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February 4: World Cancer Day

The World Cancer Day (WCD) is observed every year on 4 February across the world to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.

The theme (tagline) between 2016 and 2018 WCD is “We can. I can”. It reflects on what everyone can do to raise awareness of cancer and asks to take pledge and action in fight against cancer.

Special three-year campaign for the World Cancer Day 2016-2018 seeks to explore how everyone- as individuals or as a collective – can do their part to reduce the burden of cancer globally.

About World Cancer Day

The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) had instituted World Cancer Day (WCD in 2008 by formally writing the goals of the World Cancer Declaration. The primary goal of observing the day is to reduce illness and death caused by it by 2020. The origin of the day can be traced to 2000 at the first World Summit Against Cancer, which was held in Paris, France.

UICC: It is Geneva based leading international non-governmental organisation (NGO) founded in 1933. Its purpose is to help the global health community to accelerate the fight against cancer. It has a membership of over 800 organisations spread across 155 countries.


China successfully tests DF-5C missile with 10 nuclear warheads  

China has successfully tested a new version of a DF-5C missile that can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads in January 2017.

The flight test of the missile was carried using 10 multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles, (MIRVs), from the Taiyuan Space Launch Centre in Shanxi province and to an impact range in the western Taklamakan desert.

Key Facts
  • The Dongfeng 5 (DF-5) is a three stage Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It has a length of 32.6 m and a diameter of 3.35 m. It weighs in at 183,000 kilograms.
  • It has an estimated range of 12,000 to 15,000 kilometers. It is primarily designed for nuclear weapons delivery.
  • The DF-5’s first flight was conduected in 1971 and was in operational service 10 years later. This missile’s development is considered as response to development of US’s ballistic missile defence system.

This development indicates shift in China’s nuclear deterrence policy to modify older its arsenal of rockets with new MIRV busses. It means that China intends to increase the number of nuclear warheads it possesses. It is currently estimated to have about 250.


Researchers Discover Oldest Human Ancestor

Researchers have discovered microscopic sea animal Saccorhytus, the earliest known ancestor of humans along with a vast range of other species.

The exquisitely well preserved fossilised traces of this 540-million-year-old creature were discovered. This balloon-like sea is the earliest known step on the evolutionary path that led to fish and eventually to humans. 

About Saccorhytus

  • Saccorhytus is the most primitive example of deuterostomes, a category of animals which are common ancestors of a broad range of species, including vertebrates (backboned animals).
  • It was about a millimetre in size and its body was symmetrical. This is a characteristic inherited by many of its evolutionary descendants, including humans.
  • It was also covered with a thin, relatively flexible skin and muscles which concludes that it moved by contracting its muscles and got around by wriggling.
  • It is thought to have lived between grains of sand on the sea bed. It had large mouth, relative to the rest of its body indicating that it probably ate by engulfing food particles, or even other creatures.
  • Its body also had conical structures which might have allowed the water swallowed by it to escape. It also indicates these conical structures might have been a very early version of gills.