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Current Affairs – 21-02-2018

1. Solar Cycles and Sun spots
Key pointers:

  • • The amount of magnetic flux that rises up to the Sun’s surface varies with time in a cycle called the solar cycle, which lasts 11 years on average.
  • • This cycle is sometimes referred to as the sunspot cycle.
  • • Sunspots are regions where the solar magnetic field is very strong.
  • • In visible light, sunspots appear darker than their surroundings because they are a few thousand degrees cooler than their surroundings.
  • • They are usually concentrated in two bands, about 15 – 20 degrees wide in latitude, that go around the Sun on either side of the solar equator.

2. Mahanadi Tribunal

  • • The Union Cabinet approved the setting up of Mahanadi Water Dispute Tribunal.
  • • The tribunal will settle the row between Odisha and Chhattisgarh on sharing the waters of the Mahanadi River.
  • • The tribunal is expected to determine water sharing among basin States on the basis of the
    • 1. overall availability of water in the complete Mahanadi basin,
    • 2. contribution of each State,
    • 3. present utilization of water resource in each State
    • 4. potential for future development
  • • The tribunal will be setup as per the provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956.
  • • The Tribunal shall consist of a Chairman and two other Members nominated by the Chief Justice of India from amongst the Judges of the Supreme Court or High Court.

3. National Urban Housing Fund

  • • The Union Cabinet has given approval for creation of National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) for Rs.60, 000 crores.
  • • The motive of fund is to finance the government’s Housing for All Program, which aims to build 12 million affordable housing units in urban areas by 2022.
  • • The newly created fund will be placed under the aegis of the Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC).
  • • BMPTC is an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, The newly created fund will be placed under the aegis of the Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council
  • • The fund will be raised from non-budgetary sources and help in plugging the budgetary shortfalls.

4. Underwater Cave in Yucatan peninsula

  • • Recently a biggest flooded cave was found in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, by scuba divers.
  • • Archaeologists explored that cave and found fossils of giant sloths and an elaborate shrine of the Mayan god of commerce.
  • • The Yucatan peninsula is studded with monumental relics of the Maya people, whose cities drew upon an extensive network of sinkholes linked to subterranean waters known as cenotes.
  • • Researchers believe that the water level in the caves has fluctuated over time, and that they were a source of water in times of severe drought.
  • • Some of the animals and humans who ventured inside never made it out alive, whose remains are a treasure trove for scientists.
  • • It enables to piece together bits of the cave’s history dating all the way back to the Pleistocene epoch (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago).
  • • The artifacts left inside by humans are burnt human bones, ceramics, wall etchings and more.
  • • Similarly the animal remains include gomphotheres — an extinct elephant-like animal — as well as giant sloths and bears, archaeologists told a press conference.
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