Oct. 22, 2019

Current Affairs
Oct. 22, 2019

MUHAMMAD IQBAL
Furqan Ali, a headmaster of a government primary school in Uttar Pradesh was suspended after his students recited a poem written by Muhammad Iqbal in 1902 titled, “Lab pe aati hai dua”. This happened after a complaint was filed by local Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) workers who alleged that asking students to recite it in a government school is “anti-national”.

About:

  • Muhammad Iqbal (1877 – 1938), widely known as Allama Iqbal was a poet-philosopher whose work promoted the philosophy of self-hood and dealt with the intellectual and cultural reconstruction of the Islamic world.

  • His best known Urdu works are The Call of the Marching Bell, Gabriel's Wing, The Rod of Moses and a part of Gift from Hijaz.

  • "Sare Jahan se Accha", formally known as "Tarānah-e-Hindi", is an Urdu language patriotic song for children written by poet Muhammad Iqbal in the ghazal style of Urdu poetry. The poem was published in 1904.

Role in creation of Pakistan Movement:

  • He is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement. He is called the "Spiritual Father of Pakistan."

  • In 1930, during the 25th Session of the All-India Muslim League in Allahabad, he delivered his most famous presidential speech known as the Allahabad Address in which he pushed for the creation of a Muslim state in north-west India.

  • Iqbal is considered to have given the vision for the creation of Pakistan, whereas Jinnah is considered to be the one who shaped this vision.

  • The Pakistan government officially named him "National Poet of Pakistan".

Source : Indian Express
History

Current Affairs
Oct. 22, 2019

QS INDIAN UNIVERSITY RANKINGS
The QS Indian University Rankings were released — this is the second edition of the standalone rankings for India’s higher education institutions. The rankings include public, private, higher education or deemed universities.

About: 

  • Rankings:
    • The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) dominate the list, with seven IITs figuring in the top ten rankings.

    • Like last year, IIT-Bombay leads followed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

    • IIT-Delhi now stands third in the ranking. Delhi University, University of Hyderabad and the Indian Institute of Science are the only other non-IIT institutions in the top ten.



  • Methodology: The methodology used eight indicators – with indicator of “Academic reputation” having the highest weight – to determine the institutions’ rankings. These were:
    • academic reputation (weight of 30%),

    • employer reputation (20%),

    • faculty-student ratio (20%),

    • proportion of staff with a PhD (10%),

    • papers per faculty from Scopus database (10%),

    • citations per paper from Scopus database (5%),

    • proportion of international students (2.5%), and

    • proportion of international faculty (2.5%).



Important Info :
  • These India rankings do not necessarily match the QS World University Rankings that were released earlier this year.
  • In that list, IIT-Bombay has been ranked the best Indian institution and IIT-Delhi the second best.
  • The two rankings use different criteria — for example, while academic reputation is given a weight of 30% in the India University Rankings, its weight is 40% in the World Rankings.
Source : Indian Express
Education

Current Affairs
Oct. 22, 2019

SKIN-ON INTERFACE
Researchers from the University of Bristol in partnership with Telecomm ParisTech and the Sorbonne University in France have developed a skin-on interface that mimics the appearance of human skin and its ability to sense.

About: 

  • The interface is made up of layers of silicone membrane. It is, therefore, more natural than the hard casing of phones, and can detect gestures made by end-users.

  • The artificial skin allows the device it is on to “feel” the user’s grasp, including its pressure and location. Therefore, it can detect interactions such as tickling, caressing, twisting and pinching.

Significance:

  • While artificial skin has been studied in the field of robotics, the aim of those studies was either cosmetic or focussed on safety. This is the first time that the uses of “realistic” artificial skins are being considered for augmenting devices.

  • This development could take touch technology to the next level for interactive devices such as phones, wearables and computers.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Oct. 22, 2019

THE HUNDRED (CRICKET)
The draft for The Hundred was held on October 20, 2019 as eight teams finalised their squads for the tournament that'll start in July next year.

About:

  • The Hundred is the title of a professional 100-ball cricket tournament in England and Wales run by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) commencing in July 2020.

  • The league will consist of eight city-based franchise teams, each of which will field both a men's and women's team.

  • 100-ball cricket is a form of limited overs cricket, played by two teams each playing a single innings made up of 100 balls. The format of the game is:
    • 100 balls per innings

    • A change of ends after 10 balls

    • Bowlers deliver either five or 10 consecutive balls

    • Each bowler can deliver a maximum of 20 balls per game

    • Each bowling side gets a strategic timeout of up to two and a half minutes

    • A 25-ball powerplay start for each team. Two fielders are allowed outside of the initial 30-yard circle during the powerplay 



Source : Indian Express
Sports

Current Affairs
Oct. 22, 2019

TAANAJI MALUSARE
Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn shared the first look of his upcoming period drama film, Tanhaji: The unsung warrior. It is being said that the film is based on Subedar Taanaji Malusare, a Maratha military leader and a close aide of Chhatrapati Shivaji.

