Polity & Governance
- First Edition of WINGS 2017
Issues related to Health & Education
- Govt to push e-education with 4 digital initiatives
- New drugs needed against hard-to-treat gonorrhoea: UN
Bilateral & International Relations
- 122 countries adopt global treaty banning nuclear weapons
- G-20 leaders adopt Hamburg Action Plan
Art & Culture
- Ahmedabad gets World Heritage City tag
Key Facts for Prelims
- Saint Teresa’s blue-bordered sari an Intellectual Property now
- What is a “Moonshot” Technology?
- “Programme 17 for 17”
- 22nd World Petroleum Congress
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Polity & Governance
First Edition of WINGS 2017
The First edition of WINGS 2017 – “Sab Uden, Sab Juden”- Expanding Regional Connectivity was hosted in New Delhi by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
- Participants: Around 338 delegates from Government and Civil Aviation sector participated. Key stakeholders of the Aviation Sector such as States, Tourism Departments and Tour Operators as a Group representing airline consumers
- Aim: To facilitate interaction with various airlines, airport operators, cargo operators and other ecosystem players at a common forum.
India’s Civil Aviation sector:
- India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets and currently the ninth largest civil aviation market in the world.
- It is projected to be the third largest aviation market by 2020.
- The 33 unserved airports are being added for scheduled flights in one year as compared to 75 operational airports during last 70 years.
- The Airport Authority of India (AAI) plans to revive and operationalize around 50 airports in India over the next 2 years to improve regional and remote air connectivity.
Issues related to Health & Education
Govt to push e-education with 4 digital initiatives
On the occasion of Guru Purnima, President Pranab Mukherjee launched four major digital initiatives in to push e-education.
- All these digital initiatives are operational under Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development.
Four major digital initiatives are:
- It an indigenously designed massive open online course (MOOC).
- It will host all the courses, taught in classrooms from 9th class till post-graduation and can be accessed by anyone, anywhere at any time.
- It aims to bridge the digital divide for students in e-education.
- With the launch of SWAYAM, India has become one of the few countries in the World which has its own online interactive learning platform that provides, not only video lectures, reading material but also assignments/quizzes that could end up in securing credits after completing the assessment system.
- More than 400 Courses are available on SWAYAM covering all the engineering and non-engineering subjects at undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
- The UGC has already issued Regulation that allows transfer of credits earned through the courses done through SWAYAM into the academic record of the students.
- It is now possible for the students and others to take courses of the prestigious IITs or IIMs without formally studying there.
- The platform has been constructed by Microsoft with totally indigenous efforts.
2. Swayam Prabha:
- It will provide high quality educational contents, developed by experts, through 32 DTH (direct to home) Television Channels with an aim to bring uniformity in standards of education.
- These channels transmit 4 hours of fresh content every day, and contain lectures from the best teachers in the Country.
- There is no monthly charge for viewing these channels.
- These channels include the IIT-PAL channels which were intended to help students taking the prestigious JEE examination, taught by the IIT faculty.
- It will cover diverse disciplines of all levels of education in various languages.
3. National Academic Depository:
- It is a digital depository of academic awards for authenticating all certificates issued by institutions.
- It will directly integrate with Boards/Universities which issue Certificates which will be verified, authenticated, accessed and retrieved in a digital depository for purpose of employment, higher education, and loans.
4. National Digital Library:
- It is a large online library containing 6.5 million books.
- It provides free access to many books in English and the Indian languages.
New drugs needed against hard-to-treat gonorrhoea: UN
According to a new warning from the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhea harder and sometimes even impossible to treat. Therefore, a new drug may be urgently needed to treat the disease.
Why in news?
- Nearly 80 million people are infected with the disease every year. Among these, doctors are finding more and more cases of infection untreatable by all known antibiotics.
- Gonorrhea resistance to penicillin and tetracycline, a common broad-spectrum antibiotic, first emerged in the 1970s in Asia, spreading to the rest of the world during the early 1980s, according to the WHO.
- Resistance to the next level antibiotic, ciprofloxacin, developed in the mid-2000s.
- A third generation of drugs called cephalosporins — orally-administered cefixime and injectable ceftriaxone — then came into use.
- But resistance to cefixime — and more rarely to ceftriaxone — has now been reported in more than 50 countries. These are so-called multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains.
What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea, also called “the clap”, is a disease caused by bacteria.
- Untreated, it can cause painful pelvic inflammation in women, and infertility in both genders.
- In extreme cases, the bacteria can spread in the blood to cause life-threatening infections in other parts of the body.
- Symptoms of infection include painful urination and abnormal discharge, but many will experience no symptoms at all.
How bacteria become resistant?
- Bacteria can become resistant to drugs when people take incorrect doses of antibiotics.
- Resistant strains can also be contracted directly from animals, water and air, or other people.
- When the most common antibiotics fail to work, more expensive types must be tried, resulting in longer illness and treatment, often in hospital.
Bilateral & International Relations
122 countries adopt global treaty banning nuclear weapons
Over 120 countries in the United Nations voted to adopt the first-ever global treaty- ‘The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons’ to ban nuclear weapons.
About the treaty:
- Led by Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and New Zealand, 141 countries joined in drafting the treaty that they hope will increase pressure on nuclear states to take disarmament more seriously.
- The treaty prohibits a full range of nuclear-weapon related activities, such as undertaking to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of these weapons.
- The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament to have been negotiated in 20 years, was adopted by a vote of 122 in favour to one against (Netherlands) and one abstention (Singapore).
