Italian Open, 2021 was won by Rafael Nadal. This is his tenth title of the Rome Masters. The Italian Open, 2021 was held on May 16, 2021 in Rome. The Finals was held between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. It is also known as Rome Masters.
Rafael Nadal is a Spanish Tennis player. He is ranked third in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals.
He has won twenty Grand Slams, thirteen French Open titles so far. His record of winning has been maximum in clay courts.
Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis player. He is currently ranked number one by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He has won eighteen Grand Slams.
He is the only player to win all the “Big Titles” on the ATP tour. The Big Title is a trophy at the Nitto ATP Finals, Grand Slam Championship, ATP Masters 1000 tournament or Olympics Singles gold medals.
About Italian Open
It is originally called the Italian International Championship. It is a tennis tournament held in Rome, Italy.
It is a clay tennis tournament. There are four different types of tennis court surfaces. They are clay courts, carpet courts, hard courts and grass courts.
It is an ATP Tours Masters 100 event.
ATP Tours Masters 1000
It is a series of nine tennis tournaments featuring top ranked players. Meaning not every tennis player can participate in the tournament.
Currently the following are the nine tournaments of ATP Tours Masters 1000:
Indian Wells Masters
These are different from Grand Slam.
The Itinerary of Grand Slam consists of French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open.
Tauktae is the first cyclone of 2021. The IMD has predicted that Tauktae cyclone will intensify into a severe cyclonic storm and then later into a Very Severe Cyclonic storm. It is expected to be the strongest in the west coast in two decades.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently reviewed the impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones. This includes all typhoons, cyclones and hurricanes. They have concluded that Cyclone Tauktae will be the strongest of all cyclones that hit the West Coast of India in two decades.
The wind speed of cyclone Tauktae is expected to reach till 160 kilometres per hour. With this and the data on other tropical cyclones, NOAA predicts that the wind speeds of the cyclones are to increase by 5% as the world warms by two degrees Celsius in 2100.
Extremely severe cyclones such as Amphan and Fani intensified from a weak to severe status in less than twenty-four hours. Similar rapid intensification is expected with Tauktae cyclone. It will help making the cyclone the strongest of all the previous cyclones in two decades. The warm ocean waters act as fuel to the rapid intensification of cyclones.
Why is Cyclone Tauktae stronger than the previous ones?
The following factors are in favour of the cyclone to grow in strength:
High Tropical cyclone Heat Potential,
Madden Julian Oscillation Index,
Favourable high Sea Surface Temperature
Good poleward outflow
The Tropical Cyclone heat potential is the measure of the integrated vertical temperature from the sea surface to a depth of twenty-six degrees isotherm. Isotherm is a line that connects points with same temperature. If this is high, it aids in more and more air getting heated up aiding cyclone formation. Eventually, low pressure increases and more high-pressure winds gushes in leading to further intensification of the cyclone.
Madden Julian Oscillation Index speaks about the fluctuation in tropical weather.
After COVID-19 struck in 2020, the number of COVID-19 positive cases in prisons have become a cause of worry. With the prison occupancy rates at 118% social distancing is impossible.
The prisons are overcrowded with more than 70% under trial prisoners. According to the “Prison Statistics India Report, 2019”, there were 4.78 lakh inmates in more than 1,300 prisons in the country. Most of these prisoners were from economically poor backgrounds. Of these 85% were from Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, Most Backward Classes and Muslim communities.
In March 2020, the Supreme Court took a suo mottu notice on the conditions that prevailed in prisons due to COVID-19. This led to the constitution of High-Power Committees at State level. The committees categorised the prisoners. Based on the categories, the prisoners were released on temporary bail and parole. This was mainly done to reduce overcrowding of prisons.
Later, to reduce the new admissions, the SC provided new instructions to the police. According to the instruction, the police shall arrest only offenders, whose offence will bring more than seven years of imprisonment as punishment. However, it was applied to the current prisoners as well. Under this order, another 60,000 prisoners were sent home on temporary bail. In all this reduced the prison population by 15% to 20%.
In February 2021, as the COVOD-19 cases were subsiding, the courts passed order asking the prisoners to return to their prisons where they were imprisoned. Many prisoners returned.
Again, in May 2021, after the double mutant COVID-19 surge, the court began steps towards decongestion of prisons.
