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Evening News Digest: 16 Oct 2018

World Food Day: 16 October

  • World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945.
  • Theme of 2018: Our actions are our future.
  • What data says?
    • Today there are 821 million people who are chronically undernourished.
    • 98% of the undernourished people live in developing countries.
    • Asia is worst affected by hunger as more than 550 million undernourished people live here.
  • How to solve the world hunger problem?
  • Prevent Land Grabing
    • An ugly side of current scares over future food supply is wealthy, land-poor states, like those in the Gulf and South Korea, acquiring tracts of undeveloped countries to use as allotments.
    • Ethiopia, Sudan, Madagascar and Cambodia have been targeted and a total area the size of Spain may already have been acquired.
    • It is important for farmers to have lands to cultivate.
  • Speculation Regulation
    • A little less known cause is speculation in the commodity market.
    • They identify loopholes in the market and distort the prices.
  • Meat Production Halt
    • Meat production is a wasteful use of the planet's limited resources – even today, 40% of grain crops are going to feed livestock and fish.
    • It is most inefficient with intensive beef farming, where it has been shown that just 2.5% of the feed given to cattle emerges as calories for our consumption.
  • Support Small Farmers
    • There is a consensus between NGOs and governments that supporting and training small farmers is the best possible solution to future food security.
    • A combination of aid, education in low-tech methods such as better rice planting and irrigation, and the introduction of better seeds and fertilizer could spark a green revolution in Africa.
  • Biotech
    • Huge gains could be available for health and agricultural productivity if the promises of genetic modification can be believed.
    • Gene-splicing crops to help them withstand drought and flood may be vital.

Rs 100 crore award to State for early completion of electrification under Saubhagya scheme

  • Central Government has announced 100 crore rupee award for states that would complete the household electrification early under the Saubhagaya scheme.
  • Those states which have already achieved 99% electrification would be kept out of the scheme.
  • Those states are Gujarat, Punjab, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh.
  • Saubhagaya scheme
    • The Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, shortened into Saubhagya, was flagged off in September 2017, with the objective of electrifying all left-out Indian households.
    • The original completion date of March 2019 has been advanced to December 2018.
    • The scheme covers both urban and rural households.
    • Under it, free electricity connections are provided to below poverty line (BPL) households, while other households have to pay ₹500 for the connection.
    • The total cost of the Saubhagya project is pegged at ₹16,320 crore, of which, 60 per cent is funded by the Centre, 30 per cent by bank loans and the remaining 10 per cent by State governments.

Government begins Youth Road Safety Learners Licence programme

  • The Central government on 15 Oct launched a training programme which is expected to help achieve its target of reducing road accidents by 50 per cent by 2020. 
  • The initiative aims to bring a formal and structured training program for young, first-time drivers as they apply for a learner’s license.
  • The initiative is launched in public-private partnership model (PPP) in collaboration with Diageo India and Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE).

Foundation stone laid to construct Museum on Prime Ministers of India

  • The foundation stone for the Museum on Prime Ministers of India was laid down at the Teen Murti Estate in New Delhi on 15th Oct.
  • The museum is expected to cost Rs. 271 Cr and will be constructed within a year.
  • The new museum will include memorabilia of prime ministers, Lal Bahadur Shastri onwards.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen passes away

  • Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen died at 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • Allen was a philanthropist and also the owner of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and had a stake in Seattle's Sounders soccer team.
  • Microsoft
    • Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
    • It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services.
    • Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer.
    • Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975.
    • Microsoft over the years since its inception has acquired companies:
      • Linkedin
      • Skype
      • Github
      • Nokia

Yemen: President fires PM Ahmed bin Dagher citing negligence

  • Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has fired the prime minister Ahmed Bin Dagher, accusing him of "negligence" in running the country.
  • He named Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed as the new prime minister. 
  • Yemen: A country in crisis
    • Yemen has been locked in a conflicting war pitting a Saudi-led coalition backing the Hadi government against Shiite rebels known as Houthis since March 2015.
    • The government operates largely from Saudi Arabia because the Yemeni capital of Sanaa remains in rebel hands.
    • An estimated 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has produced what the U.N. says is the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi launched

  • Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi was launched in Delhi by the Union Minister for Earth Sciences and Environment.
  • Air Quality Early Warning System
    • The System is designed to predict extreme air pollution events and give alerts to take necessary steps as per Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Govt. of India.
    • The System can predict extreme air pollution events 72 hours in advance and give necessary alerts.
    • It has been developed jointly by the scientists at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Meteorological Department and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).
  • Short Measures to improve Air Quality
    • Badarpur thermal power plan of NTPC is being shut and Western peripheral expressway is likely to become operational in the first week of November.
    • The Union govt. has released nearly 600 crores to concerned states for in-situ management of crop-residue.
    • A new website developed for archiving all the observational and prediction products was also launched.
    • The website will be accessed by the officials of Environmental Pollution Authority (EPA) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for taking necessary steps depending upon the requirements.

IIT-Bombay tops in QS ranking of Indian institutions

  • The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Mumbai and Madras and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru have emerged as top three in the first standalone QS ranking of India’s higher education institutes.
  • Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)
    • QS is a British global higher education think tank responsible for the world’s most consulted world university rankings.
  • Parameters of selection
    • Institutions have been scored on academic reputation (30 per cent), employer reputation (20 per cent), faculty-student ratio (20 per cent), proportion of staff with PhD (10 per cent), papers per faculty from Scopus database (10 per cent), citations per paper from Scopus database (5 per cent), proportion of international students (2.5 per cent) and proportion of international faculty (2.5 per cent).

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