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Sanskrit Shiksha Sangh draws CBSE to court following private schools’ inability to follow Sanskrit as third language

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Sanskrit Shiksha Sangh (SSS) recently gave a legal notice to Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), for being unable to make the private schools affiliated by it. The association will approach the High Court, in case of an improper response or action from the board.

SSS general secretary V Dayalu told ET, “It has been six months since the KVs stopped teaching German as the third language subject.”

“But students in many private schools continue to learn Spanish, French, German as the third language in classes VI, VII and VIII. The government cannot have a different approach for KVs and a different one for private schools,” Dayalu added.

The three-language formula included in the national education policy states that secondary stage students should also learn a modern Indian language apart from English and Hindi.

As per ET’s report, in 2013, the SSS had moved the Delhi High Court alleging that the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan’s decision to introduce German as a third language in place of Sanskrit was against this formula. This eventually caused the government to drop German as the third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas.

Monica Arora, representative of Supreme Court lawyers of SSS told ET, “This isn’t a battle between foreign languages and Sanskrit. We are okay with schools offering any modern Indian language as the third language subject. We just want CBSE to follow what it had stated in its affidavit in the high court. They should either follow the law or have it changed”.

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LaLiga Cleared to Return on June 8

LaLiga all set to return from June 8

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Reports suggest that LaLiga is all set to return on June 8 2020. Wikimedia Commons

LaLiga has been cleared to return to action on June 8, the league tweeted. The league is however yet to decide on an official date for resumption with President Javier Tebas expressing his desire to start matches from June 12.

“The Spanish government has given the green light for the return of professional sport – including #LaLigaSantander and #LaLigaSmartBank – as of June 8th, following guidelines from the Ministry of Health,” LaLiga tweeted.

Reacting to the news on Twitter, Tebas said: “We are very happy for the decision, it is the result of the great work of clubs, players, technicians, CSD (National Sports Council) and agents involved.

“But we cannot lower our guard, it is important to follow health regulations and ensure the pandemic doesn’t come back.”

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The Spanish government has given the green light for the return of professional sport – including #LaLigaSantander and #LaLigaSmartBank. Wikimedia Commons

Also Read: Lungs of Deceased COVID-19 Patients Show Distinctive Features

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also supported the resumption of the league. “Spain has done what it should and now new horizons are opening for everyone. The time has come to bring back many day-to-day activities,” Sanchez is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.

“From 8 June, LaLiga will be back. Spanish football has a huge following but it will not be the only recreational activity that will return.” LaLiga clubs returned to group training on May 18. (IANS)

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German Researchers Identify Potential Cell Targets for COVID-19 Treatment

German researchers discovered the potential cell targets for treating SARS-CoV-2

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A team of German researchers identified potential cellular targets for treating COVID-19. Pixabay

A team of German researchers has identified potential cellular targets for treating SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

A team of biochemists and virologists at Goethe University and the Frankfurt University Hospital in Germany tested a series of compounds in laboratory models and found some which slowed down or stopped virus reproduction.

According to the researchers, these results now enable the search for an active substance to be narrowed down to a small number of already approved drugs.

Based on the current findings, published in the journal Nature, a US company said that it is preparing clinical trials. A Canadian company is also starting a clinical study with a different substance.

Using a technique developed at the Institute for Biochemistry II at Goethe University, researchers from both institutions were together able to show how a SARS-CoV-2 infection changes the human host cells.

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The campus of Goethe University in Germany. Wikimedia Commons

They used a particular form of mass spectrometry called the mePROD method, which they had developed only a few months previously. This method makes it possible to determine the amount and synthesis rate of thousands of proteins within a cell.

“Thanks to the mePROD-technology we developed, we were for the first time able to trace the cellular changes upon infection over time and with high detail in our laboratory. We were obviously aware of the potential scope of our findings,” said study lead author Christian Munch from Goethe University.

“However, they are based on a cell culture system and require further testing,” Munch added.

The findings paint a picture of the progression of a SARS-CoV-2 infection: whilst many viruses shut down the host’s protein production to the benefit of viral proteins, SARS-CoV-2 only slightly influences the protein production of the host cell, with the viral proteins appearing to be produced in competition to host cell proteins.

Instead, a SARS-CoV-2 infection leads to an increased protein synthesis machinery in the cell.

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The researchers were able to reduce virus reproduction using translation inhibitors. Pixabay

The researchers suspected this was a weak spot of the virus and were indeed able to significantly reduce virus reproduction using something known as translation inhibitors, which shut down protein production.

