Inosine-5′-monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH)
- Scientists at the IIT, Gandhinagar have synthesized a new compound “IMPDH” that may help treat stomach infections caused by common bacteria, Helicobacter pylori.
- The inhibitor is based on an aromatic chemical compound, indole.
- It may help in treating H. pylori infection which is a cause for gastritis, peptic ulcers and stomach cancers.
- For the study, scientists isolated IMPDH gene from H. Pylori and express edits protein.
- The study also showed that the inhibitor specifically targets the Inosine-5′-monophosphate dehydrogenase protein of the bacterium and not humans making it safe for human use.
- It is estimated that about of half of the global population may be infected with H. pylori.
- While the symptoms of this infection mostly go unnoticed, it is a cause of diseases like gastritis and ulcers.
- In India, the burden of this infection is almost 80% in rural areas due to poor hygiene and healthcare facilities.
- Currently, the infection is treated either with clarithromycin-based therapy or by a mix of this therapy and antibiotics.
Human Space Flight Centre (HDFC)
- ISRO unveiled its Human Space Flight Centre in Bangalore where astronauts get their training.
- HSFC shall be responsible for implementation of Gaganyaan project which involves end-to-end mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions.
- It will take the support of existing ISRO centres to implement the first development flight of Gaganyaan under the human spaceflight programme.
- The space agency is gearing up for the human spaceflight programme by 2021-end that is likely to include a woman astronaut.
- The plan is to have the first unmanned mission in December 2020 and second for July 2021.
- Aber is a digital currency which is recently launched by the central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
- It will be used for financial settlements between the two countries through Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies.
- Digital Currency is part of the efforts to adopt new technologies like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is reshaping governments and corporations around the world.
Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable Development
- The Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable Development was inaugurated by the Italian Prime Minister at Rome.
- The centre has been opened by the Italian government in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
- The centre’s origin can be traced to a declaration endorsed by the G7 meeting of the Environment Ministers in 2017.
- The centre would facilitate coordination among the G7 and African countries on common initiatives in Africa to achieve the goals set by the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.
- It will provide a fast-track, demand driven mechanism for African countries to access grant resources that support policies, initiatives, and best practices on climate change, food security, access to water, clean energy.
- And also accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa.
Indian Science Congress
- 106th Indian Science Congress is going to be held in Jalandhar, Punjab.
- It is based on the theme ‘Future India: Science and Technology’.
- It will be organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
- The event will play a pivotal role in stimulating scientific research effort and raising the scientific temperament in the country and the world.
- Women’s Science Congress will be part of the event to showcase the contribution of women in Science, Technology and the Society.
6 monuments protected and of national importance
- Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has recently declared 6 monuments protected and of national importance.
- According to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, an “Ancient Monument means any structure, erection or monument, or any tumulus or place of interment, or any cave, rock-sculpture, inscription or monolith which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and which has been in existence for not less than 100 years.”
- With the new addition of 6 new sites, there are 3,693 centrally protected monuments/sites under the ASI in the country.
- Uttar Pradesh (745 monuments/sites), Karnataka (506) and Tamil Nadu (413) have the highest number of ASI-maintained sites.
- The New Monuments which are added recently –
- 125-year-old Old High Court Building in Nagpur, Maharashtra
- Mughal-era monuments in Agra — Haveli of Agha Khan and Hathi Khana
- Ancient Neemrana Baori in Rajasthan’s Alwar district;
- The Group of Temples at Ranipur Jharail in Odisha’s Bolangir district; and
- The Vishnu Temple in Kotali, Pithoragarh district, Uttarkhand
- In 2016 and 2017, no new monument was included in the list of sites of national importance.
- The last monument to be included in the list, in 2015, was the Vishnu Temple in Nadavayal in Kerala’s Wayanad district.
- It is one of the heaviest and largest raptors in the world.
- It is classified as “Near Threatened” in IUCN Red list of threatened species.
- It is listed in Appendix II in CITES listings.
- Its geographical range expands from European countries (such as Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Serbia etc), Middle East countries ( Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia etc), Central Asia (Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Iran etc), Asia (India, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Korea, Vietnam).
- This species has a moderately small population which appears to be suffering an ongoing decline in its Asiatic strongholds, despite the fact that in parts of Europe numbers are now increasing.
- The species was recently spotted in the state of Jharkhand for the first time in the region.
- The first experimental mission of a sub-scale Scramjet engine was successfully conducted by ISRO in 2016.
- The mission, towards the realization of an Air Breathing Propulsion System, was conducted from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
- Launch vehicles use a combination of propellants consisting of oxidiser and fuel for energy.
- In the launch vehicle basically, 86% of the total launch vehicle mass is propellant mass.
- Air-breathing propulsion systems use atmospheric oxygen, which is available up to a height of 50km from the earth’s surface, to burn the fuel stored on board.
- As the air from the atmosphere is used in this tech it reduces the need for carrying the oxidizer along with the fuel.
- So it will benefit in bringing down the cost of access to space.
- The technology is an important step towards developing reusable launch vehicles.
- Ramjet, Scramjet and Dual Mode Ramjet (DMRJ) are the three concepts of air-breathing engines which are being developed by various space agencies.
- Shola forest-grassland ecosystem is characterised by patches of forest of stunted evergreen shola trees in the valleys and grasslands on hill slopes.
- They are spread across the Western Ghats of Tamilnadu and Karnataka.
- Over four decades, almost one-fourth of the grasslands in the high-altitudes of the ecosystem was lost.
- The exotic invasive trees like pine, acacia and eucalyptus that were earlier used for afforestation in these areas are the primary reason behind it.
- Broadly, these grasslands in Tamil Nadu showed the highest rates of invasion than in Karnataka.
- Though the practice has been ceased in 1996, the exotics still invade these ecosystems.
- But the shola forests in the valleys have remained “relatively unchanged” over these years.
- The Anamalai-Munnar areas have also remained stable during this time.