Current Affairs – December 16, 2018

/Current Affairs – December 16, 2018
Current Affairs – December 16, 2018 2018-12-17T00:04:26+00:00

Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (December 16, 2018)


1. India, Nepal and Bhutan plan task force to protect wildlife

The governments of India, Nepal and Bhutan are actively considering having a joint task force for allowing free movement of wildlife across political boundaries and checking smuggling of wildlife across the Kanchenjunga Landscape, a trans-boundary region spread across Nepal, India and Bhutan.

The development comes after forest officials and representatives of non-governmental organisation of the three countries visited parts of the landscape and later held a meeting at Siliguri in north Bengal earlier this month.

Participants from India and Bhutan, who attended the meeting, told The Hindu that setting up of a joint task force was a key requirement in the road map on achieving the objectives of free movement of wildlife and checking smuggling.

The landscape stretches along the southern side of Mount Kanchenjunga and covers an area of 25,080 sq km spread across parts of eastern Nepal (21%), Sikkim and West Bengal (56%) and western and southwestern parts of Bhutan (23%).

From India, Ravinkanta Sinha, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, West Bengal, participated in the meeting, whereas Nepal was represented by G.P. Bhattarai, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. The Bhutanese delegation was led by Tashi Tobgyel, Department of Forest and Park Services. Representatives of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network, an inter-governmental wildlife law enforcement agency, which held its first ever meeting in India in May 2018, were also present during the meeting.


2. Will induct women in the military police: Army chief

Chief of the Army Staff Bipin Rawat on Saturday said the Army would induct women jawans in the corps of military police, and further scope of recruiting women in Army posts would be explored thereafter.

There were several other fields where the Army was thinking of inducting women. Last year, the Army chief had announced that women would be recruited in ranks other than officers, citing various reasons. It was expected that the Army would induct 800 women military police.

Gen. Rawat, who was in Hyderabad as reviewing officer of the Combined Graduation Parade of 139 Indian Air Force flight cadets at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal, said the Army already had women Judge Advocate General (JAG) and they were into education also.


3. President Kovind visits Sardar Patel statue

President Ram Nath Kovind visited Sardar Patel’s Statue of Unity in Gujarat on his death anniversary on Saturday. He later planted a tree in the valley of flowers developed near the statue on a small island in the river. The government organised a prayer meet for the President’s maiden visit to the statue, which was unveiled by the Prime Minister on October 31.


4. Zoramthanga takes charge in Aizawl

Mizo National Front (MNF) president Zoramthanga was sworn in as the ninth Chief Minister of Mizoram on Saturday, beginning his third stint at the helm of the State.

Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan also administered the oath of office and secrecy to 11 members of the Zoramthanga Cabinet at the Raj Bhavan in Aizawl. They included the 75-year-old Tawnluia, a former extremist who fought alongside Mr. Zoramthanga when the MNF was an underground organisation seeking secession from India.

Mr. Tawnluia is Mizoram’s second Deputy CM after Lal Thanhawla, who had “demoted” himself in 1986 to let the legendary revolutionary Laldenga become Chief Minister after the MNF signed a peace accord with New Delhi that year. Among the five Cabinet Ministers is R. Lalzirliana, who was the Home and Excise Minister in Mr. Thanhawla’s Congress government.


5. Nations inch towards climate deal at UN summit

Nations on Saturday inched towards a deal to implement the Paris climate goals, after all-night negotiations over a plan to limit global temperature rises exposed a range of conflicts.

Speaking to AFP at the COP24 summit in Poland, a senior negotiator said delegates from nearly 200 nations had reached a “landing zone” of agreement.

Delegates at the UN summit, held this year in the Polish mining city of Katowice, must agree on a common rule book to put the pledges made at the landmark 2015 Paris talks into practice.

This means all countries, rich and poor alike, must agree to action that will cap global temperature rises to “well below” two degrees Celsius and stave off the worst effects of planetary warming, and to a safer cap of 1.5 degree Celsius, if possible.


6. France, India focus on energy sector

India and France are moving fast towards operationalising the nuclear power project at Jaitapur, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Saturday.

Addressing presspersons after holding discussions with her French counterpart, Ms. Swaraj said both sides were working in the field of energy and also intensifying international developmental and counter-terrorism cooperation.


7. Wang Yi visit to boost India-China ties

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit India from December 21 to 24 for the first-ever meeting of the India-China high-level mechanism on cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The meeting, focussed on strengthening bilateral ties, will be co-chaired by Mr. Wang and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. In November, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Mr. Wang had met in Chengdu for the 21st round of Special Representatives’ talks.


8. Mutations that influence bipolar disorder, schizophrenia identified

By sequencing the exome (the part of the genome composed of exons that gets translated into proteins) of 32 people from eight families who suffer from mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis, Bengaluru-based researchers have identified 42 rare mutations in the genes implicated in very severe mental disorders.

Mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis have nearly 80% chances of heritability, which indicates a genetic component. However, variations in a single gene cannot account for the manifestation of the disease. “So we adopted an approach to maximise the potential to identify the genetic components that influence the disease. This we did by studying the members of the same family who have the disease,” says Dr. Odity Mukherjee from Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bengaluru and corresponding author of a paper published in the journal Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.


