News (Text)


When:
November 12, 2018 @ 11:30 am
2018-11-12T11:30:00+05:30
2018-11-12T11:45:00+05:30

NEWS 

12 NOVEMBER 2018

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III: SECURITY

Blasts rock Chhattisgarh red zone on poll eve, BSF SI dies

2.

GS III: SECURITY

Kerala deportee reveals IS secrets

3.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

Rajapaksa joins SLPP, weakens Sirisena-led SLFP

4.

GS II: POLITY – CBI

CVC likely to reveal Verma probe outcome

5.

GS III: S&T- SPACE

Cyclone clouds ISRO’s GSAT-29 launch plan

6.

GS I: CULTURE

Burial urn of Megalithic era unearthed in Kerala

7.

GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Fears of fire as retreating monsoon dries up scrub forests

8.

GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

California fire toll rises to 23

9.

GS II: POLITICS

What’s in a name? A lot, say residents

10.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Nainital village comes under scanner for ecological damage

11.

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

EC warns parties on criminal cases

12.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-ASIA

India, Singapore begin sea drills

13.

GS III: ECONOMY – PSUs

NTPC, 3 other PSUs included in CPSE ETF

14.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Rising wealth and inequality in India

15.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

RBI’s reserves belong to the Centre

16.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Decoding the Central Board of the RBI

17.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Behind India’s leap in ease of doing business

18.

GS III: AGRICULTURE

Cotton prices harden on higher minimum support prices

19.

GS I: HISTORY

World marks the centenary of the Great War Armistice

20.

GS I: CULTURE

Cat, beetle mummies unearthed

21.

GS III: S&T – IT

Largest brain-mimicking supercomputer switched on

GS III: SECURITY

Blasts rock Chhattisgarh red zone on poll eve, BSF SI dies

  • A day before the first phase of polling for 18 out of 90 constituencies in the partly Maoist-dominated areas of Chhattisgarh, insurgents triggered a series of improvised explosive devices (IED), killing one BSF Sub-Inspector and injuring another.
  • In the run-up to the first phase of polling, half-a-dozen incidents of violence have killed at least 13 persons, including security and media persons.
  • All the incidents took place in the Bastar division of south Chhattisgarh, partly dominated by the left-wing insurgents
  • The situation in the interior area had “deteriorated” following a boycott call by the Maoists.
  • Around one lakh security personnel, including those of Central paramilitary forces, have been deployed to ensure peaceful polling.
  • A total of 650 companies (roughly around 65,000 security personnel), including paramilitary and other State forces are on duty.
  • These units are in addition to paramilitary personnel and 200 companies of State forces already engaged in the anti-Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh.
  • Drones are being used in sensitive areas to track the movement of Maoists as they might target polling personnel on way to the booths.

GS III: SECURITY

Kerala deportee reveals IS secrets

  • In 2013, when his best friend copied the speeches of radical Yemeni-American preacher Anwar Awlaki on his laptop computer, Nashidul Hamzafar did not realise that they would play a key role in motivating him to travel to Afghanistan to join the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP).
  • In September this year, Hamzafar, 26, a resident of Kerala, became the first Indian ever to be deported by Afghanistan for entering the country illegally to join the ISKP.
  • He was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) soon after he returned.
  • His friend Shihas was among the 21 men, women and children from Kerala who had left for Afghanistan via Iran to live in the IS-controlled territory in 2016.
  • Mainly comprising defectors from the Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP), the Wilayat Khorasan of the Islamic State in Afghanistan came into existence in 2015.
  • Agencies suspect that this outfit is backed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

Rajapaksa joins SLPP, weakens Sirisena-led SLFP

  • Bidding farewell to his political party of 50 years, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), controversially installed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa joined the recently formed Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP).
  • With this move, Mr. Rajapaksa also drew several other members of the SLFP to the new party, leading to the disintegration of the already-fractured SLFP, led by President Maithripala Sirisena.
  • The SLFP is one of the two main parties that has shaped Sri Lanka’s national politics for half-a-century.
  • Led by members of the iconic S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike family for the most part, the party is now on the verge of collapse.

