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China evokes Panchsheel

China proposed five principles of peaceful co-existence or Panchsheel for advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI), and as a vehicle for achieving sustainable globalisation.

Key Facts

  • Friendship and cooperation with all countries in the world on the Belt and Road Initiative on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence.
  • 29 world leaders and representatives from countries across the continents took part the meet.
  • Belt and Road initiative should be an open one that will achieve both economic growth and balanced development.

India’s Stand

India boycott China’s Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in view of sovereignty concerns related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the initiative that is expected to figure prominently in the two-day meet. Objections related only to the CPEC traversing through Gilgit and Baltistan of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). India treats the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir as its integral part.

China–Pakistan Economic Corridor

  • CPEC is intended to rapidly modernize Pakistani infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of: modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
  • It became partly operational when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar Port.
  • CPEC will not only benefit China and Pakistan but will have positive impact on Iran, Afghanistan, India, Central Asian Republic, and the region.

The : Hindu

GS III : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

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Arctic nations to meet amid drilling concerns

World’s eight Arctic nations are meeting in Alaska amid concerns about the future of the sensitive region. Recently United States President Donald Trump called for more oil drilling and development.

About Artic Council

  • Arctic Council is an advisory body that promotes cooperation among member nations and indigenous groups.
  • The main focus is on sustainable development and environmental protection of the Arctic.
  • It does not make policy or allocate resources, and its decisions must be unanimous.

Members of the Council

  • Eight member countries : Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.300px-ArcticCouncil.svg
  • Only states with territory in the Arctic can be members of the Council.
  • The Council also has permanent and ad hoc observer countries and permanent participants.
  • India has an observer status, Observers have no voting rights in the Council.

 

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Government to curb online Child Sexual Abuse Material

Ministry of Women and Child Development to deal with the problem of online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). A stakeholder Consultation was held last year on this issue. It was decided that the Ministry will establish a National Alliance against   Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.  It will mainly focusing on the online content.

Immediate Interim Measures

  • Consultations of the Inter-Ministerial Committee, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MEITY) in collaboration with Ministry of Women and Child Development has issued immediate interim measures to curb the menace of Online Child Sexual Abuse Material.
  • The Internet Service Providers(ISPs) shall be required to adopt and implement the Internet Watch Foundation(IWF) Resources by 31st July 2017.
  • This foundation maintains a dynamic global list of websites and URLs which contain CSAM.
  • Implementation of IWF Resources will result in the relevant content being blocked/removed on an ongoing basis.
  • This is an interim measure till the IMC puts in place a centralized mechanism to monitor online CSAM.
  • ISPs will continue to observe due diligence requirements described under the IT Act for removing and disabling any content which is in violation.

Source : Pib

GS II : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

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India and UK to cooperate in urban transport sector

India & UK agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on bilateral cooperation in urban transport policy planning, technology transfer and institutional organization of transport.

Key Fact

  • MoU agreed to cover a wide range of transport mobility solutions and associated activities in urban environments.
  • Transport For London  (TFL) will share its expertise on the mobility and efficiency of transport system and methodologies to facilitate the planning and delivery of mobility solutions including ticketing , passenger information, major project financing, infrastructure maintenance strategies and behavioural change and public transport promotion.
  • Ministry to strengthen cooperation on electric bus, bus innovation and capacity augmentation and water transport.

Transport for London (TFL)

  • TFL is a local government body responsible for the transport system in Greater London, England.
  • TfL has responsibility for London’s network of principal road routes, for various rail networks including the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and TfL Rail, for London’s trams, buses and taxis, for cycling provision, and for river services.

Source : Pib

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

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Tejas Successfully Test Fires Beyond Visual Range Missile

Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft successfully demonstrated an Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile firing capability by releasing Derby Air-to-Air BVR missile in RADAR guided mode.

Key Fact

  • The objective of the test was to assess the Derby integration with aircraft systems on-board Tejas including the aircraft avionics, fire-control radar, launchers and Missile Weapon Delivery System and to verify its performance.
  • test was conducted on a Manoeuvrable Aerial Target at the Interim Test Range (ITR), Chandipur.
  • The Derby firing is a major step towards clearing BVR capabilities on LCA aircraft for Final Operational Configuration.

What is BVR?

Targeting an object beyond the visual range of the pilot. The pilot actually see the target, on radar or by other artificial means. Beyond-visual-range missile (BVR) is an air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) that is capable of engaging at ranges of 20 nmi (37 km) or beyond. This range has been achieved using dual pulse rocket motors or booster rocket motor and ramjet sustainer motor.

Derby BVRAAM

  • Derby (Alto) is a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM).
  • It is developed by Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to meet the combat needs of the armed forces.
  • It is integrated onto a variety of fighter aircraft such as F-5, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Gripen E and Mirage
  • Capable of engaging aerial threats from short ranges and near-beyond visual range.
  • Powered by a rocket motor, the Derby missile has a speed of Mach 4 and can hit targets at a range of up to 50km.

Tejas Aircraft

An indigenous fighter aircraft jointly developed by Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. It is the smallest lightweight, multi-role, single-engine tactical fighter aircraft in the world and is being developed in single-seat fighter and twin seat trainer variants for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.


Source : Pib

GS III : Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

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Nod for GM mustard

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), India’s apex regulator for genetically modified seeds cleared GM mustard for environmental release and use in farmer fields. If it get final nod from Environment Ministery GM mustard would be the first transgenic food crop.

What is Gm Mustard? 

