Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (December 4, 2018)
1. Court restrains Rajapaksa from functioning as PM
Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal on Monday temporarily restrained controversially installed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Cabinet of Ministers from functioning in their respective offices.
The interim order follows a quo warranto petition filed by 122 MPs on November 23, challenging Mr. Rajapaksa’s continuance in office after he lost two trust votes in Parliament on November 14 and 16.
2. Horlicks brand now in HUL hands
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd. is merging with India’s biggest consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL) in a deal worth ₹31,700 crore.
The transaction will see HUL’s parent Unilever gain control of popular health drink brand Horlicks while other brands from GSK CH, such as Boost, Maltova and Viva, will be a part of the merged entity in India.
GSK CH had acquired Maltova and Boost from Jagatjit Industries in 2000.
The all-equity merger transaction would see shareholders of GSK CH getting 4.39 shares of HUL for every share held. This would, in turn, lead to GSK Plc holding 5.7% in the merged entity.
3. Qatar to quit OPEC next month
Qatar will leave the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) next month in order to focus on gas production, the Gulf state’s new Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi announced on Monday.
It has been a member of OPEC since 1961, and the decision to pull out after all these decades comes at a turbulent time in Gulf politics, with Doha under a boycott by former neighbouring allies, including Saudi Arabia, for 18 months. “Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership from OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning,” he said at a press meet.
4. Mizoram varsity drives into car mileage accuracy
Why does your hatchback, sedan or SUV give you a mileage different from what the car manufacturer claims under test conditions?
This question made a Mizoram University professor and a research scholar invent a measuring device that yields a near-accurate mileage of a car per litre of fuel. Theirs is one of 25 patents applied for by teachers and research scholars of the university at Tanhril, about 15 km from State capital Aizawl.
The inexpensive device entailing a digital multimeter, a pipe, and a calibrated fuel container was tested on an 800 cc petrol hatchback under conditions experienced by drivers on the road.
The device can be used for measurement when the car is stationary.
5. Ten residential schools to be opened in H.P.
Ten residential model schools will be opened in Himachal Pradesh under the newly-launched Atal Adarsh Aawasiya Shiksha Yojana, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Monday. Launching the scheme for the State at Berthin Bilaspur district, Mr. Thakur said special facilities would be provided to the students in these residential schools.
6. 5.8-tonne GSAT-11 ready for launch
A team of top officials and engineers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (IISRO), now stationed in the Guiana Space Centre, South America, is going over the last steps before it sees off the heaviest Indian communication satellite, GSAT-11, to its space orbit. The liftoff is slated for the wee hours of Wednesday, December 5, India time, but from half way across the globe.
The 5,854 kg satellite, almost double the biggest one built or launched by ISRO to date, will ride up on European launch vehicle Ariane 5 ECA, numbered VA246, between 2.07 a.m. and 3.23 a.m. IST, according to the schedule of Arianespace, which is providing the launch services. It will be sunset at nearby Kourou in French Guiana, located 5 degrees North of the Equator, with a launch window between 5.37 p.m. and 6.53 p.m. local time.
ISRO Chairman K. Sivan, besides the project director and scores of engineers, who have been taking care of the satellite for the last 30-odd days, are in Kourou for the big day, it is learnt.
GSAT-11 is part of ISRO’s new family of high-throughput communication satellite (HTS) fleet that will drive the country’s Internet broadband from space to untouched areas; the broadband domain is now ruled by underground fibre and covers partial and convenient locations.
Already up in space are two HTSs — GSAT-29 (November 14) and GSAT-19 (June 2017) — while one more is due to join them in the near future. They are all to provide high-speed Internet data services at the rate of 100 Gbps (Gigabits per second) to Indian users. ISRO has earlier said this speed would be far better than what is available in the country now.
The HTSs will also be the backbone of pan-India digital or easy Internet-based programmes and services — such as Digital India, Bharat Net for rural e-governance, and commercial and public sector VSAT Net service providers.
According to ISRO, GSAT-11’s multiple spot beam coverage — 32 in Ku band and 8 in Ka bands — will deliver an improved service of 16 gbps over the Indian region and nearby islands. It said, “GSAT-11 will play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country. It will also provide a platform to demonstrate new generation applications.”
GSAT-11 was earlier planned for launch on May 26. A few days before the launch, ISRO brought it back from Kourou to the Bengaluru satellite centre for additional checks. The spacecraft was sent back in October for the rescheduled launch.
Its co-passenger is South Korea’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A, a meteorology satellite.
7. International conference on bears starts in Agra
More than 80 delegates from 11 countries are participating in an international conference on bears being organised in the Taj city for the first time. It is being hosted by Wildlife SOS.
8. Polygyny threshold model
This refers to the hypothesis that the practice of polygyny, where multiple females choose to mate with a single male, is the result of the desire to achieve access to resources held by dominant males. Accordingly, societies in which resources are concentrated in the hands of a few males should witness more polygyny. The hypothesis was first proposed by American ecologist Gordon H. Orians in his 1969 paper “On the evolution of mating systems in birds and mammals”. The model has also been used to explain the prevalence of polyandry in certain societies where resources needed for male survival are under the control of dominant females.
9. ‘India remains the cornerstone of our foreign policy’
Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering is expected to visit Delhi in late December, in the first high-level exchange between the Modi government and the newly elected government of the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) party that won a surprise victory last month. Ahead of the visit, Bhutan’s new Foreign Minister,Tandi Dorji, speaking over the telephone, said the change in government would not alter the Himalayan country’s foreign policy focus.
In the run-up to the election, the manifesto of your party, the DNT, had not focussed much on foreign policy issues. Many are hence curious about what your government’s foreign policy agenda is?
