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Current Affairs - 25 August 2018

NATION
         

Gave regular warnings to Kerala, Tamil Nadu tells SC

  • Tamil Nadu warned Kerala when the water level rose in the Mullaperiyar dam during the critical days of the devastating floods, the State said in a counter-affidavit filed before the Supreme Court.
  • The Tamil Nadu government denied allegations it waited too long until the water storage level crossed the permitted mark of 142 feet.
  • Tamil Nadu submitted that Periodical warnings were issued since the water level reached 136 ft for every two feet rise, and from 140 onward for every one foot rise. 

Odisha to get Legislative Council

  • Odisha is all set to get a Legislative Council like several other States in the country. 
  • A proposal in this regard was approved at a Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
  • State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha told that the proposed Council will have 49 members, which is one-third of the 147-member State Assembly.
  • The State will have to spend ₹35 crore annually for the Council, the members of which will get salary and allowance as given to the members of the Legislative Assembly.
  • The Odisha government had set up a committee in 2015 to study the Legislative Councils in other States and recommend for establishment of one in the State.
  • The committee visited four States-- Bihar, Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka -- for the purpose. It had submitted its report to the Chief Minister on August 3 this year.
Commute-related pollution: Kolkata shines among megacities


  • An analysis of 14 Indian cities, including six megacities and eight metropolises, on how they fare when it comes to pollution and energy consumption from urban commuting, places Kolkata as the top-performing megacity. 
  • Bhopal leads the list on the lowest overall emissions. Delhi fares the worst on the two counts.
  • The report titled ‘The Urban Commute and How it Contributes to Pollution and Energy’, compiled by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), was released in Kolkata.
  • CSE executive director Anumita Roychowdhury said air pollution was a national crisis and road transport was the sector showing the highest increase in emission of greenhouse gases.
  • In the study, with an aggregate of toxic emissions from urban commuting practices, such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, the cities were ranked based on calculations of heat trapping (CO2). The study took two approaches to rank the cities — one based on overall emission and energy consumption and the other on per person trip emissions and energy consumption.
  • Six megacities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad) and eight metropolitan cities (Bhopal, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi and Vijayawada) were evaluated.
  • In terms of overall emissions and energy consumption, Bhopal was followed by Vijayawada, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kochi and Jaipur. Kolkata, placed 7th overall, was better than the other five megacities as well as metropolitan cities like Pune and Ahmedabad.
  • Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai fared a little better than Delhi.
  • According to the report, though metropolitan cities scored better than megacities due to lower population, lower travel volume and lower vehicle numbers, they were at risk due to a much higher share of personal vehicle trips.
  • In the study, with an aggregate of toxic emissions from urban commuting practices, such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, the cities were ranked based on calculations of heat trapping (CO2). The study took two approaches to rank the cities — one based on overall emission and energy consumption and the other on per person trip emissions and energy consumption.
  • Six megacities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad) and eight metropolitan cities (Bhopal, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi and Vijayawada) were evaluated.
Live-streaming for ‘open courtroom’
  • Technology has a flip-side but live-streaming of Supreme Court proceedings is a true representation of the “open courtroom” system where courts are accessible to one and all, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said.
  • The remark countered arguments that live-streaming of court proceedings would be misused, and verbal comments made by judges in the course of a hearing would be twisted and converted to “fake news”.
  • To this Justice Chandrachud countered that court proceedings are live-tweeted even now and there is no authentic record of the hearing to prove a tweet wrong. “At least when the hearing is live-streamed, we will have an authentic record of what happened,” the judge responded.
Poll panel to brainstorm on key issues
  • In the times of social media and phased elections, how can campaign silence be maintained during the last 48 hours before polling?
  • The Election Commission will be debating this and seven other issues, including limiting of expenditure and increasing participation of women, at a multi-party meeting on Monday. All seven registered national political parties and 51 State political parties have been invited.
  • The Commission has asked the parties if the print media should be brought within the ambit of Section 126(1)(b) (which lists mediums in which display of election matter is prohibited and includes television, cinematograph or similar apparatus) of the Representation of the People Act. Seeking to raise a heated debate, the Commission has asked political parties on whether there should be a ceiling on party election expenditure. The present election laws only provide a limit on a candidate’s expenditure. The commission has also written to the Law Ministry exploring this question.
  • The Commission has asked the parties to take note of  alternative modes of voting for domestic migrants and absentee voters, such as postal, proxy and e-voting. The Commission has proposed five strategies, the agenda note says, to ensure that no migrant worker is left out.
  • These include developing portability of voting rights by linking voter ID and Aadhaar. A one-time voluntary registration system for domestic migrants, electoral support services to be provided to migrants at the source and destination areas, raising awareness of voters’ rights and a helpline for domestic migrants are the other measures suggested by the Commission.
  • The Election Commission has asked “what measures can political parties undertake to encourage enhanced representation of women within the organisation structure of the political party. There are only 11.4% women in the 16th Lok Sabha, substantially lower than the global average of 22.9%, the Commission noted.
  • It has said that at least seven countries have laws reserving seats for women in legislature, including Nepal.
ISRO telemedicine nodes for soldiers in high-altitude areas
  • In a major effort to improve emergency medical support to soldiers posted in high-altitude areas, especially Siachen, the Integrated Defence Staff of the Defence Ministry and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) signed a memorandum of understanding to set up telemedicine nodes in critical places across the country.
  • ISRO will establish 53 more nodes in the first phase over and above the existing 20, in various establishments of the Army, Navy and Air Force across the country.
  • During winter months, many of the remote posts are cut off for several months because of adverse terrain and extreme weather, making emergency evacuation near impossible. Communication through satellite-enabled telemedicine nodes will be a paradigm shift in the delivery of lifesaving health care till the weather clears up and movement is possible.
Al Jazeera’s security clearance revoked
  • The Al Jazeera channel faces an uncertain future in India as the Home Ministry has withdrawn its security clearance.
  • The decision to withdraw the clearance stems from a documentary telecast on Kashmir militancy. The Ministry said its narrative was lopsided and did not accommodate the Centre’s version.
WORLD

