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Daily Newsletter | TPS 20 Daily Current Affairs | 10th March 2020




Main Topics

Gender Social Norms Index

Why in news?

90% of men and women are biased against women, finds UN study.

About the Index:

  • Released by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • The Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI)measures how social beliefs obstruct gender equality in areas like politics, work, and education.
  • It contains data from 75 countries, covering over 80 percent of the world’s population.

From the report:

  • According to GSNI, nearly half of the world’s population believe it is men who make better leaders.
  • About 40 per cent of people believe that men make better business executives.
  • The total number of female heads of government is actually lower than five years ago, down to 10 from 15 in 2014, as per the study.
  • The study found that there were no countries in the world with gender equality.



Cord blood banking and Stem cells

Why in news?

Doctors’ forum dispels beliefs on commercial cord blood banking.


Cord Blood:

  • Blood contained in placental blood vessels and umbilical cord.
  • It contains hematopoietic stem cells/ hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs).
  • Hematopoietic stem cells can mature into different types of blood cells in the body.

Cord blood banking:

  • Cord blood banking in­volves taking the umbilical cord blood, which is a rich source of stem cells, and preserving it for future use.
  • Globally, cord blood banking is recommended as a source of hematopoietic stem cell (derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood) transplantation for haematological cancers and disorders where its use is re­commended.
  • For all other conditions, the use of cord blood as a source of stem cells is not yet established.

Note- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) does not recom­mend commercial stem cell banking.

About Stem Cells:

  • A stem cell is a naïve/immature/unspecialized cell that can
  • divide to form similar cells (self-renewal) and
  • develop into different specialized cells that perform distinct function

Types of stem cells:

  • Embryonic stem cells (ESCs)which exist only at the earliest stages of development
  • Adult stem cellsalso called somatic stem cells that appear during fetal development and are present in different tissues of our bodies throughout life.

To know more about stem cells-


Why in news?

Women scientists receive international exposure through Indo-U.S. Fellowship for WISTEMM.

Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (WISTEMM):

  • Program of Department of Science and Technology (DST) in association with Indo-U.S. Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF). 
  • WISTEMM aims to provide opportunities to Indian Women Scientists, Engineers & Technologists to undertake international collaborative research in premier institutions in U.S.A, to enhance their research capacities and capabilities.
  • The programme is run for two categories of women scientists---
  • Women Overseas Student Internship (Module I) for women students pursuing PhD, and
  • Women Overseas Fellowship (Module II) for women with PhD degree and holding regular positionat any recognized institution/laboratory in India.
  • Eligibility- The fellowship is for bright Indian women Citizen within the age bracket of 21 to 45 years. 

Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN) Scheme:

  • Implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to provide various career opportunities to women scientists and technologists.
  • It is primarily aimed to bring gender parity in the Science & Technology sectorthrough gender mainstreaming.
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

Why in news?

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is attempting to punish Russia, the world’s second-largest producer, for balking at production cuts proposed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC):

  • OPEC is a permanent intergovernmental Organization, that coordinates and unifies the petroleum policies of its Member Countries.
  • Created at the Baghdad Conference in 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
  • The five Founding Members were later joined by ten other Members.


  • OPEC had its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in the first five years of its existence.
  • This was moved to Vienna, Austria, on September 1, 1965.

OPEC’s objective:

  • To co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among Member Countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.

Member Countries:

  • Founding Members – Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
  • The countries joined : Qatar (1961), Libya (1962), the United Arab Emirates (1967), Algeria (1969), Nigeria (1971), Ecuador (1973), Gabon (1975), Angola (2007), Equatorial Guinea (2017) and Congo (2018).
  • Qatar terminated its membership on 1 January 2019.

Note – Ecuador leaves the 14-nation bloc from January 1 2020 due to fiscal problems.

Trends in international arms transfers 2019 Report

Why in news?
India was 2nd largest arms importer in 2015-19.

About the report:

  • Report published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
  • Saudi Arabia largest arms importer in 2015-19.
  • The five largest arms importers during the five-year period were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China, which together accounted for 36% of all arms imports.

About India:

  • India was 2nd largest arms importer in 2015-19.
  • Russia remaining the largest supplier even though its share of Indian weapons purchased declined from 72% to 56%, according to a leading think tank that tracks arms transfers.
  • The report listed India in the 23rd slot among the world’s 25 largest arms exporters, with its main clients being Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.
  • Arms imports from Israel and France increased, by 175% and 715% respectively, making them the second- and third-largest suppliers during 2015-19.
  • Imports of arms from the USA were 51 per cent lower than in 2010-14.

Current Affairs Capsules

Sahyadri Megha
  • A new paddy variety resistant to blast disease.
  • Developed by the University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences (UAHS), Shivamogga, as part of its initiative to prevent decline in the area under paddy cultivation.