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Important Current Affairs of 26th May

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Manjit Singh GK expelled from Shiromani Akali Dal.

• Former Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjit Singh GK was expelled from Shiromani Akali Dal, two days after he questioned the party's leadership over its performance in Punjab Lok Sabha polls. Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder said that the step was taken after the Delhi court recently directed to investigate corruption charges against Manjit.

President Kovind appoints Modi as PM, swearing-in likely on May 30.

• President Kovind appoints Modi as PM, swearing-in likely on May 30

• NDA leader Narendra Modi met President Ram Nath Kovind today and staked claim to form new government. President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Modi to the office of Prime Minister and asked him to advise about the names of others to be appointed members of the Union Council of Ministers. The swearing-in ceremony is likely to take place on May 30.

SPORTS:

First 300-run partnership came after 28 years of ODI cricket.

• Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid shared ODI cricket's first ever 300-run partnership after notching 318 runs against Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup on 26 May 1999, nearly 28 years after first ODI was played. Ganguly, who went on to score his career-best 183 in the match, contributed 157(146) for the second wicket partnership while Dravid scored 145(129).

Apurvi Chandela wins second ISSF World Cup gold of the year.

• India's Apurvi Chandela won her second International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup gold medal this year in Germany on Sunday. Chandela, who beat China's Wang Luyao in the 10-metre Air Rifle event, had earlier registered a world record score at ISSF World Cup in New Delhi in February. Notably, this was Apurvi's career's fourth ISSF medal.

About ISSF World Cup:

• The ISSF World Cup was introduced by the International Shooting Sport Federation in 1986 to provide a homogeneous system for qualification to the Olympic shooting competitions. It still is carried out in the Olympic shooting events, with four competitions per year in each event.

About Apurvi Chandela:

• Apurvi Singh Chandela is an Indian sport shooter who competes in the 10 metre air rifle event. She won the gold medal in the 2019 ISSF World Cup in New Delhi.

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Important Current Affairs 25th May 2019

NATIONAL:

25-yr-old mechanical engineer Chandrani to become youngest MP ever

• BJD's Chandrani Murmu, a 25-year-old mechanical engineer who won Odisha's reserved Keonjhar seat by defeating two-time BJP MP Ananta Nayak, will become the youngest member in Lok Sabha history. Chandrani won the seat by 66,203 votes. She will replace JJP founder Dushyant Chautala, who had become the youngest parliamentarian at 26 after being elected to 16th Lok Sabha from Hisar.

NDA elects Narendra Modi as its leader for 2nd time in a row.

• The BJP-led NDA has elected Narendra Modi as its leader for the second time in a row at NDA parliamentary board meeting today. Modi will meet President Ram Nath Kovind later today to stake claim to form government. "I thank all allies and MPs who unanimously chose NDA leader Narendra Modi as the new PM," said BJP President Amit Shah.

About NDA:

• The National Democratic Alliance is a coalition of right-leaning political parties in India. At the time of its formation in 1998, it was led by the BJP and had 13 constituent parties. Its chairman was late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Also representing the alliance are L. K

• Chairperson: Amit Shah

• Founder: Bharatiya Janata Party

• Founded: May 1998

• Members: Bharatiya Janata Party, Biju Janata Dal, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

INTERNATIONAL:

Trump bypasses US Congress to sell $8-billion arms to Saudi, UAE.

• US President Donald Trump, declaring a national emergency because of tensions with Iran, bypassed Congress on Friday to complete the sale of over $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi, the UAE and Jordan. Members of Congress had been blocking sales of military equipment to Saudi and the UAE because of huge civilian toll from their air campaign in Yemen.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Indian Army officer appointed head of UN Mission in South Sudan.

• Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar has been appointed as the new Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. He served in the UN Angola Verification Mission III from 1996 to 1997, and in the UN Mission in Sudan from 2008 to 2009. Lieutenant General Tinaikar is currently Commandant of The Infantry School.

• Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar:

• General Shailesh Tinaikar is the recipient of the Sena Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal for Distinguished Service. A 1983 graduate of the Indian Military Academy, he was the Additional Director General of Military Operations at Army Headquarters before taking charge of the Infantry School in Mhow.

About United Nations Mission in South Sudan:

• The United Nations Mission in South Sudan is the newest United Nations peacekeeping mission for the recently independent South Sudan, which became independent on 9 July 2011. UNMISS was established on 8 July 2011 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1996.

Wikipedia

• Headquarters: Juba, South Sudan

• Head: David Shearer

• Founded: 9 July 2011

• Parent organization: United Nations Security Council.

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Important Current Affairs of 24th May

INTERNATIONAL:

US, Japan, South Korea, Australia Hold 1st Naval Drills In Western Pacific.

• US State Department approved to sell air-defense missiles for worth of more than USD 600 million to Japan and South Korea.

This approval was result of rising tension with North Korea when a pair of missile was tested by North Korea last week.

The US government has approved sale of 94 SM-2 missiles used by ships against air threats along with 12 guidance systems for a total cost of USD 313.9 million.

About South Korea

Capital: Seoul

Currency: South Korean Won

President: Moon Jae-in

About Japan

Capital: Tokyo

Currency: Japanese Yen

Prime Minister. Shinzo Abe

About USA

Capital: Washington D.C.

Currency: United States Dollar

President: Donald Trump

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Jagan Mohan Reddy To Be Sworn In As CM of Andhra Pradesh.

• YSR Congress Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy sworn in as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh on 30th of May at Vijayawada.

• Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy announced this following his party achieving inching towards a landslide victory in the legislative elections for Andhra Pradesh Legislative assembly.

He will replace N Chandrababu Naidu who resides as Andhra Pradesh CM

About YSR Congress Party

President: Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy

Founded:12 March 2011

Odisha Cong chief resigns after party's defeat in LS polls.

• Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Niranjan Patnaik on Friday announced his resignation after the party's defeat in the state. "I've sent my resignation to Congress President (Rahul Gandhi) owning moral responsibility for party's poor show in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in (Odisha)," he said. "While Congress faced defeat in the state, I too lost at the hustings," Patnaik added.

About Niranjan Patnaik:

• Niranjan Patnaik is an Indian politician, from Orissa. He is currently state president of Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee and former minister of Orissa State.

• Born: 22 February 1948 (age 71 years), Anandapur

• Party: Indian National Congress

• Residence: Bhubaneswar

• Education: Utkal University (1962)

• Siblings: Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Chittaranjan Patnaik

• Children: Navajyoti Patnaik

YSRCP wins Andhra Assembly polls, Jagan Reddy to become CM.

• YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has won the Assembly election in Andhra Pradesh, with victory in 151 of the 175 constituencies in the state. The previous ruling party Telugu Desam Party (TDP) managed to win 23 seats. Meanwhile, YSRCP leader Ummareddy Venkateswarlu has announced that party chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy will take oath as the Chief Minister on May 30.

About Jagan Mohan:

• Yeduguri Sandinti Jaganmohan Reddy, is an Indian politician from Andhra Pradesh, who is the founder and leader of YSR Congress Party, and Leader of opposition in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly since 16 May 2014. He is the son of the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

• Born: 21 December 1972 (age 46 years), Pulivendula

• Party: YSR Congress Party

• Spouse: Y S Bharati (m. 1996)

• Education: Nizam College, The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet

• Siblings: Y. S. Sharmila

• Children: Harsha Reddy, Varsha Reddy

About YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

• YSR Congress Party is a regional political party in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in India. Currently, its president is Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, the son of former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Both YSR and Jaganmohan Reddy had been members of the Indian National Congress.

• President: Y. S. Vijayamma

• Leader: Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy

• Founder: Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy

• Founded: 12 March 2011

• Wings: YSR Congress Trade Union, YSR Congress Mahila Wing, YSR Congress Student Wing, YSR Congress Youth Wing

• Headquarters: Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Theresa May to resign as the Prime Minister of UK on June 7.

