GK Snippets Laffer Curve


GK Snippets

Laffer Curve

The Laffer curve shows how tax revenues change when the tax rate is either increased or decreased. Typically, it has an inverted-U shape. The Laffer curve, popularised in 1974 by economist Arthur Laffer in a discussion with former U.S. President Gerald Ford, is often used to bolster the argument that high or increasing tax rates will not yield additional tax revenue because members of the workforce will opt to work less in such circumstances, substituting earned income with leisure. The curve supports the notion in supply-side economics that tax and regulatory burdens can impede growth.


The term Eurasia is used in this report to refer to the entire land mass that encompasses both Europe and Asia, including its fringing islands, extending from Portugal on its western end to Japan on its eastern end, and from Russia’s Arctic coast on its northern edge to India on its southern edge, and encompassing all the lands and countries in between, including those of Central Asia, Southwest Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Eurasia’s fringing islands include, among others, the United Kingdom and Ireland in Europe, Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, the archipelagic countries of Southeast Asia, and Japan. There are also other definitions of Eurasia, some of which are more specialized and refer to subsets of the broad area described above.

 The Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering is an inter-governmental organization working to implement international standards for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing in the Asia Pacific region.

Asia Pacific Group


The Asia Pacific Group (APG) is an evolution of the FATF-Asia Secretariat, which was originally formed in 1995. After the last meeting of the secretariat in 1997, the APG was established with 13 founding members and a goal to ensure AML compliance across the region. After September 11, that goal expanded to include countering terrorist financing. Today, the APG has grown to include 41 member-states along with 8 observer states, and a number of observer organizations, including the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, and the World Bank. Part of a network of FATF-style regional bodies (FSRB), the APG is the largest of its type both by geographic and membership size. The APG’s activities are supported and coordinated by its Secretariat, headquartered in Sydney, Australia.


It is widely accepted that offenders should not be able to evade justice by crossing borders. Building on a practice dating back to antiquity, states forge extradition treaties so they can pursue fugitives and other wanted individuals in faraway jurisdictions. Extradition, hence, is the formal process of one state surrendering an individual to another state for prosecution or punishment for crimes committed in the requesting country’s jurisdiction. It typically is enabled by a bilateral or multilateral treaty. Some states will extradite without a treaty, but those cases are rare. Extradition has become ever more important given the spread of transnational criminal organizations, including those involved in terrorism, drug trafficking, counterfeiting, and cybercrime. However, even with treaties in place, extraditions are often contentious and sometimes become embroiled in geopolitical friction.

What is artificial intelligence?


It is a technology that takes in huge amounts of information from a specific domain and uses it to make a decision in the service of a specified goal. For example, AI technology can be used to analyze loan repayment histories (information) of a person to decide whether to give an individual a loan or not (decision) so as to maximize the profits for the lender (goal). In 2016, Google-run artificial intelligence (AI) programme “AlphaGo” defeated legendary player Lee Se-dol in Go – a complex Chinese board game that is considered the “quintessential unsolved problem” for machine intelligence. Though the AI has many benefits, it has sparked up a debate about its dangers to humanity.


Deepfake is an AI-based technology used to produce or alter video content so that it presents something that didn’t, in fact, occur. The term is named for a Reddit user known as deepfakes who, in December 2017, used deep learning technology to edit the faces of celebrities onto people in pornographic video clips. The term, which applies to both the technologies and the videos created with it, is a portmanteau of deep learning and fake. Deepfake video is created by using two competing AI systems — one is called the generator and the other is called the discriminator. Basically, the generator creates a fake video clip and then asks the discriminator to determine whether the clip is real or fake. Each time the discriminator accurately identifies a video clip as being fake, it gives the generator a clue about what not to do when creating the next clip. Together, the generator and discriminator form something called a generative adversarial network (GAN). The first step in establishing a GAN is to identify the desired output and create a training dataset for the generator. Once the generator begins creating an acceptable level of output, video clips can be fed to the discriminator. As the generator gets better at creating fake video clips, the discriminator gets better at spotting them. Conversely, as the discriminator gets better at spotting fake video, the generator gets better at creating them.

International order/world order


The term international order or world order generally refers in foreign policy discussions to the collection of organizations, institutions, treaties, rules, norms, and practices that are intended to organize, structure, and regulate international relations during a given historical period. International orders tend to be established by major world powers, particularly in the years following wars between major powers, though they can also emerge at other times. Though often referred to as if they are fully developed or firmly established situations, international orders are usually incomplete, partly aspirational, sometimes violated by their supporters, rejected (or at least not supported) by certain states and nonstate actors, and subject to various stresses and challenges.


The term geopolitics is often used as a synonym for international politics or for strategy relating to international politics. More specifically, it refers to the influence of basic geographic features on international relations, and to the analysis of international relations from a perspective that places a strong emphasis on the influence of such geographic features. Basic geographic features involved in geopolitical analysis include things such as the relative sizes and locations of countries or land masses; the locations of key resources such as oil or water; geographic barriers such as oceans, deserts, and mountain ranges; and key transportation links such as roads, railways, and waterways.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. The term is used because e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, but rather an aerosol, often mistaken for water vapor, that actually consists of fine particles. Many of these particles contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart disease. Generally a vaping device consists of a mouthpiece, a battery, a cartridge for containing the e-liquid or e-juice, and a heating component for the device that is powered by a battery. When the device is used, the battery heats up the heating component, which turns the contents of the e-liquid into an aerosol that is inhaled into the lungs and then exhaled. The e-liquid in vaporizer products usually contains a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin-based liquid with nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals and metals, but not tobacco. Some people use these devices to vape THC, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s mind-altering effects, or even synthetic drugs like flakka, instead of nicotine.


In the discipline of International Relations (IR), realism is a school of thought that emphasises the competitive and conflictual side of international relations. The first assumption of realism is that the nation-state (usually abbreviated to ‘state’) is the principle actor in international relations. Other bodies exist, such as individuals and organisations, but their power is limited. Second, the state   is a unitary actor. National interests, especially in times of war, lead the state to speak and act with one voice. Third, decision-makers are rational actors in the sense that rational decision-making leads to the pursuit of the national interest.

What is a Diplomatic Immunity?


Enshrined by the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomatic immunity means that diplomats serving abroad cannot be arrested or prosecuted in either civil or criminal courts in their host country. It is one of a host of protections contained in the international treaty, which also bars host governments from entering foreign embassies or reading their documents without permission. The reasoning behind diplomatic immunity is that it prevents governments from persecuting foreign diplomats for political reasons, or prosecuting them for actions that would not be considered crimes in their home country. Practiced by all but a handful of nations, diplomatic immunity applies to consular staff posted abroad and the family members who accompany them on their posting. Only top officials such as ambassadors are entitled to full diplomatic immunity, while more junior consular staff may only be covered while performing official duties. However, Diplomatic immunity does not mean that its beneficiaries can do whatever they want and get away with it. Police officers are allowed to disregard it whenever necessary to prevent a grave crime or an imminent danger to public safety.

What is the Irish backstop?

