Goaltide Daily Current Afffairs 2023
Current Affair 1:
Recent studies have reported that ‘Bisphenol A’, may shorten the life cycle of a mosquito and lead to a population explosion.
About Bisphenol A:
Bisphenol A is a synthetically obtained colourless, crystalline organic compound that occurs in the solid phase belonging to the diphenylmethane group.
It is soluble in organic solvents but poorly dissolves in water
It is also used as eyewear glasses. It is a chemical is widely used to soften plastics, paints, and other products.
It is known to impair reproduction and development in aquatic organisms.
Its exposure is delayed larval development and pupation time in common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster).
The adverse effect of bisphenol A, or BPA, on human health is well known.
When ingested, the chemical that is widely used to soften plastics, paints and other products, disrupts the endocrine system by interfering with the hormones and affects the brain and prostate gland of foetuses, infants and children.
Several studies establish that the chemical can cause high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adults.
What makes mosquitoes even more harmful are the bacteria, viruses and parasites they transmit, thereby causing diseases.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), mosquito bites result in more than one million deaths every year, malaria being one of the major causes of death.
Here are some of the mosquito-borne diseases that you should be aware of:
Caused by a parasite Plasmodium, this disease is transmitted via bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. The parasites multiply in the liver and affect the red blood cells. Symptoms for the disease include fever, headache and vomiting. Malaria can be life-threatening if not treated immediately.
Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes of the species Aedes aegypti, and, to a lesser extent, by A albopictus. Symptoms for the disease include high fever, severe headache, pain in muscles and bones, and mild bleeding from the nose and gums, among others. Some people might also contract a more severe form of the disease called dengue hemorrhagic fever.
This is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected infected mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It can cause high fever, join and muscle pain, and headache. There is, however, no specific treatment for the disease. One would need to take rest and consume fluids until the symptoms go away.
Zika virus is also transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The symptoms are mild and may include fever, joint muscle pain or rash. There's, however, no vaccine to prevent the virus.
Lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis)
This disease is caused by three thread-like parasitic filarial worms, Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori, all transmitted by mosquitoes. It damages the lymphatic system and results in painful, swollen limbs. The lymphatic damage may also lead to frequent attacks of infection.
The Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus breeds in flooded rice fields, marshes, and standing water around plants. The virus can attack the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. Most JE virus infections are mild or without apparent symptoms. There is a vaccine available to protect one against the Japanese encephalitis virus.
Current Affair 2:
Olive Ridley turtles.
Recently, experts reported that suitable climatic and beach conditions are the reasons for the early mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles.
What are Olive Ridley Turtles?
The Olive ridley turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world. These turtles are carnivores and get their name from their olive-coloured carapace. They are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
They are found in warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. The Odisha’s Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is known as the world’s largest rookery (colony of breeding animals) of sea turtles.
Olive Ridley Conservation in India
Olive Ridleys in India are found from the Gujarat coast to the Andamans and Lakshadweep to Odisha and Bengal. These turtles make their journey from Australia to India of around 9000 km.
Threats to Olive Ridleys:
The state government of Odisha has listed down the following threats to the Olive Ridley Turtles:
Loss or modification of the nesting beaches due to Casuarina plantation
Fishing by gill nets; and development of fishing bases at the potential nesting sites and breeding areas
Strong illumination around nesting beaches greatly disorients the adult turtles as well as the hatchlings
Large scale vessel movement in congregation zones severely disturb mating and breeding
Nests and eggs are destroyed by predators like dogs, jackals, hyenas, etc., and by beach erosion.
These sea turtles have been given legal protection under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
The Olive Ridley Turtles are also protected by CITES under Appendix 1.
They are also listed in the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), also called Bonn Convention.
Odisha Government Initiatives
In Odisha, the population that congregates yearly represents about 50% of the total world population of Olive Ridleys and about 90% of the Indian population of sea turtles.
To protect the nesting and breeding habitat of Olive Ridley Turtles, the waters around Bhitarkanika were declared as Gahirmatha (Marine) Wildlife Sanctuary in September 1997.
Odisha Marine Fisheries Regulation Act (OMFRA) 1982 and Odisha Marine Fisheries Regulation Rules, 1983 have declared the coastal waters off Devi and Rushikulya rookery as a no-fishing zone during the sea turtle breeding season. Indian Coast Guard has been authorized to enforce the provisions of these acts.
Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs)
These are 2-D net inserts that have large escape openings for turtles. These are compulsory to be used by the trawlers while shrimp fishing.
Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary
Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is a marine wildlife sanctuary located in Odishaand is a very popular tourist attraction of Odisha in India.
It is the world's largest nesting beachfor Olive Ridley Turtles.
