Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 03 -FEBRUARY - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 03 -FEBRUARY - 2016
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 04:40

 

DAILY NEWS UPDATES

03 -FEBRUARY - 2016

 

FIH HOCKEY STARS AWARDS 2015 ANNOUNCED

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced the winners of its Hockey Stars awards for 2015.

The Netherlands' Robert Van der Horst and Lidewij Weltenwon the men's and women's FIH Player of the Year awards, respectively, for their performances in 2015.

Other winners of the awards are:

Award

Winner

Goalkeeper of the year (Women)

Joyce Sombroek (The Netherlands)

Goalkeeper of the year (Men)

David Harte (Ireland)

Rising Star of the Year (Women)

Lily Owsley (Great Britain)

Rising Star of the Year (Men)

Chrisopher Rühr (Germany)

About FIH Player of the Year Awards

The FIH Player of the Year Awards are awarded annually by the International Hockey Federation to the male and female field hockey players adjudged to be the best in the world.

The awards were established in 1998 and have been awarded annually ever since.

In 2001, the FIH Young Player of the Year award was created, to be awarded to the best young field hockey player of the year.

INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ALLIANCE HEADQUARTERED IN INDIA WITH UNITED NATIONS AS STRATEGIC PARTNER

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the President of France François Hollande, laid the foundation stone of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) headquarters in National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in Gwalpahari, Gurgaon.

They also inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the ISA at the same place.

India dedicated 5 acre land at NISE to ISA for hosting its Secretariat and also contributed 175 crore rupees for ISA corpus fund for an initial period of five years. Thereafter it is expected to generate its own resources and become self-financing.

About International Solar Alliance

• It was jointly launched in Paris by India and France on 30 November 2015 during the United Nations climate change conference (COP21).

• It is the India’s first international and inter-governmental organization of 121 Countries to have headquarters in India with United Nations as Strategic Partner.

• It creates a collaborative platform for increased deployment of solar energy technologies to enhance energy security and sustainable development.

• It improves access to energy and opportunities for better livelihoods in rural and remote areas and to increase the standard of living.

• It will work with partner countries to formulate projects and programmes to accelerate development and deployment of existing clean solar energy technologies, the potential for which largely remaining untapped.

• It develops innovative financial mechanisms to reduce cost of capital and builds a common knowledge e-Portal.

• It also facilitates capacity building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and Research and Development among member countries.

• It will encourage multilateral bodies like IRENA, REEEP, IEA, REN21, UN bodies, bilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders to contribute towards the goal of increasing utilization of solar energy in the member countries.

• It’s governance structure consists of an Assembly, a Council and aSecretariat.

• The Assembly will provide guidance, direction and advice to the Secretariat for undertaking the activities.

ICC RELEASED TEST, ODI, AND T20I RANKINGS

The International Cricket Council (ICC) launched the official ICC men’s Team Rankings from Test, One Day International (ODI) and T20I cricket.

India returned to the summit of the Test rankings for the first time since August 2011. India is the new leader with 110 rating points followed by Australia and the South Africa.

India had moved to the second of the Test rankings in December 2015 when they defeated South Africa 3-0 on home soil.

Top 10 teams in ICC Test Rankings

Rank

Team

Matches

Points

Rating

1

India

32

3535

110

2

Australia

40

4376

109

3

South Africa

34

3703

109

4

Pakistan

28

2977

106

5

England

45

4610

102

6

New Zealand

36

3578

99

7

Sri Lanka

35

3123

89

8

West Indies

33

2504

76

9

Bangladesh

22

1026

47

10

Zimbabwe

10

53

5

Top three teams in ICC ODI Rankings

Rank

Team

Matches

Points

Rating

1

Australia

49

6283

128

2

India

61

6871

113

3

South Africa

57

6362

112

Top three teams in ICC T20I Rankings

Rank

Team

Matches

Points

Rating

1

West Indies

19

2249

118

2

Australia

17

2006

118

3

Sri Lanka

19

2242

118

Besides men team rankings, ICC also released the ICC Women’s rankings. Top three teams

Rank

Team

Matches

Points

Rating

1

Australia Women

42

5545

132

2

England Women

39

4851

124

3

New Zealand Women

45

5023

112

UNION GOVERNMENT AND CHHATTISGARH GOVERNMENT SIGNED MOU ON UDAY SCHEME

Union Government and Chhattisgarh Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Limited (CSPDCL) under the SchemeUjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) for operational and financial turnaround of the CSPDCL.

