General Awareness Updates – 13/09/2016

Cauvey water dispute: No immediate solution in sight


  • Interstate tensions in the south rose to a new high on Monday
  • Incident of firing, several of vehicle burning and ransacking of some Tamil Nadu-based outlets in Bengaluru and attacks on Karnataka Bank branches and Udupi hotels in Chennai, other parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry
  • These were followed After the Supreme Court ordered Karnataka to release water at the rate of 12,000 cusecs (slightly over one thousand million cubic feet or TMCFT a day) until September 20.

Jayalalithaa responds to Karnataka CM


  • Describing the violence in Karnataka as “alarming”, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday wrote to her counterpart in the neighbouring state, Siddaramaiah, seeking protection to Tamil speaking people and their property, hours after he had made a similar plea to her.
  • Expressing concern, she said “hotels and properties belonging to Tamils in Karnataka are being attacked and damaged. This is an alarming situation and is causing considerable anxiety.”
  • “I am concerned that the situation in Karnataka is serious with several instances of mob violence targeting Tamil speaking persons and their properties,” she said in the letter.

Ex-British-PM Cameron quits Parliament


  • Britain’s former Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday he was resigning from his seat in Parliament to avoid becoming a distraction for his successor, ending his political career just weeks after he lost a referendum to stay in the European Union.
  • Mr. Cameron, who came to power in 2010, said he had told Prime Minister Theresa May of his decision to stop representing his constituency in Oxfordshire to make way for someone who could concentrate on the area in central England.
  • “I’ve thought about this long and hard over the summer and I’ve decided the right thing to do is to stand down as the Member of Parliament for Witney,” he told BBC TV.

Rules relaxed, Pakistani girl gets school admission


  • Early on Monday morning, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia met Madhu, a teenaged Pakistani refugee, and forthwith ordered that the government needed to “walk the extra mile to accommodate her desire to pursue study in our school” by relaxing “all rules and regulations.”
  • The move comes after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Madhu on Saturday evening and phoned Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking him to admit the girl in the government school she wanted.
  • Mr. Kejriwal assured her of all assistance and told her he would ask Mr. Sisodia to do what was needed.

Kerber wins US Open for second major title of breakthrough year


  • Early in what would become a tight test of a U.S. Open final, Angelique Kerber sprinted forward to somehow reach a drop shot and scoop a down-the-line winner that landed in a corner of the court.
  • The Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd roared, and Kerber celebrated by raising her right hand and wagging her index finger in the air, as if to remind opponent Karolina Pliskova and everyone else “I’m No. 1!”
  • Yes, she is. And a two-time Grand Slam champion, too.
  • Kerber won her first U.S. Open title and the second major trophy of an out-of-nowhere breakthrough season, taking five of the last six games to beat a fading Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 on Saturday.

Reliance owes Mumbai development authority Rs. 1,577 crore


  • Reliance Industries Ltd, which recently launched its telecom service Jio, owes Rs. 1,576.90 crore in additional premium charges to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority as a lease-holder of two plots in Bandra Kurla Complex, an RTI query by activist Anil Galgali has revealed.
  • Mr. Galgali has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding recovery of the amount within 30 days with interest.
  • “If the amount is not recoverable then, the government should take possession of the plot and once again re-allot it to the highest bidder which will bring revenue to the MMRDA and will help in initiating public development activities,” he said in his letter.

Soon, Aadhaar must to avail rail concession


  • The Indian Railways may soon make it mandatory for senior citizen passengers to provide their Aadhaar numbers to avail concessions on rail tickets.
  • To begin with, senior citizens will be able to get ticket concessions only through Aadhaar from December this year, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Chairman and Managing Director A.K. Manocha told yesterday.
  • At present, male senior citizens can avail 40 per cent discount on ticket fares and female passengers 50 per cent reduction on ticket fares on all trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto. Railways provides 53 such concessions, including those for the differently-abled and patients, incurring a loss of Rs.1,500 crore every year.

