Daily Current Affairs: 5th & 6th December 2021

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics covered

  1. National Judicial Infrastructure Authority of India (NJIAI)
  2. Statutory Bail
  3. Hypersonic weapons
  4. National Mission for Cultural mapping
  5. Hallmarking of gold jewellery
  6. Army operation in Nagaland
  7. Facts for Prelims
  8. Places in News

1. National Judicial Infrastructure Authority of India

Context: Days after Chief Justice of India N V Ramana pressed for establishing a new body to improve judicial infrastructure, the government on Friday said it has received a proposal from him to set up the National Judicial Infrastructure Authority of India (NJIAI)

About the proposed NJIAI

  • The proposed NJIAI could work as a central agency with each State having its own State Judicial Infrastructure Authority, much like the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) model.
  • It has also been suggested that the Chief Justice of India could be the patron-in-chief of the NJIAI, like in NALSA, and one of the Supreme Court judges nominated by the Chief Justice could be the executive chairman.
  • But, unlike NALSA which is serviced by the Ministry of Law and Justice, the proposed NJIAI should be placed under the Supreme Court of India
  • In the NJIAI there could be a few High Court judges as members, and some Central Government officials because the Centre must also know where the funds are being utilised.
  • Similarly, in the State Judicial Infrastructure Authority in addition to the Chief Justice of the respective High Court and a nominated judge, four to five district court judges and State Government officials could be members.
  • “The other salient features in the proposal are that NJIAI will act as a central body in laying down the roadmap for planning, creation, development, maintenance and management of functional infrastructure for the Indian court system, besides, identical structures under all the (25) high courts,

Current status

  • At present, the primary responsibility of development of infrastructure facilities for judiciary rests with state governments.
  • To augment the resources of state governments, the Union government has been implementing a centrally sponsored scheme for development of infrastructure facilities in district and subordinate courts by providing financial assistance to state governments and union territories (UTs) in the prescribed fund sharing pattern

State of infrastructure

  • The Indian judiciary’s infrastructure has not kept pace with the sheer number of litigations instituted every year. A point cemented by the fact that the total sanctioned strength of judicial officers in the country is 24,280, but the number of court halls available is just 20,143, including 620 rented halls.
  • Also, there are only 17,800 residential units, including 3,988 rented ones, for the judicial officers.
  • As much as 26% of the court complexes do not have separate ladies toilets and 16% do not have gents toilets. Only 32% of the courtrooms have separate record rooms and only 51% of the court complexes have a library.
  • Only 5% of the court complexes have basic medical facilities and, only 51% of the court complexes have a library.
  • While the pandemic has forced most of the courts to adopt a hybrid system — physical and videoconferencing mode — of hearing, only 27% of the courtrooms have a computer placed on the judge’s dais with videoconferencing facility.

Need for NJIAI

  • The lack of one particular coordinating agency means each year the funds get lapsed. It remains underutilized.”
  • This claim is supported by the fact that in 2020-21, of the ₹594.36 crore released under the CSS, only ₹41.28 crore was utilised by a single State — Rajasthan.
  • Of a total of ₹981.98 crore sanctioned in 2019-20 under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) to the States and Union Territories for development of infrastructure in the courts, only ₹84.9 crore was utilised by a combined five States, rendering the remaining 91.36% funds unused.
  • The issue has been plaguing the Indian judiciary for nearly three decades when the CSS was introduced in 1993-94.

2. Statutory Bail

Context: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has approached the Supreme Court against a Bombay High Court order granting bail to advocate and activist Sudha Bharadwaj. In its bail order, the court has asked the NIA Court to decide the conditions for her release on December 8. While she was given ‘default bail’, eight others were denied the benefit in the same case. The case highlights the nuances involved in a court determining the circumstances in which statutory bail is granted or denied, even though it is generally considered “an indefeasible right”.

What is default bail?

  • Also known as statutory bail, this is a right to bail that accrues when the police fail to complete investigation within a specified period in respect of a person in judicial custody.
  • It is enshrined in Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure where it is not possible for the police to complete an investigation in 24 hours, the police produce the suspect in court and seek orders for either police or judicial custody.
  • This section concerns the total period up to which a person may be remanded in custody prior to filing of charge sheet.
  • For most offences, the police have 60 days to complete the investigation and file a final report before the court. However, where the offence attracts death sentence or life imprisonment, or a jail term of not less than 10 years, the period available is 90 days.
  • In other words, a magistrate cannot authorise a person’s judicial remand beyond the 60-or 90-day limit. At the end of this period, if the investigation is not complete, the court shall release the person “if he is prepared to and does furnish bail”.

How does the provision vary for special laws?

  • The 60- or 90-day limit is only for ordinary penal law.
  • Special enactments allow greater latitude to the police for completing the probe.
  • In the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the period is 180 days. However, in cases involving substances in commercial quantity, the period may be extended up to one year.
  • This extension beyond 180 days can be granted only on a report by the Public Prosecutor indicating the progress made in the investigation and giving reasons to keep the accused in continued detention.
  • In the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the default limit is 90 days only. The court may grant an extension of another 90 days, if it is satisfied with a report by the Public Prosecutor showing the progress made in the investigation and giving reasons to keep the accused in further custody.
  • These provisions show that the extension of time is not automatic but requires a judicial order.

What are the laid-down principles on this aspect?

  • Default or statutory bail is a right, regardless of the nature of the crime. The stipulated period within which the charge sheet has to be filed begins from the day the accused is remanded for the first time. It includes days undergone in both police and judicial custody, but not days spent in house-arrest.
  • A requirement for the grant of statutory bail is that the right should be claimed by the person in custody. If the charge sheet is not filed within the stipulated period, but there is no application for bail under Section 167(2), there is no automatic bail.
  • In general, the right to bail on the investigation agency’s default is considered an ‘indefeasible right’, but it should be availed of at the appropriate time.

What happened in Sudha Bharadwaj’s case?

  • In the Bhima Koregaon case, which is under UAPA, the prosecution got the 90-day limit extended to 180 days.
  • Ms. Bharadwaj completed 90 days in prison in January 2019, but the charge sheet was filed only in February.
  • Meanwhile, she had applied for default bail on the ground that the extension given by a Sessions Court earlier was without jurisdiction.
  • The court agreed that only a Special Court could have authorised the extension beyond 90 days. Therefore, she was entitled to statutory bail.
  • However, eight others, who had argued that the court order taking cognisance of the charge sheet was defective, but did not specifically seek default bail, were not given the same relief.

3. Hypersonic weapons

About News

  • Hypersonic weapons are manoeuvrable weapons that can fly at speeds in excess of Mach 5, five times the speed of sound.
  • They travel within the atmosphere and can manoeuvre midway which combined with their high speeds makes their detection and interception extremely difficult.
  • China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August while Russia announced that it had successfully test launched a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile in early October. While the U.S. has active hypersonic development programmes, it was lagging behind because most U.S. hypersonic weapons are not being designed for use with a nuclear warhead.
  • India operates approximately 12 hypersonic wind tunnels and is capable of testing speeds of up to Mach 13.
  • India is also developing an indigenous, dual-capable hypersonic cruise missile as part of its Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) program.

What are hypersonic weapons?

  • They are manoeuvrable weapons that can fly at speeds in excess of Mach 5, five times the speed of sound.
  • The speed of sound is Mach 1, and speeds upto Mach 5 are supersonic and speeds above Mach 5 are hypersonic.
  • Ballistic missiles, though much faster, follow a fixed trajectory and travel outside the atmosphere to re-enter only near impact.
  • On the contrary, hypersonic weapons travel within the atmosphere and can manoeuvre midway which combined with their high speeds makes their detection and interception extremely difficult. This means that radars and air defences cannot detect them till they are very close and little time to react.
  • According to the latest memo of the Congressional Research Service (CRS), ‘Hypersonic Weapons: Background and Issues for Congress’ of October 2021, there are two classes of hypersonic weapons
    • hypersonic glide vehicles (HGV)
    • hypersonic cruise missiles (HCM).
  • HGVs are launched from a rocket before gliding to a target while HCMs are powered by high-speed, air-breathing engines, or scramjets, after acquiring their target.
  • Hypersonic missiles are a new class of threat because they are capable both of manoeuvring and of flying faster than 5,000 kms per hour, which would enable such missiles to penetrate most missile defences and to further compress the timelines for response by a nation under attack.

What is the status of Chinese and Russian programmes and where does the U.S. stand?

