Daily Current Affairs - 20th May 2019

Austria chancellor calls for snap election after corruption scandal

  • Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has called for fresh elections after his ruling coalition collapsed following an apparent video sting that forced his deputy to step down. The call came hours after Heinz-Christian Strache, the vice chancellor and leader of the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) resigned over a covert video that appeared to show him offering government contracts to a Russian woman in exchange for campaign help.
  • Austria
  • President Alexander Van der Bellen
  • Capital: Vienna
  • Currency: Euro

BFA launches two new formats of game - AirBadminton & Triples

  • The world body governing Badminton, Badminton World Federation (BFA), has launched two new formats of the game --AirBadminton and Triples with new dimensions of the court and an innovative shuttlecock called Airshuttle.
  • In the new formats launched globally, AirBadmintion will be outdoor sports. In Triples format, the match will be played between a team of three players each with presence of at least one female.

British PM promises new deal to save her Brexit agreement

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has promised a new and improved deal to save her controversial Brexit agreement through Parliament when it comes up for a fourth vote next month. Ms May said when the Withdrawal Agreement Bill comes, it will represent a new offer to MPs across the House of Commons, with an improved package of measures that can win new support.
  • Ms May said that she was also open to holding a series of indicative votes in Parliament in a last-ditch effort to try and see her deal through.

EC seizes cash, liquor, drugs worth around Rs 3450 cr during LS polls

  • The Election Commission of India has seized un-accounted cash, illicit liquor, drugs, gold and freebies worth around 3450 crore rupees since the Lok Sabha polls were announced on 10th of March. The seizure is nearly three times the figures of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls which was 1206 crore rupees.
  • Of the total seizure, cash worth over 839 crore rupees and drugs worth 1270 crore rupees were confiscated.

Elections for 17th Lok Sabha conclude successfully

  • Elections for the 17th Lok Sabha concluded successfully, with the conclusion of the last phase of polling in 59 constituencies across seven States and one Union Territory, which recorded a tentative turnout of 64.23%, compared with 64.63% in 2014.
  • The election for 542 seats was held in seven phases. Overall around 70 percent polling was recorded in all the phases.
  • With the completion of the polling process, the fate of 8,049 candidates, who were in fray for 542 Lok Sabha seats has been sealed into the EVMs. Counting of votes for Lok Sabha and assembly elections will be done on Thursday.

Football referee Shetty no more

  • Noted football referee and instructor, Shivappa Shetty, known as S.S. Shetty in the football fraternity, passed away at 86. He officiated at the local, national and international levels, earned respect for tact under pressure and appreciation for sense of humour in defusing tense situations.
  • Shetty was a FIFA referee, Asian Football Confederation instructor and member of the AIFF Referees Board.

Govt plans introducing artificial intelligence system in MCA 21 portal

  • The Union government plans to introduce artificial intelligence system in the MCA 21 portal as it seeks to make the compliance process easier as well as ensure routine enforcement activities are done round-the-clock on autopilot basis.
  • MCA 21 is the electronic backbone for the dissemination of information to all stakeholders, including the regulator, corporates and investors.
  • MCA 21 allows electronic filings of various documents under Companies Act, 2013 and has fully automated all processes related to enforcement and compliance monitoring under the Act.

In new talks, Sudan protest leaders to insist on civilian head for governing body

  • Sudan protest leaders association,the Alliance for Freedom and Change has stated that the country’s new ruling body be led by a civilian as its chairman and with a limited military representation. Talks over a transfer of power by the generals have repeatedly stalled, resulting in international pressure to return to the table after the generals suspended negotiations earlier last week.
  • The generals insist the new body be military-led but the protest leaders demand a majority civilian body.
  • Sudan
  • Capital: Khartoum
  • Currency: Sudanese pound

Indian shuttlers eye elusive medal at Sudirman Cup

  • India will continue its hunt for an elusive medal when top shuttlers P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal spearhead the Indian challenge at the prestigious Sudirman Cup which gets underway at Nanning, China.
  • The 13-member Indian team, seeded eighth this time, will look to draw inspiration from its sensational win over Malaysia en route to an unprecedented team gold at the Commonwealth Games 2018.
  • India reached the quarterfinals twice in the 2011 and 2017 editions but failed to cross the last eight stage.

Most exit polls predict return NDA govt

  • Most exit polls have predicted the return of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. Majority of the news channels have predicted between 276 to 336 seats for NDA, 82 to 164 for Congress-led UPA and 104 to 138 for others.
  • However, some channels predicted that the NDA could fall short of majority. Two channels have predicted 242 to 267 seats to NDA, 127 to 164 for UPA, and 135 to 148 for other parties.

NPPA slashes prices of 9 non-scheduled cancer drugs by up to 87%

  • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has slashed the prices of 9 non-scheduled cancer drugs by up to 87 per cent. This decision is in continuation of the efforts to bring down drugs prices. The maximum retail price of 500 mg chemotherapy injection pemetrexed which is used to treat lung cancer, has come down from 22 thousand rupees to 2 thousand 800 rupees.
  • The new list of drugs is in continuation of the government’s efforts to curb profiteering on these vital drugs and to make cancer cure affordable for patients and their families.
  • In February this year, the government had capped 42 cancer drugs at 30 per cent.

Saudi Arabia calls an emergency meeting of GCC in Makkah on May 30

  • Saudi Arabia has called the leaders of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member states as well as the heads of state of the Arab League to convene two emergency summits in Makkah on the 30th of this month.
  • The emergency meetings called by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to look into the recent acts of sabotage against commercial vessels off the UAE waters and the terror attacks on two Saudi pumping stations, and their consequences on the region.
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Capital: Riyadh
  • Currency: Saudi riyal

Sri Lanka marks completion of 10 years of victory against LTTE

  • Sri Lanka marks the completion of ten years of victory against the separatist war waged by LTTE with the beginning of a four-day ceremony. A series of ceremonies will be held under the theme ‘Dasawarshabhishekaya’ or ‘Decade of Peace’ to commemorate the soldiers who laid down their lives during the three-decade long war.
  • It was on this day in 2009 that the LTTE war came to an end with killing of its leader V. Prabhakaran. As per an estimate, more than 40 thousand people were killed in the war while thousands more disabled and displaced.
  • Sri Lanka
  • President: Maithripala Sirisena
  • Prime minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
  • Capitals: Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
  • Currency: Sri Lankan rupee

Tennis: Rafael Nadal clinches Italian Open 2019 title

  • Defending champion Rafael Nadal of Spain has clinched the Italian Open 2019 title after beating Novak Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 in the final in Rome. This is Nadal's ninth Italian Open title. It is the 81st title of Nadal's career.
  • Whereas, in Women's single Czech's Karolina Pliskova registered two straight-set victory against Britain's Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4 to claim the Italian Open title.

Tirop runs a tactical race to retain title

  • Agnes Tirop of Kenya held off a spirited bunch of Ethiopians to become the first woman to defend the TCS World 10K title. Among the Indian women, Sanjivani Jadhav finished an impressive 10th overall for the second straight year, clocking 35:10.
  • Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu crossed the line in 27:56 to record the fourth best time in the event’s history.

UAE to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity on May 21

  • On 21st May, the UAE will celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development to highlight its efforts in promoting tolerance and cultural diversity. This event will coincide with the country’s declaration of 2019 as the Year for Tolerance and its hosting of many related events.

UGC seeks data on sexual harassment complaints

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed varsities and institutions of higher education to submit data on the number of sexual harassment complaints received by them, and the status of the complaints. It has also sought a report on the constitution of Internal Complaints Committees.
  • Colleges and universities were earlier asked to constitute an ICC and a special cell in their respective institutions to deal with the issue of gender-based violence, and conduct gender sensitisation programmes.