, but the muon is around 207-times heavier. 
  36. ‘Windfall profits’ refer to an unanticipated spike in earnings of an entity resulting from an exogenous event (which could be one-off and/or prolonged) and not resulting from a business decision. Windfall taxes are reviewed on a fortnightly basis and are subject to factors such as international oil prices, exchange rate and quantity of exports. India had first imposed SAED in July 2022.
  37. Like Ebola, the Marburg virus is transmitted to primates from bats which are considered natural hosts of the virus. Fruit bats infected with the virus do not show obvious signs of illness, but it can cause serious illness or death in humans. It spreads among humans via direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, or surfaces contaminated with fluids, like bedsheets and clothes. The disease can also spread during burial ceremonies if there is direct contact with the body of the deceased. Both the Marburg and Ebola viruses belong to the Filoviridae family and the diseases caused by the two present clinical similarities.
  38. Postpartum depression is a significant form of depression that can begin after childbirth, with symptoms that vary from person to person, and has important differences from ‘baby blues’. In clinical practice, this period can last anywhere between four to six weeks following delivery, but sometimes even up to a year.
  39. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that helps people manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave. It is based on the premise that thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap us in a vicious cycle. CBT attempts to restructure faulty patterns of thinking into more positive and logical ones. Rather than delve on the past, it takes a here-and-now approach.
  40. the Supreme Court’s own 2009 case of Mahesh Chandra Gupta versus Union of India, which had held that questions of eligibility of a candidate and effective consultation for appointment as a HC judge under Article 217(2) of the Constitution, was open to judicial review. 
  41. Turkey and Syria lie at the confluence of three plates — the Arabian Plate, the Anatolian Plate and the Eurasian Plate, making the region an extremely seismically active zone. The Arabian Plate is inching north into Europe, causing the Anatolian Plate (which Turkey sits on) to be pushed out west. The bulk of Turkey sits on the Anatolian Plate between two major faults: the North Anatolian Fault and the East Anatolian Fault.
  42. Free float refers to the proportion of the total outstanding shares of a publicly listed company that is readily available for trading in the market. Generally speaking, shares held by promoters and large institutional investors are normally not freely traded in the market. The free float of a company can sometimes give investors a rough idea about the likely liquidity of the company’s shares in the public market. It should be noted that the weightage given to a company’s stock in certain indices is based on the company’s market capitalisation. A company’s market capitalisation is calculated based on the free float of the company and also the market price of the company’s stock. So, a drop in the number of freely floating shares of a company can cause a drop in its market capitalisation and reduce its weightage in indices.
  43. India is currently the world’s third largest energy-consuming
  44. Disinvestment or divestment, in this context, is when the government sells its assets or a subsidiary, such as a Central or State public sector enterprise. Minority disinvestment, majority disinvestment, and complete privatisation are the three main approaches to disinvestment. On fruition of minority disinvestment, the government retains a majority in the company, typically greater than 51%, thus ensuring management control. In the case of majority divestment, the government hands over control to the acquiring entity but retains some stake whereas in complete privatisation, 100% control of the company is passed on to the buyer. The Union Finance Ministry has a separate department for undertaking disinvestment-related procedures called the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM). The government may disinvest in order to reduce the fiscal burden or bridge the revenue shortfall for that year. It also uses disinvestment proceeds to finance the fiscal deficit, to invest in the economy and development or social sector programmes, and to retire government debt. Disinvestment also encourages private ownership of assets and trading in the open market. If successful, it also means that the government does not have to fund the losses of a loss-making unit anymore. 
  45. Spy balloons are high-altitude surveillance tools that usually operate at 80,000-120,000 feet — well above the cruising altitude of commercial aircraft — to gather intelligence and carry out other military missions. Typically, a spy balloon is equipped with cameras and imaging devices suspended beneath the gas-filled white object to capture things of interest. Unlike satellites, balloons are economically viable. Due to their proximity to Earth’s surface, they can widely scan an area from close quarters and capture clearer, high-resolution images of the target. The disadvantage is that these are not directly steered, but can be roughly guided by changing altitudes to catch different wind currents, as per a study by the Air Force’s Airpower Research Institute. They are also a relatively easy target.
  46. The Sixth Schedule of India’s Constitution protects tribal populations and provides autonomy to communities to frame laws on land, public health, agriculture, etc. Currently, ten Autonomous Development Councils exist in the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. Ladakh was previously protected under Article 370, but the Indian government’s revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status removed the provisions for Ladakh as well. Ladakh became a Union Territory.
  47. Ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol are toxic alcohols with a slightly sweet taste. They are widely used in windscreen wiper fluids and engine coolants. These compounds are sometimes also found at very low levels as contaminants in many food ingredients and medical solvents (including propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, sorbitol and glycerin/glycerol). This happens when there are poor standards of manufacturing and testing. Ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol contamination poisonings over the years have mainly been associated with solutions containing paracetamol. Both ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol are seen as toxic. A fatal oral dose is about 1,000-1,500 milligrams per kilogram.
