Why in News?
  • ISRO has announced that Cartosat-3 will be flown on the PSLV-C47 vehicle, subject to weather conditions.
  • It is an advanced earth imaging and mapping satellite. It would also boost the military’s space surveillance.
  • The satellite will be placed in an orbit of 509 km at an inclination of 97.5 degrees.
  • Cartosat-3, with an ISRO-best resolution of 25 cm, will be the first of a series of high resolution, third generation satellites planned for observing the Earth.
  • The satellite will be able to pick up objects of that size (25 cm) from its orbital perch about 509 km away. This will make Cartosat-3 among the few sharpest, if not the best, civil earth imagers worldwide.
  • Cartosat-3 will also have multi-spectral (captures light from across the electromagnetic spectrum) capabilities, which will help the military zoom in on enemy hideouts and terror hubs.
  • ISRO’s rocket PSLV-XL will put into orbit Cartosat-3 and 13 commercial Nano satellites from the US.
  • The 13 small U.S. customer satellites riding as secondary passengers will be placed in a polar orbit.

2.Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Why in News?
  • Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has been passed by the Parliament after it was passed in Rajya Sabha today.
Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill:
  • It seeks to make apolitical the trust that runs Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial by removing the clause pertaining to the President of INC as a permanent member of the trust.
  • The Bill also amends to include the Leader of Opposition recognised as such in the House of the People (Lok Sabha).
  • However, there is no such Leader of Opposition, then the Leader of the single largest Opposition Party in that House as a member of the trust.
  • The Bill also amends that a nominated trustee may be terminated before the expiry of the period of five years by the Central Government.

3.National Mission on Cultural Mapping (NMCM)

Why in News?
  • The Minister of State of Culture and Tourism provided certain information regarding the NMCM in the Lok Sabha.
National Mission on Cultural Mapping:
  • National Mission on Cultural Mapping (NMCM) has been set up by the Ministry of Culture in 2017.
  • Mission will compile data of artists, art forms & geo location with inputs from Central Ministries, State Governments & art/culture bodies.
  • Specially designed data capture form with technical collaboration of National E-Governance Division (NEGD)/Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has been formulated for data collection.
  • Data from art & culture Academies of the Ministry of Culture has been collected and will be entered into database after due correction.

4. Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh

Why in News?
  • Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) an autonomous body under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, implemented the following schemes:
  • Prerna Scheme (for delaying marriage, childbirth and spacing),
  • Santushti Scheme (Public Private Partnership for sterilization services)
  • National Helpline (for information on family planning).
  • Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) is a registered society of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare started with a Rs 100 crore grant from government.
  • The society was established with the objective of highlighting the need for population stabilization. Its accounts can be audited by the CAG.
  • The “Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh” (JSK) (National Population Stabilisation Fund) has been registered as an autonomous Society established under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.
  • JSK has to promote and undertake activities aimed at achieving population stabilisation at a level consistent with the needs of sustainable economic growth, social development and environment protection, by 2045.

5.Parliamentary Standing Committee

Why in News?
  • The chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Information and Technology casted his vote on Pegasus malware breach in WhatsApp.
  • In the Indian Parliament, a Standing committee is a committee consisting of Members of Parliament or MPs.
  • It is a permanent and regular committee which is constituted from time to time according to the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business.
  • The work done by the Indian Parliament is not only voluminous but also of a complex nature, hence a great deal of its work is carried out in these Parliamentary committees.
  • Both Houses of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, have similar committee structures with a few exceptions.
  • Their appointment, terms of office, functions and procedures of conducting business are broadly similar.
  • These standing committees are elected or appointed every year, or periodically by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, or as a result of consultation between them.
  • Recently the chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Information and Technology casted his vote on the issue of Pegasus malware breach in WhatsApp which was the final decider vote as it ended up in a tie.
  • This clearly indicated that the chairperson of the standing committee can cast his vote when it ends up in a tie

