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CURRENT AFFAIRS 8th APRIL 2017:

First NIMCARE World Health Day Summit 2017

The first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit 2017 was recently held in New Delhi.
* The slogan of the first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit is, ‘Unite for a Healthy Mind’.
* The summit will focus on the importance of talking about depression as a vital component of recovery.
Out of all the mental health disorders, depression is the most common. Depression affects people of all ages from all walks of life and in all countries. As per the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 conducted by NIMHANS, 5.2% of the Indian adult population suffers from depression in some form or the other. The problem of depression often gets ignored due to lack of understanding on the part of family members. The social stigma attached to a mental disorder, even if it is easily treatable, is also a major problem in India.

MIS for monitoring PMKSY Projects

The government has launched MIS for monitoring PMKSY Projects.
Key facts:

* Under the new MIS, Project wise nodal officers have been nominated for regularly feeding the physical and financial progress of the projects.
* Project wise/ Priority wise /Statewise physical/financial details in tabular/graphical format are available in MIS.
* It has the feature of comparing the progress of the project on quarterly basis and also provides details of the constraints affecting the progress of the project. Sources: pib.

India jumps 12 spots in WEF’s global travel & tourism ranking

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 has been released by the World Economic Forum.
* The report ranks 136 countries across 14 dimensions, revealing how well countries could deliver sustainable economic and societal benefits through their travel and tourism sector. The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index measures “the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country”. The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index enables all stakeholders to work together to improve the industry’s competitiveness in their national economies.
* India is ranked 40
* India is one of the countries that improved the most as it gained 12 places in Asia, but lagged behind its other Asian peers like Japan and China which were ranked way ahead at 4th and 13th place, respectively.
* Some of the factors that helped India climb up the ladder include international openness through strong policies such as implementing visa on arrival and e-visas, and improvements in the country’s ground transport infrastructure which benefited the travel and tourism sector in the country.
* India has seen continued growth in international arrivals over the past 15 years, reaching the 8 million mark in 2015. The report, however, noted that though health conditions are improving, they remain “inadequate”. Similarly, ICT readiness, security concerns and human resources are improving, but remain “weak”. Sources: toi.

Ken-Betwa link hits green hurdle

India’s apex forest advisory body- the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), has imposed tough conditions on the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project. About the project:
The Ken and Betwa rivers in the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP) are to be linked under an historic agreement that marks the first such project in India’s ambitious and controversial national river-linking project.
* The project envisages construction of a dam across river Ken in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh to irrigate 6.35 lakh hectare area of land, drinking water purposes and generation of 78 MW hydropower.
* The project comprises two powerhouse of 2×30 MW and 3×6 MW each, two tunnels of 1.9 km long upper level, 1.1 km long tunnel lower level and a 221 km long Ken-Betwa link canal, proposed on the left bank of the river.
* The project will provide irrigation facilities for 6,35,661 hectares of land in Panna, Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh districts in Madhya Pradesh, and Banda, Mahoba and Jhansi districts in Uttar Pradesh. Sources: the hindu.

Sarin gas: what is it?

The United States believes the Syrian government employed a sarin-like nerve agent in recent deadly attack in the country’s northwest. What is Sarin gas?

The name sarin comes from the chemists who discovered it by chance: Schrader, Ambros, Ruediger et Van der Linde.

* Originally conceived as a pesticide, sarin was used by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime to gas thousands of Kurds in the northern town of Halabja in 1988.
* Inhaled or absorbed through the skin, the gas kills by crippling the respiratory center of the central nervous system and paralysing the muscles around the lungs.
* The combination results in death by suffocation, and sarin can contaminate food or water supplies, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
* Symptoms of exposure to the agent include nausea and violent headaches, blurred vision, drooling, muscle convulsions, respiratory arrest and loss of consciousness.
* Sarin is 26 times more deadly than cyanide gas. Even when it does not kill, sarin’s effects can cause permanent harm —damaging a victim’s lungs, eyes and central nervous system.
* Heavier than air, the gas can linger in an area for up to six hours, depending on weather conditions. Sources: the hindu.

Atmosphere found around Earth-like planet GJ 1132b

Scientists say they have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet for the first time.

* Scientists studied a world known as GJ 1132b, which is 4-times the size of our planet and lies 39 light years away.
* Their observations suggest that the “super-Earth” is cloaked in a thick layer of gases that are either water or methane or a mixture of both.
* The discovery of planet GJ 1132b was first announced in 2015. It lies in the Vela constellation in the southern hemisphere.
* While it is a similar size to Earth, the star it orbits is much smaller, cooler and dimmer than our Sun.
* The observations of planet GJ 1132b suggest that it has a thick atmosphere containing either steam and/or methane.
* Discovering an atmosphere, and characterising it, is an important step forward in the hunt for life beyond our Solar System. But it is highly unlikely that this world is habitable: it has a surface temperature of 370C. Sources: the hindu.

North India to get its first DNA bank for wild animals

In a milestone for wildlife conservation in the country, Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) is planning to set up a DNA bank for wild animals, the first of its kind in North India. Scientists have so far collected samples of 140 species. A DNA bank exists in Hyderabad at present. Through the DNA bank, scientists at IVRI’s Centre for Wildlife will be able to tell the name and schedule of the species if they get only a part of the meat, hair, blood, skin or bone of any animal.
* The move will help clamp down on wildlife poaching and smuggling, and also aid in research on wildlife species.

IAS World, an institute for Civil Services Examination (CSE), has moved into its new spacious and well equipped premises from 26th November 2011.

              

              

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