Science & Technology Current Affairs 2019 - Current Affairs Today

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  • NASA revealed that Mercury has a massive solid inner core

    9 hours ago
    NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) revealed that Mercury, the smallest planet in the solar system has a massive solid inner core. The final trip around Mercury before crash-landing in 2015 was made by NASA’s ‘MESSENGER’. The spacecraft orbited Mercury for around 2011 to 2015 and it was its second mission to Mercury. According to NASA’s information, both Mercury and the Earth have metallic cores and like Earth, Mercury’s outer core is of liquid metal. But there are indications that Mercury’s innermost core which is nearly 85% of Mercury’s volume is solid and it is nearly of the same size as Earth’s inner core. The new mission is on its way to Mercury. It is termed ‘BepiColombo‘ and is a joint mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to explore Mercury from 2 unique vantage points. BepiColombo is Europe’s 1st mission to Mercury. It was set off in 2018 and on arriving at Mercury in 2025, it will experience temperatures more than 350°C. About Mercury: Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and is also the smallest planet in the solar system. It takes Mercury 59 Earth days for rotation and 88 Earth days for revolution. MESSENGER (March 18, 2011) was the second mission after Mariner 10’s 1975 flyby to reach Mercury.

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    Malawi to undertake the RTS, S vaccine

    10 hours ago
    Malawi, the African Nation, is to undertake large scale pilot tests for the world's most advanced experimental malaria vaccine in a bid to prevent the disease that kills hundreds of thousands across Africa and Asia every year. The RTS, S vaccine, the first to give partial protection to children, trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasite, which is spread by mosquitos. RTS, S vaccine: RTS, S vaccine under the trade name Mosquirix has been developed by GlaxoSmithKline, a British pharmaceutical giant,  in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. The protein-based RTS, S vaccine went through five years of clinical trials on 15,000 people in seven countries. The vaccine had a lower chance of developing malaria and severe malaria. It is the world's first malaria vaccine that has been shown to provide partial protection against malaria in young children Even though the potential vaccine does not give full protection against the mosquito-borne disease, it is the furthest along in development and so far the most effective. The pilot tests aim to immunize around 120,000 children aged 2 and below to assess the effectiveness of the pilot vaccine and whether the delivery process is feasible. Malaria which spreads to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes has killed 435,000 people in 2017 alone and the majority of them were children under 5 in Africa. Republic of Malawi: Formerly known as Nyasaland President: Peter Mutharika Vice-President: Saulos Chilima Currency: Kwacha (D) (MWK) Capital: Lilongwe

    Money Loji launches App that offers loans for salaried professionals

    13 hours ago
    A modern money lending platform named Money Loji launched an application which offers loan to salaried professionals within 5 minutes with flexible repayment options starting from 7 days to a maximum of 90 days. It follows a three-step process which are an application, approval, and disbursement and the app requires the users to upload an identity proof, an address proof, last 3 months bank statement alongside the salary slips. The eligibility criteria to avail this benefit are the minimum in-hand salary of Rs 20,000 per month and a minimum age of 23 years. It not only ensures security but also reduces the chances of data misuse backed by world-class security protocols to encrypt all the data.

    GSLV phase-4 programme got Cabinet nod

    21 April 2019
    The Union Cabinet approved continuation of the ongoing Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) programme phase-4 consisting of five rocket flights during 2021-2024. GSLV programme phase-4: The phase four will enable the launch of two-tonne class of satellites for geo-imaging, navigation, data relay communication and space sciences. The total fund required for GSLV phase four completion has been pegged at Rs 2729.13 crore. This fund includes the cost of five Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles (GSLVs), essential facility augmentation, programme management, and launch campaign, along with the additional funds required for meeting the scope of the ongoing programme. The GSLV continuation programme was initially sanctioned in 2003, and two phases have been completed and the third phase is in progress and expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2020-21. GSLV Phase 4 continuation programme will meet the launch requirement of satellites for providing critical satellite navigation services, data relay communication for supporting the Indian human spaceflight programme and the next interplanetary mission to Mars. It will also ensure the continuity of production in Indian industry. It will also meet the demand for the launch of satellites at a frequency up to two launches per year. All the operational flights would be completed during the period 2021-24. The cabinet also gave ex-post facto approval to the memorandum of understanding between India and Bolivia on cooperation in the field of geology and mineral resources. The MoU was signed in Bolivia in March, 2019. The cabinet was also apprised of an MoU signed in May, 2018 between India and Brazil.

