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November 6, 2019
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November 8, 2019
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07 November Current Affairs

High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL)

In News:

Raksha Rajya Mantri Shripad Naik inaugurated the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) Igniter Complex at High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) in Pune.

About:

HEMRL is a premier laboratory of DRDO and primarily engages in developing Rocket and Gun Propellants, Pyrotechnic Devices, High Explosive Systems and synthesis of high energy molecules.

HEMRL has created a state of the art facility for design, processing and evaluation of ignition systems. The facility consists of process, assembly & storage buildings and a design centre.

Ignition is a crucial and highly critical phenomenon in the ignition chain of Rocket motor. Ignition system for Agni, Prithvi, Akash, Nag, Pinaka, Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM), etc. have been designed and developed in HEMRL.

Ethanol From B-Heavy Molasses

In News:

The Union Minister for Environment has declared that no separate environmental clearance is required to produce additional ethanol from B-heavy molasses as it does not contribute to the pollution load.

About:

With this, sugar mills are expected to undertake production of ethanol from B-heavy Molasses and other by-products/products.

It has been clarified that all such proposals intended to undertake additional production of ethanol from B-heavy Molasses/Sugar cane juice/ Sugar syrup/ Sugar, may be considered under the provisions of 7 (ii) (a) of EIA Notification, 2006 by the concerned Expert Appraisal Committee for grant of environmental clearance.

Molasses is a viscous product resulting from refining sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar. Molasses varies by amount of sugar, method of extraction, and age of plant.

Sustainable Water Management Conference

In News:

Union Minister of Jal Shakti would inaugurate Sustainable Water Management Conference on 6th November 2019 at Pune. The Event is likely to be attended by more than 500 International and National delegates.

About:

To achieve sustainable development and management of water resources, Ministry of Jal Shakti (MOJS) is implementing National Hydrology Project (NHP) with active participation of the states.

This Central Sector Scheme is being implemented by Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation with support from World Bank.

The project has a coverage on Pan India basis and intends to set up of a system for timely and reliable water resources data acquisition, storage, collation, management and dissemination.

In this regard, a series of annual Conferences with the theme Sustainable Water Management are being organised under NHP. First such conference was hosted in December 2018 by BBMB at Chandigarh.

The second conference is being hosted during November 6-8, 2019 by Water Resources Department, Government of Maharashtra at Pune with the active support from National Project Monitoring Unit, NHP.

Wastelands Atlas – 2019

In News:

The Union Minister for Agriculture released the Wastelands Atlas – 2019.

About:

The Department of Land Resources in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Department of Space has published Wastelands Atlases of India – 2000, 2005, 2010 & 2011 editions. The new wastelands mapping exercise, carried out by NRSC using the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data is brought out as the fifth edition of Wastelands Atlas – 2019.

This Wastelands Atlas-2019 provides district and state wise distribution of different categories of wastelands area. The changes in wastelands between 2008-09 and 2015-16 have been presented in the Atlas.

The effort has resulted in estimating the spatial extent of wastelands for entire country to the tune of 55.76 Mha (16.96 % of geographical area of the Country i.e. 328.72 Mha) for the year 2015-16 as compared to 56.60 Mha (17.21%) in the year 2008-09.

During this period 1.45 Mha of wastelands are converted into non wastelands categories.

There is a net conversion of 0.84 Mha (0.26%) of different wasteland categories in the country during 2008-09 to 2015-16.

A reduction in wasteland area was observed in the categories of land with dense scrub, waterlogged and marshy land, sandy areas, degraded pastures / grazing land and gullied and / or ravinous land.

The wastelands have undergone positive change in the states of Rajasthan (0.48 Mha), Bihar (0.11 Mha), Uttar Pradesh (0.10 Mha), Andhra Pradesh (0.08 Mha), Mizoram (0.057 Mha), Madhya Pradesh (0.039 Mha), Jammu & Kashmir (0.038 Mha) and West Bengal (0.032 Mha).

Majority of wastelands have been changed into categories of ‘croplands’ (0.64 Mha), ‘forest-dense / open’ (0.28 Mha), ‘forest plantation’ (0.029 Mha), ‘plantation’ (0.057 Mha) and ‘industrial area’ (0.035 Mha) etc.

Third Battle of Panipat

In News:

The trailer for the upcoming Hindi film ‘Panipat’, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker, was released. The title refers to the Third Battle of Panipat, fought in 1761.

About:

The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761 and lasted for several days.

It took place at Panipat, in present-day Haryana.

It was fought between a northern expeditionary force of the Maratha Empire and invading forces of the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali, supported by two Indian allies—the Rohillas Najib-ud-daulah, Afghans of the Doab region and Shuja-ud-Daula-the Nawab of Awadh.

Sadashivrao ‘Bhau’ led the Maratha armies at Panipat.

Ahmed Shah Abdali (also called Ahmad Shah Durrani), the Afghan general, invaded India nine times between 1747 and 1769. He is regarded as the founder of modern-day Afghanistan.

The Marathas were defeated in the battle, with 40,000 of their troops killed, while Abdali’s army is estimated to have suffered around 20,000 casualties. It marked a loss of prestige for the Marathas, who lost their preeminent position in north India after this war, paving the way for British colonial power to expand here.

Bangali Poet Kaykobad wrote a long poem Mashasmashan based on this battle.

Extremophile microbes

In News:

Extremophile microbes can adapt to environmental conditions that are too extreme for everything else. New research, however, has pointed that Danakil Depression is an exception as microorganisms cant survive here.

About:

The Danakil Depression — bubbling pools of water and mounds of salt covering its landscape — in northeastern Ethiopia is one of the world’s hottest places, as well as one of its lowest, at 100 metres below sea level.

At the northern end of the Great Rift Valley, and separated by live volcanoes from the Red Sea, the plain was formed by the evaporation of an inland water body.

All the water entering Danakil evaporates, and no streams flow out from its extreme environment. It is covered with more than 10 lakh tonnes of salt.

Now, a new study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, says that active and naturally occurring life cannot be sustained at Danakil. It identifies two barriers: magnesium-dominated brines that cause cells to break down; and an environment having simultaneously very low pH and high salt, a combination that makes adaptation highly difficult.

GV-971 or “Oligomannate”

In News:

China announced that GV-971 or “Oligomannate”, a new drug, meant to potentially treat Alzheimer’s disease, will be available to Chinese patients by the end of this year.

About:

GV-971 or “Oligomannate” is a seaweed-based drug, administered orally.

Chinese researchers have claimed it is capable of treating mild to moderate Alzheimer’s and may improve cognition.

It has been jointly developed by the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica and the Ocean University of China and Green Valley Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.

Alzheimer’s?:

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that typically affects people older than 65. When it affects younger individuals, it is considered early onset.

Alzheimer’s involves two proteins, called beta amyloids and tau. When levels of either protein reach abnormal levels in the brain, it leads to the formation of plaque, which gets deposited between neurons, damaging and disrupting nerve cells.

Alzheimer’s disease is also the most common cause of dementia — which is a syndrome and not a disease in itself, and whose symptoms include loss of memory, thinking skills, problems with language, changes in mood and deterioration in behaviour.

Online Shopping As An Addictive Disorder

In News:

Research firm Gartner has predicted that by 2024, the World Health Organisation (WHO) will identify online shopping as an addictive disorder, as millions abuse digital commerce and encounter financial stress.

About:

Consumer spending via digital commerce platforms will continue to grow over 10 per cent year over year through 2022.

The ease of online shopping will cause financial stress for millions of people, as online retailers increasingly use artificial intelligence (AI) and personalisation to effectively target consumers and prompt them to spend discretionary income that they do not have.

The resulting debt and personal bankruptcies will cause depression and other health concerns caused by stress, which is capturing the attention of the WHO.

By 2024, AI identification of emotions will influence more than half of the online advertisements you see. Artificial emotional intelligence (AEI) is the next frontier for AI development, especially for companies hoping to detect emotions in order to influence buying decisions.

National Health Profile-2019

In News:

As per the National Health Profile-2019 released by the Union Health Ministry, Acute respiratory infections (ARI) accounted for 69.47% of morbidity in 2018.

About:

Acute respiratory infections (ARI) accounted for 69.47% of morbidity in 2018 which was the highest in the communicable disease category, leading to 27.21% mortality.

Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal reported a large number of patients and fatalities due to ARI.

Danakil Depression

In News:

A new study says that active and naturally occurring life cannot be sustained at Danakil.

Details:

It identifies two barriers: magnesium-dominated brines that cause cells to break down; and an environment having simultaneously very low pH and high salt, a combination that makes adaptation highly difficult.

Where is Danakil?

The Danakil Depression in northeastern Ethiopia is one of the world’s hottest places, as well as one of its lowest, at 100 metres below sea level.

At the northern end of the Great Rift Valley, and separated by live volcanoes from the Red Sea, the plain was formed by the evaporation of an inland water body.

All the water entering Danakil evaporates, and no streams flow out from its extreme environment. It is covered with more than 10 lakh tonnes of salt.

 

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