Flash-Cards-for-IAS-Prelims-2018-CA-Day-22
70 Days WAR Plan

Day#22 Current Affairs Flash Cards [70 Days WAR Plan]

Gloriosa superba; Report on road accidents; Bank for International Settlements (BIS); ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C’; World Development Report 2019; Chandra X-Ray Observatory; Clean Up the World; Bern Treaty of 1874; Zika Virus in India; FAO World Programme for the Census of Agriculture;
By IT's Core Team
April 12, 2019

 

 

 

Which initiative provides support and guidance to countries to carry out national agricultural censuses?

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Answer:

  • The FAO World Programme for the Census of Agriculture provides support and guidance to countries to carry out national agricultural censuses.

Enrich Your Learning:

World Census of Agriculture:

  • A census of agriculture is a statistical operation for collecting, processing and disseminating data on the structure of agriculture, covering the whole or a significant part of the country.
  • Realizing the importance of statistics on agriculture, the International Institute of Agriculture conducted the first Programme for the World Census of Agriculture (WCA) in 1930.
  • Beginning with 1950, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has been preparing and advocating decennial World Programme for the Census of Agriculture (WCA).
  • Under the leadership of FAO, country participation in the WCA programme has been increased over time.
  • The present round of the Census programme (WCA 2020) covers agricultural censuses to be carried out by countries between 2016 to 2025.
  • Member countries provide the reports of their agricultural censuses to the FAO Statistics Division.
  • At the end of each round of the WCA, FAO Statistics Division publishes consolidated information on structure of agriculture, for various countries, in the form of Reports.
  • Data collected provides a snapshot of the state of a country’s agricultural sector – from size of holdings, land tenure, land use, area harvested, irrigation, livestock, labour and other agricultural inputs.
  • This information is vital in agricultural planning and policy-making, research and development and monitoring the impact of agriculture on the environment.
  • For this 10-year round, FAO has developed a new set of guidelines that involve a number of developments taking into account the changing nature of data use and collection.
  • New data collection technologies have been included to drastically reduce the time lag between data collection and data analysis.
  • Additional data domains have been included/proposed, such as fisheries and GHG emissions to aid monitoring the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Among the new methodologies proposed, there is also a renewed approach for assessing food security by reviewing the severity of food insecurity as experienced by individuals in the population.

 

 

 

Zika Virus, a flavivirus spread mainly by?

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Answer:

  • Zika Virus, a flavivirus spread mainly by Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Enrich Your Learning:

Zika Virus:

  • Zika, a flavivirus spread mainly by mosquitoes, belongs to the same genus as dengue and chikungunya.
  • A person gets infected with Zika virus via bites of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Symptoms:

  • Surprisingly, some people infected with the virus may not show any signs or symptoms, while others may develop symptoms like fever, mild rash or body ache.

Transmission:

  • Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome.
  • Zika virus can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. This is of concern due to an association between Zika virus infection and adverse pregnancy and fetal outcomes.
  • It can be transmitted via transfusion of blood and blood products, and organ transplantation.

Complications:

  • Zika virus is linked to birth defects and development of Guillain-Barre syndrome, where one’s immune system attacks the nerves.
  • Infection with Zika virus is also associated with other complications of pregnancy including preterm birth and miscarriage.
  • An increased risk of neurologic complications is associated with Zika virus infection in adults and children, including Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy and myelitis.
  • Since there is no vaccine to protect one against Zika currently, it is important to protect ourselves from mosquito bites.

Zika Virus in India:

  • Some evidence that Zika has been in India for long comes from a 1954 survey, which found several Indians with Zika antibodies.
  • However, this evidence wasn’t conclusive, because other flaviviruses, like dengue, can also trigger Zika-neutralising antibodies.
  • The first confirmed Indian case occurred in 2016 in Gujarat.
  • Later, three more cases were detected, before the 2018 Rajasthan outbreak.
  • Despite its long presence in Asia, Zika outbreaks in this region have been benign.
  • This changed with a large French Polynesian outbreak in 2013 and a larger Brazilian one in 2015.

 

 

 

What is the purpose of the Bern Treaty of 1874?

