Daily Current Affairs - 18th Mar 2018

All England Open: PV Sindhu loses to Akane Yamaguchi in epic semi-final

  • It was heartbreak for India after ace shuttler PV Sindhu lost her semi-final encounter against Japan's Akane Yamaguchi at the prestigious All England Open Championships.
  • Yamaguchi registered a hard-fought victory 19-21, 21-19, 21-18 over Sindhu in the All England Open semi-finals. Yamaguchi will now meet World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in Sunday's final. Tai Tzu Ying defeated China's Chen Yufei 21-15, 20-22, 21-13 in the other semi-final.

Centre, ADB ink $120mn loan agreement to improve rail infrastructure

  • The Centre and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a loan agreement to the tune of USD 120 million for the completion of works for double-tracking and electrification of railway tracks along high-density corridors to improve operational efficiency of Indian railways.
  • The tranche 3 loan is part of the USD 500 million multi-tranche financing facility for the Railway Sector Investment Program approved by the ADB Board in 2011. The loan amount will be used to complete the ongoing works commenced under earlier tranches.

Chennaiyin FC lifts the Indian Super League crown

  • Chennaiyin FC crushed Benglauru FC’s dream of lifting the Indian Super League crown in its debut season by beating it 3-2 in the final at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
  • Two headed goals from centre-back Mailson Alves and an expertly-taken third by midfielder Raphael Augusto who was outstanding on the day ensured that Chennaiyin would lift its second ISL trophy. It is now tied with Amar Tomar Kolkata (ATK) on two titles.

CISF launches mobile app for lost items at airports

  • The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has launched its lost and found mobile application for passengers at 59 airports across India. It can be downloaded from the website of Ministry of Information and Technology. The CISF guards 59 civil airports across the country.
  • The app offers three facilities – lost and found items at airports, tracking complaints or request status and technical consultancy in security, and fire services. Its main advantage is to help passengers to directly register complaints and get status of their complaint immediately from airports under its security cover.
  • The CISF is a central armed police force under the aegis of Union Ministry of Home Affairs. With force larger than 1,65,000 it is the largest security force in the world.

Coast Guard commissions interceptor boat at Gujarat's Porbandar

  • The Coast Guard commissioned an interceptor ICGS C-437 boat at Porbandar as part of its efforts to strengthen the security umbrella of the West coast. ICGS C-437 shall be based at Jakhau under administrative and operational control of commander Coast Guard Region (North West).
  • The interceptor boat is 27.8m long, has displacement capacity of 106 tonnes and has maximum speed of 45 knots. The boat has advanced navigational and communication equipment with capability to respond to any maritime situation.

Ease of doing business improves in West Bengal

  • West Bengal was now more conducive to doing business, offering satisfactory environment even as concerns remained over the acquisition of land for large projects, according to a survey.
  • Participants in the survey on ease of doing business, conducted jointly by CII and PwC, also listed labour and trade union issues and lack of skilled manpower as areas of concern for the State even as they said that West Bengal offered cost competitiveness in terms of raw material and machinery.

FBI deputy chief McCabe fired, days before retirement

  • Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has endured a year of withering attacks from President Donald Trump, was fired by the Justice Department just days before he was to retire.
  • Announcing Mr. McCabe’s ouster, the Justice Department said an internal investigation found that he had made unauthorized disclosures to the media and had not been fully honest “on multiple occasions” with the department’s inspector general.
  • The decision was taken “after an extensive and fair investigation,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

Jaipur to witness 8th Theatre Olympics

  • Jaipur is all set to be one of the co-hosts of the 8th Theatre Olympics, the largest international theatre festival to be held for the first time in India. The Jaipur chapter of Theatre Olympics2018 is organised by the National School of Drama (NSD) under the aegis of Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India in collaboration with Ravindra Manch Society and Art & Culture Department, Government of Rajasthan.

Lok Sabha passes Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017

  • The Lok Sabha has passed Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to empower government to fix period of maternity leave and tax-free gratuity amount with an executive order. The Bill seeks to amend the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.
  • The Bill increased the upper ceiling of the gratuity from the present 10 lakh rupees to 20 lakh rupees for employees in the private sector and in Public Sector Undertakings at par with Central Government employees.

Maharashtra bans use of plastic

  • Maharashtra Government has banned use of plastic in time-bound manner, citing environmental and public health concerns. The decision was taken at cabinet meeting led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The ban will include plastic bags, thermocol, disposable cups and plates, cutlery, non-woven polypropylene bags, plastic pouches and packaging.
  • The ban exempts plastic used to cover medicines, forest and horticulture products, solid waste, tree saplings and use of plastic in special economic zones (SEZ) for export purposes.
  • Government will also provide some incentives to those who strictly adhere to ban decision. There is also proposal to slap penalty such as non-renewing of licences for shops and industries which violate decision.

Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim Resigns

  • Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim has resigned after being embroiled in a scandal over the use of a credit card to buy luxury personal items.
  • It has been alleged that Gurib-Fakim made personal purchases, buying jewelry and clothing using a credit card provided by London-based Planet Earth Institute. Africa's only female head of the state, Gurib-Fakim is an internationally renowned scientist and biologist. Gurib-Fakim took the honorary position of president in 2015, becoming the first woman to do so in Mauritian history.
  • Mauritius Capital: Port Louis
  • Mauritius Currency: Mauritian rupee.

New species of water strider found in Nagaland

  • Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered a new species of water strider from Nagaland. The species, named Ptilomera nagalanda Jehamalar and Chandra, was found in the river Intanki, Peren district.
  • Water striders are a group of insects adapted to life on the surface of water, using surface tension to their advantage.
  • Scientists working on the water striders say that their presence serves as an indicator water of water quality and they are found on water surface.

Notice to Bengal over GI tag for ‘Rosogolla’

  • The Geographical Indication (GI) Registry has issued a notice to the West Bengal State Food Processing and Horticulture Development Corporation, asking why the GI recognition given to ‘Banglar Rosogolla’ not be withdrawn, reacting to an application for rectification or removal filed by Ramesh Chandra Sahoo, chairperson of the Bhubaneswar-based Regional Development Trust.
  • Odisha Small Industries Corporation applied for the GI tag for ‘Odisha’s Rasagola’ on January 23, 2017. The application includes historical evidence seeking to prove that the famous sweet was part of the offering in Sri Jagannath Temple of Puri at least five centuries ago.

Novartis India MD Zia resigns

  • Novartis India said its vice chairman and managing director Jawed Zia has decided to step down from the post.
  • Jawed Zia, vice chairman and managing director, Novartis India Limited has informed the board of directors of his decision to step down from the office.
  • The pharmaceutical business of Novartis India is focused on bone and pain, calcium portfolio, gynecology and neuroscience and the generic business is focused on gynecology, anti-TB and anti-infectives.

Odisha govt. to collaborate with RIMES for disaster management

  • The Odisha government is set to collaborate with the Thailand-based Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) for strengthening its early warning services and enhancing preparedness for management of hazards in the State.
  • At present, India is chairing RIMES. Under the drought monitoring system, both institutions would work on a system to archive, analyse and visualise data, besides evaluating station performance and validating forecast data. Similarly, RIMES is expected to provide a one-stop risk management system for all OSDMA needs. Odisha is particularly concerned about tsunami originating from the Andamans.

President Inaugurates Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, will inaugurate a Festival of
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) and present Gandhian Young Technological Innovation awards instituted by Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions [SRISTI] at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • FINE, an initiative to recognize, respect, showcase, reward innovations and to foster a supportive ecosystem for innovators, is being organized by Rashtrapati Bhavan in association with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and the National Innovation Foundation-India.

Sri Lanka Pays Tribute to J Dalmiya With Book 'A Tribute to Jagu'.

  • Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) paid a glowing tribute to former BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya by releasing a book, titled ‘A Tribute to Jagu’. It was released on the occasion of the 70th independence of the island nation.
  • They felicitated him posthumously as the greatest non-Sri Lankan contributor to their country’s cricket.

UN Issues $951 Million Appeal for Rohingya Refugees

  • The United Nations has issued an appeal for 951 million Dollars to meet the needs of nearly 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
  • Over the months since the most recent Rohingya influx began, it has become the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis with tens of thousands fleeing by land and sea daily from Myanmar's northern Rakhine state at the peak of the emergency.
  • The Headquarters of UN: New York, USA.
  • United Nations Day: 24 October

Xi re-elected President, top ally Wang named VP

  • China’s Parliament unanimously elected Xi Jinping as President for a second consecutive term, paving the way for a new leadership line-up that includes his trusted ally Wang Qishan as Vice-President.
  • All the 2,970 delegates of the National People’s Congress (NPC) voted for Mr. Xi as President and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Mr. Xi is already the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC).