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Current Events 23 February 2017

 

NEWS

23 FEBRUARY 2017 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-CHINA

‘Case against Azhar solid’

2.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-USA

3 lakh Indians in U.S. at deportation risk

3.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

There’s poison in the air

4.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

Location norms soon for waste treatment plants

5.

GS III: DEFENCE

Navy frigate INS Betwa set upright in Mumbai dockyard

6.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA- EU

Kashmir an internal affair: EU team

7.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-AFRICA

Uganda to stop car imports

8.

GS II : REGULATORY BODIES TRAI

TRAI told to review tariff plans

9.

GS III : S&T-HEALTH

Roche can’t hang on to breast cancer drug: HC

10.

GS III: S&T SPACE

7 Earth-like planets spotted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







 

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-CHINA

‘Case against Azhar solid’

  •  India hit out at China for demanding “solid evidence” for securing a United Nations ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, saying the extent of his actions were “well-documented” and the “burden of proof” was not on the country.
  •  “On the issue of 1267 Committee’s sanctions on Masood Azhar, we once again explained the rationale for that application and pointed out that this was really pursued by other countries too, not India alone,” Foreign Secretary Mr. Jaishankar said.
  •  He was referring to the U.S. application this year, backed by the U.K. and France, to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.
  •  In the case of Azhar, Jaish itself is proscribed under 1267. So the proof is in [the] 1267 Committee action.”
  •  Mr. Jaishankar, on meeting his Chinese counterpart, highlighted India’s concerns about the widening trade deficit, which last year amounted to over $46 billion. “We conveyed our concern to [the] Chinese side. It was agreed that the Joint Economic Group headed by Commerce Ministers will meet early to discuss this,” he said.
  •  “The Chinese side has taken some measures, but clearly these have not addressed the problem in a substantive way,” Mr. Jaishankar said, referring to Beijing’s promise that it would remove trade barriers for India’s IT and pharmaceutical sectors.


 GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-USA

3 lakh Indians in U.S. at deportation risk

  •  Nearly three lakh Indian-Americans are likely to be impacted by the Trump administration’s sweeping plans that put the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation.
  •  U.S. President Donald Trump has laid the groundwork for potentially deporting millions of undocumented immigrants by issuing new guidelines.
  •  “The Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in an enforcement memo.
  •  “Department personnel have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws,” the memo said.
  •   The DHS has issued two enforcement memos, which among other things, tighten deportation of illegal immigrants.
  •  According to the memo, the DHS Secretary has the authority to apply expedited removal provisions to aliens who have not been admitted or paroled into the U.S., who are inadmissible, and who have not been continuously physically present in the U.S. for the two-year period immediately prior to the determination of their inadmissibility, so that such aliens are immediately removed unless the alien is among other things, an unaccompanied minor, intends to apply for asylum or has a fear of persecution.


GS III : ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

There’s poison in the air

  •  Nearly a third of Indian cities have breached annual pollution limits mandated by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) between 2011 and 2015, according to figures from the Union Environment Ministry-affiliated organisation.
  •  The numbers — the latest available and updated in blocks of 4 years — sourced from 680 pollution-monitoring stations spread over 300 cities across the country, measure levels of particulate matter (PM 10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulphur dioxide (SO2).
  •  While cities such as Delhi are usually the worst performers with regard to pollution spikes in winter, the CPCB data show that 94 cities spanning States from Andhra Pradesh to Jammu and Kashmir and Assam to Gujarat were guilty of breaching the annual, particulate matter limit of 60 micro-gram per cubic metre.
  •  Delhi; Badlapur, Pune and Ulhasnagar in Maharashtra; and Kolkata additionally transgressed the NO2 levels.
  •  While cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Pune measure PM2.5 levels, most lack the sensors required to gauge the presence of these minute particles that are considered more toxic than the more commonly measured PM 10.
  •  Monitoring and enforcing pollution limits was done by the State pollution control boards and the Centre could only send advisories, according to officials.
  •  The numbers come on the back of international research reports attributing about a million deaths in India to air pollution.
  •  The Environment Ministry has said these mortality figures were “extrapolations without due scientific validation” but hasn’t countered with numbers of its own.
  •  It is, along with the Health Ministry, working on a study to assess ‘official’ mortality from air pollution.
  •  Key directives by the Centre to the States to control particulate matter pollution include promoting public transport, improving fuel quality and fuel efficiency standards and banning burning of leaves, biomass and municipal solid waste.

