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Current Events 27 January 2017

 

 NEWS

27 JANUARY 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

 GS I : GEOGRAPHY

10 die in Kashmir avalanches  

2.

 GS III : ECONOMY

Soon, group housing scheme with PF funds 

3.

 GS I : CULTURE

Surajkund mela to go digital 

4.

 GS III : ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

 NGT to hear PIL on cleaning of Ganga

5.

 GS III : DEFENCE

R-Day show flexes military muscles 

6.

GS II : SOCIAL-EDUCATION

Children with HIV treated badly in schools, claims plea 

7.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-UKRAINE

Ukraine lauds India for support over Crimea 

8.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL CHINA

China open to work with Russia, U.S. to tackle global challenges 

9.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL USA

Trump set to block refugees, restrict Muslim visitors 

10.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL UK

U.K. pushes for speedy legislation on Brexit 

11.

 GS III : ECONOMY

Growth in India’s oil consumption to be fastest by 2035 

12.

 Gs III : ECONOMY 

India mulls reviving old gold mines 

13.

 GS III : S & T HEALTH

Smart glasses’ that automatically focus on what you see


GS I : GEOGRAPHY

10 die in Kashmir avalanches

  • Ten soldiers were killed and four went missing after twin avalanches hit an Army patrol party and a camp in Bandipora’s Gurez valley, 200 km from Srinagar.
  • Gurez is a mountainous region with a small valley across the Razdan Pass, the only road connecting it with the Kashmir Valley at a height of 11,672 ft.
  • It borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and remains cut of due to the heavy snowfall since the first week of January.
  • Official figures point out that 62 soldiers, one-third of the total fatalities between 2007 and 2012, were due to natural calamities, including avalanches, in Jammu and Kashmir.

GS III : ECONOMY

Soon, group housing scheme with PF funds

  • The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has mooted a group housing scheme which will enable members to form cooperative housing societies and use their entire provident fund savings towards buying land, constructing homes or paying housing loan instalments.
  • In its recent proposal to the Labour Ministry, the EPFO has proposed addition of a “new paragraph 68BD as a group housing scheme so that EPF members forming a cooperative society of 10 or more employees may be given not only a one time EPF withdrawal but also an option to pay loan instalments towards housing loan to banks from the monthly contributions received in Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, 1952.”
  • At present, an employee who has completed five years of service is allowed to withdraw PF savings equivalent to 36 months of the member’s salary (basic salary and dearness allowance) for construction of a flat or 24 months of the salary for purchasing land.

Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation

  • The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (abbreviated to EPFO), is an organization tasked to assist the central Board of Trustees, a statutory body formed by the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provision Act, 1952 and is under the administrative control of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Government of India.
  • EPFO assists the Central Board in administering a compulsory contributory Provident Fund Scheme, a Pension Scheme and an Insurance Scheme for the workforce engaged in the organized sector in India.
  • It is also the nodal agency for implementing Bilateral Social Securoty Agreements with other countries on a reciprocal basis.
  • The schemes cover Indian workers as well as International workers (for countries with which bilateral agreements have been signed. As of now 17 social security organisations in India in terms of the number of covered beneficiaries and the volume of financial transactions undertaken.
  • The EPFO’s apex decision making body is the Central Board of Trustees(CBT).


GS I : CULTURE

Surajkund mela to go digital

  • With a view to encourage cashless transactions, online payment options will be made available at the 31st Surajkund International Crafts mela, to be held in Faridabad from February 1 to 15.
  • Adequate number of point-of-sale machines would be made available at the mela.
  • The option of e-ticketing through Haryana Tourism website will also be available.

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

NGT to hear PIL on cleaning of Ganga

  • The National Green Tribunal has decided to hear a PIL filed in 1985 on the cleaning of river Ganga on a day-to-day basis from February 6.
  • The Supreme Court has transferred the PIL filed by advocate M. C. Mehta to the NGT, which has been hearing the matter with regard to issues relating to municipal solid waste and industrial waste since 2014.
  • The top court has asked the green panel to submit an interim report to it every six months to give an idea about the progress made and difficulties, if any.

GS III : DEFENCE

R-Day show flexes military muscles

  • India’s 68th Republic Day was celebrated with a display of military strength and cultural diversity in the presence of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the chief guest.
  • The elite Black Cat commandos of the National Security Guards (NSG) and the indigenously built Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) made their debut at the parade. Both received loud cheers from the public.
  • This is the first time in over three decades that an indigenous fighter aircraft has flown on Rajpath since the Marut developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in the 1960s.
  • A 149-member marching contingent from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), led by a band of 35 musicians, was unique to this year’s parade.
  • In 2016, a French contingent marched on Rajpath, the first by a foreign Army.
  • There were several indigenous platforms among the mechanised columns that took part in the parade. These included the Dhanush upgraded long-range artillery guns, the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Akash surface-to-air missile system.

Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS)

  • The Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) project was started in 2013 by DRDO to replace older guns in service in the Indian Army with a modern 155mm artillery gun.
  • Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) partnered with Kalyani Group, Tata Power and OFB for this purpose.
  • The development of the gun took about 4 years and is expected to be complete by March 2017.
  • The delay in completion of the project was attributed to realization of ordnance and recoil system and supply issue with manufacturing of sub-systems.
  • The gun is expected to start user trials in 2017 and production is expected to start in 2019.
  • It was first publicly showcased at 68th Republic Day parade on 26 January 2017

 

 GS II:  SOCIAL - EDUCATION

Children with HIV treated badly in schools, claims plea

  • Denial of admission, outright expulsion, segregation, breach of confidentiality to cleaning toilets and classrooms. These are some of the ways schools treat children living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
  • The treatment meted out to HIV-positive children, whose deaths account for 7% of all AIDS-related deaths in the country, is part of a writ petition filed by NGO Naz Foundation (India) Trust in the Supreme Court.
  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar has sought the government’s response on why — despite the Right to Education being a Fundamental Right — children suffer this way.
  • According to the NACO estimates in 2012-2013, the total number of people living with HIV is estimated at 20.9 lakh in 2011.
  • Children under 15 years account for seven per cent (1.45 lakh) of all infections.
  • This discriminatory and degrading treatment is a direct assault on the children’s privacy, autonomy and dignity under Articles 21, 21A and 14 , the plea contended.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-UKRAINE

Ukraine lauds India for support over Crimea

  • Ukraine commended India for not supporting Russia’s claims over the Crimean peninsula.
  • Following the intervention in Crimea, Russia annexed the region on March 18, 2014. However, India has maintained that the situation should be resolved peacefully.
  • Also, Ukraine wants to complete the contract, signed in 2009, on modernisation and overhauling of An-32 fleet for the Indian Air Force.
  • Armoured infantry vehicles, equipment engineering, patrol boats, space research are some of our other priorities in relation with India,.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL CHINA

China open to work with Russia, U.S. to tackle global challenges

  • China signalled its openness for a trilateral partnership with Russia and the U.S., following Moscow’s advocacy that the three countries should develop relations jointly.
  • “China, Russia and the U.S. are all major countries with worldwide influence and permanent members of the UN Security Council. For world peace, stability and development, we share a great responsibility. We aim to build a generally stable and positive major country relationship; with Russia, we [wish to] deepen our comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation and we also work to promote the major country relations with the U.S.,” Chinese spokesperson said.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL USA

Trump set to block refugees, restrict Muslim visitors

  • President Donald Trump was poised to suspend the U.S. refugee programme for four months and to halt visas for travellers from seven Muslim countries, according to U.S. media, as per a draft executive order
  • Refugees from war-torn Syria will be indefinitely banned, while the broader U.S. refugee admissions programme will be suspended for 120 days as officials draw up a list of low risk countries.
  • Meanwhile, all visa applications from countries deemed a terrorist threat — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — will be halted for 30 days.
  • Alongside this, the Pentagon will be given 90 days to draw up a plan to set up “safe zones” in or near Syria where refugees from its civil war can shelter.
  • Mr. Trump told ABC News that his plan to limit the entry of people from Muslim countries was necessary because the world is “a total mess”.
  • “No it’s not the Muslim ban, but it’s countries that have tremendous terror,” Mr. Trump said. “And it’s countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems.”
  • “Turning our back on vulnerable refugees doesn’t protect the United States,” said Michael Olsen, former director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center. “In fact, it plays into ISIS’s false narrative that we are at war with all Muslims instead of terrorist organisations,” he told watchdog Human Rights First.
  • Mr. Trump also vowed to “eradicate ISIS from the face of the earth”, which proved popular with U.S. voters.

