The Hindu NOTES – 15th September 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)
📰 THE HINDU NEWSPAPER– DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS NOTE
15th September, 2017
N. Korea: Japan draws in India
- India and Japan asked North Korea to shut down its nuclear and missile programmes.
- Both sides also hinted at Pakistan’s past involvement with North Korean nuclear and missile programmes and sought accountability of “all parties” who helped Pyongyang acquire nuclear technology even as Japan promised to help India deal with cross-border terrorism.
- Japan is concerned over the recent test of a hydrogen bomb by Pyongyang, which also fired a long-range missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido on August 29.
- Japan promised to help India deal with cross-border terrorism: support can be provided both indirectly in international platforms or directly to deal with organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Islamic State
- A joint statement issued after the summit sought the implementation of Resolution 1267 of the UN Security Council to counter cross-border terrorism.
Japan’s focus on Northeast States:
- Japan, at present, has two infrastructure projects in Meghalaya and Mizoram and more projects are likely to be added to the list after feasibility studies.
Expanded Maritime cooperation:
- Maritime cooperation between the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and the Indian Navy had expanded to include ‘anti-submarine aspects’.
- India and Japan, both agreed to support small islands in the region as part of their common strategy.
- Expansion of joint exercises in areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR), peacekeeping operations and counter-terrorism, which will also include joint field exercises between the Japanese and Indian land forces next year.
CBSE issues new school safety rules
- After two incidents of gruesome crimes against children were reported in the National Capital Region, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued new safety and security guidelines for all schools.
- The schools will face de-recognition if they don’t follow the guidelines.
- On September 8, a seven-year-old boy was found murdered inside a school in Gurugram and the next day a five-year-old girl was raped in a school in east Delhi.
- In its notification, the CBSE said the onus of keeping students safe within schools would “solely lie upon the school authorities”.
- Among the instructions issued by the CBSE were safety audits of schools done by their respective local police stations, installation of CCTV cameras at all vulnerable areas inside schools and limiting the entry of outsiders.
- The CBSE asked the schools to ensure that support staff was employed only from authorised agencies and proper records are maintained.
- “Verification and evaluation for non-teaching staff such as, bus drivers, conductors, peon and other support staff may be done very carefully and in a detailed manner,” the directive read.
- Additionally, schools were also asked to constitute separate committees for redressal of grievances of the public, staff, parents and students.
- Further, the board also directed the schools to constitute an internal complaints committee for complaints regarding sexual harassment and committees under Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act, 2012.
- “Details of these committees along with contact details shall be displayed prominently on school notice boards and conspicuously on the school website for information of all stakeholders” said the CBSE.
- Making guidelines mandatory for all schools, the notification said, “Any violation or lapses with regard to safety and well being of children in school campus would invite appropriate action including the disaffiliation of the school as per the provisions under affiliation bye-laws of the board.”
‘Fly’ on train from Mumbai by 2022
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone in Ahmedabad for the country’s first Rs. 1,10,000 crore, 508 km high-speed rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
- The ambitious project is being implemented with nearly 90% financial support and technology from Japan.
- Key Fact: To be built on elevated corridor with a seven-km undersea tunnel in Mumbai, the project will be based on the famed JapaneseShinkansen high-speed railwaysystem with a record of zero casualties in its 50 years of operation.
- Dead line for completion: August 15, 2022, the day when India marks 75 years of Independence.
- The project will be executed through a special purpose vehicle, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd.
- India’s Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd and Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd will tie up for manufacturing the rolling stock for bullet train project.
- A training centre in Vadodara is being set up to train over 4,000 employees who will be responsible for execution, operation and maintenance of the bullet train.
- The project will cover 12 stations — Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati — and once operational, the train is expected to service 1.5 crore travellers a year.
India, China unlikely to be growth poles for global economy: UNCTAD
The world economy in 2017 is picking up but not lifting off, and while growth in China and India remains relatively buoyant, it is still at a slower pace than before the 2008 financial crisis and with serious downside risks, according to a report by UNCTAD — the United Nations’ permanent intergovernmental body.
- “The world economy) Growth is expected to reach 2.6%, slightly higher than in 2016 but well below the pre-financial crisis average of 3.2%,” according to the UNCTAD’s ‘Trade and Development Report, 2017’.
- India’s growth performance depends to a large extent on reforms to its banking sector, which is burdened with large volumes of stressed and non-performing assets, and there are already signs of a reduction in the pace of credit creation.
- Since debt-financed private investment and consumption have been important drivers of growth in India, the easing of the credit boom is likely to slow GDP growth.
Demonetisation, GST hit India
- The informal sector, which still accounts for at least one third of the country’s (India’s) GDP and more than four fifths of employment, was badly affected by the Government’s ‘demonetization’ move in November 2016, and it may be further affected by the roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax from July 2017.”
- China’s estimated debt-to-GDP ratio is 249%, adding that as the Chinese Government introduces measures to contain its rising debt, domestic demand could be squeezed, with adverse consequences.
- The dependence on debt makes the boom in China and India difficult to sustain and raises the possibility that when the downturn occurs in these countries, deleveraging will accelerate the fall and make recovery difficult, the report said. Therefore, expecting these countries to continue to serve as the growth poles that would fuel a global recovery is clearly unwarranted.
- The main obstacle to a robust recovery in such countries is fiscal austerity, which remains the default macroeconomic option.
- Capital inflows to developing countries remain negative, albeit less so than in recent years, it said, adding that unforeseen events could knock recovering economies off balance.
In today’s integrated global economy, Governments will need to act together for any one country to achieve success. UNCTAD urges them to seize the opportunity offered by the Sustainable Development Goals and put in place a global new deal for the twenty-first century.
