IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-March 2023

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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-September 2021

IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-March 2023

  1. Red-and-white floral Assamese gamosa, or a phulam gamosa, and the other half was a red-and-white chequered pattern gamcha, used by Bengalis. The phulam gamosa is steeped in emotive weight and is considered to be a symbol of Assamese cultural identity. It has a deep symbolic value in Assam, be it religiously, socially or culturally. Socially, it is gifted as a symbol of mutual respect and solidarity. It also has a special relationship with the Vaishnavite culture in Assam. The axon, the main place of worship, is considered incomplete without one. On the other hand, the Bengali gamcha does not have such symbolism attached to it and is a utilitarian item for household use. A completely different garment — a long scarf called an uttariya — is used in cultural programmes and to welcome guests in Bengali society.
  2. Cultivated meat— also called cultured or cell-based meat — is made from animal cells but livestock does not need to be killed in order to produce it. Notably, it is different from plant-based meat substitutes in that it actually uses animal DNA to recreate in a lab the taste and texture of meat. Plant-based substitutes, on the other hand, try and mimic the taste and texture of meat using other plant-based alternatives. The prepared DNA sequence was then placed in myoblast (embryonic precursor to muscle cells) stem cells from a sheep, which soon replicated in the right lab conditions to grow to the nearly 20 billion cells subsequently used by the company to create the mammoth meatball. The mammoth meatball has not been tasted by anyone, even its creators. Currently, Singapore is the only country to have approved cell-based meat for consumption. Vow hopes to enter the market later this year, with its quail-based meat product.
  3. The undersea mining will be conducted to extract key battery materials — cobalt, copper, nickel, and manganese — from potato-sized rocks called “polymetallic nodules” found at depths of 4 kilometers to 6 kilometers (about 2.5 miles to 3.7 miles). The Jamaica-based ISA was established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It holds authority over the ocean floors outside of its 167 member states’ Exclusive Economic Zones.
  4. Prepaid payment instruments (PPI) include online wallets (like PaytmWallet, Amazon Pay Wallet, PhonePe Wallet, etc.) and preloaded gift cards.  A PPI payment done via UPI refers to a transaction done via such a wallet through a UPI QR code.
  5. Twitter CEO Elon Musk has announced changes that will whittle down the experience for those not willing to cough up verification fees for their accounts. The issue of spam and fake accounts has plagued the social media platform for years with fake news and disinformation. The “blue check” has helped verify the identity of users including high profile users and celebrities, politicians, journalists and newsmakers.
  6. Tibetan Buddhism has four major schools: Nyingma (8th century), Kagyu (11th century), Sakya (1073), and Gelug (1409). The Janang school (12th century) is one of the smaller schools that grew as an offshoot of the Sakya school. Since 1640, the Gelug school has been the predominant school of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama belongs to this school.
  7. Tactical nuclear weapons are intended to destroy enemy troops and weapons on the battlefield. They have a relatively short range and a much lower yield than nuclear warheads fitted to long-range strategic missiles that are capable of obliterating whole cities. While strategic nuclear weapons are fitted to land- or submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missiles that are constantly ready for launch, tactical nuclear weapons are stored at a few tightly guarded storage facilities in Russia, and it takes time to deliver them to combat units.
  8. The H-1B is a temporary (non-immigrant) visa category that allows employers to petition for highly educated foreign professionals to work in “specialty occupations” that require at least a bachelor’s degree. Jobs in fields such as mathematics, engineering, technology, and medical sciences often qualify for this visa type. While the initial duration of an H-1B visa is three years, it may be extended.
  9. Visitor visas are non-immigrant visas for those who want to enter the US temporarily for business (B-1), for tourism (B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2). Interviews are generally required for visa applicants with certain exceptions, pertaining to age-group and whether it’s a first-time applicant or a renewal case. B1/B2 allows for multiple entries and is generally issued for a period of 10 years, where a person can stay for up to six months at a time. However, an individual on a visitor visa (B1/B2) is not permitted to accept employment or work in the US, even as searching for employment and interviewing for a position are permissible B-1 or B-2 activities. In case someone loses a job while on H1-B status but wants to stay on in the US, she can file a change of status to B1/B2 and continue to look for the next H-1b sponsor. The B2 status-change application may take several months to be processed after filing, during which a person can continue to appear for interviews and find another job. In case someone finds the next sponsor even before the B2 application is approved, she can withdraw the plea. However, a B1/B2 visa requires one to furnish ample financial evidence, to show the applicant can self-fund the entire stay in the US, and some proof of ties to your home country. On the other hand, if someone has travelled to the US on B1/B2, and wants to convert it into H1-B upon getting a job offer, the person may be able to request a change in the non-immigrant status to another category through USCIS.