GS II: POLITY – CBI

CVC likely to reveal Verma probe outcome

  • The Central Vigilance Commission is expected to inform the Supreme Court about the outcome of its inquiry into allegations against CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma.
  • Though there is no explicit direction from the court to the CVC to present a report or inform it about the outcome of the inquiry, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, who represents the commission, may provide the court with an update, especially since the court had put the top vigilance body on a deadline and appointed a retired Supreme Court judge, Justice A.K. Patnaik, to ensure the inquiry is completed within 14 days from October 26.
  • What Mr. Mehta may say in court on the inquiry would prove decisive for the CBI and Mr. Verma, who approached the court against his “overnight” displacement as Director.
  • The court admitted Mr. Verma’s petition. He has alleged governmental interference in the functioning of the CBI.
  • He said his removal had hampered investigation into several “extremely sensitive” investigations into high functionaries.
  • He contended that the CVC had no authority to remove him, and this was done before consulting a panel comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India, as required by law.
  • Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has personally moved the Supreme Court against Mr. Verma’s removal, terming it a “mala fide” move.
  • Verma was divested of his responsibilities as CBI Director late on October 23 pending an inquiry conducted by the CVC. The inquiry is based on a letter dated August 24, 2018, received by the CVC from the Cabinet Secretary. The CVC said the allegations against Mr. Verma are “serious in nature having prima facie vigilance angle”.
  • On October 26, the court ordered the CVC to complete its ongoing inquiry into allegations of graft and misconduct against Mr. Verma in a fortnight.
  • However, the November 12 hearing has been specifically scheduled for M. Nageshwar Rao, the officer in charge of the CBI now, to present a list of decisions he took from October 23, when he took charge.
  • The court made it implicitly clear that Mr. Rao would take care of only routine tasks essential to keep the agency functioning and was barred from taking any major or policy decisions.
  • Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, leading the Bench, asked Mr. Rao to hand over in a sealed cover all the decisions, including official transfer of investigations, charge of investigating officers, etc, in a sealed cover on November 12.
  • Many of the transfers, including that of officers probing a corruption case against CBI Special Director R.K. Asthana, have been legally challenged.
  • The court, on October 26, said it would pass “appropriate orders” on these decisions taken by Mr. Rao after perusing the details.
  • The fact that Ajay Kumar Bassi, the CBI officer who probed Mr. Asthana, has himself moved the Supreme Court against his transfer adds to the urgency. Mr. Bassi alleged that his transfer was a ploy to derail the investigation against Mr. Asthana.

GS III: S&T- SPACE

Cyclone clouds ISRO’s GSAT-29 launch plan

  • ISRO is readying itself to put communication satellite GSAT-29 on its heavy-lift vehicle, the GSLV-MkIII, on 14 November 2018 at Sriharikota.
  • A senior official said mission managers were keeping an eye on the cyclonic buildup on the east coast in Andhra Pradesh, where the launch centre is located.
  • ISRO is also preparing for a PSLV mission on November 26 to launch HySIS, a new variant of Earth observation satellites, along with 20-30 small commercial satellites.
  • One significance of the GSAT-29 mission is that an Indian spacecraft will be flown after about seven months: the last one was the IRNSS-1I launched on April 12.
  • For the other, it would be ISRO’s second communication satellite mission of 2018. It had launched another communication satellite, GSAT-6A, on March 29 but lost it in space a day later.
  • The subsequent post-mortems of the 6A mission and the recall of the 5,400-kg GSAT-11 satellite from Guiana before its launch have also pushed back ISRO’s ambitious plan to have a mission a month.
  • A third factor is that this would be only the second trial or developmental flight, D2, of the GSLV-MkIII or MkIII.
  • On its success hinge many major future missions, including lunar lander-rover Chandrayaan-2 that is slated for January 2019.
  • Although there was a PSLV mission on September 16, the two small satellites on it were commercial Earth observation spacecraft belonging to a U.K. agency.
  • The GSAT-29 satellite itself is one of the planned Indian HTS quartet. The HTSs or high throughput satellites are being sent out to provide a vastly improved and faster Internet connectivity.
  • GSAT-19, the first of the series, was sent up in June 2017 from Sriharikota.
  • The third and ISRO’s heaviest to date, GSAT-11, awaits a scheduled launch on December 4 on a European space vehicle, Ariane-5, from French Guiana.
  • GSAT-11 was brought back from French Guiana to Bengaluru in April 2018 for additional tests and was re-transported last month for a confirmed launch.
  • ISRO had later said it did not want to take risks with such an advanced and costly satellite as GSAT-11 — put at Rs. 1,200 crore, including the launch fee of Arianespace.

GS I: CULTURE

Burial urn of Megalithic era unearthed in Kerala

  • A huge burial urn dating back to the Megalithic era was unearthed while clearing a private road to a house at Hydermettu, in Kerala.
  • It is believed to be one of the major findings that would shed light on life in the pre-historic era on the western side of the Western Ghats.
  • The urn is said to be the largest one unearthed from the region so far.
  • It is 3-ft wide at its mouth.
  • Moreover, there are art works on it — a pointer to the cultural awareness of a society that belonged to the pre-historic period.
  • A large number of burial urns have been unearthed from Ramakkalmedu, Mundieruma and Puzhpakandam nearby in the recent past.

GS III: DISASTER MANAGMENT

Fears of fire as retreating monsoon dries up scrub forests

  • A tepid retreating monsoon has set up fears again of the forests becoming tinderboxes.
  • In the past week of November, Forest Survey of India’s (FSI) fire alert dissemination system has started ringing a warning not just of the small, manageable fires in Karnataka’s forests, but also of the fire season which will start in a few months’ time.
  • Out of 30 districts, forests in 23 districts in Karnataka were vulnerable to some sort of forest fire, says the report, Vulnerability of India’s Forests, published by FSI.
  • Of these, 11 districts were highly vulnerable.
  • Satellite imagery is used to tabulate the fire threat in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, an important tiger habitat in the State.
  • Groups of citizen volunteers are been engaged to travel to villages abutting highly vulnerable fire points.
  • The plan was to converse with villagers to raise awareness about the effects of forest fires, faster reporting of fires and to curb the intentional setting of fires (which are believed to be one of the major factors).

 

GS III: DISASTER MANAGMENT

California fire toll rises to 23

  • Firefighters battled raging blazes at both ends of drought-stricken California on 11 November 2018, with the death toll rising to at least 23 and strong winds and dry conditions in the forecast.
  • 14 more bodies had been found, bringing the number of fatalities of a blaze known as the “Camp Fire” to 23.
  • Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for more than 52,000 people in the area.
  • In the town of Paradise alone, more than 6,700 buildings have been consumed by the fire.
  • Fanned by strong winds, the blaze has so far scorched 1,00,000 acres and is 20% contained.

 

 

GS II: POLITICS

What’s in a name? A lot, say residents

  • The decision to rechristen district as Ayodhya has not gone down well with many of its residents, who say it is an “unnecessary step” taken for “political” reasons and will eventually “erase the identity” of the historical city.
  • Manzar Mehdi, historian and editor of a Faizabad-based bilingual publication, said, “Faizabad was the first capital of the Nawabs of Awadh and saw a period of glory and has a rich architectural and literary heritage.”
  • “Whether it is Allahabad or Faizabad, renaming is an attempt to erase history driven by a political agenda, not to mention the cost it will entail at the expense of taxpayers,” he said.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Nainital village comes under scanner for ecological damage

  • Jilling Estate, a small revenue village nestled in the pristine high-altitude forests of the Kumaon Himalayas, in Nainital district in Uttarakhand, has come under the scanner of the Supreme Court.
  • Home to the threatened species of leopards, the village, had till recently shaken under the heavy thuds of an earth mover.
  • An appeal filed by a resident, Birendra Singh, in the apex court said the earth mover was laying the ground for the construction of “at least 44 massive villas and other huge structures, including helipad, resort cottages and hospitality zone.”
  • It was argued that the project was without environmental sanction and spread over a 90-acre hillside of the ecologically-fragile Kumaon containing sub-tropical pine and moist Himalayan forests.
  • Singh had come to the apex court in appeal against an order passed by the National Green Tribunal on July 24, 2018.
  • He accused the NGT of not adjudicating on the issue, of wrongly applying the law and completely misreading its own Court Commissioner’s report that non-forest activity should be stopped till a survey is done by the Uttarakhand revenue and forest departments.
  • The Bench issued notice to the respondents, including the Ministry of Environment and Forests. It ordered status quo.

