Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 30th September 2023


National News

1. The country's first cartography museum, George Everest, was inaugurated in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand 

  • Tourism and Culture Minister of Uttarakhand, Satpal Maharaj inaugurated the ‘George Everest Cartography Museum’ in the picturesque town of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand on the occasion of World Tourism Day.
  • The museum is situated in the Park Estate, the former home of the surveyor Sir George Everest, after whom Mount Everest is named.
  • The museum features a statue of Everest and historical information about cartographer Radhanath Sikdar, who calculated the height of Mount Everest. The museum also displays instruments used by surveyors in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • With the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Department of Tourism has recently renovated it with a budget of Rs 23.5 crore. A helipad at George Everest Estate is also named after the brilliant mathematician Radhanath Sikdar.
  • The newly constructed George Everest Cartography Museum is a one-of-a-kind institution dedicated to preserving the rich history of cartography, surveying, and mountaineering. 
  • The museum has an impressive collection of exhibits, showcasing the Great Trigonometric Arc Survey initiated by George Everest. Visitors can also explore the extensive survey records of various Himalayan peaks made by Indian mountaineers. This museum is not only a treasure trove of historical documents but also an educational resource.

2. Age of consent under POCSO must remain’

  • The government should not tinker with the age of consent currently 18 years 1 under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Law Commission said in a report made public on Friday. Instead, it advised the introduction of “guided judicial discretion” while sentencing in cases that involve the tacit approval of children in the 16 to 18-year age bracket.
  • 22nd Law Commission, headed by Justice (Retired) Ritu Raj Awasthi, submitted its report (no 283) to the Law Ministry on September 27. It was posted on the Ministry website on Friday.
  • In the report, the law panel noted that certain amendments would be required in the POCSO Act, 2012 to remedy the situation in cases involving tacit approval, though not consent under law, on the part of children aged between 16 and 18 years. 
  • The panel said that reducing the age of consent would have a direct and negative bearing on the fight against child marriage and child trafficking; it also advised the courts to tread with caution even in cases related to “adolescent love”, where criminal intention may be missing. 

3. Returns on five-year recurring deposits hiked

  • The government has raised the returns on five-year recurring deposits from 6.5% to 6.7% for the October to December 2023 quarter but left the returns on all other small savings schemes unchanged.
  • While this constitutes the fifth successive hike in returns on select small savings schemes, the Public Provident Fund (PPF) rate has not been hiked since January 2019.
  • For the previous quarter, the government had raised interest rates on three of 12 small savings schemes by 10 to 30 basis points. The Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, the Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme, and the National Savings Certificate will continue to yield the highest returns among small savings instruments, at 8.2%, 8%, and 7.7%, respectively.

International News

4. Scientists released the map of ‘Zealandia’, the 8th continent submerged in the Pacific Ocean

  • An international team of geologists and seismologists has created a sophisticated map of Zealandia or Te Riu-a-Maui, which is considered the ‘eighth continent of the world’, submerged under the Pacific Ocean. 
  • Zealandia meets all the requirements to be considered a continent rather than a microcontinent. It was discovered in the year 2017 but this time scientists have released its new map.
  • In this new effort, the research team attempted to refine existing maps of Zealandia by studying a collection of rock and sediment samples brought up from the ocean floor. This included analysis of seismic data from the area.
  • Study of rock samples revealed geologic patterns in West Antarctica indicating the possibility of a subduction zone near the Campbell Plateau near the west coast of New Zealand. 94% of Zealandia is thought to be under the sea – the remaining 6% makes up New Zealand and the surrounding islands. 


  • A study conducted earlier in 2021 showed that Zealandia is 1 billion years old, almost twice as old as geologists previously thought. About 23 million years ago, the land mass may have been completely submerged.
  • With a total area of about 4,900,000 km2 (1,900,000 sq mi), Zealandia is much larger than any of the so called microcontinents and continental fragments.
  • Its area is six times the area of the world’s next largest continent, Madagascar, and more than half the area of the Australian continent. 
  • Zealandia is larger than the Arabian Peninsula (3,237,500 km2 or 1,250,000 sq mi), the world’s largest peninsula, and the Indian subcontinent (4,300,000 km2 or 1,700,000 sq mi).

5. Bangladesh minister hits out at Canada

  • Wading into the ongoing Canada-India row over Of Tawa's allegations of Indian involvement in the murder of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijer, Bangladesh has now used Canada to shelter “murderers”,
  • In an interview with the India Today TV network, Bangladesh's Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen raised his country’s concerns about the continued presence of S.H.M.B. Noor Chowdhury in Canada since 1996.
  • Mr. Chowdhury is one of the key accused in the 1975 assassination of Bangla Desh 
  • Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family. Sheikh Mujile’s daughter Sheikh Hasina is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh. 
  • “Canada must not be a hub of all murderers. Can murderers go to Canada take shelter and have a wonderful life while those they killed and their relatives suffer? Mr. Momen 
  • Dhaka’s quest to bring Sheikh Mujib’s killers to justice has been thwarted by Canada, which granted political asylum to Mr Chowdhury and has refused to extradite him.

