IASPOINT Daily UPSC Prelims Current Affairs – January 11, 2021 [Lexicon]

IASPOINT Daily Current Affairs Lexicon is suitable for UPSC Prelims Examinations. Here are the important terms in news for January 11, 2021.

K Shaped Recovery

K shaped recovery is a type of economic recovery that is being expected after the pandemic induced economic downturn. This type of recovery curve is observed when different sections of the economy recover at significantly different rates. The better off households experience better recovery due to protected incomes and high savings rate while the households at the bottom struggle as they take a permanent hit to incomes and jobs.

Cascade failure

Cascade failure is a type of failure that occurs in interconnected systems like electricity grids. In such an event, the failure of one or more parts trigger the breakdown of many interconnected parts or the entire network itself. The recent power blackout in Pakistan is being attributed to such a failure. A technical issue at the Guddu Thermal Power Plant caused the frequency in the grid to drop to 0 Hz from the normal 49.5 Hz in one second. This led to a cascade of failures and the safety systems shut themselves down to prevent further damage.


The Hazaras are an ethnic group native to Afghanistan. A very large population of them reside in Afghanistan and a smaller population in Pakistan’s Balochistan region. They are predominantly Shia Muslims. They have been the victims of sectarian violence both in Afghanistan and Pakistan and over the years have emigrated to establish diaspora across the world. Recently, the Hazaras in Pakistan have been protesting the murder of 11 coal miners from their community by ISIL terrorists.

Hull loss accident

Hull loss accident is a type of aviation accident that results in total loss as the damage to the aircraft is beyond repair (economically). It also refers to situations where the aircraft is missing or its wreckage is inaccessible. Airlines generally resort to insurance to cover such losses. Recently, Sriwijaya Air plane, a Boeing 737-500 crashed into the Java Sea. Boeing’s 737 500 jets have been involved in as many as 8 hull loss accidents with a total of 220 fatalities.

USA’ First Amendment

The 1st Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits government from making laws that restricts the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly or right to petition the government for grievance redressal. It is one of the 10 amendments that together forms the ‘Bill of Rights’. It applies to government bodies and not to private businesses. This makes Twitter’s suspension of Trump’s account and the Simon & Schuster’s cancelation of Sen. Hawley’s book deal lawful under the 1st Amendment.

Wage based H-1B work visa

The wage based H-1B work visa regime has been brought in by the recent amendment to USA’s H-1B visa norms. This system gives priority to higher wages and skill to determine deserving candidates. This replaces the older lottery system for work visa selection. Of all the work visas offered by the USA, H-1b remains the most popular due to better wage chances. Over the years, the H-1B visa norms have been altered to allow or disallow certain categories of skilled workers depending on USA’s economic situation.

Recoiling blackhole

Every large galaxy is supposed to have a supermassive blackhole at its centre. When backholes merge, they release gravitational waves. When the waves released in one direction is stronger than in the other, one of the blackholes is ejected out of its galaxy into the opposite direction. This blackhole is called ‘recoiling blackhole’. Abell 2261 is a galactic cluster located some 2.7 billion light years from the Earth and it should have a blackhole that is some 100 billion times as heavy as our Sun. However, the scientists have been unable to find it and are reasoning that it was ejected out of its galaxy.


Culling is the process by which poultry birds are slaughtered en masse to contain the spread of a disease like bird flu. Usually all the domestic birds in an infected area are culled to prevent further spread of the disease. In India, the infected zone is a 1km radius area from the site of infection. All the domestic birds- in commercial farms, backyard farms, live animal market etc.- in this zone are culled. Culling is done by cervical dislocation following the administration of oral anaesthesia.

World organisation for animal health

World organisation for animal health or OIE is an intergovernmental organisation involved in coordinating international animal disease control. It was established in 1924 and is headquartered in Paris, France. It is recognised by the WTO with respect to standards for international sanitary rules. India is one of the member countries. Recently, the OIE released a revised manual for culling of infected birds. The revised edition requires the administration of anaesthesia before culling (if the birds weigh over 3kg).

Easterly winds

Easterly winds are trade winds that flow in the equatorial region (between 30°N and 30°S). these are prevailing winds that flow from the east to west. These are strengthened during the winter season. In India, active eastery winds bring in moisture from the Bay of Bengal. This favors cloud formation and rainfall. The recent unusual rains in Maharashtra is being attributed to these winds. This is expected to be harmful for standing crops of grapes, strawberries, etc.

Houthi Movement

The Houthi Movement or the ‘Ansar Allah’ is a political armed movement that originated in northern Yemen in 1994. It was founded by leaders from the Houthi tribe and is backed by Iran. They control most of the northern Yemen and have been resisting the Saudi backed take-over by the supposedly internationally recognized Yemeni government. the Houthis have also been involved in launching missile and drone attacks against cities in Saudi Arabia. The US administration is to designate the movement as a foreign terror group.


Lithium is an alkali metal which holds commercial value because of its use in lithium ion batteries that power everything ranging from electric vehicles to laptops and mobile phones. Recently, the Department of Atomic Energy reported the presence of 1,600 tonnes of lithium deposits in Marlagalla-Allapatna region of Mandya district in Karnataka. According to these preliminary survey results, the deposit is in igneous rocks. Currently, India is completely dependent on imports for its lithium needs.

State specific natural disasters

State specific natural disasters are those natural phenomena that are ‘disasters’ within the local context of the state. Recently, the Jammu and Kashmir government declared heavy snowfall to be a state specific natural disaster under the State Disaster Response Fund norms. This will expedite the processing of ex-gratia relief under the funds. The fund was constituted under the Disaster Management Act of 2005. 90% of J&K’s SDRF comes from the central government.

Neom city project’s Line Belt

The Line is 170 km long belt of ‘hyper-connected future communities’ and is to be devoid of cars and roads. The belt will help reach zero emission targets as it is to be ‘built around nature’. It is a part of the Neom city project in Saudi Arabia. The Neom is a 500 billion USD city project announced in 2017. The project is considered the ‘crown jewel’ of the country’s diversification plans.

Unique Health ID

The Unique Health ID or UHID is an effort by the government to have digital health documentation of the citizens. It will enable the patients’ health records to be maintained digitally by hospitals and this will enable people to avail medical treatment in different states seamlessly. The government has planned to link the COVID inoculation program to the program for generating UHIDs. providing Aadhaar is not mandatory for receiving COVID vaccine shots as any government issued ID proof is accepted.