Current Affairs a for IAS Exams - 26 APRIL 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 26 APRIL 2019


::NATIONAL::

Former SC judge to probe case against CJI

  •  The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed its former judge, Justice A.K. Patnaik, to probe the affidavits filed by a young lawyer that a larger conspiracy hatched by a powerful lobby of fixers, disgruntled court employees and corporate figures is at work to compromise the functioning of the highest judiciary.
  •  Justice Patnaik’s inquiry would focus on the material and affidavits provided by advocate Utsav Singh Bains, who claimed that a plot was on to target the judiciary, including Chief Justice of India RanjanGogoi.
  •  The Bench said Mr.Bains could not withhold any information from Justice Patnaik by claiming privilege. He had to come clean.
  •  Justice Patnaik would test Mr.Bains’ claim that he was approached by a person called ‘Ajay’ in early April. He was offered up to Rs. 1.5 crore to file a false case against the CJI. This man, the lawyer said, claimed to be a relative of the former Supreme Court staffer who has since levelled sexual harassment allegations against the Chief Justice.
  •  The Bench repeatedly clarified that the probe into the existence of a larger conspiracy would not eclipse the allegations of sexual harassment raised by the former employee, which are being examined separately by an in-house inquiry committee of three judges.
  •  “We make it clear that this inquiry shall not be with respect to the alleged misbehaviour involving Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India,” it said.

Centre to boost cell based meat production in India

  •  In what could be a boost for cell-based meat in India, the Centre has approved a Rs. 4.5 crore grant to two premier Hyderabad-based institutions for research into technology that involves growing animal cells in a laboratory to produce slaughter-free meat.
  •  The grant, from the Department of Biotechnology, is for an 18-month project, which will look into developing methods to cultivate stem cells from tissue samples of sheep, to produce mutton.
  •  The project will be carried out jointly by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), which operates under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the National Research Centre on Meat (NRCM), which was set up by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
  •  Announcing the development on Thursday, CCMB director Rakesh Mishra said that the funding was among the highest by any government in the short history of cell-based meat. “This funding has been given to CCMB to develop technology to take laboratory cell culture process to cell-based meat production,” he said. “This funding is one of the major initiatives by any government body across the world.”
  •  Proponents of cell-based meat claim that it is healthier for the planet by reducing land and water usage as well as for consumers. It could potentially do away with the need for modern factory-farming and issues such as animal cruelty, salmonella and e-coli infections and antibiotic-laced meat.\

::ECONOMY::

Near normal monsoons might be beneficial for agriculture

  •  This summer’s foodgrain production is likely to be higher than last year’s, according to the Agriculture Ministry targets for the kharif season, riding on the back of the Indian Meteorological Department’s forecast of a “near-normal” monsoon.
  •  Rice production this summer is expected to hit 102 million tonnes, while total foodgrain production is being pegged at 147.9 million tonnes, according to the Ministry’s presentation at its annual Kharif Conference on Thursday.
  •  These targets for kharif 2019 are higher than last year’s targets, as well as the actual output in 2018. Second advance estimates show foodgrain production touching 142.24 million tonnes in the 2018 kharif season, with rice output of 101.96 MT.
  •  The Ministry is also targeting a higher rabi or winter season harvest in 2019, with foodgrain production set at 143.2 MT.The wheat production target is marginally higher than last year’s target at 100.5 MT.
  •  Sugarcane production is likely to set a new record again this year, with the Ministry projecting a harvest of 385.5 MT, a jump from last year’s target of 355 MT.

Complaints to RBI ombudsman rises in 2018

  •  The number of complaints by bank customers to the Reserve Bank of India’s banking ombudsman increased by 24.9% in the financial year 2017-18 as compared to the previous year, the banking regulator said on Thursday.
  •  The major grounds of complaints received during the year were non-observance of fair practices code (22.1%), ATM and debit card issues (15.1%), credit card issues (7.7%), failure to meet commitments (6.8%), mobile and electronic banking (5.2%), the central bank said.
  •  A customer can approach the RBI’s ombusdman if the bank fails to resolve customer complaints in one month. The 21 offices of the banking ombudsman received 1,63,590 complaints in the year 2017-18.
  •  “Offices of banking ombudsman maintained a disposal rate of 96.5% as compared to 92.0% in the previous year,” RBI said.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Putin and Kim jongun holds first ever meeting

  •  Russia's Vladimir Putin and North Korea's Kim Jong Un met face-to-face for the first time on Thursday and vowed to seek closer ties.
  • The meeting was held at Russia's Pacific port city of Vladivostok.
  •  In brief statements before their meeting, both men said they were looking to strengthen ties that date back to the Soviet Union's support for the founder of North Korea, Kim's grandfather Kim Il Sung.
  •  Mr. Putin told North Korean leader Kim that he supports ongoing efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and wants to boost economic ties.
  •  Addressing a press conference following talks, Putin said he was not sure about resuming six-party talks on North Korean denuclearisation at this point. He, however, noted that such a format might be useful in providing Pyongyang with international security guarantees.
  •  Six-party talks on North Korean de-nuclearization started back in 2003. The talks involve China, Japan, Russia, the US along with North Korea and South Korea. The last round of such talks took place in 2007.
  •  Thursday's meeting was Kim's first one-on-one talks with another head of state since returning from his Hanoi summit with US President Donald Trump, which broke down without a deal on North Korea's nuclear arsenal in February.

ABU media summit underway in Kathmandu

  •  5th Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) Media Summit on Climate Action and Disaster Preparedness began in Kathmandu on Thursday.\
  •  The theme of the two-day summit is “Media Solutions for Sustainable Future: Saving Lives, Building Resilient Communities”.
  •  Nepal’s Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota inaugurated the summit. The basic aim of the summit is to address the issue of fully utilizing media’s potential of accelerating climate action and disaster preparedness and connect stakeholders to media professionals for collaboration and joint practical projects.
  •  According to ABU, over 200 participants including political leaders, representatives of UN agencies and NGOs, climate change and disaster management experts, scientists and media persons are attending the event.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

WHO worried on low levels of immunisation

  •  Despite immunisation being one of the most successful and cost-effective means to help children grow into healthy adults, worldwide 12.9 million infants nearly 1 in 10 did not receive any vaccination in 2016.
  •  The figures released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) during the ongoing immunisation week added that this means infants missed the first dose of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine putting them at serious risk of these potentially fatal diseases.
  •  What is worrying, says WHO, is the fact that “global vaccination coverage remains at 85%, with no significant changes during the past few years. An additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global immunisation coverage improves.”
  •  Over the years, the positive trend “has been the increasing uptake of new and underused vaccines”. In fact, according to WHO in 2017, the number of children immunised 116.2 million was the highest-ever reported. Since 2010, 113 countries have introduced new vaccines, and more than 20 million additional children have been vaccinated.
  •  Immunisation prevents illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases including cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus.
  •  An estimated 169 million children missed out on the first dose of the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017, UNICEF said.

::SPORTS::

Indian shooters win gold at ISSF world cup

  •  In Shooting, India opened its medal account with gold each in 10 metres Air Rifle Mixed Team and 10 metres Air Pistol Mixed team events on the third day of ISSF World Cup in Beijing on Thursday.
  •  Young shooters Manu Bhaker and SaurabhChaudhary took the top spot in the 10 metres Air Pistol Mixed Team event after AnjumMoudgil and Divyansh Singh Panwar opened the country's gold account in the 10 metres Air Rifle Mixed Team event.
  •  Bhaker and Chaudhary outshot Jiang Ranxin and Pang Wei of China 16-6 in the final, which was held in the new format wherein top two teams battled for the gold medal.

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