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

Location norms soon for waste treatment plants

  •  Soon, waste-to-energy plants will be allowed to come up within 20-100 metres of residential areas, according to a draft law proposed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
  •  Currently the Union Environment Ministry and Urban Development Ministry guidelines have no defined limits on the minimum distance separating such plants from residential areas.
  •  Only specifications for landfills — that they be least 500 m. away from “habitable zones” — exist.
  •   This is the first time that waste processing plants will have to adhere to defined limits by creating a buffer zone separating the boundaries of the waste processing facility and public zones.
  •  These guidelines — now open for public consultation until the 26th of this month — will apply to prospective treatment plants across the country and existing plants will have to incorporate measures such as planting trees, odour-free technology and proper waste transport measures within the buffer zone.


GS III: DEFENCE

Navy frigate INS Betwa set upright in Mumbai dockyard

  •  Indian Navy frigate INS Betwa, which tipped over in the dockyard in Mumbai last December, has been set upright.
  •  In a related move, the Board of Inquiry (BoI) constituted to probe the incident has submitted its report to the Headquarters, Western Naval Command.
  •  Two people were killed and 14 injured when the 4,000 tonne indigenously built guided missile frigate INS Betwa suffered a mishap on December 05, 2016 while it was being undocked during a scheduled two-year refit.
  •  The refit began on April 15, 2016 and is scheduled to finish on April 15, 2018.
  •  The repair and refit would be completed as per schedule, Capt. Sharma said.
  •  The salvage operation was carried out by specialist firm Resolve Marine Group which was selected through tendering process. The operation cost about Rs. 20 crore.

 

 

 

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-EU

Kashmir an internal affair: EU team

  •  Human rights ‘violations’ in Jammu and Kashmir must be resolved internally in India, says a visiting delegation of Members of European Parliament (MEP), accepting that the conflict in the State is an internal Indian matter.
  •  “The reports of breaches of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir have to be settled through Indian institutions. The conflict is a very sensitive issue, we know sensitive it is. Delegations of MEPs visited both sides of Kashmir in 2003-04. This has to be settled through domestic Indian institutions,” said David McAllister, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the EU Parliament, clearly ruling out the need to “internationalise” the Kashmir issue.
  •  However, while giving India its full support on the human rights issue, the delegation, however, will take up two other thorny issues:

1.     India’s denial of a visa to a member of their delegation

§  Surely the way to solve the long running problem of Jammu and Kashmir is to have open dialogue and allow a diversity of views — not to ban dissenters from entering the country.

2.     Recent Home Ministry action against NGOs in India.

§  The only restriction can be blocking terror organisations. But when it’s about women’s rights, children’s rights, it’s very important to explain this approach.

  •  Mr. Preda is the head of a committee preparing a comprehensive report on political relations between India and the EU, building off their strategic partnership launched in 2004, including the issue of human rights, which the members said were an “integral part” of the EU’s foreign relations. Officials said they had also discussed “security cooperation and counter-terrorism issues” in New Delhi.


GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-AFRICA

Uganda to stop car imports

  •  Vice-President Hamid Ansari held bilateral talks with Ugandan President Y.K. Museveni on the first official day of his visit to the country, agreeing broadly on cooperation in the fields of vocational training, space technology and peaceful uses of atomic energy.
  •  Mr. Museveni did, however, put Indian automobile manufacturers on notice by announcing that the East African nation would soon be ending import of assembled automobiles.
  •  While admitting that the trade balance was in favour of India (Indian exports are projected to stand at $326.67 million this year compared with Ugandan exports to India at $46.7 million), Mr. Museveni was keen that automobile manufacturers assembled vehicles in Uganda, creating the much needed jobs.
  •  India’s exports to Uganda include pharmaceuticals, bicycles, bicycle parts, automobile components, two wheelers, tyres and agro processing machinery.
  •  Responding to a question on apprehensions of the Indian community about investing in the country, after the regime of Idi Amin who expelled nearly 80,000 Ugandan-Indians in 1972, he said the Indians who fled were Ugandans first and they were returning.
  •  “The Indian government has nothing to with that [expulsion of Ugandan-Indians]. Those Indians were an issue between Uganda and the United Kingdom, even [the then Indian Prime Minister] Indira Gandhi said the same at that time. It was our mistake ... our Indians whom we expelled who ended up enriching the U.K. and Canada.
  •  After I took over, however, I asked them to come back and some like Jay Mehta and Mayur Madhvani did. The rest are also coming back,” he said.
  •  There is, at present, a 30,000-strong Indian community in Uganda that is heavily invested in the economy of the country.
  •  They pay the lion’s share of taxes to the Ugandan exchequer.

