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IAS Abhiyan Prelims inFocus-May 2021
- International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance: An international human rights instrument of the United Nations. Intended to prevent forced disappearance defined in international law, crimes against humanity. The convention is modelled heavily on the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Governed by a Committee on Enforced Disappearances elected by its parties. Entered into force on 23 December 2010. 98 states have signed the convention and 63 have ratified it. Among 63 member states of the treaty, only eight states from the Asia-Pacific region have ratified or acceded to the treaty. Only four East Asian states — Cambodia, Japan, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka have ratified it. India has signed but not ratified the convention.
- Every year 1st May is observed as May Day and is also known as International Labour Day worldwide.
- The biofloc model is an intensive aquaculture system and is considered to hold an advantage over conventional systems, as the normally harmful waste produced in conventional aquaculture can be turned into feed for fish.
- The exotic whiteleg shrimps are native to the Eastern Pacific Ocean and have been found to be suited to the brackish water conditions in Kerala.
- The ecologically-sensitive area of Naduvattam, adjoining the Mukurthi National Park is at risk, due to the construction of buildings as well as an illegal road cutting through forest land. Naduvattam area has a very high diversity of endemic species, second only to Cispara in the Mukurthi National Park. The area also serves as a crucial corridor for wildlife connecting Mukurthi National Park, the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and Gudalur, with tigers, elephants, Indian gaur, Sambar deer, Nilgiri langur, the Nilgiri laughing thrush, the Nilgiri pipit and other wildlife spotted in the area frequently.
- Sir David Attenborough, world-renowned broadcaster and natural historian, has been named COP26 People’s Advocate for the U.K.’s Presidency of the UN climate change summit in Glasgow this November.
- Article 311 of the Indian Constitution serves as a safeguard for civil servants that provides them with an opportunity to respond to the charges against them in a departmental enquiry to avoid dismissal from service. Article 311 (1) states that no government employee of All-India Services or a State government shall be dismissed by an authority subordinate to them. Article 311 (2) states that no civil servant shall be removed or dismissed or reduced in rank without an enquiry wherein the person accused shall be informed of the charges and given an opportunity to respond to the charges against him or her.
- Mount Pumori is a mountain on the Nepal-China border in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. It lies just eight kilometres west of Mount Everest. Pumori, meaning “the Mountain Daughter” in Sherpa language, was named by George Mallory. Climbers sometimes refer to Pumori as “Everest’s Daughter”.
- Four peaks — Mt Nuptse (7,862 metres), Mt Pumori (7,161m), Mt Lhotse (8,516m) along with the tallest mountain on earth, Mt Everest (8,848.86m) — make up the Everest Massif.
- The Dangaria Kandha or Dongria Kondh people are members of the Kondhs. They sustain themselves from the resources of the Niyamgiri forests, practising horticulture and shifting cultivation. Niyamgiri is a hill range spread over 250 km2 which falls under the Rayagada and Kalahandi District in south-west Odisha, India. The Dongria Kondh derive their name from dongar, meaning ‘agricultural land on hill slopes’, and the name for themselves is Jharnia – “protector of streams”. The people of Niyamgiri use Kui language which is not written. They worship Niyam Raja. The Kondh community is organized into many clans from which thirty-six clans are clearly identifiable where each clan possess their own customary territories which are locally also known as padars (consisting several hills). The socio-political governing and decision-making body of the community is also known as Kutumba.
- ‘FragAttacks’ or fragmentation and aggregation attacks, allow an attacker who is within range of one’s Wi-Fi device to steal user information, including passwords.
- The Brahmaputra/Yarlung Tsangpo is a transHimalayan river with its origin in the Jima Yangzong glacier (Mansarovar Lake region) near the Mount Kailash, located on the northern side of the Himalayas in Burang County of Tibet.
- The Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) in Chennai has developed an indigenous vaccine for viral nervous necrosis (VNN) affecting several fish species. Dr. M. Makesh, principal investigator of the project, said VNN is a serious viral disease affecting many marine, brackishwater and freshwater fishes resulting in 100% mortality in larval and early juvenile stages. The disease is caused by nervous necrosis virus (NNV).“Red-spotted grouper nervous necrosis virus (RGNNV) is the only genotype prevalent in India and most other tropical countries. Infected adults remain as carriers and transmit the virus to offspring through eggs,” Dr. Makesh said. The practical way to control the disease and prevent vertical transmission is to vaccinate fingerlings and adult fish. The new vaccine, Nodavac-R, developed by CIBA can be injected to fingerlings. The vaccine is safe and efficacious and can be used in all species susceptible to VNN such as milkfish, grey mullet, mangrove red snapper etc. It was the first vaccine to be released for aquaculture in India.
- The Enhanced Opportunities Partner (EOP) has been launched by NATO in 2014. Its goal is to strengthen the interoperability of troops of the EOP countries with NATO forces. The higher this compatibility is, the easier and more effective the participation of such states in the Alliance’s missions and operations. Ukraine is now one of six Enhanced Opportunities Partners, alongside Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden. The Alliance notes that each of the partners has a tailor-made relationship with NATO, based on areas of mutual interest. For example, Jordan is important as a partner of the Alliance in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East. NATO also needs an intelligence exchange with Australia to understand China’s situation and actions.
- mRNA vaccines need to be stored at much lower temperatures than some other kind of COVID-19 vaccines because RNA is much less stable than DNA, which is due to the sugars that their molecules are made up of. The second reason for the relative instability of RNA is because of its shape, which is a single strand, while DNA is expressed as a double-stranded helix.
- What is Diplomatic Immunity? It is a privilege of exemption from certain laws and taxes granted to diplomats by the country in which they are posted. The custom was formed so that diplomats can function without fear, threat or intimidation from the host country. Diplomatic immunity is granted on the basis of two conventions, popularly called the Vienna Conventions — the Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, and the Convention on Consular Relations, 1963. They have been ratified by 187 countries, including South Korea. Which means, it is a law under that country’s legal framework and cannot be violated. Note: India has signed and ratified it both the conventions.
- Sperm Whale: Largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator. Spermaceti oil extracted from it is used in oil lamps, lubricants, and candles. The chunk of ambergris, a waxy solid substance that is an intestinal secretion of sperm whales. Ambergris is mainly used in perfumes and cosmetics and fetches a handsome price based on its age. The species is now protected by a whaling moratorium. IUCN: Vulnerable. Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule-II.
- Larsen C is an amalgam of ice from many glaciers that flow off the Peninsula into the Weddell Sea. Larsen C, a huge ice shelf, twice the size of Wales, attached to the eastern edge of the Antarctic Peninsula.
- Endemic species: Vala (Wallago attu), Manjakkoori or yellow cat fish (Horabagrus brachysoma), Kuruva (Systomus sarana), Kaari or Stinging catfish (Heterpneuests fossils), Climbing perch (Anabas tesudineus) striped channa or braal (Channa striata) and Murrel or Cheran (Channa pseudomarulius).
