Daily Current Affairs: 18th September 2019: Hindu+PIB

Key point about missile

It is an all weather beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile which is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, India.

It is also the first air-to-air missile which is developed by India.

Astra is designed in a way that enables it to engage targets at varying range and altitudes allowing for engagement of both short-range targets at a distance of 20 km and long-range targets up to a distance of 80 km.

Astra has been integrated with IAF’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI and is further planned to be integrated with Dassault Mirage 2000 and Mikoyan MiG-29 in the future.

Two new plant species discovered

Context: A team of researchers have reported the discovery of two new plant species from the shola forests of the Western Ghats.
About the species

The two species so discovered belong to the family Asclepiadaceae or milkweed family. The general characteristics of the family includes the latex in plant parts and pappus seeds.

Tylophora balakrishnanii, is a straggling vine, which has been discovered from the Thollayiram shola in Wayanad, which is a biodiversity hotspot in the Nilgiri biosphere reserve. It species has been named after V. Balakrishnan, member-secretary, Kerala State Biodiversity Board, and former director of the MSSRF, Wayanad, in recognition of his contributions to biodiversity.

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The flowers of the plant are reddish pink in color and the species is similar to the coastal plant Tylophora flexuosa. However, it is different in terms of its floral parts arrangement and morphology.

Tylophora neglecta has been discovered from the shola forest on the Thooval Mala hill under the Achencoil forest division in Kollam.

The flowers of the new species are white with a violet tinge with leaves being thick and bristly in nature.

NGT seeks report on steps for gharial conservation Context: The NGT has directed the Madhya Pradesh government to submit separate progress report regarding the steps taken to conserve gharial habitat along the Son river within 3 weeks.