Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (October 30, 2018)
1. Plane plunged into the Java Sea minutes after take-off from Jakarta
The Boeing-737 MAX, which went into service just months ago, vanished from the radar 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta, plunging into the Java Sea moments after it had asked to return to the Indonesian capital. Websites that display flight data showed the plane speeding up as it suddenly lost altitude in the minutes before it disappeared. Authorities said witnesses saw the jet plunge into the water.
Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee said there were 178 adult passengers, one child, two infants, two pilots, including Indian Bhavye Suneja, and six crew aboard flight JT 610.
2. ICF rolls out Train 18, the NextGen Shatabdi
The gleaming, blue-nosed train standing at ’s Integral Coach Factory (ICF) has a cone-shaped frontage, similar to a bullet train. The new train comes fitted with amenities on a par with the best in the world — from on-board Wi-Fi to GPS-based passenger information system, ‘touch-free’ bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points, and a climate control system that will adjust the temperature according to occupancy and the weather.
What ‘Train 18’ doesn’t have, however, is a locomotive to pull the coaches — it is a self-propelled, semi-high-speed trainset that will soon replace the box cars of the inter-city Shatabdis.
The much anticipated Indian-made trainset was unveiled to the public by Indian Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani on Monday at the ICF. Train 18 will undergo the mandatory safety checks before being inducted into the Railways in the coming months.
Speaking at the launch function, Mr. Lohani said Train 18 will be a game- changer for the Indian Railways. He said it can reach a maximum speed of 160 km per hour. The train can both accelerate and pull to a stop rapidly, thereby consuming much less energy, he added.
S. Mani, general manager of ICF, said the train was completed in a record time of 18 months after it was conceived in 2016. About 80% of the design, technology and manufacture of Train 18, a predecessor to ‘Train 20’, is Indian. The coaches in the fully air-conditioned train are linked with advanced bridge plates, leaving the train free of the shaky gangways Indian train travellers are used to.
3. Modi, Abe back ‘free Indo-Pacific’
India and Japan outlined a vision for strengthened bilateral relations at the 13th annual summit here on Monday.
Enhanced strategic and defence cooperation dominated the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe.
Japan’s formulation of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” received a central place in the vision statement issued at the end of the talks, with both sides stressing their “unwavering commitment to it.” The concept is usually seen as a response to China’s growing dominance in the region.
Speaking to the press after his talks with Mr. Abe, Mr. Modi said the India-Japan bilateral relationship was invested in upholding the rule of law and democratic values.
4. Pak. accepts India invite to SCO meet
India will host Pakistan and representatives of seven member countries that are part of the China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on handling urban disaster this week.
The National Disaster Response Force is hosting the preparatory meeting for the “Joint mock exercise on urban earthquake search and rescue” to be held next year in India. The meeting assumes significance as India called off dialogue with Pakistan last month.
A senior NDRF official said that Pakistan has accepted the invitation.
“We have received a confirmation from Pakistan. It is not clear whether they would be represented from the High Commission here or someone would be coming from Pakistan,” the official said.
On his Kyrgyzstan visit in August 2017, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had announced that India would host the 10th meeting of Heads of Departments of disaster prevention of SCO member states.
The first phase of the meeting will be held from November 1-2 at Delhi’s Le Meridien hotel.
“The exercise will provide an opportunity to member countries to validate their preparedness and resilience to address the various challenges like strengthening the effective utilisation of the search and rescue teams for emergency response, coordination and information sharing with foreign embassies in disaster-affected countries, making humanitarian assistance in disaster response more effective,” an NDRF statement said.
5. Children under 15 at serious risk from polluted air: WHO
Every day about 93% of the world’s children under the age of 15 (1.8 billion children) breathe polluted air that puts their health and development at serious risk, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a new report that puts into numbers the devastating impact of air pollution on the global population’s health.
Tragically, many of these children die, with as many as six lakh estimated to have perished in 2016 alone due to complications from acute lower respiratory infections caused by dirty air, according to the report.
The report on air pollution and child health released on the eve of the WHO’s first ever global conference on Air Pollution and Health on Tuesday reveals that when pregnant women are exposed to polluted air, they are more likely to give birth prematurely, and have small, low birth-weight children.
Air pollution also impacts neuro-development and cognitive ability and can trigger asthma, and childhood cancer. Children exposed to high levels of air pollution may be at greater risk for chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease later in life, the WHO said.
6. PM to unveil Patel statue
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to unveil Sardar Patel’s statue, the world’s largest, on his birth anniversary on October 31.
The Prime Minister will arrive in Gujarat on the evening of October 30 and will stay overnight at the Gandhinagar Raj Bhawan.
Final touches are being given to the Statue of Unity, as it is called, built by engineering and infrastructure major L&T on the river Narmada in South Gujarat.
The ₹3,000 crore project is funded for the most part by the Gujarat government, with minor contributions from the Centre and Central PSUs.
“This is a tribute to Sardar Patel, who united the country after Independence. This is not a party function. It’s a tribute by the nation and the State he was born in,” Gujarat’s Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said on Monday.
The statue is made up of 1,700 tonnes of bronze, 1,850 tonnes of bronze cladding, 70,000 metric tonnes of cement and 24,500 metric tonnes of steel.
Two high speed elevators inside can take tourists up to the statue’s chest from where around 200 visitors can view the Narmada river and the Sardar Sarovar dam over it.
7. Facebook leaks redux
Barely six months after the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook data theft scandal, the world’s largest social network hit the headlines once again following yet another data breach that affected millions of users.
In late September, Facebook announced that it had discovered a security breach that had compromised nearly 50 million accounts. The figure was subsequently revised to 30 million. Hackers had reportedly exploited flaws in the code for the ‘View As’ feature, which lets users see what their own profile looks like to someone else, to steal “access tokens”. By stealing them, the hackers were able to serially take over people’s accounts.
