Current Affairs Nov 9


AIM-Sirius Innovation Programme 3.0

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Sirius, Russia, launched ‘AIM–Sirius Innovation Programme 3.0’– a 14-day virtual Programme for Indian and Russian schoolchildren.
  • The first Indo-Russian bilateral youth innovation initiative, the AIM–Sirius Program seeks to develop technological solutions (both web- and mobile-based) for the two countries.
  • Addressing global challenges–– across a range of areas such as culture, distance education, applied cognitive science, health and well-being, sports, fitness, and games training, chemistry, artificial intelligence, and digital financial assets.


 UAE has relaxed various Islamic laws


  • The United Arab Emirates announced a slew of legal reforms relating to personal freedoms that seek to move the country away from its hardline interpretation of Islamic law.
  • The overhaul includes changes in laws related to honor killings, alcohol restrictions, cohabitation of unmarried couples, divorce and succession.
  • The modernization efforts have been announced before Expo 2020, the mega world event hosted by Dubai that is expected to bring in investments and around 2.5 crore visitors to the country.
  • The Expo was to be held from this year October until April 2021, but has been postponed to October2021-March2022.



Honor killings and harassment of women


  • Previously, under “honor crimes”, male relatives could evade prosecution or get lighter sentences for assaulting women who purportedly brought “dishonor” to the family by acts such as disobeying religious scriptures or promiscuity.
  • Such incidents would now be treated as similar to any other assault.
  • There would be stricter punishments for men who subject women to harassment, including stalking and street harassment.
  • The reforms also reiterate a law passed last year that recognized men as victims of harassment or stalking.
  • The rape of a minor or someone “with limited mental capacity” will be punished with execution.


Consumption of alcohol


  • Drinking alcohol has been decriminalized for those above 21 years of age, and penalties for possessing or selling alcoholic beverages without an alcohol license in authorized areas have been removed.
  • Underage drinking, however, remains punishable.


Unmarried couples living together


  • “Cohabitation of      unmarried couples”    has    been made     legal for     the    first time.
  • Previously, it was illegal for an unmarried couple, or even unrelated flatmates, to share a home in the UAE.

Divorce and succession

  • In a major change, for couples who were married in their home country but want to get a divorce in the UAE, laws of the country where the marriage took place would apply.

Suicide and “Good Samaritans”

  • The reforms decriminalize suicide and attempted suicide. Previously, a person who survived a suicide attempt could be prosecuted. However, this offence has now been removed and the courts and police are supposed to provide mental health support to vulnerable people.

Procedural reforms

  • Courts have been mandated to provide legal translators for defendants and witnesses who do not speak Arabic.
  • Privacy laws have also been strengthened, and evidence related to alleged indecent acts will now have to be protected and cannot be publicly disclosed.



China’s Rail Line in Tibet, Close to Arunachal Pradesh



  • Chinese President Xi Jinping instructed officials to expedite the construction of the new USD 47.8 billion railway project connecting the country’s southwest Sichuan province to Linzhi in Tibet close to the Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Sichuan-Tibet Railway will be the second railway line into Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway project. It will go through the southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the world’s most geologically active area.
  • The Sichuan-Tibet Railway starts from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province and travels through Ya’an and enters Tibet via Qamdo, shortening the journey from Chengdu to Lhasa from 48 hours to 13 hours.
  • Linzhi, also known as Nyingchi, is located close to Arunachal Pradesh border.
  • The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border between the two countries. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of south Tibet which is firmly rejected by India.
  • Linzhi also has an airport which is one of the five airports built by China in the Himalayan region.
  • The Sichuan-Tibet Railway will not only accelerate and enhance the overall economic development of the Tibet region, but will play an important role in safeguarding border stability.
  • The project would significantly contribute to the economic and social development of the western region, especially in Sichuan province and Tibet Autonomous Region, xi said.
  • The 1,011-km section between Ya’an in Sichuan and NyingChi in Tibet is the third part of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, which will be carried out by the China State Railway Group Co.,
  • The project’s Chengdu-Ya’an section became operational in December 2018, and the construction of the Lhasa-Nyingchi section started in June 2015.



Agricultural Exports Grow Amid Overall Decline


  • India’s agricultural exports are up 4.6% year-on-year in dollar terms during April-September. This comes even as the country’s overall merchandise exports for the same period have registered a 21.2% annual decline.
  • It also mirrors a larger trend — of the farm sector doing reasonably well amid an economy that, according to the Reserve Bank of India, is likely to contract by 9.5% in 2020-21 (April-March).