6.Olive Ridley

Why in News?
  • Olive Ridleys have begun to arrive at Odisha’s Rushikulya rookery coast for annual mating season.
About Olive Ridleys:
  • The Olive ridley turtles are the second smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world, inhabiting warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
  • They are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
  • The species is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List, Appendix 1 in CITES, and Schedule 1 in Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • They nests twice/thrice in a year. Its nesting season ranges worldwide from June to December, with the peak period in September and October.
  • Gahirmatha beach in Odisha’s Kendrapara district is known as world’s largest rookery of olive ridley species.
  • Nasi II Island is part of Gahirmatha Sanctuary in Odisha, one of the world’s largest nesting grounds of olive ridley turtles.
  • Olive-ridleys face serious threats across their migratory route, habitat and nesting beaches, due to human activities such as unfriendly turtle fishing practices, development, and exploitation of nesting beaches for ports, and tourist centers.

7. MADAD Portal

  • Though the number of complaints from NRI Brides about their spouses deserting them has been on the rise, the government has been adept in addressing the issues through MADAD Portal.
About MADAD Portal:
  • The Ministry of External Affairs had launched an online Consular Grievances Monitoring System, named MADAD, on 21st February 2015, to extend a helping hand to Indians abroad requiring consular assistance.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) works to address complaints received through MADAD.
  • All our Missions and Posts abroad and the MEA’s Branch Secretariats in Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Kolkata, have been linked to this portal for consular grievance tracking and follow-up.
  • The MADAD online portal represents a qualitative improvement over existing procedures for handling of consular grievances, through online forwarding, filing, tracking and escalation until their eventual resolution.
  • It allows direct registration of the grievances by the members of the public and effective tracking of the entire grievance handling process all the way until the redressal of the grievance.

8.International Court of Justice (ICJ)

Why in News?
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s civilian leader and Nobel peace laureate is about to contest genocide case in International Court of Justice (ICJ) based at Hague, Netherlands.
About ICJ:
  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).
  • It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.
  • The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York.
  • The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
  • It has the jurisdiction to settle disputes between countries and examine cases pertaining to violation of human rights according to the tenets of international law.
  • The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
  • These organs vote simultaneously but separately. In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies.
  • In order to ensure a measure of continuity, one third of the Court is elected every three years. Judges are eligible for re-election. Of the 15 judges, it is mandated that three should be from Africa, two from Latin America and the Caribbean, three from Asia, five from Western Europe and other states, and two from Eastern Europe.
  • Qualification to become a judge is all nominees should have a ‘high moral character,’ and credentials commensurate with those expected from the highest judicial officials of those countries. The Charter also makes it mandatory for judges to have recognised competence in international law.
  • India is a member of ICJ.
About International Criminal Court:
  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands.
  • The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
  • The ICC began functioning on 1 July 2002, the date that the Rome Statute entered into force.The Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty which serves as the ICC’s foundational and governing document.
  • States which become party to the Rome Statute, for example by ratifying it, become member states of the ICC.
  • India is not a party to ICC.
About Permanent Court of Arbitration:
  • The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is an intergovernmental organization located at The Hague in the Netherlands.
  • The PCA is not a court “in the traditional sense” but provides services of arbitral tribunal to resolve disputes that arise out of international agreements between member states, international organizations or private parties.
  • The cases span a range of legal issues involving territorial and maritime boundaries, sovereignty, human rights, international investment, and international and regional trade.
  • The organization is not a United Nations agency, but is an official United Nations Observer.
  • India is a member of PCA.

9.Jupiter’s Moon Europa

Why in News?
  • NASA’s has confirmed the presence water vapour for the first time above the surface of Jupiter’s Moon Europa.
About Europa:
  • Europa is the smallest of the four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter, and the sixth-closest to the planet of all the 79 known moons of Jupiter.
  • It is also the sixth-largest moon in the Solar System. Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilee and was named after Europa, the Phoenician mother of King Minos of Crete and lover of Zeus (the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Jupiter).
  • Europa has the smoothest surface of any known solid object in the Solar System.
  • Slightly smaller than Earth’s Moon, Europa is primarily made of silicate rock and has a water-ice crust and probably an iron–nickel core.
  • It has a very thin atmosphere, composed primarily of oxygen.
  • Its surface is striated by cracks and streaks, but craters are relatively few.
  • In addition to Earth-bound telescope observations, Europa has been examined by a succession of space-probe flybys, the first occurring in the early 1970s.

