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Current Affairs Analysis

22nd November 2016 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

INS Chennai; Climate Change Performance Index; CERN; Prithvi-II; What are Super-earths? AI mechanism for rumour detection; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
November 22, 2016

Contents

Environment & Ecology

  • India improves ranking in Climate Change Performance Index, ranks 20th

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India becomes Associate Member of CERN, Geneva
  • India’s public health care to get a new boost

Science & Technology

  • Guided Missile Destroyer INS Chennai Joins the Indian Navy
  • Prithvi-II missiles successfully test-fired
  • ‘Super Earth’ found orbiting nearby star

Key Facts for Prelims

  • AI mechanism for rumour detection

 

Environment & Ecology

India improves ranking in Climate Change Performance Index, ranks 20th

India was placed at the 20th rank among the 58 countries on the 2017 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI).

About the Index:

  • The CCPI was released by Germanwatch, an independent German NGO and Climate Action Network Europe.
  • It is an instrument designed to enhance transparency in international climate politics. It is list of countries doing the most to combat climate change.
  • It aims to put social and political pressure on those countries which have, up until now, failed to take ambitious action on climate protection.
  • The index evaluates and compares the climate protection performance of 58 countries on the basis of standardised criteria.
  • These 58 countries together are responsible for about 90% of global energy-related CO2 emissions.

Highlights:

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  • First three spots in the list of 2017 CCPI rankings were left vacant. France was placed at 4th place, thus leads list for the first time. It was followed by Sweden and UK.
  • The index underlines that countries like India are making “great efforts” in the fields of renewables and energy efficiency.
  • It emphasised that developing countries should choose a “cleverer and cleaner” development path and not ape industrialised nations.
  • Canada (55), Australia (57) and Japan (60) are in the bottom group countries and have been rated very poor the list.
  • The 2015 Paris Agreement has helped in encouraging the trends in switching towards the renewable energy, but the revolution in switching is very slow at the global level.
  • Many countries still lack in ambition in switching towards the renewable energy.
  • World’s two largest emitters are USA and China were ranked 43rd and 48th respectively.
  • Emerging economies of G20 like India (20), Argentina (36) and Brazil (40) have improved their ranking.
  • India’s scores have improved slightly in terms of renewables and energy efficiency.
[Ref: Business Standard]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

India becomes Associate Member of CERN, Geneva

India and European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have signed an agreement making India an Associate Member State of CERN.

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  • This follows CERN Council’s adoption of the resolution to this effect in September 2016.

India & CERN:

  • The participation of Indian scientists in CERN dates back to early 1960s, which has become much stronger and closer for the last quarter of a century with the support of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • In 1991, DAE had signed a formal agreement with CERN, which continues till today.
  • In recognition of most significant contributions, in 2003, India was awarded the Observer status of CERN, and subsequently invited to join CERN as an Associate Member.
  • Last year, the Indian Cabinet gave its approval following which the CERN Council has accepted India as an Associate member.
  • In September 2016, CERN Council adopted a resolution upgrading India’s position as associate member from earlier ‘observer’ status (since 2004).

Significance for India:

  • As an Associate Member of CERN, India will be a part of the huge scientific and technological endeavour.
  • The India-CERN association as a whole is interdisciplinary in nature and the involvement of physicists, electronics hardware and software engineers will pave the path for overall knowledge development in the best possible way.
  • Becoming Associate Member of CERN will enhance participation of young scientists and engineers in various CERN projects and bring back knowledge for deployment in the domestic programmes.
  • It will also open opportunities for Indian industries to participate directly in the CERN project.
  • Through the Teachers programme, teachers teaching in the higher secondary schools would also be able to participate in the programme and pass on the knowledge and quest for high-end science to their students, thereby encouraging large number of students to pursue their career in science.

About CERN:

  • CERN is the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory.
  • CERN is based in Geneva on the French-Swiss border.
  • Presently CERN has 22 member states, four associate member states, and the observer status is given to four states and three International Organizations.
  • CERN operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

Functions of CERN:

  • It helps scientists and engineers probing fundamental structure of Universe using the most sophisticated scientific instruments and advanced computing systems.
  • It provides the necessary infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research including particle accelerators.
[Ref: PIB, Wiki]

 

India’s public health care to get a new boost

Boosting the capacity of Indian healthcare industry further, UNSW Australia and Medvarsity – Apollo Hospital Group’s e-learning venture, have come together.

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  • A fully online, new Master of Public Health (International) programme has been tailored by the university specifically for Indian students.
  • UNSW public health degree launched in India will strengthen our capacity to respond to major health challenges.

