+91 9004418746enquiry.aashah@gmail.com
+91 9004078746aashahs.ias@gmail.com

Current Events 15 February 2017

 

NEWS

15 FEBRUARY 2017

 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: POLITY JUDICIARY

SC verdict ends Sasikala bid to become CM

2.

GS II :  POLITY JUDICIARY

Supreme Court clarifies on National Anthem

3.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL USA

Trusted Trump aide Flynn resigns as NSA

4.

GS III : SECURITY

Tunnel found on Pakistan border

5.

GS I : GEOGRAPHY

Weather officials to study possible emergence of El Nino

6.

GS III : DEFENCE

IAF inducts indigenous early warning system

7.

GS II :  POLITY JUDICIARY

SC is looking at triple talaq, not Uniform Civil Code: CJI

8.

GS II :  BILATERAL INDIA-RUSSIA

India to join Moscow meet on Afghanistan

9.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL RUSSIA

Moscow deployed cruise missile, violating treaty

10.

GS II : REGULATORY BODIES

IRDA seeks to amend 16-year old actuary rules

11.

GS III : ECONOMY

Wholesale inflation races to 5.25%

12.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

India’s air pollution rivals China’s as world’s deadliest, shows study

13.

GS III: S&T IT

‘Thubber’ for use in soft, stretchable electronics

14.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

Chemicals banned in 1970s discovered in deep ocean fauna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS II: POLITY JUDICIARY

SC verdict ends Sasikala bid to become CM

  • Indicting former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, albeit posthumously, for having criminally conspired with aide V.K. Sasikala at her Poes Garden residence to launder ill-gotten wealth, the Supreme Court set aside the Karnataka High Court′s acquittal of Ms. Sasikala and two co-accused in the 20-year-old disproportionate assets case.
  • The Supreme Court concluded that in 1991 the assets of the accused were valued at Rs. 2.01 crore. By 1996, the accused were worth a whopping Rs. 66.44 crore.
  • The court said appeals against Jayalalithaa stand abated with her death on December 5, 2016.
  • A Bench of Justices P.C. Ghose and Amitava Roy ‘restored in toto’ the trial court′s conviction of Ms. Sasikala, V.N. Sudhakaran and J. Elavarasi (accused no 2, 3 and 4) in September 2014, and ordered them to surrender immediately at the trial court in Karnataka.
  • The trial judge had sentenced them under Section 109 IPC, read with Section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act — abetment of criminal misconduct of a public servant — to simple imprisonment for a period of four years each and to pay a fine of Rs. 10 crore each.
  • The trial court had sentenced Jayalalithaa to four years′ imprisonment and Rs. 100 crore in fine for corruption. If alive, she would have had to resign as CM and serve the rest of her prison term, besides paying the fine.
  • Even after Ms. Sasikala serves her four-year sentence, she would be disqualified from contesting elections for the next six years as per the Supreme Court judgment in the Lily Thomas versus Union of India of July 2013 case.


 GS II :  POLITY JUDICIARY

Supreme Court clarifies on National Anthem

  • There is no need to be on your feet inside a cinema hall when the National Anthem is featured as a part of a film, documentary or a newsreel.
  • The Supreme Court issued this second clarification on its November 30 order, that cinema halls should mandatorily play the national anthem and all those present there should stand up to show respect.
  • It also ordered cinema halls to display the national flag on the screen when the anthem was played.
  • The court had said the practice would instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism.
  • The court′s clarification came after several applications were filed.
  • On December 9,  2016 the Supreme Court first modified its November 30 order by exempting physically challenged or handicapped persons from standing up when the National Anthem is played before film screenings.


GS II: INTERNATIONAL USA

Trusted Trump aide Flynn resigns as NSA

  • Michael Flynn, a former military general who helped to shape President Donald Trump′s foreign policy views, resigned as the National Security Adviser (NSA).
  • Mr. Flynn, in his resignation letter, admitted to giving incomplete information to the Vice-President on his phone calls with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. while he was the NSA-designate.
  • U.S. intelligence agencies wiretapped the incoming NSA′s conversations with the Ambassador, and the episodic media leaks of its content and follow-up actions claimed his scalp.