• Theresa May on Friday said she will step down as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on June 7. This comes as May faced backlash by her own MPs against her latest Brexit plan. Since January, the UK Parliament has rejected the withdrawal agreement that May negotiated with the European Union (EU) three times.

About Theresa may:

• Theresa Mary May is a British politician who serves as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 until 2019. May was first elected Member of Parliament for Maidenhead in 1997, and served as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016.

• Born: 1 October 1956 (age 62 years), Eastbourne, United Kingdom

• Party: Conservative Party

• Previous offices: Home Secretary of the United Kingdom (2010–2016),

• Education: St Hugh's College, Oxford (1974–1977), University of Oxford.

About United Kingdom:

• The United Kingdom, made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is an island nation in northwestern Europe. England – birthplace of Shakespeare and The Beatles – is home to the capital, London, a globally influential centre of finance and culture. England is also site of Neolithic Stonehenge, Bath’s Roman spa and centuries-old universities at Oxford and Cambridge.

BJD wins 112 seats in Odisha, Patnaik set to be CM for 5th time in row.

• BJD won 112 seats out of 146 in 2019 Odisha Assembly polls, with party President Naveen Patnaik set for a fifth consecutive term as CM. Patnaik becomes only the third CM after Sikkim’s Pawan Chamling and West Bengal’s Jyoti Basu to achieve the feat. BJP won 23 seats, Congress 9, and CPI(M) and an independent candidate won one seat each.

About Naveen Patnaik:

• Naveen Patnaik is an Indian politician who is the current and 14th Chief Minister of Odisha. He is also the president of the Biju Janata Dal, a writer and has published four books.

• Born: 16 October 1946 (age 72 years), Cuttack

• Party: Biju Janata Dal

• Education: The Doon School, Welham Boys' School, University of Delhi, St Stephen's College, Kirori Mal College Hostel

• Siblings: Gita Mehta, Prem Patnaik.

• Parents: Biju Patnaik, Gyan Patnaik.

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Important Current Affairs of 23th May

NATIONAL:

Indra Nooyi was presented with an honorary degree by the prestigious Yale University.

• Former PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi was presented with an honorary degree by the prestigious Yale University, her alma mater. The degree is to recognize her achievements in business and for being a global role model who encouraged women and girls to see themselves as top corporate executives. She is celebrated for her leadership and her commitment to helping women achieve success.

• Nooyi, She received a degree in Master of Public and Private Management from the university's Yale School of Management in 1980, was presented with the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

• Nooyi was among 11 individuals to be presented with the honorary degrees for achieving distinction in their fields.

Others who received the honorary degrees included author and feminist activist Gloria Steinem, wildlife researcher Cynthia Moss, entrepreneur and philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa and Harvard University president Lawrence Bacow.

Indra Nooyi:

• In 2006, Nooyi became the first woman to helm the global food and beverage giant PepsiCo. She stepped down in October 2 last year as PepsiCo's CEO, after 24 years with the company, the last 12 as CEO of the global beverage giant.

• Nooyi was recently elected to the board of Amazon, on whose audit compensation committee she sits. She is a member of the World Economic Forum board of trustees and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

• She is also an independent director of the International Cricket Council and chair of the compensation committee at Schlumberger, an oilfield services company, on whose board she serves.

• One of 25 women to have led a Fortune 500 company, Nooyi has appeared frequently on the Forbes and Fortune rankings of the world's most powerful women.

Cong's Ramya Haridas becomes Kerala's second-ever Dalit woman MP.

• Ramya Haridas, Congress' Lok Sabha candidate from Alathur constituency in Kerala is set to become the second-ever Dalit woman MP from the state. She defeated senior CPI(M) leader and sitting MP PK Biju with a margin of nearly 1.59 lakh votes. The 32-year-old, who has a habit of breaking into songs during rallies, recited a poem to thank the voters.

• About Ramya Haridas:

• Ramya Haridas is an Indian politician of Indian National Congress in the state of Kerala and the daughter of All India Mahila Congress leader Radha. She currently serves as the Block panchayat President of Kunnamangalam. She will be contesting from Alathur in 2019 election as All Indian National Congress candidate.

• Born: 1987 (age 32 years), Kozhikode

• Party: Indian National Congress.

Gopal becomes first HIV-infected climber to scale Everest.

• Gopal Shrestha, a 56-year-old from Nepal's Pokhara, on Wednesday became the first HIV-infected climber to scale the world's highest peak, the Mount Everest. Shrestha, who used to play football for Nepal, climbed the peak in his second attempt after being forced to abandon his first attempt due to the deadly earthquake in Nepal in 2015.

AGREEMENTS AND MOU’s:

Assam Rifles signed the charter of affiliation with the Indian Coast Guard.

• In a first, the Assam Rifles (AR) signed the charter of affiliation with the Indian Coast Guard to enhance inter-forces cooperation and interoperability. It is a permanent affiliation of Assam Rifles with the Coast Guards.

•  The charter of affiliation was signed by the Director General (DG) of the Indian Coast Guard, Rajendra Singh and DG, Assam Rifles Lt Gen Sukhdeep Sangwan on 22 May 2019.

Main Objective:

The objective of the affiliation is to promote bilateral cooperation between the two Services and contribute to joint capacity for training, sports, adventure, and sustainable development.

The affiliation includes:

The training will involve the exchange of information and personnel of the two Forces and building camaraderie. The two will work together in humanitarian missions and other areas.

A combat battalion of Assam Rifles will soon be training onboard ICGS Shaurya (16), an offshore patrol vessel in Chennai.

In due course of time, arrangements will be made for the exchange of personnel including those with an understanding of Land Border Management (LBM) with Assam Rifles battalions.

Over-Seas Deployment (OSD) of AR personnel on board an ICG ship, bilateral meetings between the two forces, and participation of experts from both sides in such meetings.

ADB to provide ₹5,200 cr to electrify railway tracks in India.

• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday said it will provide $750 million (over ₹5,200 crore) long-term financing to electrify railway tracks in India. This is the largest single non-sovereign loan ever committed by the funding agency. Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) will use the loan to install electric traction equipment along about 3,378 kilometres of existing railway lines.

About ADB:

• The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in the Ortigas Center located in the city of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines. The company also maintains 31 field offices around the world to promote social and economic development in Asia.

Wikipedia

• Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Philippines

• President: Takehiko Nakao

• Membership: 68 countries

• Founded: 19 December 1966

• Purpose: Economic development

• Subsidiaries: Asian Development Bank Institute

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

HDFC Group Overtakes Tata Group As Indias Most Valuable.

• HDFC group overtaken the 151-year-old Tata group to emerge as India’s most valuable by way of market capitalization (m-cap).

The combined market value of the five listed companies of the HDFC group – HDFC, HDFC Bank, HDFC Life, HDFC Asset Management and Gruh Finance stood at Rs 11.66 lakh crore while the combined m-cap of 29 Tata group companies stood at Rs 11.64 lakh crore, about Rs 2,000 crore less than that of the HDFC group.

About HDFC group

CEO: Aditya Puri

Headquarters: Mumbai

Founded: August 1994, India

Subsidiaries: HDFC securities, HDB Financial Services

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

N Chandrababu Naidu resigns as CM of Andhra Pradesh.

• N Chandrababu Naidu has resigned as Andhra Pradesh CM after trends showed his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leading in only 23 Assembly seats and winning two. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) is leading in 138 Assembly seats and has won 12. The Legislative Party meeting of YSRCP is set to take place on May 25.

