Today’s Current News Headlines
1. The number of income tax return (ITR) filings surged 71% to 5.42 crore till August 31 — the last date of submission for financial year 2017-18. This was led by a massive eight-fold jump in returns filed by entities under the presumptive tax scheme, and a 54% increase in e-filing by salaried individuals.
The increase in the number of returns reveals a marked improvement in the level of voluntary compliance by taxpayers. (Today’s current news)
2. From near extinction in 1951, the population of the brow-antlered deer, aka dancing deer — found only Manipur’s Bishnupur district — is just 260, according to a joint census conducted by the Forest Department and wildlife enthusiasts in March 2016.
3. Jain monk Tarun Maharaj died in the early hours of Saturday at east Delhi’s Radhapuri Jain Temple. He was 51.
4. The Supreme Court will repeat history this week as an all-woman Bench, comprising Justices R. Banumathi and Indira Banerjee, will hold court on September 5. The court had seen an all-woman Bench for the first time in 2013, when Justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Ranjana Prakash Desai sat together for hearing a case.
With the swearing-in of Justice Banerjee in August, the court for the first time has three sitting women judges. She is the eighth woman judge in the apex court since Independence. (Today’s current news)
5. Ryan Gosling’s First Man, in which he plays astronaut Neil Armstrong, opened the world’s oldest film festival in Venice on Wednesday. Reuters reported that artistic director Alberto Barbera has rebuilt the reputation of the Mostra — the Italian name for the festival — by screening a host of Hollywood arthouse pictures such as Gravity and La La Land that went from Venice to Oscars glory. In all, 21 films are competing for the Golden Lion, Venice’s top prize, which will be announced on September 8. Netflix, which snubbed Cannes because of French rules that ban simultaneous streaming of films shown in theatres, is screening six films. These include Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma and the Coen brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. The only woman director in the main competition is Australian Jennifer Kent with a grisly drama, The Nightingale. Picture shows the jury of the 75th edition of the festival, which is headed by The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro.
6. The current account measures the flow of goods, services and investments into and out of the country. We run into a deficit if the value of the goods and services we import exceeds the value of those we export. The current account includes net income, including interest and dividends, and transfers, like foreign aid.
India’s current account deficit (CAD) is pegged at $13 billion or 1.9% of the GDP in Q4 of 2017-18, which increased from $2.6 billion or 0.4% of the GDP in Q4 of 2016-17. However, the CAD moderated marginally from $13.7 billion (2.1% of GDP) in the preceding quarter.
For the quarter, the Reserve Bank of India attributed the widening of the CAD to a higher trade deficit ($41.6 billion) brought about by a larger increase in merchandise imports related to exports. For the full financial year, the CAD increased to 1.9% of the GDP in 2017-18 from 0.6% in 2016-17 on the back of a widening of the trade deficit. India’s trade deficit increased to $160 billion in 2017-18 from $112.4 billion in 2016-17.
7. Bhubaneswar-based researchers have discovered that activation of a particular protein (TRIM16) can turn out to be a potential therapeutic intervention strategy for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). At the same time, inhibiting this protein in cancer cells can bring about a reduction in tumour proliferation. The results were published in The EMBO Journal.
8. Sea surface temperature (SST) is routinely used for predicting whether the total amount of rainfall that India receives during the monsoon season will be less or more than the long-term mean of 887.5 mm. Now, scientists from Pune’s Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) find that ocean mean temperature (OMT) that has better ability to predict this than the sea surface temperature. Compared with SST which has 60% success rate of predicting the Indian summer monsoon, OMT has 80% success rate.
Chitosan is a natural polysaccharide found in the shell of crab, shrimp and also in the cell wall of fungi. “As the solubility of chitosan in water is poor, polyethylene glycol (PEG) was incorporated to it and a novel PEG-crosslinked chitosan was developed. PEG is non-toxic and has been approved by the FDA even for internal consumption,” says Vandana Srivastava from the Department of Chemistry of the institute and first author of the paper published in ChemistrySelect.
Mild steel was immersed in a corrosion-inducing solution of hydrochloric acid containing different concentration of chitosan-PEG ranging from 50-200 mg/L for six hours. The novel inhibitor was found to form a thin film on the metal surface.
10. ODD & END
Bionics is the study of engineering methods inspired by biological or natural systems. Now, bionics attempts to mimic the way some animals grasp the ground on which they walk.
The ability of spiders and geckos to grasp the walls and ceilings as they run along them has intrigued scientists for many years. A group of researchers from Kiel University, Germany, has found a way of processing silicone to achieve higher adhesive effect. They first structured the silicone based on their understanding of beetle feet. They then treated it with a plasma following which they found the adhesive effect was further enhanced by bending the material suitably. The obvious application of this is in robotics and in developing gripping devices.
11. Scientists at Potsdam Institute have a new method of analysing Earth’s magnetic field data to provide better short-term forecasting of geomagnetic storms. The technique is for systems in a state far from equilibrium, such as the earth’s magnetic field.
12. Reef health
Deep sea storms can threaten coral reefs as much as the species reefs are home to, says a report in Nature. A recent study of La Parguera deep water reefs in Puerto Rico showed these were devastated by Hurricane Maria, which struck in September 2017, contradicting prior ideas that they had weathered the storm well.
13. In a directive issued on August 28 to all States and Union Territories, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has stopped the manufacture, sale, distribution, import, trade and advertisement of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) such as e-cigarettes, vaping devices, e-sheesha, e-nicotine-flavoured hookah and heat-not-burn devices, citing the risk posed to children, adolescents and women in the reproductive age. It adds that ENDS has already been banned in 30 countries.
Such devices are often misunderstood as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) for those who aspire to quit tobacco use, and the Ministry’s notification puts an end to the belief that they help in tobacco cessation and are safer than cigarettes or other forms of tobacco-consumption as most do not contain tobacco — the source of nicotine and which is one of the most addictive substances.
14. Earlier this month, the country’s insurance regulator, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), reiterated that insurance companies are required to offer insurance cover for mental illness, thus making treatment on a par with physical illness. While the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, which came into force this May, requires insurance agencies to offer such coverage, patients, doctors and experts say little has changed on the ground.
15. Stomach juices can cut cocaine urge
Bile acids — or gut compounds that aid
in the digestion of dietary fats — reduce the desire for cocaine, according to a new study. This suggests that targeting bile acid signalling in the brain may be a novel way to treat cocaine abuse. The researchers in the U.S. have for long studied the metabolic changes associated with bariatric surgery for weight loss. Surgical patients are known to experience dramatic changes in glucose regulation, and also in taste preferences and food cravings while they are still in the recovery room. The most commonly performed bariatric surgery (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) restricts the size of the stomach and alters the path of food through the digestive tract. It also changes the point where bile acids enter the small intestine, from the usual upper part of the small intestine to a site near the end. The change increases circulating levels of bile acids in the body. The findings have been published in the journal PLOS Biology. Get daily, Today’s current news headlines in English with The Tutors Academy.
16. What are monster galaxies?
They are thought to be the ancestors of the huge elliptical galaxies in today’s universe and pave the way to understanding the formation and evolution of such galaxies. A unique characteristic of monster galaxies (or starburst galaxies as they are also called) is that they form stars at a startling pace —1,000 times higher than the star formation in our galaxy. On investigating one called COSMOS-AzTEC-1, an international team of astronomers has recently found that clouds throughout the galaxy are very unstable, which is unusual. The gas in COSMOS-AzTEC-1 will be completely consumed in 100 million years, which is 10 times faster than in other star forming galaxies. The findings have been published in Nature. (Today’s current news)
Book – The Disobedient Indian: Towards a Gandhian Philosophy of Dissent
A Gandhi reader argues that to be free means we must be critical and speak back to power when necessary
Book – Republic of Caste
A searing commentary on caste, class and the Dalit movement, and the cause and effect of deepening inequality
Book – We Who Wove with Lotus Thread: Summoning Community in South Asia
Inside the world of weaving and the Kanjeevaram sari
Book – Naveen Patnaik
How Naveen Patnaik has held on to Odisha’s top post
Book – Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
An investigation of how the global elite’s efforts to “change the world” preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. The former New York Times columnist asks, for example, why should our gravest problems be solved by the upper crust instead of the public institutions it erodes by dodging taxes?
Book – Cutting the Gordian Knot: India’s Quest for Prosperity
T.N. Hari, Hari Menon
Did India get educated before it got skilled? Why is India’s quest for prosperity through job creation such a complex exercise? Is a youthful demographic profile sufficient to drive growth? Two writers argue that the path to growth lies in reimagining our education system and sharpening our skills. Global disruptions due to changing technologies create hazards, they say.
Book – Strike a Blow to Change the World
As a Dalit Mang activist from the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, Eknath Awad fought for the rights of the underprivileged. In his autobiography, translated from the Marathi by Jerry Pinto, Awad describes his rage against the humiliation of Mangs by the upper castes; and his struggle to overcome caste prejudices and extreme poverty to get an education.
Book – Arthur Ashe: A Life
As the first black man to reach the top of a “notoriously elitist and racially segregated sport,” writes Arsenault in his prologue to the biography of Arthur Ashe, “he exhibited an extraordinary strength of character.” The stardom on court apart, much of the book explores his off-court career as a human rights activist, philanthropist, broadcaster, businessman, and “citizen of the world.”
Book – Reham Khan
Reham Khan was married to celebrity cricketer-turned-politician and now Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan for a year in 2015. Her story weaves through the murky world of Pakistani politics. Despite severe challenges, the book is also about how she rebuilt her life, raised three children single-handedly and built a successful career both in the U.K. and in Pakistan.
18. Asian Games – A medal high
There were big surprises in shooting and wrestling, with the women winning gold for the first time, and in rowing too.
Even bridge managed to bring home a gold while athletics gave the biggest push with seven golds here.
To add to the joy, India went past its best-ever medal show at the Asiad here on Saturday, finishing with a tally of 69 — 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze — bettering the 65 it had collected in 2010 edition in Guangzhou. When it came to the gold count, it was equal to the total won in the inaugural Games in 1951 in New Delhi.
Today’s Current News Headlines in English, Prepare for NDA, CDS, and AirForce with The Tutors Academy.
19. Medallists – ASIAN GAMES (01-09-2018)
Amit Panghal, gold, men’s light fly (49kg).
Pranab Bardhan & Shibhnath Sarkar, gold, men’s pair bridge.
India women, silver, squash team event.
India men, bronze, men’s hockey
Sea surface temperature (SST)
Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM)
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)
21. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – make (a dish or meal) by combining various ingredients.
Example – “she began to concoct a dinner likely to appeal to him”
Synonyms: prepare, make, put together, assemble; More
Meaning 2 – create or devise (a story or plan).
Example – “his cronies concocted a simple plan”
Synonyms: make up, think up, dream up, fabricate, invent, contrive, manufacture, trump up;
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