Chinese Scientists Explored Weaponising Coronavirus, Claims New Report

Early theories of Coronavirus being a man-made biological weapon have resurfaced again in the light of recent reports, which claim that China had first discussed the idea in 2015. However, US, which is alleged to have found that report, is also being linked to it. Let’s look at what’s going on.

Crux of the Matter

Recently
Reports in Australia have claimed that a 2015 document was obtained by US State Department while investigating origin of Coronavirus.

What DidThe Paper Say
The paper, titled “The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons”, was reportedly written by scientist of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China.

As per the alleged paper, Chinese scientists labelled SARS coronavirus as new era of genetic weapons. The scientists also claimed that those viruses could be “artificially manipulated into an emerging human-disease virus, then weaponised and unleashed in a way never seen before”.

The News
The news has come after WHO investigation claimed that it was ‘unlikely’ the virus was man-made. However, the investigation was widely called ‘incomplete’ as China gave ‘limited access‘ to investigators. It has also brought the Wuhan Institute of Virology to forefront again, as the institute is associated with controversial gain of function research.

Gain Of Function Research
The research is also done in other countries, most notably in US. Several reports claim that it was banned under Obama, only to be allowed again under Trump. Some reports also claim that US has backed China’s ‘gain of function’ studies.

For example, as per Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, New York’s EcoHealth Alliance had “funded coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology”.

Take a look at what is Gain of Function research here: Why Is Gain Of Function Research Making News Amidst The Pandemic?

Curiopedia
  • Opened for signature on 10 April, 1972, Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is a disarmament treaty banning biological and toxin weapons. 183 States have ratified or acceded to the treaty as of May, 2021.

Story Of TVF, The Pioneers of Web Series In India

The web series TVF Aspirants has been in headlines for its relatable content and execution. The YouTube chanel TVF has released some binge-worthy series in the past as well. Did you know that The Viral Fever (TVF) is considered to be the pioneer of web series in India? Let us find out a bit more about them.

Crux of the Matter

When Was It Founded?
The Viral Fever (TVF), an Indian YouTube channel was started in 2010 by TVF Media Labs. The founder of TVF is Arunabh Kumar. It is currently owned by Contagious Online Media Pvt. Ltd. and at present has 9.6 mn subscribers.

First Original Show

  • In Feb 2012, the channel released its first original show titled ‘Rowdies 9– Sab Q-tiyappa hai!’.
  • The show was a spoof of the famous show Roadies aired on MTV.
  • The video crossed over 1 million views within 5 days of its release.

Web Series’ By The Channel

  • The first web series by the channel ‘Permanent Roommates‘ in Oct 2014. It became the second most viewed long-term web series in the world by 2015.
  • The second series was ‘Pitchers’ released in June 2015.  
  • Some other famous web series include Bachelors, Fathers, Kota Factory, Panchayat.

TVF’s Own Platform

  • In 2015, TVF launched its own online streaming platform called TVFPlay.
  • The last 2 episodes of Pitchers were launched there and crossed 10 lakh hits within 2 days.
  • The traffic due to these episodes had also crashed the platform for around 3 hours.
  • In 2016, Tiger Global Management invested $10 mn in TVFPlay and till May 2019, total $21 million had been invested.

Controversy

  • Arunabh Kumar, the founder of TVF was accused of sexual harassment in March 2017.
  • The claim was made anonymously via Medium after which several other women also came forward.
  • On 16th June, 2017, Arunabh Kumar stepped down from the post of the CEO.
  • The position was then taken by Dhawal Gusain.

Launch Of Other Youtube Channels

TVF’s Aspirants

  • Aspirants is the latest web series rolled out by the channel.
  • The show is based on the lives of UPSC aspirants and their struggles.
  • Like its other series, this one has also gone viral and is garnering a lot of praise.

Curiopedia
  • The Chief Content Officer and Head of The Viral Fever Originals, Sameer Saxena was a jury member of the 46th International Emmy Awards. He is the creator and director of web-series like “Permanent Roommates”, “TVF Tripling” and”Yeh Meri Family”.
  • Arunabh Kumar, the founder of TVF initially joined Red Chillies Entertainment and worked as an assistant under Farah Khan. He was the Assistant Director of Om Shanti Om.
  • As of 14th May 2021, TVF has 9.68 million subscribers. Bhuvan Bam is more commonly known by the name of his youtube channel “BB Ki Vines” is the first Indian individual to cross 10 million subscribers on youtube. 

Trivia Thursday: Indian Origin CEOs Of Global Tech Companies

Trivia Thursday: Indian Origin CEO's Of Global Tech Companies

As we celebrated National Technology Day on Tuesday, 11th May, in this week’s Trivia Thursday, let’s have a look at some prominent Indian origin CEOs of global tech companies!

Crux of the Matter

In this week’s Trivia Thursday, let us have a look at Indian origin CEOs of global tech companies:

Sundar Pichai
Company: Google
Sundar Pichai earned his degree in Metallurgical Engineering from IIT-Kharagpur. He joined Google in 2004 as VP of Product Management and oversaw development of Google Chrome and Google Drive.

Satya Nadella
Company: Microsoft
Satya Nadella took over as CEO of Microsoft in 2014 after Steve Ballmer stepped down. Before becoming the CEO, he was the Senior Vice President of Microsoft’s cloud and business division.

