Daily Current Affairs - 29th Jan 2018

Carlsen wins Tata Steel Chess Tournament for record sixth time

  • Magnus Carlsen won the 80th edition of the prestigious Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands Magnus Carlsen outwitted Anish Giri 1.5-0.5 in the two five-minute blitz tie-break games to win the Tata Steel chess tournament.
  • Carlsen had also won the 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015, and 2016 editions.

China to establish International courts to deal with BRI cases

  • China has decided to set up three international courts to deal with disputes related to its multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), under which it is making massive investments. The Chinese Supreme People's Court will set up international courts in Beijing, Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi Province and Shenzhen.
  • The Xi'an court in Northwest China will handle cases related to the Silk Road and the Shenzhen court in South China with those related to Maritime Silk Road disputes. Beijing will be the headquarters.
  • The courts will weigh litigation, arbitration and mediation; providing legal support and solving initiative disputes.

Coincheck to refund $400 mn to clients

  • Japan-based virtual currency exchange Coincheck said it would refund about $400 million to customers after hackers stole hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of digital assets. The firm said it would use its own funds to reimburse about 46.3 billion yen to all 2,60,000 customers who lost their holdings of NEM, the 10th biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation.
  • The firm detected an unauthorised access of the exchange, and later suspended trading for all cryptocurrencies apart from bitcoin.
  • The resulting 58 billion yen ($530 million) loss exceeded the value of bitcoins which disappeared from MtGox in 2014.

Commerce Ministry urges single GST rate on multimodal transportation

  • The Union Commerce Ministry has pitched for a single Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate for multimodal transportation of vehicles to improve logistic services and reduce the compliance burden on automobile manufacturers.
  • Currently, manufacturers and their logistics service providers have to deal with the issue of variable GST rates, applicable on various sectors of the entire multimodal transportation process. There was no clearly defined multimodal GST structure where vehicle makers could hand over finished goods through a single document to a third-party logistics service provider.
  • Automobile industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM) had approached the logistics department of the Ministry raising issues faced by companies due to lack of a clearly defined multimodal GST structure.
  • Multimodal transportation includes a combination of more than one mode of movement, such as rail, road or sea, for end-to-end delivery of goods.

England beat Australia in thrilling first ODI at Perth's new Optus stadium

  • England's Tom Curran inspired England to a thrilling 12-run win over Australia in the international played at the new Optus Stadium, Perth. Jason Roy gave England a fine start with 49 from 46 balls and Joe Root (62) was the only man to reach fifty as they were all out for 259 in the 48th over. Curran playing his only third ODI, took 5-35 as Australia were 247 all out to give England a 4-1 series win.

Finance Ministry to appraise bank heads

  • The Union Finance Ministry would soon initiate a performance review of heads of public sector banks that are under the RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) as part of the reform process.
  • So far, the Reserve Bank has put 12 public sector banks under watch in view of poor performance on parameters such as high levels of non-performing assets (NPAs), low capital level and low return on assets.
  • The list includes IDBI Bank, Central Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Dena Bank, Allahabad Bank and Bank of India. In the Reforms Agenda for Responsive & Responsible PSBs, the government had committed Rs. 52,311 crore for the 12 banks under PCA.
  • These parameters indicate the financial health of banks and a need to initiate remedial measures to put them on the right course. The government has committed adequate funds.

Finland's President Sauli Niinisto declares his re-election for new six-year term

  • Finland's moderate President Sauli Niinisto declared his re-election for a new six-year term after securing a comfortable lead in the early results from Sunday's election. With about 86 percent of votes counted, centre-right Niinisto had won 62.1 percent, compared with 13.1 percent for closest rival Pekka Haavisto.
  • Finland:
  • Prime Minister: Juha Petri Sipilä
  • Capital: Helsinki
  • Currency: Euro

Foreign exchange reserves continues to scale new peaks, touches $414.78 billion

  • According to the Reserve Bank of India data, the increase in the foreign exchange reserves continued for the fourth week in a row, and scaled a new peak at 414.784 billion USD in the week to January 19, helped by rise in foreign currency assets. The reserves rose by 959.1 million USD to touch during the reporting week. In the previous week, the reserves had touched 413.825 billion USD after it rose by 2.7 billion USD.
  • Foreign currency assets, a major component of the overall reserves, rose by 934.6 million USD to 390.768 billion USD. The foreign currency assets include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of the non-US currencies such as the euro, the pound and the yen held in the reserves.

Ikea founder Kamprad dead

  • Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad has died aged 91, leaving behind a global empire built on revolutionary flat-pack furniture. He founded the company at the age of 17. The story of Ikea -acronym for Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd (the name of his farm and municipality of origin) began in 1943.
  • Mr. Kamprad, whose 2017 fortune was estimated at €37.3 billion (around $46 billion).
  • Ikea’s self-assembly model which would cut transport and storage costs was conceived in 1956 after an employee suggested table legs be removed during freight so that the package would fit into a car.
  • IKEA is a Swedish-founded multinational group, headquartered in the Netherlands,that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories.

India lose to Belgium in final of 4 nations hockey meet

  • Indian men's hockey team suffered a heartbreaking loss to Belgium via penalty shootout in the final of the Four-Nations Invitational Tournament's second leg at Hamilton in New Zealand. At the end of the regulation time, the two teams were level at four goals each.

Indonesia Masters badminton: Tzu beats Saina again

  • Saina Nehwal suffered her seventh straight defeat to World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying, going down in the summit clash of the $350,000 Indonesia Masters badminton. Saina, who is coming back from an ankle injury, failed to lift her game against Tzu and lost 21-9, 21-13 in just 27 minutes.
  • Tzu has now defeated the Indian nine times in their last 10 meetings.

Leander Paes wins his 25th ATP Challenger level doubles title

  • Veteran Indian tennis star Leander Paes has won his 25th ATP Challenger level doubles title. Leander Paes and James Cerretani of the USA defeated Treat Huey of the Philippines and Denis Kudla of the USA 6-4, 7-5 in the doubles final of the $150,000 Challenger. With this victory Paes collected 125 ATP points that would push him back into the top-50 in the ranking.
  • Paes, winner of 11 singles titles on the Challenger Tour, had ended the 2017 season with consecutive trophies in Champaign and Knoxville with Raja.

Pakistan claims T20 series

  • Pakistan had won the 3rd Twenty20 match against New Zealand. Pakistan made 181 for six in 20 overs and then bundled out New Zealand 163 for six in 20 overs.
  • The 18-run victory gave Pakistan a come-from-behind 2-1 series win that will see it overtake New Zealand at the top of the rankings.

Republic Day Parade: Maharashtra wins best tableau award

  • The tableau from Maharashtra depicting the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at the Republic Day Parade at the Rajpath won the first prize, followed by Assam's tableau on traditional masks of the Satras. The tableau of Chhattisgarh, which depicted Ramgarh's ancient amphitheatre in addition to artistes performing dance based on Kalidasa's 'Meghadootam', was awarded the third prize.
  • Among the three military services, the contingent from the Army's Punjab Regiment was awarded the best marching contingent trophy, while the Indo-Tibetan Border Police team won the best marching contingent prize among the para-military and other auxiliary forces
  • In the category of tableaux representing Union ministries and departments, the best tableau award went to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The tableau depicted 'Khelo India', the national programme for development of sports.
  • Among performances by schoolchildren, South Central Zone Cultural Centre's 'Baredi Dance' (from Madhya Pradesh) was awarded the first prize.

Roger Federer wins sixth Australian Open and 20th Grand Slam title

  • Roger Federer won his sixth Australian Open and 20th Grand Slam title with a five-set victory over Marin Cilic with a scoreline 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 3-6 6-1. Federer, 36, becomes only the fourth player after Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf to win 20 or more major singles titles.
  • He ties the record for men's Australian Open titles at six with Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson, and moves four clear of Rafael Nadal in the all-time list for male Grand Slam champions on 20.
  • Meanwhile, in the women's category Caroline Wozniacki wins her for first Grand Slam title by defeating Simona Halep.

US delivers Black Hawk helicopters to bolster Jordan's border defences

  • The United States has delivered the last batch of Black Hawk helicopters for Jordan's rapid deployment force to bolster border defences and engage in cross-border operations against the Islamic State terror group.
  • Military aid to Jordan, one of the largest recipients of USA foreign military financing, helps to build the kingdom's military capabilities as part of a wider regional strategy.
  • Jordan:
  • Monarch: Abdullah II
  • Prime Minister: Hani Fawzi Al-Mulki
  • Capital: Amman
  • Currency: Jordanian dinar

Vijay Keshav Gokhale to take charge as next foreign secretary today

  • Vijay Keshav Gokhale, senior diplomat of the External Affairs Ministry, is likely to take charge as Foreign Secretary from Monday. Mr. Gokhale will succeed S. Jaishankar, who became Foreign Secretary two years ago.
  • The new Foreign Secretary will assume responsibility on a day when Parliament begins the crucial budget session. The main issues are likely to be the situation on the Doklam plateau, India-Pakistan ties and the orange passports planned to be issued to citizens under the ECR category.

Yemen PM accuses separatists of coup after HQ takeover

  • Yemen's Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher has accused separatist forces backed by UAE of staging a coup in the city of Aden after they took over government headquarters. He also called on the Saudi-led military coalition to intervene, stressing that UAE was the decision-maker in the city.
  • Clashes broke out between the army of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is supported by Saudi Arabia, and UAE-backed forces seeking separation from the country's north.
  • Yemen:
  • Capital: Sana'a
  • Currency: Yemeni rial