Daily Current Affairs - 27th Jun 2019

20,000 migrants rescued from Sahara in three years: IOM

  • The International Organization for Migration, IOM has said that nearly 20 thousand migrants have been rescued from the Sahara desert in Niger over the past three years. The IOM said, trucks carrying migrants frequently breakdown in the desert or become lost, with smugglers sometimes abandoning people to their fates. Many migrants have died often due to hunger or thirst, attempting to cross the Sahara.

Amitabh Kant gets two-year extension as Niti Aayog CEO

  • Amitabh Kant was given a two-year extension as Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the extension of Mr Kant's tenure for a further period of two years beyond June 30, 2019, i.e. up to June 30, 2021, on the same terms and conditions.

Arvind Kumar Is New Intelligence Bureau Head, Samant Goel Next RAW Chief

  • The Union government has appointed new chiefs of the country's two intelligence units. Samant Goel, who was in charge of operations of the country's external intelligence agency -- the Research and Analysis Wing or RAW will take over as its chief, replacing Anil Dhamsana.
  • Arvind Kumar, the number two at the Kashmir desk of the Intelligence Bureau, will replace Rajiv Jain at the top post.
  • While Mr Goel played a key role in planning the February 2019 Balakot airstrikes and the 2016 surgical strikes, Arvind Kumar is known as the government's Kashmir expert. Both are IPS officers from 1984 batch.

Asia-Pacific Group unanimously endorses India’s candidature for non-permanent seat of UNSC

  • Fifty-five countries of the Asia-Pacific group at the United Nations have unanimously endorsed India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat of the Security Council for a two-year term in 2021-2022.
  • These countries include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Oman, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Papua New Guinea among others.
  • India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin informed this in a tweet. He thanked all 55 members for their support.

Bangladesh govt decides to make dope test compulsory for government jobs

  • Government of Bangladesh has decided to make dope test compulsory for government jobs.The cabinet has given in principle approval to the proposal which will be implemented in phases. The government has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards drug-trafficking and abuse.
  • In November last year, High Court in Dhaka issued a notice asking the government to explain why dope test prior to government job entry and blood test prior to marriage should not be declared compulsory.

Bangladesh receives highest ever net FDI amounting to 3.61 bn dollars

  • According to a report by by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), Bangladesh received net foreign direct investment (FDI) amounting to 3.61 billion dollars in 2018, which is its highest ever.
  • The surge of about 68 per cent over last year came as Japan Tobacco Inc invested 1.47 billion dollars in purchasing the business from a Bangladeshi company. Power sector attracted the highest FDI worth over 1 billion dollars.
  • China was the biggest source for FDI inflows last year at 1.03 billion dollars, followed by the Netherlands and the UK.

BIMSTEC Day celebrated in Dhaka

  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) celebrated 22 years of its establishment on June 25th, but the organization remains ineffective and has failed to achieve even the minimum objectives.
  • Members of the 7 countries regional grouping Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) celebrated the BIMSTEC Day in Dhaka.
  • Bimstec was established in 1997 with the aim of facilitating cooperation between member states to accelerate economic and social development.
  • The organization is comprised of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. About 21% of the global population (1.7 billion people) reside in the member states of the regional organization.

Canara Bank to raise Rs 1,500 cr via bonds

  • State-owned Canara Bank proposed to raise Rs 1,500 crore through bonds, to fund business growth. The bank plans to raise the fund through Basel-III compliant additional tier I (AT-1) bonds.
  • Under the Basel-III norms, AT-1 bonds come with loss absorbency features, meaning that in case of stress, banks can write off such investments or convert them into common equity if approved by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • AT-1 bonds, which qualify as core or equity capital, are one of the means of raising capital by public sector banks that require Rs 2.40 lakh crore by March 2019 to meet global capital adequacy norms (Basel III).

Civil Aviation Minister inaugurates Air Traffic Flow Management - Central Command Centre

  • Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has inaugurated Air Traffic Flow Management, ATFM - Central Command Centre at Vasant Kunj in New Delhi.
  • This system is primarily meant to address the balancing of capacity against the demand to achieve optimum utilization of the major resources like airport, airspace and aircraft at every Indian airport where there is a capacity constraint.
  • It integrates flight data from various subsystems like Air Traffic Control ATC Automation System, flight s and flight messages. The system also displays weather information along with static information about airports, airspaces and air routes.
  • After successfully implementing the Air Traffic Flow Management System, India has thus become the seventh country after the US, Europe, Australia, South Africa, Japan and Brazil.
  • With this facility in the next five years, India will be comparable to what the best of the world have to offer.
  • India is the seventh largest aviation market with 187 million passengers in 2017-18.

