# Comprehensive News Analysis - 07 November 2016

##### H. Archives

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### Useful News Articles

##### A. GS1 Related

Category: Indian Geography

Topic: Chandrabhaga River

Key Points:

• After an expert panel recently confirmed the existence of the mythical Saraswati river in India’s North-West, scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology, IIT – Kharagpur now claim they have found evidence of another lost Indian river – Chandrabhaga

The ancient river is believed to have existed at a distance of about 2 km from the 13th century Sun Temple at Konark, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Odisha. The Scientists have reported no trace of any water body is at present visible in the proximity of the temple, but the mythical river figures prominently in ancient literature. Almost all myths regarding Konark, including illustrations and photographs, indicate the presence of the Chandrabhaga River in the proximity of the temple.

• They did this through integrated geological and geophysical exploration in conjunction with historical evidence and analysis of satellite data. Imagery from Landsat and Terra satellites of the US and those obtained by NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour’s ‘Radar Topography Mission’ in 2000 were used.

According to their report, the satellite imagery and Google Earth image showed a sinusoidal trace, characteristic of a typical palaeo channel – remnant of an inactive river passing north of the Sun Temple extending approximately parallel to the coast. The existence of a palaeo channel was further corroborated through profiling the surface using ground-penetrating radar that showed the existence of a V-shaped subsurface river valley, the scientists report.

##### B. GS2 Related

Category: Air pollution

Topic: Delhi’s air quality

Key Points:

• As air pollution levels remained alarmingly high, with a blanket of smog enveloping the city, Chief Minister of Delhi announced that all schools in the Capital will remain shut for 3 days. The decision was taken at an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss measures to tackle the air pollution.

The city has turned into a gas chamber mainly due to large-scale crop stubble burning in neighbouring States. The base level of pollution was already very high.

• The government is also considering bringing back the odd-even car rationing scheme to bring down the pollution levels. All construction and demolition work in the city has also been banned for five days. The government also announced that the coal-based Badarpur power plant would be shut for the next 10 days.

Haryana farmers lay blame on mechanised harvesters –

• The 4 districts of Kaithal, Fatehabad, Karnal and Kurukshetra account for almost 80 per cent of the stubble burning in Haryana.

Most of the villagers in the area still preferred to burn the crop waste. Burning the stubble seems to be the most convenient, cheap and pragmatic solution to get rid of it. Most of the farmers prefer to cut their crops using combine harvesters which do not cut crops close to the ground and leave the plant stalk, usually up to two feet high, standing. Unlike, the wheat stalk which is used for making fodder for the cattle, the paddy stalk is of inferior quality and is of practically no use. So, the farmers cut it and set it afire.

Category: Bilateral

Topic: India – Sri Lanka Fisherman issue

Key Points:

• Sri Lanka urged India to expeditiously end unsustainable industrial-scale fishing in the coastal waters between the two countries. Sri Lanka said Indian trawlers were using heavy-duty fishing techniques in the coastal waters that must be ended at the earliest.
• The Joint Working Group to resolve the fishermen issue would have 3 tasks – of expeditiously working to end bottom trawling, facilitating joint patrolling of the coastal waters, and working towards release of arrested fishermen who strayed into each other’s waters.

The agreement to end bottom trawling through the JWG came at the end of a long series of discussions. Earlier, Sri Lanka had rejected the suggestion that India would phase out industrial-scale trawlers over a 3-year period, arguing that such a policy would damage the marine ecosystem.

Category: International Summits

Topic: UNFCCC

Key Points:

• India will host a special side event during the UN Climate Change Conference at Marrakech – Morocco, on the 12 Himalayan States that face the impact of a changing climate. The Himalayas provide water to 1.3 billion people in Asia, but have been inadequately represented over the past three decades in climate change discussions. Currently, the Himalayas are not spoken about even at discussions in international forums on mountain countries.

Almora-based G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development has been asked by the centre to represent the 12 Himalayan States at CoP – 22. The Hindu Kush region was represented at UNFCCC by the Nepal-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.

• At the CoP – 22, the impact of climate change on disasters, biodiversity, livelihood, and agriculture will be highlighted. Though the Himalayas are warming faster than the global average, they are not yet in focus. Plans to mitigate climate impact will be drawn up.

Category: Ministry of Railways

Topic: High speed train

Key Points:

• After the successful launch of Gatimaan Express, the Railways has undertaken a mammoth exercise of reducing journey time on the Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes by increasing the speed of trains up to 160 km per hour at an estimated cost of Rs. 10,000 crore.
• Mission Raftaar – The Ministry of Railways has firmed up an action plan to increase the train speed up to 160 km per hour on the total 9,000-km main trunk routes across the country as part of the Mission Raftaar project. To begin with, we have started the work on 2 major busy routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah.

Plan – Strengthening of the track, upgrading of signalling system and fencing off vulnerable sections along the route are to be undertaken to ensure the speed on the two busy corridors, as per the plan.

Note – Railways has recently introduced Gatimaan Express between Delhi and Agra at 160 km per hour speed.

The 1,400-km-long Delhi-Howrah and the 1,500-km-long Delhi-Mumbai rail corridors are among the 2 major busy routes of the Golden Quadrilateral of Indian Railways. Other routes are Howrah-Chennai, Delhi-Chennai and Chennai-Mumbai.

Category: Defense

Topic: Demchok mission

Key Points:

• The Army has completed laying an irrigation pipeline for residents of villages in the Demchok region of Eastern Ladakh despite a face-off with Chinese troops over the work. The irrigation project was being built under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme – MGNREGS to link a village with a hot spring.

