Daily Current Affairs - 16th Nov 2018

4 Indian authors shortlisted for DSC Prize

  • Four Indian authors and two authors of Pakistani origin have made it to the shortlist of the $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018. The names were announced at an event in the London School of Economics & Political Science.
  • The 2018 shortlist, comprising four authors of Indian origin and two of Pakistani origin, includes: Jayant Kaikini’s No Presents Please, translated by Tejaswini Niranjana; Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire; Manu Joseph’s Miss Laila Armed And Dangerous; Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West; Neel Mukherjee’s A State of Freedom and Sujit Saraf’s Harilal & Sons.
  • Founded in 2010 by Surina Narula and Manhad Narula, DSC Prize is an international literary award focused on South Asian fiction writing.

Bangladesh levels test series

  • Bangladesh has won the final test match by 218 runs to share the series 1-1. Needing 443 for victory, Zimbabwe was bowled out in the second session on the fifth day with Taylor remaining unbeaten on 106 (167b, 10x4).
  • Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan has returned figures of five for 38 — his fifth five-wicket haul in Tests.

Basketball: Sanjana gets a big boost

  • Teenager Sanjana Ramesh has signed for the Northern Arizona University women’s team, becoming the second India-born female player to receive a North American Division I college basketball scholarship.
  • She captained the Indian team in the 2017 FIBA U-16 Asia Cup. Averaging 6.5 points and seven rebounds per game in the tournament, Sanjana helped India win Division ‘B’ and earn promotion to Division ‘A’.
  • Sanjana was named the Most Valuable Player of the girls‘ division at Basketball Without Borders Asia.
  • In 2017, Chhattisgarh’s Kavita Akula enrolled at Grand Canyon University, and became the first India-born female basketballer to receive a full scholarship from a Division 1 college.

Brexit: EU leaders dismiss talk of renegotiating draft agreement

  • The European Union leaders have dismissed talk of renegotiating the draft Brexit deal and warned the UK's political situation could make a no-deal more likely. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was no question of reopening talks as a document was on the table.
  • The EU has set out a series of meetings leading up to 25 November when it plans to approve the Brexit agreement.
  • The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe.
  • President of the European Commission: Jean-Claude Juncker
  • President of the European Council: Donald Tusk
  • President of the European Parliament: Antonio Tajani

Centre not keen on changing West Bengal name to Bangla

  • The Centre is not keen on changing the name of West Bengal to ‘Bangla’ as it was not in national interest. The West Bengal government’s proposal to change the State’s name to ‘Bangla’ had been sent to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for consultation, as the proposed name resembles that of Bangladesh.
  • The Centre is of the view that a name change could attract illegal immigrants and encourage them to cross the border due to the similarity in names. The change of name of a State requires ratification by the Parliament.
  • West Bengal shares 2,217 km border with Bangladesh.

Centre to refund employers for seven weeks of maternity leave to employees: WCD Ministry

  • The Union government will give employers the salaries for seven of the 26 weeks of maternity leave for women earning more than 15,000 rupees a month. The announcement covers both the government as well as the private sector. This announcement comes in the wake of complaints that many companies were reluctant to hire pregnant women after maternity leave was extended from 12 to 26 weeks and some were even firing women employees.
  • Maternity leave was extended from 12 weeks to 26 weeks last year.

Chess: Savitha is World u-12 champ

  • India’s B. Savitha Shri, with 9.5 points has won the World under-12 girls’ chess championship held in Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Uzbekistan’s Umida Omonova (9 points) and Kazakhstan’s Amina Kairbekova (7.5 points) finished behind her.

Exports grow by 17.86 per cent in Oct

  • India's exports grew by 17.86 per cent to 26.98 billion dollar in October this year. India's exports stood at 22.89 billion dollar in October last year.
  • The major commodities that saw stronger growth in exports compared with last year include engineering goods (8.87%), petroleum products (49.38%), gems and jewellery (5.48%), organic and inorganic chemicals (34.01%), and drugs and pharmaceuticals (12.83%).
  • Imports during October also rose by 17.62 per cent to over 44 billion dollar. Oil imports in October increased by 52.64 per cent and electronics goods by 31 per cent.

