Today’s Current Affairs: 3rd Jan 2024 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Square Kilometre Array Observatory : India Joins
India has formally signed up for the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) an ambitious multinational initiative to build the world’s largest radio telescope spanning over a square kilometer.
- The SKAO is not one instrument but a vast collection of thousands of telescope antennas at sites in South Africa and Australia.
- These will interconnect as a single giant telescope array.
- It will enable astronomers to probe celestial phenomena out to extreme distances, advancing cosmic understanding.
- Joining SKAO allows India a front-row seat in decoding mysteries of the universe through ultra-sensitive technology.
- Findings can enrich knowledge regarding galaxy evolution, stars, black holes and more while opening up new research directions.
Vice Admiral Kiran Deshmukh : Chief Of Material Of The Indian Navy
Vice Admiral Kiran Deshmukh assumed duties as the Chief of Material of the Indian Navy
- He took over from Vice Admiral Sandeep Naithani, who retired following 39 years of praiseworthy service spearheading the Navy’s maintenance efforts.
- Vice Admiral Deshmukh graduated as an Engineer Officer from Mumbai’s VJTI university in 1986.
- He holds a Master’s in Engineering and is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College.
- The Admiral has served in various technical and staff roles involving ships, dockyards, headquarters and trial commands during his extensive naval journey.
- Vice Admiral Deshmukh oversaw critical milestones like the commissioning of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier and light combat aircraft’s maiden launch from it
Nina Singh : First Woman Chief Of Industrial Security Force
Senior Indian Police Service officer Nina Singh took charge as Director General of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)
- She became the first woman to head the specialized security organization and the 30th CISF Director General.
- The CISF is a specialized Indian federal police agency under the Home Ministry.
- It is one of the Central Armed Police Forces guarding key national infrastructure.
- The CISF provides security cover to over 356 industrial units and sites across India
- Nina Singh is a high-achieving 1989-batch officer from the Rajasthan cadre.
10th Edition Of Sagar Parikrama:
India’s Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala inaugurated the 10th edition of Sagar Parikrama – a coastal yatra spreading awareness about government welfare schemes among fishermen.
- Sagar Parikrama signifies the government’s hands-on approach to further empower the fishing community.
- The coast-to-coast outreach drive promotes participatory last-mile delivery across the fisheries value chain.
- Officials hope that translating training and assets into enhanced, sustainable marine productivity will unlock the sector’s immense growth potential.
- The tenth phase of Sagar Parikrama began from Chennai Port.
- Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala and Union Minister of State Dr. L. Murugan jointly inaugurated the mission which will travel through Nellore, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam.
- The Union Ministers will interact with the fishing communities living in the coastal areas.
- They will also deliberate on the schemes implemented by the Government for fishermen and also those in the related fields.
- They will also distribute welfare schemes meant for the fishing community.
Surya Namaskar : Gujrat Set a Guinness World Record
Gujarat set a Guinness World Record with over 50,000 people performing ‘Surya Namaskar’ simultaneously at 108 venues.
- The main event took place at Modhera Sun Temple in Mehsana
- Surya Namaskar also known as Sun Salutation, is a yogic practice that involves a series of 12 postures or asanas.
- The practice is said to pay respect to the sun.
- Regular practice of Suryanamaskar ensures proper and efficient functioning of not only the muscles and joints of the body but also stimulates the internal organs.
- Especially the stomach and other abdominal organs as it involves alternative stretching and compression at the abdominal area.
Divya Kala Mela 2023-2024:
The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) is set to inaugurate the Divya Kala Mela 2023 in Bengaluru.
- ‘Divya Kala Melas’ organized across India is part of the initiative to empower Persons with Disabilities (PwD) during the year 2023-2024.
- Around 100 Divyang artisans from 20 states/UTs will display their products in categories such as home décor, clothing, stationery, eco-friendly items, packaged food, organic products, toys, gifts, and personal accessories.
- The Mela will also feature cultural activities and performances by Divyangjan artists, providing a platform for marketing and showcasing their skills.
X-ray Polarimeter Satellite : Launched
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched its first X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XpoSat) to study X-ray polarisation and its cosmic sources, like Black holes, Neutron stars, and Magnetars.
- The mission is propelled by the PSLV-C58 rocket in Low Earth Orbit.
- X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XpoSat) is designed to study X-ray polarization in the medium X-ray band, offering insights into celestial sources’ radiation mechanisms and geometry.
