Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News Analysis from THE HINDU (December 17, 2018)

/Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News Analysis from THE HINDU (December 17, 2018)
Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News Analysis from THE HINDU (December 17, 2018) 2018-12-19T20:18:40+00:00

1. Baghel to head govt. in Chhattisgarh

The Congress on Sunday named 57-year-old Bhupesh Baghel for
the Chief Minister’s post in Chhattisgarh as the party got ready for ‘Super
Monday,’ when three of its governments will take oath.

The swearing-in of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister-designate
Kamal Nath will take place on Bhopal’s Jamboree Grounds at 1.30 p.m., while Mr.
Baghel will take the oath at 5 p.m. in Raipur.

2. Sirisena reinstates Ranil as PM

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday
reinstated United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister,
seven weeks after firing him in a snap move.

The re-appointment signals a likely end to the impasse that
has gripped the island since October 26, when Mr. Sirisena appointed his former
rival Mahinda Rajapaksa as premier. The move had left the country without a
legitimate government for nearly two months.

3. Railways to run 800 special trains for Kumbh

To facilitate pilgrims arriving in large numbers during the
Kumbh Mela in 2019, the railways has proposed running 800 special trains from
various stations of Allahabad district, an officials has said.

These trains would be in addition to the regular trains run
by the North Central Railway (NCR).

PRO (NCR) Amit Malviya said: “Six special trains will come
to Allahabad from different railway zones of the country for pilgrims and
tourists participating in the Kumbh Mela.”

He said the railways planned to operate four to five special
trains to ferry 5,000 Pravasi Bhartiyas from Allahabad to New Delhi. They will
be in Allahabad to participate in the Kumbh Mela after attending the Pravasi
Bhartiya Divas inVaranasi.

The Pravasi Bhartiyas will be taken to New Delhi for
Republic Day celebrations.

He also said branding of the Kumbh Mela will be done on
1,400 coaches of special trains and the originating trains of NCR by vinyl
wrapping, to take the message about the religious fair across the country.

4. India recorded 95 tiger deaths in 2018, 41 outside reserves

According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s
(NTCA) records till December 15, 2018, there were 95 cases of tiger deaths in
the country. Of this, 41 cases of tiger deaths outside tiger reserves have been

Of them, 14 occurred in Maharashtra, which accounted for
over 34% of all deaths outside tiger reserves in the country. A total of 19
tiger deaths were recorded in Maharashtra in 2018, so deaths outside tiger
reserves comprise more than 70% of all tiger deaths in the State.

The NTCA maintains the official database of tiger mortality
in the country, and compiles figures from reports sent by different States on
the basis of recovery of bodies or seizure of body parts.

According to the last tiger estimation exercise in the
country in 2014, Maharashtra is home to 190 tigers, but more than a third of
its tigers, or about 74 of them, live outside tiger reserves in the State.

Three States comprise 60% of tiger deaths.

Till December 15, of the 95 tigerd that died in the country,
41 deaths occurred outside protected areas. After Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh
recorded 22 deaths (11 outside and 11 inside tiger reserves), followed by
Karnataka, with 15 deaths (six outside tiger reserves and nine inside) being

5. ISRO’s GSAT-7A to add muscle to Air Force

Military communication satellite GSAT-7A, due to be launched
on December 19 evening from Sriharikota, is expected to add a new space-based
dimension to the way Indian Air Force interlinks, operates and communicates
with its aircraft.

Although all Indian communication satellites offer capacity
to the armed forces, GSAT-7A will be the first one built primarily for the IAF
to qualitatively unify its assets and improve combined, common intelligence
during operations. With integrated action being a buzzword it will also support
aerial activities of the Army and the Navy where required.

Multiple sources said the satellite using Ku band will
enable superior real time aircraft-to-aircraft communication; and between
planes that are in flight and their commanders on the ground.

It would enhance by many times the coverage now provided by
ground communication systems such as radars and stations of the Army.

Out-of-sight and remote areas where ground infrastructure
and signals are difficult would get into the critical information loop.

Since August 2013, the Navy has a satellite largely for its
use, the GSAT-7, for similarly linking its ships to command on land.

The GSAT-7A/ GSLV-F11 mission will also wrap up the calendar
year for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The GSLV-F11 space
vehicle will release it to an eventual geostationary orbit about 36,000 km from

However, it will become fully functional after a month of
testing payloads.

In 2018, ISRO launched GSAT-11 on December 5 on a European
vehicle from Kourou, GSAT-29 on November 14 on its GSLV-MkIII vehicle from
Sriharikota, and the ill-fated GSAT-6A on March 29 from Sriharikota.

6. Renowned yoga exponent passes away

Geeta S. Iyengar, the eldest daughter of legendary yoga guru
B.K.S. Iyengar and a noted yoga exponent in her own right, passed away at her
residence on Sunday, aged 74.

Her sudden death comes two days after the birth centenary
celebrations of ‘Yogacharya’ Iyengar held at the city’s Balewadi Sports

Described as the world’s “leading female yoga exponent” and
a “pioneer” who blazed a trail for women in yoga, she had carved out a niche
for herself by adapting yogic principles for women.

Her book, Yoga: A Gem For Women, became the primer for women
across the world and was translated into half-a-dozen European languages.

Dr. Iyengar, who jointly directed the Ramamani Iyengar
Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) along with her brother Prashant, began imbibing
the precepts of yoga from her father at a tender age.

A recognized teacher by the age of 16, she began instructing
students in yog in the early 1960s.

7. Maharashtra to give leave to male staff for childcare

Male employees of the State government are now entitled to
childcare leave in case their spouses are bedridden or incapacitated due to
mental health problems and are unable to take care of the children.

The State government on July 23 issued directions on sanctioning
childcare leave to male employees. As per the government resolution issued on
December 15, a male employee is eligible for leave for the exact period his
wife is bedridden or is unable to take care of the children due to mental
health problems.

Teaching and non-teaching staff of zilla parishads,
government-approved and aided primary, secondary and higher secondary schools,
agriculture and non-agriculture universities and full-time teaching and
non-teaching staff from the colleges affiliated to those universities also come
within its purview.

As per the original directions issued in July, the leave
will be applicable to only the first two children of the employee who are below
18 years of age. The maximum limit of this leave would be 180 days and can be
availed in three spells in a calendar year. The childcare leave can be linked
to paternity leave as well. The leave cannot be taken as the right of the
employee, but will be given only after due sanction from the authority.

While officers on probation are not eligible for this leave,
the rules said that in case of emergencies and serious condition of the child,
a special childcare leave for the minimum period can be sanctioned and the
probation period increased accordingly.

8. Qatar is now taking the fight to the Saudi Arabia-led OPEC and GCC

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s decision to
stay away from the December 9 Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh is the
latest reminder of the growing disunity among the Gulf countries. Qatar, blockaded
by three GCC countries, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, and their non-GCC
allies, has said it will not discuss a compromise unless the blockade is
lifted. The Saudi-led bloc imposed it in June 2017, accusing Qatar of funding
terrorism. But as Riyadh came under increasing global pressure after the murder
of Jamal Khashoggi in its consulate in Istanbul, it has shown signs of
reconciliation. In October, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is believed
to have ordered the Khashoggi hit, surprised observers by praising the Qatari
economy. The personal invitation to the GCC meet from King Salman bin Abdulaziz
to the Qatari Emir followed the Crown Prince’s remarks. But Qatar, a tiny
kingdom but the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, remains defiant.
Doha has announced its decision to quit OPEC, the first Arab nation to do so
since the cartel was formed in 1960. Though

Qatar said the decision was not political, clearly its exit
from OPEC was a snub to Saudi Arabia, its de facto leader.

The blockade has triggered tensions among other GCC
countries as well. Saudi Arabia is upset that Oman and Kuwait did not join the
embargo. Kuwait was trying to mediate between the rivals camps, which hasn’t
gone down well with Riyadh. Last September, the Crown Prince started a two-day
tour of Kuwait. But ties were reportedly so tense that he left the country
within a few hours. Oman continues to be independent of Saudi influence by
keeping ties open with both Qatar and Iran. The blockade has made Qatar only
more independent in its foreign policy decisions. It has stepped up assistance
for Hamas in Gaza, accelerated a plan to allow Turkey to set up a military camp
in the country and resisted calls to cut ties with Iran. The decision to quit
OPEC and the Emir’s absence at the GCC meet (a state minister was sent to
represent the country) point to an increasingly confident Qatar. But the
intra-Gulf quarrels have dampened hopes for the integration of the region. The
bloc, which once talked about a common Gulf currency and robust connectivity
projects, is now a ghost of its old self. After the summit, the GCC issued a
customary statement, emphasising regional stability and economic challenges.
Even as the summit was on, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa
criticised the Emir’s decision to skip the meet, while Doha slammed the
communiqué for its failure to address the blockade. That is the state of
affairs in the GCC.

