Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 June 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 June 2019


::NATIONAL::

Supreme court to consider petition seeking security forces in government hospitals

  • The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea seeking to depute government-appointed uniformed security personnel at all government hospitals across the country for ensuring the safety and security of doctors.

  • A vacation Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant posted the hearing of the petition, filed by advocate AlakhAlokSrivastava in the wake of a nation-wide protest by doctors against violence against them, for Tuesday.

  • Mr.Srivastava stated that the strike was called by West Bengal doctors in protest against the assault on a junior doctor at NRS Hospital in Kolkata by relatives of a patient who died in the hospital. “Due to the protests, healthcare services in the country have been badly disrupted and many people are dying because of absence of doctors,” the plea said.

  • He said that as per a study conducted by the IMA, more than 75% of doctors across the country had faced some form of violence. “This study concluded that 50% violent incidents took place in the intensive care units of hospitals and in 70% of the cases, the relatives of the patients were involved,” he said

  • Mr.Srivastava sought a direction to the government to formulate guidelines to ensure the safety of doctors. He sought the “strictest legal and penal action against the attackers of junior doctors at NRS Medical College”.

India to host COP14 session of UNCCD in september

  • India for the first time will host the 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP-14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in September.

  • It will see participation from at least 5,000 delegates from nearly 197 countries and will be held between September 2 and 14 in Delhi, Union Environment Minister PrakashJavadekar said.

  • Ahead of the COP-14, Mr.Javadekar launched a flagship project, part of a larger international initiative called the Bonn Challenge, to enhance India’s capacity for forest landscape restoration (FLR).

  • India faces a severe problem of land degradation, or soil becoming unfit for cultivation. A 2016 report by the Indian Space Research Organisation found that about 29% of India’s land (in 2011-13) was degraded, this being a 0.57% increase from 2003-05.

  • At the previous edition of the COP, India had committed to restore 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by the year 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares by 2030.

  • The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land under restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.

::ECONOMY::

Jet airways to be taken to NCLT by bank led consortium

  • State Bank of India-led consortium of lenders today decided to send the grounded Jet Airways to the National Company Law of Tribunal (NCLT) as they have not yet received any concrete proposal for the airline.

  • The SBI in a statement issued in Mumbai said after due deliberations, the lenders have decided to seek resolution for Jet Airways under the bankruptcy code since only a conditional bid was received. The statement said the move was necessitated as the prospective investor wants some Sebi exemption deal which can be worked out better under the IBC.

  • On June 10, two operational creditors--Shaman Wheels and Gaggar Enterprises-- had moved the NCLT seeking bankruptcy proceedings and on June 13 the tribunal put off the matter for further hearing to June 20. The tribunal asked these parties to serve legal notices to the grounded Jet Airways.

  • The airline, which was grounded on April 17, owes Rs 8.74 crore to Shaman Wheels and Rs 53 lakh to Gaggar. Jet Airways owes more than Rs 8,000 crore to a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India, which now run the airline, while it has a much larger debt pile by way of accumulated losses to the tune of Rs 13,000 crore and vendor dues of over Rs 10,000 crore and salary dues of over Rs 3,000 crore.

India ensures commitment to curb circulation of conflict diamonds

  • India has committed to play an active role to curb the circulation of ‘conflict diamonds’ or ‘blood diamonds’ in the international market by further strengthening the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

  • “The 4Cs [cut, clarity, colour and carat] of diamond may soon be expanded to 5Cs with the fifth C being ‘conflict-free’. And the 5Ps of diamond marketing [precious, popular, prestige, priceless] will include ‘peace’ diamonds,” Mr.AlokVardhanChaturvedi, India KP Chair and Director General, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)said.

  • KPCS Intersessional Meeting is an annual mid-year event of KPCS, which unites administrations, civil societies and diamond industry to reduce the flow of conflict diamonds used to finance wars against governments around the world, mostly in African countries. India is the KP chair for 2019.

  • Mr.Chaturvedi said that ‘blood’ or ‘conflict’ diamonds had been almost excluded from global trade and now account for only 2%. Every rough diamond is accompanied by a certificate confirming its non-conflict origin, and export-import procedures in most of the countries are now subject to rigorous control.

  • Noting that the Kimberley Process (KP) had improved the lives of most people dependent on the industry, he said that India was committed to making this process stronger.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Israel PM calls for sanctions if Iran violates nuclear deal

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today that Iran should be immediately hit with sanctions if it surpasses a uranium stockpile limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal.

  • Speaking at a ceremony in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said he was not surprised by Iran's declared intention to increase its uranium enrichment beyond the deal.

  • Iran's atomic energy organisation spokesman BehrouzKamalvandi has said that his country intended to surpass the 300-kilogram reserve of enriched uranium in 10 days, but would reverse the move once other parties live up to their commitment.

  • Iran denies its nuclear programme has military aspects. Its arch-enemy Israel is believed to be the Middle East's sole nuclear power but it has long refused to confirm or deny that it has such weapons.

Xi Jinping to visit North Korea ahead of G20 summit

  • Xi Jinping will make the first trip to North Korea by a Chinese President in 14 years this week, state media said on Monday, as Beijing tightens relations with Pyongyang amid tensions with the United States.

  • Mr. Xi will visit Pyongyang on Thursday and Friday at the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said Chinese broadcaster CCTV.

  • The timing is likely to raise eyebrows at the White House as it comes one week before the G20 summit in Japan, where U.S. President Donald Trump expects to meet with Mr. Xi to discuss their protracted trade war.

  • Less than an hour after the trip’s announcement, a “suspected explosion” caused a small, 1.3-magnitude earthquake in northeast China, near the border of North Korea.

  • Mr. Xi’s visit will be the first trip there by a Chinese President since Hu Jintao went in 2005. “China-DPRK relations have opened a new chapter,” CCTV said, adding that Mr. Xi and Mr. Kim have reached a “series of important consensus” in past meetings.

  • Mr. Xi and Mr. Kim will “push for new progress” in a political resolution of the Korean peninsula issue, according to CCTV, which cited an unnamed official.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Study reveals bitcoin usage leading to high CO2 emissions

  • The use of cryptocurrencyBitcoin emits 22 megatonnes of carbon dioxide annually, comparable to the emissions of cities such as Las Vegas and Vienna, says a study.

  • Researchers in Germany carried out the most detailed calculation of the carbon footprint of the Bitcoin system to date. For a Bitcoin transfer to be executed and validated, a mathematical puzzle must be solved by an arbitrary computer in the global Bitcoin network. The network, which anyone can join, rewards the puzzle solvers in Bitcoin.

  • The computing capacity used in this process — known as Bitcoin mining has increased rapidly in recent years.

  • Statistics show that it quadrupled in 2018 alone.Consequently, the Bitcoin boom raises the question of whether the cryptocurrency is imposing an additional burden on the climate.

::SPORTS::

Djokovic and Naomi Osaka maintains top spots in world rankings

  • Japan's Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic of Serbia continue as World Number ones in the latest WTA and ATP rankings announced today. The rankings were announced ahead of Wimbledon which is just two weeks away.

  • Naomi Osaka is just 252 points ahead of world No.2 Ashleigh Barty of Australia in unchanged top 20 WTA rankings. Osaka and French Open winner Ashleigh Barty are playing on grass in Birmingham this week in preparation for the Wimbledon.

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