The best shot yet of icy dwarf planet Ceres (Page 15)
a) The dwarf planet Ceres has a unique attraction due to its vast reserves of water.
Sushmas China visit to smooth ruffled feathers (Page 10)
a) India – China relations
b) Border disputes
c) Economic ties
d) Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meeting
a) While the Sushmas visit is planed with the 13th RIC trilateral meeting of foreign ministers, it will also be seen as an attempt to smooth disorders with the Chinese leadership, after India and the US announced a joint vision statement on the Asia Pacific.
b) Home Minister said that India was eager to resolve the border issue with China, which he called a perceptional difference between them.
c) It is understood that the govt is ready to take relations with China forward, especially on the border talks that have made no progress since Modi and Xi committed more than four months ago.
d) Sushma is expected to discuss broad themes, among them could be the next steps to strengthen the BRICS grouping and deepening of Sino-Indian economic ties.
The new entente with the US (Page 8)
a) India – US relations
b) Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement
c) Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010
d) Section 17(b) and 46
e) Peace of Westphalia in 1648
f) 123 agreement
g) US-India Joint Strategic Vision statement for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region
h) Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
i) Wassenaar Arrangement
j) Australia Group
k) Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
l) United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
a) Obamas visit is a turning point in Indias foreign policy.
b) Not since India signed the treaty of peace, friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union in 1971 has New Delhi aligned itself so closely with a great power.
c) Outside the Left, both within India and in the US the consensus across the mainstream of political opinion favours stronger relations between the two countries.
d) The 1971 treaty was a response to the continuing US move towards Pakistan and the beginnings of a Washington-Beijing agreement.
e) In 2015, it is the prospect of a powerful, aggressive and potentially dominant China in the Indo-Pacific region that is helping to connect the relationship.
f) It is rooted in an understanding of the manner in which great powers, rising powers and emerging powers have responded to changes in the balance of power in the international system since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.
g) Clearly, the Obamas visit has been removing the final obstacles in the civilian nuclear agreement to give the way for its commercialization.
h) Two sticking points were holding up an agreement: differences over liability in case of a nuclear accident and over administrative arrangements governing the transfer of nuclear materials to India.
i) While the Canadians saw reason and accepted Indias draft in 2012, the non-proliferation lobby in Washington seemed to have had the upper hand as the political leadership seemed reluctant to take a call even though it was against the letter and spirit of the 123 agreement.
j) With the US accepting the Canadian model, it will be easier for India to negotiate with Japan and Australia.
k) On the issue of nuclear liability, where American companies were concerned by the unlimited liability they could face in case of a nuclear accident under Sections 17(b) and 46 of the Indian Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act of 2010, a compromise seems to have been found.
l) New Delhi has agreed to create a publicly funded insurance pool and the Attorney General of India is likely to issue an explanatory memorandum on Section 46 which will potentially clarify the limits of act claims by accident victims against the suppliers of nuclear reactors.
m) The commitment of President Obama and his team to support Indias membership of international export control regimes, including the NSG, the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Australia Group and the MTCR that will help to further mainstream Indias nuclear programme.
n) The US-India Joint Strategic Vision statement for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region has three significant features.
o) The first is the clear link between economic prosperity and security, and the critical importance of freedom of the seas in the region.
p) Second is the commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and to follow resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means.
q) Third is the agreement to work with other countries to better respond to diplomatic, economic and security challenges in the region.
r) The five-year vision includes strengthening regional dialogues, making trilateral consultations with third countries in the region more robust, deepening regional integration, strengthening regional forums and exploring additional multilateral opportunities for engagement.
s) While India has traditionally favoured a policy of deep engagement with all major powers, the special relationship with the US today, especially the vision statement is rooted in great apprehensions in New Delhi about Chinas aggressive peripheral diplomacy, particularly after the intrusions in Chumar during President Xis visit to India last year.
t) As the US and India finally recognise each other and promise to realise each others potential, the new agreement between the two countries is a fitting tribute to the legacy of Indias modern-day Chanakya, just days after his 86th birthday.