9. Oldowan artefacts

Archaeologists have found evidence for the earliest human-made stone tools, nearly 2.6 million years old, in East Africa, says a report in Science. The stone artefacts found in Algeria and cut marks on fossil bones, indicate that these hominins lived much earlier than believed.


10. Missing hot Neptunes

Astronomers have long been puzzled by the absence of huge exoplanets of the size of Neptune. Researchers led by a team from University of Geneva have found one such ‘hot Neptune’ which is rapidly losing its atmosphere. By studying this planet, the astronomers deduce that these huge planets eventually turn into smaller super-Earths.


11. What is Deep Earth?

It is what geophysicists call the region that exists between 2 km and 3 km below the ocean-floor. This consists of about 2-2.3 billion cubic km, which is about twice the volume of the oceans combined. The deep biosphere constitutes a world that can be viewed as a sort of “subterranean Galapagos” and includes members of all three domains of life: bacteria and archaea (microbes with no membrane-bound nucleus), and eukarya (microbes or multicellular organisms with cells that contain a nucleus as well as membrane-bound organelles). Two types of microbes — bacteria and archaea — dominate Deep Earth. Scientists say about 70% of earth’s bacteria and archaea live in the subsurface. — Science Daily


12. Books:

Book – Of Counsel: The Challenges of the Modi-Jaitley Economy
Writer – Arvind Subramanian

Book – Becoming
Writer – Michelle Obama

Book – The Bombay Plan: Blueprint for Economic Resurgence
Writer – Edited by Sanjaya Baru

Book – No Nation for Women: Reportage on Rape from India, the World’s Largest Democracy
Writer – Priyanka Dubey

Book – Unwanted Neighbours: The Mughals, the Portuguese, and Their Frontier Zones
Writer – Jorge Flores
Description – By the middle of the 17th century, the Mughals and the European Christian maritime empires faced each other from Sind to Bijapur. Focusing on borderland management, imperial projects, and cross-cultural circulation, this volume delves into the ways in which the Portuguese understood and dealt with their undesirably close neighbours — the Mughals.

Book – Changing India
Writer – Manmohan Singh
Description – This series, written by Dr. Manmohan Singh and edited by C. Rangarajan and others, is a selection of writings, speeches, interviews from his time in academia during the 1950s, through his career in civil services during the 1970s and 1980s, as India’s Finance Minister in the early 1990s, and as Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014, chronicling India’s changes.

Book – Classical Music of India: A Practical Guide
Writer – L. Subramaniam, Viji Subramaniam
Description – This volume discusses the melodic and rhythmic aspects of Carnatic (south Indian) and Hindustani (north Indian) music which were part of a single tradition until the 13th century. Briefly comparing these concepts with the classical music of Europe, the instruments integral to both are examined. This appraisal of Indian classical music is an expanded, revised version of Euphony.

Book – Myanmar in the World: Journeys Through a Changing Burma
Writer – Abhijit Dutta
Description – A writer travels through the length and breadth of Myanmar, including Rakhine, from where thousands of Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh, and gives us a picture of the many ways in which it has changed and yet remains the same. A resurgent Burma under Aung San Suu Kyi, he says, will have to resolve issues before it finds peace.

Book – Inquilab: Bhagat Singh on Religion and Revolution
Writer – Edited by S. Irfan Habib
Description – An eminent historian brings together some of Bhagat Singh’s writings. As Habib writes, “Bhagat Singh was a keen observer…, not letting anything of consequence pass without a comment.” Amid the spread of exclusivist politics, it is interesting to read what Bhagat Singh wrote in the 1920s, he adds.


13. Central assistance for cyclone Titli-hit areas soon: Naveen

The Centre has assured that it would release the assistance for damage inflicted by cyclone Titli and subsequent flood and landslides in 17 districts of Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Saturday.

The assurance was given by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh when Mr. Patnaik spoke to him over phone. “The Union Home Minister has assured that Chief Minister that it would to release the assistance immediately,” a release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office said.

On December 13, Mr. Patnaik, in a letter to Mr. Singh, had demanded immediate release of central assistance for the devastation caused by the cyclone to the State.

Mr. Patnaik said Titli, which lashed Odisha in October 2018, had severely affected a vast population of about 60.31 lakh in 128 blocks spread over 17 districts.

The State government had earlier submitted a memorandum to the Centre seeking an assistance of ₹2,023.13 crore against total requirement of ₹2,779.32 crore for relief work. Mr. Patnaik had also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 18 requesting for release of an interim assistance of ₹1,000 crore pending final decision of the High-Level Committee headed by Mr. Singh on the State government’s memorandum.


14. Abbreviations:

International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development ( ICIMOD)
International Hockey Federation (FIH)
Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)


15. Things to Remember:

Chief Minister of Mizoram – Mr. Zoramthanga


16. Improve your Vocabulary:


Meaning – (of a person’s voice) loud and powerful
Example – ‘a stentorian roar’
Synonyms – loud, booming, thundering, thunderous, trumpeting, blaring, roaring, ear-splitting, deafening


Current Affairs is an important GK topic for UPSC, NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Air force X & Y Groups, SSC, and other competitive exams. Every year in UPSC, SSC and Bank there are few questions from Current Affairs.

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