An ancient circular lake created by a meteorite strike
in Maharashtra and a hexagonal mosaic of basaltic rocks in an island off Udupi
are poised to become global geoparks, under a Geological Survey of India (GSI)
plan. Lonar Lake in Maharashtra and St. Mary’s Island and Malpe beach in
coastal Karnataka are the GSI’s candidates for UNESCO Global Geopark Network
status. An aspiring Global Geopark must have a dedicated website, a corporate
identity, comprehensive management plan, protection plans, finance, and
partnerships for it to be accepted. The Geopark tag is akin to that of a ‘World
Heritage Site’ for historical monuments that can bring India’s famed geological
features to the global stage. Lonar lake is the only known meteorite crater in
basaltic rock. St. Mary’s Island, declared a national geo-heritage site in
1975, is estimated to be an 88-million-year-old formation that goes back to a
time when Greater India broke away from Madagascar. Lonar crater became a
geo-heritage site in 1979. It is relatively young geologically, at just 50,000
years old. A meteorite estimated to weigh two-million-tonnes slammed into the
Earth, creating a 1.83-km diameter crater where the lake formed. It is
distinguished by a near-perfect, circular ejecta blanket, which refers to earth
thrown up during the collision, around it.
Two immunologists, James Allison of the US and Tasuku Honjo
of Japan, won the 2018 Nobel Medicine Prize for research that has
revolutionised the treatment of cancer. The pair were honoured “for their
discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation. Immune
checkpoint inhibitor therapy targets proteins made by some immune system cells,
as well as some cancer cells. The proteins can stop the body’s natural defences
from killing cancer cells. The therapy is designed to remove this protein
“brake” and allow the immune system to more quickly get to work fighting the
Tang Prize is touted as Asia’s version of the Nobels.
The Tang Prize is a set of biennial international awards
bestowed in four fields: Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science,
Sinology, and Rule of Law.
Indonesian city of Palu was recently ravaged by a
Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean
Information Services (INCOIS), runs the state-of-the-art Indian Tsunami Early
Warning System (ITEWS).
Stratolaunch is the world’s largest aeroplane — with two fuselages and six
Boeing 747 engines. It is still in the
testing phase. The white airplane has a wingspan the length of an American
football field, is powered by six engines on a twin fuselage and is a carbon
composite plane. It is designed to carry
into space, and drop, a rocket that would in turn ignite to deploy satellites. The plane is designed to drop rockets and other space
vehicles weighing up to 500,000 pounds at an altitude of 35,000 feet.
Kamov-226T utility helicopters and S- 400 air defence
systems are of Russian origin. India is in the process of acquiring these from
state-of-the-art S-400 Triumf (NATO name SA-21 Growler) is considered one of
the most advanced long-range defence systems in the world. It has a range of
400 km and can hit targets at a height of up to 30 km. Its powerful radars can
track hundreds of targets simultaneously and destroy a range of targets. Each
system includes a command post, a 3D phased array acquisition radar, optional
tracking radar and firing units. There are various kinds of missiles to choose
from based on the mission requirements.
Lak, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the Shivalik range of the
Jammu region, is facing an existential threat due to human intervention
and climate change.
Classified as vulnerable by the IUCN (International
Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of threatened species, the black
spotted turtle (Geoclemys hamiltonii) or spotted pond turtle is native to
South Asia, and a heavily trafficked chelonian. The species was once
smuggled for its meat and is now sought after as an exotic pet. In India, the
species is distributed across the north, northeast and a few parts of central
India in States such as West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and
Uttarakhand, and parts of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Meghalaya.
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is a joint
program of WWF and IUCN – the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
TRAFFIC works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat
to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC has gained its greatest reputation from
supporting CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Since TRAFFIC was created in 1976 it has helped with the evolution of this
international wildlife trade treaty.