HINDU NOTES-January 8 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 8 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily Capsule, Daily challenge, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, hindu notes, IAS EXAM

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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Safe havens to terrorists in Pakistn not acceptable to US: CIA

News

CIA chief Mike Pompeo has said that Pakistan continues to provide safe havens to terrorists which is not acceptable to America.

Beyond News

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director said that,U.S. President Donald Trump has asked Pakistan to “cease” being a safe haven for terrorists that threaten the U.S.

The U.S. has suspended about $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan for failing to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani terror network and dismantle their safe havens.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Railways to deploy drones to monitor projects

News

Drones would now monitor railway projects, aid crowd management and oversee maintenance works across its zones, the West Central Railways was the first zone to procure such drone cameras.
The move assumes significance in the backdrop of the Elphinstone station road bridge tragedy in Mumbai, in which 23 people had died in a stampede on September 29 last year.

Why this news Important?

The West Central Railways, headquartered at Jabalpur (MP), is the first zonal railway to procure the drone cameras and it has already conducted a trial run of the cameras last week in all of its three divisions.

What is a Drone?

A drone is essentially a flying robot which can be remotely handled through software-controlled flight plans embedded in its system, working in conjunction with GPS.

Uses

The cameras (UAV/NETRA) would be used for various activities, especially project monitoring and maintenance of the tracks and other railway infrastructure, the national transporter said in a statement.

Directions have been given to the zonal railways to procure such cameras. This is in line with the railways’ desire to use technology to enhance safety and efficiency in train operations.

Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones would be deployed to monitor relief-and-rescue operations, projects, progress of important works, the condition of the tracks etc., the statement said.

These would also be used to assess the preparedness of the non-interlocking (NI) works, for crowd management during fairs, to identify scrap and also for an aerial survey of the station yards, it added.

The cameras would be instrumental in providing real-time inputs as regards the safety and maintenance of the tracks and other railway infrastructure.

Boost to gravitational wave study

News

David Reitze, executive director of Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) said that ,India’s role in studying gravitational waves touted as one of the most important discoveries of the recent past will increase once the proposed gravitational wave observatory is set up in the country.

Beyond News

The observatory is expected to start functioning by 2025.

Gravitational waves are ‘ripples’ in the fabric of space-time, caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the universe such as merger of black holes or neutron stars.
Already, several physicists from Bengaluru-based International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) are an active part of the LIGO project.

At present, the LIGO detectors are sensitive to about 70 to 80 megaparsec (280 million to 300 million light years) for binary neutron stars and for binary black holes, the sensitivity is about 2 gigaparsec (approximately 3 billion light years).
With improved sensitivity, these detectors will be able to fetch information from farther distances in space.

Fatal crossings: tigers in 26 reserves under threat

News

On New Year’s eve, a fast-moving vehicle on Maharashtra’s National Highway 6 killed Bajirao, one of Bor Tiger Reserve’s charismatic, dominant male tigers.

Beyond News

The same day, a team of scientists published the findings from their latest research, roads with high traffic are sounding the death knell for the tiger in this part of the country.
Unplanned expansion of national highways without mitigation measures (such as underpasses created for wildlife) could greatly increase the probability of tiger extinction in Central India’s protected areas, home to one of the largest tiger populations.

According to the National Highways Authority of India, the country’s road network, at approximately 33 lakh km, is the second largest in the world.
Many of these roads including national and State highways cut through at least 26 tiger reserves, says a draft guidance document of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), framed to reduce the impact of roads and railway lines on wildlife.

Leopards, snakes, deer, desert fox, golden jackals, civets and critically endangered amphibians are among the wildlife that perish on roads in States as far flung as Assam, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

After effects

For tigers, like many other species, traversing large areas to move across habitats involves crossing of roads.
This is the only way they can ensure genetic diversity, which is vital for species survival.
When scientists from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and other organisations extracted genetic material from the scat of 116 tigers to study genetic diversity across 11 protected areas, they found that human settlements and traffic intensity — which restrict tiger movement between populations , decreased genetic exchange the most.

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HINDU NOTES-January 5 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 5 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Defence Ministry approves projects worth 2420 crore

Defense ministry

News:

The Defence Ministry gave final approval for the procurement of simulated training solutions for the Navy’s P-8I long range maritime patrol aircraft and electronic warfare systems for the Army at a combined cost of 2419.32 crore.

Beyond News

  • Defence Ministry said in a statement that,the P-8I training solution, along with 10 year comprehensive maintenance service, will be brought from Boeing for 1949.32 crore.
    This training solution accurately simulates P-8I aircraft and mission systems
  • This will help Indian Navy train and realistically rehearse for sophisticated missions involving P-8I aircraft, at a fraction of the cost of live aircraft training, the statement said.
  • The deal was cleared in the past by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).

Another Proposal

  • The second proposal was for the procurement of Low Intensity Conflict Electronic Warfare System (LICEWS) for the Army.
  • These will be procured from Bharat Electronics Limited for 470 crore.
  • This system will equip the Army with upgraded communications infrastructure that will help the forces to effectively deal with the advanced communications systems being used by terrorist groups, the statement added.

