Flash-Cards-for-IAS-Prelims-2018-CA-Day-34
70 Days WAR Plan

Day#34 Current Affairs Flash Cards [70 Days WAR Plan]

‘Stratospheric Aerosol Injection’ (SAI) technology; ‘Greenhouse Gas Bulletin’; ‘Apep’; Battle of Aberdeen; ‘Hansen’s disease’; ‘Global Compact for Migration’ agreement; Hantaan virus; Neural Networks; Location of Zambia; Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary (PCWBS);
By IT's Core Team
April 24, 2019

 

 

 

Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary (PCWBS) is situated in which Indian state?

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Answer:

  • Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary (PCWBS) is a protected area in Tamilnadu.

Enrich Your Learning:

  • Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary (PCWBS) is a protected area in Tamil Nadu, South India along the Palk Strait where it meets the Bay of Bengal at Point Calimere.
  • It encompasses sandy coast fringed by saline swamps and thorny scrub around the backwaters.
  • Formed in the year 1967, the sanctuary was further enlarged in the year 1988 when the Great Vedaranyam Forests and the Talaignayar Reserve Forests were incorporated within it.
  • It was formed for conservation of the near threatened blackbuck antelope, an endemic mammal species of India.
  • Several historical sites like Ramar Padam, Modimandapam and Old Chola lighthouse are located in the Sanctuary. Ramar Padam carries the stone footprints of Lord Rama. One can have a beautiful view of the sanctuary from the watch tower located near the shrine.
  • It is famous for large congregations of water birds, especially greater flamingos.
  • Close proximity to the sea encourages the growth of tidal swamps and mangroves in the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary. In addition to that Dry evergreen forests also form part of the vegetative cover. The region receives an annual rainfall of 1500 mm.
  • Even though animals can be sighted in the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, it is best known for its large and impressive collection of birds. Some of the animals that can be spotted here include the chital and the wild boar. The list of birds is far longer.
  • The water birds that have made the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary their home are teals, gulls, terns, plovers, stilts etc. Flamingos and blackbucks are sighted in large numbers at this bird sanctuary. One will be stunned to hear that as many as 3000 flamingos can be seen at the same time. The friendly dolphins provide the greatest joy to visitors. You will also be able to see many turtles along the shores.
  • The sanctuary is a regular nesting site of the endangered Olive Ridley turtle. The practice of artificial hatching of Olive Ridley eggs was first introduced after the late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi launched a program for ex-situ conservation in 1982 for the endangered species.

 

 

 

Which country was frequently mentioned in the news as an attractive investment option for India in agriculture due to its massive land?

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Answer:

  • Zambia
  • Lusaka is a city in Zambia one of the fastest developing cities in southern Africa.

Enrich Your Learning:

Why in news?

  • India has made investments in Zambia such as the ZESCO/TATA joint projects, Taj Pamodzi Hotel, VEDANTA which runs Konkola Copper Mines, INDO Zambia Bank and decongestion of Lusaka Roads project.
  • The Vice President of India on his visit to Zambia in 2018 urged Indian investors to invest in Zambia especially in agriculture because of massive land and the Country housing 60 percent of fresh water resources in the region.
  • The Vice President has also called on Zambia to take advantage of India’s strong solar energy technology and further encouraged the Country to ratify International Solar Alliance- ISA membership.

Location of Zambia:

Location of Zambia

  • Zambia is a landlocked country in south-central Africa.
  • It neighbours the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the southeast, Zimbabwe and Botswana to the south, Namibia to the southwest, and Angola to the west.
  • The capital city is Lusaka, and it is located in the south-central part of Zambia.

 

 

 

An information processing paradigm that is inspired by the biological nervous systems such as the brain, composed of many highly interconnected processing elements working in unison to solve specific problems. It is known as:

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Answer:

  • Neural Networks is system modelled on the human brain and nervous system.

Enrich Your Learning:

  • An Artificial Neural Network (ANN) is an information processing paradigm that is inspired by the way biological nervous systems, such as the brain, process information.
  • In simple term it is a computer system modelled on the human brain and nervous system.
  • The key element of this paradigm is the novel structure of the information processing system.
  • The neural network itself is not an algorithm, but rather a framework for many different machine learning algorithms to work together and process complex data inputs.
  • It is composed of many highly interconnected processing elements (neurones) working in unison to solve specific problems.
  • ANNs, like people, learn by example. They cannot be programmed to perform a specific task. The examples must be selected carefully otherwise useful time is wasted or even worse the network might be functioning incorrectly. The disadvantage is that because the network finds out how to solve the problem by itself, its operation can be unpredictable.
  • An ANN is configured for a specific application, such as pattern recognition or data classification, through a learning process.
  • Learning in biological systems involves adjustments to the synaptic connections that exist between the neurones.
  • Neural networks, with their remarkable ability to derive meaning from complicated or imprecise data, can be used to extract patterns and detect trends that are too complex to be noticed by either humans or other computer techniques.
  • A trained neural network can be thought of as an “expert” in the category of information it has been given to analyse.
  • This expert can then be used to provide projections given new situations of interest and answer “what if” questions.
  • Neural networks take a different approach to problem solving than that of conventional computers. Conventional computers use an algorithmic approach i.e. the computer follows a set of instructions in order to solve a problem.
  • Unless the specific steps that the computer needs to follow are known the computer cannot solve the problem. That restricts the problem-solving capability of conventional computers to problems that we already understand and know how to solve. But computers would be so much more useful if they could do things that we don’t exactly know how to do.

 

 

 

What do you know about the Hantaan virus?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

  • Hantaviruses are rodent-borne viruses causing clinical illness in humans of varying severity.
  • There are several different hantaviruses, with a different geographical distribution and causing different clinical diseases.
  • Each hantavirus is specific to a different rodent host.
  • Transmission of the virus to humans occurs through the inhalation of infected rodent urine, droppings, or saliva.
  • Three main clinical syndromes can be distinguished after hantavirus infection: haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), mainly caused by Seoul, Puumala and Dobrava viruses; nephropathia epidemica, a mild form of HFRS caused by Puumala virus; and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome, which may be caused by Andes virus, Sin Nombre virus, and several others.
  • There is no curative treatment for hantavirus infection and eliminating or minimising contact with rodents is the best way to prevent infection.
  • Hantaviruses have been historically responsible for a variety of human illnesses.
  • The different hantavirus types are associated with different types of disease both in terms of target organs and disease severity.
  • Three major diseases are recognised: haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) and Nephropathia epidemica (NE), a mild form of HFRS, caused by Puumala hantavirus, and occurring in Europe.
  • Occupations such as forestry workers and farmers have an increased risk of exposure.
  • The rodents excrete hantaviruses in the urine, faeces and saliva, and human infection takes place mostly via inhalation of aerosolised virus-contaminated rodent excreta. Therefore, rodent-infested dusty places are risk sites. No human–to-human transmission is known for European hantaviruses. No arthropod vectors are known for hantaviruses.
  • The clinical features in patients with hantavirus disease are quite variable, from asymptomatic to severe. The incubation period is relatively long, mostly 2–3 weeks, but may be up to six weeks. In endemic areas hantavirus infection should be suspected if acute fever is accompanied by thrombocytopenia, headache, often very severe, and abdominal and back pains without clear respiratory tract symptoms.

Prevention measures:

  • Avoidance of virus-contaminated dust during work or leisure time is of prime importance; for people with underlying disease, face masks could be used. Creation of air-borne dust should be avoided when areas containing rodent droppings are cleaned, and moist cleaning with disinfectants is recommended. Wild rodents taken into homes as pets or to laboratories for research purposes have caused infections.
  • Since Puumala virus remains infective outside the host for an unexpectedly long period (for two weeks at room temperature), the risk of infection can persist after rodents have been removed.

Treatments:

  • The treatment of hantavirus disease is mainly symptomatic. Maintaining the fluid balance, while avoiding over-hydration in a potentially oliguric patient is of critical importance. In case of renal insufficiency, dialysis may be required. Because European hantaviruses do not spread from human to human, no isolation is needed.
  • Ribavirin is the only drug used in severe hantavirus infections in Europe. There is currently no vaccine available in Europe.

Background:

  • In 1978, the etiologic agent of Korean Hemerologic fever was isolated from small infected field rodent Apodemus agrarius near Hantan river in South Korea.
  • The virus was named as Hantaan virus, after the name of the river Hantan.

 

 

 

Is ‘Global Compact for Migration’ agreement a legally binding agreement?

