22 April Current Affairs
April 22, 2019
24 April Current Affairs
April 24, 2019
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23 April Current Affairs

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL)

In News:

AYUSH ministry and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi will collaborate in research and education in areas of traditional systems of medicine and its integration with modern science.

Details:

This is not the first collaboration of the two organisations. CSIR and the Department of AYUSH (now Ministry) developed the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL).

About TKDL:

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is an Indian digital knowledge repository of the traditional knowledge, especially about medicinal plants and formulations used in Indian systems of medicine.

Set up in 2001, as a collaboration between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the MINISTRY OF AYUSH.

objective of the library is to protect the ancient and traditional knowledge of the country from exploitation through biopiracy and unethical patents, by documenting it electronically and classifying it as per international patent classification systems.

Apart from that, the non-patent database serves to foster modern research based on traditional knowledge, as it simplifies access to this vast knowledge of remedies or practices.

The TKDL contains documentation of publicly available traditional knowledge (TK) that:

  • relates to Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Yoga
  • is in digitized format
  • is available in five languages: English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish.

The TKDL:

seeks to prevent the granting of patents for products developed utilizing TK where there has been little, if any, inventive step

intends to act as a bridge between information recorded in ancient Sanskrit and patent examiners (with its database containing information in a language and format understandable to patent examiners)

facilitates access to information not easily available to patent examiners, thereby minimizing the possibility that patents could be granted for “inventions” involving only minor or insignificant modifications.

Mosquirix: World’s first Malaria vaccine

In News:

African Nation, Malawi will be undertaking large scale pilot tests for the world’s most advanced experimental malaria vaccine in a bid to prevent the disease. The vaccine has been recommended by WHO for pilot introduction in selected areas of 3 African countries- Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

About Malaria:

Caused by the infectious Plasmodium

Spread: Female Anophelesmosquitoes deposit parasite sporozoites into the skin of a human host.

Malaria is a leading cause of human morbidity and mortality. Despite huge progress in tackling the disease, there are still 212 million new cases of malaria and 430,000 malaria-related deaths worldwide each year according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Most cases (80%) and deaths (90%) were in sub-Saharan African.

World’s first vaccine against a parasitic disease: Mosquirix:

RTS,S, known by its trade name Mosquirix, uses antibodies to target proteins presented by sporozoites (such as the circumsporozoite protein of  falciparum)to enhance the immune system and help prevent the parasite from infecting the liver.

Mosquirix is also engineered using a hepatitis B viral protein and a chemical adjuvant to further boost the immune response for enhanced effectiveness.

India’s efforts in this regard:

India’s progress in fighting malaria is an outcome of concerted efforts to ensure that its malaria programme is country-owned and country-led, even as it is in alignment with globally accepted strategies.

At the East Asia Summit in 2015, India pledged to eliminate the disease by 2030. Following this public declaration, India launched the five-year National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination. This marked a shift in focus from malaria “control” to “elimination”. The plan provides a roadmap to achieve the target of ending malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.

Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) initiative:

Among states, Odisha’s Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) initiative is significant.

The initiative aims to deliver services to the most inaccessible and hardest hit people of the State. The initiative has in-built innovative strategies to combat asymptomatic malaria.

The programme is jointly implemented by Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR-NIMR), National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Odisha and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).

Source: The Hindu

MHA distributes special kits to states, UTs to help probe sexual assault cases

In News:

Ministry of Home Affairs has distributed special kits to carry out immediate investigations into sexual assault cases. The Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits or ‘rape investigation kits’ are designed to carry out immediate medico-legal investigation.

Components and significance of the kits:

Each of these kits comprises essential items that will aid in furnishing evidence such as blood and semen samples in sexual assault and rape cases, thus helping the prosecution to gather evidence against the accused.

The kit has a set of test tubes and bottles, which mention contents and specifications.

These kits also contain instructions on collection of evidence from the crime scene. The SAECKs would be sent to the closest laboratory and within two months the results would be out.

The kits are expected to help law enforcement agencies to ensure effective investigation in a timely manner for better prosecution and convictions in sexual assault cases.

