Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (October 27, 2018)
1. Sri Lanka unity govt. falls, Rajapaksa sworn in as PM
In a sudden move, President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday pulled his faction out of Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition and within hours appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister. The startling developments led to the collapse of the country’s first national unity government, with Mr. Sirisena joining hands once again with the leader he ousted in 2015.
2. Essar Steel goes to Arcelor Mittal
A day after the Ruias offered ₹54,389 crore for full settlement with the creditors of Essar Steel, the Committee of Creditors selected ArcelorMittal as the ‘successful applicant’ with a lower bid of ₹50,000 crore.
The resolution plan of the winning consortium — of which Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. are a part — includes upfront payment of about ₹42,000 crore and a further injection of ₹8,000 crore into Essar Steel towards operational improvement and higher production levels.
The offer from the Ruias, promoters of Essar Steel, would have meant full repayment to its creditors, while the ArcelorMittal bid would work out to a 15% ‘haircut’ for the banks, according to analysts.
The Ruia family had bet on Section 12A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Introduced in June this year, the amendment allows a company to withdraw from the IBC process with the consent of 90% of the lenders.
Essar Steel’s resolution plan will now go before the National Company Law Tribunal for formal acceptance.
3. Disqualified T.N. MLAs to move SC
The 18 AIADMK MLAs, whose disqualification by the Tamil Nadu Speaker was upheld by the Madras High Court on Thursday, have decided to challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court. If byelections are held in the interim, they will contest as candidates of the T.T.V. Dhinakaran-led Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK).
Addressing journalists here on Friday, Thanga Tamilselvan, one of the disqualified MLAs, said the decision was taken unanimously since “it was necessary to show to the world that the Speaker’s decision was wrong.”
4. IAF gets first overhauled Sukhoi
In a major step towards improving the availability rate of the backbone of the Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter fleet, the IAF’s Base Repair Depot (BRD), Ojhar in Maharashtra has successfully overhauled a Su-30 MKI aircraft.
The first overhauled aircraft was handed over to Air Marshal HS Arora, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of South Western Air Command in a ceremony on Friday.
“Earlier, the first Su-30 MKI overhauled by this depot successfully took off on April 24 and has been flight tested for its airworthiness, before inducting it for operational tasks at a flying squadron,” IAF said in a statement.
The statement added that 11 BRD is the only fighter aircraft repair depot of the force and undertakes repair and overhaul of frontline fighters such as MIG-29 and Sukhoi-30 MKI.
Indigenous overhauling in-house within the IAF, will significantly reduce the time and improve the availability rate of the overall fleet at a time when the service is a facing a drop in its fighter squadron strength, officials said.
The Su-30MKI procured from Russia and licence manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is the mainstay of the IAF’s fighter squadron. India has contracted 272 aircraft of which over 240 have been inducted into service.
However their serviceability rate has been an issue of constant concern with availability rates dropping below 50% at one point and has improved to over 60% over the last couple of years. The target is to have fleet availability of over 75%.
As part of the measures, in March 2017, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of India and the United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporations of Russia had signed two long term supply agreements for the Sukhoi fighter aircraft fleet to address issues of life cycle support and maintenance. These agreements cover about 57,000 spares and components related to the Su-30 aircraft.
To enable this deal, Russia changed its legislation permitting its companies to enter into direct agreement with foreign companies for long term support agreements. This was to cut the long and cumbersome procurement process of spares as India could not deal directly with the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) but only through designated intermediaries like Rosoboronexport.
5. No Aadhaar e-KYC, DoT tells telcos
The Department of Telecom issued a notification on Friday asking all telecom service providers to discontinue the use of Aadhaar e-KYC both for verification as well as for issue new mobile connections.
It has, however, said the operators may accept a copy of physical Aadhaar or e-aadhaar letter having masked or unmasked Aadhaar number as proof of identity “if offered voluntarily by the subscriber” for issuing new mobile connections.
The notification follows the Supreme Court’s September order striking down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that allowed private entities to seek Aadhaar data.
“In compliance with the judgment of the Supreme Court… all licensees shall discontinue the use of Aadhaar e-KYC service of UIDAI for re-verification of existing subscribers with immediate effect,” the notification said.