10.’Back to Village’ Programme

Why in News?
  • The Jammu and Kashmir administration is launching the second phase of ‘Back to Village programme’ from 25th to 30th
‘Back to Village’ Programme
  • It is a flagship programme which aims at empowerment and development of Panchayats by reaching out to the people at the grassroots level.
  • The programme is set to energize the 4,483 panchayats and direct the developmental efforts in rural areas through community participation.
  • As a part of the programme, a gazetted officer will be assigned to each gram panchayat, where he/she will stay for at least two days including a night halt in the village to interact and obtain feedback from the panchayat representatives, elders and other local people about their concerns and developmental needs.

11.Gandhian Challenge

Why in News?
  • The NITI Aayog has announced top 30 winners of the Gandhian Challenge, which was organized to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhian Challenge:
  • On the 150thbirth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi- Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog’s Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) and UNICEF India, including Generation Unlimited, launched ‘The Gandhian Challenge’.
  • The Gandhian Challenge was open to students studying in classes 6-12 in two categories – Art and Innovation, and Science and Technology and Innovation.

12.Village Defence Committees (VDC)

Why in News?
  • Delegation of a political party met Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor G C Murmu in Jammu yesterday and called for the strengthening of Village Defence Committees (VDC).
Village Defence Committees (VDC):
  • The VDCs were formed in the 1990s during the height of militancy in the state.
  • Their aim is to contain the activities of militants and to ensure security and safety of those living in rural and remote areas.
  • The rural volunteers set a ring of resistance against armed militants, strengthening the security of Hindus living in remote and mountainous areas of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramba, Rajouri, Reasi, Kathua and Poonch districts of the region, giving the residents a courage to stay put rather than flee their militancy-hit homeland.
  • The members of these committees not only guard the identified villages along the border, but also the infrastructural installations in and around them.
  • Cases of overreach:
  • Some incidents of involvement of VDC members in human rights violations including rape, kidnapping, torture and murder, has raised the demand for abolition of VDCs.
  • The Supreme Court of India has declared that the recruitment and arming of tribal people as special police officers (SPOs), as a counter-insurgency measure, is ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional’.

13.‘Away-From-Reactor’ Facility

Why in News?
  • Minister of State for PMO, said that the spent fuels of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant will be stored in a place far from the reactor.
Spent Fuels:
  • These are the nuclear fuels, that has been irradiated in a nuclear reactor to the point where it is no longer useful in sustaining a nuclear reaction.
  • It is also called as Spent nuclear fuel or Used-Nuclear Fuel.
  • Spent nuclear fuel is stored either in
  • Spent Fuel Pools/bays (located within the reactor building/service building) or
  • ‘Away-From-Reactor’ facility.
Spent Fuel Pools/Bays:
  • The spent fuel storage pool inside the reactor building has a limited capacity and is used for immediate storage of the spent fuel, that is removed from the reactor during refuelling. The fuel remains in the pool initially for a few years for it to be cooled sufficiently before it is shifted to the AFR facility.
  • The AFR facilities can be defined as a storage system functionally independent of the reactor operation providing the role of storage until a further destination (such as a disposal) becomes available.

14.Decoded: How Birds Influence each other in Coordinated Flights

Why in News?
  • Researchers have found how each individual in a pigeon flock is influenced by the other members during flight, an advance that may lead to a better understanding of Biological Networks.
 Coordinated Flight:
  • Until now synchronised flight in birds was believed to be influenced by three basic rules- avoid collision with peers, match speed and direction of motion with the rest of the group, and try to stay near the centre.
  • The current study, examined how every individual pigeon within a flock is influenced by the other members of the group, and revealed that the dynamics are not so simple.
  • Significance of the Research Findings:
  • This method could be used to study other coordinated behaviours, like the collective functioning of cells in the immune system.
  • It is an act of large group of birds, usually starlings, that all fly together and change direction together. Starling murmurations are one of the most dazzling displays in the natural world.
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