Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 15, 2018)
1. French govt. didn’t guarantee Rafale deal, Centre tells SC
The Centre admitted in the Supreme Court on Wednesday that there was no sovereign guarantee from the French government on the deal for 36 Rafale jets in case the manufacturer, Dassault Aviation, defaults.
Sovereign guarantee is a promise by a government to discharge the liability of a third person in case of his default.
2. Sri Lanka Parliament votes against Rajapaksa govt.
In a watershed floor test in the Sri Lankan Parliament, a majority of lawmakers on Wednesday voted for a no-confidence motion against disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“I hereby declare that the appointed government has no majority in this House,” Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told Parliament shortly after it reconvened.
Parliament had been shut for nearly three weeks since President Maithripala Sirisena prorogued and subsequently dissolved it, in the wake of an unprecedented political struggle in the country.
The vote was taken up after Leader of the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Anura Kumara Dissanayake, moved a motion against Mr. Rajapaksa and his Cabinet, terming their appointment “unconstitutional.”
On October 26, Mr. Sirisena abruptly sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and installed Mr. Rajapaksa, a former President, in his place, sparking widespread criticism.
After Mr. Rajapaksa’s MPs refused to vote by name in the floor test on Wednesday, the Speaker called for a vote by voice and declared that the ayes had it.
The development — coming a day after the Supreme Court stayed the sacking of Parliament — signalled a major setback for Mr. Sirisena, with both the judiciary and the legislature challenging his recent actions.
3. GSAT-29 has a perfect launch
Amid concerns over Cyclone Gaja spoiling the launch of the country’s heaviest satellite to be carried on board an indigenous rocket from Indian soil, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) pulled off the feat to perfection on Wednesday.
The team went ahead with the launch of the GSAT-29 on board its second developmental flight GSLV-MkIII D2 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota to clear blue skies as plumes of smoke from the rocket left a trail in the horizon after lift-off from the second launch pad at 5.08 p.m.
Placed in orbit
The satellite was placed in a geo-synchronous transfer orbit 17 minutes after launch.
“The first operational mission of this vehicle (GSLV-MkIII) is going to be none other than the Chandrayaan-II mission in January next year. This vehicle is going to carry a human to space three years from now. Kudos to this excellent launcher of India,” ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said.
The communication satellite, weighing 3,423 kg, “is a multiband, multi-beam communication satellite, intended to serve as test bed for new and critical technologies,” according to ISRO.
4. Cyclone Gaja expected to strike today
Parts of coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will begin to get widespread rainfall from Thursday as Cyclone Gaja comes closer to the State’s coast.
According to the met department, Gaja now lies over the Bay of Bengal, about 510 km east-northeast of Nagapattinam and 430 km east-southeast of Chennai. It is likely to cross the coast between Cuddalore and Pamban in Ramanathapuram district on Thursday evening, with a wind speed of 90 kmph and gusting up to 100 kmph.
S.Balachandran, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Chennai, said parts of seven districts — Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Karaikal, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram — are likely to experience heavy to very heavy rainfall.
5. 18 lakh foreigners visited India on e-visa till Oct. 31
Around 18 lakh foreigners visited India on electronic visas till October 31 this year, a Home Ministry statement said. The highest number of visitors (2,92,143) were from the U.K., followed by the U.S. (2,21,339), China (1,27,022), France (1,07,185) and Germany (89,863). Over 17 lakh foreigners visited India on e-visa in 2017. $137,527,270 [₹993 crore approx] has been received as e-visa fees till October 31 this year.
6. Setting a proper diet plan
Despite being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India has been ranked at 103 out of 119 countries, with hunger levels categorised as “serious”, in the Global Hunger Index 2018. Strikingly, in July, three girls died of starvation resulting from prolonged malnutrition in the national capital Delhi, which has a high per capita income. India’s child malnourishment level is not only the highest in the world but varies considerably across States. As per the National Family Health Survey-2016, the proportion of stunted (low height for age) children under five is significantly higher (38.4%) than global (22.9%) averages. The underweight (low weight for age) children rate (35.7%) is a lot higher than the global average (13.5%) too. India is home to over 53.3 million stunted, 49.6 million underweight and 29.2 million wasted (low weight for height) children under five.
7. Contact hypothesis
Also known as the inter-group contact theory, this refers to the hypothesis that people-to-people contact may be a good way to resolve conflict between groups. It was proposed by American psychologist Gordon W. Allport. The contact hypothesis is based on the idea that peaceful and friendly interpersonal contact can help in reducing prejudices between groups and foster better cooperation and friendly relationships. Some believe that such interpersonal contact between people can help reduce conflict by increasing interdependence between the groups. In other words, the cost of conflict increases with greater interdependence.
