Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (October 10, 2018)
1. ‘Titli’ puts coastal Odisha on high alert
Several coastal districts of Odisha have been put on high alert as the cyclonic storm ‘Titli’ is expected to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours.
As a precautionary measure, the State government has ordered the closure of all educational institutes and anganwadi kendras in Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts from Wednesday till effects of the storm are over. A decision over closure of institutes in some other districts may be taken after a review of the situation on Wednesday.
2. Indian roads claim more cyclists
Pedestrians and cyclists suffered the biggest spike in fatalities in road accidents across the country in 2017, even as overall fatalities in road accidents and the total count of such incidents declined marginally.
According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ annual report on road accidents, the total number of accidents dropped 3.3% in 2017 to 4.64 lakh, with the overall number of lives lost in these crashes declining 1.9% to 1.47 lakh, from 1.5 lakh in 2016.
However, the number of pedestrians killed in road accidents jumped by 29.9% to 20,457 and the number of cyclists killed surged by 37.7% to 3,559. Pedestrians and cyclists together accounted for 16.2% of the total fatalities in road accidents during 2017.
The data also shows that almost 7 out of 10 two-wheeler and four wheeler users who died in an accident did not follow the mandatory requirement of wearing helmets and seat belts.
Tamil Nadu topped in number of accidents, while U.P. had the most fatalities.
3. Govt. to revamp panel on land reform
The people’s movement Ekta Parishad cut short itsmarch of 25,000 landless and tribal people from Gwalior to Delhi last Saturday after the Centre promised to reconstitute the National Taskforce on Land Reforms. The march had been launched on October 2.
Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development Virendra Kumar also agreed to establish monitoring mechanisms to ensure the smooth implementation of existing laws governing land acquisition and the rights of forest dwellers, according to the movement’s founding president P.V. Rajagopal, who briefed reporters in the capital on Tuesday. However, no commitments were made on the protesters’ demands for a Women Farmers’ Entitlement Act and a National Homestead Rights Act.
4. Vehicle checks at tiger reserve to be intensified
Vehicle checks at the Kalakkad tiger reserve will be intensified after it emerged that 11 teak trees were felled by a gang with the assistance of an anti-poaching watcher inside the Kalakkad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. The gang moved the timber from the sanctuary in a lorry under the guise of devotees visiting the Sorimuthu Ayyanar Temple.
5. Use regional language on labels, FMCG firms told
Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday said that consumer products of FMCG firms should feature labels in Hindi and the regional languages, alongside English. “I feel that that those who are not conversant with the English language too should be able to read the labels,” he said.
6. Another warning on warming
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just released a special report on global warming of 1.5°C over pre-industrial temperatures. Produced speedily, it provides details on how the global response to climate change needs to be strengthened within the broader context of sustainable development and continuing efforts to eradicate poverty. The impacts of 1.5°C of warming and the possible development pathways by which the world could get there are its main focus.
It was in 2015, at the Paris climate conference, that the global community made a pact to pursue efforts to limit warming to within 1.5°C — half a degree below the previous target of 2°C. With the increase in extreme events and the very survival of small islands at stake, the lower limit was greeted then with surprise and enthusiasm.
7. Conditional convergence
This refers to a phenomenon wherein poor countries tend to grow at a faster rate than rich ones and eventually manage to attain similar income levels, provided these countries possess the right conditions. In the absence of the right institutions that are essential for long-term economic growth, economic convergence does not happen even over long periods of time. Thus, the convergence of living standards is dependent on certain conditions. The term was coined by Turkish economist Dani Rodrik in his 2011 paper “The future of economic convergence.”
8. Army sets its sights on future
The week-long biannual Army Commanders conference began here on Tuesday with the service is keen on finalising several radical measures to right-size the force and optimise the ballooning revenue expenditure.
“As part of the conclave, commanders and directorates at Army Headquarters will deliberate on important studies that have been ordered to meet future operational challenges. There are four studies examining operational and optimisational issues of the Army and the headquarters as also human resources management aspects,” the Army said in a statement.
The Army further stated that these studies aimed to improve the teeth-to-tail ratio, with the purpose of strengthening the structures within the Army, to make it combat-ready for the future.
9. Amend PRB Act, says BJP leader
The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, which allows a publisher to get a title registered and hold on to it for decades, should be amended so that genuine publishers are not denied of decent titles, the secretary of the BJP Parliamentary Party has said.
In a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, Balasubramanyam Kamarsu said the law needed immediate overhauling.
10. Nikki Haley resigns as U.S. Ambassador to the UN
Indian American Nikki Haley resigned as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) on Tuesday amid speculation that she might be a candidate in the 2020 presidential election. She was Governor of South Carolina when President Donald Trump offered her the job of Ambassador to the UN. Elected as the State’s first woman Governor in 2010, she was a staunch opponent of Mr. Trump within the Republican Party during the 2016 presidential election.
11. China to sell 48 armed drones to Pakistan
China will sell 48 high-end armed drones to its “all-weather ally” Pakistan in what a military observer said will be the largest deal of its kind, official media here reported on Tuesday.
The cost of the major defence deal was not revealed.
Wing Loong II is a high-end reconnaissance, strike and multi-role endurance unmanned aerial system, capable of being fitted with air-to-surface weapons.
It is roughly equivalent to the American MQ-9 Reaper drone.
The drones will also be jointly manufactured by China and Pakistan, state-run Global Times reported. Last year, China reportedly sold to countries like the UAE and Egypt the Wing Loong II at an estimated $1 million per unit, reports said.