  • In addition to the Chinese test, early October, Russia announced that it had successfully test launched a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile from a Severodvinsk submarine deployed in the Barents Sea which hit a target 350 kms away.
  • Talking of the test in November, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the tests were almost complete and the Russian Navy would start receiving them in 2022.
  • While the U.S. has active hypersonic development programmes, the CRS memo said it was lagging behind China and Russia because “most U.S. hypersonic weapons, in contrast to those in Russia and China, are not being designed for use with a nuclear warhead.” “
  • As a result, U.S. hypersonic weapons will likely require greater accuracy and will be more technically challenging to develop than nuclear-armed Chinese and Russian systems.
  • The U.S. is now looking to accelerate its own programmes, though it is unlikely to field an operational system before 2023.
  • Debunking some of the claims surrounding hypersonic weapons, Physicists David Wright and Cameron Tracy wrote in the Scientific American dated August 1, 2021 that their studies indicate that hypersonic weapons “may have advantages in certain scenarios, but by no means do they constitute a revolution.” “Many of the claims about them are exaggerated or simply false. And yet the widespread perception that hypersonic weapons are a game-changer has increased tensions among the U.S., Russia and China, driving a new arms race and escalating the chances of conflict,” they wrote in the article ‘The Physics and Hype of Hypersonic Weapons’.

What is the status of development by other countries?

  • The CRS Memo noted that a number of other countries – including Australia, India, France, Germany, and Japan—are also developing hypersonic weapons technology.
  • India operates approximately 12 hypersonic wind tunnels and is capable of testing speeds of up to Mach 13, according to CRS.
  • “Reportedly, India is also developing an indigenous, dual-capable hypersonic cruise missile as part of its Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) program and successfully tested a Mach 6 scramjet in June 2019 and September 2020.
  • This test was carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and demonstrated the scramjet engine technology, a major breakthrough. In a scramjet engine, air goes inside the engine at supersonic speed and comes out at hypersonic speeds.
  • DRDO had said after the test in 2020, many critical technologies such as aerodynamic configuration for hypersonic manoeuvres, use of scramjet propulsion for ignition and sustained combustion at hypersonic flow, thermo-structural characterisation of high temperature materials, separation mechanism at hypersonic velocities have been validated.
  • Given the rising tensions between the U.S., China and Russia as also the worsening geopolitical situation worldwide, the focus for hypersonic weapons is only set to accelerate more countries to invest significant resources in their design and development.

4. National Mission on Culture Mapping

Context: Culture mapping of 80 villages associated with noted personalities in history, in particular the freedom movement, unique crafts and festivals has been started as a pilot project, Culture Ministry officials said.

About the mission

  • National Mission on Cultural Mapping (NMCM) has been set up by the Ministry of Culture in 2017. 
  • Mission will compile data of artists, art forms & geo location with inputs from Central Ministries, State Governments & art/culture bodies.
  • Specially designed data capture form with technical collaboration of National E-Governance Division (NEGD)/Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has been formulated for data collection. 
  • National Mission on Cultural Mapping is a mission mode project of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.


  •  To envision and address the necessity of preserving the threads of rich Indian Art and Cultural Heritage.
  •  To Convert vast and widespread cultural canvass of India into an objective Cultural Mapping.
  •  To Design a mechanism to fulfill the aspirations of the whole artist community of the nation.
  •  To Preserve the rich cultural heritage of this country for future generations.
  •  To create a strong “cultural vibrancy” throughout the nation.
  • The Mission encompasses data mapping, demography building, formalising the
  • processes and bringing all cultural activities under one umbrella for better results.