About: 

  • Taanaji Malusare was a Maratha military leader and a close aide of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Taanaji is popularly remembered for the Battle of Singhagad that took place in the year 1670.

  • In the year 1665, the Treaty of Purandar was signed between Jai Singh and Shivaji, which required the Maratha ruler to give up Fort Kandhana (later named Singhagad) to the Mughals.

  • Later, Shivaji entrusted Taanaji the task of reconquering the fort Kondhana at any cost. In the battle, Taanaji fought against Udaybhan Rathore, a formidable Rajput warrior, who was put in charge of Fort Kandhana by Jai Singh.

  • According to legend, Shivaji, upon hearing the news of Tanaji’s demise during the battle, said Gad ala pan Sinha gela (Although the fort was captured, a lion was lost). The fort was renamed as Singhagad (lion’s fort) by Shivaji to honour Tanaji.

Source : Indian Express
History

Current Affairs
Oct. 22, 2019

US INDIA STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP FORUM (USISPF)
The members of US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The delegation was led by Chairman, USISPF, Mr. John Chambers.

About: 

  • The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is a non-profit organization.

  • it's primary objective is strengthening the India-US bilateral and strategic partnership through policy advocacy in the fields of economic growth, entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation.

  • According to USISPF estimates, India-US bilateral trade is projected to grow to 238 billion dollars by 2025. Sectors like defence trade, commercial aircraft, oil and LNG, coal, machinery and electronics are areas of potential growth in US investments and commerce into India.

Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 22, 2019

MARAWAH ISLAND
The oldest known natural pearl in the world has been discovered by Abu Dhabi archaeologists working at a Neolithic site on Marawah Island, just off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

About: 

  • Dubbed the ‘Abu Dhabi Pearl’, it was found in layers that have been radiocarbon dated to 5,800-5,600 BCE, during the Neolithic period.

  • the discovery is a proof that pearls and oysters were being used in the UAE nearly 8,000 years ago, and represents the earliest known evidence for pearling yet discovered anywhere in the world.

Important Info :

Marawah Island? 

  • Marawah is a low-lying island off the coast of Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. 
  • The island is a key center of archaeology. Archeologists have identified various sites dating from the Neolithic to the Islamic Period (12-13 AD). 
Source : All India Radio
Geography

Current Affairs
Oct. 22, 2019

RIGHT TO INFORMATION (RTI) ACT
The Delhi High Court has said that giving judgment on the policy framework of an organisation and directing change of policies are not envisaged under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

About: 

  • The observation came as the court set aside a Central Information Commission (CIC) direction to the Centre to revise the present policy for selection of meritorious students under the 'Bal Shree scheme'.

  • The Court quashed the CIC's November, 2018 order to the Human Resource Development Ministry as the directions were clearly beyond the statutory framework and powers of the CIC.

  • The CIC order had come on an RTI applicant's plea to the National Bal Bhawan, seeking details regarding the age limit for Bal Bhawan membership and whether it was necessary for being eligible for a 'Bal Shree award'.

  • The Ministry filed an appeal, contending that the CIC order was bad in law as the direction given was beyond the scope, purview and ambit of the RTI Act.

Source : All India Radio
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Oct. 22, 2019

‘MAKE IN INDIA’ IN DEFENCE
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, accorded approval for three projects to be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian industry.

About: 

  • The first two projects include third generation Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) and the Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) for the T-72 and T-90 Tanks.
    • The third generation ATGM would provide ‘Fire and Forget’ and “Top Attack” capabilities to the troops in an armoured battle.

    • The APUs would enable incorporation of various upgrades to Fire Control System and Night Fighting capabilities of the Tanks.

    • Both these projects will be progressed under the ‘Make-II’ Category and will provide a boost to indigenous research and development in the Private Sector.

    • With this, for the first time the Ministry of Defence has offered complex Military equipment to be designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian private industry.



  • The third indigenous project pertains to discrete Electronic Warfare (EW) systems for the mountain and High Altitude terrain, which would be designed and developed by DRDO and manufactured by design cum production partner from the Indian industry.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Oct. 22, 2019

DIGITAL BHARAT DIGITAL SANSKRITI
Union Minister for Culture & Tourism (IC) launched the E-Portal of CCRT ‘Digital Bharat Digital Sanskriti' and CCRT YouTube Channel in New Delhi.

About: 

  • This will enable dissemination of cultural education through digital interactive medium into the classrooms all over the country.

  • For this initiative, CCRT has tied up with Routes 2 Roots, an NGO, for connecting seamlessly all the CCRT Regional Centres i.e., Guwahati, Udaipur and Hyderabad.

Important Info :

The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) is autonomous organisation under Ministry of Culture of Government of India. it was established in 1979 to support cultural education.

Source : PIB
Culture

Oct. 21, 2019

Current Affairs
Oct. 21, 2019

ANTHRAX
Veterinarians have confirmed anthrax as the cause of death of two Asiatic water buffaloes in central Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.

