9 PM Current Affairs Brief – May 28, 2019

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BIMSTEC heads invited to PM’s swearing-in

  1. India has invited leaders of BIMSTEC member countries to attend the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers. This is in line with the India’s focus on its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
  2. Further, the president of Kyrgyzstan who is the current Chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Mauritius prime minister who was the Chief Guest at this year’s Pravasi Bhartiya Divas have also been invited.
  3. India has shifted the focus to BIMSTEC since the last SAARC Summit, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan in 2016 was stalled after India and several other countries pulled out due to terror-related concerns.
  4. Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  5. It consists of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal are its members. It is headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  6. The main objective of BIMSTEC is technological and economic co-operation among south Asian and southeast Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
  7. The fourth summit of Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)  was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2018.

Telling Numbers: 43% of 539 MPs declared cases against themselves, 11 of murder

  1. According to an analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and New Election Watch, among the 539 newly elected Lok Sabha MPs,43% have declared criminal cases against themselves.
  2. The analysis has highlighted that 29% of MPs have declared serious criminal cases relating to rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women.In 2014, 21% had declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
  3. Further,11 winners have murder charges against them and 29 winners have declared cases related to hate speech. The BJP has the highest number of crorepatis (116 of 301 analysed) but the Congress has a much higher share of crorepatis (43 out of 51).
  4. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) is an Indian non-partisan, non-governmental organization which works in the area of electoral and political reforms.
  5. Along with National Election Watch (NEW) which is a conglomeration of over 1200 organizations across the country, ADR aims at bringing transparency and accountability in Indian politics and reducing the influence of money and muscle power in elections.

Draft export policy unveiled

  1. The Commerce Ministry has released a draft export policy. The draft policy is aimed at consolidating the export norms for each product as applicable at different government agencies.
  2. Every product has been accorded eight digit HS codes. ITC(HS) codes are better known as Indian Trade Clarification (ITC) and are based on the Harmonized System (HS) of Coding.
  3. These codes were adopted in India for import-export operations. Indian customs department uses an eight digit ITC(HS) code to suit the national trade requirements.
  4. These coding will help an exporter know all the applicable norms pertaining to a particular product helping him understand policy conditions for that item.
  5. Exim Policy or Foreign Trade Policy is a set of guidelines and instructions established by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in matters related to the import and export of goods in India.
  6. Foreign trade in India is guided by the EXIM Policy of the Indian Government and is regulated by the Foreign Trade Development and Regulation Act,1992.
  7. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is an agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India responsible for administering laws regarding foreign trade and foreign investment in India.

Disclose names of big defaulters, CIC tells RBI

  1. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Reserve Bank of India to disclose the list of big loan defaulters it had sent to banks for resolution.
  2. The CIC’s directive came on a plea who had based her RTI application on some reports that RBI Deputy Governor had said that accounts of some loan defaulters have been sent to banks for resolution.
  3. However, RBI had refused to provide the details to her by calling them confidential information following which she approached the CIC.
  4. The Central Information Commission (CIC) is an 11 member commission set up under the Right to Information Act,2005 as a quasi judicial body. It is the highest appeal body available to applicants seeking information under the RTI Act.
  5. Right to information act, 2005 provides for timely disclosure of information by citizens from both central and State Public Authorities. The act seeks to empower citizens and promote accountability and transparency.

Seawater from Ice Age tucked in rocks discovered in Indian Ocean

  1. Recently, scientists have discovered the remnants of 20,000-year-old seawater dating back to the Ice Age which were tucked inside rock formations in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
  2. Researchers made this discovery while on a month long scientific mission exploring the limestone deposits that form the Maldives.
  3. Further, this discovery was made using the ship called as JOIDES Resolution. JOIDES stands for Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling.
  4. The JOIDES Resolution (JR) is a research vessel that drills into the ocean floor to collect and study core samples. Scientists use this data from the JR to better understand climate change, geology and Earth’s history.
  5. Earlier, scientists had to reconstruct seawater from the last Ice Age from indirect clues like fossil corals and chemical signatures from sediments on the seafloor.
  6. Scientists are interested in reconstructing the last Ice Age because the patterns that drove its circulation, climate and weather were very different from today. Understanding these patterns could shed light on how the planet’s climate will react in the future.

Rare albino panda caught on camera in China: State media

  1. Recently, Scientists have found a rare albino panda on camera at a nature reserve in southwest China.
  2. While there are about 500 giant pandas in China, there are only a handful of albino species that are found.
  3. According to national geographic, animals with albinism which lacks melanin or skin pigment are often at greater risk from predators in the wild as they can be spotted more easily and have poorer eyesight.
  4. The giant panda also known as panda bear or simply panda is a bear native to south-central China. It is easily recognized by the large, distinctive black patches around its eyes, over the ears and across its round body.
  5. Giant Panda is listed as vulnerable species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.
  6. The giant panda is a folivore (an animal that feeds on leaves) with bamboo shoots and leaves making up more than 99% of its diet. It lives in a few mountain ranges in central China.

New code in offing for textile, clothing sector

  1. The chairman of the Cotton Textiles and Export Promotion Council (Texprocil) has said that ‘Social and Labor Convergence Programme (SLCP)’ will be launched in India shortly.
  2. This program is an initiative to have a standard-neutral, converged assessment framework for the textile and clothing industry.
  3. The objective of the initiative is to improve the working conditions in textile units by allowing resources that were previously designated for compliance audits to be redirected towards the improvement of social and labour conditions.
  4. The initiative is led by the world’s leading manufacturers, brands, retailers, industry groups, non-governmental organisations and service providers. The assessment framework developed by the SLCP provides a data set with no value judgment or scoring.
  5. SLCP will be compatible with existing audit systems and codes of conduct. This means that the same data set can be used by a wide-range of stakeholders. It eliminates the need for repetitive audits to be carried out on the same facility.
  6. Texprocil was incorporated in 1954 as an autonomous, nonprofit body dedicated to the export promotion of cotton textiles. It makes suggestions for strengthening the export efforts and also to provide data for monitoring exports.

SEBI tightens disclosure norms for listed debt securities

  1. Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has asked debenture trustees to enhance their disclosure for listed debt securities with a view to protecting the interests of investors.
  2. Debenture is an instrument of debt executed by the company acknowledging its obligation to repay the sum at a specified rate and also carrying an interest. It is one of the methods of raising loan capital of the company.
  3. A debenture trustee is a person or an entity that serves as the holder of a debenture stock for the benefit of another party. Debenture is a debt instrument that is not secured by physical assets or collateral.
  4. SEBI has asked the debenture trustees (DTs) to display on their websites the details of interest or redemption due on debenture holders in respect of all the issues during a financial year within five working days of the start of the financial year.
  5. Further, they are also required to update the status of payment against such issuers not later than one day from the due date. In case the payment is made with a delay by the issuer, DTs would require to update the calendar specifying the date of such payment with a remark delayed payment.
  6. In case of default payment of interest and/or principal redemption on the due dates, an additional interest of minimum 2 per cent per annum over the coupon rate shall be payable by the issuer company for the defaulting period.
  7. Similarly, for delay in listing of debt securities beyond 20 days from date of allotment, the issuer firm needs to pay to investor at least 1 per cent annual interest over the coupon rate from the expiry of 30 days from the deemed date of allotment till the listing of such debt securities

India among countries where women face most violence by partner

  1. According to the global estimates published by the World Health Organization (WHO), India has the intimate partner violence (37.7%) in the WHO South-East Asia region.
  2. As per the WHO data, about 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. The violence varies from 23.2% in high-income countries to 37% in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region.
  3. Further, worldwide as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner.
  4. The WHO has also explained how gender-based violence is perpetrated. It notes that that men are more likely to perpetrate violence if they have low education, a history of child maltreatment, exposure to domestic violence against their mothers, harmful use of alcohol, unequal gender norms and sense of entitlement over women.
  5. On the other hand, women are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence if they have low education, exposure to mothers being abused by a partner, abuse during childhood, and attitudes accepting violence, male privilege and women’s subordinate status.
  6. Further the WHO has noted that intimate partner violence cause serious short-and long-term problems for women. Violence can lead to depression, post-traumatic stress, anxiety disorders and suicide attempts.
  7. Further, women who are physically and sexually abused are 1.5 times more likely to have sexually transmitted diseases compared to those who had not experience partner violence.
  8. Violence also adversely affect their children besides leading to high social and economic costs for women, their families and societies
  9. WHO together with UN Women and other partners has developed a framework for prevention of violence against women called Respect which can be used by governments to counter the menace of partner violence against women

In joint family, brother-in-law has liability to pay maintenance to domestic violence victim: SC

  1. The Supreme Court has held that even the brother-in-law has a liability to pay maintenance to a victim under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
  2. The court has held that Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 provides for the liability of maintenance on any adult male person who has been in a domestic relationship with the complainant.
  3. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to protect women from domestic violence.
  4. The Act covers all women who may be mother, sister, wife, widow or partners living in a shared household. The relationship may be in nature of marriage or adoption. Further, relationships with family members living together as a joint family are also included.
  5. A child is also entitled to relief under the Domestic Violence Act. The mother of such a child can make an application on behalf of her minor child (whether male or female).
  6. Domestic relationship, as under the Act, is any relationship where the two persons have at any point in time resided in a shared household. A shared household is defined to mean any property where the complainant and respondent have lived at any stage.

‘World’s rivers loaded with antibiotics waste’

  1. According to a research paper, rivers worldwide are polluted with antibiotics that exceed environmental safety thresholds by up to 300 times. The research paper was presented at a recent a meeting of environmental toxicologists in Helsinki.
  2. According to the paper, at a number of locations, concentrations of the drugs which are used to fight off bacterial infection in people and livestock exceeded safety levels set by the AMR Industry Alliance. The AMR Industry Alliance is one of the largest private sector coalitions set up to provide sustainable solutions to curb antimicrobial resistance.
  3. The countries with the highest levels of antibiotic river pollution were Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria.
  4. Anti-microbial resistance is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises AMR as a serious threat to global public health.

Burnout a medical condition, says WHO

  1. The World Health Organization has for the first time recognised “burn-out” in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The term “burnout” was coined in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger.
  2. According to the WHO, “burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Further, the WHO has noted that burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be used in other contexts.
  3. The WHO has said that burnout has three components: a) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, b) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job and c) Reduced professional efficacy.
  4. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health problems is a handbook of recognised medical conditions. It defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries and other related health conditions.
  5. It is the foundation for the identification of health trends and statistics globally, and the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is widely used as a benchmark for health insurers and critically related to health care finances.
  6. The updated ICD list (ICD 11), was drafted in 2018 and was recently approved. It will take into effect from January 2022.
  7. ICD 11 contains several other additions, including classification of “compulsive sexual behaviour” as a mental disorder. It also recognises recognise video gaming as an addiction, listing it alongside gambling and drugs like cocaine.
  8. The updated list removes transgenderism from its list of mental disorders. However, it has listed it under the chapter on “conditions related to sexual health”.

New version of Akash missile test-fired successfully

  1. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test fired the Akash-MK-1S surface to air defence missile system. This is a new version of the missile fitted with an indigenous seeker.
  2. The Akash missile is a medium range Surface-to-air missile with multi-target engagement capability. It has the capability to neutralise aerial targets such as fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles as well as ballistic missiles.
  3. It has a range of around 25 km and up to the altitude of 18,000m. The missile uses high-energy solid propellant for the booster and ramjet-rocket propulsion for the sustainer phase. The missile is system is highly mobile.
  4. The missile was developed as part of the Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). The IGDMP was conceived by Dr. APJ. Abdul Kalam to enable India attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology. The other missiles developed under this programme include Agni, Akash, Trishul and Prithvi.
  5. The Akash missile system was formally inducted into the IAF and in the Army in 2015. Several variants of the missile — Akash MK1, Akash-MK2 — with improved accuracy and higher ranges are under development by the DRDO.
  6. The missile system has been under controversies after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report in 2017 stated that 30% of the missiles failed when tested.
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