About N Chandrababu Naidu:

• Nara Chandrababu Naidu is an Indian politician who was the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh serving since 2014. He was the first chief minister of the state since it was divided. Wikipedia

• Born: 20 April 1950 (age 69 years), Naravaripalli

• Spouse: Nara Bhuvaneshwari (m. 1980)

• Education: Sri Venkateswara University

• Siblings: Ramamurthy Naidu

• Parents: N. Kharjura Naidu, Amanamma Naidu

• Children: Nara Lokesh

Netflix hires its first India content IP lawyer.

• Netflix has reportedly appointed Priyanka Chaudhari as director and senior counsel for content and Intellectual Property (IP) in India. Chaudhari, who worked at Balaji Telefilms as VP-Group Legal for around two years, will be Netflix's first content IP lawyer in India, the report said. Reportedly, in her new role, Chaudhari will report to Netflix's Los Angeles office.

About Netflix:

• Netflix, Inc. is an American media-services provider headquartered in Los Gatos, California, founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in Scotts Valley, California

• Founded: 29 August 1997, Scotts Valley, California, United States

• Films produced: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, The Kissing Booth, MORE

• Owned by: Morgan Stanley, Reed Hastings

• Founders: Reed Hastings, Marc Randolph

• Did you know: Netflix is the world's seventh-largest internet company by revenue.

DAYS:

World Tortoise Day is observed on 23rd May.

• World turtle day is observed on 23rd May. It is sponsored yearly since 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue. The aim is to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive. This year the day spotlights on freshwater turtles.

• The herpetologists, one who studies about amphibians and reptiles, have launched a unique initiative to gather more information about India’s freshwater turtles and tortoises.

In India:

• The India Biodiversity Portal has initiated a ‘Turtle Spotting Week’ as part of a unique exercise to document the creatures across India. The week began on 17th May and ends on 23rd May 2019.

• There are at least 28 species of freshwater turtles which can be spotted across the country and we felt that not enough attention was being given to them. Research and conservation activities in particular are limited and we wanted to encourage more people to document their findings.

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Important Current Affairs of 22th May

INTERNATIONAL:

Nepal banned popular Chinese digital wallets Alipay and WeChat.

• Nepal banned popular Chinese digital wallets Alipay and WeChat to prevent the loss of foreign currency earnings from tens of thousands of Chinese tourists. The reason cited is Nepal was losing out since the actual transactions took place in China.

• Over 1,50,000 Chinese holidaymakers visited Nepal in 2018, many using digital wallets to pay in hotels, restaurants, and shops in tourist areas, especially in Chinese-run businesses.

• Nepal:

President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari

Prime Minister: KP Sharma Oli

Capital: Kathmandu

Currency: Nepalese rupee

Bangladesh stopped visas for Pakistani nationals.

• The Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad has stopped issuing visas to Pakistani nationals for one week over a fresh diplomatic row amid strained bilateral ties since 2013 when Dhaka decided to hang several of the 1971 war criminals.

The Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad stopped issuing visas to Pakistanis for the last one week as a mark of protest as a Bangladeshi diplomat's visa-extension application has not been cleared by the Pakistan government for last four months.

No official announcement yet made:

In 2018, Dhaka denied a visa to the Pakistan High Commissioner. The Foreign Office in Dhaka, however, is yet to make any formal confirmation and no official notification has been issued on the halting of visas to the Pakistani nationals.

Bangladesh refusal for Pak. new high commissioner:

Bangladesh has reportedly refused to accept the 'agreement' from Islamabad for the appointment of a new high commissioner.

Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs named Saqlain Syedah as its new High Commissioner to Bangladesh, but Dhaka refused to accept the "agreement", a diplomatic requirement under which a host country has to confirm the appointment of an incoming envoy.

Reason:

Bangladesh, which seceded from Pakistan in 1971, has accused Pakistan of financing terrorism on its soil. Bilateral ties have become so strained. Now it has halted granting visas to all Pakistanis.

AGREEMENTS AND MOU’s:

Tech Mahindra signed a defence contract worth Rs.300 crore with Indian Navy.

• IT major, Tech Mahindra has signed a defence contract worth Rs.300 crore with Indian Navy. This contract is its biggest agreement to date. The IT major will implement RFID-based access control system across all naval bases and ships as part of 'Armed Forces Secure Access Card (AFSAC)' Project. AFSAC  will replace the existing paper-based identity card for all Navy personnel, including dependents and ex-servicemen. As part of the AFSAC Project, Tech Mahindra will implement RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) based access control system across all naval bases and ships.

AFSAC Project:

•  The Mumbai-based company will develop a secure application to manage the access control devices, network devices, and the AFSAC card through a data centre.

•  The security of Indian Naval establishments against unauthorized access is a thrust area and the AFSAC Project will be an important step towards achieving this aim.

• Scheduled to be implemented over the next two years, the project will ensure smooth issuance, handling, administration, management and life-cycle support of AFSAC Cards on turnkey basis.

• This project further cements the company's role as one of the leading system integrators globally. Tech Mahindra is already working with entities like Coal India, India Ports Association, Kanpur Smart City and others.

Tech Mahindra:

Type: Public

Founded on: 24 October 1986

Chairman: Anand Mahindra

MD & CEO: C.P. Gurnani

Services: Outsourcing, Consulting, Managed services

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

TikTok parent hires former Google executive Sameer Singh as VP.

• TikTok owner ByteDance has appointed media agency GroupM's South Asia CEO Sameer Singh in the role of VP, monetisation, for India. The IIM Calcutta alumnus, who has earlier worked as Director Agencies Business at Google India will join new role in August. In his new role, Sameer will lead the advertising, sales and marketing strategies across ByteDance’s products in India.

About TikTok:

• TikTok, also known as Douyin in China, is an iOS and Android media app for creating and sharing short videos. The application allows users to create short music videos of 3 to 15 seconds and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds.

• Initial release date: September 2016

• Stable release: 11.2.3 / 12 May 2019

• Developed by: ByteDance

• Size: 308.3 MB (iOS); 80.19 MB (Android)

• Operating system: iOS, Android

• Available in: 33 languages

Bimal Dayal to lead merged entity of Indus Towers, Bharti Infratel.

• Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Group have announced Bimal Dayal, who is currently CEO of Indus Towers, will be appointed CEO of the merged entity of Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel. Dayal, who joined Indus Towers as its Chief Operating Officer in 2010, previously worked with Ericsson. The tower companies further named Indus CFO Hemant Ruia as the combined entity's CFO.

• About Merged entity of indus Towers,Bharti Infratel.

• The merged company will be listed on the stock exchanges as Bharti Infratel is a publicly traded company. ... Bharti Infratel and Vodafone Group own 42% each inIndus Towers, while Vodafone Idea, the merged entity of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India, holds 11.15%.

DAYS:

World Biodiversity Day is observed on 22 May.

• The International Day for Biological Diversity (or World Biodiversity Day) is a United Nations-sanctioned international day to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The day is observed on May 22 every year. The theme for 2019 is 2019 - Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health.

Biological Diversity falls within the scope of the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda's Sustainable Development Goals. Agrobiodiversity and its potential to support human nutrition and good health is a critical component of the global sustainability agenda. The critical role of biodiversity in sustainable development was recognized in a Rio+20 outcome document, The World We Want: A Future for All.

Theme 2019: Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health:

• This year’s International Day for Biological Diversity focuses on biodiversity as the foundation for our food and health and as a key catalyst to transforming food systems and improving human well-being.

• The theme aims to leverage knowledge and spread awareness of the dependency of our food systems, nutrition, and health on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. The theme also celebrates the diversity provided by our natural systems for human existence and well-being on Earth, while contributing to other Sustainable Development Goals, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, ecosystems restoration, cleaner water, and zero hunger, among others.

• To conserve and sustainably use biodiversity for the well-being, every individual need to:

• Reduce meat consumption

• Eat and purchase seasonal foods

• Buy local foods

• Reduce food waste

• Compost food scraps

• Reduce food packaging by using reusable bags or reusing glass jars or containers

• Avoid single-use plastics like plastic straws, coffee cups, plastic cutlery, take out containers or plastic water bottles

• Promote local and indigenous biodiversity for food and nutrition

AWARDS:

Oman author Jokha Al Harthi wins Booker International Prize.

