HINDU NOTES-January 27 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 27 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Bank test, Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, Prelims UPSC, Press Information Bureau(PIB), The Hindu Notes

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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Fossil shows modern humans left Africa earlier than thought

Ancient india discovery

News

  • Scientists have announced the discovery of a fossilised human jawbone in a collapsed cave in Israel that they said is between 1,77,000 and 1,94,000 years old.

Beyond News

  • If confirmed, the find may rewrite the early migration story of our species, pushing back by about 50,000 years the time that Homo sapiensfirst ventured out of Africa.
  • Previous discoveries in Israel had convinced some anthropologists that modern humans began leaving Africa between 90,000 and 120,000 years ago. But the recently dated jawbone is unravelling that narrative.

Findings

  • The upper jawbone which includes seven intact teeth and one broken incisor,  provides fossil evidence that lends support to genetic studies that have suggested modern humans moved from Africa far earlier than had been suspected.
  • By dating burned flint flakes found at the site, archaeologists had determined that it was occupied 2,50,000 to 1,60,000 years ago, during an era known as the Early Middle Palaeolithic.
  • Evidence, including bedding, showed that the people who lived there used it as a base camp.
  • There scientists were able to assess whether the bone belonged to a modern human or a Neanderthal, thought to have also occupied the region during that time period.
  • Using high resolution micro-CT scanning, Mr. Weber created a 3D replica of the upper left maxilla that allowed him to investigate its surface and, virtually, to remove enamel from the teeth.
  • He then performed a morphological and metric test that compared the Misliya fossil with about 30 other specimens, including fossils of Neanderthals, Homo erectus, more recent Homo sapiens , and other hominins who lived in the Middle Pleistocene in Asia, Africa Europe and North America.
  • The team dated the tooth dentin and enamel, the sediment stuck to the upper jaw, and tools found near the fossil.
  • Together, the techniques put the jawbone at between 177,000 and 194,000 years old, in line with what was already known about the period during which the cave was inhabited.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

India should be pro-active: ASEAN

ASEAN Republic

News

  • Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that,all leaders at the just concluded ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit had urged India to play a proactive role in the Asia-Pacific region.

Beyond News

  • In an official statement at the conclusion of two days of diplomatic engagements that included the Summit and the celebrations of the Republic Day where the ten ASEAN leaders were Guests of Honour.
  • Secretary in charge of eastern affairs in the MEA Preeti Saran said that, “All the leaders felt that India is a very important component of peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”
  • The official statement complements Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments that the Indo-Pacific region will be “indispensable” India’s future.

Growing presence

  • The comments from the Prime Minister and the MEA officials are significant as they come just months after India joined the quadrilateral grouping of Australia, Japan and the U.S. for maintaining freedom of navigation in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • During the summit, India announced 1,000 PhD fellowships in the IITs for students from the ASEAN countries.
  • Apart from countering ‘traditional and non-traditional’ threats to freedom of navigation, India plans to work closely with Malaysia and Indonesia on handling radicalisation. A conference on de-radicalisation will be held soon, said the official.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Robotic technology deployed to test railway bridges.

Robotics to test railway

News:

  • The Southern Railway has deployed a Robotic Remote Operated Vehicle to assess the strength of bridge substructures under water.

Beyond News:

  • The new technology provides accurate images and data of damage such as erosion or formation of cavities on pillars under water.
  • Earlier, bridge engineers deployed divers who carried cameras to check the stability of bridges and take photographs of any damage. But the process was not only time-consuming but not accurate as well.

Robotic technology:

  • Railways officials said said that,the robotic technology produced desired results when put to use in Pamban bridge connecting Rameswaram to the mainland and Bhavani river bridge in Mettupalayam.
  • Impressed with the results, a high-level safety review committee has recommended that a trial be conducted in the Yamuna river bridge in New Delhi and the technology be deployed across the railway network.
  • The findings are accurate and corroborated with photographs and videos.
  • They are now able to get the dimensions and exact location of cavities for corrective measures.

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HINDU NOTES-January 25 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 25 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Bank test, Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, MAINS 2018, PIB notes, Prelims UPSC, The Hindu Notes

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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New Delhi brims with ‘Look East’ vibes

News:

  • Symbolism and ceremony will mark the 25th year commemorative summit of the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership, but officials say security issues in the Indo-Pacific will be the focus of discussions among the 10 leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Beyond News:

  • “Maritime Cooperation & Security”, the theme during the Leaders’ Retreat, will find “prominent mention” in the joint statements.
  • The leaders will be hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan for lunch, followed by the traditional “Retreat” where leaders will meet informally for two hours.
  • On Friday, they will officiate as joint chief guests at the Republic Day parade.

Three ‘C’s:

  • The ASEAN-India joint statement, on the theme of “Shared Values and Common Destiny” will focus on the “three Cs of connectivity, commerce and culture”, along with the issues of maritime security, cybersecurity and cooperation on fighting terrorism, according to an official briefing ahead of the summit.
  • Among them is the Rohingya issue, with the repatriation of refugees from Bangladesh being delayed after many including the UN cited a lack of guarantees for their safety in Myanmar.
  • However, the ASEAN-India grouping may find the issue too sensitive to broach in any formal way with Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • India’s difficulties with the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will also be on the agenda for talks, as most ASEAN countries are keen to conclude the negotiations by 2018-end.

First India-designed vaccine passes WHO test News

  • For the first time, a vaccine conceived and developed from scratch in India has been “pre-qualified” by the World Health Organisation.

Beyond News

  • The Rotavac vaccine, developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Limited last year, was included in India’s national immunization
  • To be “pre-qualified” means that the vaccine can be sold internationally to several countries in Africa and South America.
  • While several vaccines from India have been pre-qualified, this is the first that was entirely developed locally and, according to experts, is a sign that there is a credible industrial, scientific and regulatory process in place to develop vaccines in India.

Rotavac vaccine

  • The Rotavac vaccine protects against childhood diarrhoea caused by the rotavirus and was built on strain of the virus isolated at the the All India Institute of Medical Sciences over 30 years ago.
  • The Pune-based Serum International also has developed a rotavirus vaccine called Rabishield that has also been included in India’s immunisation programme.
  • Rotavirus is responsible for an estimated 36% of hospitalisations for childhood diarrhoea around the world and for an estimated 200,000 deaths in low- and middle-income countries.

India ranks 177 out of 180 in Environmental Performance Index

News

  • India is among the bottom five countries on the Environmental Performance Index 2018, plummeting 36 points from 141 in 2016, according to a biennial report by Yale and Columbia Universities along with the World Economic Forum.

Beyond News

  • While India is at the bottom of the list in the environmental health category, it ranks 178 out of 180 as far as air quality is concerned.
  • Its overall low ranking — 177 among 180 countries — was linked to poor performance in the environment health policy and deaths due to air pollution categories.
  • The report was released on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Findings in the Report

  • It said deaths attributed to ultra-fine PM2.5 pollutants have risen over the past decade and are estimated at 1,640,113 annually in India.
  • The report said that,despite government action, pollution from solid fuels, coal and crop residue burning, and emissions from motor vehicles continue to severely degrade the air quality for millions of Indians.
  • The 10th EPI report ranks 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across 10 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.
  • The EPI said air quality remains the leading environmental threat to public health.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

New ‘smart windows’ can darken when heated, produce electricity

solar panel smart window

News

  • Scientists have discovered a new material for next-generation smart windows that not only darken automatically when the sun is too bright but also convert solar energy into electricity.

Beyond News

  • Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in the US found a form of perovskite that works well as a stable and photoactive semiconductor material that can reversibly switch between transparent and opaque state.
  • It can essentially change from one crystal structure to another when we slightly change the temperature or introduce a little water vapour.
  • When the material changes its crystal structure, it changes from transparent to non-transparent.
  • Its unique properties, high efficiency rates, and ease of processing have made it one of the most promising developments in solar technology in recent years.
  • The material is triggered to transition from transparent to non-transparent by applying heat.

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HINDU NOTES-January 22 and 23 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 22 and 23 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily Capsule, Daily hindu notes, MAINS 2018, Prelims UPSC, Read Hindu, The Hindu Notes

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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WEF 2018: Modi meets Swiss President Alain Berset

News:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 22, 2018, met Swiss President Alain Berset and discussed ways to deepen bilateral ties on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual summit.

Beyond News

  • Mr. Berset said the discussions marked the meeting of the biggest and the oldest democracies in the world.
  • Two leaders had productive discussions on steps to further deepen our bilateral cooperation built upon our shared values of democracy and diversity.
  • Sources said the two leaders are also believed to have discussed the progress on automatic exchange of tax information.
    A legislation in this regard was passed by the Swiss Parliament, following which banks and financial institutions have begun collecting data for the first exchange that is to begin from next year.

Negotiations on EFTA (European Free Trade Association) trade pact and the bilateral investment protection agreement were also discussed, among various business and trade matters, they added.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Sensor-based technology to testify genuineness of organic crops

News

  • Information technology application can now help ensure genuineness of organic crops.

Beyond News

  • Already, various foreign countries have started adopting this technology that involves use of sensors in the soil, where the crop is grown, to record various parameters, including the nature of inputs provided.
  • The data from the sensors would be incorporated in the form of a bar code on the package containing the organic food.
  • Consumers could read the bar code using the relevant app in their mobile phones to confirm that what they are eating is genuinely organic.
  • In addition to this, they would also know the source of their produce such as the place of cultivation and the farmers’ groups that have grown the crop.
  • This technology is set to be tried on a pilot basis in Karnataka for the first time.

It may be tried on paddy and corn, to begin with.
Project would need a minimum of 1,000 acres so that the financial burden would not be huge on farmers.

NGO on a mission to rejuvenate Tamirabharani

rejuvenate thamirabharani

News

In an effort to rejuvenate the Tamirabharani river that plays a critical role in the livelihood, culture and the economy of south Tamil Nadu, the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) has begun an extensive outreach programme involving the communities living along the river.

Beyond News

The NGO will adopt 37 villages from Papanasam to Cheranmadevi and will conduct weekend programmes for people from all walks of life.

The activities planned include garbage removing, wall painting, planting of saplings and their maintenance, conducting a river festival once in every six months.

