Essential Facts (Prelims): 4th, 5th and 6th January 2019


  • A Chinese space probe, Chang’e-4 , touched down on the far side of the moon.
  • The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate as it orbits our planet, so most of the far side — or “dark side” — is never visible to us.
  • Previous spacecrafts have seen the far side, but none has landed on it..
  • The probe, which has a lander and a rover, touched down at a targeted area near the moon’s south pole in the Von Karman Crater.


  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limted (HAL) is mandated to produce the Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’ for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

LS Speaker

  • Lok Sabha Speaker suspended 21 members of the Lower House for four days for creating a ruckus in the House.
  • The action was taken under Rule 374 A of the Lok Sabha, meaning they cannot attend the remaining days of the session.


  • India’s maiden human spaceflight programme is named ‘Gaganyaan’.

Yellow vest

  • “Yellow vest” is an anti-government demonstration in France.

Capital requirements

  • Indian banks are required to maintain a minimum capital to risk weighted asset ratio (CRAR) at 9%, against the global Basel-III requirement of 8%.
  • On top of that, they have to keep a capital conservation buffer that is supposed to climb to 2.5% by March 2019.

Ultima Thule

  • Ultima Thule, an icy celestial body, is shaped like a giant snowman.
  • It was formed when two spheres, or “lobes,” slowly gravitated towards each other until they stuck together.
  • The New Horizons spacecraft on Tuesday flew past Ultima Thule, which was discovered via telescope in 2014
  • Ultima Thule’s surface reflects very low light as the sun’s rays are 1,600 times fainter there than on the earth.
  • The body completes its own rotation in about 15 hours.
  • NASA dubbed the larger lobe Ultima, and the other, which is about three times smaller, Thule.
  • Some 4.5 billion years ago a cloud of frozen pebbles began to join forces, gradually forming two bodies — Ultima and Thule.
  • Slowing turning, they eventually touched at each other at an “extremely slow speed” — maybe just one to a few kilometres per hour. The lobes are really just “resting on each other.

Open defecation

  • Swachh Bharat Mission aims to eliminate open defecation across the country by October 2, 2019.
  • According to the Mission, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are already open defecation free or ODF states.
  • Bihar has achieved 98.97% coverage of toilets for every household, while Uttar Pradesh has achieved 100%, according to government data, although the state has yet to be declared ODF.

Yutu 2

  • China has named the lunar rover, successfully deployed to carry out a string of experiments on the unexplored far side of the moon, as ‘Yutu 2’.
  • The rover’s touchdown is part of China Chang’e-4 lunar probe.
  • China’s lunar probe is part of its ‘Made in China-2025’ project, which focuses on advanced technology, including space applications.
  • It follows the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System — China’s homegrown Global Positioning System that started worldwide service last month.


  • China is moving forward with plans to build a research base on the moon.
  • It is also said to be considering mining there for helium-3, a rare substance on earth that can be used as a fuel in nuclear fusion power generation.


  • Vijay Mallya became the first person to be declared a fugitive economic offender by the special court hearing cases under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA).
  • The FEOA allows for declaring a person as an offender after an arrest warrant has been issued against the individual and the value of offences exceeds ₹100 crore.
  • Another condition for declaring a person a fugitive economic offender (FEO) is when the individual refuses to return to the country to face prosecution.
  • As per the new law, a special FEOA court can order the confiscation of a FEO’s properties, including those which are benami, and the proceeds of crime in and outside India. Once properties are confiscated, the Union government has the right over them, and it can dispose them after 90 days.


  • A quaint fossilised leaf is one of the most recent finds throwing light on India’s past.
  • The leaf fossil is the first of Dioscorea yams from Asia and hints at a Gondwanan origin to these plants.
  • Dioscorea is a kind of yam that grows as a herbaceous vine in the humid tropics of India and other countries.
  • The fossil was named Dioscorea eocenicus: the first ever Dioscorea fossil recorded from Asia.
  • Currently, species of Dioscorea in India are found in the humid, tropical forests of the country. Based on this, the team infer that such tropical forests must have flourished in this part of Rajasthan during early Eocene.
  • As the Indian subcontinent broke away from the supercontinent Gondwanaland many millions of years ago and drifted towards the Equator, the resulting tropical weather created lush tropical forests here. As the landmass moved further north and away from the equator, dry vegetation replaced these forests.

Bhoomi Rashi

  • The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has recently launched the Bhoomi Rashi portal..
  • The purpose of the portal is to fully digitize and automate the entire process of land acquisition.