    Helium hydride ion, Universes first molecule detected in space

    21 April 2019
    Helium hydride ion (HeH+), the first molecule that formed almost 14 billion years ago, was detected by NASA's flying observatory SOFIA towards a planetary nebula. It is the first type of molecule (first molecular bond) that formed in the universe after the Big Bang. At that time, ionised hydrogen and neutral helium atoms reacted to form HeH+. Once the universe cooled down, hydrogen atoms started to interact with helium hydride, creating molecular hydrogen, which set the stage for star formation. From that point on, stars created the other elements of the cosmos. Despite its importance in the history of the early Universe, HeH+ has so far escaped detection in astrophysical nebulae — cloud of gas and dust in outer space.

    Top IT firms under threat of cyberattack

    21 April 2019
    India’s leading tech players may be under serious threat from cybercriminals according to cybersecurity investigation website The website is run by former Washington Post staffer and cybersecurity writer, Brian Krebs. A fresh post on the website on Friday said the criminals responsible for launching phishing campaigns that netted dozens of employees and more than 100 computer systems last month at Wipro, India's third-largest IT outsourcing firm, also appear to have targeted a number of other competing providers including Infosys and Cognizant, as per new evidence available with the website. Wipro later confirmed certain such intrusions, however, said the company taken all measures, to stop any further attacks including hiring a forensic firm to investigate cyber attacks on its employee emails and systems.

    Antares Rocket takes off for International Space Station with essential NASA supply

    20 April 2019
    The Antares - a US rocket has been launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore, carrying cargo with the space agency's re-supply mission for the International Space Station (ISS). The rocket was built by Northrop Grumman. It carried about 7,600 pounds (3,450 kg) of supplies and scientific experiments to the station. Some instruments it transports will examine astronauts' health in microgravity. A Canada-made instrument will perform on-orbit detection and quantification of cell surface molecules on a per cell and assess soluble molecule concentration in a liquid sample such as blood, saliva, or urine, thus sparing sample freezing and storing, according to NASA. Another two new experiments will scrutinize aging-like changes in many astronauts on the space station, including changes to their arteries, and examine effects of spaceflight on the function of antibody production and immune memory. NASA announced it is necessary to take actions to prevent any damage to astronauts in a planned three-year space travel to Mars in 2030s.

    Christina Koch To Set Record For Longest Spaceflight By A Woman

    20 April 2019
    NASA astronaut Christina Koch going to have her mission on the International Space Station (ISS) extended to 328 days, which would set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. Koch, who arrived at the space station on March 14 is scheduled to remain in orbit until February 2020 will eclipse the record of 288 days set by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2016-17. About Christina Koch  Space missions: Expedition 59, Soyuz MS-12, Soyuz MS-13 Nationality: American Alma mater: North Carolina State University First space flight: Expedition 59 Space agency: NASA

    Nepal launched its first satellite NepaliSat-1 from US

    19 April 2019
    Developed by the Nepalese scientists, NepaliSat-1 satellite was launched from Virginia in United States. Two Nepali scientists, Aabhas Maskey and Hariram Shrestha who are currently studying at Japanese Kyushu Institute of Technology, developed the satellite under the BIRDS project of their institute. The BIRDS project has been designed in association with the United Nations and aims at helping countries launch their first satellite. NepaliSat-1 is a low orbit satellite which will be in the 400-km distance from the Earth's surface. It will be stationed at the International Space Station (ISS) for a month and then it will be sent to orbit the earth. The satellite will take photographs on a regular basis to gather geographical information of the country. Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) has invested nearly Rs 20 million for the satellite that weighs 1.3 kilograms, a small satellite with limited capability. A group of four engineering graduates were also working to launch another Nepali satellite 'Nepal PQ-1' in 2020. About Nepal: Capital: Kathmandu Currency: Nepalese rupee Prime minister: Khadga Prasad Oli

    NASAs TESS found first Earth sized world

    19 April 2019
    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Mission of NASA has discovered HD 21749c, first Earth-sized world. About HD 21749c: The planet, HD 21749c, is about 89% of Earth's diameter. The planet orbits HD 21749, a K-type star with about 70% of the Sun's mass located 53 light years away in the southern constellation Reticulum. HD 21749c is the second planet TESS has identified in the system. HD 21749c is the 10th confirmed planet discovered by TESS, and hundreds of additional candidates are now being studied. HD 21749c doesn't seem to have good life-hosting potential as it circles its host star very tightly, completing one orbit every 7.8 Earth days, and is therefore probably quite hot. TESS which was launched just about a year ago is already a game-changer in the planet-hunting business. TESS total tally is likely to end up topping that of Kepler has found about 70% of the 4,000 exoplanets discovered to date.

    Sri Lanka launched its first Satellite

    19 April 2019
    Sri Lanka's first satellite Raavana l was launched into space from NASA's Flight Facility on Virginia's east shore. The satellite was designed and developed by two Sri Lankan engineers at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. It will be shuttled to the International Space Station. The “Raavana 1” was launched into space with the assistance of the US rocket “Antares”. About Raavana l: Raavana 1 weights around 1.05 kg and is 1000 cubic centimetres in size. The minimum lifespan of the satellite is around one and a half years and it is expected to be active for five years. Raavana 1 satellite's camera mission is to capture images of Sri Lanka and its neighbouring countries. The Raavana-l is expected to orbit 400 kilometres away from the earth. The satellite will achieve an active attitude stabilization which ensures that the satellite's attitude is stable under the influence of external talks. The launch of Raavana-l marks Sri Lanka's entry into the global space age.

    First Earth-Size planet: HD 21749b discovered by NASAs TESS Exoplanet Mission

    18 April 2019
    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) discovered an Earth-sized planet, HD 21749b and a “sub-Neptune” world, revolving around the star, HD 21749. The star lies 53 light-years from Earth. The research study has been published on 15th April, 2019 in ‘The Astrophysical Journal Letters’. TESS was launched to Earth orbit in April 2018 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. One tool termed as ‘Planet Finder Spectrograph’ (PFS) on the ‘Magellan II telescope’ in Chile helped to confirm the planetary nature of the TESS signal and measure the mass of HD 21749b. HD 21749b is about 23 times heavier and 2.7 times wider than Earth. It is gaseous, has a substantial atmosphere but not as puffy as Uranus and Neptune. HD 21749b has an orbital period of 36 Earth days.

    Delhi HC sought response on the dual control of Assam rifles

    18 April 2019
    The Delhi High Court sought the response from the Cabinet Committee on Security on a plea seeking directions to remove the dual control of Assam Rifles and bring it under the Ministry of Defence.  Assam Rifles are the oldest paramilitary force of India. The administrative control of Assam Rifles lies with the Home Ministry, while the operational control is with the Defence Ministry. The plea filed by the All India Assam Rifles Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association alleges the dual control as the violation of the rights of the troopers of Assam Rifles.  The plea challenges the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 saying that it places Assam Rifles under the head 'Police', which is arbitrary, unreasonable and violates the rights of Assam Rifles ex-servicemen guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The petition argues since the objective and functions of Assam Rifles were that of military and paramilitary force and its categorisation as a police force was arbitrary, unreasonable and in violation of the rights of its personnel. The petition seeks a grant of pay, allowances, pension (including arrears) and ex-servicemen facilities to Assam Rifles personnel at par with the Indian Army. The Home Ministry stated that a note had been sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security on the issue. Ministry of Home Affairs: Formed: 1947 Headquarters: Raisina Hill, New Delhi Minister responsible: Rajnath Singh It is responsible for the maintenance of internal security and domestic policy

    SpaceX to fly its DART planetary defence mission

    18 April 2019
    NASA announced that SpaceX will fly its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) planetary-defence mission. The total launch cost for NASA is estimated to be about $69 million.  What is DART? DART - Double Asteroid Redirection Test   It is a planned space probe that will demonstrate the kinetic effects of crashing an impactor spacecraft into an asteroid moon for planetary defense purposes. The mission is intended to test whether a spacecraft impact could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. DART Planetary-Defense Mission: DART planetary-clefence mission will be launched by the Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in June 2021. The spacecraft will slam into "Didymoon," the 540-foot-wide (165 meters) satellite of the near- Earth asteroid Didymos which is located at about 4 million miles from Earth in October 2022.  Scientists will observe the impact with telescopes and measure the change in the Didymoon's orbit around the asteroid. Scientists hope to move it by just a fraction of a percent off its path, which is enough to deflect any future asteroids off course since Didymos poses no threat to Earth. DART won't be the first spacecraft to wallop an asteroid. Earlier this month, Japan's Hayabusa2 probe smashed a copper cannonball into the space rock Ryugu, to unearth pristine subsurface material for study.

    Google opened its first Africa Artificial Intelligence lab in Ghana

    17 April 2019
    Google has opened an Artificial Intelligence (AI) research lab in Ghana’s capital Accra, reportedly the first of its kind in Africa, to take on challenges across the continent. The lab would develop solutions in areas including agriculture, like helping in diagnosing certain types of crop disease. Using Google’s AI machine app ‘TensorFlow’, farmers analyze the issue with their plants and boost their production.  TensorFlow was outsourced by the company to help developers generate solutions to real-world problems. Tech giant Google opened new research centers across the globe such as in Tokyo, Zurich, New York, and Paris, to exhibit itself as AI first company in front of the world. Google joins Facebook and other tech companies, in launching projects in Africa with a keen eye on the continent's rising youth population. About Ghana: Capital: Accra Currency: Ghanaian cedi President: Nana Akufo-Addo About Google: Founders: Larry Page, Sergey Brin Founded: 4 September 1998 CEO: Sundar Pichai Parent organization: Alphabet Inc. Headquarters: Mountain View, California, United States

