News: A ‘cute’ American turtle popular as pet is threatening to invade the natural water bodies across the Northeast, which is home to 21 of the 29 vulnerable native Indian species of freshwater turtles and tortoises.
About Invasive Species:
An invasive species can be any kind of living organism—an amphibian (like the cane toad), plant, insect, fish, fungus, bacteria, or even an organism’s seeds or eggs—that is not native to an ecosystem and causes harm. They can harm the environment, the economy, or even human health. Species that grow and reproduce quickly, and spread aggressively, with potential to cause harm, are given the label “invasive.”
An invasive species does not have to come from another country.
Invasive species are primarily spread by human activities, often unintentionally. People, and the goods we use, travel around the world very quickly, and they often carry uninvited species with them.
Ships can carry aquatic organisms in their ballast water, while smaller boats may carry them on their propellers. Insects can get into wood, shipping palettes, and crates that are shipped around the world. Some ornamental plants can escape into the wild and become invasive. And some invasive species are intentionally or accidentally released pets.
In addition, higher average temperatures and changes in rain and snow patterns caused by climate change will enable some invasive plant species—such as garlic mustard, kudzu, and purple loosestrife—to move into new areas.
Insect pest infestations will be more severe as pests such as mountain pine beetle are able to take advantage of drought-weakened plants.
Invasive species cause harm to wildlife in many ways. When a new and aggressive species is introduced into an ecosystem, it may not have any natural predators or controls.
It can breed and spread quickly, taking over an area. Native wildlife may not have evolved defenses against the invader, or they may not be able to compete with a species that has no predators.
2. ACCREDITED SOCIAL HEALTH ACTIVIST (ASHA)
News: Asha workers struggle with pandemic surveillance in rural Uttar Pradesh
About ASHA Workers:
An accredited social health activist (ASHA) is a community health worker instituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) as a part of India’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
The mission began in 2005; full implementation was targeted for 2012. Once fully implemented, there is to be “an ASHA in every village” in India.
ASHAs are local women trained to act as health educators and promoters in their communities.
Their tasks include motivating women to give birth in hospitals, bringing children to immunization clinics, encouraging family planning (e.g., surgical sterilization), treating basic illness and injury with first aid, keeping demographic records, and improving village sanitation.
ASHAs are also meant to serve as a key communication mechanism between the healthcare system and rural populations.
She will act as a depot holder for essential provisions being made available to all habitations like Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORS), Iron Folic Acid Tablet (IFA), chloroquine, Disposable Delivery Kits (DDK), Oral Pills & Condoms.
ASHAs must primarily be female residents of the village that they have been selected to serve, who are likely to remain in that village for the foreseeable future. Married, widowed or divorced women are preferred over women who have yet to marry since Indian cultural norms dictate that upon marriage a woman leaves her village and migrates to that of her husband.
ASHAs preference for selection is they must have qualified up to the tenth grade, preferably be between the ages of 25 and 45, and are selected by and accountable to the gram panchayat (local government). If there is no suitable literate candidate, these criteria may be relaxed.
Although ASHAs are considered volunteers, they receive outcome-based remuneration and financial compensation for training days. For example, if an ASHA facilitates an institutional delivery she receives ₹600 (US$8.40) and the mother receives ₹1,400 (US$20). ASHAs also receive ₹150 (US$2.10) for each child completing an immunization session and ₹150 (US$2.10) for each individual who undergoes family planning.
ASHAs are expected to attend a Wednesday meeting at the local primary health centre (PHC); beyond this requirement, the time ASHAs spend on their CHW tasks is relatively flexible.
3. ISRAEL’S IRON DOME SYSTEM
News: The Iron Dome aerial defence system intercepted a Hamas Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on Friday that crossed from Gaza into Israel, Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said on social media.
About the Iron Dome System:
Iron Dome is a multi-mission system capable of intercepting rockets, artillery, mortars and Precision Guided Munitions like very short range air defence (V-SHORAD) systems as well as aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) over short ranges of up to 70 km. It is an all-weather system and can engage multiple targets simultaneously and be deployed over land and sea.
Iron Dome is manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and has been in service with Israeli Air Force since 2011. The radar system was developed by Elta. Its development was prompted after a series of rocket attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas in the 2000s.
An Iron Dome battery consists of a battle management control unit, a detection and tracking radar and a firing unit of three vertical launchers, with 20 interceptor missiles each. The interceptor missile uses a proximity fuse to detonate the target warhead in the air. The Iron Dome is deployed in a layered defence along with David’s Sling and Arrow missile defence system which are designed for medium- and long-range threats.
One of the system’s important advantages is its ability to identify the anticipated point of impact of the threatening rocket, to calculate whether it will fall in a built-up area or not, and to decide on this basis whether or not to engage it. This prevents unnecessary interception of rockets that will fall in open areas and thus not cause damage.
The I-DOME is the mobile variant with all components on a single truck and C-DOME is the naval version for deployment on ships.
The system has performed very well so far. However, the system can see limitations when it is overwhelmed with a barrage of projectiles. “The system has a ‘saturation point’. It is capable of engaging a certain (unpublished) number of targets at the same time, and no more.
One of the possible limitations is the system’s inability to cope with very short range threats as estimates put the Iron Dome’s minimum interception range at 5-7 km.