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

Current Events 18 February 2017

 

NEWS

18 FEBRUARY 2017 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III: SECURITY

Govt. junks border wall plan

2.

GS II:  POLITY JUDICIARY

No concept of National Song: SC

3.

GS II: MEDICAL DIPLOMACY

From Mosul to Kabul, it′s a health offensive

4.

GS II:  SOCIAL - HEALTH

Jaipur Foot fitment camp in Myanmar, more in the offing

5.

GS II:  SOCIAL - HEALTH

Uniform norms for brain death certification soon, says NOTTO

6.

GS II: BILATERAL INDIA-RUSSIA

Helicopter deal takes shape

7.

GS II: GOVERNANCE

Aadhaar a must for scholarships

8.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL UK

Britain′s  £5 note stays

9.

GS III: ECONOMY

SEBI may allow MFs to trade in commodities

10.

GS III: S&T GENETICS

Woolly mammoth on the verge of resurrection

11.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

Old car owners to pay toxic charge in London

12.

GS III: S&T SPACE

Public gets NASA invites to search for new worlds

13.

GS III: S&T IT

Project Loon can now predict weather systems

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 GS III: SECURITY

Govt. junks border wall plan

  • The Centre has given up its proposal to build a wall along the Pakistan border in Jammu, originally envisaged as a barrier to cross-border terror.
  • The raised embankment, initiated by the UPA government in 2013 after the twin attacks in the Hiranagar/ Samba sector, was to come up along 179 km of the International Border in Jammu.
  • Since 2014, when the NDA government came to power, there have been more than 900 ceasefire violations along the Pakistan border in Jammu.
  • At the LoC, which is under the operational control of the Army, 541 violations were reported during the same period. In these violations, 57 locals and 26 security personnel were killed.

Concerns raised:

1.     The wall proposal was opposed by Pakistan, which shot off letters to the United Nations Security Council in 2015 accusing India of converting what it called a “working boundary” into a “quasi international boundary.”

2.     The Army too opposed the embankment, saying it would pose hurdles for their forward movement during military operations.

3.     “There were multiple issues. Unlike the Line of Control, the IB is densely populated and has fertile agrarian land. Not many people were willing to let go of their land. We could hardly acquire 25% of the land,” said the official.

Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS)

  • As the plan for raising an embankment is not materializing, the government would now depend on ‘technological solutions’ such as a ‘smart fence’, a seamless virtual fence with sensors to identify any infiltration.
  • The Home Ministry is now working on a Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) for 24X7 surveillance.
  • “Currently a pilot project is under way, where an integrated system of human resources, sensors, networks, intelligence and command and control solutions are being worked upon,” the official said.
  • “Our endeavour is to improve situational awareness to facilitate prompt and informed decision-making and quick response to emerging situations.

 

 GS II:  POLITY JUDICIARY

No concept of National Song: SC

  • Orally noting that “there is no concept of National Song”, the Supreme Court has refused to intervene in a petition seeking a direction to the government to frame a national policy to promote and propagate the ‘National Song’, along with the National Anthem and the National Flag.
  • The Bench said it should be clearly noted that Article 51A (a), citing the citizens’ fundamental duties, does not refer to ‘National Song.’ “It only refers to National Flag and National Anthem,” the order observed.
  • Article 51A(a) mandates that citizens should abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.

 

GS II: MEDICAL DIPLOMACY

From Mosul to Kabul, it′s a health offensive

  • Healthcare in oil-rich Iraq used to be free for its people, but years of war devastated its infrastructure.
  • So when Iraqi forces fought the Islamic State in Mosul last year, they depended on specialist and critical care provided by Artemis hospital in Gurgaon which has treated more than 450 Iraqi soldiers since 2014. But then, it is not just Iraq.
  • Eman Ahmed from Egypt got a visa for treatment in Mumbai, after Dr. Muffi Lakdawala, a bariatric surgeon urged External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to help.
  • Diplomats see this as part of India′s medical diplomacy tradition, extending today from Ethiopia to Myanmar.
  • Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis who went to China during the Long March, and Mahatma Gandhi′s Ambulance Corps in the Boer war inspired India to have a policy on medical diplomacy.
  • Kabul Indira Gandhi Children′s Hospital was set up in 1966 with India′s help.
  • Some years ago, Indian officials turned an empty building of the Tajikistan military into what is now a hospital serving the public.
  • The former ambassador said after seeing the work by Indians in Afghanistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka also sought support.

