Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 22 October 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 22 October 2019


Pakistan requests Indian army to not violate cease fire

  • Days after the Indian Army conducted artillery strikes on terror launchpads in PoK to destroy terrorist installations, the Pakistan Army requested the Indian Army through established channel of communication that no ceasefire violations should to be undertaken as journalists were visiting the LoC.

  • However, the Pakistani Army resorted to violating ceasefire and schoolchildren were left stranded in their schools at the Line of Control (LoC) due to the firing. This was even after Indian Army chose to respect the request made by Pakistani Army.

  • There were major protests in Muzaffarabad in PoK against the Pakistan government with people clashing with security personnel and raising slogans for freedom. This happened on a day when the Pakistani Army took diplomats and journalists to the LoC in PoK.

  • The Indian Army on Sunday destroyed four terror launchpads opposite the Tangdhar and Keran sectors in Jammu and Kashmir in retaliatory action. The counter-offensive resulted in the deaths of 6-7 terrorists and some Pakistani military personnel as well.

  • Pakistan however refused to acknowledge the damages caused to terror outfits and took foreign diplomats posted in Islamabad to the areas to show them the civilian localities that were destroyed and damaged in the shelling by Indian Army.

  • In a major counter-offensive after Pakistan's unprovoked firing, the Indian Army carried out heavy artillery strikes on Sunday, targeting four terror camps and several Pakistani military positions in Neelam Valley in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Centre confident of achieving universal immunisation soon

  • Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said, the Government will soon achieve its goal of Universal Immunization of children.

  • The Minister said that, at present, up to 90 per cent of children in India are being given free immunization, but the country's goal is to bring all children under the purview of the Universal Immunization Programme.

  • He was briefing the media in New Delhi today in the run-up to the government's celebration of the Pulse Polio Immunization Programme's Silver Jubilee, which will be held on the 31st of this month.

  • The Minister said that, in the early 90s, India saw over two lakh cases of polio annually, but, after the polio eradication programme was launched in 1994, India attained polio-free status over the course of the next two decade due to concentrated efforts and collaboration of the government, international partners, civil society, health workers and millions of volunteers.


India initiates probe into export of steel by Indonesia

  • India has initiated a probe into an alleged subsidised export of certain steel products by Indonesia, following complaints by domestic industry. The petitioners have alleged that the producers/exporters of certain steel products in Indonesia have benefited from the actionable subsidies provided at various levels by the Indonesian government.

  • The commerce ministry's investigation arm Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has started the probe to see whether the subsidy programmes are impacting the Indian industry.

  • If it is established that subsidies by Indonesia is impacting domestic industry, the DGTR would recommend the amount of countervailing duty, which if levied, would be adequate to remove the injury to the domestic industry.

  • Under the global trade rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a member country is allowed to impose anti-subsidy to countervailing duty if a product is subsidised by the government of its trading partner.

  • These duties are trade remedies to protect domestic industry. Subsidy on a product makes it competitive in price terms in other markets. Countries provide this to boost their exports.

  • India and Indonesia are members of the WTO. Indonesia is a major trading partner of India.The bilateral trade between the countries have increased to USD 21.12 billion in 2018-19 from USD 20.4 billion in the previous fiscal. Trade balance is in the favour of Indonesia.

India to invest heavily in digital business

  • India’s banking and securities sector is expected to continue to invest in digital business, with spends estimated to grow 9.1% to $11 billion in 2020, according to United States-headquartered multinational IT consultancy firm Gartner, Inc.

  • Banking and securities organisations are investing in emerging digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain to create new product offerings and also to respond to evolving customer demands.

  • Respondents to the 2019 global Gartner CIO Survey identified AI and machine learning as the leading game changing technologies at 27%, followed by data analytics, including predictive analytics, at 20%.

  • According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Digital Banking Transformation 2019, biometric technology will impact up to 20% of banking organisations in the next two to five years.

  • “In India, biometric technology adoption saw a boost after the introduction of Aadhaar, a unique 12-digit identification number that links citizens’ bank accounts to their biometric data and mobile numbers,” said Merji.

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Trudeau's Liberal Party wins elections in Canada

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party held onto power in a nail-biter of a Canadian General Election yesterday, but as a weakened minority government.

  • Television projections declared the Liberals winners or leading in 157 of the nation's 338 electoral districts, versus 121 for his main rival Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives, after polling stations across six time zones closed.

  • The 47-year-old former school teacher dominated Canadian politics over the four years of his first term but faced a grilling during the 40-day election campaign, which was described as one of the nastiest in Canadian history.

  • The Bloc Quebecois came back from a ruinous 2015 election result, tapping into lingering Quebec nationalism to take 32 seats, while the New Democratic Party (NDP) won 25 seats, according to projections.

  • NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, a leftist former criminal defence lawyer, is the first non-white leader of a federal political party in Canada, and will likely emerge as the kingmaker.

Turkish President holds talks with Russian counterpart

  • Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan is holding talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at the Black Sea resort of Sochi today.

  • The talks are taking place before a ceasefire between Turkish and Kurdish forces in northern Syria is set to expire. According to the Kremlin, Putin and Erdogan's talks will focus on normalising the situation in northeast Syria.

  • Meanwhile, Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan today warned Kurdish YPG militia to withdraw from areas in Syria ahead of the expiry of a five-day US-brokered ceasefire.

  • Speaking before his departure for the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Erdogan said he would discuss the fate of towns in northeastern Syria that forces loyal to Damascus had entered. The Kurdish YPG militia was expected to initially withdraw from a 120-kilometre strip of the border with Turkey as part of the deal.


Scientists develop catalyst that turns carbon dioxide to natural gas

  • The Engineers at the Stanford University have developed a new catalyst that helps to turn carbon dioxide from cars into fuels like propane or natural gas.

  • Catalysts induce chemical reactions without being used up in the reaction. In this new research scientists have combined ruthenium and iron oxide nano particles to form the new catalyst. The ruthenium nuggets sit in the core of the catalyst surrounded by an outer sheath of iron. This arrangement activates the hydrocarbon formation from Carbon-Dioxide.

  • The earlier methods invented so far have only produced the simplest hydrocarbon methane from effluents of vehicles. This method produces propane and other higher hydro carbons including natural gas. Also, earlier methods involve two steps of processes.

  • They first reduce carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide and then the second step involves combining carbon monoxide and hydrogen to form hydrocarbons.

  • It is a transition element belonging to platinum group of elements. It is gaining importance in the recent years after scientists discovered its electrical applications in contacts and thin film resistors. Since then the annual production of ruthenium from the platinum ores have increased from 19 tons in 2009 to 35.5 tons in 2017.


India clean sweeps test series against South Africa

  • India completed a 3-0 whitewash of South Africa with yet another comprehensive innings and 202 runs in the third and final Test played in Ranchi today.

  • South Africa were all out for 132 in their second innings after the follow on as the final two wickets taken by ShahbazNadeem fell without adding any runs to the overnight total.

  • South Africa were all out for 162 in the first innings after India declared at 497 for 9 in their first innings.MohammedShami took 3 for 10 runs while UmeshYadav and Nadeem finished with two wickets each.

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