What is it? The number of people who died due to floods from three states – Assam, Bihar, and West Bengal – on Thursday.
Why is it important? Continued heavy rains and flooding has left 12 million people marooned in these three states. The continued death toll has put spotlight on disaster preparedness in these states, which have witnessed such events last year too. In Assam alone, 133 people have died in flood-related incidents.
Tell me more: Extreme weather events due to climate change could cost India $ 10 billion a year because of drop in productivity of crops like wheat, rice, and pulses, according to Agriculture Ministry.
What is it? The number of donations through which national political parties – BJP, INC, NCP, CPI and CPM – received around Rs 384 crore between 2012-13 and 2015-16 that do not contain Permanent Account Number (PAN) details in the contribution forms, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms.
Why is it important? This raises questions about the sources of the voluntary donations received by the political parties and makes a case for mandating that all fields be filled in form 24A through which they provide details of donations above Rs 20,000. The ruling BJP, which has taken several measures in the recent past to fight black money, accounted for 99% of donations without PAN and address details worth Rs 159.59 crore.
Tell me more: A total of 1,546 donations through which the national parties received around Rs 355 crore did not have the address details mentioned.
What is it? The number of years ago when there was an algae explosion, according to a study led by the Australian National University.
Why is it important? This discovery is said to provide the answer to a fundamental question: how did animals first appear on earth, without which humans couldn’t possibly exist. About 50 million years before the algae bloom, the Earth’s oceans were frozen when huge glaciers ground entire mountain ranges to powder that released nutrients. Then, an extreme global heating event caused these nutrients to be released into the oceans. The cooling of global temperatures to hospitable levels created the perfect conditions for algae to spread and the oceans were dominated by algae replacing bacteria. The presence of algae, which are complex, large and nutritious organisms, at the base of the food web gave the required burst of energy for complex ecosystems to evolve.
Tell me more: The researchers crushed some ancient sedimentary rocks from Central Australia to powder and extracted molecules of ancient organisms from them when they found out about the algae explosion.
What is it? The number of Apache helicopters, manufactured by Boeing, that the defence acquisition council chaired by defence minister Arun Jaitley has cleared on Thursday.
Why is it important? This is the first time the Indian Army will be able to operate attack helicopters, which has been a long-held demand by them and opposed by the Indian Air Force. The AH-64 Apache, which is said to be among the world’s most advanced helicopters, is a multi-role combat chopper, can function smoothly in any weather, has a maximum cruise speed of 284 km per hour and has the capability of classifying and prioritizing up to 128 targets in less than a minute.
Tell me more: These choppers are said to be in operation in countries such as the United States, the Netherlands, Greece, Japan and Israel. The six choppers would be procured at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore.
What is it? The number of seats won by the Trinamool Congress in the local body elections held for seven municipalities in West Bengal.
Why is it important? The ruling party, Trinamool Congress, won 95% of the seats in the election held last Sunday. The opposition parties – Bharatiya Janata Party and CPI (M) – could win only seven seats, while the Congress didn’t win any seat.
Tell me more: The left front, which ruled the state for seven consecutive terms between 1977 and 2011, came a distant third with BJP emerging with second largest vote share in four municipalities – Haldia, Coopers’ Camp, Durgapur and Panskura.