    World's largest airplane weighing 2,26,800 kg took its first ever flight

    15 April 2019
    The world's largest airplane called ‘Roc’ weighing nearly 2,26,800 kilograms with a 385-foot wingspan took its first ever flight in Mojave, California. Built by Stratolaunch, it's designed to launch rockets into orbit from the air. The plane is powered by six engines on a twin fuselage and is designed to fly to an altitude of 35,000 feet. The aircraft is so big its wing span is longer than a football field, or about 1.5 times that of an Airbus A380. It hit a top speed of 304 kilometers per hour (189 mph) and reached an altitude of 17,000 feet, or 5,182 meters.

    Israeli lunar mission Beresheet crashed on the Moon

    15 April 2019
    Israeli lunar mission Beresheet crashed on the Moon. Beresheet crashed during a landing attempt. It is said that the spacecraft had problems with its main engine during its descent that left it unable to slow down in time before it smashed into the lunar surface. About the Mission: Beresheet was an Israeli mission launched by a partnership between nonprofit SpacelL and government-owned aerospace company Israel Aerospace Industries. It is the World's first privately funded lunar Mission.  It was a demonstrator of a small robotic lunar lander. Its aims included promoting careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); and landing its magnetometer and laser retroreflector on the Moon. Beresheet lander had carried a science instrument provided by NASA, a retroreflector instrument scientists would have used to make precise measurements of the distance between Earth and the moon. Beresheet mission's design included risks. To make sure the spacecraft small enough to piggyback with another spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket, the engineering team had to design the craft without any backup systems. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and SpacelL have announced that the team will now start working on Beresheet 2.0. Israel: ♦ President: Reuven Rivlin ♦ Prime Minister: Benjamin Netanyahu ♦ Official languages: Hebrew ♦ Capital: Jerusalem ♦ Currency: New shekel (ILS)

    Apollo Hospitals launched an advanced centre for movement disorders

    14 April 2019
    On World Parkinson’s Day,11th April, Apollo Hospitals launched an advanced centre for movement disorders in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It will offer medical and surgical treatment for patients affected by various movement disorders including Parkinson’s Disease. The centre would offer Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgeries and other services to treat a wide spectrum of diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy, dystonia, essential tremor, and intractable spasticity dyskinesia. Tremors, mainly on one side of the body, is the first manifestation of Parkinson’s disease. The initial management requires multidisciplinary care including physiotherapy, neurological support, psychiatric counselling, and nutrition. Surgery could be considered when the symptoms cannot be adequately controlled by medical management. The centre would offer DBS in which electrodes are implanted in the brain.

    Google partners with MMTC-PAMP India

    13 April 2019
    Google has partnered with bullion refiner MMTC-PAMP India to allow Google Pay users to buy and sell gold through the app. Through this partnership with India’s only LBMA-accredited gold refinery, Google Pay users will be able to buy 99.99% 24-karat gold. This type of service is already offered by the likes of Paytm, Mobikwik, and PhonePe. Google: ♦ Formerly: Google Inc. (1998–2017) ♦ Industry: Internet, Software, Computer hardware ♦ Founded on: September 4, 1998 ♦ Founded in: Menlo Park, California, USA ♦ Founders: Larry Page, Sergey Brin ♦ Headquarters: California, U.S. ♦ CEO: Sundar Pichai ♦ CFO: Ruth Porat 

    Scientists discovered chain melted state of matter

    13 April 2019
    Scientists from the University of Edinburgh of Scotland while examining potassium have discovered a new state of physical matter where atoms can exist as both solid and liquid at the same time known as the chain melted state. The discovery was made using powerful computer simulations. At the chain-melted state, atoms are both solid and liquid at the same time. Scientists have discovered that when extreme pressure and temperature are applied to potassium, it can form a state in which most of the atoms form a lattice structure but a second set is in a fluid arrangement.  Scientists say that it would be like holding a sponge filled with water that starts dripping out, except the sponge is also made of water. Over half a dozen elements including sodium and bismuth are thought to be capable of existing in the newly discovered state. Researchers hope it can be further examined to find more uses for the unexpected discovery.  