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

EC warns parties on criminal cases

  • Candidates with criminal antecedents and their political parties can be charged with contempt of the Supreme Court if they fail to widely publicise the cases against them as prescribed. They may also be penalised for false statements, the Election Commission has said.
  • Separate formats have been specified for the candidates and the parties to submit reports about publication of the declaration.
  • The failure of the candidates and the parties to publicise the details in the manner prescribed may be a ground for post-election action like election petition or contempt of court.
  • The court has made it mandatory for the candidates and their parties to publish or broadcast details of the cases against them at least three times ahead of elections.
  • The parties are also required to upload the details on their websites.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-ASIA

India, Singapore begin sea drills

  • The 25th edition of the India-Singapore bilateral naval exercise, SIMBEX, has begun at the tri-services command in Port Blair, off the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
  • Started as basic Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercises in 1994, today these exercises have graduated to complex maritime combat drills, including missile and torpedo firings, and shore-based intensive professional exchanges,” the Navy said in a statement.
  • The two countries have vastly expanded their military cooperation in recent years under India’s Act East policy.
  • Late in 2017, the two countries signed a naval agreement which has a provision for mutual logistical support and gives India access to the Changi naval base.
  • India and Singapore are working on a trilateral exercise with an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) country, likely Thailand, and eventually plan to scale it up to a multilateral format.

 

GS III: ECONOMY – PSUs

NTPC, 3 other PSUs included in CPSE ETF

  • The Finance Ministry has rejigged the CPSE Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) and has included in the basket the scrips of four State-owned companies NTPC, SJVN, NLC and NBCC, an official said.
  • The Ministry has removed three of the existing companies GAIL, Engineers India Ltd. (EIL) and Container Corporation of India in the ETF basket and has replaced them with four new companies.
  • CPSE ETF now has scrips of 11 State-owned companies as against 10 earlier.
  • The other seven blue-chip PSUs in the CPSE ETF are ONGC, Coal India, IOC, Oil India, PFC, REC and Bharat Electronics. An ETF functions like a mutual fund scheme.
  • The Ministry has already raised Rs. 11,500 crore through three tranches of the CPSE ETF, and a fourth tranche is being planned by the end of this month.

 

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Rising wealth and inequality in India

 

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

RBI’s reserves belong to the Centre

  • RBI and the government seem to have a problem figuring out what belongs in their respective domains.
  • At stake principally, is the disposition of sums parked by the RBI to the tune of roughly Rs. 9,22,000 crore of its surplus under two heads: Foreign Currency and Gold Revaluation Account and the Contingency Fund Account.
  • The former comes to Rs. 6,90,000 crore and the latter, another Rs. 2,32,000 crore.
  • Considering Foreign Currency and Gold Revaluation surpluses, it is common knowledge we were practically pauper around 1991.
  • The foreign exchange reserves, on which we have a valuation surplus of Rs. 6,90,000 crore as on date, was the direct result of accumulation of gold and foreign currency by the RBI in the last 25 years or so.
  • The government wants to lay claim to all of it or at least the amount that is accounted for under the head, ‘Contingency Fund’.
  • The RBI thinks otherwise and hints darkly of the ‘wrath of the financial markets’ if the government has its way.
  • The policy experts too, have jumped into the fray with prognostications of rampant inflation and other dire consequences for the economy if the government has its way. So who is right?
  • Let us look at the Contingency Fund. What exactly is it meant for? The RBI says it is meant for as yet unknown contingencies for which it needs a war chest. Then there is another dimension.
  • RBI says it needs a ‘Contingency Fund’ of 12% of its total value of its assets. Now, why 12% and why not 8 or 16%? The RBI response is that expert committees, which had gone into the question in the past, have said so including V. Subrahmanyam and Usha Thorat, who retired as Deputy Governor.
  • The position was reiterated in later years by another RBI-appointed expert committee headed by the noted finance professional and a former member of the RBI Central Board of Governors, Y.H. Malegam