The Irish backstop is essentially a safety net that would prevent the reintroduction of a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit. Under the agreement negotiated by Theresa May, the UK would enter a transition period after officially leaving the EU during which it would remain a member of the body’s economic zones, namely the single market and the customs union. This would give the Government time to agree the details of our new trading relationship with the European Union and businesses time to adjust with minimal disruption. The backstop would only come into effect once the transition period ends, before all the details of the new relationship had been worked out. In the event the backstop came into force, Northern Ireland would remain a member of the single market until a trade agreement had been reached to keep the border effectively invisible. That would mean goods crossing the Irish border would not be subject to checks for customs or product standards. The whole of the UK would also remain in a common customs territory with the EU, meaning there would be no “tariffs, quotas, rules of origin or customs processes” applied to UK-EU trade. The arrangement would keep the Northern Irish border open and minimise economic damage, but would also mean the UK would temporarily have to go on following the EU’s rules and regulations without having a say in deciding them.

Transnational Actors


Transnational relations are usually defined as regular cross-border interactions in which nonstate actors play a significant role. This opens a wide research area in the context of globalization where a great variety of actors participate in growing global exchanges. Of particular importance for international relations (IR) are transnational actors that wield considerable influence on politics across borders, such as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), multinational corporations (MNCs), religious actors, terrorism rebels, criminal actors, and diasporas and ethnic actors. The social and cultural consequences of globalization are being explored under the heading of “transnationalism,” a burgeoning research area shared by several disciplines from across the humanities and social sciences, paying special attention to migration and hybrid identities. Some of this research is clearly relevant for IR, especially as it contributes to questioning the nation-state as the basic unit of world politics. The juxtaposition of society versus states, a concern of the early transnational relations debate during the 1970s, is still shaping a lot of “contentious politics” and “social movements” research on transnational actors. But in many cases, the relationships between domestic politics, transnational actors, and international affairs are more complex, e.g., when states sponsor terrorism or when NGOs, MNCs, states, and international organizations engage in global public policy networks.

Big Mac Index

This is an index used to compare the price of a good across countries. The law of one price states that the price of a good sold internationally should converge as entrepreneurs try to profit from any price discrepancy. The purpose of the Big Mac index, which compares the price of the Big Mac burger across countries, is to establish the purchasing power parity between currencies. It has been published by the British magazine The Economist since 1986. One drawback of the Big Mac index is that goods that look physically similar to each other may not necessarily be similar in their economic nature.

Gold Standard

A monetary system where the supply of money in the economy was fully backed by gold. Under this system, citizens could freely exchange their currency notes for gold at the central bank. Most of the world was under the gold standard until 1914, with each currency being defined as a particular weight of gold. Since they were essentially units of weight, the exchange rates among currencies were naturally fixed under the gold standard. For instance, the pound sterling which was defined as 1/4th of a gold ounce was always exchanged for five U.S. dollars which was defined as 1/20th of a gold ounce.

Yerkes-Dodson law

A psychological phenomenon where the performance of an individual at a particular task increases with physiological arousal, but only up to a point. After a while, the positive relationship between the two variables reaches a point of saturation, and excessive arousal, in fact, leads to a deterioration in task performance. The law is named after psychologists Robert Yerkes and Dillingham Dodson, who first proposed it in 1908. They observed that mild electric shocks on rats motivated them to complete tasks more efficiently, but as the shocks became too strong, their efficiency dropped dramatically.

Parliamentary Standing Committees

In a democracy, the bulk of the legislative work takes place in committees, made up of 20 or fewer members of the parliament, from both the opposition and the ruling party. These committees exhaustively pour over the details of new proposed laws, government policies or even broader topics like economy and health, during which the members can also suggest amendments. They then submit a report to the parliament. According to the National Assembly’s Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business 2007, there should be a standing committee for each ministry of the government. All committees are required to be elected by the Assembly within 30 days, after the speaker is elected. Besides Standing Committees, a house has Special and Select Committees to examine a specific law. Then there are Joint Committees, which comprise members from both houses – the Senate and the National Assembly. During a single tenure, there can be between 40-50 committees in the parliament.

How does blockchain work?

Every block in a blockchain is a record of transactions and the more of the latter, the longer the chain. Just as worthless paper transforms into valuable currency with the signature of the RBI governor, blocks are great because they provide an unalterable document of the history of every transaction. In the context of currency, it stores the place, time, value (rupee, for example) and location of a purchase. There is minimal identifying information and every block is linked to a unique ‘digital signature’ of the transacting participants. Every block is distinguished from another through a unique code which is a string of numbers. When you use your debit or credit card to make a transaction, VISA or Mastercard employ their technology to verify your bank account, connect with banks and process a transaction.

In blockchain applications, this verifying role is outsourced to several computers on a network — each has the exact same copy of the block. These computers verify the genuineness of transaction by solving mathematical problems that can only be done in brute-force, energy intensive ways that require a lot of computational power, and therefore electricity. This is a key reason why blockchain enthusiasts vouch for the security of blockchain-backed transactions. Depending on where the blockchain technology is deployed, these participating computers or users have to be incentivised for all that energy expenditure.

In the case of bitcoin, the computers are rewarded with bitcoin. This is stored in digital wallets and may be used like money provided there are sellers of real world goods who would accept bitcoins. Nowdays, they are frequently traded as another speculative, volatile asset.

Malware and Ransomware

Malware is a general term that refers to software that is harmful to your computer. Ransomware is a type of malware that essentially takes over a computer and prevents users from accessing data on the computer until a ransom is paid. Ransomware, like the name suggests, is when your files are held for ransom. It finds all of your files and encrypts them and then leaves you a message. If you want to decrypt them, you have to pay. The ransomware encrypts data on the computer using an encryption key that only the attacker knows. If the ransom isn`t paid, the data is often lost forever.

The Four Fundamental Forces of Nature

The Four Fundamental Forces of Nature are Gravitational force, Weak Nuclear force, Electromagnetic force and Strong Nuclear force. The weak and strong forces are effective only over a very short range and dominate only at the level of subatomic particles. Gravity and Electromagnetic force have infinite range. Let’s see each of them in detail.

Gravitational Force

The gravitational force is weak, but very long ranged. Furthermore, it is always attractive. It acts between any two pieces of matter in the Universe since mass is its source.

Weak Nuclear Force

The weak force is responsible for radioactive decay and neutrino interactions. It has a very short range and. As its name indicates, it is very weak. The weak force causes Beta decay ie. the conversion of a neutron into a proton, an electron and an antineutrino.

Electromagnetic Force

The electromagnetic force causes electric and magnetic effects such as the repulsion between like electrical charges or the interaction of bar magnets. It is long-ranged, but much weaker than the strong force. It can be attractive or repulsive, and acts only between pieces of matter carrying electrical charge. Electricity, magnetism, and light are all produced by this force.

Strong Nuclear Force

The strong interaction is very strong, but very short-ranged. It is responsible for holding the nuclei of atoms together. It is basically attractive, but can be effectively repulsive in some circumstances. The strong force is ‘carried’ by particles called gluons; that is, when two particles interact through the strong force, they do so by exchanging gluons. Thus, the quarks inside of the protons and neutrons are bound together by the exchange of the strong nuclear force.

Rare Earth Elements

Rare Earth Elements (REE) are metals having many similar properties. The global demand for rare earth elements has increased significantly in line with their expansion into high-end technology, environment, and economic areas. In this post, we see the importance of Rare Earth Elements and their strategic significance.

