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Current Affairs- 03 April 2015

India ranks 119 on global business resilience index

  • India has been ranked a low 119 out of 130 countries on an index that measures business resilience of nations based on economic, risk quality and supply chain factors, dropping seven notches from last year.

    The 2015 FM Global Resilience Index has been topped by Norway for being the country best suited for companies seeking to avoid disruptions in their global supply chain operations.

    Venezuela is ranked last on the list.

    India, "despite its scope and global potential", ranks 119, falling from 112th rank in 2014.
    On the economic parameter, which takes into account GDP, political risk and oil intensity, India is ranked 115, the same as last year.

    In the risk quality factor, India is ranked 109 for its quality of natural hazard and fire risk management, a slight improvement from its 113th rank in 2014.

    In the third category of supply chain, which looks at corruption control, infrastructure and local supplier quality, India is ranked 89th, falling 11 spots from the previous year.

    "Economically, (India) suffers from a formidable tangle of problems. A third of its population still live in extreme poverty –- one of the highest incidences outside sub-Saharan Africa. The implementation of economic reforms has been identified as a priority by India's new government," the report said adding that India ranks poorly across eight of the nine drivers of resilience.

    "The exception is the country's relatively low exposure to natural hazards, which suggests that India's destiny, to an encouraging extent, lies in its own hands," it said.
    Among the top 10 countries that are most resilient, Norway is followed by Switzerland (2), Netherlands (3), Ireland (4), Luxembourg (5), Germany (6), Qatar (7), Canada (8), Finland (9) and the US (10).

    At the 123rd spot, Pakistan is in the bottom 10 countries on the index.
    The other least resilient nations to business supply chain disruption are Dominican Republic (126), Nicaragua (127) and Kyrgyz Republic (129).

    Ukraine fell 31 places in this year's index to 107th, the biggest year-over-year fall in the rankings, owing directly to Russian military intervention there.

    This worsening political risk and a weakened infrastructure are the main negative factors affecting the rank of Europe's largest country, the report said. 

    "Business leaders who don't evaluate countries and supply chain resilience can suffer long-term consequences," FM Global executive vice president for operations Bret Ahnell said.

    "If your supply chain fails, it can be difficult or impossible to get your market share, revenue and reputation back," he said.

    France, ranked 19, trails Germany at 6, the leading EU nation.

    France has slid down the index in recent years, reflecting a rising risk of terrorism, evidenced tragically in Paris, and deteriorating perceptions of both infrastructure and local suppliers.

    Also exposed to terrorism risk is the United Kingdom, which nevertheless held steady at 20 for the third year running, aided by its relative resistance to oil shocks.

    The index provides an annual ranking of 130 countries and territories according to their business resilience to supply chain disruption.

    The scores that generate the ranking are calculated as an equally-weighted composite of nine core drivers that affect resilience significantly and directly.

Brain differences in children with OCD

  • A new study demonstrates that communication between some of the brain's most important centers is altered in children with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    The study included youth with a diagnosis of OCD and a comparison group free of psychiatric illness. The investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to collect brain responses while participants engaged in a basic working memory task. Task difficulty was varied to evoke activity in a core brain sub-network responsible for implementing complex processes such as cognitive control. Then, using sophisticated network analyses, the investigators quantified differences in brain network function between the two groups.

    The research led by Wayne State University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience's David Rosenberg, M.D., and Vaibhav Diwadkar, Ph.D., sheds significant light on our understanding of how brain networks contribute to obsessive-compulsive disorder in youth.

    "Most fundamentally, we show that the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, a key region of the brain associated with cognitive control, exerts exaggerated brain network effects in OCD," said Diwadkar. "This result provides a putative scientific framework for what clinicians have noted about OCD-related behaviors. These network-based effects have been suggested, but not explicitly demonstrated before in brain imaging data in the disorder. Our studies are perfectly aligned with the renewed emphasis of the National Institute of Mental Health to discover mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disease in the brain. If you can discover a reliable mechanism underlying disease, you have the promise of improved pathways toward treatment."

