Prelim Snippets 13-08-2019


Context: Recently, the Perseid meteor shower reached its peak, with streaks of light zooming across the skies up to once every minute

About Perseids:
  • The Perseids are one of the brighter meteor showers of the year.
  • They occur every year between July 17 and August 24 and tend to peak around August 9-13.
  • Made of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus.
  • This is because the direction, or radiant, from which the shower seems to come in the sky lies in the same direction as Perseus.
  • The Perseids are widely sought after by astronomers and stargazers because most years at its peak, one can see 60 to 100 meteors in an hour from a dark place.
  • They are visible in the Northern Hemisphere and can be viewed in skies all across.



Context: A Monster Black Hole has been Found with 40 Billion Times the Mass of the Sun.

  • Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) have discovered an enormous black hole at the center of Holmberg 15A, a supergiant elliptical galaxy and the central, dominant member of the galaxy cluster Abell 85.
Holmberg 15A:
  • It is a ultramassive black hole is estimated to have a mass of 40 billion times that of the Sun.
  • This is the most massive black hole with a direct dynamical detection in the local Universe
  • It is a factor of two larger than black holes in NGC 4889 (21 billion times that of the Sun) and NGC 1600 (17 billion times that of the Sun).”
  • This black hole is not only one of the most massive known, it is also 4 to 9 times larger than expected given the galaxy’s bulge stellar mass.



Context: Protective headgear of prescribed standards has been made mandatory for children above 4 years while travelling on a motorcycle.

About MVA:
  • The safety measures for the children travelling on motorcycles have been included in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019
  • According to Section 129 “Every person, above four years of age, driving or riding or being carried on a motorcycle of any class or description shall, while in public place wear protective headgear conforming to standards prescribed by the Central government”.
  • Only Sikhs wearing turban have been exempted from the provision of Section 129.



Context: Government of India is planning to include all types of cancers and their treatment under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana.

  • It is because cancer care costs cause massive financial crisis among people and many had to go without treatment.
Cancer in India Scenario:
  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the rate of mortality due to cancer in India is high, with cancer the second-most common disease in India, responsible for maximum mortality, with about 0.3 million deaths per year.
  • Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer in India, followed by breast cancer and oral cancers.
Key Facts:
  • The estimated number of people living with the disease stands at around 2.25 million, with over 11 lakh new cancer patients registered each year.
  • In India, the risk of developing cancer before the age of 75 years for males stands at 9.81% and females at 9.42%.
  • The risk of dying from cancer before the age of 75 years stood at 7.34% in males and 6.28% in females.
Ayushman Bharat Yojana- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY):
  • It is the Central Government’s health insurance scheme
  • Aim: To give medical cover to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families of approximately 50 crore beneficiaries, providing coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.
  • Beneficiaries: So far, 16,000 hospitals have been empanelled, nearly 34 lakh beneficiaries have been admitted, and 9 crore e-cards have been issued.



Context: A comprehensive evaluation by the CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFRTI), Mysore has determined that PET bottles are safe.

  • The CFRTI analysis concluded that antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, mercury, selenium and zinc “were below” their detection limits (BDL) of 0.001 mg/kg.
  • BPA (bis-phenol A) was below its detection limit of 0.02 mg/kg.
About BPA:
  • BPA is a synthetic organic compound and used in the manufacture of PET bottles.
  • But it is now phased out after research found a link between the presence of BPA and the disruption of hormone regulation, as well as breast cancer.
  • They were also below the EU (European Union) regulation norms of the “specific migration limit”, which is the maximum amount of a substance that can migrate from a food packaging material or food container into food.
  • The study was commissioned by the industry body named Pet Packaging Association for Clean Environment (PACE).



Context: Ministry for Youth Affairs & Sports conferred the National Youth Awards 2016-17 upon the following 20 individuals and 3 organizations.

About Youth Awards:
  • Recipients: The awards were conferred on individuals (aged between 15-29 years) and organizations for excellent work and contribution in different fields of development and social service, such as health, promotion of human rights, active citizenship, community service etc.
  • Objective: To motivate young persons to achieve excellence in the field of national development and social service.



Context: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Centre to submit a report on standards of lead and to phase out lead as a stabiliser in Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) pipes that are commonly used in most buildings.

  • The NGT had directed the Centre to finalise within two months the standards for using lead in PVC pipes.
  • The NGT was earlier informed that water passing through PVC pipes commonly used in most buildings may contain toxic materials like lead, which has a hazardous effect on human health.



Context: AIIMS, Delhi, launched a clinical ecotoxicology facility, a first-of-its-kind in India, to investigate increasing cases of diseases resulting from exposure to environmental toxins contaminating water, food and air.

  • The new facility will provide diagnostic consultation as well as research services to all the clinical departments dealing with diseases due to ecotoxicity.
  • According to the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, contaminated water, air and soil are responsible for about nine million early deaths.
  • About 92 per cent of these deaths due to environmental toxicity occur in the low-income and middle-income countries, which include India.
  • It is that branch of science that deals with the nature, effects, and interactions of substances that are harmful to the environment, on ecological entities, i.e. populations, communities or ecosystems.
  • Ecotoxicology will engage in knowing the origin of unknown factors of a certain rise in the number of cancer cases, even among those who don’t smoke.
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