Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 5 May, 2021

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“India-UK Virtual Summit”

What is the News?

Indian Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has held a Virtual Summit.

Initiatives launched during the India-UK Virtual Summit:

Comprehensive Roadmap 2030:

  • The Roadmap 2030 was launched during the summit. The Road map aims to elevate India-UK ties to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ by 2030.
    • Currently, India and the UK enjoy a Strategic Partnership since 2004.
  • Key Areas: The Roadmap will pave the way for expanding and deepening India-UK cooperation over the next decade. The road map is focused on five key areas. Such as people-to-people relationship, trade and prosperity, defence and security, climate action and healthcare.

Enhanced Trade Partnership(ETP):

  • Enhanced Trade Partnership(ETP) was launched to bring out the true trade potential between India and UK. It has also set an ambitious target of more than doubling bilateral trade by 2030.
    • Currently, India and the UK are the fifth and sixth-largest economies of the World respectively.
  • As part of the ETP, India and the UK agreed on a roadmap to negotiate a comprehensive and balanced FTA. Both governments will also consider an Interim Trade Agreement for delivering early gains.

India-UK ‘Global Innovation Partnership’:

  • It was launched with the aim to support the transfer of inclusive Indian innovations to select developing countries, starting with Africa.
    • UK is India’s second-largest partner in research and innovation collaborations

Comprehensive Partnership for Migration and Mobility:

  • Both countries also initiated a comprehensive partnership on migration and mobility. The partnership aims to facilitate the mobility of students and professionals between the two countries.
  • The agreement allows young Indian and British nationals to work and live in each other’s countries.
  • Further, it will also enhance and facilitate the processes of returning Indian nationals who stayed in the UK illegally and vice versa.
  • The agreement also ensures greater cooperation around organised immigration crime.

Other Cooperation Areas:

  • The two countries have agreed to enhance cooperation on new and emerging technologies. This includes Digital and ICT products, and work on supply chain resilience.
  • They also agreed to strengthen defence and security ties. This includes the maritime, counter-terrorism and cyberspace domains.

Source: PIB


“SUTRA model” has flaws in predicting the pandemic – Scientists

What is the News?

The Indian government backed the SUTRA model to chart the Covid-19 trajectory in the country. But few scientists have raised concerns over the SUTRA model.

SUTRA Model:

  • SUTRA stands for Susceptible, Undetected, Tested (positive) and Removed Approach.
  • Purpose: SUTRA is a mathematical model used for charting the trajectory of COVID-19 in the country.

Parameters: The model uses three main parameters to predict the course of the pandemic:

  1. Beta or contact rate: This measures how many people an infected person infects per day. It is related to the R0 value. R0 is the number of people an infected person spreads the virus over the course of his/her infection.
    • For example, if a disease has an R0 of 18. Then a person who has the disease will transmit it to an average of 18 other people
  2. Reach: It is a measure of the exposure level of the population to the pandemic.
  3. Epsilon: It is the ratio of detected and undetected cases.

Why Scientists are calling the SUTRA model flawed?

  • The SUTRA model predicted that the peak Covid-19 burden in India will be 0.6 million symptomatic infections by early 2021. Further, the model predicts fewer than 50,000 active cases from December. Thus, it created a perception that the second wave of the pandemic was highly unlikely in India. But this is not true.
  • The model relied on too many parameters. Also, these parameters got recalibrated whenever its predictions broke down.
  • Further, the model was ‘calibrated’ incorrectly. It relied on a Sero Survey conducted by the ICMR in May 2020. The survey said 0.73% of India’s population may have been infected at that time.

What did the scientists working on the SUTRA model said?

  • Scientists said that a mathematical model can only predict the future. That too will work as long as the virus dynamics and its transmissibility don’t change substantially over time.
  • So the scientists said that is not the case with the Covid-19. The virus has been changing very rapidly. Hence, any prediction for Covid-19 must be continually readjusted.

Source: The Hindu


A Mystery Behind “Positron Excess Phenomenon” Solved by Researchers

What is the News?

High energy particles are generally lower in the cosmic universe. But the high number of high-energy particles of the antimatter called positrons was a mystery for scientists.

But the researchers from the Raman Research Institute(RRI), Bengaluru have resolved a mystery called the “Positron Excess Phenomenon“.

What is Antimatter?

  • Antimatter is the opposite of normal matter. More specifically, the sub-atomic particles of antimatter have properties opposite those of normal matter. For example, the electrical charge of antimatter particles is reversed.
  • Antimatter was created along with matter after the Big Bang. But in today’s universe, antimatter is rare.
  • For example, Positron

What is Positron or anti-electron?

