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October 4, 2019
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October 7, 2019
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05 October Current Affairs

National Register Citizens (NRC) in Assam

In News:

Law schools across India launched a collaborative legal aid clinic on for people excluded from the updated National Register Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

About:

The clinic, named Parichay (Identity) and with headquarters in Guwahati, is envisaged to function as a “clearing house of litigation and research assistance for lawyers filing appeals against exclusion from the NRC”.

Parichay will assist lawyers in drafting appeals, conduct research on pertinent questions of the law, assist in training lawyers and paralegals, and generate documentation on the functioning of Foreigners’ Tribunals

The institutes include Assam’s National Law University and Judicial Academy (NLUJA), the Kolkata-based West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Hyderabad’s National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), Delhi’s National Law University and National Law University of Odisha.

Other law schools are in the process of formalising their collaboration with Parichay.

Einstein Challenge

In News:

On the occasion of the Mahatma’s 150th birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thrown an “Einstein Challenge” to propagate the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi through innovations.

About:

He recalled Albert Einstein’s famous words on Gandhi: “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth,”

PM Modi called upon thinkers, entrepreneurs and tech leaders to take forward Gandhi’s idea of innovation for future generations to remember.

He said that from uniting those who believe in humanity to furthering sustainable development and ensuring economic self-reliance, Gandhi offers solutions to every problem.

Further Fund Offer 2 (FFO 2)

In News:

The Further Fund Offer 2 (FFO 2) of Bharat 22 Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF), was opened to anchor investors on 3 October and other investors (such as individual investors) on 4 October.

About:

Bharat 22 ETF invests in the 22 companies that comprise the S&P BSE Bharat 22 index—19 companies are in the public sector and three in the private sector.

An open-ended ETF, the fund allows investors to invest in a basket of government-owned and private sector entities like NTPC, Power Grid Corporation, ONGC, Indian Oil Company, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, L&T, ITC, Axis Bank and BPCL, among others.

The private sector companies have a 39.4% weightage in the index.

The largest sectoral allocation in the Bharat 22 index was towards industrials (22%), followed by finance (21%) and utilities (21%), as of 4 September.

The index has a sectoral cap of 20% and a single stock cap of 15%, which means that some of these exposures will have to be pruned. Rebalancing in the index takes place once a year in March.

Exercise Nomadic Elephant-XIV

In News:

14th edition of Indo – Mongolian joint military training, Exercise Nomadic Elephant-XIV, being conducted over a period of 14 days, will commence from 05 Oct 2019.

About:

The exercise will be conducted from 05 Oct 19 to 18 Oct 19 at Bakloh.

The Mongolian Army is being represented by officers and troops of the elite 084 Air Borne Special Task Battalion while Indian Army is being represented by a contingent of a battalion of RAJPUTANA RIFLES.

Nomadic Elephant-XIV is aimed at training troops in counter insurgency &counter terrorism operations under United Nations mandate.

Military Exercise Ekuverin

In News:

Tenth edition of the Joint Military Exercise Ekuverin between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force will be organised from 07 to 20 October 2019 at Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharashtra.

About:

The Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Forces have been conducting Exercise Ekuverin meaning ‘Friends’ in the Dhivehi language since 2009.

The 14 days Joint Exercise held alternatively in India and Maldives was held in 2018 at Northern Area Headquarters, Lh. Maafilaafushi of Maldives.

The Exercise focuses on enhancing interoperability between the two forces for carrying out counter insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in a semi-urban environment under the United Nations mandate.

Metro Express and new ENT Hospital

In News:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth jointly inaugurated the Metro Express and new ENT Hospital in Mauritius through a video link.

About:

The Metro Express (Light Rail Transit) Project, will transform the mobility landscape in Mauritius as an efficient, faster and cleaner mode of public transport.

The ENT Hospital will significantly expand access to quality health-care and benefit the people in addition to being the first paperless E-Hospital in Mauritius.

PM Modi also conveyed Government of India’s decision to support Mauritius in construction of a Renal unit as well as Medi-Clinics and Area Health Centres through grant assistance.

New Delhi-Katra ‘Vande Bharat’ Express

In News:

Union Minister for Home Affairs, Amit Shah flagged off the New Delhi-Katra ‘Vande Bharat’ Express in New Delhi. It will be a big boost to the religious tourism as may Hindus have a desire to visit Vaishno devi Temple at least once in the lifetime.

About:

The present Vande Bharat to Mata Vaishno Devi Katra shall be running at a maximum speed of 130 km on this route and shall cover the distance between New Delhi-Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra in 08 hours. A reduction of 4 hours from the current fastest train, will thus be achieved.

This is the second ‘Vande Bharat’ express after the New Delhi – Varanasi semi-high speed train flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February this year.

The coaches of this train are indigenously manufactured at the Chennai Rail coach factory.

Vande Bharat Express has been tested at 180 kmph and can run upto maximum speed of 160 kmph on passenger service. All Coaches are equipped with automatic doors; GPS based audio-visual passenger information system, onboard hotspot, wi-fi for entertainment purposes, and very comfortable seating.

PRAKASH portal

In News:

The Union Minister for Power and the Union Minister for Coal & Mines jointly launched PRAKASH portal for transparency and better coordination in coal supplies to power plants.

About:

PRAKASH stands for ‘Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony’.

The Portal aims at bringing better coordination for coal supplies among all stakeholders viz – Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal, Coal India, Railways and power utilities. This is an important step in ensuring adequate availability and optimum utilization of coal at thermal power plants.

