Comprehensive News Analysis - 02 April 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related

ART AND CULTURE

1. Bidriware imitations everywhere

B. GS2 Related

POLITY

1. Voters in bypolls can now verify their votes

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India and Malaysia to fight IS together: Najib Razak

C. GS3 Related

ECONOMY

1. ED cracks down on 300 shell firms

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Eclipses of binary star shed light on orbiting exoplanet In a first, a massive exoplanet was discovered using X-ray observations

ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECOLOGY

1. Wildlife ambulance customised to fill up waterholes in Wayanad

2. Algal bloom may spare Indian waters

3. IISc researchers’ ecofriendly way of recycling e-waste

MISCELLANEOUS

1. Beary dialect to get its first dictionary by May

D. GS4 Related

1. Satyam Babu will walk free on Sunday

E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn 

1. Transliteration

F. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
H. Archives

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Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs

A. GS1 Related

1. Bidriware imitations everywhere 

Bidriware:

  • Bidriware is a metal handicraft from Bidar.
  • Developed in the 14th century C.E. during Bidriwarethe rule of the Bahamani Sultans.
  • The term ‘Bidriware’ originates from the township of Bidar, which is still the chief centre for the manufacture of the unique metalware
  • Due to its striking inlay artwork, Bidriware is an important export handicraft of India and is prized as a symbol of wealth.
  • The metal used is a blackened alloy of zinc(90%) and copper(10%) inlaid with thin sheets of pure silver.
  • This native art form has obtained Geographical Indications (GI) registry.
 

 

B. GS2 Related
Category: POLITY

1. Voters in bypolls can now verify their votes 

What’s in news?

  • Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) that will be in use during the April 9 bypolls to Nanjangud and Gundlupet in the Karnataka State will be accompanied by Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines.

How VVPAT works?

  • The VVPAT, a machine with a printing unit, which is connected to the EVM, will print a ballot slip soon after the voter exercises his franchise on the EVM.
  • The ballot slip containing the serial number, name and symbol of the chosen candidate will be visible to the voter for seven seconds.
  • The candidate can see the slip through a glass case in the VVPAT for seven seconds. Then the ballot slip gets cut and drops into the drop box in the VVPAT machine and a beep will be heard.
  • The voters will not be allowed to take the slip with them, to maintain confidentiality of the vote
  • In the event of a voter raising a dispute that the ballot slip did not indicate the choice made in the EVM, there is a provision for a “test vote” to be carried out by the poll official in the presence of representatives of different parties in the booth. “If the test vote disproves the voter’s contention, a FIR can be registered against the voter.
  • This ensures transparency in the polling process.


Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India and Malaysia to fight IS together: Najib Razak  

What’s in news?

  • PM meets Visiting Malaysian PM Najib Razak.
  • Minutes of meeting
    • Joint cooperation to defeat Islamic State militants and the growing threat of radicalisation and extremism.
    • Extending support to India for a greater role in the maritime security of the Asia-Pacific region- the maritime issue is significant as both the countries have been demanding freedom of navigation in the South East Asian region, where China has been flexing muscles and has claimed most of the South China Sea.
    • Plan to hold a major joint conference on de-radicalisation.
    • Signed agreements – air services, sports, human resources, palm oil production and research, and technological development. An agreement that will allow India to build a fertilizer plant in Malaysia was also signed.
 
C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. ED cracks down on 300 shell firms

What’s in news?

  • On accounts of large scale violation of money laundering and foreign exchange violations, Enforcement Directorate conducted search operation on 300 shell companies spread across 16 states.

Search operation findings:

  • After the demonetization drive was announced several companies were involved in the laundering of huge sums of cash .
  • Certain shell firms were found to have remitted huge amounts to other countries for imports that never materialised. They had either produced forged bills of entry or had simply skipped the procedure.
  • In a Kolkata-based case, over 50 companies were registered at the same address, which, on verification, was found to be of a vacant residential premises which had been rented out
  • In another case, a shell firm was found to have exported carpets to its sister concern incorporated abroad. The export proceeds were never realised and the person behind these companies had applied to the Reserve Bank of India to write off the outstanding export proceeds.
  • Of the 15 lakh registered companies, only six lakh file their annual returns. The ED suspect that a large number of these companies provide accommodation entries by raising fake inflated invoices to help the others evade tax. These companies also show share purchases at a premium for converting black money into white.

