Daily Current Affairs - 19th Aug 2018

Cincinnati Open: Federer enters semi-final round

  • Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer edged past Swiss tennis player Stanislas Wawrinka to enter the semi-final of the ongoing Cincinnati Open.
  • While Djokovic will take on Marin Cilic of Croatia in the semi-final match, Federer will face Belgian tennis player David Goffin in the last-four clash.

Former Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh awarded with US 'Legion of Merit'

  • Former Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh has been awarded with United States (US) 'Legion of Merit'.
  • The award was given to Singh for exceptionally meritorious service as Chief of Army Staff from August 2014 to December 2016.
  • It’s the second time that an Indian military officer has been awarded this award. Earlier, General Rajendrasinghji Jadeja was awarded this in 1946.

Former UN chief and Nobel laureate Kofi Annan Passes away

  • Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has passed away at the age of 80. Annan, who was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, served at the UN from 1997 to 2006.
  • Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with the UN in 2001 "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world".

Government planning new law for registered valuers

  • The government is planning a separate legislation for registered valuers who can help arrive at better valuation of bankrupt companies under the insolvency process.
  • Of the 40 largest NPA accounts sent to various NCLTs since last July, which together constitute around 40 per cent of the over ? 11-trillion of bad loans, only seven have been resolved so far.

Home Ministry relaxes terms in Bru deal

  • The Union Home Ministry has agreed to relax conditions laid down in the ‘four-corner agreement’ signed with Bru migrants for their repatriation from Tripura to Mizoram.
  • Leaders of the Members of Bru Displacement Forum (MBDPF), who signed the agreement in July this year, were forced to pull out of the deal within two weeks of signing it due to strong protests by the Bru community in Tripura against certain terms of the deal.
  • As part of the agreement, 32876 persons from 5,407 families, presently staying in temporary camps in Tripura, would be repatriated to Mizoram before September 30. Each of the 5,407 Bru families who moved from Tripura to Mizoram was to be given a one-time financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh to be kept as fixed deposit in the name of the head of the family.

India bans pet coke import for use as fuel

  • India banned the import of pet coke for use as fuel, but said shipments for use as feedstock in some industries was allowed.
  • Usage of pet coke, a dirtier alternative to coal, in the energy-hungry country has come under scrutiny due to rising pollution levels in major cities.
  • As the world's largest consumer of pet coke, India imports over half its annual pet coke consumption of about 27 million tonnes, mainly from the United States.

Indian girls crowned SAFF U-15 champions

  • India defeated Bangladesh in the final of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Under-15 Women's Championship in Thimpu, Bhutan.
  • The Indian U-15 team scored 16 goals in four matches, including the final and semi-final, and conceded just one all throughout the championship.

International team of scientists including 18 Indian scientists decode complex wheat genome

  • In a major scientific breakthrough, a team of international researchers, including 18 from India decoded the wheat genome, considered insurmountable so far. The information generated will help to identify genes controlling complex agronomic traits such as yield, grain quality, resistance to diseases and pests, as well as tolerance to drought, heat, water logging and salinity.
  • The availability of high quality reference genome would accelerate the breeding of climate-resilient wheat varieties to feed the ever-increasing world population and help address global food security in the decades to come.

Investment in P-notes hits 9-year low at Rs 80,341 crore since 2009.

  • Investments through participatory notes into Indian capital markets plunged to over nine-year low of Rs 80,341 crore till July-end amid stringent norms put in place by the SEBI to check misuse of these instruments.
  • P-notes are issued by registered foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to overseas investors who wish to be part of the Indian stock market without registering themselves directly.

IRDAI has directed all insurance companies to cover mental illness in policies.

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has directed all insurance companies to make provision to cover mental illness in policies.
  • According to the Mental Healthcare Act-2017, every person with mental illness shall be treated as equal to persons with physical illness in the provision of all healthcare.
  • The Act further says that every insurer shall make provision for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness.

NDRF launches biggest-ever operation in flood-hit Kerala

  • The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said that it has evacuated over 10,000 people from the flood-hit areas as part of its biggest relief and rescue operation till date.
  • A total of 58 teams have been deputed, out of which 55 are already on the ground.

Only 23% of rural income from farming, reveals NABARD 2016-17 survey

  • According to the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development’s (NABARD) All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey 2016-17 agriculture (farming) generates only 23% of rural income.
  • The reference period of survey was 2015-16.
  • The NABARD survey estimates the total number of rural households in India for 2016-17 at 21.17 crore. Out of the 21.17 crore rural households, 10.07 crore are “agricultural” — those with at least one member self-employed in farming and reporting annual value of produce at more than Rs 5,000. The remaining 11.10 crore households are “non-agricultural”.

S.K. Arora awarded the prestigious WHO World No Tobacco Day 2018 Award

  • Delhi government’s additional director of health S.K. Arora has been awarded the prestigious WHO World No Tobacco Day 2018 Award for his extraordinary contribution towards tobacco control.
  • Tobacco prevalence in Delhi has come down by 6.5% in the past six years, which is more than the rest of India average figures
  • The National Health Policy 2017 has set targets of relative reduction in tobacco prevalence by 15% by 2020 and 30% by 2025.

Scarlett Johansson becomes world's highest paid female actress

  • Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson has become the best-paid female actor in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
  • Scarlett, made USD 40.5 million in pre-tax earnings from June 1, 2017, to June 1, 2018, quadrupling her income from the previous year.
  • Scarlett beat out Angelina Jolie, who ranked second with USD 28 million. Jennifer Aniston came in third with USD 19.5 million, making the bulk of her profits from Emirates airlines, Smartwater, and Aveeno promotions.

Sushma Swaraj inaugurates Panini Language Laboratory at Mahatma Gandhi Institute in Mauritius

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj inaugurated "Panini Language Laboratory" at Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI) in Mauritius.
  • The Lab has been gifted by the Government of India and it will help MGI in teaching of all Indian languages in Mauritius.
  • Mauritius Capital: Port Louis
  • Currency : Mauritian rupee

UIDAI announces phased roll-out of facial recognition

  • Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI has finally announced the phased roll-out of face recognition feature as an additional mode of authentication, starting with telecom service providers from September 15.
  • Significantly, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has further said ‘live face photo’ capture and its verification with the photo obtained in eKYC will be essential in those cases where Aadhaar is used for issuance of mobile SIMs.
  • UIDAI says the move is aimed at curbing the possibility of fingerprint spoofing or cloning, and seeks to tighten the audit process and security around the issuance and activation of mobile SIMs.

Walmart completes acquisition of majority stake in Flipkart for $16 bn

  • Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has completed the acquisition of majority stake in India's leading e-commerce marketplace, Flipkart.
  • With this, Walmart now owns 77% stake in Flipkart, marking one of the largest exits in India's internet ecosystem. The remaining 23% stake will be held by Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Tencent, Tiger Global and Microsoft. Flipkart’s financials will also be reported as part of Walmart’s International business segment.