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Current Affairs : 05 Dec 2014

  • Government crapped subsidised kerosene through the Public Distribution System (PDS).
    • The decision comes close on the heels of cuts in the Centre’s social sector spending allocations aimed at aligning plan expenditure with subdued revenue collections.
    • The Centre plans to write to States asking them to provide subsidized kerosene only to un-electrified households.
    • States which have achieved near 100 per cent electrification will be incentivised to become kerosene-free.
    • In the remaining States, un-electrified households will be given the choice between cash subsidy in lieu of kerosene allocation and upfront subsidy for greener solar lighting systems
    • The allocation of kerosene subsidy will now be in accordance with Census 2011 data, which shows that it’s no longer a fuel of choice for cooking but is used for lighting purposes.
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  • India calls for compensation to the developing nations during U.N. climate change summit in Lima.
    • India believed that developed countries should be held responsible for their high levels of emissions in past, which have caused harm to developing countries.
    • India also said that responsibility should come in the form of compensation and a fair 2015 Paris agreement.
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  • C.Rangarajan calls for institutional focus to provide long-term financing support to infrastructure segment.
    • He said that it was hoped that with the development of capital market and with universal banking becoming the new mode, adequate long-term capital will be forthcoming to the companies. But it is not happening.
    • He was of the firm opinion that creating or going back to set up institutions specially focusing on providing long-term credit to companies could be a useful thing.
    • Mr. Rangarajan also said that the recent announcement of RBI to allow banks to raise infrastructure bonds would partially solve the problems.
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  • ONGC set to sign a deal next week to acquire stake in two Siberian oilfields.
    • India will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for acquiring the stake in Vankor and Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye fields, during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India.
    • The MoU is part of Mr. Putin’s energy engagement as he seeks to expand trade links with Asian nations to counter sanctions from the U.S. and its allies.
    • Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft has offered to sell 10 per cent stake in the strategic Vankor oilfield in Siberia to OVL.
    • Vankor is the largest field to have been discovered and brought into production in Russia in the last 25 years.
  • New single cell analysis reveals complex variations in stem cells.
    • Stem cells offer great potential in biomedical engineering due to their pluripotency, which is the ability to multiply indefinitely and also to differentiate and develop into any kind of the hundreds of different cells and bodily tissues.
    • But the precise complexity of how stem cell development is regulated throughout states of cellular change has been difficult to pinpoint until now.
    • By using powerful new single-cell genetic profiling techniques, scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Boston Children's Hospital have uncovered far more variation in pluripotent stem cells than was previously appreciated.
    • The findings bring researchers closer to a day when many different kinds of stem cells could be leveraged for disease therapy and regenerative treatments.
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