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UPSC Daily Current Affairs | Prelim Bits 14-05-2021

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May 14, 2021

Hoolock gibbon

  • The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) study has found that there is only one species of Hoolock gibbons and not two in India.
  • The Western Hoolock gibbons (Hoolock Hoolock) are the only apes in India. The other species, Mishmi Hills gibbons (Hoolock leuconedys), is not present here.
  • There was confusion before as these small apes present in the northeast have populations had different physical features.
  • The CCMB team corroborated the data with mitogenome (genetic information contained in mitochondria) analysis and estimated that the split between two species occurred 1.49 million years ago.
  • The new findings will help design conservation programmes by inter-breeding the two populations and maintain their genetic diversity.

Fractional Ownership

  • The term ownership usually signifies exclusive right over an asset.
  • Fractional ownership allows investors to own a bit of a pricey asset. Unrelated parties can share passive ownership of a high-value asset, thus democratising ownership.
  • This can be a jet, commercial real estate, a luxury villa or warehouse.
  • Both income and expenses related to this asset are then shared by investors in proportion to their investment.
  • Nowadays, physical assets such as vehicles, equipment and furniture leased to corporates are also tapping into the fractional ownership craze.
  • In such assets, the minimum investment can be as low as ₹20,000.
  • In property, fractional ownership legally divides ownership rights across many owners. Pre-leased commercial real estate investments can be as low as ₹5 lakh.
  • Typically, fractional ownership investments in commercial real estate are done through a Specific Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in which funds are raised to own and manage the property.
  • As an investor, you will own shares of the SPV holding the property.

Tax on Oxygen Concentrators as Gifts

  • The government has waived Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) and customs duty on oxygen concentrators that are gifted from overseas or imported.
  • But the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) is triggered in the case of non-profit institutions.
  • Only non-profit entities with a valid FCRA registration can legally receive charitable funds and articles from donors outside India.
  • For any non-profit entities without an FCRA licence or for profit companies receiving these equipments as gifts, there could be questions later on under FCRA.
  • Even certain individuals who import oxygen concentrators could face taxes. There is a need for clarification.

Millisecond Pulsars

  • A millisecond pulsar is a pulsar that spins hundreds of times per second or, equivalently, once every few milliseconds.
  • Under the project Transients and Pulsars with MeerKAT (TRAPUM), a team of astronomers has discovered eight rare millisecond pulsars hiding inside global clusters of stars surrounding the Milky Way.
  • They used the MeerKAT telescope to search specifically for millisecond pulsars, which are much rarer than slower spinning pulsars.
  • [MeerKAT telescope is an array of 64 individual satellite dishes run by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO).]
  • To do this, they focused on nine globular clusters — a collection of stars that are bound together by their own gravity and orbit outside the edge of a galaxy — surrounding the Milky Way.
  • Millisecond pulsars are quite rare because their rapid spins can be achieved only in binary systems.
  • [In binary systems, two stellar bodies rotate around one another.]
  • For pulsars, the neutron star's partner is usually a star, but occasionally one member of the binary can be a white dwarf, neutron star or a black hole.
  • But they are also found in the globular clusters. In fact, over 90% of the known pulsars in globular clusters are millisecond pulsars.
  • Millisecond pulsars can be regarded as super-precise cosmic clocks.


  • A pulsar is a neutron star that gives off two beams of radio waves at each pole, due to its strong magnetic field, while also rapidly spinning because of its incredibly large mass.
  • A neutron star has city-sized stellar objects packed with a mass of at least 1.4 times the mass of our sun, which emerges from the explosive deaths of their parent stars.
  • They look like flashing stars, visible only when the beams shine directly at us.
  • Unlike the millisecond pulsar, the vast majority of pulsars rotate once every few hundreds of milliseconds or more.
  • A millisecond pulsar, on the other hand, is a pulsar that spins hundreds of times per second or, equivalently, once every few milliseconds.


  • DeepShake is an earthquake early warning system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to predict how the ground will move during a temblor to give several seconds' advance notice that the earthquake is coming.
  • It uses a deep neural network, a type of AI learning, to identify patterns from past earthquakes in order to predict how the shaking from a new quake will travel.
  • This could lead to faster processing and easier generalizability across different earthquake-prone regions.
  • Despite the fact that DeepShake was given no information about the earthquake's location or type, it was able to warn of shaking at other seismic stations in the network between 3-13 seconds before it happened


Source: Times of India, Economic Times, Business Line, Live Science

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