5th Oct, 2020

Climate Change and Forest Fire Link

Scientists have noted that human-induced climate change promotes the conditions on which wildfires depend.


It is also called forest, bush or vegetation fire.

It is any uncontrolled burning of plants in a natural setting such as a forest, grassland which consumes the natural fuels and spreads based on wind, topography.

These can be incited by human actions, such as land clearing, extreme drought or in rare cases by


Three conditions needed for a wildfire: fuel, oxygen, and a heat source.

Globally, forest fires release billions of tons of Carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Hundreds of thousands of people die due to illnesses caused by exposure to smoke


(1) Climate change increases the frequency;

(2) Poor land and forest management

Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange

Recently, television news channels shared leaked WhatsApp chats of film actors in their coverage of an actor’s death. 

It prompted Facebook-owned WhatsApp to come out with a statement on its use of end-to-end encryption to secure user messages.

Since 2016, WhatsApp has installed an end-to-end encryption system.

The encryption ensures that the messages sent on Whatsapp are read and seen by only those people who are communicating. 

The technology that forms the basis for this is called the ‘Diffie-Hellman key exchange’.

It is a method of securely exchanging cryptographic keys over a public channel.

It was one of the first public-key protocols as conceived by Ralph Merkle and named after Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman.

The method allows two parties that have no prior knowledge of each other to jointly establish a shared secret key over an insecure channel. 

This key can then be used to encrypt subsequent communications using a symmetric key cipher.

Atal Tunnel inaugurated

Indian Prime Minister recently inaugurated the World’s longest Highway tunnel – Atal Tunnel.

Location: Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh

Constructed by: Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

The 9.02 Km long tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year.

Earlier the valley was cut off for about 6 months each year owing to heavy snowfall.

The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 Kms between Manali and Leh and the time by about 4 to 5 hours.

It will provide all weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh.

It would also reduce the distance between Manali and Keylong by 3-4 hours.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid the foundation of the approach road for this tunnel in 2002.

Successful trial of Shaurya Missile conducted

A successful trial of the nuclear capable Shaurya missile was conducted by India recently.

Shaurya is a land-based parallel of the submarine launched K-15 missile.

These ballistic weapons belong to the K missile family — codenamed after late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam — which are launched from the Arihant class of nuclear submarines.

K family of missiles

The K family of missiles are primarily Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs).

These missiles are fired from submarines from India’s Arihant class nuclear powered platforms.

Indigenously developed by: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The development of these naval platform launched missiles began in the late 1990s as a step towards completing India’s nuclear triad — the capability of launching nuclear weapons from land, sea and air based assets.

These missiles are lighter, smaller and stealthier than their land-based counterparts.

The Agni series of missiles are land-based which are medium and intercontinental range nuclear capable ballistic missiles.

Two new species of pipeworts from the Western Ghats discovered

Scientists from Agharkar Research Institute, Pune have recently discovered two new species of pipeworts from the Western Ghats of Maharashtra & Karnataka.

Researchers have named the species found in Maharashtra as Eriocaulon parvicephalum for its distinct minute inflorescence size

Karnataka counterpart has been named Eriocaulon karaavalense indicating the Karaavali coastal region in the state.

Pipeworts is a type of wetland plant.

It belongs to genus Eriocaulon.

Some of the previously-discovered plant species have medicinal values 

They also have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-cancerous properties.

However, the team is yet to trace the hidden medicinal applications of these two species.

Some 111 species exist in India, most of which are endemic to the Western Ghats and eastern Himalayas.

The two newly-discovered species display different floral characters than previously known species.

All species of Eriocaulon appear very similar to one another.

The team has taken up DNA barcoding works of this species to understand the evolution of this genus in India.

DNA barcoding is a method of species identification using a short section of DNA from a specific gene or genes

High Powered Committee alleges violations in Chardham road project

The chairman of a Supreme Court-appointed expert committee has alleged violations of the court orders in the execution of the Chardham road project.

It is a 900 km, 12,000 crore enterprise to connect pilgrimage spots in Uttarakhand.

Chardham Yatra of Uttarakhand

In the great Himalayas in Uttarakhand, the four pilgrim-destinations namely Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are collectively known as Chardham.

Traditionally, this pilgrimage tour should begin from the West and end in the East. Thus, the

Char Dham Yatra commences from Yamunotri, then proceeds to Gangotri and finally to Kedarnath and Badrinath.

The MoRTH is the key coordinator of the Chardham project.

Ravi Chopra is the chairman of the High Powered Committee (HPC).

UAE’s Moon Mission

Recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has decided to send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2024.

The rover would be named Rashid after Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, one of the original founding rulers of the UAE.

Aim: To explore the surface of the moon in areas that have not been explored previously by human missions such as NASA’s Apollo.

The Article 254(2)

It enables a State government to pass a law, on any subject in the Concurrent List, that may contradict a Central law, provided it gets the President’s assent.

However, the Parliament is not barred from enacting at any time any law with respect to the same matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by the

Legislature of the State.

Dhaulasidh Hydro Project

Indian Prime Minister announced the construction of 66 MW Dhaulasidh Hydro Project at Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh.

The project is proposed on the horseshoe curve of the Beas.

It is planned on the flow of the Beas near the temple at Amli village in Nadaun sub-division of Hamirpur district.