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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 2nd Aug 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 2nd aug 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

GEMINI : New Blood Testing Technology For Cancer

Researchers have developed a new blood testing technology called GEMINI (Genome-wide Mutational Incidence for Non-Invasive Detection of Cancer) that uses genome-wide sequencing of single molecules of DNA combined with machine learning.

  • This technology has the potential to enable earlier detection of lung and other cancers.
  • The GEMINI test starts by collecting a blood sample from individuals at risk of cancer. From this sample, cell-free DNA (cfDNA) shed by tumours is sequenced using cost-efficient whole genome sequencing.
  • cfDNA stands for “cell-free DNA.”
  • It refers to small fragments of DNA that are released into the bloodstream or other bodily fluids when cells in the body die and break down.
  • These fragments of DNA are not enclosed within cells, hence the term “cell-free.”
  • Single molecules of DNA are analyzed for sequence alterations, providing mutation profiles across the genome.
  • A machine learning model then identifies changes in cancer and non-cancer mutation frequencies, generating a score indicating the likelihood of having cancer.
  • In laboratory tests, the GEMINI test, when combined with computerized tomography imaging, detected over 90% of lung cancers, including early-stage diseases.
  • The test also identified altered mutation profiles in cfDNA from patients with other cancers, such as liver cancer, melanoma, and lymphoma, suggesting broader applications.

GI Tag To Three Famous Products : Tamil Nadu

The Geographical Indications Registry granted the GI tag to three famous products from Tamil Nadu.

Jaderi namakatti:

  • Clay sticks with white colour, finger-like shape, and smooth texture.
  • Made by Jaderi Tiruman (Namakatti)

Chedibutta saree:

  • Handloom saree made from art silk and cotton mix fabric, featuring the iconic “plant and flower” motif on the border and pallu.
  • Woven by skilled Sowrashtra weavers.
  • Veeravanallur town, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu

Kanniyakumari Matti banana:

  • Traditional table banana with medicinal value, highly fragrant, sweet with a sub-acid flavour, and powdery nature.
  • Kanniyakumari district, Tamil Nadu

National Deep Tech Startup Policy:

The National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP) draft has been released for public consultation by the National Consortium.

  • Aim of the policy is to strengthen the Indian deep tech startup ecosystem and address its unique challenges.
  • Deep Tech refers to advanced and cutting-edge technologies that are based on significant scientific and engineering innovations.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are examples of Deep Tech.
  • They involve the development of sophisticated algorithms and models that enable machines to learn from data and make intelligent decisions.
  • India currently boasts the third largest startup ecosystem in the world with more than 326 incubators and accelerators. About 14% of them are in the area of Deep Tech.

National Consortium:

  • The National Consortium is an apex-level body set up on the recommendation of the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) to propose a comprehensive policy framework for the Indian deep tech startup ecosystem.
  • Chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, it represents a diverse group of stakeholders, including high-level representatives from various government departments, industry associations, research institutions, and innovation centres.

Special Development Councils To Preserve Tribal Culture : Odisha Government

The Odisha government has implemented the Special Development Councils (SDCs) initiative to preserve and promote tribal culture while ensuring economic development.

  • The SDCs focus on identifying and promoting important cultural markers of tribal identity, such as language, sacred groves, and tribal artisans
  • Over 21 tribal proficiency centres have been established to educate about tribal culture and dialect
  • More than 4,500 sacred groves are being conserved.
  • Artisan ID cards have been issued to over 40,000 tribal artisans to preserve culture and create employment opportunities
  • Ensuring cultural context is considered in the development projects.

MSME RuPay Credit Card:

The Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), in association with the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) had launched the MSME RuPay Credit Card on a pilot basis, pan-India for Udyam registered MSMEs.

  • The MSME RuPay Credit Card provides a simplified payment mechanism to MSMEs to meet their business-related operational expenses like digital payments, utility bills payments, tax/statutory payments, etc.
  • MSME borrowers also take benefit of interest-free credit period on their business spending as per the bank’s policy.
  • NPCI, an umbrella organization for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.