Lok Sabha passes bill to hike salaries of judges

News

The Lok Sabha passed a bill to hike the salaries of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.

Beyond News

The Bill proposes to hike the salary of the Chief Justice of India to 2.80 lakh a month, and that of judges of the Supreme Court and Chief Justices of High Courts to 2.5 lakh a month.
Judges of High Courts will draw a salary of 2.25 lakh a month once this Bill becomes law.

The salary hike, in line with the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission for officers of all-India services, will come into force with effect from January 1, 2016.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

NASA to launch two missions to explore nearest space

News

NASA has announced that it would launch two missions to explore the little-understood area of 96 km above Earth’s surface.

Beyond News

  • US space agency said that the Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission will be launched in January 2018, and the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) will be launched later this year.
  • GOLD and ICON will team up to explore the ionosphere, a boundary area between Earth and the space where particles have been cooked into a sea of electrically-charged electrons and ions by the Sun’s radiation, reports Xinhua news agency.
  • These layers of near-Earth space are increasingly becoming a part of human domain as it is home to radio signals used to guide airplanes, ships and Global Positioning System satellites.
  • NASA said that the two missions were complementary. ICON will be in low-Earth orbit, at 560 km above Earth, like a close-up camera while GOLD will be in a geostationary orbit over the Western Hemisphere, about 35,398 km above the planet’s surface.

It will help in full-disk view of the ionosphere and the upper atmosphere beneath it every half hour.

Gujarat-based cardiologist uses robotic technology to conduct angioplasty

News

In a move that can change the norms of cardiology, Gujarat-based interventional cardiologist Dr. Tejas Patel has developed robotic technology for coronary intervention, a first in Asia.
With the help of a robot, Dr. Patel has started robotic-assisted stenting on heart patients in his Apex Heart Institute in Ahmedabad.

Why this News Important

This is the first and the only Vascular Robotic system outside the United States.

Beyond News

  • The USFDA-approved robotic technology for coronary angioplasty or stenting provides accuracy of sub-1 millimetre, as against maximum possible 5-10 millimetres in case of humans.
  • The robotic system comprises of three parts namely a cath lab-integrated robotic arm, a cockpit — from where the cardiologists will command the robot through joystick — and a replaceable-cassette that carries the clinical materials for each individual case requirements.
  • Costing about US $1.5 million, the robotic system has in-built artificial intelligence which helps cardiologists take sound clinical judgements

In India, an estimated 50 million people are suffering from the heart diseases, while only 500,000 angioplasty surgeries were conducted in 2016, suggesting a huge scope for widening of the treatment.

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HINDU NOTES-January 4 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 4 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily Capsule, Daily challenge, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, hindu notes, MAINS 2018, Master 2018, Press Information Bureau(PIB), Read Hindu, The Hindu Notes

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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Former ministers can’t overstay in official bungalows-Supreme Court 

News:

  • SC held that Former ministers have no business overstaying in official bungalows.

Beyond News:

  •  A minister who has demitted office cannot cling on to public largesse, amicus curiaeGopal Subramanium submitted in the Supreme Court .
  • The apex court is examining a provision in a Uttar Pradesh law that allows ex-ministers to stay on in official bungalows.
  • Uttar Pradesh-based NGO Lok Prahari has sought action against the authorities for acting in contempt of a Supreme Court verdict in August 2016, directing them to ensure that the former chief ministers vacate the bungalows.

Article 14

  • Appearing before a Bench of Justices asked whether Article 14 (fundamental right to equality) of the Constitution allows ex-ministers to retain their official bungalows indefinitely.
  • In August 2016, the court held that former chief ministers should hand over possession of the bungalows occupied by them.
  • Except former Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Prime Ministers in the “evening of their lives,” no dignitary, even former Chief Ministers, can be provided government bungalows for their lifetime unless backed by a specific statutory provision, the Supreme Court had held.

The court had observed that the public bungalows were maintained at a great cost to the exchequer and not meant to be “frittered away.” Allowing former chief ministers and their families to stay on indefinitely in public properties was a “largesse.”

Dalits stage protests in Belagavi against violence in Bhima-Koregaon

News:

  • Several Dalit organisations staged protests in Belagavi  in Karnataka , against the violence in Maharashtra after the observation of the Bhima-Koregaon battle bicentenary.

Why its important?

It makes koregaon event of 1818 significant.

Beyond News:

  • They were shouting slogans against the Maharashtra government for failing to control violence.
  •  They claimed that Brahminical forces had tried to wipe away memories of the victory of the Mahar regiment against the Peshwa forces in 1818 in Bhima-Koregaon.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

 

It’s dust particles, not alien spacecraft, that cause dimming of Tabby’s star

News

  • A press release from Louisiana State University says that the mysterious dimming of Tabby’s star is caused by dust particles and not (as some believed) by alien spacecraft orbiting it.

