Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 4 NOVEMBER 2018


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 4 NOVEMBER 2018


::NATIONAL::

Cracker sales soars even after supreme court order

• Notwithstanding the restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court, Deepavali might continue to be noisy in the city as fire cracker sales have soared by 30 per cent this week.

• With just four days left for the festival of lights to dawn, Dhoolpet traders who expected a fall in sales said the judgment came too late for it to have an effect immediately.

• Hyderabad city police have not issued any directions to residential associations to enforce the SC verdict that restricts the use of firecrackers between 8 and 10 pm on Deepavali day. Hyderabad police commissionerate, however, had issued instructions to general public requesting them to follow the SC order.

• The traders said most of them had also taken permission from respective police commissionerates to sell crackers. According to the SC judgment only licensed traders should sell fire crackers. “With elections round the corner, Deepavali will be grand affair this year. So our sales have also improved compared to last year,” said Devendra Dalal, Joint Secretary of Telangana firecracker sellers’ association which has 120 licensed members.

• In several residential areas, Deepavali preparations have not included a bid to restrict the use of crackers. “We expected the police officers to visit localities to create awareness among residents. But this has not happened and this Deepavali too will go on as usual with people bursting crackers when they please,” said Ajay Gupta, secretary of a welfare association.

Kashmir struck by heavy snowfall

• Kashmir witnessed an early spell of snowfall this year on Saturday, forcing closure of all three major highways connecting the Valley with rest of the country. Air traffic was also stopped.

• “Moderate to heavy snowfall of 1.5 feet was reported in Kashmir Valley, with highest snow formation in upper reaches and passes like Zojila. It’s the fourth time in the past two decades that Kashmir witnessed snowfall in November,” said Sonam Lotus, who heads the meteorological department in Srinagar.

• The three main highways — Jammu-Srinagar, Poonch-Srinagar and Kargil-Srinagar — were closed, cutting off the valley from the rest of India. The Leh-Manali-Zanskar route was also closed due to the snowfall. Over 100 stranded passengers were rescued from the Mughal Road, connecting the Pir Panjal valley with Srinagar.

• Air traffic was also suspended after snow accumulated on the runway at the airport in capital Srinagar. Seven Srinagar-bound flights were cancelled.Authorities have set up emergency control rooms across the valley “to meet any eventuality”.

• Srinagar recorded a day temperature of 6.3° Celsius, a dip of 13° from normal, sparking a cold wave. “There will be gradual improvement in the weather from Sunday,” said Mr. Lotus.

• Snowfall also affected power supply in Srinagar. Chief Engineer of the Power Development Department Hashmat Qazi said the snowfall resulted in trees, with thick foliage, “coming down heavily on electrical lines, damaging most of the 33KV lines.”

::ECONOMY::

CCI to hold national conference on public procurement & competition law

• A ‘National Conference on Public Procurement & Competition Law’ is being organised by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in Delhi on 5th November, 2018 with a view to scale up Competition Advocacy and reach out to important stakeholders in public procurement ecosystem.

• The National Conference is being organised in association with Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), a think tank under the aegis of Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

• Ahead of the National Conference, CCI Chairperson Shri Sudhir Mital said that the National Conference is a unique initiative of the Commission which provides a platform to various stakeholders to engage in an active discussion with the policymakers and the industry on various aspects of competition law and public procurement.

• He further added that infusing competition and checking anti-competitive conduct in public procurement is a priority for the CCI.

• The National Conference will be attended by senior policy makers from Central Government, various State Governments, participants from the public sector enterprises, industry, legal and finance professionals, corporate lawyers, academics, and other relevant stakeholders.

• The first session will be on Infusing Competition in Public Procurement and will be chaired by Shri Karan Avtar Singh, Chief Secretary, Govt. of Punjab, and the second session will be on bid-igging, cartels and leniency and will be chaired by Shri Augustine Peter, Member, CCI. The open house sessions will be followed up by a wrap up session by Smt. Smita Jhingran, Secretary, CCI.

National Seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business Development held

• Minister of State for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik and Minister of State for Culture and Environment and Forest Dr. Mahesh Sharma addressed the inaugural session of the two day ‘National Seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business Development in Ayurveda’ today.

• This seminar is being organised by Ministry of AYUSH in association with NITI Aayog at Dr. Ambedkar International centre, New Delhi, with the aim of encouraging entrepreneurs and Ayurveda stakeholders towards businesses opportunities in the sector.

