Daily Current Affairs - 25th Mar 2018

Aadil Anand bags a golden double

  • Promising Mumbai paddler Aadil Anand turned in a sterling display to clinch a golden double and lead India’s medal charge at the 2018 Tunisia junior and cadet open table tennis at Rades.
  • Payas had to settle for the silver in the cadet boys’ singles losing the title clash to China’s Liu Menglong.
  • Overall, the young players bagged two golds, two silvers and two bronze medals for the country in the ITTF World junior circuit tournament.

Bio-medical Waste Management Rules Amended to Protect Human Health

  • Underlining the effort to protect the environment and human health from infectious bio-medical waste, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 Rules have been amended to improve compliance and strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of biomedical waste in India.
  • Salient features of Bio-Medical Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018
  • 1.Bio-medical waste generators including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, dispensaries, veterinary institutions, animal houses, pathological laboratories, blood banks, health care facilities, and clinical establishments will have to phase out chlorinated plastic bags (excluding blood bags) and gloves by March 27, 2019.
  • 2.All healthcare facilities shall make available the annual report on its website within a period of two years from the date of publication of the Bio-Medical Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018.
  • 3.Operators of common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facilities shall establish bar coding and global positioning system for handling of bio-medical waste in accordance with guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board by March 27, 2019.

Chhattisgarh bagged the National 'Water Digest Award'

  • Chhattisgarh bagged the National 'Water Digest Award' for Water Conservation-Diversion and for increasing the irrigation capacity in the State. This is the first time that Chhattisgarh Water Resources Department had been given national Award during the past 17 years.
  • The Award is presented every year by globally renowned magazine 'Water Digest'-which focuses mainly on water resources.
  • The award is given in association with Central Water Resources River Development and Ganga Cleaning Ministry, UNESCO, Central Water Board, Central Water Commission and Ganga Purification National Mission. The Water Digest Award is recognized by the UNESCO.

Earth Hour 2018 observed across the world

  • The twelfth edition of Earth Hour was observed across the world on 24 March 2018 to take a global call on climate change. To mark this day, cities worldwide turned their lights off for one hour from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm local time.
  • Earth Hour is people’s movement inspiring individuals to take stand against climate change. It is organized by the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) with an aim to enable harmonious existence of human and wildlife.
  • The first Earth Hour was held on March 31, 2007 in Sydney, Australia. Now it has become world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action for our planet and nature.

Environment Ministry Holds Stakeholder Consultation Workshop to Discuss Market Mechanism Under Paris Agreement

  • A stakeholder consultation workshop to discuss market mechanism under Paris Agreement was held in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The focus of the consultation workshop was to discuss the features, design and safeguards of the new market mechanism that will be put in place for the post-2020 period and also assess its linkages with the pre-2020 market mechanism, particularly the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
  • India has significant experience of implementing projects under CDM of the Kyoto Protocol. However, in view of the evolving climate realities and the changed context in the post-2020 period, wherein all countries have submitted their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the features of the New Market Mechanism are being negotiated that would help achieve the goals of Paris agreement and support NDC implementation.

Govt. notifies Apr. 1 rollout of e-way bill

  • The government has notified April 1 as the implementation date for the electronic way or e-way bill, which will be required for transporting goods valued at over Rs. 50,000 between States.
  • Besides, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has also notified the requirement of filing summary return GSTR-3B till June.
  • The GST Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, had in its meeting decided on e-way bill roll out and the extension of the 3B filing facility.

Hamilton takes record 7th pole at Australian Grand Prix

  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set a blistering time in his final lap of qualifying to take pole position at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix for a record seventh time, outpacing his nearest rival by a sizable 0.664 seconds.
  • The defending Formula One champion set a time of 1 minute, 21.164 seconds at Albert Park circuit, breaking a tie with Ayrton Senna for most poles at the Australian GP. It’s the 73rd pole of Hamilton’s career.
  • Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, failed to qualify for the final qualifying session and will start in 11th and 12th positions.

HDFC Bank signs MoU with Government e-Marketplace

  • Private sector lender HDFC Bank signed an agreement with the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) under which the bank will facilitate a host of services to the public procurement portal for Central and state government organizations.
  • The MoU is significant as Government e-marketplace will bring transparency and efficiency in the procurement process with assured and timely payment to the sellers.
  • GeM provides an end-to-end online marketplace for central and state government ministries or departments, central or state public sector undertakings, autonomous institutions and local bodies for procurement of common use goods /services in a transparent and efficient manner.
  • About 20 states have already signed an MoU with GeM to use this portal for their procurements.

India's retail banking now bigger than Russia's

  • A boom in credit-fueled consumption has made India's retail banking one of the biggest among emerging markets outside of China.
  • Going by banks’ retail loans outstanding, worth $269 billion, India's retail banking is now bigger than Russia’s ($248 billion), Malaysia’s ($211.3 billion) and Mexico’s ($190 billion). However, Brazil ($439.4 billion) and Thailand ($310 billion) remain ahead of India, according to data from Bank for International Settlement (BIS). China, however, leads the pack with total retail banking assets worth $5.8 trillion.

MADHAVPUR MELA of Gujarat to have a grand four –day celebrations

  • In a unique initiative, the famous MADHAVPUR MELA of Gujarat to have a grand four –day celebrations through its first ever cultural integration with the North-East under Ek Bhart Shrestha Bharat.
  • The Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat shares its connect to the Mishmi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The Mishmi Tribe traces its ancestry to the legendary King Bhishmak and through him to his daughter Rukmini and Lord Krishna. For the first time ever, the festival will celebrate the immortal journey which Rukmini undertook from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat with Lord Krishna.

Manu Bhaker secures 10m Air Pistol gold at Junior World Cup

  • Shooter Manu Bhaker secured India's second individual gold after prevailing over Thailand's Kanyakorn Hirunphoem in a thrilling final of the women's 10m air pistol event at the ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney, Australia.
  • India tasted success in the 10m Air Pistol men's event too with Gaurav Rana winning a silver medal while Anmol Jain bagged the bronze.
  • India's Cheema, Rana and Anmol also pocketed the team gold, beating Liu, Wang and Tang -- who claimed silver for China -- and Jawanda, Arya and Adarsh Singh who won bronze for India.

Martin Vizcarra sworn in as Peru's new president

  • Peruvian regional governor Martin Vizcarra was sworn in as the country's new president, after his predecessor Pedro Pablo Kuczynski abruptly resigned over a corruption scandal.
  • Before the appointment, he was Peru's first vice president and ambassador to Canada.
  • Peru Capital-------- Lima
  • Peru Currency--------- Sol

Pakistan gets first woman opposition leader in senate

  • Pakistani lawmaker Sherry Rehman made history by becoming the first woman Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, the Upper House of parliament. Rehman, 57, belongs to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). She has served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US from 2011 to 2013 and was elected to the Senate in 2015.
  • Her candidacy was approved by PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who earlier said “PPP (is) ready to make history again”. His slain mother and former two-time PM Benazir Bhutto had served twice as Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, the Lower House, in 1990s.

PV Sindhu to be India's flag-bearer at CWG opening ceremony

  • Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu will be Indian contingent’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
  • This would be the first time in the last three editions of the Commonwealth Games that a badminton player would don the flag-bearer’s hat. Having won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics two years ago, the Hyderabad-based World No. 3 Sindhu is one of the favorites to win the badminton women's singles title in Gold Coast.
  • At the 2014 Glasgow CWG, London Olympics silver medallist shooter Vijay Kumar was India's flag-bearer

UCO Bank to merge branches in Hong Kong

  • Following the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s ban on letters of undertaking (LoU), Kolkata-based UCO Bank is planning to merge its two branches in Hong Kong. The country has the second highest number of foreign branches by Indian banks after the UK.
  • Financing through LoUs and buyers credit has been a mainstay for most Indian banks in Hong Kong, accounting for close to 50 per cent of their business. But now, they are now being forced to realign operations involving trade financing the Indian diaspora.
  • Indian banks have about 17 branches in Hong Kong. Banks with two branches include, Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and ICICI Bank, apart from UCO Bank. With almost zero capital required for opening a branch in Hong Kong, Indian banks so long have been upbeat in opening branches in the country.

US launches WTO challenge against China

  • The United States launched a challenge at the World Trade Organization against China over intellectual property breaches,
  • US President Donald Trump hit China with tariffs on up to $ 60 billion of imports to retaliate against the "theft" of American intellectual property, ratcheting up trade tensions between the world's two largest economies.
  • Trump also announced he was directing the United States Trade Representative(USTR) to pursue dispute settlement in the WTO to confront China over its policies that result in unfair treatment for US companies and innovators trying to do business in China.
  • The World Trade Organization is not only a forum for nations to negotiate trade deals, but it also acts as a court to resolve trade disputes.

Venezuela to eliminate three zeros from currency

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has decided to eliminate three zeros off the country's inflation-ridden currency, the bolivar, taking effect from June 4, as an economic measure to "guarantee commercial activities".
  • The President said that this new monetary denomination, which replaces the one he established in January 2017, will help the government fight the "economic war of financial persecution".
  • However, 500 bolivars, the new maximum denomination of the country's bills, amount to only $0.01, according to the official exchange rate of 43,980 bolivars per one dollar.
  • Venezuela's new set of monetary denomination will consist of two coins, one of 0.50 cents of a bolivar ($0.00001) and the other of one bolivar ($0.00002).