Important Facts For Prelims (27th April 2019)

Centre for Predictive Human Model Systems

  • Atal Incubation Centre (AIC) at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in collaboration with Humane Society International-India (HSI-India) has launched the Centre for Predictive Human Model systems.
  • Under this system, computational models and in-vitro models have been developed that can be used for research and testing in life sciences.
  • The model is not only resource-friendly with reduced costs but also more accurate at predicting human outcomes and are ethical.
  • The center will be a dedicated facility to enable a new approach methodology instead of animal models.
  • The center aims at prioritizing investment in human-based, non-animal methodologies in life sciences research in India.
  • Recently, “world laboratory animal day” was also observed on 24th April.

Cyclone Kenneth

  • A powerful tropical cyclone has made landfall in Mozambique, just six weeks after Cyclone Idai devastated the central part of the country and left hundreds dead.
  • Cyclone Kenneth battered northern Mozambique with winds of up to 220 kilometers per hour. The cyclone also struck the island nation of Comoros.
  • Mozambique is still recovering from the previous powerful storm, which made landfall further south in March 2019.
  • This is the first time in known history that Mozambique has been hit by two cyclones in one season.

Panel to Review Microinsurance Framework

  • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) has set up a committee to review the regulatory framework on microinsurance.
  • Microinsurance products offer coverage to low-income households or to individuals who have little savings and is tailored specifically for lower valued assets and compensation for illness, injury or death.
  • The 13-member panel has been tasked with suggesting product designs with customer-friendly underwriting, including easy premium payment methods and simple claims settlement procedures.
  • Its mandate is to suggest changes in the distribution structure, including mobile-based and technology-driven solutions.

Kafala System

  • Qatar is set to abolish its controversial exit visa system for all foreign workers by the end of 2019.
  • Under the Kafala system, a migrant worker’s immigration status is legally bound to an individual employer or sponsor (kafeel) for their contract period.
  • The migrant worker cannot enter the country, transfer employment nor leave the country for any reason without first obtaining explicit written permission from the kafeel.

Xenon Decay Observed

  • Scientists at XENON Dark Matter Project have detected the radioactive decay of liquid Xenon-124 atomic nuclei for the first time.
  • The half-life measured for Xenon-124 is 1.8×1022 years, about one trillion times longer than the age of the universe. This is the slowest radioactive decay ever spotted.
  • This makes the observed radioactive decay the rarest process ever seen in the detector XENON1T.
  • The new study shows that the XENON detector is also able to measure other rare physical phenomena, such as double electron capture.

Double Electron Capture

In double electron capture, two protons in the nucleus simultaneously “catch” two electrons from the innermost atomic shell, transform into two neutrons, and emit two neutrinos.

    • The XENON experiment is a collaboration of 160 scientists, representing 24 different nationalities, and 27 institutions from the US, Europe, Japan, and UAE.
    • Xenon Dark Matter Project aims to search for Dark matter particles at Gran Sasso Laboratory of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) in Italy.

    Southern River Terrapin

    • Cambodia has released twenty critically endangered Southern Terrapin Turtle 'Royal Turtles' into their Cambodian rivers.
    • Southern River Terrapin was on the brink of extinction because of hunting, trafficking, and illegal sand mining.
    • Southern River Terrapin is found in Cambodia; Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
    • It is listed as critically endangered in the IUCN red list.

    Manjira Wildlife Sanctuary

    • The Manjira sanctuary situated along the river Manjira in Telangana. Originally a crocodile sanctuary, today more than 70 species of birds are spotted here and is home for the vulnerable species mugger crocodile.
    • Mugger crocodile
      • The mugger crocodile most commonly found in freshwater environments such as rivers, lakes, hill streams, and village ponds. It can live in fresh water and coastal saltwater lagoons.
      • It also can live in human-made reservoirs.
      • This crocodile does not migrate seasonally, inhabiting the same locale in wet seasons or dry seasons. This species makes burrows on land in a wide variety of habitats.
      • Mugger crocodile has been listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.