• Addressing a large gathering Shri Naik said that forming institutions and giving them funds is not enough to develop Ayurveda industry. He said that in the last four years the Ministry of AYUSH has taken several initiatives to promote Ayurveda industry and striving to link it with Prime Minister Narender Modi’s revolutionary programs like ‘Start up India’, ‘Make in India’, ‘Invest in India’ and ‘Digital India’.

• The AYUSH Minister informed that the ancient Scriptures of Ayurveda have at least 1.25 lakhs formulations which are collected in Traditional knowledge Digital Library.

• Secretary AYUSH vaidya Rajesh Kotecha said that the Ministry has taken up the challenge of increasing the market share of Ayurveda to three fold by the year 2022. He said, “We are working with Ministry of MSME to organize 50 entrepreneurship development programs in next one year in different cities covering all the states across the country.

• The deliberations in the seminar are expected to educate the young entrepreneurs about the various possibilities of business development in Ayurveda sector, how to use the technology and the ease of business being facilitated by the Government for promoting their business in the field of Ayurveda.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Militants continue to create tensions near Myanmar borders

• While the intensity of Manipur’s decades-old insurgency has been contained, with security forces ensuring there are no insurgent camps left in the State, militants continue to take advantage of the hilly terrain and porous border with Myanmar to carry out attacks with IEDs and sophisticated weapons, army officials said.

• With the forces conducting intelligence based operations that have limited the militants’ operational ability, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and ambushes have become the insurgents’ mainstay and pose the biggest challenges for the Army and the Assam Rifles.

• There have been 17 IED blasts so far this year, compared with 44 explosions in 2017. At the same time, 30 IEDs and 112 weapons were recovered this year, compared with 29 IEDs and 98 weapons in 2017.

• Maj. Gen. Mishra said the terrain posed challenges, as it is mostly hilly and thickly forested and added, “Wherever there is insurgency, there are a number of over ground workers and there is also an element of agitation which is engineered.

• Gen. Rawat observed that as part of the government’s Act East policy Manipur assumed greater significance. It becomes a key centre as the “Asian Highway 1 will link India to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) through Moreh,” he added.

• “Insurgent groups have moved deeper into Myanmar” following the strikes, an Army officer, who did not wish to be identified, observed. Myanmar has its limitations in acting and joint cooperation between the two armies has been limited so far, he added.

U.S ready to open new deal with Iran

• U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested he is open to a new comprehensive deal with Iran, saying that till then the toughest-ever sanctions on the West Asian country that kick off on Monday would continue.

• Iran reached an agreement with the six world powers including the U.S. and the EU in 2015, which curtailed its nuclear programme in return for lifting of the international economic sanctions. In May, Mr. Trump announced the U.S.’s withdrawal from what he described as “the horrible, one-sided” nuclear deal.

• In his statement, Mr. Trump called on the regime to abandon its nuclear ambitions, change its “destructive behaviour”, respect the rights of its people, and return in good faith to the negotiating table.

• “On Monday, November 5, the termination of U.S. participation in the Iran nuclear deal will be complete. The last set of sanctions lifted under the terrible nuclear deal will come back into force, including powerful sanctions on Iran’s energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors, and sanctions targeting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and sanctioned Iranian banks,” the President said.

• Later, a senior State Department official told reporters that that the U.S. was ready for talks with Iran.

• “Secretary Pompeo has been very clear that we have an ear open to what is possible. We very much want to begin work on a new and better deal to replace the insufficient Iran nuclear deal and our campaign of maximum economic pressure is a critical tactic to achieve that goal,” Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

GSAT 11 returns for relaunch in December

• GSAT-11, the heaviest Indian communication satellite built to date, for faster Internet connectivity, is back once again at the Guiana Space Centre for an early December launch.

• It returns to the South American port for the second time in six months after it was taken back to Bengaluru in April for inspections.

• K. Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Secretary, Department of Space, confirmed on Wednesday that the 5,700 kg spacecraft was shipped out of Bengaluru last week and has reached the European launch port.

• Arianespace, ISRO’s long-time European launch services contractor, has paired GSAT-11 with South Korea’s weather satellite GEO-Kompsat 2A. The two are slated to go to space on the same Ariane 5 launch vehicle, numbered VA246.

• Arianespace's CEO Stephane Israel tweeted a pictorial welcome on October 29 local time as the satellite arrived at the port halfway across the globe by a special Russian Antonov cargo flight.

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