  48. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that the lander for the Chandrayaan-3 mission successfully underwent the EMI-EMC test. According to the space agency, the EMI-EMC test is conducted for satellite missions to ensure the functionality of the satellite subsystems in the space environment and their compatibility with the expected electromagnetic levels.
  49. Computer scientist Hari Balakrishnan has been awarded the 2023 Marconi Prize. Dr. Balakrishnan is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Marconi Prize is a top honour for computer scientists and is awarded by the U.S.-based Marconi Foundation. It is given to those “who have made a significant contribution to increasing digital inclusivity through advanced information and communications technology.”
  50. Using observations taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), a radio observatory sited in Chile, the team have determined that the galaxy, named COS-87259, containing this new supermassive black hole is very extreme, forming stars at a rate 1000 times that of our own Milky Way and containing over a billion solar masses worth of interstellar dust.
  51. The current epidemic of avian influenza has killed over 58 million birds in the U.S. as of February 2023. Following on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, large outbreaks of viruses like bird flu raise the specter of another disease jumping from animals into humans. This process is called spillover. Spillover involves any type of disease-causing pathogen, be it a virus, parasite or bacteria, jumping into humans. The pathogen can be something never before seen in people, such as a new Ebola virus carried by bats, or it could be something well known and recurring, like Salmonellafrom farm animals.
  52. A brown bear that lay almost perfectly preserved in the frozen wilds of eastern Siberia for 3,500 years has undergone a necropsy by a team of scientists after it was discovered by reindeer herders on a desolate island in the Arctic. The female bear was found by reindeer herders in 2020 jutting out of the permafrost on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island, part of the New Siberian archipelago around 4,600 km east of Moscow. Because it was found just east of the Bolshoy Etherican River, it has been named the Etherican brown bear.
  53. Lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly known as LSD, or “acid.” Its well-known psychedelic effects originate from a grain mould. Similarly, “magic” mushrooms are the source of psilocybin. LSD and magic mushrooms are both illegal recreational drugs but are also under study for their therapeutic value.
  54. Growing antimicrobial resistance among some causes of fungal infection, yeasts such as Candida auris and moulds such as Aspergillus, both of which can be causes of in-hospital infections.
  55. The dinosaur group called theropods included the largest land meat-eaters ever on Earth – up to the size of a school bus. Tyrannosaurus, topping 40 feet (12 meters) long, was an example of a big and fast-growing theropod, with a large growth spurt in its teenage years – in some years quadrupling its body mass. Acrocanthosaurus, a bit smaller than T. rex, was an example of a big but slow-growing theropod. Coelophysis, about 7 feet (2 meters) long, was a fast-growing smaller theropod. Xixianykus, one of the tiniest dinosaurs at 20 inches (50 cm) long, was a small and slow-growing theropod. Spinosaurus, an immense semi-aquatic theropod up to 50 feet (15 meters) long, grew much more slowly than Tyrannosaurus. Mapusaurus, which reached about 38 feet (11.5 meters), grew even more quickly than Tyrannosaurus, while its similarly sized cousin Tyrannotitan had a growth rate like that of Spinosaurus. Theropods are known for their bipedal stance and a set of shared anatomical traits.
  56. The Bhimbetka Rock Shelters are famous for their cave paintings, some of which have been dated to 8,000 B.C., while archaeological evidence at the site has indicated human settlements up to 100 millennia ago. So the Dickinsonia fossil finding, even if it had been borne out, wouldn’t have been the most important feature of the rock shelters.
  57. Hormones act as chemical messengers that contribute to a range of functions throughout the body, such growth and development of tissues. Hormones which are involved with these building processes can be termed “anabolic” hormones. Two anabolic hormones – testosterone and growth hormone, which are released during sleep – may also be important for recovery from and adaptation to exercise. These hormones have multiple roles in the body, and are linked to improved body composition (lower body fat and higher muscle mass). A higher amount of muscle mass and lower body fat can be beneficial for exercise and health.
  58. Common Sangam era names such as Aadhan, Eyyan, Udhiran, Thisan, Sathan, Senthanavathi on potsherds have been unearthed.
  59. The building blocks of the pyramids contain trillions of fossilised remains of an ocean-dwelling organism called foraminifera. These organisms are still found in the oceans today. When they die, their shells become preserved and fossilise in sediment; this hardens into rock over a very long period of time. The stone from which the pyramids are constructed is called nummulitic limestone – a name derived from the foraminifera species it’s made of, Nummulites gizehensis.
  60. In South Africa, microfossils found in the Karoo Basin in the centre of the country, the south coast and offshore of the west coast have all been used in oil, mineral and petroleum exploration.
  61. Aerosols in the stratosphere, especially radiation-scattering ones such as sulphates, do have a cooling effect.
  62. Birds infected with avian influenza virus shed large quantities of virus in their faeces, saliva and nasal secretions for about a week. Wild aquatic birds in the Orders  Anseriformes and  Charadriiformesare the primordial reservoir for the virus. The transmission of the virus within these wild bird populations is dependent on faecal/oral transmission via contaminated water.  Domestic ducks are recognised as an important reservoir for H5N1. Environmental surveillance is an important area that can enhance the information on prevalence diversity of avian influenza viruses in free-ranging domestic flocks or under confinement conditions where faeces or other effluent are deposited into the environment.