In order to protest the laying of the pipeline, Chinese troops attempted to erect a fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) hut on the border. However, the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police – ITBP did not allow that. Officials said the Army had fortified the area and prevented Chinese forces from further entering into Indian Territory.

• This is the first time since 2014 when the Chinese Army had come deep inside the Indian territory in Demchok in protest against an ongoing irrigation project.

Category: International Summits

Topic: International Agro-biodiversity Congress

Key Points:

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Laws on conservation of agro-biodiversity should not hamper growth of agriculture in developing nations like India while asserting that use of technologies for crop enhancement must not be at the cost of sustainable development.

Addressing the 1st ever International Agro-biodiversity Congress at New Delhi, Mr. Modi cautioned against growing threat to plant and animal species and said there was a need to adopt a shared vision for conserving them through focussed research and proper management of genetic resources.

• PM Modi further said “World over, crores of poor people are fighting hunger, malnutrition and poverty. To address these issues, science and technology is very important. While finding solution to these problems, we should not ignore sustainable development and conservation of biodiversity”

‘There is a need to assess the negative impact of use of the technology in agriculture,’ the Prime Minister said, citing the example of pesticide usage affecting honeybee in pollination process.

Category: International issues

Topic: Mission Raqqa

Key Points:

• S.-backed rebels said they were launching an operation to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State – IS. The attack ratchets up pressure on the militant group at a critical moment, with its fighters already battling an offensive by Iraqi security forces on their remaining Iraqi stronghold in the northern city of Mosul.

The U.S. backed Syria Democratic Forces – SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab armed groups, first announced that a campaign to retake Raqqa would begin within hours, with U.S. forces providing air cover. Soon afterwards, it said that the operation Euphrates Anger had begun.

##### C. GS3 Related

Category: S&T

Topic: NCBS

Key Points:

• Timely intervention to prevent or delay hippocampus-linked memory loss that occurs as a result of chronic stress may now be possible, thanks to the discovery of a biomarker by Scientists of National centre for biological sciences (NCBS) – a reduction in hippocampal volume at an early time point after the onset of chronic stress.

The reduction in the hippocampal volume is not only linked to stress-induced memory loss, it may, in fact, be an early risk factor for the eventual development of cognitive impairments.

##### D. GS4 Related

Nothing here today folks!

##### E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu

Key Points:

• The agreement between India and Sri Lanka on establishing a Joint Working Group on fisheries is a small step forward in resolving the dispute between fishermen of both countries. In fact, such a mechanism had been in place until a few years ago to address problems that arose whenever fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested by Sri Lanka.
• The points agreed on are important: a hotline between the Coast Guards of both countries, a meeting of the JWG once in three months, and a meeting of the fisheries ministers every six months. Welcome too is the commitment that there would be no violence or loss of life of fishermen. These measures are useful in getting Indian fishermen or their boats released from custody, but they are unlikely to have any immediate impact on the livelihood crisis facing the fishermen of northern Sri Lanka. Such a crisis may grip Tamil Nadu fishermen too one day, after the fishery resources in the Palk Bay are exhausted.
• The real issue is how long trawlers from Tamil Nadu will continue to fish in Sri Lankan territorial waters, and how soon bottom trawling is ended. The official statement after the talks between the foreign ministers refers to expediting the transition towards ending the practice of bottom trawling at the earliest. An agreement on this is crucial, but in the absence of a time frame there remains a question mark over a solution emerging.
• Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen are firm on an immediate end to all incursions and are against seized Indian boats being released without legal process, even though they agree that the arrested fishermen should be released. In talks between representatives of fishermen held a few days earlier, Tamil Nadu fishermen had asked for a three-year phase-out period for their trawlers, and a deal under which they would fish for 85 days a year until then.
• This was rejected outright by the Sri Lankan side, which holds that the Indian vessels cause serious economic and ecological damage. One way of preventing boundary transgression is to find a livelihood alternative for Tamil Nadu fishermen. Equipping them for deep sea fishing is an option.

For now, Tamil Nadu should show greater understanding of the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen, who are economically weaker and yet to fully recover from a devastating war, and agree to a more reasonable phase-out period. Sri Lanka, then, can look at a licensing system under which fishermen from both sides can fish on specified days using sustainable methods and permissible equipment. It is important that all sides recognise that there is a humanitarian dimension to the issue.

##### G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂

Question 1:Which of the following Ancient Indian rivers path were recently discovered by a group of specialists?

a) Saraswati and Gayathri b) Saraswati and Chandrabhaga c) Chandrabhaga and Gayathri d) Gayathri and Indra

Question 2:The 1st Agro-Biodiversity Congress took place at -

a) New Delhi b) Mumbai c) Bangalore d) Gurugram
Question 3:Which of the following is correctly matched?
1. Raqqa – Syria
2. Demchok – J&K
3. Mosul – Iran

a) (i) only b) (i) and (ii) only c) (ii) and (iii) only d) All 3 are correctly matched

	Question 4:UN Framework Convention on Climate change’s CoP-22, 2016 will be held at
a) New Delhi, India b) Warsaw, Poland c) Lima, Peru d) Marrakesh, Morocco
Question 5.	The Ministry of Railways has firmed up an action plan to increase the train speed up to 160 km per hour on the total 9,000-km main trunk routes across the country under
a) Mission Raftaar b) Mission Indradhanush c) Mission Kayakalp d) Mission Janshathabdi

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