Fitch retains rating for India at ‘BBB-’

  • Fitch Ratings retained India’s sovereign rating at ‘BBB-’, the lowest investment grade rating, although maintaining its stable outlook. Fitch forecasts India's growth to rebound to 7.3% in FY19 and 7.5% in FY20, as a temporary drag will fade from the withdrawal of large-denomination bank notes in November 2016 and the introduction of a GST in July 2017.
  • The agency said that a favourable economic growth outlook supported India’s credit profile, even though real GDP growth fell to 6.6% in financial year 2017-18.
  • Fitch expects inflation to average close to 4.9% in FY19, still almost double the ‘BBB’ range median of 2.5% for 2018.

FM Arun Jaitley to inaugurate National Press Day celebrations in New Delhi

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will inaugurate the National Press Day celebrations in New Delhi. The winners of the National Awards for Excellence in Journalism will be honoured on the occasion.
  • Eminent journalist and Chairman of the Hindu Publishing Group, N Ram has been selected under prestigious award category of Raja Ram Mohan Roy award. Ruby Sarkar, Chief Correspondent of Deshbandhu, Bhopal and Rajesh Joshte of Daily Pudhari in Ratnagiri will share the award in category of Rural Journalism.
  • The National Press Day is symbolic of a free and responsible press in India. It was on this day that the Press Council of India started functioning as a moral watchdog.
  • Press Council of India Chairman CK Prasad

Govt delegates powers to local bodies for giving environmental clearance for construction of buildings, Educational Institutions & Hospitals

  • The Union government has delegated powers to local bodies to ensure compliance of environmental conditions for buildings, construction and area development projects measuring between 20,000 and 50,000 square metres.
  • Local bodies such as Municipalities, Development Authorities and District Panchayats, shall stipulate environmental conditions while granting permission, for the Building or Construction projects.
  • The environmental conditions include natural drainage, water conservation, rainwater harvesting, water recharge, waste management, green cover and topsoil preservation, among others.

Hunar Haat promoted rich traditional heritage of marginalised master artisans: Naqvi

  • Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has stated that Hunar Haat has significantly encouraged and promoted the rich traditional heritage of master artisans who had been marginalised for a long time. He further added that Hunar Haat has become a credible brand to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to Make in India, Stand up India and Startup India.
  • The Minority Ministry has set a target to provide employment opportunities to about five lakh people in the country through Hunar Haat.

India beat Ireland by 52 runs to enter semi-finals of ICC Women's World T20

  • India beat Ireland by 52 runs to enter the semi-finals of the ICC Women's World T20. Put into bat, India scored 145 for six with Mithali Raj scoring 51 off 56 balls and Smriti Mandhana supporting with 33 off 29 balls. Chasing a target of 146, Ireland could make 93 runs for the loss of eight wickets in the stipulated 20 overs.
  • With their third win, India with six points are assured of a last-four spot along with Australia.

India, Australia, Japan, US discuss regional and global issues of common interest

  • Officials from India, Australia, Japan and the United States met in Singapore for consultations on regional and global issues of common interest. The discussions focused on cooperation in various areas including connectivity, sustainable development, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and maritime and cyber security.
  • The delebrations were aimed at promoting peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected Indo-Pacific region that the four countries share with each other and with other partners.

India, China agree to expand military ties

  • India and China are set to expand their military ties, in tune with the spirit of the Wuhan informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April. During talks between visiting Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and his Chinese counterpart both sides agreed to add another layer of exchanges between the military personnel of the two countries.
  • For the first time, cadets from Indian and Chinese military academies, as well mid-level officers, will meet each other regularly.
  • The two senior officials also agreed to continue with visits at the level of military commands and civilian officers of the Ministry of Defence.

NITI Aayog constitutes Himalayan State Regional Council

  • NITI Aayog has constituted the ‘Himalayan State Regional Council' to ensure sustainable development of the Himalayan region. The Council has been constituted to review and implement the identified action points based on the Reports of five Working Groups, which were established along thematic areas to prepare a roadmap for action.
  • The Himalayan State Regional Council will be chaired by the Dr VK Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog and will consist of the Chief Secretaries of the Himalayan States as well as the Secretaries of key Central Ministries, senior officers of NITI Aayog as well as special invitees.

OYO appoints former IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh as CEO India & South Asia

  • Hospitality firm OYO Hotels has announced the appointment of Aditya Ghosh as chief executive officer for India and South Asia. His appointment will take effect from December 1. He would oversee its business in South Asia, which at present comprises India and Nepal.
  • Mr Ghosh had earlier this year stepped down as president and wholetime director at InterGlobe Aviation, the owner and operator of airline IndiGo.
  • OYO has presence in more than 500 cities across India, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, the UAE and the United Kingdom.
  • Founder and group CEO, OYO Hotels & Homes: Ritesh Agarwal

Pankaj Advani wins his third straight Billiards title taking his tally of World titles to 20

  • India's cueist Pankaj Advani has won his third straight IBSF billiards crown in the 150-up format, taking his overall tally of world titles to 20. Advani overcame Nay Thway Oo of Myanmar in the final. This win also marks a hat-trick of wins for Advani in the shorter format. He had won in Bengaluru in 2016 before doing the same in Doha last year.

South African President likely to be Republic Day Chief guest

  • South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa is likely to be the chief guest of the 2019 Republic Day ceremonies. He is also expected to take part in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, to be held in Varanasi from January 21 to 23.
  • Mr. Ramaphosa had hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the BRICS summit in Johannesburg in July.
  • Earlier, the U.S. confirmed that President Donald Trump will not be the chief guest at India's Republic day celebrations because of his pressing schedule.

Sri Lankan Parliament to take up fresh no-confidence motion against new govt of Mahinda Rajapaksa

  • Sri Lankan Parliament will take up fresh No-Confidence Motion against new government of Mahinda Rajapaksa amidst some understanding reached between President and Parliament speaker to diffuse the crisis. President Maithripala Sirisena told opposition leaders and Speaker during a meeting last evening that he is not opposed to moving a motion against the Rajapaksa government.

Srikanth, Sameer enter quarterfinals of Hong Kong Open

  • Indian shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma advanced to the quarterfinals in men's singles of the Hong Kong Open World Tour Super 500 tournament. Srikanth defeated fellow Indian H S Prannoy 18-21 30-29 21-18 in a thrilling match. Srikanth will face either Japan's Kenta Nishimoto or Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen.
  • Sameer qualified for the quarterfinals after his opponent, Olympic champion Chen Long pulled out of the competition due to injury. He will face either Denmark's Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus or local hope Lee Cheuk Yiu on Friday.
  • Meanwhile, P V Sindhu lost to South Korean Sung J. H. 26-24, 22-20 in the pre-quarter-final of the women's singles category.

Telecom Secretary. pulls up BSNL, BBNL over Bharat Net

  • The Department of Telecom has instructed State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL) to submit reports every day on the progress made in the Bharat Net project that seeks to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country through high-speed broadband by March 2019.
  • As of October 2018, 1.15 lakh gram panchayats were service-ready. However, extensive field reports have been received regarding non-functioning at 80-90% of the gram panchayats as well as massive under utilisation/non utilisation of Bharat Net infrastructure.
  • Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan

UNSC condemns killing of UN peacekeepers & national soldiers in DRC

  • UN Security Council has condemned the killing of at least 20 soldiers during operations against insurgents in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The council members expressed condolences to the families of the killed, including seven Malawian and one Tanzanian UN peacekeepers and at least 12 Congo soldiers.
  • The soldiers were killed during joint operations of the UN peacekeeping mission in Beni territory of North Kivu.
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • President: Joseph Kabila
  • Capital: Kinshasa
  • Currencies: Congolese franc, Zairean zaire

Viswanathan Anand Seals Tata Steel Chess Blitz Title

  • Legendary Viswanathan Anand has won the inaugural Tata Steel Chess India Blitz Tournament beating overnight leader Hikaru Nakamura in the play-off. Placed fourth after the first leg, he had a dream run on the final day to secure six wins and three draws in the nine rounds to draw level with the world No 3 American Nakamura to force a play-off.

Wholesale inflation rises to four-month high of 5.28% in October

  • According to the government data released, inflation based on wholesale prices, WPI rose to a four-month high of 5.28 per cent in October. The Wholesale Price Index based inflation stood at 5.13 per cent in September and 3.68 per cent in October last year.
  • The hike is mainly due to spike in petrol and diesel prices. However, food articles witnessed softening of prices with deflation at 1.49 per cent in October, against 0.21 per cent in September.
  • Vegetables too became cheaper with deflation at 18.65 per cent in October, compared to 3.83 per cent in the previous month.

World Tolerance Summit inaugurated in Dubai

  • The two-day summit to mark the World Tolerance Day was inaugurated in Dubai. Held for the first time in UAE , the theme of the Summit was ‘Prospering from Pluralism: Embracing Diversity through Innovation and Collaboration’.
  • More than 2,000 ministers and government leaders from around the world are participating in the Summit to discuss the importance of tolerance, peace and equality, and celebrate diversity.
  • 16th November has been declared as the World’s Tolerance Day by the UNESCO.