  • A Positron is an antimatter counterpart to an electron.
  • A positron has the equal or same mass as an electron.
  • But the electron has a Negative Electric Charge whereas Positron has a Positive electric Charge.

What is Positron Excess?

  • Over the years scientists observed excess of positron having the energy of more than 10 GeV
  • But Positrons having an energy of more than 300 GeV are lower in comparison to astronomers’ expectations.
  • This behavior of positrons between 10 and 300 GeV is called as the ‘positron excess’.

Reason for Positron Excess:

  • The Milky Way consists of giant clouds of molecular hydrogen. They are the seats of the formation of new stars. These clouds can be as massive as 10 million times of the Sun’s mass. Further, these clouds can extend up to 600 light-years.
    • The Milky Way is a huge collection of stars, dust, and gas. It is called a spiral galaxy because if viewed from the top or bottom, it will look like a spinning pinwheel.
  • Cosmic rays are produced in supernovae explosions. These waves propagate through these giant clouds before they reach the Earth.
  • Cosmic rays interact with molecular hydrogen and can give rise to other cosmic rays primarily electrons and positrons.
  • Further, cosmic rays propagate through these clouds and decay from their original forms and lose their wave energy by energising the clouds. Some may also get re-energised.
  • Researchers from the Raman Research Institute(RRI) found out that Cosmic rays interaction with giant clouds is a viable contributor to the origin of positron excess phenomenon.

What are Cosmic Rays?

  • Cosmic rays are one of the very few direct samples of matter from outside the solar system. They are high energy particles that move through space at nearly the speed of light.
  • They originate from the sun, from outside the solar system in our own galaxy, and from distant galaxies.
  • Furthermore, they have been blamed for electronics problems in satellites and other machinery.

Source: PIB


“G7 Foreign Ministers Summit” Held

What is the News?

The G7 Foreign Ministers meeting was held ahead of the G7 leader’s summit.

About the G7 Summit:

  • The G7 Summit takes place at Carbis Bay in Cornwall in the UK. It is the first in-person G7 Leaders Summit in almost two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The aim of this year’s G7 summit is to help the world fight and then build back better from coronavirus and create a greener, more prosperous future.
  • Guest Countries: India, Australia, and South Korea have been invited to participate in the proceedings of the summit as “guest countries”.

Group of Seven(G7) 

  • G7 is an intergovernmental organization formed in 1975. The bloc meets annually to discuss issues of common interest like global economic governance, international security, and energy policy.
  • Countries: G-7 consists of the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan.
  • Origin: The G-7 was formerly referred to as the G-8 until Russia was suspended from the group in 2014 after illegally annexing Crimea.
  • The G-7 is not an official, formal entity and therefore has no legislative or authoritative power to enforce the recommended policies and plans it compiles.

 D10 Group of Countries:

  • D10 is a proposal by the UK Prime Minister to turn the G7 into a forum for the world’s ten leading democracies.
  • The D10 would include G7 countries – UK, US, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and Canada – plus Australia, South Korea, and India.

Source: The Hindu


The DoT gives permission to conduct “5G Technology Trials” in India

What is the News?

The Department of Telecommunications(DoT) has given permission to conduct trials for the use and application of 5G technology. The DoT permitted few Telecom Service Providers(TSPs) to conduct such 5G Technology trials.

Objectives of 5G Technology Trials: The objective behind the trials is to:

  • Test 5G spectrum propagation characteristics especially in the Indian context;
  • Model tune and evaluate chosen equipment and vendors;
  • Test indigenous technology;
  • Test applications such as telemedicine, Tele-education, augmented/virtual reality, drone-based agricultural monitoring, among others
  • Test 5G phones and devices.

Key Features of the 5G Technology Trials:

  • The Telecom Service Providers(TSP) permitted for the trials include Bharti Airtel Ltd, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd and MTNL. This means that the Chinese Telecom Providers such as Huawei will not be part of the 5G trials in India.
  • Areas: The trials will be conducted in rural, semi-urban and urban areas. So that the benefit of 5G technology proliferates across the country.
  • Duration: The duration of the trials is for a period of six months. This includes a time period of two months for procurement and setting up of equipment.
  • 5Gi Technology: The Telecom service providers would be encouraged to conduct the trials using 5Gi technology. This is an addition to the already known 5G technology.

About 5G Technology:

  • 5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade in the long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks.
  • 5G mainly works in 3 bands, namely low, mid and high-frequency spectrum. All of which have their own uses as well as limitations.
  • Advantages of 5G:
    • Near Instantaneous connectivity —20 times faster than 4G.
    • Reduced latency (faster response time)
    • Energy saving
    • Cost reduction
    • Higher system capacity and
    • mass device connectivity.

