Current Affair – June 2, 2021

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CURRENT AFFAIRS

Human case of Bird flu

China reported the world’s first human infection of the H10N3 bird flu strain. It also said the risk of it spreading widely among people was low.

H10N3

  • It described H10N3 as low pathogenic — less likely to cause death or severe illness in birds. Several strains of bird flu have been found among animals in China but mass out breaks in humans are rare.
  • The last human epidemic of bird flu in China occurred in late 2016 to 2017, with the H7N9 virus

Avian influenza/ Bird flu

Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease affecting a variety of birds. The strains H5N1, H5N2, H5N8 and H7N8 have been identified in outbreaks, indicating active circulation.

  •  Infection history points to H5N1 and H7N9 posing a threat to human as well. Avian Influenza in India
  • Avian influenza (AI) viruses have been circulating worldwide for centuries with four known major out breaks recorded in last century.
  • India notified first outbreak of in 2006. Infection in humans is not yet reported in India though the disease has an animal origin.
  • Presence of H5N8 subtype of Influenza A virus was reported in ducks in Kerala recently. While it can prove lethal for birds, the H5N8 strain of avian influenza has a lower likelihood of spreading to humans compared to H5N1.
Source: The Hindu

“State of Finance for Nature” – UNEP, WEF

The report, titled State of Finance for Nature, was jointly produced by the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Economic Forum and the Economics of Land Degradation.

  • World Economic Forum and the Economics of Land Degradation.

What does the Report says?

  • Annual investments in nature-based solutions (NbS) will have to be tripled by 2030 and increase four-fold by 2050 from the current level of investments if the world is to meet its climate change, biodiversity and land degradation targets.

Public funds make up 86% and private finance 14% of current investments towards nature based solutions

International comparison

  • The investments of $133 billion comprise about 0.10% of global gross domestic product.
  • Public sector spending for the same is dominated by the United States and China, followed by Japan, Germany and Australia. The US tops the list with approximately $36 billion a year in NbS spending, and is closely followed by China with $31 billion.
  • Countries such as Brazil, India and Saudi Arabia are likely spending large amounts of money too, but they do not report internationally comparable data.

What are ‘Nature based solutions’ (NBS)?

Nature-based solutions refer to sustainable management and use of nature to tackle socio-environmental challenges, which range from disaster risk reduction, climate change and biodiversity loss to food and water security as well as human health.

Future commitments

  • Public and private actors will need to scale up their annual investments by at least four times to meet future climate, biodiversity and land degradation targets. By 2050, total investment of nature needs will amount to $8.1 trillion, while annual investment should reach $536 billion annually by 2050, the report said.
  • Forest-based solutions alone would amount to $203 billion per year.
  • This report called for a comprehensive system and framework for labelling, tracking, reporting and verifying the state of finance for NbS. This would improve data comparability and quality as an input to future decision-making.
  • The report recommended reforming taxes, repurposed agricultural policies and trade-related tariffs and harnessing the potential of carbon markets.
Source: The Down-to-earth

Toxic epidemiology of poisoning exhibited in Indian population from 2010 to 2020: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

  • A new research on the prevalence of various types of poisoning in India has been study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
  • The research involved analyzing 134 research studies done between January 2010 and May 2020, including more than 50,000 participants.

Research findings

  • Pesticides are the leading cause of poisoning in India, with two in every three cases of poisoning happening because of pesticide consumption either intentionally or unintentionally.
  • It revealed that pesticides were the main case of poisoning, with an overall prevalence of 63% due to widespread use of pesticides for agricultural and household activities.
  • The prevalence of pesticide poisoning in the adult population was 65% and 22% in children.

Types of poisoning

  • Other types of poisoning included corrosives, venoms, drugs miscellaneous agents.
  • The second most common cause of poisoning was miscellaneous agents, followed by drugs, venoms and corrosives.

Region-wise distribution

The prevalence of poisoning was the highest in north India at 79% (more than three-fourths of the total cases of poisoning), followed by south India (65.9%), central India (59.2%), west India (53.1%), north east India (46.9%) and east India (38.5%)

Concerns

  • The reasons for pesticide poisoning were the co-existence of poverty and agricultural farming and thus, the easy availability of pesticides.
  • The research has once again brought to fore the issues regarding the unabated use of pesticides in India and how they still continue to be a great threat to human health. Thousands of farmers and farm labourers die every year due to unsafe use of hazardous pesticides.
  • Deaths of farmers and the general public across Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka and Bihar among other states in the last few years due to pesticide consumption have highlighted the need to regulate their use.
  • Easy access to pesticides has also led its consumption becoming the leading cause of suicides worldwide.