The kits were procured with financial support under the central government’s ‘Nirbhaya Fund’, which was named after the 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim.

Background:

Incidents of crime against women rose from 3,29,243 in 2015 to 3,38,954 in 2016.

In 2015, as many as 34,651 cases of rape were registered in the country. The figure increased to 38,947 in 2016, according to the data of the National Crime Records Bureau.

Source: The Hindu

J&K on highway traffic ban

In News:

The Supreme Court has sought responses from the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir on the plea seeking quashing of an order which restricts civilian traffic two days a week on the national highway (NH) stretch from Udhampur to Baramulla for movement of security forces.

Background:

The J&K govt. has issued an order banning the movement of civilian traffic on a 270-km stretch (Udhampur-Baramulla) of the Jammu-Srinagar-Uri national highway for two days every week.

On Sundays and Wednesdays, the highway would be exclusively used for movement of military convoys. The decision has been taken considering the security concerns that led to temporarily blocking part of the highway. However this has an implication on civilian population.

Why is the highway important?

The Jammu-Srinagar-Uri national highway (NH-1A) runs 370 km. The national highway is not just the only road link that connects Kashmir to the outside world but also the key highway that connects Srinagar with the southern and northern districts of the Valley. The highway passes through five of the 10 districts of the Valley, and highways to at least two more districts branch out from it. The highway, directly and indirectly, impacts a population of over 69 lakh.

Why such decision?

The government has cited the recent suicide bombing of a security forces convoy in Pulwama — which killed 40 CRPF personnel — as the reason for restricting traffic.

Implications of the road-block:

It means a virtual lockdown of the Valley for two days every week. According to official figures, over 10,000 vehicles move on the highway from both sides every hour, including around 5,000 light motor vehicles. These include vehicles carrying students, patients, government officials and businessmen.

Closing the highway during daytime would mean that most government and private offices, banks, schools and colleges would remain shut on Wednesdays and the movement of people to hospitals would be severely restricted on Wednesdays and Sundays.

What can be done?

Whenever security forces’ vehicles are using the highway, civilian traffic can be halted for various lengths of time.

Source: The Hindu

Earth Day

It is an annual event, organized to show support for environmental protection around the world on April 22.

Earth Day was founded by American senator Gaylord Nelson for environmental education.

This day commenced on April 22, 1970. In the year 2020, the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day will be celebrated.

Theme of Earth Day 2019: Protect Our Species.

The East Asia – Australasian Flyway (EAAF)

In a first, east Asian birds make Andaman stopover. These birds also use Andaman and Nicobar Islands for a few week rest before they can fly along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF).

Key facts:

The routes that migratory waterbirds traverse on an annual basis are known as ‘flyways’. There are nine major flyway around the world.

The East Asian – Australasian Flyway (EAAF) stretches from the Russian Far East and Alaska, southwards through East Asia and South-east Asia, to Australia and New Zealand and encompasses 22 countries.

The EAAF is home to over 50 million migratory waterbirds from over 250 different populations, including 32 globally threatened species and 19 Near Threatened species.

During migration, waterbirds rely on a system of highly productive wetlands to rest and feed, building up sufficient energy to fuel the next phase of their journey.

Medicine labels in regional language

In order to counter fake, sub-standard and expired drugs, the Union Health Ministry has said Hindi and regional language will be used in the tendering process.

Background: The Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) recently recommended that government procurement agencies should take necessary steps in the tendering process to include the regional language, along with English, on the label of iron tablets and polio drops in government programmes.

Garia festival

Garia festival is an important festival for the Tripuri tribal community of the state. The Garia dance is very popular among the Tripuris and the Reangs. Symbolic of the worship of deities as well as of the socio-economic activities of the households, these dances represent hunting, fishing, food-gathering and various other activities.

The Garia Puja is usually held from the beginning of the last day of the month of Chaitra till the seventh day of the month of April (Vaishakha).

They offer prayers to a bamboo pole whom they considered as their Lord Garia and sought His blessings for a good and prosperous life.

The devotees sacrifice roosters as part of the rituals during the puja.

The puja is followed by traditional dance derived from the Garia dance or the dance of Shiva and other cultural activities.

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