Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 29 October 2017

New artificial intelligence system can predict earthquakes

Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system to successfully predict earthquakes, an advance that may help prepare for natural disasters and potentially save lives.

Researchers from University of Cambridge in the UK and Boston University in the US have claimed that they have developed an artificial intelligence system to successfully predict earthquakes in advance. They said that it may help to be prepared for natural disasters and potentially save lives. They studied the interactions among earthquakes, precursor quakes and faults to develop a method which can help predict earthquakes well in time.

The researchers used machine learning techniques to analyse acoustic signals which comes from the fault and records the seismic signals and sounds that are emitted.

Professor Colin Humphreys of Cambridge University said, this is the first time that machine learning has been used to analyse acoustic data to predict when an earthquake will occur, long before it does so that plenty of warning time can be given and lives are saved.


UP declares Vrindavan, Barsana as sacred sites

The Uttar Pradesh government has issued an order notifying Vrindavan and Barsana towns in Mathura district as “pavitra teerth sthals” (sacred pilgrimage sites). No meat and liquor shops will be allowed in these towns anymore.

When Uttarakhand was part of Uttar Pradesh, the government had issued such an order for Hardwar, notifying it as “teerth sthal”.

The government has directed the departments of urban development, excise, food and drug administration, general administration and home to ensure that necessary steps are taken in this regard within three months.


Ministry of External Affairs launches “#AsktheSpokesperson” for better awareness and understanding of foreign policy

The Ministry of External Affairs has launched a new initiative titled “#AsktheSpokesperson” on Twitter with an objective to bring better awareness and understanding of foreign policy issues to general public.

The inaugural session of #AsktheSpokesperson initiative was held on October 27, 2017 on the Ministry’s official Twitter handle @MEAIndia. Out of numerous queries received, the Spokesperson responded to selected question, live through periscope.

Under this initiative, the Ministry uses the social media platforms for inviting questions from public on India’s foreign policy and the selected questions are responded to by the Official Spokesperson live on social media.

This initiative is a part of Ministry’s policy to pro-actively use social media and digital technology to engage constantly with a general public on issues related with the activities of the Ministry. #AsktheSpokesperson initiative will be a regular feature to engage and educate the public about foreign policy matters in simplified terms. It will be held every two months.

The Ministry has also launched its LinkedIn profile with the objective to expand its engagements in the social space focussing on professionals and building network and to take digital activations to an altogether different set of audience.


India levies anti-dumping duty on steel from EU, China, Korea

India has slapped anti-dumping duty on certain stainless steel products from the European Union and several other nations, including China and Korea, to protect the domestic industry from cheap imports. The duty has been imposed by the Revenue department following recommendation by the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD).

In a notification, the Revenue department said, the levy ranges between 4.58 per cent and 57.39 per cent of the landed value of cold-rolled flat products of stainless steel. The duty will be in effect until December 10, 2020, while certain grades of stainless steel have been exempted from the levy. The anti-dumping duty will be imposed on the imports of stainless steel products from China, Taiwan, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand, the United States and the European Union.

Earlier this month, the government had imposed anti-dumping duty on imports of certain steel wire rods from China for five years.

Anti-dumping measures are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry. They are not a measure to restrict imports or cause an unjustified increase in the cost of products.