Basic information:

  • Money Laundering: Money laundering is the process of transforming the profits of crime and corruption into ostensibly ‘legitimate’ assets
  • Enforcement Directorate: The Directorate General of Economic Enforcement is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India. It is part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance. It comprises officers of the Indian Revenue Service, Indian Police Service and the Indian Administrative Service. The prime objective of the Enforcement Directorate is the enforcement of two key Acts of the Government of India namely, the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA)
  • Shell Companies: A shell company is a non-profit company. It does not have an active business or assets. It is mostly a company on papers which is used in business transactions between two other companies. It is not necessarily illegal but is often used for tax evasion


Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Eclipses of binary star shed light on orbiting exoplanet In a first, a massive exoplanet was discovered using X-ray observations

 What’s in news?
  • A team of scientists from Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru, and University of Delhi have seen for the first time indications of a massive planet orbiting a low mass X-ray binary star system.
  • The technique that has been used, namely, X-ray observations, is a new way of detecting exoplanets
  • The system is nearly 30,000 light years away and the planet is expected to be nearly 8,000 times as massive as the earth.
  • MXB 1658-298, star–system is an X-ray binary and a part of the constellation Ophiuchus (serpent bearer).
  • X-ray binaries consist of a pair of stars orbiting each other of which one is compact one such as a black hole or a neutron star (in this case, a neutron star).
  • The neutron star draws matter from its less-massive companion. The mass when drawn generates X-rays which are detected by detectors placed in satellites in space.


Category: ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECOLOGY

1. Wildlife ambulance customised to fill up waterholes in Wayanad

 What’s in news?
  • Customized wildlife ambulance at Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary to quench the thirst of animals.
  • Fist-of-its-kind initiative in Kerala, designed to fill ponds in the forests, with water supplied through tankers.
  • The ambulance has been customised by installing two water tanks, each with a storage capacity of 5,000 liters, and two diesel pump sets, each with 5 horse power, for collecting and filling up water at a cost of nearly Rs. 1.5 lakh.
  • Sanctuary is under pressure due to a lack of water availability – deficit monsoon last year.
  • The inflow of migrating wildlife, especially higher mammal such as elephants and gaur, from the Tiger Reserves of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to the sanctuary, has increased considerably this season.

Outcome:

  • The shortage of water in the sanctuary would mean that animals would stray into human habitations, thereby intensifying the man-animal conflict.

2. Algal bloom may spare Indian waters

What’s in news?

  • The coastal States of India may not suffer from the massive algal (green Noctiluca scintillans) bloom that has been reported from the Arabian Sea.
  • Ocean-watchers had earlier reported that a bloom of the size of Mexico, which originated in the Gulf of Oman, had reached the Arabian Sea and feared that it could reach Indian shores.
  • Satellite time series images also reveal that this offshore bloom initiates in the Oman waters by January and subsequently intensifies and spreads over almost half of the Arabian Sea till March end. Subsequently, it becomes weak and disappears as the waters start warming by April. Though the extension of the bloom towards Gujarat coast varies annually, typically it remains about 15 km away from the shore.

Degradation and its impact

  • When Noctiluca cells degrade, associated detritus in the form of particulate organic carbon sinks to deeper waters.
  • During this process, decomposition occurs by the microbes and oxygen that is dissolved in water is consumed for their oxidation.
  • The decomposition reduces dissolved oxygen from the water column and causes adverse effect on fish.
  • Secondly, degrading Noctiluca cells release ammonia in the water increasing toxic level and it causes fish mortality.
  • Earlier studies in the bloom area had indicated that there was no significant increase in ammonia or decrease in dissolved oxygen during degrading stage of the bloom in the off shore waters of Gujarat.

Why bloom develops in Arabian Sea

  • Result of a continuous process of winter cooling and convective mixing.
  • Cool dry continental air from the northeast causes an increase in surface density of the sea water due to evaporative cooling and increased salinity.
  • The vertical mixing of the water masses causes recharge of water column with nutrients from the deep. The resulting nutrient enrichment increases the biological production of the water.

3. IISc researchers’ ecofriendly way of recycling e-waste 

What’s in news?

  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc) researchers have found a novel way to recycle the mounting pile of electronic waste more efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner.
  • According to the United National Environmental Programme, about 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated annually across the world.
  • The new approach is based on the idea of crushing e-waste into nanosize particles using a ball mill at very low temperature ranging from -50 to -150 degree C.
  • When crushed to nanosize particles for about 30 minutes, different classes of materials — metals, oxides and polymer — that go into the making of electronic items get physically reduced into their constituent phases, which can then be separated without using any chemicals
  • The use of low-temperature grinding eliminates noxious emission.

Process

  • There are two processes that happen when milling. The polymer material breaks but metals get welded, some sort of solid-state welding resulting in mixing; the welded metals again get broken during milling. At low temperature mixing does not happen
  • There is also a lower limit to which materials can be broken into when e-waste is milled at room temperature. The maximum size reduction that can be achieved is about of 200 nanometre.
  • But in the case of low temperature ball milling the size can be reduced to 20-150 nanometres.
  • The low-temperature ball mill was designed by Dr. Tiwary. The cryo-mill grinding chamber is cooled using liquid nitrogen and a small hardened steel ball is used for grinding the material in a controlled inert atmosphere using argon gas.
  • The polymer becomes brittle when cooled to -120 degree C and ball milling easily breaks it into a fine power. Metals and oxides too get broken but are a bit bigger in size.
  • The crushed powder was then mixed with water to separate the components into individual classes of materials using gravity. The powder separated into two layers — the polymer floats at the top due to lower density, while metals and oxides of similar size and different density settle at the bottom. The bottom layer when diluted further separated into oxides at the top and metals at the bottom. The oxides and metals were present as individual elements.

 
Category: MISCELLANEOUS

1. Beary dialect to get its first dictionary by May

 
  • The Beary dialect, spoken by an ethnic Muslim group in parts of Karnataka and Kerala, will have its first dictionary with meanings in Kannada and English.
  • The dictionary, with about 20,000 words, will have the original Beary word in Kannada script and an English transliteration. It would be followed by the meaning of the word in Kannada and in English.
  • Disappeared Beary words from local coversations :‘Eekel’ (broomstick), ‘Yaake’ (rope for drying clothes) and ‘Mwaza’ (socks).
  • Research works on ‘Beary Language’, mentions that there was a belief that Beary had a script known as ‘Batte Baraha’, which is now not in use. Now Kannada script is being used.
  • In another research work ‘Mopilla Malayalam’ the author says that the origin of Beary could be traced to the Tulu dialect.

 

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D. GS4 Related

1. Satyam Babu will walk free on Sunday

 
  • The High Court pronounced its judgment on Friday that Mr. Babu was in no way connected to the rape and murder that took place in a private hostel at Ibrahimpatnam near Vijayawada on December 27, 2007.
  • Satyam Babu spent around 8 years term in jail.

Ethical issues involved

  • Empathy
  • Human rights violation
  • Dignity and self respect.
  • Emotional agony
  • Moral judgment.

Prelims related facts

  • Kerala has one of the highest per capita consumption of liquor.
 
E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn

1. Transliteration
Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters in predictable ways.

 
 
F. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGANISATIONS IN NEWS About the Article
 
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam:)
Question 1: “Friendship-2016”,first ever joint military drills was conducted 
between
  1. Russia and China
  2. Russia and Pakistan
  3. India and Bangladesh
  4. Pakistan and China.
See
Answer
Question 2: Consider the following statement with reference to Bidiriware:
  1. Bidriware is a metal handicraft from Bidar.
  2. The metal used is a blackened alloy of zinc(90%) and copper(10%) inlaid with thin sheets of pure silver.
  3. This native art form has obtained Geographical Indications (GI) registry

Choose the correct answers

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. All are correct
See
Answer
 

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