Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (October 20, 2018)
1. New skin gel protects from some pesticides
Indian researchers have developed a gel which, when applied on the skin, can inhibit some pesticides from getting absorbed into the body, thus averting serious adverse effects and even death.
Organophosphate-based pesticides, which are commonly used by farmers in India, are toxic to the nervous system and heart, and can cause cognitive dysfunction. When esters present in organophosphate-based pesticides enter the body they bind and inhibit an enzyme (acetylcholinesterase or AChE) critical for nerve and muscle function. This causes neurological disorders, suffocation, paralysis, and even death. A team led by Dr. Praveen Kumar Vemula from the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bengaluru, an autonomous institute under the Department of Biotechnology, used a chemical reaction to convert the ester into acid by using a catalyst to make the pesticide inactive.
2. Mountaineers scale peaks named after Vajpayee
A mountaineering expedition to two virgin peaks in Gangotri glacier, which are to be named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, successfully concluded with two teams scaling the peaks.
The two peaks, to be named Atal-1 and Atal-2, are at heights of 6,557 and 6,566 metres.
3. Follow DGCA procedure, airlines told
The DGCA has directed all airline operators to ensure their staff strictly follow procedures approved by it. The directive comes in the wake of findings on an incident involving a GoAir Airbus 320neo in-flight engine failure in February 2017, where the staff followed an Airbus-certified method of calculating flight duration.
4. The petroglyphs of Ratnagiri
The recent discovery of 1,000 rock carvings on Maharashtra’s Konkan coast is expected to provide new insights into the early history of the region. Jayant Sriram reports on the archaeological significance of these petroglyphs, which are estimated to be 12,000 years old
In 2010, Sudhir Risbood, an electrical engineer, started a campaign and an informal group called Adgalnavarche Konkan, or Unexplored Konkan. Risbood is a keen ornithologist and a passionate raconteur of Konkan history. His eyes light up when he speaks of the different kinds of beaches in the region (black sand, red sand, and white sand), and the multitude of forts and temples that have become tourist attractions. For years now, he has been building replicas of the forts of Ratnagiri, Raigad, and Sindhudurg for public display. He likes to regale students and history enthusiasts with tales of how they were built and operated.
Unexplored Konkan is a motley crew of like-minded individuals who are all into documenting nature. Manoj Marathe, like Risbood, is also an electrical engineer, but with a passion for butterflies. Surendra Thakurdesai is a geography professor with a deep interest in snakes. Along the way, they acquired a rotating cast of allies which included the Superintendent of Police and Collector of Ratnagiri district.
In 2012, Risbood came up with a plan to expand the group’s activities. Having grown up in Ratnagiri, he remembered having seen, as a school boy, a square rock relief pattern just off the road near the village of Nivali, about 17 kilometres from Ratnagiri city. “I would cycle pass it and wonder what it was,” he says. It was full of interlocking curls and concentric circles, Risbood recalls, but of course, he had no idea that he was seeing a petroglyph from an ancient culture. But he did know that the local tribal population treated it with reverence, as a legacy of their forefathers.
A shepherd was the first to volunteer information. He plotted a location for them by describing a boundary wall and the shape of bushes around the petroglyph. From then on, there was no looking back. Three sites became 52, and Rajapur and the number of petroglyphs recorded grew to over a thousand. When the new director of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums (Garge) visited Ratnagiri in 2016, Risbood sought a meeting. He showed sketches of the petroglyphs to Garge and took him to some of the locations. In 2017, Garge transferred a young Archaeology Department official, Rutwij Apte, from Pune to Ratnagiri to work full time on the petroglyphs. Currently, Apte and Risbood’s crew are in charge of the project.
As much as they are involved in discovering and documenting the sites, Risbood and Apte, along with Manoj Marathe, have also started speaking to the local villagers about the importance of the sites and the need to protect them. The ring of stones around the human carving in Devache Gothane is one such attempt. In other sites, particularly where the petroglyphs fall in land that is mined for laterite stone, widely used in construction across the western coast, they have convinced the land owners to erect brick boundaries protecting the sites. Help also arrived from the Collector, Radhakrishnan B., who put a halt to mining around some sites. In the village of Ukshi in north Ratnagiri, for a large engraving of an elephant, the team worked with local authorities to construct a circular viewing gallery, complete with an inscription that explains the art work’s significance.
5. India, Japan, U.S. plan joint air exercise
India, Japan and the U.S. are set to elevate the bilateral ‘Cope India’ air exercise to a trilateral format. The three countries already conduct naval war games under the expanded Malabar naval exercise.
The U.S. had proposed a trilateral air exercise between India, Japan and the U.S. For this, the Cope India exercise will be elevated to a trilateral level in phases, two official sources independently confirmed on condition of anonymity.
The next edition is scheduled to be held in December for which the Final Planning Conference to finalise the modalities of the exercise is scheduled next week in Kalaikunda [West Bengal], a defence official said.
Japan to send observers
At the annual Defence Ministerial Meeting in August between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera, it was agreed that Japan will send observers for the next round of Cope India exercises between India and U.S. to be hosted by the Indian Air Force.
The level of interoperability in the exercises, both bilateral and trilateral, is expected to go up with India recently signing the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement with the U.S..
6. Arunachal, Assam on alert after barrier breaches
The Arunachal Pradesh and Assam governments on Friday readied National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and SDRF teams in districts along the Siang and Brahmaputra rivers following a report from China via the Central Water Commission that the barrier formed on the Tsangpo upstream due to a landslide has breached about 5 p.m., discharging water at a speed of 18,000 cubic metres per second.
Earlier, Ji Rong, spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, said, “Beijing had informed New Delhi soon after a landslip took place near Jiala village in Milin county in the lower ranges of the Yaluzangbu (Tsangpo) river in Tibet Autonomous Region of China on October 17. The Chinese side will closely monitor the situation, and continue to notify the Indian side the follow-up developments through bilaterally agreed channels timely.”
7. ArcelorMittal preferred bidder for Essar Steel
ArcelorMittal has been selected as the preferred bidder to Essar Steel India Ltd. In a statement, ArcelorMittal said it had been evaluated as the H1 Resolution Applicant in the corporate insolvency resolution process and will enter into final negotiations.
8. Imran to attend Saudi investment conference
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan will attend a high-profile investment conference in Saudi Arabia next week, Pakistan Foreign Office announced on Friday, amid a string of cancellations from top global business leaders over the disappearance of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
9. Turkey to host 4-nation summit on Syria crisis
A summit between the leaders of Turkey, France, Germany and Russia will be held in Istanbul this month to discuss the conflict in Syria and efforts for a lasting solution to the war in the Arab country, a Turkish official said on Friday. Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said it will take place on October 27.
10. WDC meet in Mumbai from Oct. 22
The World Diamond Council (WDC) will hold its 14th annual general meeting (AGM) in Mumbai on October 22 -23,2018 with a focus on reform of the Kimberley Process (established in 2000 to prevent ‘conflict diamonds’ from entering the mainstream rough diamond market) and WDC System of Warranties in support of a commitment to sustainable development by the diamond industry.
The meeting will be hosted by The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council and the agenda will be to continue to focus on a push for reform.
11. iGTB, PPI to provide banking solution
Intellect Global Transaction Banking (iGTB), the transaction banking division of Intellect Design Arena Ltd., and PPI AG of Europe have formed a partnership to provide advanced end-to-end transaction banking solution for the localised needs of German and French banks. “This partnership also ensures iGTB’s solutions can embrace the EBICS payments formats commonly used in key European countries,” said Manish Maakan, CEO, iGTB
12. Akash strikes historic silver
Akash Malik became India’s first archery silver-medallist at the Youth Olympic Games, providing a fitting finale to the country’s best-ever campaign at the marquee event here on Wednesday.
The 15-year-old son of a farmer lost a one-sided final to Trenton Cowles of the USA 6-0 as India ended with three gold, nine silver, and one bronze medal.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)
Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs)
14. Things to Remember:
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
15. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Strange and frightening
Example – ‘an eerie green glow in the sky’
Synonyms – uncanny, sinister, ghostly, spectral, unnatural, unearthly, preternatural, supernatural, other-worldly, unreal, mysterious, strange, abnormal, odd, curious, queer, weird, bizarre, freakish