Daily Current Affairs - 04th May 2018

Cabinet Approves Plan To Set Up 20 AIIMS Across Country

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved a plan to set up 20 All India Institute of Medical Sciences or AIIMS across the country, six of which have already been established, and to upgrade 73 medical colleges.
  • The decisions are part of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), which has been extended by two years till 2020, with a financial outlay of Rs. 14,832 crore.
  • The decision to extend the PMSSY was aimed to meet the shortfall in healthcare professionals and facilities across the country.
  • The construction of new AIIMS will be fully funded by the central government. It will also bear the operations and maintenance expenses of these facilities.

China’s exemption to help Indian drug exports

  • China has exempted import tariffs for many medicines( 28 drugs), including all cancer drugs from May 1, a move that will help Indian exports. As this move will help reduce trade imbalance between China and India in the future. China will further improve business environment by halving the time required to open a business.
  • The two sides also agreed to promote bilateral trade in pharmaceuticals including resolution of issues of Indian pharma products exports to Chinese markets.
  • India’s trade deficit with China has widened to a whopping $62.8 billion in 2017-18 from $51 billion a year before.

Cognizant buys Belgian analytics and advisory firm Hedera Consulting

  • Cognizant has acquired Belgian analytics and advisory firm Hedera Consulting, for an undisclosed amount, to boost its consulting capabilities in Europe. Hedera’s consultants and data scientists help clients with growth strategy, innovation, marketing, sales and customer service. The company will become part of Cognizant’s consulting division.
  • Cognizant
  • CEO: Francisco D'Souza
  • Headquarters: New Jersey, USA

Doval chairs first meet of defence panel

  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval chaired the first meeting of the Defence Planning Committee (DPC), a new permanent mechanism created last month by the union government. The meet was attended by the three military chiefs, and defence, foreign and expenditure secretaries.
  • The DPC will prepare a draft national security strategy, develop a capability development plan, work on defence diplomacy issues and improving defence manufacturing in India.
  • Four sub-committees will be created under the DPC: one to look at policy and strategy, the second to work on plans and capability development; the third on defence diplomacy and the fourth on defence manufacturing ecosystem.

Environment ministry bans party poppers

  • The Union environment ministry has banned party poppers, a popular object which explodes when a string is pulled, stating that the devices pose a serious threat to human health and environment.
  • Poppers, which are commonly used in parties and other celebrations, are usually charged with an explosive which is activated by pulling a string. The charge blows out some confetti or other materials by emitting a popping sounds.
  • The Ministry said that the plastic glittering material and the other charged chemicals contained in poppers are of low intensity explosive and often composed of red-phosphorous, potassium chlorate and potassium perchlorate.
  • As these materials are harmful to human health and environment. They get mixed with food items and may also cause severe eye trauma or other facial injuries.
  • The poppers which do not use chemical explosives but compressed air as a charge and soft paper as streamers have been exempted from the ban.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed all state pollution control boards and pollution control committees to take necessary steps for ensuring implementation of the ban.

Final phase of Indo-French naval exercise Varuna begins in Reunion Island

  • The Indian and French navies are conducting the third and last phase of the 2018 Varuna naval exercise, from 1st to 7th of May, in the vicinity of Reunion Island(a French administrative department) in the India Ocean.
  • The seven-day exercise sees the sailors simulating different scenarios, including air defense, firing, manoeuvers, asymmetric warfare and embarkation.
  • The current exercise includes the participation of two major vessels of the Indian Navy, the destroyer INS Mumbai and the Talwar class frigate INS Trikand, and the maiden deployment at Reunion Island of a multimission maritime aircraft, the Boeing P-8I Neptune
  • The first phase of the exercise involved joint anti-submarine combat training off the Indian coast in Goa, while the second being focused on amphibious operations off Chennai’s coast.

Firms must give FPI data by May 15: RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India, in consultation with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has decided to introduce a new system for monitoring foreign investment limits. All listed Indian companies are required to provide the specified data/information on foreign investment to the depositories. The requisite information should be furnished on or before May 15.
  • The listed Indian companies in non-compliance with the above instructions will not be able to receive foreign investment and will be non-compliant with Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999,

Flipkart buys back shares worth $350 mn

  • Flipkart has concluded another buyback of shares from investors, a move that is likely aimed at paving the way for U.S retail giant Walmart’s stake acquisition, The buyback appears to be a procedure aimed at converting the e-commerce firm into a private company under Singapore law. The company paid a set of investors $350.46 million to buy back 18,95,574 preference shares in a transaction that closed on April 27, 2018,
  • Flipkart company's valuation is at approx $17.69 billion.

Global warming driving harmful algae growth

  • A team of scientists from Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services and American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have found that global warming is driving the expansion of harmful algae in the Arabian Sea.
  • Algae Noctiluca, popularly known as sea sparkle is said to cause damage to aquatic life and ecosystems, as it excretes ammonia toxic to ocean life, and also thrives on fish-food in the food chain.
  • The scientists overturned the earlier notion that chemical effluents and oxygen were linked to the proliferation of harmful algae in the sea.