• Oman Author Jokha Al Harthi won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for "Celestial Bodies", the story of three sisters of a desert country confronting its slave-owning past and a complex modern world.

• Jokha Alharthi, the first Arabic-language writer to take the prize, will split the 50,000 pounds or 64,000 US dollar purse with her UK-based translator, Marilyn Booth.

About Man Booker International Prize

Country: United Kingdom

Awarded for: Best book in English translation

Presented: by Man Group

Reward(s):£50,000

First awarded: 2005.

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Important Current Affairs 21th May 2019

NATIONAL:

PCT Humanity entered the Guinness Book of World Records for its hunger relief efforts.

• PCT Humanity, a charity run by an Indian, in the UAE has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for its hunger relief efforts during the holy month of Ramzan in Abu Dhabi. The charity set the new Guinness World Records for “Longest Line of Hunger Relief Package” in Abu Dhabi.

Adjudicated by Douglas Palau, the attempt saw iftar meals containing seven items spread in a line without keeping any gap between the packages for a kilometre.

Joginder Singh Salaria's, founder of PCT Humanity, efforts were in continuation to the vegetarian iftar held daily at the premises of his company Pehal International, Dubai Industrial Park. The main aim of the charity is to feed people pure vegetarian food to stay healthy and fit and also save animals.

Reliance beats Indian Oil, becomes India's biggest firm by revenue.

• Asia's richest person Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has toppled state-run Indian Oil to become India's largest company by revenue. Reliance reported revenue of ₹6.23 lakh crore for 2018-19 compared to Indian Oil's ₹6.17 lakh crore. With this milestone, Reliance has achieved the number one position in India in terms of revenue, profit and market capitalisation.

• Reliance Industries Limited is an Indian conglomerate holding company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Reliance owns businesses across India engaged in energy, petrochemicals, textiles, natural resources, retail, and telecommunications. Wikipedia

• Stock price: RELIANCE (NSE) ₹ 1,339.90 +14.00 (+1.06%)

• 21 May, 3:43 pm IST - Disclaimer

• CEO: Mukesh Ambani (31 Jul 2002–)

• Owner: Mukesh Ambani (47.35%)

• Founder: Dhirubhai Ambani

• Founded: 8 May 1973, Maharashtra

• Revenue: 6.23 lakh crores INR (US$87 billion, 2019)

• Subsidiaries: Jio, JioSaavn, Radisys, Indiavidual Learning, MORE

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Tripura Gramin Bank received Indias top three Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in terms of profit, business and growth.

• Tripura Gramin Bank received India’s top three Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in terms of profit, business and growth.

• Currently India has 46 Regional Rural Bank out of which Tripura Gramin Bank ranked 3rd in the country. 

• Tripura Gramin Bank posted a profit for 7 successive years to Rs 125.45 crore in fiscal 2018-19.

• The central government has a 50% stake, the Union Bank of India has 35% stake and rest 15% is held by the Tripura government.

About Tripura Gramin Bank

Founded    21 Dec 1976

Headquarter: Agartala

Chairman: Mahendra Mohan Goswami.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Joko Widodo has been elected President of Indonesia for the second term.

• Indonesia’s Joko Widodo has been re-elected as President of the country. He beat his rival Prabowo Subianto, a retired general.

Widodo and his vice-presidential running mate Ma’ruf Amin won the election by a 55.5% to 44.5%margin over Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno.

Widodo's PDI-P finished first in the People's Representative Council (DPR) election with 19.33%, followed by Prabowo's Gerindra with 12.57%. The next top parties by the number of votes are Golkar, the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Nasdem Party, and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

Joko Widodo:

Joko Widodo is an Indonesian politician who is the seventh and current President of Indonesia.

Elected in July 2014 as the first Indonesian president to not come from an elite political or military background, he was previously the Mayor of Surakarta from 2005 to 2012, and the Governor of Jakarta from 2012 to 2014.

He belongs to the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

Indonesia General election:

• General elections were held in Indonesia on 17 April 2019.

• For the first time in the country's history, the president, the vice president, members of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), and members of local legislative bodies were elected on the same day with over 190 million eligible voters.

• Sixteen parties participated in the elections nationally, including four new parties.

The election was a re-match of the 2014 presidential election, in which Widodo defeated Prabowo. The election was described as "one of the most complicated single-day ballots in global history".

Moin ul Haque appointed as Pakistans High Commissioner to India.

• Pakistan announced career diplomat Moin ul Haque as its new High Commissioner to India. The appointment was formally approved by Prime Minister Imran Khan. He is the current ambassador of Pakistan in France.

• Haque replaces Sohail Mehmood. The post of High Commissioner to India fell vacant after Sohail Mehmood was appointed Pakistan's new foreign secretary.

• Pakistan has announced new ambassadors to 18 countries including China, Japan, and Brussels. The decision came after a detailed meeting with Prime Minister Khan, who formally approved the new appointments.

Other appointments:

• In Beijing, Naghmana Hashmi will replace Masood Khalid, the incumbent envoy to China, after completion of his tenure. Additional Secretary Imtiaz Ahmad has been appointed Ambassador to Japan, while Zaheer Janjua, currently serving as additional secretary in Europe, will look after the Pakistani mission in Brussels.

• Sarfaraz Ahmad was appointed as ambassador to Sudan, Imran Haider as ambassador in Tajikistan, Major General Abdul Aziz Tariq in Brunei and Major General Muhammad Khalid Rao in Bosnia Herzegovina.

• Ambassador in Kuwait Ghulam Dastagir will replace Muazzam Ali Khan in Abu Dhabi, while Qazi Khalilullah, serving asambassador in Russia, was being given an extension of six months.   

The newly-appointed ambassadors and consul generals will play a pivotal in promoting the soft image of Pakistan and will adopt the best behaviour with Pakistani community living abroad.

Note:

Ambassador: An ambassador is an accredited diplomat sent by a state as its permanent representative in a foreign country.

DAYS:

May 21 is observed as Anti Terrorism day in India.

• Every year May 21 is observed as Anti-Terrorism day in India. The day is observed in the memory offormer Indian PM Mr. Rajiv Gandhi who passed away on this day. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated at an election rally near Chennai by a suicide bomber from the LTTE on 21 May 1991. On this day the Centre intends to spread awareness among the people about the danger of terrorism and violence and its effect on the people, society and the country as a whole.

• The Ministry of Home Affairs requested all Varsities and affiliated colleges to observe the day. • The objective behind the observance of Anti-Terrorism Day is to wean away the people from terrorism and violence. Its motive is to promote unity, peace and harmony across the nation.

• The Purpose of observing World Anti-Terrorism Day is:

• To spread the message of global peace and non-violence

• Deter vulnerable youth from following cult practices and being misguided

• Commemorate and honor the sacrifices made by thousands of soldiers who battled against terrorism

• Pay homage to the victims who lost their lives in terrorist attacks

• Device ways and hold awareness programs to protect future generations from radical influence.

• On this day Anti- terrorism pledge is taken in all government offices, PSU and in other public organisations. Events like debates, discussions, symposiums, seminars lectures will be held in schools, colleges and in universities on dangers of terrorism.

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Important Current Affairs of 19th & 20th May

NATIONAL

Govt plans introducing artificial intelligence system in MCA 21 portal

• The union governmentplans to introduce artificial intelligence system in the MCA 21 portal as it seeks to make the compliance process easier as well as ensure routine enforcement activities are done round-the-clock on autopilot basis.

MCA 21 is the electronic backbone for the dissemination of information to all stakeholders, including the regulator, corporates and investors.

• All filings under the companies law are submitted to the ministry through this portal.

