ForumIAS: Facts in News (November 7th – 14th)

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 Second week of November.

Download Facts in News PDF file here.

Bills, Programs, Policies, Schemes, orders, Judgment
HC allows woman to abort 25-week foetus
• The Bombay High Court permitted a woman to medically terminate her pregnancy, as her 25-week-old foetus has neurological and skeletal abnormalities, making the baby’s survival doubtful, and possibly harmful to the mother
Why in the news?
• This is beyond the 20 weeks permitted by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.
• The Medical termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of 1971, is an act that is intended to protect the interests of both the pregnant women, and the unborn foetus, when the situation arises for ensuring a regulated medical termination of pregnancy under certain circumstances.
Supreme Court refuses to ban Kambala in KarnatakaContext:
• The Supreme Court has refused to pass an interim order to stay Ordinance allowing kambala.
• The apex court will examine the Constitutional validity of the Ordinance.
What is Kambala?
• It is the traditional buffalo slush track race in Karnataka.
• Kambala is a traditional bull sport similar to Jallikattu
• Kambala is a contest where two pairs of buffaloes tied ploughs are made to race on slush-filled tracks with a jockey guiding them while they run.
• The buffaloes are made to run at a speed that they time close to 12 to 13 seconds while covering a distance of 140 to 160 metres.
• The farmers use a whip to nudge the buffalo ahead and try and make them a medal winner.
• The Kambala season generally starts in November and lasts till March l the following year.
Why in the News?
• People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has moved the Supreme Court, said the President refused his assent to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill of 2017.
• The State government had then promulgated the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance of 2017 .
Urdu declared the second official language in TelanganaContext:
• The State Government has declared Urdu as the second official language in all the 31 districts of the State.
Constitutional provision of Official Language
• Article 345 of the Constitution deals with Official language or languages of a state which empowers state legislature to adopt ‘any one or more of the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes’ of the concerned State
CIL launches ‘Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App’Context:
• Public sector undertaking Coal India has launched the ‘Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App’ aimed at benefitting customers of the company that are being supplied coal by road.
• The app will allow users to monitor, whether the despatches are made on the fair principle of ‘First in First Out’ and keeps track of all the activities from issuance of sale order to physical delivery of coal by road.
• The app provides date-wise, truck-wise quantity of coal delivered against the sale orders and information related to scheme-wise, colliery-wise, grade-wise, and customer-wise details of sale orders issued during a period.
Cabinet approves appointment of Second National Judicial Pay CommissionContext:
The Union Cabinet chaired has approved appointment of Second National Judicial Pay Commission (SNJPC) for Subordinate Judiciary in the country.
Functions of the Commission:
• The Commission will make its recommendations to the State Governments preferably within a period of 18 months.
• The recommendations of the Commission will help in promoting efficiency in Judicial Administration, optimizing the size of judiciary etc. and to remove anomalies created in implementation of earlier recommendations.
• NTA will be chaired by an eminent educationist appointed by MHRD.
• The CEO will be the Director General to be appointed by the Government.
• There will be a Board of Governors comprising members from user institutions.
• The Director General will be assisted by 9 verticals headed by academicians/ experts.
• NTA will be given a one-time grant of Rs.25 crore from the Government of India to start its operation in the first year.
• Establishment of NTA will benefit about 40 lakh students appearing in various entrance examinations.
• It will relieve CBSE, AICTE and other agencies from responsibility of conducting these entrance examinations.
• It will also bring in high reliability, standardized difficulty level for assessing the aptitude, intelligence and problem solving abilities of the students.

Cabinet approves Restructuring of National Rural Drinking Water Programme Context :
• The Union Cabinet has accorded its approval for continuation and restructuring of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP).
• To make it outcome-based, competitive and better monitored with increased focus on sustainability (functionality) of schemes to ensure good quality service delivery to the rural population.
About National Rural Drinking Water:
• National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) was launched under Bharat Nirman.
• Ensuring provision of safe and adequate drinking water supply through hand-pumps, piped water supply etc. to all rural areas, households and persons.
• This programme was launched after merging the three erstwhile programmes on Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme-ARWSP; Swajaldhara and National Rural Water Quality Monitoring & Surveillance.

WCD Ministry hosted an inter CCI Festival “Hausala 2017”Context :
• The Ministry of Women and Child Development will celebrate the Child Rights Week (Hausla 2017).
• The commemoration of the festival “Hausala 2017” will provide an occasion to showcase the talents of children from CCIs (Child Care Institutions) from various child care institutions across the country.

