Daily Current Affairs : 4th and 5th October : 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Atal Tunnel
  2. Diffie-Hellman key exchange
  3. Ideal’ weight of Indian men and women
  4. Magnetic field of the Sun 
  5. Sections 1, 4, 5, and 7 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement
  6. Conference on Disarmament (CD), Fissile Material cut-off Treaty, Nuclear Weapon’s Convention
  7. Vaccination
  8. Narco Analysis Test
  9. Postal Ballot
  10. Facts for Prelims

1 . Atal Tunnel

Context : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the Atal Tunnel at Rohtang at an altitude of above 3,000 metres in Himachal Pradesh. After the inauguration, he said the tunnel would provide new strength to the country’s border infrastructure. 


  • The historic decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

About Atal Tunnel

  • It is a highway tunnel being built under the Rohtang pass in the eastern Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali highway. 
  • At 8.8 km length, the tunnel will be one of the longest road tunnels in India
  • It will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres and save crores of rupees in transport costs.
  • The tunnel is at an elevation of 3,100 metres whereas the Rohtang Pass is at an elevation of 3,978 metres.
  • It is a 10.5-metre wide single tube bi-lane tunnel with a fire proof emergency tunnel built into the main tunnel itself. The breakthrough from both ends was achieved on October 15, 2017.
  • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) worked relentlessly to overcome major geological, terrain and weather challenges that included the most difficult stretch of the 587-metre Seri Nalah Fault Zone.


  • Tunnel will provide all weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh which otherwise remained cut off from the rest of the country for about six months during winters.
  • It’s vital to feed military supplies into military sub-sector in the west facing Aksai Chin and the Siachen Glacier.

2 . Diffie-Hellman key exchange

Context : In recent weeks, television news channels have shared leaked WhatsApp chats of film actors in their coverage of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s passing away. This has led to questions about whether communication over platforms such as WhatsApp is secure or not. It prompted Facebook-owned WhatsApp to come out with a statement on its use of end-to-end encryption to secure user messages.

Does WhatsApp have access to chats?

  • WhatsApp has installed an end-to-end encryption system, which ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what’s sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp
  • Governments across the world see end-to-end encryption as a huge issue when it comes to law enforcement.
  • While WhatsApp says it responds to requests from law enforcement agencies “based on applicable law and policy,” it is not clear what kind of data it would have to share.
  • News reports have mentioned that these could be in the nature of metadata such as mobile number, IP address, location, and so on.

How is WhatsApp designed to ensure such secure communication?

  • WhatsApp uses the encryption protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems, a project known best for its Signal app, which also uses the same open-source framework to ensure privacy.

What is the technology behind this?

  • The technology that forms the basis for this is called the ‘Diffie-Hellman key exchange’.
  • In a 1976 paper titled, New Directions in Cryptography, Whitfield Diffie and Martin E. Hellman saw the futility of the old ways of sharing a key securely (say, by “sending the key in advance over some secure channel such as private courier or registered mail”) in the emerging digital world. They proposed a way for secure communication via a method of a shared secret key, and that too when the communication is over a not-so-secure channel.
  • One way to understand the broad concept, used by many experts, is by way of colours. In the world of imagination, a shared secret colour is the shared secret key between two communicators, who we will call A and B. (There are many versions of this example on the Internet.)
  • A and B need to communicate without anyone eavesdropping. They first agree on a public colour (say, yellow). The two communicators then choose their own private colour, which is not to be shared with anyone.
  • Say A chooses red and B, blue. They then individually mix their private colour with the public colour and send the mixture to each other. Note that the eavesdroppers can figure out the public colour and the mixtures. But there is one more step. B’s mixture (some sort of green) at A’s end is added with A’s private colour (red), and A’s mixture (some sort of orange) at B’s end is added with B’s private colour (blue). They both arrive at the same secret colour after the final step. There is now a shared secret colour key.
  • The message that also needs to be understood is that while it is easy to add colours, it is difficult to figure out the original colours that contributed to a mixture. In the math world, that is called a one-way function. Imagine the difficulty in figuring out a key from complex mathematical computations. The Diffie-Hellman paper said: “A third party eavesdropping on this exchange must find it computationally infeasible to compute the key from the information overheard.”