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Answer:

  • The global compact for migration is non-legally binding agreement.

Enrich Your Learning:

  • The global compact for migration is the first, intergovernmental negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.
  • The global compact is non-legally binding.
  • It is grounded in values of state sovereignty, responsibility-sharing, non-discrimination, and human rights, and recognizes that a cooperative approach is needed to optimize the overall benefits of migration, while addressing its risks and challenges for individuals and communities in countries of origin, transit and destination.
  • On 13 July 2018 UN Member States finalized the text for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
  • The compact was formally endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2018.
  • As the Compact is not an international treaty, it will be non-binding under international law. However, it may also have legal implications in some instances.

Objectives:

  • It aims to mitigate the adverse drivers and structural factors that hinder people from building and maintaining sustainable livelihoods in their countries of origin;
  • It intends to reduce the risks and vulnerabilities migrants face at different stages of migration by respecting, protecting and fulfilling their human rights and providing them with care and assistance;
  • It seeks to address the legitimate concerns of states and communities, while recognizing that societies are undergoing demographic, economic, social and environmental changes at different scales that may have implications for and result from migration;
  • It strives to create conducive conditions that enable all migrants to enrich our societies through their human, economic and social capacities, and thus facilitate their contributions to sustainable development at the local, national, regional and global levels.

Background:

  • On 19 September 2016, the nations of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.
  • The Declaration recognized a need for more cooperation between nations to manage migration effectively. The declaration set off a process leading to the negotiation of the Global Compact for Migration.
  • Today, there are over 258 million migrants around the world living outside their country of birth.
  • This figure is expected to grow for a number of reasons including population growth, increasing connectivity, trade, rising inequality, demographic imbalances and climate change.
  • Migration provides immense opportunity and benefits – for the migrants, host communities and communities of origin.
  • However, when poorly regulated it can create significant challenges. These challenges include overwhelming social infrastructures with the unexpected arrival of large numbers of people and the deaths of migrants undertaking dangerous journeys.

Why in news?

  • On 19 December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the compact through a vote.
  • 152 countries voted in favour of the resolution to endorse it, while the United States, Hungary, Israel, Czech Republic and Poland voted against it. 12 countries abstained from the vote.

 

 

 

Hansen’s disease is also known as?

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Answer:

  • Leprosy

Enrich Your Learning:

‘Hansen’s disease’:

  • Hansen’s disease also known as leprosy is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae.
  • These bacteria grow very slowly, and it may take up to 20 years to develop signs of the infection.
  • It can affect the nerves, skin, eyes, and lining of the nose (nasal mucosa). The bacteria attack the nerves, which can become swollen under the skin.
  • This can cause the affected areas to lose the ability to sense touch and pain, which can lead to injuries, like cuts and burns. Usually, the affected skin changes color and either becomes:
    • Lighter or darker, often dry or flaky, with loss of feeling, or
    • Reddish due to inflammation of the skin.
  • With early diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be cured.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment usually prevent disability that can result from the disease, and people with Hansen’s disease can continue to work and lead an active life. Once treatment is started, the person is no longer contagious. However, it is very important to finish the entire course of treatment as directed by the doctor.
  • People with Hansen’s disease can continue to work and lead an active life during and after treatment.
  • Leprosy was once feared as a highly contagious and devastating disease, but now it is known that it doesn’t spread easily, and treatment is very effective.
  • However, if left untreated, the nerve damage can result in crippling of hands and feet, paralysis, and blindness.

Diagnosis:

  • Hansen’s disease can be recognized by appearance of patches of skin that may look lighter or darker than the normal skin. Sometimes the affected skin areas may be reddish. Loss of feeling in these skin patches is common. You may not feel a light touch or a prick with a needle.
  • To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor will take a sample of your skin or nerve (through a skin or nerve biopsy) to look for the bacteria under the microscope and may also do tests to rule out other skin diseases.

Treatment:

  • Hansen’s disease is treated with a combination of antibiotics.
  • Typically, 2 or 3 antibiotics are used at the same time. These are dapsone with rifampicin, and clofazimine is added for some types of the disease. This is called multidrug therapy.
  • This strategy helps prevent the development of antibiotic resistance by the bacteria, which may otherwise occur due to length of the treatment.
  • Treatment usually lasts between one to two years. The illness can be cured if treatment is completed as prescribed.