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Answer:

  • The purpose of the Bern treaty of 1874 was to unify disparate postal services and regulations so that international mail could be exchanged freely.

Enrich Your Learning:

Bern Treaty of 1874:

  • The Treaty of Bern signed in 1874, established the General Postal Union, which is today known as the Universal Postal Union.
  • It was formally known as the treaty concerning the formation of a General Postal Union.
  • Named for the Swiss city of Bern, where it was signed, the treaty was the result of an international conference convened by the Swiss Government in September, 1874.
  • It was attended by representatives from 22 nations. Plans for the conference had been drawn up by Heinrich von Stephan, a German postal official.
  • Originally called the General Postal Union, the organization established by the Treaty was renamed the Universal Postal Union in 1878 due to its large membership.
  • The signatories of the treaty were the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Spain, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Empire, Serbia, the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, Switzerland, and the Ottoman Empire.
  • World Post Day is now observed on 9 October, recalling the date on which the Treaty was signed.
  • On 10 July 1964, the UPU incorporated the treaty into a new Constitution of the Universal Postal Union, which is now the treaty that is ratified by states when they wish to join the UPU.

 

 

 

In which regions, Clean Up the World operates?

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Answer:

Clean Up the World operates across a geo-scheme of six regions:

  • Africa,
  • Europe,
  • West Asia,
  • Asia Pacific,
  • Latin America & the Caribbean,
  • North America

Enrich Your Learning:

Clean Up the World:

  • Clean Up the World engages an estimated 35 million volunteers in 130 countries each year, making it one of the largest community-based environmental campaigns in the world.
  • Community groups, schools, businesses, and local governments join as Members and carry out activities that address local environmental issues.
  • By facilitating local action, Clean Up the World brings about global environmental change.

Establishment:

  • Clean Up the World was established in 1993 and is a not-for-profit, non-government apolitical event that unites communities with a common focus to protect the environment.
  • It supports local groups and organisations to plan and conduct various activities to clean up, fix up and conserve the environment.
  • The global outreach program for Clean Up Australia Ltd, Clean Up the World is held in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme.

Activity:

  • It empowers people in communities all over the world to make a difference to their local environment.
  • It encourages groups in every region of the globe to organize activities and register with us to gain access to our planning tools and event resources.

 

 

 

The Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO), is a Flagship-class space telescope launched by ISRO. Right or Wrong?

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Answer:

  • Wrong

Right Statement:

  • The Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO), is a Flagship-class space telescope launched on STS-93 by NASA in July,1999.

Enrich Your Learning:

Chandra X-Ray Observatory:

  • It was previously known as the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF).
  • Chandra is sensitive to X-ray sources 100 times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope, enabled by the high angular resolution of its mirrors.
  • Since the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs the vast majority of X-rays, they are not detectable from Earth-based telescopes; therefore, space-based telescopes are required to make these observations.
  • Chandra is an Earth satellite in a 64-hour orbit, and its mission is ongoing as of 2019.
  • Chandra is one of the Great Observatories, along with the Hubble Space Telescope, Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (1991–2000), and the Spitzer Space Telescope.
  • The telescope is named after the Nobel Prize-winning Indian-American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.
  • Its mission is similar to that of ESA’s XMM-Newton spacecraft, also launched in 1999.

The data gathered by Chandra has greatly advanced the field of X-ray astronomy.

Discoveries by CXO:

  • The first light image, of supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, gave astronomers their first glimpse of the compact object at the center of the remnant, probably a neutron star or black hol.
  • The first X-ray emission was seen from the supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, at the center of the Milky Way.