It extends from Dhamra River mouth in the north to Brahmani river mouth in the south.
It is very famous for its nesting beach for olive ridley sea turtles.
Current Affair 3:
Recently, the CJI reprimanded a student for filing a caveat in a petition seeking menstrual leave.
The Petitioner requested the Supreme Court to issue a direction to the government to frame rules for granting menstrual pain leave for students and working women under Section 14 of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
Section 14 deals with the appointment of inspectors.
It says that appropriate governments may appoint such officers and may define the local limits of jurisdiction within which they shall exercise their functions under this law.
The Petitioner highlighted that countries like the United Kingdom, China, Wales, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Spain and Zambia are already providing menstrual pain leave in one form or the other.
The Petitioner stated that the various provisions of the 1961 Act acknowledge and respect the motherhood and maternity of working women.
Despite several provisions under different laws and policies to take care of women in difficult stages of her maternity, the very first stage of maternity, the menstrual period, has been knowingly or unknowingly ignored by society, the legislature and other stakeholders in society except for a few organizations and State governments.
What Attempts for Menstrual Leaves are Being Made in India?
Some companies in India have introduced menstrual leave policies, including Zomato, which announced a 10-day paid period leave per year in 2020.
Other companies, such as Swiggy and Byjus, have also followed suit.
Bihar and Kerala are the only Indian states that have introduced menstrual leave policies for women.
Bihar's policy was introduced in 1992, allowing employees two days of paid menstrual leave every month.
Kerala recently announced that the state's higher education department will grant menstrual and maternity leaves for students in universities under the department, and a Kerala school has also introduced a similar system.
WHY IS IT WORTH GIVING WOMEN THE RIGHT TO MENSTRUAL LEAVE?
As the research of the Journal of Women's Health shows, over 70% of women under the age of 25 are suffering due to a time of pain. Between other symptoms accompanying menses, there are mood swings, trouble with focusing, and tiredness.
Most women endure the pain and come to work as usual. Even though asked about their results during period, women admitted that they were worse than usual. Feeling bad and weaker may affect not only work efficiency but also the learning process. That's why it's very common in schools to give a girl the possibility to call indisposition during PE classes.
Providing women a possibility of taking a day-off when they feel really bad doesn't mean they will be abusing this possibility every month. The need for an "emergency exit" is in some cases so strong, that they wouldn't risk losing it because of laziness. But you can't always be sure.
The truth is, giving women the additional day-off on account of period (or at least an extra day of remote work per month annotated in leave management records) could be a huge relief and help for some of them. We're talking about not only those women who suffer from endometriosis, but also various other conditions, such as dysmenorrhea.
In the whole world, there're only several countries that understood women's needs and discomfort accompanying them during the period. Between those sparse countries are:
Indonesia – the beginning of menstrual leave took place in 1951, and since 2003, every woman is entitled to 2 days off a month,
South Korea – menstrual leave is provided by labor law, and if a woman won't use them, an employer has to pay for those days,
Japan – since 1947 every labor law states that employer should give a woman a day-off during the period, but it doesn't provide any special kind of absence for this situation,
Taiwan – since 2002 labor law provides woman 3 additional days-off for a year that can be used during the period,
Zambia – since 2015 women can get one leave day per month. It's called "Mother's Day". If a workwoman won't get a day-off, she's entitled to sue her employer,
Some of the Chinese provinces – since 1993, and in the refreshed version, since 2006, women are guaranteed with 2 days off per month,
Some Australia companies – since 2018 some companies started including menstrual leave as their own leave policy independently of labor law,
India – thanks to Culture Machine company menstrual leave gained popularity there in many enterprises since 2017, but it's still isn't included in labor law,
Poland – there's no mention of menstrual leave in labor law, but one company – specializing in producing streetwear clothes: PLNY LALA – introduced this policy. It's the first company in Poland which gives their women employees one day off per month. Will it contribute to large-scale change in leave policies in Europe.
Current Affair 4:
In recent studies, the medicinal plant commonly called Borthekera in Assamese was found to have cardioprotective potential.
Garcinia pedunculata, popularly known as Bor Thekera in Assamese, is an evergreen tree related to the more familiar purple mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana). The tree is endemic to the south-eastern regions of Asia such as parts of Bangladesh and north-eastern parts of India.
The sun-dried slices of the ripe fruit are used for culinary and medicinal purposes and are known to have therapeutic properties like anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal, antidiabetic, hypolipidemic, nephroprotective, and even neuroprotective activity.
With scientific interventions seeking proof of these claims, multiple studies have reported that G. pedunculata is a rich source of antioxidants.
Uses: The ripe fruit is eaten cooked or raw. Sun-dried slices are much valued and used for preparing delicacies like "tenga diya masor jol" meaning Assamese sour fish curry.
