Daily Current Affairs - 18-05-2021

The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, IDAHOTB is observed on May 17 every year. The day is marked to increase awareness about LGBT rights violations. Also, it aims to stimulate interest in LGBT rights work world-wide.

What is Transphobia, Homophobia and Biphobia?


Why was May 17 chosen?

It was on May 17, 1990, homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of World Health Organisation. International Classification of Diseases is a classification of health care system. It provides diagnostic codes to classify a disease. This includes symptoms, signs, abnormal findings, external causes.


The day aims to increase awareness against discrimination, violence and repression of LGBT communities worldwide.

Around the world

Current Scenario

The Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture and NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) recently launched the first Agricultural Export Facilitation Centre.

About the Centre

Why is the Agricultural Export Facilitation Centre important?

In 2018, India launched Agri Export Policy. The policy aims to double the agricultural exports, that is, to increase the agricultural exports to 60 billion USD by 2022. The Agricultura Export Facilitation Centre will help India achieve this target.

Why is the centre established in Maharashtra?

The Indian Council of Medical Research recently dropped the plasma therapy from COVID-19 treatment. The decision was taken as the procedure was found to be ineffective.

Plasma Therapy


In September 2020, the ICMR conducted PLACID trials. According to the trials, the therapy neither reduced the number of deaths nor prevent its progression.

Other countries

China and Netherlands have also reported that Plasma Therapy is not effective for COVID-19 treatment.

Why is Plasma Therapy ineffective?

The artificial supply of antibodies makes the infection worse. This is because of a phenomenon called Antibody-Dependent Enhancement. In plasma therapy, the antibodies that are supplied artificially binds to the virus. These antibodies might then be taken up by the cell. In this way, the virus enters the human cells in spite of the fact that the patient is treated for COVID-19.

On the other hand, during vaccination the immune system produces its own antibodies. Thus, vaccination provides lifelong immunity.

Also, another major drawback is that these artificially injected antibodies stay only for three to four days in the patient’s body.

In 2021, the United Nations is celebrating its sixth United Nations Global Road Safety Week between 17th May, 2021 and 23rd May, 2021. This year, in 2021, the Global Road Safety Week is celebrated under the following theme:

About the Week

Global Plan on Road Safety launched

As a part of 2021 Global Road Safety Week, the Decade Plan of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 was launched by the United Nations. It is a global plan on road safety. The plan is in line with the Stockholm Declaration. The plan calls for improving laws, designing rods and vehicles and law enforcement on behavioural risks such as alcohol, speeding and driving.

Global Goals

The 2021 Global Road safety celebrations say that in order to make cities safe and healthy, a speed limit of 30 kilometre per hour should be facilitated. This will help attain a number of Sustainable Development Goals.

How? For instance, the minority communities and the disadvantaged people are more exposed to the high-speed traffic and accidents.

Road Safety in India

India ranks first in terms of number of road accidents. It accounts to only 1% of vehicles in the world. However, 11% of road accidents happens in India. The major reasons for high number of accidents in the country are road environment, human error, post accidental care-related issues and vehicular conditions.

The public health experts recently announced that the increase in “breakthrough infections” in the country may be due to the mutant varieties.

What are Breakthrough infections?

Causes of Breakthrough infection

A study conducted by the World Health Organisation and the International Labour Organisation recently found that the long working hours kills hundreds of people every year.

Key findings of the study

Disease Burden

The work-related disease burden was high in men as compared to that of women. Around 72% of the work-related disease and eventual death occurred in men.

Also, such disease burden was high in people living in the Western Pacific, that is, those in South Korea, China, Japan and Australia and also other South East Asian countries.


The study has included 22 studies on stokes and 37 studies on ischemic heart diseases. Also, it collected data from more than 2,300 surveys in 154 countries.

What is worrying?

The study did not include COVID-19 period. It comes at a time when the number of working hours is increasing. Currently, the number of people working long hours stands at 9% of the total population. This will increase if COVID-19 impacts are added.

Iran recently launched its supercomputer called Simorgh. This supercomputer is hundred times more powerful than the previous Iranian supercomputers.

About the Simorgh Supercomputer

It is located at the Iranian High Performance Computing Research Centre.



What is the spotlight?

The US had imposed sanctions on Iran and the doors of business is completely closed to the country. The US had imposed anti terrorism trade sanctions and has been trying to slow down its nuclear programme for decades. Thus, Iran should have got the US chips used in supercomputers illegally.

Iran never discloses its hardware specifications.

In 2001, the Amirkabir university developed a 32-node PC based on Intel Pentium processors. Again in 2007, the country had its hands on 216 AMD cores which in turn led to the most powerful supercomputer of all time.

Iran is using bitcoin mining facilities to buy required raw materials from US and other countries. Most of these are illegal under the sanctions imposed against the country.

The scientists in the United States are breeding the Sunflower sea stars off coast of Washington State.


What happened to the Kelp Forests?

The Sunflower sea stars were once found in the ocean floor in the north east Pacific. They mainly fed on purple urchins. The Sunflower sea stars are extinct in California and are near extinction in other parts of the ocean. Thus, the purple urchins increased in number. The purple urchins mainly fed on sea weeds. As their population increased, they started consuming more and more sea weeds. This was disastrous to the other marine species such as Abalone that depend on sea weeds.

Bottomline, the kelp forest cover fell by more than 95% since 2014.


The near extinction of just one species has such huge impact on the ecosystem. It is simply wiping out the eco system.

Thus, the plan of repopulating the sunflower sea star has been adopted. This plan is being referred to as the “Jurassic Plan Approach”.

About sunflower Sea Star

Kelp Forest

The Kelp forest are under water areas with high density of kelp. It covers large part of the world coastline. Also, they are considered as the most productive and dynamic ecosystem on the earth.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade recently released Wholesale Price in India for the month of April 2021. The WPI for the month of April 2021 stood at 128.1. The base year in calculating WPI is fixed as 2011-12.

WPI of April 2021

Groups of commodities

There are three major groups of commodities that are used in calculating the rate of inflation. They are primary articles, manufactured products and fuel and power.

Primary Articles

The weight of primary articles in WPI is 22.62%.

Fuel and Power

Manufactured products

WPI Food Index

The WPI Food index consists of food products from manufactured products group and food articles from primary articles group. The WPI Food Index increased from 153.4 in March 2021 to 158.9 in April 2021. The increase rate in April is 7.58% and that of March is 5.28%

SAMVEDNA is Sensitizing Action on Mental Health Vulnerability through Emotional Development and Necessary Acceptance. It a toll-free helpline through which children affected during COVID-19 pandemic are provided counselling.


What is the plan?

The tele-counselling is to be provided to children in three categories. They are as follows:

Other similar initiatives

The SAMVAD at NIMHANS is releasing a four-part special series to address the anxiety faced by abandoned and orphaned children following the loss of family members due to COVID-19. This will equip the mental health professionals, child protection functionaries and all other concerned citizens. It will provide concrete methods to the service providers and caregivers to break the bad news to children and help them process experience of loss and grief.

What will these initiatives focus on?

Both the above initiatives will provide ways to respond to the illness of children and anxiety.

On May 17, 2021, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Microsoft signed a Memorandum of Understanding on joint initiative for Digital Transformation of Tribal Schools. This includes introduction of Ashram Schools and Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) in tribal areas.

What is the plan?

How will the programme benefit students?

On May 17, 2021, the Union Government released Rs 5,968 crores of rupees to implement the Jal Jeevan Mission. The funds were released to fifteen states. This is the first instalment of the four to be released in 2021-22.

Fund Allocation

How will the funds help current condition?

Current Scenario

On May 17, 20121, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare chaired the 26th meeting of Group of Ministers on COVID-19.

Key Outcomes of the meet

Key Highlights

The following were highlighted during the meet:

Production and allocation of drugs

It was informed at the meet that the manufacturers have been advised to increase the production of drugs. Three pronged strategies were undertaken to solve the issues in the production and allocation of drugs. They were as follows:

COVID-19 Drugs

The Government of India recently issued guidelines to contain COVID-19 in rural areas.

What are the guidelines?

Besides urban areas, a large number of cases have increased in tribal areas, rural areas and peri urban areas. Thus, the ministry has released “SOP on COVID-19 Containment and Management in Peri-Urban, Rural and Tribal Areas”.

Standard Operating Procedure

Every year, the World AIDS Vaccine Day is celebrated on May 18. The day is also called the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Vaccine Awareness Day. This year, in 2021,  the World AIDS Vaccine Day is celebrated under the following theme:

About World AIDS Vaccine Day

The day is commemorated to honour thousands of volunteers, health professional, community leaders and scientists who workers together to develop AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) vaccine.

Why is AIDS Vaccine Day celebrated on May 18?

The concept of AIDS Vaccine was rooted by the then US President Bill Clinton in his speech at the Morgan State University on May 18, 1997.

HIV Vaccine

Currently there are no licensed HIV vaccine in the market. However, medical treatments exist. Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) is recommended to control HIV infection. However, HAART must be taken life long. HIV virus mainly attacks the immune system of human body.

World AIDS Day

The World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 every year.

Organisations involved in AIDS Vaccine

HIV in India

The total number of HIV patients in India as of 2017 is 21.4 lakhs. However, the number of HIV cases have been declining in India. Between 1995 and 2017, the number of HIV cases in India declined by 85%.