Daily Current Affairs - 26th Apr 2019

Advani reigns supreme

  • Home favourite Pankaj Advani took out Iran’s Ehsan Heydari 6-4 in the final to emerge as the ACBS Asian 10-red snooker tour third leg champion. Advani looked in control in the early stages, taking a handy 3-1 lead. Advani won $12,000, while Heydari took home $6,000.

Asian Boxing Championships: Six Indians move into the final

  • Amit Panghal (52kg) and Kavinder Singh Bisht (56kg) remained on course for their second successive international gold medals this year. Panghal defeated China’s Hu Jianguan in a split verdict. Bisht, on the other hand, ended 3-2 in the Indian’s favour.
  • Deepak, Ashish, Pooja and Simranjit are other contenders who are in gold medal bouts at the Asian Boxing Championships.

Asian wrestling championships: Divya, Manju bag bronze

  • India’s Divya Kakran and Manju Kumari bagged bronze medals in the women’s competition of the Asian wrestling championships. Asian Games bronze-medallist Divya defeated Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia.
  • Manju also secured a bronze medal earlier in the day by beating Vietnam’s Thi Huong Dao 11-2.

Axis Bank back to black with Rs. 1,505 crore net

  • Private sector lender Axis Bank continued to report lower bad loans even as it posted a net profit of Rs. 1,505 crore for the Jan-March period compared to a loss of Rs. 2,189 crore during the same period of the previous fiscal.
  • Gross and net bad loans fell for the fourth consecutive quarter, which resulted in provision figures dropping to a 12-quarter low.
  • The bank’s gross NPA ratio was at 5.26% at the end of March, compared to 6.77% the year earlier. The bank’s net interest income (NII) grew 21% to Rs. 5,706 crore during Q4FY19 from Rs. 4,730 crore in Q4FY18.
  • CEO: Amitabh Chaudhry

Biocon net soars 143% in FY19

  • Biotech major Biocon Ltd has reported Rs 905 crore consolidated net profit for fiscal 2018-19, registering a whopping 143 per cent annual growth from Rs 372 crore in 2017-18. Its revenue from operations for 2018-19 grew 34 per cent annual to Rs 5,514 crore from Rs 4,130 crore in the previous fiscal.
  • Chairperson: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
  • CEO: Arun Suresh Chandavarkar

Centre invests Rs. 4.5 crore in ‘cell-based mutton’ project

  • The Centre has approved a Rs. 4.5 crore grant to two premier Hyderabad-based institutions for research into technology that involves growing animal cells in a laboratory to produce slaughter-free meat. The grant, from the Department of Biotechnology, is for an 18-month project, which will look into developing methods to cultivate stem cells from tissue samples of sheep, to produce mutton.
  • The project will be carried out jointly by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), which operates under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the National Research Centre on Meat (NRCM).

DPIIT proposes Startup India Vision 2024; proposes tax sops for new ventures

  • The Commerce and Industry Ministry has proposed a host of measures such as tax incentives to promote budding entrepreneurs as part of the 'Startup India Vision 2024'.
  • The vision document aims at facilitating setting up of 50,000 new start-ups and accelerators in the country by 2024, and creating 20 lakh direct and indirect employment opportunities.
  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the ministry, has prepared the document.
  • It also suggested 100 innovation zones in urban local bodies; deployment of entire corpus of Rs 10,000 crore Fund of Funds; and expanding CSR funding to incubators.
  • The other measures include setting up of Rs 1,000 crore 'India startup fund' to support high technology start-ups; providing Rs 1,000 crore of seed funding; and operationalisation of seven research parks by 2024.

Etihad becomes first airline in the Gulf to operate plastic-free flight

  • The UAE's flag carrier Etihad Airways has become the first airline in the Gulf region to operate a flight without any single-use plastics on board, in a bid to raise awareness about pollution on Earth Day.
  • The milestone flight is part of Etihad’s pledge to reduce single-use plastic usage by 80 per cent not just in-flight, but across the entire organisation by the end of 2022.
  • Etihad identified that over 95 single-use plastic products are used across its aircraft cabins. Once removed from the Earth Day flight, Etihad prevented over 50 kilograms of plastics from being landfilled.