Tabby’s star

  • Tabby’s star or Boyajian’s star is the “most mysterious star in the universe” as it kept dimming and brightening irregularly, following no pattern.
  • Officially called KIC 8462852, the star is 1,000 light years away from the Earth and 1,000 degrees hotter than the Sun.

Finding:

  • The recent report compiled by 133 scientists, shows that the dimming is caused by ordinary dust particles, the majority of them at a size less than one micrometre.
  • The new data shows that different colors of light are being blocked at different intensities.

Cookstoves in India more polluting than thought: study

News

A study has found that traditional cookstoves, widely used in the rural parts of India, may be producing much higher levels of particulate emissions than previously estimated, causing a detrimental impact on the country’s environment and health of residents.

Beyond News

The research, published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, was the c ulmination of field studies conducted in India.
In December 2015, the researchers spent 20 days running a series of tests in Raipur, a city in central India where more than three-quarters of the families use cookstoves to prepare their meals.
The scientists burned a wide variety of biofuels (fuel wood, agricultural residue, and dung) acquired from different parts of India, cooked different meals in a number of varying ventilation situations and recorded the resulting emission levels using high- tech particle measurement devices.
The scientists say that the newly developed low-cost pollution sensor can allow to eventually determine the regions of hot spots and locations that would have high concentrations of emissions.

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HINDU NOTES-January 3 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 3 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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Rajya Sabha passes Bankruptcy Code Bill

News

  • The Rajya Sabha passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which bars unscrupulous persons from misusing the provisions of the code.
  • The Bill, which replaces an ordinance promulgated last November, was cleared by the Lok Sabha last week.

Bankruptcy Code Bill

  • The Bill prohibits certain persons from submitting a resolution plan in case of defaults.  These include:
  • (i) wilful defaulters,
  • (ii) promoters or management of the company if it has an outstanding non-performing debt for over a year,
  • (iii) disqualified directors, among others. 
  • Further, it bars the sale of property of a defaulter to such persons during liquidation.

CCEA approves over ₹6,800-cr Zojila Tunnel project

News

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the ₹6,808-crore Zojila Tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir that will provide year-round connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh when completed.

Beyond News

  • Currently, Leh-Ladakh is cut off from the rest of India for almost six months due to heavy snowfall and threat of avalanches.
  • The project aims to construct a 14.15-km long two-lane bidirectional single tube tunnel with a parallel 14.2-km long egress or parallel escape tunnel, excluding approaches between Baltal and Minamarg in the state, an official release said.
  • The government added that the project will be an instrument for the development of the economically backward districts in J&K.
  • The project will be implemented by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways through National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited.

Never acknowledged existence of Arunachal Pradesh: China

Upper Siang -arunachal pradeshNews:

  • China said it had “never acknowledged” the existence of Arunachal Pradesh as it kept mum over a media report that its troops intruded into the Indian side of the border in the frontier State.

Beyond News

  • Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang’s response came after a media report said that Chinese troops intruded into the Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh for about 200m close to a village in Upper Siang district.
  • China claims Arunachal Pradesh is part of South Tibet.
  • The India-China border dispute covered 3,488 km along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • According to the report, the Chinese troops who reportedly crossed over with the construction machinery in December 2017 were stopped by Indian soldiers. The Chinese troops reportedly left the construction equipment behind.
  • Asked whether there is another standoff between India and China similar to the one in Dokalam area, Mr. Geng said the “standoff which happened last year has been resolved properly”.
  • The standoff ended on August 28 following mutual agreement under which China stopped the road building and India withdrew its troops.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

NASA-inspired technique boosts wheat production

News

  • Inspired by NASA’s experiments to grow wheat in space, Australian scientists have developed the world’s first ‘speed breeding’ technique that can boost the production of the crop by up to three times.

Beyond News

  • The NASA experiments involved using continuous light on wheat which triggered early reproduction in the plants.
  • Experiments showed that the quality and yield of the plants grown under controlled climate and extended daylight conditions was as good, or sometimes better, than those grown in regular glasshouses.
  • Researchers said that,there has been a lot of interest globally in this technique due to the fact that the world has to produce 60-80 per cent more food by 2050 to feed its nine billion people
  • The speed breeding technique has largely been used for research purposes but is now being adopted by industry.

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HINDU NOTES-January 2 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 2 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily challenge, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, General Studies, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, MAINS 2018, Prelims UPSC, Press Information Bureau(PIB), The Hindu Notes

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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China develops underwater surveillance networks in Indian Ocean, SCS

News: 

  • China has developed a new underwater surveillance network to help its submarines get a stronger lock on targets while protecting the nation’s interests along the maritime Silk Road, which included the Indian Ocean.

