Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 August 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 August 2019


::NATIONAL::

CJI says Supreme court is in no hurry to deal with Ayodhya case

  • Chief Justice of India RanjanGogoi, heading the Constitution Bench hearing the Ayodhya appeals, said on Tuesday that the Supreme Court is not in a hurry. Lawyers need not feel constrained and can argue to their heart’s content.

  • The top judge said lawyers on both sides could raise their arguments as and how they like, no matter how long they take.

  • The CJI’s words signify the importance the court is giving to the appeals. These appeals had previously been pending unheard in the court for the past nine years. The Bench is now hearing them five days a week, morning till evening.

  • His clarification came after senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, for the Muslim parties, complained that the court was allowing the Hindu side to argue for days without producing a shred of evidence or exhibit to fortify their claim over Ramjanmabhoomi.

  • The Chief Justice said Mr.Dhavan can read through the entire text of exhibits and evidence if required and the court would fully cooperate.

  • Meanwhile,Justice D.Y. Chandrachud questioned the “world view” of many Hindus presented by Mr.Vaidyanathan with another. “There are two views coming across — one, as you say, the place itself personifies god. The other that the Janmabhumi is a place of worship. How do you balance both views?” he asked.

  • He said the mere fact that a mosque was put up would not make Ramjanmabhumi less of a deity. Even if some people come to pray (at the mosque) they cannot claim title over the deity.

Election commission to begin delimitation process

  • As the Election Commission held internal discussions on the delimitation of constituencies ahead of elections to the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, former Chief Election Commissioner and ex-officio member of the Delimitation Commission N. Gopalaswami said the increase in the number of seats was “an issue which is a political decision of Parliament”.

  • He said the total population would be divided over the 114 seats to get an average number of electors per constituency. The boundaries of the constituencies would then be drawn while ensuring that administrative units are not split as far as possible.

  • According to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the UT of J&K would be increased from 107 to 114. The Act also specifies that delimitation will be based on the 2011 census till 2026.

  • Sources in the government were very clear that the EC will be asked to commence the delimitation exercise soon.The BJP has been the first off the block, telling its State unit to prepare for polls.

  • The party is also doing a large scale outreach to the scheduled tribe Gujjar-Bakarwal communities, to ensure their support. The changes in the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir are set to signal a seismic shift in local politics in the new Union Territory.

::ECONOMY::

Sensex witnesses second record low of 2019

  • The Sensex losses were led by the HDFC pack — HDFC Bank and HDFC — along with banking and auto majors such as Yes Bank, M&M, Bajaj Finance and Maruti Suzuki India among others.

  • RIL was the saviour for the benchmark on Tuesday as the diversified conglomerate, which has the second-highest weightage in the Sensex, gained over 12% in intraday trades on the back of a slew of announcements it made at its annual general meeting on Monday.

  • Shares of RIL finally settled at 1,275, up 9.72%, thereby contributing nearly 360 points to the Sensex, which still closed deep in the red as 28 of its constituents lost ground.

  • The weakness in equity markets spilled into the currency markets with the rupee plunging to a six-month low against the dollar amid uncertainties gripping the global market and a crash in the Argentine currency.

  • The rupee ended 0.87% or 62 paise weaker against the dollar to close the day at 71.40.

  • The rupee opened at 71.15, touched a high of 71.02 and a low of 71.40 against the dollar.Argentina’s peso plunged on Monday after the country’s centre-right leader Mauricio Macri performed poorly in primary elections.

Centre to hold talks with Tea cultivator associations

  • Days after the Indian Tea Association (ITA) sent a distress signal through newspaper advertisements, the Centre has called for a meeting of all stakeholders to discuss issues pertaining to the sector.

  • The ITA, the apex industry association — accounting for a majority of the tea produced in the organised sector — had inserted an advertisement, highlighting the crisis and seeking government intervention.

  • More than 80% of the ITA members, with estates in Assam and West Bengal, had incurred losses in 2018-19 and were preparing for losses during the first quarter of this fiscal.

