India and United Kingdom have launched a new workstream to promote industrial energy efficiency. The workstream was launched under Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative (IDDI) of Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM).
Clean Energy Ministerial Industrial Deep Decarbonisation Initiative (IDDI) is a global coalition comprising of public and private organisations working together to stimulate demand of low carbon industrial materials. IDDI works to standardise carbon assessments and establish ambitious public & private sector procurement targets in collaboration with governments. It also incentivises investment into low-carbon product and design industrial guidelines. IDDI is Coordinated by UNIDO while Co-led by India and UK. Additional members of the initiatives are Germany and Canada. It brings together a strong coalition of related initiatives and organizations.
Primary objective of this initiative is to infuse green technologies and stimulate demand for low-carbon industrial material.
Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, pledged an additional 800 million US Dollars to COVAX facility.
Online Vaccine Summit was attended by Vice President of United States, Kamala Harris; United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and others.
Japan had contributed 200 million dollars to COVAX earlier. He further highlighted, 76 million doses of Coronavirus vaccines have been supplied across 120 countries and regions under COVAX facility. Japan also plans to supply 30 million vaccine doses after considering spread of coronavirus variants and delay in vaccine shipments.
COVAX initiative was launched by GAVI vaccine alliance for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. It is also supported by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and World Health Organization (WHO). Initiative is one of three pillars of “Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator” initiative which was started by WHO in April 2020. WHO-approved vaccines like Oxford–AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer–BioNTech, Sinovac, Sinopharm and Johnson & Johnson vaccines can be distributed as part of COVAX.
Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR has approved second home-based Rapid Antigen Test kit named “PanBio COVID-19”. This test kit was developed by Abbott Rapid Diagnostics Division, Chicago.
The self-use kit has been given provisional approval till 5th July. Price of the kit will be declared by after July 5. Earlier, ICMR had given its approval to “CoviSelf test kit” which was developed by Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions.
PanBio COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test kit comprise of a membrane strip. Strip is pre-coated with immobilized anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody on test line and mouse monoclonal anti-chicken on control line. Two types of conjugates move upward on membrane chromatographically to react with anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody as well as mouse monoclonal anti-chicken.
ICMR issued an advisory on use of self-test kits. According to it, Rapid Antigen test is advised only for symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of positive cases. Apart from that, home testing mobile app available in Google play store and Apple store, which users has to mandatorily download. This mobile app is a comprehensive guide of testing procedure. It will also provide a positive or negative test result to patient. All users need to click picture of test strip after completing test procedure with same mobile phone that was used to download the app and for registration. Individuals who test positive will be considered as true positives while symptomatic individuals who test negative will be tested again by RT PCR.
Union Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar, launched a seed Minikit programme by distributing high-yielding varieties seeds of oilseeds and pulses to farmers.
This mission was launched to increase production of oilseeds and pulses.
Government has renewed its focus on production of oilseeds and pulses since 2014-15. As a result, production of oilseeds increased from 27.51 million tonnes in 2014-15 to 36.57 million tonnes in 2020-21. Similarly, production of pulses increased from 17.15 million tonnes to 25.56 million tonnes in same period.
Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO) wing of Indian railways has become India’s first institution to be declared as Standard Developing Organization (SDO).
BIS launched this scheme with the aim of aggregating and integrating existing capabilities and dedicated domain specific expertise which are available with various organizations of India engaged in standards development in specific sectors. It also allows convergence of all standard development activities of India enabling “One National Standard for One Subject”.
RDSO in Lucknow, is the sole Research and Design Wing of Railway Ministry. It is India’s leading standard formulating body that undertakes standardization work for railway sector.
With SDO recognition, standard formulation procedures of RDSO will become more focused on consensus-based decision making. It will extensively engage all stakeholders such as Industry, Academia, Test Houses, Users, Recognized Labs etc, in standard making process from initial stages. With this tag, competition among industries will increase resulting into reduction in cost & improvement in quality. It will also reduce import dependency and boost Make in India initiative.
American space agency, NASA, has announced its two new robotic missions namely Davinci+ and Veritas, to Venus to examine atmosphere and geological features on the planet.
Each of the missions have been awarded $500m funding. They will be launched in between 2028 and 2030. Missions would provide a chance to investigate the planet Venus that haven’t been provided in about 30 years. Two missions were selected after a peer-review process. They were chosen on the basis of their potential scientific value and feasibility of their development plans. Both the missions will be launched with aim to understand, how Venus surface is capable of melting lead and how this planet became an inferno-like world.
Davinci+ is “Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging” mission. It will measure atmosphere of Venus to gain insight into how it formed and evolved. It also seeks to determine whether Venus ever had an ocean.
This mission is called as “Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy”. It will map surface of Venus to understand its geologic history. It will also investigate how it developed differently than Earth. It will use a form of radar to investigate surface elevations and will discover if volcanoes and earthquakes are still happening.
Last probe to visit Venus was Magellan orbiter in 1990, while other vessels have made fly-bys since then.
Venus is the hottest planet of solar system and second planet from the sun. Its surface temperature is 500 degree Celsius which is hot enough to melt lead.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has signed an agreement with vaccine manufacturer Moderna to supply their international vaccination efforts boosting fight against SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Under the supply agreement, UNICEF and its procurement partners like Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), will get access to up to 34 million doses of covid-19 vaccine which can be used to cover around 92 countries and territories in 2021. UNICEF has also signed four other supply deals for coronavirus vaccines with Serum Institute of India, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Human Vaccines.
Vaccines will be supplied to COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility UNICEF. COVAX facility seeks to provide access to vaccines across all participating countries and territories regardless of their income level.
UNICEF, called as “United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund”, is an agency of United Nations which is involved in providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children across the globe. It is one of the most widespread & recognizable social welfare organizations and is present in 192 countries. Some of its activities include-
Maharashtra government has launched “Corona-free Village Competitions” which is an interesting route to ensure all Covid-19 precautionary norms are followed in villages of state.
Under ‘corona-free village’ competitions, three villages will be selected in each revenue district on the basis of their good work and efforts in Covid-19 management. This competition is part of ‘My Village Corona Free’ initiative which was recently announced by Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray.
Under this competition, three villages will be awarded prizes up to ₹50 lakh. This competition will encourage to take measures to curb spread of Covid-19. First prize is ₹50 lakh, second is ₹25 lakh and third is ₹15 lakh. There are a total of six revenue divisions in Maharashtra. Thus, 18 prizes will be given with total prize money of ₹5.4 crore.
Winning villages will also get an additional amount equal to prize money as encouragement. This money will be utilised to do development works these villages.
Participating villages will be judged on the basis of 22 criteria by a committee set up for the purpose.
On June 2, it recorded 15,169 new Covid-19 cases increasing tally to 57,76,184 while 29,270 patients were discharged from hospitals taking number of recoveries to 54,60,589. Currently, there are 2,16,016 active cases in the state.
Trial of COVAXIN, a COVID-19 vaccine by Bharat Biotech, on children below 18 years was started at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna.
Trail was started following a nod given on May 11 by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to conduct clinical trials of Covaxin. COVAXIN was approved by DCGI, for Phase II/III clinical trials in age group of 2 to 18 years.
India started world’s largest vaccination drive on January 16, 2021 in phased manner. In the first phase, healthcare workers (HCWs) were vaccinated. Vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started on February 2 while, those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 with specified comorbid conditions were allowed to take jab, March onwards under phase 1 itself. On April 1, second phase started and India allowed all people aged more than 45 under vaccination plan. Third phase of vaccination started on May to cover people aged 18-44 years.
India is administering three COVID-19 vaccines including Covaxin by Bharat Biotech, COVISHIELD by Serum Institute and Sputnik V. COVAXIN by Russia. All these vaccines are being manufactured in India. However, due to shortage of vaccine in the country that actively contributed towards COVAX programme by WHO, no of vaccination per day has decreased from 35 lakh each day in first week of April to 16 lakh doses in May. Companies are increasing vaccine production to build up vaccine stock but it will take time. COVAXIN is expected to produce 3.5 crore vaccines in June, COVISHIELD to produce 10 crore shots.
Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, launched revamped health schemes and has digitized the versions of Flagship Health Schemes. Schemes were launched on IT platform of National Health Authority (NHA).
According to the health minister, poor and needy people of country were unable to avail benefits of all these flagship health schemes of central scheme because of lack of timely intervention, delayed response and other such hurdles. Thus, schemes have been revamped and digitized which will enable smooth delivery of healthcare services to eligible beneficiaries under by making entire process paperless.
CGHS is comprehensive health scheme to serve pensioners, employees, ex-MPs, Members of Parliament and dependent family members. Scheme has been extended across 72 cities and about 38 lakh beneficiaries are availing benefits under it within since last 7 years.
This scheme was launched to provide financial assistance of Rs. 15 lakh to poor patients suffering from major life-threatening diseases or rare diseases or cancer. The person is treated at government hospital. Beneficiaries are decided on the basis of BPL threshold in States and Union Territories.
Dr. K.P. Krishnan committee on “Variable Capital Company” has submitted its report to International Financial Services centres Authority (IFSCA) regarding feasibility of Variable Capital Companies in International Financial Services Centres in India.
IFSCA had set up K.P. Krishnan committee to explore potential for allowing variable capital company (VCC) as an additional option using which asset managers could pool investors’ funds.
VCC is an alternative form of corporate vehicle which can be used for open-ended as well as closed-ended alternative and traditional fund strategies. It is a corporate vehicle with flexible capital because of which shares are created when investments are made and shares are readily redeemable by shareholders. It has been designed for fund management industry.
First-of-its -kind, real-time online map was launched, by a team of 15 Doctors and 12 Professionals from the diaspora in US and India, which shows available hospital beds in India with real-time updates.
This online map was launched with the aim of providing critical and time-sensitive information to anxious Covid-19 patients, as battle against second wave of pandemic continues. This portal was launched by Project Madad (help). It is India’s first country-wide map showing availability of hospital beds in real-time updates. Washington-based Dr Rajesh Anumolu was head architect of ‘MadadMaps’.
MadadMaps was created with mission that “proper education and training” of local healthcare workers and Registered Medical Practitioners is the “fundamental” of controlling Covid spread across rural India.
Two Russian cosmonauts, Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov, did spacewalk for more than 7 hours at International Space Station. They walked outside to prepare for arrival of new Russian Nauka Lab module, which has been delayed several times due to technical issues.
Both the cosmonauts have team up at space outpost with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Mark Vande Hei & Megan McArthur besides European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.
Module is also known as ‘Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM)’. It is a component of International Space Station (ISS), which is yet to launch into space. It is funded by Roscosmos. Originally, Nauka was to use location of Docking and Stowage Module. Later, it was replaced by Rassvet module. It was planned to be launched in 2007 but has been delayed since then. After delays, Nauka is planned for launch on July 15, 2021.
ISS is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. It is a multinational collaborative project jave five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), ESA (Europe), JAXA (Japan) and CSA (Canada). Ownership and use of space station are governed by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.
On the occasion of 100th anniversary of Chinese Communist Party in 2021, China is promoting ‘red tourism’, which means it is encouraging people to visit places that have historical and cultural importance for communist party.
Nanhu Lake in Zhejiang, East China and Mao Zedong’s birthplace are among the places that China is highlighting. At Nanhu Lake, First National Congress of Chinese Communist Party was held in 1921 on a boat. While, Mao Zedong’s birthplace Shaoshan witnessed huge footfall in recent times.
Red Tourism is generating huge revenues, which in turn boosting China’s economic boom amid covid-19 pandemic. It reminds people regarding sacrifices of leaders of communist party to establish Modern China.
Red Tourism has been coined by China which refers to “visiting sites which have modern revolutionary legacy”. It was Launched in 2004 with the objective of promoting locations with historical and cultural significance for history of Communist Party. It seeks to spread awareness regarding history of communist party starting with its origins. It includes colourful events which promotes visitors to put on revolutionary attire when they visit former residences of Communist leaders and exhibition halls etc.
Largest warship of Iranian navy caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Oman, circumstances are still unclear. Kharg used to resupply other shops in fleet and conduct training exercises. It sank near Iranian port of Jask.
Kharg, named after Island Kharg, was a modified Ol-class fleet replenishment oiler of Islamic Republic of Iran Navy. It was built by Swan Hunter in United Kingdom, which was officially launched in 1977. It was largest naval vessel of Iran on the basis of tonnage.
They were Royal Fleet Auxiliary “fast fleet tankers” which provides fuel, food, fresh water and other supplies to Royal Navy vessels across the world.
Naval auxiliary ship with fuel tanks and dry cargo holds, used to supply fuel as well as dry stores during underway replenishment at sea. However, such ships are slower and carry fewer dry stores than modern fast combat support ships by USA.
Kharg is a continental island, located in Persian Gulf and is about 25 km off the coast of Iran. It belongs to Iran while administered by adjacent coastal Bushehr Province. Island provides a sea port for export of oil and extends territorial sea claims of Iran into Persian Gulf oil fields.