 

GS III : SECURITY

Tunnel found on Pakistan border

  • During an anti-tunnelling exercise, the BSF detected the approximately 20-metre-long tunnel originating in Pakistan in Jammu′s Samba district, which could have been used to push in terrorists from across the border.
  • An official said the tunnel was detected before it could open into Indian territory.
  • The BSF, officials said, would seek a flag meeting with Pakistan Rangers and inform them about the detection of the tunnel.
  • On November 30 2016, a similar tunnel was found at Chamliyal in Samba district.


Central Armed Police Force (CAPF)

  • The 5 CAPF are:

1.     Border Security Force (BSF),

2.     Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF),

3.     Central Industrial Security Force (CISF),

4.     Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), and

5.     Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB),

National Security Guard (NSG)

  • NSG was raised in 1984, following Operation Blue Star and the assassination of Indira Gandhi, "for combating terrorist activities with a view to protect states against internal disturbances"
  • NSG is under the authority of Ministry of Home Affairs  
  • However it is not categorised under the uniform nomenclature of Central Armed Police Forces.

Assam Rifles (AR).

  • The Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force of India.
  • The unit can trace its lineage back to a paramilitary police force that was formed under the British in 1835 called Cachar Levy.
  • It is under the control of the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It has been guarding the Indo–Myanmar barrier as per the government policy "one border one force"

Border Security Force (BSF)

  • The Border Security Force (BSF) is the primary Border guarding force of India.
  • It is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of the Union of India, it was raised in the wake of the 1965 War on 1 December 1965, "for ensuring the security of the borders of India and for matters connected there with".
  • It is a Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) charged with guarding India′s land border during peacetime and preventing transnational crime.
  • It is a Union Government Agency under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The BSF has its own cadre of officers but its head, designated as a Director-General (DG), since its raising has been an officer from the Indian Police Service.
  • It is an Armed Force of the Union of India tasked with various assignments from time to time.
  • The BSF has grown exponentially from a few battalions in 1965, to 186 battalions with a sanctioned strength of 257,025 personnel including an expanding air wing, marine wing, artillery regiments, and commando units.
  • It currently stands as the world′s largest border guarding force.
  • BSF has been termed as the First Line of Defence of Indian Territories


GS I : GEOGRAPHY

Weather officials to study possible emergence of El Nino

  • Meteorologists are likely to review the threat to the Indian monsoon from a possible El Nino.
  • Scientists from the India Meteorological Department, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and the Ministry of Earth Sciences are expected to meet in Pune to analyse a range of forecasts from international climate models – and their own –that suggest waters are likely to warm and change wind patterns enough to El Nino-like conditions.
  • El Nino refers to an anomalous heating up of the waters in the central-eastern regions of the equatorial Pacific and implies a consistent, average rise in temperature of 0.5 degree Celsius above normal.
  • Historically that translates to the monsoon drying up over India six out of 10 years.
  • In the normal course of events, the Pacific waters ought to have been in the converse cool, La Nina mode and only begin a warming trend late after India′s summer monsoon period of June- September.
  • However these trends are expected to begin around March and – the part that′s still contentious – have an El Nino during the latter half of the monsoon.
  • Meteorologists however say it′s too early to be sure of an El Nino and its impact on the monsoon.

 

El Niño and La Niña

  • They occur when the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere above it change from their neutral (‘normal’) state for several seasons.
  • El Niño events are associated with a warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific, while La Niña events are the reverse, with a sustained cooling of these same areas.
  • These changes in the Pacific Ocean and its overlying atmosphere occur in a cycle known as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
  • The atmosphere and ocean interact, reinforcing each other and creating a ‘feedback loop’ which amplifies small changes in the state of the ocean into an ENSO event.
  • Even in a neutral state, temperatures in the Pacific Ocean vary from east to west – for example, the western Pacific ‘warm pool’ in the tropical Pacific has some of the warmest large-scale ocean temperatures in the world.
  • During an ENSO event, ocean temperatures become warmer than usual or cooler than usual at different locations, which are reflected in ocean temperature gradients.
  • The most important driver of ENSO is these temperature gradients across the Pacific, both at the surface and below the surface, particularly at the thermocline.
  • The term El Niño translates from Spanish as ‘the boy-child’. Peruvian fishermen originally used the term to describe the appearance, around Christmas, of a warm ocean current off the South American coast.


GS III : DEFENCE

IAF inducts indigenous early warning system

  • The IAF has formally inducted the first indigenously built Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) System Netra developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
  • These airborne warning systems, capable of long range surveillance, are huge force multipliers.
  • Netra is based on Embraer aircraft.         

Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) System Netra

  • DRDO developed a multisensor airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system on a carrier jet, providing an airborne surveillance system in collaboration with CAB (Centre for Airborne Systems) for the Indian Air Force.
  • It is the first native AEW system developed by DRDO and CAB.
  • It was completely developed and built using the native technology platform, EMB-145.
  • The AEW&C system is developed to serve the Indian Air Force in detection and tracking, identification and classification of threats, guidance and interception control, display of air situation picture and multisensor data integration.
  • The system enables the armed forces to communicate with fighter jets and other AEW&C assets, while it also allows for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations, mission planning as well as record and replay for post mission analysis.


GS II :  POLITY
JUDICIARY

SC is looking at triple talaq, not Uniform Civil Code: CJI

  • The Supreme Court clarified that it will decide on whether triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy are violations of Muslim women′s rights and will have nothing to do with the requirement of a Uniform Civil Code.
  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar said the issue of Uniform Civil Code was “completely different” and had nothing to do with the issue at hand.
  • The Bench said it not deal with the question whether divorce under Muslim law needed to be supervised by courts as it fell under the legislative domain.

 

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-RUSSIA

India to join Moscow meet on Afghanistan

  • India is among six nations participating in a conference on Afghanistan′s future in Moscow, two months after Russia hosted a similar conference with only China and Pakistan.
  • After India and particularly Afghanistan objected to being cut out of the discussion, Moscow agreed to expand its ambit, announcing a six-nation conference of Russia, India, Iran, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.
  • India is increasingly uncomfortable with Russia′s overtures to Pakistan on defence issues.
  • Significantly, Russia did not join the U.S., U.K. and France in sponsoring a resolution against Jaish chief Masood Azhar at the U.N. sanctions committee in January 2017, a resolution which China then put a hold on.
  • Russia has been seen as favouring a softer line on the Taliban as a counter to the spread of Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan; Russia and China have also been coordinating to demand the delisting of senior Taliban leaders designated as terrorists by the U.N. sanctions committee.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL RUSSIA

Moscow deployed cruise missile, violating treaty

  • Russia has deployed a new cruise missile despite complaints by U.S. officials that it violates a 1987 arms control treaty banning ground-based U.S. and Russian intermediate-range missiles.
  • The U.S. concluded in 2014 that Russia had violated the 1987 treaty banning ground-launched intermediate range missiles by testing the experimental new cruise missile.
  • U.S. officials have now concluded that the SSC-8 missile is operational and has been secretly deployed, the report said.
  • The Russians now have two battalions of the prohibited cruise missile. One is still located at the test site at Kapustin Yar in the country′s southeast.

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty)

  • It is a 1987 agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union (and later its successor states, in particular the Russian Federation).
  • The INF Treaty eliminated all nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers (short-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (intermediate-range).
  • The treaty did not cover sea-launched missiles.

 

GS II : REGULATORY BODIES

IRDA seeks to amend 16-year old actuary rules

  • Insurance regulator IRDA has proposed changes in the IRDA (Appointed Actuary), Regulations, 2000 by modifying framework for their appointment and functions.
  • The last amendment effected in the year 2013.
  • An actuary is a business professional who deals with the measurement and management of risk and uncertainty.
  • AAs are entrusted with maintaining solvency position of the Company

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA)

  • It is an autonomous, statutory agency tasked with regulating and promoting the insurance and re-insurance industries in India.
  • It was constituted by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999
  • The agency′s headquarters are in Hyderabad, Telangana, where it moved from Delhi in 2001.
  • The FDI limit in the insurance sector was raised to 100 percent in June 2016.


