Daily Current Affairs 14th July, 2017
Health Ministry of India launches the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination 2017-22
- Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22). The Strategic Plan gives year wise elimination targets in various parts of the country depending upon the endemicity of malaria in the next 5 years.
- The strategies involve strengthening malaria surveillance, establishing a mechanism for early detection and prevention of outbreaks of malaria, effective indoor residual spray and augmenting the manpower and capacities for effective implementation for the next five years.
ECONOMY,BANKING AND FINANCE
BRPL, TERI in MoU to explore opportunities in solar rooftops, e-vehicles
- BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have entered into a partnership to explore collaboration opportunities for solar rooftop, electric vehicles, energy storage systems, energy efficiency and smart grid technologies.
- The MoU has been signed for two years. The collaboration will help in research and explore newer collaboration opportunities in the domain of emerging technologies.
India contributes additional $1 million to India-UN Development Partnership Fund
- India has contributed an additional $1 million to India-UN Development Partnership Fund launched to support sustainable development projects across the developing world.
- Earlier, India had made an initial contribution of $1 million when the fund was created. The amount was allocated for the implementation of a project benefiting seven Small Island Developing States in South Pacific Ocean.
Google acquires Bangalore-based artificial intelligence firm Halli Labs
- American technology giant Google has acquired Bangalore-based artificial intelligence (AI) firm Halli Labs for an undisclosed sum.
- The firm becomes the latest AI start up to be snapped by a technology giant after a spate of similar acquisitions by firms such as Microsoft, Facebook, Apple among others.
ENVIRONMENT,SCIENCE AND TECH
India ranks 116 out of 157 nations on SDG index
- The SDG index, that assesses the performance of countries towards achieving the ambitious sustainable development goals (SDGs), has been released for the year 2017.
- The SDG Index and Dashboards Report produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung shows that world leaders need to strengthen their joint efforts to realise the 17 global goals.
- The SDG Index and Dashboard collect available data for 157 countries to assess where each country stands in 2017 with regard to achieving the SDGs.
- The SDG Index ranks countries based on their performance across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
- Sweden leads the list, followed by Denmark and Finland. Among the G7 countries, only Germany and France can be found among the top ten performers.
- The United States ranks 42nd on the Index, while Russia and China rank 62nd and 71st respectively.
- India is ranked 116th on the index with a score of 58.1, behind countries such as Nepal, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and China. Pakistan is ranked 122.
- The countries which are closest to fulfilling the goals are not the biggest economies but comparably small, developed countries.
- Many of the richest countries in the world are nowhere near achieving the global policy objectives but also deteriorate the implementation process for poorer countries because of negative spillover effects.
- One of the greatest obstacles to achieving the global goals for high-income countries are poor performances regarding sustainable consumption and production. All countries that score lowest on electronic-waste generation, for example, are high-income countries.
- Not only does a rising trend of nationalism and protectionism impede the implementation of the goals, but as the report shows, industrialised countries are not serving as role models.
When DNA is the new hard drive
- Scientists have successfully encoded a movie in the DNA of a living cell, where it can be retrieved at will and multiplied indefinitely as the host divides and grows. It is the latest and perhaps most astonishing example of the genome’s potential as a vast storage device.
- The geneticists ended up with a sequence of DNA molecules that represented the entirety of the film. Then they used a powerful new gene editing technique, Crispr, to slip this sequence into the genome of a common gut bacteria, E. coli.
- Despite the modification, the bacteria thrived and multiplied. The film stored in the genome was preserved intact with each new generation of progeny.
- CRISPR, short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, was named “2015 Breakthrough of the Year” by the U.S. journal Science.
- It allows scientists to selectively edit genome parts and replace them with new DNA stretches.
- Cas9 is an enzyme that can edit DNA, allowing the alteration of genetic patterns by genome modification.
- CRISPR is a collection of DNA sequences that direct Cas9 where to cut and paste.
India’s first solar powered DEMU train launched
- Indian Railways has launched India’s first solar powered diesel multiple unit (DEMU) broad gauge train. It is 1600 Horse Power (HP) train with all solar powered coaches.
- The train will run from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi to Farukh Nagar in Haryana. It will replace an existing non-solar powered rake on the same route.
Saraswati: Indian scientists discover supercluster of galaxies
- A team of Indian astronomers have identified previously unknown, extremely large supercluster of galaxies located in the direction of constellation Pisces.
- It has been named “Saraswati”. It was discovered by astronomers from Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), both in Pune, Maharashtra.
- Saraswati supercluster is one of the largest known structures in the nearby universe. It is 4 billion light years away from Earth and may contain the mass equivalent of over 20 million billion suns.
- It has 43 galaxies that may contain thousands of suns, besides having billions of stars, planets, other bodies, gases and dark matter.
- It is estimated to be stretched over 650 million light years in distance. The discovery of Saraswati supercluster will help astronomers in understanding galaxy formation and evolution, effect of superclusters on environment of the galaxies.
President awards IIMB
- President Pranab Mukherjee has awarded IIM Bangalore (IIMB) for making management education accessible to all through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
- IIMB is the national coordinator for management education on the government’s Swayam platform and has completed five MOOCs on the platform so far.
Tata Sons appoints Aarthi Subramanian as Chief Digital Officer
- Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, has appointed Aarthi Subramanian as the conglomerate’s chief digital officer. Subramanian, who is an executive director at TCS, will join Tata Sons in August.
- Subramanian is the second TCSer whom Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran has picked up to be a part of his core team after Suprakash Mukhopadhyay.