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Current Events 4 January 2017

 

NEWS

4 JANUARY 2017

 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: SOCIAL - HEALTH

Bird flu: Mysuru zoo to be shut till Feb. 2

2.

GS II: CORRUPTION

After Saradha scam, Rose Valley came under scrutiny

3.

GS II: POLITY - ELECTIONS

Poll panel caught in tussle for ‘cycle’

4.

GS II: POLITY- STATES

Manipur CM, MLAs rush to meet Pranab

5.

GS II: POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC asks list of firms with debts over Rs. 500 cr.

6.

GS III: ECONOMY

‘No concessions likely for Apple’s manufacturing unit’

7.

GS III: ECONOMY

Diamond contracts set to debut soon in India

8.

GS III: S&T – HEALTH

Key proteins that make Zika virus so deadly identified


GS II: SOCIAL - HEALTH

Bird flu: Mysuru zoo to be shut till Feb. 2

  • Mysuru zoo will remain closed for a month, till 2 February 2017, as a precautionary measure, as laboratory reports confirmed that the cause of death of some migratory birds on its premises recently was due to avian influenza (H5N8).
  • This is perhaps for the first time in the history of the zoo that it will remain out of bounds for tourists for many days.
  • A Spot Billed Pelican and three Greylag Goose died in a zoo pond on December 28. Another Spot Billed Pelican and a Greylag Goose died in the same pond on December 30.
  • A report from the National Institute of High Security and Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) confirmed avian influenza as cause for the death of birds.
  • The entire zoo campus is been sterilized.

 

GS II: CORRUPTION

After Saradha scam, Rose Valley came under scrutiny

  • According to the estimates of the investigating agencies, the Rose Valley Group had collected upwards of Rs.17,000 crore from the market. The small depositors association puts the figure around Rs. 40,000 crore.
  • The organisation allegedly violated guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India and other related financial fraud control acts, meant to regulate such companies raising small investments, primarily in the rural areas of at least half a dozen States.
  • Interestingly, unlike the other big chit fund company, Saradha, the Rose Valley was not a defaulter in Bengal as it was paying interest to its depositors.
  • But after the Saradha scam opened a Pandora’s Box, the Supreme Court instructed the investigating agencies, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe all the companies involved in raising funds from small depositors. As a part of that process, the Rose Valley Group was investigated.
  • Gautam Kundu, the chairman of the group, and other officials were arrested in March 2015.

 

 

 

 

GS II: POLITY - ELECTIONS

Poll panel caught in tussle for ‘cycle’

  • A day after Mulayam Singh staked claim to the Samajwadi Party symbol “bicycle,” the Akhilesh Yadav camp representative Ramgopal Yadav met Election Commissioners and maintained that the real Samajwadi Party was the one of which Akhilesh had been elected national president.
  • Both the groups have staked claim to the symbol and therefore, the Commission will now ask them to produce documentary evidence to prove their stand. It will also examine the party’s constitution to determine whether procedures were followed.
  • However, the final test will be the numbers in the organisational and legislative structures.
  • In the Sadiq Ali case, the Supreme Court has held that the test of majority applied by the Commission to settle a dispute of this nature is valid and relevant.
  • As the EC is expected to announce the poll schedule for Uttar Pradesh and four other States in a couple of days, it may not have enough time to decide the dispute. Thus, in all likelihood, the Samajwadi Party symbol will be frozen till the issue is settled.
  • Defying his father’s directions, Akhilesh had issued a separate list of candidates for the coming Assembly elections. The party supremo then expelled him and his supporters, including Mr. Ramgopal Yadav. The rival group then called for a national council meeting and declared Akhilesh as the party’s national president, virtually staging a coup.

 

GS II: POLITY- STATES

Manipur CM, MLAs rush to meet Pranab

  • Around 40 Congress MLAs from Manipur, led by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, reached Delhi to meet President Pranab Mukherjee over reports of an attempt to postpone elections in the State.
  • Elections to the State are due later this year.
  • Official sources said the Manipur government has learnt that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in a letter on January 2, had suggested to the Election Commission that elections in the State be postponed in view of the ongoing economic blockade.

