Daily Current Affairs - 17th Jul 2019

21st Commonwealth Table Tennis C'ship to start today

  • The 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship will begin in Cuttack today. Twelve countries including Australia, England and Malaysia are participating in the event. The event will conclude on 22nd of this month.

321 protected monuments, sites encroached upon: Centre

  • Over 300 Centrally-protected monuments and sites, including World Heritage Sites, across the country are “under encroachment”, according to the union government.
  • Of the total 321 encroached-upon monuments and sites, the highest number were in Uttar Pradesh (75), followed by Tamil Nadu (74), Karnataka (48), Maharashtra (46), Rajasthan (22), Delhi (11), Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab (seven each), Assam, Bihar and Odisha (six each), Himachal Pradesh (three), Madhya Pradesh (two) and West Bengal (1).
  • Among the monuments that have encroachments are Purana Qila in Delhi, Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, Sun Temple in Konark in Odisha and Brahma Temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan.

4 eminent personalities selected for the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellow

  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi has named four eminent personalities in the field of performing arts - tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, dancer Sonal Mansingh, dancer and choreographer Jatin Goswami and Bharatnatyam exponent K. Kalyanasundaram Pillai - for the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellow or Akademi Ratna awards.
  • The Fellowship of the Akademi is the most prestigious and a rare honour, which is restricted to 40 numbers at any given time.
  • The General Council also selected 44 artistes from the field of music, dance, theatre, traditional/folk/tribal music/dance/theatre, puppetry and overall contribution/scholarship in the performing arts for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2018.
  • The honour of Akademi Fellow carries a purse money of Rs 3 lakh while the Akademi Award carries Rs 1 lakh, besides a Tamrapatra and Angavastram.
  • These awards will be conferred by the President of India at a special investiture ceremony.

Bihar to help transgenders with Rs 1.5 lakh for sex change operation

  • The Bihar government has said that it would provide money to transgender members who opt for sex change operations and also jail from six months to two years to those who refused to give them house on rents or violate their rights.
  • The State government also formed a transgender welfare board to look into their problems and protect their rights.

Central Universities Bill cleared

  • The Rajya Sabha has passed the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2019, for establishing a Central University and Tribal University in Andhra Pradesh.
  • HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal has assured the House that these universities would be set up in the next four years.
  • The union government has set aside Rs.450 crore for the first stage of the Central University project against the total amount of Rs.902.07 crore and Rs.420 crore for Tribal University against an outlay of Rs.836 crore.
  • The Tribal University will offer research facilities in the fields of art, culture and technology to the tribal population.

Christine Lagarde resigns as managing director of IMF

  • International Monetary Fund, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde has resigned ahead of a decision on her nomination to become head of the European Central Bank, ECB.
  • Her resignation has been accepted by the IMF Executive Board, which will come into effect from 12 September. She has been heading the IMF since 2011.
  • If the European Council approves Ms Lagarde's ECB nomination, she will become the central bank's first-ever female leader, responsible for the Euro and the monetary policy of the eurozone.

Close polluting units in critical areas

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to shut down all polluting industries in “critically polluted” and “severely polluted” areas within three months. It further stated that Economic development cannot take place at the cost of public health.
  • A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the apex pollution control board to assess the quantum of compensation to be recovered from polluting units for the last five years, in coordination with the respective State pollution control boards.
  • These directions came after the NGT took cognisance of a media report which stated that the CPCB was ranking 88 industrial clusters across the country based on their pollution levels.

Defence Ministry suspends dealings with Swiss company

  • The Defence Ministry has suspended business dealings with Pilatus of Switzerland for a year, over allegations of corruption in the supply of Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • IAF operates 75 PC-7 MKII trainer aircraft procured under a $532 million deal with Pilatus in 2012.

DHFL to seek Rs.1,500-crore loans a month

  • Cash-strapped mortgage lender Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd. (DHFL), which was asked by banks to prepare a resolution plan, will be seeking Rs.1,200 crore to Rs.1,500 crore in loans per month to kick-start its lending business.
  • Banks have stopped lending to several housing finance companies, including DHFL, following the debt default by IL&FS in September.
  • The total debt of DHFL is about Rs.80,000 crore, of which bank loans constitute Rs.40,000 crore. The remaining Rs.40,000 crore are in terms of money market instruments, mostly non-convertible debentures.

Federal Bank Q1 net jumps 46% on rise in total income

  • Private-sector lender Federal Bank posted a 46.25% year-on-year (y-o-y) rise in its net profit to Rs 384.2 crore for the three months to June 2019, primarily on account of a 23.5% y-o-y rise in total income, led by a sharp increase in earnings from other income which includes earnings from fees, commission and forex transactions.
  • The Kerala-based lender had reported a net profit of Rs 262.71 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago.
  • The bank’s asset quality appreciated marginally with the gross non-performing asset (NPA) ratio falling by one basis point (bps) q-o-q to 2.99%.
  • Federal Bank MD & CEO Shyam Srinivasan

Floods kill over 100 in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, lakhs displaced

  • Floods have forced more than 40 lakh people from their homes across India, Nepal and Bangladesh and killed more than 100 people owing to monsoonal torrential rains.
  • The Assam and Bihar are among the worst hit. Some 43 lakh people have been displaced from their homes in Assam in the last 10 days due to rising waters across the mostly rural northeastern region.
  • Floods in South Asia cause mass displacement and deaths annually, and the death toll and damage from the current monsoon season, which has just begun, is likely to increase in coming weeks.
  • Floods in Nepal, India and Bangladesh during the 2017 monsoon here killed at least 800 people and destroyed food crops and homes.

