Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 07 December 2018

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 07 December 2018


Centre assures supreme court to fill CIC vacancies in a week

  •  Appointments to fill at least four vacancies on the Central Information Commission will be finalised on December 11, the Centre told the Supreme Court this week, according to one of the petitioners in the case.

  •  The government’s counsel also informed the court that the Centre intends to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act, said the petitioner Anjali Bhardwaj.

  •  The 11-member Commission, the highest appeal body available to applicants seeking information under the RTI Act, is currently operating with only three members in the wake of multiple retirements. The eight vacancies include the Chief Information Commissioner, who completed his tenure last month.

  •  While the Centre listed the RTI Amendments Bill, 2018, for introduction in the monsoon session of Parliament, Opposition MPs had protested, citing concerns that the proposed amendments to salary and tenure norms would compromise the independence of the commissions at the Central and State levels.

Study reveals catastrophic effect of air pollution in India

  •  India, with 18% of the world’s population, has a disproportionately high 26% of the global premature deaths and disease burden due to air pollution. Moreover, one in eight deaths in India was attributable to air pollution in India in 2017, making it a leading risk factor for death.

  •  This is according to the first comprehensive estimates of reduction in life expectancy associated with air pollution in each State, published by the India State-Level Disease Burden.

  •  The key findings from the paper include the fact that 12.4 lakh deaths in India in 2017 were due to air pollution, which included 6.7 lakh deaths due to outdoor particulate matter air pollution and 4.8 lakh deaths due to household air pollution.

  •  Over half of the deaths due to air pollution were in persons less than 70 years of age. In 2017, 77% population of India was exposed to ambient particulate matter PM2.5 above the recommended limit by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The report states that the highest PM2.5 exposure level was in Delhi, followed by the other north Indian States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana.


India signs pact with Iran to pay for crude imports

  •  India has signed an agreement with Iran to pay for crude oil it imports from the Persian Gulf nation in rupees, sources in know of the development said.

  •  The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed following the U.S. letting India and seven other nations to keep buying Iranian oil despite sanctions were reimposed on the Islamic state on November 5.

  • Under U.S. sanctions, India can export foodgrains, medicines and medical devices to Iran.

  •  Under the 180-day exemption, India is allowed to import a maximum of 300,000 barrels a day of crude oil. This compares to an average daily import of about 560,000 barrels this year.

  •  India, which is the second biggest purchaser of Iranian oil after China, has since then restricted its monthly purchase to 1.25 million tonne or 15 million tonne in a year (300,000 barrels per day), down from 22.6 million tonne (452,000 barrels per day) bought in 2017-18 financial year, sources said.

  •  India, the world’s third biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80% of its oil needs through imports. Iran is its third largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia and meets about 10% of total needs.

  •  Besides blocking of banking channels from November, shipping firms are unwilling to transport Iranian oil. To get around this, Iran is using its own ships to transport crude to India. Its insurance companies are also providing insurance cover for such shipments, sources added.

Cyber attacks turn out to be costly for big firms

  •  A large-sized organisation in India incurs an average of $10.3 million in economic losses due to cyberattacks, according to a Frost and Sullivan study commissioned by Microsoft.

  •  The study also said cyberattacks cost a mid-sized organisation an average of $11,000 in economic losses.

  •  Cybersecurity attacks have also resulted in job losses across different functions in more than three in five (64%) organisations that have experienced an incident during the survey period,” it added.

  •  It found that more than three in five organisations (62%) surveyed in India have either experienced a cybersecurity incident (30%) or were not sure if they had one as they had not performed proper forensics or data breach assessment (32%).

  •  The survey factors in three kinds of losses that could be incurred due to a cybersecurity breach — direct (financial losses associated with the incident), indirect (the opportunity cost to the organisation such as customer churn due to reputation loss), and and induced (impact on the broader ecosystem and economy, such as the decrease in consumer and enterprise spending).

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OPEC reaches consensus on cutting oil production

  •  The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) tentatively agreed an oil-output cut on Thursday but was waiting to hear from non-OPEC heavyweight Russia before deciding the exact volumes for a production reduction aimed at propping up crude prices, two sources from the group said.

  •  The price of crude has fallen almost a third since October but U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries make oil even cheaper by refraining from output cuts.

  •  OPEC delegates have said the group and its allies could cut by 1 million bpd if Russia contributed 150,000 bpd of that reduction. If Russia contributed around 250,000 bpd, the overall cut could exceed 1.3 million bpd.

  •  Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States have been vying for the position of top crude producer in recent years. The United States is not part of any output-limiting initiative due to its anti-trust legislation and fragmented oil industry.

  •  Iranian exports have plummeted after the United States imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran in November. But Washington gave sanctions waivers to some buyers of Iranian crude, further raising fears of an oil glut next year.


Indian scientist develop ways to grow crops in arsenic contaminated soil

  •  An Indian scientist in the U.K. is working on a way to grow crops in arsenic-contaminated soil, a study which is likely to have wide ranging impact for farmers in northeastern India.

  •  Dr. Mohan T.C., from Dr. Alex Jones Laboratory at the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, conducted a pilot study in transgenic Barley and is now looking at doing it in rice plants following funding from the Medical and Life Sciences Research Fund, U.K.

  •  The university made the announcement on Wednesday, to mark World Soil Day on December 5. “To stop the cancer-causing arsenic entry into the food chain, it is essential to develop safe crops, through restricting the translocation of arsenic to edible part,” he said.

  •  “In our current project, we are trying to manipulate cytokinin hormone in rice plants through genetic engineering and we expect to increase the roots detoxification capacity of the transgenic rice,” he said.


Yasir shah becomes youngest to reach 200wicket mark

  •  Pakistan's leg-spinner Yasir Shah became the fastest cricketer to take 200 Test wickets, breaking an 82-year-old record on the fourth day of the third Test against New Zealand.

  •  The 32-year-old trapped nightwatchman Will Somerville leg before for four -- his second wicket of the New Zealand second innings — to reach the milestone in his 33rd Test, beating Australian leg-spinner ClarrieGrimmett's record of 36 Tests achieved against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1936.

  •  Yasir, whose 14 wickets helped Pakistan level the series 1-1 in Dubai, now has 27 wickets in the three Tests against New Zealand.

  •  Yasir was also the fastest Pakistani to 50 wickets (nine Tests), reached 100 wickets in 17 Tests — second only to Englishman George Lohmann who took 16 matches during a Test in Johannesburg in 1896.


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