The Tamirabharani, which is the only perennial river that originates and ends in Tamil Nadu, is also the site of an ancient civilisation that excelled in education partly because of the surplus from agriculture.

Police struggle to keep pace with cyber thieves

News

The city police of Chennai have filed more than 1,000 cases of credit card fraud and over 2,000 cases of debit card fraud in the last two years.

Beyond News

Even though complaints have been pouring in on a daily basis, not even a single arrest has been made in the past year.

However, the stakeholders have somehow managed to recover 25% of the money lost in the last two years.

A status report released by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) recently stated that over 3.58 crore was recovered and returned to the victims by initiating quick action on the complaints.

Phishing, a common form of online fraud, is typically carried out by e-mail or instant messaging, and often directs users to enter details at a website, although phone contact has also been used at times.

According to police, after getting the details, the scammers make payments to mobile phone and online payment service providers, which are quite difficult to trace or retrieve.

Now, an app to report roadkill in wildlife habitats

tiger road kill

News

A mobile-based application, ‘Roadkills’, launched on January 21 by the Wildlife Conservation Trust, will help citizens report such wildlife deaths by uploading geotagged photographs to a public forum.

Beyond News

The data generated can be used to identify crucial road or rail stretches that urgently require mitigation measures.

With the resulting geotagged photographs, users can also include what taxon the animal belongs to (bird, mammal, reptile or amphibian), the species’ name (if known) and the area where the roadkill was seen.

The information generated from the application can help identify crucial sections of roads or railway lines where animal deaths are high to pinpoint regions that require urgent mitigation measures.

The data can also help determine what species are more at risk on specific road or rail stretches and plan the ideal mitigation measures suited for the location – from underpasses or overpasses for large mammals to canopy bridges for arboreal ones, such as monkeys.

Pollution in Yamuna hits water supply

News

Delhi Jal Board said that,water supply in almost all parts of the Capital will be affected as increase in pollution levels in the Yamuna led to water treatment plants working under capacity.

Beyond News

Due to rise in pollution level in the Yamuna and reduced supply of raw water in the carrier lined channel [CLC] by Haryana, production of drinking water has been curtailed at all water treatment plants.

Ammonia level

The level of ammonia in raw water had increased to 1.6 parts per million (ppm), while the DJB can only treat water with an ammonia level of 0.9 ppm or lower.

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HINDU NOTES-January 18 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 18 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily challenge, Daily hindu notes, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, Prelims UPSC, Press Information Bureau(PIB), The Hindu Notes

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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World’s biggest flooded cave found in Mexico, explorers say

Ancient maya civilizationNews:

  • A group of divers has connected two underwater caverns in eastern Mexico to reveal what is believed to be the biggest flooded cave on the planet, a discovery that could help shed new light on the ancient Maya civilization.

Beyond News

  • The Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM), a project dedicated to the study and preservation of the subterranean waters of the Yucatan peninsula, said the 347-km cave was identified after months of exploring a maze of underwater channels.
  • Near the beach resort of Tulum, the group found that the cave system known as Sac Actun, once measured at 263 km, communicated with the 83-km Dos Ojos system. For that reason, Sac Actun now absorbs Dos Ojos.
  • GAM director and underwater archaeologist said that,the “amazing” find would help to understand the development of the rich culture of the region, which was dominated by the Maya civilization before the Spanish conquest.
  • He also said that,it allows them to appreciate much more clearly how the rituals, the pilgrimage sites and ultimately the great pre-Hispanic settlements that we know emerged.
  • The Yucatan peninsula is studded with monumental relics of the Maya people, whose cities drew upon an extensive network of sinkholes linked to subterranean waters known as cenotes.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

Geo-tagging to help keep PMAY in order

News

  • Geo-tagging of site location and periodic monitoring with photographs of work progress has reduced the leeway for malpractices in the implementation of the housing schemes under the Pradhan Manthri Awaz Yojana (PMAY).

Beyond News

  • The State-level monitoring team in Kerala has now recommended to the city Corporation to stop the release of funds to nine beneficiaries, after discrepancies were found in their geo-tagged data.
  • The geo-tagging system involves marking the geographical coordinates of the site location as well as photographing of the progress of a given work.
  • It has now been enabled for the PMAY scheme, under which funds are provided to build a house for those who already own land.
  • The local body has completed geo-tagging of close to 800 houses, out of the 3,100 such beneficiaries in the first phase of the scheme in the Corporation.
  • As per this scheme, the construction work should start afresh on the land that they own. Existing structures have to be demolished before the work begins.
  • According to project officials, in geo-tagged photographs, it was noticed that some of them had just demolished a room of their old house and constructed a new one, while in another case, just the roof was redone.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

‘Direct tax collections jump 18.7% this fiscal’

News

  • The tax department said that,direct tax collections during the first nine-and-a-half months of the current fiscal have risen by 18.7% to ₹6.89 lakh crore.

Beyond News

  • The collections till January 15, 2018, represent over 70% of the ₹9.8 lakh crore revenue target from direct taxes, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in a statement.
  • Gross collections (before adjusting for refunds) have increased by 13.5% to ₹ 8.11 lakh crore during April 2017 to January 15, 2018.
  • Refunds amounting to ₹1.22 lakh crore have been issued during this period.
  • CBDT said that, the growth rate of total gross collections has improved from 10% in Q1, to 10.3% in Q2, to 12.6% in Q3 and to 13.5% as on January 15, 2018.

