1. Identify the country which was declared “measles-free” by World Health Organization (WHO)?
The World Health Organization (WHO), has declared Sri Lanka, a measles-free country. Sri Lanka is the fifth country in the WHO southeast Asia region to eliminate measles. The elimination of a disease means that there have been zero new cases of the disease in the last three years. The country reported its last case of measles in May 2016. The other countries in the region which have eliminated measles in their geographical area are Bhutan, Maldives, DPR Korea and Timor-Leste. Sri Lanka has also become the fourth country in the region, after Bhutan, Maldives and Timor-Leste, to eliminate measles and control rubella, a flagship priority programme of WHO in the region, ahead of the 2020 regional target.
2. Identify the country which has launched its space telescope named Spektr-RG?
Russia has launched a space telescope, named Spektr-RG, in a joint project with Germany. It is intended to replace Spektr-R, known as the Russian Hubble. The Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, lost control of the Spektr-R in January 2019. Spektr-R was launched in the year 2011 to observe black holes, neutron stars and magnetic fields, aiding understanding of cosmic expansion. Spektr-RG will take up similar duties but will also work on mapping X-Rays across the sky.
3. Identify the country where Ebola outbreak is declared as global health emergency by the World Health Organization?
The World Health Organization has announced the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (a country in Central Africa) as the global health emergency. WHO defines a global emergency as an “extraordinary event” which constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response. A declaration of a global health emergency brings greater international attention and aid (both financial and technical) but should not be used to stigmatise or penalise the people by imposing travel or trade restrictions as those restrictions actually restrict the flow of goods and health care workers into affected countries and turn counter-productive. It can be noted that recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a list of “Ten threats to global health in 2019” which also included Ebola.
4. Identify the country where Usambara Mountain is located?
A new species of a flowering tree named Mischogyne iddi (M iddi) has been discovered in the Usambara Mountains of Tanzania. It has been categorised as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature list. With decreased forest areas, they are now threatened by climate change. It is unknown what kind of wildlife might rely on the tree. The Usambara Mountains, located in tropical East Africa, comprises the easternmost ranges of the Eastern Arc Mountains. The discovery of this extremely rare species reaffirms the importance of the Eastern Arc Mountains as one of the most important reservoirs of biodiversity in Africa.
5. Identify the country which has recently signed International Solar Alliance framework agreement.
Palau became the 76th country to sign the International Solar Alliance framework agreement. Palau will host the 2020 edition of the ‘Our Oceans conference’, (based on the concept of partnership – “big brothers working with small brothers to address sustainable development issues”) which will focus on issues such as climate change, sustainable fisheries and marine pollution. The ISA was jointly launched by India and France at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 2015. The First Assembly of the ISA was held in New Delhi in 2018.