Can’t those who have access to the server read messages?

  • End-to-end encryption removes this vulnerability. WhatsApp also says it does not store messages on its servers once they are delivered.
  • An earlier generation of encryption did not secure the entire channel, but secured the communication between a user and the server (of a messaging service).
  • Once the server received a message intended for another user, it would decrypt and again encrypt it before sending it securely to the receiver. But this meant that there was a chance of security being compromised at the level of the server.

Can leaks still happen?

  • End-to-end encryption cannot prevent leaks from happening if a third party has access to a device which contains these messages.
  • Encryption also does not help in cases wherein the sender or the receiver of a message shares it with others, a member of a group shares it with others, or messages are stored in a different format on a different application or platform open to others.

Are there other vulnerabilities?

  • Bugs that lead others to control a user’s phone are an example of such vulnerabilities. For instance, last year, WhatsApp revealed that surveillance technology developed by Israel’s NSO Group had been used to spy on about 1,400 people across the world, including civil rights activists and journalists in India.

3 . Ideal’ weight of Indian men and women

Context : The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), the Hyderabad-based premier research body of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has released a new set of guidelines, updating norms on recommended dietary allowances (RDA), which is the average daily intake needed for a nutritious diet. Besides several other recommendations, a salient point in the report released this week is the upward revision of the ‘ideal’ weight of Indian men and women.

How are these reports prepared?

  • In 1989, an expert committee constituted by the NIN to decide on what should be a nutritious diet, used data generated by studying body weights and heights of well-to-do Indian children and adolescents. This was not reflective of the breadth and diversity of India. The reference weights for a man and woman were fixed at 60 kg and 50 kg respectively.
  • Another committee in 2010 considered extensive data on anthropometry collected by the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau, using nutrition profiles from ten States of India for computing reference body weights. They computed reference weights for different age groups. Most of the data collected were from rural India, but the reference points for a single ‘ideal’ weight remained unchanged.
  • For the latest report, NIN looked at nationally representative data from the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4, 2015-16), the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (2015-16), the World Health Organization (2006-07) and the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP, 2016) to “derive acceptable reference body weight values through the lifespan.”
  • The definition for a reference Indian adult man and woman were modified with regard to age (19-39 years) instead of (20-39 years) and a body weight of 65 kg and 55 kg respectively were fixed for a normal Body Mass Index (BMI). Though termed ‘ideal’, it is more appropriately a measure of the average weight of Indians.

How do Indians compare internationally?

  • The reference weights are a proxy for the nutritional status of the people of a country. International comparisons find that the average Indian is lighter than his or her counterparts globally.
  • The average Dutch male is 87.4 kg and a woman 72.3 kg, and the average weight in the United Kingdom is 86.8 kg for men and 72.9 kg for women, according to data aggregator ‘WorldData.info’.
  • Indians are closer to typical weights prevalent in Asia. The average Sri Lankan male is 61.3 kg and woman 56.2 kg, and the average Japanese man is 69 kg and woman 54.7 kg. The data, however, is based on 2010 estimates, and the latest NIN revision will push India up a few notches.

What are the dietary recommendations?

  • The guidelines specify the amount of carbohydrates, minerals, dietary fibre, fats and oils, protein, and even water, that a person must ideally consume.
  • The water intake for an adult man ranges from 32-58 ml per kg body mass, and for a woman, it ranges from 27-52 ml per kg body mass.
  • For children, the requirement is over 60 ml per kg body mass, and for adolescent boys it ranges from 47-60 ml per kg body mass, while for girls, it is 39-49 ml per kg body mass. For a pregnant woman, based on the working intensity, the water required from beverages ranges from 2.1 litres to 3.2 litres per day.
  • A minimum 400 gram/day of fruits and vegetables are necessary to obtain sufficient antioxidant nutrients, such as beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and certain non-nutrients like polyphenols and flavonoids that reportedly protect against chronic diseases. This should be complemented with a sufficient amount of vegetable oil to obtain Vitamin E.
  • The fat intakes for sedentary, moderate and heavy activities have been set at 25 gram/day, 30 g/d and 40 g/d respectively for an adult man, and 20 g/d, 25 g/d and 30 g/d for adult women.

