A day before the Centre called off its ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir, The Indian Express reported that the Home Ministry had issued new specifications for “full-body protectors” for the CRPF, whose troops have been facing stone-pelting in the Valley. These are protective suits that are already used by CRPF there; the Ministry wants them enhanced to protect against various types of missiles, ranging from stones or similar pieces of bricks/concrete to acid bulbs, bicycle chains, Molotov cocktails, firebombs made of petrol, diesel and kerosene. Under the new guidelines, “the protector shield of the full body protector shall withstand stab up to 65 joules and impact requirement of 100 joules. The shield should have a life of 6 years and should be made of camouflage/ disruptive pattern.”
The upgraded protectors will have a number of components — chest protectors, shoulder pads, upper-arm guards, elbow and forearm guards, thigh/pelvic guards, and groin and shin guards — each with its own specifications. They should be made of cotton fibre, stitched by double thread with a minimum 4 stitches for every 2.5 centimetres. The outer fabric and fabric for neck protection should pass flame retardation tests, the guidelines say. Most CRPF men are hit either in the face, neck or legs during stone-pelting.
The protectors will come in three sizes — small, medium, large — with an overall weight of 6 kg, including a 2.82-kg chest protector for men and a 2.6-kg one for women, officials said. —Rahul Tripathi
Telling Numbers: 9 countries, 14k nuclear warheads; Pak has more than India: report
The number of nuclear warheads with nine countries, including India and Pakistan, has reduced from 14,935 at the start of 2017 to 14,465 at the start of this year, according to a count by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. SIPRI is an independent think tank that has been using open sources to compile such data since 1966. Its latest yearbook puts the number of nuclear warheads in Pakistan at 140-150, 10 more than last year, and those in India at 130-140.
Out of the 14,465 nuclear warheads at the beginning of 2018, 3,750 were actually deployed, the yearbook says. Russia and the US hold over 92% of the total warheads. The reduction is largely due to the arms control commitments by the US and Russia in the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START), it says. However, it notes, both Russia and the US have long-term programmes under way to replace and modernise their nuclear warheads and and nuclear weapon production facilities. It adds that France with 300 warheads, China (280), the UK (215), Pakistan (140-150), India (130-140), Israel (80) and North Korea (10-20) were all either deploying or planning to deploy new nuclear weapons systems. —PTI & SIPRI Yearbook 2018
Tip for Reading List: Is autism linked to food allergy?
A new study has found that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more than twice as likely to suffer from a food allergy than children who do not have ASD. The study analysed the health information of nearly 200,000 children aged 3-17, gathered between 1997 and 2016 by the US National Health Interview Survey. It found that 11.25% of children with ASD have a food allergy, compared to 4.25% of children who do not have ASD and have a food allergy. The authors have clarified that the study could not determine the causality of this relationship. The study, conducted by the University of Iowa, appears in JAMA Network Open.—Source: University of Iowa