Context :

  • There is periodic radio waves hitting Earth from a neighboring galaxy from past few years. These radio waves are called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs).
  • Researchers from a Canadian space observatory has observed it.
https://earthsky.org/upl/2019/01/FRB-illustration-Jan-12-2019-800x553.jpg

 

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs)

  • FRBs are super intense, millisecond-long bursts of radio waves produced by unidentified sources in the space.
  • Their discovery in 2007 by American astronomer Duncan Lorimer led to the term ‘Lorimer Bursts’.
  • The flash of radio waves is incredibly bright if distant, comparable to the power released by hundreds of millions of suns in just a few milliseconds.
  • This intensity suggests powerful objects like black holes and neutron stars could be involved.
  • The events were once considered to be largely transient – they seemed to happen once, without obvious signs of a repeat emission. However, several such bursts have been identified since then.

Why are they significant?

  • The waves have created ripples across the globe for one reason — they arrive in a pattern.
  • Can give information about alien civilization.
  • Initially, it was believed that the collision of black holes or neutron stars triggers them. But the discovery of repeating FRBs debunked the theory of colliding objects.

 

Kurzarbeit Scheme

Context:

  • The govt have unveiled various measures to address such concerns due to CoVid-19.
  • One of the scheme is Kurzarbeit.

Kurzarbeit Scheme:

  • The policy provides for a short-time work allowance, called kurzarbeitgeld, which partially compensates for lost earnings during uncertain economic situations.
  • Kurzarbeit is German for “short-work”.
  • The policy was rolled out during the 2008 economic crisis & World War I.

How it works?

  • When companies face a loss of earnings due to unforeseen economic situations, they often need to cut back on their working hours or send some of their employees’ home.
  • It aims to address workers who are impacted by the loss of income due to shortened work hours during such times.
  • They can apply for short-term work benefits under the scheme, with the government stepping in to pay employees a part of their lost income.

Benefits:

  • This scheme helps the companies retain their employees instead of laying them off, and allows the latter to sustain themselves for a period of up to 12 months.

Hanta Virus

Context:

China has reported the death of a person from Yunnan Province who tested positive for the Hantavirus.

Hantavirus:

  • Hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents.

Mostly in rural areas where forests, fields and farms offer suitable habitat for infected rodents

The Hantavirus carried by the deer mouse is responsible for the majority cases of the Hantavirus infection in US and Canada

First case dates back to 1993, according to the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

In the Americas, the family of viruses is known as ‘New World hantaviruses’.

 

Symptoms:

  • symptoms within the first to eighth week after they have been exposed to fresh urine, faeces or the saliva of infected rodents.
  • fever, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, chills and abdominal problems.
  • late symptoms of HPS may start to appear, which include coughing and shortness of breath.

Risk:

  • It is the cause of Hantavirus pulmonary disease (HPS), a severe respiratory disease
  • mortality rate of 38 per cent.

unclear whether human-to-human transmission of the virus is possible as no reports of human-to-human transmission of Hantavirus in the US.

India VIX Index

 

Context:

  • The  India VIX Index, an indicator of the volatility of the stock market has been plunging after the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

Indian VIX Index:           

  • Measure of the market’s expectation of volatility over the near term.
  • Volatility is often described as the “rate and magnitude of changes in prices” and in finance often referred to as risk.
  • India VIX is a volatility index based on the NIFTY Index Option prices.
  • “VIX” is a trademark of Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated (“CBOE”) and Standard & Poor’s.
  • The firm has granted a license to NSE to use such mark in the name of the India VIX and for purposes relating to the India VIX.
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