Rare earth elements (REE) are a group of seventeen chemical elements that occur together in the periodic table, 15 lanthanides ( Z=57 through 71), Scandium and Yttrium.

All are metals and have many similar properties which often cause them to be found together in geologic deposits. That is why they are also known as rare earth metals.

They are also referred to as “rare earth oxides” because many of them are sold as oxide compounds.

Samarium (Sm), scandium (Sc), terbium (Tb), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb), yttrium (Y), cerium (Ce), dysprosium (Dy), erbium (Er), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), holmium (Ho), lanthanum (La), lutetium (Lu), neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), promethium (Pm).

Regret Theory

This refers to the theory that while making decisions under uncertainty, apart from the possible benefits of their decisions, people also take into account the likely regret that they will experience in case their decisions fail to yield the expected benefits. Further, the delayed feedback that people receive about what they should have done after failing to achieve the desired benefit can cause them to experience regret. Regret theory was first developed by British economists Graham Loomes and Robert Sugden in their 1982 paper “Regret theory: An alternative theory of rational choice under uncertainty”.

Social Jet Lag

This refers to the difference in the sleep patterns of people between weekends and weekdays. Social jet lag is seen by many as caused by the modern lifestyle which requires that people operate within a strict time schedule on weekdays unlike on weekends. On weekends, people are generally free to sleep longer and in sync with their body’s natural sleep cycle. This frequent change in sleep pattern is considered to be similar to the change in sleep pattern witnessed when people travel across time zones. Researchers believe that such a disrupted sleep pattern can have harmful effects on health.

Cultural Learning

This refers to how people living in a society learn various things from others around them and further spread such knowledge to more people. Children, for instance, learn new things by socialising with other children they meet as well as with adults around them. So the kind of culture into which they are born influences the behaviour of people right from their childhood. Many believe that human beings and other organisms may be naturally wired to engage in cultural learning as it helps them to better adapt to the environment around them, thus improving their chances of survival.

Kishanganga Water Dispute

The dispute revolves around a hydroelectric power plant on the Kishanganga River, which is a tributary of the Jhelum and is known as the Neelum in Pakistan. The Kishanganga River flows through the regions of Neelum in AJK and Astore before entering the India-held region of Gurez. The dam will give India control over a river that flows from Pakistan into India-held Kashmir and then re-enters Pakistan.

Islamabad argues that the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) gives Pakistan control over the waters of the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum Rivers.

The treaty gives India control over three eastern rivers — Beas, Ravi and Sutlej. India may also use the waters of the western rivers in “non-consumptive” ways. It interprets this as a permission to build “run-of-the-river” hydel projects that do not change the course of the river and do not deplete the water level downstream.

Pakistan argues that the Kishanganga project violates both conditions by changing the course of the river and depleting the water level.

United Nations Global Climate Action Award

These awards are spearheaded by Momentum for Change initiative at UN Climate Change.

The projects which are awarded are recognized as an innovative solution that addresses climate change as well as helps drive forward progress on many other sustainable development goals, such as- innovation, gender equality and economic opportunity.

The UN Climate Change’s Momentum for Change initiative is implemented with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation. It operates in partnership with World Economic Forum (WEF), donors supporting implementation of UN Climate Change’s Gender Action Plan and Climate Neutral Now.

UN Convention on International Settlement Agreement (UNISA)

It is also known as Singapore Convention on Mediation. It was adopted by UN General Assembly (UNGA) in December 2018. It provides uniform framework for enforcement of international settlement agreements resulting from mediation and for allowing parties to invoke such agreements akin to framework that Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York, 1958) (New York Convention) provides for arbitral awards. It defines two additional grounds upon which court may, on its own motion, refuse to grant relief. These grounds related to fact that dispute is not be capable of settlement by mediation or is contrary to public policy. It ensures that settlement reached by parties becomes binding and enforceable in accordance with simplified and streamlined procedure. It seeks to become essential instrument in facilitation of international trade and in promotion of mediation as alternative and effective method of resolving trade disputes. It also seeks to contribute to strengthening access to justice, and to the rule of law.

Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)

It is relief and human development agency of UN which supports more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees, and their descendants. It is only UN agency dedicated to help refugees from specific region or conflict. It is separate from UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Founded: It was established December 1949 following 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict by UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 302 (IV). Mandate: Its mandate is to contribute to welfare and human development of Palestine refugees, who had fled or were expelled from their homes during 1948 Palestine war as well during and following 1967 Six Day war. Services: It originally offered services intended to provide jobs on public works projects and direct relief, but now it provides services like education, health care, and social services to population it supports. It also allows refugee status to be inherited by descendants. Currently, it serves about 5.3 million refugees scattered around Middle East. Areas of Operation: It provides aid in 5 areas of operation viz. Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Whereas, UNHCR provides aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas. Funded: It is funded by voluntary contributions from member states of UN. It also receives some funding from regular budget of UN (mostly used for international staffing costs). India has increased its annual financial contribution to UNRWA from US $1.25 million in 2016 to US$ 5 million in 2018 and 2019.


It is geopolitical alliance (bloc) of four advanced developing countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China. It was established by agreement in 2009. These four countries collectively account for one-third of world’s geographical area and nearly 40% of world’s population. BASIC countries broadly have common position on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and raising the massive funds that are needed to fight climate change. Since 2009, they have cooperated in international climate negotiations, reflecting their aspiration to have a larger say in global politics. Mandate: These four countries as single bloc are committed to act jointly at Copenhagen climate summit, including possible united walk-out if their common minimum position was not met by the developed nations. They are collectively working to define common position on emission reductions and climate aid money and try to convince other countries to sign up to Copenhagen Accord.

Asia Pacific Group (APG) of FATF

It is Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body for Asia-Pacific region to develop policies to combat money laundering and terror financing. It is inter-governmental organisation founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand. Members: It consists of 41 member jurisdictions as its members. It also has number of observer jurisdictions and international/regional observer organisations. Mandate: It is focused on ensuring that its members effectively implement international standards against money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing related to weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund)


The international organization commenced its operations in January 2002 and maintains its secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. It is an international financing and partnership organization that aims to attract, leverage and invest additional resources to end epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria to support attainment of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Global Fund is a financing mechanism rather than an implementing agency and is also the world’s largest financier of AIDS, TB, and malaria prevention, treatment, and care programs.

Hurricane Dorian

It was an extremely powerful and destructive Category 5 hurricane. It was the first major hurricane of 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. The hurricane devastated northwestern Bahamas, caused catastrophic damage to Grand Bahama and Abaco Island and also caused significant damage to Southeastern United States and Atlantic Canada.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

It is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between 10 member states of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its 6 free-trade agreement (FTA) partners- India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. ASEAN members countries are Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar. RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at ASEAN Summit held in Cambodia.


SAARC is South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. The member nations of the grouping are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. SAARC comprises of 21% of world population and 3.8% of world economy. SAARC was founded in Dhaka. There is no anthem for SAARC as that of other groupings (Eg: ASEAN) As soon as SAARC was formed, SAFTA – South Asian Free Trade Agreement was the first major and fruitful step. It was signed in 2004. The agreement increased the exports substantially from 206 billion USD in 2009 to 602 billion USD in 2010. The primary objective of the organization is to promote welfare of the people of South Asia accelerating their social and economic growth.

New IMF Chief

Kristalina Georgieva Kristalina had served as Chief Executive in World Bank as well. Before becoming CEO of the bank in 2019, she had served in number of top positions in the Bank since 2008. In 2014, she served as Vice – President of European Commission. She had run the post of Secretary – General at the UN for a very short duration. Her tenure ended following a vote at the UN Security Council where Antonio Guterres gained its support. She began her career at the World Bank in 1993. Her works and coordination towards disaster around the world in 2010 were applauded. It included floods in Pakistan, earthquake in Haiti and Chile, industrial accident at Ajka, Hungary and Romanian floods. Awards Georgieva was named “European of the year” in 2010. She was also awarded “EU Commissioner of the year” for her handling of humanitarian crisis in Pakistan and Haiti. Responsibilities of IMF Chief The responsibilities of IMF chief are defined in IMF’s Article of Agreement. According to the article, the chief shall coordinate the operating staff and the funds of IMF under an Executive board. He or she is responsible for appointment and dismissal of the staff of the Fund. Selection Process of IMF Chief The IMF chief is appointed by a 24 member Executive board. It is completely merit based. The directors of the board were allowed to file nominations for the post till 2011. After 2011, the appointments were based on managerial, diplomatic and professional skills of the director. Indians in IMF Indian born Gita Gopinath was the first Indian woman to hold a higher position in IMF. She joined IMF in 2018 as a Chief Economist. Before her the Ex – RBI chief Raghuram Rajan was the first Indian to hold the position of Chief Economic Advisor in the IMF. Reports published by IMF IMF publishes 2 major reports (1) World Economic Outlook – It is published biennially. It gives an overview and detailed analysis of the world economy by considering the issues of industrial countries, economies in the mode of transition and developing countries. (2) Global Financial Stability Report – It is also published twice a year. The report assesses stability of global financial market and emerging markets. About IMF IMF is an international organisation headquartered at Washington DC. It consists of 189 countries. IMF works towards global monetary cooperation, facilitates international trade and secures financial stability. It was formed in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference.

United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)

It is the United Nations specialized agency which works towards promoting sustainable, responsible and universally accessible tourism. It was founded 43 years ago on October 1975. It is headquartered in Madrid, Spain. Parent organization: United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO). Members: 158 countries, 6 territories and more than 500 affiliate members. Its members represents educational institutions, private sector, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.

China’s Defence Capability

Since in power, Chinese President Xi Jinping has advocated a new military doctrine as per which the 2.3 million Chinese military (largest in the world), has reduced the size of its army by 3 lakhs in last few years and expanded its navy and air force manifold to enhance its global influence. Also, since 2013 China, in a major reorganization of its military doctrine has increased development of its navy (People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy), which included building several aircraft carriers besides submarines, assault ships and frigates as part of its efforts to expand its global influence. The Chinese Navy’s has one aircraft carrier- the Liaoning, which was commissioned in 2012. Moreover, PLA Navy’s 2nd indigenously built aircraft carrier is currently undergoing trials and 3rd one is being built at furious pace. China now also plans to acquire about 5-6 aircraft carriers in the coming years. Currently, China has 20 Type 052Ds destroyers, either in active service or being fitted out for service soon. The Destroyers are fast, highly manoeuvrable long distance warships which are also used to accompany aircraft carriers.

The Steinmeier Formula?

Ukraine and Russia, overseen by France, Germany and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), signed two agreements in the Belarusian capital, Minsk — in September 2014 and February 2015 — to establish a cease-fire and a road map to a lasting peace in eastern Ukraine, where Kyiv’s forces are fighting the Russia-backed separatists who hold parts of two provinces in what is known as the Donbas.

Those pacts are known as the Minsk agreements, and they include such steps as the pullback of forces and military equipment by both sides, Kyiv granting amnesty to combatants who have not committed grave crimes; and Ukraine holding local elections and granting special status to the areas now held by separatists. They also include the withdrawal of “all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries” from Ukrainian territory and the restoration of Kyiv’s control over its border with Russia in that area, across which ample evidence shows that Moscow has sent troops and weapons during the continuing conflict.

While the Mink agreements have helped to deescalate the fighting, they have not stopped it. One reason is that deals were hammered out quickly during hot phases of the war and were vaguely worded, allowing each signatory to interpret details — such as the sequence of steps toward peace — in its own way.

Enter Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

In 2016, looking for a way to break the deadlock, Steinmeier — then Germany’s foreign minister, now its president — proposed a slimmer, simplified version of the Minsk agreements. Basically, it was a way to get Ukraine and Russia to agree on the sequence of events outlined in Minsk.

Specifically, Steinmeier’s formula calls for elections to be held in the separatist-held territories under Ukrainian legislation and the supervision of the OSCE. If the OSCE judges the balloting to be free and fair, then a special self-governing status for the territories will be initiated and Ukraine will be returned control of its easternmost border.

The formula was vocalized and had not been put to paper until it was signed on October 1 by representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the separatist territories of Luhansk and Donetsk, and the OSCE in Minsk.

What is ultrasound?

Light, heat and sound are all forms of energy that travel as waves. Scientists measure a wave’s frequency in cycles per second, or hertz. In air, sound travels at a constant speed. If the wave’s frequency changes, so does its wavelength which is the distance from the peak of one wave to the peak of the next. Long waves sound low and short waves sound high. Human ears can hear anything between 20 and 20,000 hertz. Waves with a higher frequency are known as ultrasound while those below human hearing are known as infrasound.

For many decades, medicine has relied on ultrasound to picture soft tissues inside the body. This type of diagnostic ultrasound uses low-energy waves. That makes it safe for checking the health of unborn babies in the womb. Doctors also use it to scan for diseases in children and adults. More recently, researchers have been studying how ultrasound with higher energy might be used to treat certain diseases. This is called therapeutic ultrasound. Ultrasound imaging with low-energy waves uses a transducer. This device converts one form of energy into another. One part of the transducer converts electrical energy into short ultrasound pulses. It sends those pulses into the body. Another part of the transducer receives the echoes that bounce back from the tissues those pulses hit inside the body. A computer analyzes those echoes to create an image. The echoes from different tissue types show up as darker and brighter parts in the image.

Doctors already use therapeutic ultrasound to treat kidney stones. These are small, hard mineral deposits in the kidneys that are painful to pass out along with urine. The high-energy sound waves break kidney stones into tiny pieces. That makes it easier for the body to flush them out.

Researchers are studying other possible therapeutic uses for ultrasound, too. For example, they would like to destroy cancer cells without harming neighboring cells. They also have shown that ultrasound can trigger brain cells to release signaling chemicals. This might one day lead to treatments for brain diseases and mood disorders.

Some researchers have even shown that ultrasound can make certain cells release insulin. That’s a hormone that keeps blood sugar at healthy levels. One day, it might be possible to use pulses of ultrasound to manage diabetes.

What are lidar, radar and sonar?

If you have ever heard an echo, you’ll be familiar with the basic principle behind three similar technologies: radar, sonar and lidar.

An echo is the reflection of sound waves off of some distant object. If you shout in a canyon, the sound waves travel through the air, bounce off the rocky walls and then come back to you.

Sonar (SO-nahr) is the most similar to this scenario. This technology also relies on sound waves to detect objects. However, sonar is typically used underwater.

Medical technicians also may use sound waves to peer inside the human body (which is mostly water). Here, the technology is known as ultrasound. When bats, dolphins and other animals use sonar naturally, usually to find prey, it’s called echolocation (EK-oh-lo-CAY-shun). These animals send out a series of short sound pulses. Then they listen for the echoes to determine what’s in their environment.

Radar and lidar (LY-dahr) rely on echoes, too. Only they don’t use sound waves. Instead, these two technologies use radio waves or light waves, respectively. Both are examples of electromagnetic radiation.

Scientists made up the words radar, sonar and lidar. Each reflects a technology’s usefulness:

  • Radar: ra(dio) d(etection) a(nd) r(anging)
  • Sonar: so(und) na(vigation) (and) r(anging)
  • Lidar: li(ght) d(etection) a(nd) r(anging)

Detection (or navigation) refers to locating objects. Depending on the technology, these objects may be underwater, in the air, on or below the ground, or even in space. Radar, sonar and lidar  can determine an object’s distance, or range. For that measurement, time plays an important role.

Lidar, radar and sonar systems all include timing devices. Their clocks record the length of time needed for a wave to travel to an object and back. The farther the distance, the longer it takes for an echo to return.

Radar, sonar and lidar also can reveal information about an object’s shape, size, material and direction. Air traffic controllers use radar to spot aircraft in the sky. Police use it to detect speeders. Navies use sonar to map the ocean bottom — or to look for enemy submarines. And lidar helps read the lay of the land or features on Earth’s surface. Lidar’s laser pulses can penetrate forest cover to record the shape of the ground below. That makes this technology especially valuable for mapping.

How the ears work?

Vertebrates use their ears to magnify incoming waves of sound and transform them into signals the brain can interpret. Sound travels through the air in waves that compress, stretch and then repeat. The compression exerts a push on objects, such as ear tissue. As a wave stretches back out, it pulls on the tissue. These aspects of the wave cause whatever a sound hits to vibrate.

Sound waves first hit the outer ear. That’s a part often visible on the head. It’s also known as the pinna or auricle. The outer ear’s shape helps to collect sound and direct it inside the head toward the middle and inner ears. Along the way, the shape of the ear helps to amplify the sound — or increase its volume — and determine where it’s coming from.

From the outer ear, sound waves travel through a tube called the ear canal. In people, this tiny tube is about 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) long. Not every animal has an outer ear and ear canal. Many frogs, for example, just have a flat spot behind their eyes. This is their ear drum.

In animals with an outer ear and ear canal, the ear drum — or tympanum — is inside the head. This tight membrane stretches across the end of the ear canal. As sound waves slam into this ear drum, they vibrate its membrane. This triggers pressure waves that swell into the middle ear.

Inside the middle ear is a small cavity with three tiny bones. Those bones are the malleus (which means “hammer” in Latin), the incus (which means “anvil” in Latin) and the stapes (which means “stirrup” in Latin). In people, these three bones are known as ossicles. They are the smallest bones in the body. The stapes (STAY-pees), for instance, is only 3 millimeters (0.1 inch) long! These three bones work together to receive sound waves and transmit them on to the inner ear.

Not all animals, however, have those ossicles. Snakes, for instance, lack both the outer ear and the middle ear. In them, the jaw transmits sound vibrations directly to the inner ear.

Inside this inner ear is a fluid-filled, snail-shaped structure. It’s called the cochlea (KOAK-lee-uh). Inside it stand ranks of microscopic “hair” cells. They contain bundles of tiny, hair-like strands embedded in a gel-like membrane. When sound vibrations enter the cochlea, they make the membrane — and its hair cells — sway to and fro. Their movements send messages to the brain that register the sound as any of many distinct pitches.

Hair cells are fragile. When one dies, it’s gone forever. So over time, as these disappear, people begin to lose the ability to detect certain sounds. Hair cells that respond to high-pitched sounds tend to die off first. For example, a teen may be able to hear a sound with a very high frequency of 17,400 hertz, while someone with older ears may not. Want proof? You can test it yourself below.


This is a unit of frequency. Frequency is the number of times that an event occurs in a given length of time. For example, a hummingbird’s heart can beat (a periodic action) as fast as 1,260 times per minute. That’s a frequency. Scientists can measure that frequency in hertz. One hertz is equal to one cycle per second. If hummingbird’s heart beats at 1,260 beats per minute, that’s 21 beats per second, a frequency of 21 hertz.

Many things can be measured in hertz, from waves beating on a beach to the frequency of sounds. Our range of hearing extends from about 20 hertz (which we hear as a very low pitch) to 20,000 hertz (a very high pitch). So a hummingbird’s heart might sound like a very low hum.

The unit hertz is named for Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, a German physicist who lived from 1857 to 1894. He proved the existence of electromagnetic waves — waves of energy including visible light, radio waves, microwaves and more. All of those waves can now be measured in hertz.

Types of foods that astronauts eat in space:

Thermo-stabilized: Heat processed foods in aluminium or bimetallic tins and retort pouches are the most commonly processed foods.

Irradiated: These foods are preserved by exposure to ionizing radiation and packed in flexible foil laminated pouches.

Intermediate moisture foods: These are dried foods with a low moisture content such as dried apricots, which are packed in flexible pouches.

Freeze dried foods: These are the second most common foods. They are prepared to the ready to eat stage, frozen and then dried in a freeze dryer which removes the water by sublimation. Freeze dried foods such as fruits may be eaten as it is while others require the addition of hot or cold water before consumption.

Rehydratable: Dried foods and cereals that are rehydrated with water produced by the shuttle orbiter’s fuel cell system, packed in a semi-rigid plastic container with a septum for water injection come in this category.

Natural Form: Foods such as nuts, crunch bars and cookies. Packed in flexible plastic pouches are carried in their natural form to space.

Beverages: Just like flights, the beverages are carried in powder mix forms, so you can just add hot water to make a coffee!

Preferential Trade Agreement

Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) or Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a special status given in trade by various countries. In the United States, it is designed to promote economic growth in the developing country, the agreement provides duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories. GSP was instituted on January 1, 1976, by the Trade Act of 1974, mentioned US government. India government, however, thinks the plan has been proliferating since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1994.

Microeconomics and Macroeconomics?

  • Microeconomics can be regarded as the study of decisions that people and businesses make in terms of allocation of resources including land, labor, capital and prices of goods and services
  • This field also takes into account things like taxes and regulations created by governments
  • Microeconomics mainly focuses on supply and demand and other forces that determine the price levels prevalent in the economy
  • For example, microeconomics would look at how a particular operating company can maximize its production and capacity so it can lower cost prices and be in a better position to compete in the market
  • It, thus, depends on more of analytics with many set formulas to analyze the market and get the mathematical result for the company’s output
  • Macroeconomics, on the other hand, is the field of economics that studies the behavior of the economy as a whole and not just on specific companies or individuals, but the entire industries and economies
  • This looks at wider phenomena, such as Gross National Product (GNP) and how it is affected by changes of unemployment, national income, rate of growth, and price levels
  • For example, macroeconomics would look at how an increase or decrease in net exports would affect a nation’s capital account or how GNP would be affected by such indexes like unemployment rate
  • The summed up inference is that microeconomics takes a wholesome approach to analyzing the economy while macroeconomics takes a superficial approach
  • Microeconomics tries to understand the human choices and the resource allocation, while macroeconomics tries to answer broader questions about the rate of inflation and economic growth rates and many others.

How do sailors navigate in water?

Anautical mile is based on the circumference of the earth, and is equal to one minute of latitude, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

It is slightly more than a statute (land measured) mile (1 nautical mile = 1.1508 statute miles)

Nautical miles are used for charting and navigating in waters

How is a knot different from a nautical mile?

A knot is one nautical mile per hour (1 knot = 1.15 miles per hour), as per NOAA

The term knot dates from the 17th century, when sailors measured the speed of their ship by using a device called a ‘common log’

This device was a coil of rope with uniformly spaced knots, attached to a piece of wood shaped like a slice of pie

The piece of wood was lowered from the back of the ship and allowed to float behind it

The line was allowed to pay out freely from the coil as the piece of wood fell behind the ship for a specific amount of time

When the specified time had passed, the line was pulled in and the number of knots on the rope between the ship and the wood were counted

The speed of the ship was said to be the number of knots counted

(Bowditch, 1984)

Nautical charts

We use a nautical chart to find places and objects on water

A nautical chart is a special map that shows what is under, in, on, and around water

It helps a ship travel safely on the water

Chart symbols point out objects on the water, or near land

We can paint lines on a road to show where the cars are supposed to go, but we cannot draw lines on the water

We can tell a ship to stay within channels, but ship captains have to look at their nautical charts to see where those lines would be

Nautical charts are key to safe navigation

The map that depicts the configuration of the shoreline and seafloor

It provides water depths, locations of dangers to navigation, locations and characteristics of aids to navigation, anchorages, and other features

Federal regulations require most commercial vessels to carry nautical charts while they transit US waters

7 continents of the world

The total landmass on earth is formed of seven continents of various sizes. Some are connected to each other while others are not. All of them have a different number of countries forming them.

The names of the seven continents of the world are: Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, North America, South America, and Antarctica.

All the continents of the world start and end with the same alphabet if you consider North and South Americas as one continent.

Earth is around 71 per cent water per cent water and 29 per cent land. In fact, billions of years ago, the seven continents of the world were joined together as a single massive landmass called Pangaea. But thanks to plate tectonics, they gradually broke apart and separated. Europe and North America are still moving apart at the rate of 7 cm every year, research says.

Facts abuot Asia

Size: 44,579,000 sq. km

No. of countries: 48

Population: 4,436,224,000

Asia is the world’s largest continent of the seven continents in size and population

Asia covers one-third of earth’s surface

It has 30 per cent of world land area and 60 per cent of population

It contains the world’s largest country, Russia, and the world’s two most populous countries, China and India

Asia houses the highest point on earth – the summit of Mount Everest, which is 29,028 ft. (8,848 m) tall

The continent is home to the 10 highest peaks in the world

The Great Wall of China is the only man made structure that can be seen from space

Asia saw the birth of two great ancient civilisations – Harappan civilisation and Chinese civilisation

The religions of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity first began in Asia

The major animals found in Asia are — reticulated pythons, tiger, panda, yaks, Indian rhinoceroses


Facts about Africa

Size: 30,221,532 sq km

No. of countries: 54

Population: 1,216,130,000

Facts about the seven continents of the world: Africa

Of the seven continents of the world, Africa is the second largest

The continents terrain was inhabitable and remained unknown for thousands of years, earning it the name of ‘Dark Continent’

The world’s longest river — the Nile — and the world’s largest desert — the Sahara — both are home in Africa

The world’s hottest place — Ethiopia — is in Africa

The equator passes through the middle of the Dark Continent and it receives direct sunlight throughout the year

As per research evidence, Africa is the place where Homo sapiens originated and then migrated to all the other continents of the world

More than 50 per cent of the world’s gold and 95 per cent of the world’s diamonds come from the mineral rich continent of Africa

The world also gets 66 per cent of its chocolate from the Dark Continent

The major animals in Africa include — cheetah, African elephant, lion, zebra, Egyptian mongoose, giraffe, addax

Facts about Australia

Size: 8,525,989 sq km

No. of countries: 3

Population: 39,901,000

Facts about the seven continents of the world: Australia and Oceania

Australia is the world’s smallest continent and is also known as an ‘island continent’ as it is surrounded by water on all sides

The official name of Australia is the Commonwealth of Australia

The continent of Australia is often called Sahul, Australinea or Meganesia to differentiate it from the country of Australia

Australia lies entirely on the south of the equator and if often called the country “down under”

The name Australia comes from the Latin word ‘australis’ meaning ‘southern’

Of all the continents in the world, Australia stands at the top of wool production and import. This is because the sheep population in the world’s smallest continent is 14 times that of its human population

Austria is home to over 500 varieties of eucalyptus trees

Two-thirds of Australia is desert land

The world’s largest coral reef — the Great Barrier Reef — is around 2000 kilometres long

The unique animals of Australia are — kangaroo, emu, platypus

Australia vs Oceania confusion

Instead of Australia, the name of the region including and surrounding Australia is often called ‘Oceania’.

Oceania is a common term used for considers the smaller landmasses on the Pacific Ocean, primarily Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.

It also includes the three island regions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia (including the US state of Hawaii).

Oceania can be divided into three island groups, where each group is made of different materials: continental islands, high islands, and low islands.

Geologically, Australia is one of the seven continents of the world and the term is very much used in physical geography. Australia includes the islands of Australia, New Guinea, Tasmania, Seram and a number of others.

On the other hand, Oceania, which is not a part of the geological continent, includes the micro-continent of Zealandia, Micronesia, Polynesia, non-continental parts of Melanesia etc.

Facts about Antarctica

Size: 14,000,000 sq km

No. of countries: 0

Population: 1,106

Facts about the seven continents of the world: Antarctica(Image source; Tourism Antarctica)

Antarctica is not only the coldest place on Earth but also the highest, driest, windiest and emptiest

75 per cent of the world’s ice and 70 per cent of the Earth’s fresh water is located in Antarctica

It is also called the White Continent or the Frozen Continent

Before 1840, Antarctic was called ‘Terra Australis Incognita’ which meant ‘the unknown southern land’

Antarctica sees half a year of light and half a year of complete darkness – summer months of December to February give 24 hours of light, while the winter months of late March to late September are pitch dark the whole day

Summer temperatures in the Frozen Continent are around -35 degree C in the interior and 2 degree C at the coasts. In the winters, it is -70 degree C in the interior and 2 degree C at the coasts

Antarctica saw the coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was -89 degree C

Because of this sort of extreme temperature fluctuations, Antarctica is larger in winters by around 14.2 million square kilometers than in summers due to the ice formation around the periphery

Nothing can rot in the icy waters of Antarctica

There are no time zones on this continent

The largest land animal in Antarctica is a 1.3 cm long insect known as Belgica Antarctica

The only permanent settlements in Antarctica are the research bases where scientists from different countries come to do their work

Penguins are home in Antractica and Adelie penguins are the most common kind found here

Facts about Europe

Size: 10,180,000 sq km

No. of countries: 50

Population: 738,849,000

Facts about the seven continents of the world: Europe

Europe and Asia are parts of the same major landmass — Europe is separated from Asia by the Ural mountains and the Caspian Sea

The highest mountain in this continent is Mt. Elbrus

The Balkan ranges, Pyrenees, Apennines, Cantabrian, and the Dinaric Alps are some of the major mountains in Europe

Europe is surrounded by water on three sides — Mediterranean Sea in the south, Atlantic Ocean in the west, and Arctic Ocean in the north

The world’s smallest country, the Vatican City, is in Europe

Some of the major rivers of Europe include Danube, Elbe, Loire, Oder, Dnieper and Don

Finland, in Europe, is called the ‘Land of Lakes’ because melting ice sheets have created a lot of lakes here

The longest rail route in the world is the Trans-Siberian Rail Route located in Europe which connects St Petersburg in the west and Vladivostok in the east.

Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark together form the Scandinavian countries

Yugoslavia, Greece, Romania and Albania are together called the Balkan states

Spain and Portugal form Iberia together

The Baltic states comprise Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia

Great Britain and Ireland form the two main island groups of Europe

Ukraine’s Steppe region is called the ‘Granary of the world’ or ‘Bread Basket of the world’

Moscow is called the ‘Port of Five Seas’ as through its rivers and canals, it connects to five seas

Maize, barley, rice and oilseeds are the major foodcrops of the continent

Three-fourth of the world’s potatoes grow in Europe

The Volga is the longest river in Europe

The second longest river of Europe, the Danube, passes through five capital cities of the

The major animals of Europe are – hedgehog, roe deer, wild boards, blue tit, the European tree frog


Facts about North America

Size: 24,709,000 sq km

No. of countries: 23

Population: 579,024,000

Facts on the seven continents of the world: North America

North America has five time zones and is the only continent with every type of climate

North America was named after the explorer Americo Vespucci and is also known as the “New World”

Of the seven continents of the world, North America’s population density at 22.9 per square kilometre is the highest

The largest fresh water lake in the world — Lake Superior – is located in this continent

The world’s third longest river – the Mississippi (3778 km) – is located in North America

When compared with the other continents, North America has the highest average per-person income

The average food intake of individuals is the highest on this continent

The world’s largest economy, the USA, is a part of North America

The world’s largest producer of maize, what and soyabean is North America

The world’s largest sugar exporter among the seven continents – Cuba – also called the ‘sugar bowl of the world’ is located in North America

The world’s smallest owl – the Elf – is found on this continent

The moose and the elk, found in North America, are the first and second tallest animals on the continent

The other major animals of North America are –brown bears, hummingbirds, bald eagles, brown bears, bullfrogs

Facts about South America

Size: 17,840,000 sq km

No. of countries: 12

Population: 422,535,000

Facts on the seven continents of the world: South America

The world’s largest river as per water volume and the second longest (6440 km) — the Amazon — is in South America

This continent houses the world’s highest waterfalls — the Angel Falls

The world’s largest snake and the second longest — the green anaconda — also resides in South America

The highest volcanoes of the world — Mt. Cotopaxi and Mt. Chimborazo — are found on this continent

Brazil, the country which is the largest coffee producer in the world, is in South America

The major languages spoken on this continent are Portuguese and Spanish

The largest salt lake in the world — Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni salt flats) — is in South America

The world’s highest lake (3800 m) and South America’s largest is Lake Titicaca

Aftethe r Himalayas, the Andes form the second highest mountain range in the world. These young-fold mountains are located in South America. Mt. Aconcagua (7,021 m) is the highest peak in the Andes.

Five Longest Rivers Of The World

  1. Nile River: The longest river in the world

Nile River: the longest river in the world (Image: 10mosttoday)

6,650 km in length, Nile River of North-East Africa is the lifeline of a number of countries. Eleven countries, namely, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt share its water.

  1. Amazon River: Second longest and the largest by water flow

Amazon River (Image: 10mosttoday)

Amazon River of South America is the second longest river in the world with a length of 6,400 km. But it is by far the largest river by water flow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined. It flows through Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Guyana.

  1. Yangtze River: The longest river in Asia

Yangtze River (Image: 10mosttoday)

Flowing in China, Yangtze River is not only the third longest river in the world but also the longest river in Asia. It is 6,300 km long.

  1. Mississippi-Missouri

Mississippi-Missouri (Image: 10mosttoday)

The fourth longest river in the world is located in North America. It is 6,274 km long and flows towards the Gulf of Mexico. Its presence is only in two countries, namely, United States of America and Canada.

  1. Yenisei

enisei River (Image: 10mosttoday)

With a length of 5,539 km, Yenisei River flows mainly in Russia and the rest in Mongolia. It is the largest river system which flows towards the Arctic Ocean into the Kara Sea.

Radcliffe Line to divide India-Pakistan was formed on this day, know about the 5 crossing points

There are only five crossing points along the 2,900-kilometre long Indo-Pak border. Let’s know some details about these points that are one of the most heavily guarded in the world.


India Today Web Desk

New Delhi

August 17, 2016UPDATED: August 17, 2018 13:32 IST

The Radcliffe Line

The Radcliffe Line

The Radcliffe Line, the geopolitical border that divides India and Pakistan, came into existence on this day, August 17, in the year 1947.

It was formed following the partition.

About the Indo-Pak border

The architect of the Radcliffe Line was Sir Cyril Radcliffe

The western side of the line is known as Indo-Pakistani border and its eastern side as Indo-Bangladesh border

A crude border was already formed by Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India

However, in order to determine as to which territory should go to which country, Britain appointed Sir Cyril Radcliffe

The Indo-Pak border is one of the most heavily guarded international boundaries in the world

There are only five crossing points along the 2,900-kilometre long border

Let’s know some details about the 5 crossing points:

  1. Attari:

Situated 25 kilometres from Amritsar, Attari village is the last Indian railway station that connects Lahore and Delhi.

Attari border

Attari border

  1. Ganda Singh Wala:

Ganda Singh Wala falls under the district of Kasur in Punjab

The crossing point here is now closed but it used to be the primary link between the two nations in the 1960s and 70s

Ganda Singh Wala border

Ganda Singh Wala border

  1. Hussainiwala:

Right opposite the point of Ganda Singh Wala, lies the village of Hussainiwala in Firozpur district, Punjab

The village forms a part of the bank of River Sutlej that defines the Indo-Pak border

Hussainiwala border

Hussainiwala border

  1. Munnabao:

he village is situated at Barmer district in Rajasthan

It is famous for the railway station through which, the Thar Express runs

The crossing point had been lying closed ever since the 1965 war

It was reopened in February 2006 and since then, the Thar Express operates from Bhagat Ki Kothi in Jodhpur to Karachi, Pakistan, through this station.