6. ED chief’s term draws to an end
The tenure of Director of the Enforcement Directorate Karnal Singh, who has held the post for about three years and supervised investigations in several important cases of corruption and bank fraud, ends on Sunday. The government is likely to take a call on the next chief on Saturday.
During Mr. Singh’s tenure, the agency has pursued high profile cases involving Vijay Mallya, Punjab National Bank fraudulent LoUs, Panama Papers, AgustaWestland, Sterling Biotech, Coal Block allocations, the PACL scam, NSEL case, Saradha and Rose Valley chit-fund scams, Srijan scam and a large number of bank frauds and demonetisation-related money laundering cases.
Mr. Singh is the second IPS officer (1984 batch) to have held the post of ED Director.
Earlier, only officers from the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Revenue Service were assigned the job.
7. China, Japan pivot to new markets
Faced with the threat of a trade war with the U.S., China and Japan have decided to work together to develop new overseas markets, by focussing on collaboration instead of competing with each other.
“Turning to cooperation from competition, the relationship between the two nations is entering a new stage,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang on Friday.
Prime Minister Li endorsed how ties between the two countries had pivoted from full-blown rivalry to growing partnership, especially over the last two years.
8. Israel premier Netanyahu makes surprise visit to Oman
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made the first visit to Oman by an Israeli premier in over 20 years, officials said on Friday, in an apparent sign of growing regional ties.
The surprise meeting with Oman’s Sultan Qaboos late on Thursday, which was kept secret until Mr. Netanyahu’s return home, comes despite the two nations having no diplomatic ties.
The trip is a major coup for Mr. Netanyahu, who has said he wants to bolster ties with the Arab world despite a stalemate on the Palestinian front.
9. Putin invited to visit U.S. next year, says Bolton
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been invited to visit U.S. next year. “We have invited President Putin to Washington for basically a full day of consultations,” he said.
10. Ireland votes on historic blasphemy ban
Irish voters were deciding on Friday whether to repeal a ban on blasphemy. The referendum was being held alongside a presidential election in which incumbent Michael Higgins was expected to secure a new seven-year term.
11. Acharya for ‘independent’ central bank
India’s central bank needed to be independent to improve the macroeconomic stability, and policies needed to be rule-based, the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Deputy Governor Viral Acharya said on Friday.
“To secure greater financial and macroeconomic stability, these efforts need to be extended to effective independence for the Reserve Bank in its regulatory and supervisory powers over public sector banks,” the RBI Deputy Governor said in a speech, the text of which was posted on the central bank website.
12 . Couple creates water out of thin air
David Hertz, having learned that under the right conditions you really can make your own water out of thin air, put a little contraption on the roof of his office and began cranking out free bottles of H2O for anyone who wanted one.
Soon he and his wife, Laura Doss-Hertz, were thinking bigger so much so that this week the couple won the $1.5 million XPrize For Water Abundance. They prevailed by developing a system that uses shipping containers, wood chips and other detritus to produce as much as 2,000 litres of water a day at a cost of no more than 2 cents a quart (1 litre).
The XPrize competition has awarded over $140 million so far for what it calls audacious, futuristic ideas aimed at protecting and improving the planet.
“One of the fascinating things about shipping containers is that more are imported than exported, so there’s generally a surplus,” said Mr. Hertz, adding they’re cheap and easy to move around. And if there’s no wood chips around for heat, coconut husks, rice, walnut shells, grass clippings or just about any other such waste product will do just fine.
There were 98 teams from 27 countries. Many teams were bigger and better funded, while the couple mortgaged their home to stay in the game. At one point, they were told they hadn’t made the final round of five, but one team dropped out and they were back in.
Integrated Financial Adviser (IFA)
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
14. Things to Remember:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of China Li Keqiang
15. Improve your Vocabulary:
(acquaint someone with)
Meaning 1 – Make someone aware of or familiar with.
Example – ‘new staff should be acquainted with fire exit routes’
Synonyms – familiarize, make familiar, make conversant, get up to date, keep up to date, familiar, conversant, at home, up to date, up
Meaning 1.1 – (be acquainted) Know someone slightly.
Example – ‘I am not acquainted with any young lady of that name’
Synonyms – known to