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27th May Current Affairs

Cyclone Yaas

In News:

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has informed that a low pressure area is formed over north Andaman Sea and adjoining east central Bay of Bengal around May 22.

Details:

It is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm by May 24. It has been named as Cyclone Yaas.

Naming of Cyclones – The name was given by?

The name ‘Yaas’ was suggested by Oman and refers to a tree with good fragrance and in English, the word is similar to Jasmine.

The next cyclone—after Yaas—is likely to be named Gulab, suggested by Pakistan.

How are cyclones formed?

Cyclones are formed over the oceanic water in the tropical region.

In this region, the sunlight is highest which results in warming of land and water surface. Due to warming of the surface, the warm moist air over the ocean rises upwards following which cool air rushes in to fill the void, they too get warm and rise — the cycle continues.

But what creates the spin?

Wind always blows from high pressure to low pressure areas. High pressure areas are created in the cold region while low is created in the warm regions. Polar regions are high pressure areas as the amount of sunlight here is less than the tropical region. So, wind blows from polar regions to tropical regions.

Then comes the Earth’s movement, which is west to east. The Earth’s rotation on its axis causes deflection of the wind (in the tropical region as the speed of spinning of Earth is higher compared to polar sides due to its spherical shape — blowing from both the polar regions. Wind coming from the Arctic is deflected to the right while Antarctic wind deflects to the left side.

So, wind is already blowing in a direction. But when it reaches the warmer place, cool air starts getting attracted to the centre to fill the gap. So while moving to the centre, cool air keeps getting deflected resulting in circulation of wind movement — this process continues until the cyclone hits the land.

What happens when a cyclone hits the land?

Cyclone dissipates when it hits the land as the warm water that rises and creates space for cool water is no longer available on land. Also, the moist air that rises up forms clouds leading to rains that accompany gusting winds during cyclones.

India to push for WHO, EU approval for Covaxin

In News:

Faced with concern that Indians receiving the Covaxin vaccine may not get relaxation in travel restrictions, the government has decided to help ensure that Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech receives clearances from both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and subsequently, the EU’s European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Details:

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been tasked with studying the matter and help get Covaxin a place in WHO’s Emergency Use List (EUL).

Need for:

EU member countries recently approved a proposal to allow “fully vaccinated” tourists from countries outside Europe under certain criteria. While the travellers getting AstraZeneca’s Covishield would be included on the WHO and EU’s listings, if travel from India is accepted, those who have taken Covaxin would not.

Benefits of being included in the list:

Covaxin on the WHO’s EUL would be a big boost, and a first for an Indian-developed and produced vaccine.

About WHO’s Emergency Use List (EUL):

The WHO Emergency Use Listing Procedure (EUL) is a risk-based procedure for assessing and listing unlicensed vaccines, therapeutics and in vitro diagnostics with the ultimate aim of expediting the availability of these products to people affected by a public health emergency.

This will assist interested UN procurement agencies and Member States in determining the acceptability of using specific products, based on an essential set of available quality, safety, and efficacy and performance data.

Eligibility of candidate products:

The EUL concerns three product streams (vaccines, therapeutics and in vitro diagnostics), each of which has specific requirements for products to be eligible for evaluation under the EUL procedure.

The following criteria must be met:

  1. The disease for which the product is intended is serious or immediately life threatening, has the potential of causing an outbreak, epidemic or pandemic and it is reasonable to consider the product for an EUL assessment, e.g., there are no licensed products for the indication or for a critical subpopulation (e.g., children).
  2. Existing products have not been successful in eradicating the disease or preventing outbreaks (in the case of vaccines and medicines).
  3. The product is manufactured in compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in the case of medicines and vaccines and under a functional Quality Management System (QMS) in the case of IVDs.
  4. The applicant undertakes to complete the development of the product (validation and verification of the product in the case of IVDs) and apply for WHO prequalification once the product is licensed.

International Atomic Energy Agency

In News:

The speaker of Iran’s parliament said a three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog- IAEA has expired and that its access to images from inside some Iranian nuclear sites would cease.

Details:

The announcement has raised further questions about the future of indirect talks underway between the United States and Iran on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

What was the deal?

The International Atomic Energy Agency and Tehran struck the three-month monitoring agreement in February to cushion the blow of Iran reducing its cooperation with the agency, and it allowed monitoring of some activities that would otherwise have been axed to continue.

Background:

Iran and global powers have held several rounds of negotiations since April in Vienna, Austria, working on steps that Tehran and Washington must take, on sanctions and nuclear activities, to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact.

Iran began gradually breaching terms of the 2015 pact with world powers after former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions.

About IAEA:

Set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family.

Reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

Headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

Functions:

  • Works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
  • Seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.

Programs:

  • Program of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT)
  • Human Health Program.
  • Water Availability Enhancement Project.
  • International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, 2000.