The Hindu Review (Current + English Article + Vocab)| 10th December 2018

♠The Hindu♠

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♦ ‘Biggerand better’ Khelo India Games

  • Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Olympic medallists Sushil Kumar launch Khelo India Youth Games jersey. The Games will be hosted in Pune from January 9 to 20.
  • The Khelo India Youth Games to be hosted in Pune from January 9 to 20, promises to be ‘bigger and better,’ as Union Sports Minister, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore unveiled the jersey and provided the high points in front of some of the best young sporting icons here on Sunday.
  • Rathore announced that with 9000 sports persons, and covering college students, taking the age group from under-17 to under-21, this would be a big jump from the 3750 athletes who competed in the Khelo India School Games earlier this year. “It is just the tip of the ice berg. It is time to believe in ourselves. We can do everything’’, said the sports minister.

♦ SwarajIndia launches iCan19

  • Yogendra Yadav, National President of the newly formed Swaraj India launched the public campaign Indian Citizens Action for Nation, 2019 ‘#iCan19’ in New Delhi, December 09, 2018.
  • Instead of directly contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha polls or joining any opposition alliance, psephologist and farm rights activist Yogendra Yadav’s fledgling political party, Swaraj India, has launched a new platform to encourage ordinary citizens to intervene in electoral politics, set an agenda and select independent candidates who will speak on behalf of farmers and youth.
  • The party is holding talks with farmers’ groups and people’s movements, as well as high-profile individuals such as film icon Kamal Haasan, farmers’ leader Raju Shetti and youth leaders Jignesh Mewani, Kanhaiya Kumar and Akhil Gogoi to come on board and possibly stand as candidates.
  • With its catchy slogan: Hindu na Musalman, Bas Kisan-Naujawan (Neither Hindus nor Muslims, [focus] only on farmers and youth), the iCan19 campaign aims to mobilise and train more than 1,000 volunteers by January. It also aims to draft an agenda of “real issues” with concrete solutions that candidates must pledge support to. An independent panel of well-known, “neutral” persons will be set up to choose candidates by early March.
  • “If we can get 10 farmers’ representatives and 10 youth representatives into the Lok Sabha, we will be satisfied,” said Avik Saha, secretary general of Swaraj India.

♦ Chinasays U.S. should withdraw arrest warrant for Huawei executive

  • UnitedStates alleges that Meng Wanzhou covered up her company’s links to a firm thattried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions.
  • China’sforeign ministry called in the U.S. ambassador on Sunday to lodge a “strongprotest” over the arrest in Canada of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.’s chieffinancial officer, and said the United States should withdraw its arrestwarrant.
  • Furthermeasures will depend on U.S. actions, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told theU.S. ambassador, China’s Foreign Ministry added.
  • MengWanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada onDecember 1 and faces extradition to the United States, which alleges that shecovered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Irandespite sanctions.

♦ FormerCEA Arvind Subramanian calls for review by experts to clear doubts

  • “Asan economist, I think there are some puzzles [new back series GDP data], thereare some issues that need to be explained,” Mr. Subramanian said. 
  • Amidraging controversy over the revised economic growth numbers, former ChiefEconomic Adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian has called for an investigation byexperts to clear doubts and build confidence while noting that the “puzzle”about the data needs to be explained.
  • Mr.Subramanian, who criticised demonetisation in his new book titled ‘Of Counsel:The Challenges of the Modi-Jaitley Economy’, was, however, evasive when askedif he was consulted in the decision-making process on note ban.
  • Onthe recent spat between the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) overa host of issues, Mr. Subramanian opined that the autonomy of the RBI must beprotected because the country will benefit by having strong institutions.

♦ RanjiTrophy: Natarajan bowls TN to victory

  • Thepartnership between Samson and Sijomon Joseph raised Kerala’s hopes of pullingoff a draw. On a track that was expected to assist spinners, it was left-armpacer T.
  • Natarajanwho starred with his maiden First Class five-wicket haul to bowl Tamil Nadu toa 151-run win over Kerala at the M.A Chidambaram stadium here on Sunday.

The scores: Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 268.

Kerala — 1st innings: 152.

Tamil Nadu — 2nd innings: 252 for seven decl.