 

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Decoding the Central Board of the RBI

  • The Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently been a topic of much discussion, in the light of both the recent public tussle between the RBI and the Finance Ministry and the second anniversary of demonetisation.
  • The RBI Board is a body comprising officials from the central bank and the Government of India, including officials nominated by the government.
  • According to the RBI, the “general superintendence and direction of the affairs and business of the RBI is entrusted to the Central Board” and the Board exercises all powers and does all acts and things that are exercised by the RBI.
  • The Board is also to recommend to the government the design, form and material of bank notes and also when and where they can serve as legal tender.
  • The Board consists of official directors, who include the Governor and up to four Deputy Governors, non-official directors, who include up to ten directors from various fields and two government officials, and one director from each of four local boards of the RBI.
  • Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg and Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar are the two government officials on board.
  • The Governor and Deputy Governors hold office for not more than five years, the ten directors nominated by the government hold office for four years, and the government officials are to hold a term on the RBI Board as long as the government sees fit.
  • The Governor has to call a Board meeting at least six times in a year, and at least once each quarter.
  • The RBI Board recently entered the news during the public spat between the central bank and the Finance Ministry. One of the reasons for the disagreement was the government’s alleged threat of invoking Section 7 of the RBI Act.
  • Section 7 basically empowers the government to supersede the RBI Board and issue directions to the central bank if they are considered to be “necessary in public interest”.

 

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Behind India’s leap in ease of doing business

  • India’s leap in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings in 2018 has slipped under the radar, in the cacophony over demonetisation and the RBI-Centre spat.
  • The country has, in fact, been one of the biggest ‘improvers’ in the 2019 study, with its rank shooting up from 100 to 77, among 190 countries.
  • This is quite a big jump, given that its rank crept up from 142 to 100 in the four years from 2015 to 2018.
  • The World Bank now deems India an easier place to do business in than BRICs peers such as Brazil (109) and South Africa (82) and West Asian economies such as Qatar (83) and Saudi Arabia (92).
  • But it has a long way to go before it can catch up with China (46, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is at 4), the U.S. (8) or Singapore (a lofty 2).
  • New Zealand is at the top.
  • India’s climb in the 2019 rankings seems to have come mainly from sharply higher scores on two ‘doing business’ indicators — securing construction permits and trading across the borders.
  • It also made smaller improvements in starting a business and getting credit.
  • The World Bank found that India’s top cities managed to drastically shrink the number of days they took to give out construction permits, from 144 days last year to 95 days, while slashing their costs from 23% of the building value to just 5%.
  • Single-window clearance for securing building permits in Delhi and a new online system in Mumbai, brought about this quantum change.
  • From 146 on cross-border trade, its rank climbed to 80.
  • In 2017-18, importers spent 264 hours at the border complying with formalities, but only spent 97 hours this year.
  • For exporters, the timeline shrank from 106 to 66 hours, delivering big savings.
  • Upgrades in port infrastructure, a move to online documentation and facilities for exporters to seal their containers on their own, helped.
  • India also managed incremental reforms in a few other indicators. On starting up a business, its rank improved from 156 to 137, as the time taken to start a new company was crunched from 30 days to 17 days, thanks to quicker GST registration and the abolition of site inspections in Mumbai.
  • While India managed dramatic changes in some indicators, there were others where its scores barely budged.
  • Its score remains dismal on registering property, where it ranks 166. While it takes 69 days to register a piece of property and costs about 8% of its value in India, the norm for OECD countries is just 20 days at half that cost. New Zealand gets this done in a single day.
  • The other vexatious aspect that most business folk will readily identify with, is paying taxes. Despite the advent of GST, India has remained a back-bencher on this at a rank of 121. A typical Mumbai-based firm makes 13 tax payments a year, spends 278 hours on this and coughs up 52% of its profits.
  • But businessmen in Hong Kong make just three payments a year, those in Singapore spend just 49 hours paying taxes. The average tax rate across global economies is less than half of the Indian rate!
  • India also fares poorly, at rank 163, on enforcing contracts. While enforcing a claim through the courts in Mumbai takes 1,445 days and costs 31% of claim value, OECD nations manage this feat in 582 days at a cost of 21%.
  • World Bank tries to capture the experience of small and mid-sized companies in a country with their regulators, by measuring the time, costs and red tape they deal with.
  • To collect data, it empanels experts from the largest business cities in each country, with Mumbai and Delhi surveyed in India.
  • The indicators considered now are: starting a business, getting construction permits, securing electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, cross-border trade, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
  • In short, the World Bank’s intent is to measure a country’s progress on a few ‘doing business’ indicators in great depth, without trying to be comprehensive about the indicators, or striving for a statistically large sample. The above facts make the shortcomings of the study obvious. In India, it may not reflect the experience of partnership or proprietorship firms that dominate the small business space, or those located in tier 2 or tier 3 towns.
  • With the ten indicators measured by the study well-known, it is also easy for governments to specially target these areas for reforms.
  • But the EODB rankings do serve as the most trusted ready-reckoner for foreign investors looking to set up shop in a country. For that reason, this is an achievement for India to celebrate.