  • While the costs have ballooned to almost Rs. 200 per kg, the average selling prices have remained flat at about Rs. 160 per kg between 2013-14 and 2018-19,

  • The industry also feels that production needs to be regulated in order to boost prices. “The unhealthy demand-supply situation is one of the main reasons for stagnating prices,” said VinayGoenka chairman, ITA and executive chairman, Warren Tea.

  • However, sector experts felt a section of the industry, too, had failed. “One major reason is that this industry failed to reinvent itself and continued with the same old cultural practices and selling procedures similar to what was being done 100 years ago,” said N. Laxmanan, a senior Nilgiris tea planter.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

UNHRC to conduct impartial probe in HongKong

  • The United Nations Rights Chief MichelleBachelet today voiced concern over force used against protesters during massive demonstrations in Hong Kong and called for an impartial probe amid increasingly violent unrest in the key financial hub.

  • Spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva that UN rights office had reviewed credible evidence of law enforcement officials employing less-lethal weapons in ways that are prohibited by international norms and standards.

  • He pointed to the firing of tear gas cannisters into crowded, enclosed areas and directly at individual protesters on multiple occasions, creating a considerable risk of death or serious injury.

  • Colvile said UN rights office was urging Hong Kong authorities to investigate all such incidents immediately.

Indian donates 1 million to UN special purpose fund

  • India has contributed one million US Dollars to the United Nations Special Purpose Trust Fund for the Resident Coordinator System. India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin tweeted yesterday that India is happy to tangibly contribute to reform of the UN Development system.

  • According to the UN information, Special Purpose Trust Fund (SPTF) is a specific fund housed within the UN Secretariat, established to receive, consolidate, manage all contributions and financial transactions of the new Resident Coordinator system in a transparent and effective way.

  • SPTF web portal, displays in real time all commitments, contributions and expenditures recorded for the fund.

  • Funding sources include voluntary contributions from the Member States, the doubling of cost-sharing amounts from the UN entities who are members of the United Nations development system and a one per cent levy applied to contributions for UN development related activities earmarked to a single agency, single programme or project.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

PalaniPanchamirtham gets GI tag

  • The famous Palanipanchamirtham, a ‘prasadam’ at the Murugan temple in Palani, has been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.This is the first time a temple ‘prasadam’ from Tamil Nadu has been bestowed with the GI tag.

  • The Palanipanchamirtham is a combination of five natural substances — banana, jaggery, cow ghee, honey and cardamom. Dates and diamond sugar candies are added for flavour.

  • The panchamirtham is an ‘abhishegaprasadam’ (food that is a religious offering), which is served in a semi-solid state. It is sweet in taste and one of the main offerings for Lord DhandayuthapaniSwamy, the presiding deity of ArulmiguDhandayuthapaniSwamy Temple, situated on Palani Hills. Not even a single drop of water is added during the preparation of the panchamirtham.

  • As per the GI application, the geographical area for production of panchamirtham is Palani town in Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu.

  • According to the GI application filed, the Palanipanchamirtham is prepared under the guidance given by the CFTRI (Central Food Technological Research Institute) Mysore, a government of India undertaking.

  • The whole process of producing the panchamirtham is automated. It is doubly ensured that the hygienic aspects are maintained. Devotees who visit the temple are offered the panchamirtham as a prasadam in the hill temple as well as in stalls run by temple administration at Adivaram.

::SPORTS::

Women’s cricket included in commonwealth games 2022

  • In a piece of big news for cricketing fans around the world, the Commonwealth Games Federation today announced that women's T20 Cricket has been confirmed for inclusion at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022.

  • Eight teams will compete across eight match days, as cricket returns to the Commonwealth Games for the first time since 1998 when South Africa won the gold medal in a men's 50-over format competition in Kuala Lumpur.

  • Edgbaston, the venue of England's semi-final victory over Australia in the men's 50-over World Cup, will play host to all the matches. The 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place in England from 27th July to 7th August.

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