Daily Current Affairs - 16-05-2021

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

Novak Djokovic

About Italian Open

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:

These are different from Grand Slam.

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.

Background

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:

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.

Background

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.

Supreme Court

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

Significance

Carbonaceous meteorites

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.

History

In 1950, the Indo-Sikkimese treaty was signed. With this, Sikkim became a protectorate of India. The Namgyal dynasty ruled Sikkim till 1975.

About Sikkim

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?

Natural Zeolites

Artificial Zeolite

The zeolites are also produced by the process of slow crystallisation of silica-alumina gel.

Application

They are mainly used in commercial water purification. Also, they are used as sorbents and catalysts.

Zeolites in Oxygen Production

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

About Talkative Dinosaur

Crested Dinosaurs

The Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer of the European Space Agency recently entered into a critical sequence of tests.

About Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer

Objectives

Science Instruments

It will carry the following science instruments:

Targets

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.

Utopia Planitia

Other Features in Utopia Planitia

NASA

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.

Eligible Activities

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

Social Sectors

Rural Connectivity

Rural bridges and Rural Roads

Eligible Institutions

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.

Transplanting Paddy

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.

Limitations