6. Judge from Mullaitivu flees Sri Lanka citing threat to life 

  • A district judge from Mullaitivu in Sri Lanka’s northern province has resigned and fled the country citing threats to his life, Tamil media in Sri Lanka reported. Ed on Friday.
  • In a letter that several publications reproduced in their news reports, Mullaitivu District Judge T. Saravanaraja, who recently ruled on two cases pertaining to a religious site in Kurunthamalai and a remembrance event to commemorate LTTE member Thileepan had written to the Secretary of Sri Lanka’s Judicial Services Commission last week, on his decision to resign owing to “threat of my life and due to lot of stress”.
  • In July, the judge also visited a mass grave site in Kokku Thoduvai with police and ordered excavations. Fourteen years after the civil war, Mullaitivu, in the island nation’s war-affected Tamil-majority Northern Province, has been witnessing many contestations as its residents navigate the huge losses suffered during the strife and seek truth and justice.
  • It is not clear from the media reports if the “threats” received by the judge were directly linked to the sensitive cases he ruled on. There are no official times.” A comment from the judge following reports of his departure, his said decision to resign and leave the island, has put the spotlight on the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka. 
  • “The judiciary is under severe stress and challenge today. For the first time ever, a judge is said to have fled the country fearing for his life, for having made a judicial order,” Jaffna legislator and senior lawyer M.A. Sumanthiran said at a public event in Jaffna on Friday. Observing that the “challenge” to the judiciary has reached “unprecedented heights”, he remarked: “We have seen the executive, and unfortunately sometimes even the Parliament, put the judiciary under stress in recent 
  • When confronted with pressure, the judiciary resorted to one of three responses, he said. “They don’t take notice, and they act independently. That is welcome. Or they can’t bear the stress, they resign. And go away shows a serious lapse in our system. The third response is worse, that is when the judges give in to the threats, change their verdicts and become tools in the hands of the executive or others,” Mr. Sumanthiran said.
  • Senior lawyer and former President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Saliya Pieris linked the heightened attack on the judiciary to the period after Ranil Wickremesinghe became President. “In March there was a threat to haul up Supreme Court Judges for breach of parliamentary privileges over orders issued by them compelling the government to release funds to conduct local government elections. This was clearly to intimidate the judiciary,” he told The Hindu.
  • Further, judges have been subject to criticism and attacks in Parliament over particular cases, he pointed out. “The President himself in a speech, indicated that the government is not obeying any court order relating to debt restructuring, just one day before a case relating to debt restructuring was to be taken up. Clearly, Judicial Independence is under threat in Sri Lanka,” he said. 
  • Last month, the International Commission of Jurists, a global rights body, expressed concern over. The attack on the independence of the Judiciary in Sri Lanka, under the cover of parliamentary privilege. The ICJ’s statement came in the context of an inflammatory remark made by ruling party MP and former Minister Sarath Weeresekera, calling the senior magistrate a “mentally ill person”. 

State News

7. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Unveils 15-Point Winter Action Plan to Combat Air Pollution

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has unveiled a comprehensive 15-point winter action plan aimed at addressing air pollution in the national capital just in time for the festive season.
  • This initiative is a response to the pressing need for cleaner air in Delhi, which has seen some improvements in air quality metrics, including reductions in PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels. 

8. Tripura becomes the fourth state to launch e-cabinet system 

  • Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha has launched an e-cabinet system in the state secretariat to develop the digital systems in the state. He also honored those departments of the state government which have made offices paperless by implementing a 100% e-office system. 
  • The Chief Minister said that the e-cabinet system is a historic initiative in the state. Tripura has become the fourth state after Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh and the second state in the Northeast to implement the e-cabinet system. 
  • All future cabinet meetings in the state will be paperless, reducing carbon footprint and environmental degradation in the process, with ministers and bureaucrats using tablets.
  • In the first e-Cabinet meeting, the government approved a proposal to take a loan of Rs 160 crore from the Asian Development Bank, which had earlier provided soft loans to the government at low-interest rates and partnered with it in several developmental projects.
  • In Tripura, various departments have worked in mission mode and implemented e-office initiatives, ensuring smooth governance. During a program in the Secretariat, such departments with 100 percent e-office facilities were honored.

9. Bandh hits life in Bengaluru, Cauvery basin 

  • The Karnataka bandh called over the inter-State Cauvery water dispute passed off peacefully on Friday, with the State capital Bengaluru and districts in the Cauvery basin region seeing the most impact. The bandh called by the umbrella organization Kannada Okkoota saw lesser resonance in Coastal and North Karnataka districts.
  • In Bengaluru, roads were deserted with traffic to the bare minimum even in the usually choked junctions. A majority of shops and hotels remained closed, while auto rickshaws and cabs stayed off the road barring a few. Namma Metro services remained largely unaffected and the BMTC ran a smaller fleet of buses. Most people stayed indoors till 6 p.m. and normal activity resumed after that. There were protests in various parts of the city by Kannada groups and farmers’ organizations, which eventually converged at Freedom Park as the police detained and dropped them off there.
  • The bandh evoked a good response in the Cauvery heartland districts of Mysore and Mandya. Life came to a standstill in the bandh, as buses plied as usual and educational institutions, shops, and business establishments functioned through the day. Only the service of executive buses of the KSRTC from Mangaluru to Chennai were curtailed till Bengaluru, an official said.
  • The bandh evoked a lukewarm response in the northern districts of Kalyana Karnataka and Kittur Karnataka regions.
  • In Gadag, a funeral ritual of all the members of Parliament from the State was performed by the protesters. At a few places, the protesters courted arrest trying to stop buses. They were released later. 

10.Ahead of poll, Dalit groups call to identify atrocity-prone areas in 19 Rajasthan districts 

  • Dalit groups in Rajasthan have released a manifesto for the upcoming Assembly election with a call to identify atrocity-prone areas in the 19 newly-created districts of the State.
  • Activists have also urged the State government to take preventive measures as mandated by the Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
  • The manifesto was prepared on the basis of suggestions received during a month-long yatra across the State by the Anusuchit Jati Adhikar Abhiyan.
  • The Abhiyan’s convener Satyaveer Singh said on Friday that Dalit organisations would appraise all political parties of issues identified during the yatra for inclusion in their agendas. “Castebased discrimination and violence are the issues of social justice, which should get the high- est priority in the manifes tos of political parties seeking votes from the people,” Mr. Singh, a former Inspector-General of Police, said.
  • Dalit groups have interacted with the represen tatives of political parties in this connection and sought action.
  • Social activist and Maz-door Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) founder member Nikhil Dey said at the function marking the release of manifesto here that the Dalit groups need to keep a watch during the election and organize public forums in all Assembly constituencies.
  • Mr. Dey said it was the people’s rights to demand entitlements, on which the government should take action.
  • Dalit activist Bhanwar Meghwanshi said the groups would carry out “social screening” of candidates fielded by various parties and check if they were involved in the cases of atrocities against Dalits or had helped the accused in any manner.
  • “Such candidates will not be accepted and a demand will be placed that they be withdrawn from the electoral contest,” Mr. Meghwanshi said. 

11.Bhogal heist mastermind held in Bhilai

  • Days after a jewelry showroom in south-east Delhi’s Bhogal was looted of valuables worth around 25 crore, the alleged mastermind has been arrested from Chhattisgarh along with two of his associates involved in other thefts, the police said on Friday.
  • Shiva Chandravanshi and Lokesh Rao were arrested from Chhattisgarh’s Kabirdham district on Thursday, while the prime accused, Lokesh Shrivas, was caught from Bhilai in the Durg district on Friday. All three are residents of Kabirdham’s Kawardha town.
  • In one of the biggest heists in Delhi, around 30 kg of gold and diamond jewelry, along with 75 lakh in cash, was stolen from Umrao Singh Jewellers in Jangpura’s Bhogal on the Intervening night of Sunday and Monday.
  • Police sources said Mr. Shrivas had reached the showroom by climbing a building adjacent to it and then drilling a hole in the store’s strongroom and stealing the valuables. 
  • Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East) Rajesh Deo sald police teams from Chhattisgarh and Delhi are yet to segregate the reco vered items. 
  • Superintendent of Police (Bilaspur) Santosh Singh said, “So far, 18,5 kg of gold, 12.5 lakh in cash, and diamonds, whose value is yet to be estimated, have been recovered from Shrivas, From Chandravanshi, the police have recovered jewels and cash worth 723 lakh and an SUV.” According to Mr. Singh, the district police had been searching for Mr. Shrivas and his associates while probing the burglaries at five shops each on August 19 and August 25 in Bilaspur city. After analysing the footage of over 300 CCTV cameras and receiv- ing a tip-off, Mr. Shrivas was traced to his residence in Kawardha with his asso- ciates, the SP told The Hindu.
  • “A team of local police and the Anti-Crime and Cyber Crime Unit conducted a raid and nabbed Chandravanshi and Rao from the house, but Shrivas escaped from a window,” he added. • The DCP said Mr. Chandravanshi was interrogated by Bilaspur Police. While Mr. Chandravanshi’s involvement in the Bhogal bur- glary is being probed, Mr. Shrivas was confirmed to be the mastermind of the heist, Mr. Deo added. 
  • “Using open source intelligence, the photograph of this accused was matched with the features of the suspect who was seen entering the building adjoining the Bhogal showroom. We had already traced Shrivas’ exit to Bhilai as he had booked a bus from ISBT Kashmere Gate. Based on this information and inputs from the Bilaspur Police, we dispatched a team on Thursday evening,” he said.
  • Following Mr. Chandravanshi’s inputs, police teams from Bilaspur and Delhi reached the rented accommodation where Mr. Shrivas was hiding, the DCP said. “Around 5.45 a.m. on Friday, Shrivas was arrested.” Up and was
  • Mr. Singh said the accused are involved in at least 14 cases of theft in Bilaspur and many others across Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha. 
  • While Mr. Rao has been handed over to Secunderabad Police in Telangana, where he is an accused in some cases, Mr. Deo said the other two accused are in the custody of Chhattis- garh Police. 
  • “We are hoping to recover more items and work to trace the network, and find more associates,” the SP said. 

