Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 May 2019
Centre issue drought advisory to states
- Centre has issued a drought advisory to Maharashtra, Gujarat,
Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu and asked them to use
water judiciously as water storage in dams dropping to a critical level.
- A member of the Central Water Commission S K Haldar said that the
advisory was issued to Tamil Nadu today and similar cautionary letters were
sent to other states late last week.
- The drought advisory is issued to states when the water level in
reservoirs is 20 per cent less than the average of live water storage
figures of the past 10 years.
- Central Water Commission monitors water storage available in 91
major reservoirs across the country. According to the figures released on
Thursday, the total water storage available is 22 per cent of total storage
capacity of these reservoirs.
EC takes exception to media reports on poll codes
- The Election Commission has taken a serious exception to media
reports about its internal functioning with respect to handling the Model
Code of Conduct.
- The commission described the reports as unsavoury and avoidable
controversy. It said this has come at a time when all Chief Electoral
Officers throughout the country and senior officers of the Commission have
been working their utmost ahead of the last phase of election and counting.
- In a statement issued in New Delhi today, the Commission said its
three members are not expected to be template or clones of each other. It
also recalled that there have been so many times in the past when there has
been a vast diversion of views as it can and should be.
- The Chief Election Commissioner said that he has never shied away
from a public debate whenever required but there is a time for everything.
- In its meeting recently, it was unanimously decided that some
groups shall be formed to deliberate the issues which arose in the course of
the conduct of Lok Sabha Elections this time and the Model Code of Conduct
is one of them.
Finance commission advisory council meeting held
- The third meeting of the Advisory Council of the 15th Finance
Commission was held in New Delhi today.
- During the meeting, the Council Members were d by the Commission
on the progress made in terms of State Visits by the Commission and
consultations with the RBI, bankers and financial institutions.
- Besides, issues of Public Sector Borrowing Requirement, issues
concerning GST and its implementation, transparency in publishing accounting
data related to debt and deficit, interest rates and private investments
were also discussed in detail.
- According to an official release, views of the members were sought
on the possible scenario for macro variables like GDP projections.
- Views of the Members were sought on possible scenario for macro
variables like GDP projections and economic outlook during the award period
of the Commission i.e.2020-21 to 2024-25. The meeting also analysed a
presentation made by Dr. Sajjid Z. Chinoy on Public Sector Borrowing
Requirement, in today’s meeting.
Government’s effort to privatise Air India’s ground handling arm halted
- The government’s effort to privatise Air India Air Transport
Services Ltd., Air India’s ground handling arm, has run into a stone wall,
with potential bidders raising concerns over the Airport Authority of
India’s plan to award ground-handling work at 76 of its airports to vendors.
This, according to them, could impact the value of the entity up for sale.
- The deadline for bids for 98% stake sale for AIATSL has been
extended twice since February 12, when the tender was floated. The original
deadline for submission of bids was on February 26, which was first extended
to May 26, was pushed further to June 16.
- Ground handling agencies such as Bird Group, Celebi Aviation
Holding, and Bhadra said that high royalties of up to 226% offered by
bidders short-listed by AAI would have to be matched by the new buyer of
AIATSL to provide services, which will make the entity unviable.
- Uncertainty over Air India’s future and whether the new buyer of
AIATSL would have assured business from the airline and its subsidiaries as
well as grand-father rights at airports enjoyed by it so far, are also among
the concerns raised by potential bidders.
- The delay in privatising AIATSL is a setback for the government
which hopes to use the proceeds from the stake sale of different
subsidiaries of Air India to partially pay off its debt of 55,000 crore.
U.S allows missiles sales to South Korea and Japan
- United States has approved more than 600 million dollar in sales
of air defense missiles to South Korea and Japan as tensions return with
- The State Department yesterday said it had approved 94 SM-2
missiles used by ships against air threats, along with 12 guidance systems
for a total cost of 313.9 million dollar.
- It separately gave the green light to sell 160 anti-air AMRAAM
missiles and related guidance equipment to Japan for 317 million dollar.
- A State Department statement said that the sales will support the
US foreign policy and national security objectives by assisting key allies
and will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
Taiwan becomes first Asian country to legalise same sex marriages
- Taiwan’s Parliament legalised same-sex marriage on Friday in a
landmark first for Asia as the government survived a last-minute attempt by
conservatives to pass watered-down legislation.
- Lawmakers comfortably passed a Bill allowing same-sex couples to
form “exclusive permanent unions” and another clause that would let them
apply for a “marriage registration” with government agencies.
- The vote which took place on the International Day Against
Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is a major victory for the island’s
LGBT community and it places the island at the vanguard of Asia’s burgeoning
gay rights movement.
- Thousands of gay rights supporters gathered outside Parliament
despite heavy downpours, waving rainbow flags, flashing victory signs and
breaking into cheers as the news filtered out.
- Two years ago, Taiwan’s top court ruled that not allowing same-sex
couples to marry violates the Constitution, with judges giving the
government until May 24 to make the changes or see marriage equality enacted
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Doctors warn of fake treatments spreading in social media
- Indian oncologists are increasingly battling unscientific miracle
treatments for cancer shared widely on social media. On Thursday, Mumbai’s
Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) issued a rebuttal on a strange cancer remedy
attributed to them in a widely circulated WhatsApp message, which stated
that hot coconut water can destroy cancer cells of all types.
- “There is no data to suggest that hot coconut water can provide
cures for any type of cancer. Public are requested not to be misinformed by
such false and harmful messages sent on social media,” read a statement
issued by the TMC’s director Dr. Rajendra Badwe.
- This is the second time that the Institute has issued an official
clarification on a social media message. Last year, a fake health warning on
WhatsApp linked breast cancer to wearing a black bra in a message attributed
to the TMC. “This is being repeated often. We thought it was necessary for
us to clarify,” Dr. Badwe told, adding that social media is not a place
where medical treatment and solutions should be discussed. “It is not the
right forum,” he said.
- “We see so many patients who give the history of attempting to
treat small lesions using cow urine and other such unscientific remedies. By
the time they come to us, their cancers are advanced,” said Dr. Sourav Datta,
of head and neck cancer specialist at Kolkata’s Narayana Superspeciality
South Korea abandons 2023 Asian football stage bid
- South Korea has abandoned its bid to stage football's Asian Cup in
2023, leaving the sole other bidders China with a free run to become hosts.
- The Korea Football Association (KFA) said in a statement it had
pulled out to strategically focus on a joint bid with North Korea to host
the Women's World Cup in the same year.
- Seoul's Asian Cup withdrawal means that China should on June 4 be
confirmed by the Asian Football Confederation as hosts of the nations
championship finals for the second time.
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