Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 17, 2018)
1. Gaja wreaks havoc in T.N.
Cyclone Gaja wreaked havoc in Tamil Nadu on Friday. The severe cyclonic storm that made a midnight landfall near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district left a trail of destruction over seven hours with wind speeds as high as 110 kmph.
The cyclonic system also led to the shifting of over 81,000 people in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruchi districts to 471 relief camps, left 28 livestock dead and felled over 5,000 trees and about 13,000 electric poles across the State.
2. NGT asks Volkswagen to deposit ₹100 crore
The National Green Tribunal on Friday directed automajor Volkswagen to deposit an interim amount of ₹100 crore with the CPCB, following a plea that alleged that the company used “cheat devices” in emission tests in its diesel vehicles.
3. Railways plan to set up 10 medical colleges
The Railways are planning to establish medical colleges to offer postgraduate courses at 10 of its existing hospitals across India.
The official said that the proposal had been cleared by the Railway Board and now, the Railways was in the process of getting permissions from the Medical Council of India (MCI).
Currently, a total of 125 Railway hospitals, with a capacity of about 40,000 beds, offer primary, secondary as well as tertiary healthcare services to about 65 lakh beneficiaries. These include current Railway employees, retired employees, and their families. These hospitals employ about 2,500 doctors and 40,000 paramedical staff.
The shortlisted hospitals include nine Central hospitals and one Divisional hospital, including the Northern Railways Central Hospitals, Eastern Railways Central Hospitals, Southern Railways Central Hospitals, North Eastern Railways Hospital, Western Railways Central Hospitals, and the Kharagpur Divisional Hospital.
Earlier, the government-owned Coal India had proposed to establish medical as well as engineering colleges in mining areas. However, no progress was made on the proposal.
4. Maternity leave: govt. for incentive scheme
In a bid to encourage employers, especially in the private sector, to implement the extended 26-week maternity leave law, the Labour Ministry plans to refund them for seven weeks’ worth of wages for women workers with a wage ceiling up to ₹15,000 a month. The Ministry is in the process of getting budgetary approvals for the ₹400 crore incentive scheme, according to an official statement.
In March 2017, the Centre amended the Maternity Benefit Act to increase paid maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks for all women employees in establishments employing 10 or more people. However, the statement noted that while implementation of the provision was good in the public sector, it was poor for those with private sector or contract jobs.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment is, therefore, working on an incentive scheme whereby the government would bear the cost of maternity leave wages for seven weeks, subject to certain conditions. The financial implication to the Centre is estimated to be ₹400 crore, and the Ministry is in the process of obtaining budgetary approvals.
5. SC to hear Article 370 plea in April
The Supreme Court on Friday said it will hear in April a plea challenging the constitutional validity of Article 370, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, following a request by the State and the Centre.
A Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah said it will hear the matter in the first week of April 2019 after Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, sought adjournment on the ground that the current situation is “very sensitive”. “The political situation in the State is such that the matter should not be heard at this time,” he said.
6. What is Article 370?
Article 370 of the Indian constitution is an article that gives autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The article is drafted in Part XXI of the Constitution: Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions.
7. India’s Act East policy can meet OBOR: Chinese envoy
India’s Act East policy and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (One Belt One Road or OBOR) are a “natural” area of cooperation between the two countries, said China’s Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui on Thursday, making another pitch for India to join China’s mega-infrastructure corridor, which New Delhi has rejected thus far.
However, instead of the more contentious part of the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor that he has spoken of in the past, Mr. Luo suggested that the cooperation could come through the “China-India-Myanmar” BCIM corridor to India’s North-East.
In a written message for the Youth event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he hoped it would “provide a platform for the youth of both nations to build a ‘Great Wall of Trust and Cooperation’ between the two countries.”
8. British PM launches drive to gather public support despite MPs submitting letters of no confidence
Britain’s political crisis continued on Friday as Prime Minister Theresa May maintained her determination to push forward with the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the European Union, even as a growing number of Conservative MPs submitted letters of no confidence in the hope of triggering a leadership contest.
