In an announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on World Polio Day (October 24), an independent commission of experts declared that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide.
This follows the eradication of smallpox and wild poliovirus type 2.
“The achievement of polio eradication will be a milestone for global health. Commitment from partners and countries, coupled with innovation, means that of the three wild polio serotypes, only type one remains,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO and Chair of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Polio Oversight Board, said on Thursday. He urged stakeholders to stay the course until final success is achieved.
There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains: wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1), wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) and wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3). Symptomatically, all three strains are identical, in that they cause irreversible paralysis or even death. But there are genetic and virological differences, which make these three strains three separate viruses that must each be eradicated individually.
“Wild poliovirus type 3 is globally eradicated,” said Professor David Salisbury, chair of the independent Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication.
“This is a significant achievement that should reinvigorate the eradication process and provides motivation for the final step — the eradication of wild poliovirus type 1. This virus remains in circulation in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We cannot stop our efforts now,” he added.
Polio, short for poliomyelitis, or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In about 0.5 percent of cases there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move. This can occur over a few hours to a few days. The weakness most often involves the legs but may less commonly involve the muscles of the head, neck and diaphragm. Many people fully recover. In those with muscle weakness about 2 to 5 percent of children and 15 to 30 percent of adults die. Another 25 percent of people have minor symptoms such as fever and a sore throat and up to 5 percent have headache, neck stiffness and pains in the arms and legs. These people are usually back to normal within one or two weeks. In up to 70 percent of infections there are no symptoms. Years after recovery post-polio syndrome may occur, with a slow development of muscle weakness similar to that which the person had during the initial infection.
Poliovirus is usually spread from person to person through infected fecal matter entering the mouth. It may also be spread by food or water containing human feces and less commonly from infected saliva. Those who are infected may spread the disease for up to six weeks even if no symptoms are present. The disease may be diagnosed by finding the virus in the feces or detecting antibodies against it in the blood. The disease only occurs naturally in humans.
The disease is preventable with the polio vaccine; however, multiple doses are required for it to be effective. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends polio vaccination boosters for travelers and those who live in countries where the disease is occurring. Once infected there is no specific treatment. In 2018, there were 33 cases of wild polio and 104 cases of vaccine-derived polio. This is down from 350,000 wild cases in 1988. In 2018, the wild disease was only spread between people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
.Poliomyelitis has existed for thousands of years, with depictions of the disease in ancient art. The disease was first recognized as a distinct condition by the English physician Michael Underwood in 1789 and the virus that causes it was first identified in 1908 by the Austrian immunologist Karl Landsteiner. Major outbreaks started to occur in the late 19th century in Europe and the United States. In the 20th century it became one of the most worrying childhood diseases in these areas. The first polio vaccine was developed in the 1950s by Jonas Salk. In 2013, the World Health Organization had hoped that vaccination efforts and early detection of cases would result in global eradication of the disease by 2018
The first candidate polio vaccine, based on one serotype of a live but attenuated (weakened) virus, was developed by the virologist Hilary Koprowski
The second inactivated polio virus vaccine was developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk at the University of Pittsburgh, and announced to the world on 12 April 1955. The Salk vaccine, or inactivated poliovirus vaccine, is based on poliovirus grown in a type of monkey kidney tissue culture (vero cell line), which is chemically inactivated with formalin. After two doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (given by injection), 90 percent or more of individuals develop protective antibody to all three serotypes of poliovirus, and at least 99 percent are immune to poliovirus following three doses.
Subsequently, Albert Sabin developed another live, Oral polio vaccine. It was produced by the repeated passage of the virus through nonhuman cells at subphysiological temperatures. The attenuated poliovirus in the Sabin vaccine replicates very efficiently in the gut, the primary site of wild poliovirus infection and replication, but the vaccine strain is unable to replicate efficiently within nervous system tissue
The IMF released its latest Doing Business Report (DBR, 2020)
India has recorded a jump of 14 positions at the rank of 77 out of 190 countries
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Ministry of Commerce & Industry
India ranks 63rd in World Bank’s Doing Business Report
India improves rank by 14 positions
The World Bank released its latest Doing Business Report(DBR, 2020) todayon24th October 2019. India has recorded a jump of 14 positions against its rank of 77 in 2019to be placed now at 63rdrank among 190 countries assessed by the World Bank. India’s leap of14 ranks in the Ease of Doing Business ranking is significant considering that there has been continuous improvement since 2015 and for the third consecutive year India is amongst the top 10 improvers. As a result of continued efforts by the Government, India has improved its rank by 79 positions in last five years [2014-19].
The Doing Business assessment provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies on ten parameters affecting a business through its life cycle. The DBR ranks countries on the basis of Distance to Frontier (DTF), a score that shows the gap of an economy to the global best practice. This year, India’s DTF score improved to 71.0 from 67.23 in the previous year. India has improved its rank in 7 out of 10 indicators and has moved closer to international best practices (Distance to Frontier score).Significant improvements have been registered in ‘Resolving Insolvency’, 'Dealing with Construction Permits', ‘Registering Property’, ‘Trading across Boards’ and ‘Paying Taxes’ indicators. The changes in seven indicators where India improved its rank are as follows:
The important features of India's performance this year are:
The World Bank has recognized India as one of the top 10 improvers for the third consecutive year.
Recovery rate under resolving insolvency has improved significantly from 26.5% to 71.6%.
The time taken for resolving insolvency has also come down significantly from 4.3 years to 1.6 years.
India continues to maintain its first position among South Asian countries. It was 6th in 2014
The Swarnamukhi is a river in southern India. The holy Hindu temples of Tirumala and Srikalahasti are located in the river basin. It was mentioned as Mogaleru in the works of Dhurjati. Kalyani Dam with 25 million cubic meters live storage was constructed in 1977 across its tributary Kalyani river
I Initially, it appeared to be a geopolitical puzzle. First, the United States announced that it was pulling out of northern Syria, leaving its Kurdish allies to the mercy of Turkey. Then Turkey launched an offensive in Kurdish towns along the Syrian border. Neither the Syrian government nor its Russian allies did anything to stop the Turkish incursion. For reasons that are unclear, it seemed that everybody was on board when it comes to taking on the Kurds.
Then everything fell into place when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met in the Black Sea town of Sochi.
Mr. Erdoğan wants to carve out a 400-km long and 30-km wide buffer across the Turkish border, stretching from Manbij in northwestern Syria to its northeastern corner on the Iraqi border. His plan is to drive the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia out of this buffer, which he calls the “safe zone,” and resettle some of the 3.5 million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey in this region. The “safe zone” will be run by pro-Turkish Syrian militias. In the Sochi summit, Mr. Putin practically accepted this proposal, but with one rider: the “safe zone” would be jointly patrolled by both Russian and Turkish troops. Russian and Syrian troops will push the YPG away from the buffer.
In the end it was a win-win deal. Ankara got what it wanted without fighting a full-scale war with the Kurds — a buffer along the border; Damascus got what it wanted without fighting the Rojava — sovereignty over northeastern Syria; Moscow got what it wanted — the Americans out of Syria (only a small contingent of U.S. troops are likely to stay back); and U.S. President Donald Trump got what he wanted — to end America’s role in at least one of the several long-drawn wars it’s fighting.
The only losers in this great game are the Kurds. For over four years, they have been on the front line of the war against the Islamic State (IS). They defeated the terrorist group and established a semi-autonomous administration in areas liberated from the IS, only to lose both territories and autonomy. The U.S. has abandoned them. Turkey is bombing them. For Russia, they are just a pawn on the geopolitical chessboard.
Mr. Putin has established himself as the most critical player in the Syrian theatre. Regional leaders who have stakes in Syria, from the Syrian President to the leaders of Israel, Iran and Turkey, frequently visit him to discuss their strategies as the Syrian foreign policy is practically set by the Kremlin. There can’t be any solution to the Syrian crisis without Mr. Putin’s approval. The U.S. withdrawal from the country further bolsters Russia’s standing as it eagerly seeks to fill that vacuum. But then why is Russia helping Turkey create a buffer and turning against the Kurds who defeated the IS?
For Mr. Putin and Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian President, the war is not over yet. True, the Syrian government has practically won the civil war. If the government was on the brink of collapse when the Russians arrived in Syria in September 2015, it’s now on a firm footing, controlling most of the country, except the Idlib governorate. Idlib is controlled by Ahrar al-Sham, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra which was an offshoot of al-Qaeda, and pro-Turkish militias. On Tuesday, when Mr. Erdoğan was in Sochi, Mr. Assad visited the Idlib front line. The visit itself was a statement. Mr. Assad wants Idlib back. He held back an operation because there’s a Turkish-Russian deal to stall any offensive on Idlib. Now that Turkey can carve out its buffer along the border, Mr. Putin could press Mr. Erdoğan to drop Ankara’s opposition to a Syria-Russian operation.
A Turkish buffer would also mean that potential refugees from Idlib in the event of such an attack (there are some three million people living in the governorate) would not cross into Turkey, unlike what happened during the battle for Aleppo. Sochi is only the beginning of a grand bargain.
Representatives of the Centre and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) – the signatories of the framework agreement signed in 2015 to help facilitate a Naga peace deal – will sit for a crucial meeting in New Delhi on October 24.
The meeting holds immense importance considering that it could end the recent stand-off between the two negotiating parties over the issue of a separate flag and constitution for the Naga people, as part of a peace accord.
According to reliable sources in the Nagaland government, the peace deal with the NSCN (I-M) “is in a make or break situation” over the hardening of positions around the issue.
“R.N. Ravi, the government’s interlocutor and the state governor, has already announced that a deal with or without the NSCN (I-M) will be sealed by October 31. So we can call tomorrow’s meeting the conclusive one with the I-M group. It can go either way,” the sources claimed.
On October 10, Ravi held a meeting with Thuingaleng Muivah in New Delhi on the issue. The interlocutor-cum-governor has also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently to apprise him of developments.
Aside from stating that Modi had asked him to close the peace negotiations by October, Ravi had also recently accused the I-M group of “mischievously” dragging the talks, adding that they could not go on “endlessly” “under the shadow of guns”.
In a statement issued on October 18 after a meeting in Kohima between various stakeholders, including the seven Naga Nationalist Political Groups (NNPGs), church leaders, United Naga Council, the apex body of the Nagas from Manipur, and non-Naga tribes among others, Ravi reportedly said that a mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement had already been readied for signatures with them.
“Unfortunately, at this auspicious juncture, the NSCN (I-M) has adopted a procrastinating attitude to delay the settlement raising the contentious symbolic issues of a separate Naga national flag and constitution on which they are fully aware of the government of India’s position,” the statement said.
In the statement, the governor-cum-interlocutor ruled out the possibility of the Centre acceding to a separate flag and constitution for the Nagas, as demanded by NSCN (IM).
On categorically being asked about the status of talks over the flag and the constitution, NSCN (I-M)’s chief of army, Anthony Shimray told “The flag and the constitution are the legitimate rights of the Nagas because the government of India, through the framework agreement signed with us in August 2015, recognized the unique history of the Nagas and its shared sovereignty with India. It is in the interpretation of these words that we should look at the call for the flag and the constitution; it is for peaceful co-existence. Without it, we don’t think Nagas will get an honourable solution.”
Shimray, who is part of the ongoing negotiations with the Centre, said, “The framework agreement had raised a lot of hope among the Nagas. Now, you can’t call it just a piece of paper, set aside the signatories and bring in some others to roll out a peace accord. The solution must be based on the framework agreement.”
The framework agreement remains an undisclosed and secret document. The Ministry of Home Affairs, in 2017, had refused to share the details of the agreement in reply to an RTI filed by Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in New Delhi citing “confidentiality in public interest”. The government’s decision was later upheld by the Central Information Commission.
Significantly, the NSCN (I-M) top leader said that he was “a part of a meeting with the government of India where we had raised the issue of a separate flag and constitution. The government’s side said they will see how best to address it. However, after the reading down of Article 370 in Kashmir, suddenly it is off the table. But Kashmir and Naga issues are two separate issues.”
He added, “There has been an effort to bring peace for the last 22 years. This opportunity for peace may not come again and therefore it will be unfortunate if it breaks at this point.”
Meanwhile, reports say various church leaders have given “a clarion call to the Nagas to begin a fasting prayer for the Naga nation”.
The Naga HoHo, the mother body of all the 14 Naga tribes and considered by some to be close to the NSCN (I-M), in a statement issued on October 13, said that an “imposed settlement” would be unacceptable to the Nagas particularly when “core issues” which had led the peace process to reach a deadlock many a times have not been solved “amicably”.
Among others, the Nagaland chief minister Neiphu Rio is in New Delhi for the meeting on Thursday.