Home Daily Current Affairs Jul 12, 2021

Jul 12, 2021: Current affairs for UPSC/State PSC

This section contains daily current affairs taken from all major news papers and magazines like - The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB, Live Mint, RSTV etc.

These current affairs are written in a easy to remember format and are useful for competitive exams like - UPSC Civil Services, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPPSC, State PSCs and other competitive examinations.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)

The stringent nature of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which renders it difficult for one held under it to obtain bail, is being seen as one of the principal reasons for Fr. Swamy's death as a prisoner in a hospital.

In its present form, the Act, after the amendments in 2004 and 2013, covers the declaration of associations as unlawful, punishment for terrorist acts and activities, acts threatening the country?s security, including its economic security (a term that covers fiscal and monetary security, food, livelihood, energy ecological and environmental security), and provisions to prevent the use of funds for terrorist purposes, including money laundering.


Mekedatu dam project in the Cauvery Basin

Union government has given the assurance that Karnataka government will not be granted the permission to construct the Mekedatu dam over the Cauvery river.

Mekedatu, meaning goat's leap, is a deep gorge situated at the confluence of the rivers Cauvery and its tributary Arkavathi.

The Rs. 9,000 crore project aims to store and supply water for drinking purposes for the Bengaluru city. Around 400 megawatts (MW) of power is also proposed to be generated through the project.

It received approval from the erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources for the detailed project report and is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

The approval from MoEFCC is crucial because 63% of the forest area of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary will be submerged.

In 2018, Tamil Nadu approached the Supreme Court (SC) against the project even if Karnataka had held that it would not affect the flow of water to Tamil Nadu.

In June 2020, during the Cauvery Water Management Authority's meeting, Tamil Nadu reiterated its opposition to the project.


Space tourism race (VSS Unity, Blue Origin & SpaceX)

Entrepreneur Richard Branson became the first person to blast off in his own spaceship, beating Mr. Bezos by nine days.

Mr. Branson and five crewmates, including aeronautical engineer Sirisha Bandla, from his Virgin Galactic space tourism company reached an altitude of about 88 kilometres over the New Mexico desert - enough to experience three to four minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth.

Such a trip is called a suborbital flight.

Ms. Bandla became the third Indian-origin woman to fly into space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams. Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma is the only Indian citizen to travel in space.

The entire flight up and back aboard the sleek white ship, named VSS Unity, took just under 15 minutes

Virgin Galactic's suborbital spacecraft are air-launched from beneath a carrier aircraft "White Knight Two".

Bezos' Blue Origin company intends to send tourists past the so-called Karman line 100 kilometres above earth, which is is recognised by international aviation and aerospace federations as the threshold of space.

Musk's SpaceX, which is already launching astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA and is building moon and Mars ships, is also competing for space tourism dollars.

But its capsules will do more than make brief, up-and-down forays; they will go into orbit around the Earth, with seats costing well into the millions.

Its first private flight is set for September.

Musk himself has not committed to going into space anytime soon.

Science & Tech

What is suborbital ?

Satellites need to reach a threshold speed in order to orbit Earth. If an object travels at a horizontal speed of about 28,000 km/hr or more, it goes into orbit once it is above the atmosphere.

At such speed, a satellite prevents itself from accelerating toward the Earth due to gravity.

Such a trip allows space travellers to experience a few minutes of "weightlessness".

Science & Tech

India's First Private LNG Facility plant at Nagpur

Minister for Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated the country's first Private LNG Facility plant at Nagpur (Maharashtra).

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport. It takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas in the gaseous state.

LNG is odorless, colorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive.

Flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs)

Mr Gadkari further added that, India has decided to allow ethanol-based 'flex engines', which power vehicles using local farm produce and not fossil fuels.

An FFV is a modified version of vehicles that could run both on gasoline and doped petrol with different levels of ethanol blends.

FFVs will allow vehicles to use all the blends and also run on unblended fuel.

FFVs have compatible engines to run on more than 84 per cent ethanol blended petrol.


NASA's VIPER mission

NASA is launching the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, in 2023 to map water and ice on the Moon's south pole.

VIPER's findings will pave the way for future lunar habitats while also providing insights into the history and origin of water in the solar system.

VIPER is different from NASA's traditional planetary missions - the agency is entrusting a commercial spacecraft to land the rover safely on the Moon.

It is part of Artemis program and NASA's first mobile robot to the Moon in search of ice and other resources.

It is the first resource mapping mission on any other celestial body.

NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) will be providing the launch vehicle and lander for what's going to be a 100-day mission.

Science & Tech

Bryum bharatiensis - native moss species in Antarctica

A group of Indian botanists from Bathinda has discovered a new plant species growing on rocky surfaces in the eastern Antarctica region near India's Bharati station.

The dark-green and unbranched moss Bryum bharatiensis has been named after India.

This is the first time a plant species has been discovered in the four decades of the Indian Antarctic mission.

Since the commencement of scientific explorations in 1981, India has been operating two stations, Maitri and Bharati, in Antarctica.

The foremost station Dakshin Gangotri today functions as a pit stop to supply essentials to Indian scientists visiting Antarctica for research.