Current Affairs
Select Date
Tags:
Hindi

World’s first Zika virus clone developed

Scientists have genetically engineered a clone of the Zika virus strain, an advance that may aid the development of vaccine and therapies against the infection which has been linked to serious birth defects.
•    Cloning the virus unlocks scientists’ ability to more quickly develop countermeasures and explore whether or how the Zika virus has evolved to spread more quickly and cause more severe diseases in people.
•    For 60 years, the Zika virus remained obscure, with few identified cases in people and mild disease symptoms.
•    However, since 2007, the virus has sparked frequent epidemics associated with serious diseases such as microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. The researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) first constructed the Zika virus clone.
•    Five fragments spanning the complete viral genome were individually cloned and assembled into the full-length clone of the Zika virus.
•    The infectious complementary DNA (cDNA) clone allows researchers to make Zika virus from test tube and cells on petri dishes.
•    The researchers then used the UTMB-developed Zika mouse model to demonstrate that the cloned virus infected the mice and gave them neurological disease.
•    Furthermore, the team engineered a luciferase reporter Zika virus. Luciferase is the chemical in fireflies that gives them their signature glow.
•    The “glowing” reporter virus could be used for antiviral drug screening and to track Zika virus infection in mosquitoes and small animal models.
•    There are a number of possible factors that may account for the current Zika virus epidemic that can now be tested with the UTMB clone.
•    For instance, the Zika virus may have evolved in a way that enhances mosquito transmission, leading to it spreading much more quickly.
•    This idea could be tested by comparing how infectious the original Zika strains are to mosquitoes with current strains, followed by manipulating the clone to test the effects of recent mutations on mosquito transmission.
•    The study was published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe.

Read More
Read Less

Fatma Samoura named first female secretary general of FIFA

On 13 May 2016 FIFA Council named a Senegalese UN diplomat Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura as its first female Secretary General (SG).
Samoura, 54-year-old, will assume the role of FIFA Secretary General before mid-June after undergoing an eligibility check administered by an independent review committee. 
The announcement was made by FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico City.
•    Samoura is a 21-year veteran of United Nations programmes who is currently the UN’s Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria.
•    Fatma is a woman with international experience and vision who has worked on some of the most challenging issues of our time.
•    Since starting her UN career as a senior logistics officer with the World Food Programme in Rome in 1995, Samoura has served as country representative or director in six countries, namely Djibouti, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Madagascar and Nigeria.
•    She speaks French (her mother tongue), English, Spanish and Italian.
•    Prior to joining the UN, Samoura spent eight years in the private sector, working in the fertiliser trading sector for Senchim, a subsidiary of Industries Chimiques du Senegal.

Read More
Read Less

Iran’s Zabol most polluted: WHO

On 12 May 2016 The World Health Organisation (WHO) in a survey announced that New Delhi is no longer the worst polluted city in the world in terms of air quality. However, India is home to four of the five cities in the world with the worst air pollution.
•    The dirtiest air was recorded at Zabol in Iran, which suffers from months of dust storms in the summer. Zabol clocked PM2.5 measure of 217.
•    The next four cities in the list were Gwalior, Allahabad, Patna and Raipur.
•    New Delhi was the survey's 11th worst city, measured by the amount of particulate matter under 2.5 micrograms found in every cubic metre of air. Delhi had an annual average PM2.5 measurement of 122.
•    Populations in low-income cities are the most impacted.
•    98% of cities in low- and middle income countries with more than 100000 inhabitants do not meet WHO air quality guidelines. 

Read More
Read Less

Musharraf declared offender in high treason case

Former Pakistan president General (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf has been declared a proclaimed offender in a high treason case.
•    The special court, ordered for advertising the verdict in an English and Urdu daily each.
•    The court, also directed to place the copy of the order outside Musharraf's residences and before it
•    The former military ruler was in March 2014 formally charged with treason for imposing emergency and the Provisional Constitutional Order on November 3, 2007.
•    Pervez Musharraf  is a Pakistani politician and a retired four-star army general who tenured as the tenth President of Pakistan from 2001 until tendering resignation, to avoid impeachment, in 2008.
•    On 31 March 2014, Musharraf was booked and charged with high treason for implementing emergency rule and suspending the constitution in 2007.
•    Pervez Musharraf was born on 11 August 1943, to an Urdu-speaking family in Delhi.
•    He is the son of Syed and Zarin Musharraf.
•    His father, Syed Musharraf, graduated from Aligarh Muslim University, in Aligarh, India and was a civil servant under Government of India.

