Factly articles for 13th August 2020

13 min read

1.International Youth Day 2020

News: International Youth Day is being observed on 12 August,2020.

Facts:

  • International Youth Day(IYD): It was designated by the United Nations(UN) in the year 1999.The first IYD was observed in 2000 and has been observed annually ever since.
  • Aim: To raise awareness regarding the cultural and legal issue concerning youth.
  • Theme: Youth Engagement for Global Action.

Additional Facts:

  • World Youth Report: Youth Social Entrepreneurship and the 2030 Agenda- The report was released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs(UNDESA).
    • Aim:To contribute to the understanding of how youth social entrepreneurship can both support youth development and help accelerate the implementation of the SDGs.
  •  #31DaysOfYOUth: It is a social media campaign by the UN to celebrate young people throughout the month of August to help spread the word and strike up a conversation surrounding youth engagement for global action.
  • World Programme of Action for Youth(WPAY): It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1995 to provide a policy framework and practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people around the world.
  • Youth and COVID-19: Impacts on jobs, education, rights and mental well-being report: It has been published by International Labour Organization(ILO).According to the report, COVID-19 may push half the world’s youth into anxiety, depression.

2.NASA’s planet hunter TESS completes primary mission

News: Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite(TESS) has finished its primary mission imaging about 75% of the starry sky as part of a two-year-long survey.The mission has found 66 new exoplanets as well as nearly 2,100 candidates astronomers are working to confirm.

Facts:

  • TESS: It was launched in 2018.It is a NASA mission led and operated by MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Aim: To discover thousands of exoplanets around nearby bright stars.

Additional Facts:

  • Exoplanet: It is a planet outside the Solar System.The first confirmation of detection of exoplanet occurred in 1992.
  • Kepler Space Telescope: It was an observatory in space launched by NASA to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars.It was launched in 2009 and decommissioned in 2018.

3.Skyroot Aerospace first private company to test upper stage rocket engine

News: Spacetech startup Skyroot Aerospace has become the first Indian private company to successfully test fire a rocket engine named Raman.

Facts:

  • Raman: It is a 3-D printed upper stage rocket engine that can send satellites of 250-700 kgs into a lower earth orbit.The engine has fewer parts and weighs less than a conventional rocket engine.

Additional Facts:

  • Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe): It is an independent nodal agency under the Department of Space for allowing space activities and usage of Department of Space (DOS) owned facilities by non-government private entities(NGPEs) as well as to prioritise the launch manifest.
  • New Space India Ltd(NSIL): It is a Central Public Sector Enterprise under Department of Space and Commercial Arm of ISRO established to scale up the industry participation in Indian space programmes.

4.Over 200 elephants in India kept in severely inadequate conditions, says report

News: World Animal Protection on the eve of World Elephant Day(August 12) has released its report titled “Elephants. Not Commodities”.

Facts:

  • About the report: The report compares research spanning a decade of elephant tourism assessing venues across Thailand, India, Laos, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

Key Takeaways:

  • India is home to the second-highest number of elephants used in tourism in Asia.
  • However, out of the 21 venues housing 509 elephants in India, the report has found that 45%(225) of the elephants were kept in severely inadequate conditions.

Additional Facts:

  • World Animal Protection:It is an international non-profit animal welfare organization founded in 1981.
    • It was formerly known as The World Society for the Protection of Animals(WSPA).
    • Vision: A world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty has ended.
    • Headquarters: London, UK.

5.India, Maldives ink contract for development of five eco-tourism zones in Addu atoll

News: India and Maldives have signed a contract for development of five eco-tourism zones in Addu atoll of the island nation.

Facts:

  • Addu Atoll also known as Seenu Atoll, is the southernmost atoll of the Maldives.

Additional Facts:

  • Atoll: An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef that surrounds a body of water called a lagoon.

6.Forest cover loss threatens hornbills in Arunachal

News: A study has reported a high rate of deforestation in Papum Reserve Forest (RF), a major hornbill habitat in Arunachal Pradesh.

Facts:

  • Papum Reserve Forest: It is an Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Location: It is located between two IBAs, Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary to the east and Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary to the west.
  • Vegetation: It forms part of the Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area.A large part of the site is covered by Subtropical Dry Evergreen and Semi-evergreen Forests while the higher areas are under Subtropical Broadleaf Hill Forest cover.
  • Hornbill Species: The Papum Reserve is a nesting habitat of three species of hornbills:
    • Great hornbill- Vulnerable
    • Wreathed hornbill – Vulnerable and
    • Oriental Pied Hornbill- Least Concern.
  • Pakke reserve houses a fourth species,the Rufous-Necked Hornbill- Vulnerable.

7.CSIR moots ‘mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing

News: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) is working on developing “mega labs” to ramp up testing for COVID-19 as well as improve the accuracy rate.

Facts:

  • Mega Labs: These labs will use Next Generation Sequencing(NGS) machines (NGS) which are normally used for sequencing human genomes to sequence 1,500 to 3,000 viral genomes at a go to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Additional Facts:

  • Genome sequencing: It means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks called “bases” that make up the DNA molecule.
  • Next Generation Sequencing(NGS): It allows parallel Genome sequencing resulting in the generation of giga bases of data in a short amount of time.This has reduced the cost per genome significantly, making genomic data more accessible to individual researchers.
  • Comparison with RT-PCR Test: The NGS machines can detect the presence of the virus even in several instances where the traditional RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests fail.
    • This is because the RT-PCR test identifies the SARS-CoV-2 virus by exploring only specific sections whereas the genome method can read a bigger chunk of virus genome.

8.Explained: What is the Perseids meteor shower set to peak mid-August?

News: The Perseids meteor shower is going to be active from August 17th to 26th,2020.

Facts:

  • Perseids: It is a meteor shower that peaks every year in mid-August.It was first observed over 2,000 years ago.It occurs as the Earth runs into pieces of cosmic debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle.

Additional Facts:

  • Comets: They are cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust that orbit the Sun.
  • Meteors: These are bits of rock and ice that are ejected from comets as they manoeuvre around their orbits around the sun.
  • Meteor Shower: It is a celestial event in which a number of meteors are observed to radiate or originate from one point in the night sky.
    • These meteors are caused by streams of cosmic debris called meteoroids entering Earth’s atmosphere at extremely high speeds on parallel trajectories.