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Current Affairs - 05 September 2018

NATION

CJI Misra names Gogoi as successor
  • Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra recommended Justice Ranjan Gogoi as his successor and the 46th Chief Justice of India. Law Ministry sources confirmed the receipt of the recommendation letter of the CJI
  • If the government approves the recommendation, Justice Gogoi would have a tenure as Chief Justice of India of about 13 months, from October 3, 2018 till his retirement on November 17, 2019. 
  • CJI Misra has followed convention by recommending the next senior most Supreme Court judge, Justice Gogoi, as his successor.
  • Justice Gogoi, born on November 18, 1954, is a native of Assam. He joined the Bar in 1978 and practised mainly in the Gauhati High Court. He was appointed as permanent judge of the High Court on February 28, 2001. He was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 9, 2010 and appointed its Chief Justice in February 2011. He was elevated to the Supreme Court on April 23, 2012.
Arif Alvi is Pak. President
  • Arif Alvi, a close ally of Prime Minister Imran Khan and one of the founding members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, was elected as President of Pakistan , as the cricketer-turned-politician consolidated his grip on power.
  • The 69-year-old former dentist defeated Pakistan Peoples Party candidate Aitzaz Ahsan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz nominee Maulana Fazlur Rehman to become the 13th President.
  • Of the 430 votes cast through a secret ballot in the National Assembly and the Senate, Dr. Alvi received 212 votes, Mr. Rehman 131 and Mr. Ahsan 81. Six votes were rejected, DawnNews reported, citing unofficial results.
  • Dr. Alvi secured 45 of the 60 votes cast by Balochistan’s newly elected lawmakers, it said.
Google to help EC track political ads
  • With poll season round the corner, Google, which controls the lion’s share of the digital advertising market, will soon be helping the Election Commission (EC) keep tabs on online political advertising.
  • The tech giant will develop a mechanism that will not only ensure pre-certification of political advertisements but also enable it to share with the authority details of the expenditure incurred on its platforms.
  • Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat said a Google representative met a committee set up to explore possible modifications in Section 126 (election silence) and other provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, in view of the expansion and diversity of media platforms.
  • At the meeting, the representative told the Commission that the company would keep track of political advertisements and ensure that they were pre-certified by the Election Commision’s Media Certification and Monitoring Committees. 
  • The Commission is the nodal body for pre-certification of advertisements of a political nature, released by either an individual or an organisation.
  • The EC’s committee had earlier held meetings with Facebook, which has also agreed to develop tools for removing any content pertaining to election matters during the 48-hour period when the ‘prohibition protocol’ is in place. It is working on ways to check fake news and share details of expenditure on poll-related advertisements.
Bharat bandh call: Section 144 imposed in 5 M.P. districts
  • Ahead of proposed nationwide bandh on September 6, called by some organisations protesting against the SC/ST Amendment Bill passed in Parliament last month, Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) has been imposed in five districts of Madhya Pradesh.
  • “Around 30-35 organisations have come together and given a bandh call on social media. As a precautionary measure, Section 144 has been imposed in Gwalior (city), Bhind, Shivpuri, Guna and Ashok Nagar districts,” Inspector General (law and order) Makrand Deoskar told media persons here on Tuesday. Section 144 prohibits assembly of more than four persons in a public place.
  • The five districts had witnessed large-scale violence on April 2 this year during the ‘Bharat bandh’ called by Dalit groups against a Supreme Court order allegedly diluting the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
  • Fearing more violence during the ‘Bharat bandh’ on September 6, several Ministers of the Madhya Pradesh government have cancelled their public functions. 
State panels to track hip implant patients