Ex-army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag appointed India high commissioner to Seychelles

  • The Union government has announced the appointment of former army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag as India’s next high commissioner to Seychelles, a country which is of strategic importance to India in the Indian Ocean region. He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
  • His appointment comes amid deepening military ties between India and the island nation.
  • Morever India is developing Assumption Island in Seychelles as a naval base to expand its footprint in the strategically-key region where China has been trying to enhance its military presence.
  • General (retired) Suhag was the Army chief from July 31, 2014, to December 31, 2016. He was also part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka in 1987.
  • Seychelles
  • President: Danny Faure
  • Capital: Victoria
  • Currency: Seychellois rupee

Former US Vice President launches 2020 presidential campaign

  • Former US Vice President Joe Biden formally joined the crowded Democratic presidential contest, betting on his working-class appeal and ties to Barack Obama's Presidency. He made this announcement in a video posted on Twitter.
  • Biden, a 76-year-old lifelong politician has unmatched international and legislative experience.

Helen, Salim Khan, Madhur Bhandarkar gets Deenanath Mangeshkar Award

  • Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Smruti Pratishthan, a registered public charitable trust established by the Mangeshkar Family, felicitated legends from the fields of music, drama, art and social work with the prestigious Deenanath Award and other awards.
  • Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Lifetime Award - (Jeevan Gaurav Puraskar) Salim Khan
  • Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Special Award- Madhur Bhandarkar for his contribution to Indian Cinema
  • Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Special Award - Helen for her contribution to Indian Cinema
  • Vagvilasini Award- Vasant Abaji Dahakefor Literature
  • Mohan Wagh Award- Bhadrakali Productions "Soyare Sakal" for Best Drama of the Year
  • Anandmayee Puraskar - Pandit Suresh Talwalkar of Taalyogi Ashramfor his social cause

In a first, Army starts process to induct women as military police

  • In a historic first, the Indian Army has began the process to induct women in the military police, nearly two years after Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat said women will be recruited as jawans. The Indian Army started the online registration for recruitment in the Corps of military and the last date for filing application has been fixed as June 8.

India to play Russia in FIH Series Finals opener

  • India will open its campaign against lowly Russia in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Series Finals, an Olympic qualifier event, to be held in Bhubaneswar from June 6 to 15. World ranked fifth India will take on World No.22 Russia in the final match of the opening day, which also features games between South Africa and United States and Poland and Uzbekistan.

ISSF World CUP 2019: Indian mixed teams strike gold

  • Indian shooters swept the gold medals in both the mixed air rifle and mixed air pistol competitions in the shooting World Cup in Beijing. Anjum Moudgil and Divyansh Singh Panwar beat the Chinese to win the mixed air rifle gold.
  • In the mixed air pistol competition, Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary beat the second Chinese team of Jiang Ranxin and Pang Wie 16-6 in the gold medal match.

Japan Creates First Artificial Crater On Asteroid

  • Japanese scientists have succeeded in creating the first-ever artificial crater on an asteroid, a step towards shedding light on how the solar system evolved. This announcement comes after the Hayabusa2 probe fired an explosive device at the Ryugu asteroid early this month to blast a crater in the surface and scoop up material, aiming to reveal more about the origins of life on Earth.
  • The Ryugu asteroid is thought to contain relatively large amounts of organic matter and water from some 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born.
  • Earlier, NASA's Deep Impact probe succeeded in creating an artificial crater on a comet in 2005, but only for observation purposes.

Near-normal monsoon may boost foodgrain production

  • The Union Agricultural Ministry has stated that this summer’s foodgrain production is likely to be higher than last year’s, riding on the back of the Indian Meteorological Department’s forecast of a near-normal monsoon.
  • It forecasted that rice production this summer is expected to hit 102 million tonnes, while total foodgrain production is being pegged at 147.9 million tonne. These targets for kharif 2019 are higher than last year’s targets, as well as the actual output in 2018.
  • The Ministry is also targeting a higher rabi or winter season harvest in 2019, with foodgrain production set at 143.2 MT.

Pakistan’s ‘Dawn’ journalist Cyril Almeida named IPI’s World Press Freedom Hero

  • The International Press Institute(IPI) has declared Dawn editor and columnist Cyril Almeida in Pakistan the recipient of its 71st World Press Freedom Hero award. The institute praised Almeida for his critical coverage of Pakistan’s powerful military and its direct or indirect involvement in political affairs.
  • The World Press Freedom Hero award honours journalists who have made significant contributions to the promotion of press freedom.
  • Pakistani
  • President: Arif Alvi
  • Prime Minister: Imran Khan
  • Capital: Islamabad
  • Currencies: Pakistani rupee

PE, VC investments hit an all-time high

  • According to EY’s monthly deal tracker, private equity and venture capital investments in March 2019 recorded an all-time high of $7 billion, more than twice the value recorded in the same period in the previous year.
  • While buyouts and private investment in public equity deals remain strong, exits in March 2019 declined by 34% in terms of value on a y-o-y basis.
  • With large global buyout, sovereign and pension funds becoming more active investors in the Indian PE/VC sector, there is increasing interest in yield generating assets (roads, pipelines, telecom infrastructure, and commercial real estate).
  • Number of deals in March 2019 increased by 44% compared to the same period last year (89 deals in March 2019 vs 62 deals in March 2018).

Rana Dasgupta bags Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize

  • The second edition of Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize was awarded to author Rana Dasgupta for his 2010 novel 'Solo', a tale of estrangement and the ultimate failure of material existence. An amount of $10,000, a Tagore statue and a certificate for contribution to literature was given to Dasgupta.
  • The Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize for social achievement was awarded to Yohei Sasakawa, the World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, for his incredible efforts to uproot leprosy and great contribution to world peace.
  • This Prize was also awarded to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen as a beacon of democracy.

SC appoints ex-judge Patnaik to probe ‘larger conspiracy’ against CJI

  • The Supreme Court of India has appointed its former judge, Justice A.K. Patnaik to probe whether a conspiracy is afoot against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi. Justice Patnaik has been tasked to unearth whether the CJI is the target of a larger intrigue hatched by a powerful lobby of fixers, disgruntled apex court employees and corporate figures to compromise the highest judiciary itself.
  • The enquiry would primarily focus on material and affidavits provided by lawyer Utsav Singh Bains that claimed some former staffers of the court, influential peddlers and corporate entities have ganged up against Chief Justice Gogoi to frame him in a false case.

Sindhu and Saina sail into quarterfinals

  • P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal registered straight-game wins to sail into the quarterfinals of the Asia badminton championship. Saina needed just 38 minutes to get the better of Kim Ga-eun of Korea 21-13, 21-13 . Saina will be up against third seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.
  • Sindhu just took just 33 minutes to beat Indonesia’s Choirunnisa 21-15, 21-19 in another second round match. She will next play unseeded Cai Yanyan of China.
  • Sameer Verma also continued his impressive run by progressing to the men’s quarterfinals. Sameer brushed aside Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus 21-12, 21-19.

Swimmer Likith achieves ‘B’ standard for Worlds

  • Indian swimmer S.P. Likith achieved the ‘B’ qualifying standard for the 2019 FINA World Championships in the men’s 100m breaststroke at the 62nd Malaysia Open swimming championships. Likith turned in a career-best performance to claim gold, his time of 1:02.02 inside the ‘B’ standard of 1:02.05.
  • He had to battle hard to hold off Singapore’s Jing Fu Ng (1:02.34) on the home stretch.