About:

  • Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis which can be found naturally in soil.

  • It can occur in four forms: skin, lungs, intestinal, and injection.

  • It is characterised by blisters around swellings on the skin, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.

  • It commonly affects domestic and wild animals around the world. Cattle, sheep, goats, antelope, and deer can become infected when they breathe in or ingest spores in contaminated soil, plants, or water.

  • People can get sick with anthrax if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products. Contact with anthrax can cause severe illness in both humans and animals.

  • Anthrax is not contagious, which means you can’t catch it like the cold or flu.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
Oct. 21, 2019

UTERINE TRANSPLANTS
Radha — India’s first uterine transplant baby and also the world’s 12th uterine transplant baby — celebrated her first birthday. The first birth after a transplant, in 2014, happened in Sweden.

About:

  • The uterine transplant is the surgical procedure whereby a healthy uterus is transplanted into an organism of which the uterus is absent or diseased.

  • Reasons: For women whose uterus is not healthy, or who do not have one, a transplant is the newest form of infertility treatment.

  • Concerns:
    • Uterine transplants are still extremely rare, complicated and expensive. A uterine transplant, like that for other organs, requires clearances at several levels.

    • Concerns have been raised about the welfare of living donors who may end up regretting their choice to donate. A living donation is justified only after informed consent by the donor, and this after counselling by physicians and psychologists. 



Important Info :

Montreal criteria:

The Montreal Criteria are following set of criteria developed in 2012 which are deemed to be required for the ethical execution of the uterine transplant in humans:

  • The recipient is a cisgender female with no medical contraindications to transplantation, has uterine disease that has failed other therapy, and has "a personal or legal contraindication" to other options (surrogacy, adoption).
  • The donor is a female of reproductive age who has concluded her childbearing or consented donating her uterus after her death. There is no coercion and the donor is responsible and capable of making informed decisions.
  • The health care team belongs to an institution that meets Moore's third criterion regarding institutional stability and has provided informed consent to both parties. There is no conflict of interests, and anonymity can be protected unless recipient or donor waive this right.
Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
Oct. 21, 2019

INDIAN PENAL CODE (IPC), 1860
The Home Ministry has constituted two committees comprising legal luminaries to overhaul the Indian Penal Code (IPC) introduced by the British in 1860.

About: 

  • The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the official criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.

  • History: The code was drafted in 1860 on the recommendations of first law commission of India established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the Chairmanship of Lord Macaulay. It was passed into law in 1860. The Code came into operation in 1862.

Need of reforms:

  • Rebooting the code introduced by the British in 1860 was necessary as it is primarily based on the spirit of “master and servant”.

  • After it was framed, the IPC has never been amended in totality. Some additions and deletions have been made.

  • There are uneven punishment for crimes of grievous nature. E.g. snatching of chains could be life-threatening in some cases but the punishment is not commensurate with the gravity of the crime. Depending on the whims of the police, it is booked under robbery or theft.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Oct. 21, 2019

LIVER TRANSPLANT REGISTRY
India’s first voluntary liver transplant registry that started on August 15, 2019 has picked up pace. In a span of two months, it has received data of 74 transplants carried out by 11 hospitals across six States.

About:

  • Initiated by the Liver Transplantation Society of India, the registry aims to collate national data of the procedures and their outcomes.

  • Nearly 2,000 liver transplants are carried out in the country annually, highest in the world, yet there is no India-specific data. This leaves doctors to take help from the evolved U.S. and the U.K. registries.

  • Hospitals from Delhi NCR, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have voluntarily reported their transplants to the registry. More hospitals are in various stages of signing up and by December.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
Oct. 21, 2019

INDIA-US DEFENCE TECHNOLOGIES AND TRADE INITIATIVE (DTTI)
The ninth India-US Defence Technologies and Trade Initiative (DTTI) group meeting is scheduled to happen in New Delhi this week.

About:

  • While DTTI is not a treaty or law, it is a flexible mechanism to make sure that senior leaders from both countries are engaged consistently to strengthen the opportunities in the field of defence.

  • Its central aims include strengthening India’s defence industrial base, exploring new areas of technological development and expanding U.S.-India business ties.

  • The DTTI initiative is led by Undersecretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment from the United States and Secretary for Defence Protection from India.

  • DTTI came about to expedite the scope of cooperation on defence technology that become narrow due to the presence of differing bureaucratic processes and legal requirements.

Important Info :

Strategic Trade Authority Tier 1 (STA-1)? 

  • In August 2018, the US granted to India the designation of Strategic Trade Authority Tier 1 or STA-1. 
  • This provides India with greater supply-chain efficiency by allowing US companies to export a greater range of dual-use and high-technology items to India under streamlined processes. 
  • This authorisation is the equivalent of NATO allying with Japan, South Korea and Australia.
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 21, 2019

LETWIN AMENDMENT
The former Tory minister Oliver Letwin’s amendment passed 322 to 306.