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said that State-level committees consisting of two orthopaedic surgeons or physical medical rehabilitation experts and one radiologist from government hospital, a representative from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and drug controller of respective States should be formed to identify patients who have received the faulty hip implant by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.
  • “The committee [of the Ministry which submitted its report recently] has recommended, among other things, the constitution of [a] Central Expert Committee and Regional Expert Committees for determining the exact quantum of compensation after taking into account the minimum amount of ₹20 lakh,” the notification stated. 
  • The compensation will be further calculated based on other factors such as the degree of disability and loss of wages.
  • “Patients can now reach out directly to the committees,” Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Dr. S. Eswara Reddy told .
  • J&J’s Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implant manufactured by its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics was recalled globally in 2010 after reports of it leaching metals and causing severe pain, fluid accumulation, and metal poisoning in patients.
  • In 2011, the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first initiated action against the pharmaceutical giant by registering an FIR at the Mahim police station in Mumbai and also alerting the DCGI.
  • Dr. Reddy said a lot of work was done over the years which culminated in the report submitted to the Health Ministry. “It would be wrong to say that the DCGI had not acted,” he claimed.
2+2 to address U.S. issues on Iran, Russia
  • NEW DELHI hopes the U.S. will consider the importance of its relationship with India carefully, while considering any moves to sanction defence purchases from Russia under the new CAATSA, or Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, official sources said ahead of the inaugural Indo-U.S. 2+2 dialogue.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis will land here on Wednesday and meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday, which officials said would be the “highest-level” dialogue between the two countries this year.
  • There have been conflicting statements from Washington on whether U.S. President Donald Trump would give India a waiver from the sanctions mandated by U.S. law. India is finalising a plan to purchase the S-400 long-range air-defence systems from Russia, over which there have been specific objections from several U.S. officials.
  • Another sticky issue remains the U.S. demand that India “zero out” its oil imports from Iran by November, and whether the U.S. will give a waiver to India’s development of the Chabahar port, when a separate set of sanctions kick in.
  • Conceding that both actions are a major issue in the bilateral discussions, the official said that India hoped to hear from the U.S. on what options it had on procuring oil. 
  • The major announcement from the 2+2 talks could be progress on talks to conclude the foundational Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA).
  • Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, is part of the U.S. delegation and the two sides are expected to announce a new tri-service amphibious Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise, while a special hotline between the Defence Ministers is also likely to be discussed for approval.

WORLD

Trump warns Syria, Russia, Iran against Idlib ‘tragedy’
  • U.S. President Donald Trump warned Syria against launching an attack on the country’s last rebel stronghold with the help of Russia and Iran, saying the offensive could trigger a “human tragedy”.
  • The warning came as Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif met with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in a surprise visit to Damascus ahead of the looming offensive. Syrian forces are amassing around the northwestern province of Idlib, in preparation for the assault.
  • “President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province. The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy,” Mr. Trump tweeted.
  • The UN and aid groups have warned that a full assault on Idlib could spark a humanitarian catastrophe on a scale not yet seen in Syria’s seven-year-old conflict.
  • Kremlin said the Syrian Army is getting ready to solve the problem of “terrorism” in Idlib, apparently referring to a looming regime offensive.
  • Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian air strikes battered Idlib on Tuesday for the first time in three weeks. 
  • The air raids “came a day after rebel units in Idlib hit regime positions in neighbouring Latakia province.
ECONOMY

Breakthrough achieved in RCEP talks, claims India
  • Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said that the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would not end in 2018, but would spill over to 2019, even as officials said there was a breakthrough in understanding India’s concerns at the meeting in Singapore on August 30-31.
  • According to Mr. Prabhu, the 16-nation group accepted some key demands from India: on differential tariff regimes for different country groups like China, and in allowing a 20-year implementation period of the agreement.
  • Earlier reports had indicated that India would face a stark choice between agreeing to end RCEP negotiations by a deadline at the end of 2018, or to step back from the negotiations, while other countries including the 10 ASEAN nations, China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, went on.
  • Another key area where India scored, according to officials, was in establishing a linkage between services and goods negotiations, given that some countries were not as welcoming of allowing movement of labour.
  • Of the 16 countries that have been negotiating for the RCEP, India does not have Free Trade Agreements with three countries — Australia, New Zealand and China, for which negotiations will now be separately held, in a “bilateral pairing mechanism”.
Lockheed, Tata in JV to make F-16 jet wings
  • In a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, American security and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin announced that the wings of its F-16 fighter jets will be produced in India.
  • Maryland-based Lockheed Martin has entered into an agreement with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) for the project.
  • Lockheed officials insisted that the planned F-16 wing production to India was not contingent on India selecting the F-16 for the Indian Air Force. Lockheed has offered to move its entire F-16 manufacturing base to India. India is yet to make a decision on it. 
  • Producing F-16 wings in India will support the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, company officials said. 
  • “Building F-16 wings in India is a natural next step that builds on our... partnerships with Tata on the C-130J [Super Hercules airlifter] and S-92 [helicopter],” said Vivek Lall, VP, strategy and business development, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
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