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

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    Current Affairs – 29th October 2020


    • News: Delhi is set for its first full-fledged date with ‘green’ crackers this Deepavali amid growing sentiment against not deepening the air pollution crisis the Capital countenances every winter. A ban on fireworks was imposed in 2018 and in 2019 only ‘green’ crackers were allowed, but the permission had come too late for manufacturers to ensure their availability on time.
    • About Green Crackers:
      • Green’ crackers were researched and developed by scientists at CSIR-NEERI .
      • ‘Green’ crackers have a small shell size compared to traditional crackers. They are produced using less harmful raw materials and have additives which reduce emissions by suppressing dust.
      • Green crackers don’t contain banned chemicals such as lithium, arsenic, barium and lead. They are called Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR) and Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL) crackers.
      • Green crackers release water vapour and don’t allow the dust particles to rise. They are designed to have 30% less particulate matter pollution. QR codes on green cracker packages will help consumers scan and identify counterfeits.
      • QR codes on green cracker packages will help consumers scan and identify counterfeits.
    • About Firecrackers:
      • A firecracker (cracker, noise maker, banger,) is a small explosive device primarily designed to produce a large amount of noise, especially in the form of a loud bang, usually for celebration or entertainment; any visual effect is incidental to this goal.
      • They have fuses, and are wrapped in a heavy paper casing to contain the explosive compound. Firecrackers, along with fireworks, originated in China.
      • Firecrackers are generally made of cardboard or plastic, with flash powder, cordite, smokeless powder, or black powder as the propellant.
      • Sivakasi a city located in South India (Tamil Nadu) supply Firecrackers to all over India.
      • The colors in fireworks come from a simple source: pure chemistry.
      • They’re created by the use of metal salts.
      • These salts are different from table salt, and in chemistry ‘salt’ refers to any compound that contains metal and non-metal atoms.
      • Some of these compounds produce intense colors when they are burned, which makes them ideal for fireworks.
      • Others, like potassium nitrate, sulfur and charcoal are often used to help the fireworks burn.
      • Nitrates, chlorates and perchlorates provide oxygen for the combustion of the fuel.
      • Dextrin, often used as a starch, holds the mixture together.
      • Some colors can be strengthened with the use of chlorine donors.
      • Metal salts commonly used in firework displays include: strontium carbonate (red fireworks), calcium chloride (orange fireworks), sodium nitrate (yellow fireworks), barium chloride (green fireworks) and copper chloride (blue fireworks). Purple fireworks are typically produced by use of a mixture of strontium (red) and copper (blue) compounds.



    • News: About 20% of rural children have no textbooks at home, according to the Annual State of Education Report (ASER) survey conducted in September, the sixth month of school closures due to COVID-19 across the country. In Andhra Pradesh, less than 35% of children had textbooks, and only 60% had textbooks in Rajasthan. More than 98% had textbooks in West Bengal, Nagaland and Assam.
    • Details:
      • In the week of the survey, about one in three rural children had done no learning activity at all. About two in three had no learning material or activity given by their school that week, and only one in 10 had access to live online classes.
      • However, it’s not always about technology; in fact, levels of smartphone ownership have almost doubled from 2018, but a third of children with smartphone access still did not receive any learning materials.
      • The ASER survey provides a glimpse into the levels of learning loss that students in rural India are suffering, with varying levels of access to technology, school and family resources, resulting in a digital divide in education.
    • About Annual State of Education Report (ASER) survey:
      • This is an annual survey that aims to provide reliable estimates of children’s enrolment and basic learning levels for each district and state in India.
      • ASER has been conducted every year since 2005 in all rural districts of India.
      • It is the largest citizen-led survey in India.
      • It is also the only annual source of information on children’s learning outcomes available in India today.
      • Unlike most other large-scale learning assessments, ASER is a household-based rather than school-based survey. This design enables all children to be included – those who have never been to school or have dropped out, as well as those who are in government schools, private schools, religious schools or anywhere else.
      • The survey was conducted in 26 districts across 24 states in India, covering a total of 1,514 villages, 30,425 households, and 36,930 children in the age group of 4-8 years.
      • The sampled children’s enrolment status in pre-school or school was collected. Children did a variety of cognitive, early language, and early numeracy tasks; and activities to assess the children’s social and emotional development were also undertaken.
      • All tasks were done one-on-one with children in their homes.


    • News: Photo: Up for it An elephant reaching for tamarind on a tree in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu. M . Sathyamoorthy
    • About Mudumalai National Park:
      • The Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary also a declared tiger reserve, lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills (Blue Mountains), about 150 kilometres (93 mi) north-west of Coimbatore city in Tamil Nadu, India.
      • It shares its boundaries with the states of Karnataka and Kerala.
      • The sanctuary is divided into five ranges – Masinagudi, Thepakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi and Nellakota.
      • The protected area is home to several endangered and vulnerable species including Indian elephant, Bengal tiger, gaur and Indian leopard.
      • There are at least 266 species of birds in the sanctuary, including critically endangered Indian white-rumped vulture and long-billed vulture.
      • In April 2007, the Tamil Nadu state government declared Mudumalai to be a tiger reserve, under section 38V of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, in an effort to conserve the country’s dwindling tiger populations. Subsequently, about 350 families living in the core area were evicted from the park and given INR 10 Lacs compensation. Those in the 5 km buffer area around the park fear they, too, will be evicted; nobody will be dislodged from the buffer zone.
      • The dominant type of habitat found in the Mudumalai National Park is Tropical moist forest.
      • Eight percent of bird species in India occur in the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.


    • News: A piece of rhino horn believed to have been salvaged from the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) has led to the arrest of 17 people, including seven casual workers of the prime wildlife habitat in Assam.
    • About One Horned Rhino:
      • The Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), also called the Indian rhino, greater one-horned rhinoceros or great Indian rhinoceros, is a rhinoceros species native to the Indian subcontinent. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, as populations are fragmented and restricted to less than 20,000 km2 (7,700 sq mi). Moreover, the extent and quality of the rhino’s most important habitat, the alluvial Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands and riverine forest, is considered to be in decline due to human and livestock encroachment.
      • Indian rhinos once ranged throughout the entire stretch of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, but excessive hunting and agricultural development reduced its range drastically to 11 sites in northern India and southern Nepal.
      • Indian rhinos have a thick grey-brown skin with pinkish skin folds and one horn on their snout.
      • They have very little body hair, aside from eyelashes, ear fringes and tail brush.
      • The Indian rhino’s single horn is present in both males and females, but not on newborn calves. The horn is pure keratin, like human fingernails, and starts to show after about six years.
      • Among terrestrial land mammals native to Asia, Indian rhinos are second in size only to the Asian elephant. They are also the second-largest living rhinoceros, behind only the white rhinoceros.
      • Adult males are usually solitary. Groups consist of females with calves, or of up to six subadults.
      • They are excellent swimmers and can run at speeds of up to 55 km/h (34 mph) for short periods.
      • They have excellent senses of hearing and smell, but relatively poor eyesight.
      • Their gestation period is around 15.7 months, and birth interval ranges from 34–51 months.
    • About Kaziranga National Park:
      • Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the state of Assam, India.
      • The sanctuary, which hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site.
      • The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.
      • Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for conservation of avifaunal species.


    • News: India would launch its latest earth observation satellite EOS-01 and nine international customer spacecraft onboard its Polar rocket PSLV-C49 from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November 7, ISRO said on Wednesday.
    • Details:
      • This is the first launch by ISRO since the COVID-19 lockdown came into force in March.
      • EOS-01 is intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.
      • The customer satellites are being launched under commercial agreement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), Department of Space.
    • About NewSpace India Limited:
      • NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) is a Central Public Sector Enterprise of Government of India and commercial arm of ISRO. It was established on 6 March 2019 under the administrative control of Department of Space (DOS) and the Company Act 2013. The main objective of NSIL is to scale up industry participation in Indian space programmes.
      • NSIL was setup with the following objectives:
      • Transfer of Small Satellite technology to industry: NSIL will obtain license from DOS/ISRO and sub-license the same to Industry
      • Manufacture of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in collaboration with Private Sector
      • Production of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) through Indian Industry
      • Production and marketing of Space based products and services, including launch and application
      • Transfer of technology developed by ISRO Centres and constituent units of DOS
      • Marketing of spin-off technologies and products/services, both in India and abroad


    • News: The Central Asian republics joined India on Wednesday in demanding destruction of “safe havens” of terrorism. The second meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue jointly expressed support for the peace negotiations in Afghanistan, which is expected to usher in a new age for the war-torn country.