|141.||Indian Navy’s second LCU Mark IV L52 ship commissioned at Port Blair|
Indian Navy’s second CU (landing craft utility) Mark IV L52 ship was commissioned at Port Blair, capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
LCU L52 is the second LCU Mk-IV class ship to be inducted into the Indian Navy. It has been indigenously designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata.
LCU L52 ship is an amphibious ship with the primary role to transport and deploy Main Battle Tanks (MTBs), Armoured Vehicles, troops and equipment from ship to shore. It is 62.8 meters long and 11 metres wide. It has 90% indigenous content.
The ship has endurance of around 1,500 nautical miles at 12 knots. It is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems like Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) and Integrated Bridge System (IBS).
LCU MK-IV will be based in the Andaman and Nicobar Command. It can be deployed for multirole activities like beaching operations, search and rescue, disaster relief operations, supply and replenishment and evacuation from distant islands. It will contribute to the nation’s maritime security needs.
|142.||Government imposes anti-dumping duty on tempered glass from China|
The Union Finance Ministry (Revenue Department) has imposed anti-dumping duty on certain “textured toughened (tempered) glass” imported from China.
The duty aims at protecting the domestic industry from cheaper imports. It will be effective for five years.
Textured toughened (tempered) glass
It is also known as solar glass, low iron solar glass or high transmission photovoltaic glass. It is used as a component in solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and solar thermal applications.
The dumping duty was imposed by revenue department based on the recommendations of Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD). Investigations of DGAD had found that the tempered glass has been exported to India from China below its associated normal market value. It was also found that domestic industry had suffered material injury due to cheap imports from China.
Anti-dumping duty is an import duty imposed by government on imported products which have prices less than their normal values or domestic price. It is protectionist and counter import measure used by a country under the multilateral World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime to protect its domestic producers and market from below-cost/cheap imports. It varies from product to product and from country to country. In India, it is recommended by the Union Ministry of Commerce (i.e. by DGAD), while the Union Finance Ministry imposes it.
Anti-dumping duty on Chinese Products
So far, Government has imposed anti-dumping duty on 93 products imported from China. These products belong to a broad group of chemicals and petrochemicals, fibres and yarn, products of steel and other metals, machinery items, electric and electronic items, rubber or plastic products and consumer goods, among others.
|143.||Versius: world’s smallest surgical robot developed by UK scientists|
Scientists in the United Kingdom (UK) have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot called Versius. It was developed using low-cost technology used in mobile phones and space industries.
The robot can mimic human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of surgical procedures. It can be controlled by a surgeon using a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre.
Versius can make series of small incisions that will circumvent the need for traditional open surgery. These include colorectal operations, hernia repairs, as well as prostate, ear, nose and throat surgery. It is much easier to use than existing systems, and requires about a third of the space of current machines.
It works like a human arm and contains technology that detects resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used when the instruments are inside the patient. It can help to reduce complications and pain after surgery and speed up recovery time for patients.
|144.||Scientists discover new state of matter|
Scientists Los Alamos National Laboratory, US have discovered a potential new state of matter that may help explain phenomena like superconductivity.
It was discovered in the high-magnetic-field state of the heavy fermion superconductor CeRhIn5. Heavy fermions are intermetallic compounds, containing rare earth or actinide elements.
In the new state, material’s electrons are aligned in such a way, that they apparently reduce the symmetry of the original crystal. This appearance of electronic alignment in a prototypical heavy-fermion superconductor is called nematic behaviour. It is phenomenon of electronic symmetry breaking, common among the superconducting materials in high magnetic fields.
It highlights the interrelation of nematicity and unconventional superconductivity, suggesting that nematicity is common among correlated superconducting materials. It appears to be universal among unconventional superconductors. Unconventional superconductivity develops near a phase boundary separating magnetically ordered and magnetically disordered phases of a material.
