Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Starred Articles

Obesity costs the world $2 trillion every year
World > Obesity > Nov 20
According to a study by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), one third of the world's population is overweight or obese, which costs the world $2 trillion dollars annually in terms of costs related to health and lower productivity. It outranks alcoholism, climate change, air pollution and drug problems but falls behind armed conflicts and smoking. The problem is showing no signs of improving and at the current rate half of the world's population will be obese by the year 2030. Obesity also accounts for 5% of the deaths globally. Strict measures such as the promotion of healthy nutritious foods and restrictions on the advertising of high calorie foods and drinks will have to be undertaken to curb the rate of obesity.

Chinese hydroelectric dam built on Brahmaputra river
World > China > Nov 24
China has announced the completion of a major hydropower dam, called Yarlung Zangbo built on the Brahmaputra. Following the announcement, India and Bangladesh fear flash floods and related risks like landslides involving lives of millions of people downstream. India has been worried about the consequences of damming the Brahmaputra. However, Indian officials have so far been satisfied by Beijing’s explanations.
Beijing said that the dam is built to empower the development of electricity deprived regions. Thorough study of the impact of dam building and behavioral changes in the Brahmaputra will be commissioned soon.

Portuguese ex-PM Jose Socrates in jail over fraud case
World > Portugal > Nov 24
Former Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates is being investigated for suspected corruption, money-laundering and tax fraud. Subsequently, he is obligated to spend a third straight night in jail after being detained by the police. The investigating judge has decided to continue the interrogation. The judge needs to rule whether Socrates should be released or held pending a trial.
The Attorney-General's office said he and three others are suspected of colluding in crimes.

Home secretary warns Britain against greatest terror threat in its history
World > Britain > Nov 24
Theresa May, home secretary has warned Britain of the greatest terrorist threat. She stated that the dangers posed by the Islamic State are larger than that of any other terror organisation ever. She also explained the diversity of terrorist groups indicating the existence of "violent individuals" and "lone wolves” who are more active than others. The counterterrorism measures adopted by UK include cancellation of overseas suspects' passports, allowing the government to control their potential return to the UK, and changes to Terrorist Prevention and Investigation Measures, allowing authorities to force suspects leave their country.


Pakistan will speak to Kashmiri leaders before talks with India
World > India- Pakistan > Nov 20
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Pakistan will consult Kashmiri leaders before entering into any negotiations with India. He alleged that Pakistan had initiated dialogue with India regarding the Kashmir issue but India cancelled the scheduled foreign secretary talks. Therefore, he is now resorting to the Kashmiri leaders. PM Sharif has been using the Kashmir issue by speaking about it at local and international forums to garner support within the country's powerful military establishment as well as to counter intense political opposition to his rule.

CBI director Ranjit Sinha removed from the 2G scam probing committee by SC
Politics and Government > 2G Scam > Nov 20
Referring to the charges levelled against CBI chief Ranjit Sinha of helping people accused in the 2G scam, the Supreme Court has said that there appears to be some credibility to the allegations. As a result, the apex court has ordered the disgraced chief to stay out of the scam investigation. It further stated that the senior most officer investigating the scam should take over the responsibilities of the CBI chief.
2G spectrum scam was a scam involving politicians and government officials of India illegally undercharging companies for frequency allocation licenses, which they would then use to create 2G spectrum subscriptions for cell phones. The shortfall between the money collected and the money that the law mandated to be collected is estimated to be Rs. 1766 billion, as valued by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Tech Mahindra makes a $240 million acquisition of LCC
Corporate > Tech Mahindra > Nov 20
India's fifth largest software services exporter Tech Mahindra, is set to acquire a US based network services company Lightbridge Communications Corporation (LCC) for $240 million. The deal is set to be finalised by late 2015. LLC is one of the global leaders in providing network engineering services to the telecommunications industry and generates an annual revenue of more than $400 million. The acquisition is set to make Tech Mahindra an important player in the network services market globally and is an important step for the company to go global.

