Prelim Snippets 31-08-2019
Context: Pakistan has successfully carried out night-training launch of surface-to-surface ballistic missile ‘Ghaznavi’.
- The ballistic missile is capable of delivering multiple types of warheads up to 290 kms.
2.Anandan’s day gecko
Context: Anandan’s day gecko adds to biodiversity of the Western Ghats
- It may only be a tiny reptile but the recent discovery of the 35th species of day gecko highlights the rich biodiversity of the Western Ghats
- The recently discovered Cnemaspis anandani (Anandan’s day gecko), is the most recent day gecko found in the Nilgiris and is endemic to the Western Ghats.
- The discovery is significant that this species of day gecko was not found in inaccessible forests, but near human habitations,
- The Anandan’s day gecko, which is only around 42 mm in size, was found near roads surrounding the reserve forests
- One threat may be from natural predators such as calotes (lizards), and birds,
- The more serious threat could be due to anthropogenic factors.
Context: The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday blacklisted the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya, which is at the center of a confrontation between Washington and Tehran, and sanctioned its captain.
About Adrian Darya:
- It is a Crude Oil Tanker built in 1997 and currently sailing under the flag of Iran.
- The ship, formerly called Grace 1, was detained by Britain off Gibraltar in July due to British suspicion it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.
Context: High TB prevalence continues to haunt this Madhya Pradesh tribe
What is TB?
- Tuberculosis, generally called TB is an infectious airborne bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs but can also damage other parts of the body.
- There are two TB-related conditions:
- Latent TB – the bacteria remain in the body in an inactive state. They cause no symptoms and are not contagious, but they can become active.
- Active TB – the bacteria do cause symptoms and can be transmitted to others
- Spread– TB is spread from person to person through the air.
- When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.
- About one-third of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with disease and cannot transmit the disease.
Steps taken by Government:
- The government has committed to achieve a ’90-90-90 target’ by 2035 (90% reductions in incidence, mortality and catastrophic health expenditures due to TB).
- The targets set in the “End TB strategy” are global reduction of 20% in incidence and 35% in mortality by 2020, taking 2015 as the base year.
- To reach that target, the global drop in incidence has to be 4-5% a year — currently it is about 2% a year.
Context: The team of ISRO engineers further nudged the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft closer to moon in an operation lasting 20 minutes.
- The spacecraft will now go around the moon in an almost circular orbit of 124 km x 164 km, eventually getting into the desired orbit of around 100 km x 100 km.
About Chandrayaan 2:
- It is India’s second lunar mission.
- It would be launched using India’s most powerful rocket GSLV MK-III from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, AP.
- Its payloads will collect scientific information on lunar (moon) topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere etc.
- It has Three Modules (a detachable self-contained unit of a spacecraft) namely namely Orbiter, Lander named Vikram and Rover named Pragyan.
- Vikram Lander: It will make soft landing at a predetermined site close to lunar South Pole
- Pragyan Rover: It will roll out for carrying out scientific experiments on lunar surface.
Context: Google on Saturday celebrated the 100th birth anniversary of Punjabi author, essayist and poet Amrita Pritam.
- Amrita is considered as one of the most Prominent Women Writer.
- Kala Gulab, her autobiography revealed details of her personal life.
- Her book worked as a force for women to be able to speak out about their experiences with marriage and love.
- One of the most famous poems of Pritam is,‘Ajj Aakhaan Waris Shah Nu,’ or ‘I invoke Waris Shah today.’ The poem is based on Partition of 1947, it is in reference to the famous 18-century Sufi poet, Waris Shah.
- The poet was known for her writings in the Punjabi language but she also wrote in Hindi and Urdu.
- Another famous work by Pritam was her book, Pinjar, which is considered as the best-written book about the partition between India and Pakistan.
- In 1985, the poet was nominated for Rajya Sabha.
- She has also been awarded for her work as a literary marvel.
- In 1981 she received a Bharatiya Jnanpith literary award. She was also awarded the Padma Bhushan in the year 2005.
- She died on October 31, 2005, in Delhi.
7.Great Barrier Reef
Context: The long-term outlook for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef was downgraded to “very poor” for the first time by the official agency charged with managing the world heritage site.
About Great Barrier Reef:
- It is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres
- The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
- The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms
- This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
- It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
- A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism.
- Other environmental pressures on the reef and its ecosystem include runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, dumping of dredging sludge and cyclic population outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish.
- According to a study published in October 2012 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985.
- In its latest five-yearly report on the health of the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority singled out rising sea temperatures due to climate change as the biggest threat to the giant organism.
- The significant and large-scale impacts from record-breaking sea surface temperatures have resulted in coral reef habitat transitioning from poor to very poor condition.
8.South China Sea
Context: France, Germany & UK joins India on safeguarding Freedom of Navigation in South China Sea
- It is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Karimata and Malacca straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around 3,500,000 sq km.
- The sea carries tremendous strategic importance; one-third of the world’s shipping passes through it, carrying over $3 trillion in trade each year.
- It contains lucrative fisheries, which are crucial for the food security of millions in Southeast Asia.
- Huge oil and gas reserves are believed to lie beneath its seabed
- According to International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition (1953), it is located in
- South of China
- East of Vietnam
- West of the Philippines
- East of the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, up to the Strait of Singapore in the western, and
- North of the Bangka Belitung Islands and Borneo
- The minute South China Sea Islands, collectively an archipelago, number in the hundreds.
- The sea and its mostly uninhabited islands are subject to competing claims of sovereignty by several countries.
- These claims are also reflected in the variety of names used for the islands and the sea.