  63. The two neutron stars, with a combined mass about 2.7 times that of our sun, had orbited each other for billions of years before colliding at high speeds and exploding. This unfolded in a galaxy called NGC 4993, about 140-150 million light years away from Earth in the direction of the constellation Hydra. A light year is the distance light travels in a year, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km).
  64. Volatiles are elements or compounds that change from solid or liquid state into vapour at relatively low temperatures. The most common volatiles — carbon dioxide, nitrogen, ammonia, hydrogen, methane, sulphur dioxide and water—are abundant in nature and necessary to living organisms.
  65. Scientists have developed a contraceptive drug that temporarily stops sperm in their tracks and prevents pregnancies in mice, a “game-changer” discovery that could pave the way for ‘the male pill’ in the future. The team, including study’s co-senior authors Lonny Levin and Jochen Buck, discovered that mice genetically engineered to lack an important cellular signalling protein called soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) are infertile. The study,  demonstrates that a single dose of a sAC inhibitor called TDI-11861 immobilises mice sperm for up to two-and-half hours and that the effects persist in the female reproductive tract after mating.
  66. In recognition of the local effects of mining, in 2015, Lok Sabha amended the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 to establish the ‘District Mineral Foundation’ (DMF). The DMF is a non-profit statutory ‘trust’ for every Indian district affected by mining-related operations that should “work for the interest and benefit of persons, and areas affected by mining-related operations”. In practice, the DMFs have become sites of centralised bureaucratic control, without meaningful public participation or accountability.
  67. ChatGPT is a large-language model – a powerful algorithm that can ‘chat’ with a user in eerily human fashion, drawing on word arrangements and patterns it has ‘learnt’ from the millions of pieces of text, including books and articles on the internet, it has been fed. It was built and released by the American company OpenAI. ChatGPT is a chatbot, more technically an algorithm that has been fed a large amount of textual information, based on which it has ‘taught’ itself how words make up sentences, which words appear along with which others, how questions and answers are related, etc. Technically, it’s a type of a large language model (LLM).
  68. A Canadian endocrinologist whose research has helped develop therapies for diabetes and obesity and three chemists whose work has advanced the understanding of RNA were announced as winners of Israel’s prestigious Wolf Prize. The University of Toronto’s Daniel Drucker received this year’s Wolf Prize in Medicine for his research into intestinal hormones and their use in treating diabetes and other metabolic diseases. The 2023 laureates were announced by the Wolf Foundation, a state-owned entity that issues the award to promote excellence in arts and sciences. Dozens of Wolf Prize Laureates have gone on to win Nobel prizes in the 45 years since its conception.
  69. Researchers examined long-lived juniper trees that grew in the ancient Hittite empire that spanned across present-day Turkey, parts of Syria and Iraq. The fall of the empire coincided with the near-simultaneous demise or diminishment of several important empires in the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean region – an event called the Bronze Age collapse. Researchers detected a gradual shift to drier conditions from the 13th century BC into the 12th century BC. More importantly, both lines of evidence indicated three straight years of severe drought, in 1198, 1197 and 1196 BC which matched with the known timing of the empire’s dissolution.
  70. Like Earth, Saturn is tilted on its axis and therefore has four seasons, though because of Saturn’s much larger orbit, each season lasts approximately seven Earth years, the space agency said. Equinox occurs when the rings are tilted edge-on to the Sun.
  71. Distressing dreams and flashbacks are well-known symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health condition that often affects individuals who have experienced a particularly distressing event in the recent past.
  72. Archaeologists in Kenya have dug up some of the oldest stone tools ever found, but who used them is a mystery. In the past, scientists assumed that our direct ancestors were the only toolmakers. But two big fossil teeth found along with the tools at the Kenyan site belong to an extinct human cousin known as Paranthropus.
  73. Around 1200 BC, human civilisation experienced a harrowing setback with the near-simultaneous demise or diminishment of several important empires in the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean region – an event called the Bronze Age One of the mightiest to perish was the Hittite empire, centred in modern Turkey and spanning parts of Syria and Iraq.  The Hittites, with their capital Hattusa situated in central Anatolia, were one of the ancient world’s great powers across five centuries. They became the main geopolitical rivals of ancient Egypt during its glittering New Kingdom period.
  74. The East Anatolian Fault zone that hosted these earthquakes is at the boundary between the Arabian and Anatolian tectonic plates, which move past each other at approximately 6 to 10 mm per year. The elastic strain that accumulates in this plate boundary zone is released by intermittent earthquakes, which have occurred for millions of years. 
  75. Depending on the type of disaster, different satellites will be mobilised, based on pre-established crisis plans – among them: TerraSAR-X/Tandem-X, QuickBird-2, Radarsat, Landsat-7/8, SPOT, Pleiades, Sentinel-2among others.