4 . Magnetic field of the Sun 

Context : Regular observations of the Sun’s magnetic field begin in 1967, and, so far, we have data for the period from 1967 almost to the present, spanning the solar cycles 20-24. Now, an Indo-Russian collaboration has added to this with a plot of the solar magnetic field from 1915 to 1965 (solar cycles 15-19). Using a novel approach, they have calibrated and calculated the field using data from the archives of the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.

Uniqueness of Magnetic Field

  • The magnetic field of the Sun is unique in that, unlike many other celestial bodies, it reverses its polarity roughly every 11 years.

Measurement of magnetic field

  • For about the last 50 years, that is, from around 1970s, regular measurements of magnetic field are available from different observatories. One important one is Wilcox Solar Observatory from the US. Before that Mount Wilson Solar Observatory provided some data, although they are not of high quality and uniform

Details of the Study

  • The present study uses the Kodaikanal Solar observatory data, and extending the magnetic field calculations for another fifty years approximately.
  • The Kodaikanal Solar Observatory was established in 1899 and observations of the Sun from this observatory run over a hundred years, providing what is among the longest series of solar data.
  • An important feature of these data is the multi-wavelength observations. The data consist of full disc spectral images of the Sun using the Ca II K and H-alpha lines. Both these lines image the atmospheric layer of the Sun known as the chromosphere.
  • From the full-disc images of Ca II K features, bright patches above magnetic field regions, known as plages are identified. “Underneath these one can find sunspots, so plages provide information about magnetic field locations and strength
  • On the other hand, the H-alpha images show filaments, which are formed along magnetic neutral lines. “Their presence also represents the magnetic field distribution beneath. They also allow us to study the evolution of magnetic field with time
  • The team first calibrated the Ca IIK images of the Kodaikanal data using magnetic field measurements that were available during that period. Using this, they interpreted the data for the periods when magnetic field measurements were not available, namely, years 1915-1965.
  • The H-alpha images display the location of filaments, which are believed to be formed along the magnetic neutral lines, so these images provide information on the magnetic polarity. Combining the two sets, the full magnetic field data was reconstructed


  • Understanding the magnetic field evolution in the past improves our understanding of the physics itself.
  • Solar variations, both of long scale and short, depend on the magnetic field, and these can affect both the climate and space weather. Therefore, understanding the magnetic field variations can contribute to our understanding of climate and space weather.

5 . Sections 1, 4, 5, and 7 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement

Context : India and South Africa, in a formal submission to the World Trade Organization (WTO), have sought a waiver on Sections 1, 4, 5, and 7 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement that regulate intellectual property rights to speed up efforts to prevent, treat and contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Issues rasied by India and South Africa through submission

  • There were several reports about intellectual property rights hindering or potentially hindering timely provisioning of affordable medical products to COVID-19 patients and that a particular concern for countries with insufficient or no manufacturing capacity were the requirements of cumbersome and lengthy process of the import and export of pharmaceutical products.
  • Many countries, especially the developing ones, may face institutional and legal difficulties when using flexibilities available in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement).
  • Beyond patents, other intellectual property rights may also pose a barrier, with limited options to overcome those barriers, noted the submission.
  • The medical products companies especially medicine and vaccine manufacturers want to profit from pandemic by keeping the monopoly rights through intellectual protection.

Importance of the Submission

  • In the present context of global emergency, it is important for WTO to ensure that intellectual property rights do not create barriers to timely access to affordable medical products, or to scaling up research, development, manufacturing and supply of medical products essential to combat COVID-19.
  • The waiver of TRIPS Obligation is a major initiative to ensure availability and affordability of medical products.

