Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2016

Sea ice cover around Antarctica is rising: NASA-led study

A new NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)-led study has found that sea ice cover surrounding Antarctica has been increasing slightly.

This study shows sharp contrast to the drastic loss of sea ice occurring in the Arctic Ocean to global temperature rise.

The research study was based on data collected from satellite radar, ocean depth, temperature at sea surface and also consisted land form to study.

Key findings

  • The inverse phenomenon for this rise of the sea ice cover was observed due to geology of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
  • Two persistent geological factors for the rise were the topography of Antarctica and the depth of the ocean surrounding it.
  • These two geological factors are influencing ocean currents and winds to drive the formation and evolution of Antarctica’s sea ice cover and help sustain it.
  • In this inverse phenomenon, sea ice forms and builds up early in the sea ice growth season
  • This ice later due to winds gets pushed offshore and northward forming a protective shield of thicker, older ice that circulates around the continent.
  • The persistent winds flowing down slope off the continent plays important role in piling of ice up against the massive ice shield, enhancing its thickness.
  • The thickness of band of this ice varies in width from roughly 100 to 1,000 km. It protects and encapsulates younger, thinner ice from being reduced by winds and waves.
  • This ice drifts away from the continent as the sea ice cover expands creating ice factories conducive to rapid sea ice growth.

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Islamic Development Bank to open its first branch in India at Ahmedabad

Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has decided to open its first branch in India at Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

In this regard, IDB and its private sector arm, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), already have met with top officials of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), EXIM Bank and India’s other nationalized banks.

This announcement comes as part of MoU signed between IDB and India’s EXIM Bank during Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) in April 2016.

As part of the MoU a US 100 million dollars line-of-credit (LoC) was to be given to IDB’s member countries to facilitate exports.

Besides, IDB also has decided to provide Gujarat state 30 medical vans as part of its social sector initiatives.

About Islamic Development Bank

  • The IDB is a multilateral development financing institution based in in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Presently, it has 56 Islamic countries as its members.
  • It was founded in 1973 by the Finance Ministers at the first Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now Organisation of Islamic Cooperation).
  • IDB’s objective is to foster the economic development and social progress of member countries as well as the Muslim community in accordance with principles of Islamic (Shariah) law.

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US Bioengineer Frances Arnold becomes first woman to win Millennium Technology Prize

Bioengineer Frances Arnold from United States (US) has won the prestigious 2016 Millennium Technology Prize.

With this she becomes first female to be awarded with this prestigious biennial award in its 12-year history.

The Technology Academy Finland (TAF) had chosen Frances Arnold for this award in recognition of her discoveries that launched the field of directed evolution. Her discoveries mimic natural evolution to create new and better proteins in the laboratory.

About Frances Arnold

  • Frances Hamilton Arnold is an internationally recognized scientist, engineer and innovator from US.
  • She had obtained her BS degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University in 1979.
  • She had earned her PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
  • As a scientist she had pioneered methods of directed evolution to create useful biological systems including metabolic pathways, enzymes, genetic regulatory circuits and organisms.
  • Awards and Honours: Her scientific work has been recognized by many award including Draper Prize (2011) and National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2013).

About Millennium Technology Prize

  • The Millennium Technology Prize is one of the world’s largest technology awards. It seeks to promote technological research and Finland as a high-tech Nordic welfare state.
  • It was inaugurated in 2004 by Technology Academy Finland (TAF), an independent fund established in partnership of Finnish state and Finnish industry.
  • It is awarded biennially and the prize is presented by the President of Finland.

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