Objectives of the Mission

  • Under this Mission, at broad-level, there are three important objectives as follows:
    1. National Cultural Awareness Abhiyan: Hamari Sanskriti Hamari Pahchan Abhiyan OR Our Culture Our Identity
    2. Nationwide Artist Talent Hunt/Scouting Programme: Sanskritik Pratibha Khoj Abhiyan
    3. National Cultural Workplace: Centralised Transactional Web Portal with database and demography of cultural assets and resources including all art forms and artists.
  • In a specific term, the Mission outlines the following objectives –
    • Establish the cultural mapping
    • The Mission will run the Abhiyan
    • Establish a National Cultural Working Place (NCWP) portal
    • To provide support in effective utilisation of financial & intellectual resources
    • Ranking/ Certification of attainments
    • Systematically building a comprehensive database of the capabilities of every
      individual artist over a period of time
    • All time availability of desired database on cultural assets and resources at village,
      district, State and national levels for self-paced learning.
    • Identify places where platforms like Kala Grams, Craft Melas, etc. may be
      developed for sharing of ideas, techniques, and resource pooling for planned
      development and promotion of cultural tourism.
    • Identification of clusters engaged in various art forms and to suggest measure for
      developing them as a source of income generation by providing suitable platforms
      and developmental avenues.
    • Promotion of cultural activities like art, craft, weaving, wood carving, pottery, etc.
      through cluster-based approach for the generation of economic activities resulting
      in employment to a large sector of society.
    • Preserving family values, fostering respect for all cultures and to create measures
      in the various section of society to preserve, promote, patronise and revive their
      various art forms.
    • Establish a technologically advanced mechanism to provide support to the artistes
      for any of their perceived learning needs and timely nurturing of scholars and
      artistes, including disbursement of scholarships etc. electronically.
    • Use National portal workplace for providing access, quality and equality in the
      sphere of education to every artist in the country.
    • Bringing efforts of different agencies working in the field of all art forms under one
      umbrella so that they can work in networked and coordinated manner.
    • Spreading Digital Literacy for teacher empowerment and encouraging teachers/
      gurus to be available on the internet for guidance/ mentoring of the artists along
      with online evaluation processes for artists.
    • Development of interfaces for other cognitive faculties which would also help
      physically challenged artists. These efforts may cut across all the content
      generation activities.
    • Preparation of metadata and timed index for cultural archival educational video /
      audio content on tape or other media.
    • Conversion of existing cultural archival tapes into indexed formats in compliance to
      the internationally accepted standards.
    • Development of GIS (Geographical Information System) based resource inventory
      Standardisation & Quality Assurance of e-Content to make them world class.
    • Coordination and synergisation of all art forms related activities of different
      Ministries and organisations.
    • Integrate and streamline all Scholarships/Grants/Awards/Talent awards based on
      the objective database of deserving artistes/institutions.
    • Online processing of grants under different schemes and disbursement of funds
      electronically through NCWP.
    • The Mission would also endeavor to blend soft skills with all art forms modules and
      inculcate a discipline of holistic thinking in the artists so as to make them job
      creators rather than job seekers.
  • The above objectives can be achieved by creating an exhaustive national cultural
    database of individuals & institutions, content generation and research in critical areas
    with the help of available advanced technology.

Current Status

  • Having made little progress since its launch in 2017, the National Mission on Cultural Mapping has now been handed over to the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA)
  • IGNCA aims to complete mapping in 5,000 villages by the end of financial year 2021-2022.

Cultural Mapping of villages

  • The project is expected to be completed this financial year.
  • From Sempore in Kashmir to Kanjirapally in Kerala, villages with a connection to the freedom movement as well as those with their own art practices have been selected for the project, being conducted by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).
  • The work under the mission involves coordinating the data collection through ground and field surveys conducted on the basis of detailed formats and questionnaires, mobile application, interactive web-portal and an over-the-top (OTT) platform to showcase ethnographic documentaries/ cultural events/ festival/ melas etc. of villages.
  • On the list of villages selected is Sempore or Pandrenthan in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir that is associated with 14th Century mystic Lal Ded or Lalleshwari.
  • From Ladakh, the pilot project included Choglamsar and Wanla villages, known for wood carving.
  • Khatkar Kalan village in Punjab, which has a memorial of Bhagat Singh;
  • Reni village of Uttarakhand, where the Chipko movement started;
  • Kathputli Colony in Delhi, known for the “migrant kathputli artists”, are also on the list.
  • Two villages in Tamil Nadu — Ettayapuram (the birthplace of poet Subramania Bharathi) and Thiruchigadi (a village of “women potters”) — are also on the list.

5. Hallmarking of gold jewellery

Context: The Government of India has made hallmarking of gold jewellery mandatory in the country. It is now being implemented by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in a phased manner.With an aim to bring transparency in the jewellery trade and increase trust among consumers, the Government has also made it mandatory for the introduction of a Hallmark Unique Identification (HUID) number in every piece of jewellery. In the first phase, it is being rolled out in 256 districts of the country, though the move was opposed by jewellers’ trade bodies.

What is HUID?

  • HUID is a six-digit alphanumeric code, or one that consists of numbers and letters.
  • It is given to every piece of jewellery at the time of hallmarking and is unique for each piece.
  • Jewellery is stamped with the unique number manually at the Assaying & Hallmarking (A&H) centre.
  • The hallmark consists of three symbols which give some information about the jewellery piece.
  • The first symbol is the BIS logo; the second indicates purity and fineness; and the third symbol is the HUID.
  • Before buying any piece of gold jewellery, the buyer should check all these three symbols. Hallmarking & HUID are mandatory for 14-, 18- and 22-carat gold jewellery and artefacts.