West Bengal rivers are not fit even for bathing, says report

Ganga pollution analysisNews

  • A dip in the Ganges is, generally speaking, synonymous with the idea of purification. But that shall no longer be so in Bengal, where the river is so polluted that it is now officially unfit for bathing.

Findings in the Report

  • According to the latest State of Environment Report, published by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), in 17 major rivers of the State, including the Ganges, the levels of coliform bacteria (found mainly in human faeces) are much higher than the permissible limit of MPN (most probable number) per 100 ml.
  • The permissible limit as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guideline is 500.
  • The report states that several stretches of the Ganges, known as Bhagirathi and Hooghly in the region (two tributaries of the Ganges), have a total coliform count (TCC) much higher than the permissible level of 500.
  • According to the WBPCB, compared with 2014, all the four main rivers of north Bengal recorded a significant increase in TCC, while the ones in south Bengal had TCC levels much higher than the permissible limit.

Reason

  • One of the reasons for such high TCC was the disposal of “untreated sewage.

Terrorism erodes economy: Sushma Swaraj

News

  • Hitting out at the sponsors of international terrorism, India urged for greater consensus among countries for devising a global strategy.

Beyond News

  • Speaking at the plenary session of the 3rd Raisina Dialogue, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that, terrorism is a major disruptor of the global economy and has delivered a jolt to the process of globalisation.
  • The 3rd annual Raisina Dialogue was launched by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu where he described terrorism as a major threat to the democracies in the twenty-first century.
  • Continuing with the theme of ensuring safety for democracies, Ms Swaraj remarked that security and socio-economic developments, have pushed globalisation into a retreat.
  • The Minister said that while international terrorism by Islamic State, which grew out of ungoverned territories, is dangerous, more dangerous.
  • Ms Swaraj also pointed out that another emerging disruptor is the concern over maritime movement.

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HINDU NOTES-January 17 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 17 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily Capsule, Daily challenge, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, PIB notes, Prelims UPSC, Press Information Bureau(PIB), Quiz explanations, Read Hindu, The Hindu Notes

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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Megalithic era sarcophagus unearthed at Viyur

Harappan discovery in kerala

News

  • A rare sarcophagus (stone coffin), said to be 2,000-year old from the Iron Age–Megalithic era, was discovered from a rock-cut cave at Viyur village of Kollam, near Koyilandy, in Kozhikode district in Kerala.

Beyond News

  • The coffin containing bone fragments was found during an excavation. So far, such a rare finding has been discovered only from two sites in Kerala.
  • The bone fragments could be of either a man or a woman. They will be sent for carbon dating using accelerator mass spectrometry at the Beta Analytical Laboratory in California.
  • Excavation at the site commenced after a hemispherical rock-cut chamber was discovered in a compound while flattening land using an earthmover.
  • Different types of pottery, mostly four-legged jars and iron implements, were found in the cave.
  • Sarcophagi was found in many archaeological sites in South India earlier. Some are adorned with a sculpture or inscription. But two types are usually found with bovine features or with legs.
  • It can be confirmed that a rich Megalithic culture existed in the region following the discoveries of pre-Iron age civilisation earlier.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

SC condemns conduct of caste panchayats

News

  • Supreme Court said that,any collective attack by a khap panchayat on an adult for choosing to marry the person of their choice is absolutely illegal and condemned.

Beyond News

  • Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, heading a three-judge Bench, observed that an adult man and woman are free to marry. No society, no khap panchayat, no parent can impose their will on them.
  • The apex court said it would not tolerate any manner of collective and regressive conduct by khap panchayat or such group of persons.
  • The Centre said it supports the dignity of women and agreed with the court that the judiciary should fill the legislative vacuum left by a lack of law against honour killing.
  • Amicus curiae and senior advocate referred to a recommendation by the Law Commission for a special penal law recognising honour killing as a crime.

460 Indians deported by the U.S in 2017

News

  • Tougher implementation of immigration laws in the U.S in the first year of Donald Trump presidency has resulted in 30 percent increase in arrests, compared to the previous year, but deportations have come down.

Beyond News

  • While the overall number of undocumented people deported from the U.S in 2017 decreased from 2016, the number of Indians increased 460 were deported last year compared to 353 in 2016.
  • In 2015, 311 undocumented Indians were deported from the U.S, according to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • A report released by the administration linked its case for changing the immigration policy to national security and the ability of the immigrants to assimilate.
  • An official speaking on background said that, 402 of the 549 people convicted of international terrorism-related charges in U.S. since September 11, 2001 were foreign-born.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

‘Water scarcity may hit thermal power’

Water scarcity on thermal plants

News

  • India’s thermal power plants, about 90% of which rely on fresh water for cooling, risk facing serious outages because of shortage of water, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Findings in the Report

  • About 40% of the country’s thermal power plants are facing great stress in terms of water availability, according to the report, defines water stress as the ratio of total water withdrawal over available supply.
  • Between 2013 and 2016, 14 of India’s 20 largest thermal utility companies experienced one or more shutdowns due to water shortages and calculated that this cost the power producers more than ₹91 billion ($1.4 billion) in potential revenue from the sale of power.
  • According to the report, not only does high water stress result in equipment shutting down, it also results in a lower level of efficiency when it is running.
  • When power plants rely on water sourced from scarce regions, they put electricity generation at risk and leave less water for cities, farms and families. Without urgent action, water will become a choke point for India’s power sector.
  • WRI said that,freshwater-cooled thermal power plants that are located in high water-stress areas have a 21% lower average capacity factor, compared to the ones in low and medium water-stress areas.
  • The WRI’s report predicts that this problem is set to worsen as India’s thermal power sector expands and demand for water from other sectors increases.
  • It says that by 2030, 70% of India’s thermal power plants are likely to experience increased competition for water from agriculture, industry and municipalities.

Chinese ‘rainbow dinosaur’ had iridescent feathers like hummingbirds

colorful rhinoceros bird

News

  • Scientists announced the discovery of a crow-sized, bird-like dinosaur with colorful feathers from northeastern China that lived 161 million years ago during the Jurassic Period.

Beyond News

  • They named it Caihong, the Mandarin word for rainbow.
  • Microscopic structures in the exquisitely preserved, nearly complete fossil unearthed in Hebei Province indicated that it boasted iridescent feathers, particularly on its head, neck and chest, with colors that shimmered and shifted in the light, like those of hummingbirds.
  • The discovery “suggests a more colorful Jurassic World than we previously imagined.

Features of Caihong

  • Using powerful microscopes, the scientists detected within the feathers the remnants of organelles called melanosomes responsible for pigmentation. Their shape determines the color.
  • Caihong’s feathers had pancake-shaped melanosomes similar to those of hummingbirds with iridescent feathers.
  • Much of its body had dark feathers, but ribbon-like iridescent feathers covered its head and neck. While it possessed many bird-like characteristics, the researchers doubted it could actually get airborne.
  • Caihong was a two-legged predator with a Velociraptor-like skull and sharp teeth, probably hunting small mammals and lizards. Caihong had fuzzy feathers and pennaceous ones, those that look like writing quills.

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HINDU NOTES-January 16 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 16 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

Editorials are covered separately. HINDU NOTES are available free date wise| CLICK HERE

Aadhaar authentication through face recognition

News:

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said it will enable Aadhaar authentication using face recognition from July 1 onwards.

Beyond News:

  • This feature will be used only in “fusion mode”, along with one more existing mode of authentication such as fingerprint, iris or one-time password (OTP).
  • The decision has been taken ,so that people facing difficulty in other biometric authentication (fingerprint and Iris) could easily authenticate, UIDAI said in a statement, adding that some people are not able to biometrically authenticate due to their worn out fingerprints, old age or hard working conditions.
  • The face authentication provides additional option for all residents to have inclusive authentication.
  • UIDAI will release necessary details for implementation for AUAs by March 1, 2018. It will also provide software development kits that will have the ability to capture face image, check liveness, and create digitally signed and encrypted authentication input.

Poland eyes India mining sector

News:

  • Marek Magierowski, Polish Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that,Polish companies may be interested in getting into commercial mining in India provided the conditions are right.

Beyond News:

  • Among Poland’s area of expertise was deep mining in copper and coal. 
  • Its other areas of interest include energy, food processing, defense and innovation.
  • He also said they are not really promoting business here, but they want to boost trade relations with India which is a priority country for them.
  • BCCI president said India and Poland had jointly etched out a roadmap for strengthening co-operation in areas like thick-seam underground coal mining, exploitation of gassy seams , developing clean coal technologies and transfer of technology in deep coal mining from Poland to India.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

First joint estimation of tigers in Sunderbans begins [Deck] The region hosts 75% of all big cats in the world

News:

  • The first joint estimation of tigers in the Sunderbans, spread across India and Bangladesh, began on Monday, with a training workshop.

Beyond News

  • Eminent tiger biologist Qamar Qureshi said the Sunderbans houses the fifth largest tiger population in the world.

Beat the heat with the world’s smallest wearable device !

News

  • Scientists have developed the world’s smallest wearable device – a wafer-thin, feather-light sensor – that can fit on a fingernail and precisely measure a person’s exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun.

Beyond News

  • Researchers said that,the broader goal is to provide a technology platform that can save lives and reduce skin cancers by allowing individuals, on a personalised level, to modulate their exposure to the sun.
  • The device, as light as a raindrop, is powered by the sun and contains the world’s most sophisticated and accurate UV dosimeter.
  • The device called UV Sense was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
  • It is also an optimal location to measure exposure to the sun.

Drones to monitor beaches in Chennai

News

  • The Chennai City Police are making elaborate security arrangements in view of the huge crowd expected to throng the Marina Beach on the day of ‘Kaanum Pongal’ on Tuesday.

Beyond News

  • Drones would be used for monitoring the crowd and tags would be tied around the hands of children to prevent them from getting lost.
  • Drones are being used for the first time to keep a watch on pickpockets and chain snatchers.
  • Barricades have been erected on the Marina and the Elliots beaches to avoid visitors from entering the sea. Lifeguards will also be posted to save people from drowning.
  • Temporary watchtowers with public address systems have erected.

