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Important Current Affairs 22th February 2019

National News

Civil services marks cannot be disclosed under RTI: SC

• The SC ruled that Civil Services examination marks cannot be revealed under the Right to Information Act.

• The court added that revelation of marks would compromise on the integrity of the exams.

IAF Officer becomes 1st Indian woman to fly fighter jet solo

• Avani Chaturvedi has become the 1st Indian woman to fly a fighter jet solo as she operated the Russian made MiG21 aircraft.

• She is one of the 3 women inducted into IAF fighter stream in 2016.

SC allows withdrawal of cops send during Gorkhaland protests

• Central forces were deployed in the region during violent protests demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.

• The Calcutta High Court had earlier barred the Centre from withdrawing the forces stating that normalcy had not been established.

International News

Trump suggests arming teachers to prevent school shootings

• Trump made the comment while meeting the students who survived the recent Florida school shooting which claimed 17 lives.

• Trump also called for the implementation of strict background checks for gun purchases in the country.

250 civilians killed in Syrian shelling in 2 days

• Continuous shelling by Syrian govt forces in eastern Ghouta has killed around 250 civilians.

• Nearly 5 lakh people have been killed in the Syrian war.

N Korea envoys’ visit cost more than athletes’ training

• The International Olympic Committee paid around $50,000 for the training of 22 N Korea athletes who participated in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

• S Korea spent around 346% more than the amount spent on the athletes’ training.

Business News

Vijay Mallya’s Rs.300 cr Mumbai house to be auctioned

• Mallya entered into an agreement allowing him to acquire up to 13 domestic properties from USL within a limited time frame after his resignation.

• The company has decided to sell after Mallya failed to buy them back last year.

Gitanjali shares drop 58%

• The company has lost Rs.435.41 cr from its market capitalisation in the last seven days.

• This comes after PNB accused Choksi and jeweller Nirav Modi of defrauding the bank of $1.77 bn.

Brace for difficult times ahead : Aircel CEO

• Aircel CEO Kaizad Heerjee has warned 5k employees to brace for difficult times.

• Aircel, which has 85 mn customers, recently stopped services in six circles to focus on the better performing ones.

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Important Current Affairs 21th February 2019

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Joint Statement between India and Namibia during President's visit to Namibia.

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for a MoU between India and the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and with Electoral Tribunal of Panama (ETP) on cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration.

•  MoU contains standard articles/clauses which broadly express promotion of cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration including promotion of exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of organizational and technical development of electoral process; support in exchanging information, institutional strengthening and capacity building, training of personnel, holding regular consultations etc.

• The MOU would promote bilateral cooperation, aimed at building technical assistance/ capacity support for the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and with Electoral Tribunal of Panama (ETP). It envisages cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration and providing a leg-up to it in conducting elections in their respective countries. This would also result in bolstering India's international relations.

India-OECD pact approved.

• The Union Cabinet approved the agreement between India and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

• It has been done for participating in the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA).

• PISA will be conducted by the OECD in 2021. The agreement was signed on January 28, 2019.

GOVERNMENT SCHEME:

Greenpeace welcomes Centre's approval to launch rural solar scheme, KUSUM.

• The Centre's decision to allocate Rs 46,000 crores towards the rural solar scheme KUSUM, aimed to provide farmers with advanced technology to generate power, has been welcomed by environment experts who said it was essential to achieve the country's 100 GW solar target by 2022.

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Tuesday approved Rs 46,000 crore for KUSUM and rooftop solar schemes to promote adoption of solar power among farmers and residential sector.

• While KUSUM scheme for farmers has been allocated Rs 34,422 crore, rooftop solar program would get Rs 11,814 crore.

NATIONAL:

Union Cabinet Approves Implementation Of New Rural Livelihood Scheme.

• The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. on Tuesday approved the implementation of the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP).

• This project under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) will be through loan assistance from the World Bank.

• The technical assistance provided by NRETP and the higher level interventions facilitated by the project will enhance the livelihoods promotion, access to finance and scale-up initiatives on digital finance and livelihood interventions.

Dearness Allowance (DA) For Government Employees, Pensioners Increased By 3%.

• The cabinet on Tuesday announced that it had approved a 3 per cent hike in Dearness Allowance or DA, a move that will benefit more than one crore central government employees and pensioners from January 1, 2019.

• The decision will cost the exchequer over Rs. 9,000 crore.

• Dearness allowance is a component of salary paid to employees to counter the effect of inflation.

• The 3 per cent increase will take the DA and Dearness Rate (DR) for pensioners to 12 per cent.

PM visits BHU in Varanasi; inaugurates Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Cancer Hospital.

• The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, visited BHU in Varanasi today. 

• He inaugurated Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Hospital and Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital, Lahartara. These Hospitals will provide comprehensive treatment to the patients from UP, and nearby states of MP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Bihar.

• Governor of UP Shri Ram Naik, CM of UP Shri Yogi Adityanath, and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Odisha CM Launches KALIA Scholarship for Farmers’ Children.

• Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today unveiled KALIA Scholarship (KALIA Chhatra Brutti) at the Secretariat here for the children of the KALIA Scheme beneficiaries, who are studying and aspiring for technical and professional education.

• After taking the historic step towards transforming the economic standards of the farmers of Odisha through Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA), the State Government has come up with KALIA Scholarship in order to ensure human resource development among the farming families across the State.

• KALIA Scheme is first of its kind assistance mechanism for farmers in India and has been followed by others as well for its noble means, ideation and inclusiveness.

OBITUARIES:

Acclaimed Hindi Author Namvar Singh Dies At 92.

• Celebrated Hindi author and literary critic Namvar Singh died in the national capital late on Tuesday night. He was 92.

• Mr. Singh breathed his last at 11.51 pm at the All India Institute of Medical Science's Trauma Centre, family sources said.

