CITES ( Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)

  • CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  • Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.
  • It is an international agreement to which States (countries) adhere voluntarily. Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.

Everything about Cyberwar?

What is Cyberwar?

  • Cyberwar is a form of war which takes places on computers and the Internet, through electronic means rather than physical ones.
  • With an increasing global reliance on technology for everything from managing national electrical grids to ordering supplies for troops, cyberwar is a method of attack which many nations are vulnerable to.
  • In cyberwar, people use technological means to launch a variety of attacks.
  • Some of these attacks take a very conventional form. Computers can be used, for example, for propaganda, espionage, and vandalism.
  • Denial of service attacks can be used to shut down websites, silencing the enemy and potentially disrupting their government and industry by creating a distraction.
  • Cyberwar can also be utilized to attack equipment and infrastructure, which is a major concern for heavily industrialized nations which rely on electronic systems for many tasks.

Challenges to India’s National Security:

  • India’s reliance on technology reflects from the fact that India is shifting gears by entering into facets of e-governance.
  • India has already brought sectors like income tax, passports” visa under the realm of e -governance.
  • Sectors like police and judiciary are to follow.
  • The travel sector is also heavily reliant on this.
  • Most of the Indian banks have gone on full-scale computerization.
  • This has also brought in concepts of e-commerce and e-banking.
  • The stock markets have also not remained immune.
  • To create havoc in the country these are lucrative targets to paralyze the economic and financial institutions.
  • The damage done can be catastrophic and irreversible.

Challenges and Concerns:

  • Some challenges and concerns are highlighted below :­
  • Lack of awareness and the culture of cyber security at individual as well as institutional level.
  • Lack of trained and qualified manpower to implement the counter measures.
  • Too many information security organisations which have become weak due to ‘turf wars’ or financial compulsions.
  • A weak IT Act which has became redundant due to non exploitation and age old cyber laws.
  • No e-mail account policy especially for the defence forces, police and the agency personnel.
  • Cyber attacks have come not only from terrorists but also from neighboring countries inimical to our National interests.

Everything about Surrogacy

What is surrogacy?

  • Surrogacy is where a woman becomes pregnant with the intention of handing over the child to someone else after giving birth.
  • Generally, she carries the baby for a couple or parent who cannot conceive a child themselves – they are known as “intended parents”.
  • There are two forms of surrogacy.
  • In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother’s egg is used, making her the genetic mother.
  • In gestational surrogacy, the egg is provided by the intended mother or a donor.
  • The egg is fertilised through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and then placed inside the surrogate mother.

Is surrogacy legal?

  • It varies from country to country.
  • Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria prohibit all forms of surrogacy.
  • In countries including the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Belgium, surrogacy is allowed where the surrogate mother is not paid, or only paid for reasonable expenses.
  • Paying the mother a fee (known as commercial surrogacy) is prohibited.
  • Commercial surrogacy is legal in some US states, and countries including, Russia and Ukraine.

Where do people go for surrogacy?

  • countries popular with parents for surrogacy arrangements are the US,  Thailand, Ukraine and Russia.
  • Mexico, Nepal, Poland and Georgia are also among the countries described as possibilities for surrogacy arrangements.
  • Costs vary significantly from country to country, and also depend on the number of IVF cycles needed, and whether health insurance is required.

Cambodia the new destinations:

  • While Cambodia has become popular among people — both Indians and from other parts of the world — countries such as Ukraine and Kenya are attracting doctors from India.
  • India is no longer on the surrogacy map and after Bangkok and Thailand stopped surrogacy, Cambodia opened up.
  • As in the early days of surrogacy in India, the lack of proper laws or guidelines in Cambodia has proved a big attraction.
  • There is growth in surrogacy in Cambodia since last year.
  • There is a huge pressure building and Cambodia is ill-prepared to handle it.
  • Besides, there are no laws in place in Cambodia.
  • Doctors who offered surrogacy service in India are aware of the new hubs.

Neutrino and Indian Neutrino Observatory

Neutrino

  • Very similar to electrons
  • Second most abundant particles after photon
  • Don’t carry any charge
  • Are not massless
  • Neutrinos are miniscule particles created in nuclear reactions, such as in the birth and death of sun and the stars, or in nuclear power plants.
  • Neutrinos interact with matter via the weak force. The weakness of this force gives neutrinos the property that matter is almost trans- parent to them.
  • Since they rarely interact, these neutrinos pass through the Sun, and even the Earth, unhindered. There are many other natural sources of neutrinos including exploding stars (supernovae), relic neutrinos, natural radioactivity, and cosmic ray interactions in the atmosphere of the Earth.

 

Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) project 

INO, a proposed, underground observatory in Tamil Nadu to detect ephemeral particles called neutrinos — had been cleared by the Union government in 2015, after several years of deliberations, but has been stalled for over a year due to protests by activist groups, concerned over its environmental impact.

GM mosquitoes

  • To suppress wild female Aedes aegypti mosquito populations that cause dengue, chikungunya and Zika were launched in Maharashtra’s Jalna district.
  • The technology uses genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry a dominant lethal gene. When male GM mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes the lethal gene is passed on to offspring. The lethal gene in the offspring kills the larvae before they reach adulthood.
  • male mosquitoes do not bite humans, the release of GM males will not increase the risk of dengue, chikungunya and Zika.
  • Vector control using A. aegypti infected with the bacterium Wolbachia is achieved by using the life-shortening bacteria strain in both male and female mosquitoes
  • As Wolbachia is maternally inherited, the bacteria are anyway passed on to offspring. Dengue, Zika or chikunguya viruses cannot replicate when mosquitoes have Wolbachia . Unlike the RIDL technology, a feature of Wolbachia is that it is self-sustaining, making it a low-cost intervention.

Global Innovation Index (GII)

The Global Innovation Index (GII) aims to capture the multi-dimensional facets of innovation and provide the tools that can assist in tailoring policies to promote long-term output growth, improved productivity, and job growth. The GII helps to create an environment in which innovation factors are continually evaluated. The Global Innovation Index 2016 (GII), in its […]

Measles and Rubella

Measles 

  • Measles  is a deadly disease and one of the important causes of death in children.
  • It is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. Measles can make a child vulnerable to life threatening complications such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and brain infection.
  • Globally, in 2015, measles killed an estimated 1, 34,200 children—mostly under-5 years. In India, it killed an estimated 49,200 children.

Rubella

  • Rubella  is generally a mild infection, but has serious consequences if infection occurs in pregnant women, causing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which is a cause of public health concern.
  • CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, causing a huge socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general.