Daily Current Affairs - 18th Mar 2019

58 dead as flash floods hit Indonesia’s Papua

  • Flash floods in Indonesia’s eastern Papua province have killed at least 58 people, as rescuers battled mud, rocks and fallen trees in the hunt for survivors. The death toll was expected to rise as emergency services struggled to reach people in hard-hit areas, with more than 70 people injured and 4,150 evacuated.
  • The floods triggered by torrential rain and landslips has damaged numerous homes in the northeastern town of Sentani.

Anti-corruption candidate wins first round of Slovakia’s presidential election

  • Lawyer Zuzana Caputova has won the largest share of votes in Slovakia’s presidential ballot, making her the front-runner ahead of a second round later this month. Caputova, a newcomer to politics who has run a campaign focused on tackling corruption, won 40.6 percent of the vote, ahead of government candidate and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic on 18.7 percent.
  • The two will face off in the final round on March 30.
  • Slovakia
  • President: Andrej Kiska
  • Capital: Bratislava
  • Currency: Euro

Assocham releases charter of demands for political parties; pitches for 8-8.5 pc growth rate

  • The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has released a charter of demands to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2025 and called on political parties to incorporate the same in their Lok Sabha poll manifestos.
  • It asked political parties to take a pledge to enable a growth rate of 8-8.5% per annum. Some of the demands include simplification of GST structure and time-bound dilution of government’s stakes in PSUs

Athletics: India finishes second in medal tally at Asian Youth C'ships

  • In Asian Youth Athletics Championships in Hong Kong, Indian youth team finish second in the overall medals tally with a total of 26 medals including eight gold, nine silver and nine bronze medals. China topped the overall medals tally with 31 medals that included 12 gold, 11 silver and eight bronze medals and Japan finished third with 20 medals that included 6 Gold, 8 Silver and 6 bronze.

Bengaluru FC lifts ISL title

  • Rahul Bheke scored in second half of extra time as Bengaluru FC edged past FC Goa 1-0 to lift their first Indian Super League (ISL) title, in Mumbai. This is Bengaluru FC's sixth trophy in as many seasons.

Cyclone Idai affects over 1.5 million people in three southern African countries

  • Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have been hit by a vicious cyclone named ''Idai'' that has killed nearly 150 people, left hundreds more missing and stranded tens of thousands. Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people in the three southern African countries.
  • In Zimbabwe, 39 people have died from the floods so far. In Mozambique, at least 48 people have been killed in the worst-hit central Sofala province. In Malawi, where 56 people have died.
  • Dozens of others are missing after the storm brought strong winds, heavy rains and flash flooding.

Door open for India to bring serious trade proposal to table: US

  • The US has said that the door is open if India is prepared to bring a serious proposal to the table to address the issues related to trade and market access. The US, in November last year, revoked duty-free concessions on import of at least 50 Indian products, mostly from handloom and agriculture sectors, reflecting the Trump administration's tough stand on trade-related issues with New Delhi.

FPIs net buyers in March first half; pump in Rs 20,400 cr

  • Overseas investors poured in more than Rs. 20,400 crore in the domestic capital market in the first half of March. The expectation of a positive outcome from the U.S.-China trade pact along with Fed’s decision to put rate hike on hold, have worked in favour of entire emerging market segment.
  • Net inflow into equities stood at Rs. 17,919 crore, while the debt market saw an infusion of Rs. 2,499 crore.

Goa CM Parrikar dies

  • Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar passed away after a long battle with cancer. Parrikar had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Mr. Parrikar was the first Indian Institute of Technology alumnus (of IIT, Bombay) to serve as Chief Minister of Goa in 2000. He became Chief Minister of Goa for four terms. He also served as defence minister of India.
  • Goa Governor Mridula Sinha

India now has 2,293 political parties, 149 registered between Jan & March

  • The Election Commission’s latest data on political parties, registered till March 9, reveals that the country has a total of 2,293 political parties. These include seven recognized national and 59 recognized state parties. In fact, 149 political parties were registered with the poll panel between February and March.

