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World Tuberculosis Day 2018 observed globally

24 March: World Tuberculosis Day

The World Tuberculosis Day was observed across the globe on March 24, 2018 with an aim to raise public awareness about the upsetting health and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

Theme of 2018 World Tuberculosis Day

The theme of the World Tuberculosis Day 2018 is ‘Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world’.

The theme focuses on ending the TB outbreak with the help of the Heads of State and Ministers, Mayors, Governors, parliamentarians, civil society advocates, health workers, doctors, NGOs and others.

The theme will also have a role to play at the upcoming UN General Assembly high-level meeting on TB in New York.

What led to the proclamation of 24 March as World Tuberculosis Day?

• The day commemorates the event in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus.

• The Day provides the opportunity to spread public awareness on the disease and mobilize political and social commitment to end TB.

Tuberculosis: A Global Epidemic

• Despite significant steps taken to end the epidemic, TB continues to be the top contagious killer worldwide, claiming over 4500 lives a day.

• In 2017, WHO reported that 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and there were 1.8 million TB deaths in 2016.

• Majorly, the disease thrives among people living in poverty, communities and groups that are marginalized such as migrants, refugees, ethnic minorities, the elderly, marginalized women and children.

Global carbon emissions hit record high in 2017: IEA Report

According to International Energy Agency (IEA), global energy-related carbon emissions rose to a historic high of 32.5 gigatons in 2017, after three years of being flat, due to higher energy demand and the slowing of energy efficiency improvements.

The global energy demand rose by 2.1 per cent in 2017 to 14,050 million tonnes of oil equivalent, more than twice the previous year’s rate, boosted by strong economic growth, according to the preliminary estimates of the IEA.

Key Highlights

• The global energy demand reportedly rose by 0.9 per cent in 2016 and 0.9 percent on an average over the previous five years.

• The IEA report stated that over 70 per cent of the global energy demands growth were met by non-renewable sources like oil, natural gas and coal, while renewables accounted for almost all of the rest.

• The report also noted that improvements in energy efficiency slowed in the past year.

• As a result of these trends, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased by 1.4 per cent in 2017 to 32.5 gigatons, a record high.

Speaking on the development, IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol said that the significant growth in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 reveal that current efforts to combat climate change are far from sufficient.

Giving an example of the same, she stated that there has been a dramatic slowdown in the rate of improvement in global energy efficiency as policy makers have put less focus in this area.

The rise in Carbon Emissions

• Carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of the rise in global average temperature, which is resulting in extreme climate change across the globe.

• Most countries are struggling to curb/ stall and stop the global temperature rise, as it would have the most devastating effect on climate in the coming times.

• During talks in Germany late last year, scientists had presented data showing that world carbon emissions were set to rise 2 per cent in 2017, to a new record.

• Hence, the IEA said in its report that the global emissions need to peak soon and decline steeply to 2020 and the decline will now need to be even greater given the increase in emissions in 2017.

Carbon emissions in Asia

The IEA report stated that Asian countries accounted for two-thirds of the global increase in emissions.

The emissions by China alone rose by 1.7 per cent to 9.1 gigatons, limited by renewables deployment and more rapid switching to gas from coal. Other major economies also saw an increase in carbon emissions.

The decline in Carbon Emissions

On the other hand, some nations including Britain, the United States, Mexico and Japan experienced a decline in carbon emissions.

The United States registered the biggest fall in carbon emissions, as they went down by 0.5 per cent to 4.8 gigatons due to higher renewables deployment.

Other Details

The IEA report stated that oil demand grew by 1.6 per cent or 1.5 million barrels a day, more than twice the average annual rate over the past decade, driven by the transport sector and rising petrochemical demand.

Natural gas consumption also grew by 3 per cent, the maximum among all fossil fuels,  with China alone accounting for nearly a third of the growth. This was largely due to abundant and relatively low-cost supplies.

The demand for coal also rose by 1 per cent from 2017, reversing declines over the previous two years, due to rises in coal-fired electricity generation, mostly in Asia.

However, renewable energy source based electricity generation rose by 6.3 per cent due to the expansion of wind, solar and hydropower. The IEA report stated that renewable energy sources had the highest growth rate of any energy source, meeting a quarter of the world’s energy demand growth.

John Bolton Replaces McMaster As US National Security Adviser

The 45th President of USA Donald Trump announced that the former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton will be the New US National Security Adviser. He would replace present National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

Seventh India-Egypt Joint Commission Meeting Held In New Delhi

The 7th India-Egypt Joint Commission Meeting led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was held in New Delhi.  Both the sides reviewed the progress in the areas of political, trade & investment, S&T, cybersecurity, capacity building, security, space, and culture. India and Egypt are two of the world’s oldest civilizations that have enjoyed cordial relations based on commonality of views on regional and international issues.

World Longest Sandstone Cave Discovered In Meghalaya

The North-eastern state Meghalaya of India, is home to the longest sandstone cave in the world at 24,583m, with dinosaur fossils from 66-76 million years ago. The sandstone cave named Krem Puri, near the village of Laitsohum in the Mawsynram, was first discovered in 2016, but during the recent 25-day expedition by the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association (MAA), the actual length of the cave was uncovered. It is 6,000m longer than the currently listed sandstone cave in the world, Cueva El Samán, (18,200m) in Venezuela.

ISRO Ties Up With BHEL

ISRO has entered into a Technology Transfer Agreement (TTA) with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), to transfer the technology for the manufacture of space grade Li-Ion cells. The TTA was signed at ISRO Headquarters, Bengaluru. ISRO uses Li-Ion batteries as power sources for satellite and launches vehicle applications due to their high energy density, reliability and long cycle life. This Li-ion cell Technology Transfer will enable BHEL to produce space grade Li-Ion cells which can meet the country’s space programme requirements.

Balesh Sharma Named CEO Of Vodafone-Idea India Merged Entity

Vodafone Group Plc’s Indian unit and Idea Cellular, which are in the process of merging their operations to create the country’s biggest telecoms carrier, named Vodafone veteran Balesh Sharma as the new chief executive for the combined venture, Balesh Sharma is currently  the chief operating officer at Vodafone India. Akshaya Moondra, the current chief financial officer at Idea, will become the finance chief at the combined firm. Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Idea’s parent Aditya Birla conglomerate, will be the non-executive chairman of the merged telecoms company.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi Launches Campaign To Eradicate TB By 2025

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a campaign to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) from India by 2025, five years ahead of the globally-set deadline(2030). Modi launched the TB-free India Campaign to take the activities under the National Strategic Plan for TB Elimination forward in a mission mode for ending the epidemic by 2025  .


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