1.In-flight Wi-Fi

Why in News?
  • In-flight connectivity on Indian airlines could soon be a reality as domestic carrier Vistara gears up to launch its broadband service by March-end after approval by Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
  • In-flight connectivity essentially allows those onboard aircraft to access voice, video and data services after the aircraft has attained an altitude of 3,000 meters.
  • In-flight connectivity for aircraft flying over Indian airspace was approved by the DoT in May 2018.
  • Passengers onboard some Vistara flights will be able to use data to make WhatsApp calls, send messages on Facebook, and read email.
  • The in-flight connectivity service by Vistara, launched in partnership with Tata group firm Nelco, will be offered on its Dreamliners and Airbus 321 planes.
  • In-flight connectivity relies on onboard antenna as well as satellites for Internet and mobile communications.
  • In the case of the former, the signals are picked up by the onboard antenna from the nearest tower on the ground, though the connection does become an issue after a certain altitude if the aircraft is passing over an area with no towers.
  • It works in a manner similar to how satellite TV signals are transmitted. So, an onboard router, which connects to the plane’s antenna transmits data to a personal electronic device.
  • The signals are then transmitted to ground station via satellites and is redirected to a billing server for calculation of the data consumption. Finally, the signal is relayed to the World Wide Web. While the telecom commission has allowed Internet onboard Internet services onboard, the telecom operator has said it will be made available when devices are used only on flight mode.
  • As of now, in-flight connectivity is yet to launch on Indian airlines, though the service is offered by a host of Airlines Worldwide.
  • While the provision of onboard WiFi is also available, not many airlines allow mobile communication. Over 30 airlines allow the use of mobile phone on aircraft.

2.Convalescent Plasma Therapy

Why in News?
  • In the absence of any preventive vaccine or specific antivirals for treating COVID-19 patients infected with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pharmaceutical company in China has turned to plasma taken from people who have recovered from the infection to treat critically ill patients.
Convalescent Plasma Therapy:
  • The therapy aims to use the antibodies in the convalescent plasma to minimise the presence of the virus in patients
  • Donors must be recovered patients who are up to the standard for being discharged from hospital.
  • Only plasma will be collected while red blood cells, white blood cells and blood platelets will be transfused back into the donor’s body
  • Donating plasma causes little harm to the donor, and there is no need to worry
How it Works:
  • People who have recently recovered still have antibodies to the coronavirus circulating in their blood.
  • Antibodies are proteins produced and secreted by B cells. They bind to foreign substances that invade the body, such as pathogens.
  • The term “antibody” refers to its function, which is to bind to an antigen. Another name for this protein molecule is immunoglobulin
  • Injecting those antibodies into sick patients could help patients’ better fight the infection.
  • This treatment will transfer the immunity of a recovered patient to a sick patient, an approach that has been used previously in flu pandemics

3.International Mother Language Day

Why in News?
  • International Mother Language Day is observed every year on 21st February since 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
  • The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh.
  • It was approved at the UNESCO General Conference (1999) and has been observed throughout the world since 2000.
  • UNESCO celebrates ‘Languages without borders’ on the occasion of International Mother Language Day 2020.
  • The United Nations General Assembly had proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages.
  • Globally 40% of the population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Nevertheless, progress is being made in mother tongue-based multilingual education with growing understanding of its importance, particularly in early schooling.
  • The Ministry of Human Resource and Development along with educational institutions and language institutions is celebrating the day as the Matribhasha Diwas in the country.
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