14th April, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘65th National Film Awards’
(Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: The National Film awards were announced by Shekhar Kapur, the head of the Jury for feature films
Some of the winners are:
Dada Saheb Phalke Award: Vinod Khanna
Best Director: Jayaraj for Bhayanakam (Malayalam)
Best Feature Film: Village Rockstars (Assamese)
Best Actor: Ridhhi Sen for Nagar Kirtan (Bengali)
Best Actress: Sridevi for Mom (Hindi)
Best Supporting Actor – Fahadh Faasil for Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum (Malayalam)
Best supporting actress – Divya Dutta for Irada (Hindi)
Best Action Direction: Baahubali 2 (Telugu)
Best Choreography: Ganesh Acharya for Toilet Ek Prem Katha
Best Popular Film: Baahubali 2 (Telugu)
Best Debut Film of a Director: Pampally for Sinjar (Jasari)
Best film on Social Issues: Aalorukkam (Malayalam)
Best Child artist: Bhanita Das for Village Rockstars (Assamese)
Best Children’s Film: Mhorkya (Marathi)
Best Cinematography: Nikhil S Praveen for Bhayanakam (Malayalam)
Best Special Effects: Baahubali 2 (Telugu)
Special Jury Award: Nagar Kirtan (Bengali)
Best Film Critic: Giridhar Jha
Special Mention for Film Criticism: Sunil Mishra of Madhya Pradesh
About National Film Awards
The National Film Awards is the most prominent film award ceremonies in India. Established in 1954, it has been administered, along with the International Film Festival of India and the Indian Panorama, by the Indian government’s Directorate of Film Festivals since 1973.
Every year, a national panel appointed by the government selects the winning entry, and the award ceremony is held in New Delhi, where the President of India presents the awards. This is followed by the inauguration of the National Film Festival, where the award-winning films are screened for the public. Declared for films produced in the previous year across the country, they hold the distinction of awarding merit to the best of Indian cinema overall, as well as presenting awards for the best films in each region and language of the country. Due to the national scale of the National Film Awards, it is considered the Indian equivalent of the American Academy Awards
About Dadasaheb Phalke Award
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India’s highest award in cinema. It is presented annually at the National Film Awards ceremony by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an organisation set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The recipient is honored for their “outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema” and is selected by a committee consisting of eminent personalities from the Indian film industry. As of 2016, the award comprises a Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) medallion, a shawl, and a cash prize of ₹1,000,000 (US$15,000).
First presented in 1969, the award was introduced by the Government of India to commemorate Dadasaheb Phalke’s contribution to Indian cinema. Phalke (1870–1944), who is popularly known as and often regarded as “the father of Indian cinema”, was an Indian film-maker who directed India’s first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra (1913).
‘Central Pollution Control Board and Kaveri’
(GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Central Pollution Control Board’s joint monitoring committee to monitor the pollution content in Cauvery water released by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu till May.
The court is hearing an original suit filed by Tamil Nadu to restrain Karnataka from releasing sewage generated in that state into Cauvery and Pennaiyar (Thenpennai).
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), statutory organisation, was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Further, CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Principal Functions of the CPCB, as spelt out in the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981,
* to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution, and
* To improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.
National Water Quality Monitoring Network
Presently the inland water quality-monitoring network is operated under a three-tier programme i.e. Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS), Monitoring of Indian National Aquatic Resources System (MINARS) and Yamuna Action Plan (YAP). Water samples are being analyzed for 28 parameters consisting of 9 core parameters, 19 other physico-chemical and bacteriological parameters apart from the field observations. Besides this, 9 trace metals and 15 pesticides are also analyzed in selected samples. Bio-monitoring is also carried out on specific locations. In view of limited resources, limited numbers of organic pollution related parameters are monitored i.e. micro pollutants (Toxic Metals & POPs) are analyzed once in a year to assess the water quality. The water quality data are reported in Water Quality Status Year Book.
(GS3: Global groupings)
Issue: U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said the country could re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if it could get a “better” deal
About the Pact
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and United States signed on 4 February 2016, which was not ratified as required and did not take effect. After the United States withdrew its signature, the agreement could not enter into force. The remaining nations negotiated a new trade agreement called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which incorporates most of the provisions of the TPP.
In 2014, linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky warned that the TPP is “designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity.” Senator Bernie Sanders argues that trade agreements like the TPP “have ended up devastating working families and enriching large corporations.” Professor Robert Reich contends that the TPP is a “Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom.”
Issue: Reliance Industries Limited has agreed to buy majority stake of 72.69% in the artificial intelligence (AI)-based education platform. Embibe leverages data analytics to deliver personalized learning outcomes to each student.
Significance of this deal
Embibe will use the capital over the next three years towards deepening its R&D related to AI in the field of education, beefing up business growth and expanding geographical presence, catering to students across K-12, higher education, professional skilling, vernacular languages and all curriculum categories across India and internationally.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and reacts like human. Some of the activities computers with artificial intelligence are designed for include:
* Speech recognition
* Problem solving
‘Cryptocurrency in India’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: India-based cryptocurrency trading platform Coinsecure said it had lost about 438 Bitcoins worth some ₹19 crore allegedly due to a wrong-doing by an employee.
The development comes at a time when the Reserve Bank of India has asked banks and other regulated entities to stop dealings with any kind of cryptocurrencies.
What are cryptocurrencies?
A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets. Cryptocurrencies are a type of digital currencies, alternative currencies and virtual currencies. Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money and central banking systems. The decentralized control of each cryptocurrency works through a blockchain, which is a public transaction database, functioning as a distributed ledger
Bitcoin, created in 2009, was the first decentralized cryptocurrency. Since then, numerous other cryptocurrencies have been created. These are frequently called altcoins, as a blend of alternative coin
(GS3: Indigenization of technology)
Issue: DCM Shriram Industries Ltd. (DSIL) made its foray into defence equipment manufacturing with the roll out of Zebu, a Light Bullet Proof Vehicle (LBPV) capable of operating across terrains.
LBPV has been indigenously designed, tested and developed for use by the defence and para-military forces in their strategic activities against foreign aggressors as well as internal insurgents. Zebu is meant to protect the armed forces against light automatic weapon fire, small grenade and IED blasts.
‘Mary River Turtle’
(Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Boasting a green, punk hairdo and the unusual ability to breathe through its backside, an Australian turtle has become famous overnight — but not only for its eccentricity. Unfortunately, just as many people are discovering the Mary River Turtle’s tantalising traits, it has become the latest creature to join the “EDGE of Existence” list of endangered species compiled by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
About the turtle
A native of Queensland, Australia, the turtle was one of 100 reptiles added to the catalogue this week. It lives only in the Mary River from which it takes its name. The inventory has no shortage of weird and wonderful creatures — a limbless lizard, the world’s largest sea turtle, a blind snake, and a chameleon named after Tarzan. But the Mary River Turtle might just be the strangest of them all.
The species is known to scientists as Elusor macrurus . It can breathe underwater through specialized glands in the cloaca — orifices through which the turtle excretes urine and waste, and lays eggs.
‘Alzheimer and Pollution’
(GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Children and young adults living in polluted megacities are at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, a debilitating brain disease characterized by memory loss, a new study has warned.
The findings, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, indicate that Alzheimer’s starts in early childhood, and the disease progression relates to age, pollution exposure and status of Apolipoprotein E (APOE 4), a well-known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
About Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.
‘Air strike over Syria’
(GS3: International Relations)
Issue: The United States, France and Britain together launched military strikes in Syria to punish President Bashar Assad for a suspected chemical attack against civilians. The US and its allies fired more than 100 cruise missiles at Syria, a significant number of which were intercepted by Syrian air defenses, the Russian defence ministry said.
‘Commonwealth Games 2018’
(GS3: Achievements of Indians in the field of sports)
Issue: Mary Kom won India’s first gold medal in boxing when she won the women’s 48 kg final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on Saturday. Gaurav Solanki too won a gold in men’s 52 kg but Amit Phangal and Manish Kaushik, however, lost their respective finals to settle for silver medals. Shooter Sanjeev Rajput then clinched the yellow metal in men’s 50m rifle 2 positions. Then Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian to win a gold medal in javelin throw.
‘Indian currency on US watch list’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The US Treasury added India to its watch list of countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies, joining China and four others
Treasury said the “monitoring list” includes those “major trading partners that merit close attention to their currency practices.” In addition to India, the semi-annual report to Congress names five countries that continue on the list from October: China, Germany, Japan, Korea and Switzerland.
The Treasury report is required by Congress to identify countries that are trying to artificially manage the value of their currency to gain a trade advantage, for example by keeping the exchange rate low to promote cheaper exports
Vaisakhi, Vishu, Rongali Bihu, Naba Barsha, Vaisakhadi, Puthandu Pirappu
(GS1: Indian Culture)
Issue: These festivals, celebrated in various ways in different parts of our country, reflect our diversity and pluralistic traditions and highlight the unity and understanding so characteristic of our social ethos.
1. Vaisakhi: It is a historical and religious festival in Sikhism. It is celebrated on 13 or 14 April every year as per the Nanakshahi calendar and the Mool Nanakshahi Calendar. Vaisakhi marks the foundation of the Khalsa community of Sikhs, on 13 April 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh
2. Vishu: Vishu,”Bisu sankramana” in Arebhashe dialect is the astronomical new year Hindu festival celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala, Tulunadu region and Kodagu in Karnataka and their diaspora communities
3. Rongali Bihu: Bihu is the chief festival in the Assam state of India. It refers to a set of three different festivals: Rongali or Bohag Bihu observed in April, Kongali or Kati Bihu observed in October, and Bhogali or Magh Bihu observed in January. The Rongali Bihu is the most important of the three celebrating the Assamese new year and the spring festival. The Bhogali Bihu or the Magh Bihu is the one that is all about food. The Kongali Bihu or the Kati Bihu is the sombre, thrifty one reflecting a season of short supplies and is an animistic festival.
4. Naba Barsha: Naba Barsha is the celebration of Bengali New Year
5. Puthandu Pirappu: Tamil Puthandu also known as Puthuvarusham or Tamil New Year, is the first day of year on the Tamil calendar. The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai
‘Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bond. The Bonds will be sold through Banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated Post Offices and recognised stock Exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India Ltd and Bombay Stock Exchange, Ltd.
About the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme
SGBs are government securities denominated in grams of gold. They are substitutes for holding physical gold. Investors have to pay the issue price in cash and the bonds will be redeemed in cash on maturity. The Bond is issued by Reserve Bank on behalf of Government of India. Persons resident in India as defined under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 are eligible to invest in SGB. Eligible investors include individuals, HUFs, trusts, universities and charitable institutions. Know-Your-Customer (KYC) norms will be the same as that for purchase of physical form of gold. The Bonds are issued in denominations of one gram of gold and in multiples thereof. Minimum investment in the Bond shall be one gram with a maximum limit of subscription of 4 kg for individuals, 4 kg for Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) and 20 kg for trusts and similar entities notified by the government from time to time per fiscal year (April – March). In case of joint holding, the limit applies to the first applicant.
Benefits of the scheme
The quantity of gold for which the investor pays is protected, since he receives the ongoing market price at the time of redemption/ premature redemption. The SGB offers a superior alternative to holding gold in physical form. The risks and costs of storage are eliminated. Investors are assured of the market value of gold at the time of maturity and periodical interest. SGB is free from issues like making charges and purity in the case of gold in jeweler form. The bonds are held in the books of the RBI or in demat form eliminating risk of loss of scrip etc.