This Daily Current Affair Capsule aims to be a time-saving tool for going through relevant news from national dailies and government releases on PIB. Aspirants for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. will find it highly useful to cover for revision and awareness purposes.
National Important Current Affairs – 13 January 2018
■ In an unprecedented move in Indian Judiciary, four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court broke ranks and have publicly questioned the leadership and administration of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
The four judges, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph, alleged that the chief justice was not following established precedents in the selective allocation of cases among the judges. This was “adversely” affecting the justice delivery system of the country. After submitting a seven-page letter of protest to the chief justice, the judges went public with their grievances and held a joint press conference in New Delhi and questioned the administration of the apex court. They also released a letter to the media.
The judges also criticized the delay in finalizing the memorandum of procedure (MOP) on which detailed discussions were held by the collegium (comprising the top five judges of the Supreme Court) and submitted by the then chief justice to the government in March 2017.Since the MOP submission in March, the government has not responded to the comments of the Supreme Court. The four judges have questioned Misra for failing to move ahead with the MOP.
Note that: The MOP determines the procedure of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. It is a document put together by the Union government and then shared with the apex court.
■ The festival of harvest, Lohri is being celebrated in North India especially in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi with great pump and show. Children will go door to door demanding revri, peanut, jaggery and piece of wood etc to lit the fire of Lohri in the evening. There is a tradition of celebrating Lohri in the first year of marriage and on the birth of a male child, but now Lohri is also being celebrated on birth of girl child.
■ India missed the 2017 deadline that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had laid out for the elimination of Kala-Azar (black fever) in his Budget speech of 2017. Rather, endemic blocks have increased from 61 to 68 in 17 districts of Bihar and Jharkhand.
Note that: Kala-azar is endemic to the Indian subcontinent in four countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal). This disease is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world after malaria. Its elimination is defined as reducing the annual incidence of Kala Azar (KA) to less than 1 case per 10,000 people at the sub-district level.
About Kala azar:
Kala-azar, or Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), also known as black fever, and Dumdum fever, is the most severe form of leishmaniasis and, without proper diagnosis and treatment, is associated with high fatality. It is caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus. which migrates to the internal organs such as the liver, spleen (hence “visceral”), and bone marrow. Signs and symptoms include fever, weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and substantial swelling of the liver and spleen.
■ The External Affairs Ministry has announced that the passport will not be considered as valid proof of address. Now onwards, the last page of passports, which carries the holder’s address, will no longer be printed, which will render the document an invalid address proof. This comes after a committee recommended that the father’s name, which is also listed on the last page, be omitted.
■ India’s environment ministry is not going to take up conservation breeding of the Chiru goat, which ia a ‘near threatened’ species whose underfur is used for making the famous Shahtoosh shawls.
What was the Idea? Chiru goat, which is also known as the Tibetan antelope, is hunted for its underfur (Shahtoosh), which is renowned for its quality. Last year, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests had recommended to conserve and breed the Chiru goat, which can then be given to the shawl makers. The panel had said this would provide a sustainable livelihood opportunity to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Why is it turned down? The government is not in favour of this conservation breeding because, in 2017, the Chiru goat species was assessed as ‘near threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their current population can only be maintained with continued high levels of protection in its natural range and strict controls on the trade of the shahtoosh shawls made from its underfur. The government has raised fears that any relaxation in the protection regime of the animal would lead to a rapid population decline due to commercial poaching.
Also, Chiru habitats are spread over the high-altitude Tibetan plateau, where any attempt to do conservation breeding of Chiru may neither be economical nor feasible. Rearing this goat in captivity is extremely difficult.
The Tibetan antelope (Chiru) is the sole species in the genus Pantholops. It is endemic to the Tibetan Plateau, and inhabits open alpine and cold steppe environments between 10,660 and 18,040 ft elevation.
Note that: The Shahtoosh shawl, which is made from the underfur of the Chiru is now a banned item with possession and sale being illegal because the Chiru is an endangered species under CITES.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 13 January 2018
■ US President Donald Trump will not re-impose sanctions on Iran, thereby, keeping the 2015 landmark nuclear deal alive. Trump will be waiving the sanctions against Iran for the last time unless an agreement can be reached between the United State and Europe within the next 120 days that would strengthen the deal.