♦ HealthwayHospital opens in Goa

  • Itis Goa’s first hospital owned and operated entirely by the State’s prominentmedical professionals.
  • HealthwayHospital, Goa’s first hospital owned and operated entirely by the State’sprominent medical professionals, was inaugurated here on Sunday. 
  • Dr.Virendra Gaonkar, Chairman, Healthway Hospitals Pvt Ltd, Dr. Antonio De BossuetAfonso,Chairman, Goa Doctors Alliance Pvt Ltd., have called it a majorinitiative in the field of healthcare, pioneered by a team of specialists andsuper specialist doctors, who have pooled together their collective talents andresources to create this facility. 
  • The250-bed super-speciality hospital is located at the Kadamba plateau, in closeproximity to the State capital with easy accessibility to all major transporthubs.
  • Itis also the only health facility in Goa which is a centre for advanced traumalife support (ATLS) training for medical professionals.

♦ “TheRepublican Ethic” and “Loktantra ke Swar” Books Released

  •  The Vice President of India ShriM.Venkaiah Naidu released Compilationof Selected speeches of the President, Ram Nath Kovind titled, “The Republican Ethic” inEnglish and “Loktantra ke Swar” inHindi at a function in Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
  • Both the books- The Republican Ethic & Loktantra ke Swar are acollection of President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind’s selected speeches madeby him in the first year ofassuming the office. The event has been organized by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
  • The Vice President of India ShriM.Venkaiah Naidu released Compilationof Selected speeches of the President, Ram Nath Kovind titled, “The Republican Ethic” inEnglish and “Loktantra ke Swar” inHindi at a function in Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
  • Both the books- The Republican Ethic & Loktantra ke Swar are acollection of President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind’s selected speeches madeby him in the first year ofassuming the office. The event has been organized by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

♦ Raghuram Rajan’s studentKrishnamurthy Subramanian is new Chief Economic Advisor

  • The post had been lying vacant after Arvind Subramanian left itafter a four-year stint.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet hasapproved the appointment of Krishnamurthy Subramanian as the new Chief EconomicAdviser for a period of three years, according to an official notificationissued on Friday.
  • Mr. Subramanian, who did his Ph.D from the University ofChicago Booth School of Business in 2005 under Luigi Zingales and former CEAand RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, is also an alumnus of IIT-Kanpur andIIM-Calcutta. He is now an associate professor at the Indian School ofBusiness, Hyderabad. Genetically engineered Bt cotton has failed to providelivelihood security for farmers, says article.
  • A research paper co-authored byleading agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan, which describes Bt cotton as a‘failure,’ was criticised by India’s Principal Scientific RaghuramRajan’s student Krishnamurthy Subramanian is new Chief Economic Advisor

♦ M.S. Swaminathan calls GM crops afailure; Centre’s adviser faults paper

• A research paper co-authored byleading agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan, which describes Bt cotton as a‘failure,’ was criticised by India’s Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA), K.VijayRaghavan as ‘deeply flawed’.

• The paper, ‘Modern Technologiesfor Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security’, appears in the latest issue ofthe peer-reviewed journal Current Science. It is authored by P.C. Kesavan andProf. Swaminathan, senior functionaries of the M.S. Swaminathan ResearchFoundation (MSSRF). The article is a review of crop development in India andtransgenic crops — particularly Bt cotton, the stalled Bt brinjal as well asDMH-11, a transgenic mustard hybrid. The latter two have been cleared byscientific regulators but not by the Centre.

• “There is no doubt that GE(genetically engineered) Bt cotton has failed in India. It has failed as a sustainableagriculture technology and has, therefore, also failed to provide livelihoodsecurity for cotton farmers who are mainly resource-poor, small and marginalfarmers,” according to the paper, “…The precautionary principle (PP) has beendone away with and no science-based and rigorous biosafety protocols andevaluation of GM crops are in place.”

♦ Naxalite-affected villages record 90% polling in Telangana

  • Braving Maoist call for boycott,villagers exercise franchise
  • In spite of heightened naxalitethreat, villagers, mostly dominated by tribal communities, have set an examplein Telangana by recording over 90% polling in the Maoist stronghold villages inthe interior Mahadevpur, Kataram and Mahamutharam mandals adjoining theChhattisgarh in the erstwhile Karimnagar district, now inJayashankar-Bhupalapalli district.

♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)

  1. truce (noun) – temporary cessation/suspension (of hostilities); ceasefire, armistice. (युद्धविराम संधि)

Example: Both sides accuse each other ofviolating the truce agreement signed last year.

2. thaw (noun) – an increase in friendliness. (पिघलाव)

Example: It took five weeks for asignificant thaw to take effect and remnants of the snow remained in themountain ravines for several months.

3. exaggerate (verb) – overstate, overrate, magnify. (अतिरंजित करना)

Example: he has a tendency to exaggerate his role

4. fragile (adjective) – tenuous, weak/perilous,insecure.( नाजुक)

Example: He and his wife are fragile , physically unprepossessing and teary-eyed from theoutset.

5. extradition (noun) – The action ofsurrendering/handing over a fugitive (a person who has escaped from beingconfined/accused of crime) from one jurisdiction to another by mutualagreements between the two countries. deportation, handover, expulsion.( अपराधी का प्रत्यर्पण)

Example: He says that the failed extradition proceedingfailed for commercial reasons.

6. defuse (verb) – reduce, lessen, diminish.( को शांत)

Example: he had the ability to defuse tense moments with humor.

7. sanctions (noun) – action taken, or an order given to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping tradewith that country, by not allowing economic aid for that country, etc. (प्रतिबंधों, अनुमोदन, मंजुर)

Example: heappealed to the bishop for his sanction.

8. flare up (verb) – break out, burst out, start suddenly, erupt. (भड़कना)

Example: a flare-up between the two countries.

9. legitimate (adjective) – valid, logical,lawful/authentic.( वैध, कानूनी)

Example: From 1767 to 1772, four legitimate children were born.

10. wary (adjective) – cautious, careful, circumspect.( सावधान)

Example: We should be wary of dangers to our liberty and privacy with the excuse of security.


Shielding witnesses: on protection scheme

“A robust witness protection scheme will strengthen the criminal justice system”

The witness protection programme is at last in place. Pending legislation by Parliament, the Supreme Court has asked States to implement a scheme framed by the Centre to protect witnesses in criminal trials from threat, intimidation and undue influence. Given the abysmal rate of convictions in the country, it is inexcusable that it took so long. The need to protect witnesses has been emphasised by Law Commission reports and court judgments for years. Witnesses turning hostile is a major reason for most acquittals. In the current system, there is little incentive for witnesses to turn up in court and testify against criminals. Besides threats to their lives, they experience hostility and harassment while attending courts. The tardy judicial process seldom takes into account the distance they have travelled or the time they have lost in attending court, only to be told they have to return another day. As Justice A.K. Sikri points out, the condition of witnesses in the Indian legal system is “pathetic”, as it takes them for granted. It is gratifying that the court has played a proactive role in getting the Centre and the States to come up with a concrete proposal. The Centre deserves credit for coming forward to suggest that its draft witness protection scheme be introduced by judicial mandate instead of waiting for formal legislation.

In its minutiae the scheme appears workable, but its efficacy will be confirmed only with the passage of time. It broadly classifies witnesses inneed of protection into three types based on the threat assessment. A witness protection order will be passed by a competent authority. The scheme is to be funded by budgetary support from State governments and donations. This is at variance with the Law Commission’s recommendation in 2006 that the Centre and the States share the cost equally. Basic features such as in camera trial,proximate physical protection and anony mising of testimony and references to witnesses in the records are not difficult to implement. The real test will bethe advanced forms of identity protection: giving witnesses a new identity,address and even ‘parentage’, with matching documents. All this needs to bedone without undermining their professional and property rights and educational qualifications. The introduction of the scheme marks a leap forward. Until now,there have been ad hoc steps such as those outlined for concealing the identity of witnesses in anti-terrorism and child-centric laws. A few dedicated courtrooms for vulnerable witnesses, mostly child victims, are also functional.However, expanding such facilities and implementing a comprehensive and credible witness protection programme will pose logistical and financial challenges. It will be well worth the effort, as the scheme could help strengthen India’s tottering criminal justice system.

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