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Important Current Affairs of 4th April

INTERNATIONAL:

Cholera vaccinations launched in post-cyclone Mozambique.

• In Mozambique, a vaccination campaign launched after Cyclone Idai battered the nation and unleashed an outbreak of cholera.

• International relief agencies and the Health Ministry are aiming to immunise nearly 9,00,000 people against the water-borne intestinal disease, which has already killed two people and infected more than 1,400.

• The vaccinations will be administered at health centres, shelters for the displaced, and at schools and markets. Cyclone Idai smashed into the coast of central Mozambique last month, unleashing hurricane-force winds and rains that flooded the hinterland and drenched eastern Zimbabwe.

Brunei passed harsh new sharia laws.

• Brunei introduced harsh new sharia laws, including death by stoning for adultery and gay sex.

• The law was passed despite a storm of global criticism from politicians, celebrities and rights groups.

• The tough penal code in the country fully came into force following years of delays. The laws make Brunei the first place in East or Southeast Asia to have a sharia penal code at the national level, joining several mostly West Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Chicago elected Lori a black woman as its Mayor.

• Chicago elected Ms.Lori Lightfoot, 56, a black woman as its Mayor. The voters have put their faith in an openly-gay political novice to tackle difficult problems of economic inequality and gun violence.

• Since 1837, Chicago voters have elected only one black Mayor and one woman Mayor. Ms. Lightfoot will become Chicago’s first openly gay Mayor as well as the first African-American woman to hold the post.

• Lori Lightfoot a former federal prosecutor and practicing lawyer beat out Toni Preckwinkle, a career politician who is also black, by a wide margin of 74% to 26% with most ballots counted. She has promised to clean up city government and reduce economic inequality.

Algeria's president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigns after 20 years in power.

• Algeria‘s long-serving president Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his resignation, after mass protests demanding an end to his rule, and after a call from the army for him to be declared unfit to hold office. Bouteflika came to the presidency after its darkest period, the 1990s Islamic insurgency.

• . After taking power in 1999, he managed to bring back stability to a country devastated by killings and distrust. Mr Bouteflika has not publicly spoken and has been wheelchair-bound since a stroke in 2013. Bouteflika is accused of failing to create an economy that could offer enough jobs, despite the nation's vast oil and gas wealth. Abdelkader Bensalah took charge as interim leader for a maximum of 90 days as elections are organised.

NATIONAL:

Two new birds spotted in Kerala Aralam sanctuary.

• The 19th edition of the bird survey in Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary spotted two new species of birds - Woolly-necked Stork (Karuvarakkuru) and White-bellied Drongo (Kakkarajan) - both dry land species. A total of 152 species were spotted in the three-day survey.

Tata Projects bagged USD321 mn worth project from NPCIL.

• Tata Projects has received an order from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) for the construction of 2 x 700 MW power plant. The estimated cost is about $321 million.

• This is the firm’s third contract in the nuclear power sector.  This project will provide the much needed power supply to the region and ensure developmental initiatives receive an impetus. The scope of work involves the construction of main plant buildings, structures and other works of Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana - 1&2.

IFINs GNPAs touched 90 percent says IL&FS.

• IL&FS Financial Services Ltd. (IFIN), the non-banking finance arm of infrastructure conglomerate IL&FS, reported an increased gross non-performing asset (NPA) ratio of 90% as at end December 2018 against the gross NPAs of 5% in March 2018. The new management completed six months.

•  It is unusual for any lender to report 90% gross NPAs and it is probably for the first time, in recent times, that a lender had reported such delinquency. IFIN’s total exposure as on March 31, 2019 was Rs.18,805 crore, of which external exposure was Rs.10,656 crore and exposure to the group, Rs. 6,949 crore. About Rs.1,300 crore is categorised as other assets.

US approved to sell 24 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopters to India for USD 2.4 billion

• The US has approved the sale of 24 multi-role MH-60 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopters to India at an estimated cost of $2.6 billion. The Lockheed Martin-built helicopters are designed for hunting submarines, targeting ships, and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea. It is considered the world's most advanced maritime helicopter.

• The helicopters are currently deployed with the US Navy. These helicopters would replenish India's aging fleet of British-made Sea King helicopters.

Indian Army builds longest suspension bridge 'Maitri on Indus in record 40 days

• Indian Army's Combat Engineers of 'Sahas aur Yogyata' Regiment of 'Fire and Fury Corps' have built the longest cable suspension bridge named 'Maitri’ over Indus river in Leh in a record 40 days. The 260-foot-long bridge is dedicated to Indians to commemorate 20th year of Kargil Vijay Diwas.

• The central government had emphasised on building an all-weather road connectivity in the region. An all-weather road was built from Manali to Ladakh via Zanskar in Kargil last year. Similarly, the work for the Zojila tunnel, which is Asia's longest, has also been started. These projects were part of the Rs 25,000 crore projects allocated by the Centre for the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI reduced repo rate for second consecutive time by 25 bps to 6 percent.

• The RBI cut its repo rate by 25 basis points to 6% in its first bi-monthly policy review of 2019-20. The decision comes a week before the election starts on April 11. The central bank had reduced the benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points in February after an 18-month gap.

• The reverse repo rate, too, was lowered from 6% to 5.75%. The bank rate was fixed at 6.25%. What is Repo rate? Repo rate refers to the rate at which commercial banks borrow money from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in case of shortage of funds.

• Repo rate is short form of Repurchase Rate. What is reverse repo rate? The reverse repo rate is the rate at which the central bank borrows money from commercial banks, to control the money supply in the country.

One97 Communications-owned Paytm Money Gets SEBI Approval for Stock Broking.

• One97 Communications-owned Paytm Money, the wealth management arm of Paytm got approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to start offering a stock broking service such as the ability to trade in equities and cash segments, derivatives, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) among other exchange-traded products.

RBI sets limits for Ways and Means Advances.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in consultation with the government of India has set the limits for Ways and Means Advances (WMA) for the first half of the financial year 2019-20 (April 2019 to September 2019) at Rs.75000 crore.  Ways and Means Advances (WMA)

♦ WMA is the temporary loan facility provided by the RBI to the Centre and State governments

♦ The WMA scheme was introduced in 1997 to meet any temporary mismatches in the receipts and payments of the government

♦ The WMA needs to be vacated after 90 days

♦ The interest rate for WMA is currently charged at the repo rate that is, 6.25%

♦ The limits for WMA are decided by the RBI and in consultation with the Government of India RBI's Policy rates and Reserve ratios:

 ♦ Bank Rate: 6.50%

♦ Repo Rate: 6.00%

♦ Reverse Repo Rate: 6.00%

♦ Cash Reserve Ratio: 4%

♦ Statutory Liquidity Ratio: 19.25%

DAYS:

UN observes International Day for Mine Awareness on 4th April.

• On 8 December 2005, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared that 4 April of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

• The theme for 2019 is "United Nations Promotes SDGs – Safe Ground – Safe Home". United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has been working to:

♦ meet the needs of the affected people and tailored to the threat of explosive hazards faced by civilians, peacekeepers, and humanitarians

♦ save lives

♦ facilitate deployment of UN missions and the delivery of humanitarian assistance

♦ protect civilians

♦ support the voluntary return of the internally displaced and refugees

♦ enable humanitarian and recovery activities.  

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Important Current Affairs of 3rd April

NATIONAL:

Tata Power, Indraprastha Gas To Offer Integrated Services.

• Tata Power and Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) signed a memorandum of understanding to set up integrated customer services and optimize value for customers.

• The pact will also cover common safeguard activities of underground assets (pipes and cables) including the right of way for activities like maintenance and lying of pipes and cables, routine patrolling of under and above ground assets.

Garuda Prakashan launched Modi Again and Saffron Swords.

• The Indian Publishing company, Garuda Prakashan Private Limited, launched its two books “#Modi Again” and “Saffron Swords – Centuries of Indic Resistance to Invaders”.

• #Modi Again: Why Modi is right for India, An Ex-Communist’s Manifesto” authored by Aabhas Maldahiyar, states the reasons about how Narendra Modi is right for India. “Saffron Swords: Centuries of Indic Resistance to Invaders” written by Manoshi Sinha Rawal is a book on 52 unsung warriors of India from last 1300 years.

BESCOM plans to use Solar energy to power electric vehicles.

• Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) is looking to utilise solar energy to power electric vehicle charging stations.

•  The aim is to ensure that clean transport is driven by clean energy.  Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL): 

♦ KPTCL is the sole electricity transmission and distribution company in the state of Karnataka

HCL Completes Acquisition Of Strong-Bridge Envision.

