Current Affair-April 13, 2021

Doomsday Glacier

  • The melting of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier – also called the “Doomsday Glacier”– has long been a cause of concern.
  •  It has high potential of speeding up the global sea level rise happening due to climate change.
  • Researchers at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg are now saying that fears related to Thwaites’s melting are worse than previously thought, owing to the supply of warm water flowing underneath at a rate underestimated in the past.


About the glacier

  • Thwaites Glacier is 120 km wide at its broadest, fast-moving, and melting fast over the years.
  • Because of its size (1.9 lakh square km), it contains enough water to raise the world sea level by more than half a metre. Studies have found the amount of ice flowing out of it has nearly doubled over the past 30 years.
  • Today, Thwaites’s melting already contributes 4% to global sea level rise each year. It is estimated that it would collapse into the sea in 200-900 years. Thwaites is important for Antarctica as it slows the ice behind it from freely flowing into the ocean.
  • Because of the risk it faces — and poses — Thwaites is often called the Doomsday Glacier
Source: Indian Express

Ingenuity helicopter

  • NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopterstrapped to the Perseverance rover was sent to Mars. The helicopter was carried along with the Perseverance rover last year on July 30 from Cape Canaveral in Florida, and landed at the Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18 this year.
  • It will take its first experimental flight on the Red Planet on or after April 14.
  • NASA had unlocked the rotor blades of its Ingenuity helicopter, thereby allowing them to spin freely, on April 7.
  • If things go as planned, Ingenuity, a 1.8-kilogram rotorcraft, will become the first helicopter to fly on another planet.

Ingenuity Mars Mission

  • The helicopter’s mission is experimental in nature and completely independent of the rover’s science mission – which is searching for signs of ancient life and collecting samples of rock and sediment in tubes for potential return to Earth by later missions.
  • Ingenuity is able to fly using counter-rotating blades that spin at about 2,400 rpm. It has a wireless communication system, and is equipped with computers, navigation sensors, and two cameras. It is solar-powered, able to charge on its own.
  • The helicopter project’s chief engineer is J (Bob) Balaram, a graduate of IIT Madras who later went on to work at NASA.
  • The helicopter was placed on the Martian surface to test powered flight in the planet’s thin air.
  •  Its performance during these experimental test flights will help inform decisions about small helicopters for future Mars missions — where they can perform a support role as robotic scouts, surveying terrain from above, or as full standalone science craft carrying instrument payloads.
  • In the distant future, they might even help astronauts explore Mars.
  • NASA will try and demonstrate rotorcraft flight in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars with this helicopter, which is why the mission is so crucial.
Source: Indian Express

Role of Jallianawalabagh massacre in Indian National Movement

Context: Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has paid tribute to the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