What have the scientists found about Bor Thekera?
Scientists have conducted a study to explore the medicinal plant “Bor Thekera” potential to prevent heart diseases.
They found that administration of the dried pulp of the ripe fruit of Bor Thekera reduced cardiac hypertrophy indicators and oxidative stress and heart inflammation.
Medicinal Plants - Background
Long before the prehistoric period, plants were used for medicinal purposes.
Herbs were described in ancient Unani manuscripts, Egyptian papyrus, and Chinese writings.
For over 4000 years, Unani Hakims, Indian Vaids, and European and Mediterranean cultures have used herbs as medicine.
Herbs were used in healing rituals by indigenous cultures such as Rome, Egypt, Iran, Africa, and America, while others developed traditional medical systems such as Unani, Ayurveda, and Chinese Medicine in which herbal therapies were used systematically.
India was known to be a rich repository of medicinal plants among ancient civilisations.
The Indian forest is the primary repository of a large number of medicinal and aromatic plants, which are primarily collected as raw materials for the production of drugs and perfumery products.
In India, approximately 8,000 herbal remedies have been codified in AYUSH systems.
The major indigenous medicine systems are Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Folk (tribal) medicines.
Ayurveda and Unani Medicine are the most developed and widely practised of these systems in India.
Current Affair 5:
Ransomwares have emerged as the most predominant of malicious cyberattacks worldwide.
What is the operation of the Ransomware?
It is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. The intrusion was a phishing attack, persuading a user to open a mail sent by a motivated intruder, appears to be from a genuine and authorised source, and the result of a malware (WannaCrypt 2.0) assembled not at one place but in several centres across the globe.
The ransom demanded in each instance was $300 to be paid in Bit coin — a digital currency which renders the beneficiary anonymous and is difficult to locate. One rough estimate is that the ransom-seekers will eventually net $1 billion, and that they have already received about $33,000.
What is the origin of Ransom ware?
The malware was possibly stolen from a stockpile of weapons which the National Security Agency (NSA) had built up over the years as a counter-offensive to cyber-attacks on the US and its allies by nations such as Russia, China and North Korea.
Shadow Brokers (whose exact identity is yet to be unravelled) had started posting online certain tools they had stolen from the NSA ‘armoury’. It revives memories of Stuxnet, a worm that both the US and Israel used against Iran’s nuclear programme more than five years ago.
While there is no corroboration to the charge levelled against the NSA, it is interesting that a few former intelligence officers have taken the stand that the tools used in the latest episode were indeed from the NSA’s ‘Tailored Access Operations’ unit.
Ransomware Attack Implications
According to Interpol’s first-ever Global Crime Trend report, ransomware was the second highest-ranking threat after money laundering, at 66%. It is also expected to increase the most (72%).
About 70 per cent of organisations in India have been hit by a ransomware attack in the last three years while 81 per cent of organisations feel that they could be the target of ransomware attacks.
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) in its India Ransomware Report 2022 stated that there is a 51-percent increase in the number of ransomware attacks across multiple sectors including critical infrastructure.
There are 7 main types of cyber warfare attacks:
Espionage: Refers to monitoring other countries to steal secrets. In cyber warfare, this can involve using botnets or spear phishing attacks to compromise sensitive computer systems before exfiltrating sensitive information.
Sabotage: Government organizations must determine sensitive information and the risks if it is compromised. Hostile governments or terrorists may steal information, destroy it, or leverage insider threats such as dissatisfied or careless employees, or government employees with affiliation to the attacking country.
Denial-of-service (DoS) Attacks: DoS attacks prevent legitimate users from accessing a website by flooding it with fake requests and forcing the website to handle these requests. This type of attack can be used to disrupt critical operations and systems and block access to sensitive websites by civilians, military and security personnel, or research bodies.
Electrical Power Grid: Attacking the power grid allows attackers to disable critical systems, disrupt infrastructure, and potentially result in bodily harm. Attacks on the power grid can also disrupt communications and render services such as text messages and communications unusable.
Propaganda Attacks: Attempts to control the minds and thoughts of people living in or fighting for a target country. Propaganda can be used to expose embarrassing truths, spread lies to make people lose trust in their country, or side with their enemies.
Economic Disruption: Most modern economic systems operate using computers. Attackers can target computer networks of economic establishments such as stock markets, payment systems, and banks to steal money or block people from accessing the funds they need.
Surprise Attacks: These are the cyber equivalent of attacks like Pearl Harbor and 9/11. The point is to carry out a massive attack that the enemy isn’t expecting, enabling the attacker to weaken their defenses. This can be done to prepare the ground for a physical attack in the context of hybrid warfare.
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