Prelims Preparatory Questions
1) Consider the following statements about Bio-computers
1. Brain organoids developed in the lab using 3D cultures of brain tissue will be combined with modern computing methods to create bio computers.
2. Brain organoids can also be developed using stem cells from individuals with cognitive disorders.
Choose the incorrect statements:
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
2) Which of the following offices will be selected based on the recommendation of a selection committee, where the Leader of Opposition is one of the member?
1. NHRC Chairperson
2. Chief Election Commissioner
3. CBI Director
4. Central Vigilance Commissioner
5. Chief Information Commissioner
6. Chairperson of Lokpal
Choose the correct code:
a) 1, 4, 5 and 6
b) 2, 3 and 6
c) 1, 3, 4, and 6
d) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
3) Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, recently seen in news is located in?
a) North Andaman
b) Great Nicobar
c) Tamil Nadu
4) Consider the following statements regarding the Governor of a State.
1. Governor is a Constitutional office subordinate to the Central Government.
2. According to the Constitution, one of the qualifications for a person to be appointed as a Governor is, he/she should not belong to a state where he/she is appointed.
3. The appointment of Governors is based on the Canadian Constitution.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1, 2
b) 2, 3
c) 3 only
d) 1, 2, 3
5) Consider the following statements regarding Motion of Thanks.
1. It is addressed at the beginning of every session of the Parliament.
2. It is addressed by the Leader of the House.
3. The motion is put to vote in both the houses of the parliament.
Which of the above statements is/are incorrect?
a) 1, 2
b) 2, 3
c) 1, 3
d) 1, 2, 3
3) Which one of the following amendments empowered the president of India to send back the advice of Council of Ministers for reconsideration?
a) 39th Amendment
b) 40th Amendment
c) 42nd Amendment
d) 44th Amendment
Prelims Specific News Items
1) What is the News?
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched the ‘Har Payment Digital’ mission during Digital Payments Awareness Week (DPAW) 2023.
About Har Payment Digital Mission
Under this, the payment system operators (PSOs) will adopt 75 villages across the country and conduct two camps in each of these villages. This is to convert them into digital payment-enabled villages in observance of 75 years of independence.
Note: PSOs (currently there are 67 PSOs) are entities authorised by RBI to set up and operate a payment system.
Aim: To improve awareness and onboard merchants for digital payments.
Significance: The Har Payment Digital campaign aims at reinforcing the ease and convenience of digital payments and facilitating the onboarding of new consumers into the digital fold.
2)The H3 rocket recently experienced an engine failure during liftoff from the JAXA Tanegashima spaceport, prompting JAXA to send a self-destruct signal. JAXA is Japan Space Aerospace Exploration Agency.
It was carrying the ALOS-3 satellite (Advanced Land Observation Satellite for disaster response and map making) that included an experimental infrared sensor for detecting North Korean ballistic missile launches
3) Chitwan National Park is the first-ever national park set up in Nepal. It was founded in 1973 as the Royal Chitwan National Park. It became a World Heritage Site in 1984. This park encompasses a massive area of 952.63 km2 (367.81 sq mi). It is located in the subtropical Inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal. Notably, its adjacent Parsa National Park is contiguous with Bihar’s Valmiki National Park.
Why is Chitwan National Park in News?
Threats such as illegal fishing and sand mining are causing major threats to the mugger crocodile of the Rapti River that flows along the Chitwan National Park (CNP). A new study has recommended a win-win conservation setup between the local community and muggers to ensure the long-term conservation of vulnerable species.
4) On March 8, Relativity Space, a startup company based in California, made history with the launch of Terran 1, the world’s first 3D-printed rocket. The launch is part of the “Good Luck, Have Fun” (GLHF) mission. Terran 1 will be the largest 3D-printed object to attempt an orbital flight, weighing 9,280 kilograms .
5) The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) is a species of humpback dolphin that lives in the coastal waters of the eastern Indian and western Pacific Oceans. It is commonly known as the Chinese white dolphin in some regions. While some biologists believe that it is a subspecies of the Indian Ocean humpback dolphin, studies using DNA testing have confirmed that they are two separate species.
CITES: Appendix I
Wildlife Protection Act. 1972: Not included. Only Gangetic dolphins and Snubfin dolphins are included in the act.
6. ISRO brings down decommissioned weather satellite Megha-Tropiques-1:-
Megha-Tropiques-1 was developed as a joint mission by India and France to study the tropics’ water cycle and energy exchanges.
Like many others developed by the ISRO, the satellite worked for over a decade, providing valuable data for climate models. The 1,000-kg satellite was launched in 2011 with a mission life of three years.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) brought down the decommissioned weather satellite Megha-Tropiques-1 in a controlled manner and burned up in the atmosphere.
7) Worm Moon
The final full moon of the winter season, called the Worm Moon, was visible on March 6 and 7. Each year, the timing varies between late February to late March. The name of this full moon is derived from the time it appears in the year when winter subsides in the Northern hemisphere, leading to the earthworms emerging from the ground as the soil softens.
8) Whiskey Fungus
US’ Tennessee residents, living close to Jack Daniel’s distilleries, are scrambling over a whiskey fungus problem. The black, sticky substance has just about taken over everything near the facilities.
Jack Daniel’s, a well-known American whiskey, that has been produced for over 150 years, has six warehouses in Lincoln County and wants to expand in the future
What is Whiskey Fungus?
Whiskey fungus, also known as Baudoinia compniacensis, is a type of black fungus that can grow on surfaces that are exposed to ethanol vapours, such as the exterior of buildings near distilleries and breweries.
Whiskey fungus can be unsightly and cause damage to buildings and other structures. It thrives in environments with high levels of ethanol vapors, which are released during the fermentation and distillation processes used in the production of alcohol. The fungus is often found growing on buildings and other structures near distilleries, breweries, and other facilities that produce large quantities of ethanol.
In addition, the fungus can penetrate and weaken building materials over time, potentially leading to structural damage.
Scientists from Australia and the UK have discovered a new fibrotic disease called “Plasticosis” in birds. This disease is caused by the consumption of plastics, which leads to long-term inflammation and the formation of scar tissue in the digestive system of birds.
10. SAFE HARBOUR LAW
Safe Harbor Law refers to a legal provision in the United States that shields internet service providers (ISPs) and other online intermediaries from being held liable for the actions of their users. The law protects these intermediaries from being sued for copyright infringement if their users are found to have violated copyright laws, provided that the intermediaries have taken certain steps to address the infringement.
The Safe Harbor Law is part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which was passed in 1998. It provides a safe harbor to ISPs and other online intermediaries such as websites, social media platforms, and search engines, as long as they meet certain conditions. These conditions include promptly removing infringing content upon receiving a proper notification from the copyright owner and adopting and reasonably implementing a policy to terminate repeat infringers.
11. Deakin University in GIFT City will allow semesters abroad:- Australia’s Deakin University, which will be the first foreign education institution to set up a campus in GIFT City (Gujarat International Finance TecCity), will roll out academic programmes from July 2024 where students will also have the option to migrate to campuses in its home country, its vice-chancellor.
The university will offer a Master’s programme in cybersecurity (professional) and a Master’s in Business Analytics. Deakin is a public university in Australia, and ranks 266 in the QS Global Rankings 2022.
12. Silicon Valley Bank is largest failure since 2008 crisis, billions stranded
What is SVB?
The 1983-founded California-based SVB focusses on serving Silicon Valley startups
It provides multiple services to venture capital, private equity firms in addition to offering private banking services for high net-worth individuals.
What went wrong – A timeline
During the funding boom of 2021, SVB amassed large deposits — $189 billion, which later peaked to a massive $198 billion
It later invested heavily in bonds, which were being issued in a lowinterest rate scenario. SVB’s balance sheet for 2022-end showed $91.3 billion of securities
In 2022, the US Federal Reserve started raising interest rates, which drove down the value of bond holdings issued at lower rates
Rising interest rates also led to venture capital firms cutting fewer and smaller cheques to startups triggering a funding winter
As funding depleted, deposits made by startups in institutions such as SVB also started declining, forcing the bank to sell securities at a loss to cover up
On Wednesday, SVB announced it had sold $21 billion worth of bond assets at a loss of $1.8 billion
SVB also said it was raising $2.25 billion via a share sale