Comprehensive News Analysis - 23 April 2017

B. GS2 Related:

POLITY

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

HEALTH ISSUES

C. GS3 Related:

ECONOMICS

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

H. Archives

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Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

B. GS2 Related

1. NITI Aayog offers a chance to learn: PM

What’s in news?

• NITI Aayog’s Governing Council meeting, scheduled for Sunday, it gives an opportunity to learn about the best practices of various states.
• Making recommendations for reforms in agriculture and promoting digital payments are among the significant achievements of NITI Aayog over the last three years.

2. CJI pitches for zero govt. role in arbitration process

What’s in news?

Highlights of Engaging Asia Arbitration Summit:

• Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar favored keeping the government away from the arbitration process to help promote confidence of the business community in international arbitration (International Commercial Arbitration (ICA)) available in India.

Two key initiatives which promote confidence of the trading company in international arbitration are:

1. The zero interference– will give room for understanding of foreign traders in India that the process is neutral.
2. Courts appointing arbitrators in an international arbitration from a neutral country.

International Arbitration: International arbitration is arbitration between companies or individuals in different states, usually by including a provision for future disputes in a contract

1. A step forward for Indo-Bangla ties

What’s in news?

Infrastructure projects near the border:

• Construction of India-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge over river Feni (The construction of the 150-metre bridge which will connect Sabroom of India and Ramgarh in Bangladesh) that demarcates boundaries between the two countries in south Tripura- Tripura government has commenced the land acquisition process.
• The bridge would facilitate implementation of a protocol India earlier signed with Bangladesh to use Chittagong sea port as a ‘port of call’. The port is 72 kilometre away from Sabroom.
• Four-lane approach road and a connecting road on Indian side in southern Tripura.
• India is also expanding rail network up to Sabroom to handle cargo consignments that would arrivef rom Chittagong port.
Ultimate connectivity plan is to benefit Tripura and other landlocked northeastern States with international and domestic shipments using the sea port.

1. New hepatitis figures show infection spike

What’s in news?

• As per UN estimates- 325 million people are living with hepatitis B or C
• The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest hepatitis report identifies the condition as a grave public health threat that needs an “urgent response.”
• Lack of awareness among those infected is driving the virus’s spread. Lack of access to testing and treatment leaves millions of people at risk of a slow progression to chronic liver disease, cancer and death.

Key fact:

• Hepatitis killed 1.34 million people in 2015, a toll roughly in-line with HIV and tuberculosis.
• But in contrast to HIV and TB, hepatitis deaths are increasing, the WHO says, recording a 22% mortality rise from 2000 to 2014.
• Hepatitis is often symptom-free, but types B and C can trigger liver cirrhosis and cancer if untreated.
• Hepatitis B — which is spread through bodily fluids such as blood and semen
• Hepatitis C, primarily spread through blood. Most commonly spread through unsafe injections, notably among drug users
• Geographic distribution-
The hepatitis B problem is most acute in the WHO’s Western Pacific Region, which includes China, Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
Second worst is Africa, with 60 million hepatitis B cases.
Europe and the eastern Mediterranean region are afflicted with the most hepatitis C cases at 14 million and 15 million respectively.
• An effective vaccine exists for hepatitis B. Whereas hepatitis C has no vaccines

2. New cause of high BP discovered

What’s in news?

• Researchers have discovered a new cause of high blood pressure
• New cause – Connshing syndrome which is linked to the over production of the stress hormone cortisol.
• In up to 10% of hypertensive patients, the over production of the adrenal hormone aldosterone — a condition known as primary aldosteronism or Conn syndrome — is the cause of disease.

C. GS3 Related

1. NITI to present new plan approach

What’s in news?

• Meeting of the governing council of NITI Aayog

Areas of focus in the meeting:

• Anew three-year policy action plan to replace the old system of five-year plans will be discussed. (15-year vision document that is to be supplemented by a seven-year strategy and three-year action plans.)
• Discussion on issues such as increasing farmer incomes and urban development.
• Economic policy document will also focus on judicial reforms and how to improve law and order and the police system

2. India to help global defence firms to set up units: Jaitley

• What’s in news?

Changed policy strategy- India is formulating policy to help major global defence companies set up manufacturing units in the country in collaboration with Indian firms.

1. IISc team unravels how vitamin C helps kill bacteria

What’s in news?

Known facts:

• Vitamin C, an anti-oxidant agent, boosts and strengthens immunity.
• Vitamin C also has the ability to speed-up recovery from tuberculosis and impede the TB causing bacteria from causing disease, and even kill the bacteria in culture at high concentration.

New discovery:

• The molecular mechanism by which vitamin C impedes and even kills Mycobacterium smegmatis, a non-pathogenic bacterium that belongs to the same genus as the TB-causing mycobacteria.

Mechanism: not important

• During times of stress or hostile conditions, such as increased temperature and presence of antibiotics, bacteria tend to come together and form a biofilm to protect themselves.
• The stress response pathway is crucial for bacteria to survive during hostile conditions. So blocking this pathway is a sure way of killing the bacteria.
• In mycobacterium, the (p)ppGpp (Guanosine pentaphospahte or Guanosine tetraphosphate) is a key molecule in the stress response pathway. The (p)ppGpp is synthesised by Rel protein, which in turn is made by the Rel gene.
• Vitamin C structure is similar to (p)ppGpp. So, Vitamin C should be competing to bind to the Rel enzyme and inhibiting (p)ppGpp synthesis. The more the vitamin C concentration, the greater the possibility of vitamin C binding to the Rel enzyme, thus inhibiting (p)ppGpp synthesis.

