9 PM Current Affairs Brief – May 6, 2019


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U.S. to hike tariffs on $200 bn of Chinese goods

  1. United States has announced that it would raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% because trade talks are moving too slowly.
  2. The United States and China are currently discussing a trade deal. The deal would end the trade war between both the countries that has been escalating since last year.
  3. Trade war is a situation where countries restrict each other’s trade by imposing tariffs or quota on imports.US had started imposing tariffs on as much as 25% on Chinese imports. China too responded with retaliatory tariffs of 25% on US goods including on soybean, automobiles and marine products such as lobsters.
  4. The US has asked China to(a)lower tariffs for American goods (b)ease restrictions on American goods such as on farms, automobile and chemical products (c)lower barriers that would allow US companies to operate from China and (d)Reduce huge US trade deficit with China.
  5. In return China has asked the US to remove all the trade sanctions which it had imposed on China since 2018.

 Anti-dumping duty put on saccharine

  1. The Finance Ministry has imposed an anti-dumping duty on the import of saccharine from Indonesia.
  2. Saccharine is a compound most commonly used in sugar-substitute sweeteners. It is used to sweeten products such as drinks, candies, cookies, and medicines.
  3. Dumping is the practice whereby the exporting nation sells its goods and services at a price lower than the price at which the importing nation sells the same goods and services within its domestic market.
  4. The objective of dumping is to increase market share in a foreign market by driving out competition and thereby create a monopoly situation where the exporter will be able to unilaterally dictate price and quality of the product.
  5. An anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value.

India, UK in talks to build Naval supercarrier under ‘Make in India’: Report

  1. According to a report, India and the United Kingdom are in talks to build a new state-of-the-art aircraft carrier along the lines of the UK’s HMS Queen Elizabeth as a part of India’s ‘Make in India’ programme.
  2. The warship will be called as INS Vishal. It would be built in India but UK companies could supply many of the parts. The design for UK aircraft carriers is owned by the British and French aerospace  companies BAE and Thales. The design would be modified to meet Indian Navy and local industry requirements.
  3. INS Vishal would serve alongside India’s 45,000-tonne carrier INS Vikramaditya which was bought from Russia in 2004 and the under construction 40,000-tonne INS Vikrant.
  4. The HMS Queen Elizabeth is in service with the UK’s Royal Navy and is touted as being the most potent aircraft carrier after the US Navy’s nuclear powered carriers.
  5. The Queen Elizabeth class is significantly larger than INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. It has a maximum displacement of over 65,000 tonnes and can deploy up to 40 F-35B fighter.
  6. Earlier, India had bought the Britain’s Falklands War carrier HMS Hermes to India in 1987 which was renamed as INS Viraat and it was decommissioned in 2017.

Doctors appearing in ads for hospitals may face action

  1. Recently, a group of doctors working in a corporate hospital in Kerala has violated the Medical Council of India(MCI)’s Code of Ethics after their photographs and details were featured in a newspaper advertisement for the hospital.
  2. Earlier, MCI had taken action against a group of physicians who had reportedly appeared in an advertisement released by the hospital they were working in.It had removed their names from the Indian Medical Register/State Medical Register for 15 days for transgressing the Code of Medical Ethics.
  3. According to the code of medical ethics in the Indian Medical  Council Regulations of 2002,self-publicity and promotion of doctors with names or photographs to invite patients is prohibited.
  4. The MCI’s Code of Ethics is binding on the doctors and not on the hospital as MCI has jurisdiction only over doctors. Even if the hospital that is putting out the advertisements featuring doctors photographs, the doctors alone will be held liable for the violation of medical ethics.
  5. The Medical Council of India (MCI) was established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act,1933.The Act was repealed and replaced by the Indian Medical Council Act,1956.
  6. The functions of MCI include (a)Maintenance of uniform standards of medical education (b)Recognition/derecognition of medical qualifications and medical colleges and (c)registration of doctors.
  7. In 2018,Cabinet had approved an amendment to the National Medical Commission Bill,2017.The NMC bill seeks to replace the Medical Council of India with National Medical Commission as the top regulator of medical education. The bill has not been passed yet.

Telangana addresses maternal mortality

  1. Telangana has taken a wide range of initiatives which have brought down the maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the state.
  2. Maternal mortality refers to the number of maternal deaths which occur due to pregnancy or as a result of a complication of the same. Maternal mortality rate (MMR) is taken as the number of recorded maternal deaths, for every 1 lakh live births.
  3. According to the Sample Registration System’s special bulletin on ‘Maternal Mortality in India 2014-16’, the MMR across India was 130 per 1, 00,000 live births. However, in Telangana the MMR dropped from 92 per 1, 00,000 live births in 2011-’13 to 81 per 1, 00,000 live births in 2014-’16. The lowest MMR of 46 was recorded in Kerala, followed by 61 in Maharashtra.
  4. United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3.1) calls to reduce MMR to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.
  5. Telangana had launched KCR Kit scheme in 2017. The kit is equipped with 16 essential items for a mother and her new-born. It also has a cash component of Rs 13,000 for the birth of a girl and Rs 12,000 for the birth of a boy.
  6. Telangana has also been training midwives under the Midwifery Nurse Practitioner Diploma course. It is claimed that Telangana is first State to have certified midwives. Proper training of midwives is expected to reduce number of C-Section deliveries and maternal mortality
  7. According to World Health Organisation’s ‘Global Strategic Directions for Strengthening Nursing and Midwifery 2016-2020’, midwives play a significant role in maternal health improvements. The contributions include a) increased patient satisfaction, b) decrease in patient morbidity and mortality, c) stabilisation of financial systems through decreased hospital readmissions, length of stay, and other hospital-related conditions, including hospital-acquired infections.

Heavy security for ‘Chandanotsavam’ at Simhachalam temple in A.P.

  1. Heavy security would be deployed for the annual ‘Chandanotsavam’ festival of Lord Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Simhachalam, scheduled to be held on May 7.
  2. The Shri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Simhachalam is a Hindu temple situated on the Simhachalam hill, in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. It is dedicated to the incarnation of Vishnu known as Narasimha. Except on Akshaya Tritiya, the idol of Varaha Narasimha is covered with sandalwood paste throughout the year, which makes it resemble a Shiva Lingam.
  3. Chandanotsavam (sandalwood festival), also known as Chandan Yatra, is the most important festival celebrated in the temple. It is during this festival, that the sandal paste is removed and the idol is seen by the pilgrims. It is celebrated on the festival day of Akshaya Tritiya (April – May)

Brunei says it won’t enforce gay death penalty after backlash

  1. Brunei has extended a moratorium on the death penalty to incoming legislation prohibiting sax-sex relationships and adultery. The moratorium comes in the backdrop of global backlash against the country led by international human rights groups and celebrities.
  2. In April, Brunei had introduced Syariah Penal Code Order (SPCO), the first country in Southeast Asia to have a sharia penal code at the national level. The country had first introduced Sharia law in 2014, giving it a dual legal system with both Sharia and Common Law.
  3. Some features of the SPCO are (a) It makes adultery and homosexuality punishable by stoning to death.(b)It also stipulates the death penalty for rape, sodomy, robbery and insulting or defaming the Prophet Muhammad (c)It also cover a range of other crimes, including punishment for theft by amputation and (d)It also introduces public flogging as punishment for abortion and criminalises exposing Muslim children to the beliefs and practices of any religion other than Islam.
  4. United Nations had labelled the Sharia law as cruel, inhumane and amounting to torture and breach international human rights agreements.

A helping hand in the time of natural calamities

  1. The Ganjam District Disaster Response Forum (GDRF) has been a major relief force during natural calamities, like the recent cyclone Fani, in the Ganjam district of Odisha.
  2. GDRF is a joint front of 47 NGOs. The forum assists the administration in making vulnerable and areas in the district disaster resilient. It also helps in carrying out rescue and relief operations in the event of a disaster.
  3. GDRF volunteers have direct contact with people living in remote and vulnerable areas. They help the administration in evacuation of people to safe places before any cyclone.
  4. The volunteers also report about losses to the local revenue officials. This is because in most cyclone prone coastal villages, literacy rate is low and inhabitants find it hard to report their losses to administration.
  5. Members of the GDRF also monitor cyclone preparedness in slums of Berhampur city. Further, they help ensure basic amenities at cyclone shelters

EC rejects plea for advancement of poll timings

  1. The Election Commission has rejected a request for advancing the start of polling from 7 a.m. to 5 a.m. in the remaining three phases of Lok Sabha elections 2019.
  2. The EC has said that advancing the start of polling will also advance the arrival of polling agents, many of whom already come late and this hinder mock polling process. Further, as the time of sunrise varies State to State, additional administrative and security arrangements would have to be made
  3. Earlier, the Supreme Court had asked the Election Commission to pass necessary orders on a plea seeking to begin voting early before 7 a.m in the view of Ramzan month coinciding with the last three phases of the Lok Sabha elections.
  4. The petitioners had argued that their sole intention is to increase voter participation in the electoral process. Further it is important to ensure convenient and fair opportunity to persons of all communities, particularly the Muslim community, to cast their vote.

Security tightened along LoC, IB ahead of Amarnath yatra

  1. The security grid along the Line of Control and the International Border in Jammu region has been strengthened ahead of the Amarnath Yatra. The yatra is scheduled to begin from the twin route – traditional Pahalgam track in Anantnag district and shortest Baltal track in Ganderbal district. It will start from July first and conclude on August 15th.
  2. Amarnath Yatra is an annual Hindu pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath. The Amarnath cave is located at an altitude of 3,888metres in Jammu and Kashmir. The Amarnath temple is one of 18 Maha Shakti Peethas-that commemorate the location of fallen body parts of the Hindu deity Sati.
  3. The India-Pakistan border is divided into three parts: a) International Border (IB), which stretches for approximately 2,400 km from Gujarat to the north banks of Chenab in Akhnoor in Jammu, b) the Line of Control (LoC), which is 740 km long runs from parts of Jammu to parts of Leh, c) Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), divides the current position of Indian and Pakistani troops in the Siachen region.
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