Shantanu Narayen
Company: Adobe
Shantanu became the Vice President and General Manager of Adobe’s engineering technology division in 1998. He was appointed President and COO in 2005, CEO in 2007, and has been the Chairman of the board since 2017.

Arvind Krishna
Comapny: IBM
Arvind Krishna received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from IIT-Kanpur in 1985. He joined IBM in 1990 at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center.

Sanjay Mehrotra
Company: Micron Technology
Mehrotra earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from Berkeley. He was the co-founder of SanDisk and also served as its President and CEO until 2016 when it was acquired by Western Digital. Mehrotra is the owner of over 70 patents.

Sandeep Mathrani
Company: WeWork
Sandeep Mathrani is an Indian-American real estate executive who took over as CEO of WeWork after Adam Neumann was fired. He was the CEO of GGP Inc and the retail division of its parent company Brookfield Property Partners previously.

Anjali Sud
Company: Vimeo
Anjali Sud was named CEO of Vimeo in July 2017, shortly after the company revealed plans to shift its direction from investing in original content and toward providing apps and resources for video producers. Vimeo acquired Livestream and the video editing software Magisto under her leadership.

Take a look at our last week’s Trivia Thursday here: Trivia Thursday: Indian Nobel Prize Winners

Mutual Funds Managers’ Salaries To Be Paid In Mutual Fund Units

Mutual Funds Managers' Salaries To Be Paid In Mutual Fund Units

Let’s say you work for a paper company. Now as a part of your salary, what if the company pays you paper? Wierd, right? Well, as per the lastest circular released by SEBI, key Mutual Fund employees will be paid 20% of their compensation via Mutual Fund units (even if they don’t want them). Although the market watchdog’s intention was to make the employees more responsible while managing funds, unsurprisingly it has been facing a lot of backlash. Let’s find out more.

Crux of the Matter

The Circular
Last week, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) announced that for key employees of Asset Management Companies (AMCs), a minimum of 20% of their compensation shall be paid in the form of units of Mutual Fund schemes in which they have a role or oversight. This will come in effect from July 1, 2021.

What Would The Compensation Consist

The 20% of compensation could consist of:

  • Salary
  • Perks 
  • Bonus
  • Non cash compensation
  • Statutory Contribution (Provident Fund, National Pension Scheme, etc.)

Such compensation paid via units shall be in proportion to Assets Under Management of the scheme. It will also have a lock in period of 3 years.

Why Such Ruling

  • To align the interests of fund manager executives with that of the unitholders of the same scheme.
  • With this ruling, the mutual fund executives will have skin in the game, making them to share the risk with unitholders.
  • Thus such personal financial accountability is expected to increase the performance of Mutual Funds.

Key Issues

Inclusion of Junior and Unrelated Employees:

  • The circular includes junior research staff, dealers, and support function heads.
  • These employees earn way less than the C-Suite employees. Locking 20% of income for 3 years, heavily constraints their cash flow.
  • It fails to consider Individual Risk Profile and in a way mandates the amount of savings a person should do.

Rigidity in Choosing the Fund:

  • Fund managers managing only a single scheme/single category of schemes will have to invest 50% of the mandated compensation in that one scheme.
  • They can invest the other 50% in other schemes whose risk is equivalent or higher than the funds managed by them.
  • Due to such investment rigidity, experts fear extinction of the traditional fund houses as more managers will choose Index Funds.

Clawback Clause
Clawback provision refers to taking back the compensation received by an employee in previous years. In the event of violation of Code of Conduct, Fraud and Gross Negligence, the fund house can take back the mutual fund units given to employees and credit the redemption proceeds back to the scheme.

Curiopedia
  • Mutual Funds were introduced for the first time in India in 1963. The Indian government had then launched the Unit Trust of India (UTI), which enjoyed its monopoly till 1987.
  • SBI mutual fund is the largest Asset Management Company (AMC) of India.
  • Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is the biggest mutual fund in the world.

Covid-19 Vaccines In Major Nations

Covid-19 Vaccines In Major Nations

With the world battling the coronavirus or commonly referred to as Covid-19, development of a vaccine became a necessity. Several countries have come ahead and used their resources to produce and develop a vaccine against the virus. While many vaccines are still under progress, there are a few vaccines that are currently in use across the globe. Let us have a look at them.

Crux of the Matter

Let us have a look at the Covid-19 vaccines developed by major nations that are currently in use.

China
Three Covid-19 vaccines developed by China are used in countries across the globe:

  1. Sinopharm or the BBIBP-Cor V Covid-19 vaccine
  2. Coronavac or the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine
  3. Covidicea or the Cansino Covid-19 vaccine

India
India is producing two vaccines, one of which is developed by AstraZeneca:

  1. Covishield is the name of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India
  2. Covaxin which is developed and produced by Bharat Biotech

Russia
The country has developed two vaccines which are currently in use:

  1. Sputnik V which is developed by The Gamaleya National Centre
  2. EpiVacCorona

USA
USA is till now producing three Covid-19 vaccine:

  1. Moderna vaccine or the mRNA-1273 vaccine
  2. Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine- This vaccine is also known known as Comirnaty and is developed in partnership with the German company BioNTech.
  3. Johnson and Johnson or the Janessen Covid-19 vaccine is developed by Janessen Vaccines in Netherlands.

The AstraZeneca vaccine developed by Oxford is also produced by South Korean company SK Bioscience Co. Ltd and has the tradename of AstraZeneca-SKBio.