Rice on top

  • The star performer has been rice, with the value of shipments increasing by well over a third to $4.08 billion in April-September.
  • The growth has come more from the non-basmati rather than basmati segment.
  • India exports basmati rice largely to the West Asian countries (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Yemen), besides the US and UK.
  • The destinations for non-basmati are mainly West Africa (Benin, Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea and Senegal), East Africa (Somalia and Djibouti), UAE and Nepal.
  • Another Agri-commodity that is on course to post all-time-high exports in 2020-21 is sugar.



Anti -Conversion law


  • Haryana Home Minister said that his government is considering a law against forced religious conversions and has sought information about such a law already in force in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Last year, the Himachal Pradesh assembly passed the Freedom of Religion Bill, 2019.

What is the Himachal Pradesh anti-conversion law?

  • The state had already enacted a law in 2007 which prohibited conversion from one religion to another by force or fraud.
  • During the monsoon session of the assembly last year, Chief Minister introduced a more stringent version of the legislation.
    • “The society has undergone many transition changes [since 2007]… It has been observed that there is a rise in conversions by fraudulent means and unless checked well in time, this practice may erode the confidence and mutual trust between the different ethnic and religious groups in the state.”

What does the law say?

  • According to the Act, “no person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any other person from one religion to another by use of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, inducement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage; nor shall any person abet or conspire such conversion”.
  • The Act does not cover a person re-converting to his “parent religion”.
  • It further says that any marriage done for the sole purpose of religion conversion may be declared null and void by a court on a petition by either party.

What happens if anyone wants to convert to any other religion?

  • As per the Act, anyone who wishes to convert to any other religion will give a declaration to the district authorities at least one month in advance, specifying that one is doing so as per his/her “own volition or free consent”.
  • In fact, even the religious priest who performs the conversion ceremony has to inform the authorities at least one month in advance.
  • The district magistrate will then conduct an inquiry regarding the “intention, purpose and cause of proposed conversion”.
  • The conversion will be rendered illegal if the authorities are not informed in advance.

The burden of proof

  • The Act says that the burden of proof as to whether a religious conversion was not affected through force or fraud lies on the person so converted, or the person who has facilitated the conversion.

What is the punishment?

  • All offences under the Act are cognizable and non-bailable.
  • The violator can be punished with a prison term ranging from one to five years, along with a fine.
  • In case the victim is a minor, woman or member of a Scheduled Caste or Tribe, the imprisonment may extend upto seven years.
  • Failure to declare the conversion in advance can also result in an imprisonment of upto two years.


               PLI SCHEME


  • The government aims to expand the ambit of the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to include as many as ten more sectors such as food processing and textiles other than the already included mobile phones, allied equipment, pharmaceutical ingredients and medical.
  • Apart from cutting down on imports, the PLI scheme also looks to capture the growing demand in the domestic market.

What is the production linked incentive scheme?

  • In order to boost domestic manufacturing and cut down on import bills, the central government in March this year introduced a scheme that aims to give companies incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in domestic
  • Apart from inviting foreign companies to set shop in India, the scheme also aims to encourage local companies to set up or expand existing manufacturing
  • So far, the scheme has been rolled out for mobile and allied equipment as well as pharmaceutical ingredients and medical devices
  • These sectors are labour intensive and are likely, and the hope is that they would create new jobs for the ballooning employable workforce of

Why is the production linked scheme needed?

  • The idea of PLI is important as the government cannot continue making investments in these capital-intensive sectors as they need longer times for start giving the
  • Instead, what it can do is to invite global companies with adequate capital to set up capacities in

Which sectors currently have the PLI scheme?

  • Around March this year, the central government introduced the PLI scheme for mobile manufacturing as well as pharmaceutical ingredients and medical
  • While the scheme for mobile and allied equipment was notified on April 1, the guidelines for the latter were notified on July
  • As a part of the PLI scheme for mobile and electronic equipment manufacturing, an incentive of 4-6 per cent is planned for electronics companies which manufacture mobile phones and other electronic components such as transistors, diodes, thyristors, resistors, capacitors and nano-electronic components such as micro electromechanical

Which sectors are likely to see PLI schemes introduced in the near future?