- Created by British photographer Graeme Green, the New Big 5 project’s aim is to raise awareness about the crisis facing the world’s wildlife from threats including habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, poaching, illegal wildlife trade and climate change.
- Bogs (also called quagmires) are soft, spongy wetlands that accumulate peat– a fossil fuel that is used for heating homes and businesses in northern Europe. They are formed in northern climates, and take thousands of years to develop. Bogs also act as carbon sinks, sequestering around 200 million tons of carbon from the environment in Siberia and Scandinavia. For centuries, however, they have been drained for extracting peat or for development, leading to the destruction of their delicate ecosystems, including damage to species such as cranes that breed here.
- The Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India has notified and revised the rate of Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA). The VDA is revised on the basis of average Consumer Price Index for industrial workers (CPI-IW) a price index compiled by Labour Bureau.
- Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grant: The Centre provides the Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grant to the States under Article 275 of the Constitution. The grants are released as per the recommendations of the Finance Commission in monthly instalments to meet the gap in revenue accounts of the States post-devolution. The eligibility of states to receive this grant and the quantum of the grant was decided by the Commission based on the gap between assessment of revenue and expenditure of the State after taking into account the assessed devolution for the financial year 2020-21.
- The Ronne ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula is one of the largest of the several enormous floating sheets of ice that connect to the continent’s landmass and extend out into the seas surrounding it.
- Delegates from the United States, Russia, Canada and Scandinavian countries are expected to discuss the region’s climate challenges along with development during the biennial Arctic Council meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland.
- A new species of dinosaur identified by Mexican paleontologists is believed to have been “very communicative” and used low-frequency sounds like elephants to talk to each other. The specimen, which has been named Tlatolophus galorum, is thought to have died around 72 million years ago in what is now Mexico’s northern state of Coahuila. The name Tlatolophus is derived from tlahtolli — which means word in the indigenous Nahuatl language — and lophus, meaning crest in Greek.
- Recently, the Taliban has captured Afghanistan’s second-biggest dam – Dahla Dam. The Dahla Dam is also known as Arghandab Dam. It is located in the Shah Wali Kot District of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. It is built on the Arghandab River.
- Endeavour, the fifth and final space shuttle to be built by NASA as part of the Space Shuttle programme. As the shuttle had to be named after an “exploratory or research sea vessel”, a large number of entries chose the same name: Endeavour. The Endeavour was an 18th-Century British vessel best-known for its maiden voyage during which Captain James Cook charted the South Pacific and commanded the vessel to Tahiti to watch the transit of Venus across the sun. Endeavour’s first flight in itself was a challenging one. Launched on May 7, 1992, the mission was tasked with salvaging the Intelsat-VI communications satellite that had been launched into a low-altitude orbit.
- Persistent plasma waves, were identified at radio frequencies in a narrow bandwidth during a three-year period as Voyager 1 traverses interstellar space. The persistent plasma waves that we’ve just discovered are far too weak to actually hear with the human ear. If we could hear it, it would sound like a single steady note, playing constantly but changing very slightly over time.
- Archaeologists discovered the remains of nine Neanderthals at a prehistoric site near Rome, Italy. The find occurred in Grotta Guattari, prehistoric caves discovered more than 80 years ago, located around 100 metres from the coast of Tyrrhenian Sea in San Felice Circeo, near Latina, in the Lazio region.
- Cloudbursts are sudden and extreme rainfall events over a limited area in a short span of time. There is no universal definition of a cloudburst. However, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) defines a cloudburst as any event where 100 millimetres of rainfall have fallen in a span of an hour over a region that is 20-30 square kilometres in area. A cloudburst occurs when moisture-carrying air moves up a hilly terrain, forming a vertical column of clouds known as ‘cumulonimbus’ clouds. Such clouds usually cause rain, thunder and lightning. This upward motion of the clouds is known as an ‘orographic lift’.
- The report, titled Global Methane Assessment: Benefits and Costs of Mitigating Methane Emissions was released by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and the United Nations Environment Programme.
- Ecocide is criminalized human activity that violates the principles of environmental justice, as by substantially damaging or destroying ecosystems or by harming the health and well-being of a species. Ecocide has not yet been accepted as an internationally punishable crime by the United Nations. The French National Assembly on Saturday approved the creation of an “ecocide” offence as part of a battery of measures aimed at protecting the environment and tackling climate change.
- ‘Other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECMs) is a conservation designation for areas that are achieving the effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity outside of protected areas. Governments, relevant organizations, Indigenous peoples and local communities are invited to apply the voluntary guidance on OECMs to identify, recognise and support OECMs, and report data on OECMs to the World Databased on OECMs at the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). OECM are a conservation designation for areas that are achieving the effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity outside of protected areas.
- The report, titled Protected Planet Report 2020, underlined the progress the world has made toward the ambitious goals agreed by countries in 2010 at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity — to conserve 17 per cent of land and inland water ecosystems and 10 per cent of its coastal waters and oceans by 2020, known as Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, a set of 20 targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
- Guadeloupe is an archipelago and overseas department and region of France in the Caribbean.
- This refers to the growing menace of disease-causing germs such as bacteria and fungi, for example, pseudomonas, E.coli, klebsiella, salmonella and TB, which no longer respond to the conventionally used antibiotic drugs. These emerging Multi-Drug- Resistant (MDR) germs sicken almost 3 million people across the world every year, and the UNO states that if we do not find drugs to fight and kill these MDR-germs quickly enough, the global death toll could soar to 10 million people by 2050.
- Perseverance and Zhurong are among three robotic rovers operating on Mars. The third is NASA’s Curiosity, which landed in 2012.
- Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) is a technology used to separate some gas species from a mixture of gases under pressure. Specific adsorbent materials (e.g., zeolites, activated carbon, molecular sieves, etc.) are used as a trap and adsorb the target gas at high pressure. For example, zeolite is used to separate oxygen from the air. The PSA process operates at near-ambient temperatures.
- Cyclones are formed between the tropics while western disturbances are formed in the mid-latitudes. When the two interact, they influence each other. High-intensity storms advancing diagonally from the Bay of Bengal into the east coast generally severely affect the state where it primarily makes its landfall. Or, at the most, it affects two states severely during its advancement over land. Normally, cyclones weaken upon entering land and fizzle out soon after. Thus, the damage is often limited to the coast it hits and the immediate peripheral areas.
- Climatologically, out of the five cyclones formed annually in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, only one develops in the Arabian Sea.
- The maximum retail price (MRP) of all other fertilisers, are decontrolled and decided by the companies themselves. The government only gives a fixed per-tonne subsidy. In other words, the subsidy is fixed, while the MRPs are variable.
- The NBS Scheme for fertilizer was initiated in the year 2010 and is being implemented by the Department of Fertilizers. Government is making available fertilizers, Urea and 21 grades of P&K fertilizers to farmers at subsidized prices through fertilizer manufacturers/importers. The scheme allows the manufacturers, marketers, and importers to fix the MRP of the Phosphatic and Potash fertilizers at reasonable levels. The MRP will be decided considering the domestic and international prices of P&K fertilizers, inventory level in the country and the exchange rates. The NBS ensures that adequate quantity of P&K is made available to the farmers at a statutory controlled price. Under this, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis is provided on each grade of subsidized Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers, except for Urea based on the nutrient content present in them.
- Oxygen can also be produced non-cryogenically, in gaseous form, using selective adsorption. This method leverages the property that under high pressure, gases tend to be attracted to solid surfaces. The higher the pressure, the more the adsorption of gas.
- Zero Shadow Day is a special celestial event that occurs twice a year. It occurs at every point on Earth between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. During this time, no shadows appear of any object or living being when the sun is at its highest point in the sky.
- The UN FACTI Panel (or the High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda) is a document of particular import for developing countries, stressing the loss caused by tax avoidance on the ability of developing countries to finance developmental measures. It aims to improve the world’s chances of achieving sustainable development by making recommendations that both strengthen current efforts to combat illicit financial flows, and close remaining gaps in the international system. The FACTI Panel is supported by an independent secretariat, hosted by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Financing for Sustainable Development Office.
- The majority Hutus and minority Tutsis have had a troubled relationship in Rwanda that goes back to the German and Belgian colonial period. Colonialists ruled Rwanda through the Tutsi monarchy.
- The Centre cannot take action against civil service officials who are posted under the state government, unless the latter agrees. Rule 7 of the All-India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, states that the “authority to institute proceedings and to impose penalty” will be the state government if the officer is “serving in connection with the affairs of a state…” For any action to be taken against an officer of the All-India Services, the state and the Centre both need to agree.
- Conventionally, pooling of funds in India is undertaken through three types of entities, namely, limited liability companies governed under the Companies Act, 2013; limited liability partnerships under the Limited Liability Partnership Act; and trusts governed under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882.
- The State of Sikkim is blessed with natural abundance with the magnificent Mt. Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain of the world, flowering alpine meadows, mountain lakes etc. Gangtok, the capital of the State of Sikkim, Pelling, Lachung, Lachen, Yumthang, Nathula Pass, Gurudongmar Lake aresome of the famous tourist destinations in Sikkim.
- Ayush-64 is an Ayurvedic formulation, developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), the apex body for research in Ayurveda under the Ministry of Ayush. Originally developed in 1980 for the management of Malaria, this drug has now been repurposed for Covid 19 as its ingredients showed notable antiviral, immune-modulator and antipyretic properties.
- Dr Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, a global nutrition expert of Indian descent has won the prestigious 2021 World Food Prize for her groundbreaking research in developing holistic, nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquaculture and food systems.
- Shaji.N.M., fondly called as ‘Tuber Man’ of Kerala has been awarded the India Biodiversity Award 2021 in the individual category of ‘Conservation of domesticated species.
- India and UK agree to launch the Global Innovation Partnership. GIP will support Indian innovators to scale up their innovations in third countries thereby helping them explore new markets and become self-sustainable. It will also foster the innovative ecosystem in India. GIP innovations will focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) related sectors thereby assisting recipient countries achieve their SDGs. The innovations selected under GIP would accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and benefit the base of the pyramid populations thus promoting equity and inclusivity in recipient countries. GIP will also develop an open and inclusive e-market place (E-BAAZAR) for cross border innovation transfer and will focus on results-based impact assessment thereby promoting transparency and accountability.
- India, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland approved memorandum of understanding (MoU) on migration and mobility partnership. The MoU is aimed at liberalising issuance of visas promoting mobility of students, researchers and skilled professionals and strengthen cooperation on issues related to irregular migration and human trafficking between the two sides, read an official release. The agreement will allow thousands of those aged between 18 and 30 years old in India and the UK to work and live in each other’s country for up to two years.
- At present, organic products are exported provided they are produced, processed, packed and labelled as per the requirements of the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP). The NPOP has been implemented by APEDA since its inception in 2001 as notified under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulations) Act, 1992. The NPOP certification has been recognized by the European Union and Switzerland which enables India to export unprocessed plant products to these countries without the requirement of additional certification. NPOP also facilitates export of Indian organic products to the United Kingdom even in the post Brexit phase. NPOP has also been recognized by the Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) for trade of organic products in the domestic market. Organic products covered under the bilateral agreement with NPOP need not to be recertified for import in India.
- India’s engagement with the Arctic dates back to 1920 with the signing of the Svalbard Treaty in Paris. Since July 2008, India has a permanent research station in the Arctic called Himadari at NyAlesund, Svalbard Area in Norway. It has also deployed a multi-sensor moored observatory called IndARC in the Kongsfjorden fjord since July 2014. The research in the Arctic region from India is coordinated, conducted, and promoted by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.
- Recently, the Maritime body Maritime Union of India (MUI) urged the government to take cognisance of” Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change” in order to formulate the Maritime India Vision 2030. The Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change aims to promote and protect the welfare of seafarers. It was launched in response to the crew change crisis, which has resulted in around 400,000 seafarers stranded on ships because of coronavirus-related travel bans. The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has joined more than 450 companies and organisations around the world by signing the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change in a worldwide call to action to end the unprecedented crew change crisis caused by COVID-19.
- Moyamoya disease is a lesser-known disease that mainly affects children and is more common in East Asia, particularly Japan. It is a rare cause of stroke among children. Moyamoya disease is a rare blood vessel (vascular) disorder in which the carotid artery in the skull becomes blocked or narrowed, reducing blood flow to the brain. Tiny blood vessels then develop at the base of the brain in an attempt to supply it with blood. This may cause a ministroke or a transient ischemic attack, stroke, or bleeding in the brain. It can also affect how your brain functions and cause cognitive and developmental delays or disabilities. While it may occur at any age, most symptoms commonly occur between 5 and 10 years of age in children and between 30 and 50 years of age in adults. However, it causes different symptoms in adults and children. In children, the first symptom is usually a stroke or recurrent transient ischemic attack, while adults may experience bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke) from abnormal brain vessels, along with stroke. Spotting symptoms early is very important to prevent serious complications such as a stroke. Moyamoya syndrome is also associated with certain conditions, such as Down syndrome, sickle cell anemia, neurofibromatosis type 1 and hyperthyroidism. Since it has genetic factors involved it is not possible to completely prevent this disease, however when symptoms develop in children they should be investigated and treatment should be started early to prevent complications. Surgical treatment can be done to bypass blood to the area of the brain where narrowed or blocked blood vessels are not able to supply blood. Countries like Korea, Japan and China are most affected due to “certain genetic factors in those populations.
- The rampant spread of catfish, known locally as African Mushi, in the waterbodies of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) is posing danger to the native aquatic species of the sanctuary, which is already facing threat from the wild growth of alien species of plants, including Senna spectabilis. The phenomenon endangered ecosystems, habitats and native aquatic species of the sanctuary, which was already facing threat from the rampant growth of invasive plants such as Mikania micrantha, Lantana, and Eupatorium.
- Bird Species in News: rufous-bellied woodpecker, greater yellownape, rufous sibia, white-throated laughingthrush and black-faced warbler. Two species (rufous-bellied woodpecker and greater yellownape) showed great potential as indicators of forest quality as they were most likely to be found in dense canopied forests with larger and taller trees on which they preferred to forage.
- The Fire Services is a State subject and has been included as a Municipal function in the XIIth Schedule of the Constitution of India under Article 243 (W).
- Pumice is a type of extrusive volcanic rock, produced when lava with a very high content of water and gases is discharged from a volcano. As the gas bubbles escape, the lava becomes frothy. When this lava cools and hardens, the result is a very light rock material filled with tiny bubbles of gas.
- Piezoelectricity is the generation of electricity in certain materials upon application of pressure. It can be the building blocks of futuristic Nano-electronics for applications like Ultrathin, next-generation Nano-transistors. Its applications have eased our daily lives through the use of lighters, pressure gauge, sensors. Piezoelectricity in 2D materials was first predicted theoretically in 2012 and later observed and confirmed experimentally in Monolayer in 2014. ‘Piezo’ meaning to press or to squeeze. Piezoelectric property essentially is based on the interplay between mechanical and electrical features of a material. Bonds that keep materials together are electrons and these electrons are the basis for electricity.
- A scanning tunneling microscope (STM) is a type of microscope used for imaging surfaces at the atomic level. STM is based on the concept of quantum tunneling. STM senses the surface by using an extremely sharp conducting tip that can distinguish features smaller than 0.1 nm with a 0.01 nm (10 pm) depth resolution. Scanning tunneling microscopy can be a challenging technique, as it requires extremely clean and stable surfaces, sharp tips, excellent vibration isolation, and sophisticated electronics.
- The No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative highlights ICAO’s efforts to assist States in implementing ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). The main goal of this work is to help ensure that SARP implementation is better harmonized globally so that all States have access to the significant socio-economic benefits of safe and reliable air transport.
- National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) in the Public Account of India was established in 1999. The Fund is administered by the Government of India, Ministry of Finance (Department of Economic Affairs) under National Small Savings Fund (Custody and Investment) Rules, 2001, framed by the President under Article 283 (1) of the Constitution. Since NSSF operates in the public account, its transactions do not impact the fiscal deficit of the Centre directly.
- Blackbucks are found only in the Ganjam district in the southern part of the state, which is where the census was carried out. It used to be sighted in the Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary in Puri district. The blackbuck is a Schedule-1 animal according to the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (amended in 1992) and is considered as ‘Vulnerable’ according to the Red Data Book. The blackbuck is known in Odisha and Ganjam as Krushnasara Mruga. The people of Ganjam had been enthusiastically protecting the animal like the Bishnois of western Rajasthan and the Vala Rajputs of Saurashtra. The animal featured in the history, folklore and religious sentiments of people in the district, especially the Balipadar-Bhetanai areas.
- Bao-dhaan is iron-rich rice variety grown in Brahmaputra valley of Assam, without the use of any chemical fertilizer.
- A reclining Buddha statue or image represents The Buddha during his last illness, about to enter Parinirvana, the stage of great salvation after death that can only be attained by enlightened souls. The Buddha’s death came when he was 80 years old, in a state of meditation, in Kushinagar in eastern Uttar Pradesh, close to the state’s border with Bihar. This also signifies the Buddha’s last deeksha — even while on his deathbed, he took a follower into the fold.
- Banni Grasslands Reserve or Banni grasslands form a belt of arid grassland ecosystem on the outer southern edge of the desert of the marshy salt flats of Rann of Kutch in Kutch District, Gujarat State, India. They are known for rich wildlife and biodiversity and are spread across an area of 3,847 square kilometres. They are currently legally protected under the status as a protected or reserve forest in India. Though declared a protected forest more than half a century ago Gujarat state’s forest department has recently proposed a special plan to restore and manage this ecosystem in the most efficient way. Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has identified this grassland reserve as one of the last remaining habitats of the cheetah in India and a possible reintroduction site for the species. Banni grassland is peculiar to the Rann of Kutch, it has some forty Sindhi speaking Maldhari (cattle breeders) hamlets.
- Poson Poya is an annual festival celebrated by Sri Lanka’s Buddhist majority to mark the arrival of Buddhism in the 3rd century BC. It is the most venerated day for the devout Buddhists of Sri Lanka as it marks the arrival of Arahat Mahinda Thero carrying the noble teachings of the Buddha.
- The Mundeshwari Devi Temple (also spelled as Mundesvari) is located at an elevation of 608 feet (185 m) on the Mundeshwari Hills of Kaimur plateaunear Son canal in India’s state of Bihar.
- Each year during Deepavali, the Raj Gond tribe of Adilabad, Telangana observes the Dandari festival where those chosen by a village chieftain are part of the Gussadi rituals.
- A primordial musical instrument called Kudukka Vina, a single-string instrument made of coconut shells and played with a thin stick.
- The Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ‘Sajag’ recently commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard. This is third of five OPVs indigenously designed and built by the Goa Shipyard Limited. Other four OPVs are Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Saksham, ICGS Sachet, ICGS Sujeet, and ICGS Sarthak.
- Salami Slicing is a divide-and-conquer tactic used to dominate opposition territory, piece by piece. Such military operations are too small to result in a war. They leave a neighbouring country confused as it is not able to decide how and how much should it respond. These small military actions also help avoid international diplomatic attention. These small actions cumulate over a period of time and result in a strategic advantage for the aggressive country. Recently, the term has been increasingly used to describe China’s unilateral military actions in India, Japan and countries in the South China Sea region. China’s recent action in Doklam, experts say, was an example of Salami Slicing.
- Recently, cyclone Yaas made landfall south of Balasore in Odisha. The cyclone has been named Yaas by Oman. The word Yaas has originated from the Persian language and means ‘Jasmin’ in English. Typically, tropical cyclones in the North Indian Ocean region (Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea) develop during the pre-monsoon (April to June) and post-monsoon (October to December) periods.
- The last Begum of Bhopal was Begum Sultan Jahan. She ruled from 1909 to 1926 after which she stepped down and was succeeded by her son. Apart from being a philanthropist and prolific writer, she was a symbol of women empowerment, known for taking up the cause of female education. She was the first female Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, which she had nurtured during its nascent stage, when it was still known as the Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College. Undeterred, she started the Sultania School and also improved the condition of two existing schools — Madarsa Bilqisia and Madarsa Victoria. She even revamped the syllabus and added subjects such as English, Urdu, Arithmetic, Home Science and crafts.
- Article 129 and 215 of the Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and High Court
respectively to punish people for their respective contempt.
- The residents of Bengaluru were in for a pleasant surprise when many of them witnessed a bright ring around the sun. The rare optical and atmospheric phenomenon known as ‘22-degree circular halo’. The phenomenon is called a halo and happens because of light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere. Owing to its radius around the sun.
