The Hindu Review (Current + English Article + Vocab)| 21st December 2018

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Madras High Court restrains Sterlite from reopening copper plant in Thoothukudi

  • The Madras High Court on December 21 ordered status quo as existed before the National Green Tribunal set aside a Tamil Nadu government order for closure of Sterlite’s copper plant in Thoothukudi.
  • Justices K.K. Sasindhran and P.D. Audikesavalu of the Madurai Bench also restrained the Vedanta group from taking any steps to reopen the unit.
  • Hearing a petition against reopening of the Sterlite unit following the NGT order, the court directed that status quo will continue till January 21 and ordered the State government to inform by then whether it intended to file an appeal against the tribunal verdict.The bench issued notice to the Chief Secretary and the Chief Executive Officer of Sterlite to file their counter.
  • On an appeal by Sterlite, the NGT on December 15 quashed the May 28 order of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board for permanent closure of the plant in the wake of protests by local residents, holding that that it was “non-sustainable” and “unjustified”.

Landmark 2018 fuels Olympic medal hopes for Indian table tennis

  • Indian table tennis earned the world’s respect in a watershed 2018 when the country won a historic two medals at the Asian Games after Manika Batra’s unprecedented showing at the Commonwealth Games.
  • Sharath Kamal, arguably India’s finest player who is still going strong at 36, summed up the year aptly.
  • “At the start of the year, if anyone would have said we will win one, let alone two medals at the Asian Games, I would have laughed it off. It has been that kind of year. Best ever year for me and best ever for Indian table tennis,” the veteran told PTI.
  • The Sharath-led men’s team exceeded its own expectations by winning a bronze at the Asian Games in Jakarta after stunning the mighty Japan in the quarterfinals.
  • His younger teammate G Sathiyan delivered under pressure by winning both his singles against higher-ranked opponents.
  • The dream run did not end there as Sharath and Manika landed a mixed doubles bronze which has given them the belief that they are good enough to win an Olympic medal.

Centre seeks Rs. 41,000 crore more to recapitalise banks

  • The government on Thursday moved a proposal in Parliament for an additional Rs. 41,000 crore to recapitalise public sector banks, over and above the already budgeted Rs. 65,000 crore, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told a press conference.
  • If approved by the House, this would take the total recapitalisation package for the current financial year to Rs. 1,06,000 crore, of which the government plans to utilise Rs. 83,000 crore over the remaining portion of the year.
  • The government also said the recognition of loans that are non-performing assets (NPAs) was nearly complete and the recovery process was progressing strongly, with Rs. 60,726 crore recovered in the first half of this financial year.
  • “At the beginning of this year, a total amount of Rs. 65,000 crore was still remaining to be used,” Mr. Jaitley said. “As of today, of that Rs. 65,000 crore, Rs. 42,000 crore is still remaining. And therefore, with this additional Rs. 41,000 crore, this year’s recapitalisation will be Rs. 1,06,000 crore.”

Asia’s mega rich take a hit with $137 billion in losses in 2018

  • The world’s fastest growing source of mega-wealth hit a speed bump this year.
  • The 128 people in Asia with enough money to crack the 500-member Bloomberg Billionaires Index lost a combined $137 billion in 2018, the first time wealth in the region has dropped since the ranking started in 2012.
  • Global trade tensions and concerns that stock valuations are too frothy hammered some of the area’s biggest fortunes. China’s tech sector was hit particularly hard, while India and South Korea weren’t spared. The declines occurred even as banks and money managers aggressively stepped up efforts to cater to Asia’s richest.
  • “Difficult stock market conditions this year and the uncertainty of the trade tensions likely have been a challenge to many businesses,” said Philip Wyatt, a Hong Kong-based economist for UBS Group AG, who doesn’t see the downdraft continuing through 2019 or significantly reducing the ranks of billionaires. Conditions are actually ripe for the for the region to create more of the mega rich as new technologies attract private capital and government support, he said.

States Startup Ranking 2018: Odisha Ranked As A “Top Performer”

  • It is a matter of great pride and joy for every Odia as Odisha has been ranked as a “Top Performer” in the States Startup Ranking 2018.
  • According to reports, with 85 percentile Odisha has been listed as a “Top performer” along with Karnataka, Kerala and Rajasthan.
  • Gujarat, with 100 percentile, topped the list of States Startup Ranking 2018 as the Best Performer state.
  • Odisha has also been declared Champion State in terms of Startup Policy Implementation, Incubation Hub, Seeding Innovation, Regulatory Change Framework, Public Procurement Initiative and Communication.
  • LN Gupta, who is in charge of MSME Department of Odisha, received the award at a function organised by Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India in New Delhi today.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Gupta said, “We have taken multiple steps in implementing the Odisha Startup Policy 2016, which aims to place Odisha among the top three Startup hubs in the country.”
  • “Currently, we are one of the fastest growing Startup states with over 20 Startup registrations per month”, he added. Odisha has currently recognised 334 Startups within a period of just 18 months and has 9 Incubators, 12 Nodal Institutions and 110 mentors to support them. Startups from Odisha are now regularly winning national and international awards while a few have catalyzed Venture Capital funding.
  • Startup Odisha Initiative is a flagship initiative of the State Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik, which aims to support 1000 Startup by 2020 apart from making Odisha one of the best Startup hubs in the country. Odisha was one of the first few States in the country to come up with dedicated Startup Policy apart from putting in place a transparent online system (startupodisha.gov.in) for recognition and financial support to Startups and Incubators.
  • The 30 states of the country were divided into different categories like Best Performer, Top Performers, Ladders, Aspiring Ladders, Emerging States and Beginners as per their percentiles.