PRAKASH Portal is developed by NTPC and sources data from different stakeholders such as Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) and coal companies.

Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV)

In News:

Since the middle of August, a rare disease has killed five elephants in Odisha. The disease is caused by a virus called Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV).

About:

Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHV) is also known as Elephantid betaherpesvirus 1 (ElHV-1).

EEHVs is a type of herpesvirus that can cause a highly fatal haemorrhagic disease in young Asian elephants.

When EEHV is triggered, the elephant dies of massive internal bleeding and symptoms which are hardly visible. The disease is usually fatal, with a short course of 28-35 hours.

EEHV is lethal for young elephants between the ages of one and 12. If a young elephant dies before reproducing, it affects the population of the species as a whole in the concerned geography.

There is no true cure for herpesviruses in animals or in humans, because herpes viruses go latent.

National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC)

In News:

Designation of National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Priority Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy.

Why do we need such collaborations?

Such global collaborations in the area of health technology will ensure that scientific and technological advances, research and development as well as innovative technologies play a substantial supportive role in healthcare and enable us to reach the public health goals and achieve universal health coverage.

About NHSRC:

Set up under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to serve as an apex body for technical assistance.

Established in 2006.

Mandate is to assist in policy and strategy development in the provision and mobilization of technical assistance to the states and in capacity building for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) at the centre and in the states.

Composition:

It has a 23 member Governing Body, chaired by the Secretary, MoHFW, Government of India with the Mission Director, NRHM as the Vice Chairperson of the GB and the Chairperson of its Executive Committee.

Of the 23 members, 14 are ex-officio senior health administrators, including four from the states. Nine are public health experts, from academics and Management Experts.

The Executive Director, NHSRC is the Member Secretary of both the Governing body and the Executive Committee.

The NHSRC currently consists of seven divisions – Community Processes, Healthcare Financing, Healthcare Technology, Human Resources for Health, Public Health Administration, Public Health Planning, Quality Improvement in Healthcare.

Priority medical devices project:

Launched by WHO in 2007 in collaboration with the Government of the Netherlands.

Aims:

To determine whether medical devices currently on the market were meeting the needs of health care providers and end-users throughout the world and if not, to propose research to identify—and action to remedy—inadequacies or shortcomings.

To bring medical devices to the attention of policy makers and to help guide both industry and government on public health spending.

What is a health technology?

It is the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of lives.

Deep Carbon Observatory

In News:

Deep Carbon Observatory (CDO) has released a report on Carbon, it’s emissions and availability.

Details:

The study’s results are concerning due to past extinction events linked to the mass release of atmospheric CO2.

Key findings:

Less than one percent of the planet’s carbon is found above surface.

The rest of the carbon – about 1.85 billion gigatonnes – is trapped in the planet’s crust and mantle.

The carbon that is found in the oceans, the land and the atmosphere, for the most part, appears to be disturbed by human activity.

Human emissions of the greenhouse gas are 100 times greater than all of Earth’s volcanoes.

Human activity contributes about 10 gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. Natural geological process underground, for comparison, release about 10 times less of the global warming gas.

Carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and oceans from volcanoes account for about 280 to 360 million tonnes.

The burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other human actives contribute between 40 and 100 times the amount of CO2 into the atmosphere.

About Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO):

It is a global community of more than 1000 scientists on a ten-year quest to understand the quantities, movements, forms, and origins of carbon in Earth.

Why study carbon in Earth?

Carbon plays a fundamental role on Earth. It forms the chemical backbone for all essential organic molecules produced by living organisms. Carbon-based fuels supply most of society’s energy. Atmospheric carbon dioxide affects Earth’s climate. Yet despite its importance, remarkably little is known about the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of carbon in the vast majority of Earth’s interior.

Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019

In News:

Singapore recently notified the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019.

Key highlights of the law:

It will enable the government to order social media websites to take down posts deemed to be false.

The Act’s definition of a falsehood is limited to a statement of fact and does not cover opinions, criticisms, satire or parody.

Any minister from the government has the authority to instruct the “Competent Authority” if he believes a false statement of fact has been communicated in Singapore or if he believes it is in the public interest to issue a direction against the statement.

The minister will need to explain why the statement is false.

A set of binding “Codes of Practice” for technology companies covering three areas — inauthentic online accounts and bots, digital advertising transparency and de-prioritising falsehoods — will be applied to “digital advertising intermediaries” or Internet intermediaries”.

Once a minister identifies a falsehood, the individual is issued a “Stop Communication Direction” to be complied with within a specified time period. Only when the falsehood is spread with malicious intent do criminal sanctions apply.

If found guilty of communicating statements believed to be false to the extent that such a statement is likely to jeopardise the security of the country, influence election outcomes, incite feelings of enmity or hatred etc, he/she will be liable to pay a fine of $50,000 or be imprisoned for not more than five years or both.

Concern over the law:

Technology companies and rights groups have expressed concerns and worried because this law will hurt innovation and the growth of the digital information ecosystem. They argue that the law imposes limitations on free speech.

What led to the government taking this step?

False statements made online have the potential to divide society, spread hate and weaken democratic institutions.

The law aims to prevent the “communication of false statements of fact in Singapore and to enable measures to be taken to counteract the effects of such communication”; to suppress the “financing and promotion of false statements of fact”, and to enable measures such that politically motivated paid content is disclosed.

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