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11 & 12 February 2020 Current Affairs

International :

  • The World Health Organization(WHO) says the official name for the disease caused by the new coronavirus is Covid-2019. It comes after the death toll from the virus passed one thousand. Tens of thousands of people have been infected. The word coronavirus refers to the group of viruses it belongs to, rather than the latest strain. Researchers have been calling for an official name to avoid confusion and stigmatisation of any group or country.

  • African Union Summit was held in Ethiopia on February 9, 2020. Heads of state and government officials from across Africa gathered in the summit. The theme of the summit is "Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive conditions for Africa's development". 

    The focus of the summit was to end regional violence, including the conflicts in South Sudan and Libya. The summit highlighted three challenges namely eradicating poverty, tackling the climate crisis and silencing guns in Africa. African Union announced that it is to host two summits in May on conflict resolution and on implementation of the African Continental.

  • The population of India is expected to exceed that of China around 2027 as per World Population Prospects 2019 Report. As per Census 2011, the country’s Decadal Growth Rate was 17.7%. 

    Highlights of the survey as follows:
    1.) The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has declined from 2.9 in 2005 to 2.2 in 2017 (SRS).
    2.) The Wanted Fertility Rate has declined from 1.9 in NFHS III to 1.8 in NFHS IV.
    3.) The Crude Birth Rate (CBR) has declined from 23.8 to 20.2 from 2005 to 2017 (SRS).
    4.) The Teenage Birth Rate has halved from 16% (NFHS III) to 8% (NFHS IV).
    5.) 99.5 percent currently married men and women have knowledge about any modern method of contraception (NFHS IV).

  • As per UNICEF's State of the World's Children Report 2019, the Under 5 Mortality Rate in India is 37 per 1,000 live births against Global average of 39 per 1,000 live births in 2018, which translates to more than 8 lakhs under 5 deaths in India. 

    As per the UNICEF 2019 report, Globalization, urbanization, inequities, humanitarian crises and climate shocks are driving unprecedented negative changes in the nutrition situation of children around the world. 

    As per the Sample Registration System (SRS) 2010-13 report of Registrar General of India, major causes of child mortality in India are: 

    Prematurity & low birth weight (29.8%)
    Pneumonia (17.1%)
    Diarrheal diseases (8.6%)
    Other non-communicable diseases (8.3%)
    Birth asphyxia & birth trauma (8.2%)
    Injuries (4.6%)
    Congenital anomalies (4.4%)
    Ill-defined or cause unknown (4.4%)
    Acute bacterial sepsis and severe infections (3.6%)
    Fever of unknown origin (2.5%)
    All Other Remaining Causes (8.4%).

National :

  • Tamil Nadu govt decides to declare Cauvery Delta Region as protected special agricultural zone.

  • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued an advisory to all States to implement the system of vehicle registration as per Rules notified under the Central Motor Vehicle Act 1988. The advisory was issued after it came to the notice of the Ministry that in some States, vehicles are not being registered in spite of vehicles having Valid Type Approval certificates. 

    The Advisory states, that the VAHAN system provides a mechanism for the inventory of vehicles being uploaded by the vehicle manufacturers against valid type-approval certificates. It said, unless and until there are reasons for disputing the specifications of vehicles supplied, the pre-inspection of a model of vehicle, already type-approved should not be resorted to as it leads to unnecessary delay and harassment. 

    The Ministry has asked the Transport Departments of States and UTs to implement the system of registration of vehicles based on the production of type approval certificate and Form 22. Form 22 is a quality certificate for compliance with pollution standards, safety standards of components and road worthiness.

  • Directorate General of Training (DGT), Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship proposes to issue digital ‘e-Credentials / e-Certificates' which are freely portable for candidates and easily verifiable at scale by employers and job matching platforms but continue to allow print and other visual forms for human consumption. This would enable candidates to verifiably state their skill levels with a high degree of trust in authenticity to aggregators, matchers, and employers. Now in the DGT ecosystem, all the certificates are ‘e-Certificates’, digitally signed. 

    e-Credentials are an electronic scheme-based standard for describing credentials data in a machine-readable format (JSON-LD representation of RDFa- Resource Description Framework, a web standard) along with its printable human-friendly version to make credential exchange between digital agents open and reliable. Certificates issued according to this specification can be aligned to one or more educational standards. They are secured using digital signatures. These will also be pushed in DigiLocker.

  • Uttar Pradesh Government has launched toll-free helpline numbers for students. In case students have any queries regarding the board exams they can connect at the helpline numbers, 1800-180-5310 and 18001805312. Experts of different subjects including English, life sciences, geography, general science, Hindi, Sanskrit, chemistry will be available on call on these numbers. Academicians will be open to queries regarding any subject.

  • Minister for Personnel and Public Grievances Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurated Centralized Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) reforms at National Workshop on e-office in New Delhi The Minister said, there has been a significant jump in the number of public grievances received against government departments as it touched the 19 lakh mark in 2019 as compared to 2 lakh such complaints in 2014.

Economy :

  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has signed an agreement with ‘Invest India’ to promote foreign investments in the country and Indian’s investments in abroad. Invest India is the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India and acts as the first point of reference for investors in India. Its experts, specializing across different countries, Indian states and sectors, handhold investors through their investment lifecycle from pre-investment to after-care. ICAI is the national professional accounting body of India.

Days :

  • The National Deworming Day is observed in India on February 10, 2020. Children and adolescents in the age group of 1 to 19 years are being administered single dose of a safe medicine Albendazole in all states and Union Territories on the occasion. 

    The objective of the day is to deworm children and adolescents to reduce the prevalence of parasitic worms in the intestine. Union Health Ministry has said that washing hands can prevent worm infestation and many other diseases to a larger extent.

  • World Unani Day is observed every year on 11th February. This day is celebrated every year to mark the birth anniversary of Hakim Ajmal Khan. He was an eminent Indian Unani physician who was a versatile genius, a great scholar, a social reformer, a noted freedom fighter, a Unani medical educationist and founder of scientific research in Unani System of Medicine. He was one of the founders of the Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi. 

    The main objective of World Unani Day is to spread awareness about health care delivery through Unani system of medicine through its preventive and curative philosophy. The unani system of medicine originated in Greece. Its foundation was laid by Hippocrates. The system owes its present form to the Arabs who not only saved much of the Greek literature by rendering it into Arabic but also enriched the medicine of their day with their own contributions.

Sports :

  • Bangladesh won the maiden ICC U-19 World Cup cricket title by Duckworth-Lewis method in South Africa. Bangladesh beat India in the finals.

  • India's Lalremsiami has been named as the 2019 FIH Women's Rising Star of the Year by the International Hockey Federation.

Science & Technology :

  • NASA sends a Solar Orbiter probe to map poles of the sun. The aim is to help researchers grasp how the sun's vast bubble of energy affects Earth and humans in space. The Solar Orbiter was launched on the top of an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The satellite deployed an array of solar panels and antennas before setting off on its 10-year voyage to the Sun. 

    It has been designed to use the gravitational influence from Earth and Venus to whip itself as close as 26 million miles from the Sun or 95% of the distance between the sun and Earth. The probe will map the sun's poles, which could allow scientists for the first time to observe the concentrated source of solar wind that permeates our solar system.

  • Scientists in the US have developed an interactive map of the novel coronavirus spread, that allows users to see the number of cases worldwide, recoveries and deaths, as well as trends in real time. The map is updated every few hours with data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO), Chinese and other government agencies, including those in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Environment :

  • The first-ever Hornbill festival in Tripura has begun with an aim to raise awareness among people for bird conservation.

  • India will be moving to include the Asian Elephant and the Great Indian Bustard in the list of species that merit heightened conservation measures. The list will be debated at the 13th cop of the convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (CMS) an environment treaty under UNEP. The elephant phases risk in particularly in Bangladesh and Nepal. 



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