Why is it being introduced?

  • HUID gives a distinct identity to each piece of jewellery enabling traceability.
  • It is critical to the credibility of hallmarking and to help address complaints against adulteration.
  • In HUID-based hallmarking, registration of jewellers is an automatic process with no human interference.
  • In addition to its role in authentication, it also helps check malpractice by members of the trade.
  • According to the Government, it is a secure system and poses no risk to data privacy and security. Jewellers’ trade bodies, however, say it’s cumbersome to number each piece of jewellery and HUID cannot be engraved in tiny pieces and also that it will increase cost for consumers.
  • The Government has made it mandatory to sell hallmarked jewellery in the first phase in 256 districts of the country, each of which has at least one Assaying & Hallmarking centre.
  • HUID numbers are engraved at these centres. More than one lakh jewellers are registered and daily, more than three lakh pieces of jewellery get hallmarked with the HUID number.

What does this mean for the consumer?

  • Given that gold plays a big role in the lives of Indians, mandating gold hallmarking is aimed at protecting consumer interests.
  • Hallmarking of gold jewellery provides ‘third-party assurance’ to consumers on the purity of gold jewellery.
  • Under the scheme, jewellers are granted certificate of registration to sell hallmarked jewellery and A&H centres “are recognised to assay the purity of the jewellery submitted by the registered jeweller along with declaration of purity.

Are there concerns around the process?

  • HUID concept is “innovative, out-of-the-box thinking and more than makes up for stepping in late with mandatory hallmarking.”
  • “It is the sort of global leadership India has and needs to show in gold-related reforms.
  • Trade support is yet lacking as ‘traceability of hallmarking integrity [a consumer benefit] and financial tracking of purchases [a trade concern]’ have been combined, coupled with teething infrastructural issues and these need to be addressed urgently.
  • The World Gold Council is of the view that the HUID system has the potential to be rolled out globally to enhance trust in gold at the retail end and remove a strong barrier to gold-buying.

6. Army operation in Nagaland

Context: A counter-insurgency operation being conducted by an elite unit of the Indian Army’s Para Special Forces in Nagaland went horribly wrong on Saturday, leading to the deaths of 14 innocent villagers, who were wrongly believed to be militants. An Army jawan also lost his life when the situation quickly deteriorated out of control.

About the issue

  • The Mon area is the bastion of Naga group NSCN(K) and Assam’s ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) and the district which shares an international border with Myanmar as well as the state border with Assam. 
  • The area is known to be sensitive and volatile.
  • Around 4 pm on Saturday, the army team, led by a Major, identified a pick-up truck on the Tiru-Oting road as target, and opened fire, sources said.
  • The truck had eight people on board — six of them were killed on the spot, Two others died on the way to hospital. 
  • It is believed that all those on the truck were local coal miners.
  • Sources said no arms or ammunition were recovered from truck.
  • Soon after, hundreds of villagers — armed with stones and machetes — attacked the army team, sources said.
  • The army team opened fire in self-defence, in which at least five 5 villagers were killed and several others were injured,
  • A commando was killed and seven jawans were injured in the brickbatting by the locals.
  • Faulty or half-baked intelligence coupled with mounting pressure to deliver results in counter-insurgency operations in the northeast could have led to the botched operation by an Army special forces unit in the Mon district of Nagaland on Saturday evening.
  • There is “intense pressure” on security forces to deliver after Colonel Viplav Tripathi, his wife, son and four soldiers were killed in a well-planned ambush — the deadliest in the last six years — by insurgents in Manipur on November 13, officials said on Sunday.

7. Facts for Prelims

Anti Drone System

  • Anti drone systems are used to detect and/or intercept unwanted drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  • Hostile drones may be used to deploy explosives, smuggle contraband or gather intelligence on sensitive assets, and the proliferation of low-cost UAVs has led to an increase in incidents.
  • Anti drone technology is deployed to protect areas such as airports, critical infrastructure, large public spaces such as stadiums, and military installations and battlefield sites.
  • With the help of radar, electro-optical/infrared sensors and radiofrequency detectors, the drones can be detected and jammed.
  • The anti-drone technology system developed by DRDO provides both ‘soft kill’ and ‘hard kill’ options.
  • India is developing indigenous technology to thwart the growing threat of drones on the country’s borders and it will soon be made available to the security forces.