• IT major HCL Technologies stated that its acquisition of US-based Strong-Bridge Envision has been completed.  HCL recently agreed to acquire the Seattle-based company to enhance its digital transformation consulting capabilities. According to reports, the deal was worth 45 million dollars.

GST collections set new record in the month of March.

• The Finance Ministry said that GST collections have scaled to a record high of Rs.1,06,577 crore in March 2019. The revenue collection was Rs.97,247 crore in the month of February.

• The record revenue collection was attributed to increased compliance and an increase in the number of returns filed. Total gross GST revenue collected in March 2019 stood at Rs.1,06,577 crore of which Central GST is Rs.20,353 crore, State GST is Rs 27,520 crore, Integrated GST is Rs.50,418 crore and cess is Rs.8,286 crore.

• The number of summary sales returns GSTR-3B filed for the month of February up to March 31 stood at 7.59 million. The monthly average of GST revenue during 2018-19 stood at Rs.98,114 crore which is 9.2% higher than the previous fiscal. GST collections for 2018-19

COMCASA: First secure link between India, US navies set up.

• India and the US have set up the first ever secure communication link between the Indian Navy & US Central as well as Pacific Naval Commands under the COMCASA pact at New Delhi, India.

• As a result of the implementation of the COMCASA, US has also activated the Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module GPS system in some of C-130 and C-17 transport aircraft. About COMCASA: COMCASA - COMmunications, Compatibility And Security Agreement.

•  It is the Indo-US military-information sharing pact and was signed at the 2+2 bilateral summit on 6th September, 2018. COMCASA is one of the three foundation agreements that need to be signed by a country with the United States to share high-end encrypted communication and satellite data.

INTERNATIONAL:

European Union launched WTO cases against India, Turkey.

• The European Union has launched two World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes against India over import duties on IT products and against Turkey over measures affecting pharmaceutical producers. In the case against India, the EU is challenging the introduction of import duties of between 7.5 and 20 percent for a wide range of IT products, such as mobile phones and components, as well as integrated circuits. In the case against Turkey, the EU is challenging measures that force foreign pharmaceutical producers to move their production to Turkey.

Bolivia joins International Solar Alliance.

• During the state visit of the President Ram Nath Kovind to Bolivia, Bolivia has signed the framework agreement to join the International Solar Alliance.

• So far, 73 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was unveiled by Prime Minister of India and French President at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 30, 2015.

• The idea was to form a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps in their energy requirements through a common approach. India, with a target to produce 100 GW of solar energy by 2022, would account for a tenth of ISA’s goal. ISA is the first international body that will have a secretariat in India.

Indonesia seeks to increase import from India.

• Indonesia is looking at increasing sugar, rice and bovine imports from India. Consul General of Indonesia, Ade Sukendar said that India exported about 50,000 tonnes of rice in 2018.

• It is looking at importing more non-basmati rice also from India. There was potential to import over one lakh tonnes a year. Negotiations are ON between the two countries to increase imports. Total exports from Indonesia to India in 2018 were to the tune of $13.72 billion and exports from India were to the tune of $5.01 billion.

AGREEMENTS:

India and Bolivia signed for the development and industrial use of lithium.

• India and Bolivia have signed an agreement for the development and industrial use of lithium during the state visit of the President Ram Nath Kovind to Bolivia.

• Lithium is a prime component used to power electric vehicles and cell phones.

• India and Bolivia agreed to forge a mutually beneficial partnership to facilitate Bolivian supplies of lithium Carbonate to India. The countries also plan to foster joint ventures for lithium battery/cell production plants in India.  This agreement will make Bolivia one of the major provider of metal for India's e- mobility and e-storage needs. Bolivia is known to have one-fourth of the world's lithium reserves.

•  The agreement facilitates mechanisms for the commercialization of Lithium Carbonate and Potassium Chloride produced in Bolivia by Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos Corporation (YLB Corporation).

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

BNP Paribas Cardiff sold 5 crore shares in SBI Life Insurance for 2,889 crore

• The foreign partner of SBI Life Insurance, BNP Paribas Cardiff sold 5 crore shares of the company for Rs 2,889 crore to increase its public shareholding to 25% of its paid-up equity share capital on or before October 2, 2020.

• This sale has not undertaken as per the methods prescribed by SEBI for achieving the minimum public shareholding (MPS) Threshold. The average price of equity share during the sale was Rs 577.93 per equity share. On the other hand, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has bought 2 crore shares at an average price of Rs 577.50 per shares.

Kotak Mahindra Bank Becomes First Lender To Charge For UPI Use.

• Kotak Mahindra Bank (Kotak) stated that it will charge customers for UPI transactions starting 1st of May 2019.  For each Kotak Bank account, the first 30 UPI fund transfers will be free, after which a charge will be levied on all fund transfers from the bank account. This will be applicable across all platforms, including Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay or Truecaller Pay among others.  

AWARDS:

Vikram Patel receives John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award.

• Vikram Patel, a psychiatrist and professor of global health at Harvard Medical School, has won the prestigious John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award.

• Mr.Patel has led research generating knowledge on the burden and determinants of mental health problems in low and middle-income countries and pioneered approaches which utilise community resources for the prevention and treatment of mental health problems in India with global impact.

• Laureates received a $100,000 cash honorarium and will be formally presented with their awards on October 24, 2019, at the annual Canada Gairdner Awards Gala in Toronto.

• Canada Gairdner Global Health Award: The John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award recognizes the world’s top scientists who have made outstanding achievements in Global Health Research.

SPORTS:

Saurav Ghosal becomes first Indian to enter top-10 in men's PSA rankings.

• Saurav Ghosal became the first Indian male squash player to enter the top 10 in the PSA (Professional Squash Association) world rankings. He has moved up two places to a career-high ranking of tenth and is currently the only Asian in the top-10.

• Ghosal made it to the quarter-finals of the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships in Chicago, USA for the first time in his career.

• He was also a quarter-finalist at the prestigious Grasshopper Cup in Zurich, Switzerland. In the women's rankings, Joshna Chinappa continued to be the best-ranked Indian, moving up to the 15th position. Earlier, Dipika Pallikal had broken into the top-10 in 2012 and once again in 2014.

RESIGNATIONS:

Google India head Rajan Anandan resigns after 8 years.

• Rajan Anandan, vice president for Google India and South East Asia, is leaving the company after an eight-year stint and will be joining Silicon Valley’s marquee venture fund Sequoia Capital. He will stay until the end of this month. Rajan Anandan had joined Google in 2011. His responsibility will be taken over by Country Director Sales Vikas Agnihotri in the interim.

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Important Current Affairs of 2nd April

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Eicher Motors Ltd. Vinod K.Dasari as the CEO of Royal Enfield.

• Eicher Motors Ltd. has appointed Vinod K. Dasari as the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Enfield. He will also join the board of Eicher Motors as executive director with immediate effect.

• He stepped down as MD and CEO of Ashok Leyland on March 31. He takes over from Siddhartha Lal, who will continue as the MD of Eicher Motors.  The company also plans to invest Rs.700 crore in capital expenditure for 2019-20. The planned expenditure will include completion of construction work of the Technology Centre, Phase-2 of the Vallam Vadagal plant in Tamil Nadu and towards the development of new platforms and products.

SPORTS:

Indian Badminton Tournament 2019 was held in New Delhi.

• The Indian Badminton Tournament 2019 was held at K. D. Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi from 26 to 31 March 2019 and had a total purse of $350,000. Champions of Indian Open Badminton 2019:

♦ Men's Singles: Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)

♦ Women's Singles: Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand)

♦ Men's Doubles: Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin (Chinese Taipei)

 ♦ Women's Doubles: Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu (Indonesia)

♦ Mixed Doubles: Wang Yilü and Huang Dongping (China) India's Srikanth Kidambi lost to Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 7-21, 20-22 in the men's singles summit clash.

India finish with 16 gold medals at Asian Airgun Championships.

• Indian shooters claimed five gold medals on the final day of the Asian Airgun Championships to sign off with a total of 25 medals in Taoyuan, Taipei.  India finished with 16 gold, five silver and four bronze medals.

• The next assignment for Indian shooters is scheduled at Al Ain, the United Arab Emirates where the International Shooting Sport Federation Shotgun World Cup stage. India finish with 16 gold medals at Asian Airgun Championships.

Manu Sawhney took over as ICC Chief Executive with immediate effect.

• India-born Manu Sawhney, the ex-CEO of Singapore Sports Hub and ex-Managing Director of ESPN Star Sports, has been working alongside the outgoing Chief Executive David Richardson for last six weeks to ensure a smooth transition. Richardson will remain with the International Cricket Council (ICC) until July to oversee the delivery of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.

