News (Text)


When:
December 3, 2018 @ 11:30 am
2018-12-03T11:30:00+05:30
2018-12-03T11:45:00+05:30

NEWS

3 DECEMBER 2018

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – TRADE WAR

U.S., China decide to hold off fresh tariffs for 90 days

2.

GS III: SECURITY

The forgotten man of Kashmir?

3.

GS II: SOCIAL – RIGHTS

34 years after Bhopal leak, survivors continue fight

4.

GS III: INFRASTRUCTURE

Train 18 – India’s first engine-less train

5.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-EUROPE

Swiss to share details of 2 Indian firms

6.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL –EUROPE

Macron chairs Paris crisis meeting

7.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

RBI may maintain status quo on rates

8.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-CHINA

No local currency trade with India: China

9.

GS II: SOCIAL – MEDIA

WhatsApp seeks RBI nod to expand its payment services

10.

GS III: AGRICULTURE

Is our food system sustainable?

11.

GS III: S&T – BIOTECHNOLOGY

Genetically modified people walk among us

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – TRADE WAR

U.S., China decide to hold off fresh tariffs for 90 days

  • China and the United States agreed to halt additional tariffs in a deal that keeps their trade war from escalating as the two sides try again to bridge their differences with fresh talks aimed at reaching an agreement within 90 days.
  • The White House said that President Donald Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping during high-stakes talks in Argentina that he would not boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% on January 1 as previously announced.
  • Beijing for its part agreed to buy an unspecified but “very substantial” amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products from the U.S., the White House said in a statement.
  • The two sides will also launch new trade talks to address issues, including technology transfer, intellectual property, non-tariff barriers, and agriculture, it said.
  • If no deal is reached within 90 days, both parties agreed that the 10% tariffs will be raised to 25%, the White House said.
  • Trump had imposed 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in September 2018. China responded with its own tariffs.
  • S. companies and consumers are bearing part of the cost of the U.S. tariffs on China by paying higher prices for goods, and many companies have increased prices of imported goods.
  • At the same time, U.S. farmers have been hurt by reduced Chinese imports of soybeans and other products.
  • China “is open to approving the previously unapproved” deal for U.S. company Qualcomm Inc to acquire Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors “should it again be presented,” the White House statement said.
  • In July 2018, Qualcomm —the world’s biggest smartphone-chip maker — walked away from a $44 billion deal to buy NXP after failing to secure Chinese regulatory approval, becoming a high-profile victim of the China-U.S. trade dispute.
  • Beyond trade, Xi also agreed to designate the drug fentanyl as a controlled substance, the White House said.
  • For more than a year, Mr. Trump has raised concerns about the synthetic opioid being sent from China to the United States, which is facing an epidemic of opioid-related deaths.

GS III: SECURITY

The forgotten man of Kashmir?

  • More than a year since the Centre appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as a Special Representative to carry forward a dialogue with all sections of the people in Jammu and Kashmir, much water has flown.
  • Sharma was appointed on October 23, 2017, to “initiate and carry forward a dialogue with the elected representatives, various organisations and concerned individuals in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.” He holds the rank of Cabinet Secretary.
  • Reeling from a political crisis, the State came under the Governor’s Rule in June 2018 and in November 2018 the Assembly was dissolved by J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik following reports of horse-trading of MLAs.
  • A reticent Mr. Sharma has maintained a low profile ever since the government announced on June 17 that it will not continue the ‘suspension of operations’ or ‘cease-ops’ that was announced to provide relief to people in the month of Ramzan.
  • The cease-ops was announced by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on May 16, following successive reports given by Mr. Sharma that killings and encounters were not yielding the desired results and the emotional upsurge at the funeral of militants killed in encounters was aiding recruitment by terror outfits.
  • The killing of Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari on June 14 also firmed the Government’s decision.
  • Recently, the role of Mr. Sharma seemed to have been undermined by the attempt of spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation to intervene in Kashmir.

 

GS II: SOCIAL – RIGHTS

34 years after Bhopal leak, survivors continue fight

  • Thirty-four years after the gas tragedy, survivors continue to demand proper rehabilitation, adequate compensation and proper medical treatment for ailments caused by the toxic leak.
  • In what is termed as the world’s worst industrial disaster, over 15,000 people were killed after methyl isocyanate leaked on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984, from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) in Bhopal.
  • More than 5 lakh people were affected due to the toxic leak.
  • Various organisations fighting for gas leak survivors have been seeking proper medical care, adequate compensation, and cleaning of the groundwater and soil.
  • Over 80% of the recommendations of the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee for medical rehabilitation of victims remain to be implemented, it is alleged.

GS III: INFRASTRUCTURE

Train 18 – India’s first engine-less train

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-EUROPE

Swiss to share details of 2 Indian firms

  • Switzerland has agreed to share details of two companies and three individuals who are facing multiple probes in India.
  • Separate gazette notifications of the Swiss government say the country’s federal tax department has agreed to provide “administrative assistance” to India on requests made about Geodesic Ltd. and Aadhi Enterprises Private Ltd.
  • Similar requests have also been accepted for three individuals associated with Geodesic Ltd. — Pankajkumar Onkar Srivastava, Prashant Sharad Mulekar and Kiran Kulkarni.
  • Geodesic Ltd was a listed entity and has already faced the wrath of capital markets regulator Sebi for multiple violations.
  • Aadhi Enterprises is said to have links with politicians in Tamil Nadu.
  • Aadhi Enterprises Pvt Ltd, which was incorporated in Chennai in November 2014, is said to have seen a rapid growth in real estate and other businesses, but soon landed in trouble due to alleged links to tainted politicians and for allegedly indulging in money laundering.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL -EUROPE