2. Liver carcinogen traced to sunflower seeds

What’s in news?

• Research Finding: Sunflower seeds are frequently contaminated with a toxin which has the potential to cause liver cancer.
• Toxin – Frequent occurrence of aflatoxin — a toxin produced by Aspergillus moulds that commonly infect corn, peanuts, pistachios and almonds — in sunflower seeds and their products. It is one of the most potent liver carcinogens known.
• Chronic exposure to aflatoxin causes an estimated 25,000-155,000 deaths worldwide each year, from corn and peanuts alone.

3. More aerosol in atmosphere results in heavier rainfall

What’s in news?

• Earlier belief: pre-monsoon aerosol loading results in decrease in seasonal rainfall due to aerosol-solar radiation interactions.

New Findings:

• Long-term (2002-2013) satellite observational study and model-based analysis by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has found that higher aerosol loading results in delayed but more rainfall over Central and Northern India.
• Higher aerosol loading changes cloud properties in terms of size (both height and width) and microphysics, which results in more rainfall.
• When aerosol particles are higher, the number of nucleation sites increases resulting in far too many number of droplets. Under such circumstances, it takes time for the droplets to grow in size through condensation.

Formation of Clouds mechanism:

• Two forces — gravity and updraft (vertical velocity) — tend to act on droplets.
• Under high aerosol loading, rather than falling down as raindrops, the smaller droplets tend to rise upwards in convective atmosphere due to updraft
• As the droplets are lifted up they tend to cross the freezing level and turn into ice particles. The process of water droplets turning into ice particles releases more latent heat of freezing and further invigorates the cloud.
• Ice turns into water by absorbing heat. Similarly, when water turns into ice it gives off heat. This release of heat further fuels the convection process and the clouds grow taller.
• As the height of clouds increases, the ice particles generated at top of the cloud come in contact with numerous water and ice particles and become bigger in size.
• This results in more ice mass in the cloud and eventually more rainfall when the ice particles fall down due to gravity.

Suppression of convection

• In the absence of cloud, aerosol particles tend to absorb solar radiation and this leads to warming or less decrease in temperature with height. As a result, there is suppression of convection leading to further suppression of cloud formation.

4. IIT Bombay: Bird’s eye view and quantum biology

What’s in news?

• A group from IIT Bombay has found out the way migratory birds navigate across the earth. As per them, it is due to the interplay of chemical reactions, electron spins and the magnetic fields birds are able to navigate far distance.
• Migratory birds have biological sensors that can sense the earth’s magnetic field, and guide them in their long journeys spanning continents.These sensors are located in the right eye. The “compass” in question is generated by interplay of the electron and nuclear “spins.”

Application:

• Understanding how the quantum spin in avian compass works might afford useful lessons to us in engineering quantum mechanical systems, such as sensing or computing hardware that is incomparably more powerful than what we have today.

1. Kerala’s high ranges sit on a powder keg Environmental disaster has been unfolding in the State’s highlands

What’s in news?

• The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) Study,2011 in Udumbanchola taluk in Idukki:

The advancing dry climate and errant rainfall were playing havoc with the ecosystem of the Cardamom Hill Reserves (CHR) in Idukki.
The ecological disaster was gaining dangerous acceleration owing to logging, poaching and land grab in the cardamom plantations and adjoining forests and grasslands. Though notified as a reserve forest by the erstwhile Travancore government, large areas of the CHR were leased out for cardamom because the land was suitable for the cash crop.

• The Centre for Development Studies report,1985

Indiscriminate human interaction had seriously affected the ecological processes in general, and the cardamom plant in particular.
The high density of population and the land hunger legitimized by the politics of petty gains were encouraging land grabs in the CHR and aggravating the man-animal conflicts in the region.

• In his report on the Idukki package, eminent agricultural scientist S. Swaminathan had described Idukki as the virtual ‘roof of Kerala’ and termed the influence of this roof over the weather within the district and other regions in the State ‘phenomenal.’

Present status of Munnar:

• Munnar is an ecological disaster in the making, the cumulative outcome of mindless human intervention such as encroachments, deforestation, massive changes in land-use pattern and indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides, besides climate change.
• The evergreen forests that once covered a major chunk of Idukki have been heavily depleted owing to encroachments and tree felling.
• The loss of forest cover has led to tangible changes in the microclimate of the region, with significant impact on agricultural productivity.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today

PIB Articles    Editorials Roundup

E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn

F. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

 BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGANISATIONS IN NEWS About the Article

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1: Who chairs Group of 20?
1. U.S
2. U.K
3. Germany
4. Japan
See
Question 2: Consider the following statements:
1. Hepatitis B has vaccine where as there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C.
2. Hepatitis C has vaccine where as there is no vaccine for Hepatitis B.
3. Hepatitis types B and C can trigger liver cirrhosis and cancer if untreated.

Choose the correct options

1. 1 only
2. 1 and 3 only
3. 2 only
4. 2 and 3 only
See
Question 3: Identify the correct statement with reference to Connshing syndrome.
1. Connshing syndrome is related to Hypertension
2. Connshing syndrome is related to Hypotension.
3. Connshing syndrome is linked to over production of stress hormone cortisol
4. Both A and C
See
Question 4: Consider the following statements:
1. Higher aerosol loading results in delayed but more rainfall over Central and Northern India.
2. Higher aerosol loading results in earlier but less rainfall over Central and Northern India.
3. Aerosol has no effect on the monsoon

Choose the correct options

1. 1 only
2. 2 only
3. 1 and 3 only
4. 2 and 3 only
See