Daily Current Affairs - 16th Feb 2018

Australia’s Ministers barred from having sex with staff

  • Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull imposed a formal ban on sex between Ministers and their staff after his deputy made a shocking error of judgment by having an affair that left an aide pregnant and the government reeling.
  • Mr. Turnbull announced the amendment to the ministerial code of conduct to make it unequivocally clear that Ministers, regardless of whether they are married or single, must not engage in sexual relations with staff.
  • Australia:
  • Prime Minister: Malcolm Turnbull
  • Capital: Canberra
  • Currency: Australian dollar

Brazil to declare social emergency on Venezuela border

  • Brazil has said it will declare a state of social emergency and boost troops on its border with Venezuela in response to an influx of people fleeing the crisis in that country. The declaration will free the authorities to allocate infrastructure funds and to put in place humanitarian measures on the Venezuelan border. 
  • The Brazilian government says that some 40,000 Venezuelans have now fled the economic breakdown and political unrest in their oil-rich country to take shelter in Boa Vista, capital of Brazil's border state of Roraima.
  • Brazil:
  • President: Michel Temer
  • Capital: Brasilia
  • Currency:  Brazilian real

China to host SCO Summit in port city of Qingdao this June

  • China announced that this year's summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will be held in the city of Qingdao in June. The SCO is comprised of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
  • China has been holding summit-level meetings of international organisations in different cities giving them special prominence
  • India and Pakistan were admitted as full members of the organisation at the summit in Astana last year.
  • China is one of the founders of the organisation, plays an influential role in it. The SCO focuses on security- related issues of the region specially on counter terrorism cooperation.

Cristiano Ronaldo becomes first player to score 100 goals for same club in Champions League

  • Crisitiano Ronaldo made history once again by becoming the first player ever to score 100 Champions League goals for the same club following his strike against PSG. The 33-year-old has 115 goals in Europe’s premier club competition in total with 15 of those coming during his time at Manchester United.
  • Lionel Messi ranks second in the goalscoring charts for Europe’s elite knockout competition, clocking up 97 goals for Barcelona, enough to make him the second highest scorer in competition history.

Cyril Ramaphosa sworn in as new President of South Africa following resignation of Jacob Zuma

  • Cyril Ramaphosa, head of the ruling African National Congress, ANC, has been sworn in as South Africa's new President. He was elected as the new president of South Africa by the ruling party politicians after the resignation of Jacob Zuma.  Ramaphosa became country's deputy President in 2014. 

Entrepreneur of the Year  2017 award for Sanjiv Bajaj

  • Sanjiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Finserv, has been named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017. He will represent India at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award (WEOY) in Monte Carlo from June 13.
  • E. Sreedharan, widely acknowledged for his contribution in transforming the public transport system in India, has been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • He was instrumental in the planning and execution of Kolkata Metro, Delhi Metro, Kochi Metro and Lucknow Metro.

Ethiopian PM resigns after mass protests

  • Ethiopia’s prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn has submitted a letter of resignation in a surprise move that comes amid protracted anti-government protests and follows a nationwide state of emergency last year. The resignation will be confirmed once the full council of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition meets.
  • Ethiopia’s government has long been accused of arresting journalists and opposition leaders. Hundreds of people have died in violence sparked initially by an urban development plan for the capital, Addis Ababa. The unrest spread in 2015 and 2016 as demonstrations against political restrictions and human rights abuses broke out.
  • Mr. Hailemariam has been in power since 2012.
  • Ethiopia
  • Capital: Addis Ababa
  • Currency:  Ethiopian birr

Fincare SFB targets to open 500 banking outlets by July

  • Fincare Small Finance Bank (Fincare SFB) has drawn up aggressive plans to increase its business by opening 210 banking outlets before July 2018. As of January 2018, Fincare SFB had a loan book of Rs. 1,800 crore and deposits of Rs. 600 crore. By the end of the current fiscal, it expects the loan book size to be Rs. 2,500 crore.
  • operating in seven States with 290 banking outlets of which 27 are full service branches.
  • CEO, Fincare Small Finance Bank: Rajeev Yadav

Germany retain top spot in FIFA rankings

  • World champions Germany remain top of the FIFA rankings published in Lausanne, Switzerland. Brazil are second position followed with European title-holders Portugal third. Iceland were the only climbers in the top 20, up by two places to 18th. Mexico are the top north and central American team in 17th.
  • Tunisia lead the Africans in 23rd while 33rd-ranked Iran are leading in Asia. 
  • The top 10 is dominated by Europe with seven teams, while South America provides the other three.

India overtakes UK in defence spending and breaks into world's top 5 

  • According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which compiles authoritative reports on annual military spending, India has overtaken the United Kingdom in defence spending and broken into the top five. India has the fifth largest defence budget in the world, at $52.5 billion in 2017 ($51.1 billion in 2016), overtaking the UK whose defence budget fell from $52.5 billion in 2016 to $50.7 billion in 2017.
  • China with the world's second-largest defence budget after the US remains far ahead with three times India's defence budget at $150.5 billion. Then followed by Saudi Arabia ($76.7 billion) and Russia($61.2 billion).