- This study is crucial for understanding the physics behind these celestial bodies.
- The satellite carries two main payloads, POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) and XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing).
- POLIX will observe about 40 bright astronomical sources, while XSPECT will study the electromagnetic spectrum generated by different matter.
- Entirely built by two Bengaluru-based institutes—ISRO’s UR Rao Satellite Centre and Raman Research Institute—XPoSat’s development began in 2008, with a formal agreement signed with ISRO in 2015.
- XPoSat is only the world’s second mission dedicated to X-ray polarization in the medium X-ray band. NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), launched in 2021, was the first such mission by a space agency.
- XPoSat will be India’s third space-based observatory, following the recently launched solar mission Aditya-L1 and AstroSat, which was launched in 2015. Its launch is seen as a significant stride for Indian astronomy and space research.
Pegasus Spyware : Privacy And Security
The Pegasus spyware has once again ignited a debate on privacy and security. Recent reports by Amnesty International point to its utilization in targeting the phones of two prominent Indian journalists, prompting inquiries into potential government involvement.
- Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 10 million people who are committed to creating a future where human rights are enjoyed by everyone.
- Pegasus spyware is a highly invasive mobile surveillance tool that can secretly infiltrate and monitor smartphones, collecting data and information from various apps and sources.
- It was developed by the Israeli cyber-intelligence firm NSO Group, which claims to sell it only to government agencies for fighting crime and terrorism.
- Pegasus uses “zero-click” methods to infect devices; it is a malicious software that allows spyware to be installed on a device without the device owner’s consent.
- The spyware doesn’t necessitate any user actions for installation, distinguishing it from regular apps that require explicit user confirmation.
- It can exploit vulnerabilities in apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage, or FaceTime, and send a message or a call that triggers the installation of the spyware, even if the user does not open or answer it
- Pegasus is a spyware that can exploit zero-day vulnerabilities to deploy spyware on Apple products.
- A zero-day vulnerability is an undiscovered flaw or bug in an operating system that the mobile phone’s manufacturer does not yet know about and so has not been able to fix.
- Several investigations and reports have revealed that Pegasus spyware has been used to spy on journalists, human rights activists, lawyers, opposition leaders, and heads of state.
- Some of the countries that have been accused of using Pegasus spyware to target their critics and enemies include Saudi Arabia, Mexico, India, Morocco, Hungary, Azerbaijan, and Rwanda.
The Supreme Court of India’s monumental project of translating all of its 36,000 judgments into Scheduled Languages achieved unprecedented speed in 2023, with the E-SCR portal starting with just 2,238 translated judgements as of January and ending the year with over 31,000 rulings translated.
- e-SCR portal is an initiative to provide the digital version of the apex court’s judgements in the manner as they are reported in the official law report.
- The Supreme Court has developed a search engine with the help of the National Informatics Centre.
- It is comprising elastic search technique in the database of e-SCR and the search facility in e-SCR provides for free text search, search within search, case type and case year search, judge search, year and volume search and bench strength search options.
- It will provide free access to its about 34,000 judgements to lawyers, law students and the common public.
- These verdicts will be available on the apex court website, its mobile app and on the judgment portal of the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG).
Exercise Desert Cyclone:
The Joint Military Exercise ‘Desert Cyclone 2024’ between India and UAE will be held from January 2 to January 15 in Rajasthan.
- Exercise Desert Cyclone is the inaugural edition of joint military exercise “Desert Cyclone 2024” between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
- The exercise aims to enhance interoperability by learning & sharing best practices in Urban Operations.
- This exercise is marking a significant milestone in the strategic partnership.
- The first-ever India-UAE Joint Air Forces exercise took place in September 2008 at the Al-Dhafra base in Abu Dhabi.
- India has also been a regular participant at the biennial International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi.
- Earlier this year, two ships of the Indian Navy, INS Visakhapatnam, and INS Trikand participated in bilateral exercise ‘Zayed Talwar’ with the UAE to enhance interoperability and synergy between the two navies.
Cigaritis meghamalaiensis : New Species Of ‘Silverline’ Butterflies
Tamil Nadu have thrown up a new species of ‘silverline’ butterflies.
- Cigaritis meghamalaiensis is the new species of butterfly.
- It has become the first butterfly species to be described from the Western Ghats in 33 years.
- The researchers had first come across the distinct species belonging to the Cigaritis genus in the high elevations of Periyar in Idukki in 2018.
- Further explorations have revealed the species to be confined to the Meghamalais and the adjoining Periyar Tiger Reserve.
- There are seven species of Cigaritisin the Western Ghats, viz., C. vulcanus, C. schistacea, C. ictis, C. elima elima, C. lohita lazularia, C. lilacinus, and C. abnormis. Of these, all except C. lilacinus have been reported from the southern Western Ghats.
Agreement On The Prohibition Of Attack Against Nuclear Installations And Facilities:
India and Pakistan exchanged the list of nuclear installations and facilities through diplomatic channels recently under the agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations and facilities.
- Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities was signed on December 31, 1988, by the then Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi.
- The treaty came into force on January 27, 1991, and has two copies each in Urdu and Hindi.
- The agreement mandates both countries to inform each other about any nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on the first of January of every calendar year, providing a confidence-building security measure environment.
- The term ‘nuclear installation or facility’ includes nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, iso-topes separation, and reprocessing facilities, as well as any other installations with fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form and establishments storing significant quantities of radioactive materials.
Bubble Baby Syndrome : Treatment
A two-month-old girl with bubble baby syndrome underwent bone marrow transplant (BMT) in Mumbai recently.
- Bubble baby syndrome,’ known medically as Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) is very rare genetic disorder that causes life-threatening problems with the immune system.
- It is a type of primary immune deficiency.
- The disease is known as “living in the bubble” syndrome because living in a normal environment can be fatal to a child who has it.
- In a developing baby, the immune system starts in the bone marrow. Stem cells can become any of three different types of blood cells.
- SCID is a “combined” immunodeficiency because it affects both of these infection-fighting white blood cells.
- In SCID, the child’s body has too few lymphocytes or lymphocytes that don’t work properly.
- Because the immune system doesn’t work as it should, it can be difficult or impossible for it to battle the germs—viruses, bacteria, and fungi—that cause infections.
- Inherited mutations in more than a different genes cause SCID.
- This means one or both birth parents pass down the disease to their child.
- Symptoms: Babies with SCID may appear healthy at birth, but problems can start soon after.
- Treatment: SCID is a pediatric emergency.
- Without treatment, babies are not likely to survive past their first birthday.
- The most common treatment is a stem cell transplant (also called a bone marrow transplant).
Indian Pangolin Conservation Project:
The pangolin conservation project launched to protect pangolins has succeeded at Pench Tiger Reserve and Satpura Tiger Reserve, as the mammals have started to breed there
- Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are the only known mammals with large keratin scales covering their skin.
- Of the eight species found worldwide (four each in Asia and Africa), two are found in India: the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and the Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla).
- Indian Pangolin also called the thick-tailed pangolin, is native to the Indian subcontinent.
- They are one of the most trafficked mammals in the world, despite an international ban on their trade.
- It lives in India (south of the Himalayas), Bangladesh, Southern Nepal, Sri Lanka, and small parts of Pakistan.
- Conservation status:
- IUCN Red List: Endangered
- Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
- CITES: Appendix I
Ukraine Air Force spokesperson recently disclosed that the country’s air defense units were unable to shot down any of the Kh-22 supersonic cruise missiles launched by Russia.
- KH-22 Missile is a Soviet-era long-range airborne supersonic cruise missile.
- Armed with a nuclear or highly explosive fragmenting cumulative warhead, it was initially designed to destroy aircraft carriers and other large warships, or even groups of such carriers.
- The Kh-22 family was developed in the USSR in the 1960s and specifically designed to be launched from Tupolev-22 bombers.
- Later, both the missiles and the aircraft were modernized as part of the so-called “Kh-22 special air-to-surface missile complex.”
- Upgraded in the 1970s, the missile had an impressive speed of 4,000 kilometers per hour, a 1,000-kilogram warhead, and a range of 500 kilometers.
- It weighs 5,820 kilograms.
- A total of approximately 3,000 such missiles were produced in the USSR.
- After the USSR collapsed, quite a few of them remained in Ukraine. However, soon after independence in 1991, Ukraine gave up its nuclear and strategic aviation arsenal.
- In 2000, Ukraine transferred 386 Kh-22 missiles to Russia as an installment against the gas debt.
- The successor to the Kh-22 became the Kh-32, which can be carried by the new Russian Tu-22M3M bombers.
- The new missile features a conventional warhead, an improved rocket motor, and a new radar imaging terminal seeker.
- It has a longer range but a smaller warhead.