Why is it being abolished? Activists contended that the death penalty is barbarous, unimaginably cruel and pointless, as it has never been proven to deter serious crimes. They say, once the sentence is scrapped, Malaysia will have the moral authority to fight for the lives of Malaysians facing death sentences abroad.
Background: Capital punishment is currently mandatory in Malaysia for a wide range of crimes including murder, drug trafficking, treason, kidnapping, possession of firearms and acts of terror. The sentence is carried out in the nation by hanging, a legacy which has lived on since the British colonial rule.
Can capital punishment reduce crime rates? Statistics have not been able to prove or disprove the efficacy of capital punishment as a deterrent. While the U.K. has seen an increase in murders since 1965 when capital punishment for murder was removed from the statute book, Canada has not seen any such impact since it abolished the death penalty in 1976. The underlying socio-economic conditions in a society that cause crimes seem to have as much of an impact on the increase or decrease of crimes as the law does.
Need of the hour: It is not the severity of the punishment but the certainty and uniformity of it which will reduce crime. Even for capital punishment to work as a deterrent, the fairness of the investigation, the certainty of conviction, and the speed of the trial are vital. With the police and judicial independence being under a cloud, especially after the incidents in Kathua and Unnao, the deterrent value of capital punishment seems diminished unless police reforms and fast-track courts are a part of the package.
Background: Besides India, the 18 new members were elected by absolute majority through a secret ballot. India had previously been elected to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council for the 2011-2014 and 2014-2017 terms.
About UNHRC: The UN body was established in 2006 with the aim of promoting and protecting human rights around the globe, as well as investigating alleged human rights violations.
It is made up of 47 member states, which are selected by the UN General Assembly on a staggered basis each year for three-year-long terms.
Members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues and pass non-binding resolutions and recommendations by majority vote.
The council also carries out the Universal Periodic Review of all UN member states, which allows civil society groups to bring accusations of human rights violations in member states to the attention of the UN.
A non-profit consortiumcalled GenomeAsia 100K has announced an ambitious plan to sequence 100,000 Asian individuals in hopes of accelerating precision medicine applications for Asian populations.
It will also leverage on big data analytics and advances in data science and artificial intelligence. Participants from 12 South Asian countries and at least seven North and East Asian countries will be selected.
In the first phase, the project will focus on creating phased reference genomes for all major Asian ethnic groups—representing a major step forward in understanding the population history and substructure of the region.
The sequencing of 100,000 individual genomes will be paired with microbiome, clinical and phenotype information to allow deeper analysis of diseased and healthy individuals in the context of inferred local ancestries.
Significance: With recent insights into the genome diversity of Asian ethnicities, it will become possible to understand the biology of disease in the currently under-studied Asian populations that represent 40 percent of humankind.
Furthermore, the unique genetic diversity prevalent in South, North and East Asia provides a valuable source of clinical insights that should enhance our understanding of several rare and inherited diseases, as well as chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory is a NASA telescope that looks at black holes, quasars, supernovas, and the like – all sources of high energy in the universe. It shows a side of the cosmos that is invisible to the human eye.
It was previously known as the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF).
After more than a decade in service, the observatory has helped scientists glimpse the universe in action. It has watched galaxies collide, observed a black hole with cosmic hurricane winds, and glimpsed a supernova turning itself inside out after an explosion.
The telescope is named after the Nobel Prize-winning Indian-American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.
Theme: The theme of the 2018 International Day for Disaster Reduction was ‘Reducing Disaster Economic Losses’.
The 2018 theme continues as part of the “Sendai Seven” campaign, centred on the seven targets of the Sendai Framework. This year focuses on Target C of the Sendai Framework, which is, ‘reducing disaster economic losses in relation to global GDP by 2030’.
Background: In 1989, the UN General Assembly through a resolution had designated the second Wednesday of October as International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction.
Later on December 21, 2009, the Assembly adopted a new resolution on in which it designated 13 October as the date to commemorate the Day and it also changed the day’s name to International Day for Disaster Reduction.
The main objective of the observance is to raise awareness of how people are taking action to reduce their risk to disasters.
About Sendai Framework: The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.
Key features of the Sendai framework: It is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.
It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).
The Framework is for 15-year. It is a voluntary and non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.
The new Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.
Implementation: The implementation of the Sendai Framework involves adopting integrated and inclusive institutional measures so as to work towards preventing vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery and strengthen resilience.
World Egg Day is celebrated on the second Friday in October. It was founded by the International Egg Commission (IEC) at a conference held in Vienna in 1996.
The idea behind the day was raising awareness across the world, of the important place eggs have in human nutrition.
The IEC was formed in 1964 in order to give a global presence to egg producers and to promote and popularize egg consumption as part of a balanced diet.
Context: Guadeloupean author Maryse Conde has won the New Academy Prize in Literature, an alternative award formed in protest to Nobel Literature Prize.
About New Academy Prize in Literature: New Academy Prize in Literature was formed by New Academy consisting of more than 100 Swedish writers, artists and journalists in protest to denounce what its founders called bias, arrogance and sexism of Swedish Academy, which selects Nobel laureates. The New Academy Prize is accompanied by one million kronor, or around $112,000.
What is it? The Reuters’ top 100 World’s Most Innovative University ranking recognises universities from across the world for their work in inventing new technologies, advance science and power new markets and industries. It was first published in 2015, since then there has been no mention of any Indian university in the list.
The 2018 edition: For the fourth year running, Stanford University tops Reuters’ ranking of the World’s Most Innovative Universities. No Indian university is in the list.
In this top 100 list, 48 universities are from North America find mention on the list, 23 Asian universities, 27 from Europe and 2 from the Middle East. The list has no mention of universities from South America, Africa and Oceania countries that include Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.
US dominated the list with 46 universities among the top 100. This year Chinese varsities have increased their presence in this with total five universities. The key factor was this year’s ranking was Geopolitical trends. Stanford University from US has topped this list for four consecutive years. The second and third spots have been held by US’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University respectively.
Launched by PM on 25th September 2014 - To make India the hub of manufacturing.
Partnership between the Government & Industry has increased.
Since the launch of Make in India initiative, India has emerged as one of the fastest growing major economies.
India ranked 3rd in the list of top prospective host economies for 2016-18 in the UNCTAD World Investment Report (WIR).
India’s ranking in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index has made giant leap of 30 positions – from 130 in 2016 to 100 in 2017: World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, 2018
India has established itself as one of the top 10 inbound investment destinations in the world. One of the key reasons is India opening up its sectors for FDI.
India is one of the most open economies of the world when it comes to sectors opened up for FDI
Due to its investment friendly policies and opening up of FDI sectors, India for the first time received FDI of more than USD 50 billion in FY 2015-16; and the highest ever FDI inflow of USD 60.08 billion in 2016-17.
FDI has shown an extremely positive trend since the launch of Make in India with growth of 56% on FDI inflow and 68% on FDI Equity inflows.
Highest FDI inflow for the last 3 financial years (USD 160.7 billion) – 32% of cumulative FDI inflow over past 17 financial years (USD 484 billion)
FDI in India opened in key sectors such as - Defence Manufacturing, Food Processing, Telecommunications, Agriculture, Pharmaceuticals, Civil Aviation, Space, Private Security Agencies, Railways, Insurance and Pensions, Medical Devices and Pensions.
100 percent FDI via the automatic route in most of the sectors barring Defence Manufacturing sector (FDI upto 49 percent applicable via automatic route and 100 percent FDI allowed via Government Route)
Indigenous built ballistic missiles Indigenous Defence technologies built by India
India’s Mars Orbiter mission has successfully completed more than three years in orbit and first two years data is released in the public domain for the use of researchers.
India sends 104 Satellites in Space
A first time achievement by any space faring nation
India scripted a new chapter in the history of space exploration on 15th February, 2017 with the successful launch of a record number of 104 Satellites by ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37 in a single mission.
Out of these, 101 co-passenger satellites were international customer satellites from USA (96), Netherlands (1), Switzerland (1), Israel (1), Kazakhstan (1) and Saudi Arabia (1).
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) with an operational name of NavIC ("sailor" or "navigator" which also stands for Navigation with Indian Constellation), is an indigenous regional Satellite Navigation System set up by India.
To provide accurate real-time positioning and timing services over India and the region extending to 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) around India
“South Asia Satellite” – A gift from India to the South Asian countries, was successfully launched and dedicated to neighboring countries by Honorable Prime Minister of India. “South Asia Satellite” was successfully launched by GSLV-F09 on May 05, 2017. Ground segment utilisation is under progress by each country.
GSLV-MkIII in its first developmental flight, successfully launched GSAT-19, India’s high throughput communication satellite on June 05, 2017. This is a unique mission wherein indigenously developed cryogenic engine and stage was successfully demonstrated; in addition, the GSAT-19 with High through put communication capability was successfully placed in the orbit.
GSAT-17 communication satellite was launched on June 29, 2017 from Kourou using procured launch services from M/s Arianespace. It carries C-band & Ext C-band payloads, search & rescue payload, P/L for mobile communication, and Data Relay Transponder payload for providing continuity of services and in-orbit back up. GSAT-17 is being used for TV broadcasting, VSAT applications and MSS applications.