Today’s Current Affairs November 28 (from The Hindu, The Economist)

November 28, 2019 (Sourced from Hindu, The Economist)

Front Page

New Maharashtra government shares powers with Allies

Ajit Power will be Udhav Thackeray’s Deputy Chief, and Congress to get the Speaker’s post. With relative ease, the new government under Chief Minister has dispelled doubts about a possible squabble over the top posts. Ajit Pawar, will be comfortable with his home-coming, and the Congress that was relegated to the fourth place by the voters will have its choice as the Speaker.

Good words and phrases used .. Dispel, Relegate

India’s Cartosat-3 roars into sky, but some critical gaps remain

India’s ultra high resolution (just about 250 mm) remote sensing satellite soared into the sky making ISRO and the whole country proud. The satellite can ‘see’ objects on the ground as small in size as 250 mm.

Commercial benefits of the Remote sensing programme (IRS)..

  1. It has enabled India’s fishermen to increase the catch manifold as a result of which the country’s marine exports have grown ten times in the last few years.
  2. India sells the pictures to customers worldwide and earns foreign exchange.

Military benefits ..

India is able to maintain a continuous vigil of the oceans that surround it in three sides. Even land-based military activities in our neighboring countries (some of them hostile) can be monitored on real-time basis.

Shortcomings of the Remote sensing programme..

In order to be able to provide wider and un-interrupted coverage of the huge ocean and land mass, India needs to have many more such satellites in orbit. Due to limitations on the number and frequency of the PSLV launches, India can’t put the requisite number of such satellites in sky. The satellites have a battery life of about five years towards the end of which they have to be maneuvered towards the ‘grave yard’ orbit where it can burn itself in course of time eliminating the risks of congesting the space. As India does not have adequate number of such satellites, the ones in space are kept operational up to ten years – double of their designed life span. By this time, the battery on board becomes too drained to allow maneuvering the craft to the ‘grave yard’ orbit. This leads to overcrowding of space and enhances risks of collision with our own satellites and that of other countries.

The second problem is about providing continuing service to our customers. If we refuse to give them the images as and when they need, they will turn to other providers, at our cost. The situation is like keeping a tea shop open intermittently. Customers do not patronize such shops.

The third weakness is about our inability to showcase our capacity in a truly commercial way, like a smart marketing outfit does. We are shy about showing off our prowess, and respond only when a customer approaches us. This lose end needs to be tied up.

Nirmala Sitaraman quells concerns about the nose-diving economy

The Finance Minister assuaged the concerns of the members of the Rajya Sabha that the growth engine of the economy has merely slowed down, but has not entered the recession zone yet. She exuded confidence that the raft of measures taken by the government to accelerate the economy will soon show results. However, her words are cold comfort for the people facing large scale job losses, and slow-down of trade and industry.

Good words and phrases used .. Quell, Assuage, Exude, Cold comfort

Bengaluru

Soaring onion prices bring tears to the people of Bengaluru..

With onion selling Rs.100 a kilo, Bengaluru consumers can only fret and fume, and wait for fresh harvest to arrive. For the foreseeable future, there is no respite in the sight. In the meanwhile, some eateries in the city have taken onion dishes off the menu.

Good words used .. Fret, Fume as verb,

Bengaluru bar owners and residents at odds with each other

In areas like Indira Nagar, Koramangala areas, the pubs serve a certain section of customers for whom spending time there has become a necessity and a life style. The pubs play loud music often late into the night, and inebriated customers sometimes cause nuisance in the nearby streets. The residents loudly clamored for the closure of these joints, and the police had no option but enforce their shutting down. However, the action started a backlash from pub-goers who feel the law prohibiting commercial activities in a residential area is archaic and out-dated for a growing and thriving city like Bengaluru. The clash of interests has brought to the fore the need for advanced planning so that adequate commercial space is available for businesses. Such problem affects almost all cities of India.

Good words used … To be at odds with, Clamour as verb, Backlash, Bring to the fore,

Flood due to Hulimavu lake’s wall breach leaves a trail of massive destruction

The areas where the Lake’s water entered are still reeling under the effects of the man-made flooding. Mud and slush has covered the streets and basement of apartments. Now, the authorities are mulling ways to prevent such mishaps in future.

National

NIA digging into the case of Keralite couple arrested in Afghanistan

A trained dentist and her Christian husband were swayed by Islamic Stat’s philosophy, and converted to Islam to fight for IS in Afghanistan. The woman was later arrested by Afghan police, and her mother in Kerala identified her from her photo procured by the National Investigating Agency (NIA). Now the Agency is delving deeper to completely uncover the mystery behind such radicalization of a Hindu woman and her Christian husband.

Good word used .. Sway as verb, Delve

Australia returns three Indian invaluable artefacts

India has gratefully acknowledged the receipt of three ancient artefacts smuggled out of the country years ago. India and Australia both are members of the UNESCO 1970 convention on the means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transport of ownership of Cultural Property. This enabled Australia to return the items without any controversy.

Good words used .. Artefact

India’s insatiable appetite for gold

India continues to be the top importer of gold in the world, both through legal channel and through smuggling. An NGO has revealed that the country received nearly 1000 tons of gold last year, a good portion of it through smuggling.

Good word used .. Insatiable

Air India to be privatized soon

The loss-making national airline Air India that has accumulated massive debt of Rs.58,000 crores might finally be sold. The airline has managed to stay afloat through periodic injection of cash by the government, but now, the time has come to finally get rid of it. Mr. Puri, Minister for Civil Aviation has disclosed that the sale process will be completed by the end of March, 2020.