India thrash Sri Lanka by 5-0 in 5th SAFF Women's C'ship

  • Defending champion India will take on Bangladesh in the semi final of 5th South Asian Football Federation, SAFF Women's Championship. Keeping its unbeaten record in the tournament since 2010, India easily defeated Sri Lanka by 5-0 in its the last group match in Biratnagar, Nepal

India's Irfan KT qualifies for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

  • India's Irfan KT has qualified for next year's Tokyo Olympics 2020. He made the cut after finishing fourth at the Asian Race Walking Championship at Nomi in Japan. Irfan clocked 1 hour 20 minutes and 57 seconds in the 20-kilometre walk to attain the standard qualifying mark for the Olympics.
  • Two other Indian race walkers, who qualified for the World Championship are Devinder and Ganapati.

India, Maldives agree to cooperate on defence, development, health

  • India and the Maldives discussed measures to strengthen ties and agreed to collaborate in the fields of defence, development cooperation, capacity building and health as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held talks with the country’s top leadership, including her Maldivian counterpart.
  • Ms. Swaraj and Maldivian Foreign Minister reviewed progress on important bilateral issues, including implementation of agreed outcomes of President Solih’s visit to India last year.
  • Maldives
  • President: Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
  • Capital: Male
  • Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa

Kohli, Bumrah retain top spots in ICC ODI rankings

  • Indian skipper Virat Kohli and pacer Jasprit Bumrah have retained top positions in the latest ICC ODI rankings. Kohli remained at the number one spot in the list of batsmen after he scored 310 runs in the recently-concluded home series against Australia.
  • In the Bowlers' list, Bumrah is at the top, followed by New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult at the second spot.
  • The all-rounders' table continues to be headed by Afghanistan's Rashid Khan.
  • In the team rankings, India is second, behind leaders England.

Norms soon to push ‘green’ power cables

  • The Power Ministry is likely to soon issue norms for bringing greener options in electricity transmission cables, such as the use of aluminium to protect the environment from the ill-effects of lead-based equipment.
  • Acknowledging that lead transmission cables are an environmental hazard and are poisonous, the Ministry, along with the Central Electricity Authority, has been discussing the issue with the industry to bring new norms for avoiding use of the material.
  • WHO estimates that 240 million people globally are overexposed to lead poisoning.

Pollution: 6 States told to submit action plan

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed six States to submit by April 30 action plans for bringing air quality standards within the prescribed norms, failing which they would be liable to pay environment compensation of Rs. 1 crore each.
  • A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel ordered the Chief Secretaries of Assam, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Nagaland governments to submit their plan within the stipulated time.
  • Concerned over the threat posed to limited natural resources due to their overuse, the tribunal has directed assessment of carrying capacity of 102 cities, including Delhi, where the air quality does not meet the national ambient air quality standards.

RBI Guv to hold pre-policy meet with trade bodies, rating agencies on Mar 26

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das will hold discussions on March 26 with representatives of trade bodies and credit rating agencies on interest rate and steps to boost economic activity.
  • The meeting, which comes ahead of the next financial year’s first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meet scheduled for April 4, is aimed at broadening the consultation process.

SEBI contemplates reducing time to list rights issue shares

  • Markets regulator SEBI is planning to cut down the time for listing of rights issue shares. In September last year, the SEBI decided on reducing the time to list shares on the bourses after IPO to three days from the present six. The SEBI directive is likely to come into effect from July this year.
  • SEBI had cited mitigating external risks such as market volatility and uncertainty of financial markets as the reason behind the move.

Second Scorpene submarine ready for induction

  • The Indian Navy is set to induct the second Scorpene submarine Khanderi by early May. The remaining submarines in the series are in advanced stages of manufacturing and trials. Khanderi has completed all trials and is in the final stages of acceptance.
  • Khanderi was launched into water in January 2017 and has since been undergoing a series of trials. The fourth submarine Vela is ready to be launched into water for trials around the same time depending on the ocean tide.
  • Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai, is manufacturing six Scorpene submarines under technology transfer from Naval Group of France under a 2005 contract worth $3.75 bn.

Shi Yuqi defeats Praneeth in summit clash of Swiss Open

  • India's B Sai Praneeth lost to Shi Yuqi of China in the men's single final clash of Swiss Open Badminton tournament in Basel. Shi Yuqi has lifted the title defeating Praneeth 19-21, 21-18 and 21-12. Earlier, Praneeth won the first game and gave tough fight in the second one but lost in the third game.