Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News
Analysis from THE HINDU (December 18, 2018)
FOR YOUR DAILY DOSE OF CURRENT AFFAIRS FROM “THE HINDU”,
1. Congress Chief Ministers take oath in three States
Congress Chief Ministers took oath in Madhya Pradesh,
Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh on Monday. The swearing-in ceremonies were attended
by a galaxy of national leaders.
Just about two hours after he assumed office as Madhya
Pradesh Chief Minister, Kamal Nath kept the party’s election promise to waive
farm loans in the State.
Veteran leader Ashok Gehlot was sworn in as the Chief
Minister of Rajasthan, while Congress State president Sachin Pilot took oath as
a Cabinet Minister.
Bhupesh Baghel was sworn in as Chief Minister of
2. Delhi offers $1.4 bn aid package to Male to tackle financial crisis
India on Monday declared a financial package of $1.4 billion
for the Maldives. The plan was being prepared over the last month and was
formally declared at the press conference attended by President Ibrahim Mohamed
Solih of the Maldives and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both sides also agreed
to coordinate maritime policing activities in the Indian Ocean region.
The package comes as Maldives is facing a debt of $3.2
billion with China. It is expected to boost Male’s global financial standing.
A Joint Statement issued during the visit announced that the
financial assistance will be in the form of budgetary support, currency swap
and concessional lines of credit for development programmes. Mr. Modi conveyed
that India will support the Maldives in its human-centric development plans.
3. Pakistan to free Mumbai man today
For the past six years, Fauzia Ansari, mother of
Mumbai-based engineer Hamid Nehal Ansari, who is being held in a Pakistani
jail, has lost her appetite to a sense of dread on what fate held in store for him.
On Monday night, however, after meeting Pakistan High
Commissioner Sohail Mahmood and being informed that her son would indeed be
sent back to India on Tuesday, Ms. Ansari said that now she couldn’t eat out of
Earlier on Monday, the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs
told the Indian High Commission in Islamabad that Mr. Hamid Ansari would be
released to the custody of Indian officials at the Wagah border.
India has frequently demanded consular access to Mr. Ansari
who was convicted in December 2015 for illegally crossing over into Pakistan
with false identity papers, and handed a sentence of three years’ imprisonment,
which he served in the Peshawar central jail.
4. IAF plane takes to the air on blended bio-fuel
For the first time, an An-32 transport aircraft of the
Indian Air Force (IAF) flew with blended bio-jet fuel produced from Jatropha
oil, unlocking the possibility of gradually expanding it to the entire service
at some point. This has the dual benefit of reducing the carbon footprint as
well as usage of fossil fuels.
“The maiden IAF flight of December 17, 2018 was flown by
highly qualified test pilots from the Aircraft and System Testing Establishment
(ASTE), under the supervision of Air Officer Commanding, Chandigarh,” Wg. Cdr.
A Shrivastava, Research Fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies, wrote in an
article published on the think tank’s website.
Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa had earlier announced that the
IAF intended to fly the An-32 with 10% bio-jet fuel at the Republic Day flypast
on January 26 next year.
This bio-jet fuel technology was developed by the Indian
Institute of Petroleum (IIP) under the Council of Scientific and Industrial
Research (CSIR) in 2009 and tested between 2011 and 2013.
5. TTEs on premier trains to get hand-held tablets
Travelling Ticket Examiners (TTE) on board Rajdhani Express
and Shatabdi Express trains will have hand-held, SIM-enabled tablets with a
list of reserved passengers from Tuesday. The initiative is a first for trains
Passenger lists are printed on paper and given to TTEs who,
after checking tickets, update the PRS. The list made at the next station
reflects the updated system.
By updating the lists on a real-time basis, waitlisted
passengers will know sooner if they can get a confirmed berth. Officials said
this will make allocation transparent.
6. ISRO phones for fishermen in T.N.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Monday launched
the distribution of satellite phones to fishermen involved in deep sea fishing,
in a bid to assist in their navigation while in the high seas.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has designed
the NaVIC (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) receivers and 200 of
them have been delivered to the State government.