Recently, the Supreme Court has advised house arrest of the prisoners as solution.
The National History Museum located in London is to display a piece of the meteorite that touched down the town of Winchcombe in Gloucestershire in the UK. The meteorite touched the UK soil in February 2021.
About the Meteorite
The Winchcombe meteorite is 103 grams in weight. It is a fragment of black rock resembling coal. It was founded by a team from University of Glasgow.
On February 28, 2021, around hundreds of people spotted a fireball blazing across the sky. The flash of light lasted for six seconds.
The meteorite is 4.5 billion years old. Thus, the meteorite is believed to give clues about the beginning of the solar system.
This meteorite is rare as it is a carbonaceous meteorite. Out of the 65,000 meteorite types known to mankind, only thousand are of this type.
The Winchcombe meteorite is similar to that retrieved by the Hayabusa 2 mission.
They contain high proportion of carbon which is up to 3%. The Allende meteorite is the largest carbonaceous meteorite found on the earth.
They contain silicates, sulphides, oxides and 3% to 22% of water. The presence of organic compounds in these meteorites say that they have not undergone heating since they were formed. Their compositions are close to the solar nebula. The solar system condensed from Solar Nebula.
Meteorites, Meteors and Meteoroid
The Meteoroids are objects that range in size from dust grains to small asteroids. When these meteoroids enter the earth atmosphere, they are called meteors. When the meteors hit the ground, they are called meteorites.
Sikkim joined the Union of India on May 16, 1975. Since then, every year the Sikkim Statehood Day is celebrated on May 16.
In 1950, the Indo-Sikkimese treaty was signed. With this, Sikkim became a protectorate of India. The Namgyal dynasty ruled Sikkim till 1975.
Sikkim is the first state in the country to become 100% organic. Today all farming activities in Sikkim are carried out without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
Kanchenjunga National Park, a World Heritage Site is located in Sikkim.
River Teesta is the major river flowing in the state. The tributaries of Teesta are Lhonak, Lachung and Talung. Teesta river is a tributary of Brahmaputra.
Annexation and Statehood
In 1975. the Sikkim Prime Minister appealed to India for Sikkim to join Union of India. Following this, the Indian Army took over the city of Gangtok and the palace guards of Chogyal palace were disarmed. A referendum was held in which 97.5% supported to join India abolishing the monarchy.
The Indian Parliament laid down conditions in its 35th amendment that made Sikkim an “Associate State”. Sikkim is the only state to get this designation. The 36th amendment repealed the 35th amendment and made Sikkim a full state.
Ethnicity of Sikkim
The residents of Sikkim are of Nepali origin. The native Sikkimese consist of Bhutias. They migrated from Tibet in the 14th century. The Lepchas lived before the Bhutias.
The Tibetans resided mostly in the northern and eastern parts of the state.
The Air India recently airlifted 35 tonnes of Zeolite used in Oxygen Production plants from Rome to Bengaluru.
What are Zeolites?
Zeolites are aluminosilicate minerals. They are microporous material that is used as adsorbents and catalysts.
They can accommodate cations such as K+, Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+. When the zeolite minerals come in contact with a solution, they exchange these cations for other ions in the solution. The most common zeolite minerals are stilbite, phillipsite, natrolite, heulandite, chabzite, analcime.
The Zeolites are naturally formed when the volcanic rocks react with alkaline ground water.
They also crystallize in marine basins for thousands to millions of years.
The naturally occurring zeolites are contaminated with other minerals like quartz. They are rarely pure. For this reason, the naturally occurring Zeolites are excluded from commercial applications where purity is essential.
The Zeolites transform into other minerals under hydrothermal alteration, weathering and metamorphic conditions. Weathering is breaking down of rocks through contact with water, atmospheric gases and biological organisms.
The zeolites are also produced by the process of slow crystallisation of silica-alumina gel.
They are mainly used in commercial water purification. Also, they are used as sorbents and catalysts.
Zeolites in Oxygen Production
Zeolites are used as adsorbent material in Pressure Swing Adsorption.
An oxygen concentrator uses Zeolites to adsorb atmospheric nitrogen and then vents out the nitrogen. This leaves oxygen gas remaining to be used for patients.
In high pressure, the surface area of zeolites increases and thus is capable of adsorbing large quantities of nitrogen.