While 20 MPs have publicly submitted such letters to the Conservative Party’s 1922 backbench committee (to which at least 48 must submit letters to trigger a vote), Ms. May gained a significant boost as Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and Liam Fox, the Trade Secretary, indicated their support for her.
In addition Amber Rudd, who resigned as Home Secretary over an incorrect testimony she had provided to Parliament during the Windrush scandal, re-joined the Cabinet. An official inquiry had found that she had not been adequately supported by officials during the hearing. Ms. Rudd has been a supporter of the Prime Minister and emphatically voiced her support for the deal earlier this week.
9. CNN scribe wins reprieve
A federal judge on Friday ordered the White House to reinstate the press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, whose pass was revoked after a heated exchange with President Donald Trump. Judge Timothy Kelly issued a temporary restraining order that requires the White House to restore Mr. Acosta’s access until a full hearing is held, according to the network.
Mr. Kelly said that his ruling was based on “due process” for the journalist, and that he would later hold additional proceedings on the constitutional issues at stake, including the First Amendment free press guarantee. CNN lawyers argued in court on Wednesday that the White House violated Mr. Acosta’s First Amendment right to free speech in revoking his credentials.
The U.S. Justice Department’s lawyer, James Burnham, countered that Mr. Acosta had “disrupted” last week’s news conference. Mr. Burnham insisted “there is no First Amendment right to access the White House“.
10. AIBA’s warning — India may lose 2021 event
Expressing concern over the exclusion of Kosovo boxer Donjeta Sadiku from the World women’s boxing championships due to visa issue, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has threatened that it may “re-open the bidding process for the 2021 men’s World boxing championships due to take place in India.”
The AIBA said while awarding the hosting rights for an important event “one of the primary requirements is the capability to guarantee that all eligible athletes and delegations could participate.”
Referring to the World youth women’s championships in Guwahati in 2017, Virgets said, “it’s the second time this has happened.”
He informed that AIBA had moved the 2019 men’s World championships from Ukraine to Russia (Sochi) due to a similar reason.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has also written to sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore expressing concern over the issue.
BFI president Ajay Singh said the national federation would persuade the government to reconsider its decision.
“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not recognise countries, it recognises National Olympic Committees (NOCs). Other countries have similar issues, but they find a way to keep sports and politics apart,” said the BFI chief.
11. Gukesh wins World u-12 Open
India’s D. Gukesh, with 10 points, won the World u-12 open chess championships in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) on Thursday. Volodar Murzin of Russia finished second (8.5 points) while Nico Chasin of USA (8.5) settled for third place.
India stood second with two golds, while China and USA took the 1st and 3rd spot.
12. Kg gets a new definition
In a historic vote, nations on Friday unanimously approved new scientific definitions for the kilogram and other units.
For more than a century, the kilogram had been defined as the mass of a cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy kept in a high-security vault in France.
That artefact, nicknamed ‘Le Grand K,’ had been the world’s sole true kilogram since 1889. But now, the kilogram will be defined in terms of a tiny but unchanging value called the ‘Planck constant’.
Nobel laureate William Phillips called the update “the greatest revolution in measurement since the French revolution,” which ushered in the metric system.
The ‘Planck constant’, which derives from quantum physics, can be used along with a Kibble balance, an exquisitely accurate weighing machine, to calculate the mass of an object using a precisely measured electromagnetic force
Scientists also voted to update definitions for the ampere (electrical current), the kelvin (thermodynamic temperature) and the mole (amount of a substance).
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
One Belt One Road (OBOR)
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
14. Things to Remember:
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K. Palaniswami
15. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – Suggest or call attention to indirectly; hint at.
Example – ‘she had a way of alluding to Jean but never saying her name’
Synonyms – refer to, suggest, hint at, imply, mention, touch on, mention in passing, mention en passant, speak briefly of, make an allusion to, cite
Meaning 1.1 – Mention without discussing at length.
Example – ‘we will allude briefly to the main points’
Synonyms – mention, make mention of, make reference to, allude to, touch on, speak about, speak of, talk about, talk of, write about, cite, name, comment on, deal with, go into, treat, treat of, note, point out, call attention to, bring up, raise, broach, introduce