Latest Breaking News 2018
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1. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has kicked off the process to set new standards to measure quality of services offered to consumers across different sectors, including telecom, aviation, e-commerce and healthcare.
The BIS, which sets the quality regulations for various products from gold to bottled water, on Friday called a meeting of industry bodies to “persuade them to be part of the process and give their inputs.”
2. Ahead of the upcoming 2+2 talks with the U.S., the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which met on Saturday, cleared the procurement of 24 multi role helicopters (MRH) for the Navy. Overall, the Council approved procurement deals worth approximately ₹46,000 crore.
The 24 MRH will be procured from the U.S. under a government-to-government deal. The Navy had earlier selected the MH-60 MRH, but the deal fell through on the price. (Latest breaking news- The Hindu)
3. The colonial-era Mullaperiyar dam has again become a source of friction between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Though the original dispute was over the appropriateness of the dam’s water level, Kerala, already reeling under severe adverse impact of floods, sprang a surprise by accusing Tamil Nadu of having carried out “sudden releases” of water. This, Kerala says, forced it to discharge more water from the downstream Idukki reservoir, about 40 km away from Mullaperiyar, which has been cited as one of the causes for the “deluge”. In Kerala’s assessment, Tamil Nadu should have heeded its request immediately and lowered the water level in Mullaperiyar to 139 ft to moderate the floods.
4. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will begin a four-day tour of Vietnam and Cambodia on Monday, with an aim to deepen India’s strategic cooperation with the two key nations in the ASEAN region.
“The External Affairs Minister’s visit to Vietnam and Cambodia will provide an opportunity to hold in-depth discussions with the political leadership on a wide range of global, regional and bilateral issues, and advance our strategic engagement with these countries and the ASEAN region,” the Ministry said. In Vietnam, Ms. Swaraj will co-chair the 16th meeting of the Joint Commission, along with the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.
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5. What is the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF)?
The CAF is a nationally constituted authority that presides over a corpus of ₹66,000 crore. This is money paid by developers who have razed forest land for their construction projects, and the idea is that such land destroyed needs to be made good by regenerating forest elsewhere on non-forest land. The amount to be paid depends on the economic value of the goods and services that the razed forest would have provided. These include timber, bamboo, firewood, carbon sequestration, soil conservation, water recharge, and seed dispersal. Industrialists pay this money and this is eventually transferred to the States concerned to carry out afforestation. Until now, a Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority was in charge of the funds. However a new Act, the CAF Act 2016, that came into being after over a decade since it was devised, now establishes an independent authority to execute the fund. However, it was not until August that the rules governing the management of the fund were finalised. And this has stoked controversy. (Latest breaking news)
What was the controversy?
The CAF Bill was finally passed, in 2016, after the then Environment Minister, the late Anil Dave, assured the House that all objections raised, particularly by Mr. Ramesh — such as the provisions of the Bill vesting greater powers in the forest bureaucracy than on resident tribal people; the possible violation of tribal rights, and gram panchayats not having the final say in deciding what kind of forests could be grown — would be addressed within the Rules of the Bill. Several members had also raised doubts on whether it would lead to an ecologically sustainable replenishing of forests, and whether tribal people would be persecuted by officialdom under the garb of regenerating forests. Once the Rules became public, Mr. Ramesh said they were a “breach” of promises made. In a letter to Union Environment Minister this month, he pointed out several concerns.
6. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which met on Saturday gave formal approval for procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters worth over ₹21,000 crore.
The Navy had issued the Request for Information (RFI) last year but clarity was awaited on the implementation guidelines under the Strategic Partnership (SP) model. The guidelines were approved recently and are expected to be issued shortly.
SP model envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by an Indian Strategic Partner under technology transfer from a foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).
The DAC decision will be valid for 18 months within which the Navy has to process the deal.
The selected manufacturer will then tie up with a suitable Indian partner to manufacture the helicopters in India.
For the Army
In another deal for the Army, the DAC granted approval for procurement of 150 indigenously developed 155 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems (ATAGS), at an approximate cost of ₹3,364.78 crore.
These guns have been indigenously designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in partnership with the private sector. They will be manufactured by production agencies as nominated by the DRDO, the statement said.
The DAC also cleared the procurement of 14 Vertically Launched Short Range Missile Systems for the Navy, which will boost the self-defence capability of ships against Anti-Ship Missiles. Of these, 10 systems will be indigenously developed. (Latest breaking news & Current affairs)
7. G. Satheesh Reddy appointed DRDO chief
The Centre on Saturday appointed eminent scientist Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy as the Chairman of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The post had been lying vacant since May, after former chief Dr. S. Christopher stepped down. A missile scientist, Dr. Reddy is the Director General of the strategic missiles division. His tenure as the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister ended two months ago.
8. Kaptan Singh Solanki on Saturday took oath as the Governor of Tripura. He replaced Tathagata Roy, who had been shifted to Meghalaya. Chief Justice of High Court of Tripura Ajay Rastogi administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Solanki. He became the 17th Governor of Tripura.
9. For the first time in 25 years, a Hollywood studio released a film with an all-Asian cast last week, a welcome dose of diversity. Warner Bros. Studio’s Crazy Rich Asians, based on Kevin Kwan’s 2013 eponymous bestseller about a Chinese-American’s journey back to her roots — and great wealth — topped the box-office in North America at the opening weekend, and will be released in India next month. In Hollywood, the last film to have an all-Asian cast was the Joy Luck Club, based on Amy Tan’s book, in 1993.
10. A completely green method developed by researchers from the University of Calicut, Kerala, can potentially do away with using water for sizing and desizing cotton and polyster yarn. Textile industry is highly water-intensive and also one of the biggest water polluters.
By using liquid and supercritical carbon dioxide instead of water, and sucrose octaacetate in place of starch, team of researchers led by Dr. Poovathinthodiyil Raveendran from the University’s Department of Chemistry has made the sizing and desizing process eco-friendly. The results of the study were published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.
Before the yarn is woven into fabric, it is coated with sizing agents to strengthen the yarn (to decrease breakages on the loom) and protect it from damage and reduce friction. Sizing also removes or smoothens the projecting microfibres that might interfere with the weaving process.
Traditionally, starch mixed in water is used for the sizing process, and this requires plenty of water. The used water is disposed of, leading to water pollution. “So we looked at changing the sizing process from a wet to a completely dry process,” says Dr. Raveendran. The researchers used liquid carbon dioxide as solvent and tested three agents that easily dissolve in carbon dioxide for sizing both cotton and polyester yarn.
11. Researchers at IIT Roorkee have identified a protein (Hfq) in Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria that can be a potential drug target. The Hfq protein plays an important role in metabolism, drug resistance, stress tolerance and virulence. The protein stabilises the interaction of small RNA with its target mRNA molecules. (Latest breaking news headlines)
12. Just like on Earth, there are aurorae on Jupiter. Recent study shows that some of the charged particles generating these come from its moons Io and Ganymede. Using infrared observation from Juno spacecraft, observers found alternating spots and arc-like patterns in these aurorae.
13. For the first time in India, universal mental health care is now a justiciable right following the enforcement of the Mental Healthcare Act (MHCA), 2017. As a watershed moment for the right to health movement in India, it is also for the first time that the law has recognised the right to access health care for citizens — and specifically for mental health.
According to the National Mental Health Survey (NHMS) of India, 2016, India spends less than 1% of its entire health budget on mental health. In a country where an estimated 150 million people need mental health care and treatment, up to 92% of them (no less than 105 million persons) do not have access to any form of mental health care. Further, stigmatisation and discrimination are serious causes of concern.
14. What is Feynman’s kitchen experiment?
This quirky experiment is about breaking spaghetti. Experience suggests that it is impossible to break a stick of sphagetti into two; it will always separate into three or more pieces. The famed physicist, Richard Feynman, spent time trying to conjure a theoretical explanation for why it wasn’t possible to crack it in precisely two parts. Recently, two students made a device to break a sphagetti into two. The trick, it turns out, is using the machine to twist the stick at a specific angle and then bend it. The insight is useful to understand the various stresses that govern objects and could lead to ways to design new kinds of materials. The findings of the MIT study have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Latest breaking news- The Tutors Academy)
Points of Entry: Encounters at the Origin-Sites of Pakistan
Writer – Nadeem Farooq Paracha
Writer – K.S. Babu
This far-reaching field study evaluates one of India’s most substantial policy commitments, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), to arrive at telling and cautionary conclusions. The NRHM identifies 18 States as having weak public health indicators and health infrastructure; the major determinants here are nutrition, water, and sanitation. The mission, furthermore, requires State-level departments dealing with water and sanitation to promote local community involvement.
K. Natwar Singh
Friends, contemporaries and colleagues wrote regularly to Natwar Singh from the days of his foreign service to ambassadorship, and to more recent times as minister of external affairs. The letters collected in this volume includes among others those written by Mrs. Indira Gandhi, E.M. Forster, C. Rajagopalachari, Lord Mountbatten, Jawaharlal Nehru’s sisters, R.K. Narayan and Han Suyin.
When Coal Turned Gold
Partha Sarathi Bhattacharyya
This is the story of the transformation of Coal India (CIL), the world’s largest coal-mining company. It contributes to about 82% of India’s coal production. Former CIL chairman and managing director writes how he handled the Dhanbad coal mafia, changed the way the industry was perceived, and dealt with trade unions and the government.
16. HOW THE INDIANS FARED:
Athletics: Men: Final: Shot put: 1. Tajinder Pal Singh (Gold)
17. It was woman power to the fore as 20-year-old Kajal Kumari tamed a 86-member field, that included 55 men, by scoring a maximum of 14 points from seven rounds in the Swiss league of the fifth Carrom World Cup
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems (ATAGS)
Mental Healthcare Act (MHCA)
19. Things to Remember:
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj
Chairman of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) – Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy
Governor of Tripura – Kaptan Singh Solanki
Chief Minister of Tripura – Biplab Kumar Deb
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres
20. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – a large number of similar things coming in quick succession.
Example – “a spate of attacks on holidaymakers”
Synonyms: series, succession, run, cluster, string, outbreak, rash, epidemic, explosion, plague, wave, flurry, rush, flood, deluge, torrent, outpouring
Meaning 2 – a sudden flood in a river.
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