28&29, May 2017

  1. Indian researchers develop 3D bioprinted cartilage

Source: The Hindu

  • For the first time, Indian researchers have been able to achieve a measure of success in developing cartilages that are molecularly similar to the ones seen in human knees.
  • Scientists have printed cartilage using bioink.

Key facts:

  • The bioink has high concentration of bone-marrow derived cartilage stem cells, silk proteins and a few factors.
  • The chemical composition of the bioink supports cell growth and long-term survival of the cells. The cartilage developed in the lab has remained physically stable for up to six weeks. Just like cells are surrounded by proteins inside our body, the cells in the engineered cartilage are also surrounded by bioink that has a similar composition.


  • While the cartilage found in the knee is an articular cartilage that is typically sponge-like and has a huge load-bearing capacity, the ones produced in the lab so far are of a different kind — transient cartilage. Unlike articular cartilage, transient cartilage becomes bone cells and, therefore, brittle within a short time. As a result, the engineered cartilage loses its capacity to bear huge load that is typically encountered in the knee.
  • But the 3D bioprinting approach adopted by the researchers allows the high concentration of bone-marrow derived cartilage stem cells present in the bioink to gradually convert to chondrocyte-like cells (specialised cells which produce and maintain the extracellular matrix of cartilage).

  1. Cattle trade rules go against 1960 law

Source: The Hindu

Experts say, the recently notified Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules of 2017 contravene the provisions of the very law — Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 — under which it has been notified.


  • The government recently placed restrictions on the sale of cattle in a livestock market for purposes of slaughter and religious animal sacrifices.
  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules of 2017 permit the sale of cattle in markets only to verified “agriculturists”, who have to give an undertaking to authorities that cattle will not be sold or slaughtered for meat. Nor shall the animal be used for sacrifices. The animal will be used only for farming.
  • The rules take away the rights of the owner to even sell the carcass of an animal dying of “natural causes” in the market. The rules prescribe that the carcass will be incinerated and not be sold or flayed for leather.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960:

  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, enacted on December 26, 1960, however, does not impose any such restriction. It does not ban a cattle owner to sell the carcass of his animals for leather. The legislative intent of the 1960 Act is to “prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals”.
  • In fact, the very proof that neither slaughter nor sale for that purpose is banned by the Act is found in Section 9 (e) of the statute. One of the functions of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) under the Act is to “advise the government or any local authority or other person in the design of slaughter-houses or the maintenance of slaughter houses or in connection with slaughter of animals so that unnecessary pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is eliminated in the pre-slaughter stages as far as possible, and animals are killed; wherever necessary, in as humane a manner as possible.”
  • The Act further recognises slaughter for food. Section 11 of the Act does not categorise slaughter of animals for food as cruelty. It makes a specific exemption for “destruction of any animal as food for mankind unless such destruction or preparation was accompanied by the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering.”

Observations made by the supreme court:

  • When a PIL petition came up for hearing before the SC to ban animal sacrifices for religious purposes, the court had specifically noted how Section 28 of the Act mandates that “nothing contained in this Act (1960 Act) shall render it an offence to kill any animal in a manner required by the religion of any community.”
  • The restriction on trade of cattle or carcasses in livestock markets will have to be tested on the touchstone of the fundamental right to occupation, trade or business under Article 19 (1) (g) to see whether it is “reasonable.”

Challenges ahead for the centre:

  • Though Section 38 of the 1960 Act confers the Centre the power to make rules, several judicial precedents hold that this rule-making power does not allow going “beyond the scope of enabling Act or which is inconsistent therewith or repugnant.” Rules cannot be used to bring within its purview a subject — in this case, restriction on sale of cattle for slaughter or animal sacrifices —that has been specifically excluded by the statute.
  • Besides, many states have questioned the centre’s unilateral decision on cattle, which is a state subject.

  1. Centre confirms 3 Zika cases in Gujarat

Source: The Hindu

The Union Health Ministry has confirmed that three cases of Zika were reported from Ahmedabad in January. The information was made public five months after the cases were reported, as the World Health Organization (WHO) has now published a ‘member state report’ on its website. The health ministry, however, has said the outbreak has been contained.

An Inter-Ministerial Task Force set up under the Chairmanship of Health Secretary C.K. Mishra and a Joint Monitoring Group are already reviewing the global situation on Zika.

Zika virus:

  • Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes bite during the day and night.
  • Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
  • There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

  1. New book celebrates the Reang of Tripura

Source: The Hindu

In an attempt to document and preserve the cultural and social diversity of the Reang, a unique and detailed publication by Lincoln Reang, titled ‘Mapping with respect to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in Tripura’, is being published by the Tribal Research and Cultural Institute, Government of Tripura.

Key facts:

  • Reang is a tribal community residing in Tripura.
  • They practise Jhum cultivation and reside in ‘tong ghar’ (bamboo huts) that are built on a raised platform.
  • Reang (also known as Riang) are among the 19 tribes of Tripura, the only one to be classified as a ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG)’ in the State. The classification is based on their pre-agricultural level of technology and the low levels of literacy in the community. As per the 2011 census, the Reang population in Tripura numbers about 1,88,220.
  • One of the main concerns today is the limited access to education.
  • Traditionally, jhum (shifting) cultivation has been one of the primary agricultural activities of the Reang tribe. However, with land rights being granted, many members of the community have taken to ploughing or settled cultivation.
  • Members of the Reang tribe are generally known to be shy and hardly ever depart from their traditional way of life. Till a few decades ago, they did not mix with people of other communities. However, over the past few years, changes have slowly started creeping into their way of life.

  1. G7 summit

Source: The Hindu

  • The leaders of the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – countries collectively known as the Group of Seven (G7) – recently held a two-day summit in Taormina, Italy. The bloc meets annually to discuss a wide range of issues, including global economy, security and energy – and this year will be no exception.
  • The leaders issued a collective statement at the close of the talks, saying that they have committed to “strengthening our collective energy security and ensuring open, transparent, liquid, and secure global markets for energy resources and technologies.”

About G7

  • The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal bloc of industrialised democracies. Its current members make up nearly 50% of the world economy, and represent more than 60% of net global wealth.
  • It consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. EU is also represented.
  • The G7 takes no mandatory decisions, and the meeting is billed as an opportunity to allow leaders to exchange ideas in key issues. A leaders’ declaration at the end of summit is not binding in nature.
  • The presidency, which rotates among member states, is responsible for setting the agenda and arranging logistics.


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