PRELIMS REVISION – 12 (FROM JULY, 2018)

  1. In relation to the development of the Light Combat Aircraft, three institutions — Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) — which are under the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) are likely to be brought under the direct control of the Chief of the Air Staff. Read more at The Hindu.
  2. The Ebola virus returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) just days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced, on July 24, that the Ebola outbreak had ended there. Congo says it has recorded a fresh outbreak in North Kivu province — the tenth instance in the country since the virus was discovered in 1976. In 2014, Ebola had struck three West African countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Read more at The Hindu.
  3. The responsibility of determining whether an event is within this category lies with the WHO Director-General and requires the convening of a committee of experts – the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. Read more at World Health Organisation.
  4. The International Health Regulations (2005), or IHR (2005), represents a binding international legal agreement involving 196 countries across the globe, including all the Member States of WHO. Their aim is to help the international community prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten people worldwide. The Emergency Committee is made up of international experts who provide technical advice to the WHO Director-General in the context of a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). These two terms have been recently seen in news in the context of spread of Ebola Virus in Africa. Read more at World Health Organisation.
  5. Experimental vaccines are under development for Ebola, including a vaccine known as VSV-EBOV, which was found to be highly effective in preventing the spread of ebola virus among persons in close contact with infected individuals. In results of the 2015 vaccination trial carried out in Guinea (and published in The Lancet), the vaccine offered “substantial protection” against Ebola. Though the vaccine is still to be approved by a regulatory agency for commercial use, it has been approved for ‘compassionate use’ in outbreaks. Read more at: Britannica.
  6. Road transport is a part of the ‘Concurrent List’ of the Constitution of India. Item 35 in the concurrent list in the seventh schedule of the Constitution puts mechanically propelled vehicles, including the principle on which taxes on such vehicles can be levied, in the domain of both the Centre and the state governments. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha last year has now run into opposition in the Rajya Sabha because of its perceived shift of power from the States to the Centre. The issue is not one of legislative competence; as the subject is in the Concurrent List, Parliament can make a law defining powers available to the States. Some State governments are concerned about the new provisions, Sections 66A and 88A, which will empower the Centre to form a National Transportation Policy through a process of consultation, and not concurrence. Read more at The Hindu.
  7. The Good Friday Agreement or Belfast Agreement was a major political development in the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s. Northern Ireland’s present devolved system of government is based on the agreement. The agreement acknowledged the constitutional status of Northern Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom, reflecting the wish of the majority of citizens. But it also established a principle of consent – that a united Ireland could come about if and when a majority of people in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland wanted it. In this instance, the British government would be bound to hold a referendum, and honour the result. Source: Independent. This has been in news recently in the context of Both the European Union and the U.K. are against a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, key to the Good Friday Agreement. Also read: The Hindu.
  8. The GATT was first discussed during the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment and was the outcome of the failure of negotiating governments to create the International Trade Organisation (ITO) [the Havana Charter was the draft agreement for the creation of the ITO which never came into existence]. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade remained in effect until the signature by 123 nations in Marrakesh on April 14, 1994, of the Uruguay Round Agreements, which established the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on January 1, 1995. Source: Wikipedia. Also read: The Hindu.
  9. (Answer – Only 1 and 2). The Bretton Woods Institutions are the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They were set up at a meeting of 43 countries in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USAin July 1944. Their aims were to help rebuild the shattered postwar economy and to promote international economic cooperation. The original Bretton Woods agreement also included plans for an International Trade Organisation (ITO) but these lay dormant until the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was created in the early 1990s. Read more at: Bretton Woods Project.
  10. Annecy – 1949; Tokyo – 1973; Uruguay – 1986; Doha – 2001. It is important to know the timelines and important features of all GATT/WTO rounds. A brief table can be found at Wikipedia. The Doha round is the last round and has not concluded yet.