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Current Events 20 March 2017

 

NEWS 

20 March 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III: SECURITY

Chemical used in IED at rail track identified

2.

GS III: SECURITY

Manipur blockade finally lifted

3.

GS I: GEOGRAPHY

Bulgarian dies in blizzard in Arunachal Pradesh

4.

GS I: CULTURE

Move to get world heritage status for Buddhist sites

5.

GS I: CULTURE

‘Buddhism relevant in today's era'

6.

GS I: CULTURE

Dalits refuse to take part in Sidi ritual

7.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT BIODIVERSITY

‘Lack of emotional connect making sparrows extinct'

8.

GS II:  BILATERAL INDIA-CHINA

China to take part in Brahmaputra festival

9.

GS III:  DEFENCE

123 Tejas jets to join IAF by 2024

10.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL - NORTH KOREA 

N. Korea tests powerful rocket engine

11.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL - NORTH KOREA 

U.S., China to work together on N. Korea

12.

GS III: ECONOMY

Doubts raised over second IFSC's viability

13.

GS III:  S&T  - IT

New Wi-Fi system to offer super-fast connectivity

14.

GS III:  S&T  - PHYSICS

Scientists discover five new sub-atomic particles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS III: SECURITY

Chemical used in IED at rail track identified

  • A forensic report with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has said that "arsenic sulphide" was the primary material used in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), which was found by the rail track at Ghorasan in Bihar on October 1 last year.
  • The chemical is mostly used in firecrackers and was used to make a pressure cooker bomb, which was detected and defused in Ghorasan, along the Nepal border.
  • Its discovery led to a series of arrests in Nepal and Bihar, pointing to a conspiracy hatched by Pakistan's ISI to mobilise people to plant explosives at railway tracks.

 

GS III: SECURITY

Manipur blockade finally lifted

  • The four-month economic blockade in Manipur, imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC), was lifted on 19 March 2017 midnight following the talks it had with the Union and the State governments.
  • The UNC had imposed the blockade in protest against the creation of seven new districts by the then Congress-led government "as it was in contravention to Greater Nagalim" envisaged by the group.
  • Asked if the newly elected BJP government in the State would roll back the decision of creating seven new districts, the official said: "At the moment there is nothing like a rollback; there are many stakeholders."

GS I: GEOGRAPHY

Bulgarian dies in blizzard in Arunachal Pradesh

  • The Army launched a massive rescue operation and saved 127 tourists stranded after a massive blizzard struck West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • A Bulgarian national was killed after she slipped and fell down a steep gorge.

Bulgarian dies in blizzard in Arunachal Pradesh | Latest Current Affairs 20th March 2017 

GS I: ART AND CULTURE

Move to get world heritage status for Buddhist sites

  • The Buddhist Heritage sites at Salihundam (Srikakulam district) and Sankaram near Anakapalle in Visakhapatnam district, in addition to Lepakshi (Anantapur district) and the Nagarjunakonda International Museum (Guntur district) are likely to find a place in the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites.
  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), New Delhi, sought a proposal from its Hyderabad unit on March 17, for sending it to the Unesco World Heritage Centre for tentative listing.
  • Sankaram, also known as Bojjannakonda, was excavated under the aegis of Alexander Rim in 1906.
  • An interesting aspect of the Bojjannakonda finds is that they feature all the three phases of Buddhism: Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.
  • A stairway leads to a large double-storeyed cave on a hill.
  • The rectangular cave has a doorway and is flanked by ‘dwarapalakas' on either side.
  • There is a rock-cut stupa, standing on a square platform, at the centre of the cave.
  • A series of rock-cut caves and monolithic structures standing on rock platforms are seen on the northern side of the hill.
  • The upper cave has a rectangular doorway, flanked by figures of the Buddha on either side.
  • The imposing figures of the Buddha in a seated meditative posture and the stupa are the main attractions for tourists at Bojjannakonda.

