Daily Current Affairs - 13th Mar 2019

Algeria protests against Bouteflika continue despite talks

  • In Algeria, protests continue after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika dropped his fifth term bid and postponed next month's presidential elections indefinitely. But hundreds of protesters marched through the Algerian capital Algiers demanding Bouteflika's immediate resignation, accusing him of a ploy to prolong his 20-year rule.
  • Algeria
  • Capital: Algiers
  • Currency: Algerian dinar

Bank of Baroda becomes one of the first PSBs to launch creche/day-care facility for employees children

  • Bank of Baroda has become one of the first public sector banks to launch a crèche/child daycare facility for children of its employees at its Mumbai corporate office in Bandra Kurla Complex which houses some 1500-plus employees. The bank intends to roll out more of them at its head office in Vadodara.
  • Bank of Baroda will bear 60% of the cost every month for each employee, while 40% will be taken care by the parents.
  • MD and Chairman: PS Jayakumar

Bank of India raises Rs 660 cr by selling shares to employees

  • State-owned Bank of India (BoI) had raised Rs. 660.80 crore by issuing shares to employees under Employee Share Purchase Scheme (ESPS). The bank issued 6,25,52,188 shares of Rs. 10 each to eligible employees. It offered a discount of 24.28% on the applicable price to the employees and about 94.70% of total employees participated.
  • MD and CEO: Dinabandhu Mohapatra

Banks' reliance on bulk deposits like to increase: Ind-Ra

  • According to India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), scheduled commercial banks' reliance on bulk deposits is likely to increase if credit growth is higher than that of deposit.
  • As per the rating agency, the system level credit growth of 12.9 per cent year-on-year continues to outpace deposit growth at 9.3 per cent, thereby intensifying competition for deposits among banks.
  • In third quarter of this fiscal, state-owned banks have seen credit growth of 8.4 per cent and deposit growth at 4.9 per as compared to the year-ago period.
  • Private banks seeing continuing strong credit growth at 22 per cent year-on-year in third quarter of 2018-19.

British Parliament rejects Brexit deal for second time

  • Prime Minister Theresa May's "Brexit" deal with the EU crashed to defeat for the second time. The British Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s revised Brexit deal in a vote of 391 to 242.
  • The loss raises questions not only about May’s authority but also about how Britain will exit the trading bloc. With just over two weeks before the Brexit deadline, the options are narrowing.
  • Now the Parliament will vote on whether to leave the European Union on schedule, on March 29, without a deal.

Cycling: U.S. Olympic medalist Kelly Catlin dies at age 23

  • Olympian Kelly Catlin, who helped the United States win the women’s pursuit team silver medal at the 2016 Rio Games, has died. The three-time world champion was 23. Catlin won gold medals with the U.S. women’s team pursuit team at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 world championships.

DGCA bars Boeing 737 MAX 8 after global alarm

  • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the governmental regulatory body for civil aviation under the Ministry of Civil Aviation has grounded all Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft immediately. This move comes after the European aviation regulator EASA, the U.K, France, Germany, Australia and Singapore joined a growing number of countries that have barred the aircraft from their airspace following Sunday’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane.
  • These planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations.
  • SpiceJet is the only Indian airline that operates 12 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. While Jet Airways has five of these planes, they are grounded because of the airline’s financial issues.
  • Aerospace manufacturer Boeing, meanwhile, reiterated its full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX.

Dipa Karmakar gets Barbie modelled after her

  • Indian female gymnast Dipa Karmakar has been chosen along with 19 other successful women from 17 countries to be included in the collection of Barbie dolls inspired by real-life heroes.
  • Dipa has won 77 medals, including 67 gold, in state, national, and international championships. She first gained attention when she won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
  • At the Rio 2016 Games, Dipa created history by becoming India’s first female gymnast to qualify for the final vault event.
  • Dipa is one of only five women who have successfully landed the Produnova or handspring double front, the most difficult vault currently performed in women's gymnastics.

Facebook unveils hubs to aid start-ups

  • Facebook has launched ‘Facebook Hubs’ at 20 locations in India to support the start-up ecosystem in the country. These hubs will help foster innovation and support for the community by hosting mentor hours and trainings, workshops, roundtable discussions.
  • The company has partnered with co-working company 91springboard. These hubs will be part of a global network for training and mentoring facilities for start-ups, among others.
  • CEO: Mark Zuckerberg

Govt. to raise Rs. 3,500 cr. via CPSE ETF sale

  • The government is likely to launch an additional offering of CPSE-Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) on March 19 to raise at least Rs. 3,500 crore. The ETF sale through follow-on fund offer will come with the option of retaining up to Rs. 5,000 crore via the green shoe option.
  • During the last offering in November, the Centre mopped up Rs. 17,000 crore, the biggest disinvestment through the ETF. The proceeds from the ETF sale will help the Centre move towards the Rs. 80,000-crore disinvestment target set for this fiscal.
  • As on February 28, the Centre had realised Rs. 56,473.32 crore as disinvestment proceeds.
  • Greenshoe option is a clause used during an IPO wherein the underwriters and Investment banks get to buy an additional 15% of the company’s shares at the offering price.

IIP growth slows to 1.7%, retail inflation rises to 2.57%

  • According to government data, industrial activity slowed in January 2019 growing by just 1.7% due in large part to a deceleration in the manufacturing, electricity, and capital goods sectors. Retail inflation in February snapped a four-month declining trend by rising to 2.57%.
  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) saw growth slip below the 2% for the second time in three months in January 2019.
  • The manufacturing sector saw growth slowing to 1.3% in January from 2.65% in December. The electricity sector saw growth slowing to 0.8% from 4.45% over the same period.
  • The capital goods sector contracted 3.2% in January, down from a growth of 5.9% in the previous month.
  • The construction sector witnessed the strongest growth of all the major sectors, of 7.9%.

Indian campaign ends in Indian Wells Masters Tennis tournament in United States

  • The Indian campaign has ended in the Indian Wells Masters Tennis tournament at California in the United States. In the Men's Doubles pre-quarterfinals, the Indo-Canadian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov lost to the Serb-Italian team of Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini, 4-6, 6-1, 8-10.
  • In the singles, Prajnesh Gunneswaran was beaten by Croatia's Ivo Karlovic, in straight sets, 3-6, 6-7.

Indian scientists discover new way of powering radio sources in universe

  • In a first, a team of Indian astronomers has discovered some sources in the universe capable of emitting radio waves in a never-before-known mechanism, using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) located at Khodad in Junnar, about 80 km from Pune.
  • The team, led by TIFR-National Centre for Radio Astronomy (NCRA), which operates the GMRT, found a rare source named ‘Extremely Inverted Spectrum Extragalactic Radio Sources’.
  • This discovery, according to the team, could open up avenues for further studies regarding an alternate theory suggesting radio sources to be powered outside the power law.

Nepal appreciates India for its support in post-earthquake reconstruction projects

  • Nepal has appreciated Government of India for its support in the post-earthquake reconstruction projects in the country. A meeting of India-Nepal Joint Project Monitoring Committee to review the progress of post-earthquake reconstruction projects in housing, education, health and cultural heritage sectors was held in Kathmandu.
  • Both sides agreed that through their combined efforts considerable progress has been made in the housing sector since the signing of sector-specific MoU. The two sides agreed to take steps to expedite progress in all sectors.
  • India is providing 250 million US dollars grant for supporting reconstruction in these sectors.
  • Nepal
  • President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari
  • Prime Minister: Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli
  • Currency: Nepalese rupee

OYO plans Rs. 1,400-cr. expansion

  • OYO Hotels & Homes said that it will invest Rs. 1,400 crore (about $200 million) during the current year for expansion of its India and south Asia business while improving customer experience.
  • The company is currently present in over 259 cities in India with over 8,700 hotels and homes, and more than 1,73,000 room.
  • OYO already has large operations within their home markets of India and China, along with south east Asia, Europe and West Asia.
  • Founder & Group CEO, OYO Hotels & Homes: Ritesh Agarwal
  • OYO, CEO: Aditya Ghosh

Pak elected OIC body's deputy chairman

  • Pakistan has been elected as the deputy chairman of the general body of the Parliamentary Union of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an influential grouping of 57 countries, majority of which are Muslim-dominated.
  • The PUIC is composed of parliaments of member states of the OIC and was established in Iran on June 17, 1999, with its head office situated in Tehran.

Prajapati Trivedi awarded performance management practice award in US

  • Professor Prajapati Trivedi, a senior director in the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, has been awarded the prestigious Harry Hatry Distinguished Performance Management Practice Award for 2019 for his contribution in public administration. Trivedi is the first Indian to win this coveted award.
  • This award is presented each year to an individual whose outstanding teaching, education, training, and consultation in performance management has made a significant contribution to the practice of public administration.

SEBI lifts cap on corporate bonds for FPIs

  • Markets regulator SEBI withdrew the 20% limit on investments by Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) in corporate bonds of an entity. The regulator said the restriction is being withdrawn in accordance with a circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • In June last year, the Securities and Exchange Board of India had mandated that no FPI shall have an exposure of more than 20% of its corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate. However, the central bank, in February, lifted the restriction in view of market feedback.
  • Chairman: Ajay Tyagi

Titan seals strategic pact with FTS USA

  • Titan Company Limited, one of the world’s largest watch manufacturers, has entered into a strategic alliance with an American watch manufacturing company FTS USA LLC located at Phoenix, Arizona.
  • This alliance equips FTS USA by setting up a quartz movement assembly unit in the U.S. to manufacture ‘Made in USA’ for American watch brands.
  • Titan would further extend its support by supplying movement kits and setting up of the movement assembly facility, training of U.S. engineers at the Titan facility alongside Titan’s engineers visiting the facility.
  • CEO, Titan Company Limited: S. Ravi Kant

U.S. pulling out diplomats from Venezuela

  • The U.S. said that it is pulling out its last remaining diplomats from Venezuela, saying their continued presence at the country’s embassy in Caracas had become a constraint on U.S. policy as the Trump administration aggressively looks to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
  • The U.S. has led an international effort to replace Mr. Maduro with Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who vows to hold a new Presidential election. Mr. Guaido is backed by some 50 countries, while Mr. Maduro maintains support from countries such as China, Russia and Cuba.
  • Venezuela
  • President: Nicolas Maduro
  • Capital: Caracas
  • Currency: Venezuelan bolívar

UN warns Bangladesh of new crisis over Rohingya relocation plan

  • The UN has warned Bangladesh of a new crisis if the country goes ahead with plans to relocate 23,000 Rohingya next month to an uninhabited island prone to cyclones. Bhasan Char, a muddy, low-lying island that floods frequently during monsoon season was chosen for relocation of the Rohingyas.
  • The UN special rapporteur on Myanmar, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva that ill-planned relocations without the consent of refugees have the potential to create new problems for the country.
  • However the Bangladeshi government argues that the relocation would relieve pressure on the refugee camps on the mainland.
  • Bangladesh
  • President: Abdul Hamid
  • Prime Minister: Sheikh Hasina
  • Capital: Dhaka
  • Currency: Bangladeshi taka

UNSC likely to take up issue of ban on Masood Azhar

  • UN Security Council, UNSC, is likely to take up the issue of ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed, JeM, Chief Masood Azhar. The resolution is expected to be taken by the 1267 committee of the UNSC.
  • India and other countries including France and the US have been pressing for a resolution to declare Pakistan-based JeM chief as a global terrorist.
  • After the Pulwama terror attack, owned by JeM, the US, the UK and France moved a proposal at the UNSC to designate Masood as a global terrorist.
  • China, which has blocked three times such moves by India and other members of the UNSC, is yet to announce its stand on the issue.
  • UNSC: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), charged with the maintenance of international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its United Nations Charter.
  • Headquarters: New York City, New York, United States

WHO launches new global influenza strategy

  • WHO has released a Global Influenza Strategy for 2019-2030 aimed at protecting people in all countries from the threat of influenza. The goal of the strategy is to prevent seasonal influenza, control the spread of influenza from animals to humans, and prepare for the next influenza pandemic.
  • Influenza remains one of the world’s greatest public health challenges. Every year across the globe, there are an estimated 1 billion cases, of which 3 to 5 million are severe cases, resulting in 290 000 to 650 000 influenza-related respiratory deaths.
  • WHO recommends annual influenza vaccination as the most effective way to prevent influenza.
  • WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland