IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-January 2023

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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-September 2021

IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-January 2023

  1. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that has been hypothesised to be important in cognition. Two enzymes – acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase – degrade acetylcholine. Cholinesterase inhibitors thus increase the concentration of acetylcholine in the brain.
  2. The “basic structure” theory was applied for the first time after its introduction in the 1975 case Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain.
  3. S. agreed to send its advanced rocket systems (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems or HIMARS and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems or MLRS) to Ukraine.
  4. Russia’s back-to-back battlefield victories in Donbas (Mariupol, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk).
  5. In a nutshell, non-resident accounts such as non-resident external accounts (NRE) and non-resident ordinary accounts (NRO), having international numbers, will now be allowed into the UPI payment system. NPCI had allowed UPI transactions to and from NRO/NRE accounts linked to Indian numbers back in October 2018. NRE accounts are those used by non-residents to transfer earnings from foreign soil to India while NRO accounts are used to manage income earned in India by non-residents.
  6. Merchant Discount Rate (MDR or Merchant Service Fee) is the charge recovered by the acquirer from the final recipient of the payment, that is, the merchant. It is collected by the acquirer to compensate the varied service providers and intermediaries in the payment system.  Presently, there is no MDR levied for RuPay-based debit card and UPI transactions. Stakeholders are hence concerned over cost recovery for the services they provide.
  7. The 24th Constitutional Amendment changed Article 13, a provision which mandated that no ‘law’ could take away or abridge fundamental rights.
  8. The 25th Constitutional Amendment introduced Article 31C into the Constitution to implement the Directive Principles of State Policy under Article 39 (b) and (c) for distribution of material resources of the community and to prevent concentration of wealth.
  9. According to the revised IS 1983-2002 seismic code, zones are mapped to a modified CIS-64 scale, an alternative to the MMI scale for seismic zoning. The revised seismic code classifies areas under zone II to coincide with an intensity of VI and below on the modified CIS-64 scale. Zone III includes areas that are prone to earthquakes mapped to intensity VII on the scale, zone IV to intensity VIII, and zone V to intensity IX and above.
  10. The 1267 Sanctions Committee is one of the several UN Security Council sanctions panels that impose restrictions on those linked to the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. It implements international sanctions against terrorists considered a global threat.
  11. Ocean heat content (OHC) is the amount of energy absorbed by and stored in the oceans. It is measured in joules, the unit of energy.
  12. The Census is still conducted under the Census Act of 1948, which predates the Constitution. Notably, the Act does not bind the government to conduct the Census on a particular date or to release its data in a notified period.
  13. Shatrunjay Hills in Palitana is a prominent pilgrimage site for Shwetambara Jains.
  14. As per central guidelines, an eco-sensitive zone is created to act as a cushion or “shock absorber” for protected areas and a transition zone from areas of high protection to less protection.
  15. Topchanchi Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located near the town of Topchanchi, Jharkhand. The sanctuary is situated alongside National Highway 2. Land in the sanctuary mainly consists of dry mixed deciduous forests with dry peninsular sal forests.
  16. The Speaker, whose leadership of the House is mandated under Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, is elected at the beginning of a new Congress by a majority of the lawmakers in the chamber. The Speaker is second in line for the presidency, following the Vice-President, in the event of the President being incapable of continuing in office.
  17. Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Yangtse area in the Tawang region along the India-China border. Tawang is a strategically significant Indian territory wedged between China and Bhutan. The region’s border with China is a part of the de facto but unsettled India-China border, known as the Line of Actual Control, or LAC.
  18. Tribal men taking out a procession as part of the Burlang festival at Deopada village in Odisha’s Kandhamal district. Burlang Yatra is a traditional festival of the Kutia Kondh tribe celebrated every year when the community members, especially women, worship and exchange seeds.
  19. Indian Government promoted millets under the Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millets Promotion (INSIMP), as a sub-scheme of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) between 2011 and 2014.
  20. The Solung festival is a popular agriculture festival celebrated by the Adi tribein the Arunachal Pradesh. The festival is celebrated at the beginning of September every year, after the sowing of the seeds, to seek a good harvest and prosperity.
  21. The UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances adopted in Vienna in 1988 (Vienna Convention) was the first treaty that called upon nations to adopt domestic laws to combat drug trafficking.
  22. The UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime of 2000 (Palermo Convention) also advocated legislative and other measures to combat organised crime, and specifically called for ‘criminalising the laundering of proceeds of crime’.
  23. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) works on the basis of an internal manual. It registers an ‘Enforcement Case Information Report’ (ECIR), the equivalent of an FIR in ordinary cases. The manual is not a public document, and the ED does not share the ECIR with the accused. However, the ED has the power of a civil court to enforce the attendance of a person summoned under Section 50.
  24. Tokyo, Saitama Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, and Kanagawa Prefecture are included in the Tokyo area.
  25. The sixth schedule under Article 244 of the Constitution protects the autonomy of tribal populations through creation of autonomous development councils which can frame laws on land, public health and agriculture. As of now ten autonomous councils exist in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
  26. Historical Palestine was divided into the State of Israel (including West Jerusalem), the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) that was taken over by Jordan and the Gaza Strip (controlled by Egypt). Tensions kept rising between Israel and three countries in the region — Egypt, Jordan, and Syria — which led to the six-day war of 1967. The war resulted in Israel capturing the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, along with Syria’s Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. While the Sinai Peninsula was later returned to Egypt, other captured areas of Palestinian and Syrian territory remain under Israel’s military control. Later, Israel also declared the whole of Jerusalem as its “eternal, undivided capital”. While Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it’s external borders are still controlled by Israel and Egypt.
  27. As per the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995, West Bank was divided into Areas A, B, and C. Israel controls Area C, which constitutes 60% of the West Bank.
  28. ‘Games of Skill’ as legitimate business activities protected under Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution.
  29. One family of plants that humans in all parts of the world are closely associated with are the cucurbitaceae. This diversified family includes watermelons, melons, cucumbers, pumpkins and squashes. Less widely cultivated cucurbits include the bitter, bottle, wax, snake, sponge and ridge gourd. Cucurbits are usually hairy climbers, and male and female flowers are separate. Their fruit — which comes in a wide range of colour, flavour, shape and size — are valued as components of healthy diets. They grow well in India’s geo-climate. The sowing season is usually from November to January, with fruits ripening in the summer.
  30. Scientists classified mercury as a conventional superconductor because its superconductivity could be explained by the concepts of Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory.
  31. Before the arrival of humans, islands in the Western Indian Ocean were home to giant tortoises that dominated their ecosystems. By examining ancient DNA, researchers have estimated how these animals migrated out of Africa to colonise Madagascar and many islands that are now lost to the seas. As per radiocarbon dating, tortoise specimens existed between 1,262 and 1,069 years before the present; the species likely originated from a dispersal from Africa in the late Eocene or Oligocene epoch.
  32. La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, in which equatorial waters off the South American coast become unusually warmer. One effect is that in winter, the subtropical westerly jet over North India is pushed southward, allowing the western disturbance to create cold winters in the north. But in La Niña years, there is a ‘highway’ of chill wind coming southward from the Siberian High, “a cold, high-pressure block [of air] that is occupying the central Asian region and affecting winds coming into India. The Siberian High is responsible for the bitter-cold of the tundra and has been known to affect the weather from Italy to the Philippines. But this time, according to him, it is “anomalously strong”. Unlike the El Niño-driven cold air that sweeps India between the southeast and the northwest, in La Niña years “the winds mostly tend to come from the north and zip down the pressure trough far into peninsular India.
  33. New research reveals the genes that likely allowed whales to grow to giant sizes compared to their ancestors. The findings highlight the role of four genes — GHSR, IGFBP7, NCAPG, and PLAG1 — and suggest that they promote large body sizes. The researchers performed molecular evolutionary analysis on nine candidate genes: five genes from the growth hormone, and four genes associated with increased body size in hoofed animals. They assessed these genes in 19 species of whale.
  34. Recently, the monoclonal antibody cetuximab, which has been approved by the FDA as an anti-cancer drug against certain lung cancers, has also been produced in cloned goat lines. Large quantities can be made this way (10 grams per litre of milk). It is not yet known whether this ‘Farmaceutical’ will clear regulatory hurdles regarding safety and efficacy.
  35. Researchers have found the oldest-known fossil of a worm-like amphibian known as a caecilian. The findings extend the caecilian fossil record by 35 million years. The creature combines features found in the common ancestor of living caecilians with those of an extinct group of amphibians called the dissorophoid temnospondyls. It bridges the gap between modern caecilians and extinct tetrapods and confirms the position of caecilians within Lissamphibia, the group that contains frogs.
  36. Researchers have uncovered 92 nesting sites containing a total of 256 fossil eggs in central India’s Narmada Valley belonging to titanosaurs, which were among the largest dinosaurs to have ever lived. The discovery of Rajasaurus, a carnivorous dinosaur from the Cretaceous period, is also important because it is believed to be closely related to Majungatholus, a dinosaur from Madagascar. According to Prasad, the similarity between the two dinosaurs suggests that there was a terrestrial connection between India and Madagascar around 67 million years ago.
  37. National Mission for a Green India (GIM) is one of the eight Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. It aims at protecting, restoring and enhancing India’s forest cover and responding to climate change. The target under the Mission is 10 million hectares (Mha) on forest and non-forest lands for increasing the forest/tree cover and to improve the quality of existing forest. Improving tree cover is critical to sequester carbon and bolster India’s carbon stocks as part of its international commitments to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
  38. EU’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite mission and compared them with high resolution footage from the MAXAR WorldView3 satellite.
  39. Australian park rangers believe they have stumbled upon a record-breaking giant toad deep in a rainforest. Dubbed “Toadzilla”, the cane toad, an invasive species that poses a threat to Australia’s ecosystem, was spotted by “shocked” park ranger Kylee Gray during a patrol in Conway National Park in Queensland state.
  40. Protected areas cover 5.26% of India’s land area as 108 national parks and 564 wildlife sanctuaries. They are notified under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. National parks do away with permissions for even those activities permitted in ‘reserve forests’ while wildlife sanctuaries offer progressively diminishing concessions. This is the rights-negating ‘fortress conservation model’, which conservation scientists abandoned long ago. It is also no longer present in Indian law, at least over forests within the purview of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 – a.k.a. the Forest Rights Act (FRA). FRA recognises the customary and the traditional rights (both individual and collective) of forest-dwellers on forest land, including inside protected areas.
  41. The 2002 Wildlife Conservation Strategy envisaged lands within 10 km of the boundaries of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to be notified as ecologically fragile zones under Section 3(2)(v) of the Environment Protection Act 1986 and its Rules 5(viii) and (x).
  42. The Kaas plateau, known locally as Kaas pathar, in the Sahyadri range, about 25 kilometre from Satara, Maharashtra, has been designated as a UNESO World Heritage Site since 2012. At an altitude of about 1,200 metres above sea level, the plateau blooms in shades of white, yellow and pink soon after the rains.  The seemingly barren plateau is transformed dramatically into a carpet of small wild flowers. Kaas plateau, a UNESCO world natural heritage site in Maharashtra, is a lateritic plateau that hosts many endemic wild flowering plants.
  43. Multi-channel analysis of surface waves (MASW) method, a non-destructive seismic method to evaluate material layer thickness and its shear wave velocity, to measure the thickness of the soil.
  44. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, for strengthening tiger conservation.
  45. The national tiger census is conducted once in every four years. The latest All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) was conducted in 2022 and its report is scheduled to be released this year.
  46. Indian pied mynah (also known as Asian pied starling; pied mynah; Gracupica contra). The pied mynah is also known to be quite aggressive in territorialising areas where it is found or gets inadvertently introduced as escapees of caged birds.
  47. A resident bird in Chennai, the common mynah (also called, Indian mynah; Acridotheres tristis) flaunts this residency and gatecrashes almost every party in town. In terms of ubiquity, only the Indian greynecked (the house crow; Corvus splendens) barely manages to put this bird in the shade.
  48. Coalition for a GM-Free India, a platform of organisations and individuals representing farmers, consumers, experts and activists, has expressed disappointment and concern over the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) draft regulations on genetically modified (GM) food. The Coalition for a GM-Free India is a loose, informal network of scores of organizations and individuals from across India, campaigning and advocating to keep India GM-Free, and to shift our farming towards a sustainable path. Consisting of farmers’, consumers’, environmental, women’s and other organizations, this network is opposed to the environmental release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) given the potential adverse health and environmental impacts, in addition to the fact that GMOs also are taking away valuable research and other resources from more lasting solutions. Given that GMOs and associated IPRs are used by corporations to control and expand their monopolistic markets, we are opposed to GMOs on those grounds too. The Coalition also looks at GM technology as an illustrative case for the need to democratize Science & Technology policy/decision-making, empowering individual citizens to have their right to informed choices. The Coalition for a GM-Free India has been working since 2006 and is a constantly expanding force of citizens saying NO to GMOs in our food and farming, here in India.
  49. The Great Indian bustard or GIB is the State bird of Rajasthan. It is also considered India’s most critically endangered bird and is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act.
  50. The Palghat Gap is a break in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) that is “relatively flat and consequently easily negotiable by elephants”.
  51. The Union Environment Ministry withdrew permission for tourism and eco-tourism activities in the vicinity of the Parasnath Wildlife Sanctuary, The eco-sensitive zone, according to provisions of the Environment Protection Act, is a buffer zone surrounding a ‘Protected Area.’ While protected zones permit almost no activities, eco-sensitive zones, under Clause 3 of the Act, are allowed to promote tourism provided a master plan specifying the permissible activities is given to the Centre by the concerned State government.
  52. Black carbon aerosols have indirectly affected the mass gain of the Tibetan Plateau glaciers by changing long-range water vapour transport from the South Asian monsoon region. The South Asia region adjacent to the Tibetan Plateau has among the highest levels of black carbon emission in the world. Black carbon aerosols are produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass, and are characterised by strong light absorption. Black carbon deposition in snow reduces the albedo of surfaces — a measure of how much of Sun’s radiations are reflected — which may accelerate the melting of glaciers and snow cover, thus changing the hydrological process and water resources in the region.
  53. Nigeria and Ghana are both on the Gulf of Guinea, which has a coastline of about 6,000km from Senegal to Angola. The Gulf coast has the highest population density in tropical Africa.
  54. The Constitution gives the President and the Governor the power to address a sitting of the legislature. 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. In 1951, the First Amendment to the Constitution changed this and made the President’s address an annual affair.
  55. In India, the practice of the President addressing Parliament was established after the promulgation of the Government of India Act in 1919.
  56. The IMF releases the WEO twice every year, in April and October, apart from updating it twice — in January and July.
  57. The Chief Economic Adviser (CEA)will release the Economic Survey for the current financial year (2022-23). The survey is always presented a day before – typically January 31 since Union Budgets are scheduled for February 1 – the Finance Minister unveils the Union Budget for the next financial year (2023-24 in the present case).  It is prepared by the Economic Division of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) under the guidance of the CEA. Once prepared, the Survey is approved by the Finance Minister. As the name suggests, the Economic Survey is a detailed report of the state of the national economy in the financial year that is coming to a close. The first Economic Survey was presented for 1950-51 and until 1964, it was presented along with the Budget.
  58. Gandhi commented on the party’s functioning routinely. As early as his 1909 book ‘Hind Swaraj’, he conveyed his ideas through conversations with a fictional person who is critical of him. In the first chapter titled ‘The Congress & its Officials’, this critic says: “Young India seems to ignore the Congress. It is considered to be an instrument for perpetuating British Rule.”
  59. Methane is one of the main drivers of climate change, responsible for 30 per cent of the warming since preindustrial times, second only to carbon dioxide. Over a 20-year period, methane is 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme. It’s also the primary contributor to the formation of ground-level ozone, a colourless and highly irritating gas that forms just above the Earth’s surface.
  60. The Union Ministry of Power is currently calling for the Market-Based Economic Dispatch (MBED) mechanism – a radical shift from the current decentralized, voluntary pool-based electricity market.
  61. The Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan were renamed‘Amrit Udyan’ . Spread over 15 acres, the Mughal Gardens (now erstwhile) draw inspiration from the Mughal Gardens of Jammu & Kashmir, the gardens around the Taj Mahal and miniature paintings of India and Persia, as per the Rashtrapati Bhawan website. Edwin Lutyens had finalised the designs of the Mughal Gardens in 1917, but it was only during the year 1928-1929 that plantings were done.  There are three gardens in the Rashtrapati Bhavan inspired by Mughal and Persian gardens. The one inspired from the garden in Srinagar is known as Mughal Garden. But the gardens were never officially named Mughal Gardens, they came to be known so owing to the style of architecture.
  62. LEGOs are among the most universally-loved toys ever produced. Catering to humans’ innate urge to build and be creative, LEGOs have stood the test of time.
  63. Rehmat Ali called his own was Pakistan, including “five Northern Provinces of India” – Punjab (P), North­ West Frontier Province or the Afghan Province (A), Kashmir(K), Sindh(S) and Balochistan (tan). He would call its Pakistan.
  64. Egypt recently announced a series of new archaeological discoveries found in the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, including a mummy said to be 4,300 years old.
  65. The Ramcharitmanas was written in the 16th century in the Awadhi dialect that is mainly spoken in the areas that are today’s Lucknow, Prayagraj, and Ayodhya districts. It is divided into seven chapters (Kand) that tell the story of Lord Ram from birth to his becoming King of Ayodhya. The Ramcharitmanas is based on the Ramayana, sage Valmiki’s great epic. It is the holiest book of the Indo-Gangetic region, and among the world’s most read holy books. Tulsidas, a Brahmin whose original name was Ram Bola Dubey, is believed to have been born in Rajapur by the Yamuna in today’s Banda district. He composed the Ramcharitmanas on the bank of the Ganga in Varanasi — he is said to have begun writing on Ram Navami day in 1574, and completed the poem over the next few years. Tulsidas lived in the time of Emperor Akbar, and some believe that he was in touch with Abdurrahim Khan-e-Khanan, the son of Akbar’s commander Bairam Khan, and they possibly exchanged some poetic communication as well.
  66. The Indian Railways has concluded the trial of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program it built to fix a perennial issue — long waiting lists for tickets. Made by Railways’ in-house software arm Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), this AI module, called Ideal Train Profile, was fed with information like how millions of passengers booked tickets on these trains, which origin-destination pairs were a hit and which were flops at what time of the year, which seats remained vacant for what portion of a journey, etc. The combination of “training data” the AI has been fed goes back three years.
  67. On January 26,1930, the historic “Poorna Swaraj” declaration was officially promulgated, beginning the final phase of India’s freedom struggle where the goal would be complete independence from British rule.
  68. In India, lawyers and legal practitioners are not allowed to advertise their work. Lawyers can legally advertise their services in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the European Union.
  69. In the wake of two contradictory lower court rulings on taking down controversial content from online platforms by social media or ‘Big Tech’ companies, the US Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to the Florida and Texas state laws. The state laws, namely ‘Senate Bill 7072’ and ‘HB2020’, are similar to the extent that they prevent and penalise the takedown of ‘political content’ and free speech by social media companies, even going so far as to allow political candidates to sue such platforms for removal or blockage of their accounts.
  70. January 23 is the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, observed as Parakram Diwas. When Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose took over the Indian National Army (INA), he constituted four regiments, three of which were named after Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru and Maulana Azad.
  71. India currently operates one submarine in the nuclear-powered class of Chakra and two other nuclear-powered vessels in Arihant in addition to submarines belonging to three classes of Diesel Electric category — Kalvari, Shishumar and Sindhughosh, some of which are ageing. The nuclear-powered and diesel-electric submarines have their designated roles in the Carrier Battle Groups, which are formations of ships and submarines with Aircraft Carriers in the lead role. As per the basic principles of submarine deployment and minimum requirement for India to create a strategic deterrence, there is a specific number of submarines of both types that India needs to have in active service.
  72. Nominal GDP is nothing but the total market value of all the goods and services produced in India in a financial year. For purposes of analysing the economy one often uses the “real” GDP but for preparing the budget, it is the nominal GDP that matters. The real GDP is “derived” from the nominal GDP by removing the effect of inflation. Once the government knows the nominal GDP of the current financial year, it uses this number to project the likely nominal GDP in the next financial year (in this case, 2023-24) for which the budget is being made.
  73. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the body responsible for the host city’s selection. It has 99 member countries, each having its own IOC representative, who is often an ex-Olympian or athlete. Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, is India’s representative. The process is overseen by two permanent ‘Future Host Commissions’: one for the summer and one for the winter Games. “Both are gender-balanced and represent a full range of Olympic stakeholders, including athletes, International Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC),” the IOC website states. These Commissions make recommendations to the IOC Executive Board (EB) regarding possible future hosts. The EB includes the IOC President, four Vice-Presidents and ten other members. All the EB members are elected by the IOC Session by secret ballot, by majority vote, for a four-year term.
  74. The World Economic Forum, supported by more than 45 partners launched the Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA), a global initiative to fund and grow new and existing public, private and philanthropic partnerships (PPPPs) to help unlock the $3 trillion of financing needed each year to reach net zero, reverse nature loss and restore biodiversity by 2050.
  75. The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2023, held in the Swiss town of Davos, a conference that started in a world possibly fundamentally altered, but whose processes and outcomes remained pretty much business as usual. The theme this year was ‘Cooperation in a Fragmented World’.
  76. A wild elephant, which has been wreaking havoc in a few villages in Kerala’s Palakkad district for the past two years, was tranquilised by a forest department team. The elephant, code-named Palakkad Tusker-7 (PT 7 or Palakkad Tusker 7), was roaming inside the forest at Dhoni and neighbouring villages in the districts.
  77. The beginning of autumn is the time when winged wonders from colder climes start arriving in India, some passage migrants on way to Africa and others to find a temporary abode till the end of spring and the onset of summer. They come in myriad hues. Spotted flycatcher, Rufous-tailed scrub robin, Amur falcon, flamingo, Arctic warbler, Siberian crane, Asian dowitcher, Demoiselle crane are just a few of them.
  78. The Leopard 2 is one of the world’s leading battle tanks, used by the German Army for decades and by the militaries of more than a dozen other European nations, as well as by the armies of countries as far apart as Canada and Indonesia. It has seen service in conflicts in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Syria. The tank, which is powered by a diesel engine, features night-vision equipment and a laser range finder that can measure distance to an object, enabling it to better aim at a moving target while traveling over rough terrain. There are multiple iterations of the Leopard 2 with different features and designs.
  79. Under the Press Council of India (PCI) Act, of 1978, the Press Council has powers of a civil court to deal with complaints when a newspaper has “offended against the standards of journalistic ethics or public taste or that an editor or working journalist has committed any professional misconduct.” However, the Council cannot force a newspaper, news agency, journalist, or editor to reveal their sources during the proceedings.
  80. In India, there is no specific legislation that protects journalists from being asked to disclose their sources. Article 19 of the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech and expression to all citizens.
  81. A follow-on-public offer (FPO), also known as secondary offering, is a process in which an existing company listed on stock exchanges issues new shares to the existing shareholders as well as new investors.
  82. ASER is a household survey conducted across 616 rural districts and covers 6.9 lakh children in the age group of 3 to 16 years to record their schooling status and assess their basic reading and arithmetic skills.
  83. Highly pathogenic* avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus occurs mainly in birds, is highly contagious among birds, and can be deadly, especially in domestic poultry. Since December 2003, an Asian HPAI H5N1 virus has resulted in high mortality in poultry and wild birds in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.
  84. Field hockey is a team sport played between two teams of 11 players each. Each team has one goalkeeper, who is permitted to use his hands and feet to prevent goals, defenders, midfielders and attackers, who are only allowed to use their sticks to control the ball. To advance the ball, players can either pass to their teammates using their sticks or dribble the ball – this is done by pushing the ball forward while running with it. Crucially, to score a goal, the scorer has to enter the opposition D – the D-shaped box 16 yards in front of the goal. A shot from outside the D is not counted. Types of hockey hits: Standard hit, Sweep/Slap Hit, Scoop, Flick, Tomahawk/Reverse backhand, Jink. During the game, players can commit various offences which are then penalised. Some common fouls entail the ball touching your feet, tackling from behind, third party interference (two players are not allowed to tackle an attacking player at the same time), obstruction (when a player or a stick comes in between the ball and the other player) and dangerous play. Dangerous play can be called when the stick is raised above one’s waist or when the umpire deems that a player endangers the opponent in any way while attacking or defending the ball. Hitting the ball in the air is also not allowed, though this is often a subjective call made by referees. Fouls are penalised in different ways: Free hits, Penalty Corners (Players use a technique called a drag flick to convert penalty corners), Penalty strokes.
  85. Dolphins are social mammals that communicate through squeaks, whistles and clicks. They also use echolocation in order to locate food and other objects.
  86. Paddy is procured by the Union government on MSP for distribution under the Public Distribution System. Basmati is neither procured by the government nor has any fixed price. It is procured by traders and exporters as Indian Basmati has large demand abroad. Punjab is among the states and Union Territories (Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are the others) that have a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Basmati.
  87. Carbon sequestration is a crucial part of the global carbon cycle, as it is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. One of the ways this happens is when forests and other land vegetation absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis.
  88. Hockey is an extremely fast game played with a relatively small ball (approximately the same size as a cricket ball). The blue surface provides outstanding contrast against the yellow ball. This not only helps players spot and control the ball better, but is also a boon for broadcasters. As the ball whizzes around the field, the contrast between the deep blue of the field and the yellow of the ball makes the game easier to follow, when compared with the traditional green surface and white ball.
  89. In India, eight river cruise vessels are operational between Kolkata and Varanasi while cruise movement is also operation on National Waterways 2 (Brahmaputra). Set to sail from Varanasi, the cruise ship, MV Ganga Vilas, will cover 3,200 km over 51 days, crossing 27 river systems and several states before ending its journey at Dibrugarh. The voyage is packed with visits to 50 tourist spots, including World Heritage spots, national parks, river ghats, and major cities like Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Guwahati in Assam. It will make pit-stops to cover the famous Ganga Arti in Varanasi, the Buddhist site of Sarnath; and even Majuli, the largest river island in Assam. The travellers will also visit the Bihar School Of Yoga and Vikramshila University. The cruise will traverse through the Sunderbans in the Bay of Bengal delta, as well as the Kaziranga National Park.
  90. Thousands of flights, within, into or out of the United States were delayed or cancelled due to a technical glitch. The US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) system said its NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system had “failed”.
  91. The First Advance Estimates (FAE) of GDP comes into the picture. The MoSPI released the latest FAE (for 2022-23) on January 6. Since 2016-17, each year, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) releases the FAE at the end of the first week of January. They serve as the GDP estimates that the Union Finance Ministry uses to decide the next financial year’s budget allocations.  The FAE are overtaken by the Second Advance Estimates (SAE) by the end of February. MoSPI states the FAE are “compiled using the Benchmark-Indicator Method i.e. the estimates available for the previous year (2021-22 in this case) are extrapolated using relevant indicators reflecting the performance of sectors.”
  92. India’s GDP has three main drivers. Expenditures made by people in their private capacity towards their consumption is the biggest engine, accounting for 56% of all GDP. Expenditures made towards investments (both by private firms and the government) are the second biggest engine, accounting for 33% of all GDP. The government’s expenditure towards everyday items such as salaries accounts for the remaining 11%.
  93. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new Alzheimer’s drugthat may modestly slow the pace of cognitive decline early in the disease but also carries risks of swelling and bleeding in the brain. The approval of the drug, lecanemab, to be marketed as Leqembi, is likely to generate considerable interest from patients and physicians.
  94. According to Article 170 of the Constitution, the population numbers to be used for drawing boundaries of constituencies would be as per the 2001 Census until the first Census after 2026 is published. In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 passed by Parliament had mentioned the population in the 2011 Census as the basis of delimitation.
  95. The Freedom Caucus is considered to be the most conservative, far-right caucus of the Republican Party in the US House of Representatives. According to the website of its Political Action Committee (PAC) called House Freedom Fund, it “supports candidates for Congress who are dedicated to open, accountable, and limited government.”
  96. US-based Ohmium International has commissioned India’s first green-hydrogen factory in Karnataka.
  97. Guns of Emperor Sher Shah, Tinsukia (Assam); the Ruins of Copper Temple, Paya, Lohit (Arunachal Pradesh); Kos Minar, Mujesar, Faridabad (Haryana); Kutumbari Temple, Dwarahat, Almora (Uttarakhand); Rock Inscription, Satna (Madhya Pradesh); Old European Tomb, Pune (Maharashtra); 12th Century Temple, Baran (Rajasthan); and Telia Nala Buddhist ruins, Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).
  98. A military ammunition or explosive device that remains unexploded even after it has been primed and fired is known as Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) in military parlance. Such UXO can be left-overs from a war, a military battle inoculation exercise, field firing exercises or even be part of military scrap that is often exported from one country to another to extract metal. All unexploded munitions are treated as potentially dangerous and capable of detonating till proven otherwise by professional assessment by military ammunition experts.
  99. The process of transferring the entire ownership of an Indian company to an overseas entity, including the transfer of all Intellectual Property and data owned by the Indian company, is called ‘flipping’. Typically, flipping happens at the early stage of the startup. However, this trend can be reversed with active collaboration with the government-related regulatory bodies and other stakeholders. Further, companies are also exploring ‘reverse flipping’, the survey document stated.
  100. HIV-1 is one of the two subtypes of the human immunodeficiency virus and is more widespread.
  101. Manipur is part of one of the world’s most biodiverse areas, the Indo-Burma region, which spans the northeastern India and parts of other Southeast Asian countries.
  102. Three types of rock outcrops are known in the biodiveristy hotspot of Western Ghats — lateritic outcrops at high (HLF) and low altitude (LLF), and basalt outcrops at high altitudes (BM). But now a low altitude basalt outcrop has been found in Murbad district, about 100 kilometres from Mumbai. Rock outcrops are landscape habitats with more areas of rock surface exposure than surrounding areas. “It emerges when the surface soil and other materials wear off, exposing the parent rock surface. The outcrop is identified if the area has more than 50 per cent of such rocks.
  103. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has given its commitment to support the ‘Great Blue Wall Initiative,’ a regionally connected network to develop a regenerative blue economy. The Great Blue Wall Initiativeis a project for the western Indian Ocean countries that intends to adopt an action-driven, oriented and focused approach. Under the project, seascapes and conservation/restoration sites will be identified based on country priorities, opportunities, existing efforts, local partners’ needs, and availability of funding as well as on the already available science and knowledge. As such, IUCN and its partners’ endorsement of the Great Blue Wall initiative was announced as one of the key commitments to action at  the IUCN World Congress, in Marseilles, hosted by France . The western Indian Ocean provides food security, sustains economic growth, regulates the climate, and provides livelihood opportunities for coastal communities across 10 countries – Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, and Tanzania.
  104. The Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, known as the Macolin Convention, is a multi-lateral treaty aimed at checking match-fixing. It is open to ratification of Council of Europe states and other states that were involved in its negotiation. The treaty will enter into force after being ratified by five states, three of which must be Council of Europe states. The Macolin Convention entered into force on 1 September 2019. It has been ratified by Norway, Portugal, Ukraine, Moldova, Switzerland, Italy and Greece. It has been signed by 30 other European States and by Australia.
  105. Created in 2011, the Interpol’s Match-Fixing Task Force (IMFTF) now has 100 member units, with more than 150 national points of contact worldwide.
  106. The world police body has launched the INTERPOL Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC) to provide a coordinated global response against the exponential growth in transnational financial crime. Adopting a multi-agency approach, IFCACC will work closely with key stakeholders to strengthen collective efforts against financial crime and corruption.
  107. The Group of 20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments is considered the main international debt relief mechanism that was availed of by only three countries. It is a programme offered by G20 countries to defer official debt service, particularly by developing countries and low-income countries.
  108. Purse seine fishing is a nonselective fishing technology that captures all kinds of fish, including protected species. It is used by “affluent and rich fishermen or big fishing companies, as this technology is costly and is beyond the reach of ordinary fishermen.
  109. One of the largest lakes in the world, Lake Victoria, has been suffering from a variety of unsustainable human activities over the last five decades. The ecologically unique water body is shared by three countries — Tanzania (51 per cent), Uganda (44 per cent) and Kenya (5 per cent).
  110. The unfolding situation in Cameroon’s Logone Birni commune in the Extreme North Region is a prime example of climate change-fueled violence and displacement.  Situated along the shores of the Logone River, which feeds into the lake through Chari river, Logone Birni witnessed an outbreak of violence in mid-2021 when tensions came to a head among fishing, farming and herding communities.
  111. Pearl onions are also known as Sambhar onions, small onions and baby onions. They are available in both red-purple and white skinned varieties.
  112. The African forest elephant(Loxodonta cyclotis) plays a key role in creating forests which store more atmospheric carbon and maintaining the biodiversity of forests in Africa. They are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “Critically Endangered” — a category for species that have declined over 80 per cent within three generations.
  113. The Paris Declaration on Electro-Mobility and Climate Change & Call to Action brings together individual and collective commitments to increase electro-mobility to levels compatible with a less-than 2-degree pathway. It builds on current successful experiences worldwide and the converging interest of all transport modes for hybrid/electric solutions. This Declaration – to be launched at COP21 during the Lima-Paris Action Agenda Transport Focus – is a collaborative initiative between LPAA founding partners (the Governments of France and the United Nations Secretary-General Executive Office in particular) in close coordination with The Paris Process on Mobility and Climate, the International Energy Agency, and other transport partners. All efforts will be made to ensure this Declaration’s momentum continues post Paris. Endorsed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Energy Agency, as well as Tesla Motors and Michelin Nissan-Renault, it reportedly builds on commitments from companies, cities, States and associations that have undertaken decisive efforts towards sustainable transport electrification.
  114. The hog plum, called ambaraor amra in Hindi, is used as an important souring agent in several cuisines all across the country. For instance, in the Western Ghats, especially the Konkan area and Goa, the hog plum (called ambade or ambado in Konkani) iprovides a tangy taste to noth vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes like khatkhate, a mixed vegetable stew. It is also used to make a sweet and sour chutney in Goa and in West Bengal. In Kerala, the fruit is used to make a pickle. Further, mucositis (inflammation of the mucous membranes in the digestive tract) is common in people receiving chemotherapy. Moreover, hog plum seeds contain compounds which help suppress parasites such as Plasmodium berghei, which causes malaria in certain rodents. The hog plum is scientifically classified as a member of the Anacardiaceae family, sharing space with the cashewnut and mango. Its genus, Spondias, has a history of use going back at least as far as 6500 BC in the Tehuacán Valley of Mexico, but is not very well studied.
  115. Some researchers consider the hog plum to be a separate species, Spondias pinnata, while others subsume it as a variety of Spondias dulcis, a similar fruit commonly called June plum, which is sweeter, bigger and fleshier. The Spondias pinnatatree is deciduous and can reach a height of around 25 m. It is usually found in home gardens in tropical regions — it is not restricted to India and is common in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Bali, where it is part of traditional food and medicine.
  116. India’s biodiverse ecosystems are threatened by a variety of alien plants like Lantana camara, Parthenium hysterophorous, Prosopis juliflora,etc, introduced during British colonisation. Lantana alone has pervasively invaded 44 per cent of India’s forests. Co-occurring invasive plants like Lantana, Ageratum conyzoides, Pogostemon benghalensis, etc, have a magnified cumulative impact than their individual impacts, causing ecological homogenisation in invaded regions.
  117. The FAO and the UN Environment Programme always urge farmers to adhere to the Rotterdam Convention, which aims at, among others, reducing risks associated with hazardous chemicals in food production.
  118. ICMR is the autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and CDSCO is the apex drug regulatory body.
  119. Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS): TTS occurs when a person has blood clots (thrombosis) as well as low blood platelet counts (thrombocytopenia). According to the study, it is very rare and different from general clotting conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or lung clots (pulmonary embolism).
  120. Ganjam kewda (Pandanus fascicularis) oil is steam-distilled from the flower of the aromatic screwpine plant and used as an aromatic in the food industry and other sectors. It is registered under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 by the Government of India.
  121. Lameta exposure is a sedimentary rock formation known for its dinosaur fossils.
  122. Central Africa is host to the largest community of internally displaced persons in Africa. Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent comprising various countries according to different definitions. Middle Africa is an analogous term used by the United Nations in its geoscheme for Africa and consists of the following countries: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, and São Tomé and Príncipe. The African Development Bank, on the other hand, defines Central Africa as seven countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.
  123. The 108thIndian Science Congress (ISC) will be held at Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University in Maharashtra. This year’s theme: Science and Technology for Sustainable Development with Women Empowerment.
  124. The concept of ‘pyroregions’— covering areas with specific fire regimes — provides us with a better lens through which to apprehend fire’s spatial heterogeneity. Pyroregions share similar characteristics, such as fire size, frequency, seasonality and intensity, which ultimately determine fire impacts. These pyroregions do not follow administrative, ecological or climate borders, and can be seen as a practical and straightforward way of describing fire patterns across Europe. Pyroregions also help simulate future changes of fire patterns as the planet warms.
  125. Sir Creek is a 98-km disputed territory between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands, which opens up into the Arabian Sea. It divides the Kutch region of Gujarat and the Sindh province of Pakistan. The two countries have been holding talks to resolve issues related to the border dispute here.
  126. Kuki-Chin, the Christian community from Bangladesh’s Chittagong hill tracts, share close ethnic ties with people in Mizoram. The first tranche of around 300 refugees came in November 2022.
  127. Keezhanthoor coffee, an Arabica variety, is famous for its taste and aroma. Tribespeople and other farmers traditionally follow organic coffee farming in the Anchunad valley. Coffee is mainly cultivated at Kanthalloor, Keezhanthoor, Kulachivayal, and Vettukad and marketed as Keezhanthoor coffee.
  128. Meghalaya is known for its living root bridges, locally known as jingkieng jri.  They are on the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. Many bridges across the State are over a century old.
  129. Keeping in view the high incidence of childhood obesity and to make children aware of health and nutrition, the Food Safety Administration UT, Chandigarh, has implemented the Government of India initiative of ‘Eat Right Schools’ here, roping in the Education Department, Chandigarh to focus on 100 government schools in the first phase of this initiative.
  130. The United States announced that it will extend COVID-19 pandemic-era restrictions, known as Title 42, to expel migrants from Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border back to Mexico, a move would block more nationalities from seeking asylum in the United States.
  131. The Office of the Registrar-General of India (RGI) is following the set of criteria set out by the Lokur Committee to define any new community as a Scheduled Tribe.
  132. Kollam in Kerala is India’s first Constitution literate district.
  133. From the Khoibu tribe of the northeast and the Toda tribe of the Niligirs to the Baiga tribe of Madhya Pradesh — the rich cultural tradition of tattooing or godna, as it is popularly known, has been venerated by several communities across the country for various religious, ornamental, and healing purposes.

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