People are continuously reading about the pandemic and news related to it. They are even sacrificing their working hours or crucial sleep time in the process. This is being done compulsively. This scenario is called Doomsday Scrolling.
What is Doomsday Surfing?
It is the tendency to scroll through bad news even though the news is saddening or depressing. The term Doomsday Surfing is one of the new lexicon of words the COVID-19 has introduced into the daily lives of man.
Who is performing Doomsday surfing?
This is done by almost every human being on the earth. People in the age group of 15 years to 30 years are surfing to seek help. On the other hand, the people in the age group of 30 years to 45 years are blaming others on social media. On the brighter side, the senior age people are trying to spread positivity and spirituality.
Why did Doomsday Surfing arise?
It has become a behavioural addiction. As people become more and more addictive, the social media algorithms designed to feed to the addictions serve up fulfilling the interests. This becomes a vicious cycle.
Dopamine and Doomsday Surfing
Both positive and negative news gives dopamine high. Thus, Doomsday Surfing increases dopamine levels. Dopamine is a chemical compound found naturally in human body. It is a neuro transmitter. It controls the movements of the person. The right balance of dopamine is important for both physical and mental wellbeing.
High Dopamine levels lead to difficulty in sleeping, increased energy levels, anxiety, stress. On the other hand, it also gives improved ability to focus and learn.
The Palaeontologists recently identified a new species of dinosaur called the Talkative Dinosaur. It was identified in the northern Mexico. The research is being conducted by the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico.
About the fossil
The fossil was discovered 10 years ago. However, the species was discovered now.
The fossil dates back to 70 million years ago.
The new species was identified after 80% of its head was recovered. The palaeontologists first uncovered its tail. So far the crest of the dinosaur, its upper jaws, neurocranium and lower jaws have been uncovered. Neurocranium is the part where the brain is housed.
The research began in 2013 when the tail of a dinosaur was discovered.
The dinosaur must have died in a water body full of sediments. That is why its body has been preserved through ages.
About Talkative Dinosaur
It is called “Tlatolophus galorum”.
It was a crested dinosaur. The crest of Talkative Dinosaur was 1.32 metres tall.
The shape of the crest of the dinosaur is similar to that of a symbol used by the Meso American people. The Meso Americans lived in North America around thousand years ago. In the sixteenth century diseases such as measles and smallpox wiped off 90% of indigenous people in the region.
It is a herbivore dinosaur.
The Talkative Dinosaurs had ears that could hear low frequency sounds.
These dinosaurs emitted strong sounds for reproductive purposes and also to scare away predators.
The Crested Dinosaurs were first discovered in 2005 in Mexico.
They are usually twelve metres in length.
The Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer of the European Space Agency recently entered into a critical sequence of tests.
About Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer
It is called JUICE.
It is an interplanetary spacecraft developed by European Space Agency. It is under its development phase.
The main contractor of the mission is Airbus Defence and Space.
The JUICE Mission will study three Galilean Moon of Jupiter. They are Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
All these three moons have significant amount of water beneath their surfaces.
The spacecraft is to be launched in June 2022.
It will reach Jupiter in October 2029.
It will reach Jupiter after five gravity assists. Gravity Assists is the use of the gravity of other planet or astronomical object to increase speed of a spacecraft or to alter its path. This is done to save the propellant and reduce expenses.
Detailed investigation of Ganymede and evaluate its potential to support life.
Characterisation of ocean layers
Detection of putative subsurface water reservoirs
Geological and Topographical compositional mapping of the surface
Study of physical properties of the icy crusts
Investigation of Ganymede’s atmosphere. Study about its magnetic field.
It will carry the following science instruments:
JANUS: Jovis, Amorum ac Natorum Undique Scrutator
MAJIS: Moons and Jupiter Imaging Spectrometer
UVS: UV Imaging Spectrograph
GALA: Ganymede Laser Altimeter
RIME: Radar for Icy Moons Exploraiton
PEP: Particle Environment Package
RPWI: Radio and Plasma Wave Investigation
PRIDE: Planetary Radio Inferometer and Doppler Experiment
The Mission will encounter three planets and the moon before arriving Jupiter. They are the Venus, Earth and its moon, Mars, Jupiter, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.
