Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 16 December 2022

India abstains on UN ECOSOC resolution

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

India has abstained in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on a draft resolution to oust Iran from the principal global intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment. The Economic and Social Council adopted the draft resolution, introduced by the US, on the removal of Iran from the membership of the Commission on the Status of Women for the remainder of its 2022-2026 terms, citing its oppression of women and girls in the Islamic Republic.

More about the resolution

  1. The resolution was adopted by a recorded vote of 29 in favour to eight against - Bolivia, China, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Russia, Zimbabwe and 16 abstentions, including by Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mauritius, Mexico, and Thailand.
  2. Through the draft 'Removal of the Islamic Republic of Iran from membership in the Commission on the Status of Women for the remainder of its 2022-2026 term’, the Economic and Social Council expressed serious concern over the actions of the Government of Iran since September 2022.
  3. It said Iran continuously undermined and increasingly suppressed the "human rights of women and girls, including the right to freedom of expression and opinion, often with the use of excessive force, by administering policies flagrantly contrary to the human rights of women and girls and to the mandate of the Commission on the Status of Women, as well as through the use of lethal force resulting in the deaths of peaceful protestors, including women and girls."
  4. The resolution decided to remove Iran “with immediate effect” from membership in the Commission on the Status of Women for the remainder of its 2022–2026 term.
  5. Iran has been rocked by protests since the 16 September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being detained by the country's morality police.
  6. At least 475 people have been killed in the demonstrations amid a heavy-handed security crackdown, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that's been monitoring the protests since they began.


  1. The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
  2. functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it was established by the ECOSOC resolution of June 1946. The Commission comprises 45 Member States of the United Nations.
  3. The commission consists of one representative from each of the 45 member states elected by the Economic and Social Council on the basis of equitable geographical distribution. Members are elected for a period of four years.


Centre awards nine GI tags

GS Paper - 1 (Culture)

Adding to the present collection of Geographical Indications (GIs)nine new items, including gamocha of AssamTandur red gram of TelanganaRaktsey Karpo apricot of Ladakh, and Alibag white onion of Maharashtra, have been given the coveted GI tagKerala has been awarded five GI tags for its agricultural produce. With this, the total number of GI tags in India comes to 432.


  1. The top five states holding the maximum number of GIs are KarnatakaTamil NaduUttar PradeshKarnataka, and Kerala. Of these, 401 are Indian-origin products31 foreign-origins.
  2. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are states with the highest number of GI tags, followed by Kerala (35)Uttar Pradesh (34), and Maharashtra (31).
  3. Besides giving a boost to building cross-cultural societies within the country, such activities not only promote the transfer of diverse products among states but also contribute to building a better vibrant cultural society in the future.
  4. Recently, the government supported the promotion of GIs by approving an expenditure of Rs 75 crore for three years for their advertising at awareness programmes.


  1. Recognised by the World Trade Organization (WTO)GI is used to denote the geographical territory from where a product, be it agricultural producenatural product, or manufactured, conveys the assurance of qualitydistinctiveness, and attributes that are unique to that specific geographic region/place of origin.
  2. India became a signatory to this convention when, as a member of WTO, it enacted the Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, which came into effect on 15 September 2003.
  3. To protect the GI of goods, a GI registry has been established to administer the GI of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, under the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks.
  4. Goods which carry the coveted GI tag include Basmati riceDarjeeling teaChanderi fabricMysore silkKullu shawlKangra teaThanjavur paintingsAllahabad surkhaFarrukhabad printsLucknawi zardozi, and Kashmir walnut wood carving.


Energy Conservation Bill 2022 passed

GS Paper - 3 (Energy)

The Parliament has passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 that aims to mandate the use of green energy and enables the government to set up a carbon trading scheme. The Bill also allows the government to specify the minimum amount of non-fossil sources to be used by designated energy consumers. The bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on 8 August 2022 got approval in Rajya Sabha.

Key features of the Bill:

  1. Promotion of non-fossil energy sources and non-fossil feedstock - The Bill seeks to mandate the use of non-fossil sources, including biomass and ethanol, for energy and feedstock, along with the use of green hydrogen and green ammonia.
  2. Development of a framework for carbon markets - The Act gives the union government the authority to designate a carbon credit trading system. A tradable permit to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases is implied by a carbon credit.
  3. The carbon price would be determined by the market and the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) would regulate carbon credit trading.
  4. Increasing the scope of the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) - The bill suggests that the energy conservation code for buildings be amended to an energy-conserving and sustainable building code.
  5. The code prescribes energy consumption standards. It also proposes to bring large residential buildings within the ambit of the energy conservation regime.


Base editing cleared cancer

GS Paper - 3 (Biotechnology)

Alyssa was diagnosed with a kind of blood cancer known as T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL)T-ALL affects the stem cells in the bone marrow that produce a particular kind of white blood cells (WBC) called T lymphocytes (T cells). These cells provide person immunity by killing cells carrying infectionsactivating other immune cells, and regulating the immune response. At least 20% of these WBC are atypical– as they accumulate in the bone marrow, they crowd out “good” WBCs and hence weaken the immune system.

How is T-ALL typically treated?

  1. Typical treatment for T-ALL is similar to that of any leukaemia– chemotherapy and stem cell/bone marrow transplant.
  2. Doctors will first administer multiple rounds of chemotherapy. This either kills the cancerous cells or stops them from further dividing. The exact schedule is guided by an individual’s age and general health.
  3. If this fails, and the individual is suitable, doctors will conduct bone marrow transplant.
  4. First the patient will undergo radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy that will kill the cancerous cells but also wreck an individual’s immunity system along with it.
  5. Thus, patients receive an infusion of healthy bone marrow cells that will hopefully multiply and restore immunity.
  6. Overall treatment for T-ALL is pretty effective– children have a survival rate of over 85 per cent after five years of receiving this treatment.
  7. Unfortunately, Alyssa lay in the unlucky 15 percent of children where the treatment just did not work.

What is base editing?

  1. Bases are the language of life. Just as letters in the alphabet spell out words that carry meaning, the billions of bases in our DNA spell out the instruction manual for our body.
  2. With advances in genetic technology, scientists have been able to zoom into a precise part of the genetic code to alter the molecular structure of just one base, effectively changing its genetic instructions.
  3. A team at the Great Ormond Street Hospital managed to use base-editing to create a new type of T-cell from a healthy donor that would not attack other cells in Alyssa’s body, not kill each other, survive chemotherapy and finally, hunt down all other T-cells in Alyssa’s body (healthy and cancerous).
  4. After this therapy worked in its initial stages, Alyssa was given another bone marrow transplant to restore her immunity.