Genome of the Asian elephant sequenced for the first time in India – (Environment)
- Why is there an increase in tuskless males among Asian elephants? Why do only males have tusks in Asia, while in Africa, both the sexes have tusks? Why does the elephant in the sub-continent have a keener sense of smell – sharper than that of a dog – than its African counterparts?
- The answers to these questions are there in the genome of the Asian elephant, which has been sequenced perhaps for the first time in India.
Impeachment move against judge – (Indian Polity)
- A group of 58 Rajya Sabha MPs moved an impeachment notice against Justice J.B. Pardiwala of the Gujarat High Court for his “objectionable remarks on the issue of reservation.”
- The MPs, in their petition, said Justice Pardiwala’s comments on reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, while giving a ruling in a case against Patidar leader Hardik Patel, were objectionable.
It was a ‘framework pact’ with NSCN (IM) – (Indian Polity)
- After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in August that a peace accord has been signed with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) to end the decades-old Naga insurgency.
- Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday referred the accord as a “framework agreement” and said it would help in resolving the Naga problem.
CAG warns of Army’s ageing chopper fleet – (Defence)
- Repeated failure of the government to modernise the Army’s helicopter fleet has resulted in the Army Aviation Corps facing a 32 per cent deficiency in its authorised fleet strength, while about 52 per cent of the existing fleet is more than 30 years old, the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) has said.
‘Neighbourhood first’ on track: Sushma – (International Relation)
- India’s “Neighbourhood first” policy is on track, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday, citing that the recent NSA-level talks and the announcement of the Comprehensive Dialogue Process with Pakistan had created new opportunities for solving old issues in the region.
A boost to global drive for stricter anti-tobacco laws – (Governance)
- In a significant boost to stricter tobacco control laws, the Australian government on Friday won an international legal battle against tobacco giant Phillip Morris, which had challenged “plain packaging” laws.
- Globally, the public health community has been demanding implementation of “plain tobacco packaging” — which means standardised packaging of tobacco products without any exclusive branding (colours, imagery, corporate logos and trademarks).
Unseemly turn in Arunachal Pradesh – (Indian Polity)
- The saddest aspect of the political turmoil in Arunachal Pradesh is that its key actors have revived unedifying practices that one would have thought the Indian polity had left behind some years ago.
- Dissident ruling party legislators joining hands with their political rivals to bring down an elected government, holding parallel or unauthorised Assembly proceedings, and the Governor playing a partisan role.
Obama’s Syria strategy under attack – (International Relation)
- The future of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is a bone of contention not only between the U.S. and Russia, but also among U.S. politicians and policymakers.
- As the civil war drags on, President Barack Obama’s Syria strategy is coming under attack domestically on three questions —
- should the U.S fight the Islamic State and Mr. Assad at the same time?;
- should there be deployment of U.S combat forces on the ground; and
- whether the policy of zero civilian casualty is rendering U.S air strikes in Syria ineffective.
Govt. lowers growth outlook, stresses supply-side reforms – (Economics)
- India lowered its GDP growth projection for the current year to between 7-7.5 per cent against the earlier forecast of 8.1-8.5 per cent.
- The outlook going forward is challenging and, without reforms, GDP growth next year is unlikely to be significantly greater than this year, according to the government.
Stalemate continues at WTO meet in Nairobi
- The WTO Nairobi meet — which was expected to produce by noon local time (2.30 PM IST) on Friday a Ministerial Declaration to liberalise global trade — stretched into overtime with the developing and the developed world failing to bridge their differences over farm issues as well as on whether to continue with the ongoing 14-year-old Doha Round talks.
- Hectic parleys were on between member countries, during the last day of the four-day Nairobi Ministerial Conference, to come to a meaningful consensus on these contentious issues. The Ministerial Conference is the WTO’s highest decision-making body.