04, March 2017

1.First SAARC Epidemiology Networking Forum Meeting
Source: PIB

The First SAARC Epidemiology Networking Forum Meeting was jointly organized by the Government of India — Division of Livestock Health, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DAHDF), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the SAARC Secretariat and FAO through CCS National Institute of Animal Health (CCS NIAH)

  • The objective of this first forum meeting was primarily to operationalize a sustainable and functioning veterinary epidemiology network among the eight SAARC Member States
  • It also aims to build trust and foster collaboration between the Member States to achieve a more effective and efficient TADs, including zoonoses, control


2.“DESTINATION NORTH EAST – 2017” in Chandigarh
Source: PIB

The objective of Destination North East, 2017 is to showcase North East as a potential destination for investment and highlight the rich traditions and customs of the region.

  • It will also highlight the use of appropriate technologies in all sectors of development for North Eastern Region, with the major participation of Office of Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India and Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • Destination North East, 2017 will include round table discussions and exhibition stalls and aims to attract investments in Tourism, Skill Development, Food Processing, Handlooms and Handicrafts, Rural Livelihoods, Entrepreneurship and Microfinance, Horticulture and Floriculture, Medicinal & Aromatic Plants, Organic  Farming and Bamboo Development.


3.For Olive Ridleys, it’s paradise lost
Source: The Hindu


Tens of thousands of eggs laid by Olive Ridley sea turtles this year in Gahirmatha Sanctuary in Odisha, are getting destroyed due to Shrinking coastal space.

  • The Odisha Forest and Environment Department estimates that 6,04,046 turtles have come to lay eggs at Nasi II island of Gahirmatha from February 22
  • Since the small island could not host all those that turned up this year, only 50% of eggs may survive
  • A female sea turtle scoops beach sand out to lay 80 to 120 eggs, but its effort is undone when a second digs at the same place to lay its own
  • Gahirmatha once had 32 km of beach and nesting area of 1,80,000 square metres
  • A research has shown that Nasi I and Nasi II had fragmented
  • There is attrition, but there are also times when submerged portions got exposed again


4.Low MR vaccine coverage in TN a worry
Source: The Hindu

Issue :

  • Only about 50% of children aged nine months to 15 years in Tamil Nadu have been vaccinated by the measles-rubella (MR) combination vaccine since the campaign was launched
  • Unless and otherwise the vaccination coverage is increased to over 90%, there is a high possibility that the State would witness more rubella infections among older age groups
  • This would, in turn, lead to an increase in the number of newborns with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) — hearing impairments, eye and heart defects and brain damage — when women get infected with rubella virus during the early stages of pregnancy


  • In order to avoid this we need high coverage during both the campaign and the universal immunisation programme (UIP).There is a compulsion that the UIP becomes more efficient than before


5.U.S. nixed India’s plea on reforms in medicine
Source: The Hindu

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) response has revealed that the United States government had opposed including agenda items proposed by India, which aimed at reforming medical innovation that currently pump up drug prices to unaffordable levels

  • Proposals: The Indian government — along with 11 South East Asian countries — had proposed a discussion on an ‘Access to Medicines’ report by the United Nations High Level Panel. It had recommended reforms in the funding of biomedical research and development
  • Opposition: However, the set of documents released by Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a not for profit organisation that gives technical advice to governments, reveals that both the United States and the WHO opposed the proposal by India

The delays by WHO to place the UN HLP recommendations on the agenda of the WHO’s EB and subsequently at the World Health Assembly have drawn widespread criticism from Asian civil society organisations

The U.N. report: There is a need for an RD treaty and it recommended reforms in the area of biomedical R&D

Policy incoherence:

  • The U.N. Access to Medicines report had recommended solutions for remedying the policy incoherence between justifiable rights of inventors, trade rules and global public health targets
  • The report recommended that governments and the private sector must refrain from explicit or implicit threats, tactics or strategies that undermine the right of WTO Members to use TRIPS flexibilities

Criticism of US action:

  • The U.S. government has a policy of blocking all reforms that would lead to funding the R&D system in a way that it prioritises diseases that kill million of people in the developing world
  • The U.S. government is not just a member-state of WHO but also a big donor
  • This is consistent with the U.S. policy to pressure countries like India to have more IP barriers while blocking all attempts at reforms


6.UN body slams Sri Lanka
Source: The Hindu

The UN human rights office criticised the Sir Lankan government’s slow progress in addressing wartime crimes.

  • Reports of abuses including torture remain widespread in Sri Lanka eight years after the end of a decades-long civil war
  • The island has made “worryingly slow” progress in addressing its wartime past, warning this could threaten lasting peace and stability

Torture: It pointed to the island’s own Human Rights Commission’s acknowledgement of complaints illustrating the routine use of torture by the police throughout the country as a means of interrogation and investigation. The prevailing culture of impunity for perpetrating torture has undoubtedly contributed to this situation

At the Backdrop: At least 1,00,000 people died in the conflict between Tamil separatists and government forces that ended in 2009.The UN has been pushing for a special court to investigate allegations that government forces killed up to 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final months of fighting


7.Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit irks China
Source: The Hindu

The Chinese Foreign Ministry warned New Delhi not to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, the State which is at the heart of the Sino-Indian dispute in the eastern sector. Gravely concerned over information that India has granted permission to the Dalai to visit Arunachal Pradesh

Warned that an invitation to Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh will cause “serious damage” to peace and stability of border region and Sino-Indian ties


China’s sharp response against the visit by the Tibetan leader in exile followed a contrasting call by a former Chinese boundary negotiator, who stressed that if the two sides managed to overcome their differences in the eastern sector, the final settlement of the Sino-Indian boundary dispute would be well within grasp

Spotlight on eastern sector – Tawang :

  • The disputed territory in the eastern sector of the China-India boundary, including Tawang, is inalienable from China’s Tibet in terms of cultural background and administrative jurisdiction
  • From the perspective of international law, the Simla Accord, as well as the ‘McMahon Line’ which it created, are not only unfair and illegitimate, but also illegal and invalid

About 2005 agreement:

  • An Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question, which was signed in 2005 has been “fundamental” in advancing the boundary talks
  • This agreement pinpointed that the two countries should make meaningful and mutually acceptable adjustments to their respective positions on the boundary question in order to reach a package settlement



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