Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 September 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 September 2019


Press council issues guidelines to report cases of mental illness and suicides

  •  The Press Council of India (PCI) has issued guidelines for the reporting of cases of suicide and mental illness.
  •  Under the guidelines, set forth in a press release issued on Friday, the PCI said that while reporting mental illness, “the media shall not publish photograph or any other information of the person undergoing treatment at a mental health establishment without the consent of the person.”
  •  As for suicide cases, the PCI adopted certain guidelines from the World Health Organization’s Preventing suicide: a resource for media professionals-2017.
  •  The PCI said newspapers and news agencies must not “place stories about suicide prominently and unduly repeat such stories”.
  •  PCI secretary Anupama Bhatnagar said this was the first time the PCI had come up with such guidelines. “Now that the guidelines have been adopted by the PCI, they have become part of journalistic conduct,” Ms. Bhatnagar said. Anyone could lodge a complaint with the PCI about the violation of these guidelines.
  •  Lakshmi Vijayakumar, development psychiatrist and founder of Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre in Chennai, said: “Now that the guidelines have been put in place, it is our duty, as medical professionals and citizens, to function as watchdogs and ensure that the guidelines are implemented. It is also incumbent on the media to adhere to the guidelines.”

Survey of India plans to map country using drones

  •  India’s oldest scientific department, the Survey of India (SoI) — historically tasked with mapping the country will for the first time rely on drones to map the country.
  •  Other than unprecedented detail, a consequence of the mapping will be creating high resolution maps of land in villages facilitating the digitisation of land titles in villages, according to officials involved with the survey.
  •  The aim is to map 75% of India’s geography— about 2.4 million sq km of the 3.2 million sq km within the next two years. The organisation aims to procure about 300 drones so far about 30 have been sourced for the gargantuan exercise. However forests, hills and deserts are likely to be left out.
  •  A major consequence of the drone-based exercise will be the mapping of settled habitations in villages (called abaadi areas in legal parlance). Based on the availability of accurate maps, residents will finally be able to get property cards as well as proper legal titles to their lands.
  •  “This is unprecedented in the history of independent India and we’ve already executed a project in Maharashtra,” said Mr. Kumar.


Exports contract by 6 % and trade deficit widens

  •  India’s exports contracted 6.05% in August to $26.13 billion, official data released on Friday showed. The trade deficit widened marginally to $13.45 billion.
  •  The sectors that saw notable contraction in their exports include rice (-23.95%), other cereals (-41.8%), oil meals (-44.4%), and oil seeds (-31.8%). Iron ore exports, notably, grew by a whopping 356.7%.
  •  “Imports in August 2019 were $39.58 billion (₹2,81,606.41 crore), which was 13.45% lower in dollar terms and 11.46% lower in rupee terms over imports of $45.73 billion (₹3,18,043.86 crore) in August 2018.”
  •  The major commodity groups that saw a contraction in imports in August include coal, coke and briquettes (-23.75%), organic and inorganic chemicals (-14.95%), petroleum, crude and products (-8.9%), electrical and non-electrical machinery (-8.8%), and electronic goods (-4.12%).
  •  The contraction in both exports and imports has meant that the trade deficit has widened only marginally in August from the $13.43 billion in the previous month.

HRD ministry brings in bill to register Engineers and follow ethics code

  •  Soon, engineers will have to register with a body to be able to practise their trade. A Bill to that effect is taking shape under the aegis of the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  •  The first draft of the Bill has been submitted to the Ministry, which has recommended changes. It has been suggested having a council to register engineers on the lines of those that exist for lawyers, doctors and pharmacists. The Bill has been drafted by a committee constituted by the AICTE.
  •  The suggestion for a Bill came from E. Sreedharan, architect of the Delhi Metro Rail, who mooted a code of ethics and a council.
  •  AICTE chairman Anil D. Sahasrabuddhe told that the committee had handed over its recommendations. “Right now, it is in the discussion stage. Some changes are required. It will take some time,” he said.
  •  “The basic idea is like lawyers, architects, pharmacists and medical practitioners, engineers should get registered and there must be professional ethics and code which they all have to follow. If they don’t follow, their registration can get cancelled.”

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Tunisia to hold their second elections after 2011 unrest

  •  Tunisia is holding its second free presidential election since the 2011 uprising that toppled former president Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring.
  •  Today, the first round of voting will take place. The second round, if needed, will be on September 22.
  •  The presidential vote was due to take place later in the autumn following parliamentary elections, but was abruptly brought forward after the death of the incumbent, Béji Caïd Essebsi, in July.
  •  A candidate needs a majority of votes to win the election. If no-one gets a majority in the first round, the two candidates with most votes will face a second, decisive round.
  •  Twenty-six candidates, including two women, are running in the election. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in October.

Iran signs to develop gas field in the gulf

  •  Iran signed a $440 million contract on Saturday with local company Petropars to develop the Belal gas field in the Gulf, Iranian state television reported, saying the country's vital energy sector was active despite U.S. sanctions.
  •  “This contract and other upcoming contracts show that we are working under the sanctions. The sanctions have not stopped us and we are active,” Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said at the signing ceremony in remarks carried by state TV.
  •  Under the deal signed with a subsidiary of the state-run National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Petropars is to produce 500 million cubic feet per day of gas, state TV said.
  •  Belal, a field shared with Qatar, straddles the maritime boundary between Iran and Qatar in the Gulf.
  •  U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers last year and reimposed sanctions in an effort to curb Tehrans missile and nuclear programmes and the Islamic Republics influence in the West Asia, notably its support for armed groups in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.


Scientists develop new alternatives to silicon diodes

  •  Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune have fabricated a non-silicon, organic–inorganic hybrid diode that not only shows high electrical conductivity but also high current rectification ratio.
  •  The current rectification ratio obtained is comparable with commercial silicon diodes. A diode allows current to flow in only one direction.
  •  In the case of silicon diodes, the current rectification ratio is in the order of 105-108, where 106 denotes one million times. The team led by Nirmalya Ballav from the Department of Chemistry at IISER Pune was able to achieve current rectification ratio close to one million times.
  •  Since the coordination polymer is less conducting and almost behaves like an insulating material, the researchers doped it with a redox-active molecule. The top portion of the coordination polymer is doped while the bottom portion is not. The doped top layer becomes highly conductive. The doped and undoped portions together behave like a p–n junction diode.
  •  The coordination polymers with a modular approach of inorganic and organic layers could make diodes or transistors not only cheaper but also add value in the emerging scenario of flexible electronics, says Prof. Ballav, who has filed a patent application.


Pankaj Advani wins world billiards title

  •  One of India's most consistent sportspersons, Pankaj Advani, today increased his tally of world titles to 22 by winning a fourth straight final in the 150-up format at the IBSF World Billiards Championship in Myanmar. Pankaj Advani defeated Nay Thway of Myanmar.
  •  The 34-year-old has brought home a world trophy every year ever since returning from a professional stint in the UK in 2014. In the short format of billiards, this is Advani's fifth title in the last six years.

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