Beyond News: 

  • The system, which has already been launched, works by gathering information about the underwater environment, particularly water temperature and salinity, which the navy can then use to more accurately track target vessels as well as improve navigation and positioning.
  • The project, led by the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), is part of an unprecedented military expansion fuelled by Beijing’s desire to challenge the US in the world’s oceans.
  • In recent years, China has stepped up naval expeditions to the Indian Ocean to fight the pirates in Gulf of Aden.
  • These expeditions included large naval ships accompanied by submarines. China is silent about the reasons to deploy submarines for anti-piracy operations.
  • China is also seeking to establish logistic bases in the Indian Ocean, much to the chagrin of India.

U.S. has drastically cut aid to Pakistan

News:

  • S. President Donald Trump’s New Year tweet is indicative that his administration is not satisfied by Pakistan’s response on terror.

Beyond News:

  • The U.S. has also made disbursement of Pentagon’s Coalition Support Funds (CSF) conditional.
  • CSF pertains to reimbursement to Pakistan for its logistical and operational support for U.S.-led military operations.
  • The defence budget for 2018 reduced the CSF allocation to $700 million and tied half of it to action against the Haqqani Network.
  • A recent congressional move to include Lashkar-e-Taiba also in the same category of certification requirement was dropped after the Pentagon resisted it.

India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear installations

News:

  • India and Pakistan exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the list of nuclear installations and facilities under a three-decade old bilateral pact.

Beyond News:

  • According to an External Affairs Ministry release, the two sides exchanged the list under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations between India and Pakistan.
  • The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988, and entered into force on January 27, 1991, provides that the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the pact on the first of January of every calendar year.
  • This is the twenty seventh consecutive exchange of such a list between the two countries, the first one having taken place on January 1, 1992.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Nagaland declared as ‘disturbed area’ for 6 more months

News:

  • The entire Nagaland has been declared as “disturbed area” for six more months, till June- end, under the controversial AFSPA, which empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior notice.

Beyond News:

  • In a gazette notification, the Union Home Ministry said it is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of Nagaland is in such a “disturbed and dangerous condition” that use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary.
  • The notification said that,now in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (No. 28 of 1958), the central government declares that whole of the said State to be a ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from December 30, 2017 for the purpose of that Act.

Reason:

  • A home ministry official said the decision to continue the declaration of Nagaland as “disturbed area” has been taken as killings, loot and extortion have been going in various parts of the state which necessitated the action for the convenience of the security forces operating there.

Parliamentary panel bats for setting up cybercrime nodal agency

INDIAN CYBER LAW

News:

  • A parliamentary panel asserted that the IT Ministry should set up a cybercrime nodal agency or helpline that would assist and guide victims in dealing with such incidents.

Beyond News:

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, in its report, noted that there is no separate mechanism for dealing with cases of cybercrime in India.
  • The Electronics and IT Ministry (MeitY) had noted that the Home Affairs Ministry is setting up a centralised portal for cybercrime against women and children.
  • For cyber security incidents like phishing, hacking, scanning, spoofing and malware attacks, CERT-In can be approached.
  • Setting-up such an agency could also help in dissemination of information to the victims about the appropriate agency to approach and also guide them on the next course of action.

NASA’s flying telescope to study Saturn’s moon

NASA flying monitor

News:

  • NASA has said its flying observatory Sofia ( Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy) is preparing for its 2018 campaign, which will include, among others, observations of celestial magnetic fields, star-forming regions, comets and Saturn’s giant moon Titan.

Beyond News:

  • This will be the fourth year of full operations for Sofia, with observations planned between February 2018 and January 2019.
  • Sofia is a Boeing 747SP jetliner modified to carry a 100-inch diameter telescope. It is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Centre, DLR.
  • Scientists believe that the observatory’s investigations will help them understand how magnetic fields affect the rate at which interstellar clouds condense to form new stars.
  • One programme using the observatory’s newest instrument, the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera-Plus, called HAWC+, will help astronomers better understand how energetic, active black holes contribute to the most luminous, distant galaxies.
  • Researchers also plan to utilize Sofia’s mobility to study the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan by studying its shadow as it passes in front of a star during an eclipse-like event called an occultation.

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HINDU NOTES-January 1 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 1 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Bank test, Current affairs, Daily Capsule, Daily challenge, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, General Studies, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, IAS toppers, MAINS 2018, Prelims UPSC, Press Information Bureau(PIB), Quiz explanations, Read Hindu, The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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Cold wave sweeps across north India

cold wave

News:

  • A piercing cold wave swept across the hilly States in north India even as a blanket of fog covered the plains, hampering the movement of air, rail and road traffic.

Beyond News:

  • The mercury continued its downward spiral in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Leh in the Ladakh region braved the coldest night so far this year at minus 15.2 degrees Celsius.

Cold wave:

  • cold wave(known in some regions as a cold snap) is a weather phenomenon that is distinguished by a cooling of the air.
  • Specifically, as used by the U.S. National Weather Service, a cold wave is a rapid fall in temperature within a 24-hour period requiring substantially increased protection to agriculture, industry, commerce, and social activities.
  • The precise criterion for a cold wave is determined by the rate at which the temperature falls, and the minimum to which it falls. This minimum temperature is dependent on the geographical region and time of year.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

‘16 children go missing every day’

News:

  • Every day, an average of 16 children are reported missing in the Capital, according to Delhi Police data.

Beyond News:

  • This number is despite efforts made by the police through its various programmes like ‘Operation Smile’, ‘Operation Milap’, and ‘Operation Muskaan’ aimed at reuniting missing children with their families.
  • The success rate of such programmes is in question as of the missing kids who were eventually found this year, 66% returned on their own.
  • The Delhi police have reunited 2,658 children who were reported missing from other States and were staying in Delhi, working as rag pickers, beggars, or in factories.
  • All traced children are also produced in counselling centres to assess the reason behind them going missing. In some cases parents are also counselled.
  • The police said that they have special units in every district and have anti-human trafficking unit (AHTU) under the crime branch.

Reasons:

  • During several investigations of such missing cases, the police found that the main reasons for children running away were academic pressure, elopement, job opportunities, or because they were scolded by parents.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Incidents of Maoist violence reduce in 2017, govt. data show

Maoism increasing

News:

  • For the first time in more than a decade, in 2017 the incidents in left-wing extremism (LWE) affected States remained below the 1,000 mark.

Findings from the Data:

  • According to Home Ministry data, 851 incidents were reported till December 15 in 2017, compared to 1016 incidents during the corresponding period last year. The total number of incidents in 2016 was 1048.
  • The violent incidents in the 10 LWE-affected States have always been above the 1,000 mark, with 2,258 the maximum number of incidents reported in 2009.
  • The Border Security Force (BSF) deployed for anti-Maoist operations apart from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) established base at four new locations in Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
  • A senior Home Ministry official said the top Maoist leadership was ageing and many suffered from ailments.

The recruitments were also at an all-time low as security forces had penetrated many territories in the past decade.

Nanogenerators go wireless

News

  • Scientists from Clemson University, U.S. have developed a new tribolelectric nanogenerator that can generate over 2,000 volts just by tapping on it and also wirelessly transfer the energy produced to a nearby battery.

Beyond News

  • The scientists say that this is the first time wireless transmission of electrical energy has been achieved. It is also the first time a triboelectric nanogenrator has been directly 3D printed from biodegradable materials.
  • The nanogenerator harvests mechanical energy and converts into electrical energy and transferred wirelessly over a distance of three metres to a storage device like capacitor or battery.

Application of the Generator

  • We can install the nanogenerator at airports, sidewalks and place the battery on the nearby walls to store the energy. Because there are no wires involved, there is no need of power outlets and can be installed easily.
  • These generators have a wide range of applications. They can be used to light up our homes, control doors and even set burglar alarms. The scientists are now working on developing fingerprint sensitive generators for home-security applications.

NASA’s 2018 to do list includes mission to ‘touch’ Sun

News: 

  • NASA is turning 60 in 2018 and the agency is looking forward to launching a slew of important missions in the coming year, including one to “touch” the Sun.

Beyond News:

  • NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is scheduled for launch in 2018 to explore the Sun’s outer atmosphere.
  • The spacecraft will fly through the Sun’s atmosphere as close as 6.2 million kilometres , well within the orbit of Mercury and closer than any spacecraft has gone before.
  • The primary science goals for the mission are to trace how energy and heat move through the solar corona and to explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles.

 Other Missions:

  • The US space agency’s first asteroid sample return mission, OSIRIS-REx, is scheduled to arrive at the near-Earth asteroid Bennu in August 2018, and will return a sample for study in 2023.
  • Launching no later than June 2018, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will search for planets outside our solar system by monitoring 200,000 bright, nearby stars.
  • To continue the long—term record of how Earth’s ice sheets, sea level, and underground water reserves are changing, NASA will also launch the next generation of two missions — ICESat-2 and GRACE Follow-On — in 2018.

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HINDU NOTES-December 30 2017 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-December 30 2017 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily challenge, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, MAINS 2018, PIB notes, Prelims UPSC, Press Information Bureau(PIB), Read Hindu, The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam, UPSC toppers

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India yet to find reason for darkening Siang

Chineese pollutionsNews: 

  • The Union government has conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities, including at the highest levels of the government, on the unusual darkening of the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh.

Possible Reasons:

  • The reason for change in water of River Siang may possibly be because of any landslide/earthquake /any other activity in upstream region of Tuting site across the international border with China for which information is not available.
  • Reports from Arunachal Pradesh and Assam blamed tunnel construction by China in Tibet.

Beyond News: 

  • The change in colour came to light in November, and China holds an earthquake in Tibet responsible for it.
  • Official reports of the colour of water in the Siang changing emerged from the Arunachal Pradesh office of the Central Water Commission (CWC) on November 10, attributing it to excess silt.
  • Another report from the Arunachal Pradesh Water Supply Department showed that iron levels were beyond permissible limits and samples from the river beyond Pasighat and Jonai showed higher aluminium and iron levels.
  • Government has conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities, including at the highest levels of the Government of the People’s Republic of China, and has urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream States are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

China s ban on waste import a global warning: Greenpeace. 