 

 

 

In context of modern Indian history Dudhnath Tewari, an Indian convict from the Sepoy mutiny, revealed the attack plan of Indigenes of Andaman to British army. This war between Andamanese and the British is known as

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Answer:

  • Battle of Aberdeen

Enrich Your Learning:

  • The Battle of Aberdeen was an armed conflict on the Andaman Islands of India close to Port Blair that occurred on May 1859.
  • Fought between the Andamanese and the British, it finally pushed the tribe to extinction.
  • Before the British colonised the Andaman Islands, four fiercely hostile communities—the Andamanese (now called the Great Andamanese), the Jarawa, the Onge and the Sentinelese—had exclusively inhabited these remote islands.
  • It was fought between the natives of the Andaman Islands, armed with arrows and spears, and the gun-bearing officers and to some extent the convicts (Indian independence activists) of the Ross Island Penal Colony.
  • Dudhnath Tewari a sepoy of the 14th Regiment of the Native Infantry was convicted of mutiny and desertion. The Commission at Jhelum sentenced him to transportation for life and labour in irons.
  • Tewari had been imprisoned for his desertion and role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and his account has been questioned by some authors.
  • He planned to escape from there in less than 20 days after his arrival on Ross Island.
  • The plan of the impending attack by the natives was revealed by Dudhnath Tewari, an escaped convict who had lived with them.
  • The Andamanese undertook three major raids in 1859. On April 6, 200 armed indigenes raided 248 convicts who were clearing the jungle at Haddo, on the mainland opposite Chatham Island; on April 14, about 1,500 Andamanese attacked the convicts at Andaman; and on May 17, a large number of indigenes attempted a well-organised raid on the Aberdeen convict station, on the south of Port Blair, with the aim to exterminate the British.
  • The last raid, known as the Battle of Aberdeen, proved devastating for the Andamanese. 
  • When the Andamanese warriors faced the pre-warned British soldiers, it was an unequal battle.
  • The former fought with knives, axes, bows and arrows against a larger and well-armed enemy. While the British suffered hardly any losses, a large number of the Andamanese were annihilated in a single day.
  • The battle was to prove decisive. It quelled organised resistance from the Andamanese forever, and established the colonial Empire firmly in these remote islands.

Indigenes of Andaman:

  • During the encounter with the indigenes, Tewari was hit by three arrows. He managed to escape and reach a creek, where he spent the night with two other convicts.
  • The next morning, a band of 60 indigenes, embarking upon canoes from the shore, spotted them. They chased them again into the jungle and shot at them.
  • The indigenes put Tewari into their canoe, smeared medicinal mud all over his body, and took him to the nearby Tarmugli Island.
  • While Tewari’s survival was itself a miracle, his inclusion in the community was most unimaginable. The indigenes who had accepted him belonged to the Termugu-da sept of the Aka-Bea-da tribe—one of the ten Andamanese groups.
  • When he heard of the plan to attack the prison colony, Tewari returned on 23rd April to inform the superintendent of the penal colony, Dr J.P. Walker of the impending attack. The natives armed with only bows and arrows, spears and knives while the British army used guns.
  • The British were aggressively expanding their base in the Andamans, which led to frequent confrontations. The Andamanese, unless resisted, refrained from attacking the convicts, who bore marks such as iron ankle rings.
  • They primarily targeted the authorities—the British officers, or the section, sub-division and division gangsmen who donned red turbans, badges and coloured belts.
  • The Andamanese are today listed as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group.

 

 

 

What is the distinct feature of ‘Apep’, a unique star system named after the Egyptian deity which is about to explode in supernova?

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Answer:

  • It has been identified as a progenitor for a gamma-ray burst.