 

GS II: POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC asks list of firms with debts over Rs. 500 cr.

  • Anxious over the rise in bad loans, the Supreme Court ordered the government to provide “empirical data” on cases pending in Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) for over 10 years and the list of corporate entities with debts in excess of Rs. 500 crore.
  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur also directed the government to provide a complete and detailed report on whether DRTs and their appellate bodies are well-equipped, as far as infrastructure and manpower, to take on defaulting corporate entities which have reneged on loans and render timely justice.
  • The court referred to how the new Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debt Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has been enacted by Parliament to combat pendency in bad loans cases.
  • But the SC expressed its scepticism on whether the new legislation by itself would be able to solve the rising pendency in bad loan cases in overburdened DRTs.

 

GS III: ECONOMY

‘No concessions likely for Apple’s manufacturing unit’

  • The Commerce Ministry does not favour granting concessions to U.S. multinational technology major Apple, for establishing a manufacturing unit in India to make its products including iPhones and iPads, according to a senior government official.
  • This is because other companies have not sought similar concessions — including the relaxation of labelling and local sourcing norms as well as excise and import duty reductions — for starting manufacturing in the country.
  • India is among the largest smartphone markets in the world. More than 40 companies are manufacturing mobile phones in the country.
  • Currently, there is the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme to promote manufacturing of electronic items in India. There are incentives for investments in Special Economic Zones.
  • The Centre is keen that Apple does substantial value addition in the country and ensure that local supply chains grow as well — thereby generating employment, increasing manufacturing and exports.
  • The Centre is looking into Apple's proposal seeking exemption from 30 per cent local sourcing norms on FDI in single brand retail.
  • Apple is learnt to have sought the waiver on the ground that it makes ‘cutting-edge technology’ items for which it is not possible to source as much from India.
  • The Centre is looking into whether there is a need for separate guidelines on local sourcing pertaining to the waiver on ‘cutting edge technology’ and what constitutes such high-end technology.

 

 

 

GS III: ECONOMY

Diamond contracts set to debut soon in India

  • India is all set to become the first country in the world where polished diamonds will be traded on a commodity exchange.
  • The Reliance Capital-promoted exchange, Indian Commodity Exchange Ltd (ICEX) is in the final stages of unveiling diamond contracts that will allow even individuals to trade in the precious stone in a transparent manner.
  • The final approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is expected soon. The exchange has already received the in-principle approval from the regulatory body for the introduction of diamond contracts.
  • Once diamond contracts start trading on an exchange, it will become a financial investment product. Diamond has never been able to become an investment product due to low transparency in pricing.
  • There is no current global benchmark price for diamond, making the stone less attractive than gold or silver as an investment option.
  • While India is the third-largest consumer of diamond after the U.S. and China, it has the largest share in diamond-cutting and polishing.
  • In September 2016, the Centre added 6 new commodities that were allowed to be traded on exchange platforms including diamonds, tea, eggs, cocoa, pig iron and brass. 

 

GS III: S&T – HEALTH

Key proteins that make Zika virus so deadly identified

  • In a first comprehensive description of the Zika virus genome, scientists from U.S. have identified seven key proteins that may make the virus so deadly.
  • Over the past year, scientists have learned that it can cause a range of dangerous health problems, including birth defects such as microcephaly and neurological problems such as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
  • However, they did not know which Zika protein or proteins are causing harm, or exactly how these proteins cause damage.
  • Zika virus has infected hundreds of thousands of people around the world, mostly in the Americas. In the U.S. and its territories, more than 38,000 Zika cases have been reported so far, most of them in Puerto Rico.
  • There are no vaccines or treatments to prevent or treat the symptoms of Zika infection.
  • The next step is to understand more about how these seven proteins work in humans. It may be that some of them are more damaging than others, or perhaps all of them work in concert to cause harm.

 


 

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