Current Affair – May 11, 2021

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CURRENT AFFAIRS

Vaccine hesitancy

Despite the second wave of the COVID­19 pandemic raging through the country with the number of cases rising everyday, vaccine hesitancy continues, preventing many from ensuring their safety.

What is vaccine hesitancy?

According to the WHO, vaccine hesitancy is defined as a reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccine services. Eg Hesitancy for the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vac­cine was sufficiently high in the Malappuram district of Kerala to render community im­munisation a challenging goal.

  • The debates around hesitancy for CO­VID­19 vaccines include concerns over safe­ty, efficacy, and side effects due to the re­cord­breaking timelines of the vaccines, competition among several companies, mis­information, and religious taboos..
  • In times of un­certainty, people are susceptible to misinformation due to an combination of cognitive, social and algorithmic biases i.e., information overload and limited attention spans.
  • Social media- rising number of self­proclaimed ex­perts decoding ingre­dients and efficacy of the vaccines through unsubstantiated claims.
  • Vaccine hesitancy is due to poor understanding of the benefits and risks of vaccination, perhaps with an exaggerated per­ception of the vaccine’s side ef­fects due to media reports

Solution

  1. Adopt the idea of libertarian paternalism, a concept of be­havioural science, which says it is possible and legitimate to steer people’s behaviour to­wards vaccination while still respecting their freedom of choice.
  2. Instead of anti­vaxxers, the target swing population i.e., people who are sceptical but can be persuaded through scientific facts and proper commu­nication.
  3. Inculcate the habit of inquisitive temper to fact­check any news re­lated to COVID­19 vaccines.
  4. Celeb effect: Celebrities can serve as agents of positive social change, erasing scepticism associated with vaccine adoption and prompting information­ seeking and pre­ventative behaviours.
  5. Clear and correct scientific information  on vaccine efficacy and the potential side effects.
  6. De­centralised process of informa­tion, education, communication by the public health authorities at the level of each district, town and panchayat.
  7. All media, print and electronic pre­sent accurate facts and health de­partments in each State should pu­blish the side effects of the vaccines in detail to dispel mis­trust.
  8. Transpa­rency and prompt data sharing.
Source: The Hindu

Financial Action Task Force

  • Pakistan, keen to exit from the grey list of the FATF, is set to introduce new rules relating to anti­money laundering cases and change the prosecution process to meet its remaining tough conditions.
  • Pakistan was put on the grey list by the FATF  in June 2018.
  • Based on measures, the FATF would conclude if Pakistan has complied with three outstanding benchmarks, out of 27, that blocked its exit from the grey list in February this year.

About FATF

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. The inter-governmental body sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society. As a policy-making body, the FATF works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
  • Its Secretariat is  located at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris.
  • FATF Plenary is the decision making body of the FATF. It meets three times per year.

History of the FATF

  • In response to mounting concern over money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) was established by the G-7 Summit that was held in Paris in 1989. 
  • Recognising the threat posed to the banking system and to financial institutions, the G-7 Heads of State or Government and President of the European Commission convened the Task Force from the G-7 member States, the European Commission and eight other countries.

FATF has two lists:

  • Grey List: Countries considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering. It serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
  • Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.
Source: The Hindu

Israel-Palestine Conflict

  • On Monday, Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem, leaving a reported 300 people injured. It came on a day Israel observes as Jerusalem Day.
  • The stand-off came at the end of a week of tensions over the eviction of Palestinian residents from two neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, to make way for Jewish settlers.

Jerusalem Day

  • On Monday, the tensions came to a head again, hours before the annual May 10 Jerusalem Day processions by Jewish groups through the Old City of East Jerusalem.
  • The March is  to mark the day the territory was captured by Israeli forces during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israel annexed the territory later and incorporated it into West Jerusalem, captured earlier, in the 1947 war.
  • Due to the spike in tensions, the police changed the route of the processions at the last minute.