• Hindi writer, senior journalist, editor and critic Om Thanvi posted about the author's demise on Facebook and said the cremation ceremony of Namvar Singh would take place at the Lodi crematorium on Wednesday afternoon.

DAY AND EVENT:

World Day of Social Justice 20 February.

• Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants.

• We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

• For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of our global mission to promote development and human dignity. The adoption by the International Labor Organization of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization is just one recent example of the UN system’s commitment to social justice.

APPOINTMENTS:

Anupama elected Astronomical Society of India president, first.

• Dr.G C Anupama has been elected president of the Astronomical Society of India (ASI), becoming the first woman to head the prime association of professional astronomers in the country.

• She was elected to the post in the ASI Executive Council elections for triennium 2019-22 held last week, according to the Society website.

• Presently the Dean and Senior Professor at the Bengaluru based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Anupama is in the Indian core team which is part of the international team engaged in establishing the thirty meter telescope (TMT) at cost of over USD 1 billion in USA (Hawaii).

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

NGO Yuwa won Laureus Sport.

• Yuwa, a Jharkhand-based NGO won the Laureus Sport for Good award.

• The NGO works for the girl empowerment.

• The NGO, founded by Americans Franz Gastler and Rose Thomson Gastler in 2009, runs a football program in rural Jharkhand covering 450 girls.

EXTRAS:

• A.K. Sharma has been re-appointed as the Director (Finance) of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for a period of 3 months.

• Saudi Arabia became the 73rd nation to sign the International Solar Alliance. ISA was unveiled by PM Narendra Modi and former French President Francois Hollande in 2015.

• Nikhat Zareen and Meena Kumari Devi became the first Indian women boxers to win gold medals at the Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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Important Current Affairs 19th February 2019

AWARDS AND HONORS:

President Kovind presents Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony.

• President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said each region in the country has a distinct cultural identity but this does not divide but unites and harmonizes all of India.

• President made the statement after presenting the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony here on Monday. He remarked that the award is a celebration of Indian tradition of culture.

• Remembering Rabindranath Tagore, President Kovind said, "Gurudev was a remarkable genius, who became the first Indian Nobel laureate. Gurudev Tagore is remembered every day as a poet who gave India its national anthem. He belongs to the entire world as he was a nationalist as well as an internationalist."

Sudanese refugee wins major human rights award.

• Sudanese refugee, Abdul Aziz Muhamat, who spent 5 years in the Australian detention center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, was given the Martin Ennals Award 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland, for exposing “the very cruel asylum seeker policy of the Australian Government”.

• It is sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize for human rights”. Abdul Aziz Muhamat’s podcast “The Messenger”, created from more than 4,000 WhatsApp messages Muhamat sent from the detention center, had won best radio/audio feature at Australia’s Walkley Awards in 2017.

Sunil Chhetri receives 'Football Ratna' award.

•Talismanic Indian striker Sunil Chhetri was awarded the first-ever ‘Football Ratna’ by Football Delhi, the State Association governing the sport in Delhi. Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, President, Delhi Football presented the honor a function at the majestic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

• Chhetri, who was recently named as the 6th Indian Footballer in the elite Padma Shri list, said: “I am honored by the kind gesture of Football Delhi for recognizing me with the Football Ratna award.”

•“My support will always be there for the development of football in Delhi. I am sure the current management is working hard to develop football, and make Delhi a model football state in India. My best wishes to everyone associated with the sport in Delhi,” he added.

NATIONAL:

Infosys launches InfyTQ app for engineering students.

• Infosys has announced the launch of a digital platform offering learning and engagement experiences for engineering students.

•“InfyTQ is a free platform open to all engineering students in their third and fourth year. The platform encourages holistic development by imparting technical as well as professional skills and helps them become industry ready,” said a statement from Infosys.

• InfyTQ will be available on both mobile and desktop and is equipped with a plethora of content, courses and news to establish talent readiness at an industry level through online assessments and certification.

During his Jharkhand visit, PM Narendra Modi to inaugurate several development projects.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for hospitals in Hazaribagh, Dumka and Palamau in Jharkhand on Sunday and inaugurate a host of development schemes during his visit to the state, an official statement said.

• The prime minister will lay the foundation stone online for four 500-bedded hospitals in Hazaribagh, Dumka, Palamau and Jamshedpur.

• This apart, he will lay foundation stone for Hazaribagh urban line water supply scheme and rural drinking water supply - four schemes for Hazaribagh and two for Ramgarh.

Banned Punjabi Poem On Jallianwala Massacre To Be Published In English After 99 Years.

• A poem on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre by acclaimed Punjabi writer Nanak Singh, which was banned by the British after its publication in 1920, has now been translated into English.

• Singh was present at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919. He was 22 years old at the time.

• The name of the poem is ‘Khooni Vaisakhi'

SPORTS:

Vidarbha won Irani Cup.

• Vidarbha defended its Irani Cup title on 16 Feb 2019 at the Jamtha Stadium in Nagpur.

• The Irani Cup tournament was conceived during the 1959-60 season to mark the completion of 25 years of the Ranji Trophy championship.

National Championship: Saina Nehwal beats PV Sindhu to clinch second successive title.

• Saina Nehwal defeated PV Sindhu for the second year running as she claimed the senior national title in women's singles once again with a 21-18, 21-15 win in Guwahati on Saturday.

• Saina had defeated Sindhu in the final in the previous edition of the nationals in November 2017 and the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist was at it again.

Qatar Open: Elise Mertens beats Simona Halep to win her biggest tour title.

• Elise Mertens has claimed the biggest title of her career by beating top seed Simona Halep to win the Qatar Open.

• Mertens, 23, recovered from a set and a break down - losing 18 points in a row at one stage in the second set - to beat the world number three 3-6 6-4 6-3.

• World number 21 Mertens also overcame a lengthy medical time-out for a back issue in the first set.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS:

JP Morgan: first to create crypto currency.

• US investment bank, JP Morgan Chase became the first US bank to offer its own crypto currency.

