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Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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NGT imposes ₹25 crore fine on Delhi govt for failing to curb air pollution

News

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Delhi government to deposit an environmental compensation of ₹25 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for failing to curb air pollution in the Capital.

Beyond News

  • A Bench said in case the State government failed to comply with the orders, a sum of ₹10 crore per month will be levied.
  • Further, the Chief Secretary has been directed to prepare an action plan identifying the name of the persons responsible to execute and supervise the plan, and in case of failure, to bear the consequences.
  • The tribunal further, said that a performance guarantee of ₹25 crore has to be provided by the State government and in case of non-compliance of orders, the amount will be forfeited.

India, U.S. Air Forces to begin joint drill

News

  • The Air Forces of India and the U.S. will begin a 12-day military exercise in Kalaikunda and Panagarh air bases in West Bengal with an aim to enhance operational coordination.

Beyond News

  • The ‘Ex Cope India-18’ will be the fourth edition in the series of bilateral drills between the Indian Air Force and the U.S. Air Force.
  • This is for the first time, the exercise is being held at two Air Force bases.
  • The aim of the exercise is to provide operational exposure and undertake mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing operational capability.
  • The U.S. has sent a fleet of F15 C/D and C-130 military aircraft. The IAF is participating with the Su-30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000, C-130J and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft.

India to host G-20 summit in 2022

News

  • Prime Minister announced that India will host the G-20 summit in 2022.

Beyond News

  • The G-20 is a grouping of the world’s 20 major economies.
  • Italy was to host the international forum in 2022.
  • Modi invited G-20 leaders to India in 2022, which also marks the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.
  • G-20 members comprise Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the U.S. Collectively, the G-20 economies account for nearly 90% of the gross world product, 80% of world trade, two-thirds of the world population, and approximately half of the world land area.
  • Spain is a permanent guest invitee.

India, U.S. to review defence deals

News

  • India and the U.S. will review the progress of their expanding defence cooperation as well as discuss the issue of sanctions waiver for the arms purchases from Russia during Defence Minister’s six-day visit.

Beyond News

  • Defence Minister will hold talks with her counterpart, James Mattis.
  • The Ministers are expected to review the progress of several defence deals in the pipeline as well as the developments in the region.
  • Discussion are in an advanced stage for the purchase of 24 MH-60R multi-role helicopters for the Indian Navy through the Foreign Military Sales route and also Predator armed drones for which the U.S. has already given in-principle approval.
  • India would also like to get some clarity on the waiver for sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
  • India has signed or approved several big-ticket defence deals with Russia recently including a $5.43-bn deal for S-400 long-range air-defence systems.
  • At the inaugural 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi, a Memorandum of Intent was signed between the DIU and the Indian Defence Innovation Organisation Innovation for Defence Excellence (DIO-iDEX) which will look into joint projects for co-production and co-development through the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Nations urged to tackle ‘urgent threats’ at UN climate talks

News

  • With the direst warnings yet of impending environmental disaster still ringing in their ears, representatives from nearly 200 nations gathered in Poland to firm up their plan to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Beyond News

  • The UN climate summit comes at a crucial juncture in mankind’s response to planetary warming. The smaller, poorer nations that will bare its devastating brunt are pushing for richer states to make good on the promises they made in the 2015 Paris agreement.
  • In Paris three years ago, countries committed to limit global temperature rises to well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and to the safer cap of 1.5C if at all possible.
  • But with only a single degree Celsius of warming so far, the world has already seen a crescendo of deadly wildfires, heatwaves and hurricanes made more destructive by rising seas.
  • In Katowice, nations must agree to a rulebook palatable to all 183 states who have ratified the Paris deal.
  • G20 leaders agreed a final communiqué after their summit in Buenos Aires, declaring that the Paris Agreement was “irreversible”.
  • Even solid progress in Katowice on the Paris goals may not be enough to prevent runaway global warming, as a series of major climate reports have outlined.
  • Even the most strident climate warnings spiralling temperatures, global sea-level rises, mass crop failures  are something that many developed nations will only have to tackle in future.
  • Poorer nations argue that rich countries, which are responsible for the vast majority of historic carbon emissions, must help others to fund climate action.
  • But wealthy states, led by the US, have so far resisted calls to be more transparent in how their contributions are reported something developing nations say is vital to form ambitious green energy plans.

Train 18 crosses 180 kmph speed limit during trial run

News

  • India’s first locomotive-less train, known as Train 18, breached the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run.

Beyond News

  • When this ₹ 100-crore indigenously designed train is made operational, it will become the country’s fastest train.
  • If all things go well, Train 18 will replace the current Shatabdi Express a day train. Train 18 is capable of touching 200 kmph provided the rest of Indian Railways’ system such as tracks and signals permit.
  • The ICF will roll out one more Train 18 this fiscal and four by the next fiscal.
  • On October 29, the high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled (engine-less) train was flagged off here by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani.
  • With 16 coaches, the train will have the same passenger carrying capacity as that of the Shatabdi Express.
  • It has aerodynamically designed driver cabins at both ends for quicker turn-around at destinations.
  • The train sports an advanced regenerative braking system which saves power.
  • The fully air-conditioned train offers better passenger comfort and safety, as all equipment are fixed under the carriage, so that more space is available on board.

NASA probe on course to reach asteroid Bennu on Dec 3

News

  • A NASA spacecraft designed to bring a small sample from asteroid Bennu to Earth is on course to arrive at its destination on December 3.

Beyond News

  • Launched in September 2016, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS REx) spacecraft has been slowly approaching Bennu.
  • The spacecraft will spend almost a year surveying the asteroid with five scientific instruments with the goal of selecting a location that is safe and scientifically interesting to collect the sample.
  • The spacecraft will briefly touch Bennu’s surface around July 2020 to collect at least 60 grams (equal to about 30 sugar packets) of dirt and rocks.
  • It might collect as much as 2,000 grams, which would be the largest sample by far gathered from a space object since the Apollo Moon landings.

The spacecraft will then pack the sample into a capsule and travel back to Earth, dropping the capsule into Utah’s west desert in September 2023, where scientists will be waiting to collect it.

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