About 5Gi Technology:

  • 5Gi stands for 5G Radio Interface Technology. It has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology and the IIT-Hyderabad.
  • Purpose: 5Gi technology is primarily meant to enhance rural coverage. It facilitates much larger reach of the 5G towers and radio networks. Hence, it is a major breakthrough for bridging the rural-urban digital divide in 5G deployment.
  • Approved by: 5Gi standard has also been approved by the International Telecommunications Union.

Source: The Hindu


How does an Oxygen concentrator help?

What is the News?

Oxygen Concentrators have emerged as a sought after device as the demand for medical oxygen continues unabated and several states struggling to keep pace with demand.

What are Oxygen Concentrators?

  • Oxygen Concentrator is a medical device that takes in air and separates the oxygen and delivers it into a person via a nasal cannula.

When is an oxygen concentrator needed?

  • Oxygen Concentrator could help those whose saturation levels range between 88 and 92.
  • Any lower would require more intensive oxygenation and any higher would mean that an improvement in lung function can obviate the need for such a device.

Working:

  • Atmospheric air has about 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen with other gases making up the remaining 1%.
  • The concentrator takes in this atmospheric air, filters out the nitrogen and concentrates all the oxygen.
  • The oxygen that is concentrated in this device holds about 90 to 95% purity.

Components:

  • A Oxygen Concentrator consists of a compressor and sieve bed filter.
  • The compressor squeezes atmospheric air and also adjusts the pressure at which it is delivered.
  • The sieve bed is made of a material called Zeolite that separates the nitrogen.
  • There are two sieve beds that work to both release oxygen into a tank that’s connected to the cannula as well as release the separated nitrogen and form a continuous loop that keeps producing fresh oxygen.

Are all concentrators the same?

  • The Oxygen Concentrator comes with a variety of specifications.There are those with varying oxygen outputs.
  • For COVID-19 patients, a device with a 5L-10 L output is recommended.

Types of Oxygen Concentrators: There are two types of oxygen concentrators namely:

  • Continuous flow: It provides the same flow of oxygen in a minute until its been turned off.
  • Pulse dose: It identifies the patient’s breathing pattern and gives out oxygen when it detects inhalation.

Further Reading on Difference between Oxygen Concentrator and Medical Oxygen

 Source: The Hindu


“White-bellied heron” spotted in Arunachal Pradesh

What is the News?

The white-bellied heron was spotted at Walong in the Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh. This is the first time the white-bellied heron was sighted at a height of 1,200 meters above sea level in India.

About White-Bellied Heron:

White-bellied heron

Source: eBird

  • The White-bellied Heron is a rare and elusive bird. It is the second-largest living species of heron.
  • Characteristics: The White-bellied Heron is extremely shy to human presence. It is plain dark grey in colour except for the white belly part. It has a long neck.
  • Habitat:
    • It is one of the rarest birds in the world. At present, it is found only in Bhutan, Myanmar and the Namdapha Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh, India.
    • But the bird has also recorded in the Kamlang Tiger Reserve in Lohit district in Arunachal Pradesh through camera trap images.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
    • Indian Wildlife Protection Act,1972: Schedule IV
  • Threats:
    • Loss and degradation of lowland forests and wetlands through direct exploitation and disturbance by humans
    • Natural forest fires have destroyed nests of Heron

Source: TOI


“AYUSH 64” Ayurvedic Drug Govt is Recommending for Mild Covid-19

What is the News?

The Ministry of Ayush has announced that it has taken steps to increase the production of AYUSH 64 across the country to treat mild to moderate cases of coronavirus infections.

 About Ayush-64:

  • Ayush-64 is an Ayurvedic drug developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences(CCRAS), the apex body for research in Ayurveda under the Ministry of Ayush.
  • The drug was originally developed in 1980 for the management of Malaria.
  • However, this drug has now been repurposed for Covid-19 as its ingredients showed notable antiviral, immune-modulator, and antipyretic properties.
  • The drug can be useful for the treatment of asymptomatic, mild, and moderate COVID-19 infection cases.
  • The drug was found to significantly enhance the recovery in terms of disease symptoms and severity. It also has significant beneficial effects on general health, fatigue, anxiety, stress, appetite, general wellbeing, and sleep.
  • Ayush-64 is a polyherbal formulation i.e. use of more than one herb. The development of the drug was in compliance with all regulatory requirements of pharmacopeial standards by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS)

Source: PIB


 

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