The mosque & the Mount

  • TheAl-Aqsa is located on a plaza at Temple Mount, which is known in Islam as Haram-e-Sharif. The compound is Is­lam’s third holiest site and considered Judaism’s holiest.
  • The most imposing structure on the compound is the Dome of the Rock, with its golden dome.
  • The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall sacred to Jews, is one side of the retaining wall of the Al-Aqsa compound.
  • Al-Aqsa is central to the rival claims over Jerusalem. Both Israel and Palestine have declared it their capital.
  • In July 1980, the Israeli Parliament passed the Jerusalem Law declaring it the country’s capital. Palestinians declared Jerusalem the capital of the putative state of Palestine by a law passed by the Palestinian Authority in 2000. The 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence also declared Jerusalem as the capital. For the present, the Palestinian Authority has its headquarters in Ramallah.

1967 War

  • Soon after the 1967 Six-Day War ended, Israel gave back to Jordan the administration and management of the Al-Aqsa compound.
  • While non-Muslims have not been allowed to worship at Al-Aqsa, Jewish individuals and groups have made repeated attempts to gain entry to the Mount Temple plaza .
  • Since the late 1990s, around the time of the first intifada, such attempts began occurring with a regularity as Jewish settlers began claiming land in East Jerusalem and surrounding areas. It has led to repeated clashes and tensions at Al-Aqsa. Frequently, the Israeli police have backed such attempts.
Source: Indian Express

NASA Mission- OSIRIS-REx

  • On May 11, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will depart asteroid Bennu, and start its two-year long journey back to Earth.
  • OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s first mission to visit a near-Earth asteroid, survey its surface and collect a sample from it.

What is asteroid Bennu?

Asteroids are rocky objects that orbit the Sun, much smaller than planets. They are also called minor planets.

  • Bennu is considered to be an ancient asteroid that has not gone through a lot of composition-altering change through billions of years, which means that below its surface lie chemicals and rocks from the birth of the solar system.
  • NEOs are comets and asteroids nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits which allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.   Bennu is a B-type asteroid, implying that it contains significant amounts of carbon and various other minerals.
  • Because of its high carbon content, the asteroid reflects about 4% of the light that hits it, which is very low when compared with a planet like Venus, which reflects about 65% of the light that hits it. Earth reflects about 30%.
  • There is a slight possibility that Bennu, which is classified as a Near Earth Object (NEO), might strike the Earth in the next century, between the years 2175 and 2199.
According to NASA, 994,383 is the count for known asteroids, the remnants from the formation of the solar system over 4.6 billion years ago.
NEOs are comets and asteroids nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits which allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.

What is the OSIRIS-REx mission?

  • This is NASA’s first mission meant to return a sample from the ancient asteroid. The mission is essentially a seven-year-long voyage and will conclude when at least 60 grams of samples are delivered back to the Earth.
  • The mission promises to bring the largest amount of extraterrestrial material back to our planet since the Apollo era.
Source: Indian Express

National Technology Day

  • India observes National Technology Day on May 11 to mark the anniversary of the Pokhran nuclear tests of 1998.
  • Pokhran nuclear tests were a series of five explosions conducted by India at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range.
  • Former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, lovingly known as India’s ‘Missile Man’ spearheaded the Pokhran tests. The then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared India a nuclear state, making it the sixth country to join the elite ‘nuclear club’.
  • The five nuclear tests were codenamed Operation Shakti and the whole operation is also known as Pokhran II.

Awards and Technology Development Board (TDB)

  • Awards are given to several innovators and entrepreneurs on this day every year. Every year, for furtherance of its mandate, TDB seeks applications for National awards for commercialization of technologies under three categories National Awards, MSME awards, and Startup awards.
  • For the year 2021, TDB invited application for National Awards under three categories and total 15 winners were selected.
  • TDB is a statutory body of Government of India functioning under Department of Science of Technology. It provides financial assistance to Indian industrial concerns and other agencies, for commercialization of indigenized technologies or adaptation of imported technologies for wider domestic applications.
  • Since its inception in 1996, TDB has funded more than 300 companies for commercialization of technologies.
Source: PIB

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