Lewis Hamilton won Bahrain Grand Prix 2019.

• Lewis Hamilton won Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 title  He defeated Valtteri Bottas of Finland who secured the second position.  Charles Leclerc was finished with the third position and becoming Ferrari’s youngest ever race winner at the age of 21. About Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 First race took place at the Bahrain International Circuit on 4 April 2004. Number of times held: 15 First held:2004 Most wins (drivers): Germany Sebastian Vettel  Most wins (constructors): Italy Ferrari

NATIONAL:

Hump-backed Mahseer, a large freshwater fish added in 'Critically Endangered' list.

• Hump-backed Mahseer, also called the tiger of the water and found only in the Cauvery river basin (including Kerala’s Pambar, Kabini and Bhavani rivers) - is now “Critically Endangered”, as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

• There are about 16 species of mahseer in India. Maximum length  of fish will be 150 cm and a weight of 90 kg. The fish is considered as one of the 229 species from recent Red List which updated in November 2018. The threat status of 12 other Indian species, including great hornbills, has increased.

Odisha celebrated 84th foundation day on April 1, 2019.

• The day is also known as ‘Utkal Divas.’ Odisha was the first State to be formed on linguistic basis in 1936. Earlier, Odisha was part of Bihar.

India’s defense satellite EMISAT successfully launched by ISRO.

• The Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO, launched India’s latest satellite EMISAT and 28 other smaller satellites of international customers this morning with textbook precision.

•  The ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network at Bengaluru has assumed control of EMISAT satellite after its successful launch.

• The national space agency’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV-C45, carrying the payloads on board, lifted off from its spaceport, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 09:27 am. In a little over 17 minutes, the primary payload EMISAT was ed by the rocket at an altitude of 754 km, as planned.  In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration.

Centre to set up Terror Monitoring Group (TMG) in J&K.

• The Union Home Ministry has announced setting up of a Terror Monitoring Group (TMG) to ensure synergised and concerted action against terror financing and terror-related activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

• TMG will act against all registered cases related to terror, terror financing and terror-related activities and bring them to a logical conclusion. It will identify all key persons including leaders of the organisations who are involved in supporting terrorism in any form and take concerted action against them.

• It will investigate the networks of various channels being used to fund terror and terror-related activities and take action to stop the flow of such funds.

• The seven-member TMG constitutes of members:

1. Headed by: Jammu and Kashmir additional director general of police (ADGP)

2. Intelligence Bureau (IB)

3. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

4. National Investigation Agency (NIA)

5. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)

6. Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)

7. Jammu and Kashmir police inspector-general

INTERNATIONALS:

China launched 2nd Generation data relay satellite, Tianlian II-01.

• The Tianlian II-01 satellite was launched by a Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province. This is the first of China's second-generation data-tracking and relay satellites, which will provide services like data relay, measurement and control, and transmission to manned spacecraft, satellites, carrier rockets and non-spacecraft users.

Japan names new imperial era, set to begin on May 1, as 'Reiwa'.

• 'Reiwa' will be the name for the new era when Prince Naruhito succeeds his father Emperor Akihito, whose abdication on April 30 will end the 31-year 'Heisei' era (Since 1989). While 'Rei' means "good" and "beautiful" as well as "order" or "command", 'Wa' means "peace" or "harmony".

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Reserve Bank of India to inject USD 5 billion more liquidity into banking system

• Reserve Bank of India injects long-term liquidity worth USD 5 billion into the banking system through a dollar-rupee buy-sell swap for a tenure of three years on April 23, the second such auction within a month.

•  Earlier on March 26, the central bank had bought USD 5 billion through similar swap auction in a bid to ease liquidity ahead of elections. "In order to meet the durable liquidity needs of the system, the RBI has decided to inject Rupee liquidity for a longer duration through long-term foreign exchange Buy/Sell swap in terms of its extant Liquidity Management Framework,"

Bank of Baroda becomes 2nd largest PSU, 3rd largest bank in India.

• Bank of Baroda (BoB) became the second largest public sector undertaking (PSU) bank after merging Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank into itself as part of the first three-way amalgamation. BoB is now the third-largest bank after State Bank of India (SBI) and HDFC Bank. Following the merger, the number of PSBs has come down to 18.

•  The consolidated bank will have over 9,500 branches, 13,400 ATMs, 85,000 employees to serve 12 crore customers. The bank will have a business mix of Rs 15 lakh crore of balance sheet, with deposits and advances of Rs 8.75 lakh crore and Rs 6.25 lakh crore, respectively. Post-amalgamation, the bank will have a 22 per cent market share in Gujarat and 8-10 per cent market share in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Reliance Mutual Fund partnering with Google becomes the first Indian company to launch voice-based financial transactions

• Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management (RNAM) joined hands with Google to enable the customers of Reliance Mutual Fund to carry out voice-based financial transactions. RNAM becomes the first company in India, to provide a conversational interface that would help customers regarding funds transactions.

About RNAM 

♦ It is a joint venture between Anil Ambani-led Reliance Capital and Japan’s Nippon Life Insurance Co Ltd.

♦ CEO Sundeep Sikka

♦ Founded: 1995

DAYS:

World Autism Awareness Day is observed on 2nd April.

• World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized day observed on 2nd April every year. The aim is to encourage member states of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) throughout the world.

• The theme for 2019 is "Assistive Technologies, Active Participation". It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). World Autism Awareness Day was passed in council on 1 November 2007 and adopted on 18 December 2007. It was proposed by the United Nations representative from Qatar, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, and supported by all member states.

• World Autism Day is one of only seven official health-specific UN Days. The day itself brings individual autism organizations together all around the world to aid in things like research, diagnoses, treatment, and overall acceptance for those affected by this developmental disorder.

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Important Current Affairs 1st April 2019

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

KIIFB raised Rs.2,150 crore via masala bonds.

• Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), a State government agency, said it has raised Rs.2,150 crore through its masala bond issue.

• This is not just the first-ever offshore capital market issuance from a State-level entity from India but also the largest dual currency issue by a sub-sovereign backed entity from emerging markets and Asia. The issue saw strong participation from investors.

RBI announced branches of Vijaya, Dena Bank to function as BoB outlets.

• Reserve Bank of India said that the branches of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank will function as Bank of Baroda (BoB) outlets from April 1. This is after the amalgamation of the two lenders with Bank of Baroda (BoB).

•  The merger will be effective from April 1, 2019. Customers, including depositors of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, will be treated as customers of BoB with effect from April 1.

INTERNATIONAL:

Russia has opened a helicopter training centre in Venezuela.

• Rosoboron export, Russia’s arms export company, has opened a training Centre for military helicopter pilots in Venezuela after Moscow flew in troops and equipment. The export wing of Russia’s arms corporation said that the helicopter training centre opened with Russian and Venezuelan specialists participating.

• The Centre that trains pilots to fly Russian-built Mil helicopters was built on the basis of a contract between Rosoboronexport and state-run Venezuelan Military Industrial Company Cavim. The announcement came after two Russian military planes landed a week ago at the main airport outside Caracas and offloaded equipment and troops. The military specialists are apparently helping to fix a malfunctioning Russian S-300 ground-to-air missile system.

Tesla Builds Its Largest Energy Storage System In Asia.

• Tesla developed its ‘largest power storage system in Asia’ at Osaka train station in Japan to reduce energy demand and provide emergency backup power to trains in Japan.  It was Launched in partnership with Kintetsu, a railway operator in Japan’s Osaka. About Tesla CEO: Elon Musk  Owner: Elon Musk Production output: 245,162 vehicles (2018) Founders: Elon Musk, Martin Eberhard, JB Straubel, Marc Tarpenning, Ian Wright 

GRSE becomes 'first' Indian shipyard to deliver 100 warships.

• Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) became the "first Indian shipyard" to build and deliver 100 warships. GRSE Chairman and Managing Director, Rear Admiral (Retd) V K Saxena, formally handed over the 100th warship -- 'IN LCU L-56' -- to the Indian Navy.

• In the last 59 years, the company has built around 780 platforms, including 100 warships to the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard, and the Mauritius Coast Guard. About GRSE: GRSE - Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers Ltd. It is one of India's leading shipyards. Located in: Kolkata, West Bengal. Founded: 1884.

NATIONAL:

Centre turned down Bengals request for paramilitary forces.

• The Ministry of Home Affairs has turned down Mamata Banerjee government’s plea to retain 35 companies of Central forces, adding up to over 3,000 paramilitary personnel posted in areas that were earlier dominated by the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist.

• The State government has since then written to the Ministry to reconsider the decision, noting that the move might re-ignite the Maoist problems in the region. In its reply, the Ministry had informed the State of its decision to pull out the 35 companies of Central forces and deploy them on election duty in other parts of West Bengal.

In a first, Meghalaya polling booths to get ballot papers in braille.

• For the first time in Meghalaya, braille-enabled ballot papers will be made available at all polling booths.  The ballot paper pasted on the EVMs will have the names and symbol of candidates in braille alphabets. The move will facilitate more than 800 visually impaired electorates to vote by a secret ballot.

ISRO opens its 1st visitors gallery to watch rocket launches.

• In a first, The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) opened a visitors' gallery with 5,000 capacity at Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota island. The gallery has a clear line of sight to two launch pads and large screens to explain launcher and satellite features. This comes as ISRO is launching defence satellite EMISAT along with 28 foreign satellites on April 1, 2019.

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

Dr Rajendra Joshi Conferred With Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

• NRI scientist Dr Rajendra Joshi conferred with the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind.  The Indian Ambassador to Switzerland Sibi George handed over the award citation signed by the President to Dr Joshi at his residence in Switzerland.

SPORTS:

Roger Federer won Miami Open 2019 title.

• Switzerland’s Roger Federer defeats USA’s John Isner in straight sets to lift his 101st career title at the Miami Open 2019. Federer is now behind only America’s Jimmy Connors with 109 career singles titles. 

• Roger Federer has lifted his fourth title at the Miami Open. It is Swiss player’s 28th Masters’ title and the 101st overall for a player who has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

South Korea won Azlan Shah Cup by defeating India.

• India has lost to South Korea in the final of Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament at Ipoh in Malaysia. South Korea lifted the title, defeating India in a shoot out 4-2. Hosts Malaysia defeated Canada 4-2 and secured the 3rd place.

• Asian games Gold medalist Japan stood at 5th place, defeating Poland 6-1.

APPOINTMENTS:

ECI apppointed Viswajeet as Intelligence Chief for AP.

• The Election Commission of India appointed Additional Director-General of Police Kumar Viswajeet as Intelligence Chief for Andhra Pradesh. A 1994 batch IPS officer, Mr. Viswajeet, is presently Chairman of the Andhra Pradesh State Level Police Recruitment Board (APSLPRB).

• He will take charge immediately. The top post fell vacant with the Election Commission transferring former Intelligence DG, A.B. Venkateswara Rao. The Intelligence wing plays a key role in guiding the police and the election authorities on mobilisation of forces in critical and cut-off villages.

Mahesh Singh is appointed the Flag Officer Commanding Karnataka Naval Area.

• National Defence Academy, Rear Admiral Mahesh Singh takes charge as the Flag Officer Commanding Karnataka Naval Area. Mahesh Singh is a post graduate from Defence Services Staff College and he headed Navigation and Direction School at Kochi and the Maritime Warfare Centre at Vishakhapatnam. He was a commissioned into the Indian Navy in January 1987.

Air Marshal NS Dhillon to be designated as new Strategic Forces Command (SFC) Chief.

• Fighter pilot Air Marshal Navkaranjit Singh Dhillon has been appointed as the new Strategic Forces Command Chief.  He will succeed in Jasbir Walia. He was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force on December 1981. He has experience as a Commanding officer in MiG-21 Sqn and as a Chief Operating Officer of a premier flying base.

Executive Director of ICICI, Vijay Chandok appointed as MD and CEO of ICICI Securities 4.

• Executive Director of ICICI Bank, Vijay Chandhok appointed as MD and CEO of ICICI Securities, a subsidiary of ICICI bank. He will succeed Shilpa Naval Kumar. He joined the ICICI Group in 1993. At present, he is on the boards of ICICI Bank UK PLC and ICICI Bank Canada and is the Chairman of ICICI Investment Management Company.

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Important Current Affairs 31st March 2019

INTERNATIONAL:

Red Cross to aid Venezuela in two weeks.

• The Red Cross announced that it is to aid Venezuela in two weeks. It also said it would not allow any political “interference” in the operation.

• Francesco Rocca, head of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent said that the organisation would begin distributing aid that President Nicolás Maduro has to date refused to allow into the country, leaving it stockpiled since mid-February on the borders with Colombia and Brazil.

European Parliament bans single use plastic products.

• The European Parliament approved ban on single-use plastic products such as the straws, cutlery and cotton buds that are clogging the world's oceans.

• The law on single-use plastic ban sets a target to gather 90% of plastic for recycling by 2029 and mandates the production of plastic bottles with 25% recycled material by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

• The law also insists on polluters pay principle insisting polluters to pay the costs of a clean-up.  Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled.

• They are not usually biodegradable and goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean. They degrade into tiny particles after many years.

•  In this process of degradation, they release toxic chemicals which make their way into our food and water supply.

NATIONAL:

IAE report says rate of emission of CO2 increased in India.

• The International Energy Agency (IEA) report on Carbon dioxide emissions said that India emitted 2,299 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018. The rate of growth of carbon dioxide emission in India was higher than that of the United States and China which are the two biggest emitters in the world.

• India's emissions carbon dioxide witnessed an increase of 4.8% rise from 2018. This increase in the emission of carbon dioxide was attributed to coal consumption.  China, the United States, and India accounted for nearly 70% of the rise in energy demand. India's per capita emissions were about 40% of the global average and contributed 7% to the global carbon dioxide burden whereas the largest emitter the United States was responsible for 14%.

• India has pledged to reduce the emissions intensity of its economy by 2030. But India's energy intensity improvement declined 3% from last year even as its renewable energy installations increased 10.6% from last year. As per estimates, India requires at least $2.5 trillion (Rs 150 trillion approx.) to implement its climate pledge which is around 71% of the combined required spending for all developing countries pledges.

Laurus Labs Limited partners with Global Funds.

• Laurus Labs Limited, Hyderabad-based pharma, has entered into a strategic partnership agreement with Global Fund for a period of 3.5 years.

• The agreement gives Laurus Labs volume commitments for drugs from the Global Fund for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

• Global Fund has been created to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It was created in 2002 to raise, manage and invest the world's money to respond to three of the deadliest infectious diseases the world has ever known. The aim of Global Fund is to defeat AIDS, TB and malaria which are all preventable and treatable.

Indian Army inducted 4 indigenous Dhanush Howitzer guns.

• Indian Army inducted 4 indigenous Dhanush Howitzer guns. The induction of Dhanush Howitzer guns gives major fire-power boost to the Indian Armed Forces. Dhanush Howitzers Long Range Artillery Guns are the first ever indigenous 155 mm x 45 calibre long-range artillery guns.

• Dhanush Long Range Artillery Guns are equipped with inertial navigation-based sighting system, auto-laying facility, on-board ballistic computation and an advanced day and night direct firing system. The self-propulsion unit on Dhanush allows the gun to negotiate and deploy itself in mountainous terrains with ease. Dhanush is also electronically upgraded to enhance firing accuracies, laying speeds of the existing gun and to provide compatibility with various kinds of ammunition as well.

Ministry for Health added new ruled to the Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules

• The Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare have added new ruled to the Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019 with an aim to promote clinical research in the country. The new rules reduce the time for approving applications to 30 days for drugs manufactured in India and 90 days for those developed outside the country

•  The new rules state that in case of no communication from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the application will be deemed to have been approved. The new rules will ensure patient safety, as they would be enlisted for trials with informed consent and the ethics committee will monitor the trials and decide on the amount of compensation in cases of adverse events.

• The rules also waive off the requirement of a local clinical trial if the drug is approved and marketed in countries specified by the DCGI with the approval of government from time to time and certain other conditions.  The new rules aim to promote clinical research in India by providing for a predictable, transparent and effective regulation for clinical trials and by ensuring faster accessibility of new drugs to the Indian population.

Centre leaves interest rate on Small Saving Schemes unchanged.

• The Ministry of Finance has announced that it will keep the interest rate unchanged on small savings schemes for the three-month period beginning April 1.

• The announcement covers small-saving schemes such as:

 ♦ Post Office Saving Accounts 

♦ Post Office Time Deposits 

♦ National Saving Certificates (NSC)

♦ Public Provident Fund (PPF)

♦ Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP)

♦ Sukanya Samriddhi The unchanged interest rate means the NSC (5 years) and the PPF (15 years) will fetch 8% interest, while money deposited in KVP will double in little over nine years. At the same time, if one is parking money in a fixed deposit with a maturity of five years with the State Bank of India, he/she will get 6.85%. Senior citizens will get half a percent more: 7.35%.

GAIL and BHEL signed to development of Solar Power Projects.

• State-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd has signed MoU with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) for cooperation in the development of solar power projects.

• It aims at building a closer strategic partnership between the two Maharashtra PSUs for jointly pursuing commercial solar power projects through participation in tariff / Viability Gap Funding (VGF) based competitive bidding process.

SPORTS:

Justice D.K. Jain to be the Ethics Officer of the Indian cricket board.

• Supreme Court-appointed BCCI Ombudsman Justice D.K.Jain (retd) has been appointed to serve as the Ethics Officer of the Indian cricket board on an ad-hoc basis. According to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), provisions in its constitution require an Ethics Officer to be appointed to determine and decide issues related to conflict of interest.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Centre to infuse Rs.5,042 crore into BoB.

• The Finance Ministry has decided to infuse Rs.5,042 crore into state-owned Bank of Baroda (BoB) ahead of the merger of two other public sector lenders Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with BoB. The merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda would be effective from April 1.

PNB sells 13.01 percent stake in Housing Finance Arm for Rs.1851.60 crore

• State-owned lender Punjab National Bank (PNB) had sold stake in its housing finance arm, PNB Housing Finance (PNBHF) to General Atlantic Group and VardePartners for Rs 1,851 crore at Rs.850 per share.

• Both VardePartners and General Atlantic Group will buy 1.089 crore shares each at Rs 850 per share in the housing finance company from Punjab National Bank. After the transaction, Punjab National Bank will continue to hold a strategic stake of 19.78% in the housing finance company and will remain the promoter and strategic shareholder of the company.

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Important Current Affairs of 30th March

INTERNATIONAL:

New method to purify water used in oil refinement.

• Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a process to remove nearly all traces of oil in produced water -- a byproduct from the oil refinery and extraction process. About 2.5 billion gallons of produced water is generated each day in the US.

• Handling that water is a major challenge in the oil refinery industry, particularly because it is deemed unusable for household and commercial use because of remaining contaminants. Researchers at Purdue University in the US have developed a process to remove nearly all traces of oil in produced water.

MOUS AND MEMORANDOM:

India & Bolivia Sign 8 MoUs In Various Fields Including Culture, Mining, Space.

• President Ram Nath Kovind conferred with the highest State honour of Bolivia, “Condor de Los Andes en el Grado de Gran Collar” during his visit to Bolivia. President of Bolivia Evo Morales awarded him the Honour at a function held in Santa Cruz.

• On the second day of President’s three-day visit to Bolivia, India and Bolivia signed eight MoUs in the fields of culture, Visa waiver arrangement for diplomats, exchange between diplomatic academies, mining, space, traditional medicine, establishment of Centre of Excellence in IT and Bi-Oceanic Railway project.

• India offered a 100 million US Dollar Line of Credit to Bolivia for financing development projects. Both countries also agreed on the need for reform of the UN Security Council to make it reflective of contemporary realities. President is in Bolivia on the 2nd leg of his 3 nation tour.

NATIONAL:

Adani Becomes 1st Indian Port Operator To Record 200 MMT Cargo Movement:

• Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) that it has recorded cargo movement of more than 200 million metric tonnes (MMT) at nine ports along the east and west coasts, becoming the first Indian port operator to achieve the milestone. "Our projections were to reach this milestone by 2020 but we could achieve it ahead of schedule, courtesy the tech-driven operational efficiency and enhanced asset utilisation.

IIT Kharagpur, Wipro Partner For Research In 5G and AI.

• Wipro Limited (Bengaluru Based), a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company and Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur), signed an MoU to collaborate on high-impact, industry-focused applied research in the areas of 5G and AI. Research outcomes from this partnership will be leveraged by Wipro to develop solutions for its customers, across industry verticals.

ECI appoints Special Central Police Observer for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

• Election Commission of India has appointed Shree K K Sharma (IPS 1982 Retd DG Border Security Force) as the Central Police Observer for the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Chief Electoral Officer of Assam Mukesh Sahu launched a new initiative called the Enajori in Guwahati

• Chief Electoral Officer of Assam Mukesh Sahu launched a new initiative called ‘the Enajori’ at Janata Bhawan, Dispur in Guwahati for persons with disabilities with an aim that ‘No Voter to be Left behind’. The initiative to make Lok Sabha Elections accessible to Persons with Disability (PwD) voters is a joint initiative of Assam CEO and Social Welfare Department.

Hyper local connectivity app Bhonga initiated in Mumbai.

• A hyper-local connectivity app called “Bhonga” developed by Mumbai-based Company Linkus Infratech, to connect users to their neighborhood people in the city even without an Internet connection. “Bhonga” is a Marathi word which means megaphone or loudspeaker.

• This app automatically provides the lists the user living within the radius of one kilometre. The app supports voice notes as well as photos. Anyone can open their phone and send a message that is delivered to other users in the neighborhood, wherever they are.

PFC has been named as the Indias second largest Govt-owned Financial Firm after SBI

• After acquiring a majority stake in REC Ltd (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited), center backed Power Finance Corporation (PFC) become India’s second largest Govt-owned Financial Firm after State Bank of India (SBI), based on market capitalization. PFC has bought the 52.63% controlling stake in REC through Rs 14,500 crore deal with Union government.

• The REC’ shares were acquired at Rs139.50 per equity share price. 70% of the deal was financed through cash inflows and the balance through debt

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Important Current Affairs of 29th March

INTERNATIONAL:

Boeing unveils changes to MCAS, anti stall system.

Embattled aviation giant Boeing pledged to do all it can to prevent crashes like two that killed nearly 350 people in recent months, as it unveiled a fix to the flight software of its grounded 737 MAX aircraft.  Boeing gathered hundreds of pilots and reporters to unveil the changes to the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Boeing unveiled the software changes at the company’s massive factory in Renton, Washington, and offered reassurances.

NATIONAL:

Vijayawada Railway Station awarded the Gold Rating for being Clean & Eco-Friendly.

• Vijayawada railway station, one of the busiest railway junctions in India, has received Gold Rating by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for Green Measures. The IGBC-CII, with the support of the Environment Directorate of Indian Railways, developed the Green Railway Stations Rating System to facilitate adoption of green concepts, thereby reduce the adverse environmental impact due to station operation and maintenance and also enhance the overall commuter experience.

•  The Vijayawada station has installed 100 per cent LED lighting, the fans are five-star rated, and solar power is already being used for water heating systems.

Kolkata Dhaka ship to set sail for the first time ever.

• A regular river cruise will start between Kolkata, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh for the first time in the history of the two countries.

• The Indian ship, R V Bengal Ganga, will start its journey from a west Kolkata jetty. About 60 persons will be travelling

• The return journey will take nearly two weeks from Kolkata and the ship will pass through Sunderbans on both sides of the marine border.  Another ship will simultaneously start from Bangladesh, traverse the same route and reach Kolkata, taking approximately the same time. The border formalities will be completed at Sunderbans on the Indian side.

AWARDS:

Nobel Prize recipient Amartya Sen awarded with Oxford University's Bodley award.

• The 85-year-old winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, was awarded with the prestigious Bodley Medal, the highest honour granted by the University of Oxford's world-famous Bodleian Libraries, for his contribution in literature, culture, science and communication.

Turing Award, the Nobel Prize of computing, won by 3 Pioneers in Artificial Intelligence.

• The 2018 Turing Award, known as the “Nobel Prize of computing,” has been given to Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun — sometimes called the ‘godfathers of AI’, for their work developing the AI subfield of deep learning.

• The trio believed in the potential of AI and brought to the world the innovations such as neural networks, self-driving cars, facial recognition, CNN and much more. About Turing Award: Initiated in 1966, this annual award is named after British mathematician Alan M.

• Turing, whose work laid the foundation for computer science and artificial intelligence. It honors the individual for contributing major technical importance in the computer field. First recipient – Alan Perlis

Delhi government school teacher Manu Gulati honoured with Martha Farrell Award 2019

• Delhi government school teacher, Manu Gulati honored with the Martha Farrell award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment 2019 in the Most Promising Individual category with prize money of INR 1,50,000 for promoting gender quality and women’s empowerment.

• She collaborates with America India Foundation’s “Market Aligned Skills Training Program”, through which she assists the training programs for beauticians, weavers, salesgirls, etc in Jalandhar in Punjab, Betul in Madhya Pradesh and Baramullah in Kashmir.

• The Awards were first awarded in 2017 in the memory of Dr. Martha Farrell, a prominent activist for gender equality and women’s empowerment. About Delhi: Governor: Anil Baijal, Chief Minister: Arvind Kejriwal Deputy Chief Minister: Manish Sisodia Chief Secretary: Vijay Kumar Dev Commissioner of Police: Amulya Patnaik

Singapore airport named worlds best aviation hub for the seventh time.

