Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - October 16, 2018

Environment Protection

Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi launched Early Warning System can predict extreme air pollution events 72 hours in advance and give necessary alerts

What

  • Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi was launched in Delhi by the Union Minister for Earth Sciences and Environment, Dr. Harsh Vardhan .

Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)

  • The System is designed to predict extreme air pollution events and give alerts to take necessary steps as per Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Government of India.

Developed by

  • The air pollution system has been developed jointly by the scientists at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, India Meteorological Department and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).

Connect to the early warning system

  • The early warning system will help in proactively forewarning, 3-4 days in advance, any large scale air pollution events which may occur over the Delhi region.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has constituted a 41 member team which will continuously monitor the air pollution levels in Delhi and NCR region and will report to the board.
  • The warning system consists of a) real time observations of air quality over Delhi region and details about natural aerosols like dust (from dust storms) and particulate matter using different satellite data sets b) Predictions of air pollutants from two different air quality prediction systems based on state-of-the-art atmospheric chemistry transport models and c) Warning Messages and Alerts and Bulletins.

Prize

New Academy Prize in Literature

Who

  • Guadeloupean author Maryse Conde

What

  • New Academy Prize in Literature, an alternative award formed in protest to Nobel Literature Prize.

Connect to Conde

  • Conde is author of some 20 novels, including Desirada, Segu and Crossing the Mangrove.
  • She is considered as grand storyteller who belongs to world literature.

Connect to New Academy Prize in Literature

  • New Academy Prize in Literature was formed by New Academy consisting of more than 100 Swedish writers, artists and journalists in protest to denounce what its founders called bias, arrogance and sexism of Swedish Academy, which selects Nobel laureates.
  • The Swedish Academy was plunged into turmoil in 2017 over its ties to Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault, who was jailed for two years in early October for rape after the scandal came into light as part of the #MeToo movement.

Education

IIT-Bombay tops in QS ranking of Indian institutions IISc stands second; top 10 institutions include seven IITs

What

  • Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, has topped the first-ever standalone ranking of Indian higher education institutions by QS, a think tank that is famous for bringing out world rankings of institutions.
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, which tops Indian institutions in almost all rankings, stands second.
  • The top 10 Indian institutions include seven IITs, with the IITs at Madras, Delhi, Kharagpur and Kanpur standing third, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the rankings.
  • While the University of Hyderabad stands seventh, the University of Delhi stands eighth in the rankings.

JNU not included

  • Most institutions ranked at the top by India’s official rankings NIRF do very well in the QS rankings as well, with Jawaharlal Nehru University, ranked sixth in NIRF, being the most notable absentee.

Why so

  • JNU being single-faculty at undergraduate level is not considered for ranking by QS, as it ranks only those institutions that are multi-faculty at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
  • JNU, outside of its language school, is postgraduate only. Essentially then, at an undergraduate level, it’s single-faculty.
  • In reality it’s a primarily doctoral research institution

Connect to QS University Rankings

  • It is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).
  • Previously known as Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings, the publisher had collaborated with Times Higher Education magazine (THE) to publish its international league tables from 2004 to 2009 before both started to announce their own versions.
  • QS then chose to continue using the pre-existing methodology while Times Higher Education adopted a new methodology to create their rankings.
  • The QS system now comprises the global overall and subject rankings (which name the world's top universities for the study of 48 different subjects and five composite faculty areas), alongside five independent regional tables (Asia, Latin America, Emerging Europe and Central Asia, the Arab Region, and BRICS).

Defence

India, France in talks to conduct tri-service exercise

What

  • India and France are in discussions for a bilateral tri-service military exercise to take forward the strategic cooperation while also exploring ways to operationalise the logistics agreement.
  • This will be India’s third such joint exercise. The first joint tri-service exercise was held with Russia in October last year and has finalised one with the U.S. to be held next year.

Existing joint exercises and pacts

  • India and France currently hold bilateral exercises between individual services — Shakti, Varuna and Garuda respectively for the Army, Navy and Air Force.
  • India and France signed a logistics pact in March this year which gives access to their militaries to each other’s bases for logistics support.
  • While the agreement gives India access to French military bases all over the world on a “reciprocal basis,” of particular interest for New Delhi are the are the three French bases in the Indian Ocean — Reunion Island, Djibouti and Abu Dhabi.
  • These three bases would give the Indian Navy and the Air Force operational turnaround to the far end of the Indian Ocean, improving its monitoring and surveillance of the region, in the backdrop of increased Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

International Organisations

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

What

  • The 6th Interregional Ministerial Meeting of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was held in Singapore.
  • The meeting was reviewed after 6th RCEP ministerial meeting held in August 2018.

Outcome of this meeting

  • All partner countries agreed to finalize trading deal by the end of this year.

Connect to Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

  • It is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) or comprehensive regional economic integration agreement between the 10-ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its six FTA partners (Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan and Korea).
  • The negotiations for this mega trade deal were formally launched at 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
  • It aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights under its ambit.

Sources – PIB , The Hindu , lndianexpress