Daily Current Affairs - 27th Mar 2019

Algeria's army chief calls for Bouteflika to be declared unfit to rule

  • In Algeria, the army chief has called for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to be declared unfit to govern, following weeks of mass protests demanding the ailing leader to step down after two decades in power. This move would potentially clear the way for elections to be organised in the coming months unless the president recovers.
  • Algeria
  • President: Abdelaziz Bouteflika
  • Capital: Algiers
  • Currency: Algerian dinar

Apple Debuts Credit Card With Goldman, Mastercard

  • Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are joining forces in the consumer credit business, launching the Apple Card for iPhones. The card is tied to Apple Pay, a service that lets people load banking information and pay in store or use it for purchases online. It works globally where Apple Pay is accepted.
  • Apple CEO: Timothy Donald Cook

Australia warns social media executives of jail over extremist content

  • Australia warned social media giants that executives could be jailed if they fail to quickly remove extremist material from their platforms. Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with a number of tech firms including Facebook, Twitter and Google to ask how they planned to keep their platforms from being weaponised by terrorists.
  • The government was considering the possibility of jail term for executives as it mulled new laws.
  • Australia
  • Prime Minister: Scott Morrison
  • Capital: Canberra
  • Currency: Australian dollar

Comoros President Azali Assoumani re-elected with over 60% of votes

  • Comoros President Azali Assoumani was re-elected by a landslide, according to results published by the electoral commission. Azali, who first took office in 2016, obtained 60.77 percent of the vote far ahead of his closest rival Mahamoudou Ahamada, who garnered only 14.62 percent.
  • Comoros
  • President: Azali Assoumani
  • Capital: Moroni
  • Currency: Comorian franc

EC seizes unaccounted cash, liquor & other items worth Rs 540 crore

  • The Election Commission has seized unaccounted cash, illicit liquor, drugs, gold and freebies worth around 540 crore rupees since the model code of conduct came into effect. Tamil Nadu is on top of the list with total seizures worth over 107 crore rupees, followed by Uttar Pradesh with over 104 crore rupees and Andhra Pradesh with over 103 crore rupees.
  • So far the EC has seized over 143 crore rupees cash from all over the country. It has also seized precious metals worth 162 crore rupees, drugs and narcotics worth 131 crore rupees, liquor worth over 89 crore rupees and freebies worth 12 crore rupees.

European Parliament adopts controversial copyright reforms

  • The European Parliament has adopted controversial copyright reforms championed by news publishers and the media business. Members of European Parliament passed the draft law with 348 votes in favour, 274 against, and 36 abstentions.
  • Under the reform, European law for the first time would hold platforms legally responsible for enforcing copyright, requiring them to check everything that their users post to prevent infringement.
  • The reform was backed by media companies and artists, who want to obtain a better return from web platforms that allow users to distribute their content.
  • However, tech giants including google which makes huge profits from the advertising generated on content it hosts have opposed it.

India to take on Canada in 4th league match of Azlan Shah Cup

  • In Hockey, India will take on Canada in their fourth league match of the Azlan Shah Cup at Ipoh. India defeated Malaysia 4-2 in the third league match. With this win, India now has seven points and has reached the top with South Korea.

India, Bangladesh to start cruise service

  • India and Bangladesh will start a cruise service that would take passengers through the Sunderbans to Dhaka. This move aims to strengthen inland waterway routes between the two countries.
  • The movement of goods using inland waterways from India to Narayanganj and Dhaka in Bangladesh will make transportation cheaper.

India’s carbon dioxide emissions up 5%

  • According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), India emitted 2,299 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018, a 4.8% rise from last year.
  • India’s emissions growth this year was higher than that of the United States and China (the two biggest emitters in the world) and this was primarily due to a rise in coal consumption.
  • India’s per capita emissions were about 40% of the global average and contributed 7% to the global carbon dioxide burden. The United States, the largest emitter, was responsible for 14%.
  • China, the United States, and India together accounted for nearly 70% of the rise in energy demand.
  • As per its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, India has promised to reduce the emissions intensity of its economy by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.
  • It has also committed to having 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and, as part of this, install 100 GW of solar power by 2022.

