Daily Current Affairs - 24th Nov 2018

Apollo Tyres ropes in Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador of the company for five years

  • Apollo Tyres has roped in Sachin Tendulkar as the brand ambassador of the company for five years. This is the first time that the company has associated with a celebrity as the face of its brand. Apollo Tyres being the global tyre partner for English Premier League club, Manchester United, Apollo Tyres also has a presence in the German Bundesliga, with its association with Borussia Monchengladbach.
  • Apollo Tyres Vice Chairman and Managing Director Neeraj Kanwar

Australia vs India 2nd T20I called off due to rain

  • The second T20 International between India and Australia was called off due to rain in Melbourne. Earlier, put into bat, Australia had ended their innings at 132 for 7 in the 19th over due to rain. However, the target was revised twice to 90 in 11 overs and 46 in 5 overs due to rain. Eventually, the match was abandoned as the rain showed no sign of stopping.

Banks under PCA see retail loan share jump 400 bps

  • The 11 state-run banks under the Reserve Bank’s prompt corrective action (PCA) framework have seen a 400 basis points increase in their share of retail loans at 19% of the system in the four years ended September 2018.
  • The Reserve Bank began to place state-run banks under the PCA framework starting September 2016, when their NPAs soared beyond the regulatory tolerance levels. The PCA framework puts restrictions on weaker banks on many aspects, including fresh lending and expansion and salary hikes.
  • However, the banks under PCA have lost market share to private sector banks in corporate loans and unsecured personal loans.

Beijing's Population falls for first time in 2 Decades

  • The population of China’s capital, Beijing, declined for the first time in two decades in 2017. The number of permanent residents reached 21.707 million in 2017 which is 22,000 fewer than 2016.The number of people in the city’s six urban districts declined by 3 percent. Beijing have been making efforts to curb population growth as part of their efforts to ease traffic congestion, resource shortages and house price inflation.

Broadband subscribers at 463.6 mn at Aug.-end

  • According to official data by the Department of Telecom (DoT), India’s broadband subscriber numbers touched 463.6 million at the end of August 2018, up 0.74% over the previous month. The number of broadband subscribers stood at 460.24 million in July this year.
  • The total number of telephones rose to 1,189.17 million, up 9.73 million over the previous month. Of this, wireline phone connections remained almost flat, while the wireless connections climbed 0.84% month-on-month to almost 1,167 million.
  • Maximum rise in total telephone connections was recorded in Mumbai (19,35,854) followed by Bihar (10,26,007) and Madhya Pradesh (9,61,251).

Centre decides to set up domestic Gold Council in India

  • The union government has decided to set up a domestic Gold Council in India. Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has underlined the need for an integrated Gold policy to address all the issues in holistic way.
  • He said that his ministry will make sure that gems and jewellery business does not suffer from financial issues and his ministry is in talks with Finance Ministry in this regard.

EIB expands wind energy finance plan

  • The European Investment Bank (EIB) will increase its support for India’s wind energy projects by expanding the existing lending programmes with SBI.
  • EIB and SBI have agreed to cooperate on financing renewable energy and providing new support for wind energy projects across India.
  • With this collaboration, the promoters of wind projects in India will benefit from long-term, low-cost financing under the dedicated €600 million renewable energy financing programme that is already supporting large-scale solar investments.

FinMin may stick to capital infusion plan for PSU banks

  • The Union Finance Ministry would not curtail its capital infusion plan for this financial year even as state-owned banks would be needing lesser funds following the Reserve Bank’s decision to defer the deadline to meet Basel III norms by a year.
  • Under the new exemption, the capital infusion by the government in public sector banks (PSBs) for meeting the capital buffer norms would come down to around Rs. 15,000-20,000 crore.
  • The capital infusion would help improve the financial health of banks,adding that some banks would get necessary regulatory capital while others would get it for fueling growth.

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba announces retirement

  • Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba announced his retirement on a 20-year career in which the centre forward player has won four Premier League titles and the 2012 Champions League scoring 164 goals in 381 games
  • Drogba, who made than 100 appearances for the Ivory Coast and was voted African footballer of the year twice, ended his playing days with Phoenix Rising where he was a player-owner.