  10. ‘One China’ for China basically refers to the principle that it is one country, composing mainland China and the island of Taiwan. Why these are referred to separately in the first place is because around the time of China’s consolidation into a modern, unified state, as it then composed of many kingdoms, there was disagreement over how the country would be governed.
  11. Marburg virus disease (MVD), earlier known as Marburg hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal hemorrhagic fever, according to the WHO. Marburg, like Ebola, is a filovirus; and both diseases are clinically similar. Rousettus fruit bats are considered the natural hosts for the Marburg virus. However, African green monkeys imported from Uganda were the source of the first human infection, the WHO points out. It was first detected in 1967 after simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany; and in Belgrade, Serbia. It is difficult to clinically distinguish MVD from diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and other viral haemorrhagic fevers. However, it is confirmed by lab testing of samples, which like Coronavirus and Ebola are extreme biohazard risks.
  12. The Indochinese tiger found in Cambodia is smaller than the Royal Bengal tiger, but they are the same subspecies. According to the WWF, “since 2017, IUCN has recognised two tiger subspecies, commonly referred to as the continental tiger and the Sunda island tiger. All remaining island tigers are found only in Sumatra, with tigers in Java and Bali now extinct. These are popularly known as Sumatran tigers. The continental tigers currently include the Bengal, Malayan, Indochinese and Amur (Siberian) tiger populations, while the Caspian tiger is extinct in the wild. The South China tiger is believed to be functionally extinct.”
  13. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the International Day of Nowruz in 2010. The festival had also been listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016. Terming it as a day which marks the “renewal of nature,” the UNESCO describes it as a festival which “promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families as well as reconciliation and neighborliness.”
  14. Article 329A was omitted by the Forty-fourth Amendment Act, 1978, passed by the Janata government.
  15. Article 102 of the Constitution deals with grounds for disqualification of a parliamentarian. Sub-clause (e) of Article 102(1) says an MP will lose his membership of the House “if he is so disqualified by or under any law made by Parliament”. The law in this case is the RP Act.
  16. Expenses of Management (EOM) include all expenses in the nature of operating expenses of general or health Insurance business and commission to the insurance agents or insurance intermediaries. It also includes commission and expenses on reinsurance inward, which are charged to the revenue account.
  17. Hosakerehalli lake: The lake located in Rajarajeshwari Nagar has been in need of restoration for the last few years. 
  18. The Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative is a global network of experts which seeks to integrate science, technology, policy, law and economics to advise on ecosystem-based management of resource use in the deep ocean and strategies to maintain the integrity of deep-ocean ecosystems within and beyond national jurisdiction.
  19. In 1908, the first session of the Bihar Provincial Conference was held, where Muhammad Fakhruddin moved a resolution demanding Bihar’s separation from Bengal. Then, in August 1908, the Bihar Provincial Conference, Bihar Landholder’s Association and Bihar Provincial Muslim League came together and addressed Andrew Fraser, the Lieutenant-Governor of Bihar and West Bengal, during his visit to Patna regarding their demand for separation.
  20. March 22 is observed as Bihar Diwasor Bihar Day to commemorate Bihar’s separation from the Bengal Presidency in 1912. The day was first celebrated in 2010 on the directions of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who hoped that such an event would help the Biharis “celebrate [their] glorious past and gear [them] up to revive it.” Finally, in December 1911, during the Delhi Durbar, the British government announced that Bihar and Orissa would be carved out of Bengal on the occasion of George V’s coronation as the Emperor of India. The declaration was notified on March 22, 1912, and the two regions appeared as separate states on India’s map the next month.
  21. The Call Before u Dig mobile application, an initiative of the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, aims to prevent damage to underlying assets like optical fibre cables that occurs because of uncoordinated digging and excavation, leading to losses of about Rs 3,000 crore every year.
  22. Atmospheric rivers are vast airborne currents of dense moisture carried aloft for hundreds of miles from the Pacific and funneled over land to fall as bouts of heavy rain and snow.
  23. The Hindu Kush region in Afghanistan experiences unique tectonic forces and is a site of frequent earthquakes. On one side it feels the forces of the Indian tectonic plate getting under the Himalayas, a phenomenon that is occurring throughout the Himalayan ranges. From the other side, the Eurasian plate is subducting into the Pamir mountain ranges. In addition, there are local faultlines as well.
  24. Shallow earthquakes are generally more devastating because they carry greater energy when they emerge on the surface. Deeper earthquakes lose much of their energy by the time they come to the surface. The deeper quakes spread farther — the seismic waves move radially upwards to the surface — even as they lose energy while travelling greater distances, and hence cause less damage. Thus, the current tremors are unlikely to cause much damage in India.
  25. In the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, under the section ‘Rules to be observed by the members’, there is rule 357 for ‘personal explanation’. It states, “A member may, with the permission of the Speaker, make a personal explanation although there is no question before the House, but in this case no debatable matter may be brought forward, and no debate shall arise.”
  26. Sealed cover jurisprudence: It is the practice of seeking and accepting information from government agencies in sealed envelopes that can only be perused by judges. It has been followed by the Supreme Court in the past, and sometimes lower courts as well. This can happen in broadly two kinds of cases: (i) when the information is connected to an ongoing investigation and, (ii) when the information is personal or confidential in nature. It is understood that in the first situation, an ongoing investigation could be impeded by the disclosure, and in the second situation, an individual’s privacy could be affected or there may be a breach of trust.
  27. Scientists made the new discovery by pouring over images of Venus taken by NASA’s Magellan spacecraft between 1990 and 1992. During their examination, they looked at the planet’s Atla Regio area, where two of the biggest volcanoes of Venus, Ozza Mons and Maat Mons, are located. Apart from this, the findings give us a glimpse of what more is to come regarding Venus as in the next decade, three new Venus missions would be launched, including the European EnVision orbiter and NASA’s DAVINCI and VERITAS missions.
  28. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) develops after multiple head injuries and can lead to behavioral changes and long-term dementia.
  29. The International Criminal Court was created two decades ago as a standing body to investigate war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity under a 1998 treaty known as the Rome Statute. Previously, the United Nations Security Council had established ad hoc tribunals to address atrocities in places such as the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
  30. Tamil writer Perumal Murugan’s novel ‘Pookkuzhi’, translated as ‘Pyre’ in English by Anirudh Vasudevan, has made it to the International Booker Prize 2023 longlist, becoming the first Tamil novel to be nominated for the Bookers.
  31. The remotely piloted MQ-9 “Reaper” can reach up to 50,000 feet for more than 27 hours, gathering intelligence with cameras, sensors and radars. The US Air Force website states it can also carry precision strikes. It has a 66-feet wingspan and a length of 36 feet. It can carry 3,900 pounds of fuel and travel at a speed of 240 knots. Drones are cheaper than manned aircraft with similar capabilities and are safer for operators since they do not require a pilot. General Atomics says the MQ-9 has “demonstrated an air-to-air weapons capability” in Air Force tests. It can also be equipped with a “Self Protect Pod” that can detect threats and deploy countermeasures against surface-to-air weapons.
  32. The USA has finally announced its ambassador to India— Eric Garcetti, former Los Angeles Mayor, got the job over two-and-a-half years after his name was first announced for the post.
  33. Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) is a designation for non-US organisations that are deemed to be involved in terrorist activities. According to Section 219 of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, the Secretary of State can “designate an organisation as a foreign terrorist organisation… if the Secretary finds that (A) the organisation is a foreign organisation; (B) the organisation engages in terrorist activity or terrorism… or (C) …threatens the security of United States nationals or the national security of the United States”.
  34. Officially named the Academy Award of Merit, the statuette is better known as Oscar, and the nickname was officially adopted by the Academy in 1939. While each trophy reportedly costs over $400 to produce, official regulation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences states that the winners or anyone else cannot sell it in the market. It mandates that any resale requires for it to be first offered back to the Academy for $1. The person with the most Oscars ever is Walt Disney, who took home 26 in his lifetime. The most awarded woman in Oscar history, meanwhile, is American costume designer Edith Head, who won eight Academy Awards in the Best Costume Design category.
  35. Riyadh intervened in Yemen at the head of a Western-backed coalition in 2015 against the Houthi movement after the Iran-aligned group ousted the internationally recognised government from power in the capital, Sanaa. The war has been in military stalemate for years.
  36. mikveh, made of oak wood and dating roughly to 17th and 18th centuries, was discovered in the city of Oświęcim in Poland earlier this year. The city is better known by its German name Auschwitz, where the Nazis built the biggest concentration camp. A mikveh, also spelled as mikvah or miqwe, is a pool of water, in the open or stored, in Judaism in which one bathes for ritual cleansing. It is often part of a synagogue, the Jewish prayer house. Even the ocean or a lake can be a mikveh. The ritual purification is prescribed in the Jewish code of law, Mishna or Mishnah. Its use in modern times is not widespread among Jews. However, some still use mikveh and converts are required by Halakha, the legal tradition, to undergo ritual bath in a mikveh. A related word, requiescat, is a prayer for the repose (rest) of the dead and also comes from Latin requiescat in pace (abbreviated as R.I.P.), literally “may she (or he) begin to rest in peace”.
