Facts in News

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    Facts in News

    Lag B’Omer Festival

    • It is an annual Jewish festival observed during the Hebrew month of Iyar.
    • It is celebrated on the 33rd day of the Omer, the 49-day period between Passover & Shavuot (festivals) and is the only day during this period when celebration is permitted.
    • Jews schedule weddings on this day & young boys are brought here for the first hair cut.
    • Ultra-Orthodox Jewish pilgrims visit the base of Mount Meron, to pay their respects to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a second century sage and mystic.
      • He was a gifted Talmudic scholar and a disciple of Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest Jewish sages.
      • He authored the ‘Zohar’, which is the main work of Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism.
      • He is believed to have died on this day and the tomb is a much revered holy site in Israel.

    Operation Twist

    • It is a monetary policy strategy used by central banks aimed at stimulating economic growth through lowering long-term interest rates.
    • This is achieved by selling near-term Treasuries to buy longer-dated ones.
    • It effectively “twists” the ends of the yield curve where short-term yields go up and long-term interest rates drop simultaneously.
    • Globally, it was first attempted in 1961, and again in the years following the 2008-09 financial crisis.

    (Image Courtesy: IE)

    International Workers’ Day

    • Every year, it is observed on 1st May across the world by other names like Labour Day and May Day.
    • It aims to mark the achievements of the workers and to spread awareness about exploitation and the historic labour movement.
    • In 1889, the Second International (Marxist International Socialist Congress), an organisation created by socialist and labour parties, declared that 1st May would be commemorated as this Day.
      • They also demanded that workers should not be made to work for more than 8 hours a day.
    • In India, it was first celebrated in 1923, after the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan initiated and Comrade Singaravelar (Singaravelu Chettiar) helmed the celebrations.
      • The Comrade, known for being one of the leaders of the Self Respect movement in the Madras Presidency and for his fight for the rights of backward classes, passed a resolution stating the government should allow everybody a national holiday on Labour Day.

    Consumer Price Index (CPI)

    • It is an index measuring retail inflation in the economy by collecting the change in prices of most common goods and services used by consumers.
    • CPI is also called a market basket, it is calculated for a fixed list of items including food, housing, apparel, transportation, electronics, medical care, education, etc.

                      Image Courtesy: Investopedia 

    • The base Year for CPI is 2012.
    • Types: In India, there are four consumer price index numbers, which are calculated, and these are as follows:
    • CPI for Industrial Workers (IW)
    • CPI for Agricultural Labourers (AL)
    • CPI for Rural Labourers (RL) and
    • CPI (Rural/Urban/Combined).
    • Of these, the first three are compiled by the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Fourth is compiled by the National Statistical Office (NSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
    • Significance 
    • Used to compute the cost of living. This also provides insights as to how much a consumer can spend to be on par with the price change.
    • The Reserve Bank of India and other statistical agencies study CPI so as to understand the price change of various commodities and keep a tab on inflation. 
    • CPI is also a helpful pointer in understanding the real value of wages, salaries and pensions, the purchasing power of a country’s currency and regulating prices.

    World’s Oldest Water

    • The world’s oldest water ( 1.6 billion years old) has been explored by a geochemist Dr Barbara Sherwood Lollar at the University of Toronto’s isotope Geochemistry.
      • The research has been carried out since 1992.
      • It was on an expedition in 2009 that a musty smell led Sherwood Lollar to make the crucial discovery. 
    • It was found at a depth of 2.4 kilometres at the Kidd Creek mine, located on the 2.7 billion-year-old Canadian Shield which is one of the world’s largest continental shields.
    • The water is highly saline, which is ten times saltier than seawater.
    • Significance 
    • This discovery could have significant ramifications on how life might exist and survive in such depths. 
    • It will be helpful in the possibility of finding life on Mars as the Canadian Shield is the closest analogue on Earth to the subsurface of Mars.

    Image Courtesy:IE

    Cantonment Boards

    • They are a civic administration body functioning under the provisions of the Cantonments Act, 2006. 
    • They work under the control of the Ministry of Defence.
    • They are primarily meant to accommodate the military population and their installations.
    • Members -The members of a cantonment board are partly elected and partly nominated.
      •  While the elected members hold the office for a term of 5 years, the nominated members continue as long as they hold the office.
      •  The Station Commander is the President of the Cantonment Board and Chief Executive Officer -an officer appointed by the Union Government.
    • Cantonments are different from the Military Stations in that the Military Stations are purely meant for the use and accommodation of the armed forces and these are established under an executive order whereas the Cantonments are areas that comprise both military and civil population.