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September 3, 2019
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September 5, 2019
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04 September Current Affairs

Growth Of Eight Core Sectors

In News:

According to official data released by the government, Growth of eight core industries dropped to 2.1% in July mainly due to a contraction in coal, crude oil, natural gas and refinery products.

About: 

The eight core industries of coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity, which have a 40.27% weight in the Index of Industrial Production.

The output of coal, crude oil, natural gas and refinery products recorded negative growth in July 2019.

These eight-core sector industries had expanded by 7.3 per cent in July last year.

During April-July, the eight sectors grew by 3 per cent compared to 5.9 per cent in the same period previous year.

Reducing Food Loss And Waste

In News:

A new report titled “Reducing Food Loss and Waste” by the World Resources Institute (WRI) with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation has quantified global food wastage.

Key Findings:

Nearly one-third of the food that is produced globally each year goes uneaten, costing the global economy over $940 billion.

Most of the food loss happens “near the farm” predominantly in lower-income countries and most of the food waste happens “near the plate” predominantly in higher-income countries.

Roots and tubers are the food group that face the maximum wastage, at over 62% for 2007. Fruits and vegetables follow, with over 41%.

When viewed as a proportion, by weight, of all the food estimated to be lost and wasted globally, fruits and vegetables make up the largest share of total annual food loss and waste.

The uneaten food is responsible for emitting about 8 % of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

It put forward a Global Action Agenda that calls for developing national strategies for food loss and waste reduction, creating national public-private partnerships, launch supply chain initiatives, reducing small-holder losses and shifting consumer social norms.

Hurricane Dorian

In News:

Hurricane Dorian strengthened into a catastrophic Category 5 storm and pounded the Bahamas. The U.S. states of Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina have all declared states of emergency. The category five Dorian is the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane on record.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS): 

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS) is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage.

To be classified as a hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have one-minute maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph (33 m/s; 64 kn; 119 km/h) (Category 1).

The highest classification in the scale, Category 5, consists of storms with sustained winds over 156 mph (70 m/s; 136 kn; 251 km/h).

Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage.

Asean-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX)

In News:

Eight warships, four aircraft and more than 1,000 personnel from the United States and 10 Southeast Asian countries will join for the first ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX).

About:

The first Asean-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX) between the ASEAN regional bloc and U.S. lasts for five days, starting at the Sattahip Naval Base in Thailand and ending in Singapore.

All ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will take part in the exercises which include the boarding of target vessels to simulate search and seizure.

The drills come at a time of stepped-up U.S. engagement in the region and tensions between China and Southeast Asian nations over the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

China claims the majority of the South China Sea, often invoking its so-called nine-dash line as a supposed historic justification to the waters, which are a key global shipping route.

New Pain Sensing Organ In Skin

In News:

Researchers have discovered a new sensory organ in the skin that is able to detect painful mechanical damage, such as pricks and impacts, an advance that may help develop novel painkillers. The discovery is being published in the journal ‘Science’.

About: 

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have now discovered a new sensory organ in the skin that is sensitive to hazardous environmental irritation.

It is comprised of glia cells with multiple long protrusions and which collectively go to make up a mesh-like organ within the skin. Activation of the organ results in electrical impulses in the nervous system that result in reflex reactions and an experience of pain, they said.

This organ is sensitive to painful mechanical damage such as pricks and pressure. The new pain-sensitive organ is organised together with pain-sensitive nerves in the skin.

The discovery changes understanding of the cellular mechanisms of physical sensation and it may be of significance in the understanding of chronic pain.

Malé Declaration

In News:

The fourth South Asian Speakers’ Summit was held recently in Maldives capital with the secretary general of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and senior lawmakers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Background:

This is the fourth event in a series of Speakers’ Summits for the region on SDGs, the previous three having been hosted by the Jatiya Sangsad of Bangladesh (in 2016), the Sansad of India (in 2017) and the Parliament of Sri Lanka (2018).

Outcome of the summit:

At the end of the summit, Male Declaration was adopted by the leaders.

About the Male Declaration:

The Declaration “unanimously” felt that Kashmir was an “internal matter” of India and overlooked all assertions made by Islamabad on the issue.

India’s position:

India has defended its decision to scrap provisions of Article 370 that have special status to Jammu and Kashmir, saying that it was an internal matter. India has also snubbed Pakistan for interfering in the internal matters of the country, saying that Pakistan was misleading the world.

Way ahead for India:

For India, there is now no “outstanding” issue of Kashmir except India’s claim on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which includes Gilgit-Baltistan. The need for a back-channel to find a solution to the Kashmir issue has disappeared.

India’s decision will also have effect on the Indus Waters Treaty and Pakistan’s strategy of creating obstacles for Indian power projects in Jammu and Kashmir permitted by the treaty.

UN might issue some statement advocating reduction of tensions and peaceful settlement of differences, etc., but a change in India’s domestic law on J&K’s status within the Indian Union is not an international matter as it does not endanger international peace and security.

More importantly, Article 370 does not figure in any UN resolution on Kashmir. It was inserted in the Indian Constitution in 1954 unilaterally by India, many years after the UN resolutions on J&K and, so, it can be unilaterally removed.

Inter-ministerial panel on fintech

In News:

An inter-ministerial panel on fintech has submitted its report to Finance Minister.

Key recommendations:

Put in place a comprehensive legal framework to protect consumers of digital services.

Reserve Bank of India should examine issuance of ‘virtual banking licences’.

Dematerialisation of fixed deposits, sovereign gold bonds and post office certificates to promote easy transactions and collateral.

RBI should mandate banks to share crucial customer data after consent.

Regulation technology (or RegTech) should be adopted by all financial sector regulators to develop standards and facilitate adoption by financial service providers.

Fintech should be used to improve access of financial products for MSMEs, farmers and poorer sections of the society.

Insurance companies and lending agencies should be encouraged to use drone and remote sensing technology for crop area, damage and location assessments to support risk reduction in insurance/lending business.

Digitise land records across the country on a war footing.

Set up of an Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee on fintech Applications in the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) to monitor progress, including exploring and suggesting the potential applications in government financial processes and applications.

AH-64 Apache combat helicopters

Boeing AH-64 Apache combat helicopters inducted into IAF.

These are US- made helicopters.

It is one of the world’s most advanced attack helicopters with multi-role combat capabilities.

The Apache’s capabilities range from greater thrust, lift and joint digital operability to cognitive decision aiding and improved survivability.

 

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