While Facebook claims to have fixed the bug and reset the logins of all those affected, the episode has done little to restore people’s confidence in Facebook’s seriousness when it comes to protecting their data. It is also unclear how much personal data have been stolen, and how that data may end up being used in ways that could harm Facebook users.
Incidentally, tech commentators have speculated that it was the European Union (EU)’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force this May, that forced Facebook to go public with the breach so promptly, even before the full extent of the damage could be assessed. The GDPR’s stringent guidelines require companies to make such events known within three days of their discovery.
In general, citizen-consumers have had to choose between two equally unsatisfactory options: either resign themselves to a post-privacy world or be perpetually scrambling to reskill themselves in order to be able to safely navigate the complicated and ever-evolving (mine)field of data privacy and safety.
Following the latest data breach, there were numerous articles educating users on how to secure their Facebook account and data from hackers. But should the onus of securing data be put primarily on the users, with hardly any criminal liability for the platform? After all, this is not a ‘parking at owner’s risk’ scenario, where, after a break-in, one still had some recourse in the form of the local police. In the case of tech behemoths such as Facebook and Google, the power asymmetry vis-à-vis the ordinary user is so astronomical as to render the very notion of redress laughable.
But this could soon change, thanks to the GDPR stick being wielded by the EU. Facebook faces a potential penalty of €20 million or 4% of its global revenue (whichever is higher) if the EU regulator investigating the data breach finds a GDPR violation in connection with the incident. If data security for ordinary users is to become something more than a seminar topic, then an equitable regulatory regime such as the GDPR must become the universal norm, in force beyond the EU jurisdiction as well.
8. Social comparison theory
This refers to a theory which states that human beings determine their personal worth by comparing themselves to others. People might compare their status with others who are either better off (upward comparison) or worse off (downward comparison) than themselves in the social hierarchy. Such social comparison may be based on a variety of criteria like intelligence, looks and economic status. The social comparison theory was first proposed by American social psychologist Leon Festinger in his 1954 paper “A theory of social comparison processes”.
9. PM seeks to strengthen business ties
PALLAVI AIYAR, TOKYO
Addressing a Japan-India business symposium as part of his two-day visit to Tokyo, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday made a pitch for deepening bilateral business ties. He invited Japanese collaboration in India’s efforts to establish smart cities; metro networks; port, road and rail construction; inland water transportation and green energy.
Mr. Modi highlighted the fact that India’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Business Index had jumped from 140 to 100 since he came to power. However, Hiriyuki Ishige, Chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organisation, said that “further improvement is required” and at a minimum, India should be in the top 50 of the rankings.
10. Bolsonaro elected Brazil President
Former Army Captain Jair Bolsonaro was elected President of Brazil on Sunday, promising a fundamental change in direction for the country.
Despite repulsing many with his open support of the torture used by Brazil’s former military regime, as well as remarks deemed misogynist, racist and homophobic, Mr. Bolsonaro managed to tap voters’ deep anger with corruption, crime and economic malaise.
Official results gave him 55.13% of the votes in the run-off election, to 44.87% for leftist opponent Fernando Haddad, with 99.99% of the ballots counted.
11. India, Japan sign $75 billion currency swap agreement
India and Japan signed a currency swap agreement worth $75 billion during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan, the government announced on Monday.
“The Prime Ministers of India and Japan, building on great friendship between the two countries and to further strengthen and widen the depth and diversity of economic cooperation, agreed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Japan, to conclude a Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement for an amount of $75 billion,” the Indian government said in a statement. A currency swap typically involves the exchange of interest and sometimes of principal in one currency for the same in another currency. Interest payments are exchanged at fixed dates through the life of the contract.
The currency swap agreement, the government said, was an important measure in improving the confidence in the Indian market and that it would not only enable the agreed amount of capital being available to India, but it will also bring down the cost of capital for Indian entities while accessing the foreign capital market.
12. Fantastic five for Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton celebrated his fifth Formula One World Championship and joined an elite trio of greats on Sunday after a Mexican Grand Prix won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for the second year in a row.
The Mercedes driver, who equalled the five titles of late 1950s Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio with only seven times champion Michael Schumacher above them, finished fourth while Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel was second. Hamilton had needed only five points to be sure of the title while four-time champion Vettel had to win to have any hope of denying the Briton.
13. Tata Steel is official hockey WC partner
Steel manufacturing giant Tata Steel was on Monday announced as an official partner of the men’s hockey World Cup, to be staged at the Kalinga Stadium here from November 28 to December 16. Tata Steel signed the agreement with the quadrennial event to continue their efforts of promoting development through sports across the country.
14. Blessings from Tiruchanur now a money order away
Devotees making offerings through money order to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams will now get the blessings of Tiruchanur Sri Padmavathi Ammavaru in the form of a yellow thread, ‘akshintalu’ (turmeric-coated rice) and ‘kumkum’ (vermilion). The scheme was launched at the Head Post Office here on Monday.
Integral Coach Factory (ICF)
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
European Union (EU)
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
16. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – A loud and confused noise, especially that of people shouting.
Example – ‘the questions rose to a clamour’
Synonyms – din, racket, loud noise, uproar, tumult, babel, shouting, yelling, screaming, baying, roaring, blaring, clangour
Meaning 1.1 – A strongly expressed protest or demand from a large number of people.
Example – ‘the growing public clamour for more police officers on the beat’
Synonyms – demand, demands, call, calls, urging, insistence, protests, storms of protest, complaints, outcry
Current Affairs is an important GK topic for UPSC, NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Air force X & Y Groups, SSC, and other competitive exams. Every year in UPSC, SSC and Bank there are few questions from Current Affairs.