The helicopter-launched Nag Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), Helina, being developed indigenously, has completed all trials.
- Helina is a third-generation, Lock on Before Launch (LOBL) fire and forget class anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system.
- It has all- weather day and night operational capabilities.
- It can defeat battle tanks with conventional and explosive reactive armour (ERA).
- It can engage targets both in direct hit mode as well as top attack mode.
About Nag Missile
- Nag is a third-generation; fire-and-forget, anti-tank guided missile developed by DRDO to support both mechanized infantry and airborne forces of the Indian Army.
- It is an all-weather condition with day and night capabilities and with a minimum range of 500m and a maximum range of 4 km.
- Nag can be launched from land and air-based platforms. The land version is currently available for integration on the Nag missile carrier (NAMICA).
- DRDO has developed nag Missiles under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. The five missiles (P-A-T-N-A) developed under this program are:
- Prithvi: Short-range surface to surface ballistic missile.
- Agni: Ballistic missiles with different ranges, i.e., Agni (I, II, III, IV, V).
- Trishul: Short-range low-level surface to air missile.
- Nag: 3rd generation anti-tank missile.
- Akash: Medium range surface to air missile.
Energy-efficient Low-C bricks
Reference News: Researchers have developed a technology to produce energy-efficient walling materials using construction and demolition waste and alkali-activated binders.
- The researchers developed low embodied carbon bricks from construction and demolition waste through an alkali activation process using fly ash and ground slag.
- Called Low-C bricks, they do not require high-temperature firing and avoid the use of high-energy material such as Portland cement.
- The technology will also solve the disposal problems associated with construction and demolition waste mitigation.
What is fly ash?
- Fly ash is a fine powder that is a byproduct of burning pulverized coal in electric generation power plants.
- When mixed with lime and water, fly ash forms a compound similar to Portland cement.
- It is used in concrete and cement products, road base, metal recovery, and mineral filler among others.
- Fly ash particles are toxic air pollutants. They can trigger heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and stroke.
Two new Humboldt penguin chicks, join seven adult Humboldt penguins at Mumbai’s Byculla Zoo.
About Humboldt penguins
- Humboldt penguin is named after the cold ocean current, known as Humboldt Current.
- Humboldt Current, also called the Peru Current, is a cold, low-salinity ocean current that flows north along the western coast of South America.
- Habitat: Humboldt penguin is a South American penguin that breeds in coastal Chile and Peru.
- When not raising chicks, these penguins have been known to travel long distances at sea to find food.
- Humboldt penguins can breed at any time of year.
- IUCN status: Vulnerable
Recently, Archeologists of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have found ‘Shankhalipi’ inscriptions on the stairs on an ancient temple dating back to the Gupta period in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district.
- Bilsarh, in Etah-Uttar Pradesh, where the remains were found has been a protected site from the colonial times and is a known Gupta period settlement.
- The ‘shankhalipi’ inscriptions were deciphered by the archaeologists as saying, ‘Sri Mahendraditya’, the title of Kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty.
- The discovery becomes significant since only two other structural temples from the Gupta age have been found so far — Dashavatara Temple (Deogarh) and Bhitargaon Temple (Kanpur Dehat).
About the Shankhalipi script
- This script is assumed to be Brahmi derivatives that look like conch shells or shankhas.
- They are found in inscriptions across North-Central India and date to between the 4th and 8th centuries.
- The inscriptions consist of a small number of characters, suggesting that the shell inscriptions are names or auspicious symbols or a combination of the two.
- The script was discovered in 1836 on a brass trident in Uttarakhand’s Barahat by English scholar James Prinsep.
- Prominent sites with shell inscriptions include the Mundeshwari Temple in Bihar, the Udayagiri Caves in Madhya Pradesh, Mansar in Maharashtra and some of the cave sites of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
- The shell inscriptions are also reported in Indonesia’s Java and Borneo.
Kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty
- The Guptas were the first to build structural temples, distinctly different from the ancient rock-cut temples.
- Kumaragupta I was the son of Chandragupta II and grandson of the Great Samudragupta of Gupta dynasty.
- He built the world famous ancient Nalanda University.
- Among the Gupta kings, he issued the largest varieties of coins.
World Bank Stops ‘Ease of Doing Business Report
The World Bank would discontinue the practice of issuing ‘Doing Business report’ following an investigation reported “data irregularities” in its 2018 and 2020 editions (released in 2017 and 2019, respectively) and possible “ethical matters” involving bank staff.
- It will be working on a new approach to assessing the business and investment climate.
About Ease of Doing Business Report
- The report was introduced in 2003 to provide an assessment of objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies on ten parameters affecting a business through its life cycle.
- Notably, in three reports, released in 2017, 2018 and 2019, India ranked among the top 10 economies showing “the most notable improvement”.
About World Bank
- It was created in 1944, as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
- The IBRD later became the World Bank.
- It works for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries.
- Major reports:
- Ease of Doing Business.
- Human Capital Index.
- World Development Report.
- Its Five development institutions:
- International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD): provides loans, credits, and grants.
- International Development Association (IDA): provides low- or no-interest loans to low-income countries.
- International Finance Corporation (IFC): provides investment, advice, and asset management to companies and governments.
- Multilateral Guarantee Agency (MIGA): insures lenders and investors against political risk such as war.
- International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID): settles investment-disputes between investors and countries.
Parker Solar Probe:
Scientists using data from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe have assembled the most complete picture yet of the inner structure and behavior of the large cloud of space dust, known as the zodiacal cloud, that swirls throughout the solar system.
They found three dust populations in the cloud:
- Most of the grains are being slowly pulled in toward the Sun (alpha-meteoroids).
- The second population is generated as grains in the swirling cloud collide, creating fragments so small that they are pushed out of the solar system in all directions by pressure from sunlight (beta-meteoroids).
- A third group, probably created when a “tube” of cometary debris collides with grains from the first two populations, is scattered out in a distinctive wedge shape.
What are zodiacal clouds?
- The sources of zodiacal clouds/interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) include at least: asteroid collisions, cometary activity and collisions in the inner Solar System, Kuiper belt collisions, and interstellar medium grains.
- It scatters sunlight in a way that can be seen with the naked eye, but only on very dark, clear nights, as moonlight or light from cities both easily outshine it.
- Thickest near the sun and thinnest near the edges of the solar system, the zodiacal cloud looks smooth to the naked eye, but infrared wavelengths reveal bright streaks and ribbons that can be traced back to their sources: comets and asteroids.
About the mission:
- NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe mission will revolutionize our understanding of the sun, where changing conditions can propagate out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds.
- Parker Solar Probe will travel through the sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions — and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.
In order to unlock the mysteries of the sun’s atmosphere, Parker Solar Probe will use Venus’ gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun.
The spacecraft will fly through the sun’s atmosphere as close as 3.9 million miles to our star’s surface, well within the orbit of Mercury and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before.
Parker Solar Probe has three detailed science objectives:
- Trace the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and solar wind.
- Determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind.
- Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles.
- The G33 (or the Friends of Special Products in agriculture) is a coalition of developing countries, established prior to the 2003 Cancun ministerial conference, that have coordinated during the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, specifically in regard to agriculture.
- There are currently 47 members in the G33.
- The group has “defensive” concerns regarding agriculture in relation to WTO negotiations, and seeks to limit the degree of market opening required of developing countries.
- The group has advocated the creation of a “special products” exemption, which would allow developing countries to exempt certain products from tariff reductions, and also a “special safeguard mechanism” which would permit tariff increases in response to import surges.
- India is a member of this group.