9 PM Current Affairs Brief – May 31, 2019

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Forbidden planet discovered in Neptunian Desert

  1. Astronomers have used the Next-Generation Transit Survey telescope in the Atacama Desert of Chile to identify an exoplanet in the Neptunian Desert. The exoplanet has been described in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
  2. The newly discovered planet is formally known as NGTS-4b but has been nicknamed “The Forbidden Planet”
  3. The “Forbidden Planet” orbits a star called NGTS-4, which is located about 920 light-years away from Earth. The planet circles its star once every 1.3 Earth-days. It’s the first time a Neptune-like planet has been found so close to its star.
  4. It has a radius 20 per cent smaller than Neptune, and temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius. It is about 20 times the mass and 3 times the radius of Earth. It also retains an atmosphere of gas. The fact that it has an atmosphere has surprised researchers as it has been believed that gaseous planets couldn’t survive in Neptunian deserts
  5. The Neptunian Desert is broadly defined as the region close to stars where no Neptune-sized exoplanets are found. These area receive strong irradiation from the star. Therefore, the planets do not retain their gaseous atmosphere as they evaporate leaving just a rocky core.

WHO award for Rajasthan Health Dept.

  1. Rajasthan’s medical and health department has been selected for the World Health Organisation (WHO) award for its contribution in the field of tobacco control. The award has been presented on May 31- World No Tobacco Day.
  2. The Health Department of the State is the only government body in the country which will be awarded for its tobacco-free initiatives.
  3. WHO has selected five organisations from the South-East Asian region for the World No Tobacco Day Awards. Three other organisations in the South-East Asian region have been selected from Thailand and Indonesia. Further, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, New Delhi, is also among the recipients of the award.
  4. The Medical & Health Department of Rajasthan had launched several campaigns against tobacco consumption at places such as schools, colleges, police stations and government offices during 2018-19.
  5. Further, in 2018, Rajasthan had fined 23,800 people for smoking in public places under the COTPA-The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003. COTPA has been enacted to prohibit advertisement of, and to provide for the regulation of trade and commerce in, and production, supply and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products in India.
  6. Under COTPA, smoking in public places (including indoor workplaces) has been prohibited. This has been implemented from 2nd October 2008 in the whole of India.

Snakebite cases in Telangana down by 50%

  1. According to government sources, the number of snake bite cases in Telangana from January to first week of May in 2019 is 50% to 70% less than first five months of 2017 and 2018. Underreporting is suspected as a reason for the drop in cases.
  2. Recently, the World Health Organisation unveiled “Snakebite Envenoming: A strategy for prevention and control”. The strategy targets reducing disabilities and deaths due to snakebites by 50% by 2030.
  3. The strategy is based on four pillars: a) empower and engage communities, b) ensure safe and effective treatment, c) strengthen health systems and d) increase coordination, partnership and resources.
  4. The WHO strategy seeks to reduce snakebite deaths and disabilities through a) ensuring access to treatment such as anti-venoms and ancillary medical care by increasing the number of manufacturers by 25% and creating a global antivenom stockpile and b) encouraging research on new treatments, diagnostics and health device breakthroughs.
  5. In 2017, WHO had formally categorised “snakebite envenoming” as a Neglected Tropical Disease.
  6. Snake bite affects 1.8–2.7 million people each year. It is a neglected public health issue in many tropical and subtropical countries such as Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  7. Further, most deaths and serious consequences from snake bites are entirely preventable by making High quality snake antivenoms accessible. They are included in the WHO List of essential medicines.

Pasta-like rocks best bet for life on Mars: Study

  1. A NASA study has found that the rocks on the surface of Mars that look like layers of pasta may be the most obvious sign of life on the planet.
  2. According to the study, the bacterium that controls the formation of such rocks on Earth is ancient and thrives in harsh environments that are similar to conditions on Mars. The bacterium is known as Sulfurihydrogenibium yellowstonense; popularly known as Sulfuri.
  3. The bacterium belongs to a lineage that evolved prior to the oxygenation of Earth roughly 2.35 billion years ago.
  4. It can survive in extremely hot, fast-flowing water bubbling up from underground hot springs. It can also withstand exposure to ultraviolet light. Further, it survives only in environments with extremely low oxygen levels, using sulphur and carbon dioxide as energy sources.

