Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 6, 2018)
1. ‘Rajapaksa not PM till he clears floor test’
In his first public confrontation yet with President Maithripala Sirisena since the dramatic events of October 26, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Monday indicated that he would not accept former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister until his majority is proven in Parliament.
Citing the opinion of a majority of lawmakers that the recent changes were “undemocratic” and “inconsistent with the traditions of Parliament”, the Speaker said in a media statement: “I wish to emphasise that I am compelled to accept the status that existed previously until such time that they and the new political alliance prove their majority in Parliament.”
2. Iran oil: India, China get relief
India is one of eight countries to receive temporary exemptions from U.S. sanctions on Iran that came into effect on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.
Addressing a joint press briefing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Washington on Monday, Mr. Pompeo said, “We have decided to issue temporary allotments to a handful of countries, responsible to the specific circumstances and to ensure a well supplied oil market. The U.S. will be granting these exemptions to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.”
Each country on the list had demonstrated “significant reductions “ of the purchase of Iranian crude over the past six months, according to Mr. Pompeo. He added that two have stopped importing oil from Iran and would not do so as long as sanctions were in effect.
China and India, in that order, are the top two importers of Iranian oil. All payments for Iranian oil will be held in Foreign Accounts, Mr Pompeo said. Tehran can use the money to purchase non-sanctioned goods and for humanitarian purposes, including food, medicines and medical devices.
In the last fiscal year, India, which imports over 80% of its oil, sourced some 10% of its oil imports, or just over 22 million tons from Iran. The Indian Oil Corporation is the biggest Indian customer for Iranian oil.
More than 20 countries have decreased their imports of Iranian crude, the Secretary of State said, cutting Iran’s oil revenues by more than $2.5 billion since May this year, when Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or “ Iran Deal” .
The European Union, which has stayed in the deal, has been frustrated by America’s efforts to stifle European business’s activities with Iran.
3. India declares nuclear triad operational
India on Monday declared that its nuclear triad, stated in its nuclear doctrine, is operational after indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarine INS Arihant achieved a milestone by conducting its first deterrence patrol.
This means that Arihant is now prowling the deep seas carrying ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi received today [Monday] the crew of ship submersible ballistic nuclear (SSBN) INS Arihant. The submarine recently returned from its first deterrence patrol, completing the establishment of the country’s survivable nuclear triad,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
4. NHIDCL fined ₹2 cr. for pollution
The National Green Tribunal has levied a fine of ₹2 crore on the National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL) for dumping muck into the Bhagirathi river in Uttarakhand during the construction of a road.
A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “We direct NHIDCL to deposit a sum of ₹2 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board towards Environment Restitution Fund. The CPCB may spend the amount for environment restitution after preparing an action plan.”
5. Assam remembers Bhupen Hazarika
Assam on Monday paid rich tributes to music maestro Bhupen Hazarika on his seventh death anniversary. Hundreds of organisations across the State held functions in various places. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the houses of the Assamese cultural doyen at Kolkata and Kuthori at Kaziranga would be preserved by the State government.
6. Centre eyes seaplanes in UDAN 3
Seaplanes may soon be operating commercial passenger flights in India with the Centre inviting bids for connecting selected destinations under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS).
Included among the 10 destinations that the government proposes to connect through seaplanes are the recently unveiled Statue of Unity at Sardar Sarovar Dam, the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad, the Tehri dam in Uttarakhand and Nagarjuna Sagar in Telangana.
Opening the third round of the RCS, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has invited proposals for air routes that include tourist destinations. The deadline for submitting applications is November 20.
The Centre has also offered 23 tourist destinations including Bodh Gaya, Agra, Kanha, Varanasi, Hampi, Mysuru and Kullu.
7. New rules for foreigners in detention centres
The government has informed the Supreme Court that new guidelines are being framed for keeping foreign nationals in detention centres across the country.
A Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur was hearing the issue of framing of a manual detailing the guidelines for detaining foreigners. The condition of detention centres in Assam also came up for discussion.
The Bench had sought responses from the Centre and the Assam government on the plight of families, who languish in the State’s six detention centres as “declared foreigners”, separated from each other and their children.
The court said it was “inappropriate” to keep the families separated without any valid reason.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for Assam, submitted that tenders had been invited by Assam for setting up of a new detention centre in Goalpara.
The court posted the matter for hearing in February next year.
8. Public places in T.N. to be disinfected
All public transport facilities, cinema theatres, shopping malls and marriage halls are to be disinfected for a week to prevent transmission of H1N1 influenza.
K. Kolandaswamy, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, has instructed all deputy directors of health services to arrange for spraying of 5% disinfectant on seats in cinema theatres, bus stands, shopping malls, hospital waiting areas and other public places using hand sprayers. All public utility vehicles such as buses and auto rickshaws should be water-washed.
The officials were instructed to launch massive efforts from now onward for a week. This comes in the wake of H1N1 influenza cases being reported in many parts of the State, with deaths due to the influenza occurring in districts such as Madurai and Coimbatore.
“We have sent this instruction to all the deputy directors of health services, who in turn will inform the respective Collectors,” Dr. Kolandaswamy said.
9. Ram Mohan Roy award for N. Ram
Veteran journalist and The Hindu Publishing Group Chairman N. Ram has been chosen for the prestigious Raja Ram Mohan Roy Award, presented by the Press Council of India (PCI), for his outstanding contribution towards journalism, the Council announced on Monday.