Tata Steel net plunges even as revenues grow 25.86%

  • India's largest steel maker, Tata Steel reported a net profit of Rs. 2,295 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31. Revenues grew 25.86% to Rs. 42,424 crore on higher volumes.
  • During the quarter, the earnings before interest, tax and depreciation (EBITDA) increased by 33% year on year to Rs. 7,814 crore, compared to Rs. 5,857 crore in Q4FY18.
  • The company closed FY2018-19 with net profit of Rs. 9,098 crore, and 27% growth in sales to Rs. 1,57,669 crore.
  • CEO: T.V.Narendran

Ukraine passes law strengthening Ukrainian language use

  • Ukraine’s Parliament has passed a law enforcing the use of the Ukrainian language in official settings, a move likely to annoy Russian-speaking areas of the country and Moscow. This approved measure also increases the quota for Ukrainian-language television and radio programming, just days after Russian-speaking Volodymyr Zelensky was elected President.
  • Officials at all levels as well as doctors, teachers, lawyers and others, will have to speak Ukrainian or face fines. The law will not apply to private communications or religious rites.
  • Ukraine
  • President: Volodymyr Zelensky
  • Capital: Kiev or Kyiv
  • Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia

UN, EU sign joint framework to strengthen partnership in counter-terrorism efforts

  • The United Nations and the European Union (EU) have signed a joint framework aimed at strengthening partnership in counter-terrorism efforts. The UN-EU initiative will focus on terrorism and violent extremism prevention in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, as well as support victims and promote the reintegration of terrorism offenders.
  • This framework was enacted on the occasion of the second EU-UN high-level political dialogue on Counter-Terrorism that was held in New York.

US-led 2017 blitz on Syria's Raqa killed 1,600 civilians: report

  • Amnesty International and the Airwars monitoring group has reported that Intensive US-led coalition bombardment on the Syrian city of Raqa has killed more than 1,600 civilians over four months in 2017. The agencies said that the coalition has admitted to around 10 per cent of those deaths.
  • Amnesty International is a London-based non-governmental organization focused on human rights. The organization has more than seven million members and supporters around the world.
  • Secretary-General: Kumi Naidoo
  • Headquarters: London, United Kingdom

USA secure ODI status for the first time

  • The United States of America has sealed One-Day International status for the very first time with a third straight victory at the World Cricket League Division Two event in Namibia. The United States will now be able to play 36 ODIs in the next two and a half years.

Vedanta gets green nod for Rs 12,000cr oil & gas expansion project in Rajasthan

  • Mining firm Vedanta Ltd. has received environment clearance for the expansion of its oil and gas operation in Rajasthan that would entail an investment of Rs. 12,000 crore. The proposal is to expand onshore oil and gas production from 3,00,000 BOPD (barrels oil per day) to 4,00,000 BOPD and 165 mmscfd (million standard cubic feed per day) to 750 mmscfd from the oil block in Barmer and Jalore district.

Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un hold first-ever talks

  • Russia's Vladimir Putin and North Korea's Kim Jong Un met face-to-face for the first time and vowed to seek closer ties. The meeting was held at Russia's Pacific port city of Vladivostok. Mr. Putin told North Korean leader Kim that he supports ongoing efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and wants to boost economic ties.

World Immunization Week is observed globally from 24th - 30th April

  • World Immunization Week is observed globally from 24th - 30th April to raise awareness about the importance of vaccination and to protect millions of people of all ages from disease through vaccination.
  • The theme for this year 2019 is 'Protected Together: Vaccines Work!'
  • Vaccination programs are one of the most successful and cost-effective measures striving to reduce the burden of infectious diseases across the world.

World's first floating nuclear power unit set to start operations in Russia

  • The world's only floating nuclear power unit is ready to start commercial operations in Russia. The Akademik Lomonosov is ready to start generating power after a series of comprehensive and successful tests on its twin KLT-40 reactor system.
  • The Akademik Lomonosov is expected to operate for 40 years, with the possibility of the operating life being extended to 50 years, and the two reactors will be refueled once every three years.