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HINDU NOTES-January 13 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 13 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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Four SC judges air differences with CJI Misra

SC judges conflict analyses

News

  • In an unprecedented act, four senior judges of the Supreme Court held a press conference and publicly accused Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra of selectively assigning cases to judges of his choice without any rational basis.

Beyond News

  • Transcending judicial protocol that sitting judges should not interact with the media, Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph the senior-most judges after the CJI  accused Justice Misra of assigning cases of “far-reaching consequences to the nation” to junior hand-picked judges against the time-tested convention, practice and tradition of the court.
  • In a letter addressed to the CJI and circulated at the press meet, the four said certain Supreme Court judges arrogated to themselves the “authority to deal with and pronounce upon” cases which ought to be heard by other appropriate Benches.

Justice Chelameswar, speaking for the four, said they had collectively tried to persuade the Chief Justice to take remedial measures but their efforts had failed.

The judges said that with the independence of the judiciary and the future of democracy at stake, they had “no other choice but communicate to the nation to please take care of this institution.”

  • Justice Chelameswar recounted that the trigger for the press conference was a meeting they held with the Chief Justice regarding the assignment of a petition, seeking an independent probe into the mysterious death of CBI judge B.H. Loya, to a particular Bench.
  • Without naming any, Justice Chelameswar said that several other important cases like this had been assigned to preferred Benches over the past months.
  • Also said that,the convention of the court demands that important cases of public interest or sensitive matters should be first heard by the CJI. If the CJI is not willing for some reason to hear the case, it should be assigned to the next senior-most judge in the Supreme Court.

India makes push for U.K. immigration reform

News

  • Commerce and Industry Minister and Minister of State for Home Affairs, both on visits to the U.K., have pressed the need for Britain to review immigration policies relating to India, including on student visas and the extension of a visa system introduced for Chinese visitors to the U.K.

Beyond News

  • The meetings came as India and Britain agreed to the terms of a memorandum of understanding on the swift return of Indian illegal immigrants from the U.K. an issue that has been repeatedly raised by the British government and cited as an obstacle to immigration reform on the British side.
  • Among the key asks raised by the Ministers is for the introduction of a two-year visa system for business travellers.
  • Prabhu said he raised issues both around the ease of getting visas and the costs which could prove prohibitive for the services sector.
  • Both Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the progress of talks on these issues.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Search in Bharathapuzha unearths 6 pieces of PSP

News

  • Six pieces of perforated steel planking (PSP) were recovered from the Bharathapuzha under the Kuttippuram bridge during a combined search conducted by the police and other security agencies.

Beyond News

  • The search was carried out under the leadership of Intelligence DIG, in the wake of the recovery of a cache of ammunition from the river. Five anti-personnel mines had been found abandoned near the bridge last week.

For Army use only!

  • Both the land mines and the cache of bullets recovered from the site were used by the Army.
  • The PSP pieces recovered were rusted heavily. The PSP is used to prevent Army vehicles getting stuck in marshy land.

The search was conducted with the help of an earth mover and using deep search metal detectors (DSMD). Bomb squads joined the search.

Waterbird census in district from today

News

  • Waterbird census, the annual event of counting birds in wetland areas conducted as part of the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), will be held on January 13 and 14 in Kochi(Kerala).

Waterbird

  • Waterbirds are birds that are ecologically dependent on wetlands.

Beyond News

  • Annually in January, hundreds of volunteers move across the wetland bird habitats in Asia to count waterbirds including the migratory ones.
  • Data generated from AWC is used to identify and monitor wetlands of international and national importance.
  • AWC covers the region of Asia from Afghanistan eastwards to Japan, southeast Asia and Australasia.
  • The event runs parallel to other international census procedures of waterbirds in Africa, Europe, Middle East, and the neotropical regions.
  • The annual waterbird census began in Kerala in 1987.
  • The Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad and the Social Forestry Wing of the Forest Department are also supporting the event.

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HINDU NOTES-January 10 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 10 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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2017 was second hottest year on record

hottest years

News

Last year was the second hottest worldwide on record, just behind a sweltering 2016 with signs of climate change ranging from wildfires to a thaw of Arctic ice, a European Union monitoring centre said.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service, the first major international weather agency to report global 2017 temperatures, said they averaged 14.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.

Findings in the Report

  • Last year was slightly “cooler than the warmest year on record, 2016, and warmer than the previous second warmest year, 2015,” the report said.
    Temperature records date back to the late 19th century.
  • The measurements back up a projection by the U.N. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in November that 2017 would be second or third warmest behind 2016, as part of a long-term trend driven by man-made greenhouse gases.

Sweltering temperatures in 2016 were also boosted by a natural El Nino event that happens every few years and releases heat from the Pacific Ocean.

  • Last year was the warmest year on record without the influence of an El Nino, according to Copernicus, run by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

India, U.K. to ink illegal migrants pact

India UK diaspora

News:

India will sign a pact with the United Kingdom for a return of illegal Indian migrants within a month of them being detected by British authorities.

Beyond News:

The U.K has consistently raised the issue of return of illegal migrants said to number in thousands with India.