About:

  • This means Boris Johnson did not get the clean yes or no vote on his Brexit deal that he had hoped for and must by law request an extension. In short, it pushes the focus of Brexit decision-making into next week.

  • The Letwin amendment says parliament will withhold approval of the prime minister’s Brexit deal until the withdrawal bill implementing Brexit has been passed.

  • Essentially, this meant that Johnson was legally obliged to request the EU under the Benn Act to extend the date the votes on Brexit will be cast.

Important Info :

Benn Act?

  • The Benn Act is formally called the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2 Act) 2019 and is an act of the UK Parliament, which legally mandates seeking an extension for the negotiating period under certain circumstances. 
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 21, 2019

PROJECT SUNRISE
Australia's flag carrier Qantas completed the world’s longest commercial airplane journey from New York to Sydney, researching how the world's longest potential commercial airplane journey of nearly 20 hours would impact pilots, crew and passengers.

About:

  • QF7879, a Qantas Airways aircraft flying from New York to Sydney, landed after a historic non-stop test flight that lasted 19 hours and 16 minutes.

  • The world’s longest commercial airplane journey had 50 passengers and crew on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for the 16,200-kilometre (10,066-mile) journey.

  • Qantas has announced three long-haul flights as part of its Project Sunrise that aims to fulfil its goal of running non-stop commercial flights on a regular basis from the east coast of Australia to London and New York.

  • A final approval for this project is subject to aircraft economics, regulatory approvals and industrial agreements, for which certainty is expected by December this year.

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 21, 2019

IMNEX-19
The opening ceremony of the second edition of 'India Myanmar Naval Exercise' (IMNEX-2019) was conducted onboard INS Ranvijay in Visakhapatnam.

About:

  • Myanmar Naval Ships UMS Sin Phyu Shin (F-14) and UMS Tabinshweti (773) arrived in the city to engage in professional interactions with Indian Navy personnel for sharing expertise on maritime issues between both the navies.

  • The joint exercise will encompass a variety of operations including anti-air and surface firing exercises, flying exercises using integral helicopter and seamanship evolutions at sea. 

International

Current Affairs
Oct. 21, 2019

COL. CHEWANG RINCHEN SETU
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated Col. Chewang Rinchen Setu in Ladakh.

About:

  • Chewang Rinchen Setu which has been constructed at an altitude of 14650 feet in the forward area of Ladakh region.

  • This bridge has been built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

  • Colonel Chewang Rinchen (1931 – 1997) was a highly decorated officer in the Indian Army from the Ladakh region. He was one of only six Indian service personnel to have twice won the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), the second highest Indian gallantry decoration.

Source : All India Radio
Geography

Current Affairs
Oct. 21, 2019

LIRA
The lira has long been involved in geopolitics between turkey and its Western allies, specifically united states.

About: 

  • The Turkish lira is the currency of Turkey and the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. 

  • Turkey’s ability to sustain its military campaign in Syria may depend in part on what happens in the foreign exchange market. 

  • Renewed pressure on the currency and attempts to stabilise it could further endanger Turkey’s lean foreign currency reserves, leaving the country potentially with little room to defend the lira if sanctions tightened. 

  • That in turn could hurt the already fragile economy and undermine President Tayyip Erdogan’s ability to stand up to international pressure against his offensive in Syria. 

  • Last year, a standoff with the United States was an aggravating factor in a 30% fall in the lira, prompting an economic recession in the country which is heavily dependent on imports as well as foreign investors flows. 

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Oct. 20, 2019

Current Affairs
Oct. 20, 2019

DEFINITION OF FOREST
The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Environment Ministry has clarified that the States need not take the Centre’s approval to define what constitutes unclassified land as forest.

About:

  • States, having well established forest departments, are in a better position, rather than Union Environment Ministry, to understand their own forests and needs, and should frame criteria for their forests; criteria so finalised by a State need not be subject to approval by Union Environment Ministry.

  • The freedom to define land, not already classified as forests by the Centre or State records, as forest has been the prerogative of the States since 1996 and stems from a Supreme Court order.

1996 Supreme Court judgment:

  • The 1996 Supreme Court judgment expanded the definition of forest to include lands that were already notified by the Centre as forests, that appear in government records as forests as well as those that fell in the “dictionary definition” of forest.

  • The latter clause allows the States to evolve their own criteria and define tracts of land as forest, and these would then be bound by forest conservation laws.

  • An all-encompassing definition of forest wasn’t possible for India because the country has 16 different kinds of forest. A tract of grassland in one State might qualify in one region as forest, but not in another. 

Important Info :

Forest Advisory Committee (FAC)?

  • The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Environment Ministry is a statutory body.
  • The advisory body considers questions on the diversion of forest land for non-forest uses such as mining, industrial projects, townships and advises the government on the issue of granting forest clearances.
  • it comprises official members in the Centre’s forestry division and independent experts, who are the non-official members.
Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
Oct. 20, 2019

WiS; WiBS
Scientists have announced Li-ion battery that ‘won’t catch fire.’