Features of the MoU

• The Chhattisgarh Government will take over 75 percent of the outstanding debt of CSPDCL as existing on 30 September 2015

• The balance 25 percent debt will be re-priced or issued as State guaranteed DISCOM bonds, at coupon rates around 3 percent less than the average existing interest rate.

• Through UDAY, Chhattisgarh government and CSPDCL would bring about operational efficiencies through compulsory feeder and Distribution Transformer metering, consumer indexing and increased power supplies in areas with reduced Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses among others.

• Chhattisgarh government committed to improve the Billing efficiency from 79.27 percent in financial year 2016 to 85.28 percent in financial year 2019.

• Similarly, the gap between Average Cost of Supply (ACS) and Average Revenue Realization (ARR) of 0.35 rupees per unit in financial year 2015 would also be eliminated.

• Chhattisgarh government would extend a graded Operational funding requirement (OFR) support of 450 crore rupees in financial year 2016 and 350 crore rupees in the financial year of 2017 to CSPDCL, to ensure smooth cash flow, till the DISCOM achieves turnaround.

• Union government would provide incentives to the DISCOMs and the State government, aimed at improving Power infrastructure growth in the State and lowering the cost of power.

• Chhattisgarh government would get additional/priority funding through the Central schemes such as DDUGJY, IPDS, Power Sector Development Fund or such other schemes of MOP and MNRE, if they meet the operational milestones outlined in the scheme.

Benefits for the People of Chhattisgarh

Increased demand for power from DISCOM would mean higher plant load factor of generating units and therefore, lesser cost per unit of electricity thereby benefitting consumers.

The scheme would allow speedy availability of power to around 885 villages and 9.88 lakh households in Chhattisgarh that are still without electricity.

Availability of 24X7 power to hitherto unconnected villages/households etc. would increase the economic activity and improve employment opportunities, which would reduce the influence of extremist and maoist ideologies in the State, restoring normalcy of life and further accelerate the economic growth of the State.

About UDAY

The Scheme UDAY was launched by the Union government on 20 November 2015 to ensure a sustainable solution to enable the distribution utilities across the country to break out of a long standing debt of almost 4.3 Lakh crore rupees.

Sustainability of operational and financial performance is at the COREof UDAY.

Demand Side interventions in UDAY such as usage of energy- efficient LED bulbs, fans & air-conditioners and efficient industrial equipment through PAT (Perform, Achieve, Trade) would help in reducing peak load, flatten load curve and thus help in reducing energy consumption in the States.

UNION GOVERNMENT APPROVED TO SET UP SOLAR ENERGY PANELS OVER 10000 EWS HOUSES IN TAMIL NADU UNDER PMAY (URBAN)

Union government approved fitting of roof top solar energy panels over 10000 houses belonging to Economically Weaker Sections in Tamil Nadu at a cost of 253 crore rupees.

This is first of its kind under Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (PMAY)(Urban).

Under this Scheme, The Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation will provide an assistance of 150000 rupees per house while the State Government will contribute 60000 rupees and the beneficiary’s contribution will be 43000 rupees

About Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (PMAY)(Urban).

• Housing Scheme for All 2022 was renamed to Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

• This scheme was launched on 25th June 2015 by PM Narendra Modi.

• It aims to construct about 2 crore houses in the country within 7 years that is from 2015 to 2022.

• People who will be benefited through this scheme will be homeless ones, poor urban people and belonging to EWS and LIG categories.

• Union Government will focus on creating housing units under three different phases

Phase 1: It will continue from April 2015 to March 2017. In this phase 100 cities will be selected.

Phase 2: This will take place from April 2017 to March 2019 .This Scheme will cover 200 more cities

Phase 3: The final phase of the Scheme will take place from April 2019 to March 2022. This final phase will cover all remaining cities.

• The main beneficiaries of this latest housing for all scheme 2022 will be

  • Women
  • People belonging to Scheduled Casts(SC)
  • People belonging to Scheduled Tribes(ST)
  • Economically weaker section (EWS)

• Union Government planned to grant subsidy for these beneficiaries to buy home.

• The subsidy amount will be from 1 lakh rupees to Rs. 2.30 lakh rupees.

• Under this Scheme Eco Friendly and sustainable technologies will be used during the construction process.