  37. Bubonic plague is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. It is transported by flea-bites — they transfer the disease from infected rodents to human beings. It first presents flu-like symptoms — fever, chills, and a headache — followed by an inflamed, dry, extremely painful region developing around the bitten area. As the infection spreads in the body, it causes fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, excruciating pain and generally kills the infected person due to multiple organ failure within a week after infection.
  38. Influenza viruses, which cause the infectious disease known as flu, are of four different types: A, B, C and D. Influenza A is further classified into different subtypes and one of them is the H3N2. According to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), H3N2 caused the 1968 flu pandemic that led to the death of around one million people globally and about 100,000 in the US.
  39. The Megha Tropiques satellite was launched aboard a PSLVby the space agency in 2011. And, although the planned mission life of the satellite was only three years, it continued providing data on water cycle and energy exchanges in the tropics for nearly a decade.
  40. Safe harbour – as prescribed under Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000 – is legal immunity that online intermediaries enjoy against content posted by users on their platforms. This is available as long as these platforms abide by certain due diligence requirements, such as censoring content when asked by the government or courts. The concept originally came from Section 230 of the United States’ Communications Decency Act, which has been termed “one of the foundational laws behind the modern Internet”.
  41. In an election overshadowed by political instability, Nepal elected Ram Chandra Poudel as its President. This is the third presidential election in Nepal since the country became a republic in 2008. The tenure of the current president, Bidya Devi Bhandari, will end on March 12. The term of office of the President is five years from the date of election, and one individual can be elected to the post for only two terms. Although the post of President is largely ceremonial, they hold some discretionary powers accorded by the Constitution.
  42. British architect and urban planner Sir David Chipperfield, 69, is the 2023 Laureate of The Pritzker Architecture Prize, the highest international honour for architects. The prize, which will be conferred on him at a ceremony in Athens in May, is in recognition of his four-decade practice in Europe, North America, and Asia.
  43. International Women’s Day 2023 (IWD) will be commemorated on March 8 under the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.
  44. The Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979 looks into the welfare of the labourers. The Act mandates that the establishment which proposes to employ migrant workers be required to be registered with destination states. Contractors will also have to obtain a licence from the concerned authority of the home states as well as the host states. However, in practice, this Act has not been fully implemented.This Act has been subsumed into the four broad labour codes notified by the Centre: The Code on Wages, 2019; The Industrial Relations Code, 2020; The Code on Social Security, 2020; and The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020. These have not been implemented yet.
  45. Statins remain “the cornerstone of cholesterol-lowering therapies. Nexletol also blocks cholesterol production in the liver but in a different way than statins and without that muscle side effect.
  46. Windfall gains tax is a term used to describe cesses under the ambit of central excise imposed on fuel exports and domestic crude oil production to tax super-normal profits of fuel exporters and oil producers. In the case of domestic crude oil and ATF exports, the windfall gains tax is in the form of Special Additional Excise Duty (SAED), while on diesel, it is a combination of SAED and Additional Excise Duty (AED). The duties are revised once every fortnight based on the movement in margins on fuels in the international market and global crude oil prices. These levies were first imposed on July 1, 2022 due to the surge in global oil and fuel prices in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As the price of crude oil produced in India is benchmarked to international prices, domestic oil prices also went through the roof. At the same time, margins on fuels were a lot more lucrative in other markets, incentivising refiners, particularly private sector players, to export fuels. This had resulted in fuel supply disruptionsin some parts of the country.
  47. Yellowstone National Park, which celebrated its 151st anniversary earlier this week, is widely considered to be the first national park in the world. Located in the northwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho, it was established by the 42nd United States Congress with the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. It spans an area of over 9,000 sq. km comprising lakes, canyons, rivers, iconic geothermal features such as the Old Faithful geyser, and mountain ranges. The Old Faithful Geyser is one of Yellowstone National Park’s biggest attractions and is one of many of the park’s geothermal features.
  48. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest of the three pyramids in Giza, originally standing roughly 147 m above the Giza plateau. Construction was started in circa 2550 BC, during the reign of Khufu, often considered the greatest pharaoh of Egypt’s old kingdom.  The initial discovery of a void was made using a imaging technique known as cosmic-ray muon radiography. This method uses the penetrative power of cosmic subatomic particles called muonsto scan large structures.