Akira : Ransomware

The Computer Emergency Response Team of India issued an alert for ransomware dubbed Akira.

  • Akira Ransomware is designed to encrypt data, create a ransomware note and delete Windows Shadow Volume copies on affected devices.
  • The ransomware gets its name due to its ability to modify filenames of all encrypted files by appending them with the “.akira” extension.
  • Akira Ransomware is designed to close processes or shut down Windows services that may keep it from encrypting files on the affected system.
  • It uses VPN services, especially when users have not enabled two-factor authentication, to trick users into downloading malicious files.
  • The ransomware also terminates active Windows services using the Windows Restart Manager API, preventing any interference with the encryption process.
  • It is designed to not encrypt Program Data, Recycle Bin, Boot, System Volume information, and other folders instrumental in system stability.
  • It also avoids modifying Windows system files with extensions like .syn. .msl and .exe.
  • Once sensitive data is stolen and encrypted, the ransomware leaves behind a note named akira_readme.txt which includes information about the attack and the link to Akira’s leak and negotiation site.
  • Each victim is given a unique negotiation password to be entered into the threat actor’s Tor site.
  • Unlike other ransomware operations, this negotiation site just includes a chat system that the victim can use to communicate with the ransomware gang.

Western Tragopan : Increase In The Population

There has been a gradual increase in the population of Western Tragopan at Himachal Pradesh’s Sarahan pheasantry, the conservation breeding centre, bringing a glimmer of hope for its survival and growth.

  • Western Tragopan is also known as the western horned tragopan, is amongst the rarest of all living pheasants.
  • Due to its beautiful plumage and large size, this bird is locally known as ‘jujurana’ or ‘king of birds’.
  • It is the state bird of Himachal Pradesh.
  • It is endemic to the northwest Himalaya, within a narrow range from Hazara in north Pakistan through Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, to the western part of Garhwal.
  • The upper part of Great Himalayan National Park’s (GHNP) forest zone holds the world’s largest known population of western tragopan.
  • It prefers a habitat of ringal (dwarf) bamboo beneath dense forest.
  • It feeds mostly on leaves, shoots and seeds, but also consumes insects and other invertebrates.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Vulnerable

Bhojpatra Tree : Highlighted In ‘Mann ki Baat Programme

The Prime Minister of India, in 103rd edition of ‘Mann ki Baat programme highlighted the business of ‘bhojpatra calligraphy’ by the women of Mana village near Badrinath.

  • Bhojpatra Tree also known as Himalayan Birch and it is widely found in the Himalayas.
  • It is a deciduous tree native to the Western Himalayas that grows at elevations of up to 4,500 metres
  • It has a high freezing tolerance potential, allowing it to form a treeline in the Himalayan region.
  • It is a long-lived species which can survive up to 400 years and the only angiosperm in the Himalaya which dominates an extensive area at sub – alpine altitudes.
  • It is widely distributed in the altitudinal range from 3100 – 3800 m in North-western Himalaya.
  • It contributes to the preservation of the Himalayan ecosystem by reducing soil erosion and creating a bio-shield for the remaining forests and sub-alpine meadows below the treeline.

Lokmanya Tilak National Award:

Prime Minister will be honoured with the Lokmanya Tilak National Award on his visit to Pune.

