27 May Current Affairs
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28 May Current Affairs

Saharan Cheetah

In News:

For the first time in a decade, the naturalists have filmed a Saharan Cheetah in a Hoggar Mountains national park in Algeria..

Details:

Saharan cheetah (Zoological name: Acinonyx jubatus hecki) or Northwest African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki) is a subspecies of Cheetah endemic to Sahara and the Sahel regions of Africa.  It is a critically endangered fauna and its total population was suspected to be less than 250 in 2008.

How it is different from other African Cheetahs?

Saharan Cheetah is different from other Cheetah species in Africa because of shorter coat and nearly white colour. Its face has few or no spots and tear stripes are almost absent.

Countries it is found:

The Saharan cheetah used to be found in fragmented populations in western and central Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa. The main countries where it is found include Algeria, Chad, Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. However, it is now extinct from most of the countries in wild.

Climatic adaptations:

This subspecies is found in hot and dry regions and has some behavioural and physiological adaptation to suit to the harsh environment. For example, they are predominantly nocturnal and can subsist without direct access to water for several days (by obtaining water from blood of their prey).

Current population:

It is thought that currently, only 37 individuals may be alive in world in wild.

Chamba Tunnel inaugurated

In News:

Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs Shri. Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the breakthrough event of Chamba Tunnel under Chardham Pariyojana through video conference.

About Chardham Pariyojana:

The foundation stone of Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojana (Char Dham Highway Development Project) was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 27 December, 2016. Its a two lane National Highway project currently under construction in Uttarakhand with a total investment of around Rs. 12000 Crore.

Char Dham Route:

Originating from Rishikesh, Char Dham highway network will have four distinct routes connecting the four holy places in Uttarakhand viz. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The project includes two tunnels, 116 big and small flyovers, several culverts and bypass roads.

Location of Chamba Tunnel:

Chamba Tunnel has been dug by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on National Highway 94 below the Chamba town / hill station in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand on Rishikesh-Dharasu route. The runnel will also avoid congestion in Chamba town and open avenues of socio-economic developments in the region.

Kheer Bhawani Mela

In News:

In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Annual Kheer Bhawani Mela on 30th May this year in Tulmulla village of Ganderbal district has been cancelled by the Dharmarth Trust of Jammu and Kashmir because of outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic.

About:

Ragyna Devi Temple in Tulmulla Ganderbal village, near Srinagar (J&K) is popularly known as “Mata Kheer Bhawani temple”

Deity: The temple is dedicated to the Goddess kheer Bhawani. The deity is also called as Maharagya Devi, Ragnya Devi, Rajni, Ragnya Bhagwati. The term kheerrefers to rice pudding that is offered in the spring located in the temple to Please the Goddess.

This is the most important temple for Kashmiri Pandits.

Mela Kheer Bhawani: It is an Annual Festival during which the devotees of the Goddess Mata Kheer Bhawani fast and gather here on the day of “Zeshta Ashtami,” the eighth day of the full moon in the month of May/ June when, according to belief, the Goddess changes the colour of the spring’s waters.

TIANWEN-1

In News:

In July, China will launch its first Mars mission, the ‘Tianwen-1’, which is expected to land on the Red Planet’s surface in the first quarter of 2021.

About:

Tianwen-1, an all-in-one orbiter, lander and rover will search the Martian surface for water, ice, investigate soil characteristics, and study the atmosphere, among completing other objectives.

The Tianwen-1 mission will lift off on a Long March 5 rocket. The success of the mission will make China the third country to achieve a Mars landing after the USSR and the United States.

The Chinese mission is expected to take off in late July, around the same time when NASA is launching its own Mars mission– the ambitious ‘Perseverance’ which aims to collect Martian samples and bring them back to Earth in a two-part campaign.

Previous Mars missions:

The USSR in 1971 became the first country to carry out a Mars landing– its ‘Mars 3’ lander being able to transmit data for 20 seconds from the Martian surface before failing.

The second country to reach Mars’s surface, the US, holds the record for the most number of Mars landings. Since 1976, it has achieved 8 successful Mars landings, the latest being the ‘InSight’ in 2019 (launched in 2018).

India and the European Space Agency have been able to place their spacecraft in Mars’s orbit. India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or ‘Mangalyaan’ was able to do so in September 2014, almost a year after its launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh.

NGC 3895

In News:

NASA’s Hubble telescope released an image of a spiral galaxy, NGC 3895, that, in colour and shape, resembles a coffee made by a barista.

About:

The galaxy’s existence was known earlier as well and it has been captured by the telescope in the past as well. However, the current image is trending online for its aesthetic beauty.

The Hubble Space Telescope released the image under the title “One Large Stellar Latte To Go”.

The galaxy, located at a distance of over 161 million light-years, is a part of Ursa Major.

It was discovered by German-born British astronomer William Herschel on March 18, 1790.

The galaxy has a diameter of approximately 45,000 light-years.

Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) app

In News:

7 services hosted on IMD website have been onboarded to UMANG Application.

These include:

  • Current Weather.
  • Nowcast- Three hourly warnings of localized weather phenomena.
  • City Forecast.
  • Rainfall information.
  • Tourism Forecast.
  • Warnings- It is colour coded in Red, Orange and yellow are the alert levels with Red as the most severe category.
  • Cyclone

UMANG is a Government of India all-in-one single, unified, secure, multi-channel, multi-platform, multi-lingual, multi-service mobile app, powered by a robust back-end platform providing access to high impact services of various organization (Central and State).

Launched in 2017 to bring all government services on a single mobile app, with a larger goal to make the government services accessible on the mobile phone of our citizens.

About 660 services from 127 department & 25 states, including utility payments are live and more are in pipeline.

WHO Executive Board

In News:

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan is set to take charge as chairman of the WHO Executive Board at its 147th session.

Details:

Vardhan would succeed Dr Hiroki Nakatani of Japan, currently the Chairman of the 34-member WHO Executive Board.

What is the WHO Executive Board?

It is one of the WHO’s two decision making bodies. The other one is the World Health Assembly. The agency’s headquarters are located at Geneva in Switzerland.

 Composition:

The executive Board is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health.

The Board chairman’s post is held by rotation for one year by each of the WHO’s six regional groups: African Region, Region of the Americas, South-East Asia Region, European Region, Eastern Mediterranean Region, and Western Pacific Region.

Term:

Members are elected for three-year terms.

Functions:

Sets out agenda for the Health Assembly and resolutions for forwarding to the Assembly are adopted.

Gives effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly.

Advises it and facilitates its work.

The Board and the Assembly create a forum for debate on health issues and for addressing concerns raised by Member States.

Both the Board and the Assembly produce three kinds of documents — Resolutions and Decisions passed by the two bodies, Official Records as published in WHO Official publications, and Documents that are presented “in session” of the two bodies.

Key facts:

India became a party to the WHO Constitution on 12 January 1948.

The first Regional Director for South East Asia was an Indian, Dr Chandra Mani, who served between 1948-1968.

Since 2019, Dr Soumya Swaminathan has been the WHO’s Chief Scientist.