INDIA AND ARMENIA SIGNED A PROTOCOL TO AMEND DOUBLE TAXATION AVOIDANCE CONVENTION

India and Armenia signed a protocol to amend the India-Armenia Double Taxation Avoidance Convention.

Silent features of the Protocol

• It amends the convention between these countries that has been in existence since 9 September 2004.

• It amends the article on exchange of Information for tax purposesto bring it in line with the updated provisions in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Model.

• It will enable the two countries to exchange information related to financial and banking transactions under the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention, and thereby facilitate them in addressing tax evasion.

• It is also expected to further strengthen the efforts of Union Government in curbing the generation of black money.

PARRIKAR PRESENTED RAKSHAMANTRI AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE FOR 2012-13 AND 2013-14

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar presented the Raksha Mantri awards for excellence for the years 2012-13 and 2013-14 in New Delhi.

The awards are presented in recognition of exemplary performance amongst Ordnance Factories and the nine Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

The awards were given in three major categories, Institutional Awards, Best Performing Division, Factory, Shipyard Awards and Group and Individual Awards.

List of awardees

For the year 2012-13

(a)INSTITUTIONAL AWARDS

(i)Excellence in performance

HAL

(ii) Best performance in Exports

BEML

(b)DIVISION /FACTORY /SHIPYARD AWARDS


(i)Best Performing Division of DPSUs

BEL,(S&CS), Bengaluru

(ii) Best performing Factory of OFB

Ordnance Factory, Kanpur

(iii) Best performing Shipyard

GRSE

(c) GROUP /INDIVIDUAL AWARDS


(1) Indigenisation


(i)Design & Development of Retrofit   Security Solutions for ‘Shakti’

Network Communication System-BEL, Bengaluru

(ii)Indigenisation of AK 630 Gun Drive Units

AK 630 GUN Drive Indigenisation Group – D&E Division, BEL, Chennai

(iii) Indigenisation of Special Tools Test Equipments & fixtures for Milan-2T warhead

Milan Group, BDL, Hyderabad

(2) Design Effort


(i)L-70 Gun Upgradation

Gun upgrades Group – BEL, Chennai

(ii)Systems of IACCS Networks

BEL, Ghaziabad

(3) Innovation (Jointly)

(i)Electro-Plasticity Assisted Incremental   Forming (EPAIF)

(ii)Deployable Flight Data Recorder System

Transport Aircraft Division, HAL, Kanpur

Avionics Division, HAL, Korwa

For the year 2013-14

(a)INSTITUTIONAL AWARDS


(i)Excellence in performance

BEL

(ii) Best performance in Exports

BEL

(b)DIVISION /FACTORY /SHIPYARD AWARDS


(i) Best Performing Division of DPSUs

HAL, Avionics Division, Hyderabad

(ii) Best performing Factory of OFB

Ordnance Equipment Factory, Kanpur

(iii) Best performing Shipyard

GRSE, Kolkata

(c) GROUP /INDIVIDUAL AWARDS


(1) Indigenisation


(i)Floating Deck High Voltage (FDHV) Module for PAR 2080 C

SLRDC, HAL, Hyderabad

(ii)Configuration, Developing and Engineering Weapon Control Modules (WCM 176) for AK 176 Gun Mount

D&E, FCS/SBU-NS (Radar & FCS) Group – BEL, Bengaluru

(iii) BHARANI RADAR

BEL, Ghaziabad

(2) Design Effort


(i)EOFCS – U1 for Control of Medium Calibre 76 mm Gun Mount and High Rate
of Fire AK 630 Gun Mount

D&E, FCS/SBU-NS (Radar & FCS) Group – BEL, Bengaluru

(ii)Design & development of 50 knots Interceptor Boat

Ship Design Group – Goa Shipyard Ltd (Under own initiative)

(3) Innovation


(i)Development of composite Armour Panels for MI-17 Helicopters

MI-17 Team – MIDHANI, Hyderabad.

AUSTRALIAN BATSMAN DAVID WARNER WON ALLAN BORDER MEDAL 2016

Australian batsman David Warner defeated captain Steve Smith for the prestigious Allan Border Medal for 2016.

Warner polled 240 votes from players, umpires and media representatives to beat 2015 winner and skipper Steve Smith on 219. Pace bowler Mitchell Starc was third on 183 votes.

Warner also won the Test Player of the Year Award with 30 votes ahead of Smith on 24.