Key facts:

  • The new degree, aimed at doctors and other health professionals, will be delivered and awarded by UNSW, along with an internship at an Apollo health site.
  • Indian students will join fellow health professionals from Australia and around the world in a virtual global classroom, learning essential public health theory and skills.
  • Since it is a flexible online programme, busy clinicians will not have to take a sabbatical to enhance their knowledge and skills. Instead, these professionals can keep working as they achieve this degree that too without expense of actually living in Australia.
  • The students enrolled in this programme will also have access to advanced learning tools and technology with a fully comparable experience to face-to-face learning.
  • With the introduction of this programme, Indian students will be able to apply for jobs with global organisations like the World Health Organization and UNESCO.
[Ref: TOI]

 

Science & Technology

Prithvi-II missiles successfully test-fired

Two Prithvi-II missiles were recently successfully test-fired from the launch complex-III of the Integrated Test Range near Balasore in Odisha.

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  • The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) fired the missiles from a road-mobile launcher.

About Prithvi-II:

  • The Prithvi-II is a short-range surface-to-surface missile.
  • The missile is capable of carrying warheads weighing 500 kg to 1,000 kg.
  • Notably, Prithvi is India’s first indigenously-built ballistic missile.
  • With a strike range of 350 km, Prithvi-II is powered by twin-engines which use liquid propulsion.
  • It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.
  • It is one of the five missiles being developed under the country’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
  • The missile was inducted into the armed forces in 2003.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Guided Missile Destroyer INS Chennai Joins the Indian Navy

INS Chennai, a Kolkata-class stealth Guided missile destroyer ship was commissioned into Indian Navy’s combat fleet.

ias-toppers-ins-chennai

Key facts:

  • It is the largest-ever warship to be built in India.
  • It is third and last Kolkata-class guided missile destroyers built under Project 15A. Thus, its induction also marks the end of the Project 15A.
  • INS Chennai has been named after the iconic port city of Chennai.
  • It is 164 metres long with a displacement of over 7,500 tonnes.
  • It has been built at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd in Mumbai under the strategic Project 15A.
  • It can sail at a top speed of over 30 knots (around 55 kms) per hour and is propelled by four powerful Gas Turbines, in a Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) configuration.
  • The ship has enhanced stealth features resulting in a reduced Radar Cross Section (RCS) and uses radar transparent materials on exposed decks.
  • It is armed with Barak-8 Long Rang Surface-to-Air missiles and supersonic surface-to-surface BrahMos missiles.
  • INS Chennai is fitted with ‘Kavach’ chaff decoy system for defence against enemy missiles and ‘Mareech’ torpedo decoy system for protection from enemy torpedoes.
  • Its undersea warfare capability includes indigenously developed anti-submarine weapons and sensors, hull-mounted sonar HUMSA-NG, towed array sonar capability, heavyweight torpedo tube launchers and rocket launchers.
  • The ship is truly classified as a ‘Network of Networks’ as it is equipped with sophisticated digital networks, such as ATM based Integrated Ship Data Network (AISDN), Automatic Power Management System (APMS), Auxiliary Control System (ACS) and Combat Management System (CMS).
[Ref: PIB]

 

‘Super Earth’ found orbiting nearby star

Scientists have discovered a new ‘super Earth’ type exoplanet named as GJ 536b orbiting a very bright star near to our Sun.

ias-toppers-super-earth

Key facts:

  • The planet was jointly detected by Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the Geneva Observatory.
  • The exoplanet GJ 536b has a mass of around 5.4 Earth masses.
  • It is orbiting a star much smaller and cooler than the sun It is not within the star’s habitable zone and has short orbital period of 8.7 day.
  • The luminosity of its star makes it an attractive candidate for investigating its atmospheric composition.
  • Besides, the planet’s short orbital period would come handy in conducting future studies of biological activity.

What are Super-earths?

  • Super-earths are extrasolar planets which are larger than the Earth.
  • However, they have mass substantially below the solar system’s giant planets namely Neptune and Uranus.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

AI mechanism for rumour detection

ias-toppers-ai-mechanism-for-rumour-detection

  • BSE has introduced a data analytics-based solution that relies on artificial intelligence to track news related to listed companies on digital media using social media.
  • The objective of the tool is to detect and mitigate potential risks of market manipulation and rumours, and to reduce information asymmetry arising from it on digital media platforms.
  • It would provide accurate information involving listed companies and the BSE through the exchange website for the benefit of investors.
  • The solution employs an advanced level combination of statistical modeling and big data analytics.

 

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