12th Oct, 2020

Animal in news: Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

A rare Rose-breasted Grosbeak was recently found in Pennsylvania, USA.

It is a bird with both female and male plumage colours (sexually dimorphic).

It derives its name from the male of the species who have a ruby-red triangular marking on a white chest and dark black wings with pink wing pits. 

The females are much less showy, with no patches on its beige body, brown wings and yellow wing pits.

Breeding habitat consists of cool-temperate open deciduous woods in eastern North America.

They migrate to tropical America in winter.

IUCN status: Least Concern.


Bilateral gynandromorphism means the bird is both male and female, with one ovary and one testis. 

This occurs when two sperms fertilize an egg that has two nuclei instead of one, due to which the egg develops chromosome from each sex.

It is often seen in insects but gynandromorphic birds, snakes, lobsters and other animals have also been observed.

Animal in news: Furry Puss Caterpillars

It is a southern flannel moth in its larva stage.

After metamorphosis, the insect does not pose any threat.

It closely resembles a wig or toupee. 

It is widely regarded as one of the most poisonous of its kind in the USA.

The bristly hair that coats it, hides small and toxic spines that can get lodged in a person’s skin and cause immediate and intensely burning pain.

The caterpillars, which subsist solely on oak and elm leaves, are commonly found in parks and near structures in southern states like Texas and Missouri.

Country in news: Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan was in news recently due to violent protests in the country. 

It is witnessing one of its worst political crises in decades.


It is a landlocked country in Central Asia. 

It is often referred to as the only democracy in the region. 

It is also known as Kirghizia.

It borders Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

It’s the second-smallest of the five Central Asian states.

Capital: Bishkek.

The mountainous region of the Tian Shan covers over 80% of the country.

8 Indian beaches awarded with Blue Flag 

8 beaches of India have been awarded the “Blue Flag” by an International Jury comprising of eminent members from UNEP, UNWTO, FEE, IUCN.

Beaches: Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (AP), Golden (Puri-Odisha) and Radhanagar (A&N Islands).

Accorded by: The Foundation of Environment Education (FEE) Denmark

India is also the first country in Asia-Pacific region which has achieved this feat in just about 2 years’ time. 

India is now in the league of 50 Blue Flag countries. 

SICOM, MoEFCC, carried out BEAMS – Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services under its Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project.

Aim of BEAMS: To strive for the International eco-label Blue flag.

Blue Flag certification

The ‘Blue Flag’ is a certification that can be obtained by a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator.

It serves as an eco-label. 

The certification is known as an indication of high environmental and quality standards.

Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches of the world.

The certification is awarded by the Denmark-based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) with 33 stringent criteria fewer than four major heads for the beaches:

  1. Environmental Education and Information
  2. Bathing Water Quality
  3. Environment Management and Conservation and
  4.  Safety and Services.

The Blue Flag Program started in France in 1985 and in areas outside Europe since 2001.

Rudram: India’s first indigenous anti-radiation missile

Recently, Rudram was successfully flight-tested from a Sukhoi-30 MKI jet off the east coast.

It is India’s first indigenous anti-radiation missile

It is developed for the Indian Air Force.

Anti-radiation missile

Anti-radiation missiles are designed to detect, track and neutralise the rival’s radar, communication assets and other radio frequency sources.

Such a missile’s navigation mechanism comprises an inertial navigation system coupled with GPS, which is satellite-based.

For guidance, it has a passive homing head which is a system that can detect, classify and engage targets over a wide band of frequencies.


Rudram is an air-to-surface missile.

Designed and developed by: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

Once the Rudram missile locks on the target, it is capable of striking accurately even if the radiation source switches off in between. 

The missile has an operational range of more than 100 km.

Along with Sukhoi-30 MKI, it can be adapted for launch from other fighter jets too.

Raychaudhuri Equation

Recently, Kolkata-born physicist Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri was in news when British physicist

Dr Roger Penrose was awarded half the Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 for his work on black holes. 

The Raychaudhuri Equation in General Relativity was derived by Raychaudhuri.

It is a fundamental result in general relativity which describes how nearby bits of matter move.

The Equation was discovered independently by Raychaudhuri and Soviet physicist Lev Landau as a simple, general validation of the expectation that gravitation is a universal force that attracts objects with mass and energy (and Newton’s theory of gravitation).

The Raychaudhuri Equation continues to be a key tool in investigating the behaviour of black hole horizons in modern physics.

Bangalore rose onion

It is locally called gulabi eerulli.

It is a variety of onion grown in and around Bangalore, Karnataka.

These are not cultivated in any other place in India.

The onions of this variety have bulbs with flat base and are spherical. 

These have deep scarlet red colour, anthocyanin, phenols and high pungency.

They also contain higher levels of protein, phosphorus, iron and carotene.

It got the Geographical Indication tag in 2015.