Other winners announced in the award ceremony are:

Award

Winner

Test Player of the Year

David Warner

One Day International Player of the Year

Glenn Maxwell

Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year

Alex Ross

State Player of the Year

Adam Voges (Western Australia)

Women's International Cricketer of the Year (Belinda Clark Award)

Ellyse Perry

About David Warner

David Andrew Warner is a left-handed opening batsman for Australia.

He is the first Australian cricketer in 132 years to be selected for a national team in any format without experience in first-class cricket.

He currently plays for New South Wales, the Sunrisers Hyderabadand the Sydney Thunder.

He became vice-captain of Australia across Test & ODI formats of the game in August 2015.

The batsman has scored 4467 runs in 49 Test2289 runs in 68 One Day International (ODI) and 1465 in 54 T20 International matches.

About Allan Border Medal

The Allan Border Medal is considered to be the most prestigious individual prize in Australian cricket.

The medal is named after former Australian captain Allan Border and recognises the most outstanding Australian cricketer of the past season as voted by his peers, the media and umpires.

Votes are cast after each game on a 3–2–1 basis, with a weighting applied to give both One Day International and Test players an equal chance of winning the award.

It was first awarded in 2000.

SNOW LEOPARD SPOTTED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NORTH SIKKIM

WWF-India claimed that they spotted the endangered snow leopards for the first time in the North Sikkim Plateau. The elusive snow leopard was found during its pilot project in which they installed camera traps in the region to understand the occurrence of snow leopards in the region.

The camera traps helped them to yield results with the first photos of the species at four different locations in North Sikkim.

Earlier, presence of snow leopards in the high altitudes of North Sikkim area were provided only by the yak herders, known as ‘Dokpas’, but these pictures have provided the first tangible evidence of their existence.

Besides capturing the snow leopard, the pilot project also helped in capturing other mountain wildlife like rare pallas cat, blue sheep and the Tibetan argali. It has also provided visual documentation on free-ranging dogs and the areas they move in.

WWF-India’s work on snow leopard

To understand the snow leopard’s status and distribution in India, WWF-India has been working in Jammu & Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim since 2006. The work was started to fill the vast gaps in knowledge on snow leopards from this important snow leopard habitat.

Its work of setting camera traps in Sikkim began in 2015 under the project Conservation and Adaptation in Asia's High Mountains. The project aims at developing climate smart snow leopard conservation plan. Large part of the project is funded by USAID in six Asian snow leopard range countries.

About Snow Leopard

• Commonly referred as ‘Ghost of the Mountains’, these species are the undisputed monarch of the high altitudes.

• The snow leopard, a flagship species of the high altitudes, is a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act of India.

• The animal is listed as endangered by the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species.

• Information on its distribution is scanty because its current range is poorly mapped mainly due to the high and inhospitable terrain.

• Snow Leopard, scientific name Uncia uncia or Panthera uncial, is the state animal of Himachal Pradesh.

What’s making snow leopards scarce?

Habitat loss, poaching and increasing conflict with communities have seen over a fifth of the world’s snow leopards disappear in the last 16 years. And climate change is now putting the future of their mountain home at even greater risk.

UNION GOVERNMENT LAUNCHED NATIONAL JOB PORTAL FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot launched the National level Job portal www.disabilityjobs.gov.in for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

The Ministry aims to carry out skill training programme for 5 lakh Persons with Disabilities in next 3 years.

Highlights of the job portal

• It was developed by the National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC).

• The PwDs can avail the different facilities like self employment loan, education loan, skill training, link to scholarships and information about jobs at this portal. 
• It will empower persons with disabilities by providing them all desired information for employment opportunities on single window platform.

U.S. CONSIDERING TO REVERSE ITS POLICY WITH INDIA-PAK

  • Seven years after the State Department was restructured to ‘de- hyphenate’ U.S. relations with India and with Pakistan, it is considering a reversal of the move.
  • De-hyphenating refers to a policy started by the U.S. government under President Bush, but sealed by the Obama administration, of dealing with India and Pakistan in different silos, without referring to their bilateral relations.
  • It enabled the U.S. to build closer military and strategic ties with India without factoring in the reaction from Pakistan, and to continue its own strategy in Afghanistan with the help of the Pakistan military without referring back to India.
  • The re-merger proposal is ostensibly timed with the international troops pullout from Afghanistan.
  • India’s relationship has grown because it stood on its own, as it is important that bilateral relations with India won’t be overshadowed by its relations with the region.\
  • The de-hyphenation policy of the U.S. was crystallised when the SRAP was set up in 2009 soon after President Barack Obama had taken over, with the appointment of Richard Holbrooke.
  • There are indications, present. however, that even as the U.S. is planning to bring the desks back together, India may not object as strenuously as it did in 2009.
  • To begin with, India has dropped its objections to talks with the Taliban in the past few months, instead asking to be “kept in the loop” on developments in the U.S. talks on Af-Pak.