Project SakshamContext:
• Railways launch largest time-bound upskilling exercise for its employees.
Why in the news?
• The Indian Railways will launch the country’s largest time-bound “upskilling” exercise for government employees to upgrade the skillsets of its 13 lakh-strong workforce with a single drive spanning nine months.
Project Saksham:
• Named Project Saksham, the exercise will start in January 2018 and go on till September, putting through training courses and specially designed skill-upgrade modules.
India Youth Development Index and Report 2017.Context:
• Government releases India Youth Development Index and Report 2017.
Why in the News?
• The Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD), Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, an Institute of National Importance has come out with Youth Development Index and Report 2017.
Parameters used:
• Constructing Youth Development Index for the year 2017 was done using the latest definition of youth as used in National Youth Policy – 2014 (India) and World Youth Development Report of Commonwealth (15 – 29 years) as well as using the Commonwealth Indicators in order to facilitate Global comparison.
Objectives of the report:
• The objective of constructing the India Youth Development Index (YDI) 2017 is to track the trends in Youth Development across the States.
• The Index enables recognizing the high and low performing states.
• Identifies the weak domains and informs the policy makers the priority areas of intervention for youth development in the states.

International Issues
APEC summit held in VietnamContext :
• The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit was held in Da Nang, Vietnam.
• The theme of summit was ‘Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future’.
• Leaders of 21 Pacific Rim countries attended this meeting.
• This was second time Vietnam hosted APEC summit, having hosted the event previously in 2006.
• Next year’s APEC summit will be held in Papua New Guinea.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
• It is regional economic forum of 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
• These 21 member countries collectively account for nearly 50% of world’s trade and about 57% of GDP.
• It was established in 1989 in order to leverage growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific region’s economies and promote free trade in the region.
• Its headquarters are in Singapore.
India’s 1st Tribal Entrepreneurship Summit :Context :
• India’s first Global Tribal Entrepreneurship Summit organised at Dantewada district in south Chhattisgah.
• The event was organized by National Institute of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog in partnership with Government of United States of America (USA).
Purpose :
• Stressed on fueling entrepreneurial spirit among tribal community, generating livelihood opportunities, effective packaging-branding of products from tribal belts and help facilitate global outreach of locally made organic products.
• The summit highlighted the nation's enabling environment for innovations and entrepreneurship.
PM Narendra Modi inaugurates rice field laboratory in PhilippinesContext :
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Philippines to attend the India-ASEAN summit, inaugurated the 'Shri Narendra Modi Resilient Rice Field Laboratory' at Los Bano .
Why in the news?
• He visited the International Rice Research Institute where he saw a detailed exhibition on rice varieties and was briefed about the flood-tolerant rice varieties that can withstand submergence for 14-18 days.
Second meeting of Island Development Agency held in New DelhiContext:
• The second meeting of Island Development Agency (IDA) was held in New Delhi.
• It was chaired by Rajnath Singh.
• It reviewed concept development plans an for holistic development of 9 islands.
• These 9 islands include four in Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Smith, Ross, Long, Avis) and five in Lakshadweep (Minicoy, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Cheriyam, Suheli).
• The IDA was set up on June 01, 2017 following the Prime Minister’s review meeting for the development of islands.
About IDA:
• The IDA was set up on June 1 this year following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s review meeting for the development of islands.
• The meetings of the agency are chaired by the Union Home Minister.
• Members of the IDA include cabinet secretary, home secretary, secretary (environment, forests and climate change), secretary (tourism) and secretary (tribal welfare).
Cabinet approves Joint Interpretative Declaration between India and Colombia • Cabinet approves Joint Interpretative Declaration between India and Colombia regarding the Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.
Joint Interpretative Declaration:
• Joint Interpretative Declarations/Statements in general play an important supplementary role in strengthening the investment treaty regime.
• With increasing Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) disputes, issuance of such statements is likely to have strong persuasive value before arbitration tribunals.
• Such pro-active approach by partners can foster a more predictable and coherent reading of treaty terms by arbitration tribunals.
Rajasthan government’s Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017Context:
• Rajasthan government’s Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which has been tabled in the state assembly, is in the eye of the storm.
Why in the news?
• The bill seeks to replace the September 7 ordinance, which had drawn widespread criticism from several quarters.
The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017:
• The bill seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants from being investigated for on-duty action, without its prior sanction.
• It also bars the media from reporting on such accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe is given by the government.
• The amendment doesn’t mean that no case can be registered against public servants in police stations.
• For Within 180 days, an accepting official would have to ensure whether the case is tenable or not.
• If the allegations are found to be true, then the case would be allowed and action would be taken as per law
National Issues
Cabinet approves Creation of National Testing Agency (NTA)Context:
• Cabinet approves Creation of National Testing Agency (NTA) to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions .
• The NTA would initially conduct those entrance examinations which are currently being conducted by the CBSE.
• Other examinations will be taken up gradually after NTA is fully geared up.
• The entrance examinations will be conducted in online mode at least twice a year, thereby giving adequate opportunity to candidates to bring out their best.
• In order to serve the requirements of the rural students, it would locate the centres at sub-district/district level and as far as possible would undertake hands-on training to the students.
•NTA will be chaired by an eminent educationist appointed by MHRD.
•The CEO will be the Director General to be appointed by the Government.
•There will be a Board of Governors comprising members from user institutions.
•The Director General will be assisted by 9 verticals headed by academicians/ experts.
Probe ordered into ‘Paradise Papers’Context:
• The government reconstituted a Multi-Agency Group led by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman to investigate cases relating to the ‘Paradise Papers’ data disclosure
What is Paradise Paper’s?
• The Paradise Papers include about seven million loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork over nearly 50 years from Appleby, a prominent offshore law firm with offices in Bermuda and also from Asiacity, a Singapore-based family-owned trust company.
• India ranks 19th in terms of the number of names that feature in the papers.
SHe-box portal launched for both public and private sectorContext
• The Minister of Women & Child Development, launched an online complaint management system titled Sexual Harassment electronic–Box (SHe-Box) for registering complaints related to sexual harassment at workplace in New Delhi.
• The complaint management system has been developed to ensure the effective implementation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (the SH Act), 2013.
• Portal (SHe-Box) is an effort to provide speedier remedy to women facing sexual harassment at workplace as envisaged under the SH Act
• Once a complaint is submitted to the portal, it will be directly sent to the ICC of the concerned Ministry/Department/PSU/Autonomous Body etc. having jurisdiction to inquire into the complaint.

Telangana tops state-wise ease of doing business ranking in 2017Why in News
• Telangana is currently atop the yearly state-wise ranking on assessment of implementation of the ‘Business Reforms Action Plan’ (BRAP) in 2017.
• The final ranking is likely to be released in January, 2018.
• Telangana (with an implementation score of 61.83%) is followed by Haryana (54.03%), Odisha (45.70%), Chhattisgarh (45.43%), and West Bengal (44.35%) — completing the top five.
India slips to 7th position in business optimism rankingContext:
• India has slipped in 'business optimism' index to the 7th position in the September quarter, from the 2nd slot in the previous three months, showing clear signs of lag in the economy, says a survey.
• Indonesia is at the top, followed by Finland (2nd), the Netherlands (3rd), Philippines (4th), Austria (5th) and Nigeria (6th), as per Grant Thornton's International Business Report (IBR).
FEMA norms eased to spur investment from overseasContext :
• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has simplified the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident outside India) Regulations, by putting all the 93 amendments under one notification.
• It will significantly make it easier for foreign investors to invest in the country.
• The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), introduced in 1999, was amended 93 times.
• It is going to impact in a very big manner because 60-70% of the contravention cases which RBI receives are due to delays in reporting.
• Any transfer of investment from non-resident Indians to any non-residents has been brought under the automatic route, subject to reporting.
• RBI has been receiving such requests frequently hence it was decided that prior regulatory approval will not be needed any more.
Debjani Ghosh set to be first woman President of NasscomContext:
The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) named Debjani Ghosh as its President-Designate.
Why in the news?
• Ghosh, former managing director of Intel South Asia, will be the first woman President of Nasscom.
National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM):
• NASSCOM is global non-profit trade association (organisation) of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.
• It facilitates business and trade in software and services and encourages the advancement of research in software technology.
• It is registered under the Indian Societies Act, 1860.
• Its headquarters are in New Delhi.
• It has regional offices in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram.
2017 is set to be in top three hottest years: WMOContext:
• 2017 will be one of the three hottest years on record, with many high-impact events including catastrophic hurricanes and floods, debilitating heat waves and drought.
• As a result of a powerful EL Nino, 2016 is likely to remain the warmest year on record, with 2017 and 2015 being second and third.
• Extraordinary weather, including temperatures topping 50 degrees Celsius in Asia, record-breaking hurricanes in rapid succession in the Caribbean and Atlantic reaching as far as Ireland, devastating monsoon flooding affecting many millions of people and a relentless drought in East Africa
Why in the news?
• The average global temperature from January to September 2017 was approximately 1.1°C above the pre-industrial era.
• The WMO statement, which uses 1981-2010 as the baseline, was released at the opening day of the United Nations climate change conference in Bonn.
What is El-Nino?
• El Nino is the warm phase of the El Nino Southern Oscilliation and is associated with a band of warm ocean water that developed in the central and east-central equatorial pacific
• El Nino is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific.
• The cool phase of ENSO is called “La Nino” with SST in the eastern Pacific below average and air pressures high in the eastern and low in western Pacific.
• It causes change in temperature and rainfall.
India to become world’s largest Sulphur Dioxide emitter: StudyContext :
• India’s emissions of the air pollutant sulphur dioxide increased by 50 per cent since 2007, while China’s fell by 75 per cent, claims a study which found that India is yet to implement emission controls like its neighbour.
• The study led by researchers at University of Maryland in the US suggests that India is becoming, if it is not already, the world’s top sulphur dioxide emitter.
Sulfur dioxide:
• Sulphur dioxide is an air pollutant that causes acid rain, haze and many health-related problems.
Olive turtles in Odisha Context:
• Olive Ridley turtles have kept their date with Gahirmatha beach in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, known as world’s largest rookery of this endangered species, arriving just offshore for mating in large numbers.
About Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary:
• Gahirmatha marine sanctuary is a marine wildlife sanctuary located in Odisha.
• It extends from Dhamra River mouth in the north to Brahmani river mouth in the South.
• It is very famous for its nesting beach for olive ridley sea turtles.
• It is one of the world’s most important nesting beach for turtles.
• The 35 km Gahirmatha coast, which forms part of the Bhirtarkanika National Park, is the best to witness the mass nesting of females, a phenomenon called arribadas.
• The sandy coastline free of rocks and stones, presence of wetland, backwater and brackish water and mangrove vegetation is preferred by the turtles. Barrier island (Barrier ridge) called Ekakulanasi off the Gahirmatha coast is the main turtle breeding ground.
• The sanctuary is also home to variety of flora and fauna.
• Wild boar, barking deer, bear, leopard, crocodile, jungle fowl, samber and wild dogs are among the other wildlife seen in the sanctuary.
Olive ridley:
• The olive ridley is classified as Vulnerable according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), and is listed in Appendix I of CITES.
• They can also be found in warm waters of Atlantic Ocean.
• Olive Ridley turtles get their name from the coloring of their heart-shaped shell.
• It starts out gray but changes to olive green when the turtles turn adults.
• Olive Ridley turtles usually nest during night time.
First fauna survey in Krishna SanctuaryContext:
The first status survey of the ‘fauna’ in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary (KWL), one of the rarest eco-regions in the world, has been commenced.
Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary:
• Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and estuary located in Andhra Pradesh.
• The sanctuary is sandwiched between the Bay of Bengal and the Krishna river and geographically falls in Krishna and Guntur district in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
• It is one of the rarest eco-regions of the world because it harbors vast tracts of pristine mangrove forests.
• A part of the mangroves is located far from the main mangrove area.
Science and Technology
Edible wild banana species named Musa paramjitiana discoveredContext:
• Botanists have discovered new species of wild banana named Musa paramjitiana in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Why in the news?
• It has been name in honour of Paramjit Singh, director of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI Musa paramjitiana species was discovered in North Andaman Krishnapuri forest, 6 kilometres from any human habitation.
Musa Paramjitiana:
• The plant grows to a height of nine metres and bears an edible, sweet-and-sour tasting fruit that is boat-shaped and has numerous bulb-shaped seeds.
IUCN Status:
• Its conservation status has been declared as ‘Critically Endangered’ as it has so far been spotted in only two locations on the islands, each with 6 to 18 plants in a clump.
About IUCN:
• The International Union for Conservation of Nature is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
• IUCN was established in 1948. It was previously called the International Union for Protection of Nature (1948–1956) and the World Conservation Union (1990–2008).
New ant species discovered in the Western GhatsContext :
• Belonging to Tyrannomyrmex, a rare tropical genus of ants, the species was discovered by the team from the Vallakadavu range during an expedition a year ago.
Why in the news?
• The new species was found in the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Periyar Tiger Reserve:
• Periyar National Park, also known as Periyar Tiger Reserve, is in the mountainous Western Ghats of Kerala, southern India.
• This wildlife sanctuary is home to tigers and a significant elephant population, as well as rare lion-tailed macaques, sambar deer, leopards and Indian bison.
• n the park's north, Periyar Lake is popular for boat rides.
• Farther north, spice plantations surround the town of Kumily.
World Science Day for Peace and DevelopmentContext:
• World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the important role that science has in society and is celebrated each year on November 10.
• World Science Day was proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2001 and celebrated for the first time in 2002.
• The theme for 2017 is “Science for Global Understanding“.
• It highlights significant role of science in society and need to engage wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues.
• ‎It aims to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science.
Print Friendly and PDF