  • The government was looking to introduce PLI scheme in about nine to ten sectors, apart from the two already existing
  • Food processing, textiles, leather as well as battery manufacturing are likely
  • Unlike the previous schemes brought to boost domestic manufacturing, this one aims to give all the sops and benefits only if the companies are able to prove that they had incremental sales every year for the next five



Measure of “Obscenity” In India


  • Model and actor Milind Soman was booked by the Goa Police on November 6 for obscenity, days after he posted a photograph of himself running nude on a beach in the Actor Poonam Pandey and her husband faced arrest for a controversial photoshoot, a video of which went viral.

What does Indian law say about obscenity?

  • Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) punishes obscene acts or words in a public place. To be considered a crime, the obscenity must cause “annoyance to others”.
  • A person convicted under this law can face up to three months
  • Obscene books are similarly criminalised under Section
  • The law on obscenity has evolved with the advent of the Internet and social
  • Under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, anyone who publishes or transmits obscene material in electronic form can be

What is considered ‘obscene’?

  • The Oxford dictionary defines obscene as ‘offensive or disgusting by accepted standards of morality and decency’.
  • For a book or object to be obscene, Section 292 of the IPC says it must be lascivious or prurient or have the effect of depraving or corrupting
  • The terms ‘lascivious’, ‘prurient’, ‘deprave’ and ‘corrupt’ have not been clearly defined, leaving room for interpretation by
  • The courts, for their part, have developed tests to determine whether something is ‘obscene’.
  • In 1965, the landmark Ranjit Udeshi judgment of the Supreme Court adopted the Victorian-era Hicklin
  • The test assessed obscenity by the standard of someone who was open to immoral influences and was likely to be corrupted or depraved by the material in

When approached from this angle, a wide range of material could be ‘obscene’.

  • In the Aveek Sarkar case of 2014, the Supreme Court did away with the British Hicklin test and adopted the American Roth test,
  • As per this test, obscenity was to be evaluated like an average person would, applying contemporary community
  • The contemporary community standards test takes into account the changing values in society. What was obscene a century or even a decade ago, need not be obscene now.

What about freedom of expression?

  • The right to freedom of speech and expression is not absolute. Article 19 of the Constitution of India, which guarantees the right also provides for reasonable restrictions on various grounds, including that of decency and
  • This means that free speech has to be balanced against the contemporary community standards of morality when it comes to penalizing obscene acts or
  • Indian courts have often settled the debate between morality and freedom in favour of artistic



Armed Clashes in Ethiopia’s Tigray


  • Ethiopia is on the brink of a civil war after Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that he had ordered troops to counter an allegedly violent attack by armed forces in the country’s northern Tigray
  • The domestic conflict in Ethiopia comes after several smaller conflicts that have been festering for months that could now spiral and impact the Horn of Africa region at large.

Why has conflict started in Tigray?

  • The conflict escalated in September, when Tigray held local elections in insubordination of the Ethiopian federal
  • These elections were considered “illegal” by the federal government, further leading to conflict with Tigray
  • Conflict between Tigray authorities and the federal government can be traced to when Abiy Ahmed came to power in
  • According to observers of the Horn of Africa, the Tigray region is wealthier than other parts of the country, and more importantly, has a well-trained
  • The authority of the Tigray officials has considerably reduced since Abiy took office, making their waning influence a point of
  • The structure     of    Ethiopia’s     federal    system     allows    the    country’s     ten regions significant
  • These regions also have their own parliaments, their own security forces, and the right to a referendum for independent
  • But Tigray officials and their supporters had called Abiy’s moves an attempt to curb and control potential
  • Hence, in many ways, this conflict is really the result of a battle between two different political ideologies for supremacy and control in the

What happened this week?

  • The Prime Minister’s office said that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party in that region, had “tried to steal artillery and other equipment from federal forces stationed there”.
  • The last red line has been crossed with this morning’s attacks and the federal government is therefore forced into a military
  • Following the start of heavy fighting, including artillery fire, by diplomatic corps stationed in Ethiopia, telephone lines were blocked and internet services were shut down.

What impact will this have on the Horn of Africa?