The memorandum of understanding comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit in March.

During her maiden visit to India on November 7, 2016, British Prime Minister Theresa May had said the U.K. would consider an improved visa deal “if at the same time we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain in the U.K.”

An Indian delegation, led by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, is visiting the U.K. this week.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

India to regain top spot with GDP pegged at 7.3% in 2018-19: World Bank

News

The World Bank is estimating India’s economy to grow by 6.7 per cent in the current fiscal year, higher than the 6.5 per cent estimate by the Government of India.

Beyond News

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is expected to rise to 7.3 per cent in 2018-19, making India again the world’s fastest growing economy, according to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report released .

The report dropped the growth estimate for 2017-18 by 0.1 per cent from its projection June 2017, because of the disruptions to the economy from the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
But it raised the growth forecast for 2018-19 by 0.1 per cent from the June figure.

The bank has forecast a GDP growth of 7.5 per cent in 2019-20 and 2020-21. It saw benefits down the road from the GST.

Food Security Act: Team to probe bungling in Odisha

News

The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has decided to send its high-level team to Kandhamal to inquire into allegations of irregularities in implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in this underdeveloped district.

Beyond News

According to the order passed by the commission on January 8, the high-level committee will go to Daringbadi in Kandhamal to look into the matter and submit its report to the OHRC within 15 days.

The OHRC took this decision in view of serious objections raised by the petitioner convenor of ‘Banabasi Suraksha Parishad’ Narendra Mohanty against the report filed by the Kandhamal collector before the commission.

Mr. Mohanty said that, following an agitation by the tribals and Dalits living in the remote pockets of the district in 2016, the administration had declared issuance of around 1,000 new ration cards to beneficiaries.
But it was alleged that the real beneficiaries did not receive the ration cards and the subsidised food items.

State to unveil ‘Electricmobility policy’ soon

News

With electric power-based locomotion becoming the preferred mode of transport sooner than later, the Andhra Pradesh government will soon come up with an ‘Electric mobility policy’.

Why this news Important

This makes Andhra Pradesh the first State to not only identify and tap the potentially emerging sector, but also make a vision plan in tune with its policy of promoting clean energy.

Beyond News

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister made the announcement after laying foundation stone for the ultra modern global scale manufacturing facility of the Apollo Tyres at Chinna Pandur in Satyavedu, the tail-end constituency abutting Tamil Nadu.

He called electric-powered mobility as the next generation mode of transportation that must be adopted at the earliest.

He also said that,emphasis would be laid on Research and Development (R&D), creating demand and improving the charging infrastructure.

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HINDU NOTES-January 9 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 9 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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SC modifies order, says playing of national anthem in cinema halls is not mandatory

NewsNational anthem in theatre

The Supreme Court modified its November 30, 2016 interim order and made it optional for cinema halls to play the 52-second national anthem before every show.

Beyond News

A Bench, clarified that it is not mandatory to play the anthem before screenings in cinemas.
It left the choice of whether to play the anthem or not to the discretion of individual cinema hall owners.

However, if the anthem is played, patrons in the hall are bound to show respect by standing up.
The court clarified that the exception granted to disabled persons from standing up during the anthem “shall remain in force on all occasions”.

At PIO Parliamentarian Conference, PM urges leaders of Indian origin to come forward to join hands in changing India

News

As part of its intensified outreach to the Indian diaspora, the Government of India launched a conference of legislators and political leaders of Indian origin from all over the world.

Beyond News

The “First PIO [Person of Indian Origin] Parliamentarian Conference” was inaugurated in New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who reminded the participants that the event is aimed at reconnecting them with their ancestral land and spirit.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said 124 parliamentarians and 17 Mayors of Indian origin have come to attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

Mr. Modi specially mentioned the presence of former Guyanese President Bharat Jagdeo in the celebration and noted that from Mauritius to Guyana there are several Indian origin individuals who have become leaders of their countries.

Prime Minister also said that, India was experiencing aspirational and societal changes. An ‘irreversible change’ was sweeping the country and leaders of Indian origin should come forward to join hands.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Chemical ban has helped closing up of ozone layer hole !

Chemical ban

News

With the declining levels of ozone-destroying chlorine, scientists have for the first time observed less ozone depletion.

Importance of Ozone

Stratospheric ozone protects life on the planet by absorbing potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, suppress immune systems and damage plant life.

Beyond News

The findings showed that an international ban on chlorine-containing manmade chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons(CFCs) has resulted in about 20 per cent less ozone depletion during the Antarctic winter from 2005 to 2016.

Specifically, chlorine levels declined by an average about 0.8 per cent annually.

The change in ozone levels above Antarctica from the beginning to the end of southern winter- early July to mid- September – was computed daily from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) aboard the Aura satellite every year from 2005 to 2016.

The researchers said that,Antarctic ozone hole should continue to recover gradually as CFCs leave the atmosphere, but complete recovery will take decades.

India unveils Pratyush, its fastest supercomputer yet.

Indian fastest computer

News

India’s supercomputing prowess moved up several notches after it unveiledPratyush,an array of computers that can deliver a peak power of 6.8 petaflops.