News

  • Environmental organisation Greenpeace said that,China’s ban on importing 24 types of waste that comes into force on January 1, will serve as a wake-up call to countries that export waste to seek more sustainable methods.

Beyond News

  • The measure, announced in July, prohibits the entry into China of 24 types of waste grouped into four categories: domestic plastics, unsorted paper, various types of mine slag and textile waste.
  • For Greenpeace, this prohibition will send warnings around the world and will promote the search for methods to generate less waste and to treat them adequately in the country of origin just as within China.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

ISRO to launch 31 satellites in one go aboard PSLV on Jan. 10

News

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said it would launch 31 satellites, including India’s Cartosat-2 series earth observation space craft, in a single mission on January 10.

Beyond News

  • The mission will be the first ‘Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’ (PSLV) mission after the unsuccessful launch of the navigation satellite IRNSS-1H in August this year.
  • The mission’s main payload would be India’s Cartosat-2 series earth observation satellite.
  • PSLV-C40 will be used for the launch from the spaceport in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota, about 100 kilometres from Chennai.
  • The mission would be a combination of 28 nano satellites from abroad, including Finland and the U.S., one micro and one nano satellite from India along with one Cartosat satellite.

Sun-like star found eating its own ‘‘offspring’’

Sun eating planetsNews:

  • Researchers have found evidence to show that a Sun- like star 550 light years from Earth is slowly consuming its “offspring” – crushing one or more planets in its orbit into vast clouds of gas and dust.

Findings of the Study

  • The discovery that the star, RZ Piscium – located in the constellation Pisces .
  • The researchers found the star’s temperature to be about 5,330 degrees Celsius – only slightly cooler than our Sun’s.
  • The study also showed that the star could be relatively young.
  • This discovery really gives us a rare and beautiful glimpse into what happens to many newly formed planets that don’t survive the early dynamical chaos of young solar systems
  • The discovery may shed light on a brief but volatile period in the history of many solar systems, including our own.
  • In the case of RZ Piscium, the material near the Sun-like star is being slowly pulled apart to create a small circle of debris about the same distance from the star as the planet Mercury’s orbit is from our sun.
  • In the study, the researchers determined the gravitational strength near RZ Piscium’s surface and the observation helped shed light on the star’s radius and brightness, both of which suggest a young star in the midst of a freewheeling solar system with unstable planets.

Hyderabad welcomes ‘Robocop’ prototype

Robocop Hyderabad

News:

  • Hyderabad may soon get its first ‘robocop’, with the launch of a prototype in the city .

Beyond News:

  • It can take complaints, record audio and video clips, identify suspects, detect metals, and monitor temperature.
  • The policing robot has been made by H-BOTS, a Hyderabad-based artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning start-up.
  • The robot is expected to be familiar with basic policing work, regulation of traffic, and details of the Indian Penal Code.
  • On subjects it is not familiar with, the robot will reply to queries by sourcing information from Wikipedia or Google, it has an AI unit inside.
  • Its makers say it can be showcased as an advance in policing technology and eventually be introduced to carry out basic police work such as registering cases.
  • In its present form, the smart police robot can assist people at malls, streets, airports and railway stations.

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HINDU NOTES-December 29 2017 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-December 29 2017 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Exploding stars could be affecting Earth’s climate

Exploding stars

News:

  • Cosmic rays raining down from exploded stars and variations in the Sun’s magnetic activity can affect climate on Earth, claims a study.

Findings of the Study:

  • These high-energy particles can influence the formation and growth of cloud condensation nuclei – the seeds necessary for forming clouds in the atmosphere.
  • Since clouds are essential for the amount of solar energy reaching the surface of Earth, the implications of the study can be significant for our understanding of why climate has varied in the past and also for future climate changes.
  • For the study, the researchers looked into the effects of cosmic rays on a simulation of Earth’s atmosphere, which was recreated inside a cloud chamber – a sealed lab which mirrors the pressure and moisture of the upper atmosphere.
  • Data was taken over a period of two years.
  • The researchers said that the Medieval Warm Period around year 1000 AD and the cold period in the Little Ice Age between 1300 AD – 1900 AD both fit with changes in solar activity.

The implications of the study suggests that cosmic rays coupled with activities of the Sun may have affected the climate changes observed during the 20th century as well.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

  • Clear exit exam to get licence for practising Ayurveda: Draft bill

    Aayush Medical exit

    News:

    • Medical graduates willing to procure a license to practice Indian medicine systems, including Ayurveda, may soon have to clear an exit exam, according to a proposed legislation on the lines of the health ministry’s National Medical Commission Bill.