  • If the conflict between the Ethiopian federal government and Tigray authorities exacerbates, it will spill over to neighbouring countries in the Horn of
  • Eritrea may be hardest hit, due to its proximity to
  • Many veterans from the TPLF who participated in the Ethiopian-Eritrean war between 1998 and 2000 are now part of the Tigray region’s paramilitary forces” and there is lingering resentment between these veterans and
  • Ethiopia has also been engaged in a long-standing conflict with Egypt over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam over the Blue Nile, with Sudan having been inadvertently drawn into this conflict over the course of the dam’s development.
  • If the violence and conflict spills outside Ethiopia’s borders, it may potentially destabilize the Horn of Africa
  • The US and China have several strategic military bases in that region, the closest being
  • If these military bases were to be impacted by the disturbances in any way, it may cause foriegn powers to get militarily involved in the region and the conflict.



U.N. Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.


  • In a significant victory for India at the United Nations, Indian diplomat Vidisha Maitra was elected to the U.N. Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), a subsidiary organ of the General
  • The 193-member General Assembly appoints members of the Advisory

Members are selected on the basis of broad geographical representation, personal qualifications and experience.

  • Maitra was one of two nominated candidates from the Group of Asia-Pacific States. In the group, Ali Mohammed Faeq Al-Dabag of Iraq drew 64 votes.
  • The Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, which deals with administrative and budgetary issues, recommended Ms. Maitra to the Assembly for a three-year term beginning January 1,
  • The victory comes as India gets ready to sit in the U.N. Security Council as a non-permanent member for a two-year term beginning January

About U.N. Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ)

  • ACABQ consists of 16 members appointed by the Assembly in their individual capacity.
  • The major functions of the Advisory Committee are to examine and report on the budget submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly and to advise the General Assembly concerning any administrative and budgetary matters referred to

It also examines, on behalf of the General Assembly, the administrative budgets of the specialised agencies and proposals for financial arrangements with such agencies; and to consider and report to the General Assembly on the auditors’ reports on the accounts of the United Nations and of the specialised agencies.



NGT Bans Firecrackers in Places Where Air Quality Is “Poor”.


  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed that there would be a total ban on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers between November 10 and 30 in all cities and towns across the country where the average ambient air quality in November fell under the ‘poor’ and above
  • In places across the country where the ambient air quality fell under the ‘moderate’ or below category, only green crackers would be permitted to be sold and timings would be restricted to two hours for the use and bursting of the
  • The green panel specified that data from November 2019 would be calculated to ascertain the average ambient air quality for both the
  • Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Delhi and Chandigarh among others had already prohibited the sale and use of firecrackers to protect vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, persons with co-morbidities among
  • Since we have taken the view that pollution aggravates COVID-19, not only crackers are to be banned or restricted depending upon air quality, all State pollution control boards and committees must take special initiative to contain air pollution by regulating all other sources of pollution



Ministry Of ports, Shipping and Waterways


  • Prime Minister said the Ministry of Shipping is being expanded and renamed as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and
  • He was addressing a gathering after inaugurating a Ro-Pax ferry service between Hazira in Surat and Ghogha in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, which will reduce the 370-km road distance between the two places to 90-km by sea
  • The service will also cut the travel time between the two places to about four hours from 10 to 12
  • In developed economies, in most places, the shipping ministry also takes care of ports and
  • In India, the shipping ministry does a lot of work related to ports and

Clarity in name will also bring about clarity in work.

  • To strengthen the ‘blue economy’, it is important to strengthen logistics related to the
  • Compared to other countries, the cost of carrying goods from one part to another is high in India even
  • Through water transport, this (cost) can be reduced
  • To boost the ‘blue economy’ and fishing business, his government also focused on fishermen and has come up with the ‘Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana’ with an outlay of Rs 30,000 crore to help improve the fishing
  • Today, the port capacity of coastal areas across the country is being increased and new ports are being Efforts are being made to ensure that the 21,000-km ‘jal marg’ (waterways) are used for the country’s development.
  • Work is on at fast pace to create infrastructure and capacity building for sea routes, like maritime clusters and maritime university, as well as the world’s first CNG Terminal in
  • The Gujarat Maritime Cluster coming up in the GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) City at Gandhinagar will be a dedicated system to address logistics of ports and
  • The government is trying to restart the ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej that was launched in 2017, but stopped due to natural



