The Daily Brief – 29th October, 2016


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  • India and Russia have agreed to double the range of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile that the two countries produce together. This follows India’s recent accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Earlier, India was denied access to the missile technology with range over 300 km as it was not a member state. The decision was taken earlier this month during the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Goa on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. BrahMos, which is a one of its kind missile, has already been deployed by the Army and the Navy in anti-ship and precision strike roles respectively. The air version is at present undergoing testing.
  • The Indian Army has said that Pakistan Army-backed infiltrators had mutilated the body of a soldier, who was killed in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district during a gunfight. The BSF claimed to have killed 15 Pakistani Rangers in “retaliatory fire” in the past week. Meanwhile, India has also condemned the expulsion of a diplomat from the Indian mission in Islamabad as an ‘unjustified’ step. Pakistan had expelled an Indian official after India declared a staffer in the Pakistan High Commission ‘persona non grata’. The Indian government has also given the Border Security Force (BSF) a free hand to respond to shelling and firing from Pakistan along the International Border (IB) in Jammu.
  • China warned India that bilateral ties, as well as peace and stability of the border areas, would suffer damage if India allows the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing claims Arunachal Pradesh to be part of southern Tibet.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs has announced that in a bid to strengthen bilateral ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Japan from November 11 to 12. The visit is significant as it is likely to give both sides a new opportunity to take up the civil nuclear deal which has been pending clearance from the Japanese side. During the visit, Prime Minister Modi will have an audience with His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and hold the Annual Summit meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This will be the third Annual Summit meeting between PM Modi and PM Abe.
  • The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal has restrained the Karnataka Government from continuing with the construction of the steel flyover proposed in Bangalore. The petitioners have questioned the project on the grounds that the government had gone ahead without obtaining necessary environmental clearances and conducting mandatory public consultations.
  • In what is considered a first, the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation will take up dealership of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation to sell high-speed diesel for its own vehicles, while also selling it to the public.
  • The Union Government has distanced itself from regulating the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). On a writ petition filed by Shamnad Basheer, the apex court had sought the response of the Centre as well as the Bar Council of India. The Ministry’s response was that it was “not concerned with the CLAT.”
  •  According to the ISRO, the second Indian Mars orbiter mission, MOM-2, will focus on new ways to look at Mars from a closer orbit than MOM-1, which was designed more for reaching and orbiting the red planet. Nine scientific proposals have been made for riding on MOM-2 that is being aimed for around mid-2020.
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes announced that the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act will come into force on November 1, 2016.
  • For the second year running, the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will open with a Sanskrit film. This year, the film is titled Ishtiand directed by G. Prabha.
  • PepsiCo is using its expertise to help make medication more palatable for children. The giant food and beverage company, whose original soda was concocted by a pharmacist using sugar, lemon oil and nutmeg, is returning to its roots by deploying its vast research and development operation to improve the taste of tuberculosis drugs.
  • The mountainous State of Himachal Pradesh was declared the first Open Defecation-Free (ODF) State in the big States category under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). It is the first State to do so after Sikkim, which was the first to be declared ODF in the small States category.
  • The world’s biggest marine reserve will be established in the Ross Sea in Antarctica under an agreement reached by 24 nations and the EU.
Image result for toni morrison
Toni Morrison (Source: The New York Times)
  • Writer Toni Morrison has received the $25,000 Saul Bellow award for lifetime achievement from the PEN American Center.
  • In the innermost chamber of the site said to be the tomb of Jesus, a restoration team has peeled away a marble layer for the first time in centuries in an effort to reach what it believes is the original rock surface where Jesus’ body was laid. Ground-penetrating radar tests determined that cave walls are in fact standing at a height of six feet and connected to bedrock behind the marbled panels of the chamber at the centre of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. A 12th-century building sitting on 4th-century remains, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the only place where six Christian denominations practise their faith at the same site.

Today’s Quiz

  1. Where was the BRICS summit held this year?

2. What does persona non grata mean?

3. ____ was declared the first Open Defecation-Free (ODF) State in the big States category under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

4. The world’s biggest marine reserve will be established in the Ross Sea in ____.

5. Who will receive the Saul Bellow award this year?

6. Where is the Church of Holy Sepulchre located?

7. Which of the following corporations is working on improving the taste of tuberculosis drugs?

8. Who is currently serving as Japan's Prime Minister?


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