Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 17 Apr, 2021

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Researchers Propose Method to treat “Post-Vaccine Blood Clots”

What is the News? 

Researchers have come closer to identify the reason behind the post-Vaccine blood clotting cases following the Covid-19 vaccination.


  • The US pauses the use of Johnson and Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine. It was followed by adverse reactions in a few vaccinated persons.
  • A similar adverse reaction to AstraZeneca’s vaccine has also been observed in some rare cases.

About the Research:

  • Researchers show how the adverse reaction due to the Covid-19 vaccine resembles a reaction to heparin — a blood thinner.
    • Heparin is normally used to prevent clotting. But in very rare cases, it can trigger a syndrome called heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) which causes blood clots and low platelet levels.

Adverse Reaction after vaccination:

  • After vaccination, the person develops specific antibodies which can bind to the platelets or thrombocytes. Antibodies activate them to form clots which could eventually block the blood vessel (thrombosis). There is also an accompanying decrease in the free platelets (thrombocytopenia).
  • The researchers are not sure whether it is the vaccine that is causing the reaction. Or it is due to some internal body mechanism.

Method Proposed by Researchers:

  • Researchers have differentiated the blood clots arising from vaccination from HIT. Also, they have outlined a way to test patients with worrying symptoms.
  • They have also developed a screening assay to determine whether the person has developed these particular antibodies.
  • They have advised to first rule out heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. After that testing for vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) followed by specific treatment of the condition with immunoglobulin should take place.

Source: The Hindu

India on US’s “Currency Watch list”

What is the News?

 The US treasury places India along with 10 other countries on its currency watch list.

What is Currency Manipulator:

  • Current Manipulators are countries engaging in “unfair currency practices” by deliberately devaluing their currency against the dollar.
  • The practice would mean that the country in question is artificially lowering the value of its currency. By that, it aims to gain an unfair advantage over others.
  • This is because the devaluation would reduce the cost of exports from that country. Thus, more exports will result in a reduction in trade deficits.

Criteria: US places a country on Currency Watch List if it is meeting any two of the below three criteria. This includes:

  • A “significant” bilateral trade surplus with the US — at least USD 20 billion over a 12-month period.
  • A current account surplus equivalent to at least 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) over a 12-month period.
  • “Persistent”, one-sided intervention — when net purchases of foreign currency totals at least 2% of the country’s GDP over a 12-month period. Further, it is conducted repeatedly, in at least six out of 12 months.

Impact: The designation of a country as a currency manipulator does not immediately attract any penalties. However, it lowers the confidence about a country in the global financial markets.

Why was India included in the Currency watch list?

  • India has met two of the three criteria — the trade surplus criterion and the “persistent, one-sided intervention” criterion.
  • Further, the other 10 countries on the list with India are China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Mexico. All of these, except Ireland and Mexico were on the December 2020 list.

Source: The Hindu

Govt launches “Eatsmart Cities Challenge” and “Transport 4 All Challenge”

What is the News?

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the EatSmart Cities Challenge and Transport 4 All Challenge.

About EatSmart Cities Challenge:

  • EatSmart Cities Challenge is organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The challenge is organised in association with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • Aim: To motivate Smart Cities to develop a plan that supports a healthy, safe and sustainable food environment.
    • This plan would receive support from institutional, physical, social, and economic infrastructure. Along with that the application of ‘smart’ solutions to combat food-related issues.
  • Key Features of the Challenge:
    • As part of the Challenge, competition will organize among cities to recognize their efforts. This includes efforts in adopting and scaling up various initiatives under Eat Right India.
    • This will create an environment of the right food practices and habits. It also strengthens the food safety, regulatory environment and build awareness among the consumers.
  • Eligibility: The challenge is open to all Smart Cities, capital cities of States /UTs, and cities with a population of more than 5 lakh.
  • Selection: At the end of the first phase of the challenge, 11 cities will be selected. After that, these cities will go for deeper engagement for an extended period to implement their vision.

