28, June 2017

GeneXpert

  • It is a device released recently by the WHO which can be used to diagnose TB and HIV infections, and quantitatively measure HIV and hepatitis C viral loads.
  • The WHO is recommending use of these state-of-the-art portable machines the size of a microwave oven, which can run molecular tests.

  1. Netherlands backs UNSC, NSG bids

Source: The Hindu

The Netherlands has backed India’s early entry into the NSG and other multilateral export control regimes, and supported the country’s bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat. The Netherlands’ support came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte.

The Netherlands also expressed its support for India’s membership to Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.

 NSG

  • Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials. Interestingly, the NSG was set up in 1974 as a reaction to India’s nuclear tests to stop what it called the misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes. Currently, it has 48 members.
  • India sought membership of the NSG in 2008, but its application hasn’t been decided on, primarily because signing the NPT or other nuclear moratoriums on testing is a pre-requisite. However, India has received a special waiver to conduct nuclear trade with all nuclear exporters.
  • India, Pakistan, Israel and South Sudan are among the four UN member states which have not signed the NPT, the international pact aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

  1. Uranus’ Unusual Rotation Creates Light Switch Effect

Source: The Hindu

NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft has discovered that Uranus’ magnetosphere – the region defined by the icy planet’s magnetic field and the material trapped inside it – gets flipped on and off like a light switch every day as it rotates along with the planet.

What causes light switch effect?

  • The finding showed that magnetosphere is ‘open’ in one orientation, allowing solar wind to flow into it. It is later “closed”, forming a shield against the solar wind and deflecting it away from the planet. When the magnetised solar wind meets this tumbling field in the right way, it can reconnect and Uranus’ magnetosphere goes from open to closed to open on a daily basis.
  • Therefore, scientists say Uranus’ rapid rotational change in field strength and orientation lead to a periodic open-close-open-close scenario as it tumbles through the solar wind.
  • Reconnection of magnetic fields is a phenomenon throughout the solar system. It is one reason for the Earth’s auroras. Since the same alignment of the Earth’s magnetosphere is always facing toward the sun, the magnetic field threaded in the solar wind must change direction in order to reconfigure the Earth’s field from closed to open.

  1. Kaushik Basu leads International Economic Association

Source: The Hindu

The Finance Ministry’s former Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu has taken over as President of the International Economic Association (IEA). He will hold the office for a term of three years.

IEA

  • The IEA was founded in 1950 as a Non-Governmental Organization, at the instigation of the Social Sciences Department of UNESCO. It has since its creation maintained information and consultative relations with UNESCO and is since 1973 a federated member of the International Social Science Council.
  • Its aim from the beginning has been to promote personal contacts and mutual understanding among economists in different parts of the world through the organization of scientific meetings, through common research programs and by means of publications of an international character on problems of current importance.
  • The IEA is governed by a Council, composed of representatives of all Member Associations as well as a limited number of co-opted members. The Council meets triennially when it reviews the general policy of the Association and elects the President and other Officers and members of the Executive Committee for a three-year term of office.



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