Pakistan Current Affairs

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Scientists identify fungus that eats plastic

Scientists from Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have identified a soil fungus Aspergillus tubingensis that uses enzymes to rapidly break down plastic materials. The plastic-eating fungus was found Islamabad, Pakistan.

The new discovery in an advance can help to deal with plastic waste problem that threatens our environment in safer and more effective way

Key facts
  • Scientists have found that Aspergillus tubingensis fungus which ordinarily lives in the soil can also grows on the surface of plastics.
  • In order to grow on plastics, it secretes enzymes on the surface of the plastic which break the chemical bonds between the plastic molecules, or polymers.
  • This fungus also uses the physical strength of its mycelia (the network of root—like filaments) to break apart the polymers.
Significance of discovery

Plastic waste materials can persist in the environment over long periods of time as they do not break down in the same way as other organic materials. The conventional plastic waste disposal through burying, recycling, incineration or other methods are unsustainable, costly and result in toxic by-products, which are hazardous to human health. This discovery can offer cheap sustainable solution to degrade plastic and its toxic by-products without having any negative impact on environment and human health.

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Pakistan’s naval exercise Aman 2017 begins in Karachi

The Pakistan Navy has kicked of its biannually-held multinational AMAN 2017 naval exercise in Karachi, Pakistan. 37 countries are participating in the international event.

Aman-17 is the sixth edition such exercise which Pakistan has been holding biannually since 2007. Previous exercises were held in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013, and 2016 respectively.

About AMAN 2017

  • The theme of AMAN 2017 is “together for peace”. It is intended to devise procedures and techniques against conventional and non-conventional threats.
  • The naval exercise aims at enhancing efforts to combating piracy and protecting international trade routes. It is divided into two phases viz. Harbor phase and Sea phase.
  • Harbor phase will include ship visits, sports events, and a maritime security conference in which participants will present research papers, among other things.
  • Sea phase will witness a variety of activities including Search & Rescue (SAR) Operations, gunnery drills, anti-piracy demonstrations, replenishment at Sea (RAS) and maritime counter-terrorism demonstrations.
  • It involves ships, aircrafts, helicopters, Explosives Ordinance Disposal (EOD), Special Operations Forces (SOF), marine teams and observers from regional as well extra-regional navies.
  • Nine countries Australia, China, Turkey, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, United States, Japan and Russia are participating with warships or aircraft. Turkey and Russia are participating for first time.
  • US has sent four ships, China and Russia have sent three ships, while Australia, Indonesia, UK, Turkey and Sri Lanka have each dispatched one.
  • Japan has sent two P-3C Orion aircraft, whereas the Maldives, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Russia have each dispatched Special Operations Forces detachments.

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Pakistan conducts first flight test of Ababeel missile with MIRV technology

Pakistan successfully conducted the first flight test of Ababeel surface-to-surface medium range ballistic missile. The test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of missile’s weapon system.

It is claimed that Ababeel missile has the capability to carry nuclear as well as conventional warheads and engage multiple targets with high precision by defeating the enemy’s hostile radars.

Key Facts
  • Ababeel missile is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology, first of its kind in Pakistan’s missile arsenal. It has a maximum range of 2,200 kilometres.
  • The development of Ababeel Weapon System aims at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment in reference to the India’s Prithvi and Ashwin BMD systems. It also seeks to further reinforce Pakistan’s deterrence.
Comment
  • With this successful test, Pakistan became seventh country to join the elite club of nuclear countries that have MIRV capabilities.
  • Other countries having MIRV capabilities are United Kingdom, France, Russia, the United States, China and India. India and China had achieved this capability over the past couple of years.
  • The test comes after Pakistan successfully tested its first submarine-based nuclear-capable missile Babur-3 recently on January 9, 2017 from an underwater, mobile platform somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
  • The Babur weapons system incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea at a range of 700 km with high accuracy.

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