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Global Education Coalition(GEC)
News:The Global Education Coalition has been launched by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO).
Aim:To facilitate inclusive learning opportunities for children and youth during this period of sudden and unprecedented educational disruption.
Members:It is an open partnership that includes international organizations (ILO,UNICEF,WB among others) , private sector partners (Facebook, Google) and Philanthropic and non-profit organizations(Khan Academy among others).
- Help countries in mobilizing resources and implementing innovative and context-appropriate solutions to provide education remotely, leveraging hi-tech, low-tech and no-tech approaches
- Seek equitable solutions and universal access
- Ensure coordinated responses and avoid overlapping efforts
- Facilitate the return of students to school when they reopen to avoid an upsurge in dropout rates.
US financial aid for Greenland sparks outrage in Denmark
News:The United States offering a $12m financial package to Greenland has angered Denmark as the autonomous island falls within the territory of the Kingdom of Denmark.
- Greenland is the world’s largest island located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
- It is an autonomous Denmark territory with limited self-government and its own parliament.
- Significance:Potential oil, gas and rare earth mineral reserves have attracted prospecting firms.
- Issue: US President wants to buy Greenland as it is in a crucial strategic location in case tensions with Russia rise.
- The US had also established the Thule air force and radar base at the start of the Cold War which now covers space surveillance and forms the northernmost part of the US ballistic missile early warning system.
News:National Innovation Foundation-India has facilitated mass multiplication and large scale production of Anthurium.
- Anthurium is one of the best domestic flowering plants in the world.
- It is known to purify the surrounding air and remove harmful airborne chemicals like formaldehyde, ammonia, toluene, xylene and allergens.
- NASA has also placed it in the list of air purifier plants.
News:Assam has reported the death of more than 1,300 pigs within a week due to the classical swine fever(CSF).
- Classical swine fever (CSF) also known as hog cholera is a contagious viral disease of domestic and wild swine(pigs).It is caused by a virus of the genus Pestivirus of the family Flaviviridae.
- Transmission:The most common method of transmission is through direct contact between healthy swine and those infected with CSF virus.
- Humans are not affected by this virus.Swine are the only species known to be susceptible.
- Treatment:Treatment is not attempted.Affected pigs must be slaughtered and the carcasses buried or incinerated.However, Vaccination can prevent the spread of the disease.
Lebanon legalises marijuana cultivation for medicinal use
News:Lebanon has become the first Arab country to legalise Marijuana Cultivation for medical and industrial purposes.
- Marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical, recreational & religious purposes.
- According to the United Nations, Lebanon is the third largest supplier of cannabis in the world after Morocco and Afghanistan.
- Further,there are two other regions namely Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent which are known for use of cannabis plants in opium production.
- Lebanon is a country in Western Asia.It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south while Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea.
- Golden Crescent:Itis located in Southwest Asia and consists of three contiguous countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
- Golden Triangle:It is located in Southeast Asia comprising three contiguous countries of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
No 100% quota for tribal teachers:Supreme Court
News:The Supreme Court has ruled that the order of the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh in 2000 providing 100% reservation to Scheduled Tribes(ST) candidates in posts of school teachers in Scheduled Areas is unconstitutional.
Key Highlights of the Judgement:
- 100% reservation is not permissible under the Constitution as the upper limit is 50% as specified in Indra Sawhney case,1992.
- The citizens have equal rights and the total exclusion of others by creating an opportunity for one class is not contemplated by the Constitution.
- Equality of opportunity and pursuit of choice under Article 51A cannot be deprived of unjustly and arbitrarily.
- It is also arbitrary and violative of provisions of Articles 14 (equality before law), 15(1) (discrimination against citizens) and 16 (equal opportunity) of the Constitution.
- It also impinges upon the right of other categories because only STs will fill all the vacant posts.
Indra Sawhney & Others vs Union of India, 1992:
- The Supreme court had upheld the 27% caste-based reservation for the Other Backward Classes(OBCs) as valid.
- It had also upheld the principle that combined reservation beneficiaries should not exceed 50% of India’s population.
- The court had also said the creamy layer of OBCs should not get the benefits of reservation.Creamy layer which refers to the relatively wealthier and better educated members of the OBCs.
News:Manipur government has commemorated ‘ Khongjom Day’ at Khongjom War Memorial Complex.
- Khongjom Day is marked to pay tribute to the warriors who fought in the 1891 Anglo-Manipur war.
- The Anglo-Manipur was an armed conflict between British Government and the Kingdom of Manipur.The battle was fought at Kheba hills of Khongjom in Manipur which resulted in the victory of British.
- Khongjom War Memorial Complex was constructed in remembrance of the Soldiers who fought in the war.
Kasowal Bridge in Punjab opens ahead of time
News:The Borders Roads Organization has built a permanent bridge on the Ravi river
- The bridge connects Kasowal enclave in Punjab along the India – Pakistan border to the rest of India.
- The bridge has been built under Project Chetak.
- Significance: The bridge will provide all-weather connectivity to the enclave and help the locals as well as the Army.
- It was raised in June 1962 at Dehradun.
- Jurisdiction: Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab.
International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace
News: International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace is celebrated every year on 24th April.
- Background: Established through a resolution in 2018 and was first observed in 2019.
- Celebrated by:United Nations
- Aim:To preserve the values of multilateralism and international cooperation. Also supports the three pillars of the UN – peace and security, development and human rights
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurates DRDO mobile testing lab
News: Union Defence Minister inaugurated a Mobile Viral Research Lab (MVRL)
- Developed by:Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
- It is the combination of a BSL 3 lab and a BSL 2 lab built as per WHO and ICMR Bio-safety standards
- Can be positioned anywhere in the country as per requirements
- Can carry out diagnosis of COVID-19
- Can carry out virus culturing for drug screening,
- Carry out Convalescent plasma derived therapy, comprehensive immune profiling of COVID-19 patients
Biosafety Level (BSL)
- It is a set of biocontainment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in a laboratory. There are four biosafety levels
- BSL–1:It applies to laboratory settings in which personnel work with low-risk microbes. Eg. E. coli
- BSL-2:It applies to laboratories that work with pathogenic or infectious organisms that pose a moderate health hazard. E.g. HIV
- BSL-3: It applies to laboratories which work on microbes that are either indigenous or exotic, and can cause serious or potentially lethal disease through inhalation. E.g. West Nile fever, tuberculosis etc.
- BSL-4:It applies to laboratories which work with highly dangerous and exotic microbes. E.g. Ebola.
SC adds teeth to anti-narcotics law, says entire weight of banned drug mixture to determine quantity
News: The Supreme Court held that it is the quantity of the entire banned drug mixture and not its purity which will determine the punishment for an offender under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
- Background: Earlier a 2008 SC judgement had ruled that punishment for possessing drugs, whether small or commercial, would be based after determining the weight of pure banned substance and not by the entire weight of the seized drug.
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985:
- It puts forward stringent provisions for the control and regulation of operations relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
- Under the Act, the punishment for possessing a commercial quantity of the banned substance is higher than the smaller quantity.