12.Cauvery dispute: CWMA upholds panel’s decision

  • The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) on Friday upheld the decision of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) asking Karnataka to release 3,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) to Tamil Nadu till October 15.
  • It also told Karnataka to make good the shortfall of 0.71 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) that arose during the 15-day period that ended on September 27. The CWRC took its decision at its meeting on September 26.
  • However, the Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government has decided to file review petitions before the Supreme Court and CWMA on Saturday. It has Also decided to form an advisory panel to collect data and provide advice to the government on the issue. 
  • After the Friday’s meeting, which lasted nearly two hours, CWMA chairman Saumitra Kumar Haldar told The Hindu from New Delhi that barring Karnataka, representatives of the other basin States joined the discussion through videoconference. As for Tamil Nadu, the officiating Principal Secretary for Water Resources, K. Manivasan, attended the meeting online, while Cauvery Technical Cell chairperson R. Subramanian was personally present in New Delhi. 
  • As in the past, there was an intense exchange of views between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. While the former wanted continuous release of water and demanded 12,500 cusecs, the latter referred to difficulties in continuing with the supply. 

13. AP High Court allows CID to issue notice to Nara Lokesh in IRR case

  • The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday gave liberty to the CID to issue a notice under Section 41-4 of the Criminal Procedure Code to Telugu Desam Par- ty (TDP) national general secretary Nara Lokesh while disposing of his anticipatory bail plea in the Amaravati Inner Ring Road (IRR) alignment scam case. 
  • The disposal of the petition by Justice K. Suresh Reddy came after a submission by the Advocate General S. Sriram that the CID was inclined to serve a notice under Section 4-A
  • The CID is now preparing to issue notice to Mr Lokesh in New Delhi where he had been camping for Two weeks to find a way out of the corruption cases registered against him and his father and former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu by CD, by consulting with his battery of lawyers while drumming up political support for their fight against alleged persecution by the State. 
  • The High Court adjourned the hearing of the anticipatory bail petition filed by Nara Lokesh.
  • Mr. Naidu in the Amaravati IRR alignment scam case to October 3 for continuation of arguments. 
  • Justice K. Suresh Reddy recorded a submission made by Advocate General 
  • S. Sriram that the State ward C would follow the procedure laid down under Section 41-A of the Criminal final d Procedure Code and Bendo closed the matter for the day.
  • Meanwhile, Mr. Naku’s don’t lawyers are geared up for the hearing of the SLP led SO by him in the Supreme gopo Court against the striking down of his quash petition par in the skill development scam case by the High Court, on October 3.
  • It may be noted that the Vijayawada ACB Court had extended his remand in the skill development scam case till October 5 . 

14. Calcutta HC removes ED officer from job scam investigation

  • The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to relieve its Assistant Director Mithilesh Kumar Mishra from its investigation of the West Bengal primary school job scam and reassign him to other matters, stipulating that he should not be assigned to an investigation in the State.
  • Justice Amrita Sinha directed the ED Director to immediately assign the work given to Mr. Mishra to other officers. During an earlier hearing of the matter on Monday, Justice Sinha had expressed his displeasure over the ED report on the jobs scam. 
  • Observing that during the last hearing, Mr. Mishra had been unable to provide satisfactory answers to the questions posed by the court, Justice Sinha on Friday held that the of- ficer was not competent to handle the case.
  • “The Court is convinced that the said officer will not be competent enough to handle the present case which is of a huge magni- tude. Director, Enforcement Directorate is directed to immediately assign the work entrusted to Shri Mishra to some other competent officer, immediately. Shri Mishra shall be believed from investigation of the present case,” the court ordered.
  • Justice Sinha said that the officer may be engaged in some other case, “but will not be entrusted to investigate any case arising out of West Bengal”. 
  • On Monday, the court had observed that it could “smell something” and that “all is not well” with the ongoing probe of the scam.
  • Meanwhile, the Central agency had asked Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee to appear before it in Kolkata on October 3 in connection with the scam.

