The HINDU Notes – 14th May 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)
Context: Malware attacked police cyber networks in Andhra Pradesh.
- Microsoft had released a patch against flaw in March but many system administrators failed to patch all computers and the ones which were unpatched became vulnerable to this attack.
- The police system in Andhra Pradesh was impacted because they were using an older version of Microsoft operating system and poor patch maintenance.
- Kaspersky response: visibility of malware may be limited and incomplete and the range of targets and victims is likely much, much higher.
- WannaCry has the ability to spread itself within corporate networks, without user interaction, by exploiting a known vulnerability in Microsoft Windows.
- Computers which do not have the latest Windows security updates applied are at risk of infection
- Once the ransomware encrypts data files on the affected computer, it asks users to pay the ransom in bitcoins.
- While the initial payment demanded is of $300, the ransom note indicates that the payment amount will be doubled after three days. If payment is not made after seven days, the encrypted files will be deleted.
- A patch is a piece of software designed to update a computer program or its supporting data, to fix or improve it.This includes fixing security vulnerabilities and other bugs, with such patches usually called bugfixes or bug fixes, and improving the usability or performance. Although meant to fix problems, poorly designed patches can sometimes introduce new problems (see software regressions).
- WannaCry: is a ransomware program targeting Microsoft Windows. In May 2017, a large cyber-attack using it was launched, infecting over 230,000 computers in 99 countries, demanding ransom payments in bitcoin in 28 languages. The attack has been described by Europol as unprecedented in scale.
⏳ ‘Good standing certificate’ must for doctors from abroad: IMA
- The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written to the Medical Council of India (MCI) seeking a defined policy on doctors who have been barred from practising medicine in their country but are now working in India.
- The IMA wants the MCI to seek ‘good standing certificate’ from foreign doctors who want to work in India.
- This is to ensure that the practitioner has a good track record and there is nothing against him/her, especially with reference to ethical breech.
- A similar condition needs to be imposed on Indian doctors registered and practising in other countries who wish to come back and practice in India.
- This move comes after the Delhi High Court took suo moto cognizance of news reports about an Indian-origin doctor who was barred from practising by a US court but is now treating patients in Delhi and Gurugram.
- The court has issued a notice to the MCI to file a report on the mechanism in place to scrutinise and check such practices.
- The IMA noted that the condition would apply to Indian students getting their MBBS, or equivalent course, outside the country and coming back for registration in India; foreign doctors asking for a temporary licence to practice; and Indian doctors seeking multiple registrations in different States.
⏳ Pneumonia vaccine to be part of immunisation drive
- India on 13 May 2017 rolled out the long-awaited anti-pneumonia vaccine as part of the government’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
- The vaccine will protect children against severe forms of pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia and meningitis.
- The vaccine programme aims to protect nearly 270 lakh newborns against 12 preventable diseases every year.
- India accounts for nearly 20% of global pneumonia deaths in children under five years of age.
- The three-dose pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) will be rolled out in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, six districts of Uttar Pradesh and 17 districts of Bihar as a part of the first phase.
- The vaccine will give protection against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria which cause pneumonia disease.
- There are over 90 different types of pneumococcal bacteria which cause a range of problems.
- India shoulders the highest burden of child pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths in the world.
|Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP)|
2. Pertussis (Whooping cough),
5. Hepatitis B,
9. Japanese Encephalitis (JE)
12. Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib),
(Rubella, JE and Rotavirus vaccine are given in select states and districts).
⏳ Traffic pollution reaches the Himalayas
- India’s notorious traffic pollution is no longer an urban malaise, its impact is now being felt 4,000 metres above sea level, in the Himalayas.
- Geologists have found high levels of sulphur from diesel emissions along the Manali-Leh highway that snakes through the northwestern Himalayas.
- Soil samples from four sites along the 480 km highway were tested for 10 heavy metals and sulphur among other chemicals.
- While the good news is that heavy metal contamination was found to be low, the soil had significantly high levels of sulphur (490–2033 ppm), which the scientists attribute to diesel exhaust from heavy traffic on this mountainous road.
- Indian diesel contains some of the highest concentrations of sulphur in the world and an estimated 70% of automobiles running on Indian roads use diesel, “and the Himalaya are no exception.”
⏳ NASA not taking humans on first flight of new rocket
- NASA has dropped the idea of putting astronauts aboard the first integrated flight of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft – Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).
- This is the first in a broad series of exploration missions that plans to take humans to deep space, and eventually to Mars.
- NASA’s original plan was to launch the test flight without crew, but in February, reportedly at the request of the Donald Trump administration, NASA began an effort looking at the feasibility of putting crew aboard EM-1.
⏳ The future of white gold
- Last October, the government announced a major initiative to improve the milk productivity of Indian cows.
- The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) said it would embark on a yearlong project to map and analyse the genomes of at least 40 local breeds of cattle.
- India is the world’s largest producer of milk, partly due to importing European cows and crossbreeding them with local varieties as well as having a successful decades-long programme to source milk from small farmers through cooperatives.
- However, milk productivity in India, which ranges from 2-4 kg a day, is much lower than the 25-38 kg a day yielded by cattle in the United States, Europe or Israel.
- DBT officials told that the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology in Hyderabad — a DBT funded organisation — would sequence the genetic structure of several strains of cattle and then take steps to ensure that these cattle were bred and popularised.
- One reason for heightened interest in the milk of local breeds is a raft of research that implicates a protein — called A1 beta-casein and found in the milk of several European breeds — being linked to a risk of diabetes, ischemic disease and heart disease.
- Scientists now say that techniques are round the corner that can potentially ‘silence’ A1 genes.
- Genome editing software such as CRISPR-Cas9 can be used to achieve this.
- Genes could also be tweaked to increase the protein content of milk and tinker with their structure to make them last longer without spoiling and be more resistant to bacterial degradation.
⏳ Modules on life skills to help students beat stress
- Starting from the coming academic year, technical colleges across India will be required to offer semester-long modules to help freshers adjust to college life and beat stress.
- The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) wants all colleges affiliated to it — around 10,000 — to make these modules a necessary part of their course structure, without awarding any grades for them.
- The Indian Institutes of Technology, too, will have these modules, but the duration may be just a couple of months.
- The blueprint for the courses has been put in place by a professor at IITBHU, who was earlier with IIT-Hyderabad, where he developed the module.
- “The module will work on students’ communication skills, help them come to terms with failures in life, learn situational decisionmaking and negotiate dilemmas in life,” a senior official told.
- Moral and ethical values will also be part of the module, he added.
Context: Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI) Forum
- India will be absent from China’s Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI) Forum beginning Sunday.
- Indian Government response:
- Government supported connectivity projects.
- They “must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
- India from the beginning has objected to the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor part of the B&RI, as it includes projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- China will unveils plans for infrastructure projects estimated at $500 billion across Asia and Europe.
⏳ China to invest $800 bn in Belt & Road in five years
- Chinese investments related to the Belt and Road initiative have totalled $60 billion since 2013, and Beijing plans to invest $600 billion to $800 billion in the next five years, an official said here.
- On financing, he said China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China have extended $110 billion in loans for the Belt and Road projects by the end of 2016 and China has signed currency swap deals with the countries along the Belt and Road routes totalling 900 billion yuan.
- Mr. Ning said from 2013 to 2016, Chinese companies invested over $60 billion in the countries and regions, creating more than 1,80,000local jobs, and paid $1.1 billion in tax to local governments.
- China and Pakistan signed a number of infrastructure agreements to boost cooperation on the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including for the development of the strategic Gwadar port.
- The pacts deal with increasing bilateral cooperation within the framework of China’s ambitious Silk Road project.
⏳ Surprised by ICJ order, Pak. mulls next move
- Pakistan’s Attorney General’s Office in the Supreme Court building in Islamabad is witnessing unusual late sittings these days.
- India’s application in the International Court of Justice against the hanging of Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been convicted of espionage in Pakistan, and the ICJ intervention have caught many by surprise in Islamabad.
- After a military court in Rawalpindi sentenced Jadhav to death on April 10, Pakistani authorities had turned a blind eye to India’s responses.
- India was denied consular access to Jadhav. No lawyer in Pakistan was willing to take up his appeal.
- Just when the Pakistani government thought the Jadhav case was almost closed, India moved the ICJ at The Hague.
- Pakistan’s first line of defence to counter India’s plea was an agreement reached in 2008 on consular access.
- Clause VI of the agreement says a ‘decision to grant consular access in cases where detentions and arrests relate to political or security matters” will be taken “on the merits of the case”.
- In the 1999 Atlantique incident, when a Pakistan Navy plane was shot down by India in the disputed Rann of Kutch area, the ICJ ruled in favour of India, saying it had no jurisdiction in the existence of bilateral agreements.
- Besides, Pakistani officials say the military court verdict on Jadhav is not final.
- “There are at least three forums of appeals left. One is the review in FGCM (Field General Court Martial), the second is the Supreme Court and the final is the mercy petition. Pakistan will argue before the ICJ that since appeals are available in Pakistan, the ICJ cannot take up the case,” a lawyer associated with finalising Islamabad’s response said.
- Ali Nawaz Chohan, who served as a judge at ICJ during 2006-09, shares the same view.
- “Pakistan’s best defence is that India should exhaust all forums of appeals in Pakistan before contacting the ICJ,” he said. But he feared that the ICJ being very sensitive to human rights cases can overlook its aspect.
- “It can apply the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969 to which Pakistan is a signatory to override all local laws if it is convinced that any violation of human rights has taken place,” he pointed out.
|Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969|
⏳ Not ready for GST’s July start: industry
- The industry is worried about getting its back-end infrastructure in place as the July 1 deadline for the rollout of GST nears.
- Businesses are concerned whether they would have sufficient time to test the infrastructure once the rules and rates are finalised.
- Industry experts said the issues at the forefront that companies would like to have greater clarity on including the place of supply norms for service companies, how to deal with situations when the bill and shipping locations are different, the norms for the valuation of goods in order to transport them, and the reconciliation of e-way bills.
- At the moment, the ERPs have configured the system to calculate a destination based tax.
- The reconciliation of e-waybills is a big problem since they require the recipient to accept the e-waybill to close the transaction.
- The GST Council will be meeting in Srinagar on May 18-19, and the expectation is that it will issue wide-ranging clarifications regarding the rules applying to various aspects of the new tax regime.
- Ministry of Human Resource Development-released a strategy document to build a national teacher platform.
- Platform help teachers access an array of resources that will aid their classroom preparation and help augment professional development.
- The platform to work as national teacher education registry.
- It can be used by teachers to showcase their resume to prospective employers. People looking to clear the teacher eligibility test can take courses on the platform.