Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Exam 

Geography

1.Slope Stabilization in Tamil Nadu: Soil Nailing and Hydroseeding

Project: Highways department in Tamil Nadu is using a combined approach to stabilize slopes along major roads in the Nilgiris.

Soil Nailing:

  • Geotechnical engineering technique to strengthen soil slopes.
  • Steel tendons are drilled and grouted into the soil, creating a reinforced mass like a retaining wall.
  • Methods:
    • Drilled & Grouted: Most common, uses pre-drilled holes and grouting for permanent stabilization.
    • Driven: Fast for temporary work, but less corrosion resistant.
    • Jet Grouted: Used for loose soil, injects grout with steel bar insertion.
    • Launched: Uses compressed air to shoot steel bars into the soil.

Applications:

  • Stabilizing slopes and landslides
  • Supporting excavations
  • Repairing retaining walls

Hydroseeding:

  • Applies a mixture of seeds, fertilizer, and organic materials to soil.
  • Promotes grass and plant growth to hold topsoil and prevent erosion.

Combined Benefit:

  • Soil nailing provides immediate structural reinforcement.
  • Hydroseeding creates a long-term solution by establishing vegetation for lasting slope stability and erosion control.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/a-green-solution-to-prevent-landslips-in-the-nilgiris/article68167534.ece

 

Art and Culture

2.Sahitya Akademi Fellowship

  • Highest literary honor in India awarded by Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters).
  • Bestowed on writers with outstanding contributions to Indian literature.
  • Limited to 21 recipients at any given time, known as the ‘immortals of literature’.

Sahitya Akademi

  • Established: March 12, 1954 (autonomous organization)
  • Goal: Develop Indian literature, set high literary standards, and promote cultural unity through 24 Indian languages.

Other Fellowship

  • Premchand Fellowship: Awarded for research on Indian literature or creative writing by authors from SAARC countries (excluding India).

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/books/ruskin-bond-awarded-sahitya-akademi-fellowship/article68165584.ece

 

Environment

3.Disappearing Silk Cotton Trees in South Rajasthan (Bombax ceiba L.)

  • The Silk Cotton Tree (Semal Tree) is vanishing from South Rajasthan, harming the environment and local communities.
  • Local Name: Semal Tree
  • Description: Lofty deciduous tree with buttressed base and conical prickles.
  • Habitat: Moist deciduous & semi-evergreen forests, plains (up to 1400m).
  • Distribution in India: Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Benefits:
    • Fire-resistant shade provider.
    • Pioneer tree for restoring wastelands.
    • Helps fight climate change by absorbing carbon.
    • Home to rock bees (spikes deter predators).
    • Food source for tribal communities (roots).
    • Provides materials for tools, instruments, and fuel.
  • Significance:
    • Multiple Uses: Valuable for wildlife, insects, and tribal communities.
    • Fire-resistant & Cooling Properties: Provides shade and reduces fire risk.
    • Pioneer Tree: Generates rich biomass for reclaiming wastelands.
    • Carbon Sequestration: Fixes carbon and sheds leaves before flowering.
    • Bio-indicator: Late flowering might predict hot summers or delayed monsoons.
    • Habitat for Rock Bees: Spikes deter sloth bears, a natural predator.
    • Food Source: Tribal communities consume the reddish root during monsoons.
    • Agroforestry: Provides food, fodder, and fuelwood.
    • Cultural Significance:
      • Garasia tribe believes in descent from semal trees.
      • Kathodi tribe uses wood for musical instruments.
      • Bhil tribe uses wood for utensils.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/udaipur-holika-dahan-semal-trees-rajasthan-disappearing/article68170694.ece

 

Environment

4.Sea Anemone Bleaching in Lakshadweep

  • First observed: Lakshadweep Islands (2024)

About Sea Anemones

  • Marine invertebrates: Order Actiniaria
  • Predatory: Sting prey
  • Colorful: White, green, blue, orange, red, mauve
  • Habitat: Attached to reefs, rocks, or burrow in mud/sand
  • Symbiotic relationship: With algae for energy (threatened by bleaching)

Threats

  • Bleaching: Makes them more susceptible to disease and increases mortality.
  • Loss of symbiotic algae: Deprives them of primary energy source.

Conservation

  • Urgent need for comprehensive efforts in Lakshadweep.
  • Mitigate climate change: Reduce global emissions.
  • Address rising sea temperature (33°C documented in Agatti island).

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/scientists-flag-mass-sea-anemone-bleaching-off-agatti-island/article68164568.ece#:~:text=Sea%20anemone%20is%20an%20aquatic,of%20corals%20and%20live%20rocks.

 

Science and Tech.

5.Xenotransplantation: Using Animal Organs for Human Transplants

Xenotransplantation is transplanting animal organs or tissues into humans to address the shortage of donor organs.

What is it?

  • Transplanting animal organs or tissues into humans to address organ shortage.
  • First attempted in the 1980s (heart transplant).

Why is it needed?

  • Shortage of donor organs – Many patients die waiting for transplants (e.g., kidney).
  • Potential treatment for other diseases (e.g., neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes).

How does it work?

  • Similar to regular transplants, but with additional steps:
    • Genetic modification of animal organ to reduce rejection by human body (e.g., CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing).
    • Constant monitoring after surgery to track body’s response.

Why pigs?

  • Pig organ size can be matched to human recipient’s needs.
  • Pig anatomy and physiology are similar to humans.
  • Widespread and cost-effective pig breeding.

Complications:

  • Organ rejection by human immune system.
  • Potential for infections due to animal viruses.
  • Risk of cross-species retrovirus transmission.

Recent case:

  • First patient receiving a genetically modified pig kidney lived for 2 months after surgery.
  • Cause of death not linked to transplant.

Source : https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/everyday-explainers/pig-kidney-transplant-death-xenotransplantation-9325986/

 

Geography

6.Nairobi Declaration on Fertilizer and Soil Health

Endorsed by: African Presidents

Goal: Boost agricultural production in Africa

  • Triple domestic fertilizer production in 10 years.

Other Key Points:

  • Increased bargaining power for Africa on climate issues.
  • Green investment opportunities in Africa’s emerging economies (blue & green).
  • Support for a carbon tax on fossil fuels, maritime transport, and aviation.
  • Demands fulfilment of the $100 billion annual climate finance pledge.
  • Proposes debt relief for African countries:
    • Extended repayment periods.
    • 10-year grace period.

Source : https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/africa/african-presidents-endorse-nairobi-declaration-on-fertiliser-and-soil-health-at-special-summit-in-kenya-96094

 

Defence

7.India-France Joint Military Exercise SHAKTI (7th Edition)

  • Location: Umroi, Meghalaya, India (Joint Training Node)
  • Frequency: Biennial (alternating between India and France)
  • Last Edition: France, November 2021
  • Aim: Enhance joint military capability for multi-domain operations under UN mandate (Chapter VII) in semi-urban and mountainous terrain.
  • Objectives:
    • Achieve high physical fitness
    • Refine tactical drills
    • Share best practices in Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs)
  • Participants:
    • India: 90 personnel (Rajput Regiment + others) + Observers from Navy & Air Force
    • France: 90 personnel (13th Foreign Legion Half-Brigade)
  • Duration: 14 days

Source : https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=2020423#:~:text=Exercise%20SHAKTI%20is%20a%20biennial,from%20other%20arms%20and%20services.

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