• According to the Skytrax World Airport Awards, Singapore's Changi Airport has been crowned the world's best aviation hub for the seventh time in a row, while New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport featured at number 59.

• Singapore Changi Airport is known for its rooftop swimming pool, two 24-hour movie theaters and shopping spots

•  At number two on the list is Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), up one place from 2018. This hub also won World's Best Domestic Airport and World's Cleanest Airport. Incheon International Airport secured 3rd position in the list. The other Indian aiports in the list were Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at 64, the Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport at 66, and Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport at 69.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM, NM to be designated as Director General Naval Operations (DGNO)

• Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM NM has been appointed as Director General Naval Operations (DGNO). He will succeed Satish Namdeo Ghormade.  He was commissioned in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy on 1st July 1985.

• he Flag Officer has experience as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) specialist officer at onboard INShips Himgiri, Agray,and Ganga. He has experience as a Commanding officer in INS Nashak (missile vessel), INS Magar {Landing Ship Tank (Large)} and INS Talwar (stealth Frigate), Second-in-Command of INS Khukri (Missile Corvette).

• He commanded the National Coast Guard, Mauritius for two years (2003 – 05) and served as Commanding Officer of INS Mandovi.

Manohar Ajgaonkar, Vijai Sardesai designated as Goas Deputy Chief Ministers.

• Goa’s Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar has been appointed as the Deputy Chief Minister of Goa. He switched to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, on March 27, 2019. At present he is the second deputy chief minister along with Goa Forward Party (GFP) leader and state minister Vijai Sardesai. Both will succeed Sudin Dhavalikar.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI to issue Regulatory sandbox.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is set to issue guidelines within two months for the fintech companies to test their new products on a small group of users before scaling up.  A Sandbox is a framework set up by a regulator that allows FinTech start-ups to conduct live experiments in a controlled environment under supervision.

• Regulatory sandbox will provide a well-defined space for the companies to develop new products. It allows for experimenting with their products and fintech solutions. In case of failure, the consequences would be contained and the reasons will be analysed for betterment.

Deposits ordinance does not cover gold schemes.

• The Centre’s recent ordinance banning unregulated monthly deposit schemes will not affect the ongoing monthly schemes operated by jewellery and chit fund firms.

• Called the ‘Banning of Unregulated Deposit Scheme Ordinance’, it was promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind during the last week of February 2019 to save gullible investors from losing money to Ponzi and fake deposit schemes.

•  The ordinance makes such unregulated deposit schemes punishable, among other things. Ordinance: Ordinances are laws that are promulgated by the President of India on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet. They can only be issued when Parliament is not in session.

• They enable the Indian government to take immediate legislative action. Ordinances cease to operate either if Parliament does not approve of them within six weeks of reassembly, or if disapproving resolutions are passed by both Houses.  It is also compulsory for a session of Parliament to be held within six months.

SPORTS:

Four sports including Breakdancing get provisional green light for Paris Olympics 2024

• Breakdancing was among four sports given a provisional green light for inclusion in the Paris 2024 Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The three other sports namely - Surfing, Skateboarding and sport climbing also got approval for provisional inclusion in Summer Olympics 2024 from IOC.

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Important Current Affairs of 28th March

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Demat share transfer to be effective from 1st April.

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said that the transfer of shares of listed companies can be done only in dematerialised form from April 1 but investors are not barred from holding shares in the physical form.

•  In December 2018, the capital markets watchdog extended the deadline for transfer of shares of listed companies only in dematerialised (demat) form to April 1.

• Now, it has been decided not to extend the deadline.  The decision that the transfer of shares has to be compulsorily in demat form was taken way back in March 2018. SEBI also said that the measure would come into effect from April 1, 2019.

Bank of Baroda to launch Baroda Kisan.

• Public sector Bank, Bank of Baroda has made an announcement about developing an agri-digital platform called 'Baroda Kisan'. The platform is to provide solutions for all major agricultural requirements.  The project aims to provide a holistic approach towards solving agricultural plights by means of providing reliable and customised information, inputs for use, the convenience of renting farm equipment and market linkage for sale of agri-produces. Bank of Baroda has signed a memorandum of understanding (Mou) with Six companies viz.

• Skymet Weather Services, Weather Risk Management Services, BigHaat, Agrostar India, EM3 Agri Services and Poorti Agri Services for the project. The agri-digital platform will be executed by IT Centre of Excellence (ITCoE) of Bank of Baroda in partnership with IBM India. Baroda Kisan is aimed at digitization of digital services.

NATIONAL:

Assam launched initiatives to educate voter.

• Assam State government has launched initiatives to educate voters. Folk song competitions, quiz programmes and appeals by celebrities are some of the initiatives being undertaken by the election office in Assam for attracting women, first-time voters, people with physical disabilities and senior citizens to cast their votes.

• Sprinter Hima Das, Whitley Awardee and environmentalist Purnima Devi Barman, singer Tarali Sarma, body builder Golap Rabha and actor Kopil Bora have been roped in as State icons to create awareness about the election process.

• District election officers have been directed to reach out to the maximum number of voters in the constituencies under their jurisdiction. Polling stations with low female voter turn-out have been identified and ‘mahila voter rallies’ are being held.

Cabinet approved additional posts for NCLAT.

• Cabinet approved a proposal of six additional posts of judicial and technical members in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). The tribunal hears appeals against rulings of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).  The Cabinet cleared a proposal for the creation of three additional posts each for judicial members and technical members in the NCLAT. The new posts would ensure meeting the mandate provided to NCLAT by the Finance Act, 2017, the Companies Act, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and the time frame provided for disposal of cases.

Gujarat ATS and Indian Coast Guard capture 9 international smugglers with heroin worth Rs 500 crore

• The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad and the Indian Coast Guard captured nine international drug smugglers. The smugglers were reportedly carrying 100 kgs of contraband worth Rs 500 crore in the boat, which they had destroyed after they were trapped by the agencies.   As per the press statement, the Gujarat ATS had received a tip-off that an illegal consignment of narcotic drugs, Heroin, is going to be smuggled in Gujarat through Coast.

Delhi International Airport is to be transformed with world-class amenities.

• Delhi world’s 12th busiest hub, the Indira Gandhi International Airport, transiting between the various terminals of IGI Airport, will become a breeze in a few years’ time, with the airport operator finalizing the route of an “air train” connecting the terminals as well as Aerocity, the hotel center.

• It connects the Aerocity’s Airport Metro Express station to all the major Hotels and Offices with Aerocity's Hospitality District through an experiential walkway. It not only connects all the buildings but also provides a well-designed public space for everyone to enjoy. It promotes an active lifestyle and enables access to open spaces, shaded areas for casual breakouts and many other amenities.

MPI 2018 report says Indias povert rate has reduced drastically.

• According to the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index 2018 report, the four poorest states namely Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh were still home to 196 million MPI poor people, which was over half of all the MPI poor people in India.

• The Multi-dimensional Poverty Index 2018 report prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative makes the following observations about India:

• India has reduced its poverty rate drastically from 55% to 28% in 10 years, with 271 million people moving out of poverty between 2005-06 and 2015-16. Jharkhand had shown the greatest improvement, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Nagaland. Kerala, one of the least poor regions in 2006, reduced its MPI by around 92%.

At 15,256ft, Himachal's Tashigang is world's highest polling station.

• The Tashigang polling station in Himachal Pradesh falls in Buddhist-dominated Lahaul-Spiti, one of the 17 assembly segments that form the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, the second largest constituency in India.

• Situated at about 29 km from the India-China border, the polling station covers two villages— Tashigang and Gete.

• As per the revised electoral rolls, the two villages have 48 voters, of which 30 are men and 18 women. Earlier the tiny settlement of Hikkim in the same district located at an altitude of about 14,400 feet was the highest polling station in the country.

Vedanta Limited has discovered oil in the Krishna Godavari basin.

• Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Limited has discovered oil in the Krishna Godavari basin on India’s east coast. The company has notified the management committee, Directorate General of Hydrocarbons and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of an oil discovery in the second exploratory well H2, located in block KG-OSN-2009/3, Krishna-Godavari Basin, east coast of India.

• Vedanta Limited holds 100% participating interest in the block. The first exploration well, A3-2, drilled in the block was a gas discovery

Adani becomes first Indian port operator to record 200 million tonnes cargo movement in 2018-19

• Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) has claimed that its portfolio of nine ports and terminals handled 200 million metric tonnes (MMT) of cargo in 2018-19, becoming the first Indian port operator to achieve the milestone. The Gautam Adani-led company doubled its cargo handling from 100 MMT reached in 2013-14

India becomes the 4th country to test Anti-satellite missile system, codenamed Mission Shakti successfully.

• India successfully completed 'Mission Shakti' operation where it destroyed a live satellite on a low earth orbit (LEO) using an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile in three minutes. India has become the 4th country after the US, Russia and China in the world to achieve this historic feat.

• Anti Satellite weapons also called the ASAT are developed to destroy satellites. Mission Shakti is a joint programme of DRDO and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Mission Shakti will help the country in standing strong and secure. It will further protect the nation from disharmony and bring peace.

INTERNATIONAL:

India, US Ink Pact To Check Tax Evasion By MNCs.

• India and the US signed an agreement for the exchange of country-by-country (CBC) report. The move will give huge relief to subsidiaries of US-headquartered companies in the taxation-related matter. The agreement was signed by PC Mody, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), and Kenneth I Juster, US Ambassador to India.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Maruti Suzuki board re-appointed Kenichi Ayukawa as MD and CEO for 3 years.

• This would be Kenichi Ayukawa's third three-year term as MD and CEO of Maruti. He first took over as MD and CEO of the company in March 2013 as Shinzo Nakanishi had attained the age of retirement. He played a major role in expanding the company's market share beyond 50 per cent.

Azali Assoumani re-elected as the President of Comoros.

• Azali Assoumani was re-elected as the President of Comoros after defeating his closest rival, Mahamadou Ahamada in the election held by the electoral commission of the Indian Ocean Archipelago. 66 years old, Azali Assoumani who first took office in 2016, was credited with 60.77 percent votes whereas Mahamadou Ahamada got only 14.62 percent votes.

SPORTS:

Manu and Saurabh won gold in 12th Asian Airgun Championship in Taoyuan, Taipei.

• Indian shooting stars Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary smashed the qualification world record before clinching the 10m air pistol mixed team gold in the 12th Asian Airgun Championship in Taoyuan, Taipei. The Indians then went on to win the five-team final with a score of 484.8.

• Hwang Seongeun and Kim Mose of Korea won the silver with a score of 481.1 while Wu Chia Ying and Kou Kuan-Ting claimed the bronze for the host country with a score of 413.3.  This win comes a month after they won the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup stage gold in the same event in Delhi.

• Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary broke the record set by Russians Vitalina Batsarashkina and Artem Chernousov at the European Championships held recently.

Infosys joined hands with Roland-Garros to provide digital solution for French Open tennis tournament.

• IT company Infosys joined hands with Roland-Garros with a three-year partnership agreement to provide a digital solution for French Open tennis tournament, also called Roland-Garros. This agreement will enhance the game by providing fans, players and coaches with a new experience in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, mobility, virtual and augmented reality.

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Important Current Affairs of 27th March

NATIONAL:

CARE Hospitals has launched Ummeed, a Cancer screening programme.

• CARE Hospitals in association with Piramal Swasthya has launched a cancer screening programme called ‘Ummeed’ in Hyderabad, Telangana. The initiative that will help in early detection of oral, breast and cervical cancer, will be introduced in Rangareddy in the next 45 days, where in screening will be conducted free of cost.

• A fully-equipped van will be used to screen people and an all-woman team will educate the rural population about the importance of early detection of cancer.

IIT Delhi researchers developed AI based disease detector.

• Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi have created a low-power electronic hardware system, based on artificial intelligence (AI), which is capable of detecting malaria, tuberculosis, intestinal parasite and cervical cancer within a few milliseconds.

•  The researchers aim to build a neuromorphic system exclusively for the healthcare sector, in places where there are limited resources and paucity of specialists. AI-based software do exist for apps used for diagnosis.

•  However, this is the first time that a portable, low-power and cost-effective hardware has been developed to make AI-based systems available in areas with resource constraints.

AUSINDEX to be held off the coast of Vishakhapatnam from April 2 to 16th.

• Third Installment of the Joint Naval Exercise of India and Australia AUSINDEX is to be held off the coast of Vishakhapatnam from April 2 to 16.

• The joint exercise will focus on anti-submarine warfare, as part of efforts to ramp up bilateral naval cooperation in the strategic Indian Ocean region.

• AUSINDEX 2019 From the Australian side, HMAS Canberra (landing helicopter dock), Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessel, two frigates, HMAS Newcastle and HMAS Parramatta and P81 and P8 maritime patrol aircraft, will be involved in the exercise.

• A Kilo-class submarine, land-based Hawk aircraft that will provide the air attack element for the exercise, a Kamorta class anti-submarine vessel, besides a stealth destroyer will lead the Indian deployment for the exercise.

• The exercise will feature the deployment of Australian personnel on Indian ships and vice versa. The area of the exercise will be within 200 miles of Vishakhapatnam.  Over 1000 Australian defence personnel will take part. Australia has also proposed logistics sharing pact with India.

ISRO to launch 29 satellites including EMISAT on April 1, 2019.

• India on April 1 will launch an electronic intelligence satellite 'Emisat' for the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) along with 28 third party satellites. ISRO, for the first time, will also demonstrate its new technologies like three different orbits with a new variant of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket.

• PSLV-C45 will take off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota tentatively at 9:30 AM carrying the satellites onboard.

• EMISAT, weighing 436 kg, is intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement. The 28 international customer satellites are from four countries, viz. Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland and USA. All these satellites are being launched under commercial arrangements.

INTERNATIONAL:

GIZ Indo German Development Corporation to help in waste segregation.

• The Indo-German Development Corporation, GIZ, has been tied to help the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to carry out waste segregation activities. The tie-up, which has been facilitated through the Swachh Bharath Mission, is for a five-year period during which time the development corporation will provide technical assistance such as training

• In order to ensure implementation of the solid waste management bylaws in the North Corporation, ward level committees were being formed, involving Resident Welfare Associations, market associations, NGOs and Ragpickers organisations to look into specific local requirements. In addition, three ‘model wards’ have been selected where waste segregation will be ensured within six months.

IOC and BPRL has acquired an oil block in Abu Dhabi.

• Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat PetroResources Ltd. (BPRL), a subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), acting jointly as a consortium through Urja Bharat Pte Ltd. has acquired an oil block in Abu Dhabi, where the two will invest $170 million.

• The consortium through Urja Bharat Pte Ltd. have been awarded 100% stake in the Abu Dhabi Onshore Block 1 Concession.

• The concession has been awarded by the Supreme Petroleum Council, on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government. The concession award is for 35 years. This Onshore Block 1 is located in the A1 Dhafra region around Ruwais City and the refining complex, including the coastal region to the west.

China infused USD 2.2 billion in Pakistan's forex reserves.

• China infused around $2.2 billion in Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves for imports and external debt repayments. Pakistan has so far received a total of $9.1 billion in financial assistance from friendly countries during the current fiscal year. Pakistan has got $4.1 billion from China, $3 billion from Saudi Arabia and $2 billion from United Arab Emirates (UAE). Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves stood at $8.84 billion as on March 15.

LIMA 2019 Aero Expo held in Langkawi, Malaysia.

• Langkawi International Maritime Aero Expo (LIMA-2019) is held in Langkawi, Malaysia from 26 March 2019 to 30 March 2019. The event, that takes place once every two years, is one of the largest maritime and aerospace exhibitions in the Asia-Pacific.

• It is established in 1991. Indian Air Force (IAF) is participating in the Maritime Aero Expo for the first time, during which it will showcase its indigenously developed LCA fighter aircraft, Tejas.

• The anti submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt also participate in LIMA 2019

World's largest e-waste recycling hub opened in Dubai.

• Located at the Dubai Industrial Park, the 2,80,000 square feet plant will process Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), IT asset disposition (ITAD), refrigerant gas and specialised waste. It is established by ‘Enviroserve’ company with a total cost of $5 million. It has a processing capacity of 100,000 tonnes of total integrated waste per year, of which 39,000 tonnes is e-waste.

DAYS:

World Theatre Day celebrated on 27th March.

• World Theatre Day celebrated annually on the 27th March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community.

• It was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI).   On this day several national and international theatre events are organised.

•  A celebrated figure of the theatre is also invited by ITI who speaks and motivates people about the theme of Theatre, a culture of peace and circulate the message in the whole world. 

• This year that is in 2019 Carlos CELDRAN from Cuba, is an award -winning and highly esteemed theatre director, playwright, academic and professor, living and working in Havana, Cuba and present his work all over the world has been selected for the message 2019.

