Facts in News


    Biodiversity and Environment

    Komodo Dragons

    Syllabus: GS 3/Species in News 


    • According to the IUCN red list, the Komodo dragon is threatened with extinction as rising water levels, driven by the climate crisis, shrink its habitat.


    • Scientific Name : Varanus komodoensis
    • The dragon is a monitor lizard of the family Varanidae.
    • It is the world’s largest lizard.
    • Discovery:  Europeans discovered Komodo dragons only in the early 20th century and were immediately fascinated by the creatures. 
    • It Grows up to 3 metres long and weighs more than 150kg, 
    • It feeds mainly on forest-dwelling pigs, deer, buffalo and fruit bats that hang in the low-lying mangrove trees. 

                                                        Image Courtesy: Forbes

    • Habitat: Endemic to a handful of Indonesian islands and it lives on the edge of the forest or in open savannah, rarely venturing higher than 700 metres above sea level. 
      • Rising water levels are set to affect 30% of its habitat in the next 45 years.
    • Threat: the komodo dragons’ habitat is becoming increasingly fragmented by human activity, which makes populations less genetically healthy and more vulnerable. Their habitat range on the island of Flores in south-eastern Indonesia is thought to have shrunk by more than 40% between 1970 and 2000.
      • The forest is slowly being cut down and disappearing, and the savannah is affected by fires and degradation. Habitats are being made even smaller due to rising sea levels.
    • Conservation Status: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)has changed its status from vulnerable to endangered.

    Source: The Guardian.com


    Polity and Governance

    Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D)

    Syllabus :GS 2/Ministries & Departments

    In News 

    • The Union Home and Cooperation Minister attended the 51st Foundation Day program of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).


    • The Bureau of Police Research and Development was raised on 28th August 1970, through a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
      • The Bureau was initially started with two Divisions, i.e., Research, Publication & Statistics Division and Development Division. 
      • In 1973, the Training Division was added, on the recommendation of the Gore Committee on Police Training.
      •  In 1995, the Correctional Division was started to study the issues of Prisons and Prison Reforms.
      •  In 2008, the National Police Mission was added and the Development Division was restructured as the Modernization Division.
    • Mandate
    • To take a direct and active interest in the issues
    • To promote a speedy and systematic study of the police problems,
    • To apply science and technology in the methods and techniques used by police.



    Biodiversity and Environment

    Bhitarkanika National Park

    Syllabus: GS 3/Biodiversity and Environment

    In Context 

    • Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park is under severe threat due to the planned diversion of freshwater from the Brahmani river basin.


    • Location: Kendrapara district in Odisha. 
    • It became a Ramsar site in 2002 (the second site after Chilika Lake in Odisha). 
    • Rivers: Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra, Pathsala. 
    • It is India’s second-largest mangrove forest after the Sundarbans in West Bengal.
    • Species: Estuarine Crocodile (the largest population in the Indian subcontinent), Indian python, king cobra, black ibis, etc.
    • The floral diversity in Bhitarkanika is the 2nd largest after Papua New Guinea.
    • It is the only major mangrove patch of the State of Odisha.

    About the Ramsar Convention

    • The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. 
    • It is one of the oldest intergovernmental treaties signed by member countries to preserve the ecological character of their wetlands of international importance.
    • The convention entered into force in India on 1 February 1982.
    • Aim: To develop and maintain an international network of wetlands that are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits.
    • Wetlands declared as Ramsar sites are protected under strict guidelines of the convention.



    Science & Technology

    Low Orbit Satellite Communication

    Syllabus: GS3/ Space Technology

    In Context

    • Low earth orbit (LEO) satellites operate 311 miles (roughly 500 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface. 
    • They can be used for providing communication services using satellite phones, unlike the traditional method.
      • The traditional method places the satellite in Geosynchronous HEO at around 36000 km.
      • These satellites connect to local service providers’ antennas, which amplify and provide services to users.
    • The first satellite phone was launched by Motorola in 1989.
    • A satellite phone, aka satphone, works by connecting to a telecommunications satellite in space.
    • Examples of technology being used:
      • One Web (Airtel’s Sunil Bharti Mittal), 
      • Starlink (Elon Musk),
      • Garmin inReach, a satellite phone, has a built-in satellite receiver for sending and receiving SMS via the Iridium network. 
      • Thuraya X5-Touch is a ruggedised Android powered satellite smartphone with support for GSM/LTE networks as well.
    • Advantages
      • Lower latency
      • High-speed internet service 
      • Global Coverage to remote parts of the world
      • Traditional Methods require huge Ground based Infrastructure
    • Disadvantages
      • Satellite data speeds are super slow
      • Need of an external antenna
      • Niche market of Satellite Phones
    • Apple iphone 13 may be a satellite phone.