In a statement, the PCI also announced National Awards for Excellence in Journalism for 2018. Ruby Sarkar, chief correspondent of Deshbandhu, Bhopal, and Rajesh Parshuram Joshte of Daily Pudhari, Ratnagiri, have been named joint winners for ‘Rural Journalism’.
No entry qualified in the newly introduced category of ‘Sports Reporting’.
10. Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that the U.S. is quitting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a bilateral agreement with Russia signed in 1987.
Under the INF Treaty, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. agreed to eliminate within three years all ground-launched-missiles of 500-5,500 km range and not to develop, produce or deploy these in future. The U.S. destroyed 846 Pershing IIs and Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCMs); and the U.S.S.R., 1,846 missiles (SS-4s, SS-5s and SS-20s), along with its support facilities.
11. The forgotten million
One hundred years after the end of World War I, the immense sacrifice and contributions of well over a million soldiers of undivided India are being incrementally recognised and memorialised the world over. In France, the centenary celebrations of Armistice Day on November 11 will include the unveiling of the second overseas national war memorial for Indian soldiers, by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu. The first such memorial abroad, formalised in 2002, is the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, which is a recognition that more than 130,000 Indian soldiers fought in WWI in Belgium, at least 10,000 of whom lost their lives on the battlefield. Last month, British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to wear a khadi poppy in honour of more than 74,000 soldiers from pre-Partition India who fought on the side of the allies and died in battle. She particularly noted that 11 of them won the Victoria Cross for their outstanding bravery and played a crucial role in the war across continents. Yet far from the ceremonial pomp of officialdom is perhaps the most poignant symbol of how much ordinary Indian men enlisting in the colonial government’s Army gave of their lives to fight the German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires: the British Library in London has received 1,000 pages of war-veteran interview transcripts recorded in the 1970s, which include details of the inhumane treatment, including floggings, denial of home leave, and brazenly racial-discriminatory treatment that 1.5 million mostly-illiterate men from northern India faced regularly within the allied forces army.
12. Two-level game theory
This refers to a model in political game theory which states that policymakers of a country involved in international negotiations need to satisfy the demands of two different constituencies — domestic interest groups and international interest groups — when making decisions. This often leads to some sort of compromise between conflicting interests. Policymakers negotiating an international trade agreement that benefits foreign companies, for instance, also need to listen to domestic industries that demand protection under the law.
13. EVMs to have candidates’ photo
Electronic voting machines will have photographs of the contesting candidates during the upcoming Assembly election in Telangana. The move comes after the Election Commission of India noticed that candidates with same name or similar names were contesting from the same constituency, thus creating confusion among the voters. Accordingly, candidates are required to submit to the returning officers their recent stamp-size photographs as per the specifications laid down by the Commission.
14. Coal India eases policy for small consumers
Coal India Limited has relaxed its ‘Mine Specific Coal Supply’ policy norms to accommodate greater number of consumers under the ambit of the policy. The minimum annual requirement of the consumer has been reduced from 1 million tonne (MT) to 0.25 MT. Also, the number of mines which may participate in the policy has expanded as a result of the relaxed norm, which has reduced the annual capacity eligibility from 2.5 MT to 1 MT.
15. Mark Taylor quits as Cricket Australia director
Former Test captain Mark Taylor quit as a Cricket Australia director on Monday to give the organisation a clean slate to repair the damage inflicted by the ball-tampering scandal and a damning review into the governing body. Taylor becomes the latest top figure to exit the organisation following chief executive James Sutherland and chairman David Peever.
16. Ozone layer is recovering, says UN
The ozone layer that shields life from cancer-causing solar rays is recovering at a rate of one to three percent per decade, reversing years of dangerous depletion caused by the release of harmful chemicals, a UN study said on Monday.
The four-yearly review of the Montreal Protocol, a 1987 ban on man-made gases that damage the fragile high-altitude ozone layer, found long-term decreases in the atmospheric abundance of controlled ozone-depleting substances and the ongoing recovery of stratospheric ozone.
The Antarctic ozone hole was expected to gradually close, returning to 1980 levels in the 2060s, the report said.
“Evidence presented by the authors shows that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000,” UN Environment and the World Meteorological Organization said in a statement.
17. Armstrong’s items fetch $7.4 million
Memorabilia that belonged to the first man to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong, has fetched more than $7.4 million at auction.
Dallas-based Heritage Auctions said the item that was sold for the highest price $4,68,500 at Saturday’s auction was Armstrong’s spacecraft ID plate from Apollo 11’s lunar module Eagle.
Wright brothers’ Flyer
Also sold were a fragment from the propeller and a section of the wing from the Wright brothers’ Flyer, the first heavier-than-air self-powered aircraft, each of which fetched $2,75,000.
The flight suit Armstrong wore aboard Gemini 8, the 1966 mission that performed the first docking of two spacecraft in flight, brought the astronaut’s family $1,09,375.
Meanwhile, in a separate auction, a gold-colored Navy aviator’s helmet once owned by John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, sold for $46,250.
18. NASA grants $7 million to detect new life
NASA has awarded nearly $7 million for a project to detect life on Mars, Jupiter and the Saturn’s icy moons. The Laboratory for Agnostic Biosignatures’ initial focus is on features of life : patterns of chemical complexity, surface complexity, chemical disequilibrium with the surrounding environment, and evidence of energy transfer.
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL)
National Green Tribunal (NGT)
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)
National Sample Survey Office (NSSO)
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
20. Things to Remember:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
21. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – A great victory or achievement.
Example – ‘a garden built to celebrate Napoleon’s many triumphs’
Synonyms – victory, win, conquest, success