geography

Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020

BRAHMAPUTRA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES

About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 20th July 2021

    1.    NASA’S JUNO SPACECRAFT

    • News: The US space agency NASA has recently released a new video in which its Juno spacecraft was seen flying close to Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.
    • Details:
      • Using the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager, the NASA mission team has put together this animation to provide a “starship captain” point of view of each flyby.
      • The imagery shows several of the moon’s dark and light regions (darker regions are believed to result from ice sublimating into the surrounding vacuum, leaving behind darkened residue) as well as the crater Tros, which is among the largest and brightest crater scars on Ganymede.
      • It takes just 14 hours, 50 minutes for Juno to travel the 735,000 miles (1.18 million kilometers) between Ganymede and Jupiter, and the viewer is transported to within just 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers) above Jupiter’s spectacular cloud tops. By that point, Jupiter’s powerful gravity has accelerated the spacecraft to almost 130,000 mph (210,000 kph) relative to the planet.
      • Jupiter has a total of 79 moons. Ganymede, a satellite of Jupiter, is the largest and most massive of the solar system’s moons. Jupiter is roughly 390 million miles away from Earth.
    • About Juno Spacecraft:
      • Juno is a NASA space probe orbiting the planet Jupiter. It was built by Lockheed Martin and is operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
      • The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on 5 August 2011 UTC, as part of the New Frontiers program.
      • Juno entered a polar orbit of Jupiter on 5 July 2016 UTC, to begin a scientific investigation of the planet.
      • After completing its mission, Juno will be intentionally deorbited into Jupiter’s atmosphere.
      • Juno’s mission is to measure Jupiter’s composition, gravitational field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.
      • It will also search for clues about how the planet formed, including whether it has a rocky core, the amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, mass distribution, and its deep winds, which can reach speeds up to 620 km/h (390 mph).

    2.    COVAX INITIATIVE

    • News: India has been offered 7.5 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX global vaccine sharing programme, but it is not clear when the jabs will arrive in the country as a consensus on the indemnity clause is yet to be reached, sources said.
    • About COVAX Initiative:
      • COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, or GAVI), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
      • It is one of the three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, an initiative begun in April 2020 by the WHO, the European Commission, and the government of France as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • COVAX coordinates international resources to enable low-to-middle-income countries equitable access to COVID-19 tests, therapies, and vaccines.
      • By 15 July 2020, 165 countries – representing 60% of the human population – had joined COVAX.
      • Many of the countries that will benefit from COVAX have “limited regulatory capacity” and depend on WHO’s authorisations.
      • By early 2021, WHO was reviewing 11 potential COVID-19 vaccines for its Emergency Use Listing (EUL).
      • The first vaccine WHO authorised for its EUL on 31 December 2020 was the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine—an RNA vaccine developed by the German company BioNTech in cooperation with the American company Pfizer sold under the brand name Comirnaty.
      • COVAX provides vaccines to the developing world.
      • A total of 92 low- and middle-income countries are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX mechanism through the COVAX Vaccines Advance Market Commitment (AMC) financing instrument.
      • COVAX AMC is funded by donor contributions.
      • COVAX AMC funds the COVAX Facility, the vaccine procurement platform.

    3.    ORGANIZATION OF THE PETROLEUM EXPORTING COUNTRIES

    • News: India has taken up the issue of high oil prices with producer nations and OPEC, demanding affordable rates, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli told the Lok Sabha on Monday.
    • About Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries:
      • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an intergovernmental organization or cartel of 13 countries.
      • Founded on 14 September 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), it has since 1965 been headquartered in Vienna, Austria, although Austria is not an OPEC member state.
      • As of September 2018, the 13 member countries accounted for an estimated 44 percent of global oil production and 81.5 percent of the world’s “proven” oil reserves, giving OPEC a major influence on global oil prices that were previously determined by the so-called “Seven Sisters” grouping of multinational oil companies.
      • The stated mission of the organization is to “coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.”
      • Economists often cite OPEC as a textbook example of a cartel that cooperates to reduce market competition, but one whose consultations are protected by the doctrine of state immunity under international law. The organization is also a significant provider of information about the international oil market.
      • The current OPEC members are the following: Algeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Saudi Arabia (the de facto leader), the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
      • The formation of OPEC marked a turning point toward national sovereignty over natural resources, and OPEC decisions have come to play a prominent role in the global oil market and international relations.

    4.    HILSA FISH

    • News: Hilsa, the pricey but notoriously bony fish beloved by Bengalis, has been caught in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand for the first time in three decades after the gates and fish locks of Farakka barrage were changed to allow the upstream migration of the fish that lives in the seas but spawns in the rivers.
    • Details:
      • Hilsa or ilish, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s favourite gift to Indian leaders, depleted after the Farakka barrage was constructed in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal and nets were put on the Bangladesh side, preventing upstream movement into Indian rivers.
      • The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the nodal body for cleaning the river Ganga, changed the gates and fish locks on the Farakka barrage to help the fish swim upstream.
      • NMCG is catching the fish downstream of Farakka barrage, acclimatizing the fish and, after their artificial breeding, tagging the seeds and releasing them upstream.
      • Hilsa was found in the Ganga near Kanpur and Agra during 1882, with the species recorded in Delhi during 1877, according to the NMCG statement.
      • The fish vanished from the Ganga because of reasons such as the construction of barrages across rivers that obstructed its migration to reach its natural breeding ground, overfishing, pollution, reduced water flow and high sedimentation.
      • Hilsa is rich in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are considered good for the human brain and heart, according to NMCG.