Daily Current Affairs - 15th Feb 2019

Yes Bank shares surge 31%

  • Shares of private sector lender Yes Bank surged almost 31% to Rs. 221— a day after the bank reported that the Reserve Bank of India’s annual inspection report did not find any divergence in provisioning or in bad loans, compared with what the bank had reported for the financial year 2017-18.
  • This development comes after months of speculation on the magnitude of divergence that the bank was expected to report, particularly after its MD and CEO was forced to step down by the RBI.
  • For the fiscal 2016-17, the bank had reported gross NPAs of Rs. 2,018.6 crore against RBI’s assessment of Rs. 8,373.8 crore in the same period.

Air India reappoints Ashwani Lohani as CMD

  • Former Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani has been appointed chairman and managing director (CMD) of Air India. This will be Lohani's second tenure as Air India chief. His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
  • Lohani's first tenure in Air India was from August 2015 to August 2017, during which he helped pilot the organisation to a financial operating profit.

Bradley Cooper's dog just won him PETA's 'Oscat' Award for Best Director

  • Actor-director Bradley Cooper has won the Oscar award from animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for directing his dog in A Star Is Born. PETA's Film and Television Division awarded Cooper the Oscar award for his enlightened decision to cast his own canine companion in A Star Is Born rather than using one supplied by a notorious animal exhibitor.
  • Bradley Cooper cast Charlie as his dog in the self-directed musical drama also stars Lady Gaga.
  • Cooper and Gaga are nominated for Oscars as well for their roles in A Star Is Born.
  • A Star Is Born has received a total of eight Oscar nominations, including best picture and best actor for Cooper, best actress for Lady Gaga and supporting actor for Sam Elliott.
  • The 91st Academy Awards will be held here on February 24.

British PM May suffers fresh defeat on Brexit strategy

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered a fresh defeat in a Commons vote on her Brexit strategy. She lost the indicative motion in the House of Commons, with 303 MPs voting against it and 258 for it. This is Theresa May's tenth defeat in a House of Commons vote since becoming Prime Minister in the wake of the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

Careless staff expose firms to cyberattacks: EY

  • According to EY’s ‘Global Information Security Survey 2018-19, India edition, organisations in India consider careless or unaware employees as the biggest vulnerability that exposes the firms to cyberattacks.
  • A maximum of about 32% respondents cited careless or unaware employees as their topmost vulnerability with the most increased risk exposure over the last 12 months. Other vulnerabilities cited include outdated security controls (21%), unauthorised access (19%), related to cloud computing use (8%), related to smartphones/tablets (8%) and related to social media (8%) and related to Internet of Things (4%).
  • The report added that 87% of the organisations in the technology sector, and 70% of the organisations in the telecom sector regard careless employees as the most likely source of attack

CBDT Chairman appointed new Election Commissioner

  • Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Sushil Chandra, has been appointed as the new Election Commissioner. Mr Chandra is a 1980 batch Indian Revenue Service officer.
  • With his appointment, the Election Commission now has Sunil Arora as the Chief Election Commissioner and Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra as fellow commissioners.

Centre increases MSP of Sugar by 2 Rs/Kg

  • The Centre has increased the minimum selling price of sugar by two rupees per kilogram to 31 rupees a kilogram. Considering the rising arrears of sugarcane growers, the food department has increased the Minimum Support Price of sugar from 29 rupees to 31 rupees per kilogram for the year 2018-19.
  • With this step the appropriate amount will be available to sugar mills, which will enable them to pay the sugarcane farmers on time.
  • Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan

Govt signs mega Rs 700-crore deal to buy 72,000 modern rifles for Indian Army

  • The Indian government has signed a contract to equip the Indian Army with new assault rifles. The deal, which will see India buy around 72,400 rifles, will overhaul the army's inventory of frontline rifles. The rifles will be supplied by US arms maker Sig Sauer.
  • The deal costs around Rs 700 crore. A majority of these rifles 66,000 are for the Indian Army. The remaining will be divided between Indian Navy (2,000) and the Indian Air Force (4,000).
  • The Sig Sauer SIG716 7.62x51 mm assault rifles will replace the ageing, Indian-made 5.56x45mm Insas rifles.

