1. A team of scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) recently reported real-world results on SwabSeq, a testing platform. It uses sequencing to test thousands of samples at a time, to detect the coronavirus. They were able to perform more than 80,000 tests in less than two months, with high sensitivity and specificity. SwabSeq uses sample-specific molecular barcodes to simultaneously analyse thousands of samples.
2. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised the first edition of Indo-Pacific Business Summit 2021, in association with the ministry of External Affairs. The Business Summit organised over virtual platform, had participation of Governments, Enterprises, Business Chambers, Think Tanks & Academia from the countries in the Indo-pacific region. The Summit also included a Virtual Business Exhibition.
3. Aitoliko lagoon is located in the northern Patras Gulf in western Greece. It is a polluted lagoon with depths of up to 30 metres, linked by narrow channels to the sea. Recently, a group of divers have reported a rare sighting of hundreds of endangered seahorses in the lagoon. Seahorses are protected species threatened by overfishing and pollution, as they need an environment full of organisms to feed on and plants to hide.
4. The third ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Conference on Biodiversity was held recently. The fifth and the final session of the Conference focussed on the theme of ‘Towards 2050: Living in Harmony with Nature.’ As per the ASEAN nations, developing countries will need resources for proper implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The ASEAN includes 10 countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
5. Oxfam has recently released a new report titled “The Hunger Virus Multiplies”. As per the report, eleven people die every minute of hunger. The report also found that the number of those facing famine-like conditions globally has increased by six times over the past year. It highlighted that famine outpaces COVID-19, which kills about seven people per minute.
6. Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a controversial law that defines the country as the nation state of the Jewish people. It also rejected claims by opponents that it discriminates against minorities. In its ruling, the court acknowledged shortcomings in the “Nation State Law”. As per the critics, it downgrades the status of Israel’s Arab minority, which makes up around 20% of the country’s population.
7. Pakistan passed the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2021, which aims to protect women, children, and the elderly and other vulnerable groups from domestic violence. The bill states that any act of domestic violence will be punishable with imprisonment of a maximum period of three years and not less than six months, along with fines up to Rs 1 lakh. The bill was moved in the National Assembly passed in the lower house. It was also passed by the Senate and waiting presidential assent.
8. The US Department of Defence (DoD) has cancelled a previous cloud computing contract, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project, worth $10 billion that had been awarded to Microsoft. The DoD will have a new system called the Joint War fighter Cloud Capability (JWCC), in which the US administration will divide the contract between multiple companies, so that both Amazon and Microsoft are expected to win contracts.
9. Chinese port city of Qingdao, which was making news recently, has a massive algae boom is threatening sea life, tourism, and water transport. In response to that, China has deployed thousands of boats and machines to deal with the massive algae bloom. As per the environmentalists, the. Climate change and pollution contributed to the production of the organic matter which contains micro-organisms and can flourish when nutrient-rich sewage flows into seawater.
10. DBT-National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG), Kalyani is an Autonomous Institute funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. DBT-NIBMG has created a database of genomic variations in oral cancer named dbGENVOC. This is the first of its kind database in the world. It is a free, browsable online database, which has a built-in powerful search engine. It also allows statistical and bioinformatic analysis to be carried out online.
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