8. Modi, Pence discuss trade, terrorism in Singapore
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence held talks on Wednesday on a wide range of bilateral and global issues of mutual interests, including defence and trade cooperation, ways to counter terrorism and the need for maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.
9. GSAT-29 has a perfect launch
The Ku-band and Ka-band payloads are expected to cater to communication requirements for people in remote areas in the country, especially Jammu and Kashmir, and the North-East.
The satellite will be placed in a geo-stationary orbit at its intended location after three orbit raising manoeuvres over the next few days.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi had envisioned that an “Indian son or daughter” will undertake a manned space mission by 2022 while delivering his Independence Day address this year, Mr. Sivan said ISRO had set a target of achieving this feat by December 2021.
He said ISRO planned to have two unmanned missions — one in December 2020 — before attempting to put a human in space.
10. U.K. closer to delivering Brexit: May
British Prime Minister Theresa May, striking a note of defiance, insisted that the deal she had struck with the EU negotiators was one that delivered on what the British people voted for, as she faced critics from within her own party, allies and Opposition over the terms that had been agreed.
Britain would take back control of its borders and money, she insisted, pointing to the end of the free movement of EU citizens within the U.K., while providing guarantees for those already resident here.
11. Indian American named for key Appeals Court post
Indian American Neomi Rao, 45, has been appointed to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to fill the vacancy created by Brett Kavanaugh’s elevation to the U.S. Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump made an unscheduled announcement regarding Ms. Rao’s nomination at the White House’s diya (lamp) lighting ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, as part of the administration’s Deepavali celebrations. Ms. Rao is currently the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the White House, which assesses the costs and benefits of government regulations.
Ms. Rao’s appointment will have to be confirmed by the Senate.
12. Israel Defence Minister quits over Gaza truce
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation on Wednesday and called for early elections after a sharp disagreement over a Gaza ceasefire deal, throwing the government into turmoil.
Tuesday’s ceasefire deal, which held on Wednesday, ended the worst escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war.
13. Mary Kom will lead the Indian challenge yet again
It has been eight years since M.C. Mary Kom clinched her fifth World title in Bridgetown. Yet, the legend of the diminutive boxer has grown because of the new milestones — being the first Indian woman to secure a medal in the Olympics and gold medals in the Asian and Commonwealth games — she has achieved in these years.
As her insatiable hunger provides Mary the kick to get going and be the undisputed flag-bearer for India in the World women’s boxing championships, starting at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex here on Thursday, the oft-repeated ‘Magnificent Mary’ epithet now appears insufficient to describe her greatness.
The 35-year-old Mary Kom belongs to the generation which bagged eight medals — including gold by Mary, Sarita Devi, Jenny R.L. and Lekha K.C. — when India hosted the event for the first time here in 2006.
From that successful batch, Sarita is the other member who has carried on to be part of the Indian team — which has a fine mix of youth and experience — even now.
Worlds medallists Mary (48kg), Sarita (60kg) and Saweety Boora (75kg), Commonwealth Games silver medallist Pinky Rani (51kg) and Asian championships bronze medallists Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg) and Seema Poonia (+81kg) have got enough ring time.
The younger lot — comprising gutsy fighters such as Manisha Moun (54kg), Sonia (57kg), Simranjit Kaur (64kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) — has also made its mark.
The 10th edition of the championships will see more than 300 entries from over 70 countries, including eight debutants.
14. Radwanska retires
Former World No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska on Wednesday announced her retirement from professional tennis.
The 2012 Wimbledon finalist, in a statement, “today, after 13 years of playing tennis competitively, I have decided to end my career.
“This was not an easy decision. I am grateful to have so many special memories, including 20 WTA titles, the WTA Championships in Singapore, a Wimbledon final, and so many others.”
Radwanska, the first Polish player to reach a Grand Slam singles final in the Open Era, said her body was unable to live up to expectations and she was unable to train and play the way she used to.
15. Bleeding lungs force Hastings to retire
Australian fast bowler John Hastings has retired from all forms of cricket fearing a mystery ailment could lead him to bleed to death on the field. The all-rounder, who has represented his country in all three formats of the game, revealed last month he was struggling with an illness that causes him to cough up blood whenever he bowls.
He first noticed the issue several years ago and despite a battery of tests and operations is no closer to knowing why it happens.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA)
National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT)
17. Things to Remember:
ISRO Chairman K. Sivan
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi
18. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Open resistance; bold disobedience
Example – ‘the demonstration was held in defiance of official warnings’
Synonyms – resistance, opposition, confrontation