• Ministry of Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas has said the ministry would like to introduce Artificial Intelligence in MCA 21 when version 3 of the portal is rolled out in about a year's time.

India sets Guinness World Records of largest laundry lesson with the participation of 400 young men

• India achieved a Guinness World Records of ‘largest laundry lesson’ with the participation of 400 young Indian men.

The event was a part of #sharetheload campaign.

• It was done to share the responsibility of cleaning clothes at home along with the female members of the family

The event was initiated by Ariel India.

• It was hosted by Mandira Bedi and Indian Actor Anil Kapoor also joined the function.Earlier, the largest laundry lesson was achieved by Lion NANOX Team (Japan) at Lion Hirai Research Laboratory in Edogawa, Tokyo, Japan on November 29, 2017. It had 318 people.

Kerala became first state to list Masala Bond in overseas market

• Kerala became the first state to tap into masala bond market by listing the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB)’s masala bond worth of USD 312 million (Rs 2,150 crore) in London Stock Exchange (LSE)’s International Securities Market (ISM).

• The masala bond has tenor of 5-year and a 9.723% coupon

Kerala’s state finance minister Thomas Issac executed this move.

• The main objective of this initiative was to tap masala bond market and to rebuild the infrastructure in Kerala from the proceeds of masala bond.

AGREEMENTS

BSNL partnered with Google for expanding WiFi footprint

• Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) partnered with Google on the occasion of World Telecom Day.

• The main objective is to expand BSNL Wifi footprint in the country.

Currently, there are around 38,000 BSNL Wifi hotspot locations working across the country and one can use these after buying the Wi-Fi vouchers worth of Rs 19 and more.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS

HDFC Capital Advisors launched an initiative termed as HDFC Affordable Real Estate and Technology Programme (HeART).

• HDFC Capital Advisors, (a wholly-owned subsidiary of HDFC Ltd) launched an initiative termed astHDFC Affordable Real Estate and Technology Programme (HeART), the objective of which is to mentor, partner and invest in real estate technology companies which produce innovative products that aim at lowering costs and creating efficiencies in every stage of the development cycle of the affordable housing system.

• Due to the upcoming technology disruptions, all processes like land approvals, planning and design, construction, project management, sales and facilities management would undergo a drastic change.

• HDFC Capital will also be collaborating with leading academic institutions, industry platforms and accelerators which would aid in creating an ecosystem that supports various components in the development of affordable housing.

Panel submits report on digital payments to RB

• A Reserve Bank of India-appointed committee on ‘suggestions on promoting digital payment’. It was headed by Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani has submitted its suggestions on promoting Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision 2019 - 2021, digital payments to Governor Shaktikanta Das.

• The five-member panel was encouraging digitisation of payments and enhance financial inclusion through digitisation.

RBI will examine the recommendations of the committee and will link the action points, wherever necessary, in its Payment Systems Vision 2021 for implementation.

• Panel Members: Besides Nandan Nilekani (Infosys co-founder), H R Khan (former RBI deputy governor), Kishore Sonsi (former MD and CEO of Vijaya Bank), Aruna Sharma (former secretary in ministries of IT and steel) and Sanjay Jain (chief innovation officer, Centre for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship (Cll E), 11M Ahmedabad).

RECOGNITION

Nancy Pelosi honoured with 2019 John F Kennedy Profile in Courage Award

• The USA's House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was honoured with 2019 John F Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. She was recognized for putting national interest above her party's interest, for her efforts to pass former President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law(Obama Care) and also for helping Democrats reclaim control of U.S. House during 2018 elections.

• She has served in House of Representatives since 1987.

• Previous Honorees of the award includes former Presidents Barack Obama, Gerald Ford, and prominent lawmakers Rep. John Lewis and late Sen. John McCain.

About JFK Profile in Courage Award:

It is an annual award that was created in 1989 by members of President J.F. Kennedy’s family.

It seeks to honor J.F. Kennedy and to recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage which he admired most. The award recognizes a public official (or officials) at the local, federal or state level whose actions speaks of qualities of politically courageous leadership.

OBITUARIES

I M Pei The Master Architect Passes Away

• I M Pei, a dominant figure in American architecture for more than three decades who designed the Louvre’s crystal pyramid, has passed away.

• Pei’s more than 50 projects included the Musee d’Art Moderne in Luxembourg (2006) and the 72-story Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong (1989).

• He was honored with the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal in 1979; the Grande Medaille d’Or from the Academie d’Architecture de France; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the USA.

SPORTS

PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal to spearhead Indian challenge at Sudirman Cup in China

• Sudirman Cup tournament will begin at the Guangxi Sports Center Gymnasium in Nanning, China .

• The Top shuttlers PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will spearhead the Indian challenge at this prestigious tournament.

• The Indian team will begin their campaign tomorrow against Malaysia in Group 1-D.India reached the quarterfinals twice in the 2011 and 2017 editions but failed to cross the last eight stage.

Sudirman Cup is a mixed team Badminton Championship held every two years.

• There are 12 elite teams that will take part in the tournament. Each group comprises of three teams, with the top two qualifyings for the quarterfinals.

Rafael Nadal claimed the Italian Open 2019 title

• Rafael Nadal has won a record 34th ATP Masters 1000 title by defeating Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final 2019. This is his ninth Rome title. 

• Nadal dominated in a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 win broke a tie with his longtime rival Djokovic. For his victory, Nadal received 1,000 ATP Ranking points and earned ₹7.5 crore. Djokovic produced an error-strewn performance in his 54th meeting with Nadal.

• After three semi-final defeats in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, Nadal has returned to his best form ahead of Roland Garros and clinched his first title of the season.

Result of Italian Open 2019:

Men's Singles:

Spain Rafael Nadal

Women's Singles:

Czech Republic Karolína Plíšková

Men's Doubles:

Colombia Juan Sebastián Cabal / Colombia Robert Farah

Women's Doubles:

Belarus Victoria Azarenka / Australia Ashleigh Barty.

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Important Current Affairs 18th May 2019

NATIONAL

Eleventh India Iran Joint Consular Committee Meeting (JCCM) in New Delhi

• India Iran Joint Consular Committee Meeting (JCCM) held in New Delhi on May 14, 2019. The Indian delegation was led by Amit Narang, Joint Secretary in Consular, Passport and Visa (CPV) division and the Iran delegation was led by Ali Asghar Mohammadi, Director General of Consular Affairs.

• The purpose of this meeting is to review the status of ongoing cooperation in consular and visa related issues and also to discuss the strategy to further expand people to people contacts and to promote friendly exchanges between India and Iran.

• Both countries have discussed some important issues between India and Iran:

Early conclusion of Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance on civil and commercial matters.

To extend the longer duration of e-Visa for each other nationals on reciprocity.

• About Iran

♦ Capital: Tehran

♦ Currency: Iranian Rial

Indian Navy conducted missile tests to boost its anti air warfare capabilities

• The Indian Navy conducted significant missile tests boosting its anti-air warfare capabilities. The first cooperative engagement firing of the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) or Barak-8 was held on the Western Seaboard.

• The firing was undertaken on the western seaboard by the INS Kochi and the INS Chennai wherein the missiles of both ships were controlled by one ship to intercept different aerial targets at extended ranges. Interestingly, one of the ships controlled the complete mission through its automated data links. The firing trials were carried out by Indian Navy, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

• This was achieved by network-centric operations that helped to combine the capabilities of all military platforms in a formation. The MRSAMs are fitted onboard the Kolkata Class Destroyers. These would also be fitted on all future major warships of the Indian Navy.

Kerala State to go paperless under E Vidhan initiative

• The Kerala State Assembly is undertaking E-Vidhan, an initiative to digitize all records. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in 14 months. The project is expected to cost aroundRs.40 crore.

