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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 4th Aug 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 4th aug 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Polypills : Combating Cardiovascular Diseases

The WHO has recognized the effectiveness of polypills in combating cardiovascular diseases by including them in the Model Lists of Essential Medicines.

  • A polypill is a single pill that contains a combination of multiple medications, typically used for the prevention or treatment of various health conditions. It simplifies medication regimens by packaging several drugs together in a single dosage form.
  • “Polycap,” which is a polypill containing multiple medications, including simvastatin (for cholesterol control), ramipril (for blood pressure control), atenolol (for heart health), hydrochlorothiazide (for blood pressure control), and acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin for clot prevention).
  • Polypills are designed to simplify treatment regimens, enhance medication adherence, and provide an effective approach to managing complex health conditions by combining multiple medications into a single dosage form.
  • The WHO Model Lists of Essential Medicines are updated every two years by the Expert Committee on Selection and Use of Essential Medicines.

Palaeo Proxies:

The limitations of temperature estimates from before the invention of thermometers, based on “palaeo proxies.”

  • It calls the claims that a specific day was the warmest in over 100,000 years as scientifically unfounded.
  • Palaeo proxies, short for paleoclimate proxies, are indirect pieces of evidence that scientists use to infer past climate conditions.
  • Since instrumental climate records (such as thermometer measurements) are only available for a relatively short period, usually a few hundred years, scientists rely on various natural sources to reconstruct climate conditions over longer timescales.
  • To estimate past temperatures, scientists also use isotopes that undergo steady radioactive decay.
  • The proxies can help in understanding the response of modern humans to climate change.
  • However, such proxies are not suitable for estimating daily temperatures.
  • Climate change is best understood over longer timescales, and making alarmist claims about daily records can jeopardize the credibility of climate action efforts.

Tobacco Control : WHO Report

The new WHO report on tobacco control highlights global progress, including the implementation of MPOWER measures.

  • MPOWER measures are tobacco control strategies developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2008. They include:
    • M=Monitor tobacco use
    • P=Protect people from tobacco smoke
    • O=Offer help to quit tobacco
    • W=Warn about tobacco dangers
    • E=Enforce bans on tobacco advertising
    • R=Raise taxes on tobacco products

Key highlights of the Report:

  • Global Smoking Decline Worldwide, with 300 million fewer smokers today, the prevalence of smoking declined from 22.8% (2007) to 17% (2021)
  • Over 5 billion people (71% of the global population) are protected by at least one MPOWER measure
  • The number of countries implementing at least one MPOWER measure increased from 44 (2008) to 151 (2022).
  • Only 4 counties (Brazil, Turkey, Netherlands, and Mauritius) have implemented all measures.
  • Warning WHO warns against the aggressive promotion of e-cigarettes as a safer alternative, especially for youth
  • Second-hand smoke exposure is linked to over 1 million non-smoker deaths annually, various health issues
  • India excels in health warning labels and tobacco dependence treatment; bans sale of e-cigarettes
    27% reduction in smoking in public places in Bengaluru due to enforcement and communication efforts
  • Need for warnings on OTT platforms, stronger enforcement, bans on loose cigarette sales, and increased fines; Bans on tobacco advertising can minimize its consumption
  • Efforts to reduce second-hand smoking through smoke-free public areas and awareness campaigns

Yellow-bellied Sea Snake:

A rare yellow-bellied snake was seen on the coast of Digha, Bay of Bengal, amid huge tides recently.

  • Yellow-bellied Sea Snake is a highly venomous species of snake that belongs to the subfamily Hydrophiinae (the sea snakes).
  • Scientific Name: Pelamis platurus
  • This snake is considered the most widely-distributed snake in the world.
  • It is found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world.
  • It is found in tropical ocean waters in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including the coasts of Africa, Asia, Australia, Mexico, including Baja California, and Central America.
  • It has a distinctive bicolor pattern with a yellow underbelly and brown back and a flattened yellowtail with large black spots.
  • It is a diurnal sea snake and primarily aquatic, living its entire life cycle at sea.
  • This snake can spend up to 3 hours underwater without surfacing.
  • Adaptations to aquatic life include reduced ventral scale size, laterally compressed body and paddle-tail for swimming, valved nostrils and palatine seal for excluding seawater, and cutaneous gas exchange for prolonging dive times.
  • This species can uptake up to 33% of its oxygen requirements through the skin while diving and swimming at the surface of the water.
  • They are carnivores (piscivores) and eat only fish.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Sovereign Credit Rating:

Global credit rating agency Fitch recently downgraded US Sovereign rating from AAA to AA+.

  • Credit rating is an assessment of the creditworthiness of a borrower, including an individual, a company, or a country.
  • Sovereign Credit Rating is an independent assessment of the creditworthiness of a country or sovereign entity.
  • Governments borrow huge funds by issuing debt instruments like government bonds. Creditworthiness here means the ability of the government to pay back its debt without default.
  • Sovereign credit ratings can give investors insights into the level of risk associated with investing in the debt instruments (like bonds) of a given country, including political risks.
  • Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch Ratings are the three most influential credit rating agencies.
  • When evaluating the creditworthiness of a country, credit rating agencies consider various economic and financial indicators of the country, including its economic growth, fiscal policies, public debt levels, political stability, and external trade position, to assign an appropriate credit rating.