Now, Germany help for smart cities (Pages 1 and 10)
a) Soon after India and the US agreed to develop Ajmer, Allahabad and Visakhapatnam as smart cities, Germany also offering its assistance in developing three more smart cities.
b) Centre has decided to join the Smart cities scheme with the Swachh Bharat Mission and Digital India.
c) Priorities that have been identified include the need to have clean air, move towards zero waste zones, involve citizens in policy-making and execution, generation of jobs and expanding economic activities.
d) Officials said we have to also look at how to integrate the Smart City project with the National Urban Development Mission for 500 cities.
a) Addressing inequality in South Asia, the World Bank report says occupational and geographic mobility across the region are bridging income and consumption-related disparities.
b) The findings accordingly underscore the role of urbanisation and private sector participation as being critical to mitigating socio-economic disadvantages.
c) The report stated that inequality should be understood in terms of monetary and non-monetary dimensions of well-being.
d) The share of the poorest 40 percent of households in total consumption shows that inequality in South Asia is moderate by international standards.
e) The comparison is valid even though estimates elsewhere are based on income per capita.
f) Significantly, economic mobility of the recent decades has proved beneficial to the population at large, cutting across traditional divides and challenging stereotypes.
g) Monetary inequality of enormous significance is manifested in Indias highly disproportionate billionaire wealth, amounting to 12 percent of GDP in 2012.
h) The report says that the ratio is considerably large even compared with other countries at a similar level of economic development.
i) Although it is not the poorest region, South Asia accounts for some of the worst human development outcomes in basic education and health care.
j) Widespread tax avoidance and regressive fuel and electricity subsidies are primarily responsible for the inadequate provisioning of public services.
k) It would be fair to conclude that non-monetary inequalities are arbitrary and potentially more harmful to economic growth over the long term.
l) To bring such ideas into the public and political mainstream would increase the quality of the debate and further consolidate contemporary competitive electoral democracies.
Sewage plants along Ganga planned (Page 11)
a) Ganga Cleaning Plan
b) Housing scheme
a) The Centre has proposed the setting up and maintenance of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in all the 118 cities and towns located along the Ganga in a time-bound manner to check pollution of the river.
b) These STPs will be paid for by the Centre and help fill the gaps in the system and prevent untreated effluents from flowing into the Ganga.
Congo fever: Thar Express passengers screened (Page 7)
a) Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF)
a) The Rajasthan govt has started screening all passengers travelling from Pakistan to India on Thar Link Express following two deaths due to CCHF.
b) Congo Fever or CCHF is caused by the bite of a tick found in cattle.
New primitive human species discovered? (Page 15)
a) Homo sapiens
b) Homo erectus
c) Penghu 1
d) Penghu channel
e) Island of Flores
a) Researchers have identified the first known prehistoric human from Taiwan which may represent an entirely new species that lived as recently as 10,000 years ago.
b) The newly discovered big-toothed human (Penghu 1) might have co-existed and even interbred with our species.
c) The discovery supports the growing body of evidence that Homo sapiens were not the only species from our genus living in Europe and Asia between 200,000 and 10,000 years ago.
d) They studied the remains of the new human - a jawbone with big teeth still in it, dredged up off the coast of Taiwan in Penghu channel.
e) They said Penghu 1 could represent a new human species or a regional group of Homo erectus, also known as Upright Man.
f) The jawbones size further reveals that Penghu 1 was not a dwarf, unlike tiny Homo floresiensis which lived on the island of Flores (Indonesia), where other animals were also smaller than usual.
a) Snakes have been moving smoothly on Earth far longer than anyone ever realised.
b) Scientists described the four oldest-known snake fossils, the most ancient of which was a roughly 25-cm reptile called Eophis underwoodi unearthed in a quarry near Oxford (England) that lived about 167 million years ago.
c) The remarkable fossils from Britain, Portugal and the US rewrite the history of snake evolution, pushing back snake origins by tens of millions of years.
d) Scientists say snakes evolved from lizards and a number of previously discovered fossils of primitive snakes featured small back legs.
The best shot yet of icy dwarf planet Ceres (Page 15)
a) Dwarf planet Ceres
b) Dawn spacecraft
c) Hubble Space Telescope
d) Herschel Space Observatory
a) Ceres (a planet that sits somewhere between Mars and Jupiter) was originally classified as a true planet in the 1800s, then demoted to an asteroid and finally in 2006 promoted again as a dwarf planet - a status it now shares with Pluto.
b) But the icy Ceres has held a unique attraction for scientists: not least because it is thought to contain vast reserves of water.
c) NASAs Dawn spacecraft has sent back a picture of Ceres taken from a distance of 237,000 km. The image is 30 percent higher in resolution than those taken by NASAs Hubble Space Telescope 10 years ago from 241 million kms away.
d) Dawn will enter into Ceres orbit on March 6 to capture detailed images and measure variations in reflected light to get insights into the planets surface composition.
e) Last year, astronomers who studied data from ESAs Herschel Space Observatory reported spread of vapour emerging from Ceres surface, suggesting that it contained regions rich in water ice.