Zika cases were on a
Rise in Rajasthan in October 2018. Zika virus, transmitted
through the aedes aegypti mosquito, causes fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis,
muscle and joint pain. It is harmful to pregnant women, as it can lead to
microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head is significantly smaller than
expected, in newborn children. In India,
the first outbreak of Zika virus was reported in Ahmedabad in January 2017 and
the second in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district in July 2017.
India and US Armies
participate in an annual drill called Yudh Abyaas, the Air Forces take part in
a bilateral drill called Cope India and the Navies participate in an exercise
in Malabar, involving Japan. In furtherance, India and US are in talks for a
tri service exercise including special forces of respective countries. The
Indian Army has Para SF, the Navy has Marcos while the Air Force has the Garud
as their respective special forces.
Annapurna Devi, the famously
reclusive surbahar player and a teacher to the likes of Pandit Hariprasad
Chaurasia, Nityanand Haldipur and Nikhil Banerjee passed away in Mumbai. Annapurna Devi was a very accomplished surbahar (bass sitar)
player of the Maihar Gharana.
The Chandra X-ray
Observatory is a space telescope launched by NASA on July 23, 1999. It recently
entered safe mode possibly due to certain problems with
the Gyroscope. Gyroscopes help
spacecraft maintain proper orientation. During the safe mode, the observatory
is put into a safe configuration, critical hardware is swapped to back-up
units, the spacecraft points so that the solar panels get maximum sunlight, and
the mirrors point away from the Sun.
Sophia is the first
social humanoid robot. Sophia was created by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics
with the purpose of using such creations for the care of the elderly and crowd
management at big events. It was granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia and the
United Nations Development Programme appointed it as its Innovation Champion.
The robot is equipped with voice recognition technology and facial reading.
Cameras are fixed in its eyes along with computer algorithms to see. It is
capable of showing over 50 facial expressions like a human being.
Voyager 1 is a space
probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977 as a part of the Voyager program to
study the outer Solar System. Voyager 1 was launched 16 days after its twin,
Voyager 2. Voyager 2 is a space probe launched by NASA on August 20, 1977, to
study the outer planets.
superba (commonly known as flame or
glory lily; called as ‘Karthigaipoo’ in Tamil) is
Tamil Nadu’s state flower. 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.
New features of the Mig-29 aircraft: Mid-air
refuelling facility that increases its range; ability to launch latest missiles
and multi-dimensional attacks; capability to take off vertically; take off
possible within 5 minutes of spotting a hostile aircraft; glass cockpit with
multi-functional display screens. Mig is an aircraft of Russian origin. The air
force currently has 31 squadrons of fighter jets against the
sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons. The IAF has three squadrons of MiG-29
fighter jets in operation, two of them at the Adampur Air Force Station
(Jalandhar, Punjab). One squadron comprises 16-18 aircraft.
Eurasian otter — one
of the least-known of India’s three otter species has been recently spotted in
the Western Ghats. Small-clawed otter and the smooth-coated otter are the
commonly sighted otter species in south India. Though the Eurasian otter has
been recorded historically from the Western Ghats (Coorg in Karnataka and Tamil
Nadu’s Nilgiri and Palani hill ranges, recently a first photographic and
genetic confirmation of its presence has been confirmed. While the species is
widespread across Europe, northern Africa and several south Asian countries, it
is not as frequently sighted as smooth-coated or small-clawed otters in India.
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 has been awarded to
Congolese gynaecologist Dr. Denis Mukwege and Yazidi human rights activist
Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of
war and armed conflict.