1 . Nipah Virus (NiV) Infection
Reasons for being in news
Nipah virus has struck Kerala’s Kozhikode district, by claiming nine lives.
About Nipah virus (NiV) infection
Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.
Why the name Nipah?
The disease was named after Kampung Sungai Nipah (Nipah River Village), where the first viral isolate was obtained and therefore named as “NiV”.
NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998. On this occasion, pigs were the intermediate hosts. However, in subsequent NiV outbreaks, there were no intermediate hosts. In Bangladesh in 2004, humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats. Human-to-human transmission has also been documented, including in a hospital setting in India.
The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus (fruit-eating species, popularly known as flying foxes).
How does NiV transmit?
In Malaysia and Singapore, NiV transmitted to humans through infected pigs. However, during the NIV outbreaks in India and Bangladesh, the disease transmitted “directly from bats to human followed by a human to human” and “the drinking of raw date palm sap contaminated with fruit bat urine or saliva containing NiV is the only known cause of outbreak”.
When was the first NiV outbreak observed in India?
The first NiV outbreak in India was observed in 2001 in Siliguri, West Bengal. Though the agent for the outbreak was not known, analysis of the limited sequence data suggested that the NiV strains associated with the outbreak were more closely related to NiV isolated in Bangladesh than to NiV isolated in Malaysia. According to some, Siliguri’s proximity to Bangladesh, which had been seeing recurrent cases of NiV infection from 2001 through 2013 could have been behind it.
A second infection had reportedly emerged in Nadia district, again close to the border with Bangladesh in 2007.
The outbreak of NiV in Kerala is the latest and third such incident, according to reports.
5 to 14 days
NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis.
Infection with Nipah virus is generally associated with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). After exposure and an incubation period of 5 to 14 days,illness presents with 3-14 days of fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion. These signs and symptoms can progress to coma within 24-48 hours. Some patients have a respiratory illness during the early part of their infections, and half of the patients showing severe neurological signs showed also pulmonary signs.
Long-term sequelae following Nipah virus infection have been noted, including persistent convulsions and personality changes.
Latent infections with subsequent reactivation of Nipah virus and death have also been reported months and even years after exposure.
The virus is known to have nearly 70 percent mortality rate.
Animals affected other than humans
NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals.
The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.
There is no vaccine for either humans or animals.
What precautions to take?
Contact with bats saliva or urine either via a contaminated item (like palm sap or fruit dropped from a tree) or via animals contaminated by the virus (such as pigs or other livestock animals) or humans already infected with NiV are considered to be the prime reason for NiV infection.Thus these have to be avoided. It’s best to avoid areas that bats inhabitate.
A zoonosis is any disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans.
period between exposure to an infection and the appearance of the first symptoms.
2 . ‘Open loop university’ system
It is a way of re-imagining the college experience and was first developed in 2014 by Stanford’s design school .
In this system, a student admitted to college would have six years to use however and whenever they wished to. They could start college whenever they felt they were ready — be it eighteen or twenty-four, pull out after two years, work for a few years, and then loop back into college. No matter where they lived when they were looped out, the students could use the remainder of their six-year college period to re-matriculate in their thirties, forties, or fifties.
Need for ‘Open loop university’ system
It is going to be increasingly difficult for a one-time college education to prepare a student for the long trajectory of professional life that follows college, one that looks more and more fragmented in comparison with the single and linear career trajectories of the past. We now live in a world where it is impossible to predict what specific job markets will look like even in two or four years at a time.
Benefits of ‘Open loop university’ system
Not only would the fresh phase of education re-energise their personal potential and careers, but they would also accelerate research and learning on campus with their enhanced life and professional experience.
3 . Mission Innovation Ministerial
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Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment, Forests and Climate Change Dr. Harsh Vardhan will be leading an Indian delegation for participation in the Mission Innovation Ministerial being held at Malmo-Sweden during 22-23 May, 2018.
What is Mission Innovation?
Mission Innovation was announced on November 30, 2015, as world leaders came together in Paris to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change.
Mission Innovation is a global platform of 22 countries and European Union aimed at accelerating clean energy innovations through enhanced Government funding, greater public-private sector partnership and enhanced global cooperation.
Role of India in Mission Innovation
India is founding member of Mission Innovation and part of the Steering Committee besides co-lead of innovation challenges on smart grids, off grids and sustainable bio-fuels.
