ForumIAS: Facts in News (August 16th – 22th)

Read summaries of all important News Articles

Facts in news is published on a weekly basis that consists a gist of all crucial news articles from ‘The Hindu’ that may bear relevance to Civil Services Preparation.

Here is the Summary of all current happenings from around the world for the Third week of August.

Bills, Programs, Policies, Schemes, Orders, Judgements 
Delegation of Powers to Border Roads Organisation • Functioning under the control of the Ministry of Defence since 2015
• BRO is engaged in road construction to provide connectivity to difficult and inaccessible regions in the border areas of the country
• Ministry of Defence has decided to delegate administrative and financial powers to the Border Roads Organisation to avoid delays
• Ministry of Defence in consultation with the Armed Forces would identify the roads to be entrusted to the BRO and fix priorities
• Thereafter, powers related to execution of works have been delegated to be exercised by different levels within the BRO.
• a MIS is being developed for online monitoring of progress of works.
• From the current year, the BRO has initiated the practice of preparation of DPRs for all new road projects to be taken up and has adopted the project mode of execution.
BJP plans ‘Sushasan Yatra’• The government discussed a plan to undertake a “Sushasan Yatra” (good governance march) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
• The ‘Sushasan Yatra’ will highlight the 17 welfare and development schemes of the Central government
Now, passport sans police verification• The physical police verification for getting a passport may soon be dispensed.
• The Centre plans to connect the procedure with the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project (CCTNS).
• The CCTNS project aims to connect about 15,398 police stations and 5,000 offices of supervisory police officers across the country.
Haj Policy• new Haj Policy 2018 will be finalised very soon
• reviving the option of sending Haj pilgrims through sea route also is part of the new Haj policy.
• advantage with ships available these days is they are modern and well-equipped to ferry 4,000 to 5,000 persons at a time
Street Lighting National Programme• illuminated 50,000 KM of Indian roads with installation of 30 lakh LED street lights across the country
• A light-emitting diode (LED) is a two-lead semiconductor light source.
• It is a p–n junction diode that emits light when activated.
• When a suitable voltage is applied to the leads, electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons.
• This effect is called electroluminescence, and the color of the light (corresponding to the energy of the photon) is determined by the energy band gap of the semiconductor.
• LEDs are typically small (less than 1 mm2) and integrated optical components may be used to shape the radiation pattern
• advantages over incandescent light sources
• lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching.
• used in applications as diverse as aviation lighting, automotive headlamps, advertising, general lighting, traffic signals, camera flashes, and lighted wallpaper
Flood management• Flood management being under purview of the States, the schemes for flood control are formulated and implemented by concerned States
• Union Government supplements the efforts of the States by providing technical guidance
• promotional financial assistance for management of floods in critical areas
• Centre’s Flood Management Programme (FMP) for providing central assistance to States for works related to river management, anti-erosion, restoration of damaged flood management works and anti-sea erosion
• Flood forecasting is the most cost-effective non-structural measure of flood management carried out by CWC through a network of 221 forecasting stations
• The flood forecasting activities of Central Water Commission, CWC makes use of manual as well as telemetry data.
• Automatic data acquisition and satellite based data transmission system (telemetry) installation was taken up by CWC during IX Plan under modernization of its flood forecasting services.
• Under World Bank aided Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP), CWC provides technical support to the participating States in preparation of Emergency Action Plan.
Interlinking of rivers• long-term solution to mitigate flood and droughts lies in the interlinking of rivers along with building of large storages
• Ken-Betwa Link Project in MP and UP - first river interlinking project for the benefit of the people of Bundhelkhand region
• Damanganga-Pinjal link and Par-Tapi-Narmada interlinking projects are in advanced stage.
• Kosi –Mechi link and Kosi-Ghagra link envisaged in the Himalayan region would greatly attenuate high flood intensity in the Ganga Basin.
Honey Policy With the help of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) the government is promoting the Honey Mission in the country.
