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Evening News Digest: 17 November 2018

9th Annual Defence and Security Dialogue between India and China held

The 9th Annual Defence and Security Dialogue between India and China was held in Beijing.

The defence dialogue was held ahead of 21st round of border talks between India and China scheduled to be held on 23-24 Nov 2018.

Doklam Standoff to Dialogue

The 9th dialogue was held after a gap of 1 year due to Doklam Standoff. It had not taken place last year following the 73-day tense standoff between two Indian and Chinese militaries at Doklam, The standoff was triggered by Chinese PLA’s plan to build road close strategically narrow ‘Chicken’s Neck’ corridor (or Siliguri corridor) connecting India’s northeastern states in in an area also claimed by Bhutan besides China. It ended after Chinese troops stopped road construction after which both countries stepped up efforts to normalise relations leading to the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping at Wuhan in April 2018.

National Press Day: 16 November

National Press Day is celebrated on November 16 to commemorate the establishment of the Press Council of India.

Formed in 1966, the Press Council keeps a check on the quality of reportage provided by the Indian press.

It also ensures that journalistic objectivity is not compromised due to "influence or threats of any extraneous factors."

Eat Right Awards by FSSAI

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has announced the ‘Eat Right Awards’ and Eat Right Creativity Challenge, in a bid to boost the Eat Right India movement.

As part of the Eat Right India Movement, key food companies have pledged to demonstrate their support and commitment by making healthier food options, reformulating existing food products and providing better nutritional information to consumers.

Eat Right Award

A special Eat Right award has also been instituted for food related start-ups to reward innovation and promote entrepreneurship in the area of food safety and applied nutrition. A jury of eminent professionals and experts in the food sector will select the winners.

Eat Right Creativity Challenge

The FSSAI has also announced, the Eat Right Creativity Challenge, which includes an ‘On-the-Spot Poster’ and ‘Wall-art’ competition for school children as well as a competition for digital creatives for amateur and professional artists and students.

Australia takes India to WTO over 'market distorting policies on sugar'

Australia on 16 Nov has decided that it will take legal action against India at the WTO over sugar subsidies, alleging that it caused a "significant downturn" in world prices and hurt Australian producers.

What is the case?

India is the second largest producer of sugar. Australia is the third biggest exporter of sugar.

Indian government provides subsidy to its farmers and sugar production has increased from average 20 million tons to 35 million tons in 2017.

According to WTO rules, Indian government is permitted to provide subsidies to its farmers provided that it doesn’t exceed the desired production level. Australia says subsidies to Indian canegrowers — who form one of the biggest voting blocs in the country — far exceed the level of farmer assistance permitted under WTO rules of a maximum 10 per cent of the total value of the industry’s average production.

And due to large production, it is causing price distortion in the world market. Australian government has earlier raised this issue with Indian government but they say they were disappointed by Indian government’s measures.

The biggest producer Brazil along with Thailand blamed India for contributing to a glut in the market that has forced prices down.

Australia's $2 billion sugar industry, which has 4,000 cane farms and 24 sugar mills, is suffering losses as a result of the India subsidies. On the other hand, 50 million people in India are working in sugarcane mills or growing sugarcane. So, India can’t do away with subsidies.

The issue is likely to come up before the WTO's agriculture committee meeting on November 26 in Geneva. 

International Day for Tolerance: 16 November

The International Day for Tolerance is an annual observance day declared by UNESCO in 1995 to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance. It is observed on 16 November.

According to a survey conducted by BBC in 2018, India is 4th most tolerant country after Canada (1st), China (2nd) and Malaysia (3rd)

On the other hand, Hungarians have rated their country as least tolerant followed by South Korea and Brazil which have been rated least tolerant by their people, of other cultures, backgrounds and points of view.

'Gaja' crosses coast, rainfall pounds TN

Cyclone Gaja lashed the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the wee hours on 16th Nov. Heavy rains were accompanied by strong winds which uprooted trees and damaged roofs of houses.

Tamil Nadu government already declaring that 30,500 rescue personnel were on standby, the district collectors of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Ramanathapuram.

How Cyclones are formed?

Cyclones or Hurricanes or Typhoons are most violent storm on earth. The scientific term for this is Tropical Cyclone.

Tropical cyclones are like giant engines that use warm, moist air as fuel. That is why they form only over warm ocean waters near the equator. The warm, moist air over the ocean rises upward from near the surface. Because this air moves up and away from the surface, there is less air left near the surface.

Air from surrounding areas with higher air pressure pushes in to the low pressure area. Then that "new" air becomes warm and moist and rises, too. As the warm air continues to rise, the surrounding air swirls in to take its place. As the warmed, moist air rises and cools off, the water in the air forms clouds. 

The whole system of clouds and wind spins and grows, fed by the ocean's heat and water evaporating from the surface.

Storms that form north of the equator spin counterclockwise. Storms south of the equator spin clockwise. This difference is because of Earth's rotation on its axis.

As the storm system rotates faster and faster, an eye forms in the center. It is very calm and clear in the eye, with very low air pressure. Higher pressure air from above flows down into the eye.

When the winds in the rotating storm reach 39 mph, the storm is called a "tropical storm." And when the wind speeds reach 74 mph, the storm is officially a "tropical cyclone," or hurricane.

British Scientists Convert Martian Sunrise Image by NASA Into Music

Scientists have created the soundtrack of the 5,000th Mars sunrise captured by NASA’s robotic rover, Opportunity, using data sonification techniques to create a two-minute piece of music.

Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University and University of Exeter in the UK created the piece of music by scanning a picture from left to right, pixel by pixel, and looking at brightness and colour information and combining them with terrain elevation.

Researchers will use both conventional speakers and vibrational transducers so the audience could feel the vibrations with their hands, thus enjoying a first-person experience of a sunrise on Mars. Opportunity is a robotic rover that has been providing photographic data on Mars for NASA since 2004.

India's First Engine-Less Train 18 to go to Trial Run in UP

The first trial run of Indian Railways’ Train 18, the country’s first engine-less train, will be conducted on Bareilly-Moradabad section on a standard railway track on 17 Nov. 18.

The fully air-conditioned train, built at a cost of Rs 100 crore in 18 months, can run at a speed of up to 160 kmph and comes with technical features for enhanced quick acceleration. The swanky 16-coach train is deemed as a successor to the prestigious 30-year-old Shatabdi Express.

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