Read More
Read Less

Manjit Singh, appointed as member of President's Advisory Council

On 12 May 2016 US President Barack Obama appointed an Indian-American engineer, Manjit Singh, as the member of President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The announcement came along with several other appointments made by the US President.
•    Singh is the President of Agilious, a software technology consulting firm he founded in 2013.
•    He is the co-founder of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a national Sikh American media, policy and education organization.
•    He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation and also as a Member-at-Large of The Board of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan in Washington.
•    He is an engineering graduate of Bombay University.
•    He also received a Master of Science degree from the State University of New York in US.
•    Council work for :
•    Identifying best practices and successful modes of delivering social services.
•    Evaluating the need for improvements in the implementation and coordination of public policies relating to faith-based and neighborhood organizations.
•    Making recommendations to the President and the Administration on changes in policies, programs, and practices.

Read More
Read Less

World's oldest stone axe found in Australia

On 11 May 2016 Australian archaeologists announced discovery of a piece of the world's oldest axe. 
•    It was found in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia.
•    The axe fragment is about the size of a thumbnail and dates back to a Stone Age period of 45000 to 49000 years ago.
•    It is an axe with a handle attached.
•    Its antiquity coincides with or immediately follows the arrival of humans on the Australian landmass.
•    New studies of the fragment revealed that it comes from an axe that had been shaped from basalt then polished by grinding it on another rock until it was very smooth.
•    The axe fragment was initially excavated in the early 1990s by Professor O’Connor 
•    This type of axe must have been very useful for a variety of tasks like chopping down or taking the bark off trees.

Read More
Read Less

Urgent action needed to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030: UN Report

On 6 May 2016 United Nations released a new report terming  Fast-Track stress on to end the AIDS epidemic .
•    It reveals that the extraordinary acceleration of progress made over the past 15 years could be lost.
•    UN through report urges all partners to ensure that the global AIDS epidemic is ended as a public health threat by 2030.
•    It also underlines the critical role civil society has played in securing many of the gains made and the leadership provided by people living with HIV.
•    The report also calls the shortfalls in the implementation of the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS distressing. 
•    The report draws attention to regions where new HIV infections are continuing to rise, such 
•    The report gives strong emphasis to the links between the response to HIV and the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
•    To reach these goals include reaching the 90–90–90 treatment target for 2020.

Read More
Read Less

Yash Chopra’s statue is in Switzerland

Yash Chopra, who shot most of his romantic dramas in the lush mountains of Switzerland, has been honoured with a special statue by the government.
•    The bronze statue of the Yash Chopra, which weighs about 250 kilos, was inaugurated on 11 May 2016 by his wife Pamela and daughter-in-law Rani Mukerjee.
•    Chopra, who opened a legacy of South Asian tourists flocking to Switzerland, loved to spend time in the country besides shooting his movies.
•    This statue is installed at the heart of Interlaken, inside the Kursaal area, near the Congress Centre which is a prime, popular spot with tourists.
•    Ministers and senior bureaucrats from the Swiss government attended the inauguration event that was organized by Interlaken Tourism and Jungfrau Railways.
•    The government of Interlaken awarded him the honorary title of “Ambassador of Interlaken” in 2011, 
•    Jungfrau Railways named a train after him — an honour shared only with the railway’s founder, Adolf Guyer.
•    The five-star Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa in Interlaken also named a suite after Yash Chopra.

Read More
Read Less

Indian-American Revathi Balakrishnan named as 2016 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year

Indian-American elementary teacher, Revathi Balakrishnan was honoured by US President Barack Obama at the White House.
 She was named as 2016 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year.
She received the honour for her excellent work in the field of education at Patsy Sommer Elementary School in Texas.
•    She is from Chennai, Tamil Nadu who attributes her success in the field of education to her love of teaching.
•    She was a systems analyst with Liberty Mutual, 
•    She taught math classes in third through fifth grade at Sommer at Sommer Elementary for six years 
•    Then she used to teach at Forest North Elementary for three years.
•    She earned her economics degree from University of Madras.
•    It identifies exceptional teachers in the United States of America.
•    The honour recognizes their effective work in the classroom, engages them in a year of professional learning, amplifies their voices and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels.

Read More
Read Less

UN launches Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Zika virus response

On 6 May 2016 United Nations announced the establishment of the UN Zika Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund to finance critical unfunded priorities in the response to the Zika outbreak.
It fund was announced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
•    The Fund aims to provide a rapid, flexible and accountable platform to support a coordinated response from the UN system and partners.
•    It will directly support the Zika Strategic Response Framework, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO
•    Under the programme, the donors will contribute to a central point and an Advisory Committee will direct funds to the highest-priority activities in the affected countries.
•    Zika virus (ZIKV) is transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti.
•    In case of humans, the virus causes mild illness known as Zika fever (Zika or Zika disease).
•    Since January 2015, 61 countries and territories have reported local transmission of Zika.
•    The recent rise in the spread of the virus in some countries has been accompanied by an unprecedented rise in the number of children being born with unusually small heads 
•    On 1 February 2016, WHO announced that the cluster of cases of microcephaly and other neurological disorders.

Read More
Read Less