Japan calls for ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’
- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India.
- Announcement of Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy.
- During the visit Shinzo Abe highlighted the country’s intensifying focus on the Indo-Pacific region and Tokyo’s evolving foreign policy.
- Japan’s new concept- “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”:
- Aims to prepare Japan to deal with the fast changing global and regional order and threats from China and North Korea.
- Strategy aims to create a “free and open” Asia-Pacific region which connects parts of eastern Africa, south Asia and southeast Asia with the western Pacific Ocean region and Japan.
- The ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’ rests on “two oceans” — Indian and Pacific — and “two continents” — Africa and Asia.
- Connectivity between Asia and Africa through a free and open Indo-Pacific, is expected to support stability and prosperity of the region.
- Inference: by connecting “two oceans” and “two continents”, Japan is quietly challenging China’s aggressive plans in the South China Sea that pose a threat to the energy lane that sustains Japanese economy.
Civil rights groups outraged by Pehlu Khan case closure
- Civil rights groups have expressed outrage over the closure of investigation against six persons named in the FIR registered in the lynching of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan.
- The cattle rearer from Haryana was killed by a mob of cow vigilantes near Behror in Alwar district of Rajasthan on April 1, 2017.
- The case against the six persons was registered on the basis of Pehlu Khan’s dying declaration made to the police officers in a private hospital at Behror.
- The CID-CB of the State police has reportedly cleared the accused of all charges, while arriving at a conclusion that they were not present on the spot when the offence was committed.
- Pehlu Khan, 55, and his two sons were transporting cows, after purchasing them in a cattle fair in Jaipur, to their hometown Nuh in Haryana, when they were waylaid on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway by a mob of self-styled cow vigilantes and beaten up. Pehlu Khan succumbed to his injuries after two days.
- The CID-CB has concluded on the basis of the mobile phones’ call data records and the statements of employees of a gaushala, situated 4 km away from the crime scene, that no case was made out against the six accused.
- Police have since arrested half-a-dozen other persons on the basis of video footage of the incident, bust most of them have been released on bail.
- The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), which spearheaded a campaign for getting justice to the victims in the case, said the police were protecting the accused – all of whom were office-bearers of right-wing Hindutva groups – under pressure of the BJP government. “The CID-CB is under the direct control of the Home Minister. Its blatant bias is very obvious,” PUCL president Kavita Srivastava said.
- Ms. Srivastava said the rights groups, along with Pehlu Khan’s sons, who were also complainants in the police case, would challenge the CID-CB’s closure of investigation in the court.
Scientists map lunar water with data from Chandrayaan-1
- Scientists from Brown University in the U.S., using data from an instrument which flew aboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, have created the first map of water trapped in the uppermost layer of the moon’s soil.
- The study, published in the journalScience Advances, builds on the initial discovery in 2009 of water and a related molecule – hydroxyl, which consists of one atom each of hydrogen and oxygen – in the lunar soil.
- Scientists used a new calibration of data taken from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper, which flew aboard Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in 2008, to quantify how much water is present on a global scale.
- “The signature of water is present nearly everywhere on the lunar surface, not limited to the polar regions as previously reported,” said Shuai Li, a former PhD scholar at Brown University.
- “The amount of water increases toward the poles. The water concentration reaches a maximum average of around 500 to 750 parts per million in the higher latitudes. That is less than what is found in the sands of Earth’s driest deserts”, researchers said.
- “Now that we have these quantitative maps showing where the water is and in what amounts, we can start thinking about whether or not it could be worthwhile to extract, either as drinking water for astronauts or to produce fuel,” said a researcher involved.
- Although the bulk of the water mapped in this study could be attributed to solar wind, there were exceptions.
- For example, the researchers found higher-than-average concentrations of water in lunar volcanic deposits near the moon’s equator, where background water in the soil is scarce.
- Rather than coming from solar wind, the water in those localised deposits likely comes from deep within the moon’s mantle and erupted to the surface in lunar magma, scientists said.
- The study also found that the concentration of water changes over the course of the lunar day at latitudes lower than 60 degrees, going from wetter in the early morning and evening to nearly bone dry around lunar noon. The fluctuation can be as much as 200 parts per million.
- “This raises the possibility that water may re-accumulate after extraction, but we need to better understand the physics of why and how this happens to understand the timescale over which water may be renewed,” said Mr. Milliken.
New laser technology can make objects invisible
- Scientists have developed a cloaking technology that can make opaque materials invisible by using light waves from lasers,paving the way for novel ways of camouflaging objects.
- A completely opaque material is irradiated from above with a specific wave pattern – with the effect that light waves from the left can pass through the material without any obstruction.
- The technique can be applied to different kinds of waves, and should work with sound waves just as well as with light waves,researchers said.
- Complex materials such as a sugar cube are opaque, because light waves inside them are scattered multiple times.
- Special materials have been worked out, for example, which are able to guide light waves around an object.
- Alternatively, also experiments have been performed with objects that can emit light by themselves.
- When an electronic display sends out exactly the same light as it absorbs in the back, it can appear invisible, at least when looked at in the right angle.
- “The crucial point is to pump energy into the material in a spatially tailored way such that light is amplified in exactly the right places, while allowing for absorption at other parts of the material,” said Konstantinos Makris from the University of Crete in Greece.
- “To achieve this, a beam with exactly the right pattern has to be projected onto the material from above – like from a standard video projector, except with much higher resolution,” said Mr. Makris.
- If this pattern perfectly corresponds to the inner irregularities of the material which usually scatter the light, then the projection from above can effectively switch off the scattering, and another beam of light travelling through the material from one side can pass without any obstruction.