1. In which year did the Open Skies treaty came into effect?
• Signed March 24, 1992, the Open Skies Treaty permits each state-party to conduct short-notice, unarmed, reconnaissance flights over the others' entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities.
• Observation aircraft used to fly the missions must be equipped with sensors that enable the observing party to identify significant military equipment, such as artillery, fighter aircraft, and armored combat vehicles.
• Though satellites can provide the same, and even more detailed, information, not all of the 34 treaty states-parties1 have such capabilities.
• The treaty is also aimed at building confidence and familiarity among states-parties through their participation in the overflights.
• The treaty entered into force on January 1, 2002, and currently 34 states are party to the treaty while a 35th, Kyrgyzstan, has signed but not ratified it.
2. Which is the strongest cyclone to hit West Bengal in 100 years and also wreaked havoc in Odisha damaging power and telecom infrastructure in several coastal districts?
• Cyclone Amphan is the strongest cyclone to hit West Bengal in 100 years that destroyed mud houses and agriculture crops, and uprooted trees and electric poles also wreaked havoc in Odisha damaging power and telecom infrastructure in several coastal districts. Odisha government officials estimated it has affected around 44.8 lakh people in the State.
• The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) reviewed the rescue and relief operations in West Bengal and Odisha at a meeting in Delhi and was told that minimal loss of lives was reported due to accurate forecast by the IMD and timely deployment of NDRF troops.
• Headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, the NCMC was told by the chief secretaries of West Bengal and Odisha that timely and accurate forecast by the IMD and advance deployment of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) facilitated in evacuation of about five lakh people in West Bengal and about two lakh in Odisha.
• This has resulted in minimal loss of human lives, considering the fact that the intensity of the Amphan was next only to that of the super cyclone that struck Odisha in 1999 causing large scale devastation.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee conducted an aerial survey of the affected regions to take stock of the trail of destruction left behind by severe cyclonic storm Amphan in West Bengal.
• The PM announced interim financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for West Bengal and assured that the Centre and state are working together to provide all possible help to people.
• PM Modi conducted an aerial survey of areas affected by Cyclone Amphan in Odisha. CM Naveen Patnaik & Guv Ganeshi Lal also accompanied. Financial assistance of Rs 500 Cr announced for the state, ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to next of kin of deceased & Rs 50,000 to seriously injured.
3. Which of the following tea has been marked as a potential coronavirus blocker?
• After the well known herb Ashwgandha, now, Kangra tea has been marked as a potential coronavirus blocker.
• The chemicals in Kangra tea could also be effective in boosting immunity as they can block coronavirus activity better than anti-HIV drugs.
• The claim, along with a comparison with HIV drugs and hydroxychloroquine, comes at a time when the Centre has decided to expand its use as a preventive medication for asymptomatic healthcare workers who are engaged in providing services even at non-Covid-19 hospitals, for frontline staff who are deployed on surveillance duty in the containment zones and for paramilitary and police personnel who are engaged in fighting coronavirus.
• The endorsement of Kangra tea as a potential virus killer or fighter comes days after a group of researchers of IIT-Delhi revealed that herb Ashwagandha contains certain bio-actives that interact with SARS-CoV-2 virus in a way that prevents it from multiplying.
4. With whom did Benjamin Netanyahu signed an agreement to form a coalition of the government in Israel?
a. Benny Gantz
b. Yair Lapid
c. Reuven Rivlin
d. Gabi Ashkenazi
• Israel’s new government was sworn under Benjamin Netanyahu, bringing an end to the longest political deadlock in the country’s history which saw a caretaker government in charge for over 500 days and three back-to-back general elections with no clear verdict.
• Netanyahu, 70, and his rival-turned-partner Benny Gantz joined hands to form a coalition government under a power-sharing agreement that would see the latter taking over the premiership on November 17, 2021.
• The new government, which according to the coalition agreement, will see Gantz replace Netanyahu as the Prime Minister after 18 months.
• Gantz will serve as Defense Minister until he is scheduled to take over as the Prime Minister in November next year. He will till then have the title of ‘Alternate Prime Minister’, something that Netanyahu will take over from him after exchanging the baton.
• Netanyahu surpassed Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s record of the longest-serving Premier in the country’s history last year in July.
5. When was the first International Tea day observed?
• Tea is a beverage made from the Camellia sinesis plant. Tea is the world’s most consumed drink, after water.
• The first International Tea Day was celebrated virtually and was opened by FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu. It brought together the world’s countries where tea cultivation is an important source of jobs and incomes.
• The proposal was made by India at the International Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Intergovernmental Group meeting held in Milan 4 years ago.
• The day is observed primarily with a view to increasing consumption of tea. The UN has said tea has medicinal value and has a potential of bringing health benefits to people.
• In 2019, the United Nations (UN) recognised the importance of one of the world’s oldest beverages.
• The reason for UN celebrating May 21 as International Tea Day is that the season of tea production begins in May in most of the tea producing countries.