NASA Launches International Mission ‘SWOT’ to Survey Earth’s Water
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) have jointly launched the newest Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft to track nearly all the water on the surface of the Earth. It was launched atop a SpaceX rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base. It will remain operational for 3 years.
About SWOT mission: Key Highlights:
The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission is a satellite altimeter jointly developed and operated by NASA and CNES (French space agency) in partnership with the space agencies of the UK and Canada.
The mission’s objective is to make the world’s first-ever global survey of the Earth’s surface water, capable of observing the finer details of the ocean surface topography and measuring the changes in the terrestrial surface water bodies.
As it uses wide-swath of altimetry technology, the mission will be capable of almost completely observing the world’s oceans and freshwater bodies with repeated high-resolution elevation measurements.
It will provide the first truly global observation of the changes in water levels, stream slopes and inundation extents in rivers, lakes and floodplains.
The satellite can measure the height of water in freshwater bodies and the ocean on more than 90 percent of the Earth’s surface.
It can also observe ocean circulation at unprecedented scales of 15 to 25 km, which is an order of magnitude that is finer than current satellites.
The information obtained from this mission can be used to understand the ocean’s influence in climate change, impact of global warming on the waterbodies, and the preparedness of communities for disasters like floods and droughts.
The satellite will start collecting data in around six months after undergoing a series of checks and calibrations.
Once operational, it will cover the entire Earth’s surface between 78 degrees south and 78 degrees north latitude at least once every 21 days. It will send back some 1 terabyte of unprocessed data each day.
It is equipped with an instrument called the Ka-band radar interferometer (KaRIn), which bounces radar pulses off the surface of the water and receives the return signal using 2 antennas on either side of the spacecraft.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
It is an American government’s premier space agency which was set up in 1958 to promote research and development in the exploration of outer space and Earth’s atmosphere. NASA mainly launches its rockets from its two primary spaceports. One is John F. Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island in Florida, United States and from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, United States of America.
Ministry of Culture Organized Delhi International Arts Festival
Ministry of Culture in collaboration with Prasiddha Foundation inaugurated Delhi International Arts Festival at Kartavya Path with the tag-line – ‘Where Bharat Meets India.
Aim of This Festival:
The festival aims to celebrate the great Epics, the Warriors Who Fought for Our Freedom, and the many policy decisions and schemes instituted by our Government towards ‘Women Empowerment’, towards ‘Cleaning Our Holy Rivers‘, towards keeping our Country ‘Clean and Free from Dirt and Disease’.
More About This:
In the festival dance performances such as Kathak, Odissi along with theatre, classical musical performances and other cultural performances will be organised. A series of events and performances will be organised at various venues like Kartavya Path India Gate Lawns, Central Vista, Samvet Auditorium Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts Janpath, Amphitheatre Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts Janpath, etc in Delhi.
Tamil Nadu state government makes Aadhaar a must for all of its schemes
The Tamil Nadu government has announced that all those who are eligible for benefits (other than minor children) under various government schemes are required to submit proof of possession of an Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar identification. According to the order, Aadhaar is mandatory for government employees, government pensioners and beneficiaries of various schemes implemented by the State government through various Departments by their implementing agencies.
Any individual desirous of availing himself of benefits, but does not possess an Aadhaar number or has not yet enrolled for Aadhaar, shall be required to make an application for Aadhaar enrolment before registering for the “Scheme.”
The ‘Scheme’, according to the order, is IFHRM-integrated financial and human management system, administered by the Treasuries and Accounts Department, to make online payments of bills and payments to beneficiaries through ECS.
The government has also announced remedial mechanisms if Aadhaar identification fails due to poor biometrics or any other reason. This would be done through admissible authentication of Aadhaar One Time Password (OTP) or Time-based OTP with limited time validity.
Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel unveils Urban G20 logo, website and social media handle
In Gujarat, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has unveiled the logo, website and social media handles of the Urban-20 conference in Gandhinagar. The UNESCO heritage city Ahmedabad will host the Urban 20 cycles as part of G-20 meetings between February to July. The logo unveiling event in Gandhinagar was attended by senior officials of the Gujarat government and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
Urban-20 conference: Key points
CM Patel said the unveiling of the U20 logo heralds the launch of the U20 cycle, which will begin in February next year with the Sherpas’ meeting and end with the U20 Mayors’ summit.
Along with C40 (Climate 40) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Ahmedabad will organise various events including City Sherpas’ inception meeting on February 9 and 10.
This city diplomacy initiative facilitates a productive dialogue between the national and local governments and helps promote the importance of urban development issues in the G20 agenda.
Indian Presidency of G-20:
India officially assumed the Presidency of G20 on 1 December 2022 from Indonesia. The summit meeting of the Head of the States and the leaders of the G20 is scheduled to be held in September 2023 in New Delhi.
To prepare for the summit meeting a series of meetings is to be held by India.
The first meeting was the G-20 Sherpa meeting held in Udaipur in the first week of December 2022.
About the G-20:
The G-20 was founded back in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis.
The Group of Twenty (G-20) comprises 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkiye, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and the European Union.
The G-20 members represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
Gati Shakti University: Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw appointed as first Chancellor
Gati Shakti University:
Union Minister of Railways, Ashwini Vaishnaw has been appointed as the Chancellor of Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya, Vadodara, by President Smt. Draupadi Murmu. It is noteworthy to mention that Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw will be the first Chancellor of Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya. President also appointed Dr Manoj Chaudhary as the first Vice Chancellor of Gati Shakti University, Vadodara. As per the Central University Act, 2009, Dr Manoj Chaudhary will hold the position of Vice Chancellor of Gati Shakti University for five years from the date he assumes office.
Gati Shakti University: Key points
Gati Shakti University was granted the central status by the Union Cabinet in July 2022.
In August this year, the Central Government introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha to convert the National Rail and Transportation Institute, into Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya, an autonomous central university.
The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill was introduced by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan which seeks to expand the scope of the university from beyond the railways to cover the entire transport sector to support the ambitious growth and modernisation in the field.
About the Pradhan Mantri Gati Shakti Yojana:
Pradhan Mantri Gati Shakti Yojana was announced by PM Modi on 15th August 2021 on the 75th Independence Day.
The objective of the scheme is to cut logistics costs, increase cargo handling capacity, reduce costs and reduce turnaround time at ports to promote trade.
Gati Shakti Digital Platform: Build and impact basic infrastructure projects through coordination between 16 ministries through its platform to be implemented in the same manner.
A book titled “The Light We Carry: Overcoming In Uncertain Times” by Michelle Obama
Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times:
The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times is a nonfiction book written by Michelle Obama and published, by Crown Publishing. The Light We Carry will inspire readers to examine their own lives, identify their sources of gladness, and connect meaningfully in a turbulent world. The author “shares the contents of her ‘personal toolbox’ – the habits and practices, attitudes and beliefs, and even physical objects that she uses to overcome her feelings of fear, helplessness and self doubt.”
The essence of the book:
The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times has generally received positive reviews by book critics for herself on biography. In The Light We Carry, the former First Lady shares her practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today’s highly uncertain world. A mother, daughter, spouse and friend, she shares fresh stories, her insightful reflections on change and the earned wisdom that helps her continue to “become.” With her trademark humour, candour, and compassion, she also explores issues connected to race, gender, and visibility, encouraging readers to work through fear, find strength in community, and live with boldness.
Indian-origin Leo Varadkar is new Prime Minister of Ireland
Indian-origin Leo Varadkar has returned for a second term as Ireland’s Prime Minister as part of a job-sharing deal made by the country’s centrist coalition government. His appointment was confirmed when he received the seal of office from President Michael D. Higgins, Ireland’s head of state.
About The Time-line:
This is the second time that Varadkar has been elected as Irish prime minister. He first became the Irish prime minister in June 2017. In June 2020, the Fine Gael party led by Varadkar formed a coalition government with Fianna Fail and Green Party, in which he served as deputy prime minister and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
According to an agreement reached by the three parties in setting up a coalition government, Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin will first serve as Irish prime minister until December 2022 and Fine Gael party leader Varadkar will replace Martin to be the new prime minister until the five-year term of the current government comes to an end.
About Leo Varadkar:
Varadkar’s rise to the top of Irish politics was remarkable in a country dominated by a strict, conservative Catholic morality well into the latter half of the last century. At 38, he became the country’s youngest Taoiseach as well as its first openly gay head of government and first of Indian heritage.
Varadkar was born in Dublin to an Irish mother who worked as a nurse and an Indian immigrant father, who was a qualified doctor.
At the age of seven, a precocious Varadkar is reported to have told his mother’s friends that he wanted to be the minister for health. After gaining a medical degree from Trinity College Dublin, he went into general practice but stayed involved in politics, and in 2007 secured election for Fine Gael in Dublin West. In 2015, before Ireland’s referendum legalising same-sex marriage, Varadkar came out publicly as gay.
Significance Of His Previous Govt:
Varadkar’s tenure as Taoiseach was overshadowed by Brexit and the pandemic. He was widely judged as an effective communicator leading the country into its first lockdown — one of the longest and most stringent imposed in Europe. He re-registered as a doctor, returning to work once a week while continuing to lead the country.
On Brexit, Varadkar was credited in 2019 with former UK prime minister Boris Johnson for breaking the deadlock on Northern Ireland. But a resulting deal — which effectively keeps the UK-run province within the European single market and customs union — remains a point of tension between Brussels and London.