Structure:

  • Unlike optical telescopes which possess simple aluminized parabolic surfaces (mirrors), X-ray telescopes generally use a Wolter telescope consisting of nested cylindrical paraboloid and hyperboloid surfaces coated with iridium or gold.
  • Chandra uses four pairs of nested mirrors, together with their support structure, called the High Resolution Mirror Assembly (HRMA); the mirror substrate is 2 cm-thick glass, with the reflecting surface a 33 nm iridium coating, and the diameters are 65 cm, 87 cm, 99 cm and 123 cm.
  • The thick substrate and particularly careful polishing allowed a very precise optical surface, which is responsible for Chandra’s unmatched resolution: between 80% and 95% of the incoming X-ray energy is focused into a one-arcsecond circle.
  • Chandra’s highly elliptical orbit allows it to observe continuously for up to 55 hours of its 65-hour orbital period.
  • At its furthest orbital point from Earth, Chandra is one of the most distant Earth-orbiting satellites.
  • Other navigation and orientation systems on board CXO include an aspect camera, Earth and Sun sensors, and reaction wheels.
  • It also has two sets of thrusters, one for movement and another for offloading momentum.

 

 

 

The World Development Report (WDR) is published by?

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Answer:

  • The World Development Report (WDR) is published by the World Bank.

Enrich Your Learning:

World Development Report 2019:

  • The World Development Report (WDR) 2019: ‘The Changing Nature of Work’ studies how the nature of work is changing as a result of advances in technology today.
  • Fears that robots will take away jobs from people have dominated the discussion over the future of work, but the World Development Report 2019 finds that on balance this appears to be unfounded.
  • Work is constantly reshaped by technological progress. Firms adopt new ways of production, markets expand, and societies evolve.
  • Overall, technology brings opportunity, paving the way to create new jobs, increase productivity, and deliver effective public services.
  • Firms can grow rapidly thanks to digital transformation, expanding their boundaries and reshaping traditional production patterns.
  • The rise of the digital platform firm means that technological effects reach more people faster than ever before.
  • Technology is changing the skills that employers seek. Workers need to be better at complex problem-solving, teamwork and adaptability.
  • Digital technology is also changing how people work and the terms on which they work.
  • Even in advanced economies, short-term work, often found through online platforms, is posing similar challenges to those faced by the world’s informal workers.
  • The Report analyses these changes and considers how governments can best respond.
  • Investing in human capital must be a priority for governments in order for workers to build the skills in demand in the labor market.
  • In addition, governments need to enhance social protection and extend it to all people in society, irrespective of the terms on which they work.
  • To fund these investments in human capital and social protection, the Report offers some suggestions as to how governments can mobilize additional revenues by increasing the tax base.

 

 

 

Recently, the ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C’ was published. It was commissioned by?

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Answer:

  • The ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C’ was commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Enrich Your Learning:

Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5˚C

  • According to the ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C,’ commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); If the average global temperature rises by more than one degree Celsius from the present, India could “annually” expect conditions like the 2015 heat wave that killed at least 2,000.
  • The report was put together by about 91 authors and review-editors from 40 countries, who had convened in Incheon, South Korea to assess the feasibility of keeping the average global temperature from rising beyond 1.5 degree Celsius from pre-industrial times.
  • The report stated that capping the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities.
  • The global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.
  • This means any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.
  • Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed the 1.5°C target would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air, if the aim is to return the rise in global temperature to below 1.5°C by 2100.
  • Many of these techniques, such as carbon capture and storage, were unproven on a global scale and some carried significant risks for sustainable development.
  • Limiting global warming to 1.5°C, compared with 2°C, would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

 

 

What is the aim of Bank for International Settlements?

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Answer:

  • The Bank for International Settlements is an international financial institution that aims to promote global monetary and financial stability.

Enrich Your Learning:

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

  • The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is often called the “central bank for central banks” because it provides banking services to institutions such as the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve.
  • It is based in Basel, Switzerland, with representative offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City.
  • These services include conducting gold and currency transactions, as well as making short-term collateralized loans.
  • The BIS also encourages cooperation among central banks.
  • The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS), while technically separate from the BIS, is a closely associated international forum for financial regulation that is housed in the BIS’ offices in Basel, Switzerland.
  • The BCBS is responsible for the Basel Accords, which recommend capital requirements and other banking regulations that are widely implemented by national governments.
  • The BIS also conducts research into economic issues and publishes reports.

