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News Analysis

News – 1

Context: COVID­19 vaccine could be 90% effective, claims Pfizer – It may apply for emergency use nod in the U.S.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Science & Technology

About Pfizer vaccine for COVID19:

  • This is a vaccine that was developed using mRNA technology — it makes use of the messenger RNA molecules that tell cells what proteins to build.
  • The mRNA, in this case, is coded to tell the cells to recreate the spike protein of the novel coronavirus.
  • Once the mRNA is injected into the body, the cells will use its instructions, creating copies of the spike protein, which is in return expected to prompt the immune cells to create antibodies to fight it.
  • Unlike several other vaccine candidates, mRNA vaccines are synthetically developed — they don’t need the virus to be cultivated and replicated, just the code for the most crucial part that the body’s immune system is to target.
  • Another advantage is that they can be manufactured at a large scale in large vats called bioreactors.

News – 2

Context: ‘Polavaram to be completed by 2022’ – Andhra Pradesh CM

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

About Polavaram Project:

  • It is a multi-purpose irrigation project.
  • It is proposed to build on Godavari river (under construction).
  • Being a multi-purpose project it will be used for irrigation, drinking, hydropower etc.

News – 3

Context: India, Maldives sign four MoUs to boost ties – New Delhi will support Maldives Foreign Minister’s candidature for UNGA president.

  • “India deeply appreciate the government of President Solih for its ‘India First’ foreign policy. This is reciprocated in full measure by our ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy in which the Maldives enjoys a very special and central place” –  Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s on visit to the Maldives.

Topic in syllabus: Mains – India and its neighbourhood- relations. (GS-2)

What is in the MOU?

  • “High impact” community development projects Which include:
  • gender and child empowerment, 
    • sports and sustainable development,
    • livelihood and income generation,
    • health, 
    • education, 
  • Cooperation in sports and youth affairs.
  • The $100 million grant, which is part of India’s “$500 million package” for the Greater Male Connectivity Project(GMCP), Which consists of a number of bridges and causeways to connect Male to Villingili, Thilafushi and Gulhifahu islands and the length will be spanning 6.7 km.
  • Last month, the two governments inked a deal for a $400 million line of credit from the Exim Bank of India. (not a part of new MOU)

News – 4

Context: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered a detailed probe against Google for ‘abuse’ of its dominant position, primarily with regard to its digital payments application GPay.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Economy

What is the complaint against Google?Abuse of dominant market position.

What is CCI?

  • Competition Commission of India is a statutory body of the Government of India.
  • It is responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India to prevent activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.
  • The Commission comprises a Chairperson and not less than 2 and not more than 6 other members appointed by the Central Government.
  • Objectives:
  • Make the markets work for the benefit and welfare of consumers.
  • Ensure fair and healthy competition in economic activities in the country for faster and inclusive growth and development of the economy.
  • Implement competition policies with an aim to effectuate the most efficient utilization of economic resources.
  • Develop and nurture effective relations and interactions with sectoral regulators to ensure smooth alignment of sectoral regulatory laws in tandem with the competition law.
  • Effectively carry out competition advocacy and spread the information on benefits of competition among all stakeholders to establish and nurture competition culture in Indian economy.

News – 5

Context: Oil prices jumped by close New Delhi to 10% on Monday for its biggest daily gain in almost six months after news of a highly effective vaccine against COVID­19 and Saudi Arabia’s assurance that an OPEC+ oil output deal could be adjusted to balance the market.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Economy, International organisations

What is OPEC?

  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is an intergovernmental organization of 13 nations.
  • It is Founded on 14 September 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela).
  • it has since 1965 been headquartered in Vienna, Austria, although Austria is not an OPEC member state.
  • Current 13 members of OPEC – Algeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

What is OPEC+?

  • OPEC+ is a group of 24 oil-producing nations, made up of the 14 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and 10 other non-OPEC members, including Russia. 
  • The format was born in 2017 with a deal to coordinate oil production among the countries in a bid to stabilize prices. Since then, the group has reached deals for members to voluntarily cut and ramp-up production in response to changes in global oil prices.
  • OPEC plus countries are the non-OPEC countries which export crude oil.
  • OPEC plus countries are Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan, Sudan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan. (in addition to OPEC)
  • The OPEC bloc is nominally led by Saudi Arabia, the group’s largest oil producer, while Russia is the biggest player among the non-OPEC countries.

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