- ISRO’s scientists discover an ‘EPIC’ planet
- The team from the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, has spotted for the first time a distant planet six times bigger than Earth and revolving around a Sun-like star about 600 light years away.
- PRL, described as the cradle of space sciences in India, conducts fundamental research in a host of physical sciences including astronomy and space.
- Both the planet and the star have been named EPIC.
- With this discovery, India has joined a handful of countries which have discovered planets around stars.
- Significantly, the discovery was made using a PRL-designed spectrograph, PARAS, to measure and confirm the mass of the new planet.
- EPIC 211945201b (or K2-236b) is the name given to the planet.
- The host star is named EPIC 211945201 or K2-236.
- Such a discovery is of importance for understanding the formation mechanism of such super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets that are too close to the host star
PARAS (PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search)
- The spectrograph is the first of its kind in the country which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star.
- They measured the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search or PARAS spectrograph integrated with the 1.2-metre telescope located at PRL’s Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.
Source- The Hindu
- seqFISH (sequential fluorescence in situ hybridization)
- Scientists have developed a new technique called seqFISH, that enables them to identify what goes on across the genome in hundreds of different cells at once.
- Previously, researchers could only image four to five genes at a time in cells with microscopy.
- Scaling seqFISH up to a genomic level now enables the imaging of over 10,000 genes -about half of the total number of genes in mammals — within single cells.
How does it work?
- In order for genetic instructions to be turned into an actual functioning protein, a process called transcription must first occur.
- First, a gene will be read and copied into a precursor messenger RNA, or pre-mRNA, like jotting a quick, rough draft.
- This molecule then matures into a messenger RNA, or mRNA, akin to editing the rough draft.
- During the “editing” process, certain regions called introns are cut out of the pre-mRNA.
- The team chose to focus on labelling introns because they are produced so early in the transcription process, giving a picture of what a cell is doing at the precise moment of gene expression.
- Using the newly developed intron seqFISH technique, each intron is labelled with a unique fluorescent barcode, enabling it to be seen with a microscope.
- Seeing introns reveals which genes are currently turned on in individual cells, how strongly they are expressed, and where they are located.
Source- Science Daily
- Govt forms a new committee to bring more transparency in employment-related data releases
- The Union government has formed a new committee under the chairmanship of former Chief Statistician Prof. C.A. Anant to bring more transparency in employment-related data releases.
- Labour Bureau conducts two major surveys on employment scenario i.e. Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey (EUS) and Quarterly Employment Survey.
- The Annual Employment Unemployment Survey was later replaced by Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS).
- The Periodic Labour Force Survey would not only have annual data on employment-unemployment on the rural sector but will also have quarterly data on employment-unemployment on urban sector based on larger sample size.
- On the other hand, the Quarterly Employment survey (New Series) is an enterprise-based survey and it captures the employment size of about 2.40 crore workers only as against the total workforce of about 47 crores.
Source- Economic Times
- Railway Minister launched ‘Rail Madad’ App and ‘Menu on Rails’ App
‘Menu on Rails’ App
- Passengers can now check the maximum retail price (MRP) of food items on IRCTC’s newly-launched “Menu on Rail” application and be sure that they are not taken for a ride.
- The app will display menu to passengers travelling in Mail/Express, including Humsafar Train, Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Gatiman Express and Tejas Express.
- The app can be used on laptops or computers as a website version of the same has been made available.
- The railway minister also launched ‘Rail Madad’ application to expedite and streamline passenger grievance redressal.
- The Rail Madad, allows passengers to lodge complaints through mobile application/web platform and enables them to check real-time feedback on the status of redressal of their complaints.
Source- DD News
- India gave Rs 99 million to Nepal for the Nepal-Bharat Maitri Irrigation Project
- India extended a financial aid of Rs 99 million to Nepal for the construction of 2,700 shallow tube well irrigation systems in 12 districts of the country’s southern Terai region to boost agricultural productivity.
- The assistance has been extended as part of the final payment for the Nepal-Bharat Maitri Irrigation Project, which was launched in January 2017 to boost growth to the Himalayan nation’s agricultural sector through enhanced facilities.
- Recognising the scope for improving agricultural productivity in Nepal, India has been partnering with Nepal for development of Deep Tube Wells (DTWs) and Shallow Tube Wells (STWs) in various regions for several years.
Source- Business Standards
- Paraguay now malaria-free
- Paraguay has become the first country in the Americas to be granted the malaria-free status by the World Health Organization since Cuba in 1973.
- In 2016, the WHO had identified 21 countries, including Paraguay, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador and others, where they could eliminate malaria by 2020 and include them in the ‘E-2020 initiative’.
- In April 2016, WHO identified 21 countries with the potential to achieve zero indigenous cases of malaria by 2020.
- The analysis, published on World Malaria Day, was based on trends in malaria case incidence between 2000 and 2014; the declared malaria objectives of affected countries; and the informed opinions of WHO experts in the field.
- Together, these 21 countries represent the “E-2020”.
Source- Down to Earth