Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 23, 2018)
1. Where waste is given new life in the form of art
Waste disposal is a huge challenge for every Indian city, but Bhubaneswar has found a special use for some of its metal waste — it has transformed them into works of art. The Bhubaneswar Open Air Museum of Waste-to-Art, coming up in the Kalinga Nagar township, has 28 impressive sculptures created from metal scrap.
The sculptures are mostly of birds and animals, with peacocks, tigers, turtles and elephants giving a new twist to the idea of recycling metal waste. The open-air museum came about after the Artists Network Promoting Indian Culture (ANPIC), an artists’ forum, suggested holding an international public art symposium in collaboration with the Bhubaneswar Development Authority for promoting the Hockey World Cup, which will begin here on November 28.
Artists from the participating countries gathered in Bhubaneswar and began work on the sculptures on November 1. “The ANPIC decided to hold the symposium on the theme of pollution. We should be careful about disposing of waste in landfills, as it may cause contamination… Animal sculptures dominate the exhibits as it is animals that are first affected by pollution,” said Kantakishore Maharana, one of the curators of the symposium. The symposium-cum-workshop ended on November 20, the day the museum was inaugurated.
2. India, Pak. commit to Kartarpur corridor
India and Pakistan exchanged letters on Thursday committing to build the required infrastructure for visa-free direct travel by Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan’s Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara, allowing them to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019.
The move was described by a Pakistani Minister as the “victory of peace lobbies” in both countries.
Indian and Pakistani officials will meet soon to discuss the logistics of the corridor and the point of border-crossing where the roads, which pilgrims will take on the Indian side from Dera Guru Nanak Dev in Gurdaspur district, will lead directly to the border and from the Pakistani side of the border directly to the Kartarpur Darbar Sahib Gurdwara, a senior official confirmed to The Hindu.
3. ‘Release from dams didn’t lead to deluge’
The devastation wrought by the Kerala floods of August could not be attributed to the release of water from dams, says a computer-simulation of flood storage and flow patterns by a team of researchers.
Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and the Purdue University, United States, say that the odds of such floods were “0.06%” and no reservoir management could have considered such scenarios.
All 39 dams in the State had reached their full reservoir level by July-end, and were incapable of absorbing the torrential volumes in August leaving dam-managers with no choice but to release them. The scientists analysed different scenarios with combinations of reservoir storage (85%, 75%, 150% and 25%) at different time periods (end of June and end of July), along with different soil moisture conditions, which has a bearing on river flows.
4. What is H1N1?
Also called: pig influenza
The “H” (hemagglutinin) and the “N” (neuraminidases) are both proteins that are found on the outer shell or envelope of the virus. Different viruses have different hemagglutinin and neuraminidase proteins.
A human respiratory infection caused by an influenza strain that started in pigs.
Swine flu was first recognised in the 1919 pandemic and still circulates as a seasonal flu virus. Swine flu is caused by the H1N1 virus strain, which started in pigs.
Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, chills, weakness and body aches. Children, pregnant women and the elderly are at risk from severe infection.
Typical treatment includes rest, pain relievers and fluids. In some cases antiviral medication and IV fluids may be required.
With two more deaths due to H1N1 reported in Kerala on Thursday, the Health Department has stressed that all clinicians need to pay more attention to the ABC guidelines for the treatment of the disease. The number of cases of H1N1 in the State as on Thursday was 499 and the death toll 26.
5. Jute packaging must for all food grains
The government on Thursday approved a proposal making jute packaging mandatory for all food grains. The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, headed by the Prime Minister. The jute sector in India employs approximately 3.7 lakh workers directly.
6. INS Arihant’s inaugural sea patrol must spark a debate on the state of India’s nuclear deterrence
The INS Arihant, India’s first nuclear ballistic missile submarine that completed its sea patrol earlier this month, will contribute significantly to making India’s deterrence capability more robust. Submarine-based nuclear capability is the most survivable leg of a nuclear triad, and its benefit must be seen especially in the light of the growing naval capabilities of India’s potential adversaries. In this light, certain questions need to be addressed on the third leg of India’s nuclear triad, as well as major challenges for strategic stability in the southern Asian region.
INS Arihant’s induction will also have implications for regional stability. For one, it is bound to make the maritime competition in the Indian Ocean region sharper, even though the lead in this direction was taken by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) a long time ago. Hence, the dominant driver of India’s SSBN plans appears to be China’s expanding inventory of nuclear submarines. The PLAN’s Jin class submarine with the JL-2 missiles with a range of 7,400 km began its deterrent patrol several years ago. Chinese nuclear-powered submarines (reportedly without nuclear weapons on board) have been frequenting the Indian Ocean on anti-piracy missions, creating unease in New Delhi. INS Arihant in that sense is a response to the Chinese naval build-up. Pakistan’s reaction to India’s response to China would be to speed up its submarine-building spree, with assistance from Beijing. Add to this mix China’s mega infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative, with its ambitious maritime objectives; and the revival of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, with India, U.S., Japan, and Australia.
7. Fifty years ago on November 23, 1968, Lok Sabha passes Tamil Nadu Bill
The Lok Sabha to-day [November 23, New Delhi] passed the Bill to rename Madras State as “Tamil Nadu”. The Bill will now go to Rajya Sabha for approval. There were cheers from all sides when the Chair announced that the Bill was passed. The Bill was welcomed by all sections, irrespective of party affiliations. New ground was broken when a Union Minister, Dr V.K.R.V. Rao, also participated in the debate, supporting the measure. He appealed to the ruling party in Madras to see that Hindi acquired an honoured place in Tamil Nadu. Mr. Y.B. Chavan, Home Minister, apologised to the House for his absence yesterday. He joined the rest of the House in describing the measure as a general expression of national pride. Incidentally, he disclosed that when he had a discussion on the subject, the Chief Minister of Madras, Mr. C.N. Annadurai, had thought of some other “musical name”. But Mr. Annadurai was prevailed upon by Mr. Chavan to have a name which would be understood by all. Mr. Chavan hoped the new name would bring the State one step nearer to integration of the country.
8. Blank slate
Also known as tabula rasa, this refers to the idea that the mind of any newborn child is equivalent to a blank slate that has nothing written over it. Thus, the proponents of the blank slate theory strongly believe that the behaviour of an adult human being is entirely the result of the various experiences to which she has been exposed over her lifetime. This is in contrast to the theory of biological determinism which states that human character is inherited at birth and cannot be influenced by the environment. The blank slate is an important idea in the controversial debate regarding whether it is nature or nurture that determines human nature.
9. Move to regulate allied healthcare professionals
The Union Cabinet has approved the Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2018 for regulation and standardisation of education and services provided by professionals in the healthcare sector.
The Bill aims to bring in high quality, multi-disciplinary care in line with the vision of Ayushmaan Bharat, moving away from a ‘doctor-led’ model to a ‘care accessible and team-based’ model, noted an official statement.
The Bill covers 15 major professional categories, including 53 professions in allied and healthcare streams.
It also provides for setting up of an Allied and Healthcare Council of India and corresponding State Allied and Healthcare Councils which will play the role of a standard-setter and facilitator for professions of Allied and Healthcare. “The Bill provides for structure, constitution, composition and functions of the Central Council and State Councils like framing policies and standards, regulation of professional conduct, creation and maintenance of live registers, provisions for common entry and exit examinations among others,” according to a government statement.
The Central Council will comprise 47 members.
10. Term of OBC panel extended again
The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the extension of term of the commission examining the issue of sub-categorisation of other backward classes (OBCs) in the Central list till May 31, 2019, according to an official statement.
This is the fourth extension of term given to the commission formed in October last year.
The commission has held extensive meetings with all stakeholders, including State governments, State backward classes commissions, community associations and general public, since its formation.
The commission has also obtained records, caste-wise data of OBCs admitted to higher educational institutions as well as similar caste-wise data of recruits in Central government departments, Central public sector undertakings, public sector banks and financial institutions.
11. EU, U.K. reach draft deal on post-Brexit relationship
The British government’s Brexit process reached another milestone as the European Commission said that the U.K. and the EU had agreed at a negotiator level and in principle the draft political declaration on the future relationship between the two sides.
While observers continue to pick apart the statement — which has been leaked to U.K. media — to assess whether the government’s ambitions set out by the U.K. have been enmeshed in it, the development marks a symbolic victory for Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of a summit on Sunday. In the summit, EU leaders are set to finalise details of both the exit process and outline of future relations.
The development also follows last week’s news that Britain and the EU had agreed the draft terms of the withdrawal.
Unlike the withdrawal agreement, which would be binding, the political declaration is more of a statement of future ambitions of what a new relationship — including when it comes to the movement of people and goods and services — would entail.
Controversy over the terms of the withdrawal agreement led to several ministerial resignations and letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister, though an initiative to oust her through formal party processes appears to have been abandoned for now, for want of support from backbench MPs.
12. NHAI plans to raise ₹10,000 cr. via bonds
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has filed draft papers with markets regulator SEBI to raise up to ₹10,000 crore through bonds to finance its various projects. NHAI has filed papers for “public issue of taxable, secured redeemable non- convertible bonds in the nature of debentures up to ₹10,000 crore.” The funds will be raised through the issuance of bonds in one or more tranches.
13. Chenai wins trap gold
Olympian Kynan Chenai preserved his best for the climax as he pipped the Asian Games silver medallist Lakshay Sheoran 43-42 in the men’s trap final in the 62nd National shotgun championship at the JDA Range, on Wednesday.
After having dropped six birds in the first three rounds, Kynan dropped only one in the last two to ensure qualification.
On his part, Lakshay had slipped after four rounds of 24, but qualified on par with Kynan.
Prithviraj Tondaiman, who had an impressive 124 out of 125, settled for the bronze in the single-barrel final. Zoravar Singh Sandhu finished fourth, ahead of Ronald Kamlunlal Tungdim and Nagesh Anand.
Lakshay Sheoran won the junior gold with an impressive round of 47 in the final, comfortably ahead of Manavaditya Singh Rathore and Vrishankaditya Parmar.
Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (PCDA)
National Commission of Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
SSBN (Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear)
15. Things to Remember:
Prime Minister of U.K. Theresa May
16. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – A severe flood.
Example – ‘this may be the worst deluge in living memory’
Synonyms – flood, flash flood, torrent