9 PM Current Affairs Brief – March 6th, 2020

CRISPR (CaS9)-The Gene Editing Tool used to treat blindness for the first time

News:A person with a genetic condition that causes blindness has become the first to receive a CRISPR–Cas9 gene therapy administered directly into their body.

Facts:

CRISPR (CaS9)

  • It stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)
  • It  is a gene editing technology, which replicates natural defence mechanisms in bacteria to fight virus attacks, using a special protein called Cas9.
  • The technology behaves like a cut-and-paste mechanism on DNA strands that contain genetic information.
  • The specific location of the genetic codes that need to be changed, or “edited”, is identified on the DNA strand and then using the Cas9 protein, which acts like a pair of scissors,that location is cut off from the strand. A DNA strand,when broken, has a natural tendency to repair itself.
  • Scientists intervene during this an auto-repair process,supplying the desired sequence of genetic codes that binds itself with the broken DNA strand.

Additional Information:

Gene Editing: It is the deliberate alteration of a selected DNA sequence in a living cell. It involves editing an organism’s DNA by altering, removing or adding nucleotides to the genome.

International Conference on NanoScience and NanoTechnology (ICONSAT)

News: Department of Science and Technology (DST) is organising International Conference on NanoScience and NanoTechnology (ICONSAT) in Kolkata under the aegis of the Nano Mission

Facts:

Mission on Nano Science and Technology (Nano Mission)

  • Launched: 2007
  • Nodal Agency: Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology
  • It is an “umbrella capacity-building programme” for the development of nano-technology in India
  • Objectives:
    • Basic Research Promotion
    • Infrastructure Development for Nano-Science Technology and Research
    • Nano-application and technology development programmes
    • International collaboration
    • Human Resource Development

BHOG(Blissful Hygienic offering to God)

News:Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration Department has asked the administrations of temples to get BHOG certificates issued by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI).

Facts:

About BHOG:

  • It was launched in 2018 by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI).
  • Aim:To encourage all places of worship to adopt and maintain food safety and hygiene in preparation, serving and sale of food along with training of food handlers for basic food safety and hygiene.
  • Under the initiative,places of worship where food is cooked/handled are identified, audit is conducted and basic training of food handlers is done.
  • After the successful audit of the place of worship it becomes recognized and certified.

Additional information:

About FSSAI:

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is a statutory autonomous body under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.It comes under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • It is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.

Women Transforming India Awards 2019

News:NITI Aayog’s Women Entrepreneurship Platform is organising the Fourth Edition of the Women Transforming India Awards (WTI) on International Women’s Day.

Facts:

About Women Transforming India Awards(WTI):

  • Organized by the Women Entrepreneurship Platform, a flagship initiative of NITI Aayog in collaboration with the United Nations since 2016.
  • Aim:To recognise women entrepreneurs who are challenging the status quo and breaking stereotypes through businesses and enterprises that are providing innovative developmental solutions to build a dynamic New India.
  • Theme:Women and Entrepreneurship.

Additional information:

About Women Entrepreneurship Platform(WEP)

  • WEP is a first of its kind, unified access portal which brings together women from different parts of India to realize their entrepreneurial aspirations.
  • It is built on three pillars namely a) Iccha Shakti represents motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to start their business b) Gyaan Shakti represents providing knowledge and ecosystem support to women entrepreneurs and c) Karma Shakti represents providing hands-on support to entrepreneurs in setting-up and scaling up businesses.

Chapchar Kut Festival

News:Chapchar Kut Festival is being Celebrated in the State of Mizoram.

Facts:

About the Festival:

  • Chapchar Kut is an annual harvest festival of the Mizo Community which marks the beginning of Spring Season.
  • It is celebrated during March every year where they cut bamboo trees and are left to dry so that they can be burnt for jhum Cultivation.
  • During the festival,traditional bamboo dances such as Cheraw are also performed.

Additional information:

About Jhum Cultivation:

  • Jhum(Shifting) Cultivation also called slash-and-burn agriculture is a technique of rotational farming in which land is cleared for cultivation (normally by fire) and then left to regenerate after a few years.
  • This type of cultivation is widely practiced among the indigenous communities of Northeast India. 

Anguilla: British Territory in Caribbean

News:Anguilla,an island in the Caribbean Sea is a financial beneficiary of two latest trends in technology: Artificial intelligence(AI) and vanity URL(Uniform Resource Locator) or internet addresses.

Facts:

How is Anguilla a beneficiary?

  • AI is the country code of Anguilla and it is also an acronym for Artificial Intelligence(AI).
  • Every time an internet address which ends with “.ai” is registered or renewed by Artificial Intelligence(AI) startups or big companies or investors,the island collects a $50-a-year fee which goes mostly to the government treasury.

About Anguilla:

  • Anguilla is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea and a British overseas territory.
  • The Island was formed from coral and limestone and it has a tropical climate.
  • The majority of the population of Anguilla is of African descent and most of the population is Christian.
  • The main economic activities of the island revolve around tourism and financial services and agriculture is of minor importance.

Freedom In The World 2020 Report

News:The Freedom in the World 2020 report has been released by the Freedom House,a United States based NGO.

Facts:

About the report:

  • The report assesses the political rights and civil liberties of 195 countries worldwide.
  • It derives its methodology from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. 
  • It ranks countries based on political rights indicators such as the electoral process, political pluralism, participation , government functioning, rule of law, civil liberties among others.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Of the 195 countries assessed, 83 (43%) were rated Free, 63 (32%) were Partly Free and 49 (25%) were Not Free.
  • The share of Free countries has declined by 3% over the last decade, while the percentage of Partly Free and Not Free countries rose by 2% and 1% respectively.

Report on India:

  • The report kept India in the Free category and ranked it at the 83rd position along with Timor-Leste and Senegal.
  • However, the report has assessed Indian Kashmir as a separate territory which saw its total score drop from 49 to 28 this year moving it from a status of Partly Free to Not Free.

Black Redstart

News:Black Redstart comes around the plains of India from the end of September through March every year for breeding.

Facts:

About Black Redstart:

  • The black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) is a small passerine bird in the redstart genus Phoenicurus.
  • It is found almost throughout Europe, Asia and in the portions of Africa and breed in the high altitude areas of Kashmir, Ladakh, Tibet and the Central Himalayan Range.
  • In India, the bird sticks to areas near wetlands, open cultivation, scrubs, gardens and orchards.
  • Listed as Least Concerned under IUCN Red list.

Suspension of MPs from Lok Sabha

News:Recently,seven Members of Parliament(MP) have been suspended from Lok Sabha for the remaining period of the Budget session.

Facts:

Suspension Power of Speaker of Lok Sabha:

  • Rule 373:If the Speaker is of the opinion that the conduct of any member is grossly disorderly, may direct such member to withdraw immediately from the House during the remainder of the day’s sitting.
  • Rule 374A:If the member is wilfully abusing Rules of Procedure, then such member shall on being named by the Speaker stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session whichever is less.
  • However,while the Speaker is empowered to place a member under suspension,the authority for revocation of this order is not vested in her. It is for the House, if it so desires to resolve on a motion to revoke the suspension.

Suspension Power of Chairman of Rajya Sabha:

  • Rule 255: The Chairman may direct any member whose conduct is in his opinion grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the House.
  • But unlike the Speaker, the Rajya Sabha Chairman does not have the power to suspend a member.
  • Further,if the member abuses the rules willfully, then the House may adopt a motion suspending the member from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session.However,by another motion the House may terminate the suspension. 

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