About Transport 4 All (T4All) Challenge:

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched Transport 4 All challenge. The ministry is collaborating with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy(ITDP), a Non-governmental organization.
  • Aim: To develop digital solutions that will make public transport safe, affordable, comfortable, and reliable for all.
  • Key Features:
    • At the core of the challenge are citizens. They will not only define the problems and create solutions. But also help start-ups and cities to refine the solutions to meet their needs.
    • The first edition of the T4All Challenge focuses on digital innovation. Thus, cities and start-ups will receive guidance to develop and test various solutions, learn from them and scale them. All this will build people’s trust in public transport and enhance their mobility.
    • Further, the solutions will make public transport—formal as well as informal— safe, convenient, and affordable for all.
  • Eligibility: All the Smart Cities Mission cities, capitals of states and union territories (UTs), and all cities with a population of over 5 lakhs—are eligible for the Challenge.

Click Here to Read about TULIP

Source: PIB

U.K. Agrees for “Extradition” of Nirav Modi in PNB case

What is the News?

The U.K.’s Home Department approves the extradition of diamond merchant Nirav Modi to India. He is wanted in India in connection with the Punjab National Bank(PNB) fraud.

About Extradition:

  • Extradition is the formal process of surrendering an individual from one state to another state. The aim of the process is prosecution or punishment for crimes committed by an individual in the requesting country’s jurisdiction.
  • Governed by: The extradition of a fugitive from India to a foreign country or vice-versa is governed by the provisions of the Indian Extradition Act, 1962.
  • Nodal Authority: Consular, Passport & Visa (CPV) Division, Ministry of External Affairs is the Central/Nodal Authority administers the Extradition Act. It processes incoming and outgoing Extradition Requests.
  • Extradition can be initiated in the case of under-investigation, under-trial and convicted criminals. In cases under investigation, law enforcement agencies have to ensure that it has prima facie evidence to prove the allegation before the Courts of Law in the Foreign State.

What are Extradition Treaties?

  • Section 2(d) of The Indian Extradition Act 1962 defines an ‘Extradition Treaty’ as a Treaty or an Agreement made by India with a Foreign State, relating to the extradition of fugitive criminals which extends to and is binding on India. Extradition treaties are traditionally bilateral in character.
  • Five Principles: Generally, there are five principles which are followed under the treaty:
    • First, the principle of extraditable offences lays down that extradition applies only to offences clearly mentioned in the treaty;
    • Second, the principle of dual criminality requires that the offence for which the extradition requested, should be an offence in both countries i.e. extradition requesting country and the requested country;
    • Third, the requested country must be satisfied that there is a prima facie case made out against the offender/accused;
    • Fourth, the extradited person must be proceeded against only for the offence (rule of speciality), for which his extradition was requested; and
    • Finally, he must be accorded a fair trial (this is of course part of international human rights law now).

Note: India and the UK signed an extradition treaty in 1992.

Source: The Hindu

“UN Food Systems Summit 2021” -India Holds National Dialogue

What is the News?

The Ministry of Agricultural and Farmers Welfare conducted a National Dialogue on UN Food Systems Summit,2021.

About UN Food Systems Summit,2021:

  • The first-ever UN Food Systems Summit is expected to hold in September 2021. For that, the United Nations Secretary-General has called for members to participate.
  • Purpose: The summit will strategize the actions for positive change in Agri-food systems in the world. It will help to realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Focus: The Summit will focus on levers and pathways to shape food systems nationally and globally.
  • Significance: The summit will be held as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Action Tracks: The Summit’s Action Tracks offer stakeholders to learn and share new actions, partnerships and to amplify existing initiatives. The five Action Tracks are:

  1. Track 1: Ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all.
  2. Track 2: Shift to sustainable consumption patterns.
  3. Track 3: Boost nature-positive production.
  4. Track 4: Advance equitable livelihoods.
  5. Track 5: Build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress.

Why food systems?

  • The term “food system” refers to the constellation of activities involved in producing, processing, transporting, and consuming food.
  • Food systems touch every aspect of human existence. The health of our food systems profoundly affects the health of our bodies as well as the health of our environment, our economies, and our cultures.
  • Hence, when they function well, food systems have the power to bring us together as families, communities, and nations.

Source: PIB

Girls Faced More Pressure During Pandemic: Study

What is the News?

EMpower, a global philanthropy has released a study titled ‘COVID In Her Voice: A Girl-led and Centred Participatory Research Study’.

About the study:

  • The U.K government supported the study.  EMpower, (global philanthropy focused on at-risk youth in emerging markets) conducted it.
  • Cities covered: Girls aged 13-24 from Ahmedabad, Alwar, Bareilly, Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Pune within their communities, conducted the study.
  • Method: The study adopted a unique methodology. Girls received training as researchers to conduct interviews with a total of 153 girls from their respective communities.

Key Findings of the study:

  • Impact of Covid-19: The adolescent girls are facing an increased pressure to get married, spent long hours on household chores. They lacked tools to continue school education online and reported an increase in gender-based violence.
  • The biggest challenge girls faced was the inability to attend online school. This was due to nearly 80% of respondents reporting an increase in household chores. This impacted nearly 64% of girls and young women who felt that they did not have the time to study online.
  • Lack of access to resources and technology was also a challenge. Nearly 28% of those surveyed didn’t have the tools such as mobile phones or Internet access to learn online.
  • Marriage: 42% of girls believe that the pressure to get married has increased because of COVID- 19. This was due to the economic impact of Covid-19 on marginalised communities.
  • Mental Stress: Almost 90% of girls reported experiencing mental distress and despair without any access to information about coping mechanisms.
  • Gender-Based Violence: Nearly 26% of respondents believe there was an increase in gender-based violence. They also felt that fears and threats of violence intensified restrictions on their freedom.

Source: The Hindu

IFPRI Releases “Global Food Policy Report 2021”

What is the News? 

The International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI) released the Global Food Policy Report, 2021.

About Global Food Policy Report, 2021:

  • Purpose: The report provides lessons drawn from the current crisis. Especially the lessons that can help
    • transform food systems to reduce the impact of the ongoing pandemic,
    • better prepare for future shocks, and
    • address long-standing weaknesses and inequalities.
  • Theme: “Transforming Food Systems After COVID-19”.

Key Findings related to India:

  • The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the pandemic restrictions resulted in half of India’s poor people deprived of nutritious food.
  • The midday meal program of India that covers 80% of primary-school-age children in the country, was affected due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • 50% of households in India reported that women spent more time fetching firewood and water in comparison with the previous year.
  • Efforts of India to incorporate migrant workers into social protection programs were a huge success.

Other Key Findings:

  • The number of poor people living below the poverty line is to increase by 150 million as compared to the pre-pandemic levels.
  • Women accounted for 39% of employment globally. However, they incurred 54% of job losses during the pandemic.

About IFPRI:

  • International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI) is a non-profit international research center founded in 1976.
  • Mandate: To provide research-based policy solutions that sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition.
  • Headquarters: Washington, USA.

Source: Indian Express

“Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace” – Microsoft Urges India to Join in

What is the News?

The Microsoft president urged India and the U.S. to join the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace. The Paris call for Trust and Security now has 75 countries on board. It deals with the new cybersecurity threats faced in the world.

About Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace:

  • The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace was announced in 2018 by the French President. It was announced during the Internet Governance Forum held at UNESCO and the Paris Peace Forum.
  • Purpose: It is a non-binding declaration. It calls states, private sector and civil society organizations to work together to promote security in cyberspace, counter disinformation. Also, it aims to address new cyber threats endangering citizens and infrastructure.

Nine Principles: The Paris Call is based on nine common principles. Such as:

  1. Protect Individuals and Infrastructure: Prevent and recover from malicious cyber and digital activities. As it threatens or causes significant, indiscriminate or systemic harm to individuals and critical infrastructure.
  2. Protect the Internet: Prevent activity that intentionally and substantially damages the general availability or integrity of the public core of the Internet.
  3. Defend Electoral Processes: Strengthen capacity to prevent interferences by foreign actors. Especially those aimed at undermining electoral processes through malicious cyber activities and disinformation.
  4. Defend Intellectual Property: Prevent information and communications technology-enabled theft of intellectual property. Such as trade secrets or other confidential business information. It provides a competitive advantage to info. Holder.
  5. Non-Proliferation: Develop ways to prevent the proliferation of malicious software and practices intended to cause harm.
  6. Lifecycle Security: Strengthen the security of digital processes, products, and services, throughout the lifecycle and supply chain.
  7. Cyber Hygiene: Support efforts to strengthen advanced cyber hygiene for all actors.
  8. No Private Hack Back: Take steps to prevent non-State actors, including the private sector, from hacking back for their own purposes.
    • Hacking back: It means giving corporations and other hack victims, the permission to counter-attack cyber-threats. The Hacking back can be more aggressive against perpetrators as it is a retaliatory attack.
  9. International Norms: Promote the widespread acceptance and implementation of international norms of responsible behavior. It also aims to generate confidence-building measures in cyberspace.

Source: The Hindu


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