The foreign policy of all parties in Bhutan follow the policies already established [by the monarchy], and I think whoever would have come to power would have the same policy in place. We will continue to build on that policy, with India as the cornerstone of our foreign policy. PM Dr. Lotay Tshering has said he would like to take India-Bhutan friendship to greater heights. His visit to India towards the end of the month will be his first call abroad, and we will hope to finalise India’s assistance for the 12th Five-Year Plan. The government hopes to establish its ties with the Government of India and would like to invite Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi for his long-awaited visit to Bhutan.
10. Services agree on Permanent Chair
The three services are taking steps to improve ‘jointmanship’ and have agreed on the appointment of a Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, said on Monday.
“The three services have finally agreed to a PCCoSC, what his roles and responsibilities will be,” Adm. Lanba said at a press conference ahead of Navy Day on December 4.
“This proposal has been forwarded to the Defence Ministry and it is being examined there.”
The PCCoSC is envisaged as a single-point military adviser to the government.
Admiral Lanba, who is the current Chairman, CoSC, said there were no differences among the service chiefs, and that the three of them generally agreed on “all issues among ourselves including overruling our individual headquarters to take jointman issues, forward”.
On the proposal for setting up theatre commands, he said there was need first for a higher defence organisation in New Delhi before creating them. “We need one operational commander to look after that theatre,” he said.
11. Pak. sets up Kartarpur immigration centre
Pakistan has established an immigration centre at Narowal, 120 km from here, on the Kartarpur border following the ground-breaking of the landmark corridor for Sikh pilgrims. Since the border crossing could be an easy target for “terrorists, human traffickers and drug dealers”, a strong mechanism was required to keep the situation under control, Mufakhar Adeel, Deputy Director (Punjab), Federal Investigation Agency, said.
12. A.N. Jha appointed Finance Secretary
A.N. Jha, Expenditure Secretary, was on Monday designated Finance Secretary. He is the senior-most IAS officer in the Finance Ministry and hence designated Finance Secretary. Mr. Jha has succeeded Hasmukh Adhia. The government has appointed G.C. Murmu to take over as Expenditure Secretary on Mr. Jha’s retirement in January. He is now an Officer on Special Duty in the Department of Expenditure.
13. PVR Cinemas becomes disabled friendly
Multiplex operator PVR Cinemas said on Monday it had rolled out an initiative at 230 screens in 50 cinemas to make movie-viewing accessible for differently-abled people. “This is the first phase of our ‘Accessible Cinema Program’ for people with mobility, hearing and visual impairment, wherein we will have 50 theatres in 30 cities, equipped with assistive equipment and technology,” Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas, said.
14. Indian youth team wins silver
India, with 14 match points, won the silver medal in the World youth (u-16) chess Olympiad, which concluded at Konya, Turkey on Monday. Uzebikstan took gold with 16MPs from among 46 teams from 39 countries.
The team, which won seven rounds and lost two, consisted of GM Erigaisi Arjun, IM P. Iniyan, Koustav Chatterjee, Sankalp Gupta and WIM Divya Deshmukh and was coached by GM Srinath Narayan.
15. FIFA-CIES course in India
International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) from Switzerland, in association with FIFA, chose India as the 16th country and the first in South Asia to conduct an ‘Executive Program in Sports Management’. The Mahatma Education Society’s Pillai Group singed an MoU. The first batch will be from September 2019 to March 2020 at the Pillai Institute of Management Studies & Research here.
16. First manned Soyuz mission to ISS since October failure
A Soyuz spacecraft carrying Russian, American and Canadian astronauts arrived at the International Space Station on Monday in the first manned mission since a failed launch in October.
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency blasted off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome earlier in the day.
They successfully docked at the ISS on schedule at 1736 GMT (11:06 p.m. IST) to begin an expected six-and-a-half months stay on the station, the Russian Roscosmos space agency said via Twitter.
It was the first manned voyage for the Soviet-era Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia’s Aleksey Ovchinin and U.S. astronaut Nick Hague failed just minutes after blast-off, forcing the pair to make a harrowing emergency landing.
They escaped unharmed but the failed launch — the first such incident in Russia’s post-Soviet history — raised concerns about the state of the Soyuz programme.
The Soyuz is the only means of reaching the ISS since the U.S. retired the space shuttle in 2011.
Mr. Kononenko, Ms. McClain and Mr. Saint-Jacques smiled and gave thumbs up to the cheering crowd including relatives as they ascended into the Soyuz capsule on Monday morning.
17. NASA spacecraft arrives at ancient asteroid
After a two-year chase, a NASA spacecraft arrived on Monday at the ancient asteroid Bennu. The robotic explorer Osiris-Rex pulled within 19 km of the diamond-shaped space rock. The spacecraft will get even closer in the days ahead and actually go into orbit around Bennu on December 31. Scientists are eager to study material from the carbon-rich asteroid, which could hold evidence dating back to the beginning of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago.
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
High-Throughput Communication Satellite (HTS)
Central Statistics Office (CSO)
19. Things to Remember:
ISRO Chairman K. Sivan
Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering
Finance Secretary – A.N. Jha
20. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – (of a feeling, quality, or sensation) issue or spread out from (a source)
Example – ‘warmth emanated from the fireplace’
Synonyms – emerge, flow, pour, proceed, issue, ensue, come out, come forth, spread out, come
Meaning 1.1 – Originate from; be produced by.
Example – ‘the proposals emanated from a committee’
Synonyms – originate from, have its origins in, derive from, arise from, stem from, emanate from, proceed from, start from, issue from, evolve from, come from
Meaning 1.2 – Give out or emit (a feeling, quality, or sensation)
Example – ‘he emanated a powerful brooding air’
Synonyms – exude, give off, give out, send out, send forth, pour out, throw out, spread, discharge, disgorge, emit, exhale, radiate