  • Lokmanya Tilak National Award was instituted in 1983 by the Tilak Smarak Mandir Trust.
  • This award is given every year on 1st August, the death anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak, to persons who have made remarkable and extraordinary contributions, working for the progress and development of the nation.
  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak, commonly known as Lokmanya Tilak, was a prominent Indian nationalist, freedom fighter, social reformer, and political leader during the Indian independence movement.
  • He was one of the prime architects of modern India and probably the strongest advocate of Swaraj or Self Rule for India.
  • He was born as Keshav Gangadhar Tilak and his followers bequeathed upon him the title of ‘Lokmanya’, meaning he who is revered by the people.
  • He was considered a radical Nationalist.
  • The British Government termed him the “Father of Indian Unrest”.
  • He joined the Indian National Congress Party in the year 1890.
  • He also helped found the All India Home Rule League in 1916–18 with G. S. Khaparde and Annie Besant.
  • Tilak started his Home Rule League in Maharashtra, Central Provinces, and Karnataka and Berar region. Besant’s League was active in the rest part of India. It aimed to advocate for self-rule and raise public awareness about India’s right to govern itself.
  • Tilak was a prolific writer and journalist. He used his newspaper, “Kesari” (meaning Lion) in Marathi and later “Maratha” in English to disseminate nationalist ideas.
  • Some of his notable literary works include “The Arctic Home in the Vedas,” where he presented his theory that the Vedas originated in the Arctic region, and “Shrimad Bhagavad Gita Rahasya,” an interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita from a nationalist perspective.

Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve : Male Tiger Found Dead

A male tiger was recently discovered dead in the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR), after getting ensnared in a trap intended for deer.

  • Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve is located at the junction of the Eastern and the Western Ghats in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, in the Erode District of Tamil Nadu.
  • Its area is contiguous with the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka) and BR Tiger Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary(Karnataka).
  • Together, these reserves forming the Nilgiris biosphere landscape — have the biggest tiger population in the world, at over 280 tigers.
  • It is hilly and undulated with altitude ranging between 750m and 1649m.
  • It consists of southern tropical dry thorn forests, mixed deciduous forests, semi-evergreen forests, and Riparian forests.
  • It is subtropical and dry.
  • The summers are hot and dry; the monsoons are wet and cooler, with river flooding.
  • Some of the prominent rivers in the region include the Bhavani, Moyar, and Noyyal rivers.
  • It is home to several indigenous tribal communities, including the Irula and Kurumba tribes.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef : UNESCO Heritage Committee Concern

A UNESCO heritage committee recently stopped short of listing Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as a site that is “in danger” but warned the world’s biggest coral reef ecosystem remained under “serious threat” from pollution and the warming of oceans.

  • Great Barrier Reef lies in the Pacific Ocean off the northeastern coast of Queensland, Australia, in the Coral Sea.
  • It is the longest and largest coral reef system in the world.
  • It extends in roughly a northwest-southeast direction for more than 2,000 km, at an offshore distance ranging from 16 to 160 km, and its width ranges from 60 to 250 km.
  • It has an area of some 350,000 square km.
  • It is composed of over 2,500 individual reefs of varying sizes and shapes and over 900 islands.
  • It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.
  • Much of the Great Barrier Reef is a marine protected area, managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority of Australia.
  • It is estimated that the reef is home to around 1,500 species of fish and around 600 different coral species.
  • Corals are marine invertebrate animals that belong to the phylum Cnidaria.

TransLunar Injection (TLI) : ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently performed the TransLunar Injection (TLI) to slingshot Chandrayaan-3 towards the moon.

  • TransLunar Injection (TLI) is a critical manoeuvre performed during space missions to send spacecraft from Earth’s orbit to a trajectory that will take them to the Moon.
  • It is a key step in lunar missions, enabling spacecraft to escape Earth’s gravitational pull and travel to the Moon.
  • The TLI is performed when the spacecraft is at a specific point in its orbit known as the ‘perigee’ or the closest point to Earth.
  • During a TLI, the spacecraft’s propulsion system fires its engines to accelerate the spacecraft.
  • The spacecraft gains enough speed to break free from Earth’s gravitational pull and embark on its journey toward the moon.
  • The amount of thrust and duration of the TLI burn depends on various factors, including the spacecraft’s mass, its velocity in Earth’s orbit, and the specific mission objectives.
  • Once the TLI is successfully completed, the spacecraft is put on a lunar trajectory, and it will continue its journey to the Moon without further propulsion from Earth.
  • After the TLI, the spacecraft typically enters a transfer orbit, which is an elliptical path that intersects with the Moon’s orbit.