  76. Vitamin B3 is beneficial for nervous and digestive system health. At moderate to high doses it can cause peripheral vasodilation (widening or dilating of the blood vessels at the extremities, such as the legs and arms), resulting in skin flushing, burning sensation, pruritis (itchiness of the skin) and hypotension (low blood pressure).
  77. Vitamin B6 is essential for brain development and in ensuring that the immune system remains healthy. But it can result in damage to the peripheral nerves, such as those in the hands and feet (causing a sensation of numbness and often referred to as pins and needles) at doses over 200mg/daily.
  78. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and assists in the repair of body tissue. Taken in high doses it can cause kidney stones and interactions with drugs, such as the oncology drugs doxorubicin, methotrexate, cisplatin and vincristine.
  79. Vitamin D is essential for bone and teeth development. At high doses it can cause hypercalcaemia (calcium level in the blood is above normal) that results in thirst, excessive urination, seizures, coma and death.
  80. Calcium is essential for bone health, but can cause constipation and gastric reflux. High doses can cause hypercalciuria (increased calcium in the urine), kidney stones and secondary hypoparathyroidism (underactive parathyroid gland). It can have drug interactions with zinc, magnesium and iron. Magnesium is important for muscle and nerve functioning. At high doses it can cause diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal cramping, and can interact with tetracyclines (antibiotics). Zinc can impair taste and smell, and doses over 80mg daily have been shown to have adverse prostate effects. Selenium can cause hair and nail loss or brittleness, lesions of the skin and nervous system, skin rashes, fatigue and mood irritability at high doses. Iron at 100-200mg/day can cause constipation, black faeces, black discoloration of teeth and abdominal pain.
  81. A once-in-a-lifetime event took place this week with a rare comet making its closest approach to Earth for the first time in 50,000 years. Named C/2022 E3 (ZTF), the comet originating from the distant edges of the Solar System passed by Earth on February 1 and 2. The comet came as close as 45 million kilometers (28 million miles) of Earth, according to reports. The last time comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was this close was during the Stone Age 50,000 years ago when humans and Neanderthals still coexisted.
  82. Scientists have captured glimpses of the formation of an early galaxy with the help of the Webb Telescope and computer simulations. A predecessor of what could have developed into a Milky Way-like galaxy today, the small cluster of galaxies called CGG-z5 was seen by the telescope when the universe was only 1.1 billion years old. The study used computer simulations to help predict what sort of galaxy the small cluster would evolve into.
  83. The Department of Biotechnology is bringing out a BioE3 (Biotechnology for Economy, Environment and Employment) Policy for green, clean and prosperous India that will be enabled through “high performance biomanufacturing”.
  84. The Indian Tuberculosis Genomic Surveillance consortium would be operationalised for prediction of drug resistance & strain lineage to support the Government of India’s goal of ‘TB Mukt Bharat’. For mainstreaming of millets, a programme on genomic characterisation of minor millets is being developed. Agri-based gene editing platform would be established for fast tracking of leads available in Indian institutions.
  85. The Biological Research Regulatory Approval Portal (BioRRAP) was launched by the DBT as a whole-of-government approach in tune with our Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision to strengthen inter-departmental synergies in functioning of agencies regulating various aspects of biological research. The portal serves as a gateway and helps researchers to follow approval of their applications for regulatory clearances.
  86. Two specific types of EV membrane proteins, known as CD31/CD63, from urine samples of brain tumour patients. 
  87. Australia’s Deakin University is set to become the first foreign university to enter India via an independent campus in Gujarat’s GIFT City.
  88. The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) is a statutory body constituted under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 to advise the government on granting approvals for forest clearance. It meets at least once a month to discuss proposals from an agenda pre-published by the ministry which also uploads the minutes of FAC meetings on its designated website.
  89. The Greater Nicobar island is occupied by the Shompen and Nicobarese tribes. The project area falls near two national parks – Galathea Bay National Park and Campbell Bay National Park. The Greater Nicobar region is home to leatherback sea turtles and other important species such as Nicobar macaque, Nicobar megapode and saltwater crocodiles and rare and endemic plant species such as tree ferns and orchids. The project was given a go-ahead
    keeping in mind the strategic importance of the port to be developed.
  90. The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) is an international arbitration institution established in 1966 for legal dispute resolution and conciliation between international investors and States. ICSID is part of and funded by the World Bank Group, headquartered in Washington, D.C., in the United States. It is an autonomous, multilateral specialized institution to encourage international flow of investment and mitigate non-commercial risks by a treaty drafted by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s executive directors and signed by member countries.
  91. Known as one of India’s most inventive classical dancers and pioneering dance educationists, Mohiniyattam exponent Kanak Rele, who played a significant role in bringing a systematic structure, academic veracity and much currency to Mohiniyattam, besides propagating female roles in Kathakali, died morning in Mumbai.