Macron chairs Paris crisis meeting

  • French President Emmanuel Macron surveyed the damage from a day of riots across Paris and led a crisis meeting that ended with a call for further talks with anti-government activists who have staged two weeks of protests.
  • The violence left hundreds injured nationwide.
  • The government has not ruled out imposing a state of emergency to combat the protests, which began over fuel taxes but have grown into wider anger over Mr. Macron’s agenda.
  • Over the last few weeks, the “yellow vest” movement has morphed into a broad opposition front to Mr. Macron, 40.
  • The President earlier assessed the damage at the Arc de Triomphe, the massive monument to France’s war dead at the top of the famous Champs Élysées avenue, where rioters scrawled graffiti and ransacked the ticketing and reception areas. Inside, rioters smashed in the iconic face of a sculpture, a partial reproduction of the victory allegory “La Marseillaise” by François Rude.
  • Macron also saw the wreckage of burnt-out cars and damaged buildings from rioting at other sites, where he praised the police but was also booed by sections of the crowd.
  • Police said 412 people were arrested on Saturday during the worst clashes for years in the capital and 378 remained in custody.
  • A total of 263 people were injured nationwide, with 133 injured in the capital, including 23 members of the security forces.
  • The anti-government protests that have swept France were sparked initially by a rise in taxes on diesel.
  • Macron faces a dilemma in how to respond, not least because the “yellow vests” are a grass-roots movement with no formal leaders and a wide range of demands.
  • He has so far refused to roll back taxes on fuel, which he says are needed to fund the country’s transition to a low-emission economy.
  • And he remains a fervent defender of the tax cuts he has delivered for businesses and the wealthy, which he believes were necessary to lower chronic high unemployment.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

RBI may maintain status quo on rates

  • Slowing inflation is likely to prompt the monetary policy committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to hold the key policy rate or the repo rate in the fifth bimonthly monetary policy review of 2018-19.
  • The retail inflation rate — the yardstick used by the RBI for monetary policy purposes — slowed in October to 3.3%, the slowest pace in 13 months.
  • Consumer price index-based inflation or retail inflation remained below the 4% target of the RBI for the third straight month.
  • Inflation is likely to decline further as crude oil prices dropped below $60 a barrel in November 2018.
  • The RBI has changed its monetary policy stance in the last review meeting to calibrated tightening, from neutral. The change in stance indicates that interest rate can only go upward.
  • The recent decision of the RBI to infuse Rs. 40,000 crore liquidity in December 2018 through open market operations has been seen as inadequate by market participants.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-CHINA

No local currency trade with India: China

  • China has not accepted India’s proposal to carry out bilateral trade in local currencies, which was aimed at bridging the ballooning trade deficit with the neighbour, an official said.
  • India’s exports to China stood at only $13.4 billion and imports aggregated to $76.4 billion in 2017-18, leaving a trade deficit of $63 billion.
  • It was $51.11 billion in 2016-17.
  • India had mooted renminbi-rupee trade with China to boost exports and tackle the widening trade deficit concern.
  • “They have not accepted the proposal,” the official said.
  • India has also proposed trade in national currencies with other countries, including Russia, Iran and Venezuela with which New Delhi has a trade deficit.

GS II: SOCIAL – MEDIA

WhatsApp seeks RBI nod to expand its payment services

  • The chief of WhatsApp has written to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), seeking a formal nod to expand payments services to all its 200 million users in India.
  • The messaging app, which has drawn fire from the government over the spread of fake messages on its platform, continues to wait for a regulatory clearance to launch full-fledged payments operations in India — months after its ‘testing’ amassed nearly one million users — and almost two years since it first began discussions with the government on its payments services plans.
  • “I write to request your formal approval to immediately expand WhatsApp’s BHIM UPI [Unified Payments Interface] compliant payments product to all users in India, giving us the opportunity to offer a useful and secure service that can improve the lives of Indian people through digital empowerment and financial inclusion,” Mr. Daniels wrote in the letter addressed to the RBI Governor.

GS III: AGRICULTURE

Is our food system sustainable?

GS III: S&T – BIOTECHNOLOGY

Genetically modified people walk among us

  • In China, a scientist named He Jiankui announced recently that twins had been born in November 2018 with a gene that he had edited when they were embryos.
  • But in some ways this news is not new at all. A few genetically modified people already walk among us.
  • In the mid-1990s, fertility doctors in New Jersey got an idea for how to help women have children. They suspected that some women struggled to become pregnant because of defective material in their eggs.
  • To rejuvenate them, the doctors drew off some of the jellylike filling in eggs donated by healthy women and injected it into the eggs of their patients before performing in vitro fertilization.
  • The researchers did not ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permission to try out the procedure.
  • Only after their patients started having healthy children did they share the news that it seemed to work.
  • Our cells generate fuel in miniature factories called mitochondria. And each mitochondrion carries its own small set of genes.
  • The New Jersey fertility doctors might have created children with the DNA of three people, not two.
  • The doctors discovered that some of the children carried mitochondrial DNA from the donors in addition to their parents.
  • In their 2001 report on this discovery, they called it “the first case of human germ-line genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children.”
  • The germ line is a lineage of cells that gives rise to a new person.
  • The FDA was not pleased. It sent the clinics letters demanding that they apply to test the method as if it was a new experimental drug.
  • Those bureaucratic hurdles were so daunting that the clinics stopped injecting eggs.
  • Like the DNA in our chromosomes, the DNA in our mitochondria can mutate. Mutations can cause symptoms ranging from blindness to early death, and women pass them down to their children.
  • An estimated 1 in 5,000 people suffer from a mitochondrial disease, and for a vast majority, there are no effective treatments.

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