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GS 2

U.S. cuts training for Pak. military

News:

  1. US has cut Pakistani officers from coveted International Military Education and Training programme (IMET)

Important facts

2. Coveted training and educational programmes that have been a hallmark of bilateral military relations for more than a decade

3. Pakistan has also been removed from programmes at the U.S. Naval War College, Naval Staff College and courses including cyber security studies.

4. Earlier this year US suspended security assistance to Pakistan to compel it to crack down on Islamic militants.

5. The Pentagon and the Pakistani military did not comment directly on the decision, but officials from both countries privately criticised the move

6. U.S. officialssaid they were worried the decision could undermine a key trust-building measure.

7. Pakistani officials warned it could push their military to further look to China or Russia for leadership training.

8. The U.S. military has traditionally sought to shield such educational programmes from political tensions, arguing that the ties built by bringing foreign military officers to the U.S pay long-term dividends.

9. For example, the U.S. Army’s War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which would normally have two Pakistani military officers per year, boasts graduates including Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar, the current director-general of Pakistan’ powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI)

 

U.K. asked to take a new approach to immigration

News

  1. The Confederation of British Industry report, calling for a “new approach”asked the government to scrap immigration targets

Important Facts

2. Report says that Britain is “open enough” to grow the economy and enable businesses to access talent at all skills levels.

3. The report was also supported by industry-specific groups, including U.K. Hospitality, Food and Drink Federation and TechUK

4. The report also suggested that trade deals with countries such as India and Australia would be easier if the government send the right signals and put “migration on the table” in trade talks

5. India has repeatedly raised concerns about Britain’s unwillingness to ease visa restrictions for professionals, students and others.

6. Report gives specific recommendations towards reforming the Tier 2 visa route to ensure that employers could “access the range of skills that they need”

7. Report recommend scrapping of ‘the annual number of Tier 2 visas issued’

8. Tier 2 visa route is the main work route for those coming to the U.K., including from India

9. The government recently took doctors and nurses out of the annual limit which increase the demand for Tier 2 visas, leaving businesses unable to hire the talent they needed.

10. Also, large number of EU workers leaving UK following a scandal over the wrongful treatment of Commonwealth migrants in the U.K

11. The report also said that government’s “hostile” approach to immigration has risked harming those legally in Britain, and the needs of the business community.

 

GS 3

We averted a possible debacle: ISRO chairman

News

  1. ISRO recently recall its satelliteGSAT-11 midway between its reaching the French port and the launch.

Important facts

2. ISRO’s Chairman K. Sivan has recently justified the decision

3. Dr. Sivan said an apex committee of former chairmen and former space commission members collectively decided to bring GSAT-11 back to Bengaluru for a thorough check.

4. Reason for Recall

  • GSAT-11 had the same set of power system configuration that RISAT-1 and GSAT-6A
    • RISAT-1 died prematurely and GSAT-6A had lost communication contact soon after launch on March 29 because of suspected power system failure
  • Checks also found that the provision or “margin” for the deployment of the solar panel was much smaller than was required. This would reduce the life of satellite

5. Although, ISRO had envisioned that GSAT-11 — its heaviest to date and most ambitious for digital communication — would be its last satellite to go outside India for a launch

6. But upgrading a GSLV-Mk2 engine take more time and bigger Mark 3 was also not available in time.

 

Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve enters UNESCO list

News:

  1. Recently, the Khangchendongza Biosphere Reserve (KBR) has been included in the UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserve (WNBR).

Important Facts

  1. The decision of inclusion was taken at the 30thsession of the International Coordinating Council of Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme, UNESCO, held in Indonesia
  2. Biosphere Reserves in India
  • There are 18 Biosphere Reserves in India. 11 of the biosphere reserves are included in the world network of Biosphere Reserves, the latest being KBR
  • The last biosphere reserve to be included was the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve in Kerala in 2016.
  • The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve was the first reserve from the country to be included in the WNBR.
  1. Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (KBR)
  • KBR is one of the 34 biodiversity hotspots of the world
  • KBR comprises 41% of the entire geographical area of Sikkim and spreads over 2931 sq.km
  • The core area comprises of 1784 sq.km and the buffer zone spreads across 835 sq.km.  311 sq km comprises transition area between habitation and the biosphere reserve
  • The Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) comprises the core area of the KBR and has been designated as a “Mixed World Heritage Site”
  • 86% of the core lies in the Alpine zone and remaining are located in the Himalayan wet temperate and sub tropical moist deciduous forest.
  • According to the Sikkim Forest Department, there are 4,500 species of flowering plants in the KBR

Major fauna includes Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Black Beer, and Musk deer, Great Tibetan Sheep, Blue Sheep, Boral and Barking Deer. Avifauna includes Monal Pheasants, Tragopan Pheasants and Blood Pheasants

  1. Significance of the inclusion in World Network of Biosphere Reserve (WNBR)
  • Boost international research collaboration on flora, fauna and ecosystem of the KBR Boost tourism

 

IIP surges to five-month high of 7%

News

  1. The Index of Industrial Production registered a growth rate of 7% in June, rising from 3.93% in May.

Important Facts

2. Main driver of growth

  • Manufacturing sector grew 6.9% in June from 3.66% in May
  • The primary goods grew 9.28% in June, up from 5.74% in May.
  • Capital goods grew 9.62% in June up from 6.92% in May
  • The infrastructure sector grew 8.53% in June, up from 7.42% in May
  • Consumer goods grew 5.92% in June from 1.57% in May
  • consumer durables grew 13.1% in June, up from 6.39% in May.
  • However, Consumer non-durablesgrew only 0.47% in June, although this reversed the contraction of 2.06% witnessed in May

3. The strong recovery in manufacturing and consumer durables will boost infrastructure and construction sector

4. This could be the reflection of the positive investment trend, in sectors such as roads, railways and affordable housing despite of low base of last year

 

‘India to triple ethanol production by 2022’

News

  1. PM says India will triple its ethanol production by 2022

Important Facts

2. World Bio-fuel Day is on 10th August

3. Government has planned 12 biofuel refineries in the country at an investment of ₹10,000 crore

4. Benefits

  • This will increase the total ethanol production from 141 crore litre to 450 crore litre
  • This will result in an import savings of ₹12,000 crore.
  • The government will achieve 10% ethanol blending in petrol by 2022. The current level is mere 2% only

5. Government is also aiming to double ethanol blending to 20%

6. To achieve this government, need to adopt a holistic approach

7. Government has recently adopted national biofuel policy

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