Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News Analysis from THE HINDU (December 27, 2018)
1.The old man and the mountain
Age is just a number for P. Chitran Namboodirippad, who turned 99 on December 19. The former Additional Director of the Kerala Education Department made his 29th trip to the Himalayas earlier this month. He wants to make his 30th pilgrimage to the mountains in 2019, the year he completes a century.
Mr. Namboodirippad’s relationship with the Himalayas started in 1952, when he was in his thirties. “I was still in service then. However, my first trip was a flop,” he recalls.
His next trip in 1956 was successful, and the snow-capped peaks called to him again and again. “Travelling to the Himalayas back then was really tough. Roads and other infrastructure were not developed like they are now. We had to walk through forests for more than 90 km from Rudraprayag to reach Badrinath.”
Mr. Namboodirippad is a former Communist baptised by none other than K. Damodaran, one of the founders of the Kerala unit of the Communist Party.
2. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana to have separate High Courts
Following a Supreme Court order to the Centre to notify the bifurcation of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Courts by January 1, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday ordered the separation of the “common” Hyderabad High Court into the separate High Courts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Both will function separately from January 1, 2019.
The principal seat of the Andhra Pradesh High Court is Amaravati, the capital of the State. The High Court in Hyderabad will function separately as the High Court of the State of Telangana.
16 judges for A.P.
Sixteen HC judges, including Justice Ramesh Ranganathan, who is now the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court, shall become judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court from January 1.
The new Telangana High Court will have a sanctioned strength of 10 judges.
The presidential notification quoted Article 214 of the Constitution, which provides for a High Court for each State.
3. Nara Lokesh discusses Amaravati in Singapore
Minister for IT and Panchayat Raj Nara Lokesh met a host of dignitaries, including Gopinath Pillai, Ambassador-at-Large for the Government of Singapore and special envoy for Andhra Pradesh, on day one of his three-day visit to Singapore on Wednesday. He is in Singapore mainly to receive the S.R. Nathan Fellowship from the Singapore government. Mr. Lokesh and Mr. Pillai discussed the construction of the capital city, Amaravati, and creation of an ecosystem for the development of start-ups and other joint initiatives.
4. 156 taluks in Karnataka declared drought-hit
As much as 88.6% of the area in Karnataka has now been declared drought-hit. On Wednesday, a Cabinet sub-committee decided to declare 56 more taluks drought-hit, with the State recording a deficit of -49% rainfall in the northeast monsoon. As many as 100 taluks that received deficit rain in the southwest monsoon had already been declared drought-hit. Of the 156 officially drought-hit taluks, 95 are “severely hit” while the remaining 61 are “moderately hit”.
5. Another olive ridley nesting site soon
The Odisha forest department is all set to add another olive ridley mass nesting site to its wildlife map.
It has started preparing the beach at the Bahuda river mouth in Ganjam district to lure the endangered turtles to come over for mass nesting next year.
Around 3-km stretch of the beach from Sunapur to Anantpur at Bahuda rookery is being developed as a possible olive ridley mass nesting site. The Bahuda rookery is located around 20 km to the south of Rushikulya rookery coast, a major mass nesting site of olive ridleys on the Indian coastline.
Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer Ashis Behera said the Bahuda rookery coast has been cleaned up once already and it will be thoroughly cleaned up again before the start of the mass nesting season in February. “The forest department has decided to fence off around 2-km stretch of the beach near Bahuda river mouth to protect the turtles during the nesting season,” the DFO said.
This year, a few hundred olive ridleys had nested at Bahuda river mouth in February. This encouraged the forest department to develop it as a second mass nesting site for the turtles on the Ganjam coast. At present, mating olive ridleys are being sighted near the Bahuda rookery. It is being hoped that the turtles will find the beach conducive and their mass nesting number at Bahuda will increase in 2019.
6. CM Rawat meets Israeli business delegation
An Israeli business delegation met Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat here on Wednesday and discussed the setting up an algae and a medicinal cannabis farms in the hill State, a government press release said.
7. Television services will not be affected, says TRAI
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday clarified that customers will not face any disruption of their TV services due to implementation of its new regulatory framework for broadcasting and cable services.
The new framework, which comes into force from December 29, allows consumers to select and pay only for the channels they wish to view, and requires the TV broadcasters to disclose maximum retail price of channels individually as well as of bouquets.
“The Authority has noticed that there are messages circulating in the media that there may be a black-out of existing subscribed channels on TV screens after December 29. The Authority is seized of the matter and hereby advises that all Broadcasters/DPOs/LCOs will ensure that any channel that a consumer is watching today is not discontinued on 29.12.2018,” a TRAI statement said.
8. T.N. may exempt paper cups from plastic ban
Tamil Nadu Minister for Environment K.C. Karuppannan on Wednesday said that the State government was considering the possibility of exempting paper cups from the plastic ban, which will come into effect from January 1.
9. Trivers-Willard hypothesis
This refers to the hypothesis that the sex of mammalian offspring may be influenced by the condition of the mother during her pregnancy. In particular, it states that more boys are born when the pregnant mother lives in a favourable environment with ample access to resources. This is because rich sons can achieve greater reproductive success than daughters who can only produce a limited number of offspring during their reproductive age. The Trivers-Willard hypothesis was proposed by American biologist Robert Trivers and American mathematician Dan Willard in their 1973 paper “Natural selection of parental ability to vary the sex ratio of offspring”.
10. Nepal caps expenditure of its citizens in India
Nepal on Tuesday imposed a monthly limit on the amount of Indian currency its citizen can spend in India. A spokesperson of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) said a Nepali citizen would be unable to spend more than ₹1 lakh per month while paying for goods and services in India and that the decision was taken to address the country’s current account deficit.
