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Current Events 12 February 2017

 

NEWS 

12 FEBRUARY 2017

 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III : DEFENCE

Interceptor missile tested successfully

2.

GS II – POLITY JUDICIARY

Rights violated, says Justice Karnan

3.

GS II – POLITY JUDICIARY

5 names cleared for SC judges

4.

GS II:  SOCIAL - HEALTH

‘22% TV programmes depict tobacco use’

5.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT -NGT

NGT asks CPCB for report on manja

6.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT BIODIVERSITY

Tigress found dead in Bandipur National Park

7.

GS III : DEFENCE

Green drive on blue waters — solar power lights up naval vessel

8.

GS III: S&T - PHYSICS

Protein volume paradox resolved

9.

GS III:  S&T - HEALTH

Aggression-brain stem volume link

10.

GS III: S&T - PHYSICS

What is the Thor experiment?

11.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL -USA

New immigration order on the cards

12.

GS III : ECONOMY

Markets regulator lays down reforms road map for FY18

13.

GS III : ECONOMY

Banks in a position to cut lending rates further: Patel

14.

GS III : DISASTER MANAGEMENT

WB help sought to identify areas for rail safety fund

15.

GS III: S&T  - HEALTH

Gender of foetus can affect pregnant woman’s immunity, says study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS III : DEFENCE

Interceptor missile tested successfully

  •  India successfully tested its indigenously developed interceptor missile off the Odisha coast, achieving a milestone in developing a two-layered ballistic missile defence system (BMD), which is under development.
  • The interceptor, launched from the Abdul Kalam Island, successfully destroyed an incoming ballistic missile in a direct hit.
  • As part of the test, a target missile mimicking an enemy ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km was launched from an Indian Navy ship stationed in the Bay of Bengal and the missile travelled towards the coast, reaching a very high altitude, officials said. It was engaged and destroyed at a height of over 50 km.
  • The BMD is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a two layered system to tackle incoming targets at endo and exo atmospheres.
  • The Ministry statement added that, with this test, India has crossed an important milestone and has entered an exclusive club of four nations with developing capabilities to secure its skies and cities against hostile threats.

 



GS II – POLITY JUDICIARY

Rights violated, says Justice Karnan

  • The controversial Calcutta High Court judge, Justice C.S. Karnan, has written to the Supreme Court’s Registrar-General, contending that the unprecedented suo motu contempt notice issued against him affects his fundamental rights of equality and dignity and has amounted to a violation of the principles of natural justice.
  • Terming the order by a seven-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, “unusual,” Justice Karnan said the matter should either be immediately referred to Parliament or taken up after the retirement of Chief Justice Khehar.
  • He said courts had no power to open contempt proceedings against a sitting High Court judge.

 

GS II – POLITY JUDICIARY

5 names cleared for SC judges

  • The Union Law Ministry has cleared the names of four High Court Chief Justices and a High Court judge for appointment as Supreme Court judges on recommendations of the Collegium led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar.
  • The Supreme Court, which has the sanctioned strength of 31 judges, now has eight vacancies.
  • The decision comes when the working strength of the court is at an all-time low in recent years.
  • While three more judges are to retire this year, seven more will superannuate in 2018.
  • The draft Memorandum of Procedure is yet to be finalised, with the government still in discussions with the court.
  • In October 2015, a Constitution Bench struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission law.

 

GS II:  SOCIAL - HEALTH

‘22% TV programmes depict tobacco use’

  •  Better implementation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) is the need of the hour, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has pointed out.
  • The Ministry recently conducted a study titled ‘Evaluation of Tobacco Free Film and Television Policy in India’, which was carried out by Vital Strategies with support from the WHO Country Office for India.
  • The Film Rules under the COTPA mandate three forms of warning messages during broadcast of tobacco products in films and TV programmes —

              i.            anti-tobacco health spots

              ii.           audio-visual disclaimers

              iii.          static health warning messages

  • The study, which evaluated the implementation of the rules, found that ‘media’ messages, when properly implemented, were effective in issuing anti-tobacco warnings and even prompting individual decisions to kick the habit.
  • As many as 22% TV programmes were found depicting the use of tobacco.
  • Worryingly, 71% of these programmes were broadcast when children and adolescents may have been watching.
  • The study also found the implementation of the rules on TV to be very low.
  • It also found that only 4% of these programmes implemented at least two of the three elements of the rules and none carried both of the government approved antitobacco spots (‘child’ and ‘dhuan’).
  • It added that while 99% films with tobacco scenes implemented at least one of the three elements of the rules, only 27% implemented all three elements in the approved manner.
  • Despite the inconsistent implementation, exit interviews with audiences indicated positive results.
  • Around half of those who recalled tobacco warning messages agreed that it was easy to understand and made them think.
  • Around 30% said the messages had encouraged them to quit.

 

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT NGT

NGT asks CPCB for report on manja

  •  The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to submit a report about the composition of glass-coated kite strings, popularly called ‘manja’, and its harmful effects on human health and the environment.
  • The tribunal also asked the CPCB whether nylon strings of any ply are degradable or not, besides directing it to prescribe the standards of ‘tensile strength, thickness or other parameters that should be recommended for manja’.
  • Earlier, the NGT had imposed an interim nationwide ban on the use of ‘manja’, noting that the sharp string posed a danger to humans and animals.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT

Tigress found dead in Bandipur National Park

  • A tigress was found dead in the Hediyala range of Bandipur National Park.
  • The animal was eight years old and had wounds all over the body, attributed to infighting.
  • This was the eighth tiger to die in the Bandipur- Nagarahole belt since January 2017 — six in Nagarahole and two in Bandipur.
  • Mr. Heeralal said it was a natural incident in the wild and there was a surge between November and February which coincides with the mating season of animals.
  • “So, apart from territorial fights, there are such incidents for mating too and our records show a spike in tiger deaths during this season,” he said.
  • Tiger Reserves of Karnataka are:

1.     Bandipur Tiger Reserve

2.     Nagarhole (extension) Tiger Reserve

3.     Bhadra Tiger Reserve

4.     Anshi Dandeli Tiger Reserve

5.     Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple (BRT) Wildlife Sanctuary

 

 

 

GS III : DEFENCE

Green drive on blue waters — solar power lights up naval vessel

  • In a first, a warship of the Navy has turned to the sun to generate a share of its on-board power.
  • Naval survey vessel INS Sarvekshak, based at the Southern Naval Command in Kochi, has innovatively deployed the zero maintenance solar power system, capable of generating 5.4KW electricity, by customising and installing ‘razor-thin, flexible’ solar panels on the canopy of its telescopic (retractable) helicopter deck.
  • This replaces the ship’s traditional 4.4KW emergency diesel alternator, thereby slashing a yearly carbon emission of 60,225 kg and saving 22,995 litres of diesel for the Navy.
  • The project, taken up by the ship’s electrical wing as part of an innovation drive, cost about Rs. 19 lakh, which is claimed to be recoverable in under three years.
  • “Rigid, glass-topped solar panels are unsuitable in the humid, salty marine environment, as they cannot withstand high wind speeds.
  • They were found to be unfit for fitment on ships and they needed to be stationary for the sensors to receive sunlight.
  • Conventional, fume-emitting batteries posed a further challenge, as they are not advisable over turbulent seas,” Capt. Bargoti explained.
  • Given these constraints, the team then decided on the ‘light weight, extra thin and flexible panels that would not break’.
  • “Imported from the U.S. through a local vendor, these panels have a maintenance free life for 24 years while the no-fume solid electrolyte batteries have a guaranteed life of 20 years. 

 

 

GS III: S&T PHYSICS

Protein volume paradox resolved

  •  Durable proteins make life possible in the crushing depths of the ocean and may have evolved in life below the surface of ice-bound oceanic exo-planets.
  • These proteins stay folded — allowing them to perform their function — under immense pressures.
  • But other proteins unfold under pressure, rendering them inoperable
  • What’s the difference between them? For one thing, volume.
  • A research published in Nature Communications makes it possible to predict how volume for a given protein will change between the folded and unfolded state.
  • Computations accurately predict how a protein will react to increased pressure, shed light on the inner-workings of life in the ocean depths, and may also offer insights into alien life. 

 

GS III:  S&T HEALTH

Aggression-brain stem volume link

  • In the study, published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, American researchers have reported an inverse correlation between aggression and brain stem volume in children with autism: the smaller the brain stem, the greater the likelihood of aggression.
  • The finding, though preliminary, is significant in part because the brain stem is fundamental to autonomic activities such as breathing, heart rate, staying awake.
  • The findings suggest a very basic connection between aggression and autism.
  • For the project, the team examined MRI images from two groups of children with autism: one that exhibited problematic levels of aggression and one that didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

GS III: S&T  PHYSICS

What is the Thor experiment?

  • Inspired by the hammer-wielding character, Thor, from Norse mythology and the Marvel comics universe, the eponymous experiment aims to investigate electrical activity from thunderstorms.
  • Between 10 and 100 kilometres in the atmosphere, the interaction between charged particles produces a variety of dazzling electric phenomena from blue jets to red sprites.
  • The Thor experiment will look at them with a thundercloud imaging system from the vantage point of the International Space Station.
  • The key aims of the study include understanding how these discharges influence water vapour levels, cloud formation, and eventually changes in climate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS II : INTERNATIONAL -USA

New immigration order on the cards

  • Donald Trump has said he is considering signing a “brand-new” executive order on immigration, following the court ruling blocking his travel ban.
  • The U.S. President said he was confident he would win the court battle over the hugely controversial executive order suspending the country’s refugee programme and barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, and which is currently blocked.

 

GS III : ECONOMY

Markets regulator lays down reforms road map for FY18

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) laid out a road map for reforms for the financial year 2017-18.
  • The SEBI board met in New Delhi as part of its attempts towards the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ initiative.
  • It plans to bring in a host of changes in various segments including primary market, commodities and foreign investors among others.

1.     The capital markets regulator plans to reduce the listing time gap by bringing down the public issue timeline from the existing requirement of T+6. (where T is the last day of the issue)

In other words, shares of a company are currently listed within six days from the day of the issue closure.

2.     It also plans to allow institutional participation in the commodity derivatives markets in a phased manner.

3.     Further, it will work towards integration between the commodity spot market and the derivatives segment.

4.     The regulator will also initiate consultation with various stakeholders and also design a system of risk-based supervision for commodity brokers.

5.     It will set up a cybersecurity lab for the securities market.

6.     It will set up a facility for online registration of intermediaries.

7.     It also plans to allow listing and trading of securitisation receipts issued by Assets Reconstruction Companies.

8.     It will introduce a common application form for registration, opening of a bank and demat account, and issue of PAN for Foreign Portfolio Investors.

  • In what could be a major reform for institutions like exchanges, depositories and clearing corporations, the regulator plans to review the regulations pertaining to such Market Infrastructure Institutions.
  • To begin with, the board of the regulator approved the proposal for comprehensive review of Securities Contracts (Regulation) (Stock Exchanges and Clearing Corporations) Regulations, 2012 and SEBI (Depositories and Participants) Regulations, 1996 by releasing a consultation paper and seeking public comments.
  • The SEBI board took note of the memorandum related to the co-location facility of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the examination carried out by the regulator under the guidance of its Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).
  • “The Board also took note of steps taken by SEBI in consultation with TAC to strengthen the exchange’s trading infrastructure in the areas namely, fair and transparent data dissemination process, tools to monitor service quality of data feeds, mechanism to manage system load in a fair manner, direct connectivity between co-location facilities of exchanges.

