1Judges’ phones being tapped, claims Kejriwal
- The Centre denied on 31 oct 16 allegations levelled by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal that the phones of judges were being tapped and that the Narendra Modi government was interfering in their appointments.
- Kejriwal claimed he “overheard judges telling each other that they should not talk on mobile phones because they could be tapped”.
- He said that he don’t know whether it is true or not but there is a widespread fear. If it is true that phones are tapped then judges can be influenced.
2Pollution cloud hangs over northern cities after Deepavali
- Several cities, including Agra, Ahmedabad, Patna, Delhi and Varanasi, were choked by particulate matter pollution on 30 oct 16, when the northern parts of the country celebrated Deepavali.
- Fireworks and stagnant air led to a precipitous dip in air quality in a third of the 29 cities monitored by the Central Pollution Control Board.
- The Air Quality Index (AQI) reading for Agra was 384, Ahmedabad 385, and Faridabad and Delhi the worst, at 428 and 445.
3A.P., Telangana top in ease of doing business
- Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have jointly topped the 2016 all-India State/Union Territory-wise ease of doing business rankings.
- The rankings, announced on 31 oct 16, have been arrived at on the basis of a 340-point business reform action plan and their implementation by the States.
- This covers the period from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.
4‘Huge bribes paid to Indian arms dealers’
- Stunning details of millions of dollars of payments by several foreign defence companies to alleged Indian arms dealers.
- They have emerged in secret documents accessed by the BBC and The Guardian.
- Among the key details are remittances of almost €100 million in just 12 months by Russian arms firms into accounts of companies controlled by alleged arms dealer Sudhir Choudhrie.
5300 million children breathe toxic air
- India About 300 million children in the world breathe highly toxic air, the United Nations Children’s Fund said in a report on 31 oct 16 that used satellite imagery to illustrate the magnitude of the problem.
- The vast majority of these children, about 220 million, live in South Asia, in places where air pollution is at least six times the level that the World Health Organization considers safe, UNICEF said.
- “Children are uniquely vulnerable because their lungs are still developing,” said Nicholas Rees.
6Kerala declares Statewide drought
- All the 14 districts in Kerala have been declared drought-affected following a deficit in rainfall during the Southwest monsoon and anticipation of a deficit Northeast monsoon.
- Kerala Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan announced this in the Assembly on 31 oct 16while replying to a notice for an adjournment motion moved by V.S. Sivakumar of the Congress.
- There is a rainfall deficit of 34 per cent in the State during the Southwest monsoon. During the Northeast monsoon.
- He said that It is projected that we will have a deficit of 69 per cent even if 90 to 100 per cent rainfall is received in November and December.
7Don’t burden teachers with non-academic work: CBSE
- The CBSE has said that all schools affiliated to it should ensure that teachers are not engaged in any activity other than those related to teaching, professional enhancement, examinations and evaluation.
- A CBSE circular said tasks related to transport, canteen and activities of “ministerial nature” should be done by separate trained staff deployed by the schools.
- The issue was raised by various State governments at the Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE) meeting held recently.
8Pollution chokes, blinds Capital
- Delhites breathed in more polluted air this Deepavali compared to the last.
- If that wasn’t bad enough, government data showed that levels of harmful pollutants in the air peaked at 14 to 16 times the amounts considered safe for humans.
- On Monday morning, the national capital woke up to heavy smog that not only made breathing difficult but affected visibility, leading to traffic accidents.