Munnabao border

Munnabao border

  1. Wagah:

This is the most famous and the most prominent border crossing point between India and Pakistan

The point is located 32 kilometres from Amritsar and 24 kilometres from Lahore

Know all about the different Instruments of Geography

Know all about the different Instruments of Geography



New Delhi

April 14, 2015UPDATED: April 15, 2015 14:28 IST

Instruments used in physical measurement

Geography is the study of the physical features of the earth and the atmosphere surrounding the earth. It also deals with human activities in relation to the environment, including the distribution of populations and resources and political and economic activities. Geography caters to the weather, the climate, and the landforms of the earth.

Weather and climate can be measured using geography that gives such answers like rainfall, humidity, air pressure and many more. The weather condition in a given place and time may be described as either sunny, rainy, windy, frosty, hot, cool and such other.

Some common Instruments used in the physical measurement are:

    Barometer: Barometer is used to measure atmospheric pressure. It is also known as Torriceli’s Tube after Torricelli who invented this instrument

    Wind vane/ weather cock: It is an instrument for observing the direction of the wind

    Rain gauge/Udometer/Pluviometer/Fluviograph:  It is the instrument used to measure the amount of liquid precipitation over a set period

    Snow gauge: This is identical to the Rain gauge but unlike the rain gauge, the snow gauge measures solid precipitation

    Anemometer: An anemometer is a device used to measure wind speed. It helps us know how fast wind is moving at a given time

    Hydrometer: Hydrometer measure the relative density or the specific gravity of liquids which is the ratio of the density of liquid to the ratio of the water density

    Hygrometer: It is an instrument used to measure the relative humidity

    Thermometer: It is an instrument used for measuring temperature

    Seismograph: Mainly used for measuring movement caused by earthquake

Wind: Know different kinds of it which blow around the world

Wind: Know how it blows around the world



New Delhi

April 13, 2015UPDATED: April 15, 2015 15:27 IST


Wind refers to any flow or locomotion of air on top of Earth’s surface in a roughly horizontal direction. A wind is often named in accordance to the direction from where it blows. As an example, a wind processing from west to east may be an air current. The prime reason behind Earth’s wind movement is alternative energy. Once daylight strikes Earth’s surface, it heats the surface through heat induction. Recently it has been found that soil absorbs a lot more heat than snow, that reflects most of it.

Uneven heating of Earth’s surface in turn, causes variations in atmospheric pressure at numerous locations. Heated air rises, making an area of low pressure underneath and the cooler air descends therefore making an area of high pressure. Since the atmosphere perpetually seeks to revive stability, air from areas of high pressure continuously flows into adjacent areas of low pressure. This movement of air is wind. The distinction in atmospheric pressure between two adjacent air masses over a horizontal distance is thought to be the pressure gradient force. The larger the distinction in pressure, the larger the force and therefore the strength of the wind.

The direction in which winds really blow is termed as the Coriolis force, and it is named after the French mathematician Coriolis. Coriolis discovered that a force is made as a result of the spinning of Earth. Any moving object on top of the planet’s surface tends to drift sideways from its course of motion.

Thus, winds are deflected from their simple direction. Within the Northern hemisphere, the Coriolis effect tends to drive winds to the right. In the southern hemisphere, it tends to drive winds to the left.


Different Kinds of Wind

Local winds : A local wind’s area unit makes it a small-scale wind that arises from variations in temperature and the pressure in localized areas. Ocean and land breezes are typical of such winds. On coastal areas, winds tend to blow onshore throughout the day and offshore throughout the evening. This can be as a result of the earth heating up and cooling down faster than water, leading to moderate temperature within the coastal areas.

The presence of mountains and valleys additionally creates specialised varieties of native winds and movement. As an example, Southern California experencies the nice and cosy, dry Santa Ana winds that frequently moves down out of the San Gabriel and San Bernadino Mountains, through the San Fernando depression, and finally into the Los Angele’s Basin.

Wind chill is the temperature felt by humans because of air processing over exposed skin.

Wind shear : Wind shear happens between two adjacent air currents within the atmosphere that are travelling at completely different speeds or in numerous directions. The friction that occurs at the boundary of those two currents causes the wind shear. Wind shear is a crucial air gradient considering different atmospheric phenomena.

Complete list of body parts for donation:

Here’s the complete list of body parts allowed for donation.

  1. Organs

Most organ and tissue donations occur after the donor has died. But some organs and tissues can be donated while the donor is alive.

Nearly 6,000 living donations take place each year. That’s about four out of every 10 donations.

Deceased organ donors can donate kidneys (2), liver, lungs (2), heart, pancreas, and intestines. In 2014, hands and faces were added to the organ transplant list

Living organ donors can donate one kidney, a lung, or a portion of the liver, pancreas, or intestine.

Living donors should be physically fit, in good health, between the ages of 18 and 60, and should not have (or have had) diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or heart disease.

  1. Corneas

The cornea is the clear part of the eye over the iris and pupil. By registering as an organ, eye, and tissue donor, you can also leave behind the gift of sight. The white part of the eye is called the sclera, and that can be donated as well. The sclera can be used in operations to rebuild the eye.

A corneal transplant involves replacing a diseased or scarred cornea with a new one and can be performed within 3-5 days after donation. Unlike organ donation, corneas can be recovered several hours after death and can be stored.

Corneal donors don’t have to ‘match’ recipients as organ donors do. Donors are universal

Your blood type and eye color don’t have to match

Age, eye color and how good your eyesight is, do not matter

Most people can donate their corneas

Exceptions include people with infections or a few highly communicable diseases such as HIV or hepatitis

  1. Tissues

Donated tissues save or dramatically improve the quality of life for the people who receive them. As an organ and tissue donor, you can enhance the lives of up to 50 people.

Corneas, the middle ear, skin, heart valves, bone, veins, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments can be stored in tissue banks and used to restore sight, cover burns, repair hearts, replace veins, and mend damaged connective tissue and cartilage in recipients.

Most people can be tissue donors when they die

Tissue donation must be initiated within 24 hours of death

However, tissue can be processed and stored for an extended period of time

  1. Hands and face

Hands and faces were recently added to the list of organs that can be successfully transplanted. These complicated surgeries are technically called vascularized composite allograft (VCA) organ transplants.

The first hand transplants were performed in 2005 and the first face transplant was performed in 2007.

  1. Blood stem cells, cord blood and bone marrow

Healthy adults between the ages of 18 – 60 can donate blood stem cells. In order for a blood stem cell transplant to be successful, the patient and the blood stem cell donor must have a closely matched tissue type or human leukocyte antigen (HLA).

Since tissue types are inherited, patients are more likely to find a matched donor within their own family or racial/ethnic group.

Bone marrow: This soft tissue is found in the interior cavities of bones. It is a major site of blood cell production and is removed to obtain stem cells.

Cord blood stem cells: The umbilical cord that connects a newborn to the mother during pregnancy contains blood that has been shown to contain high levels of blood stem cells. Cord blood can be collected and stored in large freezers for a long period of time and, therefore, offers another source of stem cells available for transplanting into patients.

Peripheral blood stem cells: The same types of stem cells found in marrow can be pushed out into a donor’s bloodstream after the donor receives daily injections of a medication called filgrastim.

This medication increases the number of stem cells circulating in the blood and provides a source of donor stem cells that can be collected in a way that is similar to blood donation.

  1. Blood and platelets

Blood and platelets are formed by the body, go through a life cycle, and are continuously replaced throughout life. This means that you can donate blood and platelets more than once.

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