Green-powered boat readies for world voyage


  • Dubbed the “Solar Impulse of the Seas,” the first boat to be powered solely by renewable energies and hydrogen hopes to make its own historic trip around the world.
  • A water-borne answer to the Solar Impulse – the plane that completed its round-the-globe trip using only solar energy in July – the Energy Observer will be powered by the Sun, the wind and self-generated hydrogen when it sets sail in February as scheduled.
  • The multi-hulled catamaran is in a shipyard at Saint-Malo on France’s west coast, awaiting the installation of solar panels, wind turbines and electrolysis equipment, which breaks down water to produce its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen.

Philippine revenge drama wins Golden Lion at Venice festival


  • Philippine director Lav Diaz’s nearly four-hour black and white revenge drama Ang Babaeng Humayo(The Woman Who Left) won the Golden Lion on Saturday for best film at the 73 Venice Film Festival.
  • The runner-up Grand Jury prize went to fashion designer Tom Ford’s thriller Nocturnal Animals, while the Best Director award was shared by Russia’s Andrei Konchalovsky for the Holocaust drama Rai(Paradise) and Mexico’s Amat Escalante for La Region Salvaje (The Untamed).

MIT scientists use terahertz waves to read closed books


  • Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a new technology that can read the pages of a closed book, an advance that may help archaeologists look into antique books without touching them.
  • Researchers, including Ramesh Raskar from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the U.S, tested a prototype of the system on a stack of papers, each with one letter printed on it. The system was able to correctly identify the letters on the top nine sheets.
  • “The Metropolitan Museum in New York showed a lot of interest in this, because they want to, for example, look into some antique books that they don’t even want to touch,” said Barmak Heshmat, a research scientist at MIT.
  • He said that the system could be used to analyse any materials organised in thin layers, such as coatings on machine parts or pharmaceuticals.

New single-dose treatment shows promise in anti-malaria battle


  • Scientists have discovered a series of a novel compound (bicyclic azetidine series) that shows great promise in the battle against malaria.

  • Four candidate agents were characterised and one compound was found to act on all three life stages of the malaria parasite.

  • The compound was found to cure the disease with just a single, low-dose treatment, provide prophylaxis and prevent disease transmission both in the lab and in animals. The prophylactic effect lasted for as long as 30 days in mice.

  • The compound had activity against a number of malaria-causingPlasmodium strains with a variety of resistant mechanisms.

Centre issues model guidelines on direct selling


  • The government on Monday issued model guidelines for State governments to regulate the business of direct selling and multi-level marketing with an aim to protect consumers from Ponzi schemes.
  • The ‘Direct Selling Guidelines 2016’ framework, released by Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, prohibits pyramid as well as money circulation schemes. The framework defines legitimate direct selling and differentiates it from pyramid and money circulation schemes to help investigating agencies identify fraudulent players.
  • “Direct selling means marketing, distribution and sale of goods or providing of services as a part of network of direct selling other than under a pyramid scheme,” according to the guidelines.

India to lead global coalition to fight epidemics


  • India is all set to lead the global fight against epidemics as it is a key member of the newly formed Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) with its headquarters at the Norwegian Institute for Public Health, in Oslo.
  • The coalition will not focus on diseases that already have sufficient attention, but will be guided by WHO’s R&D blueprint (2016), which lists eleven illnesses to focus on, including Chikungunya, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever.
  • Dr K Vijay Raghavan, secretary, Department of Biotechnology, India, has been chosen as the chairperson of the interim board.

GM mustard is tolerant of herbicides, says geneticist


  • Former vice chancellor of Delhi University and geneticist Deepak Kumar Pental, who spearheaded the effort to develop transgenic mustard called DMH-11 that contains three genes sourced from soil bacterium, confirmed to Leading Daily that one of the DMH-11 genes, called the bar gene, made the plant resistant to a herbicide (or weed killer) brand-named Basta, a product sold by multinational company Bayer Cropscience.
  • If cleared by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, a regulator that reports to the Ministry of Environment and Forests — it will be the first time a herbicide tolerant crop would be cleared for commercial use in India.

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