Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 16 June, 2021

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What is Kerala’s “SilverLine project”?

What is the News?

Kerala cabinet has given the approval to begin acquiring land for the SilverLine Project.

About SilverLine Project:

  • SilverLine Project is Kerala’s semi high-speed railway project that aims to reduce travel time between Kerala’s northern and southern ends.
  • Distance: The railway line will be around 529 kms long, covering 11 districts through 11 stations. It will link the southern end and state capital Thiruvananthapuram with its northern end of Kasaragod.
  • Implementation: The Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited(KRDCL) will execute this project.
    • KRDCL is a joint venture between the Kerala government and the Union Ministry of Railways.
  • Significance of the Project: Once the project is completed, one can travel from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram in less than four hours on trains traveling at 200 km/hr. The current travel time on the existing Indian Railways network is 12 hours.
  • Duration of the Project: The deadline for the project is 2025.

Expected Benefits of SilverLine Project: As per Government, the silver line project will:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • help in expansion of Ro-Ro services
  • produce employment opportunities
  • integrate airports and IT corridors and
  • faster development of cities it passes through.

Read moreKerala Model to tackle Covid Pandemic 

Challenges:

  • Land Acquisition: The deadline for the project i.e. by 2025 is not realistic due to the challenging nature of land acquisition in a highly densely populated state like Kerala.
  • Environment Cost: The environmentalists are opposing this project due to the potentially irreversible impact on the state’s rivers, paddy fields, and wetlands, triggering floods and landslides in the future on the proposed route.

Source: Indian Express


“World Giving Index 2021” – 10th Edition Released

What is the News? 

The 10th edition of the World Giving Index (WGI) 2021 has been released.

About World Giving Index(WGI):

  • The World Giving Index(WGI) is published by the Charities Aid Foundation(CAF).
  • Parameters: The index provides combined insight into the scope and nature of giving around the world. It looks at three aspects of giving behavior and asks: Have you done any of the following in the past month?
    • Helped a stranger or someone you didn’t know who needed help?
    • Donated money to a charity?
    • Volunteered your time to an organization?
  • Data Source: The index uses data gathered by Gallup and ranks countries in the world according to how charitable they are.
    • The report includes the results of 1.6 million individuals interviewed across the globe since 2009.

What are the Key Findings of the World Giving Index 2021?

India:

  • India is among the top 20 generous countries in the world. It has been ranked 14th position in the Index.
    • This is a significant improvement from the 10-year global rank of 82.
  • In India, at least 61% of Indians helped strangers. Meanwhile, 34% volunteered for a cause and 36% donated money.

Other key takeaways from the World Giving Index 2021:

Read Also :-India and EU promising relationship

  • Topped by: Indonesia has topped the index. It was followed by Kenya in second place.
  • Four African nations are in the top 10 in the index. Three of them (Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda) are for the first time in the top 10.
  • More than 3 billion people helped someone they didn’t know in 2020.
  • Despite or perhaps because of the pandemic, money donation increased across the globe.
  • Moreover, more people donated money in 2020 than had done so in the last five years (31 percent).

Read Also :-Bowled over by a sea of blue 

Source: Indian Express


NATO Summit 2021 – Countries Agreed to Step Up Defense

What is the News?

The NATO Summit was held recently in Brussels. During the summit, countries agreed to step up their collective defence against threats from all directions.

Key Outcomes of NATO Summit

NATO summit concluded on the following points:-

  • It will respond to Russia’s increasing nuclear arsenal.
  • Further, It called on Iran to stop all ballistic missile activities.
  • All members will strengthen their collective defense against all threats from all directions.
  • It asked Russia to drop the designation of “unfriendly countries” for US and and the Czech Republic.

About NATO:

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) also called North Atlantic Alliance is an intergovernmental military alliance.
  • Formed in: NATO was formed in 1949 with the signing of the Washington Treaty.
  • Members: It consists of 30 countries from North America and Europe.
    • The most recent member state is North Macedonia, included in NATO in 2020.
  • Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium.

Mandate of NATO: NATO’s purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means:

  • Political – NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defense and security-related issues.
  • Military- NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. However, if diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations.
    • These operations are carried out under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Article 5 states that if one member of the alliance is attacked in Europe or North America, it is to be considered an attack on all members.
    • So far, Article 5 has been invoked once – in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001.

NATO membership:

  • NATO membership is open to any other European state which can follow the principles of this Treaty and contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.
  • It also has what it calls the Membership Action Plan(MAP). It helps the aspiring members in preparation for membership and meet key requirements by providing practical advice and targeted assistance.
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina are currently participating in this plan.

Source: Indian Express


“Bharitalasuchus tapani”- A carnivorous reptile, lived 240 million years ago

What is the News?

Researchers from the Indian Statistical Institute had carried out extensive studies on rocks of the Yerrapalli Formation in Telangana during the mid 20th Century. During that time, they uncovered several fossils. By studying some of these fossils, the team has now provided information on one of the reptiles(Bharitalasuchus tapani).

What information they have provided on the Bharitalasuchus tapani?

Bharitalasuchus tapani

  • The reptile has been named Bharitalasuchus tapani. It is a carnivorous reptile that lived 240 million years ago.
    • In the Telugu language, Bhari means huge, Tala means head, and Suchus is the name of the Egyptian crocodile-headed deity.
  • Named after: The reptile has been named after palaeontologist Tapan Roy Chowdhury. For his contribution to Indian vertebrate palaeontology, and especially his extensive work at Yerrapalli Formation.
  • Genus: The reptile belonged to a family of extinct reptiles named Erythrosuchidae.
  • Key Features:
    • Bharitalasuchus Tapani were robust animals with big heads and large teeth, and these probably predated other smaller reptiles.
    • They were approximately the size of an adult male lion and might have been the largest predators in their ecosystems.

About Erythrosuchidae:

  • Erythrosuchidae (meaning red crocodiles) are a family of large basal archosauriform carnivores. They lived from the later Early Triassic to the early Middle Triassic.
    • The Triassic is a geologic period and system which spans 50.6 million years from the end of the Permian Period to the beginning of the Jurassic Period. It is the first and shortest period of the Mesozoic Era.
  • The first Erythrosuchidae remains were discovered in South Africa in 1905 and more were found in China and Russia.
    • The South African one is about 245 million years old, while the ones from China and Russia are around 240 million years old.

About Yerrapalli Formation:

  • Yerrapalli Formation is located primarily in the Pranhita–Godavari Basin in Telangana.
  • It is a Triassic rock formation consisting primarily of red mudstones. The area preserves fossils of freshwater and terrestrial vertebrates, as well as trace fossils of invertebrates.

Source: The Hindu


“Jivan Vayu”- Nation’s first power-free CPAP device developed by IIT Ropar

What is the News?

Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar has developed a device named ‘Jivan Vayu’.

About Jivan Vayu:

  • Jivan Vayu is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(CPAP) device. It can be used as a substitute for existing CPAP machines.
  • Key Features of the Device:
    • Firstly, It is India’s first CPAP device that functions even without electricity.
    • Secondly, the device is adapted to both kinds of oxygen generation units like O2 cylinders and oxygen pipelines in hospitals.
    • Thirdly, the device can deliver high flow oxygen up to 60 Litres Per Minute (LPM).
    • Fourthly, the device has an inbuilt viral filter which ensures that the air does not bring in any pathogens from the environment.
  • Significance: This device is especially important during the present Covid-19 pandemic. Further, the power supply is the key concern for saving lives of those on medical equipment such as ventilators and oxygen concentrators.

What is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(CPAP)?

  • CPAP is a treatment method for patients having breathing problems during sleep called sleep apnea. The machine uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open for easy breathing.
  • This machine is also used to treat infants whose lungs have not fully developed. The machine blows air into the baby’s nose to help inflate his or her lungs.
  • Moreover, the machine is also required during the initial stages of Covid-19 disease. This is to mitigate lung damage and help patients recover from the inflammatory effects.

The Issue of Medical Oxygen in India-Explained, Pointwise

Source: PIB


Taiwan reports largest ever Chinese incursion

What is the News?

China has flown 28 fighter jets towards the self-ruled island of Taiwan. Taiwan has called the Chinese action the largest incursion to date.

About Taiwan:

China-Taiwan

  • Taiwan is an island on the southern coast of China. It has its own constitution, democratically-elected leaders and active troops in its armed forces.
  • The maritime boundary of Taiwan includes China (officially the PRC) on the west, Japan on the Northeast, and the Philippines on the south.
  • Taiwan is not a member of the UN (United Nations) and WHO (World Health Organization).
  • However, Taiwan is a member of WTO (World Trade Organization) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation(APEC) under the name of “Chinese Taipei”.

What is the China-Taiwan issue?

  • China and Taiwan had separated during the China civil war in 1949.
  • However, China still considers Taiwan as part of its territory to be taken control of by force if necessary. But Taiwan considers itself a sovereign country.
Read More: Taiwan-China conflict and India’s stand on it

Relations between China and Taiwan:

  • The relations between China and Taiwan started improving in the 1980s.
  • China had put forward a formula known as “one country, two systems“. Under which Taiwan would be given significant autonomy if it accepted Chinese reunification.
    • This system was established in Hong Kong to be used as something of a showcase to entice Taiwanese people back to the mainland.
  • However, Taiwan rejected the offer. But it did relax rules on visits to and investment in China. In 1991, it also proclaimed the war with the People’s Republic of China on the mainland to be over.
  • There are also limited unofficial talks between the two sides. But, China declared that Taiwan’s Republic of China(ROC) government is illegitimate. This meant that the government-to-government meetings couldn’t happen.

Note: India and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic relations. But since 1995, both sides have maintained representative offices in each other’s capitals that function as de facto embassies.

Source: The Hindu


What is the New Shephard rocket system?

What is the News?

Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos’s space company named Blue Origin has concluded the online auction for the first seat on the New Shephard rocket system. It is a rocket system meant to take tourists to space.

About New Shephard Rocket System:

  • New Shephard is a reusable rocket system that has been designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Karman line – the internationally recognized boundary of space.
  • Built by: The rocket system has been built by Blue Origin, space company of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
  • Named after: The rocket system has been named after astronaut Alan Shephard – the first American to go to space.

Significance of this New Shephard rocket system:

  • The idea behind New Shephard is to provide easier and more cost-effective access to space. This is meant for purposes such as academic research, corporate technology development and entrepreneurial ventures among others.
  • Moreover, apart from academic and research-oriented goals, the rocket will also allow space tourists to experience microgravity by taking them 100 km above the Earth.
    • Microgravity is the condition in which people or objects appear to be weightless. The effects of microgravity can be seen when astronauts and objects float in space.

What is the Karman Line?

  • The Karman line is the internationally recognized boundary of space.
  • The line is named after Theodore von Kármán, a Hungarian American engineer and physicist.
    • He was the first person to determine the altitude at which the atmosphere becomes too thin to support aeronautical flight.
  • The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale(FAI) defines the Kármán line as the altitude of 100 kilometres (62 miles) above Earth’s mean sea level.
    • FAI is an international standard-setting and record-keeping body for aeronautics and astronautics.
  • However, not all organizations recognize this definition. The US Air Force and NASA define the boundary as 50 miles (80 km) above sea level. But there is no International law that defines the edge of space or the limit of national airspace.

Source: Indian Express


 

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