By: D.K. Choudhary
WHO Says New Ebola vaccine may be up to 100% effective
i. The World Health Organization (WHO) on December 23, 2016 informed that a prototype vaccine for Ebola may be up to 100 percent effective in protecting against the deadly virus.
ii. The new vaccine was initially developed in Canada by public health authorities before being taken over by pharmaceutical giant Merck.
iii. The vaccine is yet to get the approval and is expected to be made available by 2018.
iv. In a major clinical trial of the vaccine, nearly 6,000 people in Guinea were given the test vaccine in 2015. It was found that none of the 6,000 contracted the disease.
v. But in a control group of volunteers that did not receive the vaccine, 23 Ebola cases occurred.
About Ebola Virus
♦ Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. It was first identified in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a village near the Ebola River, from which it takes its name.
♦ It is generally transmitted from wild animals and has an incubation period of up to three weeks. It causes violent and painful symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhoea, organ failure and internal bleeding.
♦ In early 2014, a handful of infections in southern Guinea mushroomed rapidly into an epidemic.
♦ Over the next two years, more than 28,000 people fell ill, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Some 11,300 died.
UNSC passes resolution to end Israeli settlement on occupied Palestinian territory
i. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on December 23, 2016, passed a resolution demanding Israel to stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.
ii. It states that Israeli settlements have no legal validity and are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution.
iii. It is the first resolution adopted by the Security Council on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years.
iv. The resolution was introduced to the 15-member council for a vote by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal.
♦ The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.
♦ Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions.
♦ It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
Barack Obama signs $618 billion defence budget for 2017 to boosts security cooperation with India
i. US President Barack Obama has signed a $618 billion defence policy bill for 2017 on December 23, 2016, in Honolulu, Hawaii, to enhance security cooperation with India.
ii. The National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), which was passed by both the House and the Senate with veto-proof majorities earlier in December.
iii. NDAA will also refocus security assistance to Pakistan and conditions nearly half of the funding to Pakistan on a certification from the Secretary of Defence that Pakistan is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network in Pakistani territory.
iv. The bill authorises a total of $618.7 billion in spending, including a troop pay raise of 2.1 per cent, though Obama has only requested for a 1.6 per cent pay raise.
v. It also calls for $3.2 billion more in base defence funding plus an additional $5.8 billion in White House-requested war dollars.
vi. The new bill authorises 4,76,000 active duty soldiers, 16,000 more than requested, and 185,000 Marines, 3,000 more than requested.