The policy applicable to prepaid, credit and debit cards of Nepali banks came into effect on Tuesday.
However, leading economists of Kathmandu are saying that the unprecedented step was prompted by Nepal’s recent experience with the Indian currency that included the demonetisation process launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Central bank spokesperson Narayan Prasad Paudel said the decision was taken to deal with the growing problem of current account deficit and the balance of payment crisis.
10. Mekedatu dam: Centre to talk to Karnataka, T.N
The Centre has decided to call a meeting of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers soon to resolve the issue regarding the proposed construction of Mekedatu dam across river Cauvery. The issue was discussed in detail by Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy in a meeting with Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday, a Karnataka government spokesperson said.
11. Russia successfully tests hypersonic missile
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hailed final tests of a hypersonic missile, which he had earlier said would render existing missile systems obsolete.
“On my instructions, the Ministry of Defence prepared and conducted a final test of this system. This has just been completed with absolute success,” Mr. Putin said, during a televised meeting with members of the government.
“Russia has a new type of strategic weapon,” he said, adding that the intercontinental “Avangard” system would be ready for use from 2019. The Kremlin told Russian news agencies that the test had taken place in far eastern Kamchatka. Mr. Putin had unveiled features of the Avangard during his annual address in March, which he said would be part of a new generation of “invincible” weaponry.
The hypersonic missile could fly at 20 times the speed of sound and manoeuvre up and down, meaning that it could breach defence systems, he had said at the time.
12. Afghanistan postpones 2019 presidential election
Afghanistan’s presidential election, initially scheduled for April, will be postponed to allow time to fix technical problems that surfaced during October’s parliamentary elections, officials said on Wednesday.
More time is needed to verify voter lists and train staff on a biometric identification system designed to reduce fraud, said Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, deputy spokesman for the Independent Election Commission.
The parliamentary elections were fraught with delays after the few staff trained on the biometric system did not show up at the polling booths and countless registered voters could not find their names on voter lists.
Polling had to continue for a second day after hundreds of polling stations opened late. Legal complaints were later filed to challenge the results.
13. Koreas launch project to reconnect rail links
The two Koreas on Wednesday launched a project to reconnect rail and road links severed since the 1950-53 Korean War, but actual construction cannot start while sanctions remain in place against North Korea, officials said. The two sides agreed in October to work on reconnecting railways and roads as part of a thaw in relations.
14. Centre tightens rules for selling online
The government on Wednesday said beginning February 1, e-commerce companies would be barred from selling products sourced from firms in which they have stake in or control over.
This is a clarification issued by the Ministry of Commerce regarding the Consolidated FDI Policy Circular 2017. “100% FDI under automatic route is permitted in marketplace model of e-commerce,” the Commerce Ministry said. “FDI is not permitted in inventory-based model of e-commerce.”
Definition of control
The inventory-based model of e-commerce is when the inventory of goods and services is owned by the e-commerce entity and sold to consumers directly. The marketplace model is when an e-commerce company simply provides an information technology platform in order to act as a facilitator between the buyer and the seller. “E-commerce entity providing a marketplace will not exercise ownership or control over… goods purported to be sold,” the Ministry added. “Such an ownership or control over the inventory will render the business into inventory-based model. Inventory of a vendor will be deemed to be controlled by e-commerce marketplace entity if more than 25% of purchases of such vendor are from the marketplace entity or its group companies.”
From the point of view of the vendor too, the clarification said that an entity with equity stake owned by an e-commerce marketplace entity or its group companies, or having control on its inventory by e-commerce marketplace entity or its group companies, will not be permitted to sell its products on the platform run by such marketplace entity.
15. Adani Ports delivers GE locomotives to Railways
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone said it had concluded the import and delivery of 50 U.S.- made GE locomotives to the Railways. They were manufactured by GE Electromotive Division in the U.S. and imported to Mundra Port. The final locomotive was handed over to the Railways at the Roza Loco Shed (U.P.) on November 23. The port said it had handled consignments critical for the development of the nation.
16. Heena equals world record
Heena Sidhu shot a world record equalling 587 in women’s 10m air pistol qualification in the shooting National selection trials at the Dr. Karni Singh Range on Wednesday.
Anna Korakaki of Greece had earlier shot the record in the World Cup in Fort Benning, US, in May this year.
Two-time Olympian Heena’s qualification score put her in the lead in the race for team spots for the forthcoming international circuit.
17. B. Prakash no more
Champion jockey-turned-trainer B. Prakash passed away on Wednesday morning in Mumbai due to a massive heart attack.
Prakash, who started his career as a jockey in 1995, was recognised for his riding skills and was first retained by Mr. K.N. Dhunjibhoy and then late racing baron M.A.M. Ramaswamy.
He rode more than 2000 winners (over 100 classic races) in his career as a jockey. Later, after quitting M.A.M.’s team, he also rode trainer P. Shroff’s horses for Mr. Vijay Shirke.
He hung his riding boots in 2012 and took trainers’ licence at RWITC, Mumbai.
18. Israel to allow medical marijuana exports
Israel has approved a law to permit export of medical marijuana. It becomes the third country to do so.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
20. Things to Remember:
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat
21. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – A direct or natural consequence or result.
Example – ‘the huge increases in unemployment were the corollary of expenditure cuts’
Synonyms – consequence, result, upshot, outcome, out-turn, effect, repercussion, reverberations, sequel, product, by-product, spin-off, conclusion, end, end result