Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 25 March 2018

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 25 March 2018

::NATIONAL::

Structure of Cauvery Management Board

  • A draft cabinet note detailing the structure of the Cauvery Management Board has been prepared by the Union Water Resources Ministry and is likely be circulated to other Ministries before being put up for clearance by the Union Cabinet.
  • According to a person privy to the process, the Board may have “extra members” to accommodate representations from States such as Karnataka and Kerala, who have expressed concerns over the constitution of the board in the last month.
  • The Cauvery Management Board, according to the 2007 order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, is to have three full-time and six part-time members.
  • The latter including one from each of the riparian States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
  • The Board to monitor the inflow of waters in the Cauvery basin and decide the quantum of water to be released to the States — will also have a Cauvery Water Regulation Committee to implement the Board’s decision.
  • Karnataka has objected to the constitution of such a Board, saying the Supreme Court verdict only mentions a “scheme” and not a Board to take a call on matters of distribution.

Earth Hour 2018

  • Lights were turned off across prominent landmarks in the city on evening to mark the 11th annual Earth Hour event as part of a global campaign to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change.
  • Earth Hour was observed by millions of supporters across 187 countries, who turned off their lights at 8.30 p.m. local time in support of the cause.
  • WWF- India conducted a series of events at VUDA Park in partnership with the CII and GVMC as part of the Earth Hour campaign.
  • A rock band show followed by cultural programme and finally a candle-light formation at 8.30 p.m. marked the event.
  • WWF’s Living Planet Report 2016 revealed a 58 % decline in global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles between 1970 and 2012.
  • To address this issue, WWF-Indis launched the #GIVEUPTOGIVEBACK initiative, starting with this year’s Earth Hour.
  • The campaign aims to inspire organisations, institutions and individuals to make the choice to curb some habits, practices and lifestyles, burdening both lives and the environment and inspire them to choose alternatives to connect to earth.
  • The ‘Give Up’ initiative starts conversations at different levels and for different agendas and is a lens and tool that organisations can use for shifting organisational culture and behaviour change, for economising operations and reducing costs.
  • Hotels in the city participated in Earth Hour by switching off lights in their endeavour to sensitise people about the need for conserving the environment and saving energy resource.
  • While the Earth Hour campaign has consistently focussed on climate change as a key call to action over the last decade, the 2018-2020 global Earth Hour campaign focusses beyond climate change and calls on people across the world to take action.
  • Also understand the interconnectivity of people and our environment through relevant issues such as air, water and energy.

India-China: Xiamen Reboot

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s telephone call to Chinese President Xi Jinping after his election for a second term was part of the ‘Xiamen process’ — a calibrated effort to rebuild ties that had been jolted last year by the Doklam military stand-off.
  • The source said a decision had been taken to congratulate Mr. Xi after he was elected for a second presidential term.
  • “Ultimately, it was the Prime Minister who decided to call President Xi on the phone to congratulate him personally.”
  • Call by Mr. Modi has set the tone for his meeting with Mr. Xi at Qingdao — the venue of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in June.
  • No other “informal” meeting between the two leaders is planned so far ahead of the SCO conclave.
  • It is anticipated that the Qingdao meeting would further “change the narrative for the better”, and set the stage for a bilateral summit, possibly later in the year.
  • The step-by-step rebuilding of the post-Doklam ties began soon after the Xiamen summit, with the back-to-back visits to India in December by the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and of State Councillor and politburo member Yang Jiechi.
  • Several high-level visits are now in the pipeline. China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan is to participate in the India-China Joint Economic Group meeting that Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu would host.
  • It is likely that the larger fallout of the ongoing trade tensions between China and the U.S. would be part of the conversation.
  • Other high-level engagements between the two governments include a visit by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj beginning April 23.
  • A visit by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is also in the pipeline.
  • The India-China strategic economic dialogue would be held in Beijing on April 13-14, between the NITI Ayog and the China’s top planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission.