House passes resolution to end U.S. support for Yemen war

  • The House of Representatives passed a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The resolution was passed 248 to 177, with 18 Republicans and 230 Democrats supporting it.
  • The U.S. has not directly involved in combat in Yemen but provided the Saudi-led coalition with support and intelligence for its war against Houthi rebels, who have some backing from Iran.
  • The resolution calls for the U.S. to withdraw any troops that affect the Yemen war within a period of 30 days.
  • The war in Yemen has left some 50,000 dead, according to an independent estimate, millions displaced, and was under famine.
  • Yemen
  • President: Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi
  • Prime Minister: Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed
  • Capital: Saana
  • Currency: Yemeni rial

In rescue effort, banks to acquire majority stake in Jet Airways

  • A consortium of commercial banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) will acquire a majority stake in Jet Airways (India) Ltd. by converting part of their debt into equity for a consideration of Rs. 1 and advancing more capital to give the airline a lifeline to enable it to achieve a turnaround.
  • Jet Airways’ board has considered and approved a bank-led provisional resolution plan (BLPRP) that proposes restructuring under the provisions of the ‘RBI Circular’ to meet a funding gap of nearly Rs. 8,500 crore, including proposed repayment of aircraft debt of Rs. 1,700 crore.
  • Jet Airways Group reported a net loss of Rs. 732 crore (standalone net loss Rs. 587 crore) for the third quarter ended December 31, 2018, against a net profit of Rs. 186 crore for the same period last year. Total revenue for the quarter was flat at Rs. 6,411 crore, compared to Rs. 6,412 crore in Q3 FY18.
  • CEO, Jet Airways: Vinay Dube

India signs defence pacts with Germany and Sweden

  • India concluded defence cooperation and security protection agreements with Germany and Sweden during the ongoing visit of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman there.
  • India and Sweden have had a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the area of defence since 2009. This new agreement will enable both the countries to share classified information with each other.
  • Earlier in Germany Ms. Sitharaman signed an implementing arrangement on enhanced defence and defence industry cooperation to strengthen military to military engagement as well as defence industry and research and development linkages.
  • Both Germany and Sweden are important suppliers of defence equipment to India and their companies are currently in the race for multi-billion tenders to supply submarines and fighter aircraft.
  • Germany
  • President: Frank-Walter Steinmeier
  • Chancellor: Angela Merkel
  • Capital: Berlin
  • Currency: Euro
  • Sweden:
  • Prime Minister: Stefan Lofven
  • Capital: Stockholm
  • Currency: Swedish krona

India to take care of its commercial considerations with Venezuela

  • India has said, that it will take care of its commercial considerations with regard to import of oil from Venezuela. The Ministry of External Affairs is monitoring the evolving situation in that country.
  • As India is in favour of constructive dialogue process to solve the situation in Venezuela.
  • Venezuela
  • President: Nicolas Maduro
  • Capital: Caracas
  • Currency: Venezuelan bolívar

Nigeria govt orders closure of all land borders to ensure smooth presidential election

  • In Nigeria, the government has ordered the closure of all land borders to ensure a smooth presidential election to be held on Saturday. Nigeria will also hold general elections to elect the National Assembly members. The land borders will be closed from Friday to Sunday to ensure hitch-free polls.
  • Apart from politically-linked violence, the country's armed forces are in a battle with terror group Boko Haram.
  • Nigeria
  • President: Muhammadu Buhari
  • Capital: Abuja
  • Currency: Nigerian naira

Panel moots minimum wage of Rs. 375 per day

  • In a report submitted to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, an Expert Committee on Determining the Methodology for Fixation of the National Minimum Wage has recommended that a need-based national minimum wage for workers across the country be set at Rs. 375 per day, or Rs. 9,750 per month.
  • It has also recommended different national minimum wages for “different geographical regions of the country to suit the local realities and as per socio-economic and labour market contexts.
  • These regional wage recommendations range from Rs. 342 per day in some States including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to Rs. 447/day for States such as Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
  • While the Minimum Wages Act was enacted in 1948, it stipulates different wages according to occupation and State; there is no national minimum wage.

PM Modi to visit Korea on 21-22 of this month

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit South Korea on 21-22 of this month. During the visit, Mr Modi will be conferred with the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize at a ceremony. This visit will provide an important occasion for the two countries to review the recent developments in bilateral relations.
  • The two sides will exchange views on regional and international issues of common interest with the objective of further strengthening the Special Strategic Partnership.
  • South Korea
  • President: Moon Jae-in
  • Capital: Seoul
  • Currency: South Korean won

Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan pension scheme comes into effect from Feb 15

  • The Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan scheme will be implemented from February 15.
  • Under the scheme, workers of the unorganised sector will receive a minimum assured pension of three thousand rupees per month after attaining the age of 60 years.
  • During the receipt of pension, if the subscriber dies, the spouse of the beneficiary will be entitled to receive 50 per cent of the pension.
  • This scheme is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme on a 50:50 basis where prescribed age-specific contribution shall be made by the beneficiary and the matching contribution by the Central Government.
  • Around 42 crore workers are estimated to be engaged in the unorganized sector in the country.

PV Sindhu, Vaishnavi Bhale, Ashmita Chaliha enter semi finals of women's singles in NBC

  • In the Senior National Badminton Championship being held at Guwahati, Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu sailed into the semi-finals, while Nagpur's Vaishnavi Bhale and Ashmita Chaliha of Assam booked their maiden last-4 spots.
  • Ashmita showed great resilience to secure a 16-21, 21-17, 21-19 win over Aakarshi Kashyap. Ashmita has now set up a semifinal clash against Sindhu.

Sportstar Aces Lifetime Achievement Award for Padukone

  • Prakash Padukone was honoured for Lifetime Achievement while Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah shared the Sportsman of the Year (cricket) accolade at the Sportstar Aces Awards ceremony.
  • Cheteshwar Pujara became the first recipient of the Chairman’s Choice award, for his exploits in a historic Test series win for India in Australia.
  • Sunil Chhetri, P.V. Sindhu, Neeraj Chopra, Mary Kom, Hima Das, Smriti Mandhana, Sharath Kamal, Bajrang Punia, Manu Bhaker and Deepa Malik were some of the other awardees on the occasion

Trump to sign spending bill averting govt shutdown

  • US President Donald Trump will sign a spending bill averting a government shutdown but will also issue an emergency declaration to fund his controversial border wall. Declaring an emergency, which is a rare step, would free Mr Trump to seek to redirect federal funds from elsewhere to help pay for a wall along the US-Mexico border.

William Barr sworn in as US Attorney General

  • William Barr was sworn for second time as the nation’s Attorney General succeeding Jeff Sessions.
  • Earlier, the Senate voted 54-45 to confirm his appointment. Mr. Barr also served as the Attorney General from 1991 to 1993 during President George H.W. Bush’s administration.
  • William Barr will be the 85th attorney general of the United States.

WPI inflation falls to 10-month low of 2.76% in January

  • According to government data, inflation based on wholesale prices fell to a 10-month low of 2.76 per cent in January over the previous month on softening prices of fuel and some food items.
  • The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation stood at 3.8 per cent in December 2018 and 3.02 per cent in January 2018.
  • Inflation in kitchen essentials like potato, onion, fruits, and milk softened in January over the previous month.
  • The retail inflation, released earlier this week, too declined marginally to 2.05 per cent in January over the previous month on the continued decline in food prices, including vegetables and eggs.