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25 and 26 March 2024 - Daily Current Affairs

Questions


What is the name of the space telescope that discovered two ancient streams of stars named Shiva and Shakti?

Gaia

Hubble

Kepler

James Webb



The European Space Agency's Gaia space telescope, led by Khyati Malhan, discovered two ancient streams of stars named Shiva and Shakti.


What is the name of India's premier Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) that successfully landed during ISRO's recent experiment?

Aryabhata

Sakthi

Mangalyaan

Pushpak



Pushpak is India's premier Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) that successfully landed during ISRO's recent experiment, demonstrating advanced autonomous landing capabilities from non-standard initial conditions.



Which countries are participating with India in the IMT TRILAT-2024 maritime exercise?

China and Sri Lanka

Indonesia and Malaysia

Mozambique and Tanzania

South Africa and Kenya



The TRILAT-2024 maritime exercise involves India, Mozambique and Tanzania, showcasing their cooperation in maritime security and defence.



Chandrayaan-3 Landing Site Officially Named "Statio Shiv Shakti"

International Astronomical Union Grants Approval

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies, has officially approved the name "Statio Shiv Shakti" for the landing site of Chandrayaan-3's Vikram lander. The approval was announced on March 19, 2024.

Significance of the Name

"Statio Shiv Shakti" is a name steeped in Indian mythology. "Statio" is a Latin term used for landing sites, while "Shiv Shakti" represents the masculine ("Shiva") and feminine ("Shakti") duality of nature. Prime Minister Narendra Modi first proposed this name in August 2023, highlighting its cultural significance.

IAU's Role in Planetary Nomenclature

Planetary nomenclature, similar to geographical naming on Earth, ensures unique identification of features on planets and moons. The IAU's Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature serves as a comprehensive record of all approved names. The organization follows specific rules, like Rule 9 which restricts names with political, military, or religious connotations (except for pre-19th century political figures). In this case, the IAU recognized the mythological reference as a cultural, not religious, significance.


The International Astronomical Union (IAU)

The IAU is the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and features. Founded in 1919, it's a non-governmental organization working to promote astronomy through international cooperation in various aspects:

  • Research: Facilitating and encouraging astronomical research collaborations globally.

  • Outreach: Promoting public understanding and appreciation of astronomy.

  • Education: Supporting astronomy education and development initiatives.

Here's a deeper look at the IAU:

  • Membership:

  • National Members: 85 countries (as of May 2023)

  • Individual Members: Over 12,000 professional astronomers worldwide.

  • Headquarters: Paris, France

  • Planetary Nomenclature:

  • Maintains the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, a record of all approved celestial body names.

  • Defines rules and conventions for naming, like Rule 9 which restricts political/religious names (with exceptions).


EU probe into tech giants for ‘violation’ of new law may trigger hefty fines

The EU is cracking down on Big Tech with investigations into Apple, Alphabet (Google), and Meta for potentially violating the new Digital Markets Act (DMA). This law aims to regulate large online platforms ("gatekeepers") and promote fair competition.

  • Potential Violations:

  • Anti-Steering: EU suspects these companies prevent app makers from directly contacting users, limiting user choice.

  • Limited User Choice: Apple may not be giving users enough freedom to choose browsers, uninstall apps, or change default settings.

  • Meta's "Pay or Consent": EU argues users shouldn't be forced to pay to avoid targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram.

  • Google Search Bias: Investigation will check if Google Search prioritizes its own services like Shopping, Flights, and Hotels.

  • Penalties: Companies could face fines up to 10% of global revenue (20% for repeat offenses).

  • Significance: This is the latest instance of governments trying to control Big Tech and comes after the EU fined Apple for anti-competitive practices and the US sued Apple for stifling competition in the smartphone market.


The UK launches ads targeting Vietnamese migrants to deter them from crossing the English Channel illegally.

  • Reason: Number of migrants using small boats to reach the UK has risen 15% this year, with Vietnam being a significant source country. Stopping illegal immigration is a priority for the UK government.

  • Campaign Details:

  • Targets Vietnamese users on Facebook and YouTube.

  • Uses testimonials from past migrants detailing dangers and hardships.

  • Warns of exploitation by smugglers and the reality of living illegally in the UK (no access to public services).

  • Hopeful Outcome: replicate the success of a similar campaign against Albanian migration, which saw a 90% reduction.

  • Political Context: This comes ahead of a UK general election, and the government is keen to be seen as tackling illegal immigration.

English Channel

Robusta Coffee Prices Surge in India

  • Record High Prices: Robusta coffee bean and berry prices hit all-time highs due to a significant supply shortage.

  • Reasons for Shortage:

  • Lower Robusta production in India (30% decline expected) due to poor weather conditions.

  • Sharp decline in Robusta production in Vietnam and Indonesia, major coffee growers.

  • Impact:

  • Robusta coffee now more expensive than Arabica coffee due to its scarcity.

