Prelim Snippets – 24.04.2020
1.Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
- Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is recently seen in news
- It is one of the premier Central Armed Police Forces of India (under the Ministry of Home Affairs) for internal security.
- The other Central Armed Police Forces are Assam Rifles (AR), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)
- It is originally constituted as the Crown Representative Police in 1939, it is one of the oldest Central paramilitary forces. After Independence, the force was renamed as Central Reserve Police Force by an Act of Parliament on December 28, 1949.
- Its mission is to enable the government to maintain Rule of Law, Public Order and Internal Security effectively and efficiently, to Preserve National Integrity and Promote Social Harmony and Development by upholding supremacy of the Constitution.
- They played a significant role during the amalgamation of the princely States into the Indian Union. It helped the Union Government in disciplining the rebellious princely States of Junagarh and the small principality of Kathiawar in Gujarat which had declined to join the Indian Union.
- Some of the important duties performed by the CRPF Include:
- Crowd/ Riot controlling
- Dealing with Left Wing Extremism
- Protection of VIPs and vital installations
- Counter Militancy/Insurgency operations
- Participating in UN Peacekeeping Mission
- Rescue and Relief operations at the time of Natural Calamities
- Checking environmental degradation and protection of local Flora and Fauna
2.Classical Swine Fever
Why in News?
- The eastern Assam have recently reported the death of more than 1,300 pigs within a week due to the classical swine fever (CSF).
About Classical Swine Fever:
- Classical Swine Fever is also known as hogcholera and is a contagious viral disease of domestic and wild swine.
- It is a viral disease that affects pigs only. It can be controlled by proper vaccination of pigs in time.
- African Swine Fever is another kind of Swine Fever.
Prevention and Control Measures:
- The Affected pigs must be slaughtered and the carcass buried or burnt.
- The first barrier to prevent an outbreak of the CSF is to apply strict and rigorous sanitary treatment.
- Vaccination can prevent the spread of the disease.
- The OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code defines the requirements for a country or a zone to be considered free of the Disease.
About OIE- World Organisation for Animal Health:
- It is an intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide.
- In 2018, it had a total of 182 Member Countries. India is one of the member countries.
- Its standards are recognised by the World Trade Organization as reference international sanitary rules. It is headquartered in Paris, France.
Why in News?
- Recently, the Iran has launched its first military satellite called Noor (meaning light) into orbit.
- It reached an orbit of 425km after being carried by a three-stage Ghased launcher. This was a successful launch after months of failures.
- It was launched by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC, which operates its own military infrastructure in parallel to Iran’s regular armed forces, is a hard-line force answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
- Previously unheard ‘Ghased’ or “Messenger” satellite launcher was used to put the device into space. It described the system as using both liquid and solid fuel.
- This launch comes amid tensions between Iran and the US over the collapsed nuclear deal and after a U.S. drone strike in Iraq killed Iran’s most powerful military commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January, 2020.
- The Trump administration has warned that the technology used to launch satellites could help Iran develop Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).
About Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles:
- It is land-based, generally nuclear-armed ballistic missiles with a range of more than 5,500 km. E.g. India’s Agni V.
- It has also Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM). E.g. India’s Dhanush
- It is initially powered by rockets after which they follow an unpowered, free-falling trajectory toward their targets.
- It is established in April 1987, the voluntary Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) aims to limit the spread of ballistic missiles and other unmanned delivery systems that could be used for chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks. India is its member.
Why in News?
- Recently, Dr. MGR Medical University has developed a potential vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) through ‘reverse vaccinology’.
About Reverse Vaccinology:
- ReverseVaccinology is defined as use of genomic information with the aid of computers for the preparation of vaccines without Culturing Microorganism.
- It helps in the examination of the genome of an organism in order to identify novel antigens and epitopes that might constitute Vaccine Candidates.
- It has been used for developing vaccinations for meningococcal and staphylococcal infections all through the world.
- In reverse vaccinology identification of candidate antigens (potential target for vaccine preparation) is possible without the need to grow the pathogen in a shorter time.
- It is a serious infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
- Staphylococcal infections are caused by staphylococcus bacteria commonly found on the skin or in the nose of even healthy individuals.
- Antigen is a toxin or other foreign substance which induces an immune response in the body,Epitope is a portion of a foreign protein, or antigen, that is capable of stimulating an immune response.
5.Facebook -Reliance Jio Deal Significance
Why in News?
- Facebook’s purchase of a nearly 10% stake in Reliance Industries’ digital business unit Jio Platforms brings one of the world’s largest Internet companies on the table with India’s largest telecom player.
- The deal pushes the Indian conglomerate ahead in its plans of de-leveraging its balance sheet while accelerating the launch of its new commerce business.
- This not only marks Facebook’s long-pending formal entry into India’s telecom sector but also catapults it to a place among the biggest foreign investors in India’s technology space.
- Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani had said the group had prepared a roadmap for becoming a zero net-debt company within 18 months.
- The Facebook deal significantly contributes to that plan by paring about Rs 43,574 crore from its outstanding debt as of September 2019 of Rs 2.92 lakh crore.
- The other primary contributors to the debt-reduction plan will be a potential $15 billion (around Rs 1.05 lakh crore) deal with Saudi Aramco for a 20% stake in Reliance Industries’ refining and petrochemicals business and Rs 7,000 crore from a 49% sale in its fuel retail joint-venture to British firm BP.
- Experts have said the arrangement among Reliance Retail, Jio Platforms and Facebookowned WhatsApp to offer consumers the ability to access the nearest kiranas, or grocery stores.
- This can provide products and services to their homes by transacting with JioMart using WhatsApp and has come at a very opportune time. WhatsApp boasts 400 million users in India. Further, using WhatsApp’s base also allows Reliance Retail to promote its services to users of Jio’s rival telecom players.
- The partnership with Reliance could also help Facebook navigate the regulatory environment in India, where it has had several skirmishes with the authorities, including for its major initiatives such as WhatsApp Pay.
- The deal also marks Facebook’s entry among elite investors in India’s technology space, joining the likes of SoftBank, Amazon and Google that have together poured in billions of dollars in Indian tech start-ups and their own ventures over the years.
- Prior to Jio Platforms, Facebook had invested around $20-25 million in social commerce platform Meesho in 2019, and participated in a $110 million funding round for edu-tech company Unacademy earlier this year.
6.Atmospheric CO2 can Cause Cognitive Impairment
Why in News?
- Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations will cause urban and indoor levels of the gas to increase, and that may significantly reduce our basic decision-making ability and complex strategic thinking, according to a new study.
- High level cognitive domains like decision-making and planning are especially susceptible to increasing CO2 concentrations.
- By the end of the century, people could be exposed to indoor CO2 levels up to 1400 parts per million–more than three times today’s outdoor levels, and well beyond what humans have ever experienced.
- Building ventilation typically modulates CO2 levels in buildings, but there are situations when there are too many people and not enough fresh air to dilute the CO2. They also build up in poorly ventilated spaces over longer periods of time, such as overnight while sleeping in bedrooms.
- Put simply, when we breathe air with high CO2 levels, the CO2 levels in our blood rise, reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches our brains. Studies show that this can increase sleepiness and anxiety, and impair cognitive function.
- And outdoor CO2 in urban areas is higher than in pristine locations. The CO2 concentrations in buildings are a result of both the gas that is otherwise in equilibrium with the outdoors, but also the CO2 generated by building occupants as they exhale.
- Researchers developed a comprehensive approach that considers predicted future outdoor CO2 concentrations and the impact of localized urban emissions, a model of the relationship between indoor and outdoor CO2 levels and the impact on human cognition.
- They found that if the outdoor CO2 concentrations do rise to 930 ppm, that would nudge the indoor concentrations to a harmful level of 1400 ppm. At this level, some studies have demonstrated compelling evidence for significant cognitive impairment.
- The cognitive impacts of rising CO2 levels represent what scientists call a “direct” effect of the gas’ concentration, much like ocean acidification. In both cases, elevated CO2 itself– not the subsequent warming it also causes–is what Triggers Harm.
Why in News?
- Scientists studying life of dead stars have been able to measure the radius of the neutron star that allows them to study various aspects of the life of the star after it undergoes supernova explosion.
- The new measurements, along with data collected by terrestrial gravitational wave telescopes on how neutron stars warp space and time by colliding and merging with each other, will help scientists peer into the depths of a dead star.
- The life of a typical star is as fascinating as its death. It shines by burning its nuclear fuel, converting hydrogen into helium to hold itself up against the pull of gravity for billions of years. But when the fuel is exhausted, gravity wins the long drawn out battle and causes the stellar remnants to collapse.
- New nuclear reactions then begin to convert the helium into carbon, releasing more Gravitational Energy.
- When all the helium in a star is converted to carbon, the core becomes more compact and hotter still, as nuclear fusion converts the carbon into oxygen.
- Eventually, most of the core material is converted into an iron-rich nucleus, at which point the addition of more protons and neutrons from the reaction does not release any more energy.
- With the source of heat gone, larger stars simply collapse, the mass of their outer layers falling inwards under the pull of gravity and getting very hot as gravitational energy is released.
- Given enough mass, in these conditions, there is a sudden flareup of activity as protons and electrons of hydrogen and helium from the star’s atmosphere fuse into neutrons and compress the core explosively.
- The explosion takes place in a shell around the core and the blast travels outwards, ejecting the rest of the star’s atmosphere in a flash as bright as a galaxy to form an expanding nebula made of ionised gas and dust.
- It also travels inwards, squeezing the core tight and producing a smattering of elements heavier than iron, some of which may get thrown out into the nebula. This ‘supernova’ explosion leaves behind a rapidly spinning neutron star known as a pulsar: the smallest and densest known entity in the universe.
- While scientists have been able to figure out this much of a star’s story, nobody really knows what becomes of a neutron star or a pulsar after this.
- Fortunately, the nature of neutron stars as the densest objects in the universe makes it possible for scientists to figure out what goes on inside them as long as they can measure accurately the width of neutron stars, from which its density can be determined.
- NASA’s Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), a large telescope on the orbiting International Space Station, is helping astronomers do just that.
- NICER’s sensors are more precise than atomic clocks and can pick up X-rays spewed into space by pulsars.
- NICER turned in data so precise that astronomers could measure two crucial aspects of neutron stars: their speed of rotation and how much the photons (light particles) from pulsars are bent by gravity.
- The results, when combined with the stellar mass (the masses of several neutrons stars are already known), yield the star’s Radius.
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