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Prelim Bits 15-05-2019

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May 15, 2019

Asiatic Lion

  • CSIR has recently sequenced the entire genome of Asiatic lion for the first time.
  • The genome sequencing has already been done for big cats like Royal Bengal tiger, African Cheetah and Jaguar.
  • With the complete genome of Asiatic lion, a comparative study of all these cats would be possible.
  • It would also help to better understand the evolution of Asiatic lion.
  • Asiatic Lion that once ranged from Persia (Iran) to Palamau in Eastern India were almost driven to extinction by hunting and habitat loss.
  • According to 2015 census, it is found in Gir Protected Area Network that includes Gir National Park, Gir Sanctuary, Pania Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary adjoining reserved forests, protected forests.
  • It is listed as “Endangered” in the IUCN red list of threatened species and in Schedule I in CITES Appendix.
  • It is included in 21 critically endangered species included in the  Centrally Sponsored Scheme - Development of Wildlife Habitat (CSS-DWH).
  • Asiatic lion conservation project will be funded under this scheme.

Services Trade Restrictiveness Index

  • STRI is released by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
  • It was launched in 2014 and it ranks countries (both OECD and non-OECD) based on their services trade policies.
  • The index is now available for 2018 for a total of 45 economies and 22 sectors.
  • It has placed Indian service sector as highly restrictive in areas such as FDI.
  • India has found problems with the current method under which index is being calculated.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

  • OECD, an organisation dedicated to economic development, consists of 36 member countries.
  • It includes not only most advanced countries but also emerging countries like Mexico, Chile and Turkey.
  • European Commission also participates alongside Members in discussions on the OECD.
  • It also works closely with non-member countries like China, India, Brazil and South Africa through "Enhanced Engagement" programmes.
  • Though India is not a member country, it is part of the various committee setup under OECD.
  • It administers and publishes the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is a regular assessment of the attainment of 15-year-olds in three areas of knowledge thus measuring the performance of educational systems across countries.
  • India is a signatory of this policy.

Square Kilometre Array

  • SKA project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with eventually over a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area.
  • It will use 1000s of dishes and up to a million low-frequency antennas that will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky much faster than any system currently in existence.
  • South Africa’s Karoo region and Western Australia’s Murchison Shire were chosen as co-hosting locations for this project.
  • Karoo will host the core of the high and mid frequency dishes and Murchison will host the low-frequency antennas.
  • Recent Developments -  MeerLITCH is the world’s first optical telescope linked to a radio telescope launched in South Africa.
  • The device forms part of the SKA project and will be linked to MeerKAT, a radio telescope located 200km away.
  • Scientists at Cambridge have finished designing the data processor of SKA’s telescopes.

 

Source: The Hindu, The Indian Express

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