•  Once the project is completed, all the Assembly proceedings like submission of notice by a member, question and answers, and all the other correspondence and business concerning the Assembly will go paperless.

• Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society:

•  The state has awarded the work to Cyberpark, which is run by the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society.

• It has started working on the ambitious project, E-Vidhan to enable the state legislature to go completely paperless.

• Benefits of E-Vidhan:

• The Assembly handles hundreds of various committee reports, Bills, notices, and various other reports which demand massive paperwork. E-Vidhan will completely get rid of paper in all the business transacted by the Assembly.

• The functioning of various departments linked to the Assembly and library will also be made paperless as part of the project.

• It will save around 35 crore to 49 crore annually as the state has been spending around 40 crore for taking tonnes of paper printouts. 

INTERNATIONAL:

Kami Rita sets record by scaling Mount Everest for the 23rd time

• A Nepalese Sherpa climber Kami Rita has scaled Mount Everest for a 23rd time, breaking his own record for the Most successful ascents of the world's highest peak. Rita reached the 8,850-metre (29,035-feet) summit with other climbers via the Southeast Ridge route.

• His latest ascent took him two summits clear of two fellow Sherpas, who have successfully climbed the peak 21 times.

About Kami Rita Sherpa:

• Rita belongs to Thame village of Solukhumbu district in Nepal. Rita first scaled Everest in 1994and has been making the trip nearly every year since.

•In 2017, Kami became the third person to climb Mount Everest for the 21st time. With this, he matched the achievement of Phurba Tashi Sherpa and Apa Sherpa, both of them, have retired since then. In 2018 he summited the Mt. Everest 22nd time in 2018 and set a record of most summits on Mount Everest.

Who are Sherpa climbers?

Sherpa is one of the ethnic groups native to the most mountainous regions of Nepal and the Himalayas.

APPOINTMENTS:

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank appointed Nitin Chugh as MD and CEO

• Ujjivan Small Finance Bank appointed Nitin Chugh as its Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for a period of 3 years from December 1, 2019.

• The present MD and CEO Samit Ghosh’s tenure will end on November 30, 2019.

Currently, Nitin Chugh is Group Head of Digital Banking of HDFC Bank.

• About Ujjivan Small Finance Bank

♦ Headquarter: Bengaluru, Karnataka

♦ Tagline: We belive in your belief

DAYS:

International Museum Day is observed on 18th May

• International Museum Day (IMD) is an international day that is celebrated on 18th May every year. It is coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The objective of International Museum Day (IMD) is to raise awareness of the fact that, Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples. The theme for International Museum Day (IMD) 2019 is Museums as Cultural Hubs: The future of tradition.

History:

• IMD was officially established in 1977 with the adoption of a resolution during the ICOM General Assembly in Moscow, Russia to create an annual event with the aim of further unifying the creative aspirations and efforts of museums and drawing the attention of the world public to their activity.

• ICOM suggested a theme for the first time in 1992: Museums and Environment.

• Museums in the Society:

• The role of museums in society is changing. Museums keep reinventing themselves in their quest for becoming more interactive, audience focused, community oriented, flexible, adaptable and mobile. They have become cultural hubs functioning as platforms where creativity combines with knowledge and where visitors can also co-create, share and interact.

• At once a focal point for the community and an integral part of a global network, museums offer a platform for translating local communities needs and views into a global context.

• About ICOM:

Formed on: 1946

Location: Paris, France

• The purpose of ICOM is Conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world's natural and cultural heritage.

 World AIDS Vaccine Day is celebrated on 18th May

• May 18 is celebrated as World AIDS Vaccine Day, also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. On this day, HIV vaccine advocates promote the continued urgent need for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. World AIDS Vaccine Day observance is headed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID).

• This day provides a chance to thank several volunteers, community members, health professionals and scientists those who are working and researching to find a safe and effective HIV vaccine for prevention.

HIV research also includes efforts to develop a vaccine for HIV treatment (called a therapeutic vaccine). A safe and effective therapeutic HIV vaccine could prevent HIV from advancing to AIDS, replace daily use of HIV medicines, and help eliminate HIV from the body.

NIAID:

Formed on: 1955

Headquarters: Maryland, US

NIAID is one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

NIAID's mission is to conduct basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases.

SPORTS:

Sourav Ganguly and Sanjay Manjrekar inducted in ICC commentary panel for World Cup 2019

• Former Indian cricketers Sourav Ganguly and Sanjay Manjrekar are inducted into the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) commentary panel for World Cup 2019. World Cup 2019 will begin from May 30, 2019 in England and Wales.

• The debut commentary will be made by Michael Clarke, former Australian batsman, who was the captain of the 2015 World Cup winning team and Nasser Hussain, Ian Bishop, Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Atherton, Brendon McCullum, Graeme Smith and Wasim Akram are also the part of panel.

• Other commentrators of the tournament are Shaun Pollock, Michael Slater, Mark Nicholas, Michael Holding, Isa Guha, Pommie Mbangwa, Harsha Bhogle, Simon Doull, Ian Smith, Ramiz Raja, Athar Ali Khan, and Ian Ward.

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Important Current Affairs of 17th May

NATIONAL:

Lokpal website launched in the country.

• The website of the Lokpal www.lokpal.gov.in has been launched in India. It was inaugurated by Chairperson Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose in presence of all the Members of Lokpal in New Delhi.

• It provides basic information about the working and functioning of the anti-corruption ombudsman.

• The Lokpal is the first institution of its kind in India established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013to inquire and investigate into allegations of the corruption against public functionaries.

About the Lokpal Act:

The Lokpal Act, which was passed in 2013 after a nationwide anti-corruption movement. The act provides for setting up of Lokpal at the centre and Lokayuktas in the States.

• It has jurisdiction over all Members of Parliament, central government employees, and top functionaries and public servants, including the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers in cases of corruption.

About Lokpal:

The Lokpal consists of a Chairperson and eight members. Four of the judicial members have been former Chief Justices of different High Courts and the four non-judicial members have been from All India Services/Central Services.

• First Chairperson of the Lokpal is Shri Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose is a former Judge of Supreme Court of India and was a sitting member of National Human Rights Commission.

• Judicial members are Shri Justice Dilip B Bhosale, Shri Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty, Smt. Justice Abhilasha Kumari, Shri Justice Ajay Kumar Triphathi.

Non-Judicial members are Shri Dinesh Kumar Jain, Smt. Archana Ramasundaram, Shri Mahender Singh, Dr. Indrajeet Prasad Gautam.

CBIC introduced weightage system for appointments under compassionate appointment scheme.

• Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) introduced a weighting system for appointments under compassionate grounds which will be based on nine criteria like family income, dependents, remaining service period of the deceased, etc.

• The main objective is to ensure objectivity, transparency, and uniformity in the selection process for appointments on the compassionate ground.

• The government appoints the dependent member of a government employee under compassionate appointment scheme on the grounds of medical condition or that employee dying in harness.

• The guidelines for appointment are issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and CBIC introduced a weighted points system for its cadres according to the guidelines of DoPT.

INTERNATIONAL:

China to host 2023 Asian Cup.

• China has become the sole contender to host the Asian Cup Football tournament in 2023. The announcement came after South Korea has announced to withdraw its bid to host the game.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced that it had pulled out to strategically focus on a joint bid with North Korea to host the Women’s World Cup in the same year.

• China's interest to host:

• In February 2013, China suggested interest in hosting the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. However, in September 2013, the CFA withdrew its bid.

• In late 2015, the CFA confirmed their intention to bid for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. In March 2019 China had officially proposed to bid for the 2023 Asian Cup. China has previously hosted the 2004 Asian Cup.

About 2023 AFC Asian Cup:

The 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup will be the 18th edition of the AFC Asian Cup. It is organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).  The tournament will involve 24 national teams.

Taiwan becomes 1st Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage.

• Taiwan has become the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage following a vote on Friday. In 2017, the island's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry. Taiwan's parliament was given a two-year deadline and was required to pass the changes by May 24.

About Taiwan:

• Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is a state in East Asia. Neighbouring states include the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south.

• Capital: Taipei

• Dialing code: +886

• Currency: New Taiwan dollar

• Official scripts: Traditional Chinese; Formosan Latin alphabet;

• GDP (nominal): 2018 estimate

• Official languages: Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese Mandarin, Standard Mandarin.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Sony, Microsoft partners to build future cloud solutions for gaming and content streaming.

• Sony and Microsoft have announced a partnership to build future cloud solutions supporting both gaming and content streaming alongside AI solutions.   

• PlayStation maker Sony will use Xbox maker Microsoft's data centres and Azure cloud computing service for its existing game and streaming platforms. In return, Microsoft will gain access to Sony's image sensors.

• The partnership comes as Google works to disrupt the video game world with a Stadia platform that will let players stream blockbuster titles to any device they wish. The Stadia platform will open to gamers later this year in the United States, Canada, Britain and other parts of Europe.

• Google is focused on working with game makers to tailor titles for play on Stadia. It has already provided the technology to more than 100 game developers. The Stadia tech platform aims to connect people for interactive play on PCs, tablets, smartphones and other devices.

• Streaming games from the cloud brings the potential to tap into massive amounts of computing power in data centers.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Retd. Justice Lokur appointed as a judge of SC of Fijis non resident panel.

• The Retired judge of Indian Supreme Court Justice Madan B Lokur is appointed as ajudge of Supreme Court of Fiji's non-resident panel. He has been appointed in the new role for a period of three years.

• The Supreme Court of Fiji has three sessions in a year. Justice Lokur will join it for the session from August 15 to August 30, 2019.

• Justice Lokur was retired as a Supreme Court justice on December 31, 2018. It is likely that Justice Lokur received the offer from Chief Justice of the Fiji Supreme Court on the day of his retirement itself.

About Justice Lokur:

Justice Lokur became a judge of the Supreme Court on June 4, 2012. He enrolled as an advocate in July 1977 and practised in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court.

He became an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court in 1981 and was designated Senior Advocate in 1997. He was appointed Additional Solicitor General in 1998 and continue in that position until February 1999 when he became an Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court and made a permanent judge in July 1999.

• Fiji:

President: George Konrote

Prime Minister: Frank Bainimarama

Capital: Suva

Currency: Fijian dollar (FJD)

Cyril Ramaphosa re-elected as President of South Africa.

• African National Congress (ANC) won South African elections with majority and secured 57.51 percent votes and Cyril Ramaphosa elected as South African President.

Last year in February 2018, Cyril Ramaphosa elected as South African President after President Jacob Zuma resigned from the post due to charges of corruption

This was the first time that African National Congress has got less than 60 percent votes in national polls.

• About South Africa

Capital: Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein

Currency: South African rand

Former Apple retail chief & Burberry CEO joins Airbnb board.

• US-based home-renting platform Airbnb has appointed Angela Ahrendts, former Senior Vice President of Retail at Apple, as its third independent non-affiliated board member. Ahrendts joined Apple in 2014 after serving as CEO of the British fashion house Burberry for eight years. Notably, Ahrendts had been one of the highest-paid employees at Apple with total compensation of $26.5 million in 2018.

About Airbnb:

• Airbnb,  Inc., headquartered in San Francisco,

•  operates a global online marketplace and hospitality service accessible via its websites and mobile apps.

• Members can use the service to arrange or offer lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences.

• Founded: August 2008, San Francisco, California, United States

• Revenue: 260 crores USD (2017)

• CEO: Brian Chesky (Aug 2008–)

• Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States

• Founders: Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia

• Subsidiaries: HotelTonight, Tilt.com, Accomable, Aibiying, MORE

About Angela Ahrendts:

• Angela Jean Ahrendts, DBE is an American businesswoman and was the senior vice president of retail at Apple Inc.

• She was the CEO of Burberry from 2006 to 2014. Ahrendts left Burberry to join Apple in 2014.

• Born: 12 June 1960 (age 58 years), New Palestine, Indiana, United States

• Salary: US$73.1 million (2014)

• Net worth: $150 million

• Spouse: Gregg Couch

• Residence: California, US; London, England

• Siblings: Kimberly Ahrendts, Carrie Ahrendts, Amy Montefalco, Amanda Ahrendts

DAYS:

Sikkim Statehood Day - 16th May.

• Sikkim celebrated its 43rd statehood day. It was on May 16, 1975 that Sikkim had officially become a state under the Union of India and Kazi Lhendup Dorjee became its first chief minister. Sikkim has the highest number of employees on the government payroll constituting about 14 percent of its population. It officially became the 22nd state of the country.

• About Sikkim

Capital: Gangtok

Chief Minister: Pawan Chamling

World Hypertension Day is celebrated on 17th May.

• World Hypertension Day (WHD) is celebrated on 17th May. WHD was designated and initiated by the World Hypertension League (WHL). The day was initiated to increase the awareness of hypertension. This was especially important because of the lack of appropriate knowledge among hypertensive patients.

• The WHL launched its first WHD on May 14, 2005. Since 2006, the WHL has been dedicating May 17 of every year as WHD. The theme for World Hypertension Day 2019 is Know Your Numbers. The theme is with a goal of increasing high blood pressure (BP) awareness in all populations around the world. In 2019, WHL in conjunction with the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) will also promote May Measurement Month (MMM).

• World Hypertension League (WHL):

It was established in 1966. WHL an umbrella to organizations of 85 national hypertension societies and leagues.

World Telecommunication Day is observed on 17 May.

• World Telecommunication Day is celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969. It marks the founding of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865, Paris.

It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.

The day is celebrated with a view to:

• stimulate reflection and exchanges of ideas on the theme adopted by the Council

• debate the various aspects with all partners in society

• formulate a report reflecting national discussions on the issues underlying the theme, to be fed back to ITU and the rest of its membership

Main Objective:

Setting standards is a fundamental pillar of ITU's mission as the specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies (ICTs). ITU standards help accelerate ICTs for all Sustainable Development Goals.

Theme 2019:

The theme for 2019 is Bridging the standardization gap. The 2019 theme will allow ITU Membership and other key stakeholders to focus on the opportunities for:

• participation of developing countries in ITU's standards-making process

• empowering local experts in the standardization process at the national, regional and international levels

• promoting the implementation of international standards in developing countries.

AWARDS:

Sir Andy Murray received the knighthood award for services at Buckingham Palace.

• Sir Andy Murray, who is a Unicef UK ambassador, received the knighthood for services to tennis and charity at Buckingham Palace. The Honours award are used to recognise merit in terms of achievement and service. The three-time Grand Slam champion was named in the Queen's New Years Honours in 2016, following his second Wimbledon win and second Olympic gold.

Sir Andy revealed in January that he planned to retire after this year's Wimbledon, forcing back tears as he told reporters at the Australian Open that his hip injury was going to bring a premature end to his glittering career. He had surgery in January and has since begun his rehabilitation

• United Kingdom:

Monarch: Elizabeth II

Prime Minister: Theresa May

Capital: London

Currency: Pound sterling(GBP; £)

National/Official language: English

• Sir Andrew Barron Murray:

He is a British professional tennis player from Scotland. He ranked No. 217 in men's singles (as of May 2019).

Murray represents Great Britain in his sporting activities. He is a three-time Grand Slam tournament winner, two-time Olympic champion, Davis Cup champion, winner of the 2016 ATP World Tour Finals and former world No. 1.