Ayush Visa : New Category Of Ayush

The Ministry of Home Affairs recently notified the creation of a new category of Ayush visa for foreign nationals for treatment under Ayush systems/Indian systems of medicine.

  • Ayush Visa is specifically designed for foreign nationals looking to receive medical treatment in India through traditional Indian systems of medicine.
  • This visa aims to cater to those interested in Ayurveda, Yoga, and other traditional forms of therapeutic care and wellness.
  • A new chapter, e., Chapter 11A, Ayush Visa, has been incorporated after Chapter 11 – Medical Visa of the Visa Manual, which deals with treatment under the Indian systems of medicine, and accordingly, necessary amendments have been made in various chapters of the Visa Manual, 2019.
  • The introduction of the Ayush Visa category is part of the country’s roadmap for the Heal in India initiative.
  • It seeks to provide “integrated and holistic treatment” to the world in India and enhance patient mobility for access to world-class, affordable, and quality healthcare services”.
  • AYUSH, which stands for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Naturopathy, Siddha, and Homoeopathy, is an acronym devised in 2003 to change the name of the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy (ISM & H).

Iberian Wolf:

According to the regional government, the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus), has been extinct in the historic region of Andalusia in the extreme south of Iberia since 2020.

  • Iberian wolf is a subspecies of Grey wolf that has been isolated from mixing with other wolf populations for over a century.
  • These form the largest wolf population in Western Europe.
  • It is native to the Iberian Peninsula comprising Spain and Portugal.
  • They inhabit forests, inland wetlands, shrublands, grasslands, pastures, and mountainous areas.
  • They live, hunt, and travel in small packs. Each pack includes the alpha male and female with their young as well as older offspring.
  • The alphas are the leaders of the pack, establishing the group’s territory, selecting the den sites, tracking down, and hunting prey.
  • They are mainly carnivores.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Vulnerable

MASI Portal:

The Minister of Women and Child Development informed the Rajya Sabha about MASI Portal.

  • Monitoring App for Seamless Inspection (MASI) was developed for synchronous monitoring of the Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and their inspection mechanisms across the country.
  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has developed this application.
  • The effective and efficient functioning of the mechanism for inspection of CCIs provided under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 (as amended in 2021).
  • The app is linked to the monitoring Portal where the automatic reports are generated.
  • This App enables unified inspections by Child Welfare Committees (CWCs), State Inspection Committees, District Inspection Committees, Members of Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) as laid down under the JJ Act, 2015.
  • It serves as a single platform for inspections of all the CCIs across the country by any of the above stated authorities.
  • Regular follow-up is done before and after the completion of cycle of inspection.
  • The complete reports are automatically generated on the Portal as soon as the questionnaire is filled and submitted by the authority.

JALDOST Airboat:

The National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) unveiled the JALDOST airboat.

  • JALDOST is an airboat that operates on water.
  • It is designed to remove excess aquatic weed and floating waste from water bodies.
  • It has a closed airtight pontoon type hull to make it inherently unsinkable.
  • According to NAL, it has a hybrid propulsion system, comprising air propulsion and paddle wheel propulsion.
  • The ability to travel through weed makes JALDOST an ideal platform to collect them and bring them to the shore.
  • A steel mesh belt conveyor system fixed in the front collects the waste. The collected waste falls on the horizontal deck conveyor.
  • After reaching the shore, the collected waste is unloaded by a rear conveyor system to trucks or tractors.
  • NAL has developed two versions of the airboat — JALDOST Mark-1 and an upgraded version JALDOST Mark-2.

National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL)

  • It is a constituent of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India, established in the year 1959.
  • It is the only government aerospace R&D laboratory in the country’s civilian sector.
  • CSIR-NAL is a high-technology-oriented institution focusing on advanced disciplines in aerospace.
  • It has several advanced test facilities, and many of them are recognized as National Facilities.
  • It has provided significant value-added inputs to all the Indian national aerospace programmes.

Lunar Codex:

A collection of various art made by humans might become immortal with the Lunar Codex programme.

  • Lunar Codex collection of art gathered from artists will be stranded on the lunar surface as a lasting record of human creativity, even in times of war, pandemics, and economic crises.
  • This programme is spearheaded by Samuel Peralta, a semi-retired physicist and art collector from Canada.
  • The collection of varied digitised art will be sent to the moon as a lasting record of human creativity.
  • Lunar Codex is stored on memory cards or laser etched on NanoFiche, a 21st-century update on film-based microfiche. These will ensure that the art forms reach the lunar surface safely.
  • The collection of art is gathered from 30,000 artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians from 157 countries.
  • The art forms include images, magazines, books, podcasts, movies, and music, which are divided into four capsules.
  • The first such capsule is known as the Orion collection, which has already flown around the moon when it launched on the Orion spacecraft as part of NASA’s Artemis 1 mission last year.
  • In the coming months, a series of lunar landers will take the Lunar Codex capsules to various destinations, in craters at the moon’s South Pole and a lunar plain called Sinus Viscositatis.