July 4, 2017 @ 12:30 am

4th JUNE 2017


1.     Leo Varadkar

  • A 38 year old Indian-origin doctor and Ireland’s first openly gay Minister
  • He won the leadership race for the ruling party in Ireland
  • becomes the country’s youngest-ever and first homosexual Prime Minister-in-waiting.
  • will officially take over as Taoiseach, as the Irish prime ministerial title is known in Ireland.

2.     Zika

  • Zika is an arbovirus infection which occurs through the bite of several different species of Aedes mosquitoes, including theAedes aegyptiwhich is active during the day; it can also be transmitted sexually.
  • The virus was first isolated from a rhesus monkey in Uganda in the Zika forest, near the western shore of Lake Victoria, in 1947, and hence the name.
  • The mosquito-borne virus spread in many African and Asian countries but caused no harm.
  • But in 2007, more than a hundred cases were reported at Yap, a tiny island in the south-western Pacific.
  • Six years later, Zika spread to French Polynesia, where nearly 30,000 people required medical attention. Among them, more than 70 people had severe neurological symptoms and 40 contracted the Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, sometimes resulting in paralysis.
  • In north-eastern Brazil, towards the end of 2015 and within months after the outbreak, the Zika virus was seen to have a possible link to birth defects in babies.
  • While nearly 80% of the people infected with Zika did not have symptoms, the infection became dangerous if it occurred during the early stages of pregnancy.
  • In some cases, if the virus attacked the brain tissue of the foetus, it led to microcephaly, a condition that results in babies being born with tiny heads, causing severe neurological disorders.
  • On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Zika a public health emergency of international concern.
  • WHO said sexual transmission of the virus is “relatively common.”
  • Between November 2016 and February 2017, India reported three locally transmitted cases (two women and a man) of Zika in Gujarat; but the news came to light only on May 26, 2017 when the WHO published it on its website.
  • More than 40 Zika vaccine candidates are in the pipeline and five are entering human clinical trials (Phase I).
  • Back home, the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s Zika vaccine was found to confer 100% protection on mice. The company hasjust begun clinical trials in humans (Phase I) in two centres in India.

3.     Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)

  • rapid-onset muscle weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system.
  • The initial symptoms are typically changes in sensation or pain along with muscle weakness, beginning in the feet and hands.
  • During the acute phase, the disorder can be life-threatening with about 15% developing weakness of the breathing muscles requiring mechanical ventilation.
  • Approximately 30% of cases are provoked by Campylobacter jejuni bacteria, which cause diarrhea.
  • Some cases may be triggered by the influenza virus
  • The tropical viral infection dengue fever and Zika virus have also been associated with episodes of GBS

4.     Microcephaly

  • a medical condition in which the brain does not develop properly resulting in a smaller than normal head.
  • It may be present at birth or it may develop in the first few years of life.
  • The disorder may stem from a wide variety of conditions that cause abnormal growth of the brain, or from syndromes associated with chromosomal abnormalities.
  • Often people with the disorder have an intellectual disability, poor motor function, poor speech, abnormal facial features, seizures, and dwarfism.

5.     Cyptocurrency

  • Cryptocurrencies are generated by a network of computers that run a software called ‘blockchain’.
  • It is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency.
  • Bitcoin became the first decentralized cryptocurrency in 2009.
  • Cryptocurrency use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money/centralized banking systems.
  • The decentralized control is related to the use of bitcoin’s blockchain transaction database in the role of a distributed ledger.
  • Within cryptocurrency systems the safety, integrity and balance of ledgers is maintained by a community of mutually distrustful parties referred to as miners: members of the general public using their computers to help validate and timestamp transactions adding them to the ledger in accordance with a particular timestamping scheme.
  • Most cryptocurrencies are designed to gradually decrease production of currency, placing an ultimate cap on the total amount of currency that will ever be in circulation, mimicking precious metals.

How are cyptocurrencies generated?

  • Cryptocurrencies are generated by a network of computers that run a software called ‘blockchain’.
  • In a blockchain (think of units of information arranged as separate blocks which are concatenated to form a chain), when a new piece of information arrives, it is appended to a previous block to create a new block.
  • This new block is arranged in a specific architecture (‘the Merkle tree’) and the ‘header’ of this new block is passed through the hash function. This function spits out transformed output. We check if this output has specific preset properties. If not, then the block header is incremented by a random number (‘nonce’) and this new set is passed through the hash function again.
  • Finally, after many trials, when we find the appropriate nonce, the ‘miner’ announces this random number to the rest of his peers in the Bitcoin network.
  • They check using this nonce if adding this information produces an output with specific properties, including an untampered old block. If verified, then this new block is deemed valid.
  • The new public ledger with updated information is now deemed as the new consensus. Thus we have a cleverly-engineered consensus via a system that doesn’t rely on trust but rather on a ‘proof of work’.
  • For every verified number that is ‘mined’, the Bitcoin network allocates 12.5 bitcoins [~ $30,000] to the miner.
  • When more people (as of 2015, nearly 1,00,000 merchants) accept bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies for goods and services, their value increases.

6.     Bitcoin

  • It was announced to the world in 2008 by still unidentified inventor(s) who goes by the name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’.
  • It was released as open-source software in 2009.
  • The system is peer-to-peer, and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary.
  • These transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain.
  • Since the system works without a central repository or single administrator, bitcoin is called the first decentralized digital currency.
  • Besides being created as a reward for mining, bitcoin can be exchanged for other currencies,[18] products, and services in legal or black markets.

7.     Hall of Nations

  • It was a modern architectural marvel at Pragati Maidan, a venue for large exhibitions and conventions in New Delhi.
  • It is owned, operated, controlled and managed by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO), under Ministry of Commerce and Indusrty
  • To commemorate the 25th year of independence, the government held a competition to select the best design for permanent exhibition halls for the International Trade Fair.
  • One of the designs was from architect Raj Rewal-a gigantic exhibition hall built entirely of space frames that would act as sun-breakers from all sides. Moreover, the building was meant to be pillar-less. Rewal won the competition
  • His design, however, required steel tubes and connectors, both of which, owing to a steel shortage back then, weren’t readily available here. And so, he made the bold decision of using reinforced concrete instead.
  • Hall of Nations was demolished in June 2017 to be replaced by a “world-class” Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC)

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