09&10, July 2017

1.Ahmedabad gets World Heritage City tag

Source: The Hindu

  • The 606-year-old walled city of Ahmedabad, which was founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah, has become India’s first World Heritage City.
  • The World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO announced this. Ahmedaba is recognized the city as the cradle of India’s non-violent freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The decision was taken during the ongoing 41st session of the World Heritage Committee in the Polish city of Krakow, which acknowledged the preservation efforts made by the city in keeping its historical fabric intact.
  • The city’s historic characteristics include densely-packed traditional houses (‘pols’) in gated traditional streets (‘puras’) with features such as bird feeders, public wells and religious institutions.
  • The Walled City of Ahmedabad will now join the likes of Paris, Cairo, and Edinburgh. Of the 287 World Heritage Cities across the globe, only two were hitherto on the Indian subcontinent: Bhaktpur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka. The Unesco tag will add immense brand value to the city and boost tourism.

2.Programme 17 for 17

Source: PIB

  • It is a 17 point action plan for 2017 – for building digital campuses and high quality education.
  • The action plan covers measures like universal adoption of digital education, digital financial transactions in the campuses from the current academic year.
  • It was adopted at the end of the recently concluded National Convention of Vice Chancellors of all Universities in the Country, and Heads of IISc/IITs/IIMs/NITs/IIITs.

3.President unveils online education portal Swayam (Ministry Of Human Resource and Development)

Source: PIB

President of India recently launched the SWAYAM, the portal that takes high quality education to the doorstep of everyone and the SWAYAM Prabha – the 32 DTH channels operationalised for telecasting high quality educational content free of charge using the GSAT-15 satellite transponders.


  • With the launch of SWAYAM, India has become one of the few countries in the World which has its own online interactive learning platform that provides, not only video lectures, reading material but also assignments/quizzes that could end up in securing credits after completing the assessment system.
  • More than 400 Courses are available on SWAYAM covering all the engineering and non-engineering subjects at undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
  • The UGC has already issued Regulation that allows transfer of credits earned through the courses done through SWAYAM into the academic record of the students.
  • It is now possible for the students and others to take courses of the prestigious IITs or IIMs without formally studying there.
  • The platform has been constructed by Microsoft with totally indigenous efforts.

Key facts:

Swayam and Swayam Prabha to take education to the remotest corners of the country on Sunday. Mukherjee also launched a ‘National Academic Depository’ where verified educational records will be digitally stored by universities and boards to counter forgery.

Swayam Prabha:

  • The SWAYAM PRABHA is conceived as a group of 32 DTH channels devoted to telecasting of high-quality educational programmes on 24X7 basis using the GSAT-15 satellite.
  • Higher Education: Curriculum-based course contents at post-graduate and under-graduate level covering diverse etc.

4.G -20 leaders propose Hamburg Action Plan at summit conclusion

Source: The Hindu

The two-day G-20 summit that took place in Germany’s Hamburg city ended with the leaders proposing the Hamburg Action Plan to address major global challenges, including climate change, harnessing digitalisation, and to contribute to prosperity and well-being.

What are the Significance of this move?

  • The leaders pledged to progress towards their joint objective in the G20, which is strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
  • They resolved to tackle common challenges to the global community, including terrorism, displacement, poverty, hunger and health threats, job creation, climate change, energy security, and inequality including gender inequality, as a basis for sustainable development and stability.
  • In order to improving sustainable livelihoods, the G-20 leaders collectively committed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through, among others, increased innovation on sustainable and clean energies and energy efficiency, and work towards low greenhouse-gas emission energy systems.
  • The Leaders of the other G-20 members also agreed that the Paris Agreement is irreversible reiterated the importance of fulfilling the UNFCCC commitment by developed countries in providing means of implementation including financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation actions in line with Paris outcomes.
  • The leaders stressed on the importance of harnessing the benefits of globalisation, reaffirm the importance of transparency for predictable and mutually beneficial trade relations, harness digitalisation to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The leaders underlined to boost employment by improving sustainable global supply chains, which have been recognised as an important source of job creation and balanced economic growth.
  • The leaders resolved to make a resilient global financial system in agreed international standards, to support sustainable growth.
  • The G-20 leaders also called for safeguarding against health crises and strengthening health systems. The leaders called on the United Nations to keep global health high on the political agenda and strive for cooperative action to strengthen health systems worldwide, including through developing the health workforce.
  • The leaders also stressed on combatting Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), which is a growing threat to public health and economic growth.

5.New drugs needed against hard-to-treat Gonorrhoea: UN

Source: The Hindu

Antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhea harder and sometimes even impossible to treat, according to a new warning from the World Health Organization (WHO). Therefore, a new drug may be urgently needed to treat the disease.

About Gonorrhea:

  • Gonorrhea, also called “the clap“, is a disease caused by bacteria. Untreated, it can cause painful pelvic inflammation in women, and infertility in both genders.
  • In extreme cases, the bacteria can spread in the blood to cause life-threatening infections in other parts of the body.
  • Symptoms of infection include painful urination and abnormal discharge, but many will experience no symptoms at all.

Gonorrhoea prevention

  • Gonorrhoea can be prevented through safer sexual behaviour, in particular consistent and correct condom use.
  • Information, education, and communication can promote and enable safer sex practices, improve people’s ability to recognize the symptoms of gonorrhoea and other sexually transmitted infections, and increase the likelihood they will seek care.
  • Today, lack of public awareness, lack of training of health workers, and stigma around sexually transmitted infections remain barriers to greater and more effective use of these interventions.
  • To control gonorrhoea, we need new tools and systems for better prevention, treatment, earlier diagnosis, and more complete tracking and reporting of new infections, antibiotic use, resistance and treatment failures,” said Dr Marc Sprenger, Director of Antimicrobial Resistance at WHO.

What’s the concern?

  • Gonorrhea resistance to penicillin and tetracycline, a common broad-spectrum antibiotic, first emerged in the 1970s in Asia, spreading to the rest of the world during the early 1980s, according to the WHO.
  • Resistance to the next level antibiotic, ciprofloxacin, developed in the mid-2000s. A third generation of drugs called cephalosporins — orally-administered cefixime and injectable ceftriaxone — then came into use.
  • But resistance to cefixime — and more rarely to ceftriaxone — has now been reported in more than 50 countries. These are so-called multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains.

 How bacteria become resistant?

  • Bacteria can become resistant to drugs when people take incorrect doses of antibiotics. Resistant strains can also be contracted directly from animals, water and air, or other people. When the most common antibiotics fail to work, more expensive types must be tried, resulting in longer illness and treatment.

6.122 countries adopt global treaty banning nuclear weapons

Source: The Hindu

A global treaty banning nuclear weapons was recently adopted at the United Nations.

The treaty was adopted by a vote of 122 in favour with one country — NATO member The Netherlands voting against —while Singapore abstained.

Key facts:

  • Led by Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and New Zealand, 141 countries joined in drafting the treaty that they hope will increase pressure on nuclear states to take disarmament more seriously.
  • The treaty prohibits a full range of nuclear-weapon related activities, such as undertaking to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of these weapons.
  • None of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons — the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — took part in the negotiations or the vote.
  • Even Japan — the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, in 1945 — boycotted the talks as did most NATO countries.

Nuclear powers argue their arsenals serve as a deterrent against a nuclear attack and say they remain committed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They said a purported ban on nuclear weapons that does not address the security concerns which continue to make nuclear deterrence necessary cannot result in the elimination of a single nuclear weapon and will not enhance any country’s security, nor international peace and security.


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