CURRENT AFFAIRS


4th Dec, 2020

‘Damaru’ Inspired Lattice

IIT Kanpur Researchers have developed ‘Damaru’ Inspired Lattice that finds applications in stealth submarines and high speed trains.

Sponsored by: A SPARC project of Ministry of Education.

With the use of a micro-structured hour-glass shaped meta-structure in the lattice unit, one can get a wider variation of propagation and stop bands.

Inspiration of the lattice has come from a two-headed drum called ‘Damaru’ or which is used in ancient Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. 

It is said that Lord Shiva has produced a special sound through this musical instrument to create and regulate the universe.

In this application, the researchers have also shown that the nature of stiffness of a vibrating medium could be altered drastically by controlling the lattice micro-structure from regular honeycomb to auxtetic honeycomb structure.

This has wide applications in the field of vibration isolation in high speed trains, stealth submarines and helicopter rotors.


International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS)

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) obtained membership of International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).

With this membership IFSCA would have access to IAIS’s global network and would be able to exchange ideas and information with other global regulators. 

This would help in developing a vibrant global Insurance hub in IFSC at GIFT City.

International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS)

Established in: 1994

Headquarter: Switzerland.

It is a voluntary membership organization of insurance supervisors and regulators from more than 200 jurisdictions, constituting 97% of the world’s insurance premiums. 

Some of the leading members of IAIS are:

(1) United Kingdom- Financial Conduct Authority (FCA);

(2) USA- National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NIAC);

(3) India- Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) etc.

It is the international standard-setting body responsible for developing and assisting in the implementation of principles, standards and other supporting material for the supervision of the insurance sector.


Artpark set up in Bengaluru

An AI & Robotics Technologies Park (ARTPARK) was recently set up in Bengaluru. 

It will promote technology innovations in AI (Artificial Intelligence) & Robotics leading to societal impact by executing ambitious mission mode R&D projects.

ARTPARK, is a unique not-for-profit foundation established by Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru with support from AI Foundry in a public-private model.

It received seed funding of Rs. 170 Cr ($22mn) from Department of Science & Technology(DST), Govt. of India, under the National Mission on Inter-disciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS). 

It will bring about collaborative consortium of partners from industry, academia and government bodies.

ARTPARK will develop DataSetu – that will enable confidentiality and privacy-preserving framework to share data and run analytics spurring the data-sharing ecosystem and create a data marketplace, boosting AI applications and solutions.

National Mission on Inter-Disciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS)

Implemented by: Department of Science & Technology 

Period of: five years

NM-ICPS covers entire India which includes Central Ministries, State Governments, Industry and Academia.

It would address technology development, application development, human resource development & skill enhancement, entrepreneurship and start-up development in Cyber Physical System (CPS) and associated technologies.

Aim: Establishment of 15 Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH), six Application Innovation Hubs (AIH) and four Technology Translation Research Parks (TTRP).

Four focused areas: 

(1) Technology Development;

(2) HRD & Skill Development;

(3) Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Start-ups Ecosystem Development;

(4) International Collaborations.


Muni Bonds

Bonds issued by the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) were listed on the BSE, raising Rs 200 crore for Uttar Pradesh’s capital.

According to UP Chief Minister, Ghaziabad will be the next to issue a municipal issue and it will be followed by Pragyaraj, Varanasi, Agra and Kanpur.

Lucknow is the ninth city in the country to raise capital through municipal bonds.

Until now, a cumulative amount of Rs 3,600 crore has been raised via muni bonds in the country. 

The money raised using such bonds is typically used for infra projects such as roads, water and housing.

In 2015, market regulator SEBI had issued the framework for raising capital by way of muni bonds.

Among the key eligibility criteria for issuing these bonds is that the local body shouldn’t have negative net worth in any of the three preceding financial years and shouldn’t have defaulted on payments in the last one year.


Indian Peacock Softshell Turtle rescued

Indian peacock softshell turtle, a turtle of a vulnerable species was rescued from a fish market in Assam’s Silchar.

The Indian peacock softshell turtle [Nilssonia hurum] is a species of turtle found in South Asia.

IUCN Red list status: Vulnerable species.

Schedule I species in the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

This species is confined to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

In india, it is widespread in the northern and central parts of the Indian subcontinent.

These are found in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds with mud or sand bottoms.

Major Threats:

(1) Heavily exploited for its meat and calipee;

(2) Reduction of fish stock, due to overfishing, pollution, increase in river traffic, and sand-mining, among others.
 

According to a report by Guwahati-based conservation NGO, Help Earth, 29 species of turtles have been recorded in India, out of which 20 are found in Assam.


SCO Online International Exhibition launched

Recently, the Vice President of India has launched the first ever SCO Online Exhibition on Shared Buddhist Heritage.

Developed by: National Museum, New Delhi, in active collaboration with SCO member countries.

Participants: Museums from India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The launch happened during the 19th Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of Government (SCO CHG), held in New Delhi.

India highlighted that the crossborder terrorism is the biggest challenge for the SCO countries.

Buddhist philosophy and art of Central Asia connects SCO countries to each other and presents an excellent opportunity for visitors to access, appreciate and compare Buddhist art antiquities from SCO countries on a single platform.

The visitors can explore the Indian Buddhist treasures from the Gandhara and Mathura Schools, Nalanda, Amaravati, Sarnath, etc. in a 3D virtual format.

The international exhibition gives a glimpse of the artistic wealth displayed in various museums across Asia and also represents the artistic excellence embedded within an eclectic historical timeline.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

It is a permanent intergovernmental international and a Eurasian political, economic and military organization.

Aim: To maintain peace, security and stability in the region created in 2001.

The SCO is widely regarded as the “Alliance of the East”, due to its growing centrality in Asia-Pacific, and has been the primary security pillar of the region.

It is the largest regional organisation in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, covering three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the human population.

Members: Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

Observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.

Dialogue Partners: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

influenza makes people more susceptible to bacterial infections.


Influenza makes people more susceptible to bacterial infections: Sweden’s Karolinska Institute

Recently, researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute have come out with findings on superinfections.

They have highlighted that influenza makes people more susceptible to bacterial infections.

When an individual is infected by influenza different nutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, leak from the blood.

The absence of nutrients and antioxidants creates a favourable environment for bacteria in the lungs.

The bacteria adapt to the inflammatory environment by increasing the production of an enzyme called High temperature requirement A (HtrA).

The presence of HtrA weakens the immune system and promotes bacterial growth in the influenza-infected airways.

The ability of pneumococcus to grow seems to depend on the nutrient-rich environment with its higher levels of antioxidants that occurs during a viral infection, as well as on the bacteria’s ability to adapt to the environment and protect itself from being eradicated by the immune system.

The results could be used to find new therapies for double infections between the influenza virus and pneumococcal bacteria.

The information can contribute to the research on Covid-19.

Superinfections

These are infection occurring after or on top of an earlier infection, especially following treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics. 

It is an overgrowth of an opportunistic pathogen from the bacterial or yeast imbalance of systemic antibiotics.

For example, influenza is caused by a virus, but the most common cause of death in influenza patients is secondary pneumonia, which is caused by bacteria.
 

Influenza

It is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system i.e. nose, throat and lungs.

It is commonly called the flu.

Symptoms: Fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches and fatigue.

Flu is primarily treated with rest and fluid intake to allow the body to fight the infection 

Young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with chronic disease or weak immune systems are at high risk.

Pneumonia

It is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. 

The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus.

Cause: Variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Symptoms: Cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills and difficulty breathing.

The infection can be life-threatening to anyone, but particularly to infants, children and people over 65.


 






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