Current Affairs – October 2016

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Sir David Cox honoured with first International Prize in Statistics

Noted British statistician Sir David Cox (92) was awarded inaugural recipient of the International Prize in Statistics.

The International Prize in Statistics Foundation has bestowed this award on Sir David Cox in recognition of Survival Analysis Model (or Cox Model) Applied in Medicine, Science, and Engineering.

About Sir David Cox

  • Sir David Cox is renowned statistician born on 15 July 1924 in Birmingham, England.
  • He is known for developing the proportional hazards model i.e. Cox Model in 1992. His model is widely used in analysis of survival data which enables researchers to more easily identify risks of specific factors for mortality or other survival outcomes among groups of patients with disparate characteristics.
  • He is a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences and fellow of the Royal Society, an honorary fellow of the British Academy.
  • He has served as President of Bernoulli Society, Royal Statistical Society and International Statistical Institute.
  • Awards and Honours: Copley Medal (2010), he was knighted in 1985.

About International Prize in Statistics

  • The prestigious award given by the International Prize in Statistics Foundation. It recognizes a major achievement of an individual or team in the field of statistics.
  • The Prize aims at promoting understanding of the growing importance and diverse ways statistics, probability and data analysis. It carries monetary award of US 75000 dollars.

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World Bank pledges $2 billion aid to Bangladesh to tackle climate change

The World Bank has pledged 2 billion US dollars aid package to Bangladesh to tackle climate change over the next three years. The aid package is part of the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries.

Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to climate change and accounts for almost 70% of all storm surges in the world. The aid package aims to further develop the resilience of the people at a time when climate change is putting their lives and livelihoods at greater risk.

Background

This is the second large investment announcement made by the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim during his 2-day visit to Bangladesh. Earlier he had announced to provide US $1 billion aid to Bangladesh over the next three years to fight child malnutrition.

Comment

The World Bank has provided Bangladesh more than $24 billion in financing in the last 45 years. Bangladesh is the largest recipient of International Development Association (IDA) assistance, having received over 24 billion US dollars since Independence.

About World Bank

  • The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programs.
  • It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA).
  • Formation: July 1944.
  • Headquarters: Washington DC, United States.
  • Motto: Working for a World Free of Poverty.
  • Membership: 189 countries (IBRD), 173 countries (IDA)
  • The World Bank is one of the five components of the World Bank Group, which is part of the United Nations system.

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Milk from Tasmanian devils could fight superbugs: Study

Scientists from University of Sydney (Australia) have found that mother’s milk from marsupials (also known as Tasmanian devils) could help to deadly superbugs which resist antibiotics.

They have found that peptides in the marsupial’s milk killed resistant bacteria, including methicillin-resistant golden staph bacteria and enterococcus that is resistant to powerful antibiotic vancomycin.

Scientist are hopeful marsupial peptides could eventually be used to develop new antibiotics for humans to aid the battle against superbugs.

What are Superbugs?

Superbugs are deadly bacteria which cannot be treated by current antibiotics and other drugs. According to recent British study, Superbugs could kill up to 10 million people globally by 2050.

What Scientists have found?

  • Marsupials have more peptides than other mammals. It has six peptides whereas humans have only one of this type of peptide.
  • These peptides give underdeveloped young marsupials an immature immune system when they are born.
  • This natural immune system helps young marsupials to survive growth in their mother’s bacteria-filled pouch.
  • It should be noted that because of their biology, marsupials carry their young in a pouch after birth to complete their development.
  • Using marsupials peptides, scientists had artificially created the antimicrobial peptides called cathelicidins after extracting the sequence from the devil’s genome.
  • It was found that these artificially created the antimicrobial peptides killed the resistant bacteria and other bacteria.

About Tasmanian devil

  • The Tasmanian devil is a carnivorous marsupial belonging to the family Dasyuridae. They are endemic in the wild only in Tasmania, island state of Australia.
  • It is largest carnivorous marsupial in the world. It has stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odour, keen sense of smell and extremely loud and disturbing screech.
  • Its large head and neck allow it to generate strongest bites per unit body mass among any extant mammal land predator.

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