World Purple day Observed on March 26.

• Epilepsy Awareness Day which is commonly known as World Purple Day is observed on March 26 in order to encourage the people to wear the colour to increase the awareness of Epilepsy. Nearly 50 million people in the world are having Epilepsy as per the World Health Organization (WHO) which does not have a known cause.

• The day was first observed in 2008 in Nova Scotia, Canada to encourage awareness and cast away the myths on the general public about the decease. The mission of the day is to share stories and start conversations about epilepsy and to raise funds.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Forex swap auction received USD 16.31 billion by RBI.

• The first Forex swap auction by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which was aimed at infusing primary liquidity, received $16.31 billion bidding by banks. In turn, RBI infused Rs.34,561 crore rupee liquidity.

• There is the expectation that RBI would conduct more such auctions as there is an appetite in the market, and reduce dependence on open market purchases of bonds.

• RBI has infused a significant amount of liquidity in the current fiscal through open market operations (OMOs). 

RBI fined Rs 2 Crore penalty on PNB.

• The Reserve Bank of India has fined a penalty of Rs 2 crore on Punjab National Bank for non-compliance of regulatory directions with regard to SWIFT operations.  SWIFT (Society For Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) is a global messaging software used for sharing information on inter-bank transactions by financial entities.

AWARDS:

ADNOC Awards Onshore Block To Indian Consortium.

• A consortium of two Indian oil companies, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited awarded as the exploration rights for Abu Dhabi Onshore Block 1.  The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, Monday signed agreements awarding the exploration rights. The award has been endorsed by Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council. 

President Kovind honoured with highest civilian order in Croatia.

• President Ram Nath Kovind was honoured with Croatia's highest civilian award -- the Grand Order of the King of Tomislav, by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. He was awarded for his "exceptional contribution to the advancement of relations and development of mutual cooperation between Croatia and India.

• “President Kovind is the first Indian President to visit Croatia. Kovind is in the European country as part of his eight-day three-nation visit to Croatia, Bolivia and Chile to further strengthen bilateral ties between India and the three countries.

APPOINTMENTS:

Election Commission appoints K K Sharma as a Spl. Central Police Observer for LS polls in West Bengal, Jharkhand

• Election Commission of India appointed former Director General of Border Security Force K K Sharma as a Special Central Police Observer for Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal and Jharkhand.  Mr Sharma will oversee the deployment and other security-related issues in these States.

Shambhu S Kumaran appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Morocco

• Shambhu S Kumaran a 1995 batch of Indian Foreign Service officer appointed as next India’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco.

• Shambhu S Kumaran a 1995 batch of Indian Foreign Service officer appointed as next India’s Ambassador to Kingdom of Morocco.

•  He will succeed Dr. Kheya Bhattacharya. About Kingdom of Morocco Capital: Rabat Currency: Moroccan dirham Points of interest: Majorelle Garden, Bahia Palace Spoken languages‎: ‎Moroccan Arabic; ‎Berber‎; ... Official languages‎: ‎Arabic; ‎Berber     Foreign Languages‎: ‎French; English; Spanish.

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Important Current Affairs 26th March 2019

National:

Goldman Sachs report says that in FY20 food inflation likely to go up to 2 percent.

• Goldman Sachs report said that food inflation in the country is likely to go up to 2% in the fiscal year 2019-20 from the 0.7% estimated for FY19.

• It can be noted that low food prices had been one of the prime factors which had aided the RBI to be more accommodative in its rate-setting recently. It also attributed that the low food prices in the last few months to the prices of cereals and vegetables which had remained low for some time. Deregulation of markets, which saw delisting of vegetables from the Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee Act in 14 States, had helped keep vegetable prices low.

Delhi Development Authority launched the housing scheme.

• The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) launched the housing scheme for 2019, under which it will offer 18,000 flats spread across Narela and Vasant Kunj. With the online portal now open, interested buyers can get registered, following which a draw will be conducted to allot flats. The portal for online registration will be available until May 10.

•  All the flats on offer under this scheme are newly constructed. Approximately 450 HIG [high-income group] flats and 1,550 MIG [middle-income group] are being offered. Additionally, 8,300 LIG [low-income group] and 7,700 EWS [economically weaker section] flats are being offered under the scheme. Those registering for the housing scheme will have to deposit an application fee ranging from Rs. 25,000 for EWS category to Rs. 2 lakh for three bedroom flats.

Chandrayaan 2 to carry NASAs laser retro reflector arrays.

• India’s lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 will carry NASA’s laser instruments. The U.S. space agency said that the laser instrument will help scientists to make precise measurements of the distance to the Moon. Chandrayaan 2 is scheduled to be launched in the month of April. NASA has confirmed that Chandrayaan 2 and Israeli lander Beresheet, due to touch down on April 11, will each carry NASA-owned laser retroreflector arrays.

HAL rolled out 16th Tejas fighter for IAF fleet.

• The Indian Air Force (IAF) ordered 40 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter from the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).  The State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has rolled out its 16th Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter in the initial operational clearance (IOC) configuration to be inducted into the fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

India extends Rs. 35.5 million financial grant to Nepal.

• India has extended a financial grant of 35.5 million Nepalese rupees for the construction of an educational campus in Nepal under the Development Partnership Programme. The building was constructed at Siddheshwar Education Public Campus in Ramechhap district. It consists of 12 class rooms, meeting hall, laboratory room and a library.

• It will enhance the poor, needy and the marginalized students’ access to education in the district and the nearby areas. Development Partnership Programme is administered by the Development Administration Partnership division of the Ministry of External Affair.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal resigned his position.

• Jet Airways Founders Naresh Goyal and wife Anita Goyal have stepped down from the board of the cash-strapped airline. With this, Naresh Goyal ceases to be Chairman. Director Kevin Knight has also resigned. The board has accepted their resignations. The board also approved the issue of 11.4 crore equity shares to the lenders upon conversion of Re 1 of the outstanding debt. Lenders will infuse up to Rs 1,500 crore via debt instruments.

AIBA President Gafur Rahimov resigns.

• he Amateur International Boxing Federation (AIBA) President Gafur Rahimov announced his resignation. He cited the reason as the political based discussions were harming the organizations progress. Rahimov will be replaced by an interim president.  Rahimov was elected in November 2018 despite being on the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions list “for providing material support” to a criminal organization.

SPORTS:

Paralympics high jumper Girish Gowda named as Ambassador of Karnataka LS Elections.

• Silver Medalist in Paralympic high jump, Girish Gowda has been appointed as the ambassador of Karnataka Lok Sabha Elections 2019. He represented India in men’s high jump F-42 category during 2012 Summer Paralympics games held in London, where he clinched the silver medal. With this, he became the first Indian to win medal in this category

Govindaraj re-elected as BFI President.

• K. Govindaraj has been unanimously re-elected as president of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) at its annual general body meeting. Govindaraj announced that a new six-team women’s league will be held in the next three months.

INTERNATIONAL:

Pentagon approves USD 1 billion to build 92 km of Trump's border wall.

• Acting US defence (Pentagon) secretary Patrick Shanahan authorised $1 billion to build part of the wall sought by President Donald Trump along the US-Mexico border. The amount will go towards building 92 km of 18-foot fencing, improving roads and other measures along the border.

•  Earlier, Trump had declared national emergency over the border wall demand. Trump had sought $5.7 billion for the wall. He believes the wall will help curb crime and drug trade in the US. The wall was one of the main promises of the Trump election campaign in 2016.

IAF formally inducted four heavy-lift Chinook helicopters.

• On the lines of Indo-US deal inked in September 2015 for the purchase of 15 Chinooks by India, the first four heavy lift CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopters were inducted in the Indian Air Force, at Air Force Station, Chandigarh, in Squadron No 126 Helicopter Flight.

• These multi-role helicopters will act as life-saver during HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) missions. Regarded as one of the most modern heavy lift chopper, the payload capacity of Chinook is about 10 tonne, as it is able to lift artillery, vehicles, road construction and engineer equipment as well as troops and supplies to mountainous sectors.

• It can also lift M-777 ultra-light howitzers of the Indian armed forces. India has purchased 15 Chinooks for $1.5 billion. The delivery of remaining helicopters is expected to be completed by 2023.

AWARDS:

Peter Tabichi won Global Teacher Prize 2019.

• Peter Tabichi, a science teacher from rural Kenya, who gives away most of his salary to support poorer pupils, has won a $1m prize (£760,000) for the world's best teacher. The award, in a competition run by the Varkey Foundation, has seen him beating 10,000 other nominations from 179 countries. Last year's winner was an art teacher from north London, Andria Zafirakou.

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