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Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 26 March 2014

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 26 March 2014

CBI probe into Muzaffarnagar riots rejected

  • The Supreme Court has rejected the plea for CBI/SIT probe into the Muzaffarnagar riots that took place in September 2013.
  • The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam said that if the Centre and the State intelligence agencies had smelled of what was happening at the ground level, then the riots could have been prevented.
  • Declining the prayer for CBI/SIT probe, the court referred to a number of steps that the State police has taken to deal with the situation and the subsequent actions.
  • The court said that the State had failed to protect the serious violation of fundamental rights of the people and said it was duty-bound to protect and uphold the people’s rights.
  • In a reference to a state government circular saying that the relief would be available to Muslim victims only, the court in one of its several directions said that the availability of relief should not be on the basis of victim’s religious denomination and it should be provided to genuine victims.

Two missiles test-fired by North Korea

  • North Korea test-fired two missiles into the sea, prompting condemnation from South Korea, Japan and the United States.
  • It was the latest of several such launches , as South Korean, Japanese and US leaders criticised North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme at a meeting in the Netherlands.
  • The missiles were fired from north of Pyongyang and flew around 650 kilometres before falling into the waters east of the Korean Peninsula.
  • The United States said the latest launches of No-Dong type missiles, as well as those of Scud missiles on March 3 and February 27, violated UN Security Council resolutions that established missile moratoriums for Pyongyang.

Pakistan -Taliban talks

  • Government negotiators flew down to the North Waziristan tribal region to hold the first-ever direct talks with the Pakistani Taliban to end the deadly cycle of violence that has claimed over 40,000 lives.

  • The government’s team was accompanied by the nominated negotiators from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

  • The much-anticipated direct talks would be attended by all four members of the government’s reconfigured negotiating committee, TTP intermediaries and members of the Taliban ’Shura’.

  • The new committee consists of former ambassador Rustam Shah Mohmand, Additional Chief Secretary ,FATA, Arbab Arif, Secretary Ports and Shipping, Habibullah Khattak and Additional Secretary to Prime Minister, Fawad Hasan Fawad.

  • The Taliban’s intermediaries are Maulana Samiul Haq — head of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema Islam (Sami group), Jamaat-e-Islami’s Ibrahim Khan, and JUI-S spokesperson Maulana Yousaf Shah.

  • The committee will also seek extension of the month-long ceasefire announced by the TTP.

  • The talks struck an impasse last month after a faction of the banned militant group killed 23 kidnapped Pakistani para-military soldiers, resulting in multiple targeted airstrikes by the military against militant hideouts in the tribal region of the northwest.

Setting up a chain of 25 cancer detection

  • Medical diagnostics and imaging equipment company GE Healthcare,said it was jointly investing Rs.720 crore with U.S.-based Cancer Treatment Services International (CTSI) to set up a chain of 25 cancer detection and treatment centres across the country.

  • GE Healthcare would put a minor portion into the $120-million programme planned over the next five years.

  • With the new tie-up format, the diagnostics-focussed company had made its closest approach towards treating a disease anywhere in the world.

  • GE was also developing low-cost diagnostic technologies ‘in India and for India’ for various diseases, 100 of them targeting cancer alone. It recently launched a low-cost version of PET-CT that is widely used to find cancerous tumours.

  • GE would provide equipment while CTSI, which set up the 250-bed American Oncology Institute in Hyderabad in 2012, would take care of treatment, doctors, medical personnel and related services.

Birth of Mount Everest

  • Mount Everest - the world's highest mountain - may have been born as Asia was squeezed like a tube of toothpaste after India smashed into the rest of the continent, scientists say.
  • The unexpectedly prolonged collision led to the formation of the Himalayas and then caused them to grow ever taller.
  • These mountains are home to the world's 100 highest mountain peaks, including the Everest.
  • Moresi and colleagues have developed a computer model that explains what happens when continents collide.
  • The model shows that when one continent bears thick or buoyant crust that blocks subduction, the other continent gets squeezed like a tube of toothpaste and folds around the blockage, creating a complex array of geophysical features.
  • It suggests that as India shoves into Eurasia, China and South-East Asia initially resist being pushed underneath, and then get pushed aside instead.
  • The process unclogs the subduction zone and allows India to keep pushing into Eurasia, raising up Mount Everest and its towering siblings.

Miami WTA final rematch

  • Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams will have a rematch of their 2013 final in the Miami WTA semi-finals after both advanced in formidable style.
  • Sharapova, who has not beaten the world number one American since 2004 and has lost 14 consecutive matches in the rivalry, regained her big-match confidence after twice being pushed to three sets by defeating Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-1.
  • Fourth seed Sharapova's 90-minute victory over the Kvitova, a fellow Wimbledon champion, was a relief for five-time Miami finalist Sharapova, who had faced huge battle in her previous two victories.

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Sources: Various News Papers & PIB

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