15. New guidelines propose no admissions to students below Class 9 at Coaching Centers 

  • The Congress government in Rajasthan has issued comprehensive guidelines for regulating coaching institutes, including those in Kota, with a recommendation that students below Class 9 may not be admitted to these centers. Confidentiality of test results and the formation of batches alphabetically, instead of the students’ ranks, were among other suggestions. 
  • The nine-page guidelines were issued after a high-powered committee headed by Principal Secretary (Higher & Technical Education) Bhawani Singh Detha submitted its report to the State government. The committee was ap- days. Pointed last month to look into the issue of suicides by the students in the coaching hub of Kota. 
  • The highest-ever number of 23 students committing suicide has been reported so far in Kota this year, while 15 coaching students killed themselves last year. In a tragic turn of events, two students ended their lives within a gap of a few hours on August 27. 
  • The guidelines, framed in consultation with the coaching institutes and other stakeholders, lay down that there will be “no glorification” of toppers and no segregation of students based on their ranks, while a policy will be formulated for an easy exit from coaching centers and dents. Refund of fee within 120
  • The 15-member committee was appointed after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held a dialogue with Kota’s coaching center operators in Jaipur on August 18.
  • Mr. Detha later visited Kota and met a cross-section of people in the city, besides observing the conditions at the coaching institutes. He held deliberations with the district administration officers as well as the representatives of coaching centers and hostel associations, after which the Collector, O.P. Bunkar, or- dered the coaching institutes to halt routine tests for two months.
  • The guidelines also made recommendations to the institutes to ease mental pressure on the students 
  • Those in distress may contact Sanjivini, Society for Mental Health suicide prevention helpline 011-40769003 

16. 1992 Dharmapuri brutality: HC confirms conviction of accused 

  • The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed all criminal appeals filed against the conviction of, and the sentences awarded by a trial court in 2011 to officials of the Forest, Police and Revenue Departments for the atrocities committed on the residents of Vachathi, a tribal village in Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri district, in 1992
  • Justice P. Velmurugan confirmed the conviction as well as the punishment, ranging from one to seven years of rigorous imprisonment, imposed by Dharmapuri Principal Sessions Judge S. Kumaraguru on September 29, 2011. The convicts included India 
  • Forest Service (IFS) officials who had raided the village for smuggled sandalwood.
  • The charges against them were that they had ransacked the houses of the villagers; assaulted them indiscriminately without sparing even the aged, women and children; raped women; destroyed their be- longings; and slaughtered the cattle and threw the car- cass in the open wells. 
  • Since it took 19 years, from the date of the incident, for the trial to complete, 54 accused died pending trial. Hence, the case against them stood abated. On September 29, 2011, the trial court convicted the 215 surviving ac- victims. Cursed. After a full-fledged trial, the court had found the accused persons guilty of various charges under the IPC as well as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, Pending appeal since 2011, many of the 215 convicts died, leaving the HC to confirm the conviction and sentences of those who had survived. 
  • Though the trial court had ordered a compensation of *15,000 each to the 18 women who were raped and had said the amount could be given from the fine collected from the convicts, Justice Velmurugan directed the State government to pay 10 lakh each to the victim. 

Defence News

17. The Indian Army participated in the counter-terrorism field training exercise ‘FTX23’ organized in Russia

  • India's Rajputana Rifles has participated in the Counter Terrorism Field Training Exercise 'FTX23' to be held in Russia from 25 to 30 September 2023. 
  • During this period, the Indian Army has also participated in the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) plus Expert Working Group (EWG).
  • The main objective of this exercise is to strengthen and promote regional cooperation in the field of counterterrorism. It is a multinational joint military exercise being hosted by Russia with Myanmar as co-chair of the EWG.
  • Earlier, ADMM+EWG tabletop exercise on counter terrorism was held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar from 2 to 4 August. 
  • The ADMM Plus EWG on Counter- Terrorism 2023 has provided a platform for the Indian Army to share its expertise and best practices in counter-terrorism operations besides enhancing cooperation among the other 12 participating nations. 
  • Since 2017, the ADMM Plus meets annually to allow dialogue and cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Plus countries. The inauguration of ADMM Plus was held on 12 October 2010 in Ha Noi, Vietnam. 

18. Iran successfully launches military satellite ‘Noor 3’

  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, a branch of the country’s armed forces, has successfully launched ‘Noor 3’ military satellite with the help of a three-stage cassette rocket on 27 September 2023.
  • Noor 3 is an imaging satellite. The spacecraft’s two predecessors, Noor 1 and Noor 2, were launched in April 2020 and March 2022, respectively. Noor 1 returns to Earth in April 2022, but Noor 2 remains operational – which may work in conjunction with Noor 3. Noor 3 is launched to an altitude of approximately 450 km (280 mi).
  • Iran, which has one of the largest missile programs in the Middle East, has suffered several failed satellite launches in recent years due to technical problems. 
  • The Biden administration issued new Iran-related sanctions on September 19, targeting several individuals and entities in Iran, Russia, China, and Turkey in connection with Tehran’s drone and military aircraft development. 
  • It previously imposed sanctions on Iran’s civilian space agency and two research organizations in 2019, saying they were being used to advance Tehran’s ballistic missile program. 

19.World is taking note of India’s rising resolve, says Army chief 

  • India’s stance on the Russia Ukraine con (flict is a fine example of how New Delhi stood “steadfast and clear” towards addressing “legitimate pursuits” of its national interests, Army chief General Manoj Pande said on Friday
  • He said the resolute and firm manner with which the country stood up to its northern adversary, during the events of April-May 2020, made the world take notice of the “political and military resolve of a rising India” 
  • Talking about the rise of China, General Pande said possession of political, economic, technological, and military power had accorded it a new position in the world order, which it intended to lead. 
  • China has been looking at geopolitical and trade engagements as zero-sum games. Concurrently, Chinese belligerence is evident in its continuing propensity to project power outside its region, in turn presenting a threat to rules-based international order”, he said while ad- dressing the annual session of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry 
  • Many nations today also appear ready to take the China issue head-on, especially postpandemic, as realization of its predatory economic pursuits sinks in, he added. 
  • Stating that as India’s influence expanded, new challenges were bound to emerge, the Army chief noted that the most impor- tant pointer for India was that the legacy challenges of unsettled boundaries continue and stand amplified due to “collusive between our western and northern adversaries”. 
  • Talking of military modernisation, General Pande said the Army’s transformation endeavor stood on the edifice of five pillars: force restructuring and optimisation; modernisation and tech infu sion; systems, processes and functions; human resource management, and jointness and integration.
  • In this regard, he said, the Indian defense industry was rising up to the challenge. “We have 340 indigenous defense industries working towards fruc tification of 230 contracts by 2025, that entail an outlay of 2.5 lakh crore.” 
  • Apart from weapon systems and equipment, the Army is also pursuing 47 niche technologies which it has identified for military application, and 120 indigenous projects are underway to develop and absorb these niche technologies, the Army chief said, ad- ding that the wide partici pation of indigenous indus- try and signing of contracts under the emergency procurement provisions proved that the domestic industry had the capability and capacity to deliver solutions to meet defense requirements. 

Economy News

20. Eurozone Inflation Hits Two-Year Low 

  • Inflation in the Eurozone has dropped to its lowest level in almost two years, providing potential relief for the European Central Bank (ECB) and raising questions about the continuation of its ratehiking cycle.
  • Official data from Eurostat reveals that consumer prices in the 20-nation Eurozone rose at an annual rate of 4.3 percent in September, down from 5.2 percent in August. This marks the lowest level of inflation since October 2021. 
  • Analysts had anticipated a slower decline in inflation, with a consensus forecast of 4.5 percent for September, according to data firm FactSet. However, it’s important to note that inflation remains well above the ECB’s target of two percent. 

21.ADB’s Capital Reforms to Unlock $100 Billion for Asia and Pacific

  • In a significant move, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has recently endorsed capital management reforms, unleashing a substantial $100 billion fund over the next ten years. 
  • These reforms, integrated into ADB’s updated Capital Adequacy Framework (CAF), mark a vital step in addressing the multifaceted crises and climate challenges faced by Asia and the Pacific region.

22. India’s Core Sector Records Robust Growth in August, Highest in 14 Months 

  • In a significant economic development, India’s core sector witnessed impressive growth in August, reaching a 14-month high of 12.1%. 
  • This remarkable surge in core sector performance is attributed to several key factors, primarily the favorable base effect.

23.Government Increases Windfall Tax on Crude Petroleum 

  • In a recent move, the Indian government has announced significant changes to its tax policies related to the petroleum industry. 
  • These changes include an increase in the special additional excise duty (SAED) on domestically produced crude petroleum, as well as reductions in levies on diesel and Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF). 

Appointments News

24.Dr Dinesh Dasa takes oath of Office and Secrecy as Member, UPSC 

  • Dr. Dinesh Dasa, an eminent scholar with a rich background in forestry and public service, recently took the oath of office and secrecy as a Member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  • The ceremony, administered by UPSC Chairman Dr. Manoj Soni, marks a significant milestone in Dr. Dasa’s distinguished career. This article delves into Dr. Dasa’s impressive qualifications, his impactful tenure as Chairman of the Gujarat Public Service Commission, and his contributions to the realm of public service examinations.

25. Marico’s Saugata Gupta named as ASCI Chairman

  • Saugata Gupta, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Marico Ltd, has been appointed new Chairman of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), at the board meeting of the self-regulatory body. Gupta’s association with ASCI spans several years, including two years on the Board of Governors and four years as a special invitee on the Board of Governors. 
  • Partha Sinha, president of response, Bennett Coleman & Company Limited, was elected vice chairman, and Sudhanshu Vats, deputy managing director, Pidilite Industries Ltd, was appointed honorary treasurer.

26. K.N. Shanth Kumar Elected Chairman of Press Trust of India (PTI) Board

  • In a significant development within the realm of Indian journalism, K.N. Shanth Kumar, a seasoned media professional, has been elected as the Chairman of the Press Trust of India’s Board of Directors for a one-year term.
  • This announcement came following the Annual General Meeting of PTI’s Board of Directors, held at the news agency’s headquarters in New Delhi on a Friday. 
  • Mr. Shanth Kumar’s election marks a transition in PTI’s leadership, as he takes over from Aveek Sarkar, who had served as Chairman for two consecutive terms. This shift in leadership is expected to bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the helm of India’s largest and oldest private news agency

Important Days

27.International Day of Older Persons 2023: Date, Theme, History and Significance 

  • The International Day of Older Persons, observed on October 1st every year, is a global occasion that recognizes the invaluable contributions of senior citizens while shedding light on the unique challenges they face.
  • This day, established by the United Nations General Assembly, serves as an opportunity to honor and celebrate the elderly, acknowledge their vital role in society, and address the issues that impact their well-being. 
  • In 2023, the 33rd commemoration of this significant day revolves around the theme of “Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations.”