To slow down fast moving drivers, radar speed signs will be used

  • There are traffic police, armed with interceptors, to flag down motorists who drive over the speed limit. But that hasn’t really helped.
  • Recently, a head constable, who was on duty on NICE Road, was knocked down by a speeding vehicle.
  • The police are now planning to use technology that will appeal to drivers in the hope that they will slow down. LED display boards will be installed on the medians of key roads. These will display a vehicle’s speed in real time against the permitted limit.
  • The purpose of radar-speed signs is to make drivers aware that they are crossing the limit. They are used to slow the drivers down in many countries.
  • Traffic expert Prof. M.N. Srihari said this technology is commonly used on highways in Europe and the United States.
  • Traffic police officers concur. The traffic police are all set to issue tenders for 50 such driver feedback systems, where each will have two radar systems for either lane.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Ok for talks with South: North Korea

  • North Korea agreed to hold high-level talks with South Korea next week to discuss logistics for a rare inter-Korean summit, the South’s Unification Ministry said.
  • The two sides will each send a three-member delegation to the border truce village of Panmunjom on Thursday for talks aimed at paving the way for a summit due in late April, it said.
  • South Korea had proposed holding high-level talks with the North to discuss details including the summit’s dates and agenda.
  • The talks will take place at the Unification Pavilion building on the northern side of Panmunjom, which sits on the border, with Seoul’s delegation led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon and his counterpart Ri Son Gwon heading Pyongyang’s.
  • The decision by President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to meet came amid a rapid rapprochement kicked off with the recent Winter Olympics in the South.
  • The U.S. and South Korea had announced that their annual joint military drills would go ahead next month, but the main exercise will be shortened by a month.
  • The exercises have caused tensions for years, with Pyongyang condemning them as preparations for an invasion of the North.
  • The inter-Korean summit is due to be followed by a face-to-face meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Mr. Kim by the end of May.
  • Following a period of heightened tensions stoked by the North’s nuclear and missile tests last year, a rapid rapprochement has been under way on the Korean peninsula.
  • The North broke its silence on the diplomatic thaw with Washington and Seoul, with its official KCNA news agency saying Pyongyang was driving the peace initiative and rejecting suggestions that sanctions forced it to dialogue table.
  • As diplomats scurry to arrange the North-South talks as well as the proposed Trump-Kim meeting, the North’s silence has raised concerns over its intentions.
  • North Korean State media have not yet directly mentioned the summits.
  • Analysts say the North is carefully watching to see how events — including the U.S.-South Korea military drills — play out before making them public to its people.
  • Rodong Sinmun, the official daily of the North’s ruling Workers Party, attacked the U.S. for continued sanctions and pressure on Pyongyang despite diplomatic progress.

Transgenders Military ban revoked: US

  • U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that bans some transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military, but gives the armed forces latitude in implementing policies.
  • The memorandum said transgender individuals with a history of gender dysphoria, defined as “those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery”, are disqualified from military service “except under certain limited circumstances.”
  • It added that the Secretaries of Defence and Homeland Security “may exercise their authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals.”
  • The White House said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had found that individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria presented a risk to military effectiveness.
  • Mr. Trump’s decision is less restrictive than his initial comments in a July Twitter message saying he would prohibit transgender people from military service.
  • A number of federal judges have already issued rulings blocking Mr. Trump’s ban, saying it would probably violate the right, under the U.S. Constitution, to equal protection under the law to all American citizens.
  • The Pentagon reaffirmed that it would continue to comply with federal law.

::ECONOMY::

Nestway to roll out of co-living, student housing in July

  • Home rental network NestAway Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is planning to roll out its Community Living and Student Housing services from July.
  • The company had recently raised Rs. 330 crore from existing investors, including Goldman Sachs, Ratan Tata’s RNT Associates, IDG India and Tiger Global to help enter these emerging segments. NestAway is now in discussions with real estate developers and property owners to close deals before unveiling the services.
  • Community living, or co-living, is fast catching up in the developed world. People from the same profession and sharing the same set of hobbies are the target groups for service providers.
  • Here, an entire building is taken up and, apart from providing rental accommodation, the premises will have shared facilities such as gyms, libraries, common area and game rooms.
  • In student housing, the company sees opportunity in poor standards currently on offer. NestAway’s aim was to provide quality accommodation to students close to their educational institutions, he said.
  • The company will introduce its offering first in Kota, Rajasthan, where thousands of students congregate to prepare for entrance examinations.
  • This will be followed by offers for service near Delhi University and in Bengaluru.

