Daily Current Affairs - 19th Feb 2019

2 more States to set up drug price units

  • After Kerala, two states Punjab and Gujarat will have Price Monitoring & Research Unit (PMRU), set up by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority in collaboration with the Department of Health and State Drug Controller. The Union government has announced that more States are in the process of setting up PMRUs.
  • Earlier this year, Kerala became the first State to set up a price monitoring and research unit to track violation of prices of essential drugs and medical devices under the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO).
  • Price Monitoring & Research Unit (PMRU) is aimed at monitoring the notified prices of medicines, detection of violation of the provisions of DPCO, pricing compliance and ensuring availability of medicines, among other objectives. The units will function under the supervision of State drug controller.

Bhopal to host Indian History Congress

  • Barkatullah University of Bhopal will host the 79th Indian History Congress beginning February 26. Savitribai Phule Pune University is the orginal contender to host the congress but backed out due to financial constraints.
  • The IHC is the largest professional and academic body of Indian historians with over 10,000 members. It was established in the year 1935.

Cyber crimes pose challenge to traditional policing: Home Minister

  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said that cyber crimes pose a challenge to traditional policing and called upon the Police personnel to enhance their skills to tackle threats posed from the cyber world.
  • He inaugurated the Cyber Prevention, Awareness and Detection Centre (CyPAD) of the Delhi Police in New Delhi and said that the CyPAD will deal with crypto-currency frauds and international tech-supported frauds.

DRDO scouts for R&D partners

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is looking for potential partners to co-develop an engine for its planned Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and five other future technologies.
  • The DRDO Scientists are visiting participants of Aero India exhibition in Bengaluru for prospective partners to develop technology in the field of stealth aircraft material, missile, fighter aircraft engine, hypersonic and Artificial Intelligence.
  • It is also on the lookout for collaborators to realize the other military technologies that it hopes to have in around five years — Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) and UAVs, materials, sensors, avionics, and artificial intelligence.
  • Chaiman of DRDO: Dr.G Satish Reddy

EU vows swift, adequate response if US imposed auto tariffs

  • The European Commission warned a quick and effective response if the United States imposes import duties on European autos. The EU issued the warning after the US Commerce Department filed a report that empowers President Donald Trump to apply car duties within the next 90 days.
  • US President Donald Trump has threatened 25 percent duties on European autos,especially targeting Germany, which he says has harmed the American car industry.
  • EU has drawn up a list of 20 billion euros (USD22.6 billion) of potential counter measures, without providing further details.

Former Maldives President Arrested Over Money Laundering

  • A Maldivian court ordered the arrest and detention of former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom on charges of money laundering. Yameen was charged with money laundering for alleged involvement in the embezzlement of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corp. funds.
  • Investigators found $1 million in Yameen’s bank account allegedly linked to a deal to lease public islands for tourism development in the Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago famous for its luxury resorts.
  • Maldives:
  • President: Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
  • Capital: Male
  • Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa

HDFC Bank has no plans to cut down branch expansion: Aditya

  • The largest private lender of the country, HDFC Bank's MD and CEO Aditya Puri has made its intentions clear of not cutting down branch expansion. He said that the bank will give a choice to the customers, who can transact either through mobile phone or a laptop or visit a branch. The bank is targeting to take its services to 1 lakh villages.

India Win Team Event at Mallakhamb World Championship

  • India emerged as winners in the team event at the first Mallakhamb World Championship in Mumbai.
  • The team championship was won by India with 244.73 points, while Singapore stood second with 44.45 and Malaysia came third with 30.22 points.
  • The two-day tournament was held at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai, in which participants from 15 countries - Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, USA, Iran, Norway, England, France, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, Bahrain, and hosts India – competed.

India's first fulldome 3D Digital theatre inaugurated in Kolkata

  • India's first 'fulldome 3D Digital Theatre' was inaugurated at the Science City, Kolkata by the Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma. The 'fulldome 3D Digital Theatre' at the Science city was the first of its kind in India having a 23 metre titled dome to offer a fully immersive experience to the visitors.
  • The new system is capable of screening high resolution, full dome, and digital 2D/3D content by utilizing six, high-end projectors in a 23-meter diameter dome using Ulteria Seam technology.

India, Argentina to elevate multi-faceted cooperation to strategic partnership

  • India and Argentina have decided to elevate their multi-faceted cooperation to a strategic partnership with a focus on key areas for the prosperity of both countries.
  • India and Argentina signed ten MoUs in several areas, including Defence, Civil nuclear, Tourism, pharmaceuticals and agriculture. Both sides expressed their satisfaction at the mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership.
  • Argentina
  • President: Mauricio Macri
  • Capital: Buenos Aires
  • Currency: Argentine peso

India, Morocco sign four MoUs

  • India and Morocco signed four MoUs following the delegation-level talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Moroccan counterpart. These MoUs include setting up of Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, Cooperation in Housing and Human Settlement, Reciprocal facilitation of procedures for issue of Business Visa and Cooperation in Youth Matters.
  • Both representatives discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in a number of areas, including defence and security, counter-terrorism and trade and investment.
  • Morocco
  • King: Mohammed VI of Morocco
  • Prime Minister: Saadeddine Othmani
  • Capital: Rabat
  • Currency: Moroccan dirham

IOC signs $1.5 billion deal to buy U.S. crude

  • In the first-ever deal by an Indian company, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) had signed an annual deal worth $1.5 billion to import 3 million tonnes of crude oil in the fiscal year beginning April 1. This is the first time any Indian refiner has signed an annual contract, since the country in 2017 began importing crude oil from the U.S.
  • Prior to this, IOC and other state-owned oil firms bought crude oil from the U.S. on a spot or current tender basis which comprised one shipload of oil.

Israel to launch its first moon mission this week

  • Israel will launch its first moon mission this week, sending an unmanned spacecraft to collect data to be shared with the US based NASA. The 585-kilogram Beresheet (Genesis) spacecraft will lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida but the Mission control will be in Yehud, near Tel Aviv.
  • So far only Russia, the United States and China have sent their spacecraft to the moon. The Chinese spacecraft made the first ever soft landing on the far side of the moon on January 3.

Jharkhand-based NGO Yuwa Wins Laureus Sport for Good Honour

  • Yuwa, a Jharkhand-based NGO which works for girl empowerment, won the Laureus Sport for Good award, becoming the third Indian entry to bag the honour. The NGO, Yuwa founded by Americans Franz Gastler and Rose Thomson Gastler in 2009, runs a football program in rural Jharkhand covering 450 girls.
  • For the first time in 2004, the Indian cricket team and its Pakistani counterpart shared the Sport for Good honour for resuming bilateral ties despite tensions between the two countries. Second time it is the Magic Bus from India that won the Laureus Sport for Good award in 2014.

Nikhat Zareen advances to Strandja Memorial finals

  • Former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen was among three Indian women boxers to enter the finals of the 70th Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. Zareen, in 51-kilogram category, defeated Poland's Sandra Drabik 3-2 in an intense see-saw battle.
  • Others who made to the summit clash were Manju Rani (48kg) and Meena Kumari Devi (54kg).
  • In the men's draw, Amit Panghal (49Kg) is the lone Indian challenger left in the fray after advancing to the semifinals.

Promoters sell 10% stake in Emami Ltd., raise Rs. 1,600 cr.

  • The promoters of Emami Group announced a sale of 10% stake in Emami Limited, raising approximately Rs. 1,600 crore. The transaction was executed on the stock exchange and the purchasers included SBI Mutual Fund, PremjiInvest, Amundi, IDFC, L&T Mutual Fund and others.
  • The stake sale proceeds will reduce the promoter debt, which was used in the creation of assets such as cement, solar power etc.
  • Pursuant to the stake sale, the promoter holding in Emami Ltd. will stand at 62.44%,
  • Director, Emami Limited: Mohan Goenka

RBI Governor to meet bank heads on Feb. 21 to discuss rate cut transmission

  • Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das would be holding a meeting with the heads of all banks to discuss the issue of transmission of rate cuts by the central bank to the actual loans being disbursed by the banking sector.
  • Earlier this month, the RBI had cut the benchmark interest rate by 0.25% to 6.25%, but only a few banks have so far cut the interest rates on their loans following the move.
  • Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stated that it would inject Rs. 12,500 crore into the system through purchase of government securities to increase liquidity. The purchase will be made through open market operations (OMOs).

RBI to give Rs 28,000 cr to Centre as dividend

  • The Reserve Bank of India has announced that it will transfer an interim surplus of 28,000 crore rupees to the central government. This is second consecutive year that the central bank has transferred interim surplus to the government.
  • The RBI said the decision has been based on a limited audit review and after applying the extant economic capital framework.
  • Inclusive of the Rs. 40,000 crore transferred by the central bank as final dividend for 2017-18, the Centre has earned a total of Rs. 68,000 crore as dividend from the RBI for the 2018-19 fiscal.
  • The accounting year of the RBI runs from July to June.

Samuel Tefera sets indoor world record in 1,500 meters

  • Ethiopian teenager Samuel Tefera has broken a 22-year-old indoor world record in the 1,500-meter race after finishing in 3 minutes, 31.04 seconds at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix.
  • Tefera shaved 0.14 off the old mark of 3:31.18, which was set by Moroccan great Hicham El Guerrouj in February 1997. El Guerrouj still holds the outdoor world record of 3:26.00, set in 1998.

The Hindu Centre among top think tanks

  • The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy has been ranked 33rd in the ‘Top Think Tanks in China, India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea’ category by the 2018 Global go To Think Tank Index Report.
  • According to the report, the largest number of think tanks are in the United States (1,871), followed by India (509) and China (507). Japan and South Korea have 128 and 60, respectively.
  • The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, a part of The Hindu Group was formed to promote research, dialogue and discussion, to enable the creation of informed public opinion on key issues facing India and to safeguard, strengthen, and nourish parliamentary democracy and pluralism.