ICC Women's World T20 Semi-Final: India Crash Out, England Meet Australia In Final

  • England beat India by eight wickets to enter the final of the ICC Women's World T20. England will meet Australia in the final.
  • Earlier, batting first India were bundled to 112 runs. Smriti Mandhana (34) and Jemimah Rodrigues (26) made key contributions.
  • England achived the below-par target in only 17.1 overs with Amy Jones (53 no off 45 balls) and Natalie Sciver (52 no off 40 balls) added 92 runs for third wicket to take their team to the summit clash.

IMD develops new technology to monitor impact of rain & deal with natural disasters

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has developed a new technology to assess the rise of water level in rivers and reservoirs by rain. This new technology, called 'Impact Based Forecasting Approach', which shows pre-event scenario, can help state governments to minutely monitor the impact of rain and take real-time decisions.
  • The department will use the technology into service to deal with natural disasters like the recent deluge in Kerala.
  • IMD Director General KJ Ramesh

India to study marijuana-derived drugs

  • Three major science administrators in India — the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Indian Council for Medical Research and the Department of Biotechnolgy are getting together to promote research in herbal drugs, some of which involve deriving new drugs from marijuana.
  • Among the first such studies likely to kick off is a joint investigation by the CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM) and the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai.
  • Researchers will test whether strains of marijuana grown at the CSIR-IIIM campus in Jammu could be effective in the treatment of breast cancer, sickle-cell anaemia.
  • Uttarakhand, Jammu and Uttar Pradesh states have allowed restricted cultivation of the plant for medical research.
  • Marijuana (or hemp), more formally parts of the cannabis super-family, is illegal for commercial cultivation though it grows as weed in several parts of the country.

MC Mary Kom and Sonia Chahal to fight for Gold medals in world boxing championship

  • MC Mary Kom and Sonia Chahal will fight for Gold medals at the Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi. In the 48 kilogram category, Mary Komwill face Hanna Okhota of Ukraine and is aiming to clinch her historic sixth World title.
  • Sonia Chahal will be up against Ornella Wahner of Germany in the 57 kg division.
  • India has, so far, bagged two Bronze medals at the ongoing Championships through Simranjit Kaur in the 64 kg category and Lovlina Borgohain in the 69 kg division.

MIT Scientists Fly First-Ever Silent Plane With No Moving Parts

  • Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have, in a breakthrough, built and flown the first-ever silent airplane with no moving propellers or jet turbines. The new light aircraft carries neither propellers or turbines, nor it depends on fossil fuels to fly. This is the first-ever sustained flight of a plane with no moving parts in the propulsion system.
  • It is powered by an "ionic wind" -- a silent but mighty flow of ions that is produced aboard the plane, that generates enough thrust to propel the plane over a sustained, steady flight.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to hold talks with Chinese Foreign Minister on border issues

  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold the 21st round of border talks at Dujiangyan City in Sichuan province of China. Mr Doval and Mr Wang are the designated special representatives for border talks between the two countries.
  • They will discuss ways to maintain peace at the border and are also expected to review the progress in bilateral ties since the Wuhan Summit in April.

Noted classical musician Ustad Imrat Khan dies in US

  • Classical music stalwart Ustad Imrat Khan, who dedicated his life to propagating the sitar and the surbahar worldwide, has died after a brief illness. He was 83.
  • Imrat Khan, who famously turned down the Padma Shri last year saying the recognition had come too late and diminished his achievements, belonged to the illustrious Etawa gharana, or the Imdadkhani Gharana, named after his grandfather Ustad Imdad Khan. His elder brother was Ustad Vilayat Khan.
  • The family is credited with developing the musical instrument surbahar, a stringed instrument that is sometimes called the "bass sitar".

Oil prices hit year low as OPEC considers output cut

  • Oil prices fell to their lowest this year, on course for their biggest one-month decline since late 2014 when OPEC opted to pump as much crude as it could to gain market share and sent prices on a near-unbroken two-year slide.
  • The value of a barrel of oil has dropped by around 20 percent so far in November, in a seven-week streak of losses. Benchmark Brent crude oil fell $2.31 a barrel, or 3.7 percent, to a low of $60.29, its lowest since November 2017. US light crude lost $2.90, or 5.3 percent, at one point to touch a low of $51.73 a barrel.