 Honey, being an important Minor Forest Produce, TRIFED is playing and lead role in protecting, promoting and multiplication of Honey Bees by Scientific, Non-destructive collection practices.
 thereby increasing the livelihood of tribal people living in various forest areas of the country, contributing to the growth of Honey Bees population and reducing the mortality rate of Honey Bees drastically
 About 90% of the Scheduled Tribes of the country live in and around forest areas and the forests provide 60% of the food & medicinal needs of tribals and 40% of their income from Minor Forest Produce (MFP) mostly of which come from Honey.
 Since time immemorial beekeeping was practiced traditionally in India.
 Initially in 1953 as many as 230 beekeepers, who maintained around 800 bee colonies in modern bee boxes and were producing 1, 200 Kgs of honey annually.
 Presently it is estimated that with 25.00 Lakhs of bee colonies, 2.50 Lakhs beekeepers and wild honey collectors’ harvest around 56, 579 MT of honey in country, which valued Rs. 476.04 crores
 beekeeping has great importance in the agriculture based economy with pollination services, especially oil seeds and pulses production
 MOST POTENTIAL STATES: Punjab, West Bengal, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Uttaranchal
 Albert Einstein once said: “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination …...... no more men!”
National Consultation on Data Generation for Gender Indicators of Sustainable Development Goals• formulation of a roadmap for data generation and data utilization of gender indicators especially for SDGs requires close collaboration between ministries of national and state governments, their statistical counterparts, as well as a wide range of partners
• To apprise Central social sector ministries and state governments about the need for gender indicators and gender statistics for the Vision 2030 for SDGs
• Goal 5 is a standalone goal to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”
National Electric Mobility Mission Plan• Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines Minster recently announced that only electric vehicles (EVs) will be sold in India from 2030.
• National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) has set a sales target of only 5-7 million EVs and hybrid electric vehicles annually by 2020
Metro Rail Policy• Boost to private investments - across a range of metro operations making PPP component mandatory for availing central assistance for new metro projects - to meet the huge resource demand for capital intensive high capacity metro projects.
• Last mile connectivity - focusing on a catchment area of five kms - on either side of metro stations requiring States to commit in project reports to provide necessary last mile connectivity through feeder services, Non-Motorised Transport infrastructure like walking and cycling pathways and introduction of para-transport facilities ( lacking presently)
• Alternatives - ensure that least cost mass transit mode is selected for public transport - evaluation of other modes of mass transit like BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System), Light Rail Transit, Tramways, Metro Rail and Regional Rail in terms of demand, capacity, cost and ease of implementation.
• UMTA - Setting up of Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) has been made mandatory which is to prepare Comprehensive Mobility Plans for cities for ensuring complete multi-modal integration for optimal utilization of capacities
• Third party assessment - rigorous assessment of new metro proposals and proposes an independent third party assessment by agencies to be identified by the Government like the Institute of Urban Transport
• Transit Oriented Development - urban mass transit projects should not merely be seen as urban transport projects but more as urban transformation projects - promote compact and dense urban development along metro corridors since TOD reduces travel distances besides enabling efficient land use in urban areas.
• States’ role - States need to adopt innovative mechanisms like Value Capture Financing tools to mobilize resources for financing metro projects - also be required to enable low cost debt capital through issuance of corporate bonds for metro projects - policy empowers States to make rules and regulations and set up permanent Fare Fixation Authority for timely revision of fares
• Financial viability - States to clearly indicate in the project report the measures to be taken for commercial/property development at stations and on other urban land and for other means of maximum non-fare revenue generation through advertisements, lease of space etc., backed by statutory support

Assam, Manipur can now decide on AFSPA• first time since 1990 — when the AFSPA was first invoked in Assam — that the Centre would give up its power to continue or discontinue it.
• Section (3) of the Afspa empowers the governor of the state or Union territory to issue an official notification in The Gazette of India, following which the Centre has the authority to send in armed forces for civilian aid.