- The Uttarakhand High Court in Nainital passed an interim order upholding the right of a qafila (caravan) of Van Gujjars to migrate to their summer homesteads in the bugyals (Himalayan alpine meadows) located within the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park in Uttarkashi district. The Van Gujjars, the nomadic pastoral community of the Uttarakhand Himalayas. The Van Gujjars pursue seasonal migration from the Terai-Bhabar and Siwalik region of Uttarakhand to the higher bugyals in the Western Himalayas in summer and vice versa in winter.
- Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is the statutory authority established by an enactment of the Parliament, to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the National Pension System (NPS) and pension schemes to which this Act applies. NPS was initially notified for central government employees recruits w.e.f. 1st January 2004 and subsequently adopted by almost all State Governments for its employees. NPS was extended to all Indian citizens (resident/non-resident/overseas) on a voluntary basis and to corporates for its employees.
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is funded and directed by 193 national governments to support their diplomacy and cooperation in air transport as signatory states to the Chicago Convention (1944). Industry and civil society groups, and other concerned regional and international organizations, also participate in the exploration and development of new standards at ICAO in their capacity as ‘Invited Organizations’. ICAO is therefore not an international aviation regulator, just as INTERPOL is not an international police force. We cannot arbitrarily close or restrict a country’s airspace, shut down routes, or condemn airports or airlines for poor safety performance or customer service. India is among its 193 members.
- A supermoon occurs when the Moon’s orbit is closest to the Earth at the same time that the Moon is full. As the Moon orbits the Earth, there is a point of time when the distance between the two is the least (called the perigee when the average distance is about 360,000 km from the Earth) and a point of time when the distance is the most (called the apogee when the distance is about 405,000 km from the Earth).
- Basel Convention adopted on March 22, 1989 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Basel, Switzerland, the “Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal”, generally known as the Basel Convention, came into force in 1992. It is an international treaty that aims to reduce the movement of hazardous waste between countries. It particularly focuses on preventing transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries. It provides for cooperation between the parties, including exchange of information on issues relevant to the implementation of the Convention. India is a member of the Basel Convention. It ratified the convention in June 1992 and brought it into force on 22nd September 1992. However, India has not ratified the Basel ban amendment.
- The Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence brings together the conclusions and recommendations from several OHCHR expert workshops.
- Buddha Purnima, also known as Buddha Jayanti, is an auspicious day that marks the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. It is believed that this was also the day he attained enlightenment. Buddha Purnima falls on a full moon night, usually between April and May, and it is a gazetted holiday in India. Many devotees visit Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. Bodhi Temple is the location where Lord Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.
- The Bitra Island is the smallest inhabited island and a coral atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.
- Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) data are compiled by IHS Markit for more than 40 economies worldwide. The PMI dataset features a headline number, which indicates the overall health of an economy, and sub-indices, which provide insights into other key economic drivers such as GDP, inflation, exports, capacity utilization, employment and inventories. The PMI data are used by financial and corporate professionals to better understand where economies and markets are headed, and to uncover opportunities. If PMI of the previous month is higher than the PMI of the current month, it represents that the economy is contracting. It is usually released at the start of every month. It is, therefore, considered a good leading indicator of economic activity.
- The Mediterranean Dialogue, first launched in 1994, is a forum of cooperation between NATO and seven countries of the Mediterranean. Its stated aim is “to create good relations and better mutual understanding and confidence throughout the region, promoting regional security and stability and explaining NATO’s policies and goals. The Dialogue reflects NATO’s view that security in Europe is tied to the security and stability in the Mediterranean. It also reinforces and complements the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Mediterranean Initiative.
- Invasive whiteflies: Aleurodicus dispersus and Aleurodicus rugioperculatus. The host range of all of the invasive whiteflies was increasing due to their polyphagous nature (ability to feed on various kinds of food) and prolific breeding. The first reported invasive spiralling whitefly Aleurodicus dispersus is now distributed throughout India except Jammu & Kashmir.
- The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) is observed on 22nd May every year.
- The registration of a geographical indication is valid for a period of 10 years. It can be renewed from time to time for a further period of 10 years each.
- India is the second largest producer of litchi (Litchi chin) in the world, after China.
- Other effective area-based conservation measures (OECM) are a conservation designation for areas that are achieving the effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity outside of protected areas.
- The zebrafish is a freshwater fish belonging to the minnow family (Cyprinidae) of the order Cypriniformes. It is native to south Asia.
- Sunderlal Bahuguna, the Gandhian who was the driving force behind the legendary Chipko movement against deforestation that marked a key milestone in Indian environmentalism.
- Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), is the second most commonly used fertiliser in India. DAP contains 46% P and 18% nitrogen (N). While there are also other phosphatic fertilisers – single super phosphate (SSP), for instance, has 16% P and 11% sulphur (S) – DAP is the farmer’s preferred choice. This is similar to urea and muriate of potash (MOP), which again have very high N and potassium (K) content of 46% and 60%, respectively.
- Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved India’s first self-use Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for Covid-19 named as CoviSelf. It is developed by MyLab Discovery Solutions, a Pune-based molecular company.
- Zeolites are used as adsorbent material in the Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) process to produce medical-grade oxygen. The zeolite is used as a molecular sieve to create purified oxygen from the air. This is done by using zeolite’s ability to trap impurities. Zeolites are microporous, aluminosilicate minerals commonly used as commercial adsorbents and catalysts. Zeolites occur naturally but are also produced industrially on a large scale. Natural zeolites form where volcanic rocks and ash layers react with alkaline groundwater. However, naturally occurring zeolites are rarely pure and are contaminated to varying degrees by other minerals. For this reason, naturally occurring zeolites are excluded from important commercial applications. Zeolites are widely used as ion-exchange beds in domestic and commercial water purification, softening, and other applications. Zeolites are also marketed as dietary supplements to treat cancer, diarrhoea, autism, herpes, and hangover. It is also used to balance pH and remove heavy metals in the body. Zeolites which are rich in alumina are attracted to polar molecules like water whereas zeolite rich in silica are attracted towards nonpolar molecules.
- Black fungus is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes, which is abundant in the environment. Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that has a high mortality rate of 50 per cent and an increasing number of Covid-19 patients have been developing this infection while still at the hospital or after discharge. Here are four things you should know about this infection, some of the common symptoms of which include sinusitis, blackish nasal discharge, facial pain, headaches, and pain around the eyes.
- National Data Base for unorganised workers (NDUW) is at an advanced stage of development by National Informatics Centre. The portal is aimed at collection of data for unorganised workers including migrant workers for the purpose of giving benefits of the various schemes of the Government. An inter-state migrant worker can register himself on the portal on the basis of submission of Aaadhar alone.
- Perseverance will carry the Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX). RIMFAX will provide high resolution mapping of the subsurface structure at the landing site. The instrument will also look for subsurface water on Mars – which, if found, will greatly help the case for a human mission or the cause of a human settlement on Mars.
- The Cis-Sutlej states were a group of small states in Punjab region in the 19th century, lying between the Sutlej River on the north, the Himalayas on the east, the Yamuna River and Delhi District on the south, and Sirsa District on the west. The states were called Cis- Sutlej by the British because they were on the British, or southern, side of the Sutlej River. The Cis-Sutlej states included Kaithal, Patiala, Jind, Thanesar, Malerkotla and Faridkot.