Superconductivity is the ability of certain materials to conduct electric current with practically zero resistance. For a material to behave as a superconductor, low temperatures are required i.e. they act as superconductors when they cooled below a characteristic critical temperature. Superconductivity was first observed in 1911 by H. K. Onnes, a Dutch physicist. Superconductivity is extensively used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), particle accelerators, magnetic fusion devices, microwave filters, high-speed magnetic-levitation trains, ultra-high-speed computer chips and high-capacity digital memory chips etc.
|145.||RBI to issue new Rs 50 currency note|
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will shortly issue new banknotes of Rs.50 denomination in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series. The base colour of the new notes will be fluorescent blue.
RBI also has clarified that all banknotes in Rs.50 denomination issued in the earlier series will continue to be legal tender.
Key Features new Rs.50 note
Its dimension will be 66 mm x 135 mm. It will have a motif of Hampi with Chariot on the reverse, depicting the country’s cultural heritage along with the Swachh Bharat logo, numeral 50 in devnagiri, year of printing and the language panel.
It will have Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait at the Centre and a see through register with enominational numeral 50. Micro letters ‘????, ‘INDIA’, ‘RBI’and ‘50’ and Ashoka Pillar emblem on the right will also feature on the front side.
The security thread will have inscriptions ‘????’and RBI. The number panel will have numerals growing from small to big on the top left side and bottom right side. The banknote will bear the signature of RBI Governor Dr. Urjit R. Patel on the front side along with the guarantee and promise clause and the RBI emblem.
|146.||5 Indian-origin persons in Fortune’s 2017 ’40 Under 40? list|
Five Indian-origin persons have featured in Fortune’s 2017 ’40 Under 40? list of young and influential people in the field of business inspiring others with their work. They are Leo Varadkar (age: 38), Divya Nag (26), Rishi Shah (31), Shradha Agarwal (32) and Leila Janah (31).
Fortune’s annual list of 40 young and influential people is an annual ranking of the most influential young people who are under 40 of age. It has termed them as “disruptors, innovators, rebels and artists” inspiring others.
The Fortune’s 2017 ’40 Under 40? list has been topped by French President Emmanuel Macron (39) who is France’s youngest leader since Napoleon and had won presidential elections in May 2017.
The list also includes Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on the second spot, followed by Brian Chesky (3rd), Nathan Blecharczyk (3rd), Joe Gebbia (4th), Serena Williams (7th) etc.
Leo Varadkar: He was ranked fifth on the list. His father was born in India. He is doctor by profession and is Ireland’s youngest leader in centuries as well first-ever gay to hold the office.
Divya Nag: She was ranked 27th. She oversees Apple’s ambitious ResearchKit and CareKit programmes that encourage developers to build health- related apps She is Stanford dropout founded a stem-cell research startup and began a medical investment accelerator at the age of 23.
Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal: They were ranked 38th on the list. They are founders of health-tech firm Outcome Health. Their company raised over US $500 million at a valuation of more than $5 billion.
Leila Janah: She was ranked 40th on the list. She is CEO and founder of non-profit Samasource. She daughter of Indian immigrants who had moved to the US.
|147.||Two new species of Earthworm discovered in Kerala|
Scientists have discovered two new species of earthworm belonging to the primitive family Moniligastridae in Western Ghats ranges of Kerala.
The new earthworms distinguished by a set of characters have been named as Drawida polydiverticulata and Drawida thomasi.
In total, there are about 200 species of earthworm known in genus Drawida. To date, there are 73 earthworm species belonging to genus Drawida living in Indian subcontinent. The greatest concentration (43 species) is found in Western Ghats.
Drawida polydiverticulata: It has multiple lobes called diverticulums. It is an organ located in the front of its body which is unique amongst the members of the genus. It was found to be widespread in the protected shola grasslands of the Munnar region, including Eravikulam National Park, Pampadun Shola National Park and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Drawida thomasi: It was discovered at the Kozhippara Waterfalls near Kakkadampoyil, at the border between Malappuram and Kozhikode. The species has been named as a tribute to Professor A.P. Thomas who initiated the taxonomical studies on earthworms in Kerala.
|148.||India, US establish Two-By-Two Ministerial Dialogue|
India and US have established new two-by-two (2 by 2) ministerial dialogue to enhance strategic coordination between them and maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
The new dialogue format will replace the earlier India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. It will be similar to the India-Japan 2 2 dialogue format between foreign and defence secretaries of the two countries.