• The crypto currency, called 'JPM Coin' will always have a value equivalent to one US dollar.

• It will be initially used internally between JPMorgan Chase's wholesale business clients.

RBI lifts cap on FPI investments.

• The Reserve Bank of India withdrew the 20% limit on investments by FPIs in corporate bonds of an entity

• It was stipulated in April 2018 that no FPI should have an exposure of more than 20% of its corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate.

•This has been done with a view to encourage more foreign investments.

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Important Current Affairs 18th February 2019

NATIONAL

National Banana Festival 2018 to be held in Kerala from 17 to 21 Feb.

•Thiruvananthapuram is going to host National Banana Festival 2018 on February 17. It will be a five-day event to be held at Vellayani Dei Temple grounds at Kalliyoor. This festival will be inaugurated by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.

•The main draw of this fest will be the 100 varieties of banana, which will be on display. Around 200 stalls will be set up to showcase these banana varieties. And mainly for this fest, all varieties of banana have been sourced from Kerala and various parts of India. Also, special value-added items for consumption, especially prepared from this fruit, will be there in this exhibition.

•Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran will be inaugurating this exhibition in National Banana Festival 2018 in Kerala, whereas MP Suresh Gopi will be presiding over the inaugural function.

Kerala Govt to geotag 10 lakh livestock farmer houses.

•Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 18 (PTI) the Kerala government is gearing up to geotag the houses and farms of over 10 lakh livestock and poultry farmers in the state as part of its massive digitisation drive.

•The objective is to compile a comprehensive digital repository of the information of animal husbandry and dairying in the state and integrate the data using the Geographical Information System (GIS), official sources said. The state Animal Husbandry Department has a database of over eight lakh farmers and houses and farms of over 60,000 of them have already been geotagged under the ambitious initiative.

•It also plans to make the functioning of the Department paperless in the next 6-7 months as part of the digitisation drive, for which 23 mobile applications will be developed, official sources said. Besides the data of the houses and farms, the status of domestic animals and birds, the information of veterinary hospitals and related offices would also be linked through the GIS technology.

Iran President Lands in Delhi.

• Iran President Hassan Rouhani has entered the second day of his three day visit to India.

• Mr. Rouhani reached Hyderabad yesterday and is set to visit a number of tourist landmarks, including Hyderabad's Qutub Shahi tombs, the Salar Jung Museum, Golconda Fort as well as Mecca Masjid.

• He is also set to address a Muslim congregation at the Mecca Masjid, after he performs his Friday prayers. This is Mr. Rouhani's second visit to Hyderabad and his first after he assumed charge as Iran's president.

Assam govt to set up 3 Terminal Mart for agricultural products.

• Assam State Government will be setting up 3 Terminal Mart for agricultural products in the state in order to give a boost to agricultural market in the state.

• Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board is working towards setting up such marts at Silchar, Jorhat and Guwahati.

• Chairman of State Agricultural Marketing Board, Palit Kumar Bora has stated that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed to develop Asia’s largest banana market at Darangiri in Goalpara district of Assam.

• Besides, 6 new Krishi Vigyan Kendras are being set up in Assam to help the farmers in various agro-based sectors

PM Modi lays foundation stone of Navi Mumbai airport, phase I to be ready in 4 years.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the long overdue airport project at Navi Mumbai on Sunday. PM Modi said, "Issue of Navi Mumbai airport has been pending for years. And, this is not the only project that is pending.

• Estimated cost for constructing this airport is Rs 16700 crore. It will have two parallel runways unlike Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, which has only one runway.

Fiji signs Declaration of Partnership with TERI.

• Island nation Fiji today signed a declaration of partnership with India's The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) for assistance in tackling climate change effects and achieving environmental sustainability.

• The declaration was made on sidelines of the ongoing World Sustainable Development Conference (WSDS 2018) here.

• It was signed by Joshua Wycliff, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Environment of Fiji and Ajay Mathur, the Director General of TERI.

INTERNATIONAL:

Amazon overtakes Microsoft as the 3RD most valuable company in the world.

•Tech giant Amazon has overtaken Microsoft to become the world’s most valuable listed company. The online giant was valued at $810 billion as compared to Microsoft at $789 billion.

• It is the first time Amazon - founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 - has gained the top position in the listed market. The change happened on Monday as shares of the online retail giant rose by 3 percent, increasing its market value to $797 billion.

• Microsoft’s stock to rose but only by 2%, leaving the value at $789 billion by the end of the trade.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Shoaib Akhtar named Pakistan Cricket Board's brand ambassador.

• Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar has been appointed as the advisor to the chairman on cricket affairs and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) brand ambassador.

• Akhtar announced on Twitter that he “was honoured to be chosen by the PCB” and expressed confidence of taking Pakistan cricket to greater heights.

Former JNU Prof Vinod Kumar Jain appointed Tezpur university VC.

• Former Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vinod Kumar Jain has been appointed as the new Vice Chancellor of Tezpur University.

• Jain has been appointed by the President of India, in his capacity as the Visitor of the Tezpur University, according to an official release issued by the University on Friday.

• He will serve as the vice-chancellor for a period of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office or until he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.

TCS Recognized as One of the Top Three Employers.

• Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India's largest IT services company, is recognized as one of world's best employers by the Top Employer Institute for the third year running.

• The Top Employer Institute, Amsterdam-based global certification company in employee conditions, selected TCS for its exceptional employee offerings from a pool of more than 1,300 companies in 113 countries.

SPORTS:

Thompson trumps Bhambri to win Chennai Open Challenger.

• Saturday's Chennai Open Challenger final had all the ingredients of a nerve-wracking title clash; the top two seeds in action, multiple breakpoints, a missed match point opportunity and hard-hitting end to end action.

• A closely-contested tie, top-seed Jordan Thompson roared past Yuki Bhambri 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in three gruelling sets to lift the Chennai Open Challenger trophy, his career's fifth Challenger title.