Sections 1, 4, 5, and 7 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement

PART II of the TRIPS Agreement relates to Standards Concerning the Availability, Scope and Use of Intellectual Property Rights

  • Sections 1 : Copyright and Related Rights
  • Sections 4 : Industrial Designs
  • Sections 5 : Patents
  • Sections 7 : Protection of Undisclosed Information

6 . Conference on Disarmament (CD), Fissile Material cut-off Treaty, Nuclear Weapon’s Convention

Context : India on Saturday reiterated that nuclear weapons should be abolished in a step-by-step non-discriminatory process. Addressing the High-level Meeting to Commemorate and Promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla also said India remains committed to “No First Use” against nuclear weapon states.

India’s Postition in Various treaties

  • Conference on Disarmament (CD) remains the “world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum” and India supports holding of negotiations on a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention at the CD.
  • India also remains committed to negotiations regarding a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the CD on the basis of the report of the Special Coordinator or CD/1299 which dates to March 24, 1995.

About Conference on Disarmament

  • The CD was formed in 1979 as the single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum of the international community, after agreement was reached among Member States during the first special session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) devoted to disarmament (1978).
  • The CD is the successor to the Ten-Nation Committee on Disarmament (TNDC), Geneva, 1960; the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament (ENDC), Geneva, 1962-68; and the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (CCD), Geneva, 1969-78.
  • As originally constituted, the CD had 40 members; however, following the unification of Germany and the breakup of former Yugoslavia, only 38 countries participated in the work of the Conference until 1995. On 17 June 1995, the CD unanimously decided to admit 23 additional members.
  • The CD has a special relationship with the United Nations. It adopts its own rules of procedure and its own agenda, taking into account the recommendations made by the UNGA and the proposals presented by its members, although its secretary is appointed by the UN Secretary-General. It reports to the General Assembly annually or more frequently, as appropriate. The budget of the CD is included in that of the United Nations, the CD meets on UN premises and is serviced by UN personnel. The Conference conducts its work by consensus. The CD has a permanent agenda agreed upon in 1978 at the first special session of the UNGA devoted to disarmament.
  • The CD and its predecessors have negotiated multilateral arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Environmental Modification and Seabed treaties, the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention (BTWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Fissile Material cut-off Treaty

  • A fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT) is a proposed international agreement that would prohibit the production of the two main components of nuclear weapons: highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium.
  • Discussions on this subject have taken place at the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD), a body of 65 member nations established as the sole multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament. The CD operates by consensus and is often stagnant, impeding progress on an FMCT.
  • Those nations that joined the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-weapon states are already prohibited from producing or acquiring fissile material for weapons.
  • An FMCT would provide new restrictions for the five recognized nuclear weapon states (NWS—United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China), and for the four nations that are not NPT members (Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea).
  • In order for negotiations to begin on an FMCT, Pakistan will have to remove its opposition vote, and a consensus to move forward with negotiations must be reached. Pakistan has been primarily concerned that an FMCT would lock them into a disadvantageous position relative to India’s superior nuclear stockpile. Consequently, Islamabad would like an FMCT to include current fissile material stockpiles, instead of just capping future production, a position shared by several other countries.

Nuclear Weapon’s Convention

  • The Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) is a proposed treaty which, if adopted, would outlaw the use, possession, development, testing, deployment, and transfer of nuclear weapons, as well as mandate internationally verifiable dismantlement of nuclear arsenals.
  • The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapon (NPT) obliges its states parties to pursue good-faith negotiations toward nuclear disarmament.
  • However, many non-nuclear weapons states and disarmament activists have been disappointed by the perceived unwillingness of the nuclear-weapons states to work toward nuclear disarmament.
  • Since 2016, civil society advocacy and diplomatic efforts toward nuclear disarmament have focused on the negotiation of a nuclear weapons ban, rather than the proposed NWC.
  • Unlike a comprehensive convention, a treaty banning nuclear weapons would not include dismantlement and disarmament verification provisions, concentrating only on legal prohibitions, including the use, possession, development, deployment, and transfer of nuclear weapons.
  • As such, its proponents argue, the negotiation of a ban treaty does not require the participation of nuclear weapons possessors. These negotiations culminated in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), adopted by the UN General Assembly on 7 July 2017. The NWC been dormant ever since.