Mobile app for global aviation summit launched

  • The civil aviation ministry along with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) Wednesday launched an official mobile app for the global aviation summit to be held in Mumbai next month.
  • The app named ‘GAS 2019,’ which is available on both play store and iOS, enables users to interact with the co-delegates and speakers besides providing a platform for networking through personal and group chats, an official release issued by a private publicity firm said.
  • Significantly, both the ministry and AAI have their own publicity departments as well.
  • The two-day summit which will take place from January 15, is expected to be attended by a host of dignitaries from India and abroad, it said.
  • Besides the transport and civil aviation ministers from Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal and Jamaica, senior airline and airports executives from India and abroad are also expected to participate in the global summit, which will be first-of-its-kind in India, as per the release.
  • Also the Directorate Generals of Civil Aviation (DGCAs) from 22 countries along with President of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Director-General, the International Air Transport Association, Director-General, the Airports Council International, Director-General of Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) will also be participating in the Summit in Mumbai, it added.
  • The summit is being hosted by the civil aviation ministry along with the AAI and industry lobby Ficci.

♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)

  1. DENATURE (VERB): debase

Synonyms: deteriorate, depreciate     

Antonyms: improve, upgrade

Example: The excessive use of pesticides denatured the land.

  1. COVERTLY (ADVERB): clandestinely

Synonyms: surreptitiously, secretly

Antonyms: openly, publicly

Example: It was a covertly done attack.

  1. INCORPORATE (VERB): create

Synonyms: establish, compose

Antonyms: destroy, disperse

Example : The law incorporated new mandate.

  1. PROSCRIPTION (NOUN): prohibition

Synonyms: censorship, embargo

Antonyms: approval, sanction

Example:There is a proscription on alcoholic drinks in his house.

  1. INTENDED (ADJECTIVE): deliberate


Synonyms:
 intentional, wilful

Antonyms: unfixed, unplanned

Example : It was an intended response from her.

  1. ENDOW (VERB): afford

Synonyms: dispense, provide

Antonyms: receive, deny

Example: The ATM endowed the money.

  1. SLEW (NOUN): abundance

Synonyms: aggregation, bunch

Antonyms: little, need

Example: There was slew currency notes in the bank

  1. UNOFFENDING (ADJECTIVE): harmless

Synonyms: innocuous, pleasant

Antonyms: damaging, malicious


Example: She reacted in a unoffending way.

♠Article♠

Misusing NSA: the detention of a Manipur journalist

The detention of a journalist in Manipur under the stringent National Security Act for a social media post is a clear instance of misuse of power and a blatant violation of his rights as a citizen. It indicates a dangerous trend among those wielding power to invoke laws aimed at preserving public order and security in a casual or vindictive manner, with utter disregard for constitutional provisions that uphold individual liberty. It is immaterial how scathing the Facebook post of Kishorechand Wangkhem was in its criticism of the Manipur

Chief Minister and his party. Calling the Chief Minister a “puppet” can in no way be a reason to arrest him, as was done by the police in Imphal in November, on the charge of sedition. A magistrate granted him bail, noting that Mr. Wangkhem’s remarks were no more than an expression of opinion against the public conduct of a public figure, albeit in “street language”. However, in a sign that the regime of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh could not tolerate the journalist being set free, he was arrested again a couple of days later and detained under the NSA, which provides for detention for a year without bail to prevent someone from “acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the state” or for “the maintenance of public order”. The NSA can be used only against those advocating armed insurrection or violent disaffection. It is shocking that the statutory advisory board held there was “sufficient cause” for detention, when he posed no threat to public order or security. The State should revoke its vengeful detention order.

The Manipur government confirmed his imprisonment for a year as soon as the detention order was cleared by the advisory board. It is questionable whether a person can be detained under the NSA for one year at a go, as its provisions say the detention can only be for three months at a time and up to one year in total. This position has also been confirmed by the Supreme Court. The NSA advisory board consists of three members who are, or have been, or are qualified to be high court judges. It is not expected to approve detention orders in a routine or mechanical manner. At a time when the Law Commission is revisiting Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with sedition, and there is a demand for its repeal, it is disturbing that State governments continue to use it. It is even more deplorable that on failing to make the sedition charge stick, a government puts away the same person under the NSA. This is a fit case for judicial review, and the protests and the outrage against the incarceration of Mr. Wangkhem ought to result in a stinging indictment of the State government’s action. This will inhibit any future move to throttle free expression by misusing the law.

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