Daily Current Affairs - 22nd Jul 2018

10th edition of Delhi Dialogue held in New Delhi

  • The 10th edition of Delhi Dialogue (DD X) was held in New Delhi and was hosted by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The theme for this edition was “Strengthening India-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation”. This was the first major event organised after ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, which was held in New Delhi in January 2018.
  • Delhi Dialogue is premier annual event to discuss politico-security, economic and socio-cultural engagement between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It has been held annually since 2009.

8th BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting held at Durban

  • The 8th BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting was held at Durban, South Africa. Indian delegation was led by Mr J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare. He stated that India is committed to eliminating TB by 2025.
  • Highlighting the accomplishments of India in the health sector, he stated India's achievement in reducing the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 77%, from 556 per 1,00,000 live births in 1990 to 130 per 1,00,000 live births in 2016, was commended by the Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO).

Andhra Pradesh launches ePragati Core Platform to provide integrated services to citizens

  • The government of Andhra Pradesh launched the ePragati Core Platformto to enhance customer experience and provide integrated services to its citizens. This digital initiative will help connect the citizen to 34 departments, 336 autonomous organizations and 745+ services. Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) embarks on this digital transformational journey partnering with EY, a global leader in advisory, assurance, tax and transaction advisory services.
  • Through this project, GoAP intends to realize the vision of ‘Sunrise AP 2022’ by providing integrated services to citizens through a common ePragati portal.

Decisions in 28th meeting of GST council

  • The 28th meeting of GST Council was held in New Delhi. It reduced tax rates on more than 50 items and exempted sanitary napkins, rakhis, stone, marble, wooden deities and Saal leaves from GST. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal chaired the 28th GST Council meeting in New Delhi.
  • Highlights on the changes that have been made in the meeting:
  • 1. GST on footwear priced below 1,000 rupees will attract 5% rate.
  • 2.GST on imported urea and ethanol sold to oil companies for blending with petrol and diesel has been reduced to 5%.
  • 3. GST rate on handbags, jewellery box, wooden box for paintings, artware of glass, stone endeavour, ornamental framed mirrors and handmade lamps were reduced to 12%.
  • 4. Lithium-ion batteries, vacuum cleaners, food grinders, mixers, storage water heaters, hair dryers, hand dryers, paint, varnishes, water cooler, milk cooler, ice cream coolers, perfumes, toilet sprays and toilet preparation have been brought to 18 from 28% slab.
  • 5. GST council has cleared 46 amendments which will be passed in Parliament. The exemption limit for traders in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim has been increased from 10 lakh to 20 lakh rupees.

Facebook To Launch Its Own Internet Satellite In 2019

  • Facebook has confirmed it is working on a new satellite project, named Athena, that will provide broadband internet connections to rural and underserved areas.
  • The company aims to launch satellite in early 2019. In 2016, Facebook's internet satellite for Africa was lost when SpaceX's rocket exploded.
  • Facebook, however, is not alone in aiming to increase Internet accessibility through satellites in low Earth orbit. Elon Musk''s SpaceX and Softbank-backed OneWeb are two other prominent names who have similar ambitions.

Five oil PSUs sign JV pact for N-E Natural Gas Pipeline Grid

  • Five central oil PSUs – IOCL, ONGC, GAIL, OIL, and NRL have signed agreement for executing 1500 Km North-East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid. It is a major initiative to connect all North-East States to National Gas Grid. It will be implemented under Centre’s ambitious Urja Ganga Gas Pipeline project.
  • Joint Venture (JV) company will be formed to develop, build, operate and maintain Natural Gas Pipeline Grid connecting Guwahati to other major North -Eastern cities and major load centres such as Numaligarh Refinery and integrating it with feasible gas producing fields in the region.
  • Urja Ganga project was launched in October 2016 with an aim to provide piped cooking (PNG) gas to residents of eastern region of the country and CNG gas for the vehicles.

Flipkart, Hotstar join hands for ad platform

  • India’s largest online retailer Flipkart has forged an alliance with video streaming service Hotstar and launched a video advertisement platform on part of a broader strategy to generate more revenue from the booming video advertising business.
  • The new platform, Shopper Audience Network, will allow brands to target consumers through personalized video ads on Hotstar. Flipkart plans to leverage data from its massive user base and help brands connect with potential consumers using these targeted ads.

Indian sprinter Muhammed Anas Yahiya breaks own national record in 400m

  • Star sprinter Muhammed Anas Yahiya once again entered the record books as he broke his own national record to win the 400 metres race at the Cena Noveho Mesta nad Metuji meet in Czech Republic.
  • Anas set a time of 45.24 seconds to break his own record of 45.31 seconds which he had set during the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast earlier this year.
  • He is the third Indian track athelete to qualify for the event at the Olympics, after Milka Singh & K. M. Binu.
  • Meanwhile, MR Poovamma won the women's 400m event after clocking 53.01 seconds while sprinter Rajiv Arokia came third in the men's 200m event with a time of 20.77 seconds.

India’s first ceramics Triennale to be in Jaipur

  • Jawahar Kala Kendra in collaboration with the Contemporary Clay Foundation presents the first Indian Ceramics Triennale: Breaking Ground, from 31 August to 18 November 2018.
  • This first ever international ceramics event to be held at the Jawahar Kala Kendra will present 35 Indian and 12 international artist projects, 10 collaborations, 12 speakers, a symposium, film screenings and workshops for adults and children.

NABARD launches South East Asia’s first ever Centre for Climate Change in Lucknow

  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has launched Centre for Climate Change in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. It is first of its kind centre in South East Asia. It aims at accelerating concerted climate action by various stakeholders in government, private, financial and non -government sectors.
  • The centre will help NABARD in enhancing its capacity building efforts manifold. It will extend professional support to stakeholders for designing climate related projects and take up collaborative studies and action research projects in the area.
  • NABARD is an apex agricultural development financial institution in India. It is member of Alliance for Financial Inclusion. It is headquartered at Mumbai, Maharashtra with regional offices all over India. It was established in 1982 on recommendations of Shivaraman Committee to implement National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act, 1981.

NASA launches Remote Sensing Toolkit to promote commercial use of satellite data

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched ‘Remote Sensing Toolkit’ to promote commercial use of satellite data. The toolkit was launched as part of NASA’s Technology Transfer program that offers open remote-sensing data benefiting scientific community, other government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
  • Remote Sensing Toolkit is an online toolkit that aims to make it easier for users to find, analyze and utilize relevant satellite data for their research, business projects or conservation efforts.

Odisha police launch drive to bust Pangolin smuggling racket

  • Odisha Special Task Force (STF) has launched drive to bust an international syndicate that peddles ‘endangered’ pangolin, one of the world’s most illegally traded mammals. It has requested Union Home Ministry to approach the Myanmar government to block the transit route for smuggled pangolin under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).  MLAT is an agreement between nations to exchange information or provide legal assistance for enforcing laws.
  • Pangolin is only scaly mammal on the planet. According to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), it is also the most illegally traded vertebrate within its class (Mammalia).
  • Pangolins is smuggled for its scales as it believed that they possess magic or charms and have medicinal properties.

Power Grid signs MoU with UP Power Corp for energy efficiency

  • Power Grid Corporation of India (POWERGRID) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation (UPPCL) for energy efficiency and agricultural demand side management programme. POWERGRID and UPPCL are going to held further discussions to decide terms and conditions for replacement of agriculture pump sets in East and South DISCOMs of Uttar Pradesh. POWERGRID is contemplating investment of about Rs 2,200 to 2,500 crore in these projects, subject to necessary clearances.
  • POWERGRID is Navaratna Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE). It is central transmission utility (CTU) of India. It is India’s largest electric power transmission utility, transmitting about 50% of total power generated in India on its transmission network.

SAFAR: Most advanced System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting inaugurated in Delhi

  • Ministry of Earth Sciences has unveiled state-of-the-art Air Quality and Weather Forecast System– SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting) at Chandni Chowk in Delhi. It is first of its kind and most advanced system in India. Such advanced are also proposed to be implemented in other three cities of India- Pune, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
  • SAFAR was developed indigenously by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune and operationalized by India Meteorological Department (IMD). It is integral part of India’s first Air Quality Early Warning System operational in Delhi. It will monitor all weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and wind direction.

Tokyo 2020 introduces names of mascots for Olympic, Paralympic Games

  • Japan has unveiled the names of its mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • Blue and white checked character "MIraitowa" (pronounced miray-towa) combining the two Japanese words of "Mirai"(future) and "towa" (eternity) -- will appear at the Olympic Games.
  • The Paralympics' pink and white "Someity" (pronounced soh-may-tee) is named after the cherry blossom variety "Someiyoshino," with Games organizers saying the name echoes "so mighty" in English.

TreadWell: IIT Kanpur develops online tool to help people deal with mental health issues

  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has developed TreadWill, an online tool to help people cope with issues related to mental health. The tool was developed by team with collaborative support from Computer Science and Engineering and Humanities and Social Sciences, HSS (Psychology) departments.
  • It is website designed to help people deal with stress, low mood, lethargy and other depressive symptoms through different online exercises, questionnaires and games. It will help in overcoming depressive symptoms and becoming more resilient against stressful events in the future.

Union Home Minister launches the Student Police Cadet (SPC) programme

  • Ministry of Home Affairs sponsored Student Police Cadet (SPC) Programme was launched nationally in Gurugram, Haryana. It was launched by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the presence of Union Human Resources Minister Prakash Javadekar. The programme aims to build bridge between Police and larger community through school students by inculcating values and ethics in them through classes in school and outside.
  • The programme focuses on students of class 8th and 9th. It will be implemented first in government schools, in both urban and rural areas and later expanded to private schools. It takes special care to ensure that it does not increase workload of the students.