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Insights Daily Current Events, 21 May 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 21 May 2015



Two indigenously-developed Astra missiles were successfully launched from a Su-30 MKI fighter jet at Chandipur in Odisha recently.

ASTRA missile
Photo- The Hindu


  • It is the indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air
  • It is an all-weather, state-of-the-art missile developed by DRDO and can engage and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speed (1.2 Mach to 1.4 Mach) in head-on (up to 80 km) and tail-chase (up to 20 km) modes.
  • The 3.8 metre tall Astra is a radar homing missile and the smallest of the DRDO-developed missiles and can be launched from different altitudes.
  • It can reach up to 110 km when fired from an altitude of 15 km, 44 km when launched from an altitude of eight km and 21 km when fired from sea level.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


BOOKER FOR Hungarian

Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai was given the Man Booker International Prize for 2015 at a ceremony held recently for his “achievement in fiction on the world stage”.

Man Booker International Prize:

The literary prize, worth £ 60,000 is awarded to a living author of any nationality who has published fiction either in English or in English translation.

  • Unlike the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction, the Man Booker International Prize, which is awarded once in two years, is in recognition of a writer’s body of work and overall contribution to fiction rather than to a single novel.
  • The award, which is sponsored by the Man Group, complements the Man Booker Prize and rewards one author’s continued creativity, development and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


Heat wave warning issued in Telangana

The Indian Meteorological Department has issued warning that heat wave conditions would prevail in some parts of Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Nalgonda districts of Telangana for the next two-days. Temperature in these districts has crossed 46 degree celsius.

Heat Wave:

A heat wave is a combination of temperture and humidity for a prolonged period. Generally, temperature is more above the average high temperature for the region. It is an extended period of very high summer temperture with the potential to adversely affect communities. High temperture are often accompanied by high humidity, that the body cannot tolerate are defined as extreme heat. A heat wave is a very dangerous situation and major threat to lives

  • Heat Wave is said to occur when the maximum temperature exceeds 40⁰C in the plains and 30⁰C in the hills. Further, the departure from the seasonal average should be 5-6⁰C, while a severe heat wave is 7⁰C or more above average. In temperate countries, the ceiling is much lower.
  • India’s biggest “hot-spot”, as measured by IMD stations, is Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. It suffered from as many as 30 heat wave days in 1964and 35 in 1996, the biggest numbers recorded by any station. It figures most frequently among locations in India – as many as 18 years out of 39 – which have registered more than 15 heat wave days in a year over the half-century.
  • Heat Waves affect human beings, animals and even damage crops.
  • Occurance: Heat waves form when high pressure aloft strengthens and remains over a region for several days up to several weeks. This is common in summer (in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres) as the jet stream ‘follows the sun’. High pressure up traps heat near the ground, forming a heat wave.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


Court allows polygraph test on three ‘suspects’

In a big development in the Sunanda Pushkar case, a Delhi court has allowed polygraph test on three “suspects”, who are being accused by the Delhi Police of lying in the case.

  • However, the court set a condition that the guidelines laid down by the National Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court should be followed in conducting the procedure. The guidelines stipulate among other things that the lawyer should be present.

Lie Detector and Polygraph Tests:

Lie detectors are called polygraphs because the test consists of simultaneously monitoring several of the suspect’s physiological functions – breathing, pulse, and galvanic skin response — and printing out the results on graph paper.

  • The printout shows exactly when, during the questioning period, the biologic responses occurred. If the period of greatest biologic reaction lines up with the key questions on the graph paper – the questions that would implicate the person as being involved with the crime – stress is presumed. And along with this presumption of stress comes a second presumption: that the stress indicates a lie.
  • Lie detector tests or polygraph tests are rarely used in criminal trials. The theory underlying a lie detector test is that lying is stressful, and that this stress can be measured and recorded on a polygraph machine.

However, the courts in most jurisdictions doubt the reliability of lie detector tests and refuse to admit the results into evidence.

Supreme Court’s views:

The Supreme Court of India in 2010 had ruled compulsory brain mapping, narco-analysis and lie detector tests unconstitutional as they violate individual rights.

The SC had said that the tests can be administered to a person only with consent and even then National Human Rights Commission guidelines must be adhered to. The person needs to be assisted by a lawyer, his consent needs to be recorded before a magistrate, and he needs to be told about the implications of his consent and the fact that the information thus collected would not be used against him as evidence in court. But information or material collected with the help of a (voluntary) test can be admitted in court under section 27 of the Evidence Act.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, SC.


£52,000 to save the bustard

Pramod Patil, a pune-based ornithologist, has planned to help conserve the great Indian bustard ( Ardeotis nigriceps ) with £52,000 (about Rs. 50 lakh), which he got as the prize money with the Whitley Award for his work to save the critically endangered bird.

  • The money will be channelled through BirdLife International, an international non-governmental organisation involved in conserving birds and their habitats.
  • The bulk of the funds will be devoted to projects in the Thar desert as it is one of the last refuges of this great bird.
indian bustard
Photo- The Hindu

Great Indian Bustard:

The Great Indian Bustard is currently listed under the category of Critically Endangered birds, in the 2013 ‘Threatened Bird’ list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

  • There are less than 250 bustards left in the country.
  • It inhabits arid and semi-arid grasslands with scattered short scrub, bushes and low intensity cultivation in flat or gently undulating terrain. In India it is legally protected and there are severe penalties for killing an individual.
  • It occurs in the Indian Subcontinent, with former strongholds in the Thar desert in the north-west and the Deccan tableland of the Peninsula. It has been extirpated from 90% of its former range and is now principally confined to Rajasthan, with smaller populations in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


SEBI notifies norms for MFs managing offshore money

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has Simplified norms for domestic funds to manage offshore pooled assets. It has dropped ‘20-25 rule’, which required a minimum of 20 investors and a cap of 25% on investment by an individual, for funds from low-risk foreign investors.

Current norms:

As per the existing norms, a fund manager who is managing a domestic scheme, is allowed to manage an offshore fund, subject to three specific conditions.

  1. The first requires the investment objective and asset allocation of the domestic scheme and of the offshore fund to be the same.
  2. The second condition requires at least 70% of the portfolio to be replicated across both the domestic scheme and the offshore fund.
  3. The third condition, requires that the offshore fund should be broad-based with at least 20 investors with no single investor holding more than 25% of the fund corpus.

A separate fund manager is required to be appointed for managing an offshore fund.

The SEBI has also said that these restrictions would not apply if the funds managed are of Category I foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) and/or Category II foreign portfolio investors which are appropriately regulated broad based funds.

Sources: The Hindu.

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