Prelims Exam


1.Marrakesh Agreement

In News

  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Marrakesh Agreement.

Marrakesh Agreement

  • Signed on April 15, 1994, during the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations.
  • Marked a significant milestone in global trade cooperation.
  • Established the framework for international trade relations among members.
  • Formally created the World Trade Organization (WTO), replacing GATT as the primary body governing global trade.
  • WTO officially began on January 1, 1995.


Science & Tech.

2.Microbes Found Beneath Atacama Desert


  • Researchers discovered microbes thriving deep below the Atacama Desert’s surface.


  • Location: 13 feet beneath the desert’s surface in Chile.
  • Dominant Microbe: Actinobacteria
  • Other microbes: Firmicutes (salt-resistant, anaerobic)

Atacama Desert

  • Driest non-polar desert globally.
  • Receives similar sunshine levels to Venus.
  • Few animals survive (e.g., Darwin’s leaf-eared mouse).
  • Salty, mineral-rich soil supports some bacterial life.


  • Atacama Desert resembles Mars’ harsh conditions.
  • New findings may aid the search for Martian life.
  • Gypsum deposits in both locations could potentially harbor life.


Nuclear Disaster

3.Chernobyl Disaster 


  • Debate continues on who/what caused the Chernobyl disaster.
    • Some blame operator error (“production discipline”).
    • Others point to the flawed reactor design.

About the Disaster

  • Date: April 26, 1986
  • Location: Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine
  • Explosion: Released 400x more radiation than the Hiroshima bomb.
  • Evacuation: Pripyat (3 km away) evacuated within 36 hours.
  • Initial Casualties: 2 workers died, 28 firefighters/cleanup workers died within 3 months (Acute Radiation Sickness)

Long-Term Impact

  • Uninhabitable Zone: 2,600 sq km permanently contaminated.
  • Projected Deaths: UN estimates 4,000 eventual deaths from radiation exposure.

Role of IAEA

  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) coordinated the international response.
  • Provided immediate support to the Soviet Union in:
    • Environmental remediation
    • Decommissioning the plant
    • Radioactive waste management




4.Self-Bred Coral Reef 


  • World Coral Conservatory project successfully bred corals that were introduced to Europe’s largest coral reef at Burgers’ Zoo in the Netherlands.

What are Corals?

  • Invertebrates in the Cnidaria animal group.
  • Made up of many tiny polyps that secrete a calcium carbonate exoskeleton for protection.
  • Coral reefs are formed by millions of polyps creating large structures.
  • Colors: Range from red/purple/blue to brown/green. Colors come from algae living inside polyps.
  • Types: Fringing (shorelines), Barrier (open water), Atolls (circular around sunken volcanoes).


  • Provide food, shelter, breeding grounds for 25% of marine life.
  • Support over 1 billion people through food, livelihoods, and recreation.


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