- India and other nuclear-armed nations – the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel had not participated in the negotiations.
- The nuclear powers view the treaty as unrealistic and argue that it will not have any impact on reducing the global stockpile of 15000 atomic weapons.
- According to the nuclear powers, their nuclear arsenals serve as a deterrent against nuclear attacks and they remain committed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and puts the onus on nuclear states to reduce their stockpiles.
But the non-nuclear states are increasingly worried about the slow pace of disarmament and are concerned that weapons of mass destruction may fall into the wrong hands.[Ref: The Hindu]
G-20 leaders adopt Hamburg Action Plan
The G-20 summit concluded in Germany’s Hamburg city with adaptation of Hamburg Action Plan.
- It sets out the group’s strategy for achieving strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
- The action plan aims to address major global challenges, including climate change, harnessing digitalisation, and to contribute to prosperity and well-being.
Highlights of Hamburg Action Plan:
- G20 members resolved to tackle common challenges to the global community, including terrorism, displacement, hunger, poverty and health threats, job creation, climate change, energy security and inequality including gender inequality, as a basis for sustainable development and stability.
- They stressed on the importance of harnessing the benefits of globalisation, reaffirm the importance of transparency for predictable and mutually beneficial trade relations.
- They also underlined importance to boost employment by improving sustainable global supply chains, as an important source of job creation and balanced economic growth.
- G20 members will use all policy tools such as monetary, fiscal and structural- individually and collectively to achieve the goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, while enhancing economic and financial resilience.
- They agreed that the 2015 Paris Agreement is irreversible and reiterated the importance of fulfilment of the UNFCCC commitments by developed countries in providing means of implementation including financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation actions.
- G-20 members are committed to increase innovation on sustainable and clean energies and energy efficiency, work towards low greenhouse-gas emission energy systems and harness digitalisation to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- G-20 members called for strengthening health systems and safeguarding against health crises.
- The leaders called on the UN to keep global health high on the political agenda and strive for cooperative action to strengthen health systems worldwide, including through developing the health workforce.
- The leaders also stressed on combatting Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), which is a growing threat to public health and economic growth.
Art & Culture
Ahmedabad gets World Heritage City tag
The 600-year-old Walled City of Ahmedabad was declared World Heritage City by the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO after it met in Karlow, Poland.
- Earlier, the committee also added Asmara (capital of Eritrea), added Hebron-Al Khalil Old Town (Palestine) and W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (Benin, Burkina Faso) to the list.
- The Walled City of Ahmedabad will now join the likes of Paris, Cairo, and Edinburgh.
- It is first Indian city get the honour.
- It will be third city from the Indian subcontinent to enjoy this status along with Bhaktapur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka.
About the Walled City of Ahmedabad:
- The Walled City of Ahmedabad is located on the eastern banks of Sabarmati river.
- It was founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah I of Gujarat Sultanate in in 1411.
- It presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs, as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods.
- The city’s historic characteristics include densely-packed traditional houses (‘pols’) in gated traditional streets (‘puras’) with features such as bird feeders, public wells and religious institutions.
- The city also holds rare distinction of being one of the oldest trading points in India and also centres of Indian freedom struggle under Mahatma Gandhi.
About World Heritage Cities Programme:
- It is one of six thematic programmes formally approved and monitored by the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO.
- It aims to assist state parties in the challenges of protecting and managing their urban heritage.
- The programme is structured along a two-way process (i) development of a theoretical framework for urban heritage conservation, and (ii) provision of technical assistance to States Parties for the implementation of new approaches and schemes.
Key Facts for Prelims
Saint Teresa’s blue-bordered sari an Intellectual Property now
- The famous blue-bordered sari of Mother Teresa, who has been canonised as Saint Teresa of Calcutta by the Vatican, has been recognised as an Intellectual Property of the Missionaries of Charity.
- The Trade Marks Registry, Government of India, has granted the registration of the trade mark for that pattern of blue border of sari.
What is a “Moonshot” Technology?
- A moonshot, in a technology context, is an ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking project undertaken without any expectation of near-term profitability or benefit and also, perhaps, without a full investigation of potential risks and benefits.
- The term “moonshot” derives from the Apollo 11 spaceflight project, which landed the first human on the moon in 1969.
- “Moonshot” may also reference the earlier phrase “shoot for the moon” meaning aim for a lofty target.
- Google has adopted the term moonshot for its most innovative projects, many of which come out of the Google X, the company’s semi-secret lab.
- Google moonshots include Google Glass, Project Loon (a balloon-based Internet service project), the driverless car, augmented reality glasses, a neural network, robots for the manufacturing industry and Project Calico, a life extension project.
“Programme 17 for 17”
- It is a 17-point action plan for 2017 – for building digital campuses and high quality education.
- The action plan covers measures like universal adoption of digital education, digital financial transactions in the campuses from the current academic year.
22nd World Petroleum Congress
- The 22nd World Petroleum Congress (WPC) International Conference has begun at Istanbul, Turkey.
- India is also taking part in the conference.
- The tri-annual WPC Conference is widely recognized as the `Olympics` of the oil and gas industry.
- It attracts Ministers, CEOs of Oil and Gas MNCs, experts and academics from the hydrocarbon sectors and provides an ideal forum to showcase potential of countries’ hydrocarbon sector.
- It also provides a platform to interact with policy makers, technologists, scientists, planners and management experts.