Current Affairs in Short: 29 October 2018

The Indian Railways plans to use aircraft-like pressurised coaches in its trains for the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line along the India-China border, which will be the world’s highest rail track, so that passengers do not have breathing difficulties on board.

Created On: Oct 29, 2018 17:17 ISTModified On: Oct 29, 2018 17:18 IST
Current Affairs in Short: 29 October 2018

Indian Railways plans to use aircraft-like pressurised railway coaches in Leh

• The Indian Railways plans to use aircraft-like pressurised coaches in its trains for the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line along the India-China border, which will be the world’s highest rail track, so that passengers do not have breathing difficulties on board.
• The aircraft cabins are pressurised because the air is very thin at the altitude planes fly. To prevent complications, the cabins of many aircraft are adjusted to near sea-level pressure, which makes breathing almost the same as at sea level.
• At a height of 5,360 metres above the sea level, the 465-km strategically significant line to be built at a cost of Rs  83,360 crore, will see railways’ first pressurised coaches which are currently used only in the Quinghay-Tibet Railway Line in China.

Archaeologists find Bronze Age ruins in China

• A team of archaeologists revealed on October 28, 2018 that they have unearthed Bronze Age ruins including the remains of ancient houses and ash pits along with animal bones, bronze ware and stone tools in China's Jilin province.
• The finds were discovered on a sand dune near Dajinshan village in Shuangliao city, according to the School of Archaeology of Jilin University. The ruins are around 150 metres long and 100 metres wide.
• The ruins might serve as evidence of a living and fishing place for ancient people near the Eastern Liaohe River based on large quantities of unearthed life utensils, animal bones, fishbones, mussels and shellfish.
• Jointly launched by researchers from countries including China, France and the US, the ongoing excavation started in July and is covering around 1,000 square metres.
• After the excavation is completed, the archaeologists will send 20 carbon samples to the University of Oxford for more precise age testing.

Bangladesh, World Bank sign deal for cash transfer

• The Bangladesh government and the World Bank on October 28, 2018 signed an agreement to improve the transparency and efficiency of its major cash transfer programmes.
• The agreement worth $300 million was signed by Mahmuda Begum, Additional Secretary of Bangladesh's Economic Relations Division and Qimiao Fan, World Bank country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, in Dhaka.
• The cash transfer modernisation project will help the Department of Social Services (DSS) modernise the country's four major social protection programmes using cash transfers by improving beneficiary targeting, programme administration and benefit payments.
• In fiscal 2018, Bangladesh spent $5.8 billion on social protection or about 2 per cent of its GDP and improving the efficiency of these programmes will help the country to use public resources more effectively.

JNU to launch community radio station

• People residing close to the JNU campus here might soon get the opportunity to be on air with the university all set to launch a community radio station as part of its "social responsibility".
• The community radio will cater to residents of areas such as Ber Sarai, Munirka, Kishangarh, Hauz Khas Village, Vasant Vihar cluster areas and Mahipalpur.
• The SCDR at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) will ink an agreement with the Indian Institute of Mass Communication to start the community radio service.
• The project is a part of the university’s social responsibility. It will involve discussions with the elderly or discussions with local ward councillors, residents of the area to know about the primary issues.
• The service will not only alert people about environment-related issues in their areas but also talk about the local issues. There will also be discussions about women's safety and school admissions among others.

Govt employees demand restoration of old pension scheme

• The central and state government employees protested in Hamirpur on October 28, 2018, demanding restoration of the old pension scheme.
• Over hundreds of employees staged a dharna outside the Hamirpur office of local MP Anurag Thakur and raised slogans against the new pension scheme.
• The employees said if the old scheme was not restored then they would be compelled to launch a nation-wide stir.
• They alleged that the new scheme was launched to help big companies and not for the benefit of the employees.
• The employees demanded all parties to declare in their manifestos that the old pension scheme would be reverted back to.

India, Pakistan declared joint winners of Asian Champions Trophy

• India and Pakistan’s men’s hockey teams were on October 29, 2018 declared joint winners of the Asian Champions Trophy, which was held in Muscat, Oman.
• The tournament director declared both teams as winners after the summit clash was called off due to heavy rain. Defending champions India, thus, ended the tournament unbeaten.
• Before this edition, both India and Pakistan had won the tournament twice each.

Vigilance awareness week to be observed

• The Vigilance Awareness Week will be observed across the country from October 29, 2018 to promote probity in public life and achieve a corruption-free society.
• The theme of the week this year is, 'Eradicate Corruption - Build a New India'.
• The observance of the week will commence with pledge taking by public servants in the Ministries, Departments, PSUs, Banks and all other organisations.
• During the week, several functions will be organised to create awareness against the corrupt practices.
• The week, in which 31st October, the birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel falls, is observed as Vigilance Awareness Week every year.

Britain slaps fine worth 500,000 pounds on Facebook

• Britain's Information Commissioner has slapped Facebook with a fine worth 500,000 pounds for its behaviour in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
• The ICO's investigation found that between 2007 and 2014, Facebook processed the personal information of users unfairly by giving app developers access to their information without informed consent.
• The fine was the maximum allowed under the law at the time the breach occurred.
• The social media companies have come under pressure globally following allegations that political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica used data from tens of millions of Facebook accounts to profile voters and help US President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.

Australia exhibits interest in starting direct non-stop flights from India to Perth

• The Western Australia has shown interest in commencing direct non-stop flights from India to Perth. The information was shared by Western Australian Tourism Minister Paul Papalia in New Delhi on October 25, 2018.
• The Minister felt that the move would help strengthen ties between his state and India.
• After discussing the matter with Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, Papalia said that Western Australian government looks forward to receive Indian tourists directly.

Michael D Higgins re-elected as Irish president for second term

• Michael D Higgins has been re-elected as the President of Ireland after receiving 56 per cent of the country's votes in the elections. Businessman Peter Casey came second with 23.1 per cent votes, while none of the other four candidates polled more than 10 per cent.
• Voters also supported the proposal to remove blasphemy as an offence from the Constitution, with 65 per cent voting yes.
• Michael Higgins is the first incumbent in 50 years to face a challenge in the bid for a second term. Peter Casey took significantly more votes than the final opinion polls of the campaign had predicted.

India donates 3 lakh Dollars for peacekeeping initiative at UN

• India has donated three lakh Dollars for a peacekeeping initiative at the UN. The programme will help develop the capacity of future commanders and managers over a period of three years.
• The UN Department of Field Support announced that the Indian government donated the amount for the 'Pipeline to Peacekeeping Command Programme' with a specific focus on issues of conduct and discipline.
• India's Permanent Representative at the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said India is a strong supporter of the UN's Zero Tolerance Policy on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. He added that the nation remains committed to contributing through all means possible for the cause.

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