Facts in News


    Facts in News

    James Webb Space Telescope

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is set to launch the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

    • It will be a large infrared telescope with an approximately 6.5-meter primary mirror. 
    • It will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide and is considered the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope.
    • It will study every phase in the history of the Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of the Solar System.
    • It was formerly known as the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) but was renamed in 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.
      • Under his tenure, NASA launched over 75 space science missions, including probes that were sent to Mars and Venus.
    • It is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
      • The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is managing the development effort.
    • Main Features
      • Primary mirror made of 18 separate segments (made of ultra-lightweight beryllium) that unfold and adjust to shape.
      • Its biggest feature is a tennis court-sized five-layer sunshield that attenuates heat from the Sun more than a million times.
      • It has a cryocooler for cooling the mid-infrared detectors of other instruments.
    • It will be the largest, most powerful and complex space telescope ever built and launched into space.
    • However, NASA has to decide if the telescope needs to be renamed after the controversy on alleged discrimination by Webb against the LGBTQIA+ community.
      • He purged community members from the workforce after he arrived at NASA in 1961.
      • As part of the “lavender scare” thousands of gay employees were fired or forced to resign from the federal workforce because of their sexuality.

    (Image Courtesy: NASA)

    Buen Retiro Park and Paseo del Prado

    Recently, UNESCO has added Madrid’s (Capital of Spain) historic Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park to its list of World Heritage Sites.

    • UNESCO described the locations as landscapes of arts and sciences, putting them under the list of cultural sites.
    • The area is exceptional because it was “the first promenade within the city limits of all European cities and capitals” for the enjoyment of “all citizens, without distinction of strata or class“.
    • Becoming such a site can help attract more tourists from around the world.
    • Spain has 49 sites inscribed under the list with 43 of them falling under the cultural list, 4 under the natural list and 2 are mixed sites.
    • Paseo del Prado
      • It is a wide tree-lined avenue that is home to prominent and prestigious buildings such as the Prado Museum.
      • It features several other prominent structures including squares with historic marble sculptures and fountains such as the Plaza de Cibeles, described as “an iconic symbol of the city”.
      • It had been the first street of its kind to be open to all citizens as previously park-like boulevards were only open to the upper classes.

    (Image Courtesy: NORFI)

    • Retiro Park
      • It is a 125-hectare green space just off the Paseo del Prado, and is one of the city’s most visited attractions.
      • El Retiro (meaning “The Retreat”) was originally a palace and gardens built for the personal use of King Felipe IV in the 17th century.

    (Image Courtesy: ML)

    Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary 

    Recently, the Maharashtra Mangrove Cell has proposed the biodiversity-rich Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS) to be designated as a Ramsar site.

    • TCFS is spread over 1,690.5 hectares and is one of Mumbai’s biggest open spaces.
    • It is spread across Mulund, Vikhroli, Bhandup, Kanjur and parts of Mandale village and surrounded by highly urbanised areas.
    • It is home to 12 true mangrove species, 39 mangrove associates, 167 species of birds including flamingos, 45 fish species, 59 species of butterflies, 67 insect species, among other mammals such as jackals.
    • In May 2018, the state had declared it a flamingo sanctuary.
    • If approved, it will be the first such site in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and third in Maharashtra to be designated as a Ramsar site.
      • The Nandur Madhameshwar became the first site designated from Maharashtra.
      • The Lonar Lake in the Buldhana district is the second such site in the state.
    • Ramsar Site: It is a wetland area designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental environmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
    • Advantages
      • Help in conservation and wise use of the wetland.
      • National and international cooperation for conservation and management and also central funding.
      • Boost tourism, generate employment for locals bringing economic benefits for surrounding areas.
      • Create awareness for the conservation of other wetlands.

    (Image Courtesy: Mirror)

    Gharib Nawaz Employment Scheme

    • Maulana Azad Education Foundation, an autonomous body under the aegis of the Ministry of Minority Affairs implements the Gharib Nawaz Employment Scheme.
    • Aim: To provide short term job oriented skill development courses to minorities’ youth in order to enable them for skill-based employment.
    • This scheme will be implemented as per common norms of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSD&E) through the empanelled Program Implementation Agencies (PIAs). 
      • As per the scheme guidelines, employment opportunities (organized & unorganized Sectors) are being provided to all the beneficiaries.  The PIA is mandated to place a minimum of 70% of trainees out of total trained trainees. 

    Constitutional Provision related to Minorities

    • The Constitution of India does not specify the term  ‘minorities’, however, the Constitution recognizes only religious and linguistic minorities.
    • Article 29 and Article 30 guarantee certain rights to the minorities.
      • Article 29 of the Indian Constitution protects the interests of the minorities by making a provision that any citizen/section of citizens having a distinct language, script or culture have the right to conserve the same. 
        • It mandates that no discrimination would be done on the ground of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
      • Article 30 of the Indian Constitution states the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
        • It says: “All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.”
    • Article 350 B
      • There shall be a Special Officer for linguistic minorities to be appointed by the President.
      • It shall be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution and report to the President upon those matters at such intervals as the President may direct. 
      • The President shall cause all such reports to be laid before each House of Parliament, and sent to the Governments of the States concerned.

    Phosphatic Rock

    • Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers informed Parliament that India will explore indigenous deposits of phosphatic rock, a step towards becoming Atma Nirbhar in fertilizer production.


    • Phosphorus rocks or phosphate rocks are unprocessed ores. 
    • Phosphate rock deposits can be sedimentary (formed from sediment deposited by water or air) or igneous (having solidified from lava or magma). However, the easiest way to obtain phosphorus is by way of mining and concentrating phosphate rock from the phosphate deposits.
      • The phosphates may be derived from a variety of sources, including marine invertebrates that secrete shells of calcium phosphate, and the bones and excrement of vertebrates.
    • They are available in high, medium, and low grades. 
    • Some phosphate rocks are used for making calcium phosphate nutritional supplements for animals, while pure phosphorus is used to make chemicals for industrial use. However, the most important use of phosphorus is for the production of fertilizers for agriculture.
    • Uses:
      • It is the key raw material for DAP and NPK fertilisers. 
      • Phosphorus cannot be substituted by any other mineral, as it is vital for a number of reasons in agriculture.
      • It plays a major role in photosynthesis and energy transfer in plants. Further, it is essential for the production of seed and root formation. 
      • It promotes early plant maturity and stalks strength. It is also resistant to plant root diseases.
    • Currently, India is 90 per cent dependent on imports for Rock Phosphate.

    Phosphorus Deposits

    • Large sedimentary deposits are located in China, Middle East, Northern Africa, and the United States. 
    • Meanwhile, the igneous deposits are mined in Brazil, Canada, Finland, Russia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
    • Phosphorus in India
      • Phosphate rocks are majorly produced only from two States in India, namely Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
      • Currently, there exists 30 lakh MT of phosphorite deposits in the country, for which important steps are being taken by the Government to ramp up its production. 
        • These deposits are available in Rajasthan, the central part of peninsular India, Hirapur (Madhya Pradesh), Lalitpur (Uttar Pradesh), Mussoorie syncline, and Cuddapah basin (Andhra Pradesh).