Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2017

हिंदी करंट अफेयर्स प्रश्नोत्तरी 2017 के लिए यहाँ क्लिक करें.

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Scientists create ‘Artificial Womb’

Researchers have created a fluid-filled transparent container called the Biobag to simulate how foetuses float in amniotic fluid inside the uterus of their mothers.

Researchers tested five lambs with a biological age corresponding to 23-week human premature babies in the artificially created womb like device. The premature lambs were delivered by C-section and were immediately placed into the womb-like device. To mimic a womb, researchers created a temperature-controlled bag filled with a substitute for amniotic fluid. They used an electrolyte solution to mimic amniotic fluid that the lambs swallow and take into their lungs. The researchers then attached the umbilical cord to the device that exchanges carbon dioxide in blood with oxygen. In early-stage animal testing, all the lambs appeared to grow normally inside the system for three to four weeks. After four weeks, the lambs were seen opening their eyes, started growing wool, breathe and swim. In a sum, the results were found very promising.

Significance

The artificial wombs can facilitate development of premature babies in a uterus-like environment. The womb-like environment will offer them a better chance of healthy survival. At present, the premature babies are hooked to ventilators and other machines inside incubators. Premature babies have high risk factor for getting serious disabilities such as cerebral palsy. One of the biggest risks the premature babies face is that their lungs are not ready to breathe air. When they are hooked to ventilators there is a high risk of lifelong lung damage.

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft successfully travels between Saturn and its rings

Recently, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft completed its final close flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan and has now started its final set of 22 orbits before plunging into Saturn on September 15, 2017, and thus completing its 20-year long journey. Already, Cassini has dived successfully through the space between Saturn and its rings, a region no spacecraft has been before. It will perform another 21 dives through the same gap and will send more detailed information about Saturn and its rings. These series of 22 manoeuvres that brings Cassini closer to Saturn’s surface before plunging into it is called as the spacecraft’s “grand finale.”

The spacecraft will provide the radar team with the final set of new images of the hydrocarbon seas and lakes that are present in Titan’s North Polar Region.

Cassini

Cassini spacecraft was named after the 17th-century astronomer Giovanni Cassini. It was launched into space in October 1997. It is a joint endeavour of NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI).

Cassini was the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter its orbit. The Robotic spacecraft included a Saturn orbiter and an atmospheric probe/lander called Huygens for the Saturn’s moon Titan which entered and landed on Titan in 2005.

Sixteen European countries and the United States make up the team responsible for designing, building, flying and collecting data from the Cassini orbiter and Huygens probe. Huygens was developed by the European Space Research and Technology Centre.

Findings of Cassini

Cassini and Huygens have revealed the existence of earth-like geographic features, great lakes of liquid nitrogen gas on Titan’s surface. Cassini also found evidence for the existence of Underground Ocean on the moon Enceladus. In April, NASA announced that the spacecraft has found evidence that the underground ocean could sustain some form of life. Cassini has generated a rich volume of data that will fuel scientific study for decades to come.

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US tax reform: Trump introduces biggest tax reform plan in US history

US President Donald Trump has introduced biggest tax reform plan in the history of United States. As per the proposals of the new plan, major cuts have been made in the income tax rate. the income tax rates have been slashed from 39.6% to 35%. The new plan has also sharply slashed the business taxes. Steep discounts have been announced on corporate profits that are brought back into the US.

The new plan proposes for a 15% corporate tax rate which is a sharp drop from the existing 35%. In addition, the new reforms aim to move to a territorial tax system that provides relief to both small and large businesses. It is also proposed to repeal the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax. In addition, tax relief will be provided to the families with child and dependent care expenses. Further, the number of tax brackets is expected to be brought down to three from seven.

However, under the US law, only the Congress is empowered to make major changes to the tax laws.

Impact

These reforms are hailed as the biggest tax cut and largest tax reform in the history of the United States. According to the economists, the new tax reforms are likely to add trillions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade.  As far as India is concerned, the reforms are expected to further push up stock markets which have already responded positively.

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