|S.NO.||NEWS ITEM||SYLLUBUS||BACKGROUND||IMPORTANT POINTS|
|Sushma rejects Pak charge (Page 8)||a) I.R||a) India – Pakistan border disputes
c) International Border (IB)
|a) A day after India rejected Pakistani allegations that BSF soldiers had opened fire on Pakistani Rangers, External Affairs Minister sent a detailed letter to her Pakistani counterpart on the events of Dec 31.
b) She went on to say that a BSF patrol had come under fire from a Pakistani border post in the area, which had resulted in the death of one Indian jawan and serious injuries to another, making the Indian troops open defensive fire.
c) Pakistan had alleged that two of its men had been shot in the Zafarwal sector on the Pakistani side, when they had been invited for a flag meeting to discuss ceasefire violations, calling it a violation of international norms and a cold-blooded killing.
d) She said that despite Indian messages consistently calling for the firing to stop, Pakistani commanders continued to fire on Indian border posts till the evening of Dec 31.
e) Pakistan had demanded an immediate inquiry into the incident and threatened that it would risk the ceasefire at the LoC and IB.
f) She said India had always sticked by the mechanisms that have been evolved to ensure peace and calm on the IB and the LoC and would continue to do so.
|2.||Pakistan Rangers begin unprovoked firing (Page 10)||a) I.R||a) Indo – Pak border disputes
c) International Border (IB)
|a) BSF spokesperson said that the Pakistani Rangers began unprovoked firing and mortar shelling, targeting 13 posts along the border in Samba and Kathua districts.
b) Cross-border firing has intensified along the IB since New Years Eve when one BSF soldier and two Pakistani Rangers were killed in the Samba region.
c) While both India and Pakistan have blamed each other for the unprovoked firing, it is the civilians living along the border who have taken the impact of the violence.
d) The border conflicts between India and Pakistan increased up after New Delhi called off diplomatic talks with Islamabad in August last year.
|3.||I voted against military aid to Pakistan: Tulsi Gabbard (Page 9)||a) I.R||a) US – Pak relations
b) Defence ties
c) Defence Authorisation Bill
d) India – US relations
|a) US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said that she had voted against the bill for grant of military assistance to Pakistan in the US Congress.
b) She mentioned this when asked about the approval last month by the US Congress for $1 billion military assistance to Pakistan as part of the Defence Authorisation Bill and said these were the complications of democracies.
c) She said that there were areas of disagreement between India and the US but there were greater areas of agreement.
d) She called for greater cooperation in caring for the environment.
|4.||New US sanctions on N.Korea (Page 12)||a) International||a) US – North Korea disputes
b) Cyber warfare
|a) US imposed new sanctions on North Korea in revenge for a cyber attack on Hollywood studio Sony Pictures.
b) In an executive order, President Obama authorised the US Treasury to place on its blacklist three top North Korean intelligence and arms operations as well as 10 govt officials, most of them involved in arms exports.
c) Obama said he ordered the sanctions because of the provocative actions of the Govt of North Korea including its destructive, coercive cyber-related actions during Nov and Dec 2014.
d) The three organisations are already under US sanctions for the countrys resolution with its nuclear weapons program, its alleged provocations on the Korean peninsula and other continued actions that threaten the US and others.
|5.||AFSPA extended in Assam by another year (Page 9)||a) National||a) Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958
b) North eastern states situation
c) Assam violence
|a) The Centre has extended the AFSPA 1958 declaring Assam as a disturbed area for another year beyond Nov 3 last.
b) The Govt of India vide order dated Nov 4, 2014 has extended the earlier notification regarding disturbed areas under the provisions of Section 3 of the AFSPA 1958 for another one year beyond Nov 3 2014 which is presently in force.
c) The Govt of India in exercise of powers under AFSPA 1958 has also declared (besides other areas) the area falling within 20 km wide belt in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya along their border with the Assam as disturbed area.
d) The Govt of India extended and issued the notification after considering the law and order situation in Assam due to the violent incidents caused by the underground outfits.
|6.||Why India needs a conservation act (Page 11)||a) National
|a) Conservation act
b) Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972
c) National Tiger Conservation Authority
d) Man-Animal conflict
|a) India does not have its own independent conservation act.
b) We have the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
c) Why did we choose not to have the Wildlife (Conservation) Act of 1972 instead?
d) The first thing that comes to mind is that in conservation one needs to be in constant dialogue with all the players and certainly our forest officials want no such thing.