Fastags to be Mandatory for all four wheelers from 1st Jan 2021


  • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued a notification making FASTags mandatory for all four-wheel vehicles from 1st January
  • This will apply to old vehicles as well as M and N category of motor vehicles sold before 1st December,
  • As per Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, the FASTag had been made mandatory for all registration of new four wheeled Vehicles since 1st December 2017 and is being supplied by the Vehicle Manufacturer or their
  • It had further been mandated that the renewal of fitness certificate will be done only after the fitment of FASTag for the Transport
  • For National Permit Vehicles the fitment of FASTag has been mandated since 1st of October,
  • A valid FASTag is also mandatory while getting a new third Party Insurance through an amendment in certificate of Insurance, wherein the details of FASTag ID will be captured. This will be applicable with effect from 1st of April
  • This notification would be a major step for ensuring that the payment of fees be 100 per cent at Toll Plazas through the Electronic Means only and that the vehicles pass seamlessly through the Fee



Indian Fossils shed light on the origin of horses, rhinos, tapirs.


  • Scientists have assessed over 350 fossils of hoofed mammals — a group that includes horses, rhinos, and tapirs — and suggest that they may have originated in or near present day
  • In the research, the scientists unearthed a sheep-sized animal with moderate running ability belonging to the now-extinct genus of mammals called
  • They said the animal possessed features that were intermediate between specialised hoofed mammals and their more generalized
  • Comparing its bones with many other living and extinct mammals, revealed that this group of animals represents an evolutionary stage more primitive than any known hoofed
  • The findings support origin for the group in or near India, which they believe was an island continent during this time period, drifting northwards and later colliding with the continent of Asia to form a continuous
  • They believe the group likely evolved in isolation in or near India 66-56 million years ago, before dispersing to other continents when the land connection with Asia
  • In 1990, Krause & Maas proposed that these (mammal) orders might have evolved in India, during its northward drift from Madagascar, dispersing across the northern continents when India collided with



Virgin Hyperloop Hosts First Human Ride on New Transport System.


  • Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop has completed the world’s first passenger ride on a super high-speed levitating pod
  • Los Angeles-based Hyperloop envisions a future where floating pods packed with passengers and cargo hurtle through vacuum tubes at 966 kmph or
  • In a hyperloop system, which uses magnetic levitation to allow near-silent travel, a trip between New York and Washington would take just 30
  • That would be twice as fast as a commercial jet flight and four times faster than a high-speed
  • The company is working toward safety certification by 2025 and commercial operations by
  • Canada’s Transpod and Spain’s Zeleros also aim to upend traditional passenger and freight networks with similar technology they say will slash travel times, congestion and environmental harm linked with petroleum-fueled



Myopia or Shortsightedness.


  • Myopia or shortsightedness is turning out to be an epidemic across India, and indeed even more in Southeast
  • It occurs because of the potential role of myopic genes and also local environmental conditions such as the prolonged ‘near work’ and/or less sunlight exposure, and not because of any infection due to harmful

What is myopia?

  • Myopia occurs when the eyeball becomes longer, relative to the focusing power of the cornea and the lens; this leads to focus not on the surface of the retina, but at a point before.
  • This leads one to find it difficult to focus distant objects clearly, though one can see close-up objects such as while reading and using the computer
  • In the year 2000, about 25% of the world’s population was near-sighted or myopic, but it is expected to increase to above 50% by 2050 (30 years from now).

Dire predictions

  • Based on the current increasing prevalence of myopia in India, scientists from the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) predict that 64 million children (aged 5-15 years) living in urban regions of the country alone will have myopia by the year 2050, if no interventions are made to control it.
  • While many factors are known to counteract this problem, recent studies indicate less time spent outdoors to be a risk factor for
  • There are various ways in which such outdoor brightness helps protect the human eye from becoming
  • If you are in an open space, and not performing any ‘near work’, the stress on the eye is
  • Outdoor environment provides equal optical stimuli to various parts of the peripheral retina (the posterior part of the eye) and also enables exposure to different colours (the so called VIBGYOR) equally well, while indoor lighting using artificial sources that cut off specific
  • Upon bright illumination in sunlight, the pupil reduces its size and reduces blur, and increase the depth of
  • Sunlight exposure helps the biology of the eye, helping it to produce more vitamin D.
  • Exposure to bright light releases the hormone dopamine, which controls the length of the eye ball; the shorter it is, myopia might set

Policy suggestions


  • Mandatory 60 minutes of recess time in all schools during the school hours every day, by locking the classrooms to keep the students in sunlight, starting from primary level to the high
  • Have a structured recess time incorporated into all their Make it mandatory for schools to have enough space for playgrounds.
  • Create public awareness among parents about the importance of proper eyesight and control the use of near-vision devices such as
  • Recommend/promote community     centres     in   each locality                                 to                       organise  outdoor programmes weekly or at least twice a