 

  

GS II : INTERNATIONAL UK

U.K. pushes for speedy legislation on Brexit

  • Two days after the Supreme Court ruled that the government could not trigger Brexit negotiations without parliamentary consent, the U.K. government has published the brief “straightforward” legislation it promised, giving MPs just a handful of days to debate it.
  • Even before the Supreme Court ruling, the government insisted that nothing would hinder its plans to trigger Article 50 by March.
  • “The Prime Minister may notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on the European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU,” begins the two-clause bill.
  • The brevity of the bill was not unexpected: under parliamentary convention, amendments must fall within “reasonable limits” of the bill’s purpose, so a brief piece of legislation helps the government keep the number of amendments in check.
  • The speed was necessary to ensure the government could stick to its timetable and avoid generating further uncertainty, the government said.
  • While the Labour party has said it will back the legislation to trigger Brexit, the party is set to bring in amendments that would ensure some form of single market access, and protection of workers rights and environmental regulations.

GS III : ECONOMY

Growth in India’s oil consumption to be fastest by 2035

  • Having pipped Japan to become world’s third largest oil consumer, India’s oil consumption growth will be the fastest among all major economies by 2035, BP Statistical Review of World Energy said.
  • India, Asia’s second biggest energy consumer since 2008, had in 2015 overtaken Japan as the world’s third-largest oil consuming country behind US and China.
  • India’s energy demand growth at “129 per cent is more than double the non— OECD average of 52 per cent and also outpaces each of the BRIC countries as China (47 per cent), Brazil (41 per cent), and Russia (2 per cent), all expand slower,” BP said.
  • Its share of global energy demand increases to 9 per cent by 2035, accounting for the second largest share among the BRIC countries with China at 26 per cent, Russia at 4 per cent and Brazil at 2 per cent.

GS III : ECONOMY

India mulls reviving old gold mines

  • India is planning to revive a cluster of colonial era gold mines – shut for 15 years but with an estimated $2.1 billion worth of deposits left – as the world’s second largest importer of the metal looks for ways to cut its trade deficit, officials said.
  • State-run Mineral Exploration Corp has started exploring the reserves at Kolar Gold Fields, in the southern state of Karnataka, to get a better estimate of the deposits, according to three government officials and a briefing document prepared by the federal Mines Ministry.
  • India, the world’s biggest gold importer behind China, spends more than $30 billion a year buying gold from abroad, making the metal its second-biggest import item after crude oil.
  • India imports 900 tonnes to 1,000 tonnes per year, but local gold output is miniscule, at 2 tonnes to 3 tonnes per year.
  • Gold is a mainstay of Indian culture, serving as the primary vehicle for household savings for hundreds of millions of people in Asia’s third-largest economy.
  • The Kolar fields are among the world’s deepest gold mines.
  • In 2001, Bharat Gold was forced to cease operations due to mounting losses, the result of a large, unproductive workforce and dated, economically unviable methods of mining.
  • Over the next 15 years, successive federal and state governments have tried to revive the mines or to sell them of, often disagreeing on the course of action and taking their disputes to the courts.

GS III : S&T  HEALTH

Smart glasses’ that automatically focus on what you see

  • The days of wearing bifocals or constantly changing to reading glasses may soon be over, thanks to the new ‘smart glasses’ developed by scientists, including one of Indian origin.
  • The smart glasses can automatically adjust the focus according to what a person is seeing, whether it is far away or close.
  • The glasses developed by researchers at University of Utah in the U.S. contain lenses made of glycerin, a thick colourless liquid, enclosed by flexible rubberlike membranes in the front and back.
  • The rear membrane in each lens is connected to a series of three mechanical actuators that push the membrane back and forth like a transparent piston, changing the curvature of the liquid lens and the focal length between the lens and the eye.
  • In the bridge of the glasses is a distance meter that measures the distance from the glasses to an object via pulses of infrared light.
  • When the wearer looks at an object, the distance meter instantly measures the distance and tells the actuators how to curve the lenses, researchers said.
  • If the user then sees another object that is closer, the distance meter readjusts and tells the actuators to reshape the lens for farsightedness.
  • The lenses can change focus from one object to another in 14 milliseconds.
  • A rechargeable battery in the frames could last more than 24 hours per charge, he added.
  • The human eye has a lens inside that adjusts the focal depth depending on what you look at.
  • However, as people age, the lens loses its ability to change focus, which is why many people ultimately require reading glasses or bifocals to see objects up close and regular eyeglasses to see objects at a distance.
  • “The focal length of the glasses depends on the shape of the lens, so to change the optical power we actually have to change the membrane shape,” Mr. Mastrangelo said.
  • Before putting them on for the first time, all users have to do is to input their eyeglasses prescription into an accompanying smartphone app, which then calibrates the lenses automatically via a Bluetooth connection.

 

 

 

 


 

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