GS III : ECONOMY

Wholesale inflation races to 5.25%

  • The Wholesale Price Index grew 5.25% in January 2017 on the back of accelerating inflation in the crude oil and minerals sectors.
  • The index saw its growth accelerating from 3.39% in December 2016.
  • While inflation in the primary articles category quickened to 1.3% in January from 0.3% in December 2016, prices in the food segment within this period contracted for the second consecutive month by 0.56%.
  • The minerals segment, however, saw the rate of inflation almost doubling in January to 25.4% from 12.9% in December.
  • In the fuel and power category, inflation accelerated sharply to 18.14% in January, from 8.65% in the preceding month.
  • Inflation in the manufactured goods category accelerated marginally to 4% in January from 3.7% in December.

 

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

India’s air pollution rivals China’s as world’s deadliest, shows study

  • India’s rapidly worsening air pollution is causing about 1.1 million people to die prematurely each year and is now surpassing China’s as the deadliest in the world, a new study of global air pollution shows.
  • The number of premature deaths in China caused by dangerous air particles, known as PM2.5, has stabilised globally in recent years but has risen sharply in India, according to the report.
  • A fraction of the width of a human hair, these PM2.5 particles can be released from vehicles, particularly those with diesel engines, and by industry, as well as from natural sources like dust.
  • They enter the bloodstream through the lungs, worsening cardiac disease and increasing the risk of stroke and heart failure, in addition to causing severe respiratory problems, like asthma and pneumonia.
  • India has registered an alarming increase of nearly 50% in premature deaths from particulate matter between 1990 and 2015, the report says.
  • It cited the confluence of rapid industrialisation, population growth and an ageing populace in India that is more susceptible to air pollution.
  • As air pollution worsened in parts of the world, including South Asia, it improved in the U.S. and Europe, the report said.


  


GS III: S&T IT

‘Thubber’ for use in soft, stretchable electronics

  • In a breakthrough for creating soft, stretchable machines and electronics, scientists have developed a novel rubber material with high thermal conductivity and elasticity.
  • The material, nicknamed thubber’, is an electrically insulating composite that exhibits an unprecedented combination of metal-like thermal conductivity, elasticity similar to soft, biological tissue, and can stretch over six times its initial length.
  • Applications could extend to industries like athletic wear and sports medicine — think of lighted clothing for runners and heated garments for injury therapy.
  • Advanced manufacturing, energy, and transportation are other areas where stretchable electronic material could have an impact, researchers said.
  • The key ingredient in “thubber” is a suspension of non-toxic, liquid metal micro- droplets. The liquid state allows the metal to deform with the surrounding rubber at room temperature.

A nano-CT scan of "thubber," showing the liquid metal microdroplets inside the rubber material.
 

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

Chemicals banned in 1970s discovered in deep ocean fauna

  • In a first, scientists have found high levels of human- made pollutants, including chemicals that were banned in the 1970s, lingering in the tissues of marine creatures that dwell in the deepest oceans of the Earth.
  • Sampling amphipods from the Pacific Ocean′s Mariana and Kermadec trenches, which are over 10 km deep and 7,000 km apart, researchers found extremely high levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the organism’s fatty tissue.
  • These include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which are commonly used as electrical insulators and flame retardants.
  • From the 1930s to when PCBs were banned in the 1970s, the total global production of these chemicals was in the region of 1.3 million tonnes.
  • The pollutants may have found their way to the trenches through contaminated plastic debris and dead animals sinking to the bottom of the ocean, where they are then consumed by amphipods and other fauna, scientists believe.

 

 

 

POPs under the Stockholm Convention

  • Initially, twelve POPs have been recognized as causing adverse effects on humans and the ecosystem and these can be placed in 3 categories:

1. Pesticides: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, toxaphene;

2.  Industrial chemicals: hexachlorobenzene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and

3. By-products: hexachlorobenzene; polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDF), and PCBs.

  • The new POPs  are –

1. Alpha hexachlorocyclohexane,

2. Beta hexachlorocyclohexane,

3. Chlordecone,

4. Hexabromobiphenyl,

5. Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD),

6. Hexabromodiphenyl ether and heptabromodiphenyl ether (commercial octabromodiphenyl ether),

7.  Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD),

8.  Lindane,

9.  Pentachlorobenzene (PeCB),

10. Pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters (PCP),

11. Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride (PFOS-F),

12.  Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs),

13. Technical endosulfan and its related isomers,

14. Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether(commercial pentabromodiphenyl ether).

Back to Top