China is the largest supplier of weapon system to the Pakistan Army. Both countries also jointly manufacture JF-Thunder a single engine multi-role combat aircraft.
The Trump administration has agreed to sell sell 22 Sea Guardian drones to India.
The country is reported to have received 10 advanced Heron drones from Israel as well.
The deal for the acquisition of the drones manufactured by Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company was announced by Pakistan Air Force’s Sherdils Aerobatic Team on its official Facebook account on Sunday, the Global Times report reported without giving out details.
The Air Force academy aerobatics team announced that in the future, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Company will jointly manufacture the drones, the report said.
12. WhatsApp builds payments data system for local storage
Ahead of the October 15 deadline to comply with RBI’s data localisation norms, Facebook-owned Whatsapp said it had built a system in India to store payments related data locally.
“In response to India’s payments data circular, we’ve built a system that stores payments-related data locally in India,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in April this year, had directed payment system operators to store all data, including full end-to-end transaction details and information collected, within India. The service providers were given six months till October 15 to comply.
WhatsApp, which began piloting its payments service in India earlier this year, said almost one million people in the country were “testing WhatsApp payments to send money to each other in a simple and secure way.”
13. Lockheed and Tata meet local suppliers to source F-16 parts
Lockheed Martin, a New York Stock Exchange-listed firm, and Tier-I suppliers of its F-16 fighter, met with about 70 Indian micro, small and medium enterprises on Tuesday to gauge the potential for making components for the aircraft in India.
“The F-16 provides unmatched opportunities for Indian companies of all sizes, including Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises and suppliers throughout India, to establish new business relationships with Lockheed Martin, Tata, and other U.S. and global industry leaders,” said Vivek Lall, vice-president of strategy and business development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “Exclusive F-16 production integrates Indian industry into a $165-billion fighter aircraft sustainment market,” Sukaran Singh, CEO & MD, Tata Advanced Systems, Lockheed’s Indian partner, said.
The two companies held a supplier conference to provide a platform that would allow Indian players in the industry explore opportunities and share knowledge with other global suppliers in the F-16 fighter aircraft manufacturing ecosystem, according to a joint statement. The potential F-16 India Project, as a single source globally, would help India to build new capabilities in the defence manufacturing sector.
14. Lalrinnunga and Bhaker strike it rich
India’s next generation of athletes scripted history not once but twice in the space of 24 hours as weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga and shooter Manu Bhaker picked up the country’s maiden set of gold medals in the Youth Olympics at BUENOS AIRES (Argentina).
The 15-year-old Lalrinnunga shattered the National record in the men’s 62kg category to claim top honours and announce his arrival on the big stage. Bhaker, on the other hand, rediscovered the form that made her a sensation in the women’s 10m air pistol event.
Lalrinnunga, a World youth silver medallist, lifted a total of 274kg (124kg +150kg) to finish on top in the Argentine capital on Monday night.
Earlier this year, Lalrinnunga had claimed a silver (youth) and a bronze (junior) in the Asian Championships, smashing two National records in the process.
The 16-year-old Bhaker shot 236.5 to finish on top of the podium on Tuesday, making up for the heartbreak at the Asian Games and the World Championship where she could not live up to her billing.
15. Three more gold medals for India
India bagged three more gold, with two coming from athletics, in a rich haul of 11 medals to maintain its eighth spot on the third day of competitions at the Para Asian Games here on Tuesday.
Ekta Bhyan and Narayan Thakur clinched gold in women’s F32/51 club throw event and men’s T35 100m dash respectively before para-shooter Manish Narwal bagged the yellow metal in the men’s SH1 10m air pistol event.
All the medals on Tuesday, except for the shooting gold, came from para-athletics.
Bhyan produced her best throw in her fourth attempt, 16.02m, winning the event ahead of UAE’s Alkaabi Thekra (15.75m).
Thakur won in 14.02 seconds, ahead of Adawi Ahmed of Saudi Arabia (14.40) and Yiu Chui Bao of Hong Kong (14.62).
Silver medals came through Surender Aneesh Kumar (men’s F43/44,F62/64 discus), Ram Pal (men’s T45/46/47 high jump) and Virender (men’s F56/57 shot put).
The five bronze medal winners on Tuesday were Monu Ghangas (men’s F11 shot put), Jayanti Behera (women’s T45/46/47 shot put), Anandan Gunasekaran (men’s T44/62/64 200m), Sundar Singh Gurjar (men’s F46 discus) and Pardeep (men’s F43/44,F62/64 discus).
India now has six gold, nine silver and 13 bronze with China ruling the roost with 73 gold, 32 silver and 29 bronze.
16. Halep, Osaka nominated
World No. 1 Simona Halep and Japan’s Naomi Osaka are among the players nominated for the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Player-of-the-Year award.
17. IMF projects India growth at 7.3% in 2018
India is projected to grow at 7.3% in 2018 and 7.4% next year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday, predicting that the country will regain the tag of the world’s fastest growing major economy this year, surpassing China with more than 0.7 percentage points. In 2017, India had clocked a 6.7% growth rate.
In India, important reforms have been implemented in the recent years, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the inflation-targeting framework, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, and steps to liberalise foreign investment and make it easier to do business, the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) report.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)
Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL)
19. Things to Remember:
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
20. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – An official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offences.
Example – ‘an amnesty for political prisoners’
Synonyms – pardon, pardoning, reprieve