Move to get world heritage status for Buddhist sites | Latest Current Affairs 20th March 2017

 

GS I: CULTURE

‘Buddhism relevant in today's era'

  • Addressing the closing ceremony of a three-day International Buddhist Conclave in Rajgir in Nalanda, President Pranab Mukherjee on 19 March 2017 said the philosophy of Buddhism is as relevant today as ever in the era of violence, "especially as the world grapples with the complex problems that seem intractable".
  • Stating that "Nalanda reflects our ancient educational system which attracted mighty minds in the form of students and teachers in ancient India," the President said, "Education means the development of the mind and requires an atmosphere which is conducive to free exchange of ideas."
  • Mr Mukherjee urged the delegates to "redouble their efforts to promote the simple Truths and the Path of the Buddha that show we can be better citizens and contribute to making our land a better place to live in".
  • The President also expressed happiness that the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, a deemed University, has recently published the entire Pali Tripitaka (texts or words of the Buddha) in 41 volumes in Devanagari script.
  • He further congratulated the University for opening the first ever Department of Buddhist Sciences in the world.
  • Earlier on 18 March 2017, the Dalai Lama visited the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara after a gap of 60 years and planted a sapling of the Bodhi Tree.

 

GS I: CULTURE

Dalits refuse to take part in Sidi ritual

  • A section of Dalit families that has been taking part in the risky ritual of Sidi during the annual fair at Hariharapur in Holenarsipur taluk, Hassan district, Karnataka has refused to do so this year.
  • The ritual involves men being tied to a wooden pole with the help of a hook inserted into their body and women walking with their mouths locked with iron hooks.
  • It is the annual fair of the local deity - Udusalamma (Durga Parameshwari).
  • Hassan district unit of the Dalit Hakkugala Samiti has submitted a memorandum to the district administration and the tahsildar of Holenarsipur to avoid the "inhuman" ritual during the fair this year.
  • Last year, a youth died while playing Sidi at Hebbal in Belur taluk.

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT  BIODIVERSITY

‘Lack of emotional connect making sparrows extinct'

  • The house sparrow that was declared the ‘State Bird of Delhi' in 2012 is edging towards extinction due to lack of emotional connect, says conservationist Mohammed Dilawar.
  • Mr. Dilawar, who started the practice of observing March 20 as World Sparrow Day in 2010, says "mindless urbanisation" is leading to loss of the birds' natural habitats.
  • World Sparrow Day, an initiative by NFSI, is now celebrated annually across 50 countries.
  • The conservationist also attributed the depleting population of sparrows to the increased use of packed food, insecticides in farming, and changing lifestyles, resulting in an inadequate availability of food for the birds.
  • "Unlike pigeons that can make nests on ledges, sparrows need cavities to build their nests. Since the new matchbox style buildings don't have cavities, sparrows are now homeless," he says.

 

GS II: BILATERAL INDIA-CHINA

China to take part in Brahmaputra festival

  • The five-day Brahmaputra river festival titled Namami Brahmaputra organised by the BJP-led government in Assam, will witness significant participation from China.
  • According to the event organisers, described as the "biggest river festival of India," various other countries such as Vietnam and Singapore are also attending.
  • The Brahmaputra, 2,900 km long, is an international river with 918 km of it flowing in India, 1625 km in China and 337 km in Bangladesh.
  • The festival will begin on March 31 with an event scheduled to be inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee.

China to take part in Brahmaputra festival | Latest Current Affairs 20th March 2017

 

GS III:  DEFENCE

123 Tejas jets to join IAF by 2024

  • If the present development and capacity enhancement plans go as scheduled, the Indian Air Force will have 123 Tejas jets, indigenously made light combat aircraft, on its fleet by 2024-25.
  • To enable this, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is in the process of setting up a new assembly line for the jets and is involving the private sector in a big way.
  • Last July, the IAF operationalised the first Tejas squadron - 45 Flying Daggers - with three aircraft.
  • Two more aircraft will join the squadron shortly.
  • The IAF is in urgent need of new fighters and the LCAs will replace the MiG fighters which are being phased out.
  • The IAF is scheduled to phase out all 11 squadrons of MiG-21 and MiG-27 fighters by 2024 on completion of their technical life.

123 Tejas jets to join IAF by 2024 | Latest Current Affairs 20th March 2017

 

GS II: INTERNATIONAL  - NORTH KOREA

N. Korea tests powerful rocket engine

  • North Korea has tested a powerful new rocket engine, state media said, with leader Kim Jong-un hailing the successful test as a "new birth" for the nation's rocket industry.
  • The test was apparently timed to coincide with the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Beijing on 18 March 2017, where he warned that regional tensions had reached a "dangerous level".
  • The North could use the new engine to launch a rocket to put a satellite in orbit. Rocket engines are easily re-purposed for use in missiles.
  • Outside observers say that the nuclear-armed Pyongyang's space programme is a fig leaf for weapons tests.
  • North Korea is banned by the United Nations from conducting long-range missile tests, but it claims its satellite programme is for peaceful use, a claim many in the U.S. and elsewhere believe is questionable.

