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 April 3rd Current Affairs – Vignan IAS

MATERNAL DEATHS
The failure of the health system to cope with COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an increase in maternal deaths and stillbirths, according to a study published in The Lancet Global Health journal.

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Overall, there was a 28% increase in the odds of stillbirth, and the risk of mothers dying during pregnancy or childbirth increased by about one-third.
There was also a rise in maternal depression.
COVID-19 impact on pregnancy outcomes was disproportionately high on poorer countries.
The report is an analysis of 40 studies across 17 countries including Brazil, Mexico, the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, India, China and Nepal.
The study attributes the worsening trend to the failure of the “inefficiency of the healthcare system and their inability to cope with the pandemic” instead of strict lockdown measures. This resulted in reduced access to care.
In India, during the months of national lockdown last year between April and June, compared to the same period in 2019, there was a 27% drop in pregnant women receiving four or more ante-natal check-ups, a 28% decline in institutional deliveries and 22% decline in prenatal services.

Source : The Hindu
 Health

JOINT COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF ACTION (JCPOA)

The U.S. and Iran said that they would begin negotiations through intermediaries next week to try to get both countries back into an accord limiting Iran’s nuclear programme, nearly three years after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal.

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The announcement marked the first major progress in efforts to return both countries to the 2015 accord, which bound Iran to restrictions on its nuclear programmes in return for relief from U.S. and international sanctions. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord in 2018, opting for a “maximum pressure” campaign of stepped-up U.S. sanctions and other tough actions. Iran responded by intensifying its enrichment of uranium and building of centrifuges, while maintaining its insistence that its nuclear development was
for civilian and not military purposes. Iran’s moves increased pressure on major world powers over the Trump administration’s sanctions and raised tensions among U.S. allies and strategic partners in West Asia. Agreement on the start of indirect talks came after the EU helped broker a virtual meeting of officials from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and Iran, which have remained in the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Source : The Hindu
 International

NEW EMISSION NORMS FOR COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS
The government has pushed back deadlines for coal-fired power plants to adopt new emission norms by up to three years, and allowed utilities that miss the new target to continue operating after paying a penalty, according to a notice.

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India had initially set a 2017 deadline for thermal power plants to install Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) units that cut emissions of sulphur dioxides. But that was postponed to varying deadlines for different regions, ending in 2022.
The new order dated April 1 from the environment Ministry said plants near populous regions and the capital New Delhi will have to comply by 2022, while utilities in less polluting areas have up to 2025 to comply or retire units.
Operators of coal-fired utilities have long been lobbying for dilution of the pollution standards, citing high compliance costs.
A task force will be constituted by the Central Pollution Control Board to categorise plants in three categories “on the basis of their location to comply with the emission norms”.
In case of non-compliance, a penalty of up to ₹0.20 will be levied for every unit of electricity produced.

Source : The Hindu
 Economy

April 3rd Current Affairs – Vignan IAS

WATERGATE SCANDAL

G Gordon Liddy, the former FBI agent and Republican adviser who was widely considered the mastermind behind the 1972 Watergate break-in, died at the age of 90.

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The Watergate scandal was a political scandal in the United States involving the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon from 1971 to 1974 that led to Nixon’s resignation.
The scandal stemmed from the Nixon administration’s continuous attempts to cover up its involvement in the June 17, 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Washington, D.C. Watergate Office Building.
After the five perpetrators were arrested, the press and the U.S. Justice Department connected the cash found on them at the time to the Nixon re-election campaign committee.
It led to the country’s first and only presidential resignation.

Source : Indian Express
 International

April 3rd Current Affairs – Vignan IAS