About: 

  • Background: Lithium-ion batteries are vulnerable to fire and explosion, which often happens without warning. This is because they are built with flammable and combustible materials. 

  • Recent development: Now, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory has developed a Lithium-ion battery that will not catch fire. 

  • Significance: Li-ion batteries have emerged as the energy storage vehicle of choice for portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid storage. These safety advancements mark a significant step forward in transforming the way Li-ion batteries are manufactured and used in electronic devices. 

Working: 

  • The team has announced the discovery of a new class of “water-in-salt” and “water-in-bisalt” electrolytes—referred to as WiS and WiBS, respectively. 

  • This new class of electrolytes, when incorporated in a polymer matrix, reduces water activity and elevates the battery’s energy capabilities and life cycle while ridding it of the flammable, toxic, and highly reactive solvents present in current Li-ion batteries. It’s a safe, powerful alternative. 

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Oct. 20, 2019

MULTIVERSE
A new book titled 'The Number of the Heavens' written by science journalist Tom Siegfried explores how the concept of the multiverse has evolved.

About:

  • Multiverse is a scientific concept under which some scientists believe that our universe may indeed be just one of many.

  • The multiverse is a hypothetical group of multiple universes. Together, these universes comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, and the physical laws and constants that describe them.

  • The multiverse is also known as a maniverse, megaverse, metaverse, omniverse, or meta-universe. The different universes within the multiverse are called "parallel universes", "other universes", "alternate universes", or "alterverses".

  • Prominent physicists are divided about whether any other universes exist outside of our own. Stephen Hawking was one of the proponent of the multiverse hypotheses. 

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Oct. 20, 2019

TASMANIAN TIGER
Recently released documents from Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment show that thylacine, which is said to have gone extinct over 80 years ago, has been spotted across Tasmania 8 times during 2016 -2019.

About: 

  • What is it? The thylacine, now extinct, is one of the largest known carnivorous marsupials, evolving about 4 million years ago. 

  • Names: The thylacine is commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger because of its striped lower back, or the Tasmanian wolf because of its canid-like characteristics.

  • IUCN status: The last known thylacine died in captivity over 80 years ago, in Tasmania’s Hobart Zoo in 1936.

  • Distribution: It was native to Tasmania, New Guinea, and the Australian mainland.

  • Features: The thylacine appeared like a medium-to-large-size dog, except for its stiff tail and abdominal pouch similar to a kangaroo, and dark transverse stripes that radiated from the top of its back, reminiscent of a tiger.

Source : Indian Express
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
Oct. 20, 2019

NATIONAL SECURITY GUARD (NSG)
Senior IPS officer Anup Kumar Singh has been appointed as Director-General of the National Security Guard (NSG). His appointment, approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, will be from the date of joining the post and up to 30th of September, 2020.

About:

  • The National Security Guard (NSG) is an Indian special forces unit for combating terrorist activities with a view to protect states against internal disturbances.

  • Units: It is a task-oriented Force and has two complementary elements in the form of the Special Action Group (SAG) comprising Army personnel and the Special Ranger Groups (SRG), comprising personnel drawn from the Central Armed Police Forces / State Police Forces.

  • Parent agency: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

  • Establishment: It was raised in 1984, following Operation Blue Star and the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

  • Status: It has been formed under the National Security Guard Act, 1986. According to Ministry of Home Affairs website, it is one of the 7 Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

  • Headquarters: New Delhi.

  • The NSG was modelled on the pattern of the SAS of the UK and GSG-9 of Germany.

  • Motto: Sarvatra Sarvottama Suraksa.

  • Director General (DG): The head of NSG, designated as Director General (DG), is selected by the Home Ministry. All the selected DGs have been officer from Indian Police Service (IPS).

Source : All India Radio
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Oct. 20, 2019

INTERPOL GENERAL ASSEMBLY
India will host the 91st Interpol General Assembly in 2022 after a proposal received the support of member countries at this year's congregation at Santinago in Chile.

About:

  • The general assembly of Interpol, where representatives of all member countries converge, is an annual exercise where all major decisions affecting general policy, working methods and finances are deliberated by representatives.

  • The 91st Interpol General Assembly in India in the year 2022 will be held as part of celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence.

  • Earlier, Interpol had hosted the general assembly in India in 1997.

  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) represents Interpol in India as the country's national central bureau.

Important Info :

Interpol? 