The Chinese Mission to Mars Tianwen 1 recently landed in the Utopia Planitia. It is the place where the Viking 2 lander touched down.
It is an Impact basin of Mars. Impact Crater is a circular depression in the surface of planets formed due to hypervelocity impact of smaller bodies. It may be due to meteors.
The diameter of the basin is 3,300 kilometres.
The rocks in Utopia Planitia look perched, that is, removed by wind at their bases.
Some areas in the region exhibit Scalloped Topography. Scalloped Topography is common in the latitudes of 45 degrees to 60 degrees north and south. They consist of shallow rimless depression.
Other Features in Utopia Planitia
Holes and Hollows were found under the HiWish Programme. It was a programme created by NASA. Under the programme anyone can suggest a place for the HiRISE camera to take photograph of the Martian surface. HiRISE was placed in Mars Reconnaissance orbiter.
The HiWish Programme also located Glacier in crater floor.
Layered Mesa has been detected. Mesa is a flat lying soft sedimentary rock capped by more resistant layers of harder rock.
Streamlined forms indicating water flowed on the surface.
Polygonal patterned ground has been detected. These regions are created by the sublimation of ice from the ground. Sublimation is the transition of the substance from solid to gaseous state.
Pedestral Craters have been found. They are craters with the ejecta sitting above the surrounding terrain.
In 2016, NASA reported large amount of underground ice in the Utopia Planitia region.
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) recently announced that it provided Rs 1,236 crores to Assam in 2020-21 from its Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
What is RIDF?
It was created in 1995-96 with an initial corpus of Rs 2,000 crores.
In 2020-21, Rs 29,848 crores was allocated to RIDF. With this the cumulative allocation has reached Rs 18,500 crores.
The fund shall be used for 37 eligible activities as approved by the GoI. These eligible activities are classified under the three broad categories. They are social sector, agriculture and related sector and rural connectivity.
Agriculture and Related Sectors
Mechanisation of farm operations
Dedicated Rural Industry estates
Separate Feeder lines
Solar Photovoltaic power plants
Infrastructure works related to solar energy, energy conservation, wind energy.
Desalination plants in coastal areas
Infrastructure for Information Technology in rural areas
Cold storage, Public/ Joint sector cold storage at various exit points
Minor Irrigation Projects
Solid Waste Management
Construction of Anganwadis
Setting of KVIC centres
Pay and Use toilets
Infrastructure for Rural Education Institutions
Public Health Institutions
Rural bridges and Rural Roads
State Governments and Union Territories
State Government sponsored and supported organisations
State owned corporations and state government undertakings
Panchayat Raj institutions and Self-Help Groups
DSR Technique is Direct Seeding of Rice Technique. This year Punjab Government has decided to bring one hectare of land under DSR technique. This is being done as the Government is expecting shortage of migrant labour.
What is DSR Technique?
DSR technique is direct seeding of rice. Here the seeds are sown in the field directly rather than transplanting the seedlings. A tractor powered machine is used to drill the seeds in to the soil.
There is no nursery preparation in DSR technique.
In the traditional method, where the paddy is transplanted, the farmer first prepare nurseries. The seeds are sown in these nurseries and raised to young plants. After 25-35 days, these seedlings are uprooted and sown in the field.
Benefits of DSR Technique
The technique reduces cost by Rs 6000 per acre
It uses 30% less water. This is because, during transplantation, the field has to be kept irrigated almost daily maintaining a water depth of 4-5 centimetres.
Misconceptions about DSR Technique
The Transplanting method yields 35 quintals per acre. The productivity of DSR technique might be less. According to farmers, it might only give 25 quintals per hectare. However, the Punjab Agricultural University has been stressing on the fact that this is a misconception.
What are issues?
In 2020, the Punjab Government sanctioned 4,000 DSR machines and 800 paddy transplanters with 40% to 50% subsidy.
Around July 2020, farmers complained rodent attacks. Usually in normal transplanting method, the crops are not vulnerable to rodent attacks. This is because, they cannot survive in flooded fields. However, the rodent attack in Punjab is common and every crop faces this issue. Around 2% to 15% damages are caused by rodent attacks in the state every year.
It requires timely sowing needs for the crops to come out properly before monsoon rains.
Seed requirement is high. In transplanting, it is 4-5 kg per acre and in DSR, it is 8-10 kg per acre.