• Once declared ‘disturbed’, the region has to maintain status quo for a minimum of three months, according to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976
AFSPA• AFSPA, 1958 gives powers to the army and state and central police forces to shoot to kill, search houses and destroy any property that is “likely” to be used by insurgents in areas declared as “disturbed” by the home ministry.
• Act provides army personnel with safeguards against malicious, vindictive and frivolous prosecution
• Security forces can “arrest without warrant” a person, who has committed or even “about to commit a cognizable offence” even on “reasonable suspicion
North Koel Reservoir Project• approval to the proposal to complete the balance works of the North Koel Reservoir Project in Jharkhand and Bihar
• project is situated on North Koel river which is a tributary of Sone river finally joining the river Ganga
• located in the most backward tribal areas in Palamau and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand State.
• The construction was originally started in the year 1972 and continued till 1993 when it was stopped by the Forest Department, Govt. of Bihar
• The project aims to provide irrigation to 111,521 hectares of land annually in the most backward and drought prone areas of Palamu & Garhwa districts in Jharkhand and Aurangabad & Gaya districts in Bihar
Mekedatu dam• Supreme Court has asked the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments to envision the Mekedatu dam project as a facility to store excess water from Karnataka, which can be released to Tamil Nadu
• Karnataka intends to build a reservoir across river Cauvery near Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk.
• It was first proposed along with Shivanasamudra hydro power project at Shimsa in 2003 with an intention to use the water for a hydro power station and supply drinking water to Bengaluru city
Lucknow Metro gets technical clearance• The Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) got the green signal to start commercial operations.
• The approval was provided by Commissioner Metro Railway Safety (CMRS), Government of India, on 14th August, 2017.
• Currently, metro runs only in eight cities.
• The cities are Delhi (217 km), Bengaluru (42.30 km), Kolkata (27.39 km), Chennai (27.36 km), Jaipur (9 km), Kochi (13.30 km), Mumbai Metro Line 1 (11.40 km), Mumbai Mono Rail Phase 1 (9 km) and Gurugram Rapid Metro (11.60 km).
Ethno Medicinal research centre inaugurated in Manipur• A North-East Centre for Ethno-Medicinal Research has been inaugurated at Hengbung village in Kangpokpi district of Manipur.
100 open-sky schools to get buildings in Jammu• Nearly 100 open-sky schools in Jammu district will get buildings by this year-end.
• The project is under the Jammu and Kashmir government’s ‘TAMIER’ project.
Punjab to have PoS at fair price shops• Point of Sale (PoS) machines are in process to be acquired for fair price shops in Punjab.
• These machines are to bring transparency in distribution and check pilferage under the PDS.
• The machines are handheld devices which will allow Aadhaar authentication at the moment of distribution, ensuring that beneficiaries receive their allocated ration.
Ghantasala to get 70-ft Buddha statue• A 1.5 crore project has been initiated to develop Ghantasala village in the Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh.
• Ghamtashala will soon witness a two-storied structure in Buddhist architecture.
• The architecture resembles a pedestal, with a 100-ft wide and 70-ft high Buddha in the reclining posture which will be a major highlight.
• The structure will also house a Buddhist library, a meditation centre, an auditorium for spiritual classes, an exhibition hall for digital replicas of Buddhist antiques exhibited in the Paris museum, and a monastery.
DMRC commissions new recycling facility at Rohini• Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on 20th August, 2017 commissioned a new facility in Delhi.
• The unit will be used for recycling of construction and demolition waste generated by its construction work.
Data shows new tax regime widely adopted• In the long term, GST is likely to achieve improvements in the system efficiency, simplification and rationalisation of taxes, and the shift of business activity from the unorganised to the organised segment.
• GST has impacted the transport and logistics sector: movement of trucks has increased; time required to cover distances has come down drastically, and pollution levels have come down with increased truck speeds.
SC to deliver verdict on triple talaq today• A five-judge Supreme Court Bench on 22nd August, 2017 will pronounce its judgment on the legality of the Islamic personal law practice of triple talaq.
• The court will decide if the law, which allows a Muslim man to divorce his wife by saying talaq (divorce) thrice, violates the fundamental and human rights of Muslim women.