Council of Europe restores Russia's voting rights

  • Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has voted in favour of restoring Russia's voting rights, five years after they were revoked over its illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
  • Despite strong opposition from Ukraine, the assembly voted 118 in favour and 62 against, with 10 abstentions.
  • This move paves the way for Russia to participate in the election of a new secretary general for the pan-European rights body.

Data related to payments to be stored only in India: RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India said all data related to payments must be stored in systems located only in India and data processed abroad will have to be brought back to the country within 24 hours.
  • It had advised all system providers to ensure that within a period of six months, the entire data relating to payment systems operated by them is stored in a system only in India.
  • Further it said that there is no bar on the processing of payment transactions outside India if so desired by the Payment System Operators(PSOs).
  • In case the processing is done abroad, the data should stored in the systems should be brought back to India not later than the one business day or 24 hours from payment processing, whichever is earlier.

Govt accords top priority to get permanent membership in expanded UNSC

  • In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said that the union government has accorded the highest priority to getting a permanent membership for the country in an expanded United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
  • He said a series of initiatives, involving bilateral and multilateral platforms, have been undertaken by the government in pursuance of this objective.
  • He also said, India is working alongside other reform-oriented countries through its membership in the G-4 Group that includes India, Japan, Brazil and Germany and the L-69 Group, which is a cross-regional grouping of developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America to build support among the UN member states for expansion of the UN Security Council.
  • As a result of India's sustained efforts, a large number of countries have supported its candidature for a permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council.

Govt invites proposals from major global Original Equipment Manufacturers for 5G technology trials in India

  • Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the Union government has invited proposals from major global Original Equipment Manufacturers for 5G technology trials in India along with Indian Telecom Service Providers, startups and local players. So far, six proposals have been received which includes proposals from China’s ZTE and Huawei.
  • Any field trial in respect of 5G is to be carried out only through licensed Telecom Service Providers in a restrictive, limited geographical area and for the specific use case.
  • Meanwhile a committee under Principal Scientific Advisor has been constituted to give recommendations on various issues including security relating to 5G and technology trials in India.

Govt proposes to establish Five Sainik Schools in Rajasthan, UP, UK, Odisha and Telangana

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has informed the Lok Sabha that the Union government proposed to establish Five Sainik Schools in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha and Telangana. For this a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) has been signed with the State Governments.
  • As now there are 31 Sainik Schools and 05 Rashtriya Military Schools in the country.
  • Sainik Schools have proven their utility by providing a large number of cadets joining the National Defence Academy and Indian Naval Academy or through Technical Entry Schemes.

IAF to participate in Indo-French joint air exercise

  • The Indian Air Force is participating in a bilateral exercise between Indian and French Air Force named Exercise ‘Garuda-VI’ France from 1st of next month. It will continue till 12th of July.
  • This is the sixth edition of Exercise and is being planned at French Air Force Base, Mont-de-Marsan. The last exercise, ‘Garuda V’ was held at Air Force Station Jodhpur in 2014.

ICC World Cup: Pakistan beat New Zealand; India to face West Indies

  • Pakistan defeated New Zealand by six wickets at Birmingham to keep their semi-final hopes alive. Opting to bowl, Pakistan first restricted the Kiwis to 237 for 6. Paceman Shaheen Afridi bagged the maximum of three wickets.
  • Pakistan overhauled the target with five balls to spare, riding on man of the match Babar Azam's unbeaten 101, which was his maiden World Cup century and 10th in ODIs.

IOC strips world boxing body AIBA of Olympic status

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped Olympic status from the troubled world boxing body, the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur (AIBA). IOC members had voted to endorse the executive board's recommendation last month to suspend AIBA's Olympic status.
  • IOC said that the AIBA had created very serious reputational, legal and financial risks for the IOC and its American stakeholders.
  • As a result, the IOC will now organize qualifying and final tournaments for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran never seeks war with the US

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that Iran never seeks war with the US. The President said, Iran has no interest to increase tension in the region and it never seeks war with any country, including the US.
  • Rouhani blamed the United States for regional tensions and said if US had stuck to the nuclear deal, positive developments would have been witnessed in the region.
  • Rouhani said, Iran has always been committed to regional peace and stability and will make efforts in this respect.

Japan: Osaka gears up to welcome leaders of world's 20 largest economies

  • In Japan, Osaka is fully geared up to welcome leaders of the world's 20 largest economies. The G20 Summit is the “premier forum for international economic cooperation”. The 14th G20 summit is being held in Osaka from 28th to 29th June.

