National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 7th April 2019

Deaths from C-sections high in developing countries

Topic: Health

In News: Maternal deaths following caesarean sections in low and middle-income countries are 100 times higher than that in high-income countries, with up to a third of all babies dying, according to data from 12 million pregnancies.

More on the Topic:

  • This according to a new review published in The Lancet, which has considered 196 studies from 67 low and middle-income countries.
  • Information released by the World Health Organisation under its sexual and reproductive health section further adds from the study that data from 1990 to 2017 show that a quarter of all women who died while giving birth in low and middle-income countries had undergone caesarean section.
  • In many low and middle-income countries, overuse and underuse coexist making it particularly difficult to increase the provision of caesarean section to those women in need without aggravating the overuse which, in turn, places women at higher risk of complications.
  • A third of all deaths following caesarean section were attributed to postpartum haemorrhage (32%), 19% to pre-eclampsia, 22% to sepsis, and 14% to anaesthesia-related causes.

Way Forward:

  • Training is needed in decision making to reduce unnecessary caesarean sections, and in appropriate intrapartum care, including instrumental deliveries to reduce caesarean sections performed in the second stage of labour, which carry greater risk.

Source: The Hindu

Kerala forests home to new spider species

Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: A group of jumping spiders that mostly occur in Eurasia and Africa, has been spotted for the first time in Ernakulam’s Illithodu forests.

More on the Topic:

  • The team also found that the spider belonging to the genus (a taxonomic classification above species) Habrocestum is a species new to science.
  • The team came across the different-looking spiders — six of them were predominantly brownish-black in colour with white and creamy-yellow patches .
  • The spider also has a single long spine on the underside of both its first legs, and this gave it its scientific name Habrocestum longispinum (after Latin ‘ longe’ meaning long and ‘ spinae ’ for spine).
  • It measures just around 2 mm and seems to prefer dry habitats, dwelling in forest litter.
  • While more detailed ecological studies are required, threats could include unregulated tourism activities and even climate change (which could affect the small insects by altering the specific micro-climates that they prefer).
  • The discovery also lends support to the continental drift theory that suggests that the world’s continents were one large, contiguous landmass where these creatures thrived many millions of years ago.

Source: The Hindu

Japan probe blasts asteroid to make crater

Topic: Science and Technology

In News: A Japanese spacecraft, Hayabusa2,launched an explosive device at an asteroid, aiming to blast a crater in the surface and scoop up material that could shed light on how the solar system evolved.

More on the topic:

  • The mission was risky as the spacecraft had to immediately move away so as to avoid getting hit by flying shards from the blast.
  • Hayabusa2 successfully released the so-called “small carry-on impactor”,a cone-shaped device capped with a copper bottom as scheduled, as the probe hovered just 500 metres above the asteroid Ryugu.
  • The impactor was programmed to explode 40 minutes later, propelling the copper bottom towards Ryugu, where it should gouge a crater into the surface of the asteroid that spins 300 million kilometres from Earth.
  • Hayabusa2 moved smartly away from the area to avoid being damaged by debris from the explosion or colliding with Ryugu.

About Hayabusa 2:

  • It is an asteroid sample-return mission operated by the Japanese space agency, JAXA.
  • It was launched on 3 December 2014 and rendezvoused with near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu on 27 June 2018.
  • It is in the process of surveying the asteroid for a year and a half, departing in December 2019, and returning to Earth in December 2020.
  • Hayabusa2 carries multiple science payloads for remote sensing, sampling, and four small rovers that will investigate the asteroid surface to inform the environmental and geological context of the samples collected.

About Ryugu:

  • Ryugu is a C-type asteroid – a relic from the early days of the Solar System. Scientists think that C-type asteroids contain both organic matter, and trapped water, and might have been responsible for bringing both to Earth, thereby providing the planet with the materials necessary for life to originate.

Source: The Hindu

Asian Development Outlook 2019

Topic: Important Reports in News

In News: ADB published flagship economic publication Asian Development Outlook 2019 (ADO).

More on the Topic:

  • Growth in developing Asia is projected to soften to 5.7% in 2019 and 5.6% in 2020. Excluding Asia’s high-income newly industrialized economies, growth is expected to slip from 6.4% in 2018 to 6.2% in 2019 and 6.1% in 2020.
  • Since oil prices rose and Asian currencies depreciated, inflation edged up last year but remained low by historical standards. In light of stable commodity prices, inflation is anticipated to remain subdued at 2.5% in both 2019 and 2020.
  • Only 20 of 45 individual economies are projected to see growth accelerate in 2019.
  • By sub-region, aggregate growth rates in Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia are expected to decelerate, while South Asia and the Pacific will bounce back from slowdown in 2018.
  • In East Asian economy growth in East Asia decelerated by 0.2% to 6.0% in 2018, weighed down by weakening external trade and moderating investment in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) but sustained by resilient domestic consumption.

India’s position:

  • Growth rate: India’s growth forecast is cut to 7.2% for 2019-20 because of a slower-than-expected pickup in investment demand. The growth rate in Financial Year 2020-21 is likely to be 7.3%.
  • Recovery may be due to– agriculture and stronger domestic demand, improved health of banks and corporations and implementation of a value-added tax.
  • The inflation is expected to average around 4% in the first half of FY2019, and therefore the Reserve Bank would have some room for lowering policy rates further increasing credit.

Source:The Hindu

Global Cooling Coalition

Topic:Environment and Ecology

In News: The first-ever global coalition on clean and efficient cooling was launched at the recently held First Global Conference on Synergies between the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement in Copenhagen, Denmark.

More on the Topic:

  • Launched at the First Global Conference on Synergies between the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement, the Cool Coalition aims to inspire ambition and accelerate action on the transition to clean and efficient cooling.
  • The coalition includes ministers of environment from Chile and Rwanda and Foreign Affairs from Denmark as well as the heads of Danish engineering firm Danfoss and ENGIE, and the leaders of civil society, research, academia and intergovernmental institutions. The Cool Coalition is a global effort led by UN Environment, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program, and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).
  • The Cool Coalition offers a three-in-one opportunity to cut global warming, improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people and make huge financial savings.


  • Throughout the world, 2018 was the fourth hottest year, preceded by 2017, 2015 and 2016. With increasing incomes and urbanisation, number of air conditioning units across the globe is set to increase from 1.2 billion to 4.5 billion by 2050, and India alone may account for one billion units.
  • In the next 20 years, India’s cooling requirement will increase by eight times, with air conditioners alone consuming more than half of the total energy required for cooling in the country by 2037-38. India has already developed a national cooling action plan that was launched by the Union environment ministry on March 8, 2019.

Source: The Hindu

GIAN Program

Topic: Science and Technology

In News: The National Institute of Technology, Tiruchi, launched a five-day programme under the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) in Higher Education.

About GIAN:

  • Aimed at tapping the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs, internationally to encourage their engagement with the institutes of Higher Education in India so as to augment the country’s existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reform, and elevate India’s scientific and technological capacity to global excellence.
  • It enables interaction of students and faculty with the best academic and industry experts from all over the world and also share their experiences and expertise to motivate people to work on Indian problems
  • It is a system of Guest Lectures by internationally and nationally renowned experts targeted towards a comprehensive Faculty Development Programme not only for new IITs, IIMs, IISERs but also other institutions in the country.

Source: The Hindu


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