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Evening News Digest: 15 Aug 2018

Chhattisgarh Governor Balramji Dass Tandon Dies At 90

  • Chhattisgarh Governor Balramji Dass Tandon died at a hospital in Raipur on 14 Aug 2018.
  • He was 90 years old.
  • Balramji Dass Tandon
    • He was one of the founder members of the Jansangh which later became the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
    • He became the governor of Chhattisgarh in July 2014.
    • He was elected six times an MLA.
    • He also served as deputy chief minister of Punjab.

President of India approves 131 Gallantry Awards

  • On the occasion of 72nd Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind has approved 131 Gallantry Awards to members of Armed Forces personnel and Paramilitary Forces.
  • These gallantry awards are announced twice in a year - first on the occasion of the Republic Day and then on the occasion of the Independence Day.
  • Order of precedence of these awards is the Param Vir Chakra, the Ashoka Chakra, the Mahavir Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, the Vir Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra.
  • List of Gallantry Awards to be given in 2018:
    • Kirti Chakra – 1
    • Vayu Sena Medals – 3
    • NAO Sena Medals – 11
    • Shaurya Chakras – 20
    • Sena Medals – 93
    • Bar to Sena Medals – 3
  • Sepoy Vrahma Pal Singh has been shortlisted for the Kirti Chakra award posthumously.
  • Major Aditya Kumar's name has been mentioned on the list of 20 armed forces personnel for the Shaurya Chakra award.
  • Rifleman Aurangzeb will also be conferred with the third highest gallantry award.
  • Six women officers of the Indian Navy will be awarded Nao Sena medals.

Akshay Kumar Becomes Brand Ambassador for Road Safety Campaigns

  • Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar has become the brand ambassador of Road Saftey Campaign.
  • A road safety ad campaign was launched to promote road safety.
  • Road Saftey in India
    • India has the second largest road network in the world with over 3 million km of roads of which 60% are paved.
    • Road safety is emerging as a major social concern in the country.
    • The statistics are mind boggling with an average mortality rate of 100,000 persons dying in road accidents.
    • India accounts for about 10 percent of road accident fatalities worldwide.
  • What India can learn from other countries?
    • Sweden adopted a ‘Vision Zero’ policy based on the idea that “no loss of life was acceptable” and that rather than trying to alter human behavior, the focus should be on designing a better system of roads and other infrastructure, vehicle technology and enforcement.
    • Singapore deploys a lot of technology to keep drivers safe including ‘advanced warning lights’ that inform drivers about upcoming traffic lights and ‘Your Speed Signs’ that are live electronic signs which calculate and display the real-time speeds of vehicles.
    • Switzerland has lower speed limits than most of its European counterparts. In built up areas, the limit is set at 50 km/hour.
    • Japan has a zero per cent blood-alcohol level standard for drivers and individuals caught driving under the influence can face imprisonment for up to 15 years.

NITI Aayog launches “Pitch to MOVE”

  • NITI Aayog on August 14, 2018 launched ‘Pitch to MOVE’, a mobility pitch competition that aims to provide budding entrepreneurs of India with a unique opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a distinguished jury. 
  • The winners of the event will be felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the valedictory session of the Global Mobility Summit on September 8, 2018. 
  • The Global Mobility Summit 2018 is scheduled to be held from September 7-8, 2018 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
  • Objective:
    • The competition aims to identify and reward the startups offering innovative solutions for shared, connected and environment-friendly mobility. 
    • The objective is to harness the latest disruption for generating employment and growth in the country. 

India releases 470 million Nepali rupees grant for Terai roads project

  • The Government of India has released 470 million Nepali rupees grant for Terai roads project in Nepal.
  • Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri handed over a cheque of grant to Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport of Nepal, Madhusudan Adhikari in Kathmandu, Nepal. 
  • The amount has been released to maintain fund liquidity for the ongoing construction of 14 road packages under Postal Highway Project.
  • With this payment, 2.35 billion Nepali rupees have been released so far out of total grant assistance of 8 billion Nepali rupees committed by the Government of India for implementing 14 packages under Postal Highway Project. 

Ramesh Powar named head coach of women's national cricket team

  • Former India spinner Ramesh Powar was named head coach of the women's national team on Monday, till the ICC World T20 scheduled to be held in November 2018.
  • Powar has played 31 ODIs and two Tests from 2004 to 2007, picking 34 wickets with a best of 54 in the 50-over format.
  • Note: As per the Supreme Court directive, only a Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) can appoint a full-time coach on a long-term basis.

AYUSH ministry introduces scheme for monitoring drugs safety aspects

  • The AYUSH Ministry introduced a new central government scheme for monitoring of the safety aspects of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs and documenting their adverse effects.
  • Objective:
    • To develop the culture of documenting adverse effects and undertake safety monitoring of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs and surveillance of misleading advertisements appearing in the print and electronic media.
    • The scheme intends to facilitate the establishment of three-tier network of National Pharmacovigilance Centre (NPvCC), Intermediary Pharmacovigilance Centres (IPvCCs) and Peripheral Pharmacovigilance Centres (PPvCC).
    • All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, an autonomous body under the AYUSH Ministry, was designated as the National Pharmacovigilance Centre for coordinating various activities under the initiative.

New drug mAb114 being used to treat patients with Ebola in Congo

  • Doctors in Democratic Republic of Congo had started to use a novel treatment called mAb114 to treat patients with Ebola.
  • It is developed in the United States. ,
  • The prototype drug is a so-called single monoclonal antibody - a protein that binds on to a specific target of the virus and triggers the body's immune system to destroy the invader.
  • In May, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said it was carrying out the first human trials of mAb114 to test it for safety and tolerance.
  • Ebola:
    • Ebola causes serious illness including vomiting, diarrhoea and in some cases internal and external bleeding.
    • It is often fatal if untreated.
    • In the worst Ebola epidemic, the disease struck the West African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2013-15, killing more than 11 300 people.
    • Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease most commonly affecting people and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).
  • It is caused by an infection with one of five known Ebola virus species, four of which can cause disease in people:
    • Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus)
    • Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus)
    • Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus)
    • Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus)
    • Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus) - known to cause disease in nonhuman primates and pigs, but not in people.
  • Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Since then, the virus has been infecting people from time to time, leading to outbreaks in several African countries. 

Mahadayi River Tribunal recommends ‘Cauvery-like board’

  • The Mahadayi Water Tribunal has recommended that a board, called the Mahadayi Water Management Authority, be constituted on the lines on the Cauvery Management Board to ensure the river’s water is equitably used by Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
  • Water sharing model as per the Mahadayi Tribunal:
    • Karnataka: 5.4 tmcft of river water for drinking, irrigation and dam storage purposes.
    • Maharashtra: 1.33 tmcft
    • Goa: a maximum of 24 tmcft for 59 projects provided they adhere to certain ground rules.
  • The Tribunal, headed by Justice J. M. Panchal, has stated that demands by Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka for future use of the Mahadayi Waters aren’t ‘fully justified’ as there were ‘severe’ loopholes in the way the States had calculated their future demands.
  • The recommendation made by the Tribunal, ought to be adhered to until August 2048.
  • Mahaydai river
    • Mahadayi River or Mondovi, as it is called in Goa, actually originates from a cluster of 30 springs near Bhimgad in Karnataka.
    • The Mahadayi is essentially a rain-fed river that flows at its peak during monsoon months. The river flows 35 km through Karnataka and then 52 km through Goa, before flowing into the Arabian Sea.
    • The Mahadayi catchment area covers around 2,032 km and includes some parts of Maharashtra near the Maharashtra-Karnataka border region.

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