Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News
Analysis from THE HINDU (January 20, 2019)
1. Did an asteroid hit south India millions of years ago?
Was southern peninsular India hit by an asteroid larger than
the one that wiped out dinosaurs? Is the land between present day Nilgiris and
Kodaikanal located on a crater formed by the impact? Two earth scientists think
so. They make this claim in a scientific paper and have named the area ‘Kaveri
Crater’, possibly the fourth largest in the world.
The investigations included megascopic (done with the
unaided eye) and microscopic studies of rocks along with analyses of chemical
signatures. The study was carried out by K.R. Subrahmanya, a former professor
of Marine Geology, Mangalore University, and K.N. Prakash Narasimha, Professor
of the Department of Earth Science, Centre for Advanced Studies in Precambrian
Geology, University of Mysore.
Their findings were published in the Journal of the
Geological Society of India and the study won the Radhakrishna Prize 2018 for
best paper. The scientists told The Hindu that the Kaveri Crater is between
Nilgiris and Kodaikanal. Both the Palghat Gap (a mountain pass) and Dhimbam
Ghats are a part of the Kaveri Crater, with the geological evidence stretching
up to Belakavadi and Shivanasamudra in Karnataka, they said. The coordinates are
10º20’ to 11º30’N latitude and 76º50’ to 78ºE longitude, and the centre of the
crater is close to 11ºN and 77º30’E.
The study, which was funded by the Union Ministry of Earth
Sciences, suggests that the crater has a diameter of 120 km.
The asteroid hit may have taken place 800 million to 550
million years ago. Unlike the impact event that led to the extinction of the
dinosaurs about 65 million years ago, this one took place when there were very
primitive life forms. Based on crater size and impact angle, the geologists
conclude that the extra-terrestrial object was at least five km in diameter.
Unlike smaller craters, Kaveri Crater can be visualised only through satellite
2. Insurance company asked to pay over ₹2 lakh
Following a complaint by the Delhi International Airport, a
district consumer disputes redressal forum here has directed ICICI Lombard
General Insurance to pay a sum amounting to over ₹2 lakh for wrongly
repudiating a claim.
Stating that the repudiation of claim was “unjustified”, the
consumer panel said, “At the time of incidence the alleged policy in question
was in existence… all the conditions mentioned in personal liability clause was
duly completed by the complainant. Hence, in our view the repudiation is
The directions came following a complaint moved by the
airport which alleged that, despite having an “Overseas Corporate Travel
Insurance Policy,” the insurance company rejected the claim when one of its
official met with an accident while on official duty abroad.
3. ISRO to demonstrate cost-saving
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will
demonstrate a cost-saving Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) technology in a few months.
“A helicopter will take the shuttle to a height and then release. The RLV will
land automatically on the runway,” ISRO Chairman K. Sivan told reporters.
4. Himachal decides to implement 10% quota
The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet on Saturday decided to provide
10% reservation to economically weaker sections from the general category in
State government services in Class-I, II, III and IV posts.
5. Team India needs to consolidate
How important is the Test win?
Cricketing jousts against Australia in its own backyard have
always been a difficult proposition. India first sailed the seas, then
gradually acquired air-miles but the results were eerily similar. Most games
were lost, the odd triumph or draw was wrested and a Test series was never won
Down Under until Virat Kohli’s men altered the script. Right from the days when
Lala Amarnath led his outfit on its maiden sojourn to Australia in 1947-48,
India seemed fated to wilt. Seen through that historical prism, what Kohli’s
men have achieved during the course of the four-match Test series, is hugely
significant. India won the series at 2-1. But for the rains during the final
clash at Sydney, the visitors may have walked away with a 3-1 verdict.
6. AIIMS team’s model can predict shock 12 hours in advance
Predicting shock (less blood and oxygen supply to major
organs, which can lead to death) even 12 hours before it can be clinically
recognised by doctors by using the current gold standard (intra-arterial blood
pressure) is now possible, thanks to the work by an AIIMS-led
multi-institutional team of researchers. Shock can arise from loss of blood
volume, inefficient pumping by the heart or infection (sepsis).
The machine-learning algorithm to detect shock at the time a
single photo is taken using thermal imaging has an accuracy of 75%. The ability
of the algorithm to forecast the probability of a shock happening three, six
and 12 hours before clinical recognition can be done using the gold standard
method is 77%, 69% and 69% respectively. The algorithm was used in conjunction
with pulse rate to both detect and predict shock. The results were published in
the journal Scientific Reports.
In paediatric intensive care units, 70-90% babies develop
signs of sepsis. Almost 30% paediatric ICU patients suffer from sepsis shock
and 30% of them end up dying due to multiorgan failure. “This number will be
much higher at district hospitals. Sepsis shock is one major killer in
paediatric ICUs,” says Dr. Tavpritesh Sethi from the Department of Paediatrics
at AIIMS, New Delhi, who led the team. In principle, the model can be used for
predicting shock in adult patients too. But the model has to be tested on
adults as the current study was limited to 539 thermal images of paediatric
7. History of India’s last known hippo
Nearly 5.9 million to 9,000 years ago, India was home to the
hippopotamus. These entered Eurasia from Africa, then diversified in South Asia
before going extinct.
Now, studying a small fragmented tooth unearthed in Madhya
Pradesh, an international team of researchers has discovered the last known
specimen of the Hippo Hexaprotodon species. However, this does not mean that it
is the last one to have lived in India.
