Daily Current Affairs - 31st Aug 2018

BIMSTEC countries to adopt Kathmandu Declaration

  • The fourth BIMSTEC Summit will conclude in Kathmandu with the leaders of seven member states will adopt the Kathmandu Declaration. An MoU on establishment of BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection will also be signed.
  • The outcome of the summit is expected to set the BIMSTEC on a firm institutional foundation with a very focused and reoriented directions for the future.
  • On the sidelines of the summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have bilateral meetings with the leaders of Thailand, Myanmar and Bhutan.
  • BIMSTEC countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Centre launches new rankings based on innovation

  • The Centre has announced the launch of another annual ranking of higher educational institutions, based on how they fare in terms of innovation. The new ranking named Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) will be formally launched on October 15, the birth anniversary of former President APJ Abdul Kalam. The first results will be declared on February 28, 2019, which is also Science Day.
  • ARIIA will focus on: budget expenses and revenues generated; facilitating access to advance centres; ideas of entrepreneurship; innovation ecosystems supported through teaching and learning; and innovative solutions to improve governance of the institution.
  • The institution of the new ranking will work parallel to the overall ranking of institutions captured by the annual National Institutional Ranking Framework.
  • Union Human Resource Development Ministry also launched the Innovation Cell. The Innovation cell has been established at the premises of All India Council for Technical Education with a view to foster the culture of innovation in all Higher Education Institutions across the country.

GoAir to fly global from Oct.

  • GoAir, a low cost airline, will commence its international operations from October to two foreign destinations — Phuket in Thailand and Male in Maldives. The airline will offer India’s first ever direct service to Phuket from Delhi and Mumbai effective October 11. GoAir will operate the A320 aircraft on these international routes.
  • CEO, GoAir: Cornelis Vrieswijk

Income-tax returns filed this year registered 60 per cent rise compared to corresponding period last year

  • The Income Tax Returns filed this year so far has crossed the five crore mark, a rise of over 60 percent compared with filings a year ago. August 31st is the last day for filing the Tax Returns by salaried individuals and those with business or professional income without the need for audit.
  • In flood affected Kerala, the Central Board of Direct Taxes has extended the due date till 15th of September.

Interpol rejected request for Pervez Musharraf's arrest

  • The Pakistan government told a special court that Interpol has rejected its request to arrest the former president Pervez Musharraf. The Interpol said that it does not want to interfere in the cases of political nature.
  • The government's reply came as the tribunal resumed hearing in the treason case against the former president for suspending the Constitution in 2007 by imposing emergency.
  • The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), more commonly known as Interpol, is the international organization that facilitates international police cooperation.
  • INTERPOL
  • President: Meng Hongwei
  • Headquarters: Lyon, France

Kochhar reappointed to ICICI Sec board

  • Chanda Kochhar has been reappointed as a director on the board of ICICI Securities with ICICI Bank, which has a 79.22% stake in the broking and investment banking entity, voting in favour of the reappointment.
  • While 100% of the votes from the promoter group were in favour of Ms. Kochhar’s reappointment, 26.35% of the votes by institutional investors were against the resolution. In all, 97.68% of the votes cast were in her favour.
  • Currently on leave, she is facing conflict of interest allegations, with ICICI Bank setting up a panel under former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna to look into the matter.

Law Commission calls for re-think on sedition clause

  • The Law Commission headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice B.S. Chauhan, published a consultation paper recommending that it is time to re-think or even repeal the provision of sedition (Section 124A) from the Indian Penal Code.
  • The Commission has invited public opinion on the prospect of either redefining or doing away with Section 124A, considering that right to free speech and expression is an essential ingredient of democracy.
  • The Commission said an “expression of frustration over the state of affairs cannot be treated as sedition.”
  • Law Commission is the Centre’s topmost advisory body on laws.

Modric named UEFA player of the year

  • Luka Modric of Real Madrid and Croatia received the accolade of UEFA Player of the Year after his Champions League exploits. His midfield skills helped Real to a third straight European crown and then propelled Croatia to the World Cup final.

MRPL to merge with HPCL

  • ONGC-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) plans to merge its subsidiary Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) with itself. HPCL owns 17% stake in MRPL while its parent ONGC holds a majority 71.63% stake in the company.
  • Early this year, the government transferred its 51% stake in HPCL to ONGC for Rs. 36,915 crore.
  • HPCL chairman Mukesh Kumar Surana.
  • ONGC Chairman: Shashi Shanker

Nilgiri tahr climb population charts

  • A recent census has revealed that the population of the Nilgiri tahr (an endangered mountain goat) at the Mukurthi National Park has grown by an impressive 18% in the last two years, from 480 to 568. This indicates a viable breeding population, and hints at further population growth.
  • A count conducted in 2016 had put the population in the national park at around 480, but a revised count in 2017 pegged it at 438.

Nitu clinches second successive gold

  • Defending champion Nitu (48kg) claimed her second successive gold at the World youth boxing championship with a gritty performance in the final. She defeated Thailand’s Nillada Meekoon in a split decision. She had won her previous World championship gold last year at Guwahati.

PV Sindhu becomes first Indian to win silver in Badminton

  • PV Sindhu created history by becoming the first Indian to win a Silver medal in Badminton. She lost 21-13 21-16 to Taiwanese world number one Tai Tzu Ying.
  • India bagged two medals in Kurash, a form of wrestling indigenous to central Asia, with Pincky Balhara winning a silver and Malaprabha Yallappa Jadhav bagged a bronze, both in women's 52 kg. Category.
  • India now have 50 medals in its kitty comprising 9 Gold, 19 Silver and 22 Bronze and are now placed 8th in the table. China continues to the top the tally with Japan second and South Korea third.

Russia, China set to launch joint military exercises

  • China will join Russia in a giant military exercise named “Vostok 2018” sending a message of deterrence to the U.S. The five-day Vostok 2018 exercises, to be held from September 11. Mongolia will be the third country participating in the drills.
  • The Vostok-2018 will involve 3,00,000 troops and will engage in tri-service mock-operations involving 1,000 military aircraft, two of Russia’s naval fleets and all its airborne units.
  • Nearly 36,000 military vehicles will participate in the drills at Russia’s Tsugol training range in the trans-Baikal region. China will dispatch about 3,200 troops, along with more than 900 pieces of weaponry, as well as 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters

SEBI working actively to allow mutual funds in commodity market

  • The participation of institutional investors such as mutual funds and portfolio management services in the commodity derivatives segment will take some time as the market regulator SEBI, along with market participants, is in the midst of creating the operational framework for such investors.
  • As part of its attempts to increase institutional participation in the commodity derivatives segment, the SEBI released a discussion paper in December 2017 on allowing mutual funds and portfolio management services to trade in commodities contracts.
  • Meanwhile, MCX announced the roll-out of its clearing house, Multi Commodity Exchange Clearing Corporation Ltd. (MCXCCL) — the first such clearing corporation in the commodity derivatives market in India.

Shipping Ministry signs new wage agreement benefiting one lakh 35 thousand port & dock workers

  • Shipping Ministry has signed a new wage agreement benefiting one lakh 35 thousand port and dock workers and pensioners. The agreement was signed by Shipping Ministry, port officials and workers federation in Mumbai.
  • The new pact will provide 10.6 per cent wage hike to workers and pensioners. The wage settlement covers Group C and D employees benefiting at least 32,000 workers and 1 lakh pensioners in 12 major ports across the country.
  • The total financial implication of the settlement for all the major ports for serving and pensioners is likely to be about 560 crore rupees per annum.

Sports Asian Games: Manjit Singh wins gold, Jinson Johnson bags silver in men's 800m

  • In Athletics, Manjit Singh won gold in men's 800 metres while Jinson Johnson took silver. Meanwhile India finished second in the first ever mixed 400m relay race event, and got a silver.
  • India also settled for two Silver medals in Archery as both the Compound Men's and Women's teams lost to South Korea in their respective Finals.

Successfully conducted a test launch of new interceptor missile for Russia’s missile defense system

  • Russian military has successfully conducted a test launch of a new interceptor missile for Russia’s missile defense system. It was tested at the Sary-Shagan test site in Kazakhstan. The missile will possibly start mass production in the near future and gradually replace the models in service since 1995.
  • The Defense Ministry previously reported about successful trials of Russia’s new antimissile in February, April and July.
  • UK starts work on satellite system to rival EU's Galileo

UK starts work on satellite system to rival EU's Galileo

  • The UK government would start work on an alternative satellite system to the European Union's Galileo project to ensure its national security if it is barred from equal access to the EU programme after Brexit.
  • The British government would spend 92 million pounds on plans for an independent satellite system, led by the UK Space Agency with support from the Ministry of Defence.
  • European Union's Galileo project will eventually have 30 satellites, is designed to compete with the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), used for commercial, military and other critical applications such as guiding aircraft.

Venezuela crisis: Brazil to send army to safeguard border

  • Brazilian President Michel Temer has announced that it is sending its army to crisis-hit Venezuela border to guarantee law and order amid an influx of migrants fleeing. The president signed a decree which will deploy soldiers for two weeks along the border and federal roads of its northern state of Roraima.
  • He said that Venezuela's "tragic" situation threatened peace in the whole of South America.
  • Meanwhile, neighbouring Peru has declared a 60-day health emergency in two provinces on its northern border, after health authorities expressed concerns of the spread of diseases from migrants.
  • Brazil:
  • President: Michel Temer
  • Capital: Brasilia
  • Currency: Real

Yes Bank MD to contincue till further notice: RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India has approved Rana Kapoor’s continuation as Yes Bank’s MD and CEO, till further notice. Mr. Kapoor’s present term ends on Friday. In April, the board had approved his reappointment for 3 years, effective September 1, subject to regulatory approval. In June, shareholders had approved the proposal to reappoint Mr. Kapoor for 3 years.