Headlines - 23 - 07 - 2021

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Ten relevant news updates from across the world, useful for examinations

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 Headlines - 23 - 07 - 2021

  1. Governance and Institutions - SMILE Scheme - Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has framed the SMILE scheme (Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise scheme). This Scheme includes a sub scheme - ‘Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging’. It covers several comprehensive measures including welfare measures for persons who are engaged in begging, with a focus extensively on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, basic documentation, education, skill development, economic linkages etc. It provides for the use of the existing shelter homes available with the State/UT Governments and Urban local bodies for rehabilitation of the persons engaged in the act of Begging. In case of non-availability of existing shelter homes, new dedicated shelter homes are to be set up by the implementing agencies.
  2. Healthcare and Medicine - Bird Flu case in India - On July 21, an 11-year-old boy died of H5N1 avian influenza in Delhi, in the first recorded death due to the bird flu in India in 2021. In January, bird flu was confirmed in several states with thousands of birds, including migratory species, being found dead. Bird flu or avian influenza is a disease caused by avian influenza Type A viruses found naturally in wild birds worldwide. The virus can infect domestic poultry including chickens, ducks, turkeys and there have been reports of H5N1 infection among pigs, cats, and even tigers in Thailand zoos. Avian Influenza type A viruses are classified based on two proteins on their surfaces – Hemagglutinin(HA) and Neuraminidase(NA). There are about 18 HA subtypes and 11 NA subtypes. Several combinations of these two proteins are possible e.g., H5N1, H7N2, H9N6, H17N10, etc. There have been reports of avian and swine influenza infections in humans including A(H1N1), A(H1N2), A(H5N1), A(H7N9), etc. The first report of human H5N1 infection was in 1997. The most common route of virus transmission is direct contact — when a person comes in close contact with infected birds, either dead or alive.
  3. Defence and Military - New gen Akash missile - The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight-tested the New Generation Akash Missile, a surface-to-air Missile from Integrated Test Range off the coast of Odisha. The system has been developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Hyderabad in collaboration with other DRDO laboratories. The new version of the Akash missile (Akash-NG) can strike targets at a distance of around 60 km and fly at a speed of up to Mach 2.5. It will prove to be a force multiplier for the air defence capability of the Indian Air Force.
  4. Healthcare and Medicine - Nidhi for Covid 2.0 - NIDHI4COVID 2.0 initiative was devised as a rapid response to support startup driven solutions, which would be helpful in tackling the current challenging COVID-19 situation. Inducted as a special drive of the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science & Technology (DST) & govt of India, NIDHI4COVID2.0 aims at introducing indigenous solutions and innovative products which would aid the nation in to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic effectively. Under the NIDHI4COVID programme, Startups whose products are of importance in the war against COVID would be considered for Seed Support through DST supported network of Technology Business Incubators. KIIT- Technology Business Incubator, a Centre of Excellence supported by DST, has been selected as the Implementing Agency of NIDHI4COVID 2.0 initiative. In this, KIIT-TBI will work closely together with DST to support promising startups with upto 50 lakhs funding assistance under the program.
  5. Social Issues - Orphans due to Covid - The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in an estimated 1.5 million (15 lakh) children facing the loss of a parent or a caregiver (a grandparent or other older relative in their home), including over a million who lost one or both parents, according to a global study to be published in The Lancet. In India, an estimated 1.19 lakh children lost a primary caregiver — one or both parents, or one or both custodial grandparents. Among them, 1.16 lakh lost one or both parents. Globally, from March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, the study estimates that 11.34 lakh children lost a primary caregiver (at least one parent or custodial grandparent). Including other co-residing grandparents (or other older relatives), the total is 15.62 lakh children, of whom over 1 million (10.42 lakh) lost one or both parents. The estimates for India indicate an 8.5-fold increase in the numbers of children newly orphaned in April 2021 (43,139) compared to March (5,091). Mexico (1.41 lakh) and Brazil (1.30 lakh) have the highest number of children who have lost a primary caregiver, followed by India. The US is another country where over a lakh children have lost a primary caregiver.
  6. Science and Technology - New Shephard rocket system - Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos came back to earth after a 10-min flight to space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft. The astronauts experienced three to four minutes of zero-gravity and travelled above the Kármán Line, the internationally-recognised boundary of space. It is a rocket system meant to take tourists to space successfully. The system is built by Blue Origin, Private Space Company based out in USA. New Shephard has been named after astronaut Alan Shephard, the first American to go to space. It offers flights to space over 100 km above the Earth and accommodation for payloads. The system is a fully reusable, vertical takeoff and vertical landing space vehicle.
  7. Governance and Institutions - Honey Mission Programme - This mission was launched in 2017-18 by Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC), under the Ministry of MSME. It promotes beekeeping activities and provide self-sustaining employment opportunities among farmers, Adivasies and unemployed youth in rural India, mainly in economically backward and remote areas. Launched in 2017 in line with the ‘Sweet Revolution’, the mission provided with Bee Boxes, live bee colonies, tool kits and training to the beneficiaries. [The 'Sweet Revolution' was launched in 2016 to promote beekeeping and associated activities.]
  8. Governance and Institutions - Tender for BharatNet Project - The Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) on behalf of the Ministry of Telecommunications, through a public-private partnership model, invited global tenders for the development (creation, upgrade, operation, maintenance and utilization) of BharatNet in 9 separate packages in 16 states to obtain concession rights for 30 years. Under this project, the government will provide grants of up to Rs. 19041 crore as Viability Gap Funding. The project will cover 3.61 lakh villages (including Gram Panchayats) in Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh. The scope of work for this BharatNet PPP Project includes the following: Connect the remaining unconnected GPs under the BharatNet project with all the inhabited villages outside the GPs. Conversion of the existing BharatNet Network's topology from linear to ring. Operation and maintenance (O&M), as well as utilisation of both the existing and newly deployed networks.
  9. World Politics - Frightened Americans rushing to get vaccinated - Americans in undervaccinated states are responding to surging Covid-19 caseloads—by getting vaccinated. Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada suddenly have daily vaccination rates above the national average. (Florida, Missouri and Texas account for 40% of all new infections.) Lest they be blamed for outbreaks and deaths in “red”, Republican-voting states, Republican politicians have begun praising the jab. In the past 10 days 5.2m Americans had their first shot.
  10. World Economy - The chips are down - Intel’s boss warned that the global semiconductor shortage could last into next year, and that supply would not fully recover until 2023. Carmakers have been hit particularly hard by a dearth of chips, in part the result of the extra demand created by pandemic home-working. Pat Gelsinger said consolidation among chipmakers would help. Intel is trying to buy GlobalFoundries, a rival, for $30bn.

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PT's IAS Academy: Headlines - 23 - 07 - 2021
Headlines - 23 - 07 - 2021
Ten relevant news updates from across the world, useful for examinations
PT's IAS Academy
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