9. Two-part tariff


This refers to an unconventional pricing technique where a business
first charges an upfront fee from consumers for its product and later charges
them additional fees based on their per unit usage. A club, for instance, might
charge its members a standard membership fee for basic entry privileges and
then charge additional fees if members choose to use individual services that
are offered by it. The two-part tariff system is considered to be a form of
price discrimination that is often employed by profit-seeking businesses trying
to maximise their total revenue by the means of fully capturing any consumer
surplus that may be available.

10. Navy to helm centre on maritime security

The Navy will formally inaugurate the Information Fusion
Centre (IFC) for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) later this week.

Through this Centre, information on “white shipping”, or
commercial shipping, will be exchanged with countries in the region to improve
maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean.

“The IFC-IOR is established with the vision of strengthening
maritime security in the region and beyond, by building a common coherent
maritime situation picture and acting as a maritime information hub for the
region,” a defence official said on condition of anonymity.

Gurugram headquarters

The IFC has been established at the Navy’s Information
Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram, which is the single point
centre linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time
picture of the nearly 7,500-km coastline.

“All countries that have already signed white shipping
information exchange agreements with us, about 21 of them, are IFC partners,”
another official said.

“With the launch of the IFC, they now have the option of
positioning liaison officers at the IFC for which we need to build up requisite
infrastructure too. So we now start with their ‘virtual presence’,” the
official said.

Against this backdrop, information exchange at the Centre
would be initially undertaken by virtual means, telephone calls, faxes, e-mails
and video conferencing. Subsequently, to enable better interconnection, quicker
analysis of information and timely inputs, the IFC-IOR would host liaison
officers from foreign countries.

Establishment of the IFR-IRO would ensure that the entire
region is benefited by mutual collaboration and exchange of information and
understanding the concerns and threats which are prevalent in the region.

In a related development, India has signed the ascension
agreement to the Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN) which facilitates
information exchange on the movement of commercial traffic on the high seas.
The multilateral construct comprises of 30 countries and is steered by Italy.

Commodore K.M. Ramakrishnan signed the agreement on behalf
of the Indian Navy at the Italian Naval Headquarters in Rome last Monday.

The information is available primarily through the Automatic
Identification System (AIS) fitted on merchant ships with more than 300 gross
registered tonnage as mandated by the International Maritime Organisation. The
AIS information comprises name, MMSI number, position, course, speed, last port
visited, destination and so on. This information can be picked up through
various AIS sensors including coastal AIS chains and satellite based receivers.

“The Indian Navy is mandated to conclude white shipping
information exchange agreements with 36 countries and three multi-national
constructs,” the official added. Such multilateral agreements are necessitated
due to the large traffic in the Indian Ocean which cannot be entirely monitored
by any one nation.

11. Govt. notifies rules for in-flight calls

People will soon be able to make calls and access Internet
through their phones during air travel and ship voyage within Indian territory
as the government has notified rules for providing such services.

Indian and foreign airlines and shipping companies operating
in the country can provide in-flight and maritime voice and data services in
partnership with a valid Indian telecom licence holder. “These rules may be
called the Flight and Maritime Connectivity Rules, 2018. They shall come into
force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette,” the
notification, dated December 14, said.

The connectivity can be provided using telecom networks on
ground as well as using satellites having permission of the Department of
Space, it said.

12. Climate talks deliver ‘rule book’

Nations on Sunday struck a deal to breathe life into the
landmark 2015 Paris climate treaty after marathon UN talks that failed to match
the ambition the most vulnerable countries need to avert dangerous global

Delegates from nearly 200 states finalised a common rule
book designed to deliver on the Paris goals of limiting global temperature
rises to well below 2°Celsius.

“Putting together the Paris agreement work programme is a
big responsibility,” said COP24 president Michal Kurtyka as he gavelled through
the deal after talks in Poland that ran deep into overtime. “It has been a long
road. We did our best to leave no one behind.”

13. 12 Indians honoured on ‘Vijay Diwas’

Bangladesh on Sunday honoured 12 Indian war veterans as it
celebrated the 47th anniversary of the ‘Victory Day’, marking its emergence as
an independent nation following the 1971 Liberation War.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged
the nation to work together for the prosperity of the country,

The Bangladesh government posthumously honoured 12 Indian
armed forces personnel for sacrificing their lives during the 1971 war.

Mr. Hamid mentioned the upcoming election, expressing hope
that the polls would ensure a victory for democracy.

In India, Vijay Diwas (Victory Day) is celebrated every year
on this day to mark India’s decisive win over Pakistan and the birth of

14. Mahathir criticises Aussie decision on Jerusalem

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Sunday
criticised Australia’s move to recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,
saying countries had “no rights” to do so. “Jerusalem has always been under
Palestine, so why are they taking the initiative to divide Jerusalem not
belonging to them, but to divide the Arabs and the Jews? They have no rights,”
he said.

15. Mastercard may erase back data

Mastercard has proposed to the RBI a “certain” date from
which it will start deleting data of Indian cardholders from global servers but
warned that it would also mean weakening of “safety and security” over a period
of time.

In April, the RBI came out with a regulation, effective
October 16, requiring payments firms to store all data about transactions
involving Indians solely on servers in India. Mastercard said all new Indian
transaction data is being stored at its technology centre in Pune as of October
6. It has proposed a move to delete back data from a certain date but said it
was wary of consequences of such a move.

16. COAI bats for single audit exercise

Ahead of the special audit of telecom operators, industry
body COAI has favoured a single audit exercise that meets stakeholders’ needs.
“The Department of Telecom (DoT) is entitled to do audits …. But can we get
to a point where one entity, that is agreed to all parties as competent, does
checks required by the CAG, Telecom Department and TRAI?,” COAI director
general Rajan Mathews asked.

17. Doughty Belgium gets the top of the world feeling

It took the team an extra shot, a nerve-racking 60 minutes
and some tense moments but in the end, maiden finalist Belgium proved more than
equal match for three-time winner the Netherlands, being crowned the new
champion of world hockey at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday with a 3-2 win
in shootouts. The game remained goalless at the end of regulation time.

When Jeroen Hetrzberger shot over the goal after finding no
space to play along the ground, it was the culmination of more than a decade of
dream, sweat and hard work for the golden generation of Belgian hockey that
finally got on top of the podium after coming close so often.

Vincent Vanasch, awarded the world’s best goalkeeper in
2017, proved why he is rated so highly, bringing off three brilliant saves in
the shootouts, including using the video referral, to ensure the European
runner-up would not play second fiddle to the Dutch a second time.

For 60 minutes, there was little to separate the teams which
gave a perfect display of dour, defensive European hockey that was all about
battling for midfield control.

Earlier, Australia dismantled England 8-1 with a lesson in
open play for its fifth bronze medal in the competition. It was also the
biggest ever margin of win in a medal round in the World Cups, bettering
Australia’s own 6-1 hammering of Netherlands in the final in the previous

The results: Final: Belgium 0 bt Netherlands 0 in shootouts;
S-O score: Belgium 3 (Florent van Aubel 2, Victor Wegnez) bt Netherlands 2
(Jeroen Hertzberger, Jonas de Geus).

Third place: Australia 8 (Tom Craig 3, Jeremy Hayward 2, Tim
Brand, Trent Mitton, Blake Govers) bt England 1 (Barry Middleton).

Other awards: Player of the tournament: Arthur van Doren

Best team goal celebration: India; Fans choice: Arthur van
Doren (Bel).

Fair Play award: Spain; Most goals scored: Australia (29);
Best junior player: Thijs van Dam (Ned).

Best goalkeeper: Pirmin Blaak (Ned); Top scorer: Blake
Govers (Aus) and Alexander Hendrickx (Bel) seven goals each.

18. Mars InSight lander seen in first images from space

A camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has
captured the image of the InSight lander, which recently touched down on the
Red Planet.

The InSight lander, its heat shield and parachute were
spotted by HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) in one set of
images taken on December 6, and again on December 11.

The lander, heat shield and parachute are within 1,000 feet
of one another on Elysium Planitia, the flat lava plain selected as InSight’s
landing location, NASA said in a statement.

This is not the first time HiRISE has photographed a Mars
lander. InSight is based largely on 2008’s Phoenix spacecraft, which the camera
aboard MRO captured on the surface of Mars as well as descending on its

19. Abbreviations:

Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

20. Things to Remember:

Sri Lanka
President – Maithripala Sirisena

Sri Lanka PM
– Ranil Wickremesinghe

Chief Minister
of Chhatisgarh – Bhupesh Baghel

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad

21. Improve your Vocabulary:


Meaning – An
official ban on trade or other commercial activity with a particular country.

Example –
‘an embargo on grain sales’

Synonyms –
ban, bar, veto, moratorium, prohibition, proscription, interdict, injunction,
sanction, restriction, barrier

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