5% duty on TV panel part: Centre

  • The government has halved customs duty on ‘open cell’ used in the manufacturing of LCD and LED television panels to 5%, a move intended to boost domestic manufacturing.
  • Experts said the move was an extension of domestic manufacturing push by the government after it announced in Budget the hiking of import duty on LCD/LED TV panels to 15%.
  • The customs duty of 5% on open cells used in the manufacturing of LCD panels is lower than other items mentioned is Chapter 8529, this could ostensibly be to encourage manufacturing of such panels in India. Other items in the same chapter were either taxed at 7.5% or 10%.
  • The move should boost domestic manufacturing of such panels vis-a-vis direct imports.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Silk scaffold for bone regeneration

  • A scaffold made of silk composite functionalised with copper-doped bioactive glass to facilitate faster bone regeneration has been developed by researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati.
  • The scaffold seeded with stem cells was found to differentiate into bone cells, facilitate growth of blood vessels and successfully integrate the newly formed bone cells with the native bone.
  • The researchers were able to replicate the results in rabbits using functionalised non-mulberry silk composite.
  • Rabbits with scaffolds implanted at the site of bone injury showed successful growth of bone cells and integration with the native bone at the end of three months.
  • Commercially available synthetic grafts have a failure rate of about 25% and 30-60% complication rates.
  • This is due to slower bonding with native bone and poor blood vessel growth. Unlike pure silk, the silk composite has greater strength. The addition of bioglass further enhanced the strength of the composite.
  • Besides other kinds, both mulberry and non-mulberry silk composites were tested. The non-mulberry silk composite was found to be superior in all respects.
  • The RGD sequence in non-mulberry silk is a cell binding site and helps in better cell attachment and proliferation. As a result, more stem cells get attached to the composite leading to better bone tissue formation with time.
  • Besides enhancing the strength of the composite, the minerals from the bioglass gets deposited on the composite making it rougher.
  • The doped copper plays a crucial role in stabilising the gene responsible for blood vessel formation. The gene, in turn, regulates the downstream angiogenesic factors thus helping blood vessel formation.
  • Copper also plays a role in attracting endothelial cells (which forms the inner lining of blood vessels) present nearby to the bone defect site making blood vessel formation possible.
  • The mulberry silk composite degrades and gets desorbed by the body at a faster rate than the non-mulberry silk.
  • The rate of silk composite degradation should match the rate of new tissue formation else the bone that forms will tend to be weaker.
  • The researchers tested the potential of the composites in repairing bone defects in rabbits and found more than 80% bone formation at the end of 30 days.

Targeted Cancer treatment using nanomotors

  • Research on nanomotors for various medical applications is an emerging field in nanoscience and researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, have had a measure of success.
  • The researchers have developed a new type of zinc-ferrite–coated magnetic nanomotors that are highly stable and can generate localised heating to kill cancerous cells. The results were published in Nanoscale.
  • Measuring just about 3 microns in size, the magnetic nanomotors can be manoeuvred in different biological environments like blood, tissue etc using rotating magnetic fields of less than hundred Gauss (safe level for human beings) and targeted to the area of interest in the body.
  • They are popular due to their non-invasive nature and the absence of the need for chemical fuel to propel them.
  • Hyperthermia experiments were carried out using these nanomotors on human cervical cancer cells in the lab. The nanomotors are biocompatible and in vivo studies are being carried out to understand how it will be processed in the body.
  • Silicon dioxide forms the backbone of these nanomotors and magnetic material such as iron is deposited on top of it.
  • The zinc ferrite coating is then applied to provide multifunctional properties such as enhanced physical and chemical stabilities, and magnetic hyperthermia potential.

Alien Skeleton found out to be Human foetus

  • A six-inch skeleton discovered in Chile’s Atacama Desert belongs to a human foetus, and does not have extraterrestrial origins, scientists say.
  • After five years of deep genomic analysis, researchers from the Stanford University and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the US have pinpointed the mutations responsible for the anomalous specimen.
  • They found mutations in not one but several genes known to govern bone development, researchers said.
  • The skeleton, nicknamed Ata, was discovered more than a decade ago in an abandoned town in the Atacama Desert of Chile.
  • After trading hands and eventually finding a permanent home in Spain, the mummified specimen started to garner public attention.
  • After sequencing Ata’s genome, researchers found mutations in seven genes that separately or in combinations contribute to various bone deformities, facial malformations or skeletal dysplasia.
  • The analysis pointed to a decisive conclusion: This was the skeleton of a human female, likely a foetus, that had suffered severe genetic mutations.
  • Nolan noted that 8% of the DNA was unmatchable with human DNA, but that was due to a degraded sample, not extraterrestrial biology.
  • Later, a more sophisticated analysis was able to match up to 98% of the DNA, he said.

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