Prelims Booster

30th April – Prelims Booster

Naming of cyclones

Worldwide there are six regional specialised meteorological centres (RSMCs) and five regional Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs) mandated for issuing advisories and naming of tropical cyclones. India Meteorological Department is one of the six RSMCs to provide tropical cyclone and storm surge advisories to 13 member countries under WMO/ESCAP Panel including Bangladesh, India, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Details –

During WMO/ESCAP PTC 45th Session held at Muscat, Oman in September, 2018 it was decided to prepare a fresh list of names of tropical cyclones including representation from five new member countries, viz., Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen (Total 13 member countries).

How the cyclones are named?

  • These countries submitted eight names each, which are arranged in a table.
  • The first cyclone after the list was adopted was given the name in the first row of the first column (proposed by Bangladesh).
  • Subsequent cyclones are being named sequentially, column-wise, with each cyclone given the name immediately below that of the previous cyclone.
  • Once the bottom of the column is reached, the sequence moves to the top of the next column.

Significance of naming of cyclones –

  • identify each individual cyclone.
  • create awareness of its development.
  • remove confusion in case of simultaneous occurrence of TCs over a region
  • remember a TC easily
  • rapidly and effectively disseminate warnings to a much wider audience.

About World Meteorological Organisation –

  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organisation with a membership of 192 Member States and Territories.
  • It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was established after the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress.
  • Established by the ratification of the WMO Convention on 23 March 1950, WMO became the specialised agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.’
  • WMO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Kumbh Mela

The Government has begun planning for the Maha Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, in January 2021.

About Maha Kumbh Mela –

  • The Maha Kumbh Mela is organised once in 12 years, and the last time the event was held in 2010.
  • Kumbh Mela is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, during which participants bathe or take a dip in a sacred river.
  • Kumbh Mela comes under the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • The festival is held at Prayagraj (at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati), Haridwar (on the Ganges), Ujjain (on the Shipra) and Nasik (on the Godavari) every four years by rotation and is attended by millions of people irrespective of caste, creed or gender.

USCIRF

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has downgraded India to the lowest ranking, “countries of particular concern” (CPC) in its 2020 report.

Details –

  • The report, released in Washington by the federal government commission that functions as an advisory body, placed India alongside countries, including China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
  • India was categorised as a “Tier 2” country in last year’s listing. This is the first time since 2004 that India has been placed in this category.
  • The commission also recommended that the U.S. government take stringent action against India under the “International Religious Freedom Act” (IRFA).
  • It called on the administration to “impose targeted sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom by freezing those individuals’ assets and/or barring their entry into the United States under human rights-related financial and visa authorities, citing specific religious freedom violations.

About USCIRF –

  • It is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), 1998. It monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.
  • USCIRF uses international standards to monitor religious freedom violations globally, and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.
  • USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and Congressional leaders of both political parties.  Their work is supported by a professional, nonpartisan staff.
  • USCIRF is separate from the State Department, although the Department’s Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom is a non-voting ex officio Commissioner.
  • Its recommendations are not binding and acts only as a conscience-keeper for the two branches in the US government — the legislature and the executive.
  • It releases International Religious Freedom report annually.

Raja Ravi Verma

April 29 is the birth anniversary of the famed Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), remembered for giving Indians their western, classical representations of Hindu gods and goddesses.

Famous works –

His most famous works include Damayanti Talking to a Swan, Shakuntala Looking for Dushyanta, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, and Shantanu and Matsyagandha.

About Raja Ravi Verma –

  • Varma was born into aristocracy at Kilimanoor in the erstwhile Travancore state of present-day Kerala, and was closely related to its royal family. At an early age, Varma showed a keen interest in drawing, and would draw on the walls of Kilimanoor palace, where he lived.
  • Varma worked on both portrait and landscape paintings, and is considered among the first Indian artists to use oil paints. Apart from painting Hindu mythological figures, Varma also made portraits of many Indians as well as Europeans.
  • His 1873 painting, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, won Varma prestigious awards including Governor’s Gold Medal when it was presented in the Madras Presidency, and Certificate of Merit at an exhibition in Vienna.
  • In 1904, the British colonial government awarded Varma with the Kaiser-i-Hind Gold Medal. In 2013, a crater on the planet Mercury was named in his honour.

Ozone Holes

Recently, the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) announced that a hole in the Arctic ozone layer, believed to be the biggest reported, has closed.

The ozone hole’s closing was because of a phenomenon called the polar vortex, and not because of reduced pollution levels due to Covid-19 lockdowns around the world, reports said.

What are ‘Ozone Holes’?

  • The ‘ozone hole’ is not really a hole — it refers to a region in the stratosphere where the concentration of ozone becomes extremely low in certain months.
  • The ‘ozone holes’ most commonly talked about are the depletions over Antarctica, forming each year in the months of September, October and November, due to a set of special meteorological and chemical conditions that arise at the South Pole, and can reach sizes of around 20 to 25 million sq km.
  • Such holes are also spotted over the North Pole, but owing to warmer temperatures than the South Pole, the depletions here are much smaller in size. Before this year, the last sizable Arctic ozone hole was reported in 2011.

Ozone Recovery –

As per the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion data of 2018, the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3 per cent per decade since 2000. “At these projected rates, the Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is predicted to recover by around 2030, followed by the Southern Hemisphere around 2050, and polar regions by 2060,” the report said.

About Ozone layer –

  • Ozone (chemically, a molecule of three oxygen atoms) is found mainly in the upper atmosphere, an area called the stratosphere, between 10 and 50 km from the earth’s surface.
  • Though it is talked of as a layer, ozone is present in the atmosphere in rather low concentrations.
  • Even at places where this layer is thickest, there are not more than a few molecules of ozone for every million air molecules.
  • But they absorb the harmful ultraviolet radiations from the sun. UV rays can cause skin cancer and other diseases and deformities in plants and animals.
  • In the Earth’s lower atmosphere (troposphere) near ground level, ozone is formed when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight. Surface level Ozone is a harmful air pollutant. It may reduce lung function and make breathing difficult.

Daily MCQs

1. Which of the following countries have recently outlawed 'flogging'?

Correct! Wrong!

Saudi Arabia has recently abolished flogging as a punishment, the state human rights commission has confirmed. Flogging, also called whipping or caning, a beating administered with a whip or rod, with blows commonly directed to the person’s back. It was imposed as a form of judicial punishment and as a means of maintaining discipline in schools, prisons, military forces, and private homes.

2. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘World Meteorological Organisation’? 1. It originated from the International Meteorological Organisation, established after the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress. 2. It is headquartered in Paris, France.

Correct! Wrong!

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organisation with a membership of 192 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was established after the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress. Established by the ratification of the WMO Convention on 23 March 1950, WMO became the specialised agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.’ WMO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

3. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘Kumbh Mela’? 1. It comes under the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 2. It is organised in Prayagraj, Haridwar and Nasik every four years by rotation.

Correct! Wrong!

Kumbh Mela is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, during which participants bathe or take a dip in a sacred river. Kumbh Mela comes under the UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The festival is held at Prayagraj (at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati), Haridwar (on the Ganges), Ujjain (on the Shipra) and Nasik (on the Godavari) every four years by rotation and is attended by millions of people irrespective of caste, creed or gender.

4. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about ‘Raja Ravi Verma’? 1. He is famous for giving Indians their western, classical representations of Hindu gods and goddesses. 2. He was awarded the Governor’s Gold Medal for his ‘Shakuntala Looking for Dushyanta’ painting.

Correct! Wrong!

Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) is remembered for giving Indians their western, classical representations of Hindu gods and goddesses. His most famous works include Damayanti Talking to a Swan, Shakuntala Looking for Dushyanta, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, and Shantanu and Matsyagandha. His 1873 painting, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, won Varma prestigious awards including Governor’s Gold Medal when it was presented in the Madras Presidency, and Certificate of Merit at an exhibition in Vienna.

5. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘US Commission on International Religious Freedom’? 1. It is an independent, bipartisan US Federal Government Commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), 1998. 2. It monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. 3. Its recommendations are binding to the State Department of the US administration.

Correct! Wrong!

It is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), 1998. It monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. Its recommendations are not binding and acts only as a conscience-keeper for the two branches in the US government — the legislature and the executive. It releases International Religious Freedom report annually.

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