DMH (Dhara Mustard Hybrid)-11 is genetically modified variety of mustard developed by Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants at Delhi University. It was Government sponsored project. Mustard is one of India’s most important winter crops sown between mid-October and late November.

Favourable Arguments

  • Yields about 30% more than a traditional.
  • Need to raise domestic crop yields and cut dependence on imports.

Arguments Against

  • Can affect honeybees directly and indirectly through effecting flowering and pollen production.
  • It will force farmers to use only select brands of agro-chemicals because it use external gene that makes the plant resistant to herbicide.
  • May adversely affect environment, human and animal health.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

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Lunar palace on earth

Chinese students will live in a laboratory simulating a lunar-like environment for up to 200 days as China prepares for its long-term goal of putting humans on the moon.  The project seeks to help the country prepare lunar explorers for longer stays on the surface.

Key Facts

  • Research university Beihang entered the 160-square-metre (1,720-square-foot) cabin dubbed the “Yuegong-1”, or Lunar Palace.
  • The volunteers will live in the sealed lab to simulate a long-term, self-contained space mission with no input from the outside world.
  • Two men and two women entered the lab for an initial stay of 60 days.
  • They will then be relieved by another group of four, who will stay 200 days, before returning for an additional 105.
  • Experimental crops and vegetables grown with the help of food and waste byproducts.
  • Human waste will be treated with a bio-fermentation process.
  • The “Lunar Palace” has two plant cultivation modules and a living cabin: 42 square metres containing four bed cubicles, a common room, a bathroom, a waste-treatment room and a room for raising animals.
  • The Lunar Palace is the world’s third bioregenerative life-support base, and the first developed in China.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights

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Artificial bone marrow could make transplants safer

Scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher, have developed artificial bone tissues that could provide new bone marrow for patients needing transplants and make the procedure much safer.

Bone marrow

  • Bone marrow is the flexible tissue in the interior of bones.
  • In humans, red blood cells are produced by cores of bone marrow in the heads of long bones in a process known as hematopoiesis.
  • Bone marrow transplants can be conducted to treat severe diseases of the bone marrow, including certain forms of cancer such as leukemia.

About Research

  • Bone marrow transplants are used to treat patients with bone marrow disease.
  • Developed bone tissues with functional bone marrow that can be filled with donor cells and implanted under the skin of mice.
  • The structures matured into bone tissues that have a working blood vessel network and a bone marrow inside that supplies new blood cells.
  • Donor cells survived for at least six months and supplied the mice with new blood cells.

Importance of Artificial Bone Marrow

Before a transplant, a patient is first given doses of radiation to kill off any existing stem cells in the patient’s bone marrow. Pre-treatment is meant to improve success of the transplant by clearing up space in the marrow. It will allow donor cells to survive and grow without competition from the patient’s own cells. This treatment often comes with harmful side effects, such as nausea, fatigue, loss of fertility and others. To address these issues, researchers developed a bone-like implant that gives donor cells their own space to live and grow without competition, eliminating the need to wipe out the host’s pre-existing cells.


Source : The Hindu

GS III : Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

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Tallest bridge across Chenab

Importance of the Bridge

  • World’s tallest railway arch bridge over the Chenab river in Jammu, providing rail connectivity to Kashmir.
  • It will be capable of handling high intensity blasts and resisting the worst possible natural disaster.
  • This is for the first time globally that a bridge is designed to handle high level trinitrotoluene (TNT) blast load.

About the Project

  • The bridge will be a crucial link in the 111-km stretch between Katra (Jammu) and Banihal (Kashmir) which is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla.
  • The railway project aimed at linking Kashmir through rail with the rest of the country.Rail chenab
  • The 1.3 km long bridge over the Chenab at a height of 359 metres will be 35m taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris and five times the height of the Qutab Minar in Delhi.
  • The project site located at 60 km from the Pakistan border.
  • The construction work of the Chenab Bridge declared as a national project  in August 2004.
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FSSAI to tax processed food items

Expert panel set up by food regulator FSSAI has recommended additional tax on highly processed food items and sugar-laced beverages. Panel also recommended ban on advertising of junk foods on children’s channels or during kids’ shows on TV.

About Report

  • 11-member panel on ‘Consumption of Fat, Sugar and Salt (FSS) and its health effects on Indian population’ suggests ways to cut consumption of unhealthy food products.
  • Imposing additional tax on the purchase of commodities can be a pragmatic approach to reduce their intake.
  • It aims to reduce rising burden of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes.
  • The nutrition-related programmes of the government can be supported through profit from taxing unhealthy food products.
  • The report serve as a guideline document for all the stakeholders, including the industry, the FSSAI and consumers, in reducing consumption of fat, sugar and salt through processed food products.
  • Advertisement ban for foods high in Fat Sugar Salt (FSS) during children TV shows or kids TV channels is suggested by the panel.
  • Celebrity endorsements of such foods need to be discouraged and online social media websites should also comply with advertising ban for unhealthy foods.
  • Panel recommended reliable monitoring systems to examine FSS intake periodically at the national level.

Need for Regulation

The rising burden of mortality and morbidity due to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancers is alarming. The burden of chronic diseases will tend to increase in the next 25 years. In order to tackle this simple sugars and refined carbohydrates should be reduced. These come largely from sugar sweetened beverages and processed snacks with high added sugar content.

Food Safety And Standards Authority of India

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards , 2006.
  • FSSAI has been created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the Administrative Ministry for the implementation of FSSAI.
  • Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) appointed by Government of India.
  • Chairperson is in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources