Factly articles for 21st July 2020

11 min read

1.Union HRD Minister to launch Manodarpan Initiative

News: Union Human Resource Development(HRD) Minister has virtually launched the Manodarpan initiative as part of the ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’.

Facts:

  • Aim: To monitor and provide psychosocial support to students, teachers and families for Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing during the conditions like COVID outbreak and beyond.

2.First-of-its-kind Godhan Nyay Yojana launched in Chhattisgarh

News: Chhattisgarh Government has launched ‘Godhan Nyay Yojana’ on the occasion of Hareli festival.

Facts:

  • Aim: To put money in the pockets of people living in the rural areas and also solve the problem of stray cattle.
  • Features:
    • Under the scheme, the government will procure cow dung from farmers at a fixed procurement rate.
    • The procured cow dung will be utilised for the production of vermicompost fertilizer which will be sold through cooperative societies to meet the fertilizer requirement of the farmers.

Additional Facts:

  • Hareli Festival: It is an agricultural festival celebrated by the rural farming communities in Chhattisgarh.

3.Solar Orbiter Mission Returns First Data, Snaps Closest Pictures of the Sun

News: European Space Agency has released the closest pictures ever taken of the Sun captured by the Solar Orbiter Mission.

Facts:

Key Takeaways:

  • Camp Fires: There are mini-flares on the sun that are millionths of the size of the Sun’s massive flares that are routinely observed by Earth telescopes.
  • Significance: These camp fires could have something to do with the heating process that makes the corona, the Sun’s outer atmosphere far hotter than its surface.

Additional Facts:

  • Solar Orbiter Mission: It is a space mission between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA launched in February 2020.
  • Aim: To perform close-up, high-resolution studies of the Sun and inner heliosphere.
  • Objectives:
    • Study solar wind and where does the coronal magnetic field originate from
    • Study how solar transients drive heliospheric variability
    • Study how solar eruptions produce energetic particle radiation that fills the heliosphere
    • Understand how the solar dynamo works and drive connections between the Sun and the heliosphere.
  • Solar Flares: It is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspot.

4.India joins as a founding member at the UN’s ‘Alliance for Poverty Eradication’

News: India has become a founding member of the United Nations(UN) Alliance for Poverty Eradication launched by the President of the UN General Assembly.

Facts:

  • Aim: To focus on efforts to boost the global economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and to serve as a forum for Member States to raise awareness about the danger that poverty poses to world peace, human rights and sustainable development.

5.Why Assam faces floods every year

News: Assam is reeling from another devastating flood.Over 35 lakh people across 28 of the state’s 33 districts are now affected due to flooding.

Facts:

Floods: It is an overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry.Floods can happen during heavy rains when ocean waves come on shore, when snow melts quickly or when dams break.

Reasons for annual floods in Assam:

  • Flood Prone Area: Assam is a flood-prone state with its vast network of rivers.The flood prone area of the country as a whole stands at about 10.2 % of the total area of the country but flood prone area of Assam is 39.58 % of the area of the state which is four times the national flood prone area.
  • Earthquakes/Landslides: Assam and other parts of the northeastern region are prone to frequent earthquakes which causes landslides.The landslides and earthquakes send in a lot of debris in the rivers causing the river bed to rise.
  • Brahmaputra: Brahmaputra River is braided and unstable in its entire reach in the Assam Valley except for a few places.The instability of the river is attributed to high sediment charge and steep slopes.
  • Bank Erosion: The bank erosion caused by the river Brahmaputra, Barak and its tributaries in the state has also caused water to overflow in the low-lying areas every time a flood occurs.
  • Dams: The key cause of floods in Assam region is also unregulated releasing of water from dams situated uphill.
  • Man made factors: The man-made factors include habitation, deforestation, improper infrastructure planning of Guwahati city, population growth in catchment areas and building of embankments which disrupted Brahmaputra’s natural flow.

6.Coronavirus: Oxford vaccine triggers immune response

News: The human trial of COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and backed by AstraZeneca Plc has shown a positive result.

Facts:

  • How was the vaccine produced? The vaccine was made from a genetically engineered virus(adenovirus) that causes the common cold in chimpanzees.
    • However, the virus was heavily modified so that it cannot cause infections in people and look a bit like the coronavirus that produces spike protein that the virus uses to enter and infect human cells.
  • What was the response? The first phase of clinical trials did not prompt any serious side effects and produced antibodies and T-cells that can fight coronavirus.

Additional Facts:

  • Antibodies: It is a protective protein produced by the immune system in order to attack antigens.Antigen is a toxin or other foreign substance which induces an immune response in the body.
  • T-cells: It is a type of white blood cell that helps coordinate the immune system and are able to spot which of the body’s cells have been infected and destroy them.

7.Indian Navy holds passage exercise with ‘USS Nimitz’ carrier group

News: Indian naval ships conducted a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the United States Navy’s USS Nimitz carrier strike group near the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) islands.

Facts:

  • Passage Exercise is an exercise done between two navies to ensure that the navies are able to communicate and cooperate in times of war or humanitarian relief.
  • The Indian Navy had recently conducted similar passing exercises with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and French Navy.
  • Significance: The exercise comes amidst high alert by the Navy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) due to the ongoing stand-off with China along the border in Ladakh.

Additional Facts:

Exercise Malabar: It is a trilateral naval exercise involving the United States, Japan and India as permanent partners.

8.Padmanabhaswamy temple

News: Reversing the 2011 Kerala High Court decision, the Supreme Court upheld the right of the Travancore royal family to manage the property of deity at Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple.

Facts:

  • The Padmanabhaswamy temple is a Hindu temple located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  • The temple is said to date back to the 8th century but the present structure was built in the 18th century by the then Travancore Maharaja Marthanda Varma.
  • The temple is built in the unique Chera style of architecture, and its main deity is Lord Vishnu who is found in the Anantha Shayana posture (reclined posture of eternal yoga) on Adishesha or king of all serpents.
  • It is known to be one of the 108 holy temples associated with Vaishnavism in India.