IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-July 2023

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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-September 2021

IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-July 2023

  1. Seabed mining in international waters cannot start until the International Seabed Authority (ISA), a Jamaica-based U.N. body, decides on regulations.
  2. The annual bonalu festival held recently in the Golconda fort in Hyderabad. It is an annual festival celebrated in the twin Cities Hyderabad and Secunderabad and other parts of Telangana state, India. It is dedicated to the worship of the Goddess Mahakali. Bonalu involves worship of Kali in her various forms such Mysamma, Pochamma, Yellamma, Dokkalamma, Pedamma, Poleramma, Ankalamma, Maremma, Nookalamma etc.
  3. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a chronic single gene disorder causing a debilitating systemic syndrome characterized by chronic anemia, acute painful episodes, organ infarction and chronic organ damage and by a significant reduction in life expectancy.
  4. The Zou / Zo are a Tibeto-Mongoloidgroup of people sub-family of the Chin-Kuki-Mizo race.
  5. The SCO is an Eurasian political, economic, international security and defence organisation. 
  6. Underground climate change is explained as the impact due to rising subsurface temperatures because of human activity like basement parking, tunnel roads, subways, and underground rail, among others. These constantly emit heat which is trapped, affecting the soil by making it expand or contract.
  7. A study published in the journal Nature used microwave frequency data gathered by two Chinese lunar orbiters, Chang’E-1 in 2010 and Chang’E-2 in 2012, to measure the heat below the surface of a suspected volcanic feature on the Moon. The team concluded that the heat source originates from a concentration of radioactive elements unique to the Moon, indicating the presence of granite in the feature known as Compton-Belkovich. Granites are igneous rocks that form remnants of the underground plumbing systems of extinct volcanoes. They are created when lava cools and solidifies within the Earth’s crust. The presence of the granite body on the Moon could provide valuable insights into the formation of the lunar crust during its early stages.
  8. A new study of the sediments from a seasonal lake in the Kaas Plateau in the Satara district of Maharashtra has indicated a major shift in the Indian Summer Monsoons towards dry and stressed conditions with low rainfall during the Early-Mid–Holocene, around 8664 years BP. Sediment profile dating back to 8000 years which helped decode climatic signatures indicated a relatively reduced rainfall and weak southwest monsoon during the late Holocene (around 2827 years BP). Kaas Plateau, nestled in the Western Ghats is about 140 km from Pune, was included in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2012. Known as Kaas Pathar in Marathi, its name is derived from the Kaasa tree, botanically known as Elaeocarpus glandulosus(rudraksha family). Designated as a biodiversity hotspot, the Kaas Plateau comes to life with various seasonal flowers forming a floral carpet over the entire lateritic crust during August and September.
  9. 6PPD is an organic chemical widely used as stabilising additive in rubbers. 6PPD is water-soluble, so it is carried off of roads by rain and washed into rivers and oceans where it has been linked to mass salmon and trout die-offs. 6PPD is absorbed by edible plants like lettuce and that the compound can be found in human urine.
  10. Recently, the heritage Byculla Railway station which has been restored to its original glory, received the UNESCO award. The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation is supported by a partnership between UNESCO and Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation since 2021. UNESCO introduced the new category, ‘Special Recognition for Sustainable Development’, in 2020, together with an updated set of Awards Criteria.
  11. Jammu is going to pioneer India’s first Cannabis Medicine Project.
  12. China recently carried out a trial test on the main engine of the Long March-10, a new carrier rocket designed for manned moon landing missions. It is China’s new carrier rocket designed for manned moon landing missions. The rocket will be capable of ferrying a crew module along with a lunar lander to Earth-Moon transfer orbit. 
  13. Project ‘Mausam’ is the initiative of Ministry of Culture to be implemented by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as the nodal agency with research support of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Museum as associate bodies. This project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world’–collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean. It also aims to promote research on themes related to the study of Maritime Routes. Main objective of the project is to inscribe places and sites identified under Project Mausam as trans-national nomination for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
  14. The Scorpene submarines are conventional attack subs, meaning that they are designed to target and sink adversary naval vessels. Capable of launching a large array of torpedoes and missiles, they are also equipped with a range of surveillance and intelligence-gathering mechanisms. Scorpene class submarines use diesel electric propulsion systems, with an endurance – ability to operate independently without refuelling – of approximately 50 days. This sort of propulsion system alternates between using diesel (for functioning on the surface) and electric (for functioning underwater). However, these electric batteries need to be recharged by the diesel engine after prolonged submersion, meaning that the submarine has to periodically surface to continue operating.
  15. Recently, NASA’s IXPE Mission unveils twisted mysteries of the Supermassive Black Hole Markarian 421. It is a supermassive black hole firing a jet of high-energy particles aimed directly at Earth. It is about 400 million light-years away from the earth. It is located in the constellation Ursa Major.
  16. Nuclear submarines are coveted due to their theoretically unlimited endurance – a nuclear reactor on a submarine has an operational life of up to 30 years. As they are not propelled by batteries, these submarines only need to come to the surface for replenishing supplies for the crew. They are also able to move much faster than conventional submarines.
  17. Astronomers have found what is the most reflective planet ever discovered using data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Cheops satellite. The planet has a thick layer of reflective metal clouds, essentially turning it into a gigantic mirror when viewed by observatories. Venus has a thick cloud layer that reflects about 75 per cent of the Sun’s light. This is why it is the brightest object in the night sky after the Moon. For context, the Earth only reflects around 30 per cent of the incoming sunlight. What about LTT9779 b, the newly-discovered planet? It reflects a massive 80 per cent of the light it receives from its host star. This exoplanet is about the size of Neptune, which according to ESA, makes it the largest mirror in the universe that we know. The metallic clouds are mostly made of silicate, which is what sand and glass are made of. There are also other metals like titanium mixed into the clouds. The blazing-hot exoplanet is so close to its host star that it completes an orbit in less than a day.
  18. Claude 2 is an AI chatbot just like ChatGPT and it has been created by San Francisco-based AI start-up Anthropic. Most importantly, Claude is free to use and the biggest advantage of the chatbot is, as mentioned above, its ability to summarise nearly any document. Users can upload more than one document to Claude and ask it to analyse shared findings and find commonalities between the two documents.  Search giant Google introduced its AI chatbot Bard in March of this year. Over the last few months, Google has made some significant improvements to its chatbot which was initially based on Google’s LaMDA family of Large Language Models (LLM). The chatbot was later moved to PaLM, a 540-billion-parameter transformer-based LLM.
  19. Silver cockscomb which is widely regarded as a weed is found to have benefits that is being largely used by the Soliga tribal community. Silver cockscomb is a short-lived beautiful but troublesome weed that is 50-60 cm-tall with simple, spirally arranged leaves around the stem. It is also known as lagos spinach, the weed belongs to the Amaranthaceae family, which includes economically important plants like spinach (Spinacia oleracea), beetroot and quinoa.
  20. The Understanding Lifelong Learning for All in Society (ULLAS) initiative is poised to revolutionise education and literacy across the nation. It is done by fostering a learning ecosystem that reaches every individual, bridging the gaps in basic literacy and critical life skills. It imparts basic education, digital and financial literacy and critical life skills to citizens aged 15 and above who lost on the opportunity to go to school. It is being implemented through volunteerism.
  21. Researchers in Switzerland recently developed a new, autonomous fish robot named Belle, capable of giving conservationists a clearer picture of the organisms that live under the sea without disturbing the marine environment.
  22. Picolinic acids a pyridinemonocarboxylic acid in which the carboxy group is located at position 2. It is an intermediate in the metabolism of tryptophan. It has a role as a MALDI matrix material and a human metabolite. It is a conjugate acid of a picolinate.
  23. Bacteriophage, also called phage or bacterial virus, any of a group of viruses that infect bacteria. Bacteriophages also infect the single-celled prokaryotic organisms known as archaea. Thousands of varieties of phages exist, each of which may infect only one type or a few types of bacteria or archaea. Phages are classified in a number of virus families namely Inoviridae, Microviridae, Rudiviridae, and Tectiviridae. Like all viruses, phages are simple organisms that consist of a core of genetic material (nucleic acid) surrounded by a protein capsid. The nucleic acid may be either DNA or RNA and may be double-stranded or single-stranded. There are 3 basic structural forms of phage – an icosahedral (20-sided) head with a tail, an icosahedral head without a tail, and a filamentous form.
  24. Google’s parent company Alphabet is rolling out its artificial intelligence chatbot Bard in Europe and Brazil.
  25. Desiccation-tolerant vascular (DT) plants are able to withstand extreme dehydration, losing up to 95% of their water content, and they revive themselves once water is available again. This unique ability allows them to survive in harsh, arid environments that would be uninhabitable for most other plants. DT plants have been studied for their possible applications in agriculture, particularly in areas with limited water resources. In tropical regions, they are the predominant occupants of rock outcrops. 
  26. Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS) umbrella scheme is central sector scheme, pertains to the atmospheric science programs of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). The entire gamut of weather/climate prediction involves the observational systems, assimilation of meteorological observations, understanding the processes, research and development of dynamical models and providing the forecast services. Each of these aspects is incorporated as sub-scheme under the umbrella scheme ACROSS and is implemented by four different institutions under MoES namely: India Meteorological Department (IMD), National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) which implements a small part of one of the sub-schemes.
  27. Agariyas are socially recognized as “Chunvaliya Koli” “Miyana” “Sandhi” community all of them fall into De-notified tribe (NTDNT) category.
  28. BepiColombo, a joint mision by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) helped scientists discover that electrons raining down on the planet’s surface can cause high-energy auroras.
  29. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a rare genetic disorder. It was first described by the French neurologist Guillaume Benjamin Amand Duchenne in the 1860. It is characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness due to the alterations of a protein called dystrophin that helps keep muscle cells intact. It is a multi-systemic condition, affecting many parts of the body, which results in deterioration of the skeletal, heart, and lung muscles. The dystrophin gene is found on the X-chromosome, it primarily affects males, while females are typically carriers.  It can begin as early as age 2 or 3, first affecting the proximal muscles (those close to the core of the body) and later affecting the distal limb muscles (those close to the extremities). Usually, the lower external muscles are affected before the upper external muscles. The affected child might have difficulty jumping, running, and walking. Other symptoms include enlargement of the calves, a waddling gait, and lumbar lordosis (an inward curve of the spine). Later on, the heart and respiratory muscles are affected as well. Presently available treatments are gene therapyexon skipping, stop codon read-through and gene repair.
  30. International Institute for Population Sciences: It was formerly known as the Demographic Training and Research Centre (DTRC) till 1970. It was established in July 1956 under the joint sponsorship of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, the Government of India and the United Nations. It serves as a regional centre for Training and Research in Population Studies for the ESCAP region. The Institute was re-designated to its present title in 1985 to facilitate the expansion of its academic activities. It was declared as a ‘Deemed to be University’ on August 14, 1985, under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. The recognition has facilitated the award of recognized degrees by the Institute itself and paved the way for further expansion of the Institute as an academic institution. IIPS holds a unique position among all the regional population centres. It was the first such centre started, and it serves a much larger population than any of the other regional centres. The Institute is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
  31. Prime Minister recently pitched for sharing India’s AI-based language platform, Bhashini, with SCO member countries to remove language barriers within the international grouping.
  32. The World Bank updated the global poverty lines in September 2022. The decision, announced in May, follows the release in 2020 of new purchasing power parities (PPPs)—the main data used to convert different currencies into a common, comparable unit and account for price differences across countries. The new extreme poverty line of $2.15 per person per day, which replaces the $1.90 poverty line, is based on 2017 PPPs. 
  33. Members of the Kodava community, in the hill district of Kodagu, are demanding exclusive, intangible constituencies in Parliament and the Karnataka Assembly on the lines of the Sangha virtual constituency for the Buddhist monastic community in Sikkim.
  34. The term First Information Report (FIR) is not defined in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, or in any other law. When a police station receives a complaint of an offence that has been committed in another jurisdiction, it registers an FIR and then transfers it to the relevant police station for further investigation. No regular FIR number is given to the Zero FIR. After receiving the Zero FIR, the revenant police station registers a fresh FIR and starts the investigation. A Zero FIR can be filed in any police station by the victim, irrespective of their residence or the place of occurrence of crime.
  35. NASA’s IXPE Mission unveils twisted mysteries of the Supermassive Black Hole Markarian 421.
  36. “Arhtiyas” refers to commission agents or middlemen in the agricultural sector. Arhtiyas procure agricultural produce from farmerseither directly from the farm or at local agricultural markets (mandis). They often provide credit to farmers to meet their immediate financial needs, including inputs for the next cropping season or personal expenses. Arhtiyas may offer warehousing facilities for the storage of agricultural commodities. They facilitate the sale of agricultural produce to wholesale buyers, such as government agencies or private traders, on behalf of the farmers.
  37. North Korea recently tested its latest Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It is a type of solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) developed by North Korea. It is North Korea’s first ICBM to use solid-fuel, which allows for faster launches.
  38. Tunicates are commonly called sea squirts which are a group of marine animals. They spend most of their lives attached to docks, rocks or the undersides of boats. About 3,000 species of tunicate exist in the world’s oceans, living mostly in shallow water. They are a species of marine invertebrates with an evolutionary history from at least 500 million years ago. Researchers are interested in them as they are the closest relatives of vertebrates, which includes fish, mammals, and people.
  39. The Ghaggar and many of its tributaries originate in the Shivalik foothills of Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh. Among these tributaries, the Kaushalya, Tangri, Markanda, Beghna and Sukhna rivers are the ones that merge into the Ghaggar. The Ghaggar-Hakra River is an intermittent river in India and Pakistan that flows only during the monsoon season. The river is known as Ghaggar in India, before the Ottu barrage, and as the Hakra in Pakistan, downstream of the barrage. It eventually dries up in the Great Indian (Thar) Desert.
  40. Recently, the British children’s writer and performance poet Michael Rosen has been awarded the prestigious PEN Pinter Prize 2023. The winner must be the author of a significant body of plays, poetry, essays, or fiction of outstanding literary merit, written in English. It is given to a writer from the UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth whose work is committed to a fearless exposition of truth about contemporary life.
  41. Fibromyalgia may be associated with an elevated risk of mortality owing to sensitivity to accidents, infections, and, in particular, suicide, according to a pooled data analysis.
  42. A stapled visa is simply an unstamped piece of paper that is attached by a pin or staples to a page of the passport and can be torn off or detached at will. This is different from a regular visa that is affixed to the passport by the issuing authority and stamped.
  43. Foreign Exchange Reserves (also called Forex Reserves) are reserve assets held by a central bank in foreign currencies. These may include foreign currencies, bonds, treasury bills, and other government securities. India’s foreign exchange reserves comprise of: Foreign currency assets (FCAs): These are maintained in currencies like the US dollar, euro, pound sterling, Australian dollar and Japanese yen, Gold, SDR (Special Drawing Rights): This is the reserve currency with IMF, RTP (Reserve Tranche Position): This is the reserve capital with IMF.
  44. Recently, OpenAI CEO formally re-introduced Worldcoin project of his that was eclipsed by the popularity of ChatGPT. Worldcoin Project is an initiative to create a digital network in which everyone can claim some kind of stake, and join the digital economy.
  45. During the initial days, Parliament used to break for lunch at 1 pm. Therefore, the opportunity for MPs to raise national issues without advance notice became available at 12 pm and could last for an hour until the House adjourned for lunch. This led to the hour being popularly referred to as Zero Hour and the issues being raised during this time as Zero Hour submissions.  Zero Hour is an Indian parliamentary innovation.  The phrase does not find mention in the rules of procedure. The concept of Zero Hour started organically in the first decade of the Indian Parliament when MPs felt the need for raising important constituency and national issues. Over the years, presiding officers of both Houses have given directions to streamline the working of Zero Hour to make it even more effective. Its importance can be gauged from the support it receives from citizens, media, MPs and presiding officers despite not being part of the rulebook.
  46. INDIAai is the National artificial intelligence Portal of India which was launched on 28th May 2020. It is a knowledge portal, research organisation, and an ecosystem-building initiative. It stands to unite and promote collaborations with various entities in India’s AI ecosystem. It is a joint initiative by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY),National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and NASSCOM.
  47. Silvopasture system is an ancient and proven practice that harmoniously integrates trees, forage and livestockon the same land.
  48. Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a large system of ocean currents operating In the Atlantic, which circulates the waters between the north and the south. It is characterized by a northward flow of warm, salty water in the upper layers of the Atlantic, and a southward flow of colder, deep waters that are part of the thermohaline circulation. AMOC ensures the oceans are continually mixed, and heat and energy are distributed around Earth. 
  49. International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem is celebrated every year on July 26.
  50. Hygroelectricity is the generation of electricity from the humidity of the air. It is a type of renewable energy that has the potential to be a major source of power in the future.
  51. Boulders is a geological term for a rock fragment that is larger than 25.6 centimetres(10.1 inches) in diameter. Boulders can be made up of various types of rocks, including igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. The composition of a boulder depends on the geology of the area in which it formed.
  52. A waterspout is a tornado-like column or funnel of violently rotating air that usually forms over the surface of the sea. Waterspouts form mostly in tropical and subtropical areas. But regions, including Europe, Middle-East, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica also report these on rare occasions. They may assume many shapes and often occur in a series, called a waterspout family.
  53. The Black Sea, also known as the Euxine Sea, is one of the major water bodies and a famous inland sea in the world.
  54. Perovskite is a material that has the same crystal structure as the mineral calcium titanium oxide (CaTiO3), the first-discovered perovskite crystal. The mineral was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia by Gustav Rose in 1839 and is named after Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski. Generally, perovskite compounds have a chemical formula ABX3, where ‘A’ and ‘B’ represent cations, and X is an anion that bonds to both.
  55. Recently, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare launched a new campaign for banks under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund titled BHARAT (Banks Heralding Accelerated Rural & Agriculture Transformation). It aims to get active involvement and support of members of commercial Banks in the public and private sector, Regional Rural Banks, Small Finance Banks, NBFCs and select cooperative Banks in promoting the Scheme of Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.

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