 

GS II: INTERNATIONAL - NORTH KOREA  

U.S., China to work together on N. Korea

  • With warm words from Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended his first trip to Asia since taking office with an agreement to work together with China on North Korea and putting aside trickier issues.
  • China has been irritated at being repeatedly told by Washington to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes and the U.S. decision to base an advanced missile defence system in South Korea.
  • Beijing is also deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions towards self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own, with the Trump administration crafting a big new arms package for the island that is bound to anger China.

 

GS III: ECONOMY  

Doubts raised over second IFSC's viability

  • The Commerce Department has asked the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) in the Finance Ministry to comment on the feasibility of having more than one International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in India.
  • It has also sought comments from the DEA on the viability of the Maharashtra government's proposal for an IFSC in Mumbai.
  • If the IFSC, proposed to be set up at the Bandra Kurla Complex in the country's financial capital, gets all the required clearances, it will be the second such centre in India following the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar.
  • IFSC-related matters fall within the jurisdiction of financial sector regulators such as the Reserve Bank of India, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and Securities and Exchange Board of India as well as the Finance Ministry.
  • The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act is pertinent in this case as IFSC is set up in a SEZ, and therefore, the Commerce Department has a crucial role here as it is the nodal body at the Centre for SEZ-related matters.
  • The SEZ Act merely states that the Centre can approve only one IFSC in an SEZ, and does not bar more than one IFSC in the country.
  • Citing examples in other countries, the Commerce Department, however, has said even advanced nations have been finding it difficult to develop more than one major international financial centre in their respective territory.
  • It added that therefore, India, which is yet to have full capital account convertibility, may find it even tougher to make more than one IFSC viable.
  • The Maharashtra government had proposed that the Mumbai IFSC can even enter into collaborations with the GIFT City International Financial Services Centre as Mumbai has the advantage of being the country's de facto financial capital.

 

Doubts raised over second IFSC's viability | Latest Current Affairs 20th March 2017

 

GS III: S&T - IT

New Wi-Fi system to offer super-fast connectivity

  • Scientists have developed a new wireless Internet based on infrared rays that is reportedly 100 times faster than existing Wi-Fi networks.
  • The wireless network developed by researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands not only has a huge capacity - more than 40 Gigabits per second (Gbit/s) - but does away with the need to share Wi-Fi as every device gets its own ray of light.
  • The wireless data comes from a few central ‘light antennas', which can be mounted on the ceiling, that are able to precisely direct the rays of light supplied by an optical fibre.
  • A safe infrared wavelength is used that does not reach the retina in the eye.
  • Different devices are assigned different wavelengths by the same light antenna and so do not have to share capacity.
  • Current Wi-Fi uses radio signals with a frequency of 2.5 or five gigahertz.
  • The new system uses infrared light with wavelengths of 1,500 nanometres and higher.
  • Researchers managed to achieve a speed of 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 metres.
  • The team said that even with the best Wi-Fi systems currenly available, users would not get more than 300 Megabit/s in total, which is some hundred times less than the speed per ray of light achieved by the new system.

 

GS III: S&T  - PHYSICS

Scientists discover five new sub-atomic particles

  • Scientists using the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator have discovered a new system of five particles all in a single analysis.
  • The uniqueness of this discovery is that observing five new states all at once is very rare, researchers said.
  • The LHCb experiment is one of seven particle physics detector experiments collecting data at the Large Hadron Collider accelerator at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research).
  • The collaboration has announced the measurement of a very rare particle decay and evidence of a new manifestation of matter-antimatter asymmetry, to name just two examples.
  • The new particles were found to be in excited states - a particle state that has a higher energy than the absolute minimum configuration (or ground state) - of a particle called Omega-c-zero.
  • Omega-c-zero is a baryon, a particle with three quarks, containing two "strange" and one "charm" quark.
  • Omega-c-zero decays via the strong force into another baryon, called Xi-c-plus, (containing a "charm", a "strange" and an "up" quark) and a kaon K-.
  • Then the Xi-c-plus particle decays in turn into a proton p, a kaon K- and a pion p+.
  • The next step will be the determination of the quantum numbers of these new particles - characteristic numbers used to identify the properties of a specific particle - and the determination of their theoretical significance.
  • This discovery will contribute to understanding how the three constituent quarks are bound inside a baryon and also to probing the correlation between quarks, which plays a key role in describing multi-quark states, such as tetraquarks and pentaquarks.

 

 


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