Daily Current Affairs - 11th May 2017

73% doctors against prescription of generic drugs: survey

  • The Centre’s move towards a legal framework to make doctors prescribe generic drugs and the subsequent notice by the Medical Council of India enforcing the same has failed to find many takers in the medical field.
  • An opinion poll conducted revealed, out of 5,673 doctors who participated, 73% were against the decision of prescribing generic drugs.
  • Across tier 1, 2 and 3 cities, the doctors were united in their disagreement with the decision. They expressed various concerns, ranging from the quality of generic drugs to educational qualification of chemists who will now be the decision-maker.

Artificial tissues can provide bone marrow

  • Researchers from the University of California, have developed artificial bone tissues that could provide new bone marrow for patients needing transplants and make the procedure much safer.
  • They developed bone tissues with functional bone marrow that can be filled with donor cells and implanted under the skin of mice.
  • Bone marrow transplants are used to treat patients with bone marrow disease. Before a transplant, a patient is first given doses of radiation, sometimes in combination with drugs, to kill off any existing stem cells in the patient’s bone marrow.
  • This pre-treatment is meant to improve success of the transplant by clearing up space in the marrow, allowing donor cells to survive and grow without competition from the patient’s own cells.

Centre mulls financial assistance to fisherfolk

  • The Centre plans to provide financial assistance and introduce norms to improve labour conditions for the small-scale and artisanal fishers. The policy to be introduced is meant to guide the coordination and management of India’s marine fisheries during the next 10 years.
  • The Union government with the help of National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development, will provide financial assistance to fishermen with liberal terms and conditions.
  • Fishermen are having difficulties in availing institutional credit to buy fishing implements and crafts, and that the risky nature of returns has led to many fishermen falling into the debt trap of private financiers and middlemen.
  • The Indian marine fisheries account for an economic wealth of about Rs. 65,000 crore.

EC to hold all-party meet on EVMs

  • The Election Commission released the agenda for an all-party meeting on May 12, which includes deliberations on the security of electronic voting machines (EVMs). The electoral body will also invite suggestions from the parties on conducting a machine tampering challenge.
  • Suggestions on revisiting the rules on counting of paper slips from the VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) system will also be discussed. The EC has invited seven national parties and 48 State parties to the meeting.
  • The proposal to make bribery and undue influence during elections a cognizable offence tops the agenda list.
  • The EC has been calling for disqualification even prior to the conviction by court in the case of for serious offences.

India,US exchange views on maritime developments in Asia-Pacific & IOR

  • India and the US exchanged views on maritime developments in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region and considered steps to further strengthen bilateral maritime security cooperation.
  • The two sides held second round of the India-US Maritime Security Dialogue on 9th and 10th of this month in Rhode Island in the USA.
  • They also reviewed the implementation of the decisions taken at the first Maritime Security Dialogue held in May last year.

Indonesia faces calls to repeal blasphemy laws

  • Indonesia is facing renewed calls to repeal its controversial blasphemy law after the jailing of Jakarta’s Christian governor, with critics pointing to a sharp increase in its use to target minorities.
  • The blasphemy legislation has been on the statute books in Indonesia since 1965.

Juventus enters final

  • Juventus defender Dani Alves produced an inspired display capped by a stunning volleyed goal in a 2-1 win over AS Monaco that took the Italians into their second Champions League final in three years.
  • Juventus will contest with Real Madrid in the final.

Manohar agrees to stay on ICC Board Chairman

  • Shashank Manohar, the architect of the new ICC constitution and financial structure, has acceded to the wishes of the greater part of the 13-member International Cricket Council (ICC) Board to complete his term as chairman of the world cricket body.
  • Elected as ICC’s first independent chairman in May 2016, Manohar received overwhelming support to dismantle the Big-3 governance model and bring in a revenue-sharing model based on the principle of equity, conscience and common sense.

Multidrug-resistant TB will rise in India, says new study

  • According to the latest issue of the journal Lancet, Multidrug Resistant-Tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a version of the disease where patients do not respond to first-line drugs, will become more common than it is now.
  • The report projects that, by 2040, the percentage of MDR-TB will make up 32.5% of all TB cases in Russia, 12.4% of the TB cases in India, 8.9% of the TB cases in the Philippines, and 5.7% of all TB cases in South Africa.
  • It is estimated that each year there are 10.4 million new cases of TB, leading to 1.8 million deaths globally. Nearly 40% of all drug-resistant cases occur in Russia, India, the Philippines, and South Africa – accounting for more than 230,000 cases of drug-resistant disease in 2015.
  • The findings are alarming as India is home to the most serious ‘hotspots’ of MDR-TB transmission.
  • With over 2 million of the 10 million reported cases, India accounts for the most drug-resistant patients — nearly 1.3 lakh people who do not respond to first-line drugs.
  • The Union Health Ministry has set itself the target of eliminating tuberculosis (TB) by 2025.
  • Two new TB drugs, Bedaquiline and Delamanid are being used in Europe and the U.S. for several years. But they are yet to be made available in India’s national healthcare system.

