Daily Current Affairs – 22 May, 2017

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Science & Technology:-

1) Mapping the universe with quasar positions:-

  • Astronomers have created the first map of the large-scale structure of the universe based entirely on the positions of quasars.
  • Quasars are the incredibly bright and distant points of light powered by super-massive black holes.

Quasars:-

  • Quasars, also called quasi-stellar radio sources, are the most energetic and distant members of a class of objects called active galactic nuclei (AGN).
  • Their spectra contain very broad emission lines, unlike any known from stars, hence the name “quasi-stellar.” Their luminosity can be 100 times greater than that of the Milky Way.
  • They are very bright objects. The amazing brightness of quasars is due to the supermassive black holes found at their centres.
    Quasars also emit visible light, ultraviolet rays, infrared waves, X-rays, and gamma-rays.

How to use the map to understand the expansion history of the universe?

  • During the first two years of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s Extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS), astronomers measured accurate three-dimensional positions for more than 147,000 quasars.
  • The telescope’s observations gave the team the quasars’ distances, which they used to create a three-dimensional map of where the quasars are. However, to use the map to understand the expansion history of the universe, they had to go a step further, using a clever technique involving studying “baryon acoustic oscillations” (BAOs).
  • BAOs are the present-day imprint of sound waves which travelled through the early universe, when it was much hotter and denser than the universe.
    However, when the universe was 380,000 years old, conditions changed suddenly and the sound waves became “frozen” in place.
  • These frozen waves are left imprinted in the three-dimensional structure of the universe today.
  • The results of the new study confirm the standard model of cosmology that researchers have built over the last 20 years. In this standard model, the universe follows the predictions of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity – but includes components whose effects we can measure, but whose causes we do not understand.

2) North Korea fires mid-range missile:-

  • North Korea fired a medium-range missile on 21 May 2017, U.S. and South Korean officials said, the latest ballistics test by a country speeding up its development of nuclear weapons and missiles.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said both economic and diplomatic pressure would continue to be applied to North Korea.
  • In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the launch a “challenge to the world”, and vowed to bring up the issue as the “main agenda” of this week’s G-7 summit in Italy.

Projects and Schemes:-

3) Japan plans war museum in a Manipur hillock:-

  • Japan plans to build a war museum in a hillock at Maiba Lokpa in Bishnupur district of Manipur where a Japanese camp was located during the Second World War.
  • About 70,000 Japanese soldiers died from March to June in 1944 during battles in Imphal and Kohima.
  • The mortal remains of those soldiers would be located for the last rites, seeking the cooperation of the people in the region.
  • Welcoming the museum plans, Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh promised assistance to the Japanese government for implementing the project.

4) Explain Gorshkov cost: CIC:-

  • The Central Information Commission has asked the Navy to disclose the reasons for India agreeing to cost escalation by Russia for purchase of the refurbished 44,500-tonne aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.
  • The deal for purchasing the now 30-year-old warship renamed INS Vikramaditya was signed in 2004 by the then NDA government for $974 million which was increased to the final price of $2.35 billion in 2010.
  • The ship can carry over 30 aircraft.
  • The commission has also directed the the Navy disclose the “net final cost” incurred on the modifications, renovation and remodelling done on the ship, besides dates of payments made by India.
  • Information Commissioner Amitava Bhattacharyya directed the Navy to disclose the file notings, correspondence, and documents related to the acceptance of cost revisions sought by the Russians.
  • Mr. Bhattacharyya noted that the Navy was trying to put the onus of disclosure on the Defence Ministry whereas the Ministry made it clear that the reply was to be furnished by the force.
  • The Commission has ordered the disclosure to be made as it found “larger public interest” was involved.
  • The Ministry and the Navy had withheld the information on the grounds of national security.
  • Mr. Bhattacharyya also directed the Navy to disclose reasons why India chose to opt for a refurbished warship instead of buying a new one.

Trade & Economy:-

5) Bid to boost India, Africa trade ties:-

Key Points:-

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will discuss potential areas of boosting cooperation between India and Africa here on Monday.
  • Jaitley will open the India-Africa Cooperation session being held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
  • The sessions will cover areas such as trade and investment, agriculture, renewable energy and manufacturing among others.
  • Total trade between India and Africa increased almost fivefold between 2005-06 and 2015-16, and stood at $52 billion in March 2016-17.
  • This is the first time that the African Development Bank is holding its annual meeting outside of the African continent.

National News:-

6) Defence deals await private firms:-

  • The Union government will unveil mega defence deals estimated at over Rs. 1.5 lakh crore involving the private sector under thestrategic partnership model to build a domestic defence manufacturing base in key areas such as submarines and fighter aircraft.
  • The Defence Acquisition Council approved the framework of the model on 20 May 2017.
    The policy will now go to the Finance Ministry and then to the Cabinet Committee on Security for final approval, which is expected to be a formality as the Prime Minister’s Office has already been briefed on the issue.
  • The new model, which is a chapter under the Defence Procurement Procedure, has four segments -submarines, single-engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks – and specifically intends to open up defence manufacturing to the private sector.
  • Of the four deals, submarines and helicopters are for the Navy.
    The single-engine fighter is for the Indian Air Force and armoured vehicle for the Army.
    Projects already lined up under the four segments have been held up because of a delay in formulating the policy. The Ministry is gearing up to quickly roll them out once the policy is in place.
  • The deal for six submarines under Project-75I is expected to cost around Rs. 50,000 crore, the one for 100-plus fighter aircraft is estimated at Rs. 60,000 crore and the Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) programme is estimated at Rs. 50,000 crore.
    Expression of Interest (EoI) will be issued to Indian companies for each of the projects.
  • A pool of capable companies will be selected based on technical and financial evaluation and they would then tie up with a foreign OEM which will be short-listed concurrently.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM):-

An Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is a company that makes a part or subsystem that is used in another company’s end product.
For example, if Acme Manufacturing Co. makes power cords that are used on IBM computers, Acme is an OEM.

7) Green energy target tough, say officials:-

  • The legislature is probably not going to meet its greatly advanced focus of 175 GW of sustainable power source by 2022 because of the poor advance of the rooftop solar based program.
  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is additionally considering expanding the commitment of different sources like biogas and small hydro to compensate for any shortfall.
  • The administration had declared an objective of 40 GW of rooftop solar oriented by 2022, however had accomplished just around 1.3 GW as of December 2016, which is somewhat more than 3% of the objective.

Issues:-

  • The arrangement issue is that the levy structure at this moment is with the end goal that it is recently not gainful for individuals to set up rooftop solar based. The cost of doing as such is higher than the cash they remain to make.
  • Most rooftops in India are level, and individuals locate a few option utilizes for these, for example, drying garments, and notwithstanding facilitating gatherings or suppers. There are parts of India where individuals even consider their rooftops. So they would prefer not to cover that entire space with solar rooftops.

Challenges:-

  • The difficulties for rooftop solar based are distinctive. The first is that we don’t have budgetary foundations amassing request over an on a very basic level divergent arrangement of undertakings.
  • The second issue was the de-gambling of interest in the housetop space. While this has been accomplished for business solar powered tasks, it has not been accomplished for rooftop solar based.
  • The third issue is that there is no administrative lucidity on ensured installment by utilities on the net metering premise.