  • The massacre at Jallianwala Bagh was a moment in history, a turning point in India’s struggle for Independence. It was a crime that stunned the nation by the scale of its brutality; it showed the true face of the Raj to those who still had faith in the ‘mai-baap’ government.
  • Gandhi called off the satyagraha against the Rowlatt Acts, but a year later, came back with the biggest mass movement yet seen against the government. The die was cast, and the National Movement moved into a different trajectory thereon, acquiring with time an unstoppable momentum.
  • Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in January 1915, and spent the next year travelling around the country. He did not join the Home Rule Movement (1916-1918) of Lokmanya Tilak and Annie Besant, nor was he convinced of the efficacy of the methods of the Congress Moderates.
  • Based on his work in South Africa and his experience in India, he was convinced that non-violent satyagraha was the only viable and sustainable form of resistance.
  • In 1917 and 1918, Gandhi led movements in Champaran, Ahmedabad and Kheda related to economic demands of peasants and industrial workers in those specific areas.
  •  The success of these movements earned him significant goodwill and a valuable knowledge of Indian situations and, in February 1919, he felt confident enough to call for a nationwide agitation against the Rowlatt Bills, which aimed to severely curtail the civil liberties of Indians. One of the Acts was pushed through the Legislative Council ignoring objections of elected Indian representatives, wrecking hopes of post-War constitutional concessions, and angering Indians everywhere.
  • Gandhi formed a Satyagraha Sabha, and called for a nationwide hartal, fasting and prayers, accompanied by civil disobedience from April 6, 1919. But the movement did not go as planned, and at several places there was street violence.
  • Punjab, which was already restive due to war-time repression and forcible recruitments, reacted strongly, and Amritsar and Lahore faced an extremely tense situation. On April 10, crowds attacked the town hall and post office in Amritsar after two local leaders were arrested. The administration, fearing a fullscale mutiny, called in the army and handed over the city to a Colonel named Reginald Edward Harry Dyer.
  • On April 13, which was Baisakhi, a large crowd of people from Amritsar and neighbouring areas gathered at Jallianwala Bagh for a public meeting in defiance of orders banning public assemblies.
  •  A furious General Dyer ordered his troops to fire into the innocent, unarmed crowd, without even issuing a warning. The ground was surrounded on all sides by high walls that made escape impossible, and as the soldiers kept shooting for some 10 minutes, the bodies kept piling up.
  • The official count was 379 dead, even though the real numbers were probably much more. Following the massacre, the government cracked down even harder, the whole of Punjab was put under martial law, and the people of Amritsar were humiliated by forcing them to crawl on their bellies in front of whites.
  • On April 18, Gandhi, fearing even bigger massacres, called off the satyagraha. But neither he nor the people had given up or been cowed into submission.
  • On August 1, 1920, as the nation mourned the passing of the Lokmanya, the Mahatma launched the Non-Cooperation Movement, having already informed the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, that it was a right of the subject recognised “from time immemorial… to refuse to assist a ruler who misrules”.
Source: Indian Express

Tiger transrlocation programme

  • The lone tigress at the Satkosia Tiger Reserve (STR) in Odisha’s Angul district, Sundari, may not get a companion following the closure of the tiger relocation project by the Satkosia National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) recently.
  • The 14-year-old tigress has been alone in Satkosia, which was notified as a tiger reserve in 2007. In 2006, STR had 14 tigers; the 14-year-old is the only one left as of April 2021.
  • When Mahavir, a tiger, was translocated from Kanha Tiger Reserve as part of the re-introduction plan in June 2018, the forest department was hopeful the tigers may mate. But Mahavir — the first tiger to be relocated from a reserve in Madhya Pradesh died in November 2018 due to poaching.
  • The Madhya Pradesh government in 2018 decided to relocate three pairs of tigers to STR as part of the state government’s plan to revive the big cat population in the protected forest. But the country’s first experiment of interstate translocation of tiger in failed after tigress Sundari, who was brought from the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh in June 2018 to STR was sent back on March 23, 2021.
  • The lone tigress can also travel to the nearby forest in Dhenkanal district, or a tiger from nearby forest may come to Satkosia.
  • CCTV footage revealed that the lone tigress was found moving around the enclosure of Sundari.

Tiger population

  • The total tiger population in the country showed a 30%  rise to 2,226 in 2014 from 1,706 in 2011.
  • The number of tigers in Odisha declined from 32 to 28 in the same period, according to the 2018 census report.
  • Non-availability of sufficient prey and the existence of villages in STR are the reasons behind failure of the country’s first interstate translocation tiger project,
Source: Downtoearth

Advanced Antiquities Management System

  • The Directorate of Archives and Archaeology (DAA) of the Goa government inaugurated the Advanced Antiquities Management Systemthat it claimed was the first such system in the country for storage of antiquities.
  • The system catalogues 83 antiquities at present.

About the system

  • The AAMS is a software-driven automated storage used for the storage of various objects.
  • So far it has been used for storage of industrial equipment but the decision of Goa’s DAA to use it for storing valuable antiquities is the first such in the country.
  • The AAMS will ensure safety of antiquities, clean storage space, access control and data management and also enhance utilisation of space.
  • It is aimed at providing quick information about an antiquity linked to the software, saving storage space and ensuring improved preservation of the objects of historical significance.
  • It will also provide information about the age of the antiquity, the material it is made of and its brief history.
Source: Indian Express

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