Morrison sworn in as Australia’s new PM
  • Scott Morrison was sworn in as Australia’s seventh Prime Minister in 11 years, after a stunning party revolt against Malcolm Turnbull, which the new leader admitted had left the government “bruised and battered”.
  • Former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, an ex-police officer and right-winger, was the driving force behind the move to oust Mr. Turnbull after a Liberal Party backlash against his more moderate policies.
  • But after a torrid week of political maneuvring in Canberra, it was Mr. Morrison, a Turnbull ally who served as Treasurer, who won a party vote 45-40.

ECONOMY

Ashok Leyland bags defence vehicle order
  • Hinduja Group firm Ashok Leyland on Friday said it has bagged a tender in the defence tracked vehicle space, marking its foray into the niche segment.
  • “As per the scope of work, the company will collaborate with Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Chennai, for manufacture, assembly and testing of light weight clutch for the design and development of weight-optimised 1500 hp automatic transmission for main battle tanks,” Ashok Leyland said.
Reserves dip by $33.2 mn to $400.8 bn
  • India’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $33.2 million to $400.84 billion in the week to August 17 mainly due to a fall in foreign currency assets, according to RBI data.
  • In the previous week, the forex reserves had witnessed a drop of $1.82 billion to $400.88 billion.
  • The reserves have been declining in the past few weeks as the Reserve Bank of India has been selling the U.S. dollar to contain depreciation in the rupee, which is frequently testing the 70-level against the American currency.

SPORTS
ASIAN GAMES
  • The Indian quartet of Sawarn Singh, Dattu Bhokanal, Om Prakash and Sukhmeet Singh came up with a superb performance to win gold in the men’s quadruple sculls event. This is only the second gold for India since it started participating in the rowing events at the Asiad. Bajrang Lal Takhar had won the men’s singles sculls at the 2010 Games.
  • Top seeds Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan notched up their maiden men’s doubles gold medal at the Games, dominating the final clash with a thoroughly clinical performance. Bopanna and Divij defeated Aleksander Bublik and Denis Yevseyev of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-4 in 52 minutes.
  • Indian kabaddi would return from Jakarta without a gold for the first time since the sport was introduced at the Asian Games in 1990. On Friday, the women went down fighting 27-24 in the final to Iran, which stamped its authority by lifting the men’s title too with a 26-16 win over Korea.
  • Heena Sidhu put behind a modest qualification to win her maiden Asian Games individual medal, her bronze in the women’s 10m air pistol taking India’s haul at the Jakabaring Shooting Range to nine.
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