 

 

 

GS II : REGULATORY BODIES TRAI

TRAI told to review tariff plans

  •  Following a decline in revenue of the telecom sector for two quarters in a row, (July-September & October- December) and its resultant impact on government earnings, the Telecom Commission asked the sectoral regulator TRAI to “review” mobile tariff plans offered by telecom operators, including promotional offers.
  •  The Centre earns revenue from the telecom operators through spectrum usage and license fees among others.
  •  The Telecom Commission, which is the highest decision making body in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), has also asked the regulator to ensure proper implementation of its 2002 and 2008 amendments to the Telecom Tariff Orders, 1999.
  •  While the Commission did not name any company, the industry has been facing severe headwinds since the introduction of Reliance Jio, which has been offering free voice and data services to consumers since September last year under two different plans.
  •   Reliance Jio, which claims it has added 100 million subscribers in 170 days, on February 21 announced that it will start charging its subscribers from April 1, 2017.
  •  It has rolled out an offer wherein its current subscribers, after paying a one-time charge of Rs. 99, can avail unlimited voice and data services at a monthly charge of Rs. 303 for a year.
  •  The existing operators had alleged that the promotional offers were in violation of the norms and amounted to ‘predatory pricing’.

 

GS III : S&T-HEALTH

Roche can’t hang on to breast cancer drug: HC

  •  The Delhi High Court told Swiss pharma major Roche that it “cannot hang on to” breast cancer drug Trastuzumab, innovated by it, for the rest of its life after having enjoyed the fruits of its patent.
  •  The court was hearing pleas of Roche and other pharma firms such as Biocon, Mylan and Reliance Life Sciences, on the issue of marketing and sale of generic drugs biosimilar to the Swiss company’s Trastuzumab.
  •   Roche argued that Biocon, Mylan and Reliance cannot term their medicine merely Trastuzumab and ought to call it Biocon’s Trastuzumab or Mylan’s Trastuzumab as these companies have not followed the entire protocol of tests and studies, as was done by it.
  •  To this, the Bench said the advantage of biosimilarity was that it was an abbreviated process and companies like Biocon and Mylan need not go through the entire “rigmarole” as was done by Roche.
  •  It also said that it was finding Roche’s stand “difficult to digest” as it has already gained from its patent.
  •  During arguments, Roche also alleged that Biocon and Mylan were using package inserts which contained data of tests and studies carried out by it and not their own.
  •  It said Reliance was not doing so and Biocon and Mylan should follow the example.
  •  Biocon and Mylan said their package inserts contained their test data also and added that they were entitled to show data of Roche also.
  •  They also claimed that their inserts were approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS III: S&T SPACE

7 Earth-like planets spotted

  •  Scientists have spotted seven Earth-sized planets, with mass similar to Earth, orbiting around a dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, the size of Jupiter, just 39 light years from the Sun.
  •  The planets’ temperature is low enough to make possible the presence of liquid water on their surface.
  •  In May last year, scientists found three planets passing in front of TRAPPIST-1, the dwarf star.
  •  Based on further monitoring of the star from the ground and space, scientists have found four more ‘exo-planets’ orbiting TRAPPIST- 1.
  •  These planets are found in the habitable zone of the star.
  •  “We are first trying to rule out the presence of large hydrogen envelope to make sure that the planets are indeed Earthlike.
  •  These will be followed by detailed study of climate and chemical composition to try and find out if there is life on these planets. If there is life on these planets we will know it in a decade.”
  •  The four newly discovered planets orbit around the star every 4.04 days, 6.06 days, 8.1 days and 12.3 days respectively; the orbital period of two of the three planets discovered last year is 1.51 days and 2.42 days respectively.

Orbital period

  •  The orbital period is the time taken for a given object to make one complete orbit around another object, and applies in astronomy to mostly either planets or asteroids orbiting the Sun, moons orbiting planets, exoplanets orbiting other stars. 


 

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