With NaVICs, fishermen can be alerted about the weather, any
natural disaster through messages sent through Bluetooth technology to
Android-based phones with the fishermen. The system will function with the help
of India Regional Navigational Satellite System.
The Chief Minister also inaugurated, through video
conference mode, 1,392 housing units constructed at a cost of Rs. 80.54 crore
and 448 housing units constructed at a cost of ?13.88 crore in Ukkadam in
7. Selfish brain theory
This refers to a scientific hypothesis which states that the
brain prioritises its own relatively high energy needs over those of the rest
of the body. This hypothesis overturned the earlier belief among scientists
that the energy needs of various organs of the body are met equally without any
kind of internal discrimination within the body. The selfish brain theory was
developed by German brain researcher Achim Peters to explain the prevalence of
obesity as the result of an imbalance in the energy supplied to the brain and
the metabolic system. Some believe that the selfish brain may be the
consequence of evolutionary forces favouring an alert brain over an agile body.
8. Centre suggests President’s rule in J&K
The Centre is learnt to have recommended imposition of
President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir after the expiry of six months of
Governor’s rule on December 19.
The decision has been taken after Jammu and Kashmir Governor
Satya Pal Malik sent a report to the central government recommending imposition
of President’s rule in the State, officials said on Monday.
The Union Cabinet has cleared the proposal to impose
President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir from December 19, an official privy to
the development said.
Now, President Ram Nath Kovind will issue a proclamation
declaring that the powers of the Legislature of the State shall be exercisable
by or under the authority of Parliament, an official said.
The State plunged into a political crisis in June this year
after the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government was reduced to minority
following withdrawal of support by the 25-member BJP in the State.
Since the State has a separate Constitution, in such cases,
six months of Governor’s rule is compulsory under Article 92 of the Jammu and
Kashmir Constitution, under which all the legislature powers are vested with
The Governor has to dissolve the Legislative Assembly after
the tenure of six months is over and the State will directly come under the
President’s rule for following six months during which elections have to be
declared in State.
In case the elections are not declared, President’s rule can
be extended by another six months.
No Presidential proclamation shall in any case remain in
force for more than three years except for the intervention of the Election
Commission of India, which has to certify that the continuance in force of the Proclamation
is necessary on account of difficulties in holding elections to the Legislative
The Governor had on November 21 dissolved the 87-member
assembly after the PDP, supported by the Congress and their arch rivals
National Conference, had staked claim to form the government.
9. Transgender Bill passed in Lok Sabha
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016,
which aims at defining transgender people and prohibiting discrimination
against them, was passed with 27 amendments in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
The Bill was introduced in the House two years ago.
The amendments moved by the government and those by some
Opposition members were considered.
The objectives ofi Bill include protecting the interests of
transgender people, giving them recognition and setting up a national
10. New triple talaq Bill introduced
A fresh Bill to make the practice of triple talaq among
Muslims a penal offence was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday to replace an
ordinance issued in September.
Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be
illegal and void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 will supercede
an earlier Bill passed in the Lok Sabha.
As the Bill faced resistance in the Rajya Sabha, the
government promulgated the ordinance.
11. House vote on Brexit by mid-January: PM
Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that she would
bring her Brexit deal back to Parliament for a vote in mid-January, pledging to
get assurances from the European Union (EU) to break the deadlock over
Britain’s departure from the bloc.
With just over 100 days until Britain is due to leave the
bloc on March 29, Ms. May faced accusations from some lawmakers of trying to
force a deeply divided Parliament into backing her deal by running the clock
down to exit day. So near to the departure date, a mid-January vote could pile
pressure on lawmakers by confronting them with the choice of her deal or
leaving without one, a nightmare scenario for business. Ms. May is pressing on
with her deal to leave the EU, rejecting calls for a second referendum or to
test support for different Brexit options in Parliament.
12. Google to invest $1 bn on New York campus
Google’s parent company Alphabet on Monday said that it was
investing more than $1 billion to set up a new campus in New York City.
The campus, which should be operational starting in 2020,
will be known as Google Hudson Square and “will be the primary location for our
New York-based Global Business Organization,” CFO Ruth Porat wrote.
13. Govt. may finish work on 5G auction by August
The government expects to complete processes for 5G spectrum
auction by August and the services will be rolled out by 2020, Telecom
Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said Monday. “We expect to complete due procedure
by then (July-August 2019). I cannot say whether it (spectrum auction) will
happen by then, but we will be ready post-second half of 2020,” Ms. Sundararajan
told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop.
14. Highlights of a special World Cup
The 14th edition of the Hockey World Cup, the longest-ever
edition held at the Kalinga Stadium here, holds a special place in the history
of the event due to the following highlights.
End of Australia’s invincibility: Kookaburra’s dream of
scripting history by being the first country to win three consecutive World
Cups was spoilt by the Netherlands in the semifinals.
Australia, which made its 11th straight semifinal
appearance, had to settle for the third place, its first bronze medal in 24
years, and it underlined that the green-and-gold brigade is no more an
A new champion: Belgium finished in style by claiming the
title after edging out Netherlands in the thrilling final. The Red Lions, who
had been making an impact in world hockey for quite some time, became the sixth
country to win the World Cup, befitting to the stature of the side which had
taken the silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
India’s best finish in 24 years: Coach Harendra Singh had
guided India to Junior World Cup title win in 2016 and drafted several of his
young colleagues in the Indian team to begin the host’s campaign here on a
positive note. Despite the absence of several senior members, the young side
played well to take the sixth spot. It was India’s best finish in 24 years. The
country had earned the fifth-place in 1994.
France’s rise: World No. 20 and the lowest ranked team in
the event surprised all by stunning Olympic champion and second ranked
Argentina 5-3 in a pool match. The French team showed the benefits of their
well-planned preparation for the last one year.
Aiming to be placed among the top teams in the 2024 Paris
Olympics, France, coached by Dutch great Jeroen Delmee, achieved its target of
a top-10 finish here by reaching the quarterfinals.
Great venue: The spacious stadium, well-trained staff,
excellent hospitality, superb ambience and the hockey-loving crowd made the
World Cup a memorable event.
15. Israeli spacecraft gets a special rider
Israeli scientists making final preparations to launch the
country’s first spacecraft to the moon added a special passenger on Monday that
will accompany the journey.
A time capsule of three digital discs containing thousands
of files was ceremoniously placed within the space pod by organisers wearing
white dust coats at the plant where it is being constructed and tested.
They included drawings by children, pictures of Israeli
symbols like the flag, Israeli songs and a booklet written by a Jewish man of
his personal account of the Holocaust.
One of the founders of the nonprofit organisation behind the
launch, SpaceIL, compared the time capsule to prayers written on bits of paper
that worshippers stuff into Jerusalem’s Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest
The spacecraft, called Beresheet, or Genesis in Hebrew, and
weighing some 585 kg, is expected to be launched in the coming months, though a
precise date has not been set. Organisers are hoping for February.
It will be sent via a Falcon 9 rocket from American
entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX firm and will take around a month and a half to
The cost of the project is some $95 million, with private
philanthropists providing funding. SpaceIL has also partnered with state-owned
Israel Aerospace Industries, among the country’s largest defence firms.
16. ‘Justice’ is Webster word of the year
Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The
Justice Department. Merriam-Webster has chosen ‘justice’ as its 2018 word of
the year, driven by the churning news cycle over months and months. The word
follows ‘toxic’, picked by Oxford Dictionaries, and ‘misinformation’, plucked
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP)
Aircraft and System Testing Establishment (ASTE)
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
NaVIC (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System)
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
18. Things to Remember:
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora
French President Emmanuel Macron
Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
19. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Make more noticeable or prominent.
Example – ‘his jacket unfortunately accentuated his paunch’
Synonyms – focus attention on, bring attention to, call
attention to, draw attention to, point up, underline, underscore, accent,
highlight, spotlight, foreground, feature, give prominence to, make more
prominent, make more noticeable, play up, bring to the fore, heighten, stress,
emphasize, lay emphasis on, put emphasis on