Jet Airways gears up to restore suspended flights

  • Jet Airways kick-started a plan to get its grounded flights back on track after its lenders the SBI-led consortium agreed to sanction a fresh loan of Rs. 1,500 crore. The entire fleet of over 100 aircraft, most of which is grounded due to various reasons, is expected to become operational in three to four weeks in a phased manner.
  • The fresh loan will help pay the wages, clear some dues to lessors and make part payments to vendors. The airline currently has only 35 planes flying out of the total fleet of 103 planes and will aim at getting 40 more planes airborne by April end.
  • Jet Airways, CEO: Vinay Dube

L&T makes an open offer to buy 31% stake in Mindtree for Rs. 5,030 cr.

  • Engineering and construction major Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has made an open offer to acquire up to 5.13 crore equity shares of Mindtree, representing 31% of the voting share capital, for Rs. 980 a share or Rs. 5,030 crore.
  • The offer will open on May 14 and close on May 27, the company informed Mindtree shareholders.
  • Last week, L&T had agreed to buy 20.32% stake in Mindtree for Rs. 3,269 crore from Indian coffee baron V.G. Siddhartha
  • Chairman of Mindtree: Krishnakumar Natarajan
  • CEO of Mindtree: Rostow Ravanan
  • L&T's Executive Chairman: A M Naik
  • CEO and Managing Director of L&T: S N Subrahmanyan

MPs seize control of Brexit process

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May is in trouble again as three of her ministers and many MPs from her own party backed an amendment to seize control of Brexit by 329 to 302 votes. The motion in the House of Commons called for alternatives to May's controversial European Union exit bill, earlier rejected twice by the Parliament.

Political parties most distrusted, Army, judiciary win people’s trust

  • Ahead of the Lok Sabha election, a public opinion survey in 12 States has found that political parties are the most distrusted political institutions in the country. Also, one in five among those surveyed felt that unemployment was the single biggest issue facing the country today.
  • The survey found that political parties had a negative net trust rate of -55% and are the only institutions with a negative net rate.
  • The Army is the most trusted institution in the country, with an effective trust rate of 88%, while the judiciary including the Supreme Court, High Courts and district court enjoys an effective trust rate of more than 60%.

RBI receives aggressive bids, infuses Rs. 34,500 cr. Liquidity

  • The first dollar-rupee buy/sell swap auction by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which was aimed at infusing primary liquidity, saw aggressive bidding by banks. The RBI received $16.31 billion in bids for the auction for a notified amount of $5 billion. In turn, RBI infused Rs. 34,561 crore rupee liquidity.
  • Market participants said the auction was successful as RBI got bids three times more than what it had intended to purchase, adding that both domestic and foreign banks participated in the auction

RBI slaps Rs 2 crore penalty on PNB

  • The Reserve Bank of India has slapped a penalty of Rs 2 crore on Punjab National Bank for non-compliance of regulatory directions with regard to SWIFT operations.
  • Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank of India had imposed penalties worth 71 crore rupees on 36 public, private and foreign banks for non-compliance with various directions on time-bound implementation and strengthening of SWIFT operations.
  • SWIFT is a global messaging software used for sharing information on inter-bank transactions by financial entities.
  • MD and CEO: Sunil Mehta

Sharp rise in H1N1 cases

  • In a matter of three weeks, the number of influenza A (H1N1) cases and deaths in India has risen sharply by about 6,200 and over 225, respectively. From 14,803 cases and 448 deaths till February 24 this year, the number of cases and deaths till March 17 has touched 20,977 and 677, respectively.
  • The number of cases reported till March 17 this year is far more than what was reported in the whole of 2018 (14,992).
  • Rajasthan continues to report the most number of cases and deaths, followed by Gujarat. Delhi has the third most number of cases.

Syria asks UN Security Council to hold meeting on Golan Heights

  • Syria has asked the United Nations Security Council to hold an urgent meeting on the US decision to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. President Donald Trump recently signed a proclamation in which the United States recognized Israel's annexation of the strategic plateau, despite UN resolutions that call for Israel's withdrawal from the Golan.
  • Meanwhile, five European countries Belgium, Britain, France, Germany and Poland that sit on the UN Security Council have rejected the US decision to recognize the Golan as Israeli territory.
  • Three UN Security Council resolutions called on Israel to withdraw from the Golan which it seized from Syria in the 1967.
  • Syria
  • President: Bashar Hafez al-Assad
  • Capital: Damascus
  • Currency: Syrian pound