What is the mission?
Each of the 22 participating countries and the European Union—which represent more than 80 percent of global clean energy R&D budgets—plans to seek to double its governmental and/or state-directed clean energy R&D investment over five years, reaching around a combined USD $30 billion per year in 2021.
Purpose of increased investment
New investments are focused on transformational clean energy technology innovations that can be scaled to varying economic and energy market conditions that exist in participating countries and in the broader world.
Focus of Mission Innovation
1 . Encourage mutually beneficial engagement with other partner countries in international collaborations.
2 . Share information on national clean energy needs, plans, priorities, and supporting policies and programs for clean energy innovation.
3 . Work closely with the private sector as it increases its investment in the earlier-stage clean energy companies that emerge from government research and development programs
4 . Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve (ISPR)
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Recently India received the 1st cargo of UAE crude oil for filling up one of the two Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) caverns built by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Ltd (ISPRL) at Mangalore.
In February 2018, during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to UAE, Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Ltd(ISPRL) and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed an Agreement under which ADNOC will store about 5.86 million barrels of crude oil in India’s SPR facility at Mangalore at its own cost. The filling up began with the 2 million barrels reaching Mangalore recently . ADNOC will bring additional crude oil and fill up the Mangalore cavern later this year.
What is unique about this event?
ADNOC’s investment by way of crude oil in Indian SPR facility is the first time that a private foreign entity, is filling up an Indian SPR cavern with crude oil.
Terms in the Agreement
The Agreement stipulates that during an emergency oil shortage situation the Indian government can use the entire available crude oil stored by ADNOC in the Mangalore SPR facility for its use. Further, as an incentive for storing crude oil at its own cost, the Agreement allows ADNOC to sell part of the crude oil to Indian refineries during normal times.
Significance of this Agreement
It demonstrates the commitment of both India and UAE in executing strategically important agreements in a time bound manner, thereby, further strengthening the strategic relationship between the two countries, particulary in the oil and gas sector.
It will help in elevating the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership and transform the buyer-seller relations to a two-way investment relations.
UAE is the 6th largest crude oil source for India and supplies around 6 % of the petroleum requirement.
The Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve (ISPR) is an emergency fuel store of total 5 MMT (million metric tons) of strategic crude oil enough to provide 10 days of consumption which are maintained by the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited.
Government of India under phase I of SPR programme has built crude oil storage facilities with total capacity of 5.33 million tonnes (around 39 million barrels) at three locations viz. Vishakhapatnam, Mangalore and Padur.
Vishakhapatnam storage has a capacity of 1.33 million tonnes (around 9.77 million barrels) of crude oil, Mangalore has a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes (around 11 million barrels) and Padur can stock 2.5 million tonnes (18.37 million barrels).
The entire Vishakhapatnam facility and one of the two caverns at Mangalore facility have been filled with crude oil under government funding, the second cavern at Mangalore facility is now being filled by ADNOC of UAE at its own cost under the Agreement with ISPRL.
In the 2017-18 budget speech, it was announced that two more such caverns will be set up Chandikhole in Jajpur district of Odisha and Bikaner in Rajasthan as part of the second phase. This will take the strategic reserve capacity to 15.33 million tons.
5 . World Health Assembly
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Seventy-first World Health Assembly is being organised from 21–26 May 2018.
About World Health Assembly
The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.
It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.
Functions of World Health Assembly
The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.
6 . ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ & INSV Tarini
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Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Tarini (INSV Tarini) entered Goa harbour after completing a historic global circumnavigation voyage on 21 May 18.
About “Navika Sagar Parikrama”
Navika Sagar Parikrama is the name of expedition for circumnavigation of the globe on INSV Tarini by Indian Navy’s Women Naval Officers.
This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.
About INSV Tarini
The indigenously-built INSV Tarini is a 56-foot sailing vessel, which was inducted in the Indian Navy in February 2017.
During her 254 day long voyage, the vessel has covered over 22,000 Nautical miles, visiting five countries – Australia, New Zealand, Falkland Islands (UK), South Africa and Mauritius.
Significance of the expedition
1 . The expedition is in consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential.
2 . It has showcased ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform and helped change societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of their participation in challenging environs.
3 . The crew also collated and updated meteorological, ocean and wave data on a regular basis for accurate weather forecast by India Meteorological Department (IMD).
4 . It has also monitored and reported marine pollution on the high seas.