    Event Horizon Telescope captured first ever Black hole image

    12 April 2019
    Astronomers have taken the first-ever image of a black hole, which is located in a distant galaxy known as ‘Messier 87’ (M87). The image shows an intensely bright ‘ring of fire’ surrounding a perfectly circular dark hole. The black hole in the centre of M87 has a mass of more than six billion solar masses. The ‘Event Horizon Telescope’ (EHT) captured the image from the galaxy that is 50 million light years away. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes that are linked together. The EHT was designed to capture images of a black hole. Black holes: ♦ Black holes are extraordinary cosmic objects with enormous masses but extremely compact sizes ♦ The presence of these objects affects their environment in extreme ways, warping spacetime and super-heating any surrounding material so that it glows  ♦ The theory of general relativity predicts that the heated material will illuminate the extremely warped spacetime, making a dark shadow visible  

    Google unveiled new Cloud Platform, Anthos to manage apps from anywhere

    12 April 2019
    Google has introduced a new open platform called Anthos to run and manage apps from anywhere. Based on the Cloud Services Platform that Google announced in 2018, Anthos lets users run applications on existing on-premise hardware investments or in the Public Cloud. Anthos will also let users manage workloads running on third-party clouds like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Anthos is a Kubernetes-powered technology to build and manage hybrid applications, for on-premises or cloud deployments. Google also announced Anthos Migrate in beta, which auto-migrates virtual machines (VMs) from on-premises, or other clouds, directly into containers in Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) with minimal effort. About Google: ♦ It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies, alongside Amazon, Apple and Facebook. ♦ Founded: 4 September 1998, Menlo Park, California, United States ♦ Founders: Larry Page, Sergey Brin ♦ Parent organization: Alphabet Inc. ♦ Headquarters: Mountain View, California, United States ♦ CEO: Sundar Pichai ♦ Subsidiaries: YouTube, Dialogflow, Apigee, Google UK Limited, and more

    President Ram Nath Kovind launched Veer Parivar App

    11 April 2019
    On April 9th, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) celebrated its 54th Valour Day (Shaurya Diwas). On the occasion, President Ram Nath Kovind launched 'Veer Parivar App', a mobile application for families of CRPF personnel killed in the line of duty. About the Veer Parivar App: ♦ The App is an interface between the CRPF authorities and the next of kin of the slain personnel. It will be installed securely on the phones of the slain personnel families and will not be available in the app stores. ♦ The app will provide assistance to the families of the martyred CRPF personnel with regard to issuance of ex gratia, pension benefits etc. The app will also provide all the necessary information regarding the welfare schemes introduced for them by the government. ♦ The App will provide assistance to the families on a real-time basis and the CRPF authorities will respond to the issues raised by the members of the families of the slain personnel. 54th Valour Day or Shaurya Diwas: ♦ The CRPF celebrates 9 April as Shaurya Diwas or Valour Day to commemorate the defence of the Sardar Post in the Rann of Kutch at the onset of the India-Pakistan War of 1965. ♦ In the intervening night of 8 and 9 April 1965, nearly 3500 men from the 51st Infantry of Pakistani Army invaded India at Sardar Post. The Pakistani Army comprised 18 Punjab battalion, 8 Frontier Rifles, and 6 Baluch battalion. Their mission was to capture the Indian territory defended by Sardar Post. ♦ The post was guarded by two battalions of CRPF, roughly 150 soldiers. Compared to the Pakistani Army, the CRPF soldiers were no match in terms of an arsenal. Additionally, the terrain was disadvantageous for the defending forces. ♦ A fight ensued in which the Pakistani Army made three attempts to overrun the post. The battle lasted for 12 hours. In the end, the Pakistani Army fled the battleground leaving behind 34 of their men dead and CRPF lost six of its brave soldiers. Ever since the day has been celebrated by the CRPF as the Valour Day or Shaurya Diwas.

    Google launched its 1st drone delivery service in Australia

    10 April 2019
    Wing, one of the many companies belonging to Alphabet (Google parent) made its first delivery in Canberra, Australia after getting approval from the Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). The drones will deliver food and drinks as well as medication directly to clients' homes. Wing was testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014 and delivered medicines, chocolate to 3,000 homes in the last 18 months. Wing is now preparing to launch a trial service in Helsinki, Finland.

    PFS in a joint venture with USICEF finances solar projects in India

    10 April 2019
    PTC India Financial Services (PFS) an Infrastructure finance company partnered with (USICEF) the US-India Clean Energy Finance to leverage funds for solar projects in India. PFS Managing Director and CEO Pawan Singh stated that this innovative venture can contribute to achieve India’s distributed energy target of 40 GW (gigawatt) by 2022. Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) manages USICEF that was founded in partnership with the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, OPIC(Overseas Private Investment Corporation), IREDA (Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd.) and leading U.S. Foundations in 2017.

