26 May Current Affairs
May 26, 2020
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27 May Current Affairs

Emission Norms of L7 category of BS VI notified

In News:

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways notified emission norms for L7 category for BS VI. With the notification, the BS VI process L, M and N category vehicles in the country gets completed..

Details:

The emission norms will encourage the production of quadricycles. The quadricycle segment in India was introduced in less than 2 years. Thus, the full-fledged production has not completely begun.

The quadricycle segment was introduced in 2018 for both commercial and private use.

What is a Quadricycle?

Quadricycle is a vehicle that is of the size of a three wheeler but runs with four wheels. The Quadricycle was inserted as “Non-Transport” under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

Quadricycles are not allowed for transporting cargo in India. They have to undergo vigorous crash tests and meet the safety norms of Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme.

L7 category:

The vehicles with four wheels with mass more than 400 kg are placed under L7 category.

Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANTIA) finds high energy particles from ice

In News:

The NASA researchers have found high energy particles erupting from ice in the Antarctic region. The researchers believe that these particles are proof to parallel universe.

ANTIA:

The ANTIA is high-energy cosmic neutrino that detect radio pulses that are being emitted by Antarctic ice sheet. The neutrinos in the ice produce radio pulses due to Askaryan effect.

The ANTIA instrument detect cosmic-ray neutrinos through a scientific ballon that is flying in the region of Antarctica. It is the first NASA observatory of neutrinos. The researchers have special interest for neutrinos as they are the only particle that reach the earth unattenuated.

Askaryan Effect:

It is the phenomenon where a particle travelling at a velocity faster than light in a dense electric medium, produces shower of secondary charged particles. The dense electric medium can be ice, salt of lunar regolith.

ANTIA’s detections:

The ANTIA has so far made four major cosmic ray detections. The cosmic rays that are coming from the sky are reflected off the ice. However, two of these detections have proofs that they are generated from the ice below.

Enrolments in ESIC Social Security Scheme increases to 821,000

In News:

The payroll data of the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) was released. The data says that around 821,000 new members have joined ESIC social security scheme.

Details:

The data was released by National Statistical Office (NSO). According to the data the subscribers to the scheme in 2018-19 were 14.9 million and it increased to 38.3 million in March 2020.

The NSO report issues data of several social security schemes such as PFRDA, EPFO. This is being done since 2018 covering the period 2017-18.

ESIC:

The Employment State Insurance Scheme was launched in 1952 under the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948. The act was the first legislative social security step for workers in India.

The scheme was designed to help employees fight against their sickness, disablement, maternity and death due to employment.

Recent Developments in the Scheme:

In June 2020, the Government of India reduced the rate of contribution under the scheme. The employer contribution was reduced from 4.75% to 3.25% and Employee contribution was reduced from 1.75% to 0.75%. Also, the employees that are earning Rs 137 or less per day are exempted from payment of their contribution.

Recently, to meet the salary bills of the workers during COVID-19 lock down period, the Government of India ruled to appropriate funds of ESIC.

Sonic Boom

In News:

Recently, sonic boom (a loud sound) was heard in Bengaluru which emanated from an Indian Air Force (IAF) test flight involving a supersonic profile.

Details:

Sonic Booms are shockwaves produced by planes or other objects that are flying at a speed equal to or greater than the speed of sound (supersonic, >1225 kmph at sea level)

When an airplane travels through the air, it produces sound waves.

If the plane is traveling slower than the speed of sound, then sound waves can propagate ahead of the plane.

If the plane breaks the sound barrier and flies faster than the speed of sound, it produces a sonic boom when it flies past.

The boom is the plane’s sound waves combined together propagated at once.

Air reacts like fluid to supersonic objects. As those objects travel through the air, molecules are pushed aside with great force and this forms a shock wave.

The bigger and heavier the aircraft, the more air it displaces.

There are several factors that can influence sonic booms like weight, size, and shape of the aircraft or vehicle, plus its altitude, attitude, and flight path, and weather or atmospheric conditions.

The direction of travel and the strength of shock waves are influenced by wind, speed, and direction, as well as by air temperature and pressure.

CoAST India

In News:

India Observatory, an open-source database, has come up with a GIS-enabled dashboard that includes an India map reflecting the movement of migrants in real time on their long journeys, along with facilities and relief organisations on their routes.

About:

The platform, a collaboration with Anand-based Forest Ecological Security (FES) as its main nodal point, is called CoAST India (Collaboration/Covid Action Support Group).

It draws information from 55 organisations on the ground, mostly in villages, and aims to make such data available so that it would enable governments and small local civil society groups to be of assistance.

The map matches “time and spatial data, on administrative facilities in the area, transportation and healthcare facilities of an area and summaries, on the fly, in real time of people passing by.

India Observatory was set up in December 2019, with FES focused on ecological issues about forests, water bodies, conservation, etc. that needed “a bird’s eye view or a satellite’s vision”.

Earth’s Magnetic Field Weakens

In News:

As per the reports, the magnetic field around the earth, on an average, has lost almost 10% of its strength over the last two centuries. The magnetic field of the earth protects us from the solar radiation.

South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA):

However, a rapid shrink has been observed in the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA), a stretch between Africa and South America. It is an area where the Earth’s inner Van Allen radiation belt comes closest to the Earth’s surface, dipping down to an altitude of 200 kilometres.

This leads to an increased flux of energetic particles in this region and exposes orbiting satellites to higher-than-usual levels of radiation.

The effect is caused by the non-concentricity of the Earth and its magnetic dipole. The SAA is the near-Earth region where the Earth’s magnetic field is weakest relative to an idealized Earth-centered dipole field.

Pole reversal:

One most speculated reason behind this is that there is a chance that the time for Earth’s pole reversal is coming near.

Pole reversal is when the north and south magnetic poles flip. While this flip will not occur immediately or suddenly, and will happen over centuries, there would be multiple north and south magnetic poles during this period, all around the planet.

This is definitely not the first time that pole reversal will be happening on the Earth. This event has occurred few times in the history of our planet, as per the scientists and we are long overdue by the average rate at which these reversals take place (roughly every 250,000 years).

Impact:

This is not going to affect or alarm the general public to a huge extent.

But it is causing technical difficulties for various satellites and spacecrafts, as the magnetic field getting weaker, charged particles from the cosmos can penetrate through to the altitudes that low-Earth orbiting satellites fly at.

Agappe Chitra Magna Kit

In News:

The Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) (National Importance under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in collaboration with Agappe Diagnostics Ltd. has commercially launched the Agappe Chitra Magna Kit for detection of Covid-19.

Details:

Agappe Chitra Magna is a magnetic nanoparticle-based RiboNucleic Acid (RNA) extraction kit.

It isolates RNA from the patient sample using magnetic nanoparticles.

SARS-COV-2, the causative virus of Covid-19 pandemic, is an RNA virus- a long single-stranded polymeric substance present in all living cells that carries the genetic information of the organism necessary for life.

One of the critical steps in detecting this virus is by confirming the presence of the RNA of the virus in the sample taken from the throat or nose.

The magnetic nanoparticle beads bind to the viral RNA and, when exposed to a magnetic field, give a highly purified and concentrated RNA.

As the sensitivity of the detection method is dependent on getting an adequate quantity of viral RNA, this innovation enhances the chances of identifying positive cases.

The kit can be used for RNA extraction for RT-LAMP, RT-PCR and other isothermal and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) based protocols for the detection of SARS-COV-2.

The indigenously developed and manufactured RNA extraction kit would reduce the nation’s dependence on imported kits which are expensive and thus will bring down the cost of Covid-19 testing.

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