  • Full name: The International Police Organisation is commonly known as Interpol.
  • Mandate: It is an international organization facilitating international police cooperation against cross-border terrorism, trafficking, and other crime.
  • Membership: it is a 194 member body.
  • Governance: All decisions regarding the activities of INTERPOL are made by the General Assembly which is it’s ’s supreme governing body which meets annually.
  • Status: It is ‘NOT’ a unit or part of united nation system. It is an independent international organization.
  • HQ: Lyon in France.
  • Founded in: 1923.
  • Interpol Notices: It issues 8 type of notices (7 of which are colour-coded) which are in the form of alert/requests allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information.
Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 20, 2019

RENEWABLE ENERGY STORAGE DEVICE
Researchers have developed a new dielectric capacitor -- a device that stores energy like a battery -- taking inspiration from how the French pastry, croissant, is made by folding multiple layers of dough.

About:

  • Croissants are made by pressing and folding dough to create a layered pastry. The researchers applied this technique to a dielectric capacitor, which is a device that stores energy like a battery.

  • By pressing and folding a polymer film capacitor -- a capacitor with an insulating plastic film -- they were able to store 30 times more energy than the best-performing commercially available dielectric capacitor, biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP).

  • The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that this is the highest energy density ever reported in a polymer film capacitor.

  • The advance may pave the way for efficient, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly electric energy storage systems for wind and solar sources. 

Important Info :

Background:

  • Currently, there are three main energy storage options: batteries, electrochemical capacitors and dielectric capacitors.
  • Dielectric capacitors typically have ultrahigh power density, which makes them suitable for high power and pulse power technologies that require accumulating energy over a period of time and then releasing it very quickly.
  • Examples of this include motor drives, mobile power systems, space vehicle power systems and electrochemical guns.
  • However, dielectric capacitors are limited by the low amounts of energy they can currently store. This research study tackles this limitation.
Source : Economic Times
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Oct. 20, 2019

BALI YATRA
Bali Yatra, one of the biggest trade fairs of Odisha, is scheduled to begin on November 12. The trade fair will continue for eight days.

About: 

  • Bali Jatra (also known as Bali Yatra and Boita Bandaṇa) literally means A Voyage to Bali. 

  • This festival is held in Odisha, in the city of Cuttack at Gadagadia Ghata of the Mahanadi river. 

  • The festival is celebrated every year from the day of Kartika Purnima according to the Odia Calendar, which comes around the end of October and November. 

  • It is celebrated to mark the day when ancient Sadhabas (Odia mariners) would set sail to distant lands of Bali, as well as Java , Sumatra and Sri Lanka for trade and cultural expansion. 

  • People of Odisha gather near banks of Mahanadi, Brahmani river, other river banks, ponds to float miniature toy boats, made of colored paper as a symbolic gesture of their ancestors' voyage. 

  • In Cuttack, Bali Jatra is celebrated annually as a large open fair near the Barabati Fort area with several cultural programs, toy stalls, different games and food stalls selling Odia delicacies. 

Source : All India Radio
Culture

Current Affairs
Oct. 20, 2019

FIRST ALL-WOMEN SPACEWALK
Two Female Astronauts of United States of America, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir became the first all-female pairing to carry out a spacewalk.

About:

  • The first such mission was supposed to take place in March but was cancelled because the space agency had only one medium-sized suit, with a male-female combination performing the required task at a later date.

  • The US sent its first female astronaut into space in 1983 and has now had more women astronauts than any other country.

  • But the first woman in space was Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in 1963, followed by compatriot Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982. Svetlana Savitskaya was also the first woman spacewalker two years later.

Important Info :

Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU)?

  • A spacesuit, or Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), is worn to be able to work outside the space station.
  • Spacesuits provide astronauts with oxygen supply while they are in the vacuum of space and the suits also give them protection against extreme temperatures, radiation and space dust.
  • An EMU consists of components such as the upper torso, lower torso, gloves and arms, which are manufactured in different sizes and assembled together in combinations that fits an astronaut best.
Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Oct. 20, 2019

SPECTROSCOPY
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) released an image from Chandrayaan-2 showing measurements from the Moon, carried out by the instrument Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS). Such studies make up a branch of physics called spectroscopy.

About:

  • Spectroscopy is the technique of splitting light (or more precisely electromagnetic radiation) into its constituent wavelengths (a spectrum), in much the same way as a prism splits light into a rainbow of colours.

  • Old style spectroscopy was carried out using a prism and photographic plates. These days, modern spectroscopy uses diffraction gratings to disperse the light, which is then projected onto CCDs (Charge Coupled Devices) similar to those used in digital cameras.

Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS):

  • IIRS is designed to measure light from the lunar surface in narrow spectral channels (bands). It has the ability to split and disperse reflected sunlight (and its emitted component) into these spectral bands.

  • From the reflected solar spectrum, scientists will look for signatures, including of minerals. This will help map the lunar surface composition, which in turn will help us understand the Moon’s origin and evolution in a geologic context.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Oct. 19, 2019

Current Affairs
Oct. 19, 2019

DILLI SERIES’ SEA POWER SEMINAR
The sixth edition of the Dilli Series Seapower Seminar on “Role of Sea Power in Shaping of Nations” concluded at the Indian Naval Academy (INA). Eight papers were presented during the seminar centered on the theme.