• Bhambri had a chance to get his hands on the winner's cheque but it was Thompson who proved to be the better player on the evening, albeit by a thin margin.

OBITUARIES:

Ex-Mathura MLA Ram Swarup Sharma passes away.

• Mathura (UP), Feb 17 (PTI) Former MLA and Padma Shri awardee Ram Swarup Sharma passed here this evening following brief illness, his family sources said.

• Sharma represented the Mathura-Vrindavan constituency twice in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

• He was also a popular exponent of the Rasa Lila, a popular form of folk theatre in the regions of Mathura and Vrindavan devoted to lord Krishna.

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Important Current Affairs 13th February 2019

NATIONAL NEWS

2019 Asia LPG Summit held in New Delhi

Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for petroleum and natural gas, inaugurated the 2019 Asia LPG summit in New Delhi. The summit has been organized jointly by the major Indian oil marketing companies (OMCs) Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleumtogether with the World LPG Association (WLPGA) at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi.

  • This two-day event will focus on ‘LPG – Energy for Life.’ India is the 2nd largest consumer of liquified natural gas (LPG) in the world.

Cabinet approves establishment of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved a proposal seeking the establishment of ‘Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog’ to conserve, protect and develop India’s cattle population. The proposal was first made by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal while presenting the interim Budget on February 1.

  • The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will work in collaboration with veterinary, animal sciences or agriculture universities, departments or organisations of the central/state government engaged in the task of research in the field of breeding and rearing of cows, organic manure, and biogas.
  • The creation of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for the conservation, protection, and development of cows and their progeny will provide the policy framework and direction to the cow conservation and development programmes in the country and for ensuring proper implementation of laws with respect to the welfare of cows.

Government approves setting up of 12,000 MW solar power projects

The government approved a proposal for setting up of 12,000 MW of solar power projects by state-run producers. The producers will be provided with a viability gap funding support of Rs 8,580 crore for self-use or use by both central and state government entities.

  • The CCEA decided that 12,000 MW or more of grid connected solar PV power projects would be set up by government producers in 4 years i.e. 2019-20 to 2022-23, thereby creating investment of about Rs 48,000 crores.

Smriti Irani launches India Size project in Mumbai

Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani launched the India Size project in Mumbai. A first-of-its-kind project in the history of the country, India Size aims to arrive at a standard Indian Size for the ready-to-wear clothing industry, on the lines of the standardized sizes available in countries such as the USA and the UK.

  • India size project will benefit manufacturers, consumers and generate data which will help tap into the potential of the sector. The Minister also launched a Study of Apparel Consumption in India. The report of this study would be ready for release by July 2019.

Maharashtra govt sets up panel to review welfare schemes for tribals

The Maharashtra government has set up a committee to review various schemes being implemented for the welfare of tribals in the state. The 17-member committee, headed by former MLA and Shramjeevi Sanghatna president Vivek Pandit, will undertake study of various works done for providing employment opportunities, minimum wages and proper livelihood to tribals, as per a recent government order.

  • It will suggest measures to ensure that children in tribal regions were not deprived of education.

♦ Industrial production grows at 2.4% in December 2018

  • Industrial output growth remained subdued at 2.4% in December 2018 on account of contraction in the mining segment and poor show by the manufacturing sector.
  • Factory output as measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had grown by 7.3% in December 2017, according to the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on February 12.
  • The industrial growth for November 2018 was revised downwards to 0.3% from the provisional estimate of 0.5% released in January 2019.
  • During April-December 2018, industrial output grew at 4.6% against 3.7% in the same period of the previous fiscal.

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♦ Kusum Scheme to Promote Use of Solar Energy Among Farmers Under Considration

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has formulated a Scheme ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM)’. The Scheme is currently under the process of seeking approval.
  • The proposal on KUSUM Scheme provides for :-

(i)   installation of grid-connected solar power plants each of Capacity up to 2 MW in the rural areas;

(ii)   installation of standalone off-grid solar water pumps to fulfil irrigation needs of farmers not connected to grid; and

(iii)   solarisation of existing grid-connected agriculture pumps to make farmers independent of grid supply and also enable them to sell surplus solar power generated to DISCOM and get extra income.

♦ PM to address CREDAI YouthCon-19 Today

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will address the CREDAI YouthCon -19, on 13 February 2019, at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi. The event is organized by the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI).
  • The Prime Minister will also visit the exhibition organized by CREDAI.
  • YouthCon is the annual Youth Conclave of CREDAI, held to bring together the future of the real estate Industry in India.
  • Established in 1999, CREDAI is the apex body representing real-estate developers from over 200 cities in India.

♦ NITI Aayog signs SOI with MSDF to document Systemic Transformation in Education

  • The NITI Aayog and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) today signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) to codify, document and share best practices to improve learning outcomes in public school education through systemic reforms, based on their collective experiences of working with various state governments in India.
  • The SOI was signed in the presence of Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, by Mr. Alok Kumar, Adviser (HRD), NITI Aayog and Mr. BarunMohanty, Managing Director (International), MSDF.
  • The NITI Aayog was established with the core mandate of promoting cooperative and competitive federalism through evidence-based policy reform and knowledge inputs. Since its inception, NITI Aayog has placed learning outcomes as a key focus area for establishing sustainable education systems.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

NATO’s 70th anniversary meeting to be held in UK in December

NATO’s next meeting of Heads of State and Government will take place in London this December, marking the 70th anniversary of the military pact. Stoltenberg also highlighted that London was home to NATO’s first headquarters, adding that the UK is one of the alliance’s 12 founding members.

  • Extra info.:
    NATO Members: 29
    Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium

Macedonia signs accord to join NATO

Macedonia signed an accord to join NATO to become the 30th member of the US-led alliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the admittance of a new member highlighted that all European nations who meet the entrance criteria could join the regional alliance.

