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International Relation

No-fly zone

Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has renewed calls for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

  • But military analysts say there is no chance that the US, Britain and their European allies will impose a no-fly zone because it could easily escalate the war in Ukraine into a nuclear confrontation between NATO and Russia.

What is a no-fly zone?

  • A no-fly zone would bar all unauthorized aircraft from flying over Ukraine.
  • Western nations imposed such restrictions over parts of Iraq for more than a decade following the 1991 Gulf War, during the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1993-95, and during the Libyan civil war in 2011.
  • After the imposition of a no-fly zone by a country, generally, military personnel are deployed to enforce it and also for surveillance purposes. To prevent violations, a country may even resort to preemptive attacks on aircrafts.

Why won’t NATO take this step in Ukraine?

  • Ukraine is not a member of NATO, so there’s no legal authority for NATO to protect its airspace.
  • In simple terms, because it would risk a direct military conflict with Russia that could escalate into a wider European war with a nuclear-armed superpower.
  • While the idea may have captured the public imagination, declaring a no-fly zone could force NATO pilots to shoot down Russian aircraft.
  • In addition to fighter planes, NATO would have to deploy refueling tankers and electronic-surveillance aircraft to support the mission.

What is the alternative?

  • NATO’s Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, which are simply airborne radars with longer range than ground-based radars, are already active in the area.
  • They fly beyond Ukrainian border, but can still monitor Russian air activity and inform Ukraine of incoming threats.



  1. Consider the following statements in context to the No-fly zone :
  2. A no-fly zone would bar all unauthorized aircraft from flying over a particular region.
  3. It can be established for military or civilian purposes.
  4. Currently there are no region within India declared as No fly zone

Select the correct answer code:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1 and 3 only

Answer: – A



Science & Technology

The role Fusobacterium plays in oral cancer patients in India

Since the beginning of the 20th Century, it is known that infections could play a role in cancer, with 18-20% of cancers associated with infectious agents. This could be relatively higher in developing countries like India

  • Recently ACTREC-Tata Memorial Centre developed a highly sensitive and specific automated computational tool HPVDetector to quantify the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV)

Key Findings

  • The analysis revealed significant occurrence of HPV 16, 18, and 31, among others, in cervical cancer.
  • But a surprising finding was that Indian patients with oral tumours showing a distinct tobacco usage gene signature were devoid of HPV infection.
  • This was in sharp contrast to the oral tumours among Caucasian patients, wherein tobacco genetic signature is not common but is marked by a significant presence of HPV.
  • Several groups have corroborated this finding, and it is well established that oral tumours among Indian patients are not driven by HPV infection.
  • Interestingly, Fusobacterium nucleatum is known to play a vital role in colorectal cancer, wherein its presence affects the spread of the disease and the patient’s response to chemotherapy.
  • However, a similar role of Fusobacterium in oral cancer was not known earlier.
  • The presence of the bacteria was found in Indian and Caucasian oral cancer patients, with a much higher incidence among the Indian patients.
  • Moreover, oral cancer patients positive for Fusobacterium were found to be negative for HPV infection, suggesting they are present in a mutually exclusive way.
  • The finding underlines that while oral tumours in the West are more likely to be driven by HPV infection with a lower abundance of Fusobacterium infection, the oral cancer incidences in India are caused more by Fusobacterium infection.



  1. Oral cancer incidences in India are predominantly caused by :
  2. Chewing products containing tobacco
  3. Somatic or acquired genomic variants
  4. Fusobacterium infection
  5. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection

Select the correct answer code:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1,2 and 3 only
  3. 2,3 and 4 only
  4. 1,2 and 4 only

Answer: – B



Variants do not always evolve to become less virulent

Recently World Health Organization cautioned that the pandemic is far from over and new variants will emerge and such variants could be more transmissible than the Omicron BA.2 variant.

  • The next variant of concern will be more fit, and what we mean by that is it will be more transmissible because it will have to overtake what is currently circulating.
  • The big question is whether or not future variants will be more or less severe

Evading antibodies

  • The only way the next variant can become even more transmissible than the Omicron variant is by exhibiting a far higher ability to evade neutralising antibodies.
  • This would mean that full vaccinations (two doses) will be even less effective in preventing breakthrough infections.
  • But so far, fully vaccinated people have been found to be less likely to suffer from severe disease requiring hospitalisation and even death.
  • That is because it is the T cells and B cells that come into play to reduce the severity of the disease.
  • The memory T cells are extremely unlikely to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections. That is just not what T cells generally do.
  • They may reduce COVID-19 disease severity and prevent deaths

Virulence unpredictable

  • While the next variant has to necessarily be more infectious than the Omicron variant, whether the variant will be more or less severe cannot be said with certainty.
  • But it is important to remember that right from the very early stage of the pandemic, it became clear that transmission or virus spread begins even before symptoms can show up.
  • That is what makes SARS-CoV-2 very different from the 2002 SARS virus and MERS virus.
  • The natural evolution process selects variants not based on how they cause disease but how they can escape neutralising antibodies.

