1. Swachh Survekshan Grameen Awards 2018
- National Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018 commissioned by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
- Prime Minister gave awards to top Ranked State, District, and State.
- Haryana was ranked as the best State while Satara District of Maharashtra was ranked as the best district.
- Uttar Pradesh was rewarded for maximum citizens’ participation.
- This ranking was done based on a comprehensive set of parameters including surveys of public places like schools, Anganwadis, PHCs, Haat/ Bazaars, Panchayat and citizen’s perception of Swachhata.
- The top-ranked States and Districts which received awards are as below:
Top 3 States: 1. Haryana, 2. Gujarat 3. Maharashtra
Top 3 Districts: 1. Satara, Maharashtra 2. Rewari, Haryana 3. Pedapalli, Telangana
- States with maximum citizen participation: 1. Uttar Pradesh 2. Gujarat 3. Maharashtra
Districts with maximum citizens’ participation: 1. Nashik, Maharashtra 2. Solapur, Maharashtra 3. Chittorgarh, Rajasthan
2. 88 million-year-old isle and crater to be geo-parks
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 crater became a geo-heritage site in 1979 is the only world famous known meteorite crater in basaltic rock.
- It is a 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.
St. Mary’s Island
- Mary’s Island declared a national geo-heritage site in 1975.
- It is estimated to be an 88-million-year-old formation that goes back to a time when Greater India broke away from Madagascar.
- Geological Survey of India (GSI), founded in 1851, is a Government of India Ministry of Mines Organization,
- Headquarter in Kolkata.
3. Fall Armyworm: Nipping a problem in the bud
- India has to effectively deal with this new insect pest that can devastate maize and a host of other crops.
- This pest has been seen in the Americas for several decades.
- Fall Armyworm (FAW) scientifically known as Spodoptera frugiperda) has been recently reported in Karnataka and also parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.
- It has been detected mainly in maize fields.
About Fall Armyworm
- The female moth lays eggs and the caterpillars hatching from these eat parts of the host crop plants, before pupating and turning into new moths.
- This highly-destructive and the invasive pest has been seen in the Americas for several decades, but its prevalence outside was noted for the first time in West Africa in early 2016.
- According to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center at Mexico also known as CIMMYT damaged more than 1.5 million hectares of Africa’s maize crop.
- An effective IPM strategy would need to incorporate host plant resistance (through breeding), biological and cultural control.
- The use of environmentally-safer chemical and biopesticides for crop protection.
- Spraying of chemicals should be avoided unless the pest load has crossed economic threshold levels.
- The eggs laid by the moths are discernible to the naked eye. Farmers can be trained to recognize and destroy the egg masses, so as to prevent the caterpillars from emerging.
Source- Indian Express
4. World’s first Hyperloop passenger capsule unveiled
- World’s first Hyperloop passenger capsule, having speed 1200 k/hr. was shown in Spain presented by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.
- Hyperloop is a technology that gained popularity after billionaire Elon Musk touted it in 2013.
- It is a first full-scale passenger capsule, offering the world a peek at the future of travel.
- It envisages moving passengers in capsules at speeds of more than 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) per hour through low-pressure tubes, in order to reduce friction.
- The technology will be able to propel trains faster than existing methods.
Context to India
- In February, Branson signed a preliminary agreement in Mumbai for a broad hyperloop framework
- It helps in mooted a Mumbai-Pune system that would shrink travel time to 25 minutes and save about three hours.
Source- Economics times
5. The Goblin: Presumed to be the ninth planet of the Solar System
- A newly discovered dwarf planet, nicknamed ‘The Goblin’ which is charting a lonely orbit far beyond Pluto.
- The Goblin estimated to be 10 times as massive as Earth and its provisional name.
- The Goblin was 80 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun (1 AU is equal to the distance between the Earth and the Sun).
- At its closest, the Goblin is 65 AU from the Sun.
- It orbits the Sun once in 40,000 years.
Source- Indian Express
6. Indians to be hit by U.K. immigration plan
- Under the new system, immigrants will be able to bring their immediate families only if they are sponsored by employers.
- Britain will end “freedom of movement once and for all” which is a fundamental principle of the European Union.
- It will be more difficult for EU citizens and for non-EU citizen immigration is clearly being treated as the most important issue in Brexit not trade or investment.
- The government introduced “swift system of e-gate visa checks for tourists and visitors coming to the country for short- stay business trips from all low-risk countries”.
Source- Indian Express
7. Nobel Prize 2018 in Chemistry
- Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith, and Sir Gregory P. Winter jointly won the Noble prize in Chemistry.
- They awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018 with one half to Frances H. Arnold “for the directed evolution of enzymes”
- The other half jointly to George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter” for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.
Source- The Hindu
8. Jewel of Roman Empire’ faces danger
- UNESCO declared Sabratha to be at risk in 2016, mainly due to damage caused by armed groups.
- Perched on the edge of Libya’s Mediterranean coast, the ancient city of Sabratha remains an awe-inspiring spectacle.
- World heritage site is classified as “endangered” by UNESCO, its majestic structures pockmarked by mortar and small arms fire.
- UNESCO declared Sabratha to be at risk, along with four other Libyan sites on its World Heritage list.
9. Lagoon villas to come to Lakshadweep’s emeralds
- NITI Aayog plans ‘eco-cottages’ and a film city to boost tourism in the island territories
- The NITI Aayog, along with other stakeholders, including the Island Development Agency (IDA) which is chaired by the Home Minister is conducting a technical feasibility study for the project.
- Lakshadweep has so much lagoon area to develop island lagoons Villas.
Source- The Hindu