- Started by the government in 2018, the electoral bonds scheme allows any Indian citizen or company to purchase the bonds sold by the SBI in denominations of ₹1,000, ₹10,000, ₹1 lakh, ₹10 lakh and ₹1 crore and give them to political parties anonymously. SBI was the only bank authorised to sell electoral bonds by the government.
- Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) is the most talked about thing in the drone industry. Countries around the world are amending their drone policies so that they can allow unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to fly Beyond Visual Line of Sight for maximum efficiency. Unlike VLOS flights, which are operated within the pilot’s line of sight, BVLOS flights are flown beyond the visual range. BVLOS capabilities enable a drone to cover far greater distances. BVLOS has numerous applications and is cost-effective.
- The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), a centrally funded scheme has been developed by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) under the Union Home Ministry.
- The Global Entry Programme is a facility run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency that works under the Department of Homeland Security that fast tracks movement of pre-approved, low-risk travellers upon arrival after a rigorous background check through designated kiosks. Though the pilot project started in 2008, India became a member of Global Entry in 2017. The other countries that are part of this programme are Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
- No Objection to Return to India (NORI) certificate is a US government requirement for doctors who migrate to America on a J1 visa and seek to extend their stay beyond three years. The non-issuance of the NORI would ensure that the doctors will have to return to India at the end of the three-year period.
- International Museum Day falls on 18 May every year.The objective of International Museum Day ,as declared by International Council of Museums(ICOM), is to raise awareness about the fact that, “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” The theme for International Museum Day 2021 is ‘The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine’.
- Member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are under an obligation to ensure that their domestic intellectual property rights (IPR) laws conform to the requirements of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.
- India has ratified Hague Conventionon Intercountry Adoptions, 1993.
- Iran gave the Farzad B gas field to Petropars, a domestic gas producer. This is a setback for India’s energy ties with Iran as ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) had discovered the gas field in 2000 and has been part of the ongoing cooperation on that front. The Ministry of External Affairs has not yet commented on the development but OVL had discovered the Farzad B gas field in the Farsi region, which is located between the Iranian and Saudi territories. Farzad-B Gas Field is located in Persian Gulf(Iran).
- Under Article 171 of the Constitution, the Legislative Council of a state shall not have more than one-third of the total strength of the State Assembly, and not less than 40 members.
- The central legislature that came into being under the Government of India Act, 1919 was bicameral with a Council of States comprising 60 members and a Legislative Assembly comprising 145 members.
- Mongolian Kanjur is a Buddhist canonical text in 108 volumes and is considered to be the most important religious text in Mongolia. It has been translated from Tibetan and is written in classical mongolian. In the Mongolian language ‘Kanjur’ means ‘Concise Orders’- the words of Lord Buddha in particular.
- International Snow Leopard Day came into being on 23rd October, 2013, with the adoption of the Bishkek Declaration by 12 countries on the conservation of snow leopards. The 12 countries included, India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. By the adoption of this, the Bishkek Declaration, the Snow Leopard Range Countries pledge to ensure that snow leopards and the people who live among them thrive in healthy ecosystems that contribute to the prosperity and well-being of our countries and the planet.
- Bishkek Declaration is related to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Heads of State Council.
- Congo’s Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted at night
and sent thousands fleeing in panic. Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470 m in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift. It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Kabasura Kudineer is a traditional formulation used by Siddha practitioners for managing common respiratory health. It is an herbal concoction, comprising dry
ingredients of ginger, pippali, clove, cirukancori root, mulli root, kadukkai, ajwain and many
- In spite of adding the highest number of cases in the world every day, India continues to label itself as a country with no community transmission (CT), opting instead for the lower, less serious classification called ‘cluster of cases’, according to the latest weekly report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- Liquid Medical Oxygen is high purity oxygen suitable for use in the human body, it is used for medical treatments. This oxygen provides a basis for virtually all modern anaesthetic techniques, restores tissue oxygen tension by increasing the oxygen availability, aids cardiovascular stability, etc. The World Health Organisation includes this on their List of Essential Medicines.
- Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified a coronavirus variant which was first identified in India as a “global variant of concern”. The variant called B.1.617 was classified as a variant under investigation (VUI) by authorities in the UK. The B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV-2 carries two mutations, E484Q and L452R.
- Tocilizumab is an immunosuppressant, commonly used for rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) or giant cell arteritis. It is a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody IL-6 receptor inhibitor used to treat inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Tocilizumab has a long duration of action as it is generally given every 4 weeks and has a wide therapeutic index. Tocilizumab binds soluble and membrane bound IL-6 receptors, preventing IL-6 mediated inflammation. Due to its property to fight auto immune disease Tocilizumab is used in the Treatment of Coronavirus Induced Diseases.
- Indian Navy has launched Operation Samudra Setu-II for shipment of Oxygen-filled containers to India. The INS Jalashwa is enroute to Bangkok while the INS Airavat is on its way to Singapore on similar missions
- Dengue is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus Genus Flavivirus, transmitted by several species of mosquito within the genus Aedes, principally Aedes aegypti. This mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika infection.
- The Department of Consumer Affairs, administers the Legal Metrology Act 2009. The act provides for application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments.
- National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) is the central nodal agency for prevention and control of six vector borne diseases i.e. Malaria, Dengue, Lymphatic Filariasis, Kala-azar, Japanese Encephalitis and Chikungunya in India. It works under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- Among the 75 listed PVTG’s the highest number are found in Odisha. The 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in Odisha are: Bonda, Birhor, Chuktia Bhunjia, Didayi, Dungaria Kandha, Hill Kharia, Juang, Kutia Kondh, Lanjia Saora, Lodha, Mankirdia, Paudi Bhuyan and Saora.
- Dirty War, also called Process of National Reorganization, was a infamous campaign waged by Argentina’s military dictatorship against suspected left-wing political opponents.
- The Kachin peoples more precisely the Kachin Wunpong or simply Wunpong, are a confederation of ethnic groups who inhabit the Kachin Hills in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State and neighbouring Yunnan Province, China, and Arunachal Pradesh, Assam in Northeastern India.
- PIMS-TS, also known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), is a
rare condition associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. It is not known what triggers the
condition, but it is thought to be a rare immune overreaction that occurs approximately four to six weeks after mild or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- The Working Group Against Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance has been set up to investigate cases in which persons are detained or killed by states in secret prisons and the corpses are disposed of so that nothing can be proven to them. The UN Human Rights Commission created this body on February 29, 1980 by means of a resolution, which also defined the mandate. Under the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (1992), the Working Group works to assist families of disappeared persons to ascertain the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared and to assist and monitor states’ compliance.
- International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2006, which became effective in 2010. However, the number of participating states is still very low compared to other treaties. Among 63 member states of the treaty, only eight states from the Asia-Pacific region have ratified or acceded to the treaty. Only four East Asian states — Cambodia, Japan, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka have ratified it. India has signed but not ratified the convention.
- Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response was established in 2020 by the WHO Director-General in response to the World Health Assembly resolution 73.1.Its mission is to provide an evidence-based path for the future, grounded in lessons of the present and the past to ensure countries and global institutions, including specifically WHO, effectively address health threats.
- A Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is a formal declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) of “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response”, formulated when a situation arises that is “serious, sudden, unusual, or unexpected”, which “carries implications for public health beyond the affected state’s national border” and “may require immediate international action”. Since 2009, there have been six PHEIC declarations: the 2009 H1N1 (or swine flu) pandemic, the 2014 polio declaration, the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in Western Africa, the 2015–16 Zika virus epidemic, the 2018–20 Kivu Ebola epidemic, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations are temporary and require reviews every three months. Automatically, SARS, smallpox, wild type poliomyelitis, and any new subtype of human influenza are considered as PHEICs and thus do not require an IHR decision to declare them as such. A PHEIC is not confined to infectious diseases, and may cover an emergency caused by exposure to a chemical agent or radioactive material. It can be seen as an “alarm system”, a “call to action” and “last resort” measure.
- In 1915 Rabindranath Tagore was awarded knighthood by the British King George V. In 1919, following the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre he renounced his Knighthood.
- Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced out of their homes when the State of Israel was created in historical Palestine in 1948 (the Palestinians call the events ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe). Twenty-eight of those Palestinian families moved to Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem to settle there.
- Jerusalem has been at the centre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to the original 1947 UN partition plan, Jerusalem was proposed to be an international city. But in the first Arab Israel war of 1948, the Israelis captured the western half of the city, and Jordan took the eastern part, including the Old City that houses Haram al-Sharif. Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and the Dome of the Rock are situated within Haram esh-Sharif (Noble Sanctury).
- The Union Territory of Puducherry has become the fourth State/UT after Goa, Telangana and Andaman & Nicobar Islands to provide assured tap water supply to every rural home under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).
- Steel, the most commonly used input in construction sector and industries, is at all-time highs, as most metals including base and precious metals prices have gone through the roof over the last one year.
- Uranium occurs naturally in low concentrations in soil, rock and water and is commercially extracted from uranium-bearing minerals. Uranium that has a silvery grey metallic appearance is mainly used in nuclear power plants due to its unique nuclear properties. Depleted uranium is also used as shield against radiation in medical processes using radiation therapy and also while transporting radioactive materials. Though itself radioactive, uranium’s high density makes it effective in halting radiation. Its high density also makes it useful as counterweights in aircraft and industrial machinery.
- In January 2021, the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) denotified the entire Galathea Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to allow for the port there and an Environment Ministry Expert Committee approved a “zero extent” Ecologically Sensitive Zone (ESZ) for the Galathea National Park to allow the use of land. Galathea Bay is an iconic nesting site in India of the enigmatic Giant Leatherback, the world’s largest marine turtle. It is located on the island of Great Nicobar in the Nicobar Islands, which lie in the eastern Indian Ocean.
- The Battle of Haldighati was fought in 1576 between Rana Pratap Singh of Mewar and Raja Man Singh of Amber who was the general of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Maharana Pratap fought a brave war, but was defeated by Mughal forces. It is said that Maharana Pratap’s loyal horse named Chetak, gave up his life as the Maharana was leaving the battlefield.
- The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has issued a notification making it mandatory for all States/UTs to grant certificate of disability through online mode only using UDID (Unique Disability ID) portal w.e.f. 01.06.2021.
- In 1999, the RBI had set up a Regulations Review Authority (RRA) for reviewing the regulations, circulars, reporting systems, based on the feedback from the public, banks, and financial institutions.
- Venus, the second planet from the sun, is similar in structure but slightly smaller than Earth, with a diameter of about 7,500 miles (12,000 km). Above its foreboding landscape is a thick and toxic atmosphere that consists primarily of carbon dioxide, with clouds of sulfuric acid droplets. With a runaway greenhouse effect, its surface temperatures reach 880 degrees Fahrenheit (471 degrees Celsius), hot enough to melt lead. Venus spins from east to west, the opposite direction from all other planets in our solar system but Uranus. In another quirk, its day-night cycle – the time between sunrises as opposed to the length of a single axial spin – takes 117 Earth days because Venus rotates in the direction opposite of its orbital path around the sun. Venus has received less scientific attention than Mars, Earth’s other planetary next-door neighbor, and other solar system destinations. Venus spins on its axis almost upright – meaning it lacks discernable seasons while Earth has more of a tilt. The study calculated the Venusian tilt at about 2.64 degrees. Earth’s is about 23.5 degrees.
- Yield on bonds is normally used as the risk-free rate when calculating the cost of capital. When bond yields go up, the cost of capital goes up. “That means that future cash flows get discounted at a higher rate. This compresses the valuations of these stocks. That is one of the reasons that whenever the interest rates are cut by the RBI, it is positive for stocks.
- About 180 million years ago, India separated from the ancient supercontinent Gondwana and took a long northward journey of about 9,000 km to join Eurasia. During this journey, the subcontinent moved from the southern hemisphere, crossed the Equator to reach its current position in the northern hemisphere.
- MUDRA, which stands for Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd., is a financial institution set up by the Government. It provides funding to the non-corporate small business sector through various last-mile financial institutions like Banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs). MUDRA does not lend directly to micro-entrepreneurs/individuals.
- Taiwan – the Republic of China (ROC), home to twenty-three million people, is an island off the southern coast of China that has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949. Its neighbours include China (officially the People’s Republic of China, PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Taiwan is the most populous state that is not a member of the United Nations (UN) and the largest economy outside the UN.
- India is not a party to the UN Refugee Conventions, the court observed that the country is a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.
- The US State Department has approved the proposal for the sale of six P-8I patrol aircraft and related equipment to India. P-8I is a long-range, multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft. US-based manufacturer Boeing developed this aircraft. It is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft that Boeing company developed as a replacement for the US Navy’s ageing P-3 fleet.
- Phylogenetic Assignment of Global Outbreak Lineages (PANGOLIN) was developed to implement the dynamic nomenclature of SARS-CoV-2 lineages, known as the Pango nomenclature. It uses a hierarchical system based on genetic relatedness – an invaluable tool for genomic surveillance. It uses alphabets (A, B, C, P) and numerals starting with 1. Variant lineages are at the emerging edge of the pandemic in different geographies. Lineage B is the most prolific.
- State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) has been constituted under Section 48 (1) (a) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It was constituted based on the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission. The SDRF is the primary fund available with State governments as part of their response to notified disasters to meet expenditure on providing immediate relief to victims. The Centre contributes 75% of the allocation for general category States and Union Territories and 90% for special category States (northeastern, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir). It is audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) every year.
- The Earth’s axis of rotation is the line along which it spins around itself as it revolves around the Sun. The points on which the axis intersects the planet’s surface are the geographical north and south poles. The location of the poles is not fixed, however, as the axis moves due to changes in how the Earth’s mass is distributed around the planet. Thus, the poles move when the axis moves, and the movement is called “polar motion”. Generally, polar motion is caused by changes in the hydrosphere, atmosphere, oceans, or solid Earth. But now, climate change is adding to the degree with which the poles wander.
- Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) are negotiated on a bilateral basis between the United States and its NATO allies or coalition partners that allow US forces to exchange most common types of support, including food, fuel, transportation, ammunition, and equipment. The agreement does not, in any way commit a country to any military action. ACSAs also exist between third-party countries. Both Japan and South Korea have formed ACSAs with countries other than the US. Recently, India and Japan concluded military pacts such as the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) logistics agreement.
- Mt. Pumori is a mountain on the Nepal-China border in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. It lies just eight kilometres west of Mount Everest. Pumori, meaning “the Mountain Daughter” in Sherpa language, was named by George Mallory. Climbers sometimes refer to Pumori as “Everest’s Daughter”. Four peaks — Mt Nuptse (7,862 metres), Mt Pumori (7,161m), Mt Lhotse (8,516m) along with the tallest mountain on earth, Mt Everest (8,848.86m) — make up the Everest Massif. From the technical point of view, Mt Pumori and Mt Nuptse are considered to be the toughest mountains to summit in the world. Upper Khumbu Glacier and the Western Cwm, which located in the shadow of the Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse.
- The ongoing 74th World Health Assembly declared January 30 as ‘World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day’ May 28, 2021. NTDs are a group of infections that are most common among marginalised communities in the developing regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas. They are caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasitic worms. These diseases generally receive less funding for research and treatment than malaises like tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS and malaria. Some examples of NTDs include snakebite envenomation, scabies, yaws, trachoma, Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. A major milestone in the movement to recognise the global burden of these diseases was the London Declaration on NTDs that was adopted January 30, 2012.
- The Climate Breakthroughs Summit — a collaboration between the World Economic Forum, Mission Possible Partnership, the United Nations Climate Champions, and the United Kingdom Climate Change Conference (COP26) Presidency.
- Solar Orbiter is a space mission of international collaboration between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA. This is the first mission that will provide images of the sun’s north and south poles using a suite of six instruments on board that will capture the spacecraft’s view. Solar Orbiter follows the Ulysses spacecraft, another collaboration between ESA and NASA that
launched in 1990.
- La Nina is the cooling phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and decreases the vertical wind shear over the North Atlantic Ocean, which is mostly responsible for an above average storm season.
- The Sudano-Sahelian Zone, which comprises 16 countries in Africa, is the most vulnerable to climate change. The associated risks have pushed food crop as well as livestock production outside safe climatic space (SCS), in turn jeopardising food security in the region, a new study has warned. The Sudano-Sahelian region lies outside SCS.
- Cloudbursts are sudden and extreme rainfall events over a limited area in a short span of time. There is no universal definition of a cloudburst. However, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) defines a cloudburst as any event where 100 millimetres of rainfall have fallen in a span of an hour over a region that is 20-30 square kilometres in area. A cloudburst occurs when moisture-carrying air moves up a hilly terrain, forming a vertical column of clouds known as ‘cumulonimbus’ clouds. Such clouds usually cause rain, thunder and lightning. This upward motion of the clouds is known as an ‘orographic lift’. Cloudbursts mostly occur at elevations between 1,000-2,500 metres above sea level.
- The Habitats Directive is a directive adopted by the European Community in 1992 as a response to the Berne Convention. It ensures the conservation of a wide range of rare, threatened or endemic animal and plant species. Slovakia is part of the Danube-Carpathian Region that is also known as the ‘Green Heart of Europe’. The region is home to some two-thirds of Europe’s populations of large carnivores, including brown bears, wolves and lynx.
- The annual flagship Global Report on Food Crises was released by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNFC) May 5, 2021. GNFC is an international alliance that includes the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the European Commission.
- Kenya is the largest producer of black tea in the world while China produces the maximum green tea. Kenya’s most optimal tea-growing areas such as Mt Elgon and Mbeere are totally absent from the climate projections for 2050.
- On the yellow sand fields of Rajasthan, the historic war of Haldighati was fought on 18 June 1576 between Maharana Pratap Singh and Akbar’s forces led by Raja Man Singh l of Amer.
- Rwanda is a landlocked country in central Africa in the Great Rift Valley, where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. Its Capital is Kigali. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country is member of the African Union, the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, COMESA, OIF and the East African Community. The Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government. An estimated more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed during the 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July 1994. The majority Hutus and minority Tutsis have had a troubled relationship in Rwanda that goes back to the German and Belgian colonial period.
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has officially declared the end of the 12th Ebola outbreak.
- Germany for the first time has recognised that it committed genocide against the Herero and Nama people in present-day Namibia during its colonial rule over a century ago, and promised financial support of over a billion euros to the Southern African nation. Between 1904 and 1908, German colonial settlers killed tens of thousands of men, women and children from the Herero and Nama tribes after they rebelled against colonial rule in what was then called German South West Africa.
- The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) maintains rotating lists of names. The word Tauktae has been suggested by Myanmar, which means ‘gecko’, a distinctively vocal lizard, in the Burmese language.
- A sun dog (or sundog) or mock sun, also called a parhelion in meteorology, is an atmospheric optical phenomenon that consists of a bright spot to one or both sides of the Sun. Two sun dogs often flank the Sun within a 22° halo.
- The Article 164 (3) of the Constitution states that “before a Minister enters upon his office, the Governor shall administer to him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule.”
- Those persons whose citizenship was doubtful or was under dispute were categorized as ‘D- Voters’ during the preparation of National Register of Citizens in Assam. They have not been defined in the Citizenship Act, 1955 or the Citizenship Rules of 2003.
- Social Security Agreement (SSA) is a bilateral agreement between India and a foreign country designed to protect the interests of cross border workers. The agreement provides for avoidance of ‘double coverage’ and ensures equality of treatment to workers of both countries from a social security perspective. As on date, India has signed SSAs with 18 countries.
- Funding for the United Nations comes from two sources: (1) assessed contributions and (2) voluntary contributions. Assessed contributions are obligatory payments made by member states to finance the U.N. regular budget and peacekeeping operations. Assessed contributions to the regular budget from member states are largely based on per capita income, with a floor of 0.001 percent to ensure that even the poorest countries contribute something. In contrast, voluntary contributions are left to the discretion of each member state. These contributions, which account for more than half of total funding, finance most of the United Nations’ humanitarian relief and development activities. Major programs heavily dependent on voluntary contributions include the World Food Program, UNICEF and the U.N. Development Program.
- According to the Interpol website, “Notices are international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information.” There are seven types of notices — Red Notice, Yellow Notice, Blue Notice, Black Notice, Green Notice, Orange Notice, and Purple Notice. The Blue Notice is issued to “collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime.”
- Vorukh is the name of a village and one of two exclaves of Tajikistan within the Batken Province of Kyrgyzstan.
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