Feb news till 25/02/2017

1.Astronomers discover 7 new Earth-sized exoplanets that may sustain life

Astronomers from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) for the first time have discovered seven new Earth-sized exoplanets that may be able to sustain life. The planets were detected using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and several ground-based observatories including Trappist robotic telescope at La Silla, Chile. These exoplanets are orbiting dwarf star named Trappist-1, which at 39 light years away. They could have some liquid water and maybe supporting life. Of the seven planets, three are classified as TRAPPIST-1 e, f and g. These three planets orbit in the habitable (so-called Goldilocks zone) where temperatures are suited to surface oceans of liquid water. The star Trappist-1 is at least 500 million years old and has a temperature of 2550K. It is marginally larger than Jupiter and shines with a feeble light about 2,000 times fainter than Earth’s sun.

2.Strategic Dialogue between India and China-The first Strategic Dialogue between India and China was held in Beijing to improve bilateral ties. In the first meeting, both countries discussed all issues of mutual interest in bilateral, regional and international domain. They also discussed issues of mutual concern and interest including friction points. The meeting was co-chaired by India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and China’s Executive Vice Foreign minister Zhang Yesui. On the issue of Masood Azhar, India once again explained the rationale for its application to committee. India held that Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) itself a proscribed terrorist organisation which itself makes a strong proof for declaring Azhar, founder of JeM a global terrorist. On the NSG, China underlined that it was open to India’s application for membership.

3.China successfully tested DF-5C missile- China successfully tested DF-5C missile. It is a three stage Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with an estimated range of 12,000 to 15,000 kilometers. It can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads. The flight test was carried from Taiyuan Space Launch Centre in Shanxi province.This missile’s development is considered as response to development of US’s ballistic missile defence system.

4..Enhancement of capacity of Solar Park- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the enhancement of capacity from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW of the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects. The capacity of the solar park scheme was enhanced after considering the demand for additional solar parks from the States. The enhanced capacity will ensure setting up of at least 50 solar parks each with a capacity of 500 MW and above in various parts of the country. All the States/UTs are eligible for benefits under the scheme. The Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects will be set up by 2019-20 with Union Government’s financial support of 8100 crore rupees. These plants after becoming operational will generate total 64 billion units of clean electricity per year. It will lead to abatement of around 55 million tones of CO2 per year over its life cycle. It will also contribute to long term energy security of the country and promote ecologically sustainable growth by reduction in carbon emissions and carbon footprint. It will also generate large direct and indirect employment opportunities in solar and allied industries like heavy industrial equipment, glass, metals etc.

5.SAATHIYA Resource Kit (Saathiyas)- The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched SAATHIYA Resource Kit (Saathiyas) for Peer Educators (Saathiyas). They help to impart age appropriate knowledge on key adolescent health issues to the peer groups and SAATHIYA SALAH is a mobile app for adolescents as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) programme. India has about 253 million adolescents,their health and wellness is of prime importance to the Indian economy as they are the biggest demographic asset.

6.Bharat QR code- The Union Government has launched Bharat QR code, a quick response (QR) code to enable digital payments without card swiping machines. It is world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution launched by Indian Government to move towards less-cash economy.Bharat QR code has been developed by jointly by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Visa, MasterCard and American Express under instructions from Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It works as common interface for the MasterCard/Visa/RuPay platforms and facilitate acceptance of Aadhaar-enabled payments and Unified Payments Interface (UPI). It enables person to make payments to retailers without using the merchant’s ID or number.


7.Mission XI initiative- The Union Government on 10 February 2017 launched Mission XI initiative to promote football among school children.  The mission aims to instill the passion for football among 11 million school children in India. The mission will be implemented in over 37 cities and 12000schools across all states of India till 27 September 2017.

8.Chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal -Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India, was appointed as the chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal on 21 February 2017. He was nominated for the post by the Chief Justice JS Khehar.The post was vacant since Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan resigned from the post. _The Tribunal was constituted by the Union Government on 2 June 1990 with an aim to give its ruling on the water dispute regarding inter-state river Cauvery and the river valley thereof. The water sharing dispute of Cauvery is a long pending dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The dispute saw a new height in 2016 when Tamil Nadu government claimed its share in the water from Cauvery, which was denied by Karnataka government. 


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