MoA signed to set up Centre for Inland & Coastal Maritime Technology at IIT Kharagpur

  • A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between the Ministry of Shipping and IIT, Kharagpur for setting up the Centre for Inland and Coastal Maritime Technology. This Centre will focus on indigenisation of ship designing, building and testing.
  • The MoA will further the dream of Make in India and reduce the recurring cost incurred in the import of technology.
  • So far only Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and Belgium have model testing facilities for ships.

Narinder Batra elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee

  • Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra was elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee. Batra was elected to the prestigious seat during the IOC Session. He secured 58 votes out of 62 while four voted against him.
  • Batra now has a rare distinction of becoming a member of the IOC, while heading a National Olympic Committee as well as an international federation. He is the first Indian to have this distinction.

Over 250 officers appointed in-charge of water-stressed districts

  • Over 250 officers, including Additional and Joint Secretaries, have been appointed as in-charge of water-stressed districts in the country to plan ways to conserve the natural resource.
  • They have been appointed as Central Prabhari Officers of 255 water-stressed districts for coordinating the Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA), which will be launched from the 1st of July.
  • These officers will be working with a team of Central government officers of the Director or Deputy Secretary level, groundwater scientists and engineers, apart from state and district teams.
  • These teams will visit identified blocks and districts, and coordinate the implementation of various water harvesting and conservation measures.
  • The Jal Shakti Abhiyan aims at making water conservation and promotion of irrigation efficiency a Jan Andolan through asset creation and communication campaigns.

RBI advises all banks to accept coins of all denominations

  • The Reserve Bank of India has advised all banks to immediately direct all their branches to accept coins of all denominations. RBI's advisory came after it received complaints about non-acceptance of coins by branches of various banks.
  • Reserve Bank advised all banks to accept coins of all denominations tendered at their counters for transactions or exchange and ensure strict compliance in the matter.

RBI begins monitoring HFCs

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has started monitoring the liquidity position, asset-liability gap and repayment schedules of housing finance companies (HFCs) on a daily basis after the liquidity crisis hit these firms, resulting in defaults.
  • Mortgage lenders are usually regulated by the National Housing Bank. But the central bank is of the view that the since the liquidity crisis of the HFCs could have a spillover effect on the other segments in the financial sector, including banks, and hence, could affect financial stability, it was necessary to monitor these entities on a regular basis
  • The move to monitor HFCs on a daily basis comes after some mortgage lenders started feeling the pressure to meet their financial obligations.

Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill cleared amid protests

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019, making a trust or any entity notified by the Central government eligible for consideration of grant of permission to set up a unit in special economic zones.
  • The Bill, which would replace an ordinance, was aimed at improving and encouraging more investments and introducing features including single-window clearance and to ease imports and exports.

UN expresses concern over religious, ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has expressed concern over the religious and ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday attacks saying the friction between the government and the President is a human right concern.
  • She said the lack of a unified approach between the President and Government regarding key human rights concerns risks adverse impact on the effectiveness of the security forces in ensuring safety and protection for all.

US House approves funding bill for migrant care at border with Mexico

  • In the United States, Republican-led Senate approved bipartisan legislation to address the humanitarian crisis along the US-Mexico border with more than 4 billion dollars in supplemental funds and new requirements for the care of detained migrants, especially children.
  • This funding bill comes amid outrage over photos showing a drowned migrant father and daughter at the US-Mexico border, and days after reports emerged of detention facilities where migrant children were being held in horrific conditions.

Veteran actor, director Vijaya Nirmala passes away

  • Veteran South Indian film actor and director Vijaya Nirmala passed away. Ms. Nirmala, has made her debut at the age of seven as a child artiste in a Tamil movie Machcha Rekhai (1950). She entered the Telugu film industry through the film Rangula Ratnam and acted in over 200 films in Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam.
  • In 2002, she entered the Guinness Book of Records as the female director of the most number of films. In 2008, she received the Raghupathi Venkaiah Award for her contribution to Telugu cinema.

Warburg's Red Bloom Investment sells 3.15 pc stake in ICICI Lombard for Rs 1,576 cr

  • Red Bloom Investment Ltd, a part of Warburg Pincus group, has sold 3.15 per cent stake in general insurer ICICI Lombard for over Rs 1,576 crore through open market transactions. A total of 1,43,29,658 shares were sold at a price of Rs 1,100.19 per scrip, translating into Rs 1,576.5 crore transaction.