UN authorises members to ‘redouble’ fight against IS – (International Relation)
- The U.N. Security Council on Friday authorised countries around the world to “take all necessary measures” to fight the Islamic State in a resolution that won unanimous backing, even as threats of terror strikes locked down Brussels, the Belgium capital that houses the European Commission headquarters.
- The French-drafted measure calls on all U.N. member states to “redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist attacks” committed by the IS and other extremist groups linked to the Al-Qaeda.
Modi promises IPR policy, transparent tax regime – (International Relation)
- Prime Minister Naredra Modi said here on Saturday that India would have a comprehensive national intellectual property rights (IPR) policy by the year-end, and a national investment and infrastructure fund for leveraging public investments.
- Speaking at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Business and Investment Summit here, he said India was committed to protecting the IPRs of all innovators. It was also moving fast to ensure a transparent and predictable tax regime.
Spurt in faecal coliform in the Pampa – (Environment)
- The State Pollution Control Board (PCB) has raised the alarm over the very high count of faecalcoliform bacteria found immediately upstream of the drinking water intake point of the Kerala Water Authority in the Kochu Pampa river, leading to the Pampa in the foothills of Sabarimala.
Pathogens posing health risk – (Environment)
- According to the Pollution Control Board sources at Pampa, the e-coli count of 34,000 per 100 ml in river Pampa on the third day of the ongoing Sabarimala pilgrim season is an alarming situation, though the e-coli count had crossed 22 lakh most probable number (MNP) for every 100 ml in the last lap of the previous pilgrim season on January 13.
Global meet on safe use of chemicals in pepper farming – (Environment)
- In the wake of growing concern over the indiscriminate use of pesticides and other chemicals in the cultivation of spices, the International Pepper Community (IPC), an inter-governmental body of major pepper producing countries established under the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), will meet here from Monday to discuss and promote limited and safe use of chemicals for controlling pest and diseases in pepper.
Keep this plastic too out of the ocean – (Environment)
- Plastics labelled “biodegradable” are not quite so innocuous after all, and can add considerably to the physical and chemical pollution of marine ecosystems, a newly-released UN report says.
- Some ‘biodegradable’ plastics need industrial composters and exposure to temperatures over 50°C to completely disintegrate — and “such conditions are rarely if ever met in the marine environment,” says the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report titled “Biodegradable Plastics and Marine Litter: Misconceptions, Concerns and Impacts on Marine Environments”.
Antibiotics losing their edge – (Health)
- With no new class of antibiotics having been developed for the past three decades, and a pipeline far from robust, the future of antibacterial therapy looks grim.
- Clearly, antibiotics are to be handled with care. They are a global “public health good” and need to be preserved. With projected high antibiotic use in food-producing animals in India, we cannot afford to gloss over the issue and be complacent.
‘Trade must touch $200 b by 2025’ – (International Relation)
- The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the trade between India and the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (Asean) should increase to $100 billion by 2020 and to $200 billion by 2025. During 2014-15, after a temporary decline, the trade stood at $76.5 billion.
- In his hour-long address at the Asean-India Summit here on Saturday, Mr. Modi pointed out that much of the potential for economic partnership remained untapped and expressed the confidence that trade and investment would expand. He said India would soon extend electronic visa facility to all 10 Asean members.
India, China to exchange information on terror activities – (International Relation)
- The Home Ministries of India and China have agreed to be only a phone call away from each other, by deciding to establish missing telecom links, as part of a broader security engagement between the two neighbours.
- The bridging of the communication divide is part of a major effort, undertaken during the visit of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, to forge institutional linkages between the Ministry of Home Affairs and China’s Ministry of Public Security.
PM for consensus to resolve South China Sea row – (International Relation)
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a passing reference to the disputes in the South China Sea in his address at the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN)-India Summit here on Saturday.
- “India hopes all parties to the disputes in the South China Sea will abide by the guidelines on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and redouble efforts for early adoption of a Code of Conduct on the basis of consensus,” he said.
India revives its eastern-most airfield at Teju – (Defence)
- Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of better connectivity between India and the Southeast Asian region at the ASEAN summit at Kuala Lumpur,India’s easternmost strategic airfield at Teju has been revived with a new runway.
- The runway can now host heavy lift aircraft as well as long range bombers which can cross the Greater Himalayan range within minutes .
Niti Aayog in dialogue with China’s think tank DRC – (International Relation)
- Taking a step towards closer economic ties with China and to deliberate on macro economic issues, a team led by Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya will engage in a dialogue with China’s Development Research Centre (DRC) from Monday.
- It will be the first dialogue between NITI Aayog and the DRC after the body was constituted to replace the erstwhile Planning Commission, said an official.
Pay panel: ‘domain knowledge’ should decide deputation – (Governance)
- Two of the three members of the Seventh Pay Commission, which submitted its report to the government last week, have recommended the constitution of a screening committee to decide on the allocation of officers on deputation to the Centre based on “domain knowledge”.
- On social media, the IAS is facing the wrath of other all-India services, such as the IPS, IRS and IIS, over the edge enjoyed by it in all fields.
Paris attack invokes Mumbai memories in U.S. – (International Relation)
- The terrorist attack on Paris has invoked memories of Mumbai 2008 yet again in the Western world, but its impact on Pakistan and its relations with the U.S. may not be to India’s liking.
- Six Americans were among the 164 killed by LeT terrorists in Mumbai.
Central bank to take up issue with government – (Economics)
- With the government yet to fill up the Reserve Bank of India’s board positions, the central bank plans to take up the issue at the highest level to expedite the process.
- Seven of the 17 members of the RBI board completed their term in the last couple of months. The remaining 10 members, including the two government nominees, just form the quorum to conduct the board meeting. Even if one member is absent, the board meeting cannot be conducted.