  • The Macedonia-NATO accord follows a deal with Greece ending a 27-year-old dispute over Macedonia’s name. The accord must now be ratified by allied governments.
  • Extra info.:
    Macedonia Capital: Skopje
    Currency: Macedonian denar

♦ Fifth International Dam Safety Conference to be Held on 13-14 February at Bhubaneswar

  • The 5th International Dam Safety Conference–2019 is being held during 13 and 14 February 2019 in Bhubaneswar as a joint initiative of the Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank under aegis of the ongoing World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) as a part of institutional strengthening.
  • Dam Safety Conferences are being organized as an annual event in different DRIP States in collaboration with the Implementing Agencies and leading academic institutes to provide a common platform for all stakeholders including non-DRIP States. Dam professionals, academicians, scientists, as well as industries both from within the country and from around the world to deliberate on all aspects related to dam safety and the solutions that worked best in addressing dam safety concerns.

♦ UAE introduces Hindi as third official language

  • While praising the decision of the UAE court, External Affairs Minister of India, Sushma Swaraj in a tweet said, “We thank Abu Dhabi for declaring Hindi as one of the official languages in their judicial system. This will make the justice delivery system simpler and more accessible to our people.”

Indians, reportedly form the largest immigrant community in the UAE, with more than three million living in Dubai. The landmark decision undertaken by the judicial department will benefit a major chunk of workers, who mostly come from Hindi speaking regions of central and north India, Gulf News reported

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

RBI Policy full text: MPC cuts repo rate by 25 bps to 6.25%

On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation at its meeting, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 6.5 per cent to 6.25 per cent with immediate effect.

  • Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 6.0 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.5 per cent. The MPC also decided to change the monetary policy stance from calibrated tightening to neutral.

Awards and Honors

  • Pat Cummins won the coveted Allan Border Medal at the Australian Cricket Awards on 11 Feb 2019.
  • Glenn Maxwell took the T20I award and Matthew Wade bagged the Domestic Player of the Year award
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Important Current Affairs 11th February 2019

NATIONAL


Rajnath Singh inaugurates first of its kind spoken Sanskrit center.
•    Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has launched the Centre for learning Sanskrit language in Gujarat University, Ahmedabad. 
•    The center will offer a six-month course for people on how to speak the language. The coordinator of the course, Atul Unagar stated it was possibly the first such course launched in India.

Nitin Gadkari Releases India’s 1st Ever Highway Capacity Manual.
•    The Minister of Road Transport & Highways Mr Nitin Gadkari released India’s first ever Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) in New Delhi.
•    The manual is also known as Indo-HCM and it has been developed by CSIR – CRRI on the basis of an extensive, country-wide study of the traffic characteristics on different categories of roads like a single lane, two-lane, multi-lane urban roads, and the associated intersections on these roads.
 

INTERNATIONAL


Mumbai 12th Richest City Globally, New York Tops: New World Wealth Report.
•    Mumbai, India's financial capital is the 12th richest city in the world with a total wealth of $950 billion, according to a report by New World Wealth. The list was topped by New York as the richest city in the world.
•    Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each city. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities and business interests) less any liabilities. The top 2 richest cities in the list are- 
1. New York ($3 trillion).
2. London ($2.7 trillion).


PM Modi 3 Nation Visit- India and Palestine sign 6 MoUs.
•    India and Palestine have signed six Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) s worth USD 40 million.  This was welcomed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 
•    During the term of this Government, the President of India made the first ever visit to Palestine in 2015.


PM Modi 3 Nation Visit- India, Oman Sign 8 MoUs.
•     India and Oman have signed eight MoUs in different areas during PM Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the Gulf nation. The fields in which the agreements were inked include defense, health and tourism.

•    A MoU on legal and judicial co-operation in civil and commercial matters was also signed. The agreements were inked after Mr Modi held delegation-level talks with the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said in Muscat.

PM Modi 3 Nation Visit- India-UAE Ink 5 Agreements.
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al Nahyan held bilateral talks at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, the UAE.
•    PM Modi also laid the foundation stone of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi. The two sides inked 5 agreements related to energy & railway sectors, manpower and financial services.

•    The 5 MoUs signed between the two nation are as follows-
•    1. MoU between a consortium led by ONGC and Abu Dhabi national oil company for acquisition of 10% stake in offshore concession was inked.

•    2. MoU aiming to institutionalize employment of Indian workers in UAE to safeguard their interests was also signed.
•    3. MoU aiming at technical cooperation in rail sector between Ministry of railways and Federal transport authority and maritime of UAE signed.

•    4. In the area of financial services, MoU between BSE and Abu Dhabi Securities exchange was also inked.
•    5. MoU between Government of Jammu and Kashmir and DP World was also signed to establish multi-modal logistics park and hub in Jammu comprising warehouses and specialized storage solutions.
 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


PM Modi 3 Nation Visit- ONGC Videsh, Partners Acquire 10% Stake in Abu Dhabi Oilfield
•    ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) Videsh Ltd and its partners have acquired a 10% in a large offshore oilfield Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.’s (ADNOC) in Abu Dhabi for $600 million. It is the first time any Indian company has set foot in oil-rich Emirate.
•    The current production of this field is about 400,000 barrels of oil per day (20 million tonnes per annum) and Indian consortium’s annual share shall be about 2 million tonnes. The contract for the concession was signed in Abu Dhabi in presence of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


SBI Wrote off Bad Loans worth over Rs 20,000 crore Last Fiscal.
•    The country’s largest lender SBI wrote off bad loans worth Rs 20,339 crore in 2016-17, the highest among all the public sector banks, which had a collective, write off of Rs 81,683 crore for the fiscal. The data pertains to the period when the associate banks of SBI were not merged with it.
•    Besides SBI, Punjab National Bank had a write-off of Rs 9,205 crore in 2016-17, followed by Bank of India (Rs 7,346 crore), Canara Bank (Rs 5,545 crore) and Bank of Baroda (Rs 4,348 crore).


