1) Boreal Forest: The boreal forest (or “taiga”) is the world’s largest land biome. It principally spans 8 countries: Canada, China, Finland, Japan, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
- Boreal forests are defined as forests growing in high-latitude environments where freezing temperatures occur for 6 to 8 months and in which trees are capable of reaching a minimum height of 5 m and a canopy cover of 10%.
- It is typically comprised of coniferous tree species such as pine, spruce and fir.
- It is second only to the Amazon in terms of its vital role in ensuring the future of the planet. It holds twice as much carbon as all tropical forests combined.
- Drunken trees: They are tilted sideways due to melting permafrost.
2) Narco Test: In a narcoanalysis test, a drug called sodium pentothal is injected into the body of the accused, which transports them to a hypnotic or sedated state, in which their imagination is neutralised. In this hypnotic state, the accused is understood as being incapable of lying, and is expected to divulge information that is true.
- Sodium pentothal or sodium thiopental is a fast-acting, short duration anaesthetic, which is used in larger doses to sedate patients during surgery.
- It belongs to the barbiturate class of drugs that act on the central nervous system as depressants. Because the drug is believed to weaken the subject’s resolve to lie, it is sometimes referred to as a “truth serum”, and is said to have been used by intelligence operatives during World War II.
3) Battle of Rezang La: Rezang La is a mountain pass on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
- It is located between village of Chushul and the Spanggur Lake that stretches across both Indian and Chinese territories. It had also been the site of a heroic battle in November 1962.
- Troops from the 13 Kumaon Regiment defeated several waves of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 1962
- Rezang La is vital for the defence of the crucially important Chushul. Any invader reaching there would have had a free run to Leh.
4) Bali Yatra of Odisha: Bali Jatra (also known as Bali Yatra and Boita Bandaṇa) literally means A Voyage to Bali. This festival is held in Odisha, in the city of Cuttack at Gadagadia Ghata of the Mahanadi river. It is similar to the ‘Masakapan Ke Tukad’ festival in Bali.
- The festival is celebrated every year from the day of Kartika Purnima according to the Odia Calendar, which comes around the end of October and November.
- It is celebrated to mark the day when ancient Sadhabas (Odia mariners) would set sail to distant lands of Bali, as well as Java, Sumatra and Sri Lanka for trade and cultural expansion.
- It commemorates the 2,000-year-old maritime and cultural links.
- The connection between Kalinga and Bali: Roulette ware, temples as socio-culture centres, 14th CE inscription in Bali is in Odia language, presence of Brahmana-Bouddha-Kalinga in Bali.
5) Hwasong-17: The Hwasong-17 is nuclear-armed North Korea’s biggest missile yet.
- It is the largest road-mobile, liquid-fuelled ICBM in the world.
- Unlike North Korea’s earlier ICBMs, the Hwasong-17 is launched directly from a transporter, erector, launcher (TEL) vehicle with 11 axles.