How Different Are The Brains Of Birds From Those Of Mammals


  • Ravens recognise themselves in a mirror, and these birds are known to even plan for the
  • Studies have shown that pigeons can be taught to recognise English words and can learn
  • Another study shows that birds have a more organised brain than previously
  • The cognitive skills of mammals are related to the cerebral cortex. But birds don’t have this cerebral cortex, they have a region called the pallium, and studies on this region have now revealed new information on its
  • Using a special technique called 3D polarised light imaging, the team studied the orientation of individual nerve fibres.
  • They studied in the brains of 42 homing pigeons, nine barn owls, a rat, a vervet monkey and one
  • They found that the brains of the birds had an organisation similar to that seen in mammalian
  • The fibres were seen to be arranged horizontally and vertically, just like how they are arranged in the neocortex region of the mammal
  • They conducted another study to examine the interconnection of cells in the sensory areas of bird brain and found connections similar to mammal
  • According to the team of researchers there is a possibility that both mammals and birds independently developed similar microcircuits by means of convergent or parallel




‘ Best State  Award for Water Management.


  • Tamil Nadu has bagged the first place under the ‘Best State’ category under the National Water Awards (NWAs) 2019, presented by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga
  • Tamil Nadu was followed by Maharashtra and Rajasthan as the best states under the normal
  • The National Water Awards 2019 are presented in 16 categories including Best State, Best District, Best Village Panchayat, Best Urban Local Body, Best Research/ Innovation/ New Technology and Best Education among others, and each of the categories has sub-categories in different zones of the
  • Tamil Nadu also bagged awards under the Best District category in the Vellore and Karur districts were awarded first and second spots respectively under the ‘Revival of River’ sub-category.
  • Preambular district came second in the ‘Water Conservation’ category. Under the ‘Water Conservation’ category for South, Santhinatha Village Panchayat, Thoothukudi bagged the first place. Madurai Municipal Corporation was awarded the first place in the ‘Best Urban Local Body’
  • Indira Gandhi Government High School, Katterikuppam, Puducherry was awarded the first place in the ‘Best School’



UK Firm to Turn Moon Rock into Oxygen and Building Materials.


  • When astronauts return to the moon in the next decade, they will do more with the dust than leave footprints in
  • A British firm has won a European Space Agency contract to develop the technology to turn moon dust and rocks into oxygen, leaving behind aluminium, iron and other metal powders for lunar construction workers to build
  • If the process can be made to work well enough, it will pave the way for extraction facilities on the moon that make oxygen and valuable materials on the surface, rather than having to haul them into space at enormous
  • Analyses of rocks brought back from the moon reveal that oxygen makes up about 45% of the material by The remainder is largely iron, aluminum and silicon.
  • NASA and other space agencies are in advanced preparations to return to the moon, this time to establish a permanent lunar base, or “moon village” where nations will operate alongside private companies on critical technologies such as life support, habitat construction, energy generation and food and materials
  • The Esa contract will fund Metalysis for nine months to perfect an electrochemical process that releases oxygen from lunar dust and rocks by sending an electrical current through the
  • The process is already used on Earth, but the oxygen is released as an unwanted byproduct of mineral
  • To make it work for lunar explorers, the oxygen must be captured and
  • The oxygen released from the lunar surface can be combined with other gases to produce breathable air, but it is also a vital component of rocket propellant that could be manufactured on the moon and used to refuel spacecraft bound for deep
  • For more than four decades, human space exploration has been restricted to missions to the international space station, an orbiting outpost about 220 miles above the
  • The focus over the coming years will be the construction of a new station in orbit around the moon that will act as a stopping-off point for humans to establish a presence on the lunar surface, and potentially as a base from which to launch outwards to
  • The Lunar Gateway programme has set itself the ambitious goal of returning humans to the moon as early as 2024, with crews transported aboard Nasa’s Orion The rocket is expected to make its first un-crewed flight next year.
  • ESA has provided power and propulsion units for the first Orion flight and has agreed contracts to build the main crew module for the lunar


Que-          Which country has recently decided to cull its mink population of up to 17 million after a mutation of the coronavirus found in the animals spread                         to humans.


  1. Netherlands   
  2. Italy                 
  3. Denmark
  4. Spain