Science & Technology Current
April 2011 Science & Technology Current Affairs
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Bourn Hall Clinic, the world`s first IVF (In-vitro Fertilisation) clinic, has opened a centre at Kochi (Kerala) — the first one outside the United Kingdom. They chose Kerala to begin with because of its high literacy standards and cost affordability coupled with high quality medical community and better health parameters.            
National Policy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance for the first time in the second week of April 2011 put a cap on how much antibiotics should be used into poultry products or seafood. Antibiotic shots are generally given to chickens to make chickens fatter and bigger. Eating these food products can have harmful effect on human beings by causing antibiotic resistance in humans. The policy has enlisted common antibiotics like oxytetracycline, tetracycline, oxolinic acid and trimethoprim to prescribe the tolerance limit for them.According to an estimate, 20 to 50 percent of all antibiotics used in India is inappropriate causing harmful effects on human beings.            
Nagpur will be promoted as the tiger capital and a gateway to tiger land. New tiger reserves have been approved in Maharashtra at Nagzira-Navegaon and Bor. Another major decision was to decentralise the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and set up three field offices and the first one would be opened in Nagpur.            
The PSLV-C16 scored a spectacular success on 20 April by putting three satellites into orbit with precision. It was the PSLV`s 17th consecutive successful mission out of the 18 launches from Sriharikota. 

The Indian Space Research Organisation`s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C16) put three satellites in orbit – India`s 1,206-kg Resourcesat-2, the Indo-Russian 93-kg Youthsat and  the 106-kg X-Sat from the Nangyang Technological University of Singapore.
Resourcesat-2 is would be useful in monitoring the earth`s resources, including crop yield before harvest, the snow-cover in mountains, the glaciers advancing or the changes in the coastal zones and the urban landscape; locating groundwater; and realigning roads in rural areas.

The Youthsat`s three payloads — one from Russia and two from India — would be useful in studying the solar X-ray and gamma ray fluxes, and the influence of the activities in the sun on the upper layers of the earth`s atmosphere.
The X-Sat, Singapore’s first indigenous micro-satellite, is a remote-sensing satellite that can process the images it takes and send more refined images to the ground.            
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has asked the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to build an orbiter that will provide the communication between the soil samples collected from the far side of the moon and the earth. The ISRO would provide an orbiting communicator to the NASA for this mission, scheduled for 2016. Chandrayaan-2 would be put in an orbit around the moon by a Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) in 2013 and the project would cost Rs.462 crore. It would be a joint mission with Russia: while the spacecraft and the rover would be built by India, the lander would be from Russia.            
Union Minister for Environment and forests Jairam Ramesh launched a Bio-remediation technology project in the Buddah Nallah of Ludhiana in Punjab. This is the first and the largest project of environment ministry across India under which bacteria are used for cleaning water bodies. There are five places across India where such Bio-remediation projects have been launched. The project is expected to provide relief to thousands living along the Sutlej River as well as canals off the Harike barrage in Punjab and Rajasthan. Severe disorders among them were reported because of the water pollution. The cost of the project is calculated at 16 crore rupees and this cost will be fully funded by the Union Ministry for Environment and forests, Government of India.            
The Union Cabinet of India on 20 April 2011 approved the signing of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) by India. The Nagoya Protocol comprises a plan to protect biodiversity by setting targets for 2020. As per the protocol, nations agreed to make 10 percent of coastal and marine areas and 17 percent of the globe’s land area into protected areas. Earlier, 13 percent of the globe’s land area and 1 percent of coastal and marine areas are into protected areas. Nagoya is a city in Japan. 

According to a study done by the Scientists at Columbia University, the Antarctic ozone hole caused the series of droughts in Australia. The scientists concluded that the hole shifted wind and rainfall patterns across the Southern Hemisphere. Its effect has been strong over Australia. The scientists did an extensive research over the southward migration of the Southern Hemisphere jet stream. It should be noted that these high altitude winds determine weather patterns in both hemispheres. Ozone depletion is caused by chemical reactions in the stratosphere. The chemical reactions involved substances like Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), used in air-conditioning, aerosol and refrigeration.            
The amount of compensation being paid to the victims of the use of the pesticide Endosulfan was increased from 300 rupees to 2000 rupees per month in Kerala by the state government in the third week of April 2011. In 2010, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) proposed a nationwide ban on endosulfan. Endosulfan was used in Kasargode on cashew plantations for a considerable time. After various diseases were reported from the district the pesticide Endosulfan was banned. Endosulfan is used in 70 crops like fruits, vegetables and crops.            
The Conference of Parties to the Stockholm Convention in Geneva on 29 April approved the recommendation for elimination of production and use of Endosulfan and its isomers worldwide, subject to certain exemptions. The decision will not be binding on India unless specifically ratified by the country. However, the Indian delegation to the Convention concurred with the decision after its concerns about exemptions and financial assistance were addressed, The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee to the Convention, which recommended the ban last year, will work with parties and observers to come up with alternatives to Endosulfan. The Convention will also approve financial assistance to developing countries for replacing Endosulfan with alternatives. The conference took the decision after considering the risk profile and risk management evaluation for Endosulfan done by the Review Committee and the exemptions decided upon by contact group on endosulfan and new persistent organic pollutants. Endosulfan is the 22nd chemical to be listed in the Convention.            
Scientists, in the last week of April 2011, developed a new vaccine named Bapineuzumab jab, which is effective against the Alzheimer’s disease not only in stopping but also reversing the damage caused to the brain due to the disease. The Bapineuzumab jab was discovered to be effective in preventing and reversing the build-up of Amyloid. It will slow down the progress of the disease. Amyloid is the name of the toxic protein that clogs the brain in Alzheimer’s. Moreover, it destroys important connections between cells. The three drug firms namely Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Elan Corporation are involved in the making of vaccine. The testing process of the vaccine Bapineuzumap jab is likely to be completed towards the end of 2012.            
A team of Scientists in the last week of April 2011 led by professors Alice Parker and Chongwu Zhou at the University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering for the first time created a synthetic synapse circuit whose behaviour is very much similar to the function of a brain cell. A synapse is a junction that allows a neuron to pass a chemical or electrical signal to another brain cell or nerve. The Scientists combined circuit design with nanotechnology to address the complex problem of capturing brain function. This Scientific breakthrough could have long term implications from healing serious brain injuries to develop prosthetic nanotechnology.            
A rapid molecular test kit has been invented to detect both TB and multi-drug resistant TB in just 90 minutes. The study was carried out simultaneously in India’s Christian Medical College and in countries like Peru, South Africa, the Philippines and Uganda.            
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the launch of remote-sensing satellite the ResourceSat-2 has been tentatively scheduled for 10.12 a.m., April 20. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C16) will launch the 1,206-kg satellite along with two other satellites — YouthSat and X-Sat — from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.ResourceSat-2, built by ISRO, is an advanced remote sensing satellite and designed for the study and management of natural resources.YouthSat, weighing 92 kg, is a joint Indo-Russian satellite for stellar and atmospheric studies. X-Sat is a microsatellite for imaging applications built by the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The countdown to the launch is expected to begin in the early hours of April 18.
The Director General of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Robert S. Zeigler has said that the institute was discussing with the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) the possibility of developing an India specific programme of molecular genetic and breeding for rice. One possibility the Philippines-headquartered IRRI was looking at was the creation of a single centre in Hyderabad. The other was the setting up of a number of institutions which would be coordinated by the IRRI and the ICAR, Mr. Zeigler said in Hyderabad on 9 April on the sidelines of the forty-sixth annual rice research group meeting at the Directorate of Rice Research of ICAR.