Prasar Bharati to audit workforce

  • Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati will audit its workforce, a long-pending exercise that was recommended by the Sam Pitroda Committee in 2014. The last time the Prasar Bharati made recruitments was in 1996.
  • The state broadcaster has hired Ernst and Young to conduct a manpower audit, expected to be completed in eight months.
  • According to the Pitroda report, Prasar Bharati reportedly had 33,800 staff and the sanctioned strength was 48,022 — the highest in the world for a public broadcaster. While the BBC had 16,858 staff, public broadcasters of Japan and China employed 10,000 each.
  • Doordarshan operates 23 channels and a free-to-air direct-to-home platform. AIR has 420 radio stations.
  • Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer Shashi Shekhar Vempati

SEBI acts on illiquid options trade manipulators

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has started acting against entities that are alleged to have executed manipulative and orchestrated non-genuine trades in the illiquid stock option segment of BSE almost five years ago. The penalty imposed in most cases has been the minimum stipulated Rs. 5 lakh.
  • Investigations showed that a total of 14,720 entities indulged in executing non-genuine transactions in BSE’s stock options contracts between April 2014 and March 2015.
  • In the recent past, there have been at least five such orders where the regulator has imposed a penalty of Rs. 5 lakh each on the alleged offenders
  • Section 15HA of the SEBI Act allows the regulator to impose a penalty of up to Rs. 25 crore on entities indulging in fraudulent trade practices.

State Bank of Mauritius appoints Sidharth Rath as MD of India operation

  • State Bank of Mauritius, which has received a licence as a scheduled commercial bank in India, has appointed Sidharth Rath as managing director. SBM Bank is the first foreign bank to set up a Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS), to provide universal banking service with a focus on Wholesale Banking, Trade Finance, Capital Market and Retail Banking.
  • Following the approval, the SBM Bank (India) will start operation as scheduled commercial bank under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 with effect from December 1, 2018

Syed Modi International Championships: Saina Nehwal & seven other Indian shuttlers to play semi-final matches

  • Saina Nehwal and seven other Indian shuttlers will play their semi-final matches of Syed Modi International Championships in Lucknow. Saina will take on Ruselli Hartawan of Indonesia, while third placed Sameer Verma will meet another Indonesian Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo.
  • Women's Doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy, the Men's Doubles team of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, and the Mixed Doubles duo of Satwiksairaj and Ashwini will also play their last-4 matches.

Tourism Ministry bats for easing travel curbs in NE

  • The Tourism Ministry has approached the Union Home Ministry to ease travel restrictions in some States in the Northeastern region to promote tourism. The Tourism Ministry is already spending more than 10% of the funds earmarked for the region on tourism infrastructure and comprehensive promotion schemes.
  • The Ministry noted that states such as Sikkim, which do not have such restrictions, have been witnessing a steady flow of foreign and domestic travellers.
  • Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons

UN's atomic watchdog calls on North Korea to re-admit nuclear inspectors

  • The head of the UN's atomic watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, has called on North Korea to allow inspectors back into the country to monitor its nuclear program. IAEA, Director General has stated that North Korea had in September talked about denuclearization measures including the permanent dismantlement of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon a reactor where it produces plutonium.
  • The watchdog stated that it had observed some activity at Yongbyon, but without access, the agency cannot confirm the nature and purpose of these activities.
  • IAEA inspectors were expelled from North Korea in 2009 but the agency continues to prepare for their possible re-admittance.
  • IAEA:The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  • Director General Yukiya Amano
  • Headquarters: Vienna, Austria

UNICEF appoints singer Nahid Afrin as first 'Youth Advocate' of northeastern region

  • Popular singer Nahid Afrin of Assam has been appointed as the first 'Youth Advocate' of the northeastern region by the UNICEF to fight for child rights. Nahid has been appointed as 'Youth Advocate' in the North East at an event in Guwahati.
  • The UNICEF engages 'Youth Advocates' to harness their voice as agents of change in society.
  • UNICEF's India representative Yasmin Ali Haque

US President Trump threatens to close Mexico border, allows US troops to use lethal force

  • United States President Donald Trump has threatened to close the US border with Mexico for an undisclosed period of time if his administration determines that Mexico has lost control on its side.
  • The repeated threat from Trump is in response to thousands of migrants and refugees who have arrived in the border town of Tijuana, many hoping to apply for asylum.
  • Thousands of Central Americans, fleeing violence, extreme poverty and political persecution, have made their way to the border over the past month as part of a caravan, dubbed as the Central American exodus.
  • Mexico
  • President: Enrique Pena Nieto
  • Capital: Mexican city
  • Currency: Mexican peso