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The Hindu Editorial

20-October-2023

1. Significant regional disparity in overcoming cancer though survival rates are up study

Context: According to a study published in The Lancet Regional Health Southeast Asia, roughly 52% of cervical cancer cases diagnosed across India between 2012 and 2015 survived based on Population Based Cancer Registries (PBCRs) data.

A research team, including scientists from the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), conducted a comprehensive study on cervical cancer in India.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is the cancerous growth of cells(malignancy) that starts in the cervix, i.e., the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Often, Human papillomavirus strains (HPV) play a significant role in causing cervical cancers.

What does Population Based Cancer Registries (PBCRs) data say?

  • Roughly 52% of cervical cancer cases diagnosed across India between 2012-2015 survived. However, there were significant variations in survival rates across various urban regions in the country.
  • For example, Ahmedabad demonstrated the highest survival rate at 61.5% (as shown in the figure below), then Thiruvananthapuram at 58.8% and Kollam at 56.1%. At the same time, Tripura reported the lowest survival rate at 1.6%.
  • Survival rates were notably lower in India’s northeastern region, particularly in Tripura, Pasighat and Kamrup urban.
  • The overall survival rate of 52% marks a notable improvement of approximately 6% compared to the previous SurvCan survey-3.

Factors affecting the survival rates include:

  • Access to diagnostic services,
  • Effective treatment varied across the population,
  • Distance from clinical care facilities,
  • Travel costs,
  • Co-morbidities, and
  • Poverty

2. Why are earthquakes frequent in Afghanistan?

Topic: GS 1 – Geogprahy

Context:

On 15 October, an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 hit western Afghanistan, just a few days after multiple earthquakes of similar strength killed at least a thousand people in the Herat province.

History of Major Earthquakes in Afghanistan:

  • June 2022: More than 1,000 people were killed when an earthquake of magnitude 6.1 hit Khost and Paktika provinces.
  • 2015 A major earthquake that hit the country’s northeastern part killed at least 200 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • 2002 An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 killed about 1,000 people in northern Afghanistan.
  • 1998 – A major earthquake and subsequent tremors in Afghanistan killed more than 4,500 people.

Why do frequent earthquakes occur in Afghanistan?

  • The Earth is made up of blocks of solid rock masses called tectonic plates. Any discontinuity in tectonic plates along which they have moved is called fault lines.
  • Afghanistan is geologically located over multiple fault lines. Two major fault lines in the region are the Indian and the Eurasian tectonic plates. These two plates meet and collide often, resulting in significant tectonic activity.
  • Afghanistan is located on the Eurasian plate.
  • The Hindu Kush mountain range and the Pamir Knot are geologically complex regions and tectonically active areas since the tectonic plates meet here.
  • The collision and convergence of the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate led to the folding and faulting of the Earth’s crust.
  • This geological complexity results in the occurrence of earthquakes in the region.
  • Afghanistan is also crisscrossed by active fault systems like the Chaman Fault and the Main Pamir Thrust.

3. Over 2 million are trapped in Gaza as attacks continue.

Topic: GS 2 – International Relations

Context:

  • Israeli airstrikes have struck at several locations across the Gaza Strip on Thursday, including those parts of the south (Gaza Strip) that Israel had announced as ‘safe zones’, which increased fears among more than two million people in Gaza.
  • Palestinians who are currently trapped in the territory found that almost no place in Gaza is safe under threat from Israeli air strikes.
  • Israel told Palestinians to evacuate the northern part of the Gaza Strip and move towards the south, which they called as ‘safe zones’ while strikes continued across the territory overnight, and in turn, Palestinian militants, Hamas, continued firing rockets into Israel.
  • The fresh bombardments came after Israel agreed on Wednesday to allow Egypt to deliver limited humanitarian aid to Gaza. Israel has already imposed a blockade for food, water, electricity and fuel in the Gaza Strip.
  • Currently, almost half of Gaza’s population, i.e. more than one million Palestinians, have left their homes in Gaza City. Most of the people have taken shelter in UN-run schools or the homes of relatives.Everything You Need To Know About 20 October 2023 : The Hindu Editorial Notes Pdf

4. Centre says measures in place to check price rise.

Topic: GS 3 – Economy

Context:

The Central Government has taken adequate steps, such as extending the ban on the export of sugar, wheat, and rice to ensure that the costs of these essential items did not rise during the festival season.

Objective:

The purpose is to keep a check on the price rise of staple cereals and maintain their adequate availability in the domestic market. 

Further Steps were taken:

  • The 20% export levy on parboiled rice would remain until 31 March, 2024 in order to keep a sufficient supply in the domestic market.
  • It resulted in a decline in the export of parboiled rice by 65% in quantity and 56% decrease in value.
  • An export duty of 20% was levied on non-basmati white rice, while the export of broken rice was prohibited.
  • The Centre will sell 50 lakh tonnes of wheat under the Open Market Sale Scheme through e-auction (The Food Corporation of India sells 2 lakh tonne of wheat weekly, and so far, 25.6 lakh tonne has been offloaded under the programme)
  • Cooperative agencies like NAFED and NCCF, as well as Kendriya Bhandar, are selling atta at ₹ 27.50 per kg in the open market.
  • This has led to increased availability of wheat in the domestic market and reduced retail and wholesale prices in wheat.

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