Current Affairs 1st April, 2019

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1. MiG-27 crashes, pilot ejects to safety

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A MiG-27 UPG fighter aircraft of the Air Force crashed in Jodhpur. The pilot has ejected safely. The pilot had reported engine problems before ejecting. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the accident.

In details

  • The Mikoyan MiG-27 is a variable-geometry ground-attack aircraft, originally built by the Soviet Union.

  • Later licence-produced in India by Hindustan Aeronautics as the Bahadur ("Valiant").

  • It is based on the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 fighter aircraft, but optimized for air-to-ground attack.

  • Unlike the MiG-23, the MiG-27 did not see widespread use outside Russia, as most countries opted for the MiG-23BN and Su-22 instead.

  • It remains in service with the Indian, Kazakh and Sri Lankan Air Forces in the ground attack role.

Specifications

  • Single engine, single seater tactical strike fighter aircraft of Russian origin having a maximum speed of 1700 km/hr (Mach 1.6).

  • It carries one 23 mm six-barrel rotary integral cannon and can carry upto 4000 kg of other armament externally.

Other Fighter Aircrafts in IAF

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  • SU-30 MKI: Twin seater twin engine multirole fighter of Russian origin which carries One X 30mm GSH gun alongwith 8000 kg external armament.

  • Mirage-2000: A single seater air defence and multi-role fighter of French origin powered by a single engine can attain max speed of 2495 km/hr (Mach 2.3).

  • MiG-29: Twin engine, single seater air superiority fighter aircraft of Russian origin capable of attaining max. speed of 2445 km per hour (Mach-2.3).

  • MiG-21 BISON: Single engine, single seater multirole fighter/ground attack aircraft of Russian origin which forms the back-bone of the IAF.


2. Tulip Garden in Srinagar

The tulip garden in Srinagar, which is spread over an area of about 12 hectares and considered Asia’s largest, was thrown open to tourists.


About the Garden

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  • Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden, previously Model Floriculture Center, is a tulip garden in Srinagar.

  • It is situated on the foothills of Zabarwan Range with an overview of Dal Lake.

  • The garden was opened in 2007 with the aim to boost floriculture and tourism in Kashmir Valley.

  • The garden is built on a sloping ground in a terraced fashion consisting of seven terraces.

  • Apart from tulips, many other species of flowers - hyacinths, daffodils and ranunculus have been added as well.

Tulip Festival

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  • Tulip festival is an annual celebration that aims to showcase the range of flowers in the garden as a part of tourism efforts by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • It is organized during the onset of spring season in Kashmir valley.


3. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

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The hump-backed Mahseer, found in the waters of the Cauvery, has been added to the IUCN Red List with Critically Endangered Status.

In details

  • The hump-backed mahseer is a large freshwater fish also called the tiger of the water and found only in the Cauvery river basin including Kerala’s Pambar, Kabini and Bhavani rivers.

  • Five other species have also made it to threatened categories: two wild orchids, the Arabian scad (a marine fish) and two wild coffee species found only in a few localities in the Western Ghats.

About IUCN red list of threatened species

  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.

  • It uses a set of quantitative criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species.

  • These criteria are relevant to most species and all regions of the world.

  • With its strong scientific base, The IUCN Red List is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.


The IUCN Red List Categories:

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  • The IUCN Red List Categories define the extinction risk of species assessed. Nine categories extend from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct).

  • Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with extinction.


4. Stalagmite key to predicting monsoon patterns: Study

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An unusual cave in Meghalaya has helped unlock secrets about climate change, according to scientists who say that data from stalagmites in India could help better predict monsoon patterns, droughts and floods in the country.

About the study

  • The study found an unexpected connection between winter rainfall amounts in northeast India and climatic conditions in the Pacific Ocean.

  • Winter rainfall following weak monsoon years in India can alleviate water stress for farmers. This distant link between land and ocean records could aid in predicting dry season rainfall amounts in northeast India.

  • Each year, monsoon rains between June and September provide water for roughly 1.5 billion people in India.

  • Changes in monsoon strength and the timing of its onset or withdrawal can trigger either drought or flooding, with devastating consequences, highlighting the need for effective ways to predict and prepare for rainfall variations.

  • Stalagmites from Mawmluh Cave and the surrounding region indicate the recurrence of intense, multiyear droughts in India over the last several thousand years.

Stalactite and Stalagmite

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  • The water containing limestone in solution, seeps through the roof in the form of a continuous chain of drops.

  • A portion of the roof hangs on the roof and on evaporation of water, a small deposit of limestone is left behind contributing to the formation of a stalactite, growing downwards from the roof.

  • The remaining portion of the drop falls to the floor. This also evaporates, leaving behind a small deposit of limestone aiding the formation of a stalagmite, thicker and flatter, rising upwards from the floor.

  • Sometimes, stalactite and stalagmite join together to form a complete pillar known as the column.


5. Tashigang takes over as world’s highest polling station

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In details

  • The non-discrete, tiny settlement of Hikkim in Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh has ‘lost its tag’ as the world’s highest polling station.

  • Taking on the title will be the sleepy village of Tashigang, situated in the Buddhist dominated district - it also holds the title of being the highest village in the Spiti Valley.  

  • The Election Commission has set up a new polling station there, which is nearly 690 feet above the one in Hikkim (14,567 feet), making the Tashigang polling station (15,256) not just the highest in the country but in the world.