  49. March 3 is known as World Wildlife Day (WWD), marked annually to draw attention to issues of conservation of flora and fauna. The WWD site states, “This year, the theme is ‘Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation’. It will allow us to celebrate all conservation efforts, from intergovernmental to local scale.” In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed March 3 as the UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of protecting the world’s wild animals and plants. This was as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed in 1973 on this day.
  50. Centre for Policy Research (CPR) was established in 1973 as a think tank with the mission to contribute to “a more robust public discourse about the issues that impact life in India.”  The CPR covers a broad range of subjects, with experts from different fields working under its aegis to conduct policy-oriented research. According to its website, research areas include “air pollution, climate change, economy, education, environmental law & justice, energy & electricity, federalism, governance, accountability & public finance, health & nutrition, Indian politics, international relations & security, jobs, land rights, sanitation, social justice, state capacity, technology, urbanisation, and water”. The CPR also conducts research on specific government schemes and policies in order to improve them or learn from them in the future. The CPR is recognised as a not-for-profit society by the Government of India, and contributions to it are tax-exempt.
  51. The anticancer agent Ara-C, included on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, is found in sea sponges on a Caribbean reef.
  52. In India, land recorded as forest in revenue records or proclaimed as forest under a forest law is described as Recorded Forest Area. These areas were recorded as forests at some point due to the presence of forests on the land. Divided into Reserved, Protected and Unclassed forests, Recorded Forest Areas account for 23.58% of India.
  53. In common parlance, a caveat refers to “warning” or “caution”. However, legally it connotes a “formal notice requesting the court to refrain from taking some specified action without giving prior notice to the person lodging the caveat.” The person lodging the caveat is called a “caveator”. Inserted by the Amendment Act of 1976, added after the Law Commission’s recommendation, Section 148A of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) explains when a person has a right to lodge a caveat as “where an application is expected to be made, or has been made, in a suit or proceeding instituted, or about to be instituted, in a Court, any person claiming a right to appear before the Court on the hearing of such application may lodge a caveat in respect thereof.” The caveator or the person lodging is also required to serve a notice of the caveat by “registered post” to the person on whose plea they are lodging the application.
  54. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change’s revised electronic waste (e-waste) management Rules in 2022 brought solar photovoltaic cells, panels, and modules under its ambit. Similarly, the Green Credit Programme under the Environmental Protection Act, announced in the 2022-2023 Union Budget, aimed to promote green growth and sustainable practices.
  55. A typical photovoltaic panel is made up of 93% of c-Si modules and 7% of cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film modules. A c-Si module mainly consists of a glass sheet, an aluminium frame, an encapsulant, a backsheet, copper wires, and silicon wafers. The metals used to manufacture c-Si modules are silver, tin, and lead. The CdTe thin film module is made of glass, encapsulant, and compound semiconductor.
  56. The European Union’s ‘Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive’ makes producers responsible for safely and responsibly disposing of end-of-life photovoltaic panels.
  57. Israel does not have a Constitution. The country is governed by a set of laws on various subjects such as land, President, government, economy, and judiciary. These laws are called the country’s Basic Laws.
  58. Bedaquiline is a drug in tablet form used to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). 
  59. Late-life depression (LLD) is caused by multiple factors working together. It has three broad risk factors: biological, psychological, and social.
  60. Trindade Island is the easternmost and most remote point in Brazilian territory, located about 1,140 km from the southeastern state of Espírito Santo. Trindade surfaced owing to volcanic activity under the Atlantic Ocean about three million years ago. Trindade, along with the Martim Vaz archipelago about 40 km away, hosts many species of native flora and fauna including seabirds and marine creatures.
  61. The influenza A virus is known to cause seasonal flu disease in humans. These are divided into subtypes based on two proteins found on the surface of the virus: hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). There are 18 H-subtypes and 11 N-subtypes. More than 130 influenza A subtype combinations have been identified in nature so far, but virus reassortment, a process by which influenza viruses swap genetic information, makes many more subtypes possible.
  62. The H3N2 subtype appears to cause more hospitalisations than other influenza subtypes, India’s Ministry of Health and Welfare noted. About half of all inpatient severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and outpatient illnesses displaying influenza-like symptoms seen in surveillance data collected between December 15, 2022, and March 10, 2023, were found to have been H3N2 infections.
  63. Waste-to-energy projects use non-recyclable dry waste to generate electricity. The process increases the State’s power generation capacity and eases the solid waste management (SWM) burden.
  64. Palermo Protocoldefines trafficking as the recruitmenttransportationtransferharbouring or receipt of persons, using threat, force or coercion such as abductionfraud, or deception including payment for the purpose of exploitation. Palermo Protocol is an UN protocol that prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in human beings.
  65. In 2011, India voted in favour of the landmark ILO Convention 189 aimed at ensuring the legal protection of domestic workers – but the Convention is not ratified yet. India is also not a signatory to Conventions No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour and No. 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers — all of which have been deemed crucial globally.  
  66. End-to-End (E2E) encryption ensures that a message can only be decrypted by the intended recipient using a secure decryption key that is unique to each sender-recipient pair and to each of their messages. Decryption, even by the messaging service provider, is impossible. Even if the platform’s servers are compromised, without the intended recipient’s decryption key, only a garbled string of characters will be available. Over the last few years, E2E encryption has been steadily gaining ground. It is offered by default on WhatsApp, Signal, Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime and is an option on Meta’s Messenger and Telegram.
  67. The Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It is currently claimed to be a British Indian Ocean Territory (albeit disputed by Mauritius) and its waters have been declared an environment preservation and protection zone. Due to its remote location, fishers have to traverse the high seas to get there. With the small local population (expelled decades ago by the U.K.) and use as a U.S. military base, its local fishing activity is muted. Consequently, the Chagos are an attractive rest stop for fishers, especially from India and Sri Lanka, looking to plunder the high seas.
  68. A recombinant of two strains of adenovirus is causing a spike in viral infections in West Bengal. “It is a recombinant strain of human adenovirus type 3 (HAdV-3) and type 7 (HAdV-7) that is causing the majority of infections. While about 88 human adenovirus (HAdV) serotypes have been found, epidemiologic reports have suggested that nearly all fatal adenoviral diseases in children are associated with HAdV-7. The HAdV-3 strain is said to be more prevalent. A recombinant of human adenovirus type 3 (HAdV-3) which is more prevalent and type 7 (HAdV-7) which is more severe has led to morbidities. 
  69. The Indian Constitution does not explicitly talk about a right to health. A “right to health”, in theory, is derived from the right to life and liberty as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.  
  70. Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition, not a disease. This means there is a difference in how the brains of autistic children are wired, which becomes evident as the child develops. Autism is characterised by differences in three key areas. The first two are communication and social interaction, which often go together. Children with autism may struggle to communicate with others who are not like them. 
  71. Parts of the sea that are not included in the territorial waters or the internal waters of a country are known as the high seas, according to the 1958 Geneva Convention on the High Seas. Simply put, it is the area beyond a country’s Exclusive Economic Zone which extends up to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastline and till where a nation has jurisdiction over living and non-living resources. No country is responsible for the management and protection of resources on the high seas.
  72. After years of informal discussions, the UNGA decided in 2015 to develop a legally binding instrument within the framework of UNCLOS. Subsequently, the IGC was convened to frame a legal instrument on BBNJ.
  73. A marine protected area (MPA) is defined as a “geographically defined marine area that is designated and managed to achieve specific long-term biodiversity conservation objectives and may allow, where appropriate, sustainable use provided it is consistent with the conservation objectives.”
  74. Slack is an enterprise-grade communication tool that allows employees all over the world to instantly communicate with others, take part in group chats, share media, create channels to streamline projects or teams, facilitate meetings, and easily locate resources through a secure and centralised portal.
  75. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) recently outlined a plan for a potentially revolutionary new area of research called “organoid intelligence”, which aims to create “biocomputers”: where brain cultures grown in the lab are coupled to real-world sensors and input/output devices. The scientists expect the technology to harness the processing power of the brain and understand the biological basis of human cognition, learning, and various neurological disorders.
  76. The appointment of Election Commissioners falls under the purview of Article 324(2) of the Constitution. The provision states, “The Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix and the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners shall, subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf by Parliament, be made by the President.” As per the ‘subject to’ clause, the number and tenure of the ECs are subject to the provisions of “any law made on that behalf by Parliament”. No such law has, however, been made for appointments yet. 
  77. A salt flat is a natural landscape in which a large area of flat land is covered by salt. Perhaps the world’s most well-known salt flat is the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. It is the largest in the world of its kind, and also contains more than half of the planet’s lithium reserves. A salt flat forms from a natural water body whose recharge rate is lower than the evaporation rate. Over time, all the water evaporates, leaving behind the dissolved minerals, usually salts. They reflect sunlight strongly and thus appear bright. The underlying soil is highly saline: even if the water table is shallow, the groundwater is too salty for humans to drink.
  78. It is time for the snakeboats to return and make a splash on Punnamada Lake as the famed Nehru Trophy Boat Race (NTBR) returns after a pandemic-induced gap of two years.
  79. The 165-km rivulet starts from Hoshiarpur, runs across four districts and meets the confluence of the rivers Beas and Sutlej in Kapurthala. Along its banks are around 80 villages and half a dozen small and big towns. Waste water from there as well as industrial waste used to flow into the rivulet via a drain, turning its waters black, hence the name Kali Bein (black rivulet). Dense grass and weeds grew on the water until a cleaning project started.
  80. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, commonly known as the Quad, between Australia, India, Japan and the United States has also announced the Clean-Hydrogen Partnership for technology development, efficiently scaling up the production of clean hydrogen and accelerating trade in clean hydrogen in the Indo-Pacific region.
  81. Japan’s Asia Energy Transition Initiative (AETI), launched in 2021, initially supported the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries towards achieving net zero emissions, including financial assistance of $10 billion for renewable energy. Japan now looks forward to supporting India’s clean energy transition by including the country in the AETI.
  82. India’s external affairs ministry in March 2022, published the specifications of the Clean Energy Partnership between India and Japan. This partnership would work on the agenda covered in the India-Japan Energy Dialogue 2007 and will subsequently expand into areas of mutual benefit. India and Japan have made important strides in developing the vision of a secure, resilient, sustainable energy network.
  83. A team of scientists at the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) has standardised the techniques for artificial breeding of Olive barbs (Kuruva Paral) and Filament barb (Kalakkodiyan), and have developed brood stocks for Highfin barb (Kooral) and Carnatic carp (Pachilavetti). These freshwater species of barbs and carp used to be found widely in the Idamalayar Dam, Bhoothathankettu, and the Kol fields of Thrissur district.
  84. The Butterfly EcoPark at Chottakhola, close to the Trishna WildLife sanctuary (Tripura) is the first butterfly park of northeast. 
  85. Corals usually come in shades of green, brown, pink, yellow, red or blue. But a snorkelling investigation of three coral colonies adjoining Kurusadai, one of the 21 uninhabited islands that form the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park along the Tamil Nadu coastline, shows them to be grey and eerie. One of the prime threats that killed the corals near Kurusadai is Kappaphycus alvarezii, a seaweed (alga) species deliberately introduced in Ramanathapuram for commercial cultivation some two decades ago. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists it as one of the world’s 100 most invasive species.
  86. It is estimated that India may have about 100,000 such groves. The names of such groves vary depending upon the region and language of our country. They are called with different names in different states: Sarna in Bihar, Dev Van in Himachal Pradesh, Devarakadu in Karnataka, Kavu in Kerala, Dev in Madhya Pradesh, Devarahati or Devarai in Maharashtra, Lai Umang in Manipur, Law Kyntang or Asong Khosi in Meghalaya, Oran in Rajasthan, Kovil Kadu or Sarpa Kavu in Tamil Nadu
  87. Google on March 19 celebrated the 80th birthday of a Mexican chemist, Mario Molina, who successfully convinced governments to come together to save the planet’s ozone layer, with a doodle depicting his achievements. A co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Dr. Molina was one of the researchers who exposed how chemicals deplete Earth’s ozone shield, which is vital to protecting humans, plants, and wildlife from harmful ultraviolet light, Google wrote in a blogpost.
  88. Most people in Sunabeda are from the Chuktia Bhunjia tribe, one of 13 PVTGs found in Odisha.
  89. Aurangabad’s history incorporates the Sultanate, Mughals and the Marathas, and goes back further in time — it is home to the famous Ajanta-Ellora caves, the former being 30 rock-cut Buddhist monuments from second century BC, the latter being the largest rock-cut Hindu temple, its hundred caves dating back to the Rashtrakuta and Yadava dynasties. The Ajanta-Ellora caves are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and turn the notion of the region being a Mughal-Maratha centrepiece on its head.
  90. Project Greensand is a carbon storage project in Denmark’s North Sea. The project aims to bury vast amounts of planet-heating carbon dioxide gas beneath the North Sea floor. It hopes that it can help the Nordic nation and others meet climate targets. It reverses the traffic in the pipes by pumping CO2 into the depleted reservoir of the Nini West oil field in Denmark.
  91. Capillary action is the movement or flow of liquid through a narrow tube using surface tension. It occurs when the adhesion between liquid and solid is greater than the cohesion of the fluid. The narrower the tube, the capillary action is also more.
  92. Willow Project is a massive and decades-long oil drilling venture on Alaska’s North Slope in the National Petroleum Reserve.
  93. Venus, with a diameter of about 12,000 km, is slightly smaller than Earth. Its thick atmosphere – mainly carbon dioxide – traps in heat in a runaway greenhouse effect, rendering Venus the solar system’s hottest planet. Venus is covered with craters, volcanoes, mountains and lava plains. During their examination, they looked at the planet’s Atla Regio area, where two of the biggest volcanoes of Venus, Ozza Mons and Maat Mons, are located. Herrick noticed a vent situated on the north side of a domed shield volcano that is part of the larger Maat Mons volcano that changed significantly in shape and size between February and October 1991. Apart from this, the findings give us a glimpse of what more is to come regarding Venus as in the next decade, three new Venus missions would be launched, including the European EnVision orbiter and NASA’s DAVINCI and VERITAS missions.
  94. In legislative parlance, to “guillotine” means to bunch together and fast-track the passage of financial business. It is a fairly common procedural exercise in Lok Sabha during the Budget Session.
  95. A new study describes how extra-terrestrial life has the potential to exist on distant exoplanets inside a special area called the “terminator zone”. ‘Tidally locked’ is a gravitational phenomenon in which one side of the planet always faces the star. Most of the exoplanets are tidally locked and have a permanent day side and a permanent night side. The dark sides of terminator planets could have perpetual night and freezing temperatures. The side facing the star could be too hot for water to remain liquid. Such planets are quite common as they exist around M-dwarf stars. Such planets can sustain habitable climates confined to the terminator region. Terminator Zone – The ‘terminator’ is the dividing line between the ‘day’ and ‘night’ sides of the planet. Terminator zones are the border region between light and dark halves of an exoplanet. Terminator zones are the regions that could exist in that sweet spot between too hot and too cold. They are also known as ‘Twilight zones’.
  96. Military phidiana, blue dragon, joruna, hypsilodoris, Gem doris are some other beautiful recorded from the Visakhapatnam coast. Some of these are sea slugs that feed on sponges and are very colorful in nature. At Rushikonda coast, Pranav stumbled upon the Poindimie’s Phyllodesmium, a slender, translucent species of seaslug that amazingly camouflages in snow flake corals.
  97. Depleted uranium (DU) is a by-product of uranium enrichment. Enriched uranium is highly radioactive and is used in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. In comparison to enriched uranium, depleted uranium is much less radioactive and is incapable of generating a nuclear reaction. Due to its high density (more dense than lead), depleted uranium is widely used in weapons as it can easily penetrate armour plating. The US began manufacturing armour-piercing rounds with depleted uranium in the 1970s and has since added it to composite tank armour to strengthen it.
  98. While lithium has been found on each of the six inhabited continents, Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia—together referred to as the “Lithium Triangle”—hold more than 75 percent of the world’s supply beneath their salt flats.
  99. Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, launched National Crop Insurance Portal’s digitized claim settlement module namely DigiClaimunder the ambit of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) today at Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi. With the launch of the module, claims will be disbursed electronically, which will benefit the respective farmers of six states. Now, the automated claim settlement process will be an ongoing activity to ease all insured farmers’ lives and provide them with a sustainable financial flow and support.
  100. The Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) concluded with adoption of the ‘Doha Political Declaration’ by the world leaders.
  101. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today launched the Mission ‘Har Payment Digital’ on the occasion of Digital Payments Awareness Week (DPAW) 2023. This is part of RBI’s endeavour to make every person in India a user of digital payments. DPAW 2023 will be observed from the 6th to 12th of March, 2023. The campaign theme is “Digital Payment Apnao, Auron ko bhi Sikhao” (Adopt digital payments and Also teach others). While launching the Mission “Har Payment Digital”, the Governor appealed to all the stakeholders – banks, non-banks, payment system operators, digital payment users, etc. – to adopt digital payments and teach others about the merits of using digital payments. This would encourage every person to become a digital payment user.
  102. In a significant achievement towards recognizing efforts in health sector and especially COVID management, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India received the Porter Prize 2023. The prize was announced at “The India Dialog” organized by Institute for Competitiveness (IFC) and US Asia Technology Management Center (USATMC) at Stanford Universit. The theme of the conference was “The Indian Economy 2023: Innovation, Competitiveness and Social Progress”. Porter Prize is named after Michael E. Porter, an economist, researcher, author, advisor, speaker and teacher. He has brought economic theory and strategy concepts to bear on many of the most challenging problems facing corporations, economies and societies, including market competition and company strategy, economic development, the environment and healthcare. His research has received numerous awards, and he is the most cited scholar today in economics and business. 
  103. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is participating in Exercise Shinyuu Maitri with the Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF). The exercise is being organised on the side-lines of the Indo-Japan Joint Army Exercise, Dharma Guardian, which is being conducted from 13 February 2023 to 02 March 2023 at Komatsu, Japan.
  104. The Kerala government has launched robotic scavenger, “Bandicoot”, to clean sewages in the temple town of Guruvayur, becoming the first state in the country to use robotic technology to clean all its.

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