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Insights Daily Current Events, 25 July 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 25 July 2015


Kerala begins intensive drive against anthrax

The Animal Husbandry Department of Kerala has launched an intensive disease prevention drive in the anthrax-hit Kadamankulam area of the Kallooppara grama panchayat in Kerala.

  • Recently, few cows in this village were found to be infected with Bacillus anthracis.

About anthrax:

  • Anthrax is a disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, a germ that lives in soil.
  • It affects animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats more often than people. People can get anthrax from contact with infected animals, wool, meat, or hides. It can cause three forms of disease in people.


Anthrax does not spread directly from one infected animal or person to another; it is spread by spores. These spores can be transported by clothing or shoes.

Symptoms & Infection:

  • In most cases, symptoms develop within seven days of exposure to the bacteria. The one exception is inhalation anthrax, which may take weeks after exposure before symptoms appear.
  • Respiratory infection in humans initially presents with cold or flu-like symptoms for several days, followed by pneumonia and severe (and often fatal) respiratory collapse.
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) infection in humans is most often caused by consuming anthrax-infected meat and is characterized by serious GI difficulty, vomiting of blood, severe diarrhea, acute inflammation of the intestinal tract, and loss of appetite.
  • Cutaneous anthrax, also known as Hide porter’s disease, is the cutaneous (on the skin) manifestation of anthrax infection in humans. It presents as a boil-like skin lesion that eventually forms an ulcer with a black center (eschar).


  • Occupational exposure to infected animals or their products (such as skin, wool, and meat) is the usual pathway of exposure for humans. Workers who are exposed to dead animals and animal products are at the highest risk, especially in countries where anthrax is more common.
  • It does not usually spread from an infected human to a noninfected human. But, if the disease is fatal to the person’s body, its mass of anthrax bacilli becomes a potential source of infection to others and special precautions should be used to prevent further contamination. Inhalational anthrax, if left untreated until obvious symptoms occur, may be fatal.
  • Anthrax can be contracted in laboratory accidents or by handling infected animals or their wool or hides.


  • The standard treatment for anthrax is a 60-day course of an antibiotic. Treatment is most effective when started as soon as possible.
  • Although some cases of anthrax respond to antibiotics, advanced inhalation anthrax may not. By the later stages of the disease, the bacteria have often produced more toxins than drugs can eliminate.

Use in Bioterrorism:

  • Anthrax has been used in biological warfare by agents and by terrorists to intentionally infect.
  • It was spread in US through a mail. It killed 5 people and made 22 sick.

Sources: The Hindu,

Megalithic burial site unearthed

Recently, 30 megalithic burials, believed to be dated between 1,000 B.C. and 200 A.D were unearthed in a tiny village located at SiddiPet Mandal in Medak district of Telangana.


  • The burials have huge boulders arranged around them and at least one of these has a Menhir (a tall, huge standing stone) near it.
  • The biggest capstone on the site has also been found.
  • An iron dagger, black pottery and a bowl, and a small sharp stone that was used to cut skin, meat and other food items, one sickle, some pottery and a hunting tool were also found.
  • Archaeologists have not ascertained whether the burials were in pits, cists or dolmens, typical of that period.
  • Archaeologists believe that the site may open new doors to the past. It could give an insight into the lifestyles of the Megalithic period.

Sources: The Hindu.

Government constitutes ‘All India Council of Sports’

The Govt. of India has constituted ‘All India Council of Sports’.

  • The council will be an advisory body for the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
  • The advice rendered by the council will not be binding and obligatory on the government.
  • The council may organize national, international conferences, seminars, symposia etc, for promotion of sports and games in the country.
  • The Council will be headed by a President in the rank of Minister of State and will include four Members of Parliament, Sports personalities, coaches, sports experts, sports administrators, DG SAI, DG NADA, Vice Chancellor of LNIPE, officials from Sports Ministry, representatives from National Sports Federations, Indian Olympic Association, corporate bodies and NGOs.
  • Appointments of the President and members of the Council other than ex-officio members will be made by the Government.
  • The Council will meet from time to time, at least once in a quarter, and deliberate on matters relating to the promotion and development of sports and games in the country.

Aims and objectives of the council:

  • popularizing sports amongst the youth as a way of life;
  • increasing outreach of sports to rural and tribal areas, areas affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), North East and Jammu & Kashmir;
  • implementation of policies for promotion of sports and games in the country;
  • matters relating to promotion of inclusiveness in sports with special focus on women, differently-abled, tribals etc;
  • preventing drug abuse in sports, fraud of age and sexual harassment of women in sports;
  • bringing professionalism, transparency and good governance in functioning of National Sports Federations;
  • augmenting sports infrastructure and ensuring its proper utilization;
  • matters relating to participation and performance of sportspersons and teams in international sporting events;
  • issues arising out of match fixing and other malpractices in competitive sports; and
  • ways and means to promote indigenous games in the country

Sources: The Hindu.

ATAL Innovation Mission

NITI Aayog has constituted an Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Prof. Tarun Khanna to work out the detailed contours of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Self-Employment & Talent Utilisation (SETU).

The Terms of Reference of the Expert Committee are as under:

  • To review the existing initiatives aimed at promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in India, especially those efforts that result in widespread job growth and the creation of globally competitive enterprises;
  • To make short and medium term recommendations for actionable policy initiatives aimed at creating an innovation and entrepreneur friendly eco-system including such elements as creation of world class innovation hubs and digital SMEs and innovation driven entrepreneurship in such sectors as education and health.
  • To address any other related issues.

Self-Employment & Talent Utilisation (SETU): It will be a Techno-Financial, Incubation and Facilitation Programme to support all aspects of start up businesses, and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology-driven areas. An amount of Rs.1000 crore is being set up initially in NITI Aayog for SETU.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM): It will be an Innovation Promotion Platform involving academics, entrepreneurs and researchers and draw upon national and international experiences to foster a culture of innovation, R&D and scientific research in India. The platform will also promote a network of world-class innovation hubs and Grand Challenges for India. Initially a sum of Rs.150 crore will be earmarked for this purpose.

Sources: PIB.

Conakry named as World Book Capital for 2017 by UNESCO

The Unesco has announced that Conakry – the capital of Guinea in west Africa – will be the World Book Capital for 2017.

  • The UN organisation said the decision by an international committee of experts was based on west Africa’s “quality and diversity of its programme, in particular its focus on community involvement” and “for its well-structured budget and clear development goals with a strong emphasis on youth and literacy”.
  • Conakry is the 17th city to be designated as the World Book Capital. Incheon city of South Korea is World Book Capital for 2015.

About World Book Capital:

World Book Capital is a title bestowed by UNESCO to a city in recognition of the quality of its programs to promote books and reading and the dedication of all players in the book industry.

  • The designation runs from UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day (April 23) of one year until April 22 of the following year.
  • UNESCO initiated the concept of World Book Capital City and nominated Madrid as the Capital for Year 2001.
  • The nomination does not imply any financial prize, but an exclusively symbolic acknowledgement of the best programme dedicated to books and reading.
  • New Delhi was recognised as World Book Capital in 2003.

Sources: The Hindu, Unesco, Wiki.

Insights Secure Prelims 2015

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