Here are today’s important headlines with key details for UPSC, SSC, IBPS and other competitive examinations.
New fault in Indian Ocean may trigger earthquakes in future: researchers
According to geologists, a new plate boundary may be forming on the floor of the Indian Ocean in the Wharton Basin as a result of the 2012 earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region. The discovery was based on the study of seismic data recorded before, during and after the 2012 quakes and sea floor depth analysis by venturing into the ocean aboard a research vessel.
- Scientists created a high-resolution imagery of the sea floor by using data which unveiled deformations that had occurred on the Indo-Australian Plate.
- It showed that the plate had broken along a 1,000 km fracture zone due to 2012 earthquakes, resulting in a new plate boundary and likely to be the site of future fault-slip earthquakes.
- The analysis showed a new fault system had developed in the area off the coast of Sumatra that was involved in the 2012 earthquakes. The new fault system can trigger more quakes in the future.
- Slip-strike earthquake occurs when two plates slide horizontally against one another. As a result, earthquake causes deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate. These earthquakes can lead to inter-plate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary and this in turn can lead to even more quakes.
Focus on TFP for services at WTO meet
India will be focusing on the Trade Facilitation Agreement for services at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. Talking about a concept note introduced by India at the WTO last year, Sitharaman said India’s position reflected that of other major nations with a strength on trade in services.
- Major member economies of the WTO, such as India and the US, are expected to talk on trade-related issues on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos later this month.
- On new issues like e-commerce, Stressed that while India was open to talks on the issue, it should be included in the agenda only after a consensus emerges among members.
- India is pitching for this agreement as the services sector contributes about 60 per cent to its GDP and accounts for 28 per cent of the total workforce.
- The note was aimed at reducing transaction costs by doing away with unnecessary regulatory procedures and reducing the administrative burden on trade in services. In its note, India has proposed for simplification of procedures and clarity in work permits and visas for smooth movement of professionals.
- Developed nations want the WTO to start negotiations on e-commerce and investments instead of carrying on further discussions on development-related issues from the erstwhile Doha Round.
- The WTOs ministerial meeting, held once in two years, is set to be held in December in Argentina.
Measles-rubella vaccine all set to roll out
Three years after the national vaccine advisory body recommended the introduction of the measles-rubella vaccine (MR) in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), the vaccine is all set to be introduced from next month in five states and Union territories as a part of the basket of preventive medications that every child born in India is entitled to.
- From March, Pneumococcal conjugate (pneumococcal pneumonia) vaccine will also become a part of the UIP basket in three other states.
- The UIP basket already has ten vaccines of which measles is one; once MR is introduced, monovalent measles will be discontinued. Both the new vaccines will be launched by Health Minister J P Nadda in separate programmes.
- The MR vaccine will be introduced in Goa, Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu between February 3 and 4, the pneumonia vaccine will be introduced in Himachal Pradesh and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from March 17.
About Measles-rubella (MR): The disease commonly known as German Measles (or three-day measles) and is symptomatically similar to measles. It can have devastating consequences if a pregnant mother is infected with it and the foetus may be born with incurable congenital anomalies. Symptoms of the infection can include cataracts and deafness. It can also affect the heart and the brain. The congenital rubella infection is believed to affect approximately 25,000 children born in India every year.
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