Current Affairs – 21-02-2018
1. Solar Cycles and Sun spots
- • 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.