Oracle plans India data centre

  • Oracle, one of the world’s biggest technology companies which competes with Amazon, Microsoft and Google in the cloud computing services space, said it would expand such services in India over the next six to nine months and plans to open a data centre in the country.
  • The company would be reviewing proposals from the government and business partners to provide customers with the capability to build and move workloads to an India-based cloud.
  • The company also said that Oracle Cloud Platform has been validated to develop applications using India Stack services.
  • IndiaStack is a set of application program interface (APIs) that allows Governments, businesses, start-ups and developers to utilise a unique digital infrastructure and deliver secure presence-less, paperless, and cashless service delivery.

Price cap on medical devices likely

  • The government was considering capping prices of other medical devices, after the success with coronary stents.. Earlier the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had capped the price of bare-metal stents at Rs. 7,260 and drug-eluting stents at Rs. 29,600, after declaring coronary stents as essential medicines.

Ready to visit N. Korea, says new South leader

  • South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-In was sworn in just a day after a landslide election victory, and immediately declared his willingness to visit Pyongyang amid high tensions with the nuclear-armed North Korea.
  • Left-leaning Moon Jae-In, a former human rights lawyer, backs engagement with North Korea in the quest for peace — in contrast to the threatening rhetoric from the Trump administration in recent weeks.
  • Lee Nak-Yon, a four-term law minister is appointed as Prime Minister.

Sanjay Mitra to be next Defence Secretary

  • The Centre named Sanjay Mitra, Secretary Ministry of Transport and Highways as the next Defence Secretary. He will take over once the incumbent G. Mohan Kumar retires on May 24.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet appointed Mr. Mitra as Officer on Special Duty in the Ministry of Defence.
  • Mr. Mitra belongs to the 1982 batch of West Bengal cadre.

SoftBank suffers $1.4 bn. loss in India

  • Japanese telecom and Internet giant SoftBank Group (SBG) has reported a valuation loss of $1.4 billion (¥160,419 million) on its two major investments in India. It is the largest investor in cab-hailing app Ola and e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal.
  • Betting heavily on the growing e-commerce sector in India, SoftBank invested about $900 million in Snapdeal. As the company is currently valued at $7 billion while Ola at $3.5 billion
  • So far, SoftBank has invested over $1 billion in Indian consumer Internet segment. Apart from Ola and Snapdeal, SoftBank has investments in OYO Rooms, Hike Messenger, and grocery delivery platform Grofers.
  • SoftBank had invested in real estate start-up Housing.com, too.
  • Snapdeal is the third largest e-commerce marketplace after Flipkart and Amazon.
  • Reports have indicated that the merger between Snapdeal and Flipkart will close soon.

Supreme Court plans to go paperless

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the integrated case management system of the Supreme Court - the first step taken by the top court towards becoming a paperless and digital.
  • The new system will help litigants access data and retrieve information online. The system will allow a litigant to digitally file a case and watch its progress on a real-time basis.
  • The government data shows over 61,000 cases are pending in the apex court, while the 24 High Courts have 38.70 lakh pending cases.
  • Chief Justice of India: J.S. Khehar

Sydney Opera House to go for largest-ever upgrade

  • Australia’s world-renowned Opera House is to undergo its first major renovation since being opened in 1973 to help tackle sound problems that have haunted the building for years.
  • The decades-old equipment that power performances beneath its iconic white sails are ageing and will be updated to improve the experience for artistes and audiences.
  • Backstage engines, rigging and hoists that have supported the lighting and props for hundreds of ballet and opera productions will be replaced.
  • A state-of-the-art acoustic enhancement system will also be installed to address the building’s poor sound quality.

Trump fires FBI chief amid Russia probe

  • President Donald Trump dismissed James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sparking criticism by Republicans and Democrats that the move could undermine the integrity of an ongoing agency investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
  • Mr. Trump had earlier fired acting Attorney-General Sally Yates for refusing to defend his executive order that barred travel from several Muslim-majority countries

Twitter uses deep learning to rank tweets

  • Twitter has started using a type of artificial intelligence to figure out which tweets to show on the timeline of its over 300 million monthly active users.
  • The micro-blogging site is evaluating and scoring thousands of tweets per second to determine what is worth recommending on timelines, taking into consideration an increasing number of factors, including whether tweets contain images or videos, the number of re-tweets and likes, and previous interactions with other account holders.
  • The feature is on by default, and users can opt out to revert to the classic timeline style.
  • A year ago Twitter introduced a so-called algorithmic timeline that ranked tweets based on relevance instead of them being in reverse chronological order.
  • CEO: Jack Dorsey