Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 May 2019
PM greets scientific community on National Technology Day
President Ram Nath Kovind today greeted the scientific
community on National Technology Day marking the anniversary of the Pokhran
nuclear Tests of 1998.
In a tweet, he said India is committed to using
technology to accelerate the developmental process and ensure a dignified
existence for every citizen.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted the nation on
the occasion. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, the country remembers with immense
pride the accomplishment of our scientists on this day in 1998.
He said, the hard work of the scientists has always
ensured a stronger and safer India. He expressed hope that the country will
continue leveraging the power of technology for national progress.
The Prime Minister said, the patriotism and
farsightedness of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his
team had a major role to play in the success of tests of 1998. He said Atal
Ji’s unwavering faith in scientists proved valuable during that crucial
He said it also demonstrated the difference a strong
political leadership makes.
Vice president addresses world leaders on UN day in Vietnam
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu today urged the world
leaders to work together to promote dialogue, harmony and justice based on
compassion and wisdom. He said, sustainable society is possible only through
sustainable consumption and production given the limited natural resources.
Delivering the keynote address at the 16th UN Day of
Vesak in Vietnam, Mr Naidu said, the contemporary global leadership faces a
huge challenge in constructing sustainable societies with peace and harmony.
The genesis of conflict among nations has roots in the
idea of hate and violence originating from an individual’s mind-space. He
said, the growing menace of terrorism in the world is a manifestation of
this destructive emotion.
Mr Naidu said, the proponents of ideologies of hate
need to be constructively engaged to avoid mindless death and destruction.
He said, Buddha’s message of peace and compassion provides an ideology and
effective answer to overcome sectarian and ideology-driven violence all over
Mr Naidu said, in today's turbulent contemporary
world, there is a need for an enlightened world leadership and a just and
responsive world order.
Jute availability projected to increase by 10 %
Raw jute availability is expected to improve in
2019-20 with an almost 10% increase being projected for the crop.
Estimates are about 79 lakh bales in 2019-20 against
72 lakh bales final estimate for 2018-19. Taken together with the opening
stock and imports, the total supply is estimated at 101.4 lakh bales against
97.4 lakh bales.
Although the crop estimates given by the various
agencies have differed, indications were that this year would be good for
jute farmers, a senior IJMA member told. At the meeting, the Director of the
Jute Development Directorate said that in 2019-20, the area coverage and
production would be normal and a crop size of 112 lakh bales was estimated.
The fibre is available after a long process called
retting which involves the extraction of the fibre from the plant through
washing and drying.
Farmers also got good prices, amid rumours of a crop
shortage in 2018-19, it was learnt. Jute mills, too, have consumed more (69
lakh bales against 68 lakh bales estimated earlier for 2018-19 by JAB) with
good order for foodgrain sacks, under the mandatory Jute Packaging Order.
RHCA meeting of World customs organisation concludes
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)
had organised a Conference of the Regional Heads of Customs Administration
of Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Kochi from
08th to 10th May, 2019. India hosted this Conference in its capacity as
Vice-Chair of the Asia Pacific Region of WCO which it assumed on 1st July,
2018 for a two-year period.
The Conference took stock of the progress made in
carrying forward the programmes and initiatives of WCO to promote,
facilitate and secure cross-border trade in the Region and the capacity
building and technical assistance required by Member Administrations to
achieve these goals.
In addition to the discussions on the strategic
priorities of the Asia Pacific Region, the Conference also deliberated on
the work programs of the Vice-Chair, ROCB & RILO, security related issues,
trade facilitation, e-commerce, performance measurement, trusted trader
programmes and emerging technological and logistical challenges in the
fields of trade facilitation and Customs Administrations. The Conference
also facilitated Bilateral Meetings between the Member States
Recognising the importance of the collaborative
approach between Customs and trade, a Trade Day was organised on 7th May,
2019 as a precursor to the Conference of the Regional Heads of Customs.
In the daylong deliberations, representatives from
trade & industry and think-tanks shared their insights and experiences that
are expected to shape the thinking of customs administrations of the region
in adopting policies and measures to promote trade facilitation and secure
global trade, and promote ethical leadership.
Former Maldives president calls for tight screening after
Mohameed Nasheed, former President of the Maldives,
has called for thorough screening of Islamic priests visiting the island
“While we are not certain if Zahran Hashim came to the
Maldives in 2016 as a preacher, we should screen well before allowing people
to come here posing as sheikhs and preachers,” he tweeted on Friday,
referring to the alleged mastermind of the Sri Lanka Easter attacks.
Following the incident, and subsequent reports of the
suspects’ movement in the region, security and intelligence agencies in the
neighbourhood have enhanced scrutiny of travellers. Sri Lanka has expelled
around 200 clerics for overstating their visas. Clarifying his tweet that
was in Dhivehi, the language of Maldivians, Mr. Nasheed told : “He [Zahran]
might have travelled under another name, but the point is that we should be
mindful in allowing preachers.”
Earlier, some reports indicated to Hashim’s likely
travel to the Maldives. However, the Maldives Immigration authorities
refuted the claim. An April 24 tweet from their official handle said:
“Maldives Immigration can confirm that, based on our records, the Sri Lankan
national known as Moulvi Zahran Hashim, involved in the Easter Sunday
terrorist attack in Sri Lanka. has not travelled to Maldives in the past
five years or even beyond that.”
The Maldives has remained on high alert since the
terror attacks shook Sri Lanka and is working on a coordinated response
mechanism, involving the military and police, to face any contingency. The
National Counter Terrorism Centre in identified 69 individuals who joined
In addition to developing a rehabilitation programme
for radicalised individuals, the government is closely monitoring potential
links that radicalised individuals might have with Islamist militant groups
abroad, according to Male-based official sources. Security forces and
Immigration have heightened scrutiny, though authorities have said no
imminent threat that has been detected.
India and Australia moves towards classified communication
Though the Australian Navy is, at present, “hanging
off” COMCASA — India’s secure communications agreement with the U.S. —
Australia and India are “moving forward” toward a classified-level
communications environment, a senior Australian Navy spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said COMCASA (the Communications
Compatibility and Security Agreement) was a “major step forward”, especially
for interactions between navies of two countries that are restricted to the
classified environment, for example, conversations on counter-terrorism.
“Now we will see India moving to classified
communications environment that one would see, for instance, in the Combined
Task Force 150, 151 and 152 operations [relating to counter-terrorism,
anti-piracy and maritime security], where there is a bunch of like-minded
countries that have a communications system that is operating at the
classified level, to be able to allow them to talk together,” the official
At the present juncture, communication in an
unclassified environment is part of an age-old tradition of ships meeting on
the high seas, the spokesperson added, though even in that space, there has
recently been an “evolution of authority to Indian Navy ships’ commanding
officers to be able to do passage exercises”.
Australian officials said that for a basic exchange of
pleasantries and identity, and then doing “some things together”, Indian
Navy commanding officers no longer must go back to New Delhi to get
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Bioremediation technique to contain arsenic contamination in
Several studies have pointed out that using
arsenic-contaminated water for agricultural purposes can lead to increased
concentration of arsenic in fruits and grains, proving toxic to humans.
The researchers studied the two bacteria under
different concentrations of arsenate and arsenite, the toxic forms of heavy
metal. Arsenic treatment did not stunt or delay the growth of both the
The bacterial strains were further scrutinised to
understand if they can help in plant growth too. In studies carried out in
the lab, both the bacteria were able to solubilise phosphorus. Phosphate
solubilising bacteria have been reported to increase phytoavailability of
phosphate, thus facilitating plant growth.
These two bacterial strains were also found to produce
siderophores and ACC deaminase enzyme. Siderophore increase the
bioavailability of iron and other metal ions in polluted soil environment
and ACC deaminase is a well known plant growth promoting enzyme.
These bacteria can live symbiotically in the roots of
plants in arsenic- contaminated soils and help them uptake the required
nutrients without causing toxicity.
Kiki Bertens wins Madrid open
Kiki Bertens beat Simona Halep 6-4, 6-4 to win the
2019 women's title in the Madrid Open tennis tournament.In the men's
competition, Novak Djokovic will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in today's men's
Barbara Strycova and Hsieh Su-Wei won the women's
doubles title, beating Dabrowski and Xu Yifan 6-3, 6-1 in the final.
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