    ICMR Ethical Guidelines is mandatory for all biomedical researches in India

    9 April 2019
    The Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) National Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research has now been made mandatory for biomedical research. The rule has been passed as per the New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules 2019. All biomedical research in India now needs to be adhered by the ICMR's National Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research.  About Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR): ♦ ICMR the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination, and promotion of biomedical research ♦ It is one of the oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world ♦ Formed on: 1911 (as IRFA) and 1949 (renamed to ICMR) ♦ Funded by: Government of India ♦ Headquarters: New Delhi ♦ Secretary & Director General: Dr.Balram Bhargava ♦ Functions under: Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

    Scientists warn of amphibian pandemic that already killed 90 species

    7 April 2019
    A deadly disease affecting amphibians has descended into a global pandemic and it has already wiped out 90 species. This was disclosed by a prominent US biologist  Jonathan Kolby, at the World Organisation for Animal Health Aquatic Conference in Santiago, Chile yesterday. The disease attacks the skin of frogs, toads and other amphibians.  As the creatures use their skin to breathe and regulate their bodies' water levels, the damage caused by the disease eventually leads to heart failure and death. Over the past five years, the highly contagious disease has already caused nearly 90 species to disappear, with over 500 impacted.

    Micromax Co-founder unveils Indias first AI-enabled e-motorcycle brand

    7 April 2019
    Rahul Sharma, cofounder of Indian phone maker Micromax, has forayed into the electric vehicle space. He has started a new enterprise called Revolt Intellicorp Pvt. Ltd, with plans to  launch an artificial intelligence (AI) based motorcycle. He has invested between INR 400 Cr - INR 500 Cr in this new venture. The proposed AI-enabled motorcycle will have a range of 156.8 km and a top speed of 85km/hr. The commercial launch of the motorcycle is scheduled in June this year.

    Small tea growers to get app based training

    7 April 2019
    The Indian tea industry in association with Solidaridad, a global sustainability organisation, has launched an app that will act as a digital training tool for these growers while helping establish traceability for the segment, promoting quality and safe-farm practices. The small tea growers’ share in India’s total tea crop is hovering at about 50%. Digital traceability has already been established for 2,500 such growers in Assam, West Bengal and the southern States.  This will now be gradually extended to 70,000 small tea growers by 2019.  Trinitea is an initiative by Indian Tea Association and Solidaridad for small tea growers. It has proposed a Rs.8 crore investment till 2021, in these efforts. 

    Heat wave conditions to continue to prevail in many parts of country during next 24 hrs

    6 April 2019
    Heat wave conditions will continue to prevail in many parts of the country including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and in isolated pockets over Haryana, Gujarat and Vidarbha during next 24 hours.  Met department parts of northwest India including Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi are expected to experience isolated thunderstorms, dust storms and gusty winds during the evening hours today.  Isolated thundersqualls with wind speed reaching 60 to 70 kilometre per hour and lightning are likely to occur over Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and all North-Eastern states.  

    Japan space probe drops explosive on asteroid to make crater

    6 April 2019
    Japan's space agency has said its Hayabusa2 spacecraft released an explosive onto an asteroid to make a crater on its surface and collect underground samples to find possible clues to the origin of the solar system.  The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Tokyo that Hayabusa2 dropped a "small carry-on impactor" made of copper onto the asteroid and safely evacuated and remained intact. JAXA is analyzing further details.

    Scientist discovered a new enzyme to arrest bacteria cell growth

    6 April 2019
    Scientists from the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), the Research Institute in Hyderabad, Telangana have discovered Murein EndopeptidiaseK, a new enzyme which helps in breaking cell walls of bacteria.  The enzyme Murein EndopeptidiaseK would act on the protein of the cell wall of the bacteria and it can be a potential drug target. This discovery of a new enzyme will ensure the cell wall synthesis would not occur. This discovery offers the potential for a new drug delivery system to arrest the antibacterial resistance through existing antibiotic drugs.  

    CCMB scientists discovered a new enzyme Murein Endopeptidase to break the bacterial cell wall

    5 April 2019
    The Center for Cell and Molecular Biology (CCMB) scientists have discovered a new enzyme called  “Murein EndopeptidiaseK” which helps to cut bacterial cell walls, so it is possible for a new drug treatment that prevents bacterial resistance by existing antibiotics. Scientists from all around the world are trying to understand these events . They are studying about Dr.Reddy’s lab how Coli bacterial cells act to separate cholera, leprosy, tuberculosis, and many other diseases. Pavan Kumar Chodisetti, research student and his mentor Dr. Manjula Reddy were the backbone of this discovery. Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology  ♦ Director:  Rakesh K. Mishra ♦ Location: Hyderabad, Telangana, India

    South Korea Launches Worlds First National 5G Networks

    5 April 2019
    South Korea launches the world’s first fully-fledged 5G mobile networks.  The system will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity 20 times faster than the existing 4G allowing users to download entire movies in less than a second. About South Korea Capital- Seoul,  Currency- South Korean won President: Moon Jae-in Prime Minister:Lee Nak-yeon  

