Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 04 MAY 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 04 MAY 2019


::NATIONAL::

SC upholds provision of maintaining medical recordsin PCPNDT act

  • In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court on Friday upheld provisions in the anti-pre-natal sex determination law which ‘criminalises’ non-maintenance of medical records by obstetricians and gynaecologists and suspend their medical licence indefinitely.
  • A Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran held that the particular provisions in the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act of 1994 were necessary to prevent female foeticide in the country.
  • There are only 586 convictions out of 4202 cases registered even after 24 years of existence. It reflects the challenges being faced in implementing this social legislation, the court observed. The main purpose of the Act is to ban the use of sex selection and misuse of pre-natal diagnostic technique for sex selective abortions and to regulate such techniques.
  • The court dismissed averments made by doctors that the provisions in the law criminalise even the smallest anomaly in paperwork which is in fact an inadvertent and unintentional error. The sections have made obstetricians and gynaecologists vulnerable to prosecution all over the country.
  • “It is a responsible job of the person who is undertaking such a test i.e., the gynaecologist/medical geneticist/radiologist/ paediatrician/director of the clinic/centre/laboratory to fill the requisite information. In case he keeps it vague, he knows fully well that he is violating the provisions of the Act,” the court observed.

Cyclone Fani hits odisha coast causing large scale destruction

  • The extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani barrelled into the Odisha coast on Friday morning, unleashing torrential rain and winds gusting up to 175 kmph, killing at least eight people, bringing rail and air transport to a halt, and swamping towns and villages, officials said.
  • The cyclonic system made landfall at 8 a.m. near the coastal pilgrim town of Puri and brought heavy winds and rainfall to the State capital Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
  • While the system weakened to a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’, it is expected to cause significant damage as it moves north-northeast through coastal Odisha and West Bengal towards Bangladesh. The system lay centred about 20 km west of Balasore and 200 km west-south west of Kolkata around 8.30 p.m. on Friday, with wind speeds of 110-120 km per hour, gusting at 135 km per hour.
  • Cyclone Fani was a ‘re-curving cyclone’ and therefore a harder to precisely predict than most cyclones. Recurving cyclones' are those that sharply turn north-eastwards instead of a more typical parth of north-westwards. In the Indian context, they are relatively rare and harder to track.
  • It also had an unusually long gestation period of at least 10 days.With aviation equipment at Bhubaneswar’s BijuPatnaik International Airport significantly damaged, flight operations remained suspended on Friday, while Paradip and Gopalpur ports were also closed as a precautionary measure.

::ECONOMY::

RBI penalises prepaid instrument for violating norms

  • The Reserve Bank of India has slapped monetary penalty on five pre-paid payment instrument issuers including Vodafone m-pesa and Phonepe, for violating regulatory guidelines.
  • A penalty of Rs. 3.05 crore has been imposed on Vodafone m-pesa and Rs. 1 crore each on Mobile Payments, PhonePe and G.I. Technology Private Ltd.Also, a penalty of Rs. 5 lakh has been imposed on Y-Cash Software Solutions.
  • In a separate statement, the central bank said it had imposed a penalty of Rs. 29.67 lakh on Western Union Financial Services Inc., USA., and Rs. 10.12 lakh on MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc, USA, for non-compliance of regulatory guidelines.
  • The penalties on Western Union and MoneyGram had been imposed by the central bank under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for compounding of the contravention.
  • RBI also imposed a penalty of Rs. 11.25 lakh on private sector lender Yes Bank for violation of norms pertaining to issuance and operations of PPIs.
  • In a statement to the exchanges, the private sector lender said: “RBI has identified certain violations of RBI circular on Issuance and Operation of Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) in connection with certain product features of an open loop prepaid card (co-branded) previously issued by the bank.”

ADB projects growth of 5.7 % in Asia- Pacific

  • The Asia-Pacific region is expected to power ahead growing at 5.7% this year but escalating trade tensions are a source of worry, according to TakehikoNakao, President and Chairperson, Asian Development Bank.
  • Addressing the opening session of the Board of Governors at ADB’s 52nd Annual Meeting here, Mr.Nakao said that consumer and investor behaviour could be undermined by trade tensions between countries.
  • The bank’s lending grew to a record $21.6 billion in 2018, 10% higher compared to 2017. Mr.Nakao elaborated on the Strategy 2030 plan of ADB which will focus on six key areas operational and action plans for the private sector, addressing remaining poverty and inequality, accelerating progress in gender equality, continuing to foster regional cooperation and integration, expanding private sector operations and using concessional resources effectively.
  • Addressing the session, Fiji’s Prime Minister JosaiaVoreque Bainimarama said: “The world has come to us. This conference marks the end of an era of missed opportunities for the Pacific region.”
  • This is the single largest gathering in Fiji with over 2,000 delegates and was the first time that the ADB held its annual meeting in the Pacific region, he pointed out.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

U.S lawmakers does not want to terminate GSP given to India

  • The U.S. should not terminate the GSP programme with India after the expiry of the 60-day notice period on Friday, a group of 25 influential American lawmakers urged the U.S. Trade Representative, warning that companies seeking to expand their exports to India could be hit.
  • The Generalized System of Preference (GSP) is the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference programme designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.
  • On March 4, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. intended to terminate India’s designations as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP programme. The 60-day notice period ended on May 3.They argued that terminating GSP for India would hurt American companies seeking to expand their exports to India.
  • “India’s termination from GSP follows its failure to provide the United States with assurances that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors,” Mr. Trump had said in a letter to Congress, providing a notice of his intent to terminate the designation of India as a beneficiary developing country under GSP programme.
  • Expressing concern over such a move, the lawmakers said that no party in the United States or India would benefit from terminating GSP benefits.

UN working groups condemn Assange’s detention

  • The 50-week jail sentence given to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for breaching a British court’s bail conditions seven years ago is “disproportionate,” the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said on Friday.
  • Mr.Assange will serve the nearly one-year jail sentence while fighting a separate attempt to extradite him to the United States.
  • The UN working group noted that the Swedish allegations the initial offence that triggered his British arrest had been withdrawn and that the original bail terms should therefore have been nullified.
  • It noted too that he had been given near the maximum 12-month sentence available in the U.K. for breaching bail conditions.
  • The group is “deeply concerned about the disproportionate sentence imposed on Mr.Assange”, it said in a statement. It accused Britain of extending “the arbitrary deprivation of (his) liberty”.
  • The experts took further issue with Mr.Assange’s detention at the Belmarsh high-security prison. “This treatment appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights standards,” the panel said.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

AIDS drug successful in preventing transmission in Gays

  • A European study of nearly 1,000 gay male couples who had sex without condoms where one partner had HIV and was taking anti-retroviral drugs to suppress it has found the treatment can prevent sexual transmission of the virus.
  • After eight years of follow-up of the so-called serodifferent couples, the study found no cases at all of HIV transmission within couples.The study proves, the researchers said, that using anti-retroviral therapy to suppress the AIDS virus to undetectable levels also means it cannot be passed on via sex, the researchers said.
  • Doctors said this “powerful message” could help end the HIV pandemic by preventing the virus’ transmission in high-risk populations. In this study alone, the researchers estimate that the treatment prevented around 472 HIV transmissions during the eight years.
  • Its findings add to an earlier phase of the study which looked at HIV transmission risk for serodifferent heterosexual couples in the same circumstances. It also found zero risk.
  • Global health experts say the fight against HIV is at a precarious point, with the annual number of AIDS deaths falling and the number of people getting anti-retroviral treatment rising, but the number of new infections stubbornly high at around 1.8 million new cases a year worldwide.

::SPORTS::

India maintains top spot in ICC test rankings

  • India retained its top position in the ICC Test rankings, while England remained the number one ODI side in the latest annual d rankings released in Dubai today. India also moved two points in second position in the ODI rankings behind England.
  • The results from 2015-16 season were purged and outcomes from the 2016-17 and 2017-18 were weighted at 50 per cent. This resulted in New Zealand gain three points in the Test rankings to move two points behind India.

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