Thursday, 4 December 2014

Daily Updates - 4th December, 2014

Events of National and International Importance
Supreme Court sets up 'social justice bench'
1.       The Supreme Court has ordered to set up a special 'Social Justice Bench' to exclusively hear cases concerning social issues.
2.       The issues would range from women safety to mid-day meals in schools and night shelters for the under privileged.
3.       The Social Justice Bench will meet every Friday afternoon to handle Public Interest Litigations (PILs) and other petitions.

4.       The issues will be ranging from the availability of night shelters for the homeless to whether children in government schools are being provided free mid-day meals and the efficacy of the Public Distribution Scheme which is meant to provide poor families access to subsidised grain.
Justice Krishna Iyer passes away
1.       Former Supreme Court Judge and renowned social activist Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer passed away in Kochi
2.       He served as the Home Minister in the first Communist Ministry in Kerala.  

3.       Later He was appointed as a Judge in Kerala High Court and then as Law Commission Chairman in 1971 and as Supreme Court Judge in 1973. 
India celebrates 43rd Navy Day; President, PM salute devotion of Navy personnel
1.       India is celebrating 43rd Navy Day today. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have saluted Navy Personnel.
2.       The current geo-strategic environment has enhanced the role and responsibilities of the Indian Navy in protecting the nation’s maritime interests. 
3.       Navy’s successful induction of indigenously constructed warships and submarines and its integration of Indian-made equipment and systems symbolise India’s growing maritime capabilities and quest for strategic self-reliance. 
Govt forms panel to check trade-based money laundering
1.       Director General (DG) Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) will be convener of the committee.
2.       A committee has been formed to study modalities of this (trade based) money laundering and device methods to deal with problems on how it happens and develop models and ways of dealing with it.
3.       This is part of the government's efforts to clamp down on black money generation by Indian entities both within and outside the country.
4.       The committee consists of DG Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB), DG Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Enforcement Directorate, and Director Financial Intelligence Unit and CBDT investigation wing.
East Zone lifts Deodhar Trophy
1.       East Zone has won the Deodhar Trophy cricket tournament, beating West Zone .
2.       In the final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai yesterday, East Zone won the toss and opted to bat first.
      Economic Development
RBI to issue guidelines for e-commerce: H R Khan
1.       RBI Deputy Governor MR. H R Khan has expressed concerns regarding e-commerce transactions. 
2.       Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Mr. Khan said that e-commerce is an innovative concept that cannot be pushed away but added that RBI will be issuing certain guidelines in this regard very soon. 
Centre plans to set up Rs 10,000 cr electronics fund
1.       The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) is planning to set up a Rs 10,000 crore fund for innovation and development purposes in the sector.
2.       The department would rope in existing venture capitalists (VC) for selecting the start-ups where funds would be made available for starting innovation exercise.
3.       The department would pick stake in the VCs to a maximum limit of 20 per cent.
4.       The huge quantum of electronics products being imported into the country at present, there was a need to increase domestic production.
5.       Now the electronics import bill is $100 billion. This will go up to $400 billion by 2020.
6.       The official said the government was actively trying to promote innovation as there was a need to acquire substantial Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for the country's developmental efforts.
Indian solar market witnesses influx of global investment
1.       As Indian policy makers announce big ticket projects and set huge targets for solar power capacity addition, investor’s world over are jumping on the attractive opportunity.
2.       US-based Morgan Stanley is scouting actively for the Indian market and is likely to make a big investment in the solar space, soon, in a huge project of +100 mw. 
3.       Other institutional investors such as IFC and Standard Chartered are also in the race. Besides, Goldman Sachs which invested about of $375 million.
4.       Solar power in India is likely to witness a massive scale up of 1 lakh Mw with the mandate from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to MNRE to achieve the goal by 2019.
Direct sale, teleshopping to be under Consumer Protection Act
1.       The government is planning to include direct selling and teleshopping into the ambit of the amended Consumer Protection Act of 1986.
2.       Officials said not only e-commerce, but all purchases, hiring of services and goods sold through direct selling or teleshopping would be included in the proposed amendments to the Act.
3.       The amendments are expected to be placed before the Union Cabinet soon and would then be tabled in the Parliament.
4.       Earlier this year, Amway India Chief Executive William Scott Pinckney was arrested for the second time under the Price Chits and Money Circulation Scheme (Banning) Act in Andhra Pradesh. 
5.       He was later released on bail but the incident exposed loopholes in the law.
      Biodiversity and Climate change
2014 could be hottest year on record
1.       The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says 2014 is on track to be one of the hottest.
2.       This was largely due to record high global sea surface temperatures, which will very likely remain above normal until the year-end. 
3.       High sea temperatures, together with other factors, contributed to exceptionally heavy rainfall and floods in many countries and extreme drought in others. 
4.       The WMO’s provisional statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2014 indicated that the global average air temperature over land and sea surface for January to October was about 0.09°C above the average for the past 10 years (2004-2013).
5.       If November and December maintain the same tendency, then 2014 will likely be the hottest on record, ahead of 2010, 2005 and 1998. 
6.       The provisional information for 2014 means that 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century.
7.       The provisional statement was published to inform the annual climate change negotiations taking place in Lima.
8.       The provisional statement also points out that average air temperatures over land for January to October 2014 were about 0.86°C above the 1961-1990 average, the fourth or fifth warmest for the same period on record. 
9.       Western North America, Europe, eastern Eurasia, much of Africa, large areas of South America and southern and western Australia were especially warm. 
10.    The latest analysis of observations by the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme shows that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) reached new highs in 2013. 

       Science and Technology
GSLV Mark III faces its first experimental flight
1.       Later this month, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III is expected to lift off for the first time from India’s spaceport at Sriharikota on an experimental flight.
2.       It will assess the rocket’s performance as it hurtles through the atmosphere to reach speeds many times that of sound.
3.       When operational, the GSLV Mark III will be the Indian Space Research Organisation's most powerful rocket, capable of putting four-tonne communication satellites into orbit, almost double the capacity of the current GSLV. 
4.       The Mark III will weigh about 640 tonnes at launch, about 50 per cent heavier than the GSLV.
5.       It is perhaps appropriate that the forthcoming launch will also provide an early test of a crew module that is being developed.
6.       The GSLV Mark III has two huge solid propellants boosters, which are among the largest in the world, flanking a big liquid propellant core stage. 
7.       Atop the core stage, sits a cryogenic upper stage that will provide half the velocity needed to put communication satellites into the proper orbit.
8.       For the experimental launch, the Mark III will be equipped with a dummy cryogenic engine and stage that will simulate the weight and other characteristics of the flight version.
9.       The GSLV Mark III is “a totally new configuration,” observed K. Radhakrishnan, the current ISRO chairman, explaining the rationale for the experimental mission.
Earth-based telescope detects super-earth transit
1.       Astronomers in Spain have detected the transit of a super-earth transiting across its star — 55 Cancri — using only ground-based detection systems. 
2.       This detection is significant because it opens the door to ground-based remote sensing of astronomical bodies. 
3.       The detection was through the 2.5 metre Nordic Optical Telescope, in La Palma, Spain. 
4.       Developing ground-based telescopes such as this is important because it paves the way to interpreting the atmospheres of planets and detection of bio-signatures of Earth-like planets.
5.       Super-earths are extrasolar planets that are bigger than the earth, but not as big as the gaseous giants in the solar system, for example, Uranus, which is 17 times as big as the earth. 
6.       Its proximity to its star makes 55 Cancri e’s surface as hot as 1,700 degree C. Thus, it is hostile to life .

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