GS III: AGRICULTURE

Cotton prices harden on higher minimum support prices

  • The cotton season has commenced this year with an unusual trend — prices are up despite new arrivals.
  • The price of the widely-used Shankar 6 variety is Rs. 42 a kg against Rs. 105.34 a kg last November.
  • The main cause is the hike in minimum support price (MSP). The MSP is higher by 26% to 28 % this season, depending on the cotton variety.
  • The movement of international prices will also have an impact on the domestic cotton prices. If China levies duty on import of cotton from the US, which is a major cotton producer, it will have an impact on the international and Indian cotton prices.
  • At present international prices are higher than domestic prices.

GS I: HISTORY

World marks the centenary of the Great War Armistice

  • World leaders gathered under driving rain in Paris on 11 November 2018 to lead global commemorations marking 100 years since the end of First World War, at a time of growing nationalism and diplomatic tensions.
  • Around 70 leaders, including U.S. and Russian Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, marked the centenary of the 1918 Armistice in the French capital at 11 a.m. local time (10:00 GMT).
  • The leaders of Commonwealth nations — whose forces were deployed under British command 100 years ago — also sounded a message of peace and hope for the world in the new century.
  • “This was a war in which India was not directly involved yet our soldiers fought world over, just for the cause of peace,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.

GS I: CULTURE

Cat, beetle mummies unearthed

  • Archaeologists in Egypt said they had discovered a rare collection of mummified scarab beetles, as well as an apparently pristine Fifth Dynasty tomb that they plan to open in the coming weeks.
  • The mummified beetles were among artefacts found in seven tombs discovered over the past six months on the edge of the King Userkaf pyramid complex at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara.
  • The tomb dates from the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.
  • The Fifth Dynasty ruled Egypt from about 2,500 B.C. to 2,350 B.C., not long after the great pyramid of Giza was built.
  • Dozens of cat mummies and gilded statues of cats were unearthed, including a bronze statue dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet.
  • The team also found painted wooden cobra and crocodile sarcophagi, a collection of gilded statues depicting animal features, as well as objects including amulets, canopic jars.

 

GS III: S&T – IT

Largest brain-mimicking supercomputer switched on

  • The world’s largest supercomputer designed to work in the same way as the human brain has been switched on for the first time.
  • The Spiking Neural Network Architecture machine, SpiNNaker, built at the University of Manchester in U.K. is capable of completing more than 200 million million actions per second, with each of its chips having 100 million transistors.
  • It can model more biological neurons in real time than any other machine on the planet.
  • Biological neurons are basic brain cells present in the nervous system that communicate by emitting ‘spikes’ of pure electro-chemical energy.
  • It is unique as it mimics the massively parallel communication architecture of the brain, sending billions of small amounts of information simultaneously to thousands of different destinations.

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