Superconducting fault current limiter (SFCL)

  • Superconducting Fault Current Limiter (SFCLs) is innovative electric equipment which has the capability to reduce fault current level within the first cycle of fault current.
  • SFCL have zero impedance under the normal condition and large impedance under fault condition.
  • This device uses a superconductor, which allows a dissipation less passage of current under normal circumstances, as it offers zero resistance to current flow in the superconducting state.
  • However, if the current flowing through it increases beyond a threshold value, as during a fault, its resistance increases sharply.
  • “The operation of a SFCL is very rapid and automatic. Once the fault current reduces and the current flow returns to below the threshold value, the resistance of the SFCL also automatically goes down to zero,”
  • The fault current levels of an interconnected power network have witnessed a general rise due to increase in power demand. This rise in fault current if not properly mitigated may exceed the maximum ratings of the switchgear. Many conventional protective devices such as series reactors, fuses, high impedance transformers, etc. have high cost, increased power loss and loss of power system stability, which may ultimately cause lower reliability and reduced operational flexibility.
  • Superconducting Fault Current Limiter (SFCL) is a flexible alternative to the use of conventional protective devices, due to its effective ways of reducing fault current within the first cycle of fault current, reduced weight and zero impedance during normal operation.
  • Researchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur have come up with an innovation that can help protect power grids against sudden, unexpected current surges.
  • An innovative variation of the superconducting fault current limiter (SFCL), this smart SFCL not only shields the grid from large current surges and consequent fire accidents, it can also sense when the current surges will happen and warn the system about it.

Malaiyaha Tamil community

  • The Malaiyaha Tamils were brought to Sri Lanka by the British around the mid-nineteenth century to work on tea plantations.
  • Hailing from places in Tamil Nadu such as Tirunelveli, Tiruchi, Madurai and Thanjavur, many of them had fled poverty and famine, and came as bonded labourers.
  • According to a UN expert, Sri Lanka’s Malaiyaha Tamil workers, whose labour in tea plantations fetches precious foreign exchange to the country, are living in “inhumane and degrading” conditions.
  • “Contemporary forms of slavery have an ethnic dimension.
  • In particular, Malaiyaha Tamils – who were brought from India to work in the plantation sector 200 years ago – continue to face multiple forms of discrimination based on their origin.

ICON mission

  • The Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON), the newest addition to NASA’s fleet of Heliophysics satellites, launched on October 10, 2019.
  • The goal of the ICON mission is to understand the tug-of-war between Earth’s atmosphere and the space environment.
  • In the “no mans land” of the ionosphere, a continuous struggle between solar forcing and Earth’s weather systems drive extreme and unpredicted variability.
  • ICON will investigate the forces at play in the near-space environment, leading the way in understanding disturbances that can lead to severe interference with communications and GPS signals.

Antarctic Fur Seal

  • The Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella), is one of eight seals in the genus Arctocephalus, and one of nine fur seals in the subfamily Arctocephalinae.
  • Despite what its name suggests, the Antarctic fur seal is mostly distributed in Subantarctic islands.
  • Historically the species were decimated by the sealing industry for its fur and its population was driven close to extinction by the 19th century.
  • Conservation status: Least Concern.

8. Places in News

Chaitya Bhoomi 

  • Chaitya Bhoomi (Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Mahaparinirvan Memorial) is a Buddhist chaitya and the cremation place of B. R. Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian Constitution.
  • It is situated besides Dadar Chowpatty (beach), Mumbai.
  • Chaitya Bhoomi is a revered place of pilgrimage for Ambedkar’s followers, who visit in millions annually on his death anniversary (Mahaparinirvan Diwas) on 6 December.

Mount Semeru 

  • Semeru, or Mount Semeru (Indonesian: Gunung Semeru), is an active volcano in East Java, Indonesia.
  • It is located in a subduction zone, where the Indo-Australian plate subducts under the Eurasia plate.
  • It is the highest mountain on the island of Java. 
  • ava is the largest population center in Indonesia’s massive island archipelago and home to the capital city of Jakarta.
  • The Mountain on the island of Java erupted dramatically on Saturday, shooting a towering column of ash into the sky which blanketed surrounding villages.

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