Terror incidents in J&K almost down to nil, says the Defence Minister

Rajnath Singh claimed that peace and tranquility has finally returned to the valley after the government’s move to abrogate Article 370. However, opposition members described the lull as deceptive and induced by fear. They asked why the internet is still curbed, if the valley is quiet.

Good word used .. Deceptive

Delay in GST reimbursement to States riles West Bengal and Punjab

Irate MPs from West Bengal and Punjab remonstrated against the delay in refund of GST dues, especially to their states.

Good words used .. Rile, Irate, Remonstrate

Transgressions by Chinese troops exceed 1000 in the last three years

The Minister of State of Defence stated that the soldiers of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) had intruded into Indian territory more than a thousand times in the last three years. Happily though, these were resolved peacefully through negotiations between the field commanders.

Good word used .. Transgression

Data breach has become commonplace admits government

Facing mounting criticism by opposition against government-initiated theft of individual data of citizens, the government conceded that such breaches do happen, but the government never engineered it.

Good words used … Commonplace, Engineer as verb

SC reserves its verdict on the J&K curb issue

The Apex Court reserved its judgment on the petition  challenging the continuing curbs in the valley. The petitioner is Ghulam Navi Azad of the Congress Party. Under the eye of the army and paramilitary forces, curbs on free movement, speech, internet access continue to mire the people.

Good words used .. Mire,

Indian Consul General invokes Israel’s example as a model for solving the Pandis’s return issue

 The senior Indian diplomat in New York caused quite a flutter by his indiscrete comment on the J&K issue, saying military force will succeed in facilitating return of Pandits to their ancestral homes, just the way Israel has settled its Jews in Palestine territory. It was a rash undiplomatic statement that raised many eyebrows. The Union Government has maintained a studied silence in the matter.

Good words and phrases used .. Cause a flutter, Raise eyebrow

International

Dhaka Café attack perpetrators get death sentence

In 2016, a group of radicalized students had mounted a bomb attack on an upscale Café popular with foreigners. The attack left 22 dead and scores maimed. The explosion had sullied the peaceful investment-friendly image of Bangladesh. After a fast track trial, seven of the accused have been sent to the gallows. The attack bore the hallmark of the dreaded Islamic State, and made Bangladeshis nervous and very resentful about the import of Islamic radicalism to the country.

Good words and phrases used .. Perpetrator, Hallmark, send to the gallows, Maim, Upscale

Pakistan Army Chief gets conditional 6-month extension

The Pakistan Supreme Court showed unusual courage when it said that he extension of the General’s tenure by three years granted by Prime Minister Imran Khan was technically flawed. Logically, it should have been done by the President. The government has got six months time to remove the anomalies if it wants the Army Chief to avail the full three-month extension.

Good words used .. Flaw as noun and verb, Anomaly,

Iran cracks down on those who launched the deadly protests against oil price rise

An angry Iranian government has invoked all its coercive powers to penalize those who took to the streets last week against the withdrawal of subsidy on petrol. Even Iran’s overseas journalists have borne the wrath of the authorities.

British Labour Party under Corbyn alleges the Conservative government’s plans to sell the National Halth Service (NHS) TO American companies

Corbyn, the labor leader has flayed Boris Johnson for conducting secret negotiations with American companies to sell off the NHS. Corbyn has even shown papers that clearly prove his allegation. Now, the entire Labor Party is up in arms against the Conservatives for sacrificing a prized British welfare scheme for dubious gains.

Mexican drug cartels face intense Trump ire

After reports of the killing of nine women and children by Mexican drug cartels, Trump has vowed immediate and intense American action to neutralize their threat. The cartels will officially be listed as ‘Terror organizations’ – a classification that invites harsh punitive action from U.S. authorities. Now, the government in Mexico where the gruesome killing happened will face severe American pressure to crack down the drug mafias.

Good words used .. Cartel, Ire, Mafia

Finance

Premier financial services company Karvy faces the wrath of SEBI for its unlawful activities

Flouting the laws, Karvy has used the securities and funds placed with it by individual investors for its own business gains. The investors give a general power of attorney to the brokerage houses to do transactions on their behalf and earn profits that they get. In the present case, Karvy has misused the powers of attorney given by the investors to use their funds for Karvy’s gains, not the investors’. This clearly amounts to breach of trust on the part of Karvy. SEBI has now restricted all sorts of investment activities of Karvy till the inspection of its books is complete, and its fraudulent transactions quantified. SEBI’s stringent action has sent shock waves among the stock brokers.

Good words and phrases used .. Wrath, Flout, Send shock waves

Term of the 15th Finance Commission extended

The government has extended the term of the 15th Finance Commission and has asked it to give two reports – one before the coming budget, and the second after it. The extension became necessary as some states went to election, and J&K was reorganized, making it impossible for the Commission to go there.

Zee Board members point to many irregularities before departing

Subhas Chandra, the promoter of ZEE Entertainment had to sell off his shares to pay off the huge debts of his beleaguered company. In the process, he had to step down as Chairman of Zee Entertainment. The whole board is being reconstituted after this development. The outgoing directors have pointed out to a particularly suspicious transaction where in ZEE paid Rs.2000 crores to an unknown entity as advance.

Good word used .. Beleaguered

5G pricing – Government says no thinking on the matter yet

Ravishankar Prasad, Minister of Telecommunications, has revealed that the government has not yet thought about 5G spectrum pricing. It has to be pointed out here that the major Telcos like Airtel, Vodaphone, and Jio are all demanding that the government fix the price of 5G spectrum lower, so that the companies do not see their operations going further into red.

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