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Evening News Digest: 13 Aug 2018

Veteran leader Somnath Chatterjee passes away

  • Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee passed away at the age of 89 in Kolakata.
  • Born on July 25, 1929, Somnath Chatterjee was an Indian politician who had been associated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from 1968 to 2008.
  • He served as the speaker of the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009.
  • He had won the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 1996.
  • It was on his initiative that proceedings of the Zero Hour were telecast live from July 5, 2004.

Centre unlocks over Rs 66000 crore green fund to increase country's forest cover

  • The Union Government has unlocked green funds worth over Rs 66,000 crore to increase the country’s forest cover. 
  • The fund is an accumulated amount of money, which user agencies have been depositing as compensation for diverting forest land for non-forest purposes, including industries and infrastructure, since the past 10 years. 
  • Major Highlights:
    • The rules specify that 80 per cent of the green fund will be utilised by the states for green activities listed under 13 permissible activities. 
    • The activities include plantation, assisted natural regeneration of forests, forest fire prevention, pest and disease control in forest, soil and moisture conservation works and improvement of wildlife habitat among others. 
    • The remaining 20 percent will be used for 11 listed works to strengthen forest and wildlife protection related infrastructure. 
    • The list includes third-party monitoring of works, forest certification, and development of certification standards and casual hiring of local people to assist forest department staff.
  • Forest Cover in India:
    • According to India State of Forest Report (SFR) 2017; India has about 7, 08,273 sq kms of forest, which is 21.53 percent of the geographical area of the country.
    • The Indian Government aims to increase the area under forest cover in the nation to at least 33 per cent.
    • Currently, 15 States and union territories have 33 per cent of their geographical area under forests.
    • However, in India’s north-east, forest cover showed a decrease in comparison to the assessment made in 2015.

India to launch Chandrayaan 2 in Jan 2019

  • India will launch its second lunar mission on 3 January 2019 to land on moon with a lander and rover.
  • 800 Cr Lunar mission called Chandrayaan 2 comes after 10 years of Chandrayaan 1 mission launched in 2008.
  • Chandrayaan 2:
    • The 3,890-kg Chandrayaan-2, which will be launched onboard the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-3, will orbit around the moon and study its lunar conditions to collect data on its topography, mineralogy and exosphere.
    • The lander has been named "Vikram" as a tribute to the pioneer of India's space programme and former ISRO chairman (1963-71), Vikram Sarabhai.
    • This is the first time India will have a rover landing on the moon nearly 50 years after American astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the eerie lunar surface in 1969.
    • Chandrayaan 1 was launched onboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket from the spaceport in Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota.

Individual farmer in Maharashtra can avail Rs 1.50 lakh loan waiver

  • The Maharashtra government has expanded the scope of the loan waiver scheme by extending the benefits to every member of the farmer's family in case of a separate loan account.
  • The scheme had so far benefitted 35.32 lakh farmers in the state.
  • Earlier, the state government had considered the farmer's family as one unit and considered it eligible to claim a waiver of Rs 1.50 lakh agricultural debt.
  • As per the Government Resolution, every member of the family having some agricultural debt will now be covered under the scheme, which was announced last year following strident protests by farmers.

NASA launches Parker Solar Probe mission to 'touch the Sun

  • US space agency NASA has launched its mission to send a satellite closer to the Sun than any before.
  • The Parker Solar Probe rocket lifted off from Florida, USA.
  • The probe is set to become the fastest-moving manmade object in history.
  • What will the probe do?
    • The probe aims to dip directly into our star's outer atmosphere, or corona.
    • Over the course of seven years, Parker will make 24 loops around our star to study the physics of the corona, the place where much of the important activity that affects the Earth seems to originate.
    • The probe will dip inside this tenuous atmosphere, sampling conditions, and getting to just 6.16 million km from the Sun's broiling "surface".
  • Its Importance:
    • The Sun is constantly bombarding the Earth with charged particles and magnetic fields.
    • This solar wind is responsible for generating the beautiful auroral lights that appear in polar skies, but there are some interactions that initiate much more troubling effects.
    • The biggest outbursts from the Sun will rattle the Earth's magnetic field.
    • In the process, communications may be disrupted, satellites can be knocked offline, and power grids will be vulnerable to electrical surges.
    • Scientists try to forecast these "storms" and Parker promises new and valuable information to help them do that.

Justice MR Shah sworn-in as Chief Justice of Patna HC

  • Justice MR Shah was sworn-in as Chief Justice of Patna HC on Aug 11.
  • About Justice M R Shah
    • Born on May 16, 1958, justice Shah completed his graduation.
    • He completed LL.B from Gujarat University in 1982 and enroll as an advocate on the rolls of the Bar Council of Gujarat.
    • He became a judge of the Gujarat HC on March 7, 2004.
  • Appointment of Chief Justice of High Court:
    • The Chief Justice of a High Court is appointed by the President with the consultation of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Governor of the State.

Ajay Jayaram settles for Silver in Vietnam Open Badminton

  • Ajay Jayaram settled for Silver after losing in the final of the Vietnam Open against Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia.
  • The final was held in Ho Chi Minh City.

CSIR’s new patented Clot buster, PEGylated Streptokinase unveiled

  • A novel biological entity developed by Dr. Girish Sahni and his team of inventors at CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR-IMTECH), Chandigarh is all set to revolutionize the treatment of ischemic strokes.
  • Ischemic Stroke:
    • Ischemic stroke is a condition caused by a dysfunction in the supply of blood to the brain due to emboli, thrombus or atherosclerosis occurring in cerebral arteries.
    • According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), brain strokes are the second leading cause of death in the world with a staggering 15 million people effected causing 11 million people either die or become permanently disabled.
    • Surprisingly, the prevalence of stroke is much higher in India than the West and about 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes.

Manigault Newman book “Unhinged”

  • Omarosa Manigault Newman’s new book Unhinged: An Insiders Account of the Trump White House.
  • This book is a detailed account of her interactions with President Donald Trump and his other controversial remarks.

Defence Minister dedicates Hussainiwala Bridge to the Nation

  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Aug 13 dedicated strategically important historic bridge at Hussainiwala, Punjab to the nation.
  • The 250-feet-long bridge, which was destroyed during 1971 Indo-Pak war, will connect Ferozpur with Hussainiwala barrage.
  • The bridge will help people living in 10 villages of Hussainiwala Enclave near Pakistan border, and also facilitate better movement of army vehicles.
  • Hussainiwala is the birth place of many Indian freedom fighters including Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.
  • There is also a Memorial Hussainiwala Shaheed Smarak in Hussainiwala built in the memory of these three freedom fighters.

Audio Notes: 13 Aug 2018


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