19 & 20, February 2017

1.Telecom Exports from India to be the focus of ASEAN-India Digital Partnership

Source: PIB

“India Telecom 2017: An Exclusive International Business Expo”

To commemorate the 25th year of the ASEAN India relations, TEPC (Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council) is organizing an inter-ministerial meeting between telecom ministers of ASEAN countries and India in New Delhi.

Key facts:

  • Indian Government has expressed keen interest to partner with ASEAN countries in enabling Digital Connectivity between India and ASEAN region and also for enabling broadband within ASEAN countries.
  • These digital connectivity projects are of strategic importance and can have a transformative impact on the economy and cooperation between ASEAN and India.
  • India has committed to provide financial as well as technological support for projects that could include-high-speed fiber optic networks, digital villages, rural broadband, national knowledge network, secured communication networks and telecom training and skill development.
  • Indian companies who have created world-class products and solutions, which are not only of the highest quality and are also very cost-competitive, are keen to export to customers in ASEAN region, who have similar requirements like India.

The main objective of the event is to provide opportunities to Indian telecom exporters including SMEs and Startups to meet qualified overseas buyers. This event provides one to one meeting opportunities between buyers from different countries and Indian exporters who can enlighten them about their products and technology solutions.

2.INSV Tarini Inducted

Source: PIB

The Indian Navy’s second ocean going sailboat Tarini was inducted, in presence of host of dignitaries at a glittering ceremony at INS Mandovi Boat Pool.

Key facts:

  • The sail boat Tarini is being inducted into the Navy and is slated to be the platform for First Indian All Women Circumnavigation of the Globe expedition of the Indian Navy.
  • INSV Tarini is a sloop built by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd at Divar, Goa.
  • Indian Navy will is operating four sailing vessels capable of open ocean deployments, that is, Tarangini, Sudarshini, Mhadei and Tarini, all four of which have been built in shipyards at Goa. Indian Navy is attempting to revitalise open ocean sailing and will also be inducting four 40 feet, state of the art open ocean racing sail boats.

3.Scientists claim discovery of drowned Pacific Ocean continent Zealandia

Source: The Hindu

The 4.5-million square km land mass is 94% under water and only its highest points — New Zealand and New Caledonia — are visible.

Split 80 million years ago?

Zealandia is believed to have broken away from Australia about 80 million years ago and sank beneath the sea as part of the break up of the super-continent known as Gondwanaland.

  • New Zealand sits atop a previously unknown continent — mostly submerged beneath the South Pacific — that should be recognised with the name Zealandia.
  • Paper published Zealandia measured five million square kilometre (1.9 million square miles) and was 94 per cent underwater.

Researchers are of the view that this landmass “qualifies as a continent”.

  1. The GSA report says that Zealandia is around five million sq km in size. That would be about the same size as the Indian subcontinent.
  2. Almost 94 per cent of Zealandia is underwater in the Pacific Ocean.
  3. It encircles New Zealand, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, the Lord Howe Island group, and also the Elizabeth and Middleton reefs.
  4. As it so happens, New Zealand’s North and South Islands, and New Caledonia are actually parts of Zealandia. These are the few bits of the landmasses that remains out of water.
  5. Despite being mostly underwater, Zealandia meets all the criteria to be qualified as a continent: it is elevated above the surrounding area, has distinctive geology, well-defined area, crust thicker than the usual ocean floor, etc.
  6. It is believed that Zealandia sank some time between 60 to 85 million years ago, after it broke away from Gondwana, the landmass that Australia was once a part of.
  7. Geologists have been researching and pitching for Zealandia to be recognised as an independent continent for over 20 years now.
  8. If approved, Zealandia will become the world’s seventh and smallest continent, joining the crew of Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, and Australia.

Which habitable areas currently fall under Zealandia?

  • New Zealand.
  • New Caledonia.
  • Norfolk Island.
  • Lord Howe Island Group.


4.Why Earth’s inner core doesn’t melt

Source: The Hindu

An energy distribution cycle keeps the core solid despite it being hotter than the surface of the Sun

Scientists have discovered why the crystallised iron core of the Earth remains solid, despite being hotter than the surface of the Sun.

