Daily GK Update: 5th May 2020
World Asthma Day 2020
- The aim of World Asthma Day is to raise awareness, care and support for those affected by asthma. Whilst the primary focus is supporting the person with asthma, support may also extend to family, friends and caregivers.
- Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs which causes breathing problems. Symptoms of asthma include breathlessness, coughing, wheezing and a feeling of tightness in the chest.
These symptoms vary in frequency and severity. When the symptoms are not under control, the airways can become inflamed making breathing difficult. Whilst asthma can not be cured, the symptoms can be controlled enabling people with asthma to live full lives.
- World Asthma Day is supported by the organization GINA, the Global Initiative for Asthma which works with health care groups around the world to help raise awareness. GINA is an initiative taken by the US based National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLB). World Asthma Day is also supported by the World Asthma Foundation.
Source: What Health
Russia to launch first Arktika-M satellite for monitoring Arctic climate this year
- Russia will launch its first Arktika-M satellite for monitoring the Arctic climate and environment at the end of the year, General Director of the Lavochkin aerospace company Vladimir Kolmykov told Sputnik.
- “As of now, the number one Arktika-M spacecraft has been developed and is undergoing radio-electronic testing … the launch is planned for the end of 2020,” Kolmykov said, adding that the second Arktika-M satellite is still under development and will be launched in 2023.
- In February, a space industry source told Sputnik that the launch of the first Arktika-M satellite from the Baikonur space center was planned for December 9, 2020. According to the source, the satellite will be launched using a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Fregat booster.
Source: Zee News
EPFO releases total Rs 764 crore to pensioners for April
- Retirement fund body EPFO on Tuesday said it has disbursed a total of Rs 764 crore to 65 lakh pensioners for April under its pension scheme.
- All 135 field offices of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) processed pension payment for April 2020 in advance to avoid inconvenience to pensioners on account of nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, according to a labour ministry statement.
- EPFO officers and staff battled all odds to send Rs 764 crore to all nodal branches of pension disbursing banks throughout India, it further said.
- All Bank branches have been directed to ensure credit of pension in the accounts of pensioners on schedule, the EPFO, which has 65 lakh pensioners under its pension scheme, said.
- Timely credit of pension in this hour of need has been accorded top most priority by the EPFO to bring succour to the pensioners during this pandemic crisis, it added.
Source: Financial Express
Israel isolates coronavirus antibody in ‘significant breakthrough’: Minister
- Israel has isolated a key coronavirus antibody at its main biological research laboratory, the Israeli defence minister said on Monday, calling the step a “significant breakthrough” toward a possible treatment for the coronavirus pandemic.
- The “monoclonal neutralising antibody” developed at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) “can neutralise it (the disease-causing coronavirus) inside carriers’ bodies,” Defence Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.
- The statement added that Naftali Bennett visited the IIBR on Monday where he was briefed “on a significant breakthrough in finding an antidote for the coronavirus”.
Source: The Economic Times
COVID-19: Commonwealth Youth Games postponed to 2023
- The 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games was postponed on Friday to 2023 because of clash of dates with the Tokyo Olympics.
- The Olympics was originally scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8 this year but was postponed by a year last month owing to the pandemic. “The Commonwealth Games Federation Executive Board have decided to explore rescheduling options for the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games,” the CGF said in a statement.
- “The impact of the pandemic on the global international sporting calendar means that the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have now been rescheduled to the summer of 2021 during the original dates of the Youth Games. Following positive discussions, the CGF has agreed to consider the best alternative options and time frames for staging the event in the future, potentially in 2023,” it said.
Explained: What coronavirus ‘copy machine’ looks like
- Once the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2 invades a human cell, the crucial next stage is replication, when it creates copies after copies of itself. For this, the virus uses its “copy machine”, which is an enzyme with this function. Trials with various drugs are targeting various stages of virus activity, and some of them, notably remdesivir, seek to inhibit specifically the enzyme that multiplies the genetic material of the virus.
- Now, researchers have reported that they have determined the 3D structure of this “copy machine”. This makes it possible to investigate how drugs such as remdesivir work, they note.
Source: The Indian Express
Delhi Govt to Impose 70% ‘Special Corona Fee’ on Liquor from Today to Boost Revenue
- Liquor in Delhi will cost more from Tuesday after the government decided to impose a 70% ‘Special Corona Fee’ on its sale in the national capital. The move will boost the government revenue hit hard due to the coronavirus-forced lockdown.
- “A 70% ‘Special Corona Fee’ has been imposed on the MRP (maximum retail price) of liquor bottles. The new rate will be applicable from Tuesday,” said the source.
- In a late night notification, the Finance Department of the Delhi government said, “70% of the maximum retail price (will be levied) on all categories of liquor sold through retail licensees for consumption…”
- For instance, a liquor bottle with a maximum retail price of Rs 1,000 earlier will now cost Rs 1,700 in the city.
- The decision comes on the first day of easing of certain restrictions under the third phase of the coronavirus lockdown. Delhi has allowed 150 state-run liquor shops outside the coronavirus containment zones.
Source: News18 India
Donald Trump taps Indian-American lawyer as US representative to World Bank’s lending arm IBRD
- US President Donald Trump has nominated Indian-American lawyer Ashok Michael Pinto as a representative to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank’s lending arm.
- Pinto, who has worked as a Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to former president George W Bush, was on Monday nominated as US Alternate Executive Director of IBRD for a term of two years.
- If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace Erik Bethel, who has resigned from the post.
- Pinto currently serves as Counsellor to the Under Secretary for International Affairs at the United States Department of the Treasury.
- With a BA from Stanford University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law, Pinto was a Counsellor to General Counsel at Treasury.
Source: The Economic Times
Highest death rate, low testing, number mismatch: Central team red-flags Bengal
- The Inter-Ministerial Central Team that visited Kolkata, Howrah and certain other districts in West Bengal, to check its coronavirus preparation, has said that at 12.8 per cent, the state has the highest mortality rate among Covid-19 patients in the country, and accused it of low testing, weak surveillance and discrepancies in reporting cases.
- Headed by Ministry of Defence Additional Secretary Apurva Chandra, the team completed its two-week tour of West Bengal on Monday, sending the above as “Final Observations of the IMCT” in a letter addressed to state Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha.
Source: The Indian Express