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Evening News Digest: 16 Aug 2018

Former Indian Cricket team captain Ajit Wadekar passes away

  • Former India Test captain Ajit Wadekar passed away at 77 on Aug 15 after a prolonged illness.
  • Wadekar made his debut in 1966 against the West Indies and went on to represent India in 37 Tests and two one-day internationals.
  • He was one of the few cricketers to represent the country as a Test player, captain, coach and also went on to become the chairman of selectors.
  • Wadekar was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1972.
  • He was a left-hand batsman.
  • Wadekar went on to score 2,113 runs at an average of 31.07 in Tests.

PM announces permanent commissioning of women in armed forces

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15th Aug announced that women officers in the armed forces, recruited under the Short Service Commission, could now take up permanent commission.
  • However, it is not clear whether the permanent commissioning will pave the way for women into combat positions in the army and navy.
  • Difference between Short Service Commissioning (SSC) and Permanent Commissioning (PC):
    • SSC allows tenures ranging from five to 14 years.
    • Permanent commissioning allows officers to serve till the age of retirement.
    • This move will certainly boost the morale of the women serving in armed forces.

Telangana CM launches insurance scheme for farmers

  • The Telangana government has launched Rs.5 lakh insurance programme for farmers in the state.
  • It is first of its kind, under which their families will get the amount irrespective of whether the death is natural or accidental.
  • However, the scheme is limited to farmers aged between 18 and 60 years.
  • The scheme is continuous, as eligible farmers will be added and those who become ineligible (after crossing 60 years) will be removed from it.

Scotland Yard returns 12th century stolen Buddha statue to India

  • A stolen 12th-century bronze statue of Buddha was returned to India by London Metropolitan Service.
  • The returned statue was stolen in 1961 from Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) museum in Nalanda.
  • In 1961, total 14 statues were stolen from the ASI museum in India.

Gowaris should get benefits as ST community: Bombay HC

  • The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has ruled that Gowari community in Maharashtra should get benefits under the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category.
  • The court pointed out that Gowaris were categorised as a tribe more than hundred years ago in the records of British India.
  • Who are Gowaris?
    • Gowaris are mainly located in Vidarbha in Maharashtra and have a population of about 15 lakh.
    • Their current status in Maharashtra is as Special Backward Class (SBC).
    • Central government treats them as OBCs.
  • Constitutional Provision for ST:
    • As per the constitutional provisions (Article 341), the President of India shall prepare the list of such castes and tribes for the first time, in consultation with Governors of States.
    • Parliament has been authorised to make subsequent modifications in such lists as and when required.
    • It means the list of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will not be same for all states but differ from state to state depending upon social and educational backwardness of such castes and communities.
    • Article 46 of Constitutional provisions directs the State to protect the educational interests of the weaker section of society especially the Scheduled Casts and Scheduled Tribes.
    • Article 335 provides that the State shall consider the claim of members of SC/ST for making the reservation in services, keeping in mind the efficiency of the administration.
    • Article 338 and 339 deals with the constitutional provision for the establishment of National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Gary Stead named New Zealand cricket coach

  • New Zealand Cricket appointed former Test batsman Gary Stead as the new coach.
  • He will replace Mike Hesson.
  • Stead has played just five Tests in 1999 before being dropped.
  • But he has excelled as a coach, guiding Canterbury to domestic titles in 2014, 2015 and 2017. 
  • He also took the national women's team, the White Ferns, to the 2009 World Cup final.

Fall Armyworm: An Invasive pest threatening Asia's food security

  • According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); an "invasive pest", recently detected in India that devours more than 80 different plant species including many staple crops, could threaten the food security and livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers in Asia.
  • Fall Armyworm:
    • The invasive pest is called Fall Armyworm.
    • Fall Armyworm could have a devastating impact on Asia's maize and rice producers - mostly small-scale farmers who depend on their crops for food and to make a living.
    • China is the second-largest maize-producing country in the world, and over 90 per cent of the world's rice is produced and consumed in the Asia-Pacific region.
    • Fall Armyworm, a pest which feeds on maize and other key crops, was first noticed in Shivamogga district in Karnataka in May this year.
    • The fear is that Fall Armyworm, which can fly 100 kilometres at night, could chomp through crops year-round, given the region's "favourable" climate.
    • It was first detected in Nigeria in January 2016. Two years later, it had spread to practically all of sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of 10 mostly northern countries and territories.

Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea signed

  • The five littoral Caspian nations – Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have agreed upon a legal framework for sharing the resources of Caspian Sea.
  • Why Caspian Sea is important?
    • The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed inland body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake.
    • It is an endorheic basin (a basin without outflows) located between Europe and Asia.
    • It is bounded by Kazakhstan to the northeast, Russia to the northwest, Azerbaijan to the west, Iran to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southeast.
    • It has huge oil reserve basin across and there is a dispute among the littoral nations over this.
  • Why there is a controversy?
    • Much controversy currently exists over the proposed Trans-Caspian oil and gas pipelines.
    • These projects would allow Western markets easier access to Kazakh oil and, potentially, Uzbek and Turkmen gas as well.
    • Russia officially opposes the project on environmental grounds.
    • However, analysts note that the pipelines would bypass Russia completely, thereby denying the country valuable transit fees, as well as destroying its current monopoly on westward-bound hydrocarbon exports from the region.
    • Recently, both Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have expressed their support for the Trans-Caspian Pipeline.

World Congress of Soil Science held in Rio de Janeiro

  • The 21st World Congress of Soil Science was held in Rio De Janerio, Brazil.
  • The World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS) is a conference held every four years under the guidance of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS).
  • Purpose: ensure the advancement of soil science and its application and to handle the business of the society.

Nihal Sarin becomes India’s 53rd Grandmaster

  • 14 years Nihal Sarin became India’s 53rd grandmaster after winning at the Abu Dhabi Masters on Aug 14.
  • He is only the third grandmaster from Kerala after GN Gopal and SL Narayanan.

Watch Current Affairs Video: 16 August 2018


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