  92. In May 2022, the NITI Aayog, in collaboration with ministries and state governments, endeavoured to fill this need by launching a transformational open data platform called the National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP). National Data and Analytics Platform aims to democratize access to public government data by making data accessible, interoperable, interactive, and available on a user-friendly platform. It hosts foundational datasets from various government agencies, presents them coherently, and provides tools for analytics and visualization. This public launch follows a beta release of the platform in August 2021 that had provided access to a limited number of users for testing and feedback. NDAP follows a use-case based approach to ensure that the datasets hosted on the platform are tailored to the needs of data users from government, academia, journalism, civil society, and the private sector. All datasets are standardized to a common schema, which makes it easy to merge datasets and do cross-sectoral analysis.
  93. Seattle became the first US city to outlaw caste discrimination, after its local council voted to add caste to the city’s anti-discrimination laws, reported Reuters. 
  94. The RBI also clarified that in the UPI-PayNow interlinkage transactions, only person-to-person (P2P) remittances towards the purpose of “Maintenance of Relatives Abroad” and “Gift” under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) are allowed, and the prescribed LRS limits would be applicable. Funds held in bank accounts or e-wallets can be transferred to and from India using just the UPI-id, mobile number or Virtual Payment Address (VPA).
  95. Paragraph 6(1) of the Tenth Schedule describes the Speaker’s sweeping discretionary powers: “If any question arises as to whether a member of a House has become subject to disqualification under this Schedule, the question shall be referred for the decision of the Chairman or, as the case may be, the Speaker of such House and his decision shall be final.”
  96. Under Article 83(2) of the Constitution, the term of the Lok Sabha begins from the day of its first meeting and ends on the day it completes five years from that date unless it is dissolved earlier. So, the term of the present Lok Sabha will end on June 16, 2024. It has completed three years and seven months of its term. In June 2024, the 18th Lok Sabha is expected to be elected.
  97. The rules of Central Electricity Authority (CEA) , a statutory body that formulates plans on electricity systems for the government, state that houses should maintain a distance of 2.5-3.7 metres in height and 1.2-2 metres in width based on voltage levels from an electricity pole.
  98. After Russia, Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe It has major ports on the Black Sea and shares borders with four NATO countries. Europe depends on Russia for about one third of its natural gas – providing enormous leverage for Putin in any dispute with the West – and one of the main pipelines passes through Ukraine. Controlling this Ukrainian territory would enhance Russia’s pipeline security.
  99. India’s parliamentary constituencies (PCs) serve a dual role as geographical and administrative policy units headed by democratically elected Members of Parliament (MPs), who are responsible for fulfilling the needs and aspirations of their constituents through impactful policy. For MPs to effectively engage with their constituents, it is imperative to understand and prioritise the issues most impacting their communities. Unfortunately, at present, timely and readily available data on critical issues related to population health and socioeconomic well-being is lacking at the PC level.
  100. Recognising this need for better synergy between district administration and elected representatives, the Ministry of Rural Development issued an order in 2016 to all states and Union Territories to constitute a District Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DDMC), chaired by district MPs and charged with making implementation and monitoring of central schemes more efficiency.
  101. Suva, the capital of Fiji, is hosting the 12th World Hindi Conference between February 15 and 17.
  102. In order to ensure India’s commitment for an orderly transition to a Green Economy, Rs 35,000 crore allocation is declared for energy transition and net-zero carbon emission targets; an annual production target of 5 MMT by 2030 for Green Hydrogen Mission; and a Green Credit Programme under the Environment (Protection) Act to incentivise sustainable actions. Issues of innovative financing, risk mitigation for crowding in private investments and securing participation of multilateral institutions would need continuing engagement.
  103. Articles 191 and 192 of the Constitution deal with “Disqualifications for membership” of a state Legislative Assembly or Council, and “Decision on questions as to disqualifications of members” respectively. Article 191(1) says that “a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member” of a state House “if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State…, other than an office declared by the Legislature…not to disqualify its holder”. Article 192(1) states that if “any question arises as to whether a member…has become subject to…disqualification…, the question shall be referred for the decision of the Governor and his decision shall be final”. Under Article 192(2), “Before giving any decision on any such question, the Governor shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion.”
  104. Article 356 was inspired by Section 93 of the Government of India Act, 1935. This provided that if a Governor of a province was satisfied that a situation had arisen in which the government of the province cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the said Act, he could assume to himself all or any of the powers of the government and discharge those functions in his discretion. The Governor, however, could not encroach upon the powers of the high court.
  105. The Treaty of Alinagar, signed on February 9, 1757, was a reluctant agreement signed by Bengal’s Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula with the English East India Company. An outcome of decades of tension that bubbled over into armed conflict between the two parties, the Treaty strengthened the position of the British in Bengal and laid foundations for the Battle of Plassey a few months later.
  106. Myanmar is the only ASEAN country bordering India. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established in 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration. Its member states include Myanmar, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
  107. A public-private partnership framework for R&D (Strategic Hydrogen Innovation Partnership – SHIP) will be facilitated under the National Green Hydrogen Mission (NGHM).
  108. Janus-1 is a technology demonstrator satellite built by United States-based Antaris and its Indian partners XDLinks and Ananth Technologies. A satellite bus is the main structure of a satellite on which the payloads — which can be used for multiple applications such as earth observation, signal monitoring, or ship tracking — rest. The company aims to make satellite buses of different sizes, for satellites weighing around 100 kg. Janus-1, which weighs only 10.2 kg, is a six-unit cube satellite with five payloads on board — two from Singapore, and one each from Kenya, Australia, and Indonesia. The entire satellite was built in 10 months, less than half the time it usually takes to manufacture satellites of this size.
  109. Delhi lies in seismic zone-IV going by seismic zonation map of the Bureau of Indian Standards. The country is classified into four seismic zones, zone-V being the most active seismically and zone-II being the least active. The problem with Delhi is that it is in the Gangetic plain and is built on alluvium. 
  110. Under Article 105(2) of the Constitution, “no Member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said…in Parliament or any committee thereof”. However, MPs don’t enjoy the freedom to say whatever they want inside the House.
  111. To be a designated survivor, one must be eligible to become United States’ If a higher ranking official survives the attack, the designated survivor gives way to them when they are fit to lead. A number of different members of the federal government have been chosen as designated survivors over the years, from the Attorney General (the highest ranking designated survivor till date) to the Secretaries of Commerce, Veteran Affairs, Transportation, and Health, among others.
  112. The Rajasthan state Forest Department has proposed to construct a zoo inside Keoladeo National Park, a World Heritage Site popularly known as Bharatpur bird sanctuary, to display a range of wetland species, including rhinos, water buffaloes, crocs, dolphins and exotic species.
  113. Article 87 provides two special occasions on which the President addresses a joint sitting. The first is to address the opening session of a new legislature after a general election. The second is to address the first sitting of Parliament each year. A session of a new or continuing legislature cannot begin without fulfilling this requirement. When the Constitution came into force, the President was required to address each session of Parliament. So during the provisional Parliament in 1950, President Prasad gave an address before every session. In 1951, the First Amendment to the Constitution changed this and made the President’s address an annual affair.
  114. In a bid to support and expand its green industry, the European Union revealed the “Green Deal Industrial Plan” that aims to cut red tape and provide massive subsidies. The move has come just a few months after the United States announced its Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which contains billions of dollars of tax cuts for clean energy and climate change programs with incentives for US-based manufacturing.
  115. In the United Kingdom, the tradition of the monarch addressing the Parliament began in the 16th century. In the United States, President Gorge Washington addressed Congress for the first time in 1790. In India, the practice of the President addressing Parliament was established after the promulgation of the Government of India Act in 1919.This law gave the Governor-General the right of addressing the Legislative Assembly and the Council of State. The law did not have a provision for a joint address but the Governor-General did address the Assembly and the Council together on multiple occasions. Between 1947 and 1950, there was no address to the Constituent Assembly (Legislative).
  116. Cancer cellscan be thought of as cellular cheaters because they do not follow the rules of cooperative behavior. They mutate uncontrollably, evade cell death and take up excessive resources at the expense of the other cells. As these cheater cells replicate, cancer in the body begins to grow. Cancer is fundamentally a problem of having multiple cells living together in one organism. As such, it has been around since the origins of multicellular life. This means that cancer suppression mechanisms have been evolving for hundreds of millions of years to help keep would-be cancer cells in check. Cells monitor themselves for mutations and induce cell death, also known as apoptosis, when necessary.
  117. Anthropologist Holly Walters writes in her book, “Shaligram Pilgrimage in the Nepal Himalayas,” that shaligram stones are fossils of ammonite, which is a type of mollusc that lived between 400 million and 65 million years ago. Referring to a Geological Survey of India publication from 1904, Walters wrote that shaligram stones “date specifically from the early Oxfordian to the late Tithonian Age near the end of the Jurassic Period some 165–140 million years ago.” According to Holly Walters, an anthropologist, in her book “Shaligram Pilgrimage in the Nepal Himalayas,” Shaligram stone is mostly found in riverbeds or on the banks of the Kali Gandaki, a tributary of the Gandaki River in Nepal. This stone is revered by Hindus, who believe it to be a representation of Lord Vishnu. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu was cursed to become the shaligram stone for “betraying the chastity of the goddess Tulsi.” She writes that “the stone is considered to have divine powers and is seen as a symbol of good luck and prosperity”.
  118. The Ministry of Environment and Forests first issued a Coastal Regulation Zone notification in February 1991 to regulate activities in the coastal area under section 3 of India’s Environment Protection Act, 1986.
  119. The larger Mayan civilisation (which reached its zenith between 300 AD to 900 AD) is recognised as one having significant cultural heft in its time — with innovations in farming, stone architecture, the study of mathematics and astronomy, devising calendars, as well as large-scale human sacrifices as part of religious rituals. It spanned present-day Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala in Central America. Yucata, a peninsula in Mexico on the Gulf of Mexico, has important Mayan sites. Ek Balam, the archaeological site referenced by President AMLO, is also in Yucata.
  120. In 1880, trams re-emerged in Calcutta, when Lord Ripon inaugurated a new, longer, metre-gauge route between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat Street via Bowbazar Street, Dalhousie Square and Strand Road. Two years later, The Calcutta Tramway Company would experiment with steam locomotives (instead of horses) to pull trams.
  121. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) mainly attacks the CD4 immune cells in the human body, thereby reducing a person’s ability to fight off secondary infections. The CCR5 receptors on the surface of the CD4 immune cells act as a doorway for the HIV virus. However, the CCR5-delta 32 mutationprevents these receptors used by the HIV virus from forming on the surface, effectively removing the doorway.
  122. Saudi Arabia unveiled its latest grand plan to transform its capital city. The new project coming up in Riyadh is called the Mukaab – “cube” in Arabic. It will stand 400 metres high, wide and long, big enough to hold 20 Empire State Buildings, according to the Saudi kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
  123. The EU is pushing for an ambitious new treaty for species protection and the implementation of the historic 2022 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Part of this historic agreement is to put 30% of the globe under protection until 2030. Meanwhile, 18 developing and emerging nations are pushing for the introduction of a mechanism that guarantees the fair distribution of ocean resources.
  124. In recognition of the Bengali people’s struggle for their language and culture, UNESCO announced in 1999 that February 21 would be observed worldwide as International Mother Language Day. This year’s theme is “Multilingual education – a necessity to transform education”, emphasising Indigenous people’s education and languages.
  125. Glacial lakes are large bodies of water that sit in front of, on top of, or beneath a melting glacier. As they grow larger in size, they become more dangerous because glacial lakes are mostly dammed by unstable ice or sediment composed of loose rock and debris. In case the boundary around them breaks, huge amounts of water rush down the side of the mountains, which could cause flooding in the downstream areas. This is called glacial lake outburst floods or GLOF.
  126. NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation,was set up in 1949 by the US, Canada, and several western European nations to ensure their collective security against the Soviet Union. It was the US’s first peacetime military alliance outside the western hemisphere. There are 30 members of NATO, who are committed to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. Collective defence lies at the very heart of NATO, “a unique and enduring principle that binds its members together, committing them to protect each other and setting a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance”.
  127. The Kurds are a major ethnic group who live in the mountainous geo-cultural region known as Kurdistan, which extends from southeastern Turkey in the west to northwestern Iran in the east, and from northern Iraq and northern Syria in the south to Armenia in the north. They are often described as the world’s largest stateless ethnic group. The Kurdish people have never had an independent national homeland. Nearly 20% of Turkey’s 84 million-strong population is Kurdish.
  128. Debt swaps are one way to change the terms of a country’s borrowing – with bilateral government lenders, development finance institutions or private banks – either by giving states more time to repay loans or reducing interest rates and the amounts they must pay back.
  129. The Buddhist Circuit is being projected as India’s first trans-national tourist circuit, starting from Lumbini and concluding at Kushinagar.
  130. Jantri or Annual Statement of Rates (ASR) is a minimum rate fixed by state governments for registration of any real estate property that undergoes a change in ownership. These rates differ between cities. Even within localities, jantri rates may differ based on property type (residential, commercial, institutional), location, size of property, and various other factors. When an old or existing property is bought by a new owner, it has to be registered as per the jantri or the market (selling) price, whichever is higher.
  131. The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant work visa that allows US employers to hire foreign workers for specialty jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. This can include occupations in fields such as IT, finance, engineering, architecture, etc. Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. An H-1B visa is issued for a period of three years at a time.
  132. Asbestos has been used on ships as both a fire retardant and an insulator to protect sailors from the constant and jarring vibrations of ships’ engines.
  133. The Pen Memorial pays tribute to Karunanidhi, one of the most influential figures in Tamil Nadu and Dravidian politics who, apart from being president of the DMK from 1969 to 2018 and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for five terms between 1969 and 2011, made significant contributions to Tamil literature as an orator, poet, and writer of non-fiction and fiction, plays, and films. The design of the monument is based on the Veena, a traditional Carnatic music instrument that is handmade in Tamil Nadu with extreme precision, the document says. The Thumba is used to represent the pen pedestal, the neck portion the long bridges, the music hole a pen statue, and the peg the tensile canopy seating on the bridge.
  134. Authorities recovered a tiny radioactive capsule, smaller than a coin, lost in Australia’s vast Outback. It took authorities a week-long search involving around 100 people along a nearly 1,400 kilometres stretch of highway. The Caesium-137 capsule lost in transit more than two weeks ago was discovered when a vehicle equipped with specialist detection equipment picked up the radiation, despite travelling at around 70 km/h, according to officials from the state of Western Australia.
  135. As per the The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA) guidelines, IFR claims cannot be rejected because of lack of documents; they have to send it back to the Forest Rights Committee for review.
  136. The start of the mass nesting or the Arribadahas usually taken place in the last week of February on Rushikulya beach as well as in the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in Kendrapara district.
  137. An unusually hot February has put the essential Rabi crop wheat at risk. Scientists have now warned the ongoing weather conditions are likely to threaten the vegetable crops and pulse yield with attacks by pests like aphids and thrips. Aphids are small insects that pierce live plants and suck on their sap. The insect is round in shape, measuring about 2-4 millimetres in length and has thousands of species worldwide varying in colours. Thrips are also rasping-sucking insects with wings. Their bodies are long and can be yellow, black or brown. These insects thrive in existing weather conditions. Thrips development is at their peak when the temperatures hover between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. Aphid population grows where weather extremities exist between day and night temperatures.
  138. Cyclone Freddy, which made landfall along Madagascar’s south-eastern coast, is the most recent among the cyclones and tropical storms to badger the country for the past year or so.
  139. Avian influenza, also called bird flu, is an infectious viral disease of birds. Wild birds can carry the virus without showing symptoms of it and transmit it to poultry through their feathers or faeces. The H5N1 strain is known to be more infectious and fatal to poultry and more persistent in wild bird populations.
  140. James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has discovered six extraordinarily massive first-generation galaxies, formed roughly 500-700 million years after the Big Bang, according to a new study. The team spotted the six monster galaxies using the Cosmic Evolution Early 44 Release Science programme of JWST. The programme studies the formation of the earliest galaxies when the universe was less than five per cent of its current age.
  141. The Black Sea Grain Initiative – which allows for significant volumes of commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea (Odesa, Chornomorsk, Yuzhn) – has shown the possibility of Ukraine and the Russia Federation to advance global food security — with the support of the Government of Türkiye and the United Nations. 
  142. Polymetallic nodulesare a potential mineral resource for copper, nickel, cobalt, iron, manganese, and rare earth elements. These nodules are found in various deep ocean regions, including the deep Pacific and Indian Oceans. The nodules are approximately potato-sized and sit on the sediment surface across abyssal plains in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a region spanning 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles) across the central Pacific Ocean at depths of 4,000 – 5,500 metres. The CCZ is a habitat for cetaceans, including baleen (mysticetes) and toothed whales (odontocetes). Up to 30 cetacean populations, including globally endangered species like blue whales, can be found in the CCZ, where 17 exploratory deep-sea mining licenses have been granted. The International Seabed Authority (ISA), “mandated under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to organise, regulate and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area for the benefit of mankind as a whole.
  143. India’s fuel and power prices have risen by 57 per cent between January 2021 and August 2022, according to the ‘Fuel and Power’ price index published by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The ‘Fuel and Power’ price index provides a good indication of energy costs, although the proportion of electricity, fossil fuels and other energy sources is unclear. RBI publishes two categories related to fossil fuels — ‘Fuel and Light’ and ‘Transport and Communication’.
  144. FEWS NET, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, is a website of information and analysis on food insecurity created in 1985 by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the US Department of State, after famines in East and West Africa. 
  145. Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), an umbrella organisation of scientists, intellectuals and non-governmental organisations, has alleged that Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC) members are benefiting financially from the programme.
  146. Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC) is an industry-led organisation under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), India’s food safety regulator.
  147. Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica, often known as the ‘Doomsday Glacier’, is in peril as warm ocean water has entered its weak points, according to a new research.
  148. The Loss and Damage Financial Facility, a key outcome of 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) for UNFCCC.
  149. National Crop Forecasting Centre of the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare also does crop estimation across the country through the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). This index is a simple indicator that shows how much vegetation is covered.
  150. The Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, says the threshold for lead in food of 10 PPM. Management of lead-acid batteries came under the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001.
  151. In 2022, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022. The new rules aim at reducing share of battery recycling in the informal sector and stress on extended producer responsibility.
  152. The Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor 2023 published by Germany-based think-tank New Climate Institute (NCI), assessed the climate strategies of these industry-leading companies, critically analysing the extent to which they are meeting their climate goals.
  153. Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment substance in the bile — a fluid produced by the liver — which forms after red blood cells break down. It is used as an indicator for jaundice.
  154. National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture’s (NICRA)- The Indian Council of Agricultural Research initiated a network project, NICRA, in 2011 to study and address the impacts of climate change on agriculture.
  155. Currently, the country does not have a system to forecast crop loss due to heatwaves or most other extreme weather conditions. The Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre, under the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, provides pre-harvest forecasts for eight major crops at the national, state and district levels.
  156. Another major threat to the Kashmir valley is the destruction of karewas — ancient deposits of glacial clay and other sediments that remain tucked away in the folds of the surrounding mountains, particularly the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas that borders the valley on the southwest. 
  157. India is among the top five chicken and egg producers in the world.
  158. ACROSS, which stands for Atmosphere and Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems and Services, was approved in November 2018. As one of the atmospheric science programmes of the MoES, ACROSS works on weather and climate services, including disseminating warnings for cyclones, storm surges, heat waves, thunderstorms and the like.
  159. Hosted by the Government of Rwanda and taking place alongside the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), to be held on 23 June 2022, is a key opportunity for world leaders to demonstrate their commitment to ending malaria and NTDs. The Kigali Summit will convene some of the most influential voices in global health, including world leaders, leading WHO figures, philanthropists, scientific experts, global influencers and community champions. The Summit will culminate with a Call to Action, focusing on the specific actions needed to end malaria and NTDs once and for all. Delegates will be invited to affirm this action by signing the Kigali Declaration.

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