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General Studies-01

Urbanisation impact on holy lands:

  • Sacred groves, known as devaru kadu in Kannada and kavu in Malayalam, are fragments of forests protected by local communities.
  • Hunting and logging are not permitted here.
  • The sacred groves were home to 32 ant species in total. Ant assemblages varied between urban & rural groves.
  • Five ant species were exclusive to urban groves, nine were exclusive to rural ones.

General Studies-03

Batagur baska designated as critically endangered

  • A critically endangered resident of the Sunderbans.
  • It is more threatened than the Bengal tiger, but far less known.
  • Batagur baska , the 60-cm-long turtle that is presumed extinct in several Southeast Asian countries.
  • It is also known as northern river terrapin.
  • The terrapin found in estuary of sundarban making it one of the key stone species.
  • world’s second most endangered turtle,tried recovery initiatives through captive conservation breeding.

GST system is robust: Centre

  • All interactions with the GST system is done only through APIs (application programming interfaces)
  • Ensures network security against cyber threats
  • The data sharing mechanism ensures that any data transfer from the GST system is in encrypted format.

Different types of cyber security threats

phishing, scanning/probing, website intrusions and defacements, virus/malicious code, targeted attacks, ATM malware, ransomware and denial of service attacks among other threats.

Phobos imaged by Hubble Space telescope

  • NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has beamed back images of the tiny Martian moon Phobos in its orbital trek around the red planet.
  • Over the course of 22 minutes, Hubble took 13 separate images, allowing astronomers to create a time-lapse video showing the diminutive moon’s orbital path.
  • The Hubble observations were intended to photograph Mars, and the moon’s cameo appearance was a bonus.
  • The moon completes an orbit in just seven hours and 39 minutes, which is faster than Mars rotates.

A quicker, novel approach to cancer drug discovery

  • G-quadruplexes are four-stranded DNA structures found in human genome,
  • Eg: the presence of G-quadruplexes in cancer-causing gene c-MYC.
  • Since G-quadruplexes are involved in regulation of the gene expression, there is increased interest in finding molecules that target them..


  • Tz 1 molecule has remarkable anti-cancer properties
  • The molecule binds to the G-quadruplex and is able to switch off the c-MYC gene that gets over-expressed in breast, colon and lung cancer.
  • It can inhibit cancer growth and ultimately leads to death of cancer cells,

Economic and ecological use of tiger reserve

PTI report “Saving 2 tigers gives more value than Mangalyaan”’ was intriguing, since it said that saving two tigers yields a capital benefit of Rs 520 crores, while Mangalyaan cost us Rs 450 crores.
What is the total amount of land set apart for the 18 ranges as tiger reserves?

  • It is 68,000 square km, which is about 2% of the area of India – set apart for the nation’s pride animal.
  • A tiger reserve is not just for the tiger.
  • The six reserves (Corbett, Kanha, Kaziranga, Periyar, Ranthambore, Sunderbans) has many other animals such as the elephant, rhino, langur, barasingha, mongoose, river dolphin, olive ridley turtle, crocodile — additional to the millions of herbs, plants and trees.

What all does a tiger reserve offer?

(1) employment generation,

(2) agriculture (incidentally the famous IR-8 rice was discovered from the wild rice plants found in one such reserve),

(3) fishing,

(4) fuel wood,

(5) fodder and grazing,

(6) timber,

(7) pollination of plants,

(8) kendu leaves,

(9) carbon storage and sequestration (vital for climate protection against global warming),

(10) water and its purification by filtering organic wastes,

(11) soil conservation,

(12) nutrient cycling, and

(13) moderation of extreme events such as cyclone storms, flash floods.

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