India exported 10,85,378 MT seafood valued Rs 35,916.60 crore in 2017-18

  • According to Marine Products Export Development Authority data, India exported 10,85,378 Metric Tonnes of sea food valued at rupees 35,916.60 crores during the first ten months of the last financial year. It registered a growth of 13.68 per cent in quantity and 10.11 per cent in value.
  • Frozen Shrimp continued as the top export item of Marine products basket, with a share of 42.05 per cent in quantity and 69.95 per cent of the total earnings in dollar terms.
  • USA , South East Asia and European Union continued to be the three major importers while the demand from Japan registered substantial increase during the period.

India gold demand seen rising

  • The demand for gold in India is expected to improve following a normal monsoon and the government’s efforts to raise rural incomes, the World Gold Council (WGC) said. India is one of the world’s largest consumers.
  • Global gold consumption fell to the lowest level in 10 years in the first quarter of 2018 due to subdued gold prices that affected the overall demand and led to a fall in investment demand for gold bars and gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
  • The global demand at 973 tonnes was a decrease of 7% compared with 1,047 tonnes in the first quarter of 2017. In India, the overall demand in the first quarter at 115.6 tonnes was lower by 12% compared with the year-earlier period.

India's Neeraj Goyat conferred with WBC Asia Boxer of the Year Award

  • Indian boxer Neeraj Goyat has been conferred with the WBC Asia Boxer of the Year Award. He is the current WBC Asia champion in the welterweight category. Since turning pro in 2011, Neeraj has won nine fights including two knockouts.
  • Neerav Tomar, promoter of IOS Boxing Promotions which manages Neeraj and Vijender Singh, was bestowed with WBC Asia honorary Promoter of the year 2017 Award by the Asian Boxing Council

Iran nuclear deal: UN urges Trump not to walk away

  • UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has urged US President Donald Trump not to walk away from an international deal designed to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. He said there was a real risk of war if the 2015 agreement was not preserved. Mr Donald Trump has to decide by May 12 whether to stick with the deal.
  • The European allies which include France, the UK and Germany have agreed that pursuing the current nuclear deal with Iran is the best way to stop it developing nuclear weapons.
  • Meanwhile, Iran warned that it will quit a landmark nuclear deal with world powers if President Donald Trump pulls the U.S. out of the accord.

Justin Langer Appointed Head Coach Of Australian Cricket Team

  • Cricket Australia appointed former Test opener Justin Langer as the new coach of the national cricket team. He replaced Darren Lehmann who resigned in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australian cricket team in March. He has signed a four-year deal with Australian Board. He will coach Australia in all three formats of the game and will commence in the role on 22 May, for a four-year term taking in two Ashes Series, a World Cup and World T20 tournament.
  • Langer played 105 Tests from 1993 to 2007, averaging 45.27 and amassing 7,696 runs, including 23 centuries.

Mohamed Salah named Football Writers' Footballer of the Year

  • Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has been named the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year for 2017/18. He becomes the first African to be given the accolade after edging out Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne by less than 20 votes in a ballot of more than 400 FWA members.
  • Tottenham striker Harry Kane came third with Salah and De Bruyne polling over 90 per cent of the votes. Salah also been named Player of the Year by the Professional Footballers' Association this month.

NGT asks Delhi, northern states to respond to WHO report on most-polluted cities

  • The National Green Tribunal has asked Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Bihar to respond to a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report on 20 most-polluted cities in the world.
  • A bench headed by acting NGT Chairperson sought responses from the governments of these states including Delhi.
  • According to the WHO global air pollution database, 14 out of the 15 most-polluted cities in the world in terms of Particulate Matter or (PM) 2.5 concentrations are in India.
  • Kanpur, being the worst, is with a PM 2.5 concentration of 173 micrograms per cubic metre, followed by Faridabad, Varanasi and Gaya.
  • The National Green Tribunal established under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith.
  • NGT Chairperson Jawad Rahim

Twitter urges users to change passwords

  • Social networking platform Twitter has urged its more than 330 million users to change their passwords, which were unintentionally unmasked internally by a software bug. The company said it found no sign that hackers accessed the exposed data, however, users are advised to change their passwords, to be safe. It discovered the bug a few weeks ago.
  • A software bug is an error, flaw, failure or fault in a computer program or system that causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways. The process of fixing bugs is termed "debugging" and often uses formal techniques or tools to pinpoint bugs.
  • Twitter:
  • Executive Chairman: Omid R. Kordestani
  • CEO: Jack Dorsey
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, US

Vibrant Northeast started in Guwahati

  • The ‘Vibrant North East 2018', an event in which people would be made aware of central government’s schemes, grants and programmes, was started in Guwahati, Assam. This will be the fourth edition of the ‘Vibrant North East’ expo in Guwahati.
  • Players from the agriculture, food processing, consumer affairs, civil supply, drinking water and sanitation sectors will participate in the three-day event.
  • The event is supported by the North Eastern Council, Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and All India Farmers Alliance.
  • The event is organized by Delhi-based NGO, Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD).

World Press Freedom Day being observed on May 3rd

  • World Press Freedom Day is being observed on May 3, with the aim to pay tribute to the journalists around the world sacrificing their lives in the line of duty. The theme of the Day for this year is 'Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law'.World Press Freedom Day is celebrated to highlight the fundamental principles of press freedom.
  • In 1993 the UN General Assembly declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day. 3rd May is the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek for media pluralism and independence.