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Rapid Fire Current Affairs

  • 08 Aug 2023
  • 4 min read

Iraq Eliminates Trachoma as a Public Health Problem

Recently, Iraq achieved a Milestone in Global Health by Eliminating Trachoma, a neglected tropical disease and the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness.

  • Iraq has joined the league of 17 countries in eliminating trachoma, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • The WHO has recognized Iraq as the 50th country to eliminate at least one neglected tropical disease.
  • Despite substantial progress, trachoma is still endemic in six countries in the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Region.
  • Trachoma starts as a bacterial infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis and can lead to blindness if untreated.
  • Disease thrives in areas with water shortages, poor sanitation, and fly infestations.
  • WHO recommends the SAFE strategy (Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvement) to eliminate trachoma.

Read more: Global Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases

Postal Life Insurance Introduces Direct Incentive Disbursement Program

  • Postal Life Insurance (PLI) introduces pilot program "Direct Incentive Disbursement" in Delhi and Uttarakhand Circles.
  • This initiative recognizes the crucial role of its sales force, Agents receive their earned commissions directly in their Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) Accounts, ensuring swift and secure transactions.
  • This streamlined process boosts convenience for agents, motivating them to deliver optimal performance and strengthen client relationships.
    • Around two lakh sales force members, including Gramin Dak Sevaks and Direct Agents, benefit from secure and instantaneous fund transfers.
  • PLI was introduced in 1884. It started as a welfare scheme for the benefit of postal employees.

Extinction Alert for Vaquita Porpoise

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has sounded a dire warning regarding the vaquita porpoise's survival, issuing its first-ever 'extinction alert' on August 7, 2023.

  • With a mere 10 individuals left in the Gulf of California, Mexico, the vaquita faces an alarming decline from its population of approximately 570 in 1997.
  • Vaquitas are the most endangered species of porpoise. They are known for their distinctive appearance, characterized by dark rings around their eyes and dark patches on their lips.
  • One of the primary threats to vaquita populations is bycatch, where they become unintentionally trapped in gillnets meant for catching another species called totoaba fish (its swim bladders are prized in Chinese cuisine).

Read more: Vaquita porpoise

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon

The 2023 edition of the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon took place on August 5th at Norway with 290 athletes from 35 countries taking part in the race.

  • The Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is one of the most challenging and prestigious endurance events in the world. It is a long-distance triathlon that consists of a 3.8 km swim, a 180 km bike ride, and a 42.2 km run, with a total elevation gain of 5,230 meters.
  • The race starts with a jump from a ferry into the cold waters of the Hardangerfjord, and ends at the summit of Mount Gaustatoppen, one of the highest peaks in Norway.
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