Twenty-four hours after infection, the virus causes distinct changes to the composition of the host proteome: while cholesterol metabolism is reduced, activities in carbohydrate metabolism and in the modification of RNA as protein precursors increase.

In line with this, the scientists were successful in stopping virus reproduction in cultivated cells by applying inhibitors of these processes.

Similar success was achieved by using a substance that inhibits the production of building blocks for the viral genome.

Read More: “Where is The National Exit Plan?”, Congress Questions Government Over Lockdown

According to the study, among the substances that stopped viral reproduction in the cell culture system was 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose (2-DG), which interferes directly with the carbohydrate metabolism necessary for viral reproduction.

The US company Moleculin Biotech possesses a substance called WP1122, a prodrug similar to 2-DG.

“The successful use of substances that are components of already approved drugs to combat SARS-CoV-2 is a great opportunity in the fight against the virus,” said study researcher Jindrich Cinatl. (IANS)

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New Strain of Plastic-Eating Bacteria Found

German Scientists Identify New Strain of Plastic-eating Bacteria

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Plastic and other garbage floats in a collector of a new device that uses a curtain of tiny air bubbles to catch plastic floating in the capital's canals is seen in Amsterdam, Netherlands. VOA

By Zlatica Hoke

German scientists say they have identified a strain of bacteria that is feeding on polyurethanes, a plastic resistant to biodegradation. This is an environment news.

A team of researchers at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, has found that a strain of soil bacterium, identified as Pseudomonas putida, can produce enzymes to digest polyurethanes thus making it biodegradable.

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The German team says the bacterium found in the soil surrounding a heap of polyurethane waste was feeding on polyurethane diol, which is used in plastic as a component that protects products from corrosion.

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A worker sorts through recycling bins at a centre that offers residents money in exchange of their recyclable garbage in an attempt to keep the streets clean in Cairo, Egypt. VOA

Hermann Heipieper, one of the researchers and author of the study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, said “this finding represents an important step in being able to reuse hard-to-recycle (polyurethane) products.”

The study offers hope of ridding the planet of the growing quantities of discarded plastics’ products that threaten human and animal life. But some scientists are skeptical.

In earlier experiments, biodegradation of some plastics components was achieved with fungi. Yale University students in 2011 discovered a fungus that can digest and break down polyurethane plastic even in a place without air – like the bottom of a landfill. Since then scientists around the world have identified other fungal species that can breakdown polyurethane. In 2017, a team of scientists identified another fungus that can feed on plastic by breaking down chemicals that hold it together.

These studies also raised concerns about the ability of micro-organisms to invade and corrupt a dead and therefore sterile substance like plastic. Research on coral reefs has shown that floating plastics carry disease-causing microbes that infect the coral.

The Leipzig study says bacteria are much easier to control and produce for industrial use. Its authors say the next step is to identify the gene code of the enzymes produced by the bacteria to digest polyurethane.

Some scientists are arguing against introducing man-made enzymes or potentially dangerous micro-organisms into the natural environment.

Two years ago, scientist Douglas Rader wrote in an op-ed for the Environmental Defense Fund that “There is so much more we need to understand about the complex relationships between plastics and marine ecosystems before we can take drastic action such as spraying the ocean with so-called plastic-eating bacteria.”

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Workers load collected plastic bottles on to a truck at a junk shop in Manila. VOA

Despite new findings, science is nowhere near solving the growing plastics pollution problem. Humankind has manufactured and discarded so much plastics over the years that the world is getting short of places to dump the enormous quantities accumulated every day. Refusal by many developing countries to accept plastic waste from rich nations has exacerbated the problem.

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Some countries are cutting down on the use of plastics bags, drinking straws, bottles and utensils. Scientists keep coming up with new biodegradable products to replace plastic, such as wrapping materials made from algae, straws made of paper and disposable utensils made of bamboo, but the movement could be described as “too little too late.” Recycling the plastics to make building materials, fabrics, and other new plastic products cannot even make a dent in the growing amounts of plastics waste.

Also Read- India’s Lockdown Disrupts Functioning of Amazon and Flipkart

Plastic remains the most practical packaging material and is indispensable in medical, pharmaceutical, sanitary and many other industries. Some new biodegradable, but equally useful material, has yet to be developed.

Meanwhile scientists estimate that about 8 million pieces of plastics enter the oceans every day. For some of them it will take hundreds of years to properly degrade if they are not first swallowed by fish and other marine creatures that will die from it. (VOA)