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Current Affairs for 11 March 2016
March 11, 2016
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NEW RADIO CHANNEL FOR TRAFFIC UPDATES ON NATIONAL HIGHWAYS

The Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry is working on an ambitious plan to broadcast traffic updates through a dedicated radio frequency across various national highways.

The Ministry is in talks with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to get a frequency band to disseminate among national highway commuters travel tips, safety tips, traffic updates, including information on accidents and diversions.

“Road safety is our topmost priority, and keeping that in mind, we are in discussions with the Broadcasting Ministry to get a dedicated frequency for traffic updates for highway commuters,” a senior official of the Ministry said. Information on emergency medical services for injured commuters is also planned to be given.

The official said the Ministry would also have to get the approval of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India for voice broadcasting.

As a pilot project, the government on Thursday launched Highway Advisory Services to give traffic updates to commuters on the 256-km Delhi-Jaipur National Highway-8.


INDIA’S SIXTH NAVIGATION SATELLITE, IRNSS-1F, PLACED IN ORBIT

ISRO on Thursday successfully put into orbit India’s sixth dedicated navigation satellite, the IRNSS-1F, from here. The satellite was launched on-board India’s workhorse launch vehicle, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

The Independent Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India and the region extending up to 1,500 km from the border.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C-32) lifted off at 4.01 p.m. with the payload. The launch was revised by one minute to 4.01 p.m. “for collision avoidance as per the space debris studies,” according to ISRO.

The IRNSS-1F carrying two payloads — the navigation payload and ranging payload — was put into orbit 20 minutes after take-off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.


 

RAJYA SABHA PASSES LONG-AWAITED BILL TO PROTECT HOMEBUYERS

The Rajya Sabha passed a landmark Real Estate Bill on Thursday with a promise to secure the interests of homebuyers and developers in equal measure and remove corruption and inefficiency from the sector.

The Bill, which was amended to reflect the “views and suggestions of various stakeholders and political parties,” according to Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu, won approval from legislators across the political spectrum, a rare sight as the last two parliamentary sessions had ended in a whitewash.

Real estate contributes nine per cent to the national GDP and the Bill’s passage was seen as crucial to ensuring better regulatory oversight and orderly growth in the industry.

The first draft was rejected last year by the Rajya Sabha, with Opposition leaders saying it favoured developers and did not serve the interests of consumers.


 

CABINET APPROVES NEW PRICING POLICY FOR HARD-TO-REACH, DEEP SEA GAS FIELDS

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a new pricing formula for gas discoveries made in difficult-to-access areas. The formula will be based on a weighted one-year average of prices of fuel oil, naptha and imported coal.

The landed price-based ceiling will be calculated once in six months and applied prospectively for the next six months, Mr. Pradhan said.

The new price will apply to underdeveloped gas discoveries and not currently producing fields.

The Cabinet also approved the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP). The highlights of the new policy involve granting explorers a uniform license for exploration and production of all forms of hydrocarbons. The previous policy required a separate license for each type of hydrocarbon.

The new policy also incorporates an open acreage policy wherein exploration and production companies will be allowed to choose the blocks they want to use from the designated area. In addition, the policy moves towards an easier revenue-sharing mechanism from the current profit-sharing mechanism.


 

INDIAN SHUTTLER SAI PRANEETH STUNS THREE-TIME WINNER LEE CHONG WEI IN 1ST ROUND AT ALL ENGLAND

Three-time champion Lee Chong Wei was sensationally beaten by India’s B Sai Praneeth in the first round of the All-England Championships on Wednesday, putting a firm dent into his preparations ahead of the Rio Olympics .

The Malaysian second seed was beaten 24-22, 22-20, which ended a promising few months where he had won his last four events.

Lee, the former world number one, was playing his first All-England since 2014 following his eight-month drug suspension ended last year.

Praneeth, however, clawed his way back from 11-3 and 15-7 deficits in the first game to take control of the match and hailed the win as his best result.

World No. 10 Srikanth too showed the door to England’s Rajiv Ouseph, a silver medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, 21-17, 21-12. The Guntur lad will meet Japan’s Kento Momota, seeded fourth, here.


 

FINALLY, A BACTERIUM THAT DEGRADES POLLUTING PLASTICS IDENTIFIED

A bacterium species capable of breaking down plastic — polyethylene terephthalate (PET) — has been identified by a team of Japanese researchers. The bacterium uses two enzymes in sequence to break down the highly biodegradation-resistant polymer PET. The results are to be published on Friday in the journal Science .

Except for rare instances of two fungi that have been found to grow on a mineral medium of PET yarns, there are no reports any bacteria biologically degrading PET or growing on the chemically inert substance.

Shosuke Yoshida, the first author of the paper from the Department of Applied Biology, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Kyoto and others collected 250 contaminated samples from a PET bottle recycling site. They looked for microorganisms that relied on PET film as a primary source of carbon for growth. At first they identified a distinct microbial consortium that contained a mixture of bacteria species that degraded the PET film surface at 30 degree C; 75 per cent of the PET film surface was broken down into carbon dioxide at 28 degree C.

From the microbial consortium, the researchers isolated a unique bacterium — Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 — that could almost completely degrade a thin film of PET in a short span of six weeks at 30 degree C. “The PET film was almost fully degraded after six weeks at 30 degree C,” they note.