Indians form 450,000 of the illegal immigrant population in the US
World > Illegal Immigrants in US > Nov 20
According to a report, Indians form around 4% of the immigrant population of the United States of America. The total immigrant population is around 11.2 million, which has remained unchanged since 2009. The number of Mexicans has gone down by 500,000 who form the highest of the lot. Other countries comprising the list are - China (300,000), the Philippines (200,000), South Korea (180,000), the Dominican Republic (170,000) and Colombia (150,000).

1020 rhinos killed in South Africa in 2014
World > Rhinoceros Poaching > Nov 20
According to a report from the environmental affairs of South Africa, 1020 rhinoceros were killed in the country during the current year. This is a huge setback for the government, which has been taking multiple efforts to curb the poaching of the endangered species. The increased demand for the animals' horn from Asian countries has propelled the number of deaths. The officials termed the number of deaths as tragic, but, were also boastful about the increase in arrests of suspected poachers. The country has launched a number of rescue operations for the endangered animal, including the deployment of armed forces near national parks.

Research by scientists at IIT - Bombay reduces the time and money required for dialysis by half
Science and Technology > Dialysis Treatment > Nov 21
Researchers at IIT - Bombay's chemical engineering department have come up with a special membrane, which promises to reduce money and time required for dialysis by 50%. As dialysis is a recurring process and it requires a new filter each time that needs to be imported and increases the costs involved, due to which 90% of the patients die as they cannot afford treatment. A filter developed indigenously will reduce the cost dramatically. The membrane developed by IIT - B is a key component of the filter and removes impurities from the blood during dialysis.
Dialyses is the process of artificially removing waste and excess water from the bloodstream of the people suffering from chronic kidney diseases.

CBSE to reiterate three language formula
India > Education > Nov 24
After the government decided to drop German as the third language in the curriculum of Kendriya Vidyalaya schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to issue a circular to all affiliated institutions saying a third language apart from Hindi and English should be a part of the syllabus. The language would be a modern Indian language. It is not clear at the moment if the board will ask private schools to discontinue teaching the third foreign language, and things will be apparent after the circular is issued.

New transport bill will require proof of registration of a parking space
Politics and Government > Road Transport Law > Nov 24
According to a new bill that is set to be passed, booking a parking space would be mandatory before buying a new car. This rule will come into effect if the government has its way and implements the new Road Transport & Safety Bill 2014. According to the law, a fresh application for vehicle registration should be accompanied by the proof of parking space approved by a government authority. While the move is a provisional one and needs to be approved by the parliament, industry experts have criticised the suggestion as the market for cars is already sluggish. Government officials on the other hand have a different opinion and say the move will create awareness among car buyers.

US officer fired 12-year old boy with fake gun
World > USA > Nov 24
A 12-year boy was shot by a US officer after he pointed a gun that was "probably fake” at a playground. The boy had pulled out a replica handgun after being told to raise his hands by the officers. The officers were called by someone on the emergency call number complaining about a 12-year boy with the “fake gun”. However the officers failed to notice that the gun was lacking the orange safety indicator usually found on the muzzle. The incident is being investigated by the police department and the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Special court questions CBI over ex-PM exclusion from the coal scam probe
India > Coal Scam > Nov 25
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was also the coal minister during his tenure at the office was not probed in the coal scam interrogation by the CBI. This move of the CBI has come under the scanner, and the investigation body was questioned by a special court. In response to the above allegation, the investigating officer retorted that the officials from the PM's office were questioned and that the questioning of the then coal minister (PM) was not necessary.
Coal allocation scam, is a political scandal concerning the Indian government's allocation of the nation's coal deposits to public sector entities and private companies by the UPA government.

Honda admits under-reporting of accidents in US since 2003
Corporate > Honda > Nov 25
Japanese auto giant Honda Motor Co. has admitted that it failed to notify US safety regulators the occurrence of 1729 accidents related to their vehicles. It ascribed the error to a third party audit of the casualties, blaming data entry faults for the irregularity. The company assured it will take steps to rectify the error. The statement comes as a follow-up to the notice issued to the company by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to fulfil its legal obligation to report deaths and injuries involving air bags. The automobile giant and Japanese firm Takata Corp have been in the centre of a controversy surrounding faulty air-bags in Honda cars, provided by the latter.


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