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Current Affairs 15 April 2017

 

NEWS

 15 April 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II : BILATERAL-INDIA-PAK.

India seeks access to Jadhav

2.

GS  II : INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Giant U.S. bomb kills 36 suspected IS militants

3.

GS III : S&T

Reform in science set-up sought

4.

GS III: DEFENCE

Army uses civilian as shield, sparks outrage

5.

GS III : ECONOMY

60,000 under I-T scanner

6.

GS III : ECONOMY

PM launches BHIM-Aadhaarapplication

7.

GS II:  POLITY-JUDICIARY

Allahabad HC becomes ‘pilot project' for case backlog study

8.

GS III: ECONOMY

‘Digital trade zooms 23 times'

9.

GS III: ECONOMY

Tea exports likely to drop after healthy rise in FY16

10.

GS III : S&T - SPACE

A Saturn moon may host life

11.

GS III : S&T

Manuscript treasure trove being digitised at BORI

12.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT CLIMATE CHANGE

Oman may hold clues to reversing climate change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS II : BILATERAL-INDIA-PAK.

India seeks consular access to Jadhav

  • India on 14 April 2017 sought consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the retired Navy officer who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of spying, and demanded a certified copy of the charge sheet as well as the judgment.
  • Pakistan, he said, had so far denied 13 times India's request for consular access.
  • Defending Pakistan's position on consular access, Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs said, India had not provided the facility to many Pakistani prisoners, despite repeated requests.
  • Mr. Jadhav can appeal within 40 days to an appellate court, or may lodge a mercy petition with the Army chief within 60 days of the decision by the appellate court.
  • If the Army chief rejects the plea, he can file another with the President in 90 days, Mr. Aziz added.
  • India has rejected the espionage charges levelled against Mr. Jadhav and said that if the death sentence is carried out, New Delhi would consider it as a premeditated murder.

 

GS  II : INTERNATIONAL USA

Giant U.S. bomb kills 36 suspected IS militants

  • The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said that the decision to deploy one of the largest conventional bombs ever used in combat, the9,797 kg GBU-43 bomb,was tactical, and made as part of the campaign against Islamic Statelinked fighters.
  • As many as 36 suspected Islamic State militants were killed in the strike on 13 April 2017 evening in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghan defence officials said.
  • There were no civilian casualties, they said.

 

 

GS III : S&T  INDIA

Reform in science set-up sought

  • Heads of India's top scientific, administrative bodies have jointly conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that science in India needs a major revamp.
  • They have proposed an over-arching science and technology body that marries research and industry, and will report directly to the Prime Minister.
  • SPARK (Sustainable Progress through Application of Research and Knowledge), as it is tentatively called, will be a "nimble, empowered board and a quality staff."
  • The proposal was part of the report jointly prepared by the heads of all of India's scientific departments including Atomic Energy, Space, Earth Sciences, Science and Technology and Biotechnology.
  • The report laid out a broad map on how India ought to prepare itself to be among the top three countries in science and technology by 2030 and ensure that 10% of the top 100 leaders in scientific fields are Indians.
  • "The stature of Indian science is a shadow of what it used to be ... because of decades of misguided interventions. We have lost self-confidence and ambition and the ability to recognise excellence amongst our own. In a false sense of egalitarianism, we often chose the mediocre at every level," said the report, which was vetted by all the secretaries of India's scientific departments.
  • However scientists and science in India command global "goodwill" as well as those of fellow Indians, and this was a "positive" and "a huge support system" that ought to be harnessed, the report said.
  • A major challenge in the funding of science by the government was that though scientific departments were headed by scientists, they could often not take independent decisions, according to the report.

 

GS III: SECURITY

Army uses civilian as shield, sparks outrage

  • Two videos, apparently showing a teenage protester being shot in the head from close range and another showing an alleged stonethrower tied to the front of an Army Jeep, that went viral on 14 April 2017, sparked outrage in the Kashmir Valley.
  • The police have filed an FIR, and the Army has ordered a probe.

 

GS III : ECONOMY

60,000 under I-T scanner

  • In the second phase of ‘Operation Clean Money' (OCM), launched on 14 April 2017 to unearth black money, the I-T department will probe over 60,000 individuals including 1,300 high risk persons for alleged excessive cash sales post demonetisation on November 8 last year.
  • Over 6,000 transactions of high value property purchases and 6,600 cases of outward remittances shall be subjected to detailed investigations, an official statement said.
  • Post demonetisation, over 2,362 search, seizure and survey actions have been conducted by the ITD during November 9, 2016 to February 28, 2017, leading to seizure of valuables worth more than Rs. 818 crore, which includes cash of Rs. 622 crore, and detection of undisclosed income of over Rs. 9,334 crore.
  • More than 400 cases have been referred by ITD to the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.
  • This has resulted in a 21.7 % increase in the returns of income received in FY 2016-17, 16% growth in gross collection (the highest in the last five years) and 14% growth in net collection (the highest in last three years), the statement said.

 

 

GS III : ECONOMY

PM launches BHIM-Aadhaar application

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the BHIM-Aadhaar in Nagpur on 14 April 2017 on the occasion of the 126th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, and hoped that the digital platform would be an "economic giant" like the Constitution, through which Dr. Ambedkar empowered the common man.

GS II:  POLITY-JUDICIARY

Allahabad HC becomes ‘pilot project' for case backlog study

  • The Supreme Court has asked itself why numerous orders over the decades suggesting "action plans" to combat staggering backlog of cases in High Courts and trial courts have literally produced no answers and hardly any results.
  • Justice JastiChelameswar,the Supreme Court's third seniormost judge had found himself hearing a plea for bail by a convict in a murder case,the appeal against his conviction was pending in the Allahabad HC for over a decade without a hearing.
  • He wondered about the "umpteen occasions" in which the Supreme Court has suggested proposals and framed guidelines to end pendency in courts.
  • How the judiciary has been, in a sense, inadvertently responsible for violation of the fundamental right to speedy trial and disposal of criminal appeals under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • So, in a novel move, the Supreme Court decided to put the Allahabad HC under the microscope as a "pilot project" to investigate how High Courts deal with pendency.
  • The SC said this was a "target-specific" exercise to study how criminal appeals face years of delay as appellants face "inhuman compulsions" inside jails.
  • Justice Chelameswar called for real-time statistics from the Allahabad HC and roped in senior advocates Shyam Divan and C.U. Singh to assist the Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court said the selection of the Allahabad High Court, one of the oldest High Courts in the country, should not be construed as a comment on its functioning or any deficiency thereof.

 

GS III: ECONOMY DIGITAL

 ‘Digital trade zooms 23 times'

  • About 15,000 institutions have become cashless, following its digi dhan mela initiative held across 100 cities in the country with an aim to create awareness about digital payments, the government think-tank NITI Aayog said.
  • "[A] 100-day-long information, education and communication campaign, led by NITI Aayog, was held to make digital payments a mass movement in India," the Aayog said in a statement.
  • "Volume of all digital transactions increased by about 23 times with 63,80,000 digital transactions for a value of Rs. 2,425 crore in March 2017 (since demonetisation) compared to 2,80,000 digital transactions worth Rs. 101 crore till November 2016 (January- November)," it added.
  • Aadhaar-enabled payments have increased from 2.5 crore in November 2016 to more than 5 crore in March 2017, the release said, adding that Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) transactions have gone up from 3.6 crore to 6.7 crore during the same period.
  • "BHIM App has already created a new world record by registering 1.9 crore downloads in just four months since its launch in December, 2016," the Aayog said.
  • The Aayog further said more than 15 lakh people from cities, small towns and villages attended the melas, which helped enable lakhs to open new bank accounts as well as create new Aadhaar cards.