Kanyashree project in school curriculum KOLKATA • The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education is in the process of including the ‘Kanyashree’ project of the Mamata Banerjee government in the curriculum.
• The inclusion is to let the future generation be aware about the ‘Kanyashree’ project and how it received the UN award.
CM opens campuses of Kashmir university Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, on 21 st August, 2017 inaugurated the Leh and Kargil satellite campuses of the University of Kashmir.
International Issues
ASEAN Youth Summit• India ASEAN Youth Summit in Bhopal
• External Affairs Minister said that India’s relation with ASEAN is that of love
• Ramayan and Buddhism connect India and ASEAN countries
Trade war with China• imposition of anti-dumping duties on Chinese products
• Chinese media has urged Chinese firms to reconsider the risks of investing in India
• India exports less to China (mainly raw materials) and imports more (mainly electronics and other manufactured goods which are in high demand)
• China’s exports to India account for only 2% of its total exports
• China can find markets in other Asian countries and even in Africa
• India today imports telecom gear worth over Rs 70,000 crore annually, much of it from Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE
• India’s pharma sector has critical dependence on Chinese imports used in drugs manufacturing.
• In the rapidly growing solar energy sector, between April 2016 and January 2017, solar equipment from China had a share of 87% in a market pegged at $1.9 billion.
• The popular impression is that China is dumping consumer goods into India. But the fact is that India depends on China for capital goods too
• Reduction in import of cheaper capital goods will push up production costs

Two-by-two ministerial dialogue• India and the US will establish a new two-by-two ministerial dialogue.
• will elevate the strategic coordination between New Delhi and Washington.
• signifies the critical strategic importance of the US-India relationship to global order.
• include External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister and their American counterparts Secretary of State and Defense Secretary.
BRICS bank in Africa • The bank also officially opened its African regional centre in Johannesburg.
• a multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states
• seens as an alternative to the existing US-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund
• agreed to by BRICS leaders at the 5th BRICS summit held in Durban, South Africa in 2013
• headquartered in Shanghai, China
• Unlike the World Bank, which assigns votes based on capital share, in the New Development Bank each participant country will be assigned one vote, and none of the countries will have veto power.
• mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.
TAPI• India has reaffirmed its strong commitment to TAPI — first proposed in 1995
• Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Natural Gas Pipeline (TAPI) Project is a natural gas pipeline being developed by the Asian Development Bank
• TAPI pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mscmd) gas for a 30-year period and be operational in 2018.
• India and Pakistan would get 38 mscmd each, while 14 mscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan.
• From the Galkynysh field in Turkmensitan, the pipeline will run to Herat and Kandahar province of Afghanistan, before entering Pakistan.
• In Pakistan, it will reach Multan via Quetta before ending at Fazilka (Punjab) in India
• India’s effort is to tap Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh gasfields, which are the fourth largest in the world.
Colombian conflict over• Colombia has declared its conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia (FARC) officially over.
• The rebel group handed over the last of its weapons to be melted down under UN supervision.
• President Juan Manuel Santos reviewed the handing over of weapons and called it an historic day for the country.
• The conflict, which began in 1964, has so far left a quarter of a million people dead.
• About 60,000 remain unaccounted for and seven million have been displaced.
Economic ties with S-E Asia improved• Steps have been taken to strengthen economic ties with several South-East Asian countries, especially Myanmar.
• Efforts are on to establish border haats at the Indo-Myanmar border town of Moreh, Manipur.
Britain to look into spousal visa concerns• The British Home Office has said it will look at arrangements for spousal visas.
• This concern has come up in the light of argument which says that the terms of the visa leave the partner not only dependent on the British partner for five years after arriving in the U.K. but enables the British spouse to cancel the non-EU spouse’s visa.
Social Issue
Food security• ICAR-National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research has projected food demand of 345 million tonnes (MT) by 2030 – almost 30% higher than in 2011.
• By 2030, it may need 70 million tonnes more of foodgrains than the expected production in 2016-17. There may be possible decrease in yields of certain crops in traditional sown areas but an increase elsewhere due to change in weather pattern
• Though foodgrain production has increased from 259.29 MT in 2011-12 to 275.68 MT (estimated) in 2016-17, the country still needs to take multiple measures to match the projected demand of foodgrain by 2030
Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh• creation of a non-lapsable pool in the Public Account for secondary and higher, education known as "Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh" (MUSK) into which all proceeds of "Secondary and Higher Education Cess" will be credited.
• funds arising from the MUSK would be utilized for schemes in the education sector which would be available for the benefit of students of secondary and higher education, all over the country.
• During the 10th Plan, an education cess of 2% on all central taxes was imposed to make available additional resources for basic education/elementary education to augment the existing budgetary resources.
• A need was felt to give a similar fillip to the effort of the Central Government in universalizing access to secondary education and expanding the reach of the higher education sector.
• Finance Minister, in his budget speech of 2007 proposed an additional cess of 1% on central taxes for secondary and higher education.
Gujarat grapples with swine flu• With 280 deaths and 3,220 reported cases, swine flu has emerged as a major challenge for the Gujarat government.
• To contain the spread of H1N1, Rajkot police commissioner has banned public fairs, which are organised in the festival season in August and September.
• Jamnagar administration has also cancelled permission to fairs.
National Issues
NIA in Lucknow• office and residential premises of National Investigation Agency (NIA) inaugurated at Lucknow
• autonomous body
Happy birthday of Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman• Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman Manikya Bahadur (1908 – 17 May 1947) was a king (or maharaja) of Tripura State.
• succeeded his father on 13 August 1923.
• succeeded by his own son, Maharaja Kirit Bikram Kishore, who was king for two years till the state's accession to India in 1949, but who did not rule, as he was a minor.
• Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman is considered the father of modern architecture in Tripura
• the entire planning of present-day Tripura was initiated during his rule.
• He is also considered one of the pioneers in land reforms
• In 1939, he reserved land for the local Tripura tribals, which was later instrumental in the creation of the Tripura autonoumus district council.
• He also built the first airport in Tripura, which is today the second busiest airport in the entire northeast
National Human Rights Commission issued a notice regarding Rohingya immigrants• National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Home Ministry regarding reported deportation of illegal Rohingya immigrants

• Nearly 40,000 Rohingyas are residing in various parts of India

• UN principles of non-refoulement applies - no nation shall expel or return a refugee in any manner to territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
• Myanmar Government says that Rohingya people are not Burmese citizens – but the Rohingya have been living in Myanmar for generations.
NHRC functioningAs per Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993
• Inquire, on its own initiative(Suo motu) or on a petition presented to it by a victim or any person on his behalf
• violation of human rights or abetment or
• negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant
• intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before a court with the approval of such court
• visit, under intimation to the State Government, any jail or any other institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection to study the living condition of the inmates and make recommendations thereon
• review the safeguards by or under the Constitution or any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation
• review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures
• study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation
• undertake and promote research in the field of human rights
• spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights
• encourage the efforts of non – Governmental organizations and institutions working in the field of human rights
• uch other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of human right
Utkal Express derailed• Uttakal Express derailed near Khatauli railway station in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh
• 45 member NDRF teams and 9 companies of PAC have rushed to the spot.
Flood in UP • Rivers responsible
• Ghaghra
• Rapti
• Sharada
• Ganga
• Check their locations
Flood in Bihar• Kamla river
• originates from Nepal and flows through Indian state of Bihar
• joins the river Kareh (Bagmati) at Badlaghat in Khagaria district and the combined stream flows into the Kosi River
AIADMK factions bury the hatchet• Former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam was in 21st August, 2017 sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
• O. Panneerselvam merged his AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) with Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s AIADMK (Amma) faction.
• The unified AIADMK now enjoys the support of 117 MLAs, including the Speaker, in the 233-member House.