India and US had elevated their Strategic Dialogue in 2009 which mainly focuses on regional security, economic cooperation, defence, trade and climate challenges. The purpose of two-by-two ministerial dialogue is to put strategic, defence and security relationship between the two countries at the forefront and centrestage. The new format would include External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister from India and their American counterparts Secretary of State and Defence Secretary.
The new ministerial dialogue would enhance strategic coordination between the two nations. It will aslo elevate strategic consultations between both countries. It will be helpful to coordinate more closely on Afghanistan, developments in the Asia Pacific, Indian Ocean and also in the Middle East (West Asia). It will insulate the India-US strategic relationship from feuds over trade and deep divide on economic integration policies as trade and commercial issues were discussed in the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue earlier.
|149.||NASA successfully launches Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M|
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NSAS) has successfully launched Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) into orbit. It was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
TDRS-M is third and final satellite in a series of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS), next generation communications satellites.
TDRS-M as part of NASA’s Space Network will provide navigation and high-data-rate communications to the International Space Station (ISS), Hubble Space Telescope, rockets and a host of other spacecraft. It will also expand the capabilities and extend the lifespan of the NASA’s Space Network which will allow researchers to continue receiving and transmitting mission data well into the next decade.
Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS)
The TDRSS is a fleet of geosynchronous communications satellites that form part of NASA’s Space Network. It was introduced in the 1980s to support the Space Shuttle. It is still in service, providing scientific data, relay for communications, telemetry and commands between operators on the ground and spacecraft in Earth orbit. TDRS-M’s predecessors, TDRS-K and TDRS-L were also launched onboard of Atlas V rockets in January 2013 and January 2014, respectively. The TDRS fleet is a critical connection for delivering science and human spaceflight data to researchers on Earth.
|150.||Climate change costs India $10 billion every year: Government|
In its recent report, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture has observed that extreme weather events are costing India $9-10 billion annually. It also observed that climate change is projected to impact agricultural productivity with increasing severity from 2020 to the end of the century.
It also mentioned that the extreme weather events are not always linked to climate change but their frequency and severity is increasing and this is being increasingly read as fallout of climate change.
Impact of Climate change on agriculture
Decrease in Productivity
The productivity of major crops will be marginal in the next few years but it could rise to as much as 10-40% by 2100 unless farming adapts to climate change-induced changes in weather. Major crops such as wheat, rice, oilseeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables will see reduced yields over the years.
It will force farmers to either adapt to challenges of climate change or face the risk of getting poorer. It could turn India into a major importer of oilseeds, pulses and even milk. Adaptation to climate change will need different cropping patterns and suitable inputs to compensate yield fluctuations.
Vulnerability of Indian agriculture due to vagaries associated with climate change and low adaptation capacity of majority of Indian farmers poses risk to food security of the country. By 2030, India may need 70 million tonnes more of foodgrains than the expected production in 2016-17.
The demand for food is also going to increase due to an increasing population, expanding urbanisation and rising income. To meet increasing demand, India to depend on import if it does not act on time to increase production and productivity of major food crops, pulses, oilseeds and milk by adapting to climate change.
Projected food demand
The ICAR-National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research has projected food demand of 345 million tonnes (MT) by 2030- almost 30% higher than in 2011. The projected demands for fruits, vegetables, milk, animal products (meat, eggs and fish), sugar and edible oil, by 2030 is estimated to be 2-3 times more than that in 2011.
According to the economic survey estimates, India currently incurs losses of about $9-10 billion annually due to extreme weather events. Of these, nearly 80% losses remain uninsured. The quantum of losses are going to increase substantially in future if one takes into account the impact of climate change on farm productivity.
Improve in Yields
Though there is possibility of decrease in yields of certain crops in traditional sown areas due to climate change but it may increase elsewhere due to change in weather pattern. Though most crops will see reduced production, but climate change may also help improve yields of soyabean, chickpea, groundnut, coconut (western coast) and potato (in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh).