DAILY PRELIMS CURRENT AFFAIRS (UPSC) |08 Dec 2020| RaghukulCS

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DAILY PRELIMS CURRENT AFFAIRS (UPSC) |08 Dec 2020| RaghukulCS

UPSC Online News Analysis


News-1

Context: Feluda test to start in Delhi in 10 days.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Science & technology

How Does India’s Feluda COVID-19 Test Work?

  • For the Feluda test, the research team at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology used the CRISPR-Cas9 technique to detect the viral genome of SARS-CoV 2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • They have designed a guide RNA complementary to target the SARS-CoV2 genome sequence.
  • The sample collection for the Feluda test will be similar to RT-PCR – a swab that collects the sample from the nasopharyngeal area. The first step is to extract the genetic material (RNA) from the sample.
  • The subsequent step is a one-step RT-PCR which involves the conversion of the viral RNA to DNA and its amplification to multiple copies – everything in a single step.
  • The amplification part is important for increasing the probability of detection.
  • Then, a Feluda mixture that contains the amplified viral DNA, the guide RNA and the Cas9 protein is prepared. The guide RNA directs the Cas9 protein to bind only with the viral DNA.
  •  The Cas9 reads the SARS-CoV 2 sequence like a bar code and binds with the matching sequence of the viral DNA. This leads to the formation of a complex.
  • When a paper-strip is immersed in the mixture, the complex goes towards it due to lateral flow.
  •  A single line indicates a negative result, while the double line, a positive result – much like a home pregnancy test.

News-2

Context: As the Odisha government is preparing to launch fortified rice in the Public Distribution System (PDS) in Malkangiri district from coming February, more than 100 activists have opposed the move.

Topic in the syllabus: Mains – Issues of hunger & poverty (GS-2)

What is their argument?

  • Vitamin C and calcium are available in abundance in natural food.
  • Vitamin C is water soluble.
  • If the rice is laced with Vitamin C, it will get washed away while the rice is cleaned before cooking.
  • It is a futile exercise to add Vitamin C to uncooked rice.
  • In our traditional cooking practices, lemon juice is squeezed into cooked food before its consumption.

News-3

Context: Man reunites with family after 10-month detention in Yemen. He was among the 14 Indians held by Houthi rebels in Sana’a.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – places in news | Mains –IR (GS-2)

Who are Houthis?

  • The Houthis are a large clan originating from Yemen’s north-western Saada province. They practice the Zaydi form of Shiism. Zaydis make up around 35 percent of Yemen’s population.
  • Iran is widely accused of backing the Houthis, a Zaydi Shiite movement that has been fighting Yemen’s Sunni-majority government since 2004.
  • The Houthis took control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa (left) in September 2014 and continued on towards Aden, Yemen’s largest city.
  • In response to Houthi advances, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states launched a military campaign in March 2015.
  • Yemeni officials and Sunni states, most notably Saudi Arabia, have repeatedly alleged that Iran and its proxy Hezbollah have provided arms, training, and financial support to the Houthis.
  • Houthi insurgents have clashed with Yemen’s government for more than a decade.
  • Since 2011, the Houthi movement has expanded beyond its Zaydi roots and become a wider movement opposed to President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. The insurgents have also begun referring to themselves as Ansarullah, or “Party of God.”

Where is Sana’a?

  • It is the capital of Yemen.
  • It is situated at the western foot of Mount Nuqum, at an elevation of more than 7,200 feet (2,200 metres) above sea level, in the western part of the country.
https://c8.alamy.com/comp/E799GF/yemen-political-map-with-capital-sanaa-national-borders-and-most-important-E799GF.jpg

News-4

Context: Ramnagar Forest Division in Nainital district, Uttarakhand, recently built its first eco-bridge for reptiles and smaller mammals.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims & Mains – Environment & ecology – conservation ideas(GS-3)

About Eco- bridges:

  • Eco-ducts or eco-bridges aim to enhance wildlife connectivity that can be disrupted because of highways or logging.
  • These include canopy bridges (usually for monkeys, squirrels and other arboreal species); concrete underpasses or overpass tunnels or viaducts (usually for larger animals); and amphibian tunnels or culverts.
  • Usually these bridges are overlaid with planting from the area to give it a contiguous look with the landscape.

Example related to Ethics (GS-4)

  • A jawan, who had served more than two decades with the Indian Army and missed the deadline of re­joining duty reportedly on account of his wife’s illness, is forced to work as a daily-­wager without post­retirement benefits in Odisha. (case study related questions)
  • 4 minors among 8 held for raping class 9 student. They allegedly sexually assaulted the girl
    during the past 15 days in Gandhi Nagar area of the neighbouring Surguja district. (Role of Family Society and Educational Institutions in Inculcating Values.)

Important News In short:

  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will include transgenders as a separate third gender in
    their annual publication of Prison Statistics India from 2020 onwards, the Delhi High Court was informed.
  • Tribals in the villages of southern Rajasthan, who utilised their indigenous agricultural practices to survive during the COVID­19 pandemic, have come together to protect soil biodiversity during an agriculture and tribal sovereignty campaign launched through 27 ‘Swaraj Sangathans’ in Banswara, Dungarpur and Pratapgarh districts.
  • With the entire Lakshadweep group of islands being declared an organic agricultural area, the island administration is eyeing an expansion of the traditional business in coconuts and coconut products through value addition, better marketing, and round­ the ­year processing.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron on Monday night, offering India’s support to France on fighting terrorism, and also invited Mr. Macron to visit Delhi.
  • Modi calls for legal reforms – ‘India cannot build the coming century with laws of the last century
  • U.S. and Chinese companies dominated the global arms market in 2019, while West Asia made its first appearance among the 25 biggest weapons manufacturers, a report by the SIPRI research institute said.
  • India’s imports from China as well as its trade deficit declined sharply in November, marking an exception to a record month for Chinese exports around the world that registered the fastest growth
    in almost three years and underlined China’s continuing recovery amid a pandemic induced global slump.
  • THE KILLING of Iran’s top nuclear scientist last month was carried out remotely with artificial intelligence and a machine gun equipped with a “satellite-controlled smart system”, Tasnim
    news agency quoted a senior commander as saying. (Adverse use AI)
  • Sugam online portal is a licensing portal of Central Drug Standard control organization for various services like Application Submission, Processing and Grant of permission for quick delivery. SUGAM enables online submission of applications requesting for permissions related to drugs, clinical trials, ethics committee, medical devices.

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