IAF going to participate in Pitch Black Exercise 2018 :-
- The Indian Air Force is all set to participate for the first time ever in Exercise Pitch Black 2018 (PB-18) hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
- The multinational warfare drill will be held later this month in Australia.
- The Indian Air Force contingent will consists of 145 air-warriors including a Garud commando team, four Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter planes and a C-130 and a C-17 transport aircraft in the exercise.
What Is Exercise “PITCH BLACK” ?
- Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial three-week multinational large force employment exercise. It is conducted from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal.
- It was conducted for the first time on June 15-16 in 1981 between different RAAF units.
- Hosted by the Australian air force, Exercise Pitch Black ensures that the “training and integration of forces that occurs during this exercise directly supports Air Force’s ability to conduct operations,”.
What happens during the Exercise ?
- Exercise Pitch Black conducts a range of “realistic, simulated threats which can be found in a modern battle-space environment”.
- The exercise hosts around 2500 personnel and over 100 aircraft from participants across the world.
- It usually includes countries like Canada, France (New Caledonia), Germany, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and the United States, this year, it will have India for the first time as well.
When & Where is it going to be held ?
- This year, Exercise Pitch Black 2018 will be held from July 27 to August 17.
- It will take place in Australia’s Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range, known as one of the world’s largest training airspace areas.
Lok Sabha passes Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 :-
- The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 was passed by Lok Sabha by a voice vote Thursday without any amendments proposed by the Opposition.
- The Bill would replace the fugitive economic offenders ordinance promulgated in April this year.
Provisions of the bill :-
- The Bill makes provisions for a court (‘Special Court’ under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002) to declare a person as a ‘Fugitive Economic Offender.’
- The bill proposes the formation of a special court under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002, to declare a person a fugitive economic offender.
- Attachment of the property of a fugitive economic offender and proceeds of crime
- Issue of a notice by the special court to the individual alleged to be a fugitive economic offender
- Confiscation of the property of an individual declared as a fugitive economic offender or even the proceeds of crime
- Dis-entitlement of the fugitive economic offender from defending any civil claim
- Appointment of an administrator to manage and dispose of the confiscated property under the act.
- In order to ensure that courts are not over-burdened with such cases, only those cases where the total value involved in such offences is 100 crore rupees or more, is within the purview of this bill.
Rajya Sabha nod to Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 :-
- The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 that seeks to make giving bribes to a public servant an offence punishable with imprisonment upto seven years.
- The bill provides for time-bound completion of trial in corruption cases against public servants, with the ceiling set at two years.
- Persons who declare within two weeks that they were pressurise into giving bribe, shall be entitled to immunity.
The bill was passed unanimously by the Rajya Sabha with 43 amendments.
Important Amendments included :-
Replacing Lokpal/Lokayukta with “competent authority” for sanction of investigation against a public servant.
Enhancing the seven-day period for bribe-givers to make a representation of having been coerced into giving bribe, to two weeks
Providing for deciding of cases relating to attachment of property/assets acquired through corruption by a sessions judge instead of special judge. The bill is likely to be put up before the Lok Sabha on Monday or Tuesday
India to expand Polar research to Arctic :-
- Three decades after its first mission to Antarctica, the government is refocusing priorities to the other pole — the Arctic—because of opportunities and challenges posed by climate change.
- This month, Govt has renamed the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) — since 1998, charged with conducting expeditions to India’s base stations to the continent — as the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research.
- It’s also in talks with Canada and Russia, key countries with presence in the Arctic circle, to establish new observation systems.
- India only has one Arctic observation station near Norway.
- While annual missions to maintain India’s three bases in Antarctica will continue, the new priorities mean that there will be more expeditions and research focus on the other poles.
- India is already an observer at the Arctic Council — a forum of countries that decides on managing the region’s resources and popular livelihood and, in 2015, set up an underground observatory, called IndARC, at the Kongsfjorden fjord, half way between Norway and the North Pole.
TRAI revamps rules on pesky calls, spam :-
- TRAI on Thursday revamped the regulations on pesky calls and spam as it spelt out new rules mandating subscribers’ consent for receiving telemarketing messages.
- The regulator also asked telecom operators to ensure that commercial communication takes place only through registered senders.
- This will give relief to subscribers who feel targeted by unwanted communication.
- To effectively deal with the nuisance of spam experienced by the subscribers
New Regulations :-
- The regulations provide for registration of senders, registration of headers (that segregate different types of messages) and, more importantly, registration of subscribers’ consent.
- New regulations provide the subscriber with complete control over their consent and the ability to revoke the consent already granted, at their option
- TRAI has introduced the concept of registered templates for both SMS and voice communication to prevent deliberate mixing of promotional messages into the transactional stream.
- TRAI said that every access provider should establish ‘Customer Preference Registration Facility (CPRF)’ and make necessary arrangements to facilitate customers by providing ways and means to record consent (or its revocation) related to commercial communication.
- Violations under various categories will attract a penalty ranging from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 50 lakh, based on the type of offence.