Direct tax collections rise 19.3% in April- January.
•    Direct tax collections grew by nearly 20% between April and January this year with strong growth in both corporate and personal income tax receipts. According to official data released, net direct tax collections grew by 19.3% up to January 2018 to Rs 6.95-lakh crore.
•    While net corporate income tax grew by 19.2%, personal income tax receipts rose by 18.6% in January this year. Gross tax collections also grew at a robust 13.3% to Rs 8.21-lakh crore between April 2017 and January 2018.
 

SPORTS


Sharmila Nicollet, 1st Indian Golfer to Qualify for China LPGA Tour.
•    Sharmila Nicollet has become the first Indian golfer to qualify for the China Ladies PGA Tour. The 26-year-old Bengaluru golfer fought her way back into the tournament in the last two rounds to earn a card for the Tour.
•    Sharmila had played on the Ladies European Tour before losing her full card, played her three rounds in the CLPGA Tour Qualifying School.


Rohan More Becomes 1st Asian to Swim Across Ocean Seven.
•    Pune-based swimmer, Rohan More became the first Asian as well as the first Indian to swim across the Ocean Seven. He is the youngest to complete it. He swam across the Cook Strait between North and South Islands of New Zealand in 8 hours and 37 minutes.
•    With this, more becomes only the ninth person in the world to complete it. He has received the Tenzing Norgay Award from the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The award was presented by President Ram Nath Kovind.
 

OBITUARIES


Pakistani Activist Asma Jahangir Passes Away.
•    Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s renowned human rights lawyer, social activist and an outspoken critic of the country’s powerful military establishment, passed away of cardiac arrest. She was 66.
•    She was the first woman to serve as the president of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.


Golden Globe Award Winner Musician Johann Johannsson Passes Away.
•    Acclaimed Icelandic musician and Oscar-nominated composer Johann Johannsson has passed away aged 48
•    In 2014, he was nominated for BAFTA, Grammy and Oscar awards for his score for ‘Theory of Everything,’ and won the Golden Globe award, making him one of the most well-known composers Iceland has produced
 

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Important Current Affairs 8th February 2019

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS


MoU approved between India and Namibia
•    The Union Cabinet approved the MoU between India and Electoral Tribunal of Panama and Electoral Commission of Namibia on 6th Feb 2019.
•    It would promote bilateral cooperation, aimed at building technical assistance/ capacity support for the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and with Electoral Tribunal of Panama (ETP).
•    The Cabinet was chaired by PM Narendra Modi.


Cabinet Approvals: February 2019
•    MoU between India and Malaysia for Mutual Cooperation in the field of Company Secretary Ship.
•    MoU between India and Norway on India-Norway Ocean Dialogue
•    MoU between India and Brazil on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy.
•    MoU between India and Maldives for Establishing Mutual Cooperation to Improve the Ecosystems for Agribusiness.
•    MoU between India and the UAE on Development cooperation in Africa
•    Signing of Agreement between India and Ukraine for cooperation in Agriculture and Food Industry
•    The revised Office Memorandum pertaining to the Cabinet Note on “Amendment of Constitution to provide for reservation for Economically Weaker Sections”
•    MoU between India and Finland in the field of Biotechnology
•    MoU between India and Uzbekistan for promoting bilateral cooperation in the area of e-Governance.
•    Proposal for higher allocation of power to Home State from Under Construction Projects of NTPC Ltd.
•    Introduction of National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019 in the Parliament.
•    Establishment of a unified authority for regulating all financial services in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in India through International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019.
•    Establishment of Circuit Bench of Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri.
•    Establishment of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for Conservation protection and development of cows and their progeny.

Indian Coast Guard signed MoU with AAI.
•    Indian Coast Guard and the Airport Authority of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Coast Guard Regional Headquarters in Port Blair.
•    It is signed for coordination in the aeronautical, maritime search and rescue operations
•    The MoU with AAI is aimed at strengthening mutual interactions, interoperability, and validating procedures during the conduct of search and rescue operations.
 

NATIONAL


Amitabh Bachchan stars in national campaign
•    The Swachh Bharat Mission launched the 'Darwaza BandPart 2' campaign on 6th Feb 2019 in Mumbai.
•    The campaign was produced by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation was launched in the presence of iconic actor Amitabh Bachchan.
•    The campaign focuses on sustaining the open defecation free status of village across the country.

Textile Minister launched project India Size
•    Smt. Smriti Irani, the Union Minister of Textiles launched the India Size project in Mumbai on 6th February 2019.
•    It aims to arrive at a standard Indian size for the ready-to-wear clothing industry.
•    A size chart will be developed which will be specific to Indian consumer’s measurements.
•    The project is undertaken by the Ministry of Textiles.


Swine flu claimed 226 lives across the country
•    Swine flu has claimed 226 lives across the country, with the worst hit in Rajasthan claiming 85 deaths.
•    2,263 patients have been found positive with influenza as per the NCDC report.
•    A meeting was held on 6th February 2019 by the Ministry of Health headed by Preeti Sudan to take action to deal with it.
•    Swine flu is caused by H1N1 virus and has symptoms similar to the regular flu.

PM to flag off Vande Bharat Express.
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag-off Vande Bharata Express on 15th February, 2019 from the New Delhi Railway Station.
•    It is India's first engineless train.
•    The train has been manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai and has become India's fastest train.
•    It hit the speed of over 180 kmph during a trial run at the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani route.
•    Earlier, it was named Train 18.

CCEA approves 12,000 MW power projects.
•    The CCEA chaired by PM Narendra Modi approved the proposal for setting up 12,000 MW Solar PV Power Projects
•    The proposal was by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for the implementation of the CPSU scheme Phase-II for setting up these projects.
•    The power projects will be set up in 4 years at a cost of Rs. 48,000 crores.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


Sixth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2017-18 by Dr.Urjit Patel.
•    Reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 6.5% to 6.25% with immediate effect.
•    The reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 6.0%, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.5%.
•    The first advance estimates (FAE) has placed the growth of real gross value added (GVA) at 7.0% in 2018-19 as compared with 6.9% in 2017-18.

The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA )approves creation of Agri-Market Fund
•    The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs chaired by PM Narendra Modi approved the creation of Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund (AMIF) on 6th Feb 2019.
•    It is being created for the up-gradation and development of agricultural marketing infrastructure in Regulated Wholesale Markets and Gramin Agricultural Markets.
•    A corpus of Rs. 2000 crore has been approved for the creation of the fund.
 

SUMMITS AND CONFERENCES


Dr Jitendra Singh delivers keynote.
•    Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of the DoNER (The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region), delivered a keynote address at the 'Parmanu Tech 2019' conference on 6th February 2019 at New Delhi .
•    It was organized by the Ministry of External Affairs and Department of Atomic Energy.
•    The conference also discussed issues related to Radiation Technologies and Nuclear Energy.
 

INTERNATIONAL


India-Germany join hands for cooperation.
•    The 3rd Indo-German Working Group for water and waste management concluded on 6th February 2019 in New Delhi.
•    Delegates from both the sides met and discussed potential cooperation in the field of water and waste management.
•    The Indian delegation was headed by Shri Anil Kumar Jain.
•    Third Indo-German Environment Forum will meet in New Delhi on February 13, 2019.

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Important Current Affairs 7th February 2019

National News

Textiles Minister launches Project "India Size”
The Union Minister for Textiles Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani launched the India Size project in Mumbai today. A first-of-its-kind project in the history of India, India Size aims to arrive at a standard Indian Size for the ready-to-wear clothing industry, on the lines of the standardized sizes available in countries such as the USA and the UK. A size chart that is specific to Indian consumers' measurements will be developed. 
This will help Indian apparel manufacturers to tailor their cuts closer to the actual body measurements of consumers. This will benefit consumers, manufacturers and the industry as a whole. The project is being undertaken by the Ministry of Textiles, in collaboration with The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI).


Cabinet approves establishment of Circuit Bench of Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of Circuit Bench of Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri. It will have jurisdiction over four districts namely Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar.
          The decision comes in the backdrop of the decision of the Calcutta High Court Full Court Meeting in 1988, Cabinet Decision on 16-6-2006 which approved the setting up of Circuit Bench of Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri and the visit by a team of Judges led by Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court to the proposed site of the Circuit Bench at Jalpaiguri on 30-08-2018 to assess the progress regarding the infrastructure facilities there.


Sanjiv Ranjan appointed as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Colombia 
Ministry of External Affairs appointed Sanjiv Ranjan as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Colombia. Presently he is the Ambassador of India to Argentina. Ranjan who is a 1993 batch Indian Foreign Service officer Ministry of External Affairs.
External Affairs: Formed: September 1946 Headquarters: Raisina Hill, New Delhi Minister: Sushma Swaraj The Ministry is responsible for the conduct of foreign relations of India Colombia: Capital: Bogota Official languages: Spanish President: Ivan Duque Currency: Peso (COP)
 

International News

India-Germany join hands for cooperation on ‘Water& Waste Management 
The 3rd Indo-German Working Group for cooperation on (i) water and (ii) waste management concluded in New Delhitoday.Delegations from both the ministries –   The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India and The Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany – have met and discussed potential cooperation areas in the field of water and waste management.
Though, India-Germany bilateral economic cooperation has been robust and India’s priorities in most areas match with German expertise, but bilateral co-operation in the field of Environment got further strengthened when both the environment ministries organized Second Indo-German Environment Forum during January 2015 wherein these two working groups were constituted, which concluded its third meeting today.


Cabinet approves MoU between India and Malaysia for Mutual Cooperation in the field of Company Secretaryship 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Malaysia for Mutual Cooperation to raise the status and prestige of the Practicing Company Secretary in both countries, and to facilitate the movement of the Company Secretaries across borders in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Point-wise details
Approval of the Cabinet is in respect of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the "Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)" and "Malaysian Association of Company Secretaries (MACS)" to strengthen cooperation and to raise the status and prestige of the Practicing Company Secretary in both jurisdictions and to facilitate the movement of the company secretaries across borders in the Asia Pacific region.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and the UAE on Development cooperation in Africa
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates on Development Cooperation in Africa. The MoU entails setting up of a framework of cooperation between the two countries for implementing development partnership projects and programmes in Africa.
Benefits:
The proposal will help strengthen political and economic linkages between India and the countries of Africa and serve our broader strategic interests.
 

Space News

India’s communication satellite GSAT-31 launched successfully from French Guiana 
India’s latest communication satellite, GSAT-31 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana during the early hours today.
The launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-247 lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana at 2:31 am (IST) carrying India’s GSAT-31 and Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 satellites, as scheduled.
After a 42-min flight, GSAT-31 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 250 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35,850 km, inclined at an angle of 3.0 degree to the equator.
 

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Important Current Affairs 31st January 2019

National News

Govt embarks on ambitious programme to ensure 100% electrification of Railways grid in next 5 years 
•    Government has embarked on an ambitious programme to ensure 100 per cent electrification of Railways grid in the next five years.
•    The step will help reduce carbon emissions and supplement the efforts to fight climate change. Mr Goyal was speaking in New Delhi today after he was conferred with Carnot Prize by a US-based Centre for Energy Policy.
•    The award recognizes role of exceptional leaders in advancing mission of cultivating energy policy innovation.


PM Modi dedicates National Salt Satyagraha Memorial to the nation
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated National Salt Satyagraha Memorial to the nation at Dandi village, situated in South Gujarat on Arabian sea coast.
•    At the memorial site, he also unveiled statues of Mahatma Gandhi and 80 Satyagrahis who had marched with him during the historic Dandi Salt March in 1930.
•    A dedication ceremony on Bapu’s death anniversary has acquired special significance as Dandi village is to receive a big push from the government to be developed as a place of national importance and tourist interest like Statue of Unity.


