Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Current Affairs - 31 December 2013

Aadhaar enrolment extended by a month

  • The enrolment drive for Aadhaar numbers, scheduled to be completed by Tuesday (December 31), has been extended by a month.
  • This follows the request of the State government for extending the deadline, a senior official of the Census Operations says, adding that at the end of January, the position will be reviewed for any further extension.
  • As part of the drive which forms part of the National Population Register (NPR), finger prints and iris scan of people are captured, in addition to photographs.
  • The main reason for postponement of the deadline is that Chennai’s performance has been below the overall State’s coverage of 70.76 per cent.
  • As on December 25, the coverage in the city was 54.42 per cent.
  • The State government is particular that the drive should continue till Chennai also records 70 per cent coverage.
  • Out of 41.53 lakh persons to be covered in the city which now includes areas transferred from Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, the drive has covered about 22.6 lakh persons.

In South Sudan, most Indians want to stay on

  • The Indian Mission in Juba is in regular touch with Indian nationals and their employers in South Sudan, which was hit by a civil war between two ethnic groups.
  • Going by the latest reports coming in from Juba, most Indians, including 68 from Tamil Nadu, there, have decided to ride out the conflict, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
  • India has lost peacekeepers in the conflict, as have some other nations, amidst a growing debate over the inability to arrest the killers as well as the tendency to keep major troop contributing countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, out of the decision making loop, when deciding on the kind of mandate that will be employed in an affected area.
  • The Indian workforce at Palouge, where most are from Tamil Nadu, continues to remain deployed in the most critical area of oil production.

For Haryana CM, Yogendra Yadav & Ashok Khemka are probale candidate

  • Having formed its government in Delhi after a stupendous debut in recently-held Assembly elections, the Aam Aadmi Party has now set its eyes firmly on Haryana with names of its senior leader Yogendra Yadav and IAS officer Ashok Khemka doing the rounds as the party’s probable chief ministerial candidate.
  • AAP Haryana convener Ashawant Gupta said it was too early to comment on the name of the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
  • “We are travelling across Haryana to gauge where we stand in terms of organisation and people’s support. We are yet to decide on the number of seats our party will contest in Parliamentary and Assembly elections. All reports on probable names for the party’s chief ministerial candidate are mere speculation.”

Brazil ,Cuba &Havana’s medical diplomacy

  • Exports to Cuba have quadrupled over the past decade and it is hiring 4,500 Cuban doctors
  • The conditions around the public health clinic in the vast slum of Jacarezinho are precisely what most Brazilian doctors prefer to avoid: dealers of crack cocaine ply their trade along dilapidated train tracks, and the odour from a crematory for stray dogs overwhelms patients and medical workers.
  • Faced with a wave of street protests in 2013 over deplorable public services, President Dilma Rousseff has made the hiring of Cuban doctors a cornerstone of her response to the turmoil, overriding the resistance of doctors’ unions to sending the Cubans, trained in a Communist country that says it has a surplus of doctors, into neglected parts of Brazil’s public health system.
  • But the project also points to a broader ambition of Brazil’s government, which is vying to exert influence in Cuba as the authorities in Havana slowly expose the island nation’s economy to market forces.

Big technological projects & environmental concern

  • Last February, the Court of Arbitration set up under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), 1960, had given an interim award on the Kishenganga dispute, allowing the diversion of waters from one tributary of the Jhelum to another.
  • It has now given the final award indicating the extent of permissible diversion.
  • In order to understand this fully, it is necessary to go back to the Baglihar arbitration because some of the issues that arose in that case find a sequel in the present one.
  • (Before getting into the subject at hand, let me say that I have serious reservations about the so-called run-of-the-river hydroelectric projects. However, setting aside my own concerns, I am writing this article strictly from the perspective of the IWT.)
  • In the Baglihar Project, Pakistan had posed certain points of difference on design and engineering matters, and the Neutral Expert (NE) had given his findings on them.
  • We need not go into those issues here but must take note of two points on which Pakistan felt acute concern.
  • First, the NE had observed that the fact that the IWT was signed in 1960 did not freeze all future projects to 1960 technology, and that state-of-the-art technology can be adopted (that is a paraphrase, not an exact quotation).
  • Secondly, he had stressed the importance of proper maintenance of the facilities built and advocated the periodical ‘drawdown’ flushing of the reservoir to get rid of sediment.

Australian Bob Simpson, Hockley to be inducted into ICC Hall of Fame

  • Former Australia captain Bob Simpson and ex-New Zealand woman cricketer Debbie Hockley will be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in Sydney on Thursday, the world body said on Monday.
  • Hockley will become the fourth female player to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Simpson will overall become the 72nd male to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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