7 . Vaccination

What is Vaccination

  • Vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases, before they come into contact with them. It uses your body’s natural defenses to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger.
  • Vaccines train your immune system to create antibodies, just as it does when it’s exposed to a disease. However, because vaccines contain only killed or weakened forms of germs like viruses or bacteria, they do not cause the disease or put you at risk of its complications.
  • Most vaccines are given by an injection, but some are given orally (by mouth) or sprayed into the nose.

How does a Vaccine work

  • Vaccines reduce risks of getting a disease by working with your body’s natural defenses to build protection. When you get a vaccine, your immune system responds. It:
    • Recognizes the invading germ, such as the virus or bacteria.
    • Produces antibodies. Antibodies are proteins produced naturally by the immune system to fight disease.
    • Remembers the disease and how to fight it. If you are then exposed to the germ in the future, your immune system can quickly destroy it before you become unwell.
  • The vaccine is therefore a safe and clever way to produce an immune response in the body, without causing illness.
  • Our immune systems are designed to remember. Once exposed to one or more doses of a vaccine, we typically remain protected against a disease for years, decades or even a lifetime. This is what makes vaccines so effective. Rather than treating a disease after it occurs, vaccines prevent us in the first instance from getting sick.

What is in a vaccine

  • All the ingredients of a vaccine play an important role in ensuring a vaccine is safe and effective. Some of these include:
    • The antigen. This is a killed or weakened form of a virus or bacteria, which trains our bodies to recognize and fight the disease if we encounter it in the future.
    • Adjuvants, which help to boost our immune response. This means they help vaccines to work better.
    • Preservatives, which ensure a vaccine stays effective.
    • Stabilisers, which protect the vaccine during storage and transportation.
  • Vaccine ingredients can look unfamiliar when they are listed on a label. However, many of the components used in vaccines occur naturally in the body, in the environment, and in the foods we eat. All of the ingredients in vaccines – as well as the vaccines themselves – are thoroughly tested and monitored to ensure they are safe.

What diseases do vaccines prevent

Vaccines protect against many different diseases, including:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Cholera
  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Measles
  • Meningitis
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis
  • Pneumonia
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus
  • Typhoid
  • Varicella
  • Yellow fever

8 . Narco Analysis Test

Context : Involuntary administration of narco or lie detector tests is an “intrusion” into a person’s “mental privacy,” a Supreme Court judgment of 2010 has held. The judgment is significant amid reports that the Uttar Pradesh government wants to subject the Hathras rape and murder victim’s family members to these tests.

About Narco Analysis Test

  • Narcoanalysis involves the injection of a drug, sodium pentothal, which induces a hypnotic or sedated state in which the subject’s imagination is neutralised, and they are expected to divulge information that is true.
  • The drug, referred to as “truth serum” in this context, was used in larger doses as anaesthesia during surgery, and is said to have been used during World War II for intelligence operations.
  • More recently, investigating agencies have sought to employ these tests in investigation, and are sometimes seen as being a “softer alternative” to torture or “third degree” to extract the truth from suspects.
  • However method has not been proven scientifically to have a 100% success rate, and remain contentious in the medical field as well.

Are Indian investigators allowed to put accused through these tests?

  • In ‘Selvi & Ors vs State of Karnataka & Anr’ (2010), Supreme Court ruled that no lie detector tests should be administered “except on the basis of consent of the accused”.
  • Those who volunteer must have access to a lawyer, and have the physical, emotional, and legal implications of the test explained to them by police and the lawyer
  • It said that the ‘Guidelines for the Administration of Polygraph Test on an Accused’ published by the National Human Rights Commission in 2000, must be strictly followed. The subjects consent should be recorded before a judicial magistrate, the court said.
  • The results of the tests cannot be considered to be “confessions”, because those in a drugged-induced state cannot exercise a choice in answering questions that are put to them.
  • However, any information or material subsequently discovered with the help of such a voluntarily-taken test can be admitted as evidence. Thus, if an accused reveals the location of a murder weapon in the course of the test, and police later find the weapon at that location, the statement of the accused will not be evidence, but the weapon will be.
  • The Bench took into consideration international norms on human rights, the right to a fair trial, and the right against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) of the Constitution. According to court forcible intrusion into a person’s mental processes is also an affront to human dignity and liberty, often with grave and long-lasting consequences, observing that the state’s plea that the use of such scientific techniques would reduce ‘third degree’ methods “is a circular line of reasoning since one form of improper behaviour is sought to be replaced by another”.