This announcement comes as the US Treasury department imposed sanctions on 14 Iranian individuals and companies, including the head of Iran’s judiciary.
■ China has sent tw0 satellites into space on a single carrier rocket, meant to enable its BeiDou system to provide navigation and positioning services to countries along the Belt and Road. The twin satellites are the 26th and 27th satellites in the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).
The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System is a Chinese satellite navigation system, which is seen as a potential navigation satellite system to overtake GPS in global usage, and is expected to be more accurate than the GPS once it is fully completed. The current third generation of BeiDou claims to reach millimeter-level accuracy, which is ten times more accurate than the finest level of GPS.
■ NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which will be the world’s largest infrared space observatory of the next decade — has successfully completed critical testing in a massive thermal vacuum chamber, which will enable it to function properly in the extremely cold and airless environment in space.
About the JWST:
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is an international collaboration between of about 17 countries including NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). It will be launched in 2019, and will be the world’s biggest and most powerful telescope. It will be able to peer back in time 3.5 billion years, and will be used to look back to the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 13 January 2018
■ The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has reduced the termination charges payable by an International Long Distance Operator to the access provider. It has slashed international incoming call termination rate to 30 paise from 53 paise. This new rate will be effective from 1st of February.
Note that: Telecom firms levy termination charge on operators from whose networks calls have been made, for transmitting them to the subscriber.
■ Retail inflation, based on Consumer Price Index (CPI), has crossed the RBI’s comfort level and rose to 5.21 % in December due to rise in prices of food items, egg and vegetables. This dashed hopes of interest rate cut in the near future. The retail inflation was 4.88 percent in November.
Under the Monetary Policy Framework Agreement, the Reserve Bank has been asked by the government to keep inflation at 4 percent, plus or minus 2 percent, and its rise beyond the comfort zone will put pressure on the central bank not cut interest rate (repo rate) in the next policy review.
Sports Current Affairs – 13 January 2018
■ Saudi Arabia has, for the first time, allowed women to become spectators during a football match. This move is part of an easing of strict rules on gender separation in the Saudi’s conservative society.
■ Former world silver medallist Sarjubala Devi representing Manipur has claimed the gold in 48 kg category in the National Women’s Boxing Championships held in Rohtak. She also received the best boxer trophy.
■ The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has appointed Harjinder Singh as the Chef De Mission for the 23rd Winter Olympic Games (WOG-2018) to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea from February 2018. Presently, Singh holds the post of General Secretary in the Ice Hockey Association of India.
■ Former wrestler and coach Sukhchain Singh Cheema, who won bronze in the 1974 Asian Games, has passed away in a road accident near Patiala, Punjab. He was a Dronacharya awardee, and the son of Rustum-e-Hind Olympian wrestler Kesar Singh Cheema.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 13 January 2018 “
Q1. Which committee has been constituted by the Election Commission (EC) to suggest changes to Representation of the People Act in view of social media expansion?
- A) Umesh Sinha committee
- B) N K Singh committee
- C) Pukhraj Kukreja committee
- D) Nilesh Gupta committee
Q2. Who has been ranked first in the latest Gallup international annual survey “Opinion of Global Leaders”?
- A) Angela Merkel
- B) Vladimir Putin
- C) Emmanuel Macron
- D) Narendra Modi
Q3. Which country has granted citizenship to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks?
- A) The United Kingdom
- B) Ecuador
- C) Sweden
- D) South Korea
Q4. The 2018 National Youth Day (NYD) is celebrated on which date in India?
- A) January 12
- B) January 10
- C) January 16
- D) January 14
Q5. What is the theme of the 22nd National Youth Festival (NYF-2018)?
- A) Youth for United India
- B) Sankalp Se Siddhi
- C) Lakshya ek Disha
- D) Youth for Digital India
Answer these questions in the comments below. We encourage you to discuss your thoughts on the news and issues mentioned in today’s current affairs post. The idea is to promote healthy discussions on interesting issues to make preparation fun. Have a good day!