Economy and banking
Recapitalization of state-run banks• Reserve Bank Governor called for recapitalization of state-run banks to help them resolve the Non-Performing Assets issue in a time-bond manner as bad loans at 9.6 per cent of the system is not acceptable.
• Gross NPA ratio of the banking system at 9.6 per cent and stressed advances ratio at 12 per cen
• Finance Minister called for speedy and time-bound resolution of the bad loans issue
New Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code• Was necessitated by the failure of debt recovery tribunals to effectively perform their duty after the initial success.
• key objective of NPA resolution is not liquidation of their businesses but to save them.
• to make sure that these valuable assets are preserved.
Global Entrepreneurship Summit• US and India will co-host the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in November in Hyderabad
• The summit organised annually since 2010, is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes over one thousand emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and supporters from around the world.
• This year marks the first GES held in South Asia, and the event underscores the broad and enduring partnership with India.
E-Biz• Even after 4 years of its launch, the centre’s eBiz is struggling to become fully operational
• unveiled in 2013 to serve as online, single-point entry for investors looking to set up a business anywhere in the country
• one of the integrated services projects and part of the 27 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) under the National E-Governance Plan (NEGP)
• implemented by Infosys Technologies Limited (Infosys) under the guidance and aegis of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Why e-biz failed?• Many State governments have not come on board for critical components of the project
• Technical glitches - government departments opting for different technology platforms
• dependency on multiple stakeholders’ such as NSDG, banks and state treasuries.
Regulation of blockchain• An inter-ministerial committee is currently looking at how best to regulate blockchain technology, if it is allowed at all.
• One of the proposals is to bring it under market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
• Another option is bringing blockchain regulation under the proposed Payments Regulatory Board in the Reserve Bank of India
Intellectual Property rights MoU between India and Sweden• training programs and technical exchanges to raise awareness on IPRs and better protect intellectual property rights
• step forward in India's journey towards becoming a major player in global Innovation
• will further the objectives of National IPR Policy, 2016
Long Term Irrigation Fund• A large number of major and medium irrigation projects taken up under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) were languishing mainly due to inadequate provision of funds.
• During 2016-17, 99 ongoing projects under PMKSY- AIBP were identified for completion in phases by December-2019.
• To cater to the large fund requirement and ensure completion of these projects, the Union Finance Minister, during his Budget speech 2016-17
• announced creation of dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) in NABARD with an initial corpus of Rs. 20,000 crore for funding of Central and State share for the identified ongoing projects under PMKSY (AIBP and CAD)
• To make the loan from NABARD attractive for states, it was decided that the rate of interest may be kept around 6% by providing requisite cost free funds to NABARD every year during 2016-17 to 2019-20 on which interest cost would be borne by Govt. of India

Defence related issues
Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills• 10-day-long annual military exercise between US and South Korea
• computer simulated defensive exercise designed to enhance readiness and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula.
• In addition to South Korea and US forces, UN Command forces from seven states will participate in the exercise
• will be the first joint military exercise between the allies since North Korea successfully flight-tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July and threatened to bracket Guam with intermediate range ballistic missile fire
Acquisition of 6 Apache attack helicopters• Defence Ministry has cleared a proposal to procure 6 Apache attack helicopters for the Army
• The decision was taken in the Defence Acquisition Council meeting chaired by Defence Minister.
Navika Sagar Parikrama• A project wherein a team of women officers of the Indian Navy would circumnavigate the globe on an Indian-built sail boat INSV Tarini.
• The crew would also collate and update Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave data on a daily basis for subsequent analysis by research and development organisations
• The crew would monitor and report marine pollution on the high seas.
T-90 battle tanks to get an upgrade• The Indian army is looking to upgrade the T-90 main battle tank to enhance firepower and mobility.
• They are going to be equipped with a new missile system and a new more powerful modular engine.
Navy gets amphibious landing craft• The second Landing Craft Utility L52 of Mk-IV class was commissioned at Port Blair 21st August, 2017.
• This is an amphibious ship to transport combat equipment and troops of the Navy.
Science and Technology
Lithium ion batteries• Manufacturing lithium-ion batteries require critical minerals such as cobalt, graphite, lithium and phosphate
• Different variants of lithium-ion batteries are predominantly used in electric vehicles besides others.
Blockchain technology• Blockchain is the technology behind crypto-currency such as Bitcoin, which is a purely electronic currency that can also be traded on exchanges.
• A blockchain is an anonymous online ledger that uses data structure to simplify the way we transact.
• Blockchain allows users to manipulate the ledger in a secure way without the help of a third party.
• Blockchain enables two entities that do not know each other to agree that something is true without the need of a third party
Uses of blockchain• A blockchain is anonymous, protecting the identities of the users.
• This makes blockchain a more secure way to carry out transactions.
• The algorithm used in blockchain reduces the dependence on people to verify the transactions.
• Honduras government has put all land records on a public ledger – the blockchain.
• The minute there is a change in ownership, it gets recorded publicly.
• some blockchain technologies like Bitcoin have recently been associated with ransomware attacks means that regulation must be even more careful when legislating the use of these technologies.
• This technology used for recording various transactions has the potential to disrupt the financial system.
China to relaunch one of world’s fastest bullet trains• China is set again to unveil world’s fastest bullet train.
• The train will make the 1,250-km journey from the Beijing to Shanghai in just 4 hours, 30 minutes.
• China has laid more than 20,000 km of high-speed rail, with a target of adding another 10,000 km by 2020.
Impact on agriculture of climate change• In its recent report, a parliamentary committee has observed that extreme weather events are costing India $9-10 billion annually and climate change is projected to impact agricultural productivity with increasing severity from 2020 to the end of the century
• Wheat, rice, oilseeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables will see reduced yields over the years
• Productivity decrease of major crops would be marginal in the next few years but could rise to as much as 10-40% by 2100 unless farming adapts to climate change-induced changes in weather.
• The economic survey, in its latest mid-year report, says “estimates indicate that currently India incurs losses of about $ 9-10 billion annually due to extreme weather events. Of these, nearly 80% losses remain uninsured”
• could turn India into a major importer of oilseeds, pulses and even milk.
World Bio Fuel Day• Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas celebrated the World Biofuel Day 2017 on 10th August.
• sensitize youths, farmers and other stakeholders about the benefits of biofuel and seek their involvement in Biofuel programme run by the Government.
• On this day in 1893, Sir Rudolph Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) for the first time successfully ran mechanical engine with Peanut Oil.
• His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace the fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines.
• Recently Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been made responsible for BioFuel Policy.
• Both the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will be working towards more utilisation of biofuels
Black carbon• Black carbon consists of pure carbon in several linked forms.
• formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel, and biomass,
• emitted in both anthropogenic and naturally occurring soot.
• aggravate breathing disorders.
• Because BC particles strongly absorb solar and terrestrial radiation and heats up the atmosphere it can upset the monsoon system

Aeroplanes may be affecting ozone • ejecting significant amounts of black carbon
• evidence of these particles existing up to 18 km into the stratosphere
• Given the shape and location of these particles,
• Black Carbon could only derive from emissions from aviation fuel
• pose a problem because these black carbon particles can linger long enough to provide a fertile ground for other chemical reactions that can deplete the ozone laye
• absorb heat, warm the surrounding air, become lighter and rise to greater heights by a process called ‘self lift’ and persist in the air
Places in News
Barcelona• In Spain, at least 13 people were killed and 100 injured in a terror attack after a van rammed into a crowd of pedestrians on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas tourist area
• ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack
Pangong lake• Indian and Chinese armies clashed recently along the Pangong lake in Ladakh
• Pangon lake or Pangong Tso, a 135-km long lake, located in the Himalayas at the height of approximately 4,350 m, stretches out from India to China.
• One-third of water body, its 45 km stretch, is in Indian control while the rest of the 90 km is under Chinese control.
• There has been constant strife between the two countries over the region as both assert territorial possession
• Aksai Chin area falls under Chinese control and is governed as part of Hotan County.
• However, India also claims it to be a part of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
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