    The results are highly consistent with observations in the clinic, said Dr. Rosenberg, who is a professor and the department's chair. "Children with OCD are beset by preoccupations and can't easily move on from certain tasks and behaviors. As all complex behavior arises from brain networks, being trapped in this mode must arise from impaired brain network interactions in OCD. In our previous studies we had focused on assessing the structure and the neurochemistry of the anterior cingulate. We had long suspected that brain network interactions originating in this region are impaired in the disorder. But this is the first study to clearly demonstrate this."

Yamuna, Hindon most polluted rivers: Study

  • NOIDA: In a study submitted to the environment ministry last month, the Central Pollution Control Board has identified Yamuna and Hindon as the most polluted among 13 rivers in UP. CPCB has identified polluted stretches in 13 rivers, affecting 37 towns and cities of the state. According to the report, pollution is directly responsible for damaged ecology, affecting livelihoods of people dependent on the rivers. 

    The study, based on inspection of biochemical oxygen demand of the rivers, checked the quality of the river water in 275 rivers, comprising 302 stretches in 27 states and two union territories. The qualitative pan-India study to check wholesomeness of rivers, have pointed out that discharge of untreated domestic waste water, coupled with industrial wastes, are the main reasons for the deteriorating condition of the rivers. The report also blamed insufficient water treatment facilities across India for the situation. 

    Significantly, the study draws upon the premise that deterioration in the quality of water in a river directly affects the quality of agriculture and other river-based livelihoods. It links increased pollution to degradation of the ecosystem, which in turn affects the livelihood of people in rural parts of the country. 

    In the study, two stretches of the Yamuna, comprising 600 km in total — from Asgarpur (Noida) to Etawah and again from Shahpur to Allahabad — have been notified as polluted and classified as top priority. The study claims cities most affected are Gautam Budh Nagar, Vrindavan, Mathura, Agra and Shahpur. About 200 km of the Hindon, from Saharanpur to Ghaziabad, have also been marked as polluted.

Print notes on Indian paper: Modi

  • MUMBAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took his 'Make in India' philosophy to Mint Street, exhorting the Reserve Bank of India to ensure that currency notes are printed on Indian paper with Indian ink. 

    Addressing the top brass of the central bank in an event to mark RBI's 80th anniversary, Modi raised the topic of 'Make in India', a subject close to his heart. Modi said, "Mahatma Gandhi fought for Swadeshi. Does it behove us to print his photograph on imported paper? Does India not have the entrepreneurs to make the paper in India?" 

    The PM urged the central bank to make a resolution that from a particular date all notes in India would be printed on Indian-made paper with Indian Ink. Central bank officials said that work was already in progress to source materials from India. They said that while most of the ink was available in India, the central bank at present continued to import two-color ink.
    Having self-sufficiency in printing of currency notes would ensure that no enemy state can purchase similar paper from international suppliers. A few years ago, there were reports in the international press of the Indian government cancelling currency orders with a global provider of currency notes on quality concerns. According to RBI, during 2013-14 (July-June), an expenditure of Rs 3,210 crore was incurred on security printing compared to Rs 2,870 crore during 2012-13. 
    Modi urged banks to be more understanding while dealing with the poor. Highlighting the success of the Jan-Dhan Yojana (JDY), which has garnered Rs 14,000 crore under 14 crore accounts, Modi said, "You have seen poverty among the rich when it comes to repaying loans. Today, you are witnessing the wealth of the poor thanks to the JDY scheme."  

Swine flu claims three lives in Maharashtra

  • New Delhi: Three persons succumbed to swine flu in Maharashtra, taking the total death toll in the state to 425 since January this year.
    Overall though, the disease is on a decline across the state.
    As per reports, 22 new patients tested positive for the H1N1 virus in the state, with the total number of cases now standing at 4692.
    Swine flu is caused by H1N1 virus. H1N1 symptoms are similar to those produced by other influenza viruses - fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and respiratory problems and internal and external bleeding.

Ashok Khemka's transfer splits Haryana BJP

  • CHANDIGARH: Differences surfaced in Haryana BJP over the transfer of whistleblower IAS officer Ashok Khemka, with cabinet minister Anil Vij saying he stands by Khemka and chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar calling the transfer "routine". 

    Health minister Anil Vij said, "I am totally with Khemka. I am with him since he fought the battle against corruption. I will stand by him... comment about this after talking to the CM." 

    Khattar, who was in Hisar on Thursday, said, "Jo sarkar ko jahan aavashyakta hoti hai, wahin harek adhikari ko bulaya jata hai. Hamari aavashyakta us hisab se jaisi hai, waisa hamney lagaya hai (government appoints any officer as per its requirements. We have posted him as per our requirements)." He said Khemka was a good and honest officer. 

    A 1991 batch IAS officer, Khemka has faced 46 transfers during 22 years of service. He reacted to his transfer on Thursday with a tweet, "Tried hard to address corruption and bring reforms in transport despite severe limitations and entrenched interests. Moment is truly painful."

By 2050, India to surpass Indonesia, will have largest Muslim population: Study

  • WASHINGTON: Hindus will become the world's third largest population by 2050, while India will overtake Indonesia as the country with the largest Muslim population, according to a new study.

    According to the Pew Research Center's religious profile predictions assessed data released on Thursday, the Hindu population is projected to rise by 34 per cent worldwide, from a little over 1 billion to nearly 1.4 billion by 2050.

    By 2050, Hindus will be third, making up 14.9 per cent of the world's total population, followed by people who do not affiliate with any religion, accounting for 13.2 per cent, the report said.

    The people with no religious affiliation currently have the third largest share of the world's total population.

    Muslims are projected to grow faster than the world's overall population and that Hindus and Christians are projected to roughly keep pace with worldwide population growth, the report said.
    "India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia," it said.

    "Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion," according to the report.
    The report predicted that by 2050 there will be near parity between Muslims (2.8 billion, or 30 per cent of the population) and Christians (2.9 billion, or 31 per cent), possibly for the first time in history. 

India to submit bid for 2024 Olympics to IOC, claim sources

  • According to sources, there have been developments of a formal plan being worked upon to host the Games in Ahmedabad when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, meets Narendra Modi for a scheduled official visit next month.
    Going by reports it is expected that the discussion between the two dignitaries will be based on the dates and hosting the mega event.
    Modi has already made it clear that he wants to work at the grassroot level to make India a powerhouse of sports and this certainly will be a great step towards that goal.
    Sources also confirmed that sports secretary Ajit Mohan Sharan has already had a word and held discussions with key IOC officials in this regard. Though sports officials still haven't confirmed any of the happenings.
    Brazil will host the 2016 Olympic Games while Japan's capital city Tokyo will play host to 2020 Summer Games. The 'Expression of Interest' to bid for 2024 Olympics has already started and India look eager to ply its trade in submitting a bid.
    The other countries who have shown their interest and had already sent their bids to the IOC to host the Games are Italy's Rome, Germany's Hamburg and USA's city of Boston.
    Kenya's Nairobi, Morocco's Casabianca, Qatar's Doha, France's Paris and Russia's St.Petersburg are all in contention to bid for the greatest sporting event of the world.
    The National Olympic Committees (NOCs) will have to send the name of their 'Applicant Cities' to the IOC latest by September 15, 2015 to set the process in motion for hosting the Games.


  • 1.    Which of the following is not a cold wind?
        (a)    Berg
        (b)    Papagayo
        (c)    Purga
        (d)    Bora
    2.    Which of the following is not correctly matched?
        (a)    Samoon  - Persia
        (b)    Berg - North America
        (c)    Zonda - Argentina
        (d)    Norwester - New Zealand

    3.    Choose the incorrect pair
        (a)    Zonda - Warm and dry
        (b)    Marin - Warm wind
        (c)    Pampero - Cold Wind
        (d)    Solano - Cold and dry

    4.    Consider the following statements
    1.    Blizzard is violent and extremely cold wind
    2.    Hurricane is an intense tropical storm.
        Which of the above statements is/are correct?
        (a)    Only 1
        (b)    Only 2
        (c)    Both 1 and 2
        (d)    None

    5.    Consider the following pairs
    1.    Chinook    -    North America
    2.    Bise    -    Cold Wind
    3.    Leveche    -    Morocco
    4.    Gibli    -    Japan
    Which of the above pairs are correctly matched
    (a)    1, 2 and 3
    (b)    1, 2 and 4
    (c)    1, 3 and 4
    (d)    2, 3 and 4
    1. a
    2. b
    3. d
    4. c
    5. a

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