Daily Current Affairs - 16th May 2019

Austria approves headscarf ban in primary schools

  • Austria has approved a law aimed at banning the headscarf in primary schools. However, patka head covering worn by Sikh boys or the Jewish kippa would not be affected, says the government.
  • The law was proposed by the ruling right-wing government.

BharatPe Ropes in Salman Khan As Brand Ambassador

  • Merchant service and UPI payments app BharatPe has roped in Bollywood actor Salman Khan as its brand ambassador. The new brand campaign with Khan will be focused towards educating merchants and users about UPI payments along with driving adoption of BharatPe app for all their business needs.

Croatian World Cupper Igor Stimac appointed Indian football team coach

  • Croatian World Cupper Igor Stimac has been appointed Indian football team head coach for a two-year term.
  • The national team has been without a coach since the departure of Stephen Constantine in January, following the creditable show at the AFC Asian Cup.
  • The appointment was made by the All India Football Federation's Executive Committee. The 51-year-old Stimac, who was part of Croatia's 1998 World Cup squad that finished third in France, has over 18 years of coaching experience.

HDFC Partners with IMGC For Home Loans

  • Housing finance major HDFC Limited has partnered with India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation (IMGC) to offer a mortgage-guaranteed home loan product.
  • The partnership aims to make it possible for HDFC to further penetrate the home loan market and access an enlarged customer base, helping them to own a home of their choice. This product will help HDFC to offer more loan to a home loan customer on enhanced eligibility.

India joins global initiative to combat extremism online

  • India has joined a major global initiative to combat terrorism and extremism online and secure the internet.
  • The initiative -- 'Christchurch call to action' -- has been named after the New Zealand city where 51 people were killed in an attack on mosques.
  • It was launched in Paris by India, France, New Zealand, Canada and several other countries.

India lose 0-4 to Australia in 4th hockey match of Down Under tour

  • In Hockey, the Indian men's team were blanked 0-4 by World No. 2 Australia in Perth in the fourth match of the Tour Down Under.
  • World No. 5 India remained unbeaten in their first three matches of the tour.
  • India will again play Australia in their fifth and last match of the tour.

India-Botswana hold Foreign Office Consultations in Delhi

  • The third round of Foreign Office Consultations between India and Botswana was held in New Delhi.
  • The Indian side was led by Joint Secretary, East and Southern Africa in the Ministry of External Affairs Dr. Neena Malhotra.
  • The Botswana side was headed by Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation of Botswana Government, Tapiwa Mongwa.
  • The deliberations provided an opportunity to review the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including political, economic, commercial, defence, consular and international cooperation. Ways to further strengthen the existing friendly relations by way of expanding cooperation in development projects were also discussed.

Indian Navy’s 1st Full-Fledged SSB Opened at Kolkata

  • The Indian Navy’s first full-fledged Services Selection Board (SSB) was inaugurated by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba at Diamond Harbour near Kolkata, West Bengal. Spread over 27 acres on the banks of Hooghly, the SSB (Kolkata) has the capacity to screen 5,000 officer-candidates annually.
  • The SSB (Kolkata) is located at a place that was previously occupied by a Naval Coastal Battery. This is the fifth SSB of the Indian Navy and will cater for a selection of both permanent and short service commission (SSC) officers. The other boards are located in Bhopal, Bengaluru, Visakhapatnam and Coimbatore.

India’s Overall Exports Registered Positive Growth Of 1.34% In April 2019

  • According to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry data, India’s overall exports, combining Merchandise and Services, in April 2019 is estimated to be around 44 billion US dollars with a positive growth of 1.34% over April 2018.
  • Overall imports in April 2019 is estimated to be around 53 billion dollars with a positive growth of 4.5% over the corresponding period of 2018. Taking merchandise and services together, overall trade deficit for last month is estimated at around nine billion dollars as compared to around seven billion dollars in the same period in 2018.

International Day of Families: 15th May

  • In 1993, the General Assembly decided in a resolution that 15 May of every year should be observed as The International Day of Families. The Theme for 2019 International Day of Families is “Families and Climate Action: Focus on SDG 13?.
  • This day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.

ISSF Shotgun World Cup: Kynan, Prithviraj lead men's trap qualification

  • India's Kynan Chenai and Prithviraj Tondaiman shot two perfect rounds of 25 each to lead the 109-strong qualification field in the men's trap shooting competition of ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Changwon, Korea.
  • Kynan and Prithviraj shared the lead with only two other shooters from Great Britain and Kazakhstan while Zoravar Singh Sandhu, the third Indian in the competition, shot 45 out of 50 to be in 82nd place.

Maj Gen A K Dhingra Appointed As 1st Special Operations Division Commander

  • Ace Special Forces operative and Sri Lanka war veteran Major General AK Dhingra has been appointed as the first head of country’s first tri-services Special Operations Division comprising commandos from all three services.
  • The Armed Forces Special Operations Division has been set up by the government to undertake joint operations by three services and will have elements from the Army’s Parachute Regiments SF, Marine Commandos (MARCOS) of the Navy and the Garud Commandos of the Indian Air Force.

MoU Signed for Rudraksh Plantation in Ganga Basin

  • A tripartite MoU was signed between National Mission for Clean Ganga, HCL Foundation and INTACH for taking up a project of ‘Plantation of Rudraksh Trees in Uttarakhand’ as a part of CSR initiative under the ‘Namami Gange’ Programme.
  • The project aims at planting 10,000 Rudraksh trees in the catchment area of river Ganga in Uttarakhand in association with local community and other stakeholders. It will also help in generating income for people residing in those areas.

RBI releases vision document for e-payment system

  • Reserve Bank of India has released a vision document for ensuring a safe, secure, convenient, quick and affordable e-payment system.
  • The move comes as the apex bank expects the number of digital transactions to increase more than four times to 8,707 crores in December 2021.
  • According to RBI release the 'Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision 2019 - 2021', with its core theme of 'Empowering Exceptional E-payment Experience', envisages to achieve "a highly digital and cash-lite society" through the goal posts of competition, cost-effectiveness, convenience and confidence (4Cs).
  • The RBI said that the document talks about creating customer awareness, setting up a 24X7 helpline and self-regulatory organisation for system operators and service providers, among others. It added that the 'no-compromise' approach towards safety and security of payment systems remains a hallmark of the vision.

SIDBI Launched A Pilot Scheme for Fintech NBFCs

  • To give a fillip to digital lending, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)has put together a pilot scheme to extend financial assistance of up to Rs10 crore to new-age fintech non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) engaged in financing small businesses and other income-generating activities.
  • SIDBI has set the exposure cap for lending to a single new-age fintech NBFC at 30% of Net Owned Fund of the new-age fintech NBFC, subject to maximum cap of Rs10 crore. As per the scheme, new-age fintech NBFCs should hold in trust the underlying securities/ receivables on behalf of SIDBI.

Trump declares national emergency over IT threats

  • US President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to protect American computer networks from foreign adversaries.
  • Mr. Trump signed an executive order which effectively bars US companies from using foreign telecoms believed to pose a security risk to the country.
  • Mr Trump does not name any company specifically in the order. However, analysts suggest it is mainly directed at Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

UN Imposed Sanctions on Terror Group ISIS Khorasan

  • The UN has imposed sanctions on terror group ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K) for its links with Al-Qaeda and involvement in several attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is now subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.
  • The group, formed in 2015 by a Pakistani national and a former commander of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, has killed over 150 people. The United Nations Security Council’s 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee sanctioned Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan (ISIL-K).

United States: Alabama Senate passes bill banning abortion

  • In the United States, the Alabama Senate has passed a bill banning abortion. The legislation bans any termination of pregnancy and punishing doctors who perform the procedure with life in prison.
  • The state Senate approved the law by 25 votes to six, rejecting exemptions for cases of rape or incest.