The research said

The World Health Organization and its member countries initiated a programmer of safe access of pesticides, which has resulted in a decrease in the prevalence of fatal poisoning by 10% across the world. However, pesticides remain the leading cause of poisoning in south Asian countries including India and in south east Asia and China.

It also pointed out that many studies had concluded that the strict restriction of highly lethal pesticides by legal mechanisms or policy actions drastically reduced deaths.

Source: Down-to-earth

Provision 51 of Disaster Management Act 2005

The former Chief Secretary of West Bengal was served a show cause notice by the Union Home Ministry under Section 51 of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, punishable by imprisonment of up to two years or a fine or both.

Section 51 of DM Act, 2005

  • The Section pertains to “punishment for obstruction” for refusal to comply with a direction given by the Central government.
  • The Section prescribes “punishment for obstruction” for refusal to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of the Central government or the State government or the National Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee or the District Authority under the Act.
  • It says that violation shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term that may extend to one year or with a fine or both upon conviction.
  • It adds that if “such refusal to comply with directions results in loss of lives or imminent danger thereof, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years”.
  • Section 51 of the Act has two important caveats. Under the Act, the action on the part of the person has to be ‘without reasonable cause’ and ‘failure of an officer to per form the duty without due permission or lawful excuse’.
  • On March 30, 2020, when thousands of migrants gathered at the Anand Vihar railway station in Delhi due to the sudden announcement of the countrywide lockdown, two Del hi government officers were suspended and two others were served show cause notice by the Centre under the Act for dereliction of duty.

DM Act, 2005

  • The DM Act, 2005, came into existence after the 2004 tsunami. It was invoked for the first time in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic.
  • On March 24, 2020, the Centre, through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) headed by the Prime Minister, invoked the provisions of the Act to streamline the management of the pandemic, empowering district magistrates to take decisions and centralise other decisions on the supply of oxygen and movement of vehicles.
  • The Act has been extend end across the country till June 30 and it is enforced by the Home Ministry
Source: The Hindu

Germany recognised colonial war genocide in Namibia

  • Germany for the first time has recognised that it committed genocide against the Herero and Name people in present-day Namibia during its colonial rule over a century ago. It also promised financial support of over a billion euros to the Southern African nation.
  • Between 1904 and 1908, German colonial settlers killed tens of thousands of men, women and children from the Herero and Nama tribes after they rebelled against colonial rule in what was then called German South West Africa.

History

  • Between 1884 and 1890, Germany formally colonised parts of present-day Namibia.
  • By 1903, around 3,000 German settlers had occupied the central high ground of the region. Tensions quickly rose as local tribes saw the German settlers as a threat to their land and resources.

· The conflict reached a boiling point in 1904, when the Herero nation — a primarily pastoral community — rebelled against the Germans, and were closely followed by the Nama tribe.

  • Violence first broke out between Herero fighters and German settlers in a small town called Okahandja. The Herero, who by then had embraced some symbols of modernity such as guns and horses, laid siege on a German fort.
  • Significantly outnumbered by the well-armed Hereros fighters, the military commander and governor of the colony at the time, Major Theodor Leutwein, decided to broker a settlement to end the conflict. But Berlin demanded a military solution. Leutwein was replaced by Lieutenant General Lothar von Trotha, who opted for a far more aggressive military approach.
  • He directed his troops to corner the Herero fighters, who had by then fled to the Waterberg plateau at the edge of the Kalahari desert. His strategy was to ruthlessly “annihilate” the Hereros when they least expected it.

The genocide

  • During the Battle of Waterberg, around 80,000 Herero, including women and children, were chased across the desert by German troops. A mere 15,000 survived.
  • Around this time, the southern Nama communities, too, had led an insurrection against German colonialism. But much like the Herero, they too were brutally suppressed. Around 10,000 of them were killed.
  • Over the next three years, thousands of Nama and Herero men, women and children were exiled to the Kalahari desert where many died of thirst. Several others were sent to bleak concentration camps, and used for forced labour.

Independence of Namibia

The Germans continued to rule the region till 1915, following which it fell under South Africa’s control for 75 years. Namibia finally gained independence in 1990.

Source: Indian Express

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