    Beyond News:

    • This is a part of a draft bill which seeks to create a new regulator, National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy, to replace the two statutory bodies governing higher education in homoeopathy and Indian systems of medicine.
    • The AYUSH Ministry, in consultation with NITI Aayog, has formulated the inclusion of integrative medicine in the proposed bill which will enable AYUSH practitioners to practise modern medicines and vice versa after undergoing a “bridge course”.
    • Proposed by the NITI Aayog-led panel, the draft bill known as National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy, which seeks to replace Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) and Central Council of Homoeopathy (CCH), also calls for AYUSH National Teachers Eligibility Test to bring in quality teachers in the traditional systems of medicine.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Interceptor missile successfully tested

Interceptor missile india

News:

  • India successfully test-fired an Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile, capable of destroying enemy ballistic missiles at low altitude, from a test range in Odisha.

Beyond News

  • The missile is being developed as part the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system and it was the third successful test this year.
  • The endo-atmospheric interceptor made a direct hit with the incoming missile at an altitude of 15 km, completely destroying it.
  • The official stated that shooting down an incoming missile at lower altitudes is more complicated than shooting at higher altitudes due to the higher velocity of the missile.
  • The BMD consists of two interceptor missiles, the Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) for exo-atmospheric ranges and the Advanced Area Defence (AAD) missile for endo-atmosphere or lower altitudes.

‘India leads in global milk production’

News

  • Union Agriculture Minister said that, during the past three years, India has outpaced the global milk production with an annual growth rate of 5.53% compared with the 2.09% achieved globally.

Beyond News

  • India has been the largest producer of milk in the world for the past 15 years.
  • Milk production, which was around 17-22 million tonnes in the 1960s, has increased to 163.7 million tonnes in 2016-17.
  • Particularly, it has increased by 19% during 2016-17 in comparison to the year 2013-14.
  • The income of dairy farmers increased by 23.77% in 2014-17 compared to 2011-14.

Indian economic growth slowed down in 2016-17, says Government

News:

  • Government said that,the Indian economy slowed down in 2016-17, with the gross domestic product declining drastically from 8 per cent in 2015-16 to 7.1 per cent the next year.

Beyond News:

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the slower economic growth reflected lower growth in the industry and the services sectors, due to a number of factors including structural, external, fiscal and monetary factors.
  • Slower growth in 2016-17 reflects lower growth in industry and services sector.
  • Economic growth of a country depends on a number of factors including structural, external, fiscal and monetary factors.
  • As per the latest estimates from Central Statistics Office, the growth rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant prices was 7.5 per cent, 8.0 per cent and 7.1 per cent respectively in 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17.

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HINDU NOTES-December 28 2017 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-December 28 2017 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Parliament passes law to protect unauthorised colonies, slums in Delhi

Protect slumsNews

  • Parliament passed a bill to protect slums and unauthorised colonies in the national capital region from punitive action till a framework for orderly arrangements are in place.

Beyond News

  • The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, passed by Lok Sabha on Wednesday, gives immunity to slums and some unauthorised constructions till December 31, 2020.

 The immunity under the existing Bill ends on December 31.

Israel takes India’s vote in its stride

News: 

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India in a fortnight will focus on taking cooperation on “double Ts” – Technology (including agriculture and water conservation) and (counter) Terrorism to the “next level”.

Beyond News: 

  • Israel’s unhappiness with India’s vote at the United Nations last week had been put behind by both countries in a “diplomatic” manner.
  • Netanyahu’s visit comes close on the heels of India’s decision to vote for a resolution that criticised the United States for its shift on the status of Jerusalem and urged Israel to keep its commitments on talks for a two-state solution.
  • Officials didn’t deny that the Israeli government had lodged a protest with India about its vote, but indicated that India’s stand had to be seen in the larger context of its growing alignment with Israel on other issues, and in particular Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July 2017 as the first Indian Prime Minister there.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Bamboo not a tree: Parliament passes Bill amending Forest Act

Bamboo Not a treeNews

  • The Parliament passed a Bill to exclude bamboo from the definition of tree under the Indian Forest Act, claiming it would improve the earnings of tribals and dwellers living around forests.

Beyond News

  • The Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, which was adopted by the Lok Sabha, was passed by a voice vote in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Replying to a short debate, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister said the Bill to amend the 1927 Indian Forest Act would benefit the tribals, forest dweller and farmers as their income would increase.

The Bill permits felling and transit of bamboo grown in non-forest areas. However, bamboo grown on forest lands would continue to be classified as a tree and would be guided by the existing legal restrictions.

India to pip China as top LPG importer

News

  • India is set to surpass China as the biggest importer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) this month as a drive to replace wood and animal dung fires for cooking boosts consumption.

Beyond News

  • Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows LPG shipments to India will reach 2.4 million tonnes in December, pushing it ahead of top importer China, on 2.3 million tonnes, for the first time.
  • China, India and Japan together make up about 45% of global LPG purchases.
  • India’s biggest supplier by a large margin is the Middle East, which has so far enjoyed a virtual supply monopoly.

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HINDU NOTES-December 27 2017 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-December 27 2017 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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India’s 1st pod taxi on the way, to follow U.S. safety norms

New Pod Taxicol

News

  • India’s first pod taxi project has moved a step closer to reality after a high-level panel recommended inviting fresh bids for the same conforming to the strictest safety standards on the lines of those prescribed by an American body.

