1. ‘The Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report’ was released recently by the Canadian Cancer Society which documents global progress on plain packaging.  Indian packaging has the warning on 85% of both sides. The Union Health Ministry’s notification on the new set of 85% pictorial health warnings for mandatory display on both sides of the packet of cigarettes, bidis and chewing tobacco with effect from September 1, 2018. Government of India for the first time introduced Quit-Line number to be printed on all tobacco products.
  2. Aviation safety regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has allowed use of single engine aircraft for commercial flights, provided the route includes a landing site within gliding range, in case of engine failure. The relaxation of norms is for both aeroplanes and helicopters for scheduled commuter air transport operations or commercial flights.
  3. The centre has launched the ‘DigiYatra’ facility to enable air travellers to skip long queues and zip through various check points at airports in the country. The ‘DigiYatra’ facility, which is voluntary, would require passengers to initially register themselves at a web portal by providing an identity proof. The travellers would then be required to undergo a one-time verification at an airport. Following which, the individual’s facial identity would be captured and mapped onto a newly created “Digi Yatra” profile and a distinct identification number would be generated. Passengers would then have to provide this identification number at the time of purchasing an air ticket, to avail the paperless access facility. The Ministry’s “Digi Yatra” initiative, or biometric-enabled digital processing of passengers, would enable travellers to enter the airport building by scanning a QR code on their mobile phones, after undergoing facial recognition. Once inside the airport, a passenger would be able to self check-in, drop baggage, pass through e-gates to access security and embarkation areas with just a facial scan, thus obviating the need to produce a boarding pass at every step. However, travellers would still have to undergo mandatory security checks including frisking. A passenger’s travel history would be “purged” after the completion of a journey and the “Digi Yatra” programme would comply with the European Union’s Data Protection Regulation.
  4. ‘Astra’ – the beyond visual range air-to-air missile is currently ungergoing testing.
  5. Frances Arnold of the California Institute of Technology, George Smith from the University of Missouri and Gregory Winter of Britain’s MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology were awarded the nobel prize in chemistry for pioneering science in enzymes and antibodies. They received the prize for harnessing the power of evolution to produce novel proteins used in everything from environmentally friendly detergents and biofuels to cancer drugs. On the basis of their discoveries, the antibody injection Humira for treating rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases were developed.
  6. Urgyen Trinley Dorje is the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. The Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism and is based at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.
  7. Gir forest is the only abode of Asiatic lions in the world recently saw 23 dead and s many as 36 lions battling for their lives as a deadly outbreak of Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) and tick-borne Babesiosis Protozona infection (which is spread by ticks).
  8. The first State water grid portal was launched in Rajasthan along with the start of fourth phase of the Jal Swavalamban Abhiyan, which is the Rajasthan government’s flagship water conservation project.
  9. Three scientists, Arthur Ashkin of the U.S., Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada won the Nobel Physics Prize, including the first woman to receive the prestigious award in 55 years, for inventing optical lasers that have paved the way for advanced precision instruments used in corrective eye surgery.
  10. Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu recently (in October 2018) inaugurated the world’s largest dome at the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT)’s World Peace University (MIT-WPU) campus at Loni Kalbhor on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. At 160 ft in diameter and 263 ft tall, it is larger in area than the dome at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (which is 136 ft. in diameter and 448 ft. in height). The dome is built atop the MIT World Peace Library and the World Peace Prayer Hall, which are named after the 13th century poet-saint and philosopher Dnyaneshwar — a pivotal figure of the Bhakti movement in Maharashtra.

Categories: POINT IAS

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