Enrich Your Learning:

‘Apep’:

  • Sydney astronomers have discovered a unique star system 8000 light years away that’s about to explode in a supernova.
  •  “Apep” is the star system in Milky Way galaxy nick named by the researchers after the Egyptian snake-deity of chaos.
  • For the first time, astronomers have found a star system in our galaxy that could produce a gamma-ray burst — one of the brightest and most energetic events known to occur in the universe.
  • The name works nicely for the system, which is surrounded by long, fiery pinwheels of matter cast out into space.
  • Those pinwheels come from a pair of tightly orbiting binary “Wolf-Rayet” stars at the system’s centre.
  • Wolf-Rayet stars are ultra-massive suns that have reached the ends of their lives and burned up all their hydrogen.
  • They thus fuse heavier elements, spinning rapidly and tossing material into space. They’re bright enough that astronomers can detect their presence even when they reside in other galaxies. And when their cores collapse, triggering supernovas, astronomers believe they may create the long gamma-ray bursts sometimes detected incoming from deep space.
  • No gamma-ray burst has ever been detected within the Milky Way, which is why the Sydney astronomers’ discovery is so ground-breaking.
  • The rapid rotation puts Apep into a whole new class. Normal supernovae are already extreme events but adding rotation to the mix can really throw gasoline on the fire.
  • Luckily, the star system does not appear to be in line with Earth, otherwise a strike by a gamma-ray burst from this proximity could strip ozone from the atmosphere.

 

 

 

Which international organisation publishes ‘Greenhouse Gas Bulletin’?

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Answer:

  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Enrich Your Learning:

‘Greenhouse Gas Bulletin’:

  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO) publishes ‘Greenhouse Gas Bulletin’.
  • It is its official journal.
  • The Bulletin was first published in 1952 and is produced in English, French, Russian and Spanish. The Bulletin is currently issued twice yearly in print and online.
  • The Atmospheric Environment and Research Division of WMO’s Research Department publishes the WMO-GAW Annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletins.
  • Each year, these bulletins will report the latest trends and atmospheric burdens of the most influential, long-lived greenhouse gases; carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as a summary of the contributions of the lesser gases.
  • The Bulletins represent the consensus of a consortium of networks operated since the mid-1980s.
  • These three major gases alone contribute about 88% of the increase in radiative forcing of the atmosphere by changes in long-lived greenhouse gases occurring since the beginning of the industrial age (since 1750).

 

 

 

‘Stratospheric Aerosol Injection’ (SAI) technology could possibly help to solve the problem of which environmental condition to some extent: (a) Ozone Layer Depletion OR (b) Global Warming?

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Answer:

  • Global Warming

Enrich Your Learning:

‘Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI)’:

  • ‘Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI)’ programme is a proposed type of climate geoengineering to cut global warming.
  • So far, SAI is an unverified, hypothetical technology; if implemented in the near future, it would involve use of big cannons, hoses or special types of aircraft to spray huge quantities of sulphate particles into stratosphere – the upper layer of the atmosphere.
  • These particles would serve as a reflective barrier against the sunlight to reduce the amount of heat trapped in the atmosphere. Scientists believe the technology could help solve the problem of global warming to some extent.
  • The aim would be to half the temperature increase caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
  • Theoretically if done at scale and sustained the impact can be large.
  • According to Dr. Gernot Wagner of Harvard University (author of the paper promoting this programme), given the potential benefits of halving average projected increases in radiative forcing from a particular date onward, these numbers invoke the ‘incredible economics’ of solar geoengineering.
  • This method would mimic what large volcanoes do. The eruptions injected million tons of sulfur dioxide aerosols into the stratosphere dropping the Earth’s lower atmosphere temperature.
  • The effect only lasted a couple of years because the sulfates eventually fell to Earth.
  • Although controversial, some think that trying to mimic the impacts of a volcano eruption is a viable way to control global warming. This proposed type of climate geoengineering is called stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI).
  • The 1-degree temperature drop which accompanied Mount Pinatubo’s eruption of 1991 (the second largest eruption of the 20th century) is equal to about half of the human-caused warming Earth has experienced since the Industrial Revolution began.
  • But perhaps the greatest reason to be sceptical of aerosol solar sunlight management is that it’s not a silver bullet. As carbon dioxide continues to increase, the oceans are becoming increasingly acidic. According to NOAA, ocean acidification can cascade through the ocean food chain, reducing the ability of shell fish and reef-building corals to produce their skeletons. Injecting aerosols into the stratosphere simply limits sunshine, it does not tackle the underlying carbon dioxide build up. The ocean would continue to acidify.
  • Reflecting sunlight would likely reduce Earth’s average temperature but could also change global circulation patterns with potentially serious consequences such as changing storm tracks and precipitation patterns.
  • In other words, the atmosphere is complex. Any band-aid fix is bound to have unintended consequences and possibly cause a new set of problems.
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