UPSC Prelims News of 20 December 2022
Context: Stealth-guided missile destroyer INS Mormugao was commissioned into the Indian Navy.
- INS Mormugao is a Vishakhapatnam-class guided missile destroyer built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL), under Project 15B.
- The ship was designed by the Warship Design Bureau, Indian Navy’s in-house warship design body. It has around 75 per cent indigenous content.
- The ships under Project 15B are named after cities —Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal, and Surat.
Features of INS Mormugao:
- The ship incorporates advanced stealth features and a higher degree of automation. The sleeker hull design and the radar-transparent deck fittings make it difficult to detect.
- It has multiple fire zones, battle damage control systems, and distributional power systems for enhanced survivability and reliability in extreme operational and conflict scenarios.
- It has total atmospheric control system (TACS) that provides protection to the crew from chemical, biological, and nuclear threats.
- It uses a combat management system to evaluate threats using analytical tools and create a tactical picture that includes available resources on board.
- The ship uses BrahMos surface-to-surface cruise missiles and vertically launched Barak-8 surface-to-air missiles for long-range engagement of shore- and sea-based targets.
- Indigenously developed 533 mm torpedo launchers and RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launchers are present on board.
- Guided missile destroyers are key assets in various types of naval operations due to their speed, maneuverability, and strike capability.
- The ship can operate as an independent offence platform even without being part of a large formation. They are capable of carrying out anti-aircraft, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare.
Group of Friends
Context: India has launched an initiative called ‘Group of Friends’ to promote accountability for crimes against peacekeepers.
About the Grouping:
- India, Bangladesh, Egypt, France, Morocco and Nepal are co-chairs of the grouping, which was launched during India’s Presidency of UNSC.
- The Group of Friends represents the “political will” of member states, especially of the troop and police contributing countries, to champion the implementation of the provisions of U.N. Security Council resolution 2589.
- Resolution 2589 had called upon member states, hosting or having hosted UN peacekeeping operations, to take all suitable measures to bring to justice perpetrators of the killing or acts of violence against UN personnel.
- Functions: The group will extend capacity building and technical assistance to the host state authorities.
- India will facilitate the launch of a database that will record all crimes committed against UN peacekeepers.
- The group will serve as an informal platform at the United Nations to exchange information, share best practices and mobilise resources for demanding accountability for crimes committed against peacekeepers.
- The group will conduct two meetings of its members per year, organise and host one event per year involving Permanent Missions and other stakeholders.
UN Peacekeeping Forces:
- The UN Peacekeeping Forces are employed to maintain or re-establish peace in an area of armed conflict. They act as impartial third party to ensure return of peace.
- Establishment, maintenance or expansion of peacekeeping operations are decided by the UN Security Council.
- India till today is the largest contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs). Currently, it is the second largest troop contributor.
- India has lost 177 of its peacekeepers in the line of duty, the largest among all.
Context: The value of Meta has fallen by 70-75% (close to $700-billion decline) in a matter of 15 months. This fall has been termed as ‘Lollapalooza Effect’ on Meta stock.
- Meta is a tech company which has a proven business model in digital advertising.
- It has brands like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, which are used by about 3.7 billion people on a monthly basis.
About Lollapalooza Effect:
- Lollapalooza effect, a term coined by Charlie Munger in 1995, is a concept that several smaller scale factors of human biases, tendencies and/or actions, when acting together, can lead towards a certain (and often very significant) outcome.
- It basically means that a confluence of factors acting together can be especially powerful drivers of human behaviour and this can lead to both positive and negative results.
- Key is that when forces combine, they don’t just add up; each force builds off and strengthens the other, creating an explosive effect with huge results
- Within financial markets, Munger believes the ’lollapalooza effect’ can result in herd mentality.
- As investor behaviour and thinking compounds upon other investors’ behaviour and thinking, extremes in market volatility can occur.
Long Lifespan Genes of Banyan and Peepal Trees
Context: Researchers at the IISER Bhopal have carried out whole genome sequencing of banyan and peepal trees from leaf tissue samples and have identified the genes responsible for their long lifespan.
Why do banyan and peepal trees live so long?
- The research identified several genes with multiple signs of adaptive evolution (MSA) that play a pivotal role in long-time survival of these two species.
- These MSA genes came about in response to population bottleneck faced by both trees around 0.8 million years ago.
- Aerial roots of banyan trees: Some of the MSA genes were responsible for the development of aerial roots that is unique to banyan trees.
- These aerial roots help provide much support for the growth and survival of large trees against environmental challenges particularly strong winds that uproot many other similarly large trees.
- Phytohormone signaling pathways: Both plants show MSA genes involved in phytohormone signaling pathways.
- These pathways function to regulate plant developmental senescence and ageing processes. This could be one more reason why banyan and peepal trees have a long lifespan.
- Disease resistance genes: Both banyan and peepal trees have select plant disease resistance gene families that have been expanded through gene duplication events in the course of evolution which confers greater longevity.
- Stress tolerance genes: 88% and 89% of the MSA genes in banyan and peepal trees, respectively, are associated with tolerance against biotic and abiotic stress responses. This, in turn, helps these plants to survive when faced with environmental challenges.