1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Gloriosa 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Categories: POINT IAS

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