Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Current Affairs 02 March 2014

Cheaper bio-aviation fuel

  • Based on pilot plant studies of a state-of-the-art process developed by the Indian Institute of Petroleum here, a unit in a refinery is being revamped to yield 40,000 tonnes a year of bio-aviation turbine fuel at competitive rates. It will be blended with fossil jet fuel for running commercial flights.
  • Under the recently developed process, renewable aviation fuel was produced from Jatropha curcas oil through a non-noble metal catalyst.
  • Pratt & Whitney, Canada, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. are collaborating in the project. They have tested our fuel for its physio-chemical and performance characteristics.
  • The carbon tax imposed by Australia and the European Union on the aviation indus-try prompted airlines to run their flights on bio-fuel.

Notice served on railway safety

  • The Supreme Court has served notice on the Railways on a public interest petition seeking direction that sleeper coaches being manufactured conform with international safety standards.
  • A Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued the notice, returnable in four weeks, on the writ petition filed by advocate Abhay Singh.
  • Pointing out that materials at present used in cushions, cushion covers, curtains, flooring and wood partitioning are substandard and do not comply with safety standards, the petitioner sought a ban on the use of these materials.
  • The materials used in the railway coaches emit toxic gases much beyond the permissible limit.

Exhumation of 1857 martyrs

  • While the Union and the State governments have failed to act, the management of a gurdwara in the border town of Ajnala in Amritsar district claimed to have exhumed the remains and other articles of at least 282 persons who were executed by the British authorities for participating in the 1857 mutiny.
  • They now await allocation of a suitable site by the State government to carry out cremation and build a memorial for the martyrs.

Lok Sabha polls

  • Polling in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections is most probably going to commence in the second week of April and may be spread over seven phases, the longest so far.
  • The probable dates for the commencement of polling are between April 7 and 10.
  • As of now, the plan is to have voting, involving over 81 crore voters, in seven phases but efforts are on to reduce that to six phases. The 2009 polls were held in five phases from April 16 to May 13.
  • The Model Code of Conduct for governments and political parties will come into force from the date of announcement.
  • However, the Election Commission has ruled out advancing the schedule or compressing it to avoid the summer heat, a demand put forward at the all-party meeting convened by the Commission last month.
  • The term of the current Lok Sabha expires on June 1 and the new House has to be constituted by May 31.
  • Along with the Lok Sabha polls, Andhra Pradesh, including the regions comprising the newly-carved out Telangana, Odisha and Sikkim will go to polls to elect new assemblies.

Plan of Russia to use force in Ukraine

  • Tensions flared over Russia’s plan to use force in Ukraine to protect its interests, but President Vladimir Putin does not seem to have taken a final decision yet to act on his threat.
  • A day after the Russian Parliament granted Mr. Putin’s request to deploy Russian military in Ukraine, there were no reports of troop movements across the border.
  • Mr. Putin reaffirmed readiness to use force, but added an important “if” to the deployment of Russian military in Ukraine.
  • The Russian leader told U.S. President Barack Obama, who called him in the early hours of Sunday, that “Russian citizens and numerous compatriots faced credible threats to their lives and health” in Ukraine.

Afghanistan in current ODI Rankings table

  • Six months after Afghanistan qualified for its maiden appearance in the Cricket World Cup, its success story continues to make waves and the country has now entered into the main ODI rankings table for the first time.
  • Following Afghanistan’s 32-run win over Bangladesh in the Asia Cup at Fatullah, its first against a Full Member side of the ICC, it has met the criteria for its maiden inclusion in the main Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings table.
  • Afghanistan joins the table in 12th place with 32 ratings points, with the opportunity to slide past 11-placed Ireland should it win either of its two remaining Asia Cup group matches.
  • To gain the promotion to the main rankings table, Afghanistan needed to either win two ODIs against Full Members, or achieve one win in an ODI against a Full
  • Member and also needed to have won more than 60 per cent of qualifying matches versus other Associates.
  • Afghanistan immediately achieved a ranking upon entry into the table, having played 12 ODIs since August 2010, with the minimum requirement being eight matches.

Mexican Open

  • Dominika Cibulkova beat American Christina McHale to win the women’s final at the Mexican Open.
  • In the men’s final, fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria defeated South African Kevin Anderson, seeded fifth.


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