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UPSC Prelims News 23 January 2023

Eravikulam National Park

Context:  Eravikulam National Park (ENP) in Munnar, Kerala, has witnessed an early onset of the breeding season with the birth of two Nilgiri tahr.

  • Eravikulam National Park is located along the Western Ghats in the Idukki and Ernakulam districts of Kerala in India.
  • The terrain consists of high-altitude grasslands interspersed with sholas.
  • Anamudi, the highest peak in South India lies inside this park.
  • It was declared a Sanctuary in 1975 with the intention of protecting the indigenous population of Nilgiri Tahr (highly endangered mountain goat), which further in 1978 was declared a National Park Considering it’s ecological, faunal, geomorphological and Zoological Significance.
  • This is also the land of “Neelakurinji”, the flower that blooms once in twelve years.
Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park

Nilgiri Tahr:

  • The Nilgiri tahr is the only mountain ungulate in southern India.
  • Protection Status:
    1. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Endangered
    2. Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972: Schedule 1
  • Threats include:
    • Habitat loss due to rampant deforestation, competition with domestic livestock, hydroelectric projects in Nilgiri tahr habitat, and monoculture plantations.
    • Occasional hunting for its meat and skin.

UPSC Prelims News 21 January 2023

 

Immune Imprinting

Context: Recent studies have shown that a phenomenon called immune imprinting in our bodies might be making the new COVID  boosters far less effective than expected.

  • Immune imprinting is a tendency of the body to repeat its immune response based on the first variant it encountered, through infection or vaccination when it comes across a newer or slightly different variant of the same pathogen.
  • After our body is exposed to a virus for the first time, it produces memory B cells that circulate in the bloodstream and quickly produce antibodies whenever the same strain of the virus infects again.
  • When a similar, not identical, variant of the virus is encountered by the body again, the immune system, rather than generating new B cells, activates memory B cells, which in turn produce antibodies that bind to features found in both the old and new strains, known as cross-reactive antibodies.
  • Although these cross-reactive antibodies do offer some protection against the new strain, they aren’t as effective as the ones produced by the B cells when the body first came across the original virus.
  • Thus, scientists have said nasal vaccines might be better at preventing infections than injected ones, as they believe the mucous membranes would create stronger protection, despite carrying some imprint of past exposure.
Immune Imprinting
Immune Imprinting

 

Debt Ceiling

Context: The United States has hit its debt ceiling of $31.4 trillion recently.

  • The debt ceiling is the maximum amount that the US federal government can borrow to fulfil its financial obligations.
  • It was introduced in 1917 during World War I.
  • As the government spends more than it earns through taxes and other revenues, it needs to borrow money in order to pay for expenses, such as social security and Medicare benefits, and the salaries of US military service members.
  • In 2021, this borrowing limit was raised to $31.4 trillion.
  • In order to prevent the breach of such limits, steps such as temporarily suspending investments that the government is supposed to make into retirement and health benefit funds for federal employees, and “re-topping those funds at a later date” are taken.
  • The breach of the debt ceiling might trigger an economic catastrophe and could cause irreparable harm to the US economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, global financial stability, etc.
  • Added to this, the dollar would weaken, the stock markets would collapse, and thousands of people might lose their jobs which would also make investors demand much higher interest rates in the future to loan money to the government.
Debt Ceiling
Debt Ceiling

 

Machu Picchu

Context: One of the top tourist destinations in Peru, Machu Picchu has suspended the entry of travellers amid unrest in the country.

  • Nestled between the slopes of the Andes, Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca Citadel that stands 2,430 metres above sea level.
  • It is located in the Machupicchu District within Urubamba Province in Peru and is one of the amazing urban creations of the Inca Empire.
  • The Urubamba River passes through its Cordillera, forming a canyon with a mountainous tropical climate.
  • While used as a royal mansion, an estimated 750 people lived there and worked almost permanently as auxiliary staff.
  • The property belonged to Pachacuti, but religious experts and temporary skilled workers (Mayocs) also lived there, probably for the benefit and joy of the ruler.
  • It had a calm climate as an Inca capital and is one of the most important archaeological attractions in South America.
  • Machu Picchu has most of the annual rainfall falling from October to March, providing wet summer and dry cold winter.
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

 

BharOS

Why in News? Recently, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras-incubated firm has developed an Indigenous Mobile Operating System ‘BharOS’.

About:

  • The BharOS was developed by JandK Operations Private Limited (JandKops), which has been incubated by IIT Madras.
  • BharOS Services are currently being provided to organisations that have stringent privacy and security requirements whose users handle sensitive information that requires confidential communications on restricted apps on mobiles.
    • Such users require access to private cloud services through private 5G networks.
  • This software can be installed on commercial off-the-shelf handsets.
BharOS
BharOS

 

Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)

Why in News? Recently, INTACH and Indian Embassy have jointly organised an international seminar on knowledge sharing on the conservation of natural and cultural heritage in Kathmandu.

About:

  • It is a non-profit charitable organisation registered under the Societies’ Registration Act, of 1860.
  • It was founded in 1984 in New Delhi with the vision to spearhead heritage awareness and conservation in India.
  • It has pioneered the conservation and preservation of not just our natural and built heritage but intangible heritage as well.
  • In 2007, UNESCO granted INTACH a ‘special consultative status’.
INTACH
INTACH

 

Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar

Why in News? President of India to confer the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2023 on 11 children for their exceptional achievement in six categories.

About:

  • It was instituted in 1996 as the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement, and renamed in 2018 as Bal Shakti Puraskar.
  • It is given by the Government of India every year to recognize exceptional achievements of children in various fields i.e., innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts & culture, sports and bravery.
  • It is given as recognition to children residing in India, above the age of 5 years and not exceeding 18 years.
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development is entrusted with organizing the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar each year.
  • Under Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar, each awardee is given a medal, a cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000/- and a certificate.
Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar
Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar

 

Mission COVID Suraksha

Why in News? Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology has lauded “Team Biotech” for the world’s first Nasal Vaccine.

About:

  • Mission COVID Suraksha was India’s indigenous vaccine development program.
  • It was announced as an arm of the 3rd stimulus package, AtmanirbharBharat3.0.
  • The aim was to promote the research and development of Indian vaccines for COVID-19.
  • This mission is led by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and implemented by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
  • The main focus of the mission was to bring a safe, affordable, and accessible COVID-19 Vaccine at the earliest to the citizens of the country.

 

Leopard 2 Tanks

Why in News? The U.S. Defence Secretary recently said that Germany has not decided whether to allow its Leopard 2 Tanks to be sent to Ukraine.

About:

  • It is a German-made main battle tank, developed by German weapons manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW).
  • Leopard was first produced in the late 1990s for the West German army in response to Soviet threats during the Cold War.
  • These tanks are armed with a 120mm smoothbore cannon.
  • It is also armed with two coaxial light machine guns.
  • They also provide “all-around protection” for troops from threats such as mines, anti-tank fire, and improvised explosive devices.
  • Range: 500km (311 miles)
Leopard 2 Tanks
Leopard 2 Tanks

 

Charge Sheet vs FIR

Why in News? Recently, The Supreme Court has held that the public cannot be given free access to a charge sheet or a final investigation report as it is not a public document.

About:

Charge Sheet

  • A charge sheet refers to a formal police record showing the names of each person brought into custody, the nature of the accusations, and the identity of the accusers.
  • The charge sheet is to be filed within 60 days from the date of arrest of the accused in cases triable by lower courts and 90 days in cases triable by the Court of Sessions.
  • No case for grant of bail will be made under section 167(2) of the CrPC if the charge sheet is filed before the expiry of 90 days or 60 days.

First Information Report

  • FIR means any information recorded by an on-duty officer given by an aggrieved person or any other person either in writing or made orally about the commission of a Cognizable Offence.
  • FIR can be registered by the Judicial Magistrate.
  • A charge sheet is distinct from the FIR, which is the core document that describes a crime that has been committed.

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