Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 27, 2018)
1. Reduce mules at Vaishno Devi, SC tells panel
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to look into the aspects of reduction of mules, implanting of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and disposal of solid waste management at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir. The top court asked the CEC to file its response in eight weeks.
A Bench of Justices M.B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta said that the CEC would also look into the allegations that dead mules are dumped into the river after throwing them from the cliff.
Senior advocate Krishnan Venugopal, appearing for petitioner-activist Gauri Mulekhi, said a committee should be constituted to look into all these aspects.
The Bench also asked the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the J&K government, the Mata Shri Vaisno Devi Shrine Board to file their responses on the issues flagged by the petitioner.
Mr. Venugopal said that the RFID tags used are of plastic and can be easily tampered.
The Bench said that the CEC will look into the aspect of disposal of solid waste generated by mules, installation of permanent RFID tag, reduction of mules from 4,600 to 2,500 and suggestion should be made to further reduce the number to zero.
2. Nagaland CM launches tourist police
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Monday launched the Nagaland Tourist Police which will work for the safety and security of the tourists and report any crime against them to the nearest police station. He also flagged off tourist police vehicles and inaugurated an Integrated Police Control Room for tourists.
3. Iravatham Mahadevan, noted epigraphist, passes away
Iravatham Mahadevan, 88, one of the world’s leading scholars on the Indus Valley Script, the pre-eminent scholar on the Tamil Brahmi script, and a man of many accomplishments, passed away here early on Monday after a brief illness.
A former member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Mr. Mahadevan joined the service in 1954 and took voluntary retirement in 1980, after holding various positions in the Central and Tamil Nadu governments.
In August 1987, he became the Editor of the Tamil daily Dinamani and served the paper for four years. He succeeded A.N. Sivaraman, who held the post for over 45 years.
Mr. Mahadevan was awarded the Padma Shri in April 2009.
He was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1970 for his research on the Indus script and the National Fellowship of the Indian Council of Historical Research in 1992 for his work on the Tamil Brahmi inscriptions.
4. Magnificent Mary
M.C. Mary Kom enhanced her already legendary status when she defeated Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota in the 48 kg segment of the Women’s World Boxing Championship in Delhi on Saturday. It was her sixth gold across World Championships, drawing her level with Félix Savón, the Cuban great who ruled amateur boxing in the 1980s and 1990s. Kom has always defied the odds. She has busted gender stereotypes, and overcome the odds posed by the lack of resources and poor infrastructure that hold back so much athletic talent in India. In doing so, she firmed up Manipur’s place on India’s talent map, brought India on the world boxing landscape, and reinforced women’s sport by winning consistently with exceptional determination and grace. Kom, who is now 35 and a mother of three, has had a good 2018, winning her maiden Commonwealth Games gold medal earlier this year. She extended that form in Delhi and cemented her place in the history of the World Championships with an overall haul of seven medals, including a silver on debut in 2001. A bronze medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, Kom said that the latest of her six world titles, secured after a gap of eight years, was the toughest of them all. It has come at a time when the competition has risen manifold following the inclusion of women’s boxing as an event in the Olympics in 2012. Kom, who got past other strong opponents before clinching the bout against Okhota, also had to bear the additional pressure of the expectations of home crowds.
In the event, the victory has fuelled further expectations from this late-career burst. Kom will switch to the 51 kg weight class in the pursuit of a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As a Rajya Sabha member of Parliament and idol for many upcoming women boxers, she has a full schedule, and will be aware that it will take all she has to fight with younger and stronger rivals in a higher weight category. Hailed as ‘Magnificent Mary’ by the International Boxing Association, which has chosen her as its representative in the International Olympic Committee athletes’ forum, Kom has been an inspiration globally. Her rise from a humble background to be an international role model has inspired a book and a Hindi movie chronicling her life. Raffaele Bergamasco, the India coach, sums up Kom’s legend with these words, “Mary in boxing is like Maradona in football.” The gender comparison is crucial too — at a time when the women’s competition at diverse levels and different sporting events is being sought to be placed on a par with the men’s, in terms of infrastructural support and remuneration, Mary Kom’s record will indeed give heart to all women athletes.
5. Scully effect
This refers to a social phenomenon wherein movie characters can surprisingly inspire behavioural changes in people in the real world. It is named after Dana Scully, a woman character in the American television series The X-Files which was aired mostly in the 1990s. Studies have found that the character, portrayed as a medical doctor and a special agent successfully working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, inspired many women who watched the series to take up education and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and with various law enforcement agencies.
6. Notice to Centre on anti-graft Act
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the government to respond to a petition challenging two amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The amendments were the introduction of Section 17 A (1) by which prior permission for investigation of corruption offences was required from the government and the removal of Section 13 (1) (d) (ii) (criminal misconduct) from the Act. The latter provision had earlier made it an offence for a public servant to abuse his position to give pecuniary or other advantage to a third party.
A Bench led by Chief Justice (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi asked the government to file a response in six weeks.
7. What is the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016?
The Bill has been termed “Anti-Assam” by BJP’s ally Asom Gana Parishad, and similarly criticised by other regional parties.
And, earlier this month, when the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Bill visited Assam and Meghalaya to hear from the locals, it did so amid protest voices which said the move would make Assam a “dumping ground for Hindu Bangladeshis”.
Who are illegal immigrants?
According to the Citizenship Act, 1955, an illegal immigrant is one who enters India without a valid passport or with forged documents. Or, a person who stays beyond the visa permit.
What’s the status of the Bill now?
The Bill after been discussed in the Lok Sabha, was referred to a joint select committee in August 2016. The members of the Parliamentary Committee visited Barak Valley, the Bengali-majority area of Assam, and Meghalaya to discuss it with various organisations. They reportedly spoke to about 200 organisations.
8. What is NRC?
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is meant to identify a bona fide citizen. In other words, by the order of the Supreme Court of India, NRC is being currently updated in Assam to detect Bangladeshi nationals who might have entered the State illegally after the midnight of March 24, 1971. The date was decided in the 1985 Assam Accord, which was signed between the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the AASU. The NRC was first published after the 1951 Census in the independent India when parts of Assam went to the East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
The first draft of the updated list was concluded by December 31, 2017. The second draft is yet to be released.
9. Article 370 of the Constitution of India
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.
10. Solih to visit India on December 17
The newly-elected President of the Maldives, Ibrahim Solih, will arrive in India on an official visit on December 17, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Monday.
The declaration came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the swearing-in ceremony of the new President in Male on November 17.
Both sides firmed up the visit of Mr. Solih during the just-concluded visit by Maldives Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid to India. An MEA statement said Mr. Shahid highlighted the “India First” policy of the new Maldivian administration.
11. Sunil Arora to be next CEC
Sunil Arora has been appointed as the next Chief Election Commissioner and will take over on December 2, sources in the Law Ministry said Monday.
Though a formal notification is yet to be issued, his name has been cleared by the Centre and sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan, the sources said.
12. EU, Iran commit to uphold nuclear pact
The European Union and Iran are affirming their support for the international nuclear deal and say they aim to keep it alive despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the landmark pact. EU Energy Commissioner Arias Canete said the deal was “crucial for the security of Europe, of the region and the entire world.”
13. I-T Act rejig: panel report by February
The Finance Ministry on Monday said the task force to draft a new direct tax law to replace the Income Tax Act will submit its report by February 28.
The Ministry had in November last year set up a six-member task force to rewrite Income Tax laws.
However, panel convenor, Arbind Modi, retired on September 30, which left the report of the task force in limbo.
The Ministry named Central Board of Direct Taxes member Akhilesh Ranjan as head of the task force.
“The task force shall submit its report to the government by February 28, 2019,” the Ministry said.
14. India to play Oman before Asian Cup
The Indian football team will play against Oman on December 27 in Abu Dhabi just before the start of its AFC Asian Cup campaign in the United Arab Emirates, the national federation said Monday.
This will be the third match for India as part of its preparations against a team that is taking part in the January 5-February 1 Asian Cup, to be held in three cities of the UAE.
India had drawn goalless with China while losing to Jordan 0-1 in its earlier two matches.
It is placed in Group A in the Asian Cup while Oman is in Group F. India begins its campaign against Thailand on January 6 in Abh Dhabi.
As per the October FIFA rankings, Oman is 84th while India is 97th.
Head coach Stephen Constantine said Oman will be similar to Bahrain and UAE in playing style, both of whom India will face in the group stage of AFC Asian Cup.
15. UNESCO accepts joint bid by Koreas for wrestling
North and South Korea marked a new step in their reconciliation efforts on Monday as UNESCO accepted a joint bid for Korean wrestling to be recognised as one of the world’s most treasured cultural practices.
The two Koreas had originally filed separate applications for their traditional form of wrestling to be recognised on the UN agency’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
“The fact that both Koreas accepted to join their respective applications is unprecedented,” UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.
16. NASA’s Insight rover heads for 6.5 minutes of terror
NASA’s top scientists admitted to sleepless nights, sweaty palms, stomach aches and moments of pure terror as their $993 million Mars Insight spacecraft approaches a high-drama finale late on Monday night: landing on Mars.
Mars Insight’s goal is to listen for quakes and tremors as a way to unveil the Red Planet’s inner mysteries, how it formed billions of years ago, and by extension, how other rocky planets like the earth took shape.
The unmanned spacecraft, launched nearly seven months ago, is NASA’s first to attempt to touch down on Mars since the Curiosity rover arrived in 2012.
More than half of 43 attempts to reach Mars with rovers, orbiters and probes by space agencies from around the world have failed.
NASA is the only space agency to have made it, and is invested in these missions as a way to prepare for the first Mars-bound human explorers in the 2030s. “We never take Mars for granted. Mars is hard,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for the science mission directorate.
The entry, descent and landing phase begins at 1940 GMT (1:10 a.m. IST).
A carefully orchestrated sequence takes place over the next several minutes, coined “six and a half minutes of terror.”
Speeding faster than a bullet at 12,300 mph, the heat-shielded spacecraft encounters scorching frictions as it enters Mars’ atmosphere.
17. Filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci passes away
Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci, whose films include Last Tango In Paris and 1900, died in on Monday aged 77.
Considered one of the giants of world cinema, Mr. Bertolucci was the only Italian ever to win the Oscar for best film, snapping up the award in 1988 for The Last Emperor.
He had gained notoriety for his 1972 erotic drama Last Tango In Paris starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, which featured a controversial sex scene involving butter.
Mr. Bertolucci’s biographical masterpiece about the last Chinese emperor won nine Oscars, including best picture and best director. He won an honorary Palme d’Or for his life’s work at the 2011 Cannes Festival.
Central Empowered Committee (CEC)
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
National Security Guard (NSG)
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
19. Things to Remember:
Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons
20. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – Descend from a train, bus, or other form of transport.
Example – ‘he was the only passenger to alight from the train’
Synonyms – get off, step off, get down
Meaning 2 – On fire; burning.
Example – ‘the house was alight when the firemen arrived’
Synonyms – on fire, ablaze, aflame, in flames, flaming, burning, blazing, raging, fiery, lit, lighted, ignited