  • Coffee exports from India have increased in value despite lower production.

  • Future Concerns: Farmers expect another 25-30% production decline next year due to lack of rain.

Other Coffee varieties of India

ARABICA COFFEE

Arabica coffee (COFFEA ARABICA L) is a small tree in its original habitat but grows like a shrub with bushy growth when trained. Arabica has a delicate flavor and balanced aroma coupled with a sharp and sweet taste.


The Crucial World of Semiconductors

Binary Code: The Foundation

  • Computers use 1s and 0s (bits) to represent data and power modern technology.

Semiconductors: The Core

  • Special materials that control electric current like a faucet controls water flow.

  • Transistors are the key type of semiconductor, allowing complex circuits.

Making Semiconductors: A High-Tech Process

  • Starts with a silicon wafer, purified to extreme levels.

  • Photolithography uses light to etch circuit patterns on the wafer.


Following Steps happen in Photolithography: -

  • Coating the Wafer: A light-sensitive material (photoresist) is applied to the silicon wafer.

  • Projecting the Pattern: A mask with the desired circuit pattern is placed on the wafer. Light is then shone through the mask.

  • Transferring the Pattern: Light only passes through openings in the mask, hardening the exposed photoresist on the wafer. The unexposed photoresist remains soft.

  • Developing the Pattern: The wafer is washed with a chemical that removes the softer, unexposed photoresist. This leaves behind a hardened photoresist pattern matching the circuit design on the mask.

Next Steps after Photolithography

  • Doping adds impurities to alter electrical properties.

  • Several companies specialize in different parts of the complex process.

Semiconductors: Powering Our World

  • From smartphones to space telescopes, semiconductors are everywhere.

  • Crucial for solving 21st-century challenges like climate change and healthcare.

  • Creates high-tech jobs and fosters innovation across various fields.

Geopolitical Importance

  • Countries compete to build domestic semiconductor production due to their strategic importance.

India's Role

  • A leader in chip design but lacks manufacturing capability.

  • Aims to establish domestic production facilities to capitalize on the global market.


Editorial of the Day


China's Muddled Role in the Middle East

China's Balancing Act:

  • Aims to be a peacemaker (mediation diplomacy) and counter US influence.

  • Supports Palestine, angering Israel, but avoids criticizing Hamas to maintain ties with Arab nations.

Limited Success:

  • Takes credit for Saudi-Iran detente, but may have just been involved rather than driving it.

  • Absent during Red Sea crisis and avoids criticizing Yemeni attacks (potentially using ties with Iran).

China's True Goals:

  • Weaken US influence without taking full responsibility for regional security.

  • Showcase Western policies as detrimental, but lacks real alternatives.

  • More focused on internal security of partner states than broader regional peace.

China's Image:

  • Appears risk-averse and lacks solutions beyond economic investment.

  • Still seen as an aspiring superpower, not a true replacement for US dominance.


Orsay Museum Celebrates 150 Years of Impressionism

A Multi-Sensory Experience:

  • The Orsay Museum in Paris marks 150 years of Impressionism with a special exhibition.

  • Visitors can experience a virtual reality experience that puts them alongside famous Impressionist painters.

Reuniting Masterpieces:

  • The exhibit showcases 160 paintings, including iconic works like Monet's "Impression, Sunrise."

  • It features pieces from the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.

Capturing Everyday Life:

  • Impressionists like Monet, Degas, and Pissarro used rapid brushstrokes to depict daily scenes.

  • From bustling Parisian streets to idyllic countryside landscapes, their art documented modern life.

Beyond the Stereotype:

  • Curator Sylvie Patry emphasizes the movement's complexity, existing before 1874.

  • The artists weren't isolated; they knew and influenced each other.

A Slow Rise to Fame:

  • The initial Impressionist exhibition faced low attendance and sales compared to the official Salon.

  • Over time, the movement gained recognition with subsequent exhibitions.

Exhibition Details:

  • The "Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism" exhibit runs until July 14th in Paris.

  • It will travel to Washington D.C. from September.



Workplace Abuse: A Silent Epidemic

This article highlights the prevalence of workplace abuse and its negative consequences.

Key Points:

  • Senior leaders are not immune: The author shares examples of abuse at high levels in organizations.

  • Financial incentives trap victims: Many tolerate abuse due to high salaries or bonuses.

  • Stress is complex: "EuStress" can be motivating, but becomes harmful at high levels ("Distress").

  • Workplace bullying is common: A study shows 35% of Indian IT professionals have poor mental well-being.

  • Bystander silence perpetuates abuse: Fear of retaliation or victim-blaming discourages reporting.

  • Legislation helps: Countries with anti-bullying laws have lower reporting rates.

  • India needs a solution: The service sector is a major contributor to India's GDP, but many companies have poor Glassdoor ratings.

  • Toxic leadership is measurable: Disrespect, lack of inclusion, and unethical behavior negatively impact company culture.