28. World Habitat Day 2023, Date, Theme, History and Significance 

  • World Habitat Day, observed on the first Monday of October each year, serves as a global platform to contemplate the state of our habitats and emphasize the fundamental right of every individual to have access to adequate shelter. 
  • This year World Habitat Day observed on 2nd October. In the year 2023, this day takes on a special significance as urban economies around the world grapple with unprecedented challenges.
  • Against the backdrop of a declining global economy, exacerbated by the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts, World Habitat Day 2023 focuses on the theme of “Resilient Urban Economies: Cities as Drivers of Growth and Recovery.” This article delves into the importance of World Habitat Day, its history, and the critical theme for 2023.

29.International Day of Non-Violence 2023, Date, Theme, History and Significance 

  • The International Day of Non-Violence, celebrated on October 2nd each year, holds a special place on the global calendar. This day marks the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, a towering figure in the Indian independence movement and a pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.
  • Beyond honoring his legacy, the day serves as a call to action to educate and inspire young people to develop the skills necessary for resolving conflicts peacefully. Established in 1993, the Non-Violence Project Foundation plays a pivotal role in advancing this cause. This article explores the significance of the International Day of Non-Violence, its historical roots, and its relevance in today’s world. 

Awards News

30. Ruixiang Zhang Awarded 2023 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize in Mathematics 

  • Mathematician Ruixiang Zhang, an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, has been selected as the recipient of the prestigious 2023 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize. This award recognizes his remarkable contributions to the field of mathematics. 
  • The prize, which includes a cash award of $10,000, will be presented during an international conference in Number Theory, held in the hometown of the renowned mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, at SASTRA University in Kumbakonam during the third week of December 

Science and Technology News

31. China’s cross-sea bullet train Marcos Jr. will link five cities in Fujian

  • China on Friday opened its first cross-sea bullet train, linking major cities in the southeastern Fujian province.
  • The bullet trains or high-speed rail (HSR) as they are called in China – will travel at the same 350 km/hr speed as other trains on the network.
  • The new track, which links five cities in Fujian, including capital Fuzhou and business-hub Xiamen, includes portions along a cross-sea bridge, running right across the strait from Taiwan. The oversea seg- ment covers around 20 km of the total 277 km route. 
  • China’s HSR network is already the world’s largest. A further 2,500 km will be added to the network this year, taking the total length to 44,500 km, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported, with plans to reach 50,000 km of HSR by 2025. The first route, connecting Beijing and Tianjin, went online in 2008.
  • The latest phase of expansion is covering China’s remote and sprawling western regions, with new tracks being opened in Tibet, Xinjiang and Sichuan. 
  • The railways suffered a financial hit during three years of the stringent zero- COVID policy that had imposed restrictions on travel, but this year it is expecting a boom with the coming weeks 

32. Scientists at Kiel University discovered ‘PET46’, an enzyme that breaks down PET plastic

  • A recent study involving scientists from the University of Kiel (Germany) has discovered an enzyme, PET46, in the deep sea that is capable of continuously breaking down PET plastic commonly found in plastic bottles. 
  • PET46 has unique properties, such as the ability to decompose long- chain and short-chain PET molecules, which make it valuable for biotechnology applications. This research is part of the PLASTISEA project and highlights the potential for degradation of plastic waste in the ocean and on land. 
  • At the molecular level, PET46 is similar to another enzyme, ferulic acid esterase. It destroys lignin, the natural polymer in plant cell walls, causing the lignin polymers to break down and release sugars from woody plant parts.
  • The biochemical properties of PET46 therefore make it a very interesting enzyme for both marine and terrestrial plastics and biotechnology. PET46 works more efficiently at 70 °C. PET Plastic
  • Polyethylene terephthalate is a common type of plastic used to make bottles, containers, and synthetic fibers. It is known for its transparency, mild nature and recyclability. PET is widely used for packaging beverages, food and personal care products. 
  • Earlier, researchers at the University of Cambridge created a system to convert PET plastic waste and greenhouse gases into sustainable fuels and valuable products using solar energy. 

Miscellaneous News

33. Actor Vishal alleges graft in CBFC; Ministry orders probe

  • The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Friday deputed a senior official to conduct an inquiry into the allegation of corruption in the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) made by Tamil actor-producer Vishal. 
  • Noting that the issue raised by the actor was “extremely unfortunate”, the Ministry said that the government had zero tolerance for corruption, vowing that strict action would be taken against anyone found involved. 
  • “A senior officer from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has been deputed to Mumbai to concern 
  • Vishal alleged he had paid 26.5 lakh bribe for his film Mark Antony’s Hindi version. 
  • We request everyone to cooperate with the Ministry, by providing information about any other instance of harassment by CBFC,” the Ministry said in a post on X (formerly Twitter). 
  • Michael has posted his allegations on the social media platform. “Corruption being shown on the silver screen is fine, but not in real life, so I can't digest it. Especially in government offices. And even worse is happening in #CBFC * Mumbai office. Had to pay 6.5 lacs for my film #Mark AntonyHindi version,” he alleged. 
  • The actor gave the tran- saction details of two payments, 3 lakh for screening and 23.50 lakh for a certificate for the film, made to the accounts of two people. 
  • “…Bringing this to the notice of Hon Chief Minister of Maharashtra and my Hon PM Narendra Modiji. Doing this is not for me but for future producers,” he had posted 

Sports News

34.Asian Games 2023, Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale wins gold in Tennis 

  • Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale claimed mixed doubles gold with a 2-6 6-3 10-4 win over Chinese Taipei’s Yu-hsiou Hsu and Hao-ching Chan. It was India’s second medal in tennis at the continental event after Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni had won a silver in men’s doubles.
  • Bhosale raised her game in nick of time while seasoned Bopanna stayed solid with his big serves as India came from a set down to beat Chinese Taipei’s Tsung-hao Huang and En-shuo Liang 2-6, 6-3, 10-4 in the title clash. India’s two-medal show in tennis is the country’s worst at the Asian Games since the turn of the century. 

Indian Polity News

35.Law panel working on mechanism for simultaneous polls 

  • The Law Commission is working on a formula to synchronize all Assembly polls by expanding or reducing the tenure so that all State elections can be held along with Lok Sabha polls from 2029 onwards, sources said on Friday 
  • As the government has already set up a high-level panel to explore simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha, State Assemblies and local bodies, the Law Commission may also be asked to include the third tier of elections along with its current mandate for national and State-level polish
  • The sources said the panel is devising a mechanism to ensure a common electoral roll for Lok Sabha, Assemblies and local bodies to reduce cost and use of manpower for undertaking an almost identical exercise which is carried out now by the Election Commission and various State Election Commissions. 
  • The Law Commission’s report on simultaneous polls is not ready as some issues are yet to be settled, the sources noted.
  • For synchronizing various Assembly polls to ensure both State and Lok Sabha elections are held together from 2029 onwards, Commission 28 under Justice Ritu Raj bo Awasthi may suggest reducing or enhancing the tenure of Legislative Assemblies.
  • A mechanism is being devised to ensure that 10 once Lok Sabha and Assembly polls are synchronised, voters go to the polling booth only once to cast C their ballot for both elections.
  • As of now, the mandate of the Commission is to suggest ways to hold As- sembly and Lok Sabha polls together. But the high-level committee under former President Ram Nath Kovind has been tasked with recommending how Lok Sabha, Assembly and local body polls (panchayat, municipalities, zila parishad) can be held together. 
  • A suggestion the law panel can make is to hold the three-tier polls in two phases in one year. In the first phase, Lok Sabha and Assembly polls can be held; in the second phase, local body polls can be organized. 

36. Minister defends Modi government on minority rights issues 

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar defended the Modi government against concerns around the issue of minority rights, arguing that equal access to bene- fits and services was evidence enough to address these concerns. He also suggested that ‘vote banks’ in India and abroad had a role in motivating such criticism.
  • Mr. Jaishankar was speaking at the Hudson Institute on Friday. He was asked by the moderator, academic and The Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Russell Mead about his response to critics of the Modi government’s attitude towards religious minorities in the country.
  • Not wanting to address specific individuals, Mr. Jaishankar offered, as “a broad proposition”, the view that the underlying culture of India was “deeply pluralistic”. He said it was, on multiple axes, the “most diverse space in the world”. A space with such a degree of diversity would always have its own conversations and “there will be attempts to get a certain balance right, there will be corrections, there’ll be recorrections” the Minister said.
  • Indian society had “almost a natural inclination to disagree and that is our national character”, he added, suggesting that people abroad, who may not share.
  • There will be attempts to get a certain balance right, there will be corrections, says Jaishankar a similar experience, where we pick up parts of the discourse and form an opinion based on those bits of information.
  • The test of “fair and good governance” or “balance” of a society was, according to Mr. Jaishankar, whether there was discrim- ination in terms of ameni- ties, benefits, access and rights. He said the biggest change happening in India today was the creation of a social welfare system. “I defy you to show me dis- crimination,” the Minister said in terms of access across domains. This is an argument Mr. Jaishankar has made it previously. “In fact, the more digital we have become the more- …faceless the governance has become, actually it’s become fairer,” he said.
  • He said in a globalized world, people “gripe” about it but that much of this complaining was also “political”. There was “griping” in India too, the Minister said, because there had been a “culture of vote banks”. 
  • “There are sections who had, in their own eyes a certain privileged access, who today may resent the fact that they don’t,” he said, adding that this was part of the “turbulence” of a democratic society.

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