GS II:  SOCIAL - HEALTH

Jaipur Foot fitment camp in Myanmar, more in the offing

  • A month-long ‘Jaipur Foot’ fitment camp has begun in Yangon city of Myanmar
  • A team from Jaipur aims to rehabilitate 300 handicapped persons with the famous artificial limbs, which will enable them to walk again.
  • The camp has been jointly organised by the Indian Embassy in Myanmar, U Nu Daw Mya Yi Foundation — named after the country’s first democratically elected Prime Minister U Nu — and Jaipur-based Bhagwan Mahaveer Vikalang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS).
  • The Jaipur Foot has its footprints in 28 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where about 16 lakh persons have benefited.
  • Myanmar is the 29th country where the Jaipur Foot has stepped in. It has plans to establish a permanent centre there.
  • On the camp′s first day, 12 handicapped persons — two of them above 80 years of age and a 73-year-old retired Army officer – walked out confidently and comfortably with their Jaipur Foot.
  • A few youths jumped and squatted before the audience to show off the limb′s manoeuverability.

  

 

GS II:  SOCIAL - HEALTH

Uniform norms for brain death certification soon, says NOTTO

  • The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation has begun the process of framing uniform guidelines on brain death certification to be followed by doctors across the country.
  • NOTTO is the nodal agency that frames policy guidelines and protocols involved in organ donation and transplantation,
  • It was essential to develop Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) for brain death certification to address the grey areas in the procedure and empower intensive care personnel.
  • In India, deceased organ donation is catching up in the private sector but it is lagging behind in the government sector.
  • If we evolve SOPs, keeping in mind facilities available in private and government hospitals, doctors will be empowered to declare a brain death without any hitch.

  

National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO)

  • NOTTO, set up under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has following two divisions:

1.     National Human Organ and Tissue Removal and Storage Network

2.     National Biomaterial Centre

National Human Organ and Tissue Removal and Storage Network

  • This has been mandated as per the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2011.
  • The network will be established initially for Delhi and gradually expanded to include other States and Regions of the country.
  • Presently, it is the nodal networking agency for Procurement Allocation and Distribution of Organs and Tissues in Delhi.

National Biomaterial Centre (National Tissue Bank)

  • The Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2011 has included the component of tissue donation and registration of tissue Banks.
  • It becomes imperative under the changed circumstances to establish National level Tissue Bank to fulfill the demands of tissue transplantation including activities for procurement, storage and distribution of biomaterials.


GS II: BILATERAL INDIA-RUSSIA

Helicopter deal takes shape

  • The joint venture (JV) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Rosoboronexport and Russian Helicopters of Russia for manufacturing Kamov-226T light utility helicopters in India will be registered very soon and the final contract is likely to be signed this year.
  • As per the deal worth over $1 billion, 60 helicopters will be imported from Russia and at least another 140 will be built in India by the HAL with technology transfer.
  • The Kamov-226T helicopters are meant to replace the aging and obsolete Cheetah and Chetak fleets of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • Russia expects the helicopter to function the same way as the JV for Brahmos cruise missile.
  • India and Russia intend to export the Kamov-226T to third countries after meeting domestic requirement.

GS II: GOVERNANCE

Aadhaar a must for scholarships

  • The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has made Aadhaar mandatory for providing scholarships to meritorious school students from economically weaker sections.
  • Students who want to avail scholarship benefits under ‘National Means-cum- Merit Scholarship Scheme’ need to get enrolled under Aadhaar by June 30.
  • In 2015-16, around 2.05 lakh students were beneficiaries of the scheme, launched in 2008, aimed at arresting school dropouts at class VIII and encourage children to continue their studies at the secondary stage.
  • Scholarship of Rs. 500 per month is awarded to meritorious students every year for study in classes from IX to XII in State government, government-aided and local body schools.
  • Aadhaar has also been made mandatory for 12 scholarship schemes administered by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for Scheduled Caste, Other Backward Classes (OBC), economically backward classes and semi-nomadic and nomadic tribe students.
  • Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, makes the use of Aadhaar “an identifier for delivery of various subsidies or benefits or schemes” to beneficiaries.
  • The Supreme Court had stayed the mandatory use of Aadhaar in one of the scholarship schemes of the West Bengal government in September 2016.

 

GS II: INTERNATIONAL UK

Britain’s £5 note stays

  • A debate is currently under way within Britain’s Hindu community to decide how to react to the Bank of England′s decision not to withdraw the controversial £5 note released last year that contains traces of beef fat.
  • Earlier this week, the bank said that following a review — triggered by the public outcry after news of the note′s content broke last November — it had concluded it was appropriate to keep the existing note, and to issue new £10 notes based on the same polymer later this year.
  • The bank said re-issuing the note would involve incurring the £46 million it had spent on printing the first note again, as well as the cost of withdrawing those in circulation.
  • Printing of the £10 note had also already commenced.
  • However, it was examining alternatives for the issue of a new £20 note that is due to take place in 2020.
  • The bank said it had been unaware of the traces of animal-derived products when it signed the contract to supply the notes, and had since been treating public concerns with “utmost seriousness”.

 

 

GS III: ECONOMY SEBI

SEBI may allow MFs to trade in commodities

  • SEBI is likely to give mutual funds the go-ahead to trade in commodity markets in a month.
  • The regulator is also in talks with the RBI to allow institutional investors like banks and FPIs to trade in the segment.
  • Mutual funds′ participation in commodities derivatives would be the first one to happen among institutional investors,” Securities and Exchange Board of India Chairman U.K. Sinha said.

  


 

GS III: S&T  GENETICS

Woolly mammoth on the verge of resurrection

  • The woolly mammoth vanished from the Earth 4,000 years ago, but now scientists say they are on the brink of resurrecting the ancient beast in a revised form, through an ambitious feat of genetic engineering.
  • The scientist leading the “de-extinction” effort said the Harvard team is just two years away from creating a hybrid embryo, in which mammoth traits would be programmed into an Asian elephant.
  • “De-extincting” the mammoth has become a realistic prospect because of revolutionary gene editing techniques that allow the precise selection and insertion of DNA from specimens frozen over millennia in Siberian ice.
  • Dr. Church helped develop the most widely used technique, known as Crispr/ Cas9, that has transformed genetic engineering since it was first demonstrated in 2012.
  • Derived from a defence system bacteria use to fend off viruses, it allows the “cut and paste” manipulation of strands of DNA with a precision not seen before.
  • Gene editing and its ethical implications is one of the key topics under discussion.
  • The scientists intend to engineer elephant skin cells to produce the embryo, or multiple embryos, using cloning techniques.
  • Nuclei from the reprogrammed cells would be placed into elephant egg cells whose own genetic material has been removed. The eggs would then be artificially stimulated to develop into embryos.

  

 

GS III: ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

Old car owners to pay ‘toxic charge’ in London

  • Motorists in London who own old polluting vehicles are to be hit with a new charge from October 2017, Mayor Sadiq Khan said, two days after the European Union ordered Britain to cut air pollution.
  • “The context is this: Over 9,000 Londoners die each year because of low quality air,” Mr. Khan told the BBC after announcing the new £10 “Toxic Chargewhich will apply to motorists who own vehicles that do not meet European standardstypically petrol and diesel cars registered before 2006 — and comes on top of the congestion charge for the city centre
  • All vehicles entering central London already pay a daily £11.50 congestion charge, introduced in 2003 to ease pressure on the city’s roads.

 

GS III: S&T SPACE

Public gets NASA invites to search for new worlds

  • NASA is inviting the public to help search for possible undiscovered worlds in the outer reaches of our solar system.
  • A new website, Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, lets everyone participate in the search by viewing brief movies made from images captured by NASA’s Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission.
  • Participants will share credit for their discoveries in any scientific publications that result from the project.
  • Unlike more distant objects, those in or closer to the solar system appear to move across the sky at different rates.
  • The best way to discover them is through a systematic search of moving objects in WISE images.
  • These include brightness spikes associated with star images and blurry blobs caused by light scattered inside WISE′s instruments.

 

 

 

GS III: S&T IT

Project Loon can now predict weather systems

  • Researchers at Google have moved a step closer to rolling out a network of huge balloons to provide Internet connectivity to billions of people around the world, particularly those in difficult-to reach rural areas.
  • The Project Loon team, part of Google′s X research lab, said it can now use machine learning to predict weather systems.
  • The advance means Google has much more control over where its balloons reach, making it possible to focus on a specific region, rather than circumnavigating the globe.
  • The company has experimented with beaming down connectivity from a network of huge, tennis-court sized balloons rather than undertaking huge construction projects to replicate connectivity networks in the developed world.
  • The balloons float in the stratosphere around 18 kilometres high. By raising or lowering altitude, the balloons can be caught in different weather streams, changing direction.
  • By using machine-learning algorithms, Google thinks it has found a way to predict weather with enough accuracy to make it possible to hover balloons over a relatively small area for a long period of time.
  • The firm was last year able to keep a cluster of balloons over Peru for three months.

  

Back to Top