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Important Current Affairs of 16th May

NATIONAL:

India's Chandrayaan-2 to carry NASA payload too in July: ISRO

• India's second Moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, that's planned for a July launch will have 13 payloads and one passive experiment from American space agency NASA, ISRO said on Wednesday. The spacecraft with a 3.8-tonne mass has three modules- orbiter, lander, and rover. Eight of the 13 Indian payloads will be on orbiter, three will be on lander and two on rover.

About Chandrayaan-2:

• Chandrayaan-2 is India's second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1.

• Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation, the mission is planned to be launched to the Moon by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III.

• It includes a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all developed indigenously.

Hyundai partners with ALD Automotive for car leasing service.

• Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) has collaborated with ALD Automotive India, a globally renowned automotive leasing and fleet management company, as part of its in its smart mobility solutions initiative.

• The flexible leasing solutions will provide an attractive alternative to owning a car to salaried individuals, working professionals, small and medium enterprises, corporates and public sector.

• Hyundai Leasing will be available across Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore in the first phase.

• The lease will be made available across the entire Hyundai product line-up at an attractive monthly lease rental. The benefits of leasing to the customers include no upfront cost, no financial risk, efficient tax management, easy up-gradation and no maintenance and insurance hassles

About Hyundai:

• The Hyundai Motor Company, commonly known as Hyundai Motors, is a South Korean multinational automotive manufacturer headquartered in Seoul.

• Parent organization: Hyundai Motor Group

• Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea

• Subsidiaries: Kia Motors, Hyundai Card Co.,Ltd., Beijing Hyundai, etc.

About ADL Automotive:

• ALD Automotive is a French fleet managing and operational car leasing company and a fully owned subsidiary of Société Générale. The company is active internationally and manages around 1.5 million vehicles.

• Headquarters: Rueil-Malmaison, France

• Number of employees: 6,500 (2017)

• Parent organization: Société Générale

• Subsidiaries: Merrion Fleet Management Limited,etc.

INTERNATIONAL:

Alabama Senate passes bill to ban abortion.

• The Alabama Senate has passed the most restrictive abortion Bill in the U.S., which places a near-total ban on the termination of pregnancy (abortion), even in cases of rape and incest, and could punish doctors who perform the procedure with life in prison. •The text passed by the Republican-led Senate has been sent to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for signature into law and, if approved, is expected to trigger a legal battle.

Under the Bill:

• Performing an abortion is a crime that could land doctors who perform it in prison for 10 to 99 years

• Abortions would only be legal if the life of the mother is in danger or the foetus has a fatal condition

• ACLU, the largest human rights defence organisation in the United States, promised to file a lawsuit to block its implementation. The Republican-led Senate approved the measure by 25 votes to six.

• The National Organization for Women called the bill unconstitutional and said its passage would send women in the state back to the dark days of policymakers having control over their bodies, health, and lives.

AGREEMENTS AND MOU’s:

India signed the Christchurch Call to Action in Paris.

• India signed the Christchurch Call to Action in Paris. The agreement came in the backdrop of the attacks on Christchurch in March and is aimed at stopping the abuse of the Internet by extremists.

The meeting held in Paris was attended by representatives of online giants like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon. India was represented by Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Document highlights:

• Counter the drivers of terrorism and violent extremism by strengthening the resilience and inclusiveness of societies to enable them to resist terrorist and violent extremist ideologies, including through education, building media literacy to help counter distorted terrorist and violent extremist narratives, and the fight against inequality.

• Ensure effective enforcement of applicable laws that prohibit the production or dissemination of terrorist and violent extremistcontent, in a manner consistent with the rule of law and international human rights law, including freedom of expression.

• Encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online, to avoid amplifying terrorist and violent extremist content.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI plans to achieve a highly digital and cash lite society.

• Reserve Bank of India on May 15 released a vision document, 'Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision 2019 - 2021', with its core theme of Empowering Exceptional (E) payment Experience that aims to achieve a highly digital and cash-lite society.

• RBI targets to:

• Increase digital payment transaction of GDP by 15%

• Increase payment system operators

• fourfold increase in digital transactions

• increase debit card transactions by 35%

• increase total card acceptance infrastructure to six times

• Reduce currency in circulation with no specific target

• Reduce the volume of cheque-based payments to less than 2%

• Reduce pricing of electronic payment services by at least 100 basis points

• Improve the security of digital payment systems

• Facilitate mobile-based payment transactions

• To achieve these objectives, the RBI outlined specific actions to take over the next two years. Some of these include:

• Set up self-regulatory bodies for payment system operators, develop feature phone-based payment services to complement smartphone-based services and develop offline payment solutions and USSD-based payment solutions

• Improve interoperability and build capability to process transactions of one system in another and explore the adoption of newer technologies, including distributed ledger technology for enhancement of digital payment services.

• Encourage standing instructions for payment transactions and Push contact-less payments and tokenization.  It plans to improve the use of bill discounting systems or TReDs and increase coverage of the cheque truncation system.

• Current RBI's Policy rates and Reserve ratios:

Bank Rate: 6.25%

Repo Rate: 6.00%

Reverse Repo Rate: 5.75%

Cash Reserve Ratio: 4%

Statutory Liquidity Ratio: 19.00%

HDFC collaborated with IMGC for a mortgage guarantee-backed home loan.

• HDFC Bank collaborated with IMGC (India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation) for a mortgage guarantee-backed home loan.

• Mortgage guarantee is a financial product which compensates lending institutions for the losses that may occur when a home owner defaults on a mortgage loan.

In ‘mortgage guarantee’, the risk of the home loan gets transmuted from the bank/FIs (financial institution) to the mortgage guarantee company.

• This collaboration will help HDFC provide more loan to a home loan customer on an improved eligibility.

The main objective of the collaboration is to address middle age-salaried customers, self employed customers and young salaried customers.

About HDFC Bank

Industry -Banking, financial services

Founded - August 1994

Headquarters - Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

About India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation:

• India’s first Mortgage Guarantee Company, India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation (IMGC) is a joint venture that combines the developmental mandate of National Housing Bank (NHB), the technical expertise of Genworth Financial, and the resources of International Finance Corporation (IFC) & Asian Development Bank (ADB).

• IMGC has come into being with a vision to make early home ownership a real possibility through the provision of Mortgage Guarantee.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Himalaya Men announces Kohli & Pant as brand ambassadors.

• Himalaya Men announced Virat Kohli, captain of the Indian cricket team, and Rishabh Pant, "ICC Emerging Player of the Year 2018", as the official brand ambassadors for Himalaya Men Face-Wash range. Commenting on the association,

About Himalaya :

• The Himalaya Drug Company is an Indian company established by M Manal in 1930 and based in Bangalore, India. I

• t produces health care products under the name Himalaya Herbal Healthcare whose products include ayurvedic ingredients.

IPS officer Deven Bharti to head Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.

• The Maharashtra government on Wednesday appointed senior IPS officer Deven Bharti as the chief of the state's Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). Bharti, a 1994-batch IPS officer, has investigated several high-profile cases including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the murder of senior crime journalist J Dey. He is also known for his crackdown on terror outfit Indian Mujahideen.

About Anti-Terrorism squad:

• Anti-Terrorism Squad. The Anti-Terrorism Squad(ATS) is a special police force in several states of India including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar.

• In Maharashtra it is headed by senior of the Indian Police Service. The squad has stopped several terrorist attacks in the country.

OBITUARIES:

Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke dies aged 89.

• Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke passed away on Thursday at the age of 89, his wife Blanche d'Alpuget said in a statement. Hawke, who served as Australia's Prime Minister from 1983 to 1991, was the country's third longest-serving leader after Robert Menzies and John Howard. Hawke is survived by his wife and his four children.

About Bob Hawke:

• Robert James Lee Hawke, AC, GCL was an Australian politician who was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia and the Leader of the Labor Party from 1983 to 1991.

• He was the longest-serving Labor Party Prime Minister. Hawke was born in South Australia but moved to Western Australia as a child.

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