9 . Postal Ballot

Context : Seeking to make the procedure to opt for postal ballot more convenient for those above 80 years of age and people with disabilities, the Election Commission (EC) has come out with a set of new instructions.

New Instructions

  • The form required to opt for the postal ballot would be delivered at the residence of all those above 80 years of age and people with disabilities by the booth level officer under his polling station. It would be up to these two category of voters to opt for postal ballot
  • If he/she opts for postal ballot, then the booth level officer will collect the filled-in form 12-D from the house of the elector within five days of the notification and deposit it with the returning officer forthwith
  • These instructions have been issued based on the feedback the poll panel received from civil society and media during its visit to poll-bound Bihar last week.
  • The EC said the fresh instructions would be applicable to all elections and by-elections, including the bypolls announced last week to 56 assembly and one Lok Sabha seat.
  • As per the instructions, the returning officer would deploy polling teams, who will deliver and collect the postal ballot on pre-informed dates and thereafter deposit it with the RO.
  • This postal ballot facility is different from the one extended to service voters. Here, those willing to use the facility have to fill up a form. Officials then carry the ballot to the residence of such voters and videograph the voting to ensure transparency.

10 . Facts for Prelims

Exercise Bongosagar

  • Exercise Bongosagar is the bilateral naval exercise between India and Bangladesh
  • Ex Bongosagar, whose first edition was held in 2019, is aimed at developing inter-operability and joint operational skills through conduct of a wide spectrum of maritime exercises and operations
  • In this edition of Ex Bongosagar, ships from both navies will participate in surface warfare drills, seamanship evolutions and helicopter operations
  • The exercise will be followed by the 3rd edition CORPAT in Northern Bay of Bengal from October 4-5, wherein Indian and Bangladeshi units will undertake joint patrolling along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

Madhuca diplostemon

  • Madhuca diplostemon (family Sapotaceae) is a threatened species of the Western Ghats whose specimen was first collected in 1835. It was rediscovered recently from Kollam district of Kerala.
  • Madhuca diplostemon has an interesting history. In 1835, Robert Wight, a surgeon-botanist with the East India Company, had collected three specimens. In 1848, he described it as Diospyros obovata in his famous work, the Icones Plantarum Indiae Orientalis. Later C.B. Clarke corrected it as Isonanandra diplostemon and, in 1960, P. Royen described it as Madhuca diplostemon.
  • Interestingly, “since its original collection, specimens of Madhuca diplostemon were never collected again, neither from its locality nor elsewhere, and botanical explorations in Eastern and Western Ghats failed to locate the species,” notes the paper on the rediscovery.

Facts about Vaccine

  • Unlike drugs, virtually all vaccines need to be transported at cold temperatures (usually between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius) prior to use.
  • If they are exposed to higher temperatures, many vaccines lose potency. Re-cooling does not help.

New Caledonia

  • The South Pacific territory of New Caledonia chose to remain French, narrowly rejecting independence from France in a referendum.
  • It is Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, to the south of Vanuatu, about 1,210 km east of Australia.
  • The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Chesterfield Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines, and a few remote islets.
  • It is part of Zealandia.
  • The Diahot River is the longest river of New Caledonia.

Problems with RT-PCR

  • Using RT-PCR to screen a community or population has several problems. RT-PCR test is expensive compared with a rapid antigen test, making repeated testing on the same individual every few days even more expensive. It takes at least one–two days to test and a couple of days to inform the individuals of the test result.
  • The slow turnaround time would mean that infected individuals will come in contact with others and spread the virus even while waiting for the test result. Also, it may pick people who have been infected but are no longer infectious. This might be a problem when such people have to be isolated even when they no longer spread the virus.

Mini apps

The mini apps are a custom-built mobile website that give users app-like experience without having to download them.

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