About: 

  • The Indian Naval Academy (INA Ezhimala) is the initial officer training establishment of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard, located in Ezhimala, Kannur district, Kerala.

  • Named after the Mount Dilli located within INA, Ezhimala premises, Dilli Series Seminar is conducted at INA during Autumn Term every year, with an aim to expose young trainees to the vibrant maritime history and arouse in them a curiosity to explore further.

  • The theme of the sixth edition of the seminar held at INA on 17-18 Oct 19, was ‘Role of Sea Power in Shaping Nations’.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Oct. 19, 2019

GLOBAL TUBERCULOSIS REPORT 2019
World Health Organization (WHO) released the Global Tuberculosis Report 2019.

About:

  • The world is not on track to reach the 2020 milestones of the End TB Strategy. The END TB strategy by the WHO aimed to reduce TB by 20 per cent from 2015-18. However, between 2015 and 2018, only 6.3 per cent TB cases showed a cumulative decline.

  • In 2018, 7 million new cases of TB were notified — an increase from 6.4 million notified in 2017.

  • Further, cases of the multi-drug resistant (MDR-TB) and rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) have also increased. Rifampicin is the first-line of drug used to treat TB.

Indian Scenario:

  • The report estimated that 10 million people had TB in 2018. India accounted for 27 per cent of the world total. China was a distant second with 9 per cent.

  • India also had 27 per cent of a total 130,000 drug-resistant TB cases while China had 14 per cent and the Russian Federation 9 per cent

  • The tuberculosis incidence rate in India has decreased by almost 50,000 patients over the past one year. In 2017, India had 27.4 lakh TB patients which came down to 26.9 lakh in 2018.

  • Incidence per 1,00,000 population has decreased from 204 in 2017 to 199 in 2018.

  • The number of patients being tested for rifampicin resistance has increased from 32% in 2017 to 46% in 2018.

  • And the treatment success rate has increased to 81% for new and relapse cases (drug sensitive) in 2017, which was 69% in 2016.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
Oct. 19, 2019

HURUN GLOBAL UNICORN LIST 2019
According to Hurun Global Unicorn List 2019, India, with 21 unicorns, has emerged as third largest ecosystems for more successful start ups right behind China and US but ahead of Britain and Israel.

About: 

  • Hurun Research found 494 unicorns in the world, based in 25 countries and 118 cities. Set up seven years ago on average, they are worth $3.4 billion on average and $1.7 trillion in total.

  • With 21 unicorns, India has emerged as third largest ecosystems for more successful start ups right behind China and US but ahead of Britain and Israel.

  • Leading the pack from the India are payments solutions platform One97 Communications ($10 billion), cab aggregator Ola Cabs ($6 billion), online educator Byjus ($6 billion), and travel-stay finder OYO Rooms ($5 billion).

  • China pipped the USA to lead by 206 versus 203, together accounting for over 80 per cent of the worlds unicorns. Europe has 35 unicorns.

  • City wise, Beijing is the worlds unicorn capital with 82 unicorns.

  • As a region, Silicon Valley leads the world with 102 or 21 per cent of the worlds unicorns.

Important Info :

Unicorn?

In the venture capital industry, a unicorn refers to any tech startup company that reaches a $1 billion dollar market value as determined by private or public investment. The term was originally coined by Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures.

Source : Economic Times
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 19, 2019

ALLIANCE AIR
An aircraft of Alliance Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, completed its maiden international flight by connecting Chennai with Jaffna, Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province.

About:

  • Alliance Air is an Indian regional airline and a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India.

  • It was founded in 1996 and mainly operates domestic routes as part of the government's Regional Connectivity Scheme.

  • It also started operating from Jaffna, Sri Lanka since October 2019. Flights between Chennai and Jaffna are scheduled to begin from November 1. 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 19, 2019

SKANDAGUPTA VIKRAMADITYA
Union home minister Amit Shah inaugurated a two-day international seminar on the role of Gupta dynasty emperor Skandagupta at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi.

About: 

  • Skandagupta was a Gupta Emperor of northern India. Skandagupta was a son of the Gupta emperor Kumaragupta I.

  • He ascended the throne in 455 AD and ruled till 467 AD.

  • By defeating Pushyamitras during his initial years of ascendancy, Skandagupta proved his ability to rule and took upon himself the title of Vikramaditya.

  • During the 12 year rule, he not only defended the great culture of India but also from external aggression and defeated the Huns, who had invaded India from the north west.

  • He is generally considered the last of the great Gupta Emperors.

Source : Times of India
Culture

Current Affairs
Oct. 19, 2019

SAHARAN SILVER ANT
Researchers announced that the Saharan silver ant is the world’s fastest known ant species.

About: 

  • The Saharan silver ant (Cataglyphis bombycina) is an ant that lives in the Sahara Desert. 

  • It can clock a blistering 855 millimetres — nearly a metre — per second. Measured another way, it covers 108 times its own body length per second, a feat topped only by two other creatures, the Australian tiger beetle and the California coastal mite. 

  • It does this by swinging its tiny 5-mm long appendages at speeds of up to 1,300 mm per second. 

Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
Oct. 19, 2019

KUKIS
Two groups of the Kuki militants: the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and the United People’s Front (UPF) have sought the intervention of PM Modi to subdue the rising tension between the Kukis and the Nagas in Manipur.

Kukis:

  • The Kukis constitute one of several hill tribes within India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. In Northeast India, they are present in all states except Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Some fifty tribes of Kuki peoples in India are recognised as scheduled tribes.

  • The first resistance to British hegemony by the Kuki people was the Kuki Rebellion of 1917-19 after which their territory was subjugated by the British and divided between the administrations of British India and British Burma. Up until their defeat in 1919, the Kukis had been an independent people ruled by their chieftains.

  • The majority of Kukis are Christians. Traditionally, the Kukis were animists. 

Important Info :

Tensions between Nagas and Kukis

  • Tensions between the two are not new. It is believed that Kukis came to Manipur in the late 18th/early 19th century from neighbouring Myanmar. While some of the Kukis settled next to the Myanmar border, others settled in Naga villages, which ultimately became a contentious issue between the two tribes.
  • The latest trigger is a decision by the Manipur government to take down stone memorials installed by the Kukis to mark the centenary of the Anglo-Kuki War.
  • October 17 marked the culmination of a three-year observation of a centenary since the “Anglo-Kuki War” (1917-1919) in Kangpokpi district of Manipur. The Anglo-Kuki War began when the Britishers asked the Kukis to get enrolled in their labour corps in France and the latter resisted.
  • The Naga bodies objected to the Kukis installing stone memorials to commemorate the war on the Naga’s ancestral land. The Nagas claimed that the Kukis have been trying to distort history as there has been no “Anglo-Kuki War” but a “Kuki Rebellion” in 1917. 
Source : Indian Express
Culture

Current Affairs
Oct. 19, 2019

NATIONAL MILK SAMPLE SAFETY QUALITY SURVEY
The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) released the National Milk Sample Safety Quality Survey.

Key findings: 

  • Milk samples from Telangana, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, showed the highest number of cases of adulteration. 

  • In terms of safety parameters, 4% of the total processed milk samples (of 2,607) failed to comply with the FSSAI norm as contaminants like aflatoxin-M1 were found. In case of raw milk, non-compliance was at an even higher rate of 47% of the total samples of 3,825. 

  • In terms of quality, 7% of the total sample of processed milk did not comply with quality parameters because the presence of contaminants such as fats, Maltodextrin and sugar were above permissible limits. 

Important Info :

Aflatoxin-M1? 

  • Aflatoxin M1 is a chemical compound of the aflatoxin class, a group of mycotoxins produced by three species of Aspergillus - Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus, and the rare Aspergillus nomius - which contaminate plant and plant products. 
  • Aflatoxin-M1 comes in the milk through feed and fodder that are currently not regulated in the country. There is no proper lab to test this residue in the country. 
  • In large doses, aflatoxins can be life threatening, usually through damage to liver. 
  • Problem of Aflatoxin-M1 is more dominant in processed milk than raw milk. Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Kerala were top three States where Aflatoxin residue was found the most. 
Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
Oct. 19, 2019

SAINIK SCHOOLS
Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal for admission of girl children in Sainik schools w.e.f. academic session 2021-22 in a phased manner. The decision has been taken following the success of the pilot project started by the Ministry of Defence for admission of girl children in Sainik School Chhingchhip in Mizoram two years ago.

About:

  • The Sainik Schools are a system of schools in India established and managed by the Sainik Schools Society under Ministry of Defence. The Sainik Schools Society is an organization under the Ministry of Defence.

  • The objective of the Sainik Schools is to prepare the students to lead as officers in the Defence Services of the country.

  • The first Sainik School was opened in UP in 1960 under UP state government and there after other Sainik school and Military Schools we’re opened. UP Sainik School Lucknow located near Amausi Airport remains the only Sainik School under State Govt. 

Important Info :
  • The Army, Navy and Air Force, once a domain of men, are slowly opening their doors to women with the IAF leading the way and currently employing eight women fighter pilots.
  • Earlier, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said though the authorities were not open to women in combat roles, but were in the process of recruiting and training the first batch of women for the military police.
Source : Times of India
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Oct. 19, 2019

DANX-19
Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) has conducted the second edition of Defence of Andaman & Nicobar Islands 2019 (DANX-19), a large scale joint services exercise from 14 Oct to 18 Oct 19.

About:

  • Spanning over a period of five days, components of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard carried out mobilisation and field manoeuvres to validate defensive plans of Headquarters ANC towards ensuring territorial integrity of the A&N Islands.

  • In addition to internal forces from ANC, accretional forces from Mainland comprising ships and aircraft, Special Forces from the newly formed Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD), also participated in this edition.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security
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