Children of today better off than 20 years ago’

  1. The Global Childhood Report, published by the NGO Save the Children, has said that at least 280 million children, or 1 in 8, are dramatically better off today than at any time in the past two decades.
  2. The report highlights that children born today have a better chance than at any time in history to grow up healthy, educated and protected and has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
  3. Global Childhood Report present End of Childhood Index that ranks the best and worst countries for children by examining factors that rob children of their childhoods around the world based on factors such as child labour, teen pregnancy, exclusion from education, and children fleeing conflict zones.
  4. The report finds that since 2000, circumstances for children have improved in 173 out of 176 countries. Globally, there has been progress on every End of Childhood Index indicator except children suffering due to conflict. It notes that children make up about 30% of the world’s population, but more than half the world’s refugees are children.
  5. According to the report the factors that are driving this change for children are Millennium Development Goals, commitments from governments, social investments, new technologies, social media and increased female leadership at all levels.
  6. Singapore has topped that the rankings as the country that best protects and provides for its children. The Central African Republic is the country where childhood is most threatened, followed by Niger and Chad. India has been ranked 113th.

Supreme Court stays Maharashtra’s EWS quota

  1. The Supreme Court has passed an order staying the implementation of 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) for ongoing admissions to post graduate medical courses for the academic year 2019-20 in Maharashtra.
  2. The court has argued that the process of admission had begun before the amendment in constitution to grant reservation to EWS. Further, the court has stated that the 10% EWS quota cannot be granted unless additional seats are generated by the Medical Council of India.
  3. The Supreme Court’s order has come in the backdrop of a plea filed by student from General Category who had argued that unless additional seats are created, the EWS quota will eat into their share of seats.
  4. In January 2019, the government had passed 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act. It provides for 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the economically weaker section in the unreserved category. It also provides for reservation in private unaided educational institutions.
  5. By the 103rd Constitutional amendment, Article 16 (6) has been inserted to the Constitution. It allows states to make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any economically weaker sections of citizens other than the classes mentioned in clause (4), in addition to the existing reservation. It is subject to a maximum of 10% of the posts in each category.
  6. Article 16 (4) allows states to make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.

Give fair hearing to those not included in NRC, SC tells Assam

  1. The Supreme Court has asked the NRC Coordinator to provide a fair chance to those who have challenged the non-inclusion of their names in the National Register of Citizen (NRC) in Assam.
  2. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register which contains the name of all citizens of India residing in Assam. It was first prepared in 1951.
  3. Currently, the NRC is being updated in Assam to address the issue of illegal migrants. It seeks to identify illegal migrants in Assam who had entered the state on or after 25th March 1971.
  4. The update is being carried out under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord, 1985.
  5. The Supreme Court had set July 31st 2019 as the deadline for submission of final NRC.

No patient complaints in India, says Medtronic

  1. Medical device manufacturing company Medtronic has claimed that it had received no patient complaints in India after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its safety communication has alerted healthcare providers and patients about the batteries in certain Medtronic implantable pacemakers.
  2. US FDA had said that the pacemakers or cardiac resynchronization therapy pacemakers (CRT-Ps) which can drain faster than expected without any warning could lead to devices losing power quickly and triggering a medical emergency
  3. After, US FDA’s communication, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) in India had issued an alert to healthcare providers, heart patients and medical device distributors on measures they have to take to prevent safety issues with three models of Medtronic’s pacemakers.
  4. Pacemakers are battery-powered devices that provide pacing for slow heart rhythms and heart failure. If a capacitor which is one of the electronic components of these devices is cracked it may lose functionality and create an electrical short which can cause rapid battery depletion.
  5. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is the national regulatory body for Indian pharmaceuticals and medical device. It functions under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. CDSCO comes under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
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