e) Conservation is only achieved through building trust and respect with all parties concerned.
f) Protection has a very minor but essential part in effective Conservation.
g) Conservation comes first, followed by Protection.
h) Wherever conservation fails, protection is supposed to succeed.
i) Thats the way it is the world over, except India.
j) Instead of a Wildlife Conservation Act, we have a National Tiger Conservation Authority pushed away, kept deep in the process of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
k) The fact that our parks and sanctuaries have extensive boundaries, which in most places remain insecure.
l) We have large sensitive forested regions of great value that cannot be effectively patrolled or protected.
m) We have neither the funds nor the political will or the manpower to protect these expansive areas. These areas need to be conserved.
n) Further, protection is an exclusionary form of management that pushes people away.
o) Since 1947, officials and locals have gathered apart at an alarming rate and today a gap exists between them. This has led to severe conflict.
p) The officials have lived in denial of such conflicts and over time have evolved a unique term for their failures and called it the man-animal conflict.
q) It is clear that unless India rejects its protection philosophy and holds conservation and bridges this gap between people living on the edges of its forests and the officials and converts these people into assets by including them in the management of her sensitive regions, we can greet our wilderness goodbye.
r) Conservation acts suffer because they cannot be measured thus.
s) Conservation can best be described as the humans ethical activity of letting things be in nature.
t) This natural balance is difficult to maintain as man interferes with nature without truly understanding the consequences.
u) Forest officials must stop hiding behind the man-animal conflict and the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
v) If we are to conserve our wilderness, we need a hard-hitting yet sensitive conservation act that also addresses (as an integral part of conservation) the local people-authority conflict upfront.
|7.||ISRO working on aspects of manned mission (Page 9)||a) S&T||a) Manned mission
|a) ISRO official said that it is working on developing technology for manned space mission.
b) He said ISRO was working on various aspects of a manned mission such as minimising failure rate, developing an escape system, providing environment and life support system for the crew.
|8.||The time is right: planet hunters plot course for habitable worlds (Page 16)||a) S&T
|a) Solar system
c) Kepler spacecraft
d) K2 mission
e) Planetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars (PLATO)
f) Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
g) James Webb Space Telescope
h) Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST
|a) On Jan 4 in Seattle, researchers will take a tentative first step toward searching for planets outside our Solar System.
b) Researchers have almost finished arranged through the thousands of leads that were produced by NASAs planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft between 2009 and 2013 and are pushing some more data out of the crafts limited K2 mission extension.
c) By the mid-2020s, astronomers expect to have a satellite called the WFIRST busy cataloguing planets that are too far away from their host stars for Kepler to have spotted them.
d) Together, Kepler and WFIRST will produce a rough census of how many planets there are in our Galaxy.
e) But NASA has yet to work out how to tackle the more crucial questions: Could anything actually live on any of these planets? And what will it take to understand a given worlds chances of being habitable?
f) Kepler uses indirect methods to conclude the existence of extrasolar planets.
g) A direct-imaging telescope would use one of two methods to block out the light of host stars and let it detect much unclear planets in orbit around them.
h) One approach is a coronagraph, a disc that sits inside a space telescope and blocks the light of the central star so that the planet pops into view.
i) Another option is a starshade, an orbiting piece of non-transparent material that would position itself at some distance from a space telescope and block the stars light from there.
j) The European Space Agency is planning PLATO, a 2024 exoplanet mission that would not image planets directly.
k) The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (a NASA mission scheduled for 2017) will hunt for planets crossing the faces of half a million nearby bright stars.
l) And the James Webb Space Telescope (due to launch in 2018) will explore clouds and atmospheres on relatively small exoplanets.
|9.||Big role for small national park in saving threatened butterflies (Page 16)||a) National
|a) Gorumara National Park
b) Wildlife Protection Act 1972
|a) Gorumara National Park (one of the smallest national parks in India) has turned out be a safe haven for butterflies as evident by recent studies that have recorded more than 330 species of butterflies in the park.
b) The park (located in the West Bengals Jalpaiguri district) covers an area of only 80 sqkm and has recorded at least four species of butterflies that have never been found in the State before.
c) Of these, the Bicolour Cupid and Malayan Nawab are placed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and the Witch and the Branded Young Fly are in Schedule II of the Act.
d) Animals and insects who are most threatened are placed in Schedule I of the Act.