    WhatsApp launched fact-checking feature to combat fake news

    4 April 2019
    WhatsApp has launched an India-focused fact-checking feature to combat fake news and rumours starting with the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. Users can check the authenticity of the information or rumours received on the platform by reporting the forward to the WhatsApp number +91-9643-000-888.  The response will indicate if the information is classified as 'true', 'false', 'misleading, 'disputed' or 'out of scope', and include any other related information. Pictures, video links or texts in Hindi, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, and English will be reviewed by WhatsApp.  This tip line feature has been developed by WhatsApp in collaboration with India-based media skilling startup PROTO. The tip line feature will help to create a database of rumours to study misinformation during elections as part of a research project commissioned and assisted by WhatsApp. The verification reports Whatsapp sends back will encourage the users to send more signals for analysis.

    BSNL gets licence for WiFi on flights from DoT

    4 April 2019
    Bharatiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a State-owned telecom service provider, has received licence from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to provide Internet and mobile services on flights. BSNL and its satellite partner, Inmarsat, will be able to offer in-flight connectivity to airlines once the ground infrastructure and associated approvals are set.  The DoT had notified its rules in December allowing airlines flying within and transiting through India to provide Internet and voice services on mobile phones along with an Indian telecom operator or licencee. So far, SpiceJet has announced that it will offer Internet access to passengers. Vistara has evinced interest in this service.  According to the rules, passengers can make phone calls or use the Internet when a flight is at a minimum height of 3,000m in Indian airspace to avoid interference with terrestrial mobile networks.

    Google shut down social media platform Google+ 8 yrs after launch

    3 April 2019
    Google on April 2, 2019, officially shut down its social media platform Google+ launched in 2011 to rival with other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Google decided to close the site after discovering a data breach in 2018.

    Study says Suns magnetic field is 10 times stronger than thought

    3 April 2019
    Researchers from Aberystwyth University said that the sun’s magnetic field is 10 times stronger than previously believed. This can potentially change the understanding of the processes that happen in the sun’s immediate atmosphere.  The study found that the sun’s corona extends millions of kilometres above the surface, measuring 14,00,000 kilometres across - 109 times larger than Earth - and 15,00,00,000 km from Earth. Everything that happens in the sun’s outer atmosphere is dominated by the magnetic field, but there are very few measurements of its strength and spatial characteristics. This is the first time we have been able to measure accurately the magnetic field of the coronal loops, the building blocks of the sun’s magnetic corona, which such a level of accuracy.

    Researchers says Mars still has active deep groundwater

    3 April 2019
    The researchers at University of Southern California (USC) said that the deep groundwater could still be active on Mars and be the origin of surface streams in some near-equatorial areas of the Red Planet. They have determined that groundwater likely exists in a broader geographical area than just the poles of Mars and contended that there is an active system, as deep as 750 metres, from which groundwater comes to the surface through cracks in the specific craters they analysed. The team studied the characteristics of Mars’ Recurrent Slope Linea, which are akin to dried, short streams of water that appear on some crater walls on Mars. Scientists previously thought these features were affiliated with surface water flow or close subsurface water flow. The team found similarities between the groundwater moving mechanisms in the Sahara and on Mars. This suggests both may have had wet periods long enough to create such an active groundwater system.

    BESCOM plans to use Solar energy to power electric vehicles

    3 April 2019
    Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) is looking to utilise solar energy to power electric vehicle charging stations. The aim is to ensure that clean transport is driven by clean energy.  Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL):  ♦ KPTCL is the sole electricity transmission and distribution company in the state of Karnataka  ♦ Its origin was in Karnataka Electricity Board  ♦ Founded: 1 August 1999  ♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru, India  ♦ Chairman: HD Kumaraswamy  ♦ Purpose: To manage the transmission business  ♦ It has 5 zones and circles:         1)MESCOM - Mangalore Electricity Supply Company        2)BESCOM - Bangalore Electricity Supply Company        3)HESCOM - Hubali Electricity Supply Company        4)GESCOM - Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company        5)CESCOM - Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation

    Hyundai to roll out BlueLink connectivity feature in India

    2 April 2019
    South Korean carmaker Hyundai is to roll out the ‘BlueLink’ connectivity feature in India that will allow users to interact with their cars using voice, while enabling them to remotely switch on/off the car or its AC.  This feature will be first introduced in its upcoming compact SUV Venue.  BlueLink:  BlueLink is Hyundai’s global technology which will be introduced in the Indian market with 33 features, of which 10 would be India-specific features such as a panic button, for most practical and holistic connectivity.  The feature is powered by an “inbuilt and tamper-proof device” with a Vodafone-Idea eSim and a cloud-based voice recognition platform. The ‘interactive voice recognition’ has been developed specifically for customers from different regions in India. It currently supports Indian English language.

    China launched 2nd Generation data relay satellite, Tianlian II-01

    2 April 2019
    The Tianlian II-01 satellite was launched by a Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province. This is the first of China's second-generation data-tracking and relay satellites, which will provide services like data relay, measurement and control, and transmission to manned spacecraft, satellites, carrier rockets and non-spacecraft users. The launch marks the 301st mission of the Long March carrier rocket series. China launched its first data relay satellite, the Tianlian I-01, in April 2008.

    Indias defense satellite EMISAT successfully launched by ISRO

    2 April 2019
    The Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO, launched India’s latest satellite EMISAT and 28 other smaller satellites of international customers. The ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network at Bengaluru has assumed control of EMISAT satellite after its successful launch.  The national space agency’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV-C45, carrying the payloads on board, lifted off from its spaceport, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. In a little over 17 minutes, the primary payload EMISAT was ed by the rocket at an altitude of 754 km, as planned.  In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration.

    ISRO opens its 1st visitors gallery to watch rocket launches

    1 April 2019
    In a first, The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) opened a visitors' gallery with 5,000 capacity at Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota island. The gallery has a clear line of sight to two launch pads and large screens to explain launcher and satellite features. This comes as ISRO is launching defence satellite EMISAT along with 28 foreign satellites on April 1, 2019.

    Shanghais Hongkou becomes worlds first district with 5G coverage

    1 April 2019
    Shanghai claimed to have the world’s first district with 5G coverage and a broadband gigabit network. It conducted trial runs of the 5G network, backed by telecom services provider China Mobile. 5G is the next generation of cellular technology with download speeds that are 10 to 100 times faster than 4G LTE networks. The city aims to build over 10,000 5G base stations by the end of this year and the number of 5G base stations could cross 30,000 in 2021.

    Facebook banned White Nationalism, White Separatism on its Platforms

    31 March 2019
    Facebook has banned praise, support and representation of white nationalism and white separatism on its platforms. This move had a qualified approval from the recent Christchurch mosque shooting. Facebook will also direct users who post or search content connected to these ideologies to an organization that helps people leave hate groups. Social Media platforms were under pressure and criticisms that they have failed to confront extremism.  White Supremacy is defined as a belief system with tenets like "whites should have dominance over people of other backgrounds, especially where they may co-exist; whites should live by themselves in a whites-only society, white people have their own 'culture' that is superior to other cultures; white people are genetically superior to other people.

    Ministry of Commerce launched blockchain based e marketplace for coffee

    31 March 2019
    The Ministry of Commerce and Industries has launched blockchain based e-marketplace for coffee. The Blockchain based e-marketplace helps farmers integrate directly with markets in a transparent manner, allowing them to realize fair prices for their produce. The blockchain technology will help in reducing the number of intermediaries between coffee growers and buyers and help farmers double their income.  The blockchain-based marketplace app can be used for trading coffee brings transparency and maintains the traceability of Indian coffee from bean to cup. It can be used by facilitating direct access to buyers, it will reduce growers' dependency on intermediaries and help them get a fair price for their produce. The coffee board has collaborated with Eka Plus for the development of the app.  India produces one of the best coffees in the world and a considerable portion of it comes from small coffee growers and tribal farmers. Although Indian coffee is highly valued in the world market, the share of farmers in the final returns from coffee is very low. The Blockchain based e-marketplace app is expected to help farmers in gaining higher returns.

    Google has launched global advisory council for AI and Tech Ethics

    30 March 2019
    Google has constituted an eight-member Advanced Technology External Advisory Council that will examine the ethical challenges related to artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies. The aim of the council is to provide recommendations for Google and other companies and researchers regarding the AI. About Google: ♦ Parent organization – Alphabet Inc. ♦ Headquarters – Mountain View, California, United States ♦ CEO – Sundar Pichai ♦ Founders – Larry Page, Sergey Brin

    Studies says river water persisted on Mars much later than thought

    29 March 2019
    A study has found Water from rivers on Mars persisted at hundreds of locations on the Red Planet much later into its history than previously thought. Riverbeds were carved deep into the Martian surface long ago, but the understanding of the climate billions of years ago remains incomplete.  Scientists in University of Chicago in the U.S. catalogued these rivers to conclude that significant river run-off persisted on Mars later into its history than previously thought.

    Boeing unveils changes to MCAS, anti stall system

    29 March 2019
    Embattled aviation giant Boeing pledged to do all it can to prevent crashes like two that killed nearly 350 people in recent months, as it unveiled a fix to the flight software of its grounded 737 MAX aircraft.  Boeing gathered hundreds of pilots and reporters to unveil the changes to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Boeing unveiled the software changes at the company’s massive factory in Renton, Washington, and offered reassurances.

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