Why earth’s core doesn’t melt?

  • Spinning within Earth’s molten core is a crystal ball — actually a mass formation of almost pure crystallised iron — nearly the size of the moon. Scientists found that on the edge of the inner core, pieces of crystals’ structure continuously melt and diffuse only to be reinserted due to high pressure like “shuffling deck of cards.” This energy distribution cycle keeps the crystal stable and the core solid.

Here, changing atomic structure of iron crystals is mainly responsible for the solid core:

  • The core is likely composed of 96% pure iron, with the remaining four percent made up of nickel and some light elements.
  • As with all metals, the atomic-scale crystal structures of iron change depending on the temperature and pressure the metal is exposed to.
  • Atoms are packed into variations of cubic, as well as hexagonal formations. At room temperatures and normal atmospheric pressure, iron is in what is known as a body-centred cubic (BCC) phase, which is a crystal architecture with eight corner points and a centre point.
  • However, at extremely high pressure, the crystalline structures transform into 12-point hexagonal forms, or a close packed (HCP) phase.
  • At Earth’s core, where pressure is 3.5 million times higher than surface pressure — and temperatures are some 6,000 degrees higher — scientists have proposed that the atomic architecture of iron must be hexagonal.

5.India’s Only Live Volcano Active Again After 150 Years, Say National Experts


  • India’s only active volcano is spewing smoke and lava once again
  • Barren Island volcano is located 140-km north-east of Port Blair
  • Scientists recovered coal-like black pyroclastic material from the area

India’s only live volcano in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands which had started showing activity in the year 1991 after being dormant for over 150 years has once again started spewing ash, the researchers at Goa based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

6.Kashmir to observe 2017 as the ‘Year of Apple’

Source: The Hindu

  • J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has declared 2017 as ‘Year of Apple’ in a major bid to promote the famed Kashmiri apples in domestic and foreign markets.
  • As part of this, the Chief Minister launched the High Density Apple Plantation Scheme in Srinagar. These high-density plants will be routed through J&K Bank along with the subsidy.
  • Jammu and Kashmir is the largest apple producing State in India at 11.2 metric tonnes, which accounts for 71% of national production, according to official figures.

7.Government announces expansion of rotavirus vaccine

Source: The Hindu

  • The government has announced the expansion of rotavirus vaccine in five additional states under its Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). Now, the vaccine will be expanded to Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
  • The announcement came after 38 lakh children were vaccinated in four states – Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha when the vaccine was first introduced.
  • The vaccine will prevent Rotavirus diarrhoea in children which accounts for approximately 40% of hospitalizations from diarrhoea in India.


Diarrhoea is one of the biggest killers in children and rotavirus is one of the most common causes of severe diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age. Rotavirus diarrhoea is responsible for nearly 78,000 deaths, 32 lakh out-patient visits and nearly 9 lakh hospitalizations every year.

Rotavirus-Signs and Symptoms

  • Kids with a rotavirus infection have fever, nausea, and vomiting, often followed by abdominal cramps and frequent, watery diarrhea.
  • Kids may also have a cough and runny nose.
  • Sometimes the diarrhea that accompanies a rotavirus infection is so severe that it can quickly lead to dehydration.
  • As with all viruses, though, some rotavirus infections cause few or no symptoms, especially in adults.


Rotavirus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route, via contact with contaminated hands, surfaces and objects, and possibly by the respiratory route. Viral diarrhea is highly contagious.


  • Universal Immunization Programme is a vaccination program launched by the Government of India in 1985. It became a part of Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme in 1992 and is currently one of the key areas under National Rural Health Mission(NRHM) since 2005.
  • The program consists of vaccination for ten diseases- tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, Hepatitis B, Diarrhoea, Japanese Encephalitis and Pneumonia.
  • Hepatitis B was added to the UIP in 2007.
  • In 2014 it was announced that four vaccines will be added to the program, namely rotavirus, rubella and Japanese encephalitis, as well as the injectable polio vaccine.

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