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28th June Current Affairs

Contents

  1. India’s locust control wing is oldest in world
  2. Sri Lanka turns to China to help with Debt
  3. Coronavirus infection might trigger type-1 diabetes
  4. TB during COVID-19
  5. When the Indian Ocean’s ancient climate patterns return

INDIA’S LOCUST CONTROL WING IS OLDEST IN WORLD

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, Disaster Management

Why in news?

Columns of desert locusts, menacing crop-eating pests, flew over parts of the National Capital Region.

To deal with the current situation of Locust invasion India has the world’s oldest desert locust control programme, dating back to 1939, established by its erstwhile British rulers.

Locust Warning Organisation (LWO)

  • The LWO was set up in Karachi in 1939 after a deadly locust plague between 1926 and 1931.
  • Between 1939 and 1946, the main function of the organisation was surveillance in the Thar desert and issuance of warnings to the then Indian states about the possibility of desert locust swarms, their movement and breeding.
  • In 1946, the LWO moved under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • LWO carries out surveys of locust populations and issues bulletins every fortnight to help farmers prepare for a locust invasion.
  • LWO also coordinates with state governments and the Border Security Force for locust control operations, among others.
  • LWO also organises the Indo-Pak locust officers border meeting for exchange of information on locusts, situation in their respective countries during locust season.

Click Here to read more about Locusts and their Spread

-Source: Hindustan Times

SRI LANKA TURNS TO CHINA TO HELP WITH DEBT

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

Sri Lanka requested to India for a postponement of its debt repayment amidst the current economic crisis.

Details

  • The request was made personally by Sri Lankan Prime Minister to Indian Prime Minister and No decision has been taken after 4 months.
  • The Sri Lankan Prime minster then renewed calls for international monetary organisations to provide debt relief for developing countries, repeating earlier appeals to all its debt partners, including India.
  • The two sides have been discussing holding the loan repayment on the total $960 million that Sri Lanka owes India.
  • There are also two separate Sri Lankan requests for a currency swap facility.
  • Ministry of External Affairs officials say they have now proposed a virtual meeting between Delhi and Colombo on the issue.
  • Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves, already in peril due to economic troubles and 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks are being further drained after the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Sri Lankas main earners — exports (tea and garments), labour remittances and tourism sectors — are all badly hit.
  • Sri Lanka is scheduled to repay $2.9 billion of its total external debt this year and has so far made three requests to India — a debt moratorium and two separate requests for a currency swap facility.

-Source: The Hindu


CORONAVIRUS INFECTION MIGHT TRIGGER TYPE-1 DIABETES

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

There is growing evidence that novel coronavirus might actually be triggering diabetes in some people who have so far remained free of it.

How is Diabetes “Induced” in Covid patients?

  • Diabetes poses one of the key risk factors for developing severe COVID-19, and chances of dying are elevated in people with diabetes.
  • COVID-19 patients typically develop type-1 diabetes, which is caused when the body’s immune system plays rogue and begins to attack and destroy the beta cells, which produce the hormone insulin in the pancreas.
  • With the destruction of beta cells, the amount of insulin produced is reduced, and hence, the ability of the body to control blood sugar is compromised leading to type-1 diabetes.

Has this happened in the past?

The 2002 SARS coronavirus, too, caused acute-onset diabetes in patients. Like the 2002 SARS coronavirus, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, too, binds to ACE2 receptors that are found on many organs involved in controlling blood sugar, including the liver and pancreatic beta cells, and subsequently infects the cells in the organs.

Role of Ketones

  • The COVID-19 patients who develop diabetes have extremely high levels of blood sugar and ketones.
  • When there is insufficient insulin produced, breaking down the sugar present in the blood is compromised leading to high levels of sugar.
  • At the same time, the body begins to turn to alternative sources of fuel, which in this case are ketones.

What is Insulin?

  • Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas; a gland located behind the stomach.
  • It allows the body to use glucose for energy.
  • Glucose is a type of sugar found in many carbohydrates.
  • Insulin also helps balance the blood glucose levels.
  • Diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t use insulin properly or doesn’t make enough insulin.

Click Here to read more about Diabetes

-Source: The Hindu


TB DURING COVID-19

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Introduction

India has the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) in the world. Even as the government was pushing to end TB by 2025, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive disruption in TB services.

Is the drop in number of TB cases bad?

  • TB case notifications across India have dropped by over 50% since March 2020.
  • This is a cause of concern as there are an estimated 3 lakh missed case notifications and undiagnosed TB can worsen patient outcomes and increase transmission in the community.

Scenario after lockdown

  • As the lockdown ends, we will see a big surge in people seeking care with TB and COVID-19 symptoms. However, people will struggle to get care because the public sector is still dealing with the pandemic, while the private sector is not functioning at normal capacity or is reluctant to manage people with fever and cough.
  • It is critical for the National TB Elimination Programme to resume routine TB services, which include diagnostic services, such as microscopy and rapid molecular testing, as well as drug-susceptibility testing.

Dual testing

  • Since fever and cough are symptoms of both TB and COVID-19, simultaneous screening and testing can be encouraged.
  • India has access to three existing technologies that permit dual testing for both infections.
  • The first is the digital chest x-ray (CXR)- If a CXR is suggestive for TB on the AI algorithm, then a confirmatory test such as GeneXpert can be done to confirm TB.
  • One is called GeneXpert- On this platform, TB can be detected using a cartridge called Xpert MTB/RIF and COVID-19 by using the Xpress SARS-CoV2 cartridge.
  • Another Molecular platform is called TrueLab – developed by an Indian company, it is a test for TB using a chip called Truenat MTB.

Click Here to read more about Tuberculosis

Click Here to read more about Covid-19 can help deal with the Silent Tuberculosis Crisis

Click Here to read more about the annual TB Report 2020 (6th Article)

-Source: The Hindu


WHEN THE INDIAN OCEAN’S ANCIENT CLIMATE PATTERNS RETURN

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

Researchers have analysed simulations of the past climate in the Indian Ocean region during the peak of ice age conditions (called the Last Glacial Maximum) and predicted that the ongoing climate change could reawaken an ancient climate pattern of the Indian Ocean.

Details

  • They find that this could be similar to the El Niño phenomenon of the Pacific Ocean bringing more frequent and devastating floods and drought to several densely-populated countries around the Indian Ocean region.
  • If current warming trends continue, this new Indian Ocean El Niño could emerge as early as 2050.

Study of Shells

  • By studying microscopic zooplankton called foraminifera, the team had published a paper in 2019 which first found evidence from the past of an Indian Ocean El Niño.
  • Foraminifera build a calcium carbonate shell, and studying these can tell us about the properties of the water in which they lived.
  • Using this, the researchers reconstructed the sea surface temperature conditions of the past.

-Source: The Hindu

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