22 , August 2017

China to relaunch one of world’s fastest bullet trains making the 1,250-km journey from the capital Beijing to Shanghai in just 4 hours, 30 minutes have a top speed of 400 kmph.

China first ran trains at 350 kmph in August 2008, but cut speeds back to 250 – 300 kmph in 2011 following a train collision near the city of Wenzhou that killed 40 people and injured 191.

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1.IN LCU L52 is the second Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV class to be inducted into the Indian Navy.
Source: PIB

LCU MK-IV ship is an amphibious ship with the primary role to transport and deploy Main Battle Tanks, Armoured Vehicles, troops and equipment from ship to shore. These ships would be based in the Andaman and Nicobar Command and can be deployed for multirole activities like beaching operations, search and rescue, disaster relief operations, supply and replenishment and evacuation from distant islands. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems like Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) is capable of transporting various kinds of combat equipment such as Main Battle Tanks Arjun, T72 and other vehicles.

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2.Union Home Minister launches the Digital Police Portal under CCTNS project
Source: PIB

The Ministry of Home Affairs will undertake steps to integrate the various organs of the Criminal Justice System such as the Police, Courts, Prisons, Prosecution, Forensic Laboratories, Finger Prints and Juvenile Homes with the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) database. Launching the Digital Police Portal under the CCTNS project here today, he said this Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) will be a useful resource for all stakeholders including the policy makers.

The CCTNS portal will provide investigator the complete record history of any criminal from anywhere across the country.

The CCTNS portal will form the backbone of the Criminal Justice System and this database will be subsequently linked with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) database on vehicle registrations.

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3.Now, passport sans police verification
Source: The Hindu

The physical police verification for getting a passport may soon be dispensed with as the Centre plans to connect the procedure with the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project (CCTNS), a project first conceptualised by the UPA government in 2009.

The CCTNS, an exhaustive national database of crimes and criminals that will check the antecedents of applicants at the click of a mouse, was expected to be linked with the passport service of the External Affairs Ministry.

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4.‘Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat’ Programme
Source: PIB

‘Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat’ Programme, an initiative of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan to prepare a physical Health and Fitness Profile Card for more than 12 lakhs of Kendriya Vidyalaya students was launched in Kochi.

Objectives

  • It will provide a comprehensive and inclusive report card for children covering all age groups and children of different abilities.
  • Making students, teachers and parents aware about the importance of good health and fitness and encouraging 60 minutes of play each day is an objective of the programme.
  • It also intends to imbibe values of Olympics and Paralympics amongst students.
  • Bring back the childhood amongst children and make physical activity and recreational games an integral part of learning process , Motivating potentially outstanding performers in various games and sports of excellence, using technology for data capture and analytics, and giving access to schools, parents and teachers.

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5.Drones on a mission to restore Myanmar’s mangrove cover
Source: The Hindu

Mangrove ecosystems can store two to four times more carbon than most other tropical forests, helping reduce planet-warming gases in the atmosphere, while slowing coastal erosion and shielding communities against tsunamis and storm surges.

They also provide breeding grounds for fish and other sea creatures. Mangroves have been estimated to support 30 percent of Southeast Asia’s fish catch, and almost 100 percent of its shrimp catch.

Issue:

Myanmar has lost more than 1 million hectares (about 2.5 million acres) of mangroves since 1980. Fast-dwindling mangroves in Myanmar’s low-lying Ayeyarwady Delta, ravaged by decades of deforestation and conversion of land for agriculture and aquaculture

There is an “urgent need” to restore mangroves to stem saltwater invasion of farmland and shoreline erosion due to sea level rise, as well as to protect lives and property from storms and floods in coastal areas.

Possible Solution:

Using Drones to plant trees would help to regain the lost ecosystem says experts.

Drones are particularly useful in complicated or dangerous terrain that is hard for people to access; they can help cover large areas of land very fast, and could contribute to meeting the international community’s commitment to restore 350 million hectares of degraded forests and agricultural land by 2030.

Drones, could plant trees 10 times faster and cut costs by half and a single pilot operating six drones can plant up to 100,000 trees per day, according to UK-based start-up BioCarbon Engineering (BCE)

How it works

The plan covers 250 hectares and involves training and employing locals to collect and prepare seeds, as well as to maintain, monitor and protect the fragile ecosystems.

  • First, drones flying 100 metres (328 ft) above the ground take highly detailed, 3D images of the land while sensors record information such as soil type, soil quality and moisture. The data is then used to create a planting pattern, pinpointing the best spots and species to plant in each location.
  • Then a drone uploaded with the mapping information flies 2 metres above the ground, shooting biodegradable seed pods designed to enhance germination success. A drone carrying 300 seed pods can cover 1 hectare in 18 minutes

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6.FDI jumps 37% to $10.4 billion during April-June 2017
Source: The Hindu

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country grew by 37 per cent to USD 10.4 billion during the first quarter of the current fiscal. Since the launch of ‘Make in India’ initiative (October 2014 – June this year), foreign inflows jumped 64 per cent to USD 110.12 billion from USD 67.26 billion in the same period last year.

  • Sectors which attracted the highest foreign inflows include services, telecom, trading, computer hardware and software and automobile. 
  • Bulk of the FDI came in from Singapore, Mauritius, the Netherlands and Japan. 
  • The government has announced several steps to attract foreign inflows. The measures include liberalisation of FDI policy and improvement in business climate.

India needs around USD 1 trillion for overhauling its infrastructure sector such as ports, airports and highways to boost growth. A strong inflow of foreign investments will help improve the country s balance of payments situation. It will strengthen the rupee value against other global currencies, especially the US dollar.

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7.India to raise visa issue in trade policy meet
Source: The Hindu

The Centre will raise Indian industry’s concerns over the U.S. visa ‘curbs’, during the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting likely in October.TFP is the premier forum to resolve bilateral trade and investment issues between India and the US.

  • The U.S. is expected raise its worries over India’s ‘restrictions’ on e-commerce. And the ‘challenges’ faced by American innovative industries due to India’s ‘weak’ Intellectual Property Rights regime
  • Indian government is likely to raise the issue of the ‘non-tariff barriers’ by the U.S. that are hurting Indian agriculture, pharmaceuticals and other industrial exports

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8.Triple talaq: Will SC verdict end personal laws’ immunity?
Source: The Hindu

The Supreme Court’s judgment on the constitutionality of triple talaq may also decide the age-old debate whether personal laws can be brought under the ambit of Article 13 (laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights) of the Constitution.

  • All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) argument: Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction to strike down provisions of personal law.
  • Organisations calling for reform and Muslim women from various walks of life across the country have urged the court to declare triple talaq and polygamy as “un-Islamic”.

A judicial declaration from a Constitution Bench under Article 13 that personal laws are liable to comply with the fundamental rights guaranteed by Constitution would bring religious law, even uncodified practices, under judicial review.

Previous cases

  • State of Bombay versus Narasu Appa Mali, 1951: The Bombay High Court observation: personal law is not ‘law’ under Article 13. The judgment was never challenged in the Supreme Court.
  • Ahmedabad Women Action Group versus Union of India: The Supreme Court was asked to consider that unilateral divorce by talaq and polygamy violated Articles 14 and 15.The court rejected the claim, saying it was for the legislature to determine.

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