Background:

  • The BIS was established in 1930 by an intergovernmental agreement between Germany, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, the United States, and Switzerland.
  • The BIS was originally intended to facilitate reparations imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, and to act as the trustee for the German Government International Loan (Young Loan) that was floated in 1930.
  • The need to establish a dedicated institution for this purpose was suggested in 1929 by the Young Committee, and was agreed to in August of that year at a conference at The Hague.

Mission of the BIS:

  • The stated mission of the BIS is to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, to foster international cooperation in those areas and to act as a bank for central banks.

The BIS pursues its mission by:

  • Fostering discussion and facilitating collaboration among central banks;
  • Supporting dialogue with other authorities that are responsible for promoting financial stability;
  • Carrying out research and policy analysis on issues of relevance for monetary and financial stability;
  • Acting as a prime counterparty for central banks in their financial transactions; and
  • Serving as an agent or trustee in connection with international financial operations.

The BIS hosts the Secretariat of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and with it has played a central role in establishing the Basel Capital Accords of 1988, Basel II framework in 2004 and more recently Basel III framework.

 

 

 

According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ annual report on road accidents, the top four traffic violations that led to road fatalities were?

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Answer:

According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ annual report on road accidents, the top four traffic violations that led to road fatalities was over speeding that accounted for 66.7% of total deaths in road crashes.

Enrich Your Learning:

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ annual report on road accidents:

  • According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ annual report on road accidents, the total number of accidents dropped 3.3% in 2017 to 4.64 lakh, with the overall number of lives lost in these crashes declining 1.9% to 1.47 lakh, from 1.5 lakh in 2016.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists suffered the biggest spike in fatalities in road accidents across the country in 2017, even as overall fatalities in road accidents and the total count of such incidents declined marginally.
  • However, the number of pedestrians killed in road accidents jumped by 29.9% to 20,457 and the number of cyclists killed surged by 37.7% to 3,559.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists together accounted for 16.2% of the total fatalities in road accidents during 2017.
  • The data also shows that almost 7 out of 10 two-wheeler and four wheeler users who died in an accident did not follow the mandatory requirement of wearing helmets and seat belts.
  • Use of mobile phones was among the top four traffic violations that led to road fatalities — over speeding accounted for 66.7% of total deaths in road crashes, driving on the wrong side claimed 6.4%, drunken driving 3.2%, and use of mobile phones accounted for 2.1% of total road deaths.
  • Tamil Nadu topped in number of accidents, while U.P. had the most fatalities.
  • The Ministry attributes the incidence of road mishaps to an increase in the overall number of motor vehicles.
  • The increase in personalized means of transport and decline in share of public transport have significant implications on traffic congestion and safety.
  • The total number of registered motor vehicles in the country grew at the rate of 9.9% between 2006 and 2016.
  • Two wheelers, cars and jeeps witnessed a growth rate of 10.1%, while goods vehicles and buses increased by 9% and 5.9% respectively.
  • The composition of vehicular population in 2016 shows two-wheelers having the highest share (73.5%), followed by cars, jeeps and taxis (13.1%), other vehicles (8.1%), goods vehicles (4.6%) and buses (0.8%).

 

 

 

In the cultivation of Gloriosa superba, there is no problem of pollination. Right or Wrong?

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Answer:

  • Wrong

Right Statement:

  • A major problem in the cultivation of Gloriosa superba is pollination.

Enrich Your Learning:

Gloriosa superba

  • Tamil Nadu’s State flower, Gloriosa superba is a gold mine waiting to be exploited.
  • The plant, which contains 24 types of alkaloids (nitrogenous organic compounds) and 10 non-alkaloidal medicinal compounds, is widely used in native medicinal compositions and in the treatment of gout and as a pain killer in allopathic medicine.
  • Its cultivation, though confined to a few pockets in Tamil Nadu, has started to spread in the recent years.
  • It is now grown in a few thousands of acres in Dindigul and Tirupur districts among others.
  • The peculiar structure of the flower impedes pollination rate.
  • The other problem is the high cost of raising the plant. But the returns are huge as there is no need to plant it again and again.
  • Tamil Nadu farmers contribute the major share of global consumption of 800 to 1,000 tonnes per annum and the demand goes up by 10 to 15% every year.
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