India's 1st Geographical Indication Store opened in Goa
•    Union Civil Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday inaugurated India's 1st Geographical Indication store at Goa International Airport in Dabolim.
•    The store is located on the first floor on Departure Terminal, and jointly set up by Airports Authority of India and The Cashew Export Promotional Council of India.
•    Union Minister informed that currently there are 270 GI registered products in the country and the store will be a boon for the global tourists.


CBI books Chanda Kochhar, Venugopal Dhoot 
•    The CBI has booked former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon group MD Venugopal Dhoot in connection with alleged cheating and irregularities in loans sanctioned by the bank to the group in 2012.
•    It is alleged that Videocon promoter Venugopal Dhoot allegedly invested crores of rupees in Nupower months after the Videocon group got Rs 3,250 crore as loan from the ICICI Bank in 2012.
 

International News

US, China begin trade talks in Washington 
•    Top trade officials from the US and China have begun talks in Washington for defusing the escalating tariff war. 
•    The Chinese delegation is headed by Chinese Vice Premier Lie, while the American side is led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
•    The White House said, US welcomes the Chinese delegation and US President Donald Trump will meet them at the end of the two-days talks.
•    US and China have just a month remaining in a 90-day truce declared in December. Should the talks fail, US import duties on 200 billion dollars in Chinese imports are due to more than double on 2nd March.


South Korea bans single-use plastic bags in supermarkets 
•    The South Korean government ban on the use of disposable plastic bags at big supermarkets came into effect on January 1 in a bid to protect the environment and encourage recycling.
•    The revised law affects about 2,000 supermarkets over 165 square metres in size, all of which used to provide disposable plastic bags for free.
 

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Important Current Affairs 30th January 2019

National News

NGMA to organize 1st edition of Night at the Museum 
•    National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) New Delhi will today organize the first edition of Night at the Museum.
•    The event will be organised in collaboration with the India Art Fair from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM.
•    NGMA will conduct guided tour of its prestigious permanent collection which is on display at the permanent gallery.
•    Highlight objects include works of art of Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil, Raja Ravi Verma, Nandalal Bose and Jamini Roy.


Four highway projects worth over Rs 3000 cr launched in Rajasthan
•    In Rajasthan, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of four National Highway projects worth over 3 thousand 237 Cr. rupees.
•    These include three projects in Bikaner and one in Nagaur District.
•    24 thousand Km Highways will be constructed in first phase of Bharatmala Project.
•    Foundation stone of two projects were laid down in the function, which include National Highway from Raisinghnagar to Poogal and Khajuwala to Poogal and Poogal to Naukha-Bap sections of NH-911.


All religion prayer organized at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram in Gujarat
•    Gujarat is paying rich tribute to its son of soil father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary today.
•    All religion prayer has been organized at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram this morning. 
•    Several functions have been organized at Kirti Mandir in Porbandar- the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.
•    People will also observe two minutes silence at 11 am in respect to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi.


India improves its global corruption ranking in 2018: Study
•    India has improved its ranking on a global corruption index in 2018 by three points and moved to 78th position with a score of 41.
•    In the list of 180 countries, China and Pakistan lagged far behind at 87th and 117th position, respectively.
•    According to the rankings released by an anti-corruption watchdog, Denmark is the least corrupt country followed by New Zealand while Somalia, Syria and South Sudan are the most corrupt countries in the world.


Obituary

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes passes away in New Delhi 
•    Former Defence Minister and Anti-Emergency Crusader George Fernandes passed away in New Delhi. He was 88.
•    One of the most prominent leaders of the socialist movement in the 1970s, George Fernandes was a senior Janata Dal leader before he founded the Samata Party. 
•    He was elected to the Lok Sabha 9 times and once to the Rajya Sabha.
•    He also served as Union Minister for Railways, Communications and Industry. 
•    George Fernandes was also a trade unionist, agriculturist, and journalist. As President of the All India Railwaymen's Federation he led the Railway strike involving 1.5 million workers in 1974, resulting in thousands being sent to jail.


International News

UAE, Saudi central banks launch common digital currency called 'Aber' 
•    The central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia have launched a common digital currency called "Aber", which will be used in financial settlements between the two countries through Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies.
•    It will establish an additional means for the central financial transfer systems of the two countries and enable banks to directly deal with each other in conducting financial remittances.
•    Through this digital currency, both the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) are studying the impact on the improvement and reduction of remittance costs and the assessments of risks.


Myanmar parliament approves step toward charter change
•    Myanmar's parliament has voted to create a committee to propose amendments to the country's military-enacted constitution, which grants the armed forces the power to block any change.
•    The proposal to form the committee was presented by a member of the ruling National League for Democracy party of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which took power in 2016 after more than five decades of military or military-backed rule.
•    The 2008 constitution gives the military control of national security ministries and 25 per cent of legislative seats, enough to prevent any constitutional changes, which require the support of more than 75 per cent of lawmakers.


Awards

Hindi writer Chitra Mudgal among 24 honoured with Sahitya Akademi Award 
•    Renowned Hindi writer Chitra Mudgal, Dogri writer Inderjeet Kesar, Kannada writer KG Nagarajappa and Kashmiri story writer Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq were among 24 writers, who were honoured with the Sahitya Akademi Award 2018.
•    President of the Sahitya Akademi Chandrasekhar Kambar presented these awards at a function in New Delhi.
•    The awards were given for 24 different languages. The award was given to Chitra Mudgal for her book 'post box no 203 Nalla Sopara', which was based on the life of a transgender.
•    Inderjeet Kesar got the award for his Dogri novel- Bhagirath based on challenges faced by human beings. 
•    K. G Nagarajappa bagged the award for Anushreni- Yajamanike which is a collection of Kannada essays. 
•    Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq received the award for his collection of 18 Kashmiri short stories - Aakh.
 

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