Beyond News

One petaflop is a million billion floating point operations per second and is a reflection of the computing capacity of a system.

According to a statement by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM),Pratyushis the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world dedicated to weather and climate research, and follows machines in Japan, USA and the United Kingdom.

It will also move an Indian supercomputer from the 300s to the 30s in the Top500 list, a respected international tracker of the world’s fastest supercomputers.

The government had sanctioned Rs. 400 crore last year to put in place a 10-petaflop machine.

Uses

A key function of the machine’s computing power would be monsoon forecasting using a dynamical model.

This requires simulating the weather for a given month say March and letting a custom-built model calculate how the actual weather will play out over June, July, August and September.

With the new system, it would be possible to map regions in India at a resolution of 3 km and the globe at 12 km.

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HINDU NOTES-January 6 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-January 6 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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India dismisses Sikh group’s threat

Sikh Federation UK

News

  • India has dismissed a warning from a U.K. Sikh group, that it would encourage diaspora gurdwaras to ban Indian officials from visiting them.

Beyond News

  • Terming the statement a ‘knee jerk reaction’, officials said it reflected the group’s fears of the strengthening relation between Indian authorities and Sikh diaspora globally.
  • Deputy High Commissioner said to London Dinesh Patnaik after the group Sikh Federation (U.K.) accused Indian authorities of interfering in Sikh institutions and affairs and proposed a “worldwide ban” on Indian government officials from visiting gurdwaras in the diaspora.

Latest Problem

  • The latest tactic by the Indian authorities of targeting Sikhs from the diaspora when they visit the Sikh homeland as demonstrated by the case of British citizen Jagtar Singh Johal has broken the camel’s back.
  • The group has been running a campaign over the arrest of Mr. Johal, who was detained in Jalandhar last year, and is accused of involvement in “targeted killings” in Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Khanna.
  • The group has accused Indian authorities of torture and has been lobbying Members of Parliament to put pressure on the British government and Indian authorities.
  • Patnaik said the High Commission was confident that the organisation’s position did not reflect that of the vast majority of Sikhs in Britain who were positive about the strengthening links between the community and Indian authorities.

U.S. move against Pakistan ‘welcome first step’: India

News

  • New Delhi and Washington have been in close touch over the decision, and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar met with U.S. Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster , hours after the U.S. administration announced that it would suspend all its security assistance to Pakistan unless it acts against terror groups targeting Afghanistan, as a part of its “South Asia strategy.

Beyond News

  • India had issued statements welcoming the U.S.’s South Asia strategy announced by President Donald Trump in August, and its new National Security Strategy issued in December, both of which called on Pakistan to take action against terror safe havens that target U.S. troops in Afghanistan, or face consequences.

The MEA’s decision not to issue any statement on Friday, however, was attributed to several reasons.

  • Firstly, the U.S. announcement did not come as a surprise, as it came three months after the Trump administration notified the U.S. Congress that it would not disburse the 2016 tranche of its Foreign Military Funding (FMF) of $255 million.
  • Secondly, while officials hailed the move, it doesn’t at present include any specific words for groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad that target India. As a result, it is understood India would rather not speak about what is essentially a bilateral action between U.S. and Pakistan, even as it strengthens its own counter-terrorism cooperation with the US. Last month’s India-U.S. counter terrorism designations dialogue was one such new effort.
  • Finally, experts say there is some scepticism about whether the U.S. action will effect the desired reaction from Pakistan, if it relates only to the military funding of about $255 million in (FMF) and possible $900 more in Coalition Support Funding (CSF), without further action.

Tamil Nadu leads the nation in higher education enrolment

Tamil nadu education standard

News

  • Tamil Nadu has emerged as the leader in the country in terms of Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education.

Beyond News

  • The All India Survey on Higher Education report (2106-2017), released by Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar , saw the State lead with a GER of 46.9%.
  • Among Union Territories, Chandigarh recorded 56.1%.
  • Tamil Nadu has also done very well in terms of male and female GER figures, as also the GER figures for the Scheduled Castes.
  • GER for higher education is calculated with reference to the age group 18-23.
  • It is the total enrolment in higher education, irrespective of age, expressed as a percentage to the eligible official population (18-23 years) in a given school year.

Bring SC, ST residential schools under CCTV surveillance: OHRC

News

  • Amid reports of recurring sexual assaults on minor girls in government-run residential schools for children belonging to tribal and weaker sections, the Odisha Human Rights Commission has directed the State government to bring all such school premises under the surveillance of closed-circuit television cameras.

Beyond News

  • The commission recommends that the premises of residential schools be fitted with CCTV cameras.
  • The school and hostel premises must be well lit and proper hygiene maintained.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Channels with Pakistan open to counter terrorism

News:

  • The Ministry of External Affairs told the Parliamentary standing committee on External Affairs that,the government is in regular contact with Pakistan, but any meaningful dialogue would depend on an end to terrorism and cross-border violence.

Beyond News:

  • The report added that,at the same time, it has been made clear to Pakistan that a meaningful structured Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue would be possible only in an environment free from terror and violence.

Challenges

  • The challenges to better ties between India and Pakistan, includes the rise in firing at the LoC and International Border, infiltration, and support to terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen.

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