Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - December 10, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Operation Trident

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


Context

  • Recently, India celebrated December 4 as Navy Day to commemorate Operation Trident.
  • The Navy plans to celebrate 2021 as ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’ as part of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the victory in the 1971 war.

About Operation Trident

  • Under Operation Trident, the Indian Navy sank three vessels near the Pakistani port city of Karachi.
  • The stars of the mission were the then-recently acquired Soviet Osa missile boats, fitted with 4 SS-N-2 (P-15) Styx missiles.
  • INS Kiltan, Katchall, Nipat, Nighat and Veer sank PNS Khaibar killing 222 Pakistani sailors, and PNS Muhafiz killing 33 Pakistani sailors.
  • Operation Trident resulted in the first use of anti-ship missiles in the region as well as the first sinking of naval vessels during hostilities in the region since World War II.

Source: Indian Express.

Urban quality of life index

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Context

  • IIT-Bombay researchers have come up with an urban quality of life index tailored to the reality of life in India. 
  • For the first time, they have factored in gender parity. 

Highlights

  • Chennai, it turns out, is the most women-friendly and Patna the least.
  • Overall, Mumbai tops the list of 14, followed closely by Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.
  • But so important is the gender role index that quality of life rankings of six cities would have changed had it not been considered — Delhi, Jaipur and Indore would have been ranked higher, and Mumbai, Bhopal and Lucknow would have ceded their spots. 
  • Only Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai surpass the average score for gender index, while Indore, Jaipur and Patna are way below average.

Source: The Hindu.

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China turns on nuclear-powered 'artificial sun'

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


Context

  • China successfully powered up its "artificial sun" nuclear fusion reactor for the first time, state media reported, marking a great advance in the country's nuclear power research capabilities.
  • The HL-2M Tokamak reactor is China's largest and most advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device, and scientists hope that the device can potentially unlock a powerful clean energy source.

Background

  • It uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma and can reach temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius, according to the People's Daily—approximately ten times hotter than the core of the sun.
  • Located in southwestern Sichuan province and completed late last year, the reactor is often called an "artificial sun" on account of the enormous heat and power it produces.

Highlights

  • Chinese scientists have been working on developing smaller versions of the nuclear fusion reactorsince 2006.
  • They plan to use the device in collaboration with scientists working on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor—the world's largest nuclear fusion research project based in France, which is expected to be completed in 2025.
  • Fusion is considered the Holy Grail of energy and is what powers our sun.
  • It merges atomic nucleito create massive amounts of energy—the opposite of the fission process used in atomic weapons and nuclear power plants, which splits them into fragments.
  • Unlike fission, fusion does not create radioactive waste, and carries less risk of accidents or the theft of atomic material.
  • But achieving fusion is both extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive, with the total cost of ITER estimated at $22.5 billion.

Source: Indian Express.

Houbara Bustards Can Be Hunted During The Hunting Season

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Context

Pakistan has given special permits to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and two other royal family members to hunt the internationally protected Houbara bus during the 2020-21 hunting season.

Background

  • Houbara bustard lives in an arid climate.
  • It belongs to two different species recognized by the IUCN.

Highlights

  • One species lives in North Africa (Chlamydotisundulata), and the other species live in Asia (Chlamydotismacqueenii), and is usually called McQueen's bustard.
  • The population of the Asian Houbara bustard extends from Northeast Asia to Central Asia, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula and reaches the Sinai Desert.
  • According to data from the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), there are approximately 33,000 houbara bustards remain today.
  • After breeding in the spring, the Asian bustard migrates south in Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula and nearby Southwest Asia to spend the winter.
  • Some Asian Houbara bustards live and breed in the southern part of their mountains ranges, including parts of Iran, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan.
  • IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable.

Source: Hindustan Times.

2nd Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) 2020 Conference

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


Context

  • Minister of Science and Technology has virtually inaugurated the 2nd TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) 2020 Conference.
  • The Conference brings together scientists and clinicians from across the globe to build Indian Cancer Genome Atlas (ICGA).

Background

  • It has been initiated by a consortium of key stakeholders in India led by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India.
  • The aim is to create indigenous, open-source and comprehensive database of molecular profiles of all cancers prevalent in Indian population to better understand the underlying factors patient by patient.

Highlights

  • The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) is a landmark cancer genomics program that molecularly characterized over 20,000 primary cancers and matched normal samples spanning 33 cancer types.
  • It is a joint effort between the US- National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute began in 2006 bringing together researchers from diverse disciplines and multiple institutions.
  • IndiGen Genome Project is being implemented by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.

Source: Indian Express.

Singapore Agency Approves Sale Of Lab-Grown Meat

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Context

  • The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has approved the sale of a lab-grown meat product. 
  • This is the 1st time that cultured meat can be sold anywhere in the world.
  • SFA approved products are cultured chickens produced by East Just in the United States.

Background

  • The latter is made from plant sources (such as soy or pea protein), while the cultured meat is grown directly in cells in the laboratory.
  • Provide alternatives to traditional meat products that can be eaten by more people, reduce the threat of zoonotic diseases, and reduce the environmental impact of meat consumption.
  • In terms of cell structure, cultured meat is the same as conventional meat, except that cultured meat is not directly derived from animals.

Highlights

  • Cultivated meat can reduce land use by more than 95%.
  • It can reduce climate change emissions by 74-87%and nutrient pollution by 94%.
  • The risk of contamination by pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli is greatly reduced; 
  • It does not require antibiotics, thereby reducing the threat to public health by increasing antibiotic resistance.

Source: Indian Express.

Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft returns samples of asteroid Ryugu to Earth

Focus: GS3.                                

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


Context

  • Samples collected from the asteroid Ryugu, about 300 million kilometres away, by Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft arrived safely near Woomera in Australia.
  • Samples of both surface dust and material from below the surface that was stirred up when the spacecraft had fired two impactors into the asteroid were collected.

Background

  • The probe had collected the samples in the first half of 2019.
  • The Hayabusa2 stored them in a separate sealed container that was detached from the craft about 220,000 km from Earth and subsequently landed in the Australian outback using parachutes.

Highlights

  • The Royal Australian Air Force tracked the 16 kg-container’s beacon in the wee hours.
  • The container was taken to a nearby facility for a quick analysis before being flown to Japan.
  • Hayabusa2 had left the one kilometre-wide Ryugu to return to Earth in November 2019.
  • The mission follows in the footsteps of the first Hayabusa mission, which had returned samples from the asteroid Itokawa in 2010.
  • Ryugu’s samples will be split between JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), the US space agency NASA, and other international research institutes.

Source: Indian Express.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. With reference to Bhasan Char, consider the following statements:
  • Bhasan Char is less an island and more mud flat, and is vulnerable to going under water from tides and flooding. Much of it is submerged during the monsoon.
  • Located near the mouth of the river Meghna where it flows into the Bay of Bengal, Bhasan Char surfaced only in 2006 from the sediment deposited by the river.
  • Located close to the much larger Sandwip, Bhasan Char spans 40 sq km.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

      A. 1 and 2 only
      B. 2 and 3 only
      C. 1 and 3 only
      D. AOTA

Solution: D

  1. Which of the following country for the first time has approved the sale of a lab-grown meat product?

     A. Iran
     B. Iraq
     C. Britain
     D. Singapore

Solution: D

 

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