Immune escape

  • Two studies that tried to document the intrinsic disease severity of the Omicron variant compared it with the Delta variant.
  • The first study found that the Omicron variant is about 75% as likely to cause severe disease or death as the delta variant.
  • In the second study, a report by the Imperial College COVID-19 response team found 69% reduction in hospitalisation risk in people who have been reinfected compared with primary cases.



Causal link between blood group and severe COVID-19

  • Blood groups may play an instrumental role in whether people develop severe forms of COVID-19, according to a study that could pave the way for potential new targets to treat and prevent hospitalisation from the disease.
  • The researchers identified six proteins that could underlie an increased risk of severe COVID-19 and eight that could contribute to protection from severe COVID-19.
  • One of the proteins (ABO) that was identified as having a causal connection to the risk of developing severe COVID-19 determines blood groups, suggesting that blood groups play an instrumental role in whether people develop severe forms of the disease.


  1. 3. Which among the following statements is/are correct in context to the various observations made by recent studies regarding COVID 19 variants:
  2. The next variant has to be more infectious and severe than the Omicron variant
  3. The natural evolution process selects variants not based on how they cause disease but how they can escape neutralising antibodies.
  4. There is no link between blood group and severe COVID-19

Select the correct answer code:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

Answer: – B




Predatory pricing

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed allegations of predatory pricing against e-commerce platform Shopee.

Allegations of violation of competition norms against Shopee

  • The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), had submitted information to the CCI claiming the company sells various products at extremely low prices with the intention to eliminate competition from small retailers.
  • CAIT has previously objected to Shopee being excluded from a list of 54 Chinese apps that were banned by the Centre last month. CAIT argued that Shopee should also be banned as it is owned by SEA Limited, which also owns Garena: Free Fire, a popular mobile game that was among the 54 apps restricted in India.
  • CAIT has alleged that Shopee incorporated a company SPPIN India Private Ltd for operations in India in violation of FDI rules that mandate prior government approval for investment from countries that share a land border with India.

What were the findings of the CCI?

  • The CCI concluded in its analysis that Shopee did not hold significant market power as it is a relatively new entrant in a market with well established players.

Competition Commission of India

  • The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, follows the philosophy of modern competition laws.
  • The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.


  • Eliminate practices having adverse effects on competition.
  • Promote and sustain competition.
  • Protect the interests of consumers.
  • Ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India

The major elements in the determination of predatory behaviour include : 

  • Establishment of the dominant position of the enterprise in the relevant market,
  • Pricing below cost for the relevant product in the relevant market by the dominant enterprise,
  • Intention to reduce competition or eliminate competitors, which is, traditionally known as the predatory intent test.


  1. As per Competition Commission of India which among the following findings are relevant for the identification of predatory pricing :
  2. Establishment of the dominant position of the enterprise in the relevant market
  3. Pricing below cost for the relevant product in the relevant market by the dominant enterprise
  4. Intention to reduce competition or eliminate competitors

Select the correct answer code:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

Answer: – D



Sambhav and Svavlamban

  • Union Minister of State for MSME inaugurated International Summit on Plastics Recycling & Waste Management recently being organized by Ministry of MSME in association with The All-India Plastics Manufacturers’ Association (AIPMA) from 4th– 5th March, 2022 at New Delhi.
  • Ministry of MSME also launched two special initiatives ‘Sambhav’ and ‘Svavlamban’ to promote entrepreneurship amongst youth, especially in aspirational Districts all across the country.
  • The Mega International Summit emphasizes on “Know your Waste and how Recycling is the right thing to do, which is to be done in a right way”.


  • It is a National Level Awareness Programme.
  • Under this, students from different colleges are being encouraged by the field offices of the Ministry of MSME to take up entrepreneurship.
  • The college students will also be made aware of the various schemes being implemented by the Ministry of MSME through Audio/Video film presentations.


  • It is a special drive where more than 200 NukkadNatak are being organized in 46 Aspirational Districts to promote entrepreneurship amongst the youth population and spread awareness on Schemes of Ministry and its Initiatives.


  1. Recently SAMBHAV and Svavlambanawareness Programme seen in news, launched by:
  2. Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
  3. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
  4. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
  5. Ministry of Corporate Affairs

Answer: – A