15 , April 2017

1.All you need to know about US’s Mother of All Bombs
Source: The Hindu

The United States on April 13, 2017, dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb in eastern Afghanistan against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants. According to the Afghanistan officials, the bomb killed over 30 Islamic State militants in the area.

What is the GBU-43 bomb?

The Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) also known as the ‘mother of all bombs’ is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed in combat by the United States. The GBU-43 is a 21,600 pound (9,797 kg) GPS-guided munition and was first tested in March 2003, just days before the start of the Iraq war. It is a demolition bomb containing 18,700 pounds (8,480 kilogrammes) of the explosive H6, with a blast yield equivalent to 11 tonns of TNT. Nine metres (30 feet) long, with a diameter of one metre, according to GlobalSecurity.org, it is the largest-ever satellite-guided, air-delivered weapon in history.

What was the MOAB designed for?

The MOAB is a custom-made Air Force weapon that has been in the arsenal for more than a decade. It is designed to hit softer targets such as surface facilities, tunnel entrances and troop concentrations. It is a concussive bomb, meaning it is designed to detonate before it hits the ground. Its thin aluminium skin helps to maximise its blast radius and generate a shockwave, according to Wired.com.

How is the MOAB deployed?

The MOAB is dropped off from the cargo ramp of a C-130 transport plane with its descent slowed by parachute. This means it can be deployed from a greater height, thereby offering pilots more time to reach safety.

What is the Pentagon’s view on the MOAB?

In the Pentagon’s 2003 review of the legality of using the MOAB, it was concluded that it could not be called an indiscriminate killer under the Law of Armed Conflict.

“Although the MOAB weapon leaves a large footprint, it is discriminate and requires a deliberate launching toward the target,” the review said. It added, “It is expected that the weapon will have a substantial psychological effect on those who witness its use.”

Who made the bomb?

The MOAB was developed in 2002-2003 by Alabama-based aerospace and defence company Dynetics in partnership with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), according to the company’s website. The website said the bomb’s preliminary concept was developed into a detailed design within just three months, and successfully tested three times in 13 days. According to the Air Force, the last time the MOAB was tested in 2003, a huge mushroom cloud could be seen from 32 km away.

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2.Russia’s ‘Father Of All Bombs’, the most powerful non-nuclear weapon known
Source: The Hindu

It’s four times more powerful than the U.S.’s “Mother Of All Bombs”.

What is the Father Of All Bombs?

Officially the Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power, the ordnance is four times more powerful than the U.S. weapon. Unlike the MOAB, which uses conventional ordnance, the FOAB aka “Big Daddy” is Thermobaric — meant to burn its targets. It uses oxygen from the atmosphere, rather than carrying an oxidising agent in its explosives. It produces more energy than normal weapons but is harder to control. According to the Russian military the FOAB is equivalent to 44 tonnes of TNT compared to the U.S. device’s 11 tonnes.

How does it work?

Such devices generally detonate in two stages. First a small blast disperses a main load of explosive material into a cloud, which then either spontaneously ignites in air or is set off by a second charge. This explosion generates a pressure wave that reaches much further than that from a conventional explosive. The consumption of gases in the blast also generates a partial vacuum that can compound damage and injuries caused by the explosion itself. “The main destruction is inflicted by an ultrasonic shockwave and an incredibly high temperature. All that is alive merely evaporates,” news agency Reuters reported in 2007 quoting Russian media reports.

When was it tested?

It was first tested on September 11, 2007. Russia’s military said the aviation vacuum bomb, also known as a fuel-air bomb, was the mightiest ever created.

What was the background to Russia’s announcement of the FOAB?

Russia’s announcement of the bomb came at a time of growing tension between Moscow and the West, and followed a tumultuous eight months in which Vladimir Putin denounced U.S. power, torn up a conventional arms agreement with NATO, and grabbed a large, if symbolic, chunk of the Arctic.

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3.Uttar Pradesh signs “Power for All” agreement with Union government
Source: Indian Express

The Uttar Pradesh government has signed “Power for All” pact with the Centre to provide 24×7 power supply to all the households in the State. With this signing of the agreement, Uttar Pradesh which was the only state in the country which did not join the central government scheme has finally joined in it. The previous government in the state did not show interest in joining the Power for All initiative of the central government.

As a part of energy efficiency measures, 10,000 energy efficiency solar- panel pumps will be distributed through Centre’s undertaking, Energy Efficiency Services (EESL). In addition, it has been agreed to distribute energy efficient bulbs, tube lights and fans at cheaper rates. Separately, the state government has also launched ‘1912’ as the toll-free helpline for the consumers in rural areas to communicate their grievances pertaining to power and electricity.

‘Power for All scheme’ is a joint initiative of the central and state governments, with the objective of providing 24X7 electricity to all households, industry, commercial businesses and other electricity-consuming entities within the time span of four years. The government strives to provide 24×7 power across the country by 2019.

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4.Regulatory body issues new ad norms for celebrities
Source: The Hindu

Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the ad industry’s self-regulatory body, has released a set of guidelines for celebrity endorsements that bring personalities, including doctors, authors, activists and educationists, into the celebrity category.

  • The guidelines aim to clamp down on random or exaggerated claims made by celebrity advertising.
  • The objective of this move is to protect consumer interest while encouraging celebrities and advertisers to refrain from endorsing misleading advertisements, especially of products or services which can cause serious financial loss or physical harm.

Celebrities have a strong influence on consumers and are guided by the choices they make or endorse. It’s important that both celebrities and advertisers are aware of the impact and power of advertising and therefore make responsible claims to promote products or services

Guidelines:

  • From now on, celebrities will be held responsible for the claims made in ads in which they appear.
  • Celebrities must do due diligence and ensure that the claims made in their endorsements are not misleading.
  • The council puts the onus on the advertiser and the advertising agency to ensure that celebrity brand endorsers are aware of ASCI codes.
  • Celebrities are also banned from endorsing “any advertisement of a product or treatment or remedy that is prohibited for advertising” under the Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act and the Drugs & Cosmetic Act”.
  • Celebrities are also banned from appearing in any ad in which “a product which by law requires a health warning is injurious to health” on its packaging or advertisement.
  • If a celebrity seeks advice directly or through the agency from ASCI on whether the advertisement potentially violates any provisions of the ASCI code or not, then the he would be “considered as having completed due diligence”. However, ASCI’s Advertising Advice will not be construed as pre-clearance of the Advertisement.

Significance:

Celebrities have been deployed by marketers to add credibility to their brand offering. These celebrities, however, have a huge responsibility to ensure that the products they endorse or feature in, are true to the claims made in those advertising messages. The guidelines will help in ensuring that claims made in advertising are not misleading, false or go unsubstantiated

About ASCI:

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), established in 1985, is committed to the cause of Self-Regulation in Advertising, ensuring the protection of the interests of consumers.

  • ASCI was formed with the support of all four sectors connected with Advertising — Advertisers, Advertising Agencies, Media (including Broadcasters and the Press) and others like PR Agencies and Market Research Companies.
  • ASCI is not a Government body, nor does it formulate rules for the public or for the relevant industries.

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5.Modi to honour 16 Odisha families linked to 1817 revolt
Source: The Hindu

Descendants of 16 families associated with a little-known but bloody rebellion against British colonialism, called the Paika rebellion of 1817 will be felicitated by the Prime Minister

The Paika rebellion had been flagged by the govt earlier as well in budget speech this year- “two hundred years ago in 1817, a valiant uprising of soldiers led by Buxi Jagabandhu [Bidyadhar Mohapatra] took place in Khurda of Odisha. We will commemorate the same appropriately”.

The rebellion, by the landed militia of Khurda called Paiks, predates the first war of independence in 1857 but did not get similar recognition .

It took place when the British East India company wrested the rent-free land that had been given to the Paiks for their military service to the Kingdom of Khurda

Reason for the revolt:

The Paikas were the traditional land-owning militia of Odisha and served as warriors. When armies of the East India Company overran most of Odisha in 1803, the Raja of Khurda lost his primacy and the power and prestige of the Paikas went on a decline. The British were not comfortable with these aggressive, war like new subjects and set up a commission under Walter Ewer to look into the issue.

  • The commission recommended that the hereditary rent-free lands granted to the Paikas be taken over by the British administration and this recommendation was zealously adhered to. They revolted against the British.
  • However, the rebellion had several other underlying causes – like the rise in the price of salt, abolition of the cowrie currency for payment of taxes and an overtly extortionist land revenue policy.
  • Although initially the Company struggled to respond they managed to put down the rebellion by May 1817. Many of the Paik leaders were hung or deported. Jagabandhu surrendered in 1825.

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6.Allahabad HC becomes ‘pilot project’ for case backlog study
Source: The Hindu

The Supreme Court has decided to put the Allahabad HC under the microscope as a “pilot project” to investigate how High Courts deal with pendency.

  • This is a “target-specific” exercise to study how criminal appeals face years of delay as appellants face “inhuman compulsions” inside jails.
  • The court has called for real-time statistics from the Allahabad HC and has also roped in some senior advocates to assist the Supreme Court.
  • The court has directed the HC Registrar to hand over particulars of the criminal appeals, category-wise and year-wise, for the study in four weeks.
  • It also sought the High Court to produce details of the institution and disposal statistics of last 10 years, average disposal time of the appeals, identified causes for the delay, steps already taken and in contemplation for tackling and accelerating disposals, mechanism in place to oversee the process and progress recorded.

In Allahabad high court, 9.24 lakh cases are pending – highest among all the HCs – of which 3.09 lakh cases are over 10 years old. As on June 30, 2016, 40.54 lakh cases were pending in the 24 HCs, which are grappling with 44% shortage of judges. Rajasthan high court has the oldest pending case in the country. It is pending for 61 years now.

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