Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 13 August 2022
Govt duty-bound to implement verdict in letter and spirit, says SR Hiremath
The Karnataka high court on Thursday gave its verdict to “abolish” the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and restore powers to the Lokayukta. In 2016, soon after the then Siddaramaiah-led Congress government announced the formation of the ACB, 77-year-old anti-corruption activist SR Hiremath approached the court.
Having been one of the key members in bringing out the illegal iron-ore mining scam that led to the collapse of the first BJP government in southern India, Hiremath approached the courts over the formation of the ACB. In a conversation with SharanPoovanna, he shares the importance of the institution, reasons for creating the ACB and how the people also should get involved to check the rise in corruption.
In my opinion, they (the BJP government) are duty bound to implement it both in letter and spirit. And anything short of that they will have to face contempt for the court. During the (2018) election campaign, BS Yediyurappa, as chief ministerial candidate, literally said that when they (BJP) are elected or they come back to power, then within 24 hours the powers of the Lokayukta will be restored.
All this happened due to the high crimes and misdemeanours of the Siddaramaiah government which clipped the wings of the Lokayukta by bringing in the ACB, clearly motivated to protect corrupt politicians, ministers and officials.
The former Lokayukta, Justice SantoshHegde, took the institution to great heights including to curb corruption which at that time led to the resignation of a chief minister and three cabinet ministers, which was unprecedented at the time.
So, he has said clearly that no government and whatever party is interested in strengthening the Lokayukta. So, if you ask me, are they (the government) going to implement it out of their own free will or self-motivation, then the answer is a clear no.
This is why bringing about the letter and spirit of the Constitution into the statutes and you know, implementing them is for us as the people to take up that responsibility. I’m talking about constitutional non-violent truth-based attempts to make the government do what they’re supposed to do.
'Top secret' documents seized in raid on Donald Trump's home: Report
FBI agents recovered records marked "top secret" during their search of former president Donald Trump's Florida estate, according to documents made public Friday in a probe that includes possible violations of the US Espionage Act.
The warrant and related materials, unsealed by a Florida judge, showed agents took away with them a significant amount of classified files after the raid, which ignited a political firestorm in an already bitterly divided country.
The extraordinary search was partly based on suspicions of violations of the US Espionage Act related to the illegal retention of sensitive defense documents, the warrant showed.
Some of the papers were marked "top secret" and were "meant to be only available in special government facilities," said the unsealed seven-page federal court filing.
The filing contained a list of items removed from Mar-a-Lago, including information about the "President of France," and the warrant to search the palatial estate in Palm Beach.
The Justice Department had asked a federal judge to unseal the search warrant on Friday barring objections from Trump, who is weighing another White House run in 2024.
The Wall Street Journal said within the 20 boxes of items carted away by FBI agents were binders of photos, a handwritten note and the grant of clemency made by Trump to Roger Stone, an ally of the former president.
The Washington Post on Thursday cited anonymous sources close to the investigation as saying classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the papers sought during the raid.
India's trade deficit hits record $30 billion as exports struggle
India’s trade deficit widened to a record $30 billion in July as exports grew at a much slower pace compared to imports, data released by the commerce and industry ministry showed on Friday.
Merchandise exports declined to a five-month low of $36.27 billion in July but witnessed a marginal increase of 2.14 per cent year-on-year (YoY). The preliminary data released on August 2 had shown a 0.76 per cent contraction in exports at $35.24 billion, and even a wider trade deficit of $31 billion, for July.
Inbound shipments grew 43.61 per cent YoY in July to $66.27 billion, though slightly lower from $66.31 billion in June.
As for outbound shipments, there was a contraction in some of the key drivers of export growth in India. Engineering goods witnessed a 2.08 per cent contraction, gems and jewellery 5.2 per cent, pharmaceuticals 1.05 per cent, readymade garments 0.6 per cent, and cotton yarn 28.17 per cent, amid tepid demand from Western nations. However, some items continued to witness growth. Petroleum products grew at 9.18 per cent, chemicals 8.03 per cent, electronic goods 46.0.9 per cent, and rice 30.88 per cent.
Besides, the normalisation of Covid disruptions has also added to the piling up of inventory as goods that used to reach the West Coast of the United States in 150 days now reach in only 60 days, he added.
On a cumulative basis, India exported goods worth $157.44 billion during April-July, up 20.13 per cent.
Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) of India Chairman Mahesh Desai said the dip in engineering goods exports in the month of July reflected weak demand from India's major markets.
“The recession fears in the West have added to the uncertainties. While geopolitical risks remain elevated and pose downside risks to growth, the recent softening in commodity prices has come as a relief,” Desai said.
Earlier this month, Commerce Secretary B V R Subhramanyam had said that with fears of recession looming in some of India’s largest export markets — the US and Europe — India should be “worried”, although India will be able to compensate for the hit from these two regions with recently signed trade deals with the United Arab Emirates and Australia.
::Science and tech::
Meteorite impacts led to formation of continents on Earth?
The much debated phenomenon of formation of continents has got another dimension added to it. Scientists have found substantial evidence to support the theory that giant meteorite impacts were responsible for the formation of continents. The theory was long discussed in scientific circles, but lacked observation to support it.
The study published in Nature journal found that Earth’s continents were formed by gigantic meteorite impacts that were predominant during the first billion years of the planet’s four and a half billion-year history. These meteorite impacts generated massive energy to form oceanic plates, which later developed into continents, the research concluded.
Dr Tim Johnson, from Curtin’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences was quoted stating the significance of the research by ANI, he said, “Our research provides the first solid evidence that the processes that ultimately formed the continents began with giant meteorite impacts, similar to those responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs, but which occurred billions of years earlier.”
And Zircon crystal becomes a key element in the study because it helps the scientists to determine the age of rocks. “Zircons can survive processes like erosion, transport and metamorphism, so they preserve a record of past geological processes”, Geoscience Australia’s website reads.
The researchers inspected the variants or isotopes of oxygen, oxygen-18 and oxygen-16, within these crystals. The ratio between the two variants served scientists to estimate past temperatures. They found out that the older grains of zircon owned the lighter oxygen-16. The younger ones contained the heavier oxygen-18.
Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic out of US Open tuneup in Cincinnati
Novak Djokovic pulled out of next week's hard-court tournament in Cincinnati on Friday because he has not gotten any COVID-19 vaccine shots and so is not allowed to travel to the United States.
That is also why Djokovic is not expected to be able to enter the U.S. Open, the year's last Grand Slam tournament, which begins in New York on Aug. 29.
Djokovic is a 35-year-old from Serbia who owns 21 major championships, one behind Rafael Nadal for the men's record. Djokovic has said he won’t get vaccinated against the illness caused by the coronavirus, even if that prevents him from playing in certain tournaments. He missed the Australian Open in January after being deported from that country and needed to sit out two events in the United States earlier this year, along with a tournament in Montreal this week.
Unvaccinated foreign citizens can’t go to Canada or the U.S. currently; the Cincinnati tournament's news release announcing Djokovic's withdrawal cited “travel restrictions.”