This fossil was unearthed in 2003 by Rajeev Patnaik (Panjab
University) and Parth R. Chauhan (IISER Mohali) who spent days studying the
fossiliferous silt near the river Narmada. “We believed that the species was
older than 50,000 years and did not study it fully. Recently, I analysed the
date using accelerator mass spectroscopy (AMS) in Taiwan. It revealed that the
specimen was quite young and could possibly be among the last ones that lived
in India,” Dr. Patnaik says. Accelerator mass spectroscopy does not require a
large sample and it also has a higher precision than traditional radiocarbon
The paper published in Quaternary International also
discusses the possible causes of the extinction. The researchers hypothesise
that a “combination of climatic stress and anthropogenic impacts” could have
led to their extinction.
Dating studies show that this hippo lived during a
“particularly dry period in the late Quaternary” period (15,000-16,000 years
ago). Severe drought in South Asia and weak Indian monsoons might have led to
Researchers note that hunting, habitat alteration,
ecological human encroachment were the reasons for species extinctions during
this period in other parts of the world. While Hexaprotodon and Homo sapiens
co-existed for several thousand years, researchers did not find any kill sites,
but they note that this reason cannot be ruled out.
8. A day on Saturn
Using Cassini spacecraft’s observations of Saturn’s rings,
researchers have estimated length of a day on the planet. It is 10 hours 33
minutes and 30 seconds. The wave patterns on the rings, caused by the planet’s
internal vibrations, prompted the discovery. The study is published in The
9. What is embodied logic?
Even without a brain or a nervous system, the Venus flytrap,
which is a plant, ‘knows’ when to snap shut on potential prey as well as to
open when it has accidentally caught something it cannot eat. Such systems that
depend on stimuli to make decisions about the outside world are an example of
‘embodied logic’. Researchers are now trying to synthesise materials that use
such principles. Using multi-material 3D printers, they can make these active
structures with nested ‘if’/‘then’ logic gates, and control the timing of each
gate. This allows for complicated mechanical behaviours in response to simple
changes in the environment. — Science Daily
Book – Early Indians
Writer – Tony Joseph
Description – A compelling story of new DNA findings,
tracing the people of India from prehistory to near history
Book – The Line of Control: Travelling with the Indian and
Writer – Happymon Jacob
Description – A journey to the LoC on each side reveals the
plight of civilians and why both India and Pakistan are to blame
Book – Manto Saheb: Friends and Enemies on the Great
Writer – Translated by Vibha Chauhan, Khalid Alvi
Description – Contemporaries on the enfant terrible of Urdu
Book – Unruly Waters: How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons have
Shaped South Asia’s History
Writer – Sunil Amrith
Description – The story of South Asia is told through
climate, how its fate is bound to its position between the Himalayas and Indian
Ocean. It’s about fires, droughts, rains, rivers, and the history of how the
importance of geography to the region was discovered. Amrith also discusses the
future of the region.
Book – Parties and Electoral Politics in Northeast India:
Contention of Ethno-regionalism and Hindu Nationalism
Writer – V. Bijukumar
Description – The book is a collection of articles on
elections and the performance of political parties in the States of Northeast
India. It is also an attempt to highlight the trajectory of politics from ethno-regionalism
to Hindu nationalism. After the 2014 general election, Hindu nationalist
politics assumed centrestage.
Book – Every Vote Counts: The Story of India’s Elections
Writer – Navin Chawla
Description – The challenges before the Election Commission
are many: How does one conduct free and fair elections? How does one hold
elections in Maoist areas or in Jammu and Kashmir? How reliable are electronic
voting machines? A former chief election commissioner tells us how the daunting
task of conducting the largest electoral exercise in the world is undertaken.
Book – Dissent on Aadhaar: Big Data Meets Big Brother
Writer – Edited by Reetika Khera
Description – Aadhaar, India’s unique identity system, was
introduced in 2009 with the purpose of creating a more inclusive welfare
system. Hundreds of people were enrolled into the biometric database, making it
compulsory for social benefits. This book argues that the project opens doors
to immense opportunities for government surveillance and commercial
Book – The Age of Awakening: The Story of the Indian Economy
Writer – Amit Kapoor with Chirag Yadav
Description – The economic path that India chose post
independence is often questioned and criticised for its lacklustre growth
outcomes which led to a crisis in 1991. Since then India has shifted gears.
This book tells India’s economic story since independence and of the men and
women who played a role.
11. Mick Schumacher joins Ferrari Driver Academy
Mick Schumacher, the teenage son of seven-time Formula One
world champion Michael Schumacher, has joined Ferrari’s Driver Academy, the
Italian Formula One stable confirmed on Saturday.
Schumacher, 19, who races in Formula Two next season, will
take part in the pre-season activities of the Ferrari Driver Academy starting
“I am thrilled that Ferrari has entered a partnership with
me and my future in motorsport will be in red, being part of the Ferrari Driver
Academy and also of the Scuderia Ferrari Family,” said Schumacher.
The European Formula 3 champion will be joined by fellow
Formula 2 racers Callum Ilott and Giuliano Alesi, along with Marcus Armstrong,
Robert Schwartzman, Enzo Fittipaldi and Gianluca Petecof.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
13. Things to Remember:
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
14. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – (especially of the cause of something) closest
in relationship; immediate.
Example – ‘the fact that a storm may show up the poor
condition of a flat roof does not signify that storm was the proximate cause of
damage to it’
Synonyms – nearest, near, close, closest, next-door
Meaning 1.1 – Closest in space or time.
Example – ‘the failure of the proximate military power to
Synonyms – near, adjacent, in close proximity, close at
hand, near at hand
Meaning 2 – Nearly accurate; approximate
Example – ‘he would try to change her speech into proximate
Synonyms – adjoining, neighbouring, neighbouring on, next
door to, abutting, close to, near to, next to, by, close by, by the side of,
bordering, bordering on, beside, alongside, abreast of, contiguous with,
proximate to, attached to, touching, joining