 

 

 

 


  

 

 

CALL OPTION

PUT OPTION

Definition

Buyer of a call option has the right, but is not required, to buy an agreed quantity by a certain date for a certain price (the strike price).

Buyer of a put option has the right, but is not required, to sell an agreed quantity by a certain date for the strike price.

Costs

Premium paid by buyer

Premium paid by buyer

Obligations

Seller (writer of the call option) obligated to sell the underlying asset to the option holder if the option is exercised

Seller (writer of a put option) obligated to buy the underlying asset from the option holder if the option is exercised.

Value

Increases as value of the underlying asset increases

Decreases as value of the underlying asset increases

Analogies

Security deposit – allowed to take something at a certain price if the investor chooses.

Insurance – protected against a loss in value.

 

  

 

 

 

GS III : ECONOMY

Banks in a position to cut lending rates further: Patel

  •  Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel said that banks are in a position to reduce their lending rates further as they have so far slashed interest rates only on a few products such as home and personal loans and that their weighted average lending costs are still high.
  • The central bank, in its monetary policy review recently, had not only decided to hold its benchmark policy interest rates but also shifted its stance from remaining ‘accommodative’ on these key rates to ‘neutral.’
  • “The amount of reduction in the repo rate that we have undertaken, combined with the fact that banks have benefited immensely from the influx of CASA (current account, savings account) deposits that have come into the system..., and the weighted average lending rate reduction has been considerably less,” Dr. Patel said after a customary post- Budget meeting of the RBI board with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

 

GS III : DISASTER MANAGEMENT

WB help sought to identify areas for rail safety fund

  • The Railways Ministry is planning to consult the World Bank to identify areas that require investment from the special rail safety fund announced in the Budget.
  • “We will take the World Bank’s help on deciding where and how to spend the money out of the rail safety fund.” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced setting up a special safety fund named ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ with a corpus of more than Rs. 1 lakh crore over a period of five years in Budget 2017-18.
  • The Railways is exploring advanced ways to automate track inspection and track surveillance.
  • “We are discussing the possibility of using rail robots to detect fractures in railway tracks,” the official said.
  • The Finance Ministry will contribute 75% towards the fund and the remaining amount will be generated by the Railways from its own resources.
  • The Railway Ministry had asked the Finance Ministry to set up the fund last year and proposed spending one third of the special fund towards eliminating unmanned level crossings.
  • Other areas included: track works, bridge rehabilitation works and track vehicular ultrasonic testing system, among others.

 

 



 

ANIL KAKODKAR COMMITTEE ON RAILWAY SAFETY

 


 

 

NATIONAL RAILWAY SAFETY FUND (RASHTRIYA RAIL SANRAKSHA KOSH)


GS III: S&T HEALTH

Gender of foetus can affect pregnant woman’s immunity, says study

  •  The immunity of pregnant women can be affected by the gender of the baby, say scientists.
  • Researchers from The Ohio State University in the U.S. followed 80 pregnant women through the course of their pregnancy to find out if they exhibited different levels of immune markers called cytokines based on the gender of the foetus.
  • They found that women carrying female foetuses showed a heightened inflammatory response.
  • Analyses were conducted on the level of cytokines in the blood and levels produced by a sample of immune cells that were exposed to bacteria in the lab.
  • “While women didn’t exhibit differences in blood cytokine levels based on foetal sex, we did find that the immune cells of women carrying female foetuses produced more pro-inflammatory cytokines when exposed to bacteria,” said Amanda Mitchell, a postdoctoral researcher.
  • Inflammation is a critical part of the immune response involved in wound healing and responses to viruses, bacteria and chronic illnesses.
  • However, excessive inflammation is stressful to the body.
  • The heightened inflammation observed among women carrying female foetuses could play a role in why mothers-to-be tend to experience exacerbated symptoms of some medical conditions, including asthma, when carrying a female foetus.
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