 

 

 

 

GS III: ECONOMY SECTORS

Tea exports likely to drop after healthy rise in FY16

  • Tea exports have declined in the first eleven months of fiscal 2017 and are likely to close at a lower level after showing a healthy rise by volume and value in 2015-16.
  • Sources said that during the period under review, India has increased tea exports to three high-value markets - Iran, Germany and USA.
  • These are now evolving as a stable market for speciality teas. Exports increased to the UAE too. The UAE often serves as a reexport destination.
  • Lower exports to Russia (annual exports of about 45 million kg), the U.K., Bangladesh and Pakistan were factors that led to the slide.
  • A bumper crop in Kenya (a more than 50% rise according to latest statistics) and Bangladesh, which is emerging as tea-growing nation, aggravated the excess supply in the international market.

 

GS III : S&T - SPACE

A Saturn moon may host life

  • Could icy moons like Saturn's Enceladus in the outer solar system be home to microbes or other forms of alien life?
  • Intriguing new findings from data collected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft suggest the possibility.
  • Plumes of gas erupting out of Enceladus - a small moon with an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust - contain hydrogen.
  • Scientists infer a lot from that: that there are hydrothermal chemical reactions similar to those that occur at hot fissures at the ocean bottoms on the earth.
  • On Earth at least, hydrothermal vents thrive with microbial life, offering up the potential that icy moons far away from Earth could be habitable.
  • The tidal forces of Saturn pulling and squeezing Enceladus appear to generate enough heat to melt the ice.
  • This is the latest discovery by Cassini, a spacecraft that is heading into its final months after 13 years of exploring Saturn, its moons and rings.
  • On April 22, Cassini begins a journey that will take it between the planet and its rings for 22 orbits before its mission finally ends with a crash into Saturn's atmosphere in September.
  • Cassini's findings also show that levels of carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane measured in the Enceladus plume were out of equilibrium, an imbalance that could provide an energy source that organisms could tap into for food, according to a paper published in the journal Science.
  • In a separate paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, another team of researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope once again spotted what appears to be a similar plume rising from Europa, one of Jupiter's big moons that also possesses an ocean beneath an icy exterior.
https://s18.postimg.org/iap2oe7y1/image.png

 

 

GS III : S&T

Manuscript treasure trove being digitised at BORI

  • Precious manuscripts in Sanksrit and its related languages, Pali and the Prakrits, are soon to be preserved for posterity with the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) launching an e-library and commencing a major digitisation process of its treasure trove in Indology.
  • T2he Institute, named after legendary Indologist Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, was set up in Pune in 1917.
  • At present, about 12,000 extremely rare manuscripts and books have been scanned.
  • In 2003, the National Mission for Manuscripts (NAMAMI) selected BORI as one of the 32 manuscripts resource and conservation centres across the country.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT CLIMATE CHANGE

Oman may hold clues to reversing climate change

  • Geologists are searching the al-Hajjar mountains, the jagged red mountains of Oman for an efficient way to remove carbon dioxide from the air and oceans and perhaps begin to reverse climate change.
  • The unique rock formation herepulls carbon out of thin air.
  • They are coring samples from one of the world's only exposed sections of the Earth's mantle to uncover how a spontaneous natural process millions of years ago transformed carbon dioxide into limestone and marble.
  • The sultanate boasts the largest exposed sections of the Earth's mantle, thrust up by plate tectonics millions of years ago. The mantle contains peridotite, a rock that reacts with the carbon in air and water to form marble and limestone.
  • As the world mobilises to confront climate change, the main focus has been on reducing emissions through fuel efficient cars and cleaner power plants.
  • But some researchers are also testing ways to remove or recycle carbon already in the seas and sky.
  • Scientists are extracting dozens of core samples, which they hope to use to construct a geological history of the process that turns carbon dioxide into carbonate.
  • They hope to answer the question of how the rocks managed to capture so much carbon over the course of 90 million years and to see if there's a way to speed up the timetable.
  • Prof. Kelemen thinks a drilling operation could cycle carbon-rich water into the newly formed seabed on oceanic ridges far below the surface.
  • Just like in Oman's mountains, the submerged rock would chemically absorb carbon from the water. The water could then be cycled back to the surface to absorb more carbon from the atmosphere, in a sort of conveyor belt.
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