Facts in News

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    Facts in News

    Poson Poya

    • Recently, Sri Lanka released prisoners, after they were pardoned by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the occasion of Poson Poya.
    • Poson Poya is an annual festival celebrated by Sri Lanka’s Buddhist majority to mark the arrival of Buddhism in the 3rd century BC.
    • It is the most venerated day for the devout Buddhists of Sri Lanka as it marks the arrival of Arahat Mahinda Thero carrying the noble teachings of the Buddha.

    International Labour Organisation (ILO)

    • Recently, Shri Apurva Chandra, Secretary (L&E) completed his tenure as Chair of Governing Body of the International Labour Organization after holding the position for the period October 2020- June 2021.

    International Labour Organisation (ILO) 

    • It is a specialised agency of the United Nations.
    • It is the only tripartite U.N. agency since 1919.
      • The unique tripartite structure brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
    • Aim: To promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.
    • History: Established in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles as an affiliated agency of the League of Nations.
      • Became the first affiliated specialized agency of the United Nations in 1946.
    • India is a founder member of the ILO.
    • Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland.
    • Received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969:
      • For improving peace among classes
      • Pursuing decent work and justice for workers
      • Providing technical assistance to other developing nations
    • Flagship Reports of ILO are:
      • Global Wage Report
      • World Employment and Social Outlook (WESO)
      • World Employment and Social Outlook
      • World Social Protection Report
      • World of Work Report

    Black Sea

    • The Black Sea, also known as the Euxine Sea, is one of the major water bodies and a famous inland sea of the world
    • It is bordered by Ukraine to the north, Russia to the northeast, Georgia to the east, Turkey to the south, and Bulgaria and Romania to the west.
    • The roughly oval-shaped Black Sea occupies a large basin strategically situated at the southeastern extremity of Europe but connected to the distant waters of the Atlantic Ocean by the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, the Dardanelles, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. 
    • The Crimean Peninsula thrusts into the Black Sea from the north, and just to its east the narrow Kerch Strait links the sea to the smaller Sea of Azov. 

                                      Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

    Ambergris

    • Recently, the Mumbai Police has arrested five persons trying to sell Ambergris or whale vomit.
    • Ambergris is generally referred to as whale vomit.
    • However, Christopher Kemp, the author of ‘Floating gold: A Natural and (unnatural) history of Ambergris’, says this is not right.
      • According to him, Ambergris, a solid waxy substance originating in the intestine of the sperm whale (Physeter catodon). 
      • As per Kemp, Ambergris is produced only by an estimated one per cent of sperm whales.
    • It floats around the surface of the water body and at times settles on the coast.
    • German physician Franz Schwediawer in 1783 called it “preternaturally hardened whale dung”.
    • This excretion is so valuable it is referred to as floating gold
      • As per the latest estimates given by Mumbai Police, 1 kg of ambergris is worth Rs 1 crore in the international market. 
    • The reason for its high cost is its use in the perfume market, especially to create fragrances like musk.
    •  It is believed to be in high demand in countries like Dubai that have a large perfume market.
    • Ancient Egyptians used it as incense. It is also believed to be used in some traditional medicines.

    Sperm whales (Physeter catodon)

    • They are the largest of the toothed whales, with males up to 19 meters (62 feet) long—more than five times the length of a large elephant—and females up to 12 meters (39 feet) in length. 
    • They are easily recognized by their enormous square head and narrow lower jaw.
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

                                   Image Courtesy: IWC

    Saiga Antelope

    Recently, Kazakhstan has highlighted that the population of Saiga antelope has more than doubled since 2019.

    • Scientific Name: Saiga tatarica
    • Features
      • It is known for its distinctive bulbous nose.
    • Habitat
      • It inhabits open dry steppe grasslands and semi-arid deserts of Central Asia.
      • Currently, Saiga populations are found in Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
        • Kazakhstan is home to a majority of the world’s Saiga.
    • Threats
      • Climate change and expansion of human activity through farming and infrastructure.
      • Uncontrolled poaching for meats and horns (traditional Chinese medicine).
      • Extreme climatic events like drought, severe winters and lightning.
      • Susceptibility to diseases like foot-and-mouth disease, brucellosis, nasal bacterium, etc.
    • Protection Status
      • IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered
      • CITES: Appendix II
      • CMS: Appendix II
    • Conservation Efforts
      • Kazakhstan-based Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative to preserve the population.
      • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Concerning Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use of the Saiga Antelope came into effect in 2006.
      • Anti-poaching efforts in Kazakhstan and other countries.

    (Image Courtesy: Nat Geo)

    Pinaka Missile System

    Recently, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test-fired the enhanced range versions of the Pinaka rocket at integrated test range, Chandipur in Odisha.

    • The current system has been developed jointly by Pune-based DRDO labs Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), with manufacturing support from Economic Explosives Limited, Nagpur.
    • The development of the enhanced Pinaka system was taken up to achieve longer range performance.
      • The enhanced range version can destroy targets at distances up to 45 km.
    • Pinaka is an indigenously developed multi-barrel rocket launch (MBRL) system developed by DRDO for the Army.
    • It is an artillery missile system, and its development was started in the late 1980s, as an alternative to ‘Grad’, Russia-made multi-barrel rocket launching systems.
    • The Pinaka can fire a salvo of 12 rockets over a period of 44 seconds.
    • The Mark-I version of Pinaka has a range of around 40 km and the Mark-II version can fire up to 75 km
      • The Mark-II version has been modified as a guided missile system by integrating it with the navigation, control and guidance system to improve the end accuracy and increase the range.
      • The state-of-the-art guidance kit in the system is bolstered by an advanced navigation and control system aided by the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

    (Image Courtesy: GI)