08 October 2015



Chemistry Nobel for mapping how cells repair damaged DNA  –   (Science and Technology)

  • Tomas Lindahl, Paul L. Modrich and Aziz Sancar were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday for having mapped and explained how the cell repairs its DNA and safeguards its genetic information.


Banks killed road sector: official  –   (Economics)

  • Banks caused a bubble, failed to do due diligence and lent more than what was warranted to developers, and this has led to the high Non-Performing Assets (NPA) arising out of the road sector, Road Secretary Vijay Chhibber told The Hindu in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. “The banks have killed the road sector,” he said.
  • “There was a bubble because the banks would give developers money even before the land was made available… Certainly the banks have a lot of explaining to do. Because it wasn’t just that they allowed funding to happen to these projects which were not yet ready for construction, but they agreed to costs and TPCs [total project cost] much higher than what NHAI had assessed,” Mr. Chhibber said.



Pranab warns against letting go of India’s core values  –    (Indian Polity)

  • India’s core civilisational values of diversity, tolerance and plurality have kept it united for centuries and that cannot be wasted, warned President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday, extemporising at the end of a speech he made at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • The President’s stern reminder came in the wake of the recent lynching of 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq in an Uttar Pradesh village by a mob that alleged that he had stored and eaten beef. The incident and its aftermath – communally polarising speeches by BJP leaders — has triggered nationwide outrage.


After PoK, India turns focus on Balochistan  –    (International Relation)

  • After highlighting the alleged human rights violations in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), India is preparing to take an aggressive position on Balochistan, in a marked departure from South Block’s Pakistan policy of the past.
  • The new Indian position over Balochistan became public when Balochistan Liberation Organisation (BLO) representative Balaach Pardili addressed a gathering in New Delhi on October 4, reading out a statement from BLO’s exiled leader Nawabzada Hyrbyair Marri.


India to oppose uniform migration policy at BRICS meet in Sochi  –    (International Relation)

  • India might be home to a considerable number of refugees, but it has decided not to be a signatory to a uniform migration policy that is coming up for discussion at the first BRICS Migration Conference in Sochi, Russia, on Friday. India will also push for a liberalised visa regime for “skilled workers” among BRICS nations to promote business and economic interests, a senior government official said.
  • According to a United Nations report, “Globally, one in 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.”



Govt. to create database on human traffickers  –   (Social Issues)

  • Human trafficking was a borderless organised crime in which more than 1.5 lakh people became victims every year, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said here on Wednesday. He said that his Ministry would create a national database of persons involved in human trafficking.
  • Inaugurating a conference on anti-human trafficking, Mr. Singh said India was not the only victim of human trafficking but that it was a global phenomenon.


Hoesung Lee to head U.N. climate panel  –   (Environment)

  • Hoesung Lee, 69, a Korean professor of economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development, was on Tuesday evening elected as head of the Inter-governmental Panel for Climate Change at its 42nd session in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • He succeeds R.K. Pachauri, of India, who stepped down in February after a female researcher accused him of sexual harassment.



Indian NGO criticises U.S. climate action plans  –    (Environment)

  • In the run-up to the U.N. climate summit in Paris in December, Indian environmental NGO, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), released a report which came down heavily on the U.S. — the second largest emitter of CO2 globally — for not doing enough about climate change, while preaching to other countries, including India, to “act.”
  • In its report ‘Captain America U.S. climate goals: a reckoning,’ the CSE concluded that with five per cent of the global population, the U.S. would disproportionately eat into 17.25 per cent of the global carbon budget till 2030, and nothing would be left for other countries after that.



Access at the cost of Net neutrality?   –    (Science and Technology)

  • In the case of apps like Free Basics, the consumer has no choice in the sites she will access; what he has is a paternalistic web, where information is shackled by constraints imposed by the service provider.
  • In the Net neutrality debate, there is a conflict between two core values: ease of access and neutrality. The ease of access promised by applications like Free Basics compromises neutrality and may later morph into a method of predatory pricing.


Getting down to business   –    (International Relation)

  • Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to India and her meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi represented a much-needed dosis realitaet , or “dose of reality”, for both India and Germany. The fact that Ms. Merkel came to India despite a brewing refugee crisis back home that kept both her Economy Minister and Defence Minister back in Berlin, shows the importance that she accords to the relationship.
  • Mr. Modi, during his third meeting with Ms. Merkel in six months, demonstrated that he sees Germany as an important partner in trade, a provider of technology and means to clean energy, and as a partner on the UN stage.



Dealing with black money   –    (Governance)

  • The worth of the new, stringent law against Indians stashing away unaccounted money in foreign destinations cannot be judged by the quantum of assets disclosed within the compliance window that ended on September 30. Assets worth Rs. 4,147 crore, yielding tax to the tune of Rs.2,488 crore, were disclosed within the deadline.
  • If one believes that fabulous sums lie in safe havens abroad, untouched by Indian law, the amount may seem woefully inadequate. On the other hand, if one believes that much of the black money resides comfortably in India, and undisclosed income in foreign countries represent only a small fraction of the total, it may seem a significant disclosure. In any case, the figure falls short of the Rs. 6,500 crore cited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day address.


These migrants need attention, too  –    (Environment)

  • When species shift northward or higher, not all in an ecosystem may move, disrupting the interconnectedness that has evolved over decades.
  • Life is an interconnected web, and we ignore changes in the life cycles of other species at our peril.



Myanmar can better India-China ties’  –   (International Relation)

  • Myanmar can help India and China “overcome their problems”, says opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Speaking to journalist Karan Thapar on the India Today TV programme  To The Point in her first interview in months.
  • Ms. Suu Kyi, whose party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), is expected to lead general elections next month, said better India-China relations are “to the benefit” of Myanmar as well.


Health insurance panel report ready: IRDAI   –    (Economics)

  • A committee of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) that studied various aspects of health insurance, including the possibility of introducing long-term policies, is ready with its report. “The report is more or less finalised, we are evaluating that,” IRDAI Chairman T. S. Vijayan said here on Wednesday.
  • The panel on health insurance, like other such committees of the regulator, had representation from the industry and consumers too. Such an approach ensured in the resultant view being comprehensive and not just that of IRDAI, he said, speaking to presspersons at an ICICI Lombard event to mark issue of one lakh long-term two wheeler insurance policies.
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