Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 23 December 2021
Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 23 December 2021
India imposes penalty for delay in offsets duty: Rafale deal
The defence ministry has imposed a penalty of up to a million euros on European weapons maker MBDA for delay in meeting its offset obligations under the ₹59,000 croreRafale deal.
The defence ministry has imposed a penalty of up to a million euros on European weapons maker MBDA for delay in meeting its offset obligations under the ₹59,000 croreRafale deal with France for 36 fighter jets made by Dassault Aviation, media reports said.
The defence ministry has collected the fine, from MBDA, linked to missile maker’s offset commitments during September 2019-2020, news agency PTI reported citing unnamed people , adding that the European firm lodged its protest while coughing up the penalty.
HT reached out to the defence ministry and MBDA but neither confirmed or commented on the matter.
India’s offset policy stipulates that in all capital purchases above ₹300 crore, the foreign vendor has to invest at least 30% of the value of the purchase in the country to boost indigenous capabilities. In the case of the 2016 Rafale deal, this was 50%.
The MBDA weapons on the Indian Rafales are the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, MICA multi-mission air-to-air missiles and Scalp deep-strike cruise missiles.
The country’s top auditor said that Dassault Aviation and MBDA had not confirmed the transfer of technology (ToT) to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), an integral part of the contract.
The induction of Rafale jets is expected to be completed by February 2022, with 32 of the 36 ordered already delivered to the Indian Air Force.
'We must end Covid-19 in 2022', says WHO chief
The Omicron variant of coronavirus has once again brought fears to the hearts of people around the world heading for the holiday season. This is the second consecutive year that Christmas holidays will be held in the shadow of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
But the World Health Organization (WHO) said the governments across the world should work towards ending the pandemic. "2022 must be the year we end the pandemic," WHO chief TedrosAdhanomGhebreyesus said at a media briefing.
"If we are to end the pandemic in the coming year, we must end inequity, by ensuring 70 per cent of the population of every country is vaccinated by the middle of next year," he added.
"Last week, WHO issued Emergency Use Listing for a ninth vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India under license from Novavax. This new vaccine is part of the COVAX portfolio, and we hope that it will play an important role in achieving our global vaccination targets," the WHO chief added further.
Tedros, however, painted a grim picture saying that a pall of gloom has descended on the world because of Covid-19.
He said that that more than 3.3 million people have lost their lives to the pandemic this year - more deaths than from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined in 2020, and still continues to claim around 50,000 lives every week.
The ferocity with which Covid-19 is spreading once again has been attributed to the Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa on November 24 and has spread to more than 100 countries since then.
"There is now consistent evidence that Omicron is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant. And it is more likely that people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 could be infected or reinfected," said Tedros.
From reporting its lowest number of cases in 18 months, Africa recorded fourth-largest number of cases in a single week, said the WHO chief.
Air India paid 'avoidable' Rs 43.85 cr penalty for non-compliance: CAG
Air India shelled out an "avoidable" penalty of Rs 43.85 crore to Boeing for non-adherence with the contractually stipulated timelines under the agreement for an aircraft component service programme, according to CAG.
The penalty amount was paid in August last year for the July 2016 to December 2019 period.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has mentioned about the penalty in a report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday wherein it said that "avoidable payment of penalty due to delay in return of removed components" was made by Air India.
In December 2015, the airline had entered into an agreement with Boeing for Rotable Exchange Programme related to servicing of 787 aircraft component and the pact came into effect from July 2016.
As per the agreement, Air India was required to return the removed component along with the component information to Boeing within 10 calendar days after Boeing delivered the serviceable exchange component and in case of failure to do so, then delayed return fee is payable to the aircraft maker.
The national carrier defaulted on the concessional late return fees/ penalty for the period from July 2016 to December 2019, following which Boeing served a letter, in July 2020, intimating suspension of the programme if payment was not received by July 31, 2020. Subsequently, Boeing served six months' notice of termination and withdrew the discounts offered earlier.
During the July 2016 to December 2019 period, CAG said there were several instances of delayed return of removed component by Air India over and above the stipulated time limit of 10 days.
Citing audit analysis, CAG said that during the initial period (July 2016 to December 2017), there were 170 instances of delayed return and in 88 instances, the delay was more than 30 days with a maximum of 214 days.
"... due to non-adherence to the timeline for return of removed parts as stipulated in the Agreement, Air India Limited paid penalty of USD 5.87 million (Rs 43.85 crore) to M/s Boeing," the report said.
::SCIENCE AND TECH::
Flawlessly preserved dinosaur embryo preparing to hatch, found in China
The fossil was discovered in Ganzhou, southern China and belonged to a toothless theropod dinosaur, or oviraptorosaur, which the researchers dubbed "Baby Yingliang."
"It is one of the best dinosaur embryos ever found in history," University of Birmingham researcher FionWaisum Ma, who co-authored a paper in the journal iScience, told AFP.
Ma and colleagues found Baby Yingliang's head lay below its body, with the feet on either side and back curled -- a posture that was previously unseen in dinosaurs, but similar to modern birds.
In birds, the behavior is controlled by the central nervous system and called "tucking." Chicks preparing to hatch tuck their head under their right wing in order to stabilize the head while they crack the shell with their beak.
Embryos that fail to tuck have a higher chance of death from an unsuccessful hatching.
"This indicates that such behavior in modern birds first evolved and originated among their dinosaur ancestors," said Ma.
An alternative to tucking might have been something closer to what is seen in modern crocodiles, which instead assume a sitting posture with the head bending upon the chest up to hatching.
Oviraptorosaurs, which means "egg thief lizards," were feathered dinosaurs that lived in what is now Asia and North America during the Late Cretaceous period.
They had variable beak shapes and diets, and ranged in size from modern turkeys at the lower end to massive Gigantoraptors, that were eight meters (26 feet) long.
Baby Yingliang measures around 27 centimeters (10.6 inches) long from head to tail, and lies inside a 17 centimeter-long egg at the Yingliang Stone Nature History Museum.
It would have grown two to three meters long if it had lived to be an adult, and would have likely fed on plants.
The specimen was one of several egg fossils that were forgotten in storage for decades.
The research team suspected they might contain unborn dinosaurs, and scraped off part of Baby Yingliang's egg shell to uncover the embryo hidden within.
Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham reach League Cup semi-finals
A much-changed Chelsea side featuring three teenaged debutants beat Brentford 2-0 on Wednesday to reach the League Cup semi-finals where they will face London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
An own goal 10 minutes from time by Pontus Jansson broke the deadlock at Brentford before a Jorginho penalty sealed victory for Thomas Tuchel's COVID-hit side.
In a thriller at Anfield, a weakened Liverpool side came back from the brink to beat Leicester City on penalties after a 3-3 draw, setting up a semi-final against Arsenal.
Jamie Vardy's early double gave Leicester a 2-0 lead and James Maddison's rocket shot made it 3-1 after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had pulled a goal back.