  • WFH exposes abuse: Increased transparency reveals disrespectful and abusive communication practices.

  • Job strain harms health: Studies show a link between high pressure and mortality.

The article calls for action:

  • Organizations need to introduce measures to curb workplace abuse and toxicity ("WATCH" legislation).


Eustress refers to positive or beneficial stress. It's a concept introduced by Hans Selye, an endocrinologist who also identified the stages of the general stress response.

Eustress is the kind of stress that can motivate you and help you perform well. It can give you a sense of focus, energy, and alertness. For example, feeling a little stressed before a presentation might push you to rehearse more and deliver a clear, confident performance.

Here are some key points about Eustress:

  • It's temporary: Ideally, Eustress comes and goes as you face and overcome challenges.

  • It's manageable: You feel in control and capable of handling the situation.

  • It can be motivating: Eustress can push you to improve your skills and achieve your goals.


Financial Challenges for Startups in Growing India

The Challenge:

  • Indian startups face difficulties accessing affordable financing despite the growth of digital payment systems (UPI) and India Stack.

  • Traditional financing options are less accessible than a decade ago.

The Solution: Alternative Financing

  • Modern solutions like cash-flow based financing and invoice financing offer:

  • Easier access to funds

  • More flexibility

  • Greater transparency

  • Faster approval times

Why it Works:

  • These options are designed for startups, which are typically:

  • Light on assets (asset-light)

  • Reliant on digital technologies (digital-first)

  • They leverage AI and machine learning for faster and more efficient decisions.

Additional Support:

  • Initiatives like Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN) simplify lending and borrowing processes.

  • Fintech lenders are personalizing their approach, considering alternative data sources to assess creditworthiness.

Overall, despite India's growing financial infrastructure, alternative financing solutions are crucial for startups to access the funds they need to thrive.


What is OCEN?

  • Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN) is a framework that uses open standards to facilitate various aspects of the lending process in India.

  • It acts as a common language for collaboration between lenders (like banks) and digital platforms (called Lending Service Providers or LSPs in OCEN).

Benefits of OCEN:

  • Streamlined Lending & Borrowing: OCEN aims to simplify the process of applying for and receiving loans, making it faster and more efficient for both borrowers and lenders.

  • Increased Access to Credit: By establishing a standardized system, OCEN can potentially encourage more lenders to participate, increasing the availability of credit, especially for underserved populations like small businesses.

  • Transparency & Efficiency: Standardization can lead to greater transparency in lending practices and potentially lower borrowing costs.

How OCEN Works:

  • OCEN defines a set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow lenders and LSPs to easily share information and complete loan transactions electronically.

  • This eliminates the need for manual processes and custom integrations, saving time and resources.


Climate Change Threatens Coral Reefs, But Hope Emerges

This article discusses the dangers of climate change and its impact on coral reefs, but also offers a glimmer of hope for their restoration.

Key Points:

  • Climate Change and Coral Reefs:

  • Global warming, caused by burning fossil fuels and deforestation, is a major threat to coral reefs.

  • Rising water temperatures lead to coral bleaching and death.

  • Ocean acidification, caused by increased CO2 absorption, weakens coral skeletons.

  • Example: Lakshadweep Islands:

  • These Indian islands are formed on coral reefs, highlighting the vulnerability of island nations.

  • A Cause for Hope:

  • Scientists conducted a study to see if sound could help coral restoration.

  • Playing recordings of healthy reefs increased coral settlement rates in degraded reefs.

Challenges and Considerations:

  • This is a preliminary study requiring further testing and large-scale implementation research.

  • Potential issues like optimal sound volume and unforeseen problems need to be addressed.

The Takeaway:

  • Climate change poses a serious threat to coral reefs, but innovative solutions like soundscapes offer a potential path for restoration.


New Rules Ease Captive Elephant Transfers in India

Background:

  • Elephants are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) and cannot be captured or traded.

  • Captive elephants are a special case due to their historical roles.

  • Previously, captive elephant transfers required written permission and could not be commercial.

Changes in 2021:

  • The Environment Ministry amended the WPA to allow elephant transfers for "religious or any other purposes."

  • This broad wording raised concerns about increased trafficking.

New Captive Elephant (Transfer or Transport) Rules, 2024:

  • Allow transfers when owners can't maintain elephants or for better upkeep.

  • Require health certificates and suitable habitat assessments.

  • Simplify interstate transfers by only needing origin and destination state permissions.

  • Mandate elephant genetic profile registration with the Ministry.

Concerns:

  • The WPA's focus on protection seems to be weakening.

  • The Reliance Foundation's private zoo in Gujarat highlights these concerns.

  • Reports suggest the zoo houses "healthy animals," not just injured ones.

  • Some worry these elephants might be captured from the wild.

Overall, the new rules make it easier to transfer captive elephants, raising worries about potential exploitation despite the regulations in place.



25 and 26 March 2024 - Daily Current Affairs


25 and 26 March 2024 - Daily Current Affairs


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