Prelim Snippets 23-08-2019


Context: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and former India football captain Baichung Bhutia flagged off the Delhi leg of Op-Blue Freedom.

About Op-Blue Freedom:
  • Op-Blue Freedom is a nation-wide adaptive scuba diving programme for people with disabilities as well as the able bodied.
  • The program aims to train adventure enthusiasts in special forces skills like survival techniques, emergency first response skills, unarmed combat, endurance and fitness.


Context: Russia launched an unmanned rocket carrying a life-size humanoid robot named on the International Space Station.

About FEDOR Robot:
  • Name: Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research (FEDOR)
  • It is the first ever robot sent by Russia to space.
  • This life-size humanoid robot will spend 10 days learning to assist astronauts on the International Space Station.
  • Fedor copies human movements, a key skill that allows it to remotely help astronauts or even people on Earth to carry out tasks while the humans are strapped into an exoskeleton.
  • The Soyuz capsule was used to launch the rocket from the Russia-leased launch pad in Kazakhstan.
  • Fedor is travelling in order to test a new emergency rescue system.
  • Fedor, also known as Skybot F850 was strapped into a specially adapted pilot’s seat, with a small Russian flag in hand.
  • Fedor is not the first robot to go into space. In 2011, NASA, sent up Robonaut 2, a humanoid robot developed with General Motors and a similar aim of working in high – risk environments. It was flown back to Earth in 2018 After experiencing technical problems. In 2013, Japan too sent up a small robot called Kirobo along with the ISS’s first Japanese space commander. Developed with Toyota, it was able to hold conversations – albeit only in Japanese.


Context: Madhya Pradesh para swimmer Satendra Singh Lohia has become the first Asian swimmer to cross the Catalina Channel of America. Satendra holds the Asian record of crossing both the English and Catalina channels.

  • The Catalina Channel is 21 miles long and stretches between Santa Catalina Island and Los Angeles in California, USA.
  • It’s comparable to the English Channel in terms of distance and water conditions, although it’s a little warmer as compared to the English Channel.
Santa Catalina Island:
  • Santa Catalina Island is a rocky island off the coast of the U.S. state of California in the Gulf of Santa Catalina.
  • The island name is often shortened to Catalina Island or just Catalina.
  • Santa Catalina is part of the Channel Islands of California archipelago and lies within Los Angeles County.


Context: Pakistan has submitted compliance report on its 27-point action plan to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

About FATF:
  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.
  • It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.
  • The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.
  • The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.
  • In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.


Context: After being grey listed at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary, Pakistan now faces being put on the “blacklist” of the FATF’s Asia affiliate, the Asia-Pacific Group (APG).

About APG on Money Laundering:
  • It is FATF – Style regional body for Asia – pacific Region. It is intergovernmental (International) Organisation founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • It consists of 41 member Jurisdictions and number of observer jurisdictions and International / Regional Observer organisations.
  • It is focused on ensuring that its members effectively implement international standards against money laundering.
  • Terrorist financing and proliferation financing related to weapons of mass destruction.


Context: Half of maize crop across Tamil Nadu lost to Spodoptera Frugiperda

About Spodoptera Frugiperda:
  • Also Known as Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera Frugiperda is an invasive and polyphagous (feeding on many foods) pest. It can attack cereals and forage grasses.
  • FAW is recorded as eating 186 plant species from 42 families.
  • Global scientists have already warned that the FAW ‘invasion’ will be global and potentially put the world’s food security at risk.
  • India had to import maize in order to meet the demand of the poultry and animal feed industries after FAW destroyed the country’s maize crop in 2018.
  • This website will help support farmers in successfully curbing FAW in India through knowledge empowerment.
  • Saffal’ stands for ‘Safeguarding Agriculture and Farmers against Fall Armyworm’.
  • It is conducting a country-wide farmers’ awareness programme on FAW in major maize-growing states such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.


Context: The strait has become a bone of contention between Japan and China recently.

About Miyako Strait:
  • The Miyako Strait also known as the Kerama Gap, is a waterway which lies between Miyako Island and Okinawa Island consisting of an approx. 250km wide passageway with international waters and airspace.
  • It is the widest strait in the Ryukyu Islands.


Context: Scientists have discovered a new species of stegosaurus called Adratiklit boulahfa in North Africa which is dated to 168 million years.

  • It is the first stegosaurus to be found in North Africa. Its remains were discovered in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
  • The discovery makes it the oldest known member of that group of dinosaurs (stegosaurus) ever known.
  • The name is derived from the words used by the Berber (an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa) for mountains (Adras), lizard (tiklit) and and the area where the specimen was found (Boulahfa)
  • Paleontologists studied a handful of vertebrae and an upper arm bone, all that was left of it when it was found.
  • Adratiklit’s closest relatives is the European stegosaurus Dacentrurus.
  • The Adratiklit was armoured and herbivorous, and lived on the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, which later split into Africa, South America, Australia and Antarctica.
  • Most stegosaurus remains so far have been found in the northern hemisphere.
  • However, this may not mean that stegosaurs were uncommon in Gondwana. It may be due to the fact that Gondwana rock formations have been subject to far fewer excavations and detailed studies.
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