Personal Rapid Transit

  • PRT is an advanced public transport using automated electric pod cars to provide a taxi-like demand responsive feeder and shuttle services for small groups of travellers and is a green mode of uninterrupted journey.

Beyond News

  • The projected ₹4,000-crore pod taxi scheme also known as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)  is a dream project of Road Transport and Highways Minister , and the NHAI has been mandated to execute it on Delhi-Gurgaon pilot corridor (12.3 km) from Delhi-Haryana border to Rajiv Chowk in Gurgaon on a PPP (public-private partnership) basis.
  • The ambitious project has been plagued by delays as government think-tank Niti Aayog raised some red flags, asking the highways ministry to direct initial bidders to prepare a 1-km pilot stretch as all the technologies were unproven.

Subsequent delays were caused due to formation of the high- powered committee to lay down safety and other specifications.

Dalits hold rally, demand their rights

News

  • Chairman of the All India Confederation of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Organisations, Udit Raj, addressed a rally at Ramlila Maidan , demanding reservation in promotion and private sector.

Beyond News

  • The rally was also attended by leaders and members of the Dalit, SC/ST and tribal communities from across the country.
  • Chairman had moved a private member Bill in Parliament for reservation to Dalits in private sector, but there were no serious developments made by the government.

 He also said that as long as there is discrimination and prejudices against the underprivileged communities, his demand for reservation will be steadfast.

Major demands

  • Among the major demands made by the leader are reservation in promotion and jobs in private sector for Dalits, tribals and backward classes, ending of contract system and outsourcing, reservation in higher judiciary and Armed forces, increase in educational scholarships for the backward community students and law for implementation of Special Component Plan (SCP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP).

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Now, a big bubble theory

galaxy supernova

News

  • Scientists have said that the solar system could have formed in the bubbles produced by a giant, long-dead star, which was 40 to 50 times the size of the sun.

Beyond News

  • The prevailing theory is that the solar system formed billions of years ago near a supernova.
  • But the new scenario begins with a giant type of star called a Wolf-Rayet star.

They burn the hottest of all stars, producing tonnes of elements which are flung off the surface in an intense stellar wind.

As the Wolf-Rayet star sheds its mass, the stellar wind ploughs through the material around it, forming a bubble structure with a dense shell.

  • Meteorites left over from the early solar system suggests there was a lot of aluminium-26. In addition, studies increasingly suggest the solar system had less of the isotope iron-60.
  • This brings scientists up short, because supernovae produce both isotopes.

This brought the scientists to Wolf-Rayet stars, which release lots of aluminium-26, but no iron-60.

As for the fate of the giant Wolf-Rayet star, the researchers believe that its life ended long ago, likely in a supernova explosion or a direct collapse to a black hole.

‘India to become fifth largest economy in 2018’

News

  • India is set to overtake the United Kingdom and France to become the world’s fifth largest economy next year, a report said Tuesday.

Beyond News

  • Currently ranked seventh, India will move up to fifth place in 2018 and vault to third spot by 2032, the Centre for Economics and Business Research, a London-based consultancy, said in its annual rankings.

Growth slumped to 5.7% for the three months ending June but recovered slightly to 6.3% for the quarter ending September.

 India’s economy has still caught up with that of France and the U.K. and in 2018 will have overtaken them both to become the world’s fifth largest economy in dollar terms.

New system uses Twitter, AI to predict floods

News

  • Scientists are combining Twitter, citizen science and cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to develop an early-warning system for flood-prone communities.

Beyond News

  • Researchers have shown how AI can be used to extract data from Twitter and crowd-sourced information from mobile phone apps to build hyper-resolution monitoring of urban flooding.
  • MyCoast is a system used by a number of environmental agencies to collect ‘citizen science’ data about various coastal hazards or incidents.
  • The system contains over 6,000 flood photographs, all of which were collected through the mobile app.
  • The information extracted by AI tools was validated against precipitation data and road closure reports to examine the quality of the data.

Flood-related tweets were shown to correlate to precipitation levels, while the crowd-sourced data matched strongly with the road closure reports.

Taken together, these tools can be used to monitor the water penetration of urban flooding over a city.

This can be then used to improve forecasting models and early warning systems to help residents and authorities prepare for an upcoming flood.

First-ever hybrid bird species from the Amazon discovered

new bird species discovery

News

  • Scientists have discovered the first-known hybrid bird species to be found in the Amazon rainforest – a golden-crowned manakin with yellow feathers.

Beyond News

  • Through a series of genetic and other tests, researchers found that the golden-crowned manakin – first discovered in Brazil in 1957 but not seen again until 2002 – is in fact a hybrid species.
  • A hybrid species forms when two parental species mate to produce a hybrid population.In this case, the two parents are the snow-capped manakin, named for its bright snowy-white crown feathers, and the opal-crowned manakin, named for its brilliant iridescent crown feathers.

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