India’s biggest global pharma conference in Bengaluru

  • An international exhibition and conference on Pharmaceutical & Medical Device sector ‘India Pharma & India Medical Device 2018’ began in Bengaluru. The event will go on till February 17.
  • The event is being organised by the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, along with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
  • The event will bring key stakeholders of the pharma and medical devices sectors under one roof, with hundreds of delegates including 50 Hosted Delegates from other Nations. 
  • Over 300 companies and 50 startups will showcase their products at the grand exhibition where more than 90 eminent industry leaders will speak at various sessions. More than 20 international drug and device regulators will participate in a meet with Indian regulators.
  • A key highlight of India Pharma & India Medical Device 2018 is a workshop by World Health Organisation on ‘Regulatory System Strengthening and Prequalification’. 
  • The Theme of the event, ‘Driving NextGen Pharmaceuticals’.
  • Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilisers Ananth Kumar
  • Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda

India’s Umang App wins Best M-Govt Service award & Aadhar wins Best Emerging Technology award at World Govt Summit in Dubai

  • India’s Umang App was named winner of the Best M-Government Service award in the Accessible Government category while Aadhar won the best emerging technology award at the recently concluded World Government Summit 2018 in Dubai, where India had the status of ‘Guest of Honour’ country.
  • The mobile application Umang App provides users a unified platform that combines government departments and services, facilitating transactions for citizens. The award acknowledged Government of India’s efforts to provide convenient services to its citizens.
  • The Aadhaar project was recognized as the world’s largest biometric enabled identification programme which provides access to service income tax, passport services, bank accounts, social services benefits aimed at providing 1.2 billion citizens unique identification card with fingerprint, eye-print and other vital data. 

Iranian President to push for investment

  • Indian investment in Iran, including billions of dollars in connectivity, infrastructure and oil projects topped the agenda as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived for a three-day visit to India.
  • The visitcomes close on the heels of a decision by the Modi government to allow Indians to invest in Iran in rupees signals an independent line from the United States, which is threatening new sanctions against Iran in the coming months.
  • The rupee investment plan is expected to ease the path for businessmen wishing to circumvent challenges posed by the current sanctions regime against Iran.
  • The Chabahar investment project is a key objective for Iran while several MoUs would be signed after his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Kusal stars for Sri Lanka

  • Opener Kusal Mendis scored his maiden half-century in T20Is to guide Sri Lanka to a six-wicket win over Bangladesh in the first match. Mendis smashed 53 off 27 balls while Dasun Shanaka hit an unbeaten 42 as Sri Lanka eased past Bangladesh’s record total of 193 for five with 20 balls to spare.

Long-serving former Dutch prime minister Ruud Lubbers dead

  • The long-serving Dutch prime minister Ruud Lubbers, who led the Netherlands from 1982 to 1994, has died at the age of 78. He had the longest tenure of any prime minister in the country's history and guided the Netherlands through economic turmoil to prosperity while helping shape the foundations of the European Union.
  • He also served as as UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
  • Netherlands:
  • Prime Minister: Mark Rutte
  • Capital: Amsterdam
  • Currency: Euro

Odisha government to sponsor India hockey teams for 5 years

  • The Odisha government announced that the state will sponsor the national hockey team’s men's and women's for the next five years. This is the first time that a state will sponsor a national hockey team
  • In the past, Odisha has produced some of India’s top hockey players including Dilip Tirkey, Ignace Tirkey and Lazarus Barla. Four players in the current team, Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas, Deepsan Tirkey and Namita Toppo, are also from Odisha.

Oli sworn in as Nepal PM for second time

  • K.P. Sharma Oli sworn in as Nepal’s Prime Minister for the second time, weeks after his Left alliance with the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) swept the parliamentary polls.
  • President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Oli and two other Ministers, both from the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML).
  • The CPN-UML secured 121 seats in the 275-member Parliament and became the largest party. The Nepali Congress won 63 seats while the CPN-Maoist secured 53 seats.
  • Nepal:
  • Capital: Kathmandu
  • Currency:  Nepalese rupee

PNB fraud may wipe out profit

  • The Rs. 11,500-crore fraud at state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) could have a significant impact on its profitability, which is already under pressure due to an increase in bad loans.
  • Since PNB had issued Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) in favour of three companies run by Nirav Modi — Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and Diamond R Us — for availing buyers’ credit, PNB may have to bear the liability and pay the other banks such as Allahabad Bank and Axis Bank.
  • In the January-March quarter of 2016 (FY2015-16), the lender had reported a record quarterly loss of Rs. 5,370 crore due to a jump in bad loans. 
  • The bank reported gross non-performing assets of Rs. 57,519 crore as of end December, which was 12.1% of its total advances.
  • MD & CEO of PNB: Sunil Mehta

Trade deficit widens to $16.3 bn in Jan.

  • According to data released by the Commerce Ministry, India’s goods trade deficit widened to $16.30 billion in January 2018 from $9.9 billion in the same month a year earlier and $14.88 billion in the previous month owing to imports outpacing exports.
  • The January trade deficit is a more than three-year high. It was $16.86 billion in November 2014. Exports for January went up by 9.07% year-on-year to $24.38 billion. However, goods imports rose 26.1% to $40.68 billion.
  • Labour-intensive sectors like garments, carpets, handicrafts, man-made textiles are exhibiting negative growth primarily due to liquidity crunch emanating from blocking of funds in GST.
  • Shipments of chemicals, engineering goods and petroleum products grew by 33%, 15.77% and 39.5% in January, while gold imports shrunk 22% to $1.59 billion. Shipments of ready-made garments declined by 8.38% to $1.39 billion last month.
  • Oil and non-oil imports during January jumped by 42.64% and 20.49% to $11.65 billion and $29 billion, respectively.
  • The exports in services in December 2017 were valued at $16 billion. The imports stood at $9.85 billion.

US blames Russia for crippling 2017 'NotPetya' cyber attack

  • The United States has publicly blamed Russia for carrying out the so-called NotPetya cyber attack last year that crippled government and business computers in Ukraine before spreading around the world.  The attack in June of 2017 spread worldwide, causing billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia and the Americas. 
  • Russia denied an accusation by the British government that it was behind the attack, saying it was part of a Russophobic campaign that it said was being waged by some Western countries.
  • Ukraine:
  • President: Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko
  • Capital: Kiev
  • Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia