SPACE MISSION TO MARS
On Monday , 20 July, 2020 the first UAE space mission to Mars was successfully launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre, Japan. ‘Al Amal’ was blasted off on schedule at 6.58 am, local time and the ground control station in Dubai has received the first signal. ‘Al Amal’ would conduct only an orbital mission to study the Martian atmosphere.
Earlier the United States, India, USSR and the European Space Agency have successfully launched missions to Mars.
Meanwhile on 23 July, 2020 China also successfully launched its first Mars mission, Tianwen-1, which means ‘Questions to Heaven’ from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch site in China. Tianwen-1 will reach Mar’s orbit in February 2021 and the rover will land on Mars in May,2021.
FRIDAY, 24 JULY, 2020
U.S SCHOOLS TO RE-OPEN WITH IN-PERSON CLASSES
The U.S President, Ronald Trump has made a tough stand on immigration of students and announced that Schools will be re-opened strictly with in-person classes only. The President is interested specifically to re-open schools at all levels with in-person classes as a sign of normalcy during the pandemic. More than one million international students are in the U.S during the academic year 2018-19 and most of the institutions depend heavily on those students.
24 JULY, 2020
CLINICAL TRIAL BEGINS
On Saturday, 24 July, 2020 the phase-I clinical trial of India’s first Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin began at the All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi. Already, 3500 volunteers have registered for the trial at AIIMS and the vaccine would be tested on 375 volunteers and 100 of them would be from AIIMS, New Delhi. The trial would be conducted on healthy people aged 18 to 55 years having no comorbid conditions. In Phase II, nearly 750 volunteers would be selected from all the 12 sites on healthy people in the age group of 12 to 55 years. AIIMS, New Delhi is selected by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting Phase I and Phase II trials. Covaxin is developed by the Bharat Biotech International Limited in collaboration with ICMR and National Institute of Virology, Pune.
India recorded the single day spike of 49,310 Covid-19 cases making the total tally as 12, 87,945 with a death toll of 30,601 as on 24 July, 2020. 740 people reported dead during the last twenty four hours and the total recoveries reported as 8,17,208.
OXFORD UNIVERSITY VACCINE
The Serum Institute of India (SII) has sought permission from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for conducting Phase 2 and Phase 3 human clinical trials of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford in this country.The initial results of the first two phases trials of the vaccine ‘Covidshield’ conducted in five sites in the U.K was very satisfactory. The Serum Institute of India is in partnership with Oxford University and with the manufacturing company AstraZeneca, plans to start the human trials in India in August. One billion doses of vaccine will be manufactured for India and other middle – low income countries.
THE FACE OFF BETWEEN GOVERNOR AND THE STATE
We have been witnessing crisis after crisis in Rajasthan politics amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The Governor’s decision to not honour the State Cabinet’s decision to convene the Assembly session will definitely raise many legal issues on established constitutional conventions and practices in the country. The recent order of Rajasthan High Court to keep status quo on the issue of disqualification of dissident Congress MLAs have triggered even a debate on anti-defection law and the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
On 13 July 2016, the Constitutional Bench decision in Nabam Rebia Vs. Deputy Speaker held that a Governor cannot employ his discretion and should strictly abide by the “aid and advice” of the cabinet to summon the House.This judgement is very significant in the present crisis in Rajasthan between the Governor, Kalraj Mishra and Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot.
On Sunday, 26 July, 2020 Congress will hold a nationwide campaign on social media to protest against the BJP’s role in the Rajasthan crisis.
SIX-LANING OF NH CLEARED – TALIPARAMBA- MUZHAPPILANGAD REACH
Six- laning work of NH in Kasargod, Kannur and Kozhikode districts have received the approval of Standing Financial Committee (SFC). Tenders have been invited for the 29.95 Km stretch of Taliparamba-Muzhappilangad in Kannur and the six-laning work will be completed in 30 months. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has estimated the work cost as Rs. 1428 .94 crore and the 25% of the coast of the land will be paid by the state Government. Thalapady-Chengala, Chengala-Neeleswaram and Neeleswaram-Taliparamba are the other reaches approved by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).
LOW COST PORTABLE COVID-19 DEVICE BY IIT-KHARAGPUR
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur has developed a new low cost device for testing Covid-19 using a portable device that can be kept available in a smart phone application. The researchers of the Mechanical department informed that this device will eliminate the need for a PCR Machine and it is a portable automated pre-programmable temperature control unit that can be used for a large number of tests. The device developed by IIT Kharagpur will cost Rs.2,000 and the cost of test will be Rs.400 and the commercial production will further reduce the cost.