Insights Daily Current Affairs, 04 July 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 04 July 2017


 

Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

 

NASA to shoot Didmyos asteroid into new flight path in DART test

 

NASA is developing the first-ever mission that will deflect a near-Earth asteroid, and help test the systems that will allow mankind to protect the planet from potential cosmic body impacts in the future. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) – which is being designed and would be built and managed by the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory – is moving from concept development to preliminary design phase.

didmyos asteroid

What you need to know about the DART?

DART would be NASA’s first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique – striking the asteroid to shift its orbit – to defend against a potential future asteroid impact.

 

How it impacts?

The target for DART is an asteroid that will have a distant approach to Earth in October 2022, and then again in 2024. The asteroid is called Didymos – Greek for “twin” -because it is an asteroid binary system that consists of two bodies: Didymos A, about 780 metres in size, and a smaller asteroid orbiting it called Didymos B, about 160 metres in size.

  • DART would impact only the smaller of the two bodies, Didymos B. The Didymos system has been closely studied since 2003. The primary body is a rocky S-type object, with composition similar to that of many asteroids.
  • The composition of its small companion, Didymos B, is unknown, but the size is typical of asteroids that could potentially create regional effects should they impact Earth. After launch, DART would fly to Didymos and use an APL-developed onboard autonomous targeting system to aim itself at Didymos B.
  • Then the refrigerator-sized spacecraft would strike the smaller body at a speed about nine times faster than a bullet, about six kilometres per second. Earth-based observatories would be able to see the impact and the resulting change in the orbit of Didymos B around Didymos A, allowing scientists to better determine the capabilities of kinetic impact as an asteroid mitigation strategy.
  • The kinetic impact technique works by changing the speed of a threatening asteroid by a small fraction of its total velocity, but by doing it well before the predicted impact so that this small nudge will add up over time to a big shift of the asteroid’s path away from Earth.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Presidential assent for Kambala Bill

 

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017, has finally received Presidential assent. With this, all the hurdles for resuming Kambala — the traditional slush-track buffalo race of the coastal districts — are cleared.

 

kambala

Background:

The Karnataka Legislative Assembly passed the Bill in February 2017 to put the traditional sport out of the ambit of PCA Act. Governor of Karnataka then referred the Bill to the President for his assent. In April, the Union Home Ministry suggested modifications to the Bill and returned it to the State. It wanted the government to modify or omit the phrase “subject to such other conditions as may be prescribed”, which would open the window for inclusion of more such sports.

 

About Kambala:

Kambla in its traditional form is non-competitive with buffalo pairs made to race one after another in paddy fields, which is considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases.

  • Over the years, it has however become an organised sport with animal rights activists claiming that the buffaloes run in the race due to fear of being beaten, which the organisers dismiss, saying no violence is involved and that several modifications had been made to ensure that it is an animal friendly event.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

ADB, Centre ink pact for road revamp

 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a $220 million loan agreement meant to improve connectivity, transport efficiency, and safety on the State highways of Rajasthan.

  • The loan is the first tranche of the $500 million Rajasthan State Highways Investment Program, approved by ADB Board in May this year, that will upgrade about 2,000 km of State highways and major district roads to two-lane or intermediate-lane standards to meet road safety requirements.

 

 

Know about ADB:

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.

  • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly known as the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East) and non-regional developed countries.
  • It offers both Hard Loans and Soft loans. The ADB offers “hard” loans from ordinary capital resources (OCR) on commercial terms, and the Asian Development Fund (ADF) affiliated with the ADB extends “soft” loans from special fund resources with concessional conditions.
  • ADB focuses on five core areas of operations: infrastructure; the environment, including climate change; regional cooperation and integration; finance sector development; and education.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

US rolls out expedited entry for ‘low-risk’ Indian travellers

 

The US has started rolling out for India its Global Entry programme which allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travellers.

  • Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna has become the first Indian national to enroll in the programme.

us

What you need to know about the Global Entry Programme?

On landing at select airports, the programme members enter the United States through automatic kiosks, instead of queueing up to clear the immigration by meeting an immigration officer.

  • At these airports, the members proceed to the Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or US permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration.
  • The kiosk then issues the traveller a transaction receipt and directs him or her to the baggage claim and the exit.
  • Travellers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry programme. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrolment.
  • With this India has becomes only the 11th country whose citizens are eligible to enroll in the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) initiative. Global Entry is currently available at 53 US airports and 15 pre-clearance locations.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

SC allows abortion of ailing foetus

 

The Supreme Court has permitted a woman, who is in her 26th week of pregnancy, to abort her foetus that is suffering from severe cardiac ailments.

 

Background:

The order came after the woman and her husband had approached the apex court seeking permission to abort her foetus on grounds of abnormalities which could be even fatal to her. They had also challenged the constitutional validity of section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act which prohibits abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

 

Abortion in India:

Abortion in India is legal only up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, under specific conditions and situations, which are defined as:

  • If the continuance of pregnancy risks the life of the woman or may result in grave physical or mental injury.
  • If there is a substantial possibility of the child being born with physical or mental abnormalities, as to be seriously handicapped.

 

Who has the right to abort?

  • The pregnant woman has the right to adopt; she does not need anyone’s acknowledgement or support if she’s above 18 years of age and is mentally stable.
  • If a woman is married, her own written consent is sufficient. Her husband’s consent is not required.
  • If a woman is unmarried and over 18 years of age, she can provide her own written consent.
  • If a woman is unmarried and under 18, she must provide written consent from her guardian/parent.
  • If a woman is mentally unstable, a written consent is required from her guardian/parent.

 

Laws governing abortion in India:

According to the IPC abortion falls under ‘Offences Affecting the Human Body’, and provides that causing a miscarriage with or without consent for a purpose other than saving the life of the woman is punishable.

  • However, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP Act) makes for a quantum difference in approach, as if by a legislative sleight through a non-obstante clause, by decriminalising abortion without bringing an amendment to the IPC or abrogating the penal provisions.

medical-termination-of-pregnancy-mtp-act

 

MTP Act:

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act in India came into existence in 1971. It was amended in 2003 to facilitate better implementation and increase access for women especially in the private health sector.

  • The MTP Act sets some limitations regarding the circumstances when abortion is permissible, the persons who are competent to perform the procedure, and the place where it could be performed. Outside the ring of protection that the Act draws, the IPC still operates.
  • The MTP Act overrides the IPC by allowing a woman to get an abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, provided a registered medical practitioner diagnoses grave danger to the pregnant woman’s physical and mental health. If the foetus is between 12 and 20 weeks old, then the procedure requires permission from two medical practitioners. The Act also allows abortion if the foetus will be born with severe abnormalities.
  • To determine the risk of physical and mental harm to a pregnant woman seeking abortion, the Act takes into account the woman’s actual as well as reasonably foreseeable environment.
  • It also defines circumstances which can constitute grave injury to the mental health of a woman. The mentally grievous situations include pregnancy resulting from rape as well as contraceptive failure – of any contraception used by a married woman or her husband – if a married couple is attempting to limit their number of children.
  • Abortion beyond 20 weeks is also legal if a registered medical practitioner, in good faith, thinks that emergency termination is necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

Flight Test of QRSAM:

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) developed Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) was recently successfully flight tested from ITR Chandipur, off the Odisha Coast.
  • The QR-SAM weapon system has been jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Bharat Electronics Ltd.
  • It is a quick reaction, all-weather, network-centric missile system capable of search-on-the-move.
  • The missile system can also engage multiple targets within a range of around 30 km with two vehicle configuration for area air defence.
  • It is a truck-mounted missile with a 360° rotatable, electro-mechanically operated, turret-based launch unit.

 

NMCE and ICEX to merge, creating India’s third largest commodity exchange:

National Multi-Commodity Exchange (NMCE), India’s first demutualized multi-commodities exchange, will merge with Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX). The proposed merger will create India’s third largest commodities exchange, offering a range of contracts including bullion, oil, rubber and other agri-commodities. The exchange will also offer the world’s first diamond futures contract, which has already received “in-principle” approval from the regulator.

 

India in 88th place in money hoarded in Swiss banks:

  • India has slipped to the 88th place in terms of money parked by its citizens with Swiss banks.
  • K. remains on the top in the list.
  • India was placed at 75th position in 2015 and at 61st in 2014.