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR ABOUT CRIMINALITY OF SECTION 377 OF IPC

  • The Supreme Court will take a final call on whether Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises consensual sexual acts of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) adults in private, amounts to denial of their rights to privacy and dignity and results in gross miscarriage of justice.
  • A Bench of the three senior-most judges will hear a batch of eight curative petitions filed by parents, civil society, scientific and LGBT rights organisations against a judgment by the Supreme Court dismissing their review petitions on the ground that Section 377 is constitutional and applies to sexual acts irrespective of age or consent of the parties.
  • One of the eight petitions now listed for Tuesday is by 13 senior psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and mental health professionals, including an editor of the influential Lancet Series on Global Health.
  • They have argued that homosexuality was not a mental disorder, but a normal and natural variant of human sexuality.

PM MODI ADDRESSES NEW YEARS FIRST MANN KI BAAT

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked people to observe a two minutes’ silence on every January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • PM also said that Khadi has the power to provide employment to crores of people. It has now become a symbol and a centre of interest of the nation’s youth.
  • Due to the efforts of many government organisations in the field of khadi, around 18 lakh people can be granted employment,” he said, calling upon people to have at least one piece of garment made of khadi in their wardrobe.
  • Mr. Modi lauded Haryana and Gujarat for their initiative to make educated girls hoist the Tricolour, saying this would give a boost to the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao initiative.

ONLY BUSINESS COMMUNITY FROM JAPAN WOULD GET VISA ON ARRIVAL FOR NOW

  • After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that all Japanese citizens would get “visas on arrival”, the government has decided to extend it only to the business community for now.
  • The government is actively considering including South Korea in this category. This was being done keeping in mind the “Make in India” policy of the government and to make India an attractive destination for investors from the two countries.
  • Japan and South Korea are already on the list of 113 countries whose citizens can arrive in India through an electronic tourist visa on arrival (e-TV) platform.
  • In December, during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India, Mr. Modi announced a liberalised visa regime for all Japanese citizens.
  • Mr. Modi said that Ja- pan had earmarked a $11-12- billion fund for “Make in India”. At least three Japanese firms were given the go-ahead in 2015 to set up shop in India.

VIF AMONG TOP THINK TANKS WITH POLITICAL AFFILIATION

  • Two Delhi-based think tanks — Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation and Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) — have been ranked among the “best think tanks with political party affiliation” globally.
  • The “2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index” of the University of Pennsylvania ranked them in the category at 33 and 40 respectively.
  • VIF has been ranked at 137 among the top think tanks worldwide (Non-U.S.) and finds a spot in the category “Think Tank to Watch” at number 20 among 100.
  • VIF is considered closely associated with the BJP and has been on an upswing since the NDA government came to power in 2014.
  • Many of its key members are holding important posts in the government, starting with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

RUSSIA PROVIDING MORE FREEDOM TO PROVINCES TO TAKE TIE WITH INDIA BEYOND DEFENCE

  • In a bid to take ties with India beyond the defence sector, Russia is giving more freedom to its Provinces to engage with Indian States directly.
  • There is growing competition among Province like Astrakhan, Mordovia, and Bashkortostan to take advantage of the positive trend in India- Russia ties.
  • Moscow handles defence and strategic ties with India, but provinces have been given free hand to deal with India in the fields of agriculture, health, education, cultural cooperation.
  • Provinces like Mordovia and Astrakhan compete to benefit from overall bilateral ties underlining that his Province has begun to promote Yoga as a visible sign of cooperation with India.
  • India and Russia had, during the inter-governmental discussion in October 2015 agreed to ramp up bilateral investment from $15 billion to $30 billion by 2025.

ZIKA VIRUS IS SPREADING FAST ACROSS THE WORLD

  • More than 2,100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito- borne Zika virus, the country’s national health institute said, as the disease continues its spread across the Americas.
  • The virus has been linked to the devastating birth defect microcephaly, which prevents foetus’ brains from developing properly. There is no vaccine.
  • Zika cases have been confirmed in 23 countries and territories in the Americas and scientists are racing to develop a vaccine for the virus.
  • The government has urged women to delay pregnancy for six to eight months to avoid potential infection. Officials expect up to 700,000 cases.
  • Brazil is the country hit hardest by the disease. It has reported around 3,700 cases of microcephaly strongly suspected to be related to Zika.
  • An Indonesian research institute said it had found one positive Zika case on Sumatra island.

GOVERNMENT CONSIDERING TO INCLUDE ROAD AS PRIORITY SECTOR

  • The government will soon approach the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with a proposal to include road projects under the priority sector list for lending purposes and review the non-performing assets norms to revive Rs. 40,000-crore worth of highway projects that have not taken of due to bureaucratic delays and cost overruns.
  • At present, 40 per cent of loans given by banks should go to priority sectors defined by the RBI. Out of this, 18 per cent should go toward agriculture lending.
  • In a separate move, the Union government may ask the RBI to ease non-performing asset norms for bank loans to revive projects.
  • It may ask the RBI to not classify bank loans as NPAs if the project has failed to take of beyond two years from its original date of commencement.
  • At present, bank loans, extended for infrastructure projects, become NPAs if the project has been delayed for two years from its original schedule even for reasons beyond the control of promoters such as land acquisition approvals.
  • This will, however, be done for road projects which are found viable after assessment.

ZIKA IS FIT CASE FOR WHO TO DECLARE PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY

  • The World Health Organization faced flak for its delay by two months in 2014 in declaring the Ebola epidemic as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
  • This might not happen in the case of Zika virus when the WHO will convene an emergency committee on February 1 (Monday) to help determine the level of the international response to the outbreak.
  • It is alleged that WHO declared Ebola as a PHEIC only after a U.S. health care person was infected with the virus.
  • Likewise, is it because the risk to the U.S. is very high in the case of Zika virus that WHO has convened the Committee meeting on Monday.
  • But in the first place why should the Zika virus outbreaks be declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern?
  • The term PHEIC is defined as an “extraordinary event” which is determined if both these conditions are met — constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease, and potentially requires a coordinated international response.
  • According to the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR) agreement, this definition “implies a situation that is: serious, unusual or unexpected, carries implications for public health beyond the affected State’s national border, and may require immediate international action”.
  • The Zika outbreak in 23 countries meets these conditions. “Given the rapidly spreading Zika epidemic, WHO should declare an emergency and use all their powers under the International Health Regulations.
  • Since its outbreak in Brazil in May 2015, there have been nearly 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly — a foetal deformation where infants are born with abnormally small heads.
  • Officials are still investigating whether Zika causes microcephaly in newborns, but the link is “strongly suspected,” ac- cording to the WHO.
  • The Zika virus infection usually is asymptomatic in nearly 80 per cent of the cases. As a result, many cases of Zika go undetected, making it difficult to estimate the true scale of the outbreak in the Americas.
  • One in four people infected with Zika develop symptoms — mild illness, such as fever, rash, muscle/joint pain, and conjunctivitis.

TRAVANCORE BUSH FROG REAPPEARED IN WESTERN GHATS

  • Travancore Bush Frog (Raorchestes travancorius), a rare and endemic frog species reported from Western Ghats, which was once recorded as extinct, has been located from eight new locations within the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
  • Incidentally, the species, according to researchers, was wrongly classified as extinct in the Red data book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature despite spotting a live individual some 12 years ago.
  • Though the classification as extinct lasted till June last year, it was subsequently reassessed as Endangered based on its area of occupancy.

DJOKOVIC WINS ANOTHER AUSTRALIAN OPEN

  • Novak Djokovic crushed Andy Murray 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(3) at Melbourne Park on Sunday to match Roy Emerson’s record of six Australian Open titles.
  • The defending champion was at his ruthless best under the lights at Rod Laver Arena, mauling Murray in the base- line duels and closing out the match in two hours and 53 minutes.
  • Murray succumbed to his fifth loss in five Australian Open finals, and fourth against the World No.1 Serbian, who claimed his 11th Grand Slam title to draw level with Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg.

 

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Last Updated on Thursday, 04 February 2016 06:13