ICJ to deliver verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav

  • International Court of Justice, ICJ, will deliver its verdict in the case relating to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, currently on death row in Pakistan. A retired Indian Navy officer, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
  • India challenged Jadhav's trial by the military court of Pakistan. After hearing the final arguments from both sides, in February, the ICJ had reserved the judgment.
  • President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf will read out the verdict during a public sitting which will take place at 6.30 p.m. Indian time at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.

India to host ISSF World Cup from March 15-26, 2020

  • India will be hosting next year's International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Combined World Cup from March 15-26 in New Delhi.
  • The dates were finalised after the ISSF's approval. The Combined World Cup involves events in rifle, pistol and shotgun.
  • India has been hosting a series of world-class competition in recent times, including the World Cup Finals in all events last year.
  • In February this year, India had hosted a World Cup, which offered Olympic quota places for Tokyo.

India, Italy to set up fast-track mechanism to facilitate investment

  • India and Italy have decided to set up a fast track mechanism to facilitate investors and companies. This fast-track system in Italy aims to identify and solve problems faced by Indian companies and investors.
  • The meeting was attended by Ambassador of Italy to India, Lorenzo Angeloni and Secretary, DPIIT, Ramesh Abhishek.

India, Uzbekistan agree on effective information sharing mechanism to counter terror

  • India and Uzbekistan have decided to expand counter terror partnership and strengthen information sharing and capacity building mechanism against the terror menace.
  • This was discussed during the 8th meeting of India-Uzbekistan Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism that was held in New Delhi
  • The Joint Working Group also reviewed threats posed by terrorist groups worldwide and in their respective regions including cross border terrorism.
  • The two sides also deliberated upon measures to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the sphere of counter terrorism through information sharing, mutual capacity building and sharing of best practices.

Monitor biomedical waste management: NGT

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed all States and Union Territories to furnish a report on the amount of biomedical waste generated and asked them to set up common treatment and disposal facilities, if not done yet.
  • A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the District Magistrates across States to monitor compliance with the biomedical waste management rules twice a month.
  • NGT warned States that environmental compensation will be imposed if the orders are not complied with.

Over 820 million people suffering from hunger: UN Report

  • According to a report titled 'The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World', produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and other UN agencies, including WHO has said, that more than 821 million people suffered from hunger worldwide last year. It is the third year in a row that the number has risen.
  • It noted that the number of people without enough to eat had risen from 811 million in 2017.
  • The report said, after decades of decline, malnutrition began to increase in 2015, mainly because of climate change and war.

Oyo buys co-working firm Innov8, eyes 50 centres by year-end

  • OYO Hotels & Homes has formally announced its acquisition of co-working venture Innov8, while also planning to expand the business to 50 centres by the end of the current calendar year.
  • The transaction is believed to have valued Delhi-based Innov8 at about Rs 200 crore, and marks Gurgaon-headquartered OYO’s first step into the commercial real estate sector.
  • Apart from OYO and Innov8, the still-nascent Indian co-working sector counts the likes of SoftBank-backed WeWork, Sequoia Capital-backed Awfis Space Solutions and 91 springboard as the prominent players.
  • Founder of Innov8: Ritesh Malik
  • Chief executive of OYO: Rohit Kapoor

Rajya Sabha passes Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill

  • The Rajya Sabha passed a Bill allowing the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) to bid out any new airport at a pre-determined tariff structure.
  • As many as 16 airports will be in the purview of AERA. All other airports continue to be looked after by the Civil Aviation Ministry
  • Currently, major airports with an annual capacity to handle one-and-a-half million passengers come under the purview of Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA).
  • The AERA is a regulator that has the powers to set the tariffs charged at airports.

Suzlon defaults on $172 mn bonds

  • In a sign of stress widening across India’s credit market, Wind Turbine maker Suzlon Energy has defaulted on redemption of its foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) worth $172 million, or Rs.1,200 crore.
  • The firm has an outstanding debt of Rs.7,761 crore, including FCCBs and working capital debt of Rs.3,380 crore.
  • The firm’s bank facility ratings were cut to default by Care Ratings in April after the loss-making company defaulted on repayments worth Rs.412 crore on term loans and working capital facilities in March.
  • Suzlon had become India’s largest FCCB defaulter when it missed its payments in 2012.
  • Sun Pharmaceuticals promoter Dilip Shanghvi is the largest shareholder in Suzlon.

Ursula von der Leyen elected first female European commission president

  • Ursula von der Leyen has been confirmed as the European commission’s first female president and the first German in the job for more than 50 years.
  • In a secret ballot, MEPs voted narrowly to support the German defence minister as a replacement for Jean-Claude Juncker when he steps down on 31 October.
  • Leyen's nomination was approved by 383 votes, a narrow margin of just nine votes over the required 374, at the European Parliament.

US bans Myanmar army chief over Rohingya 'ethnic cleansing'

  • The US has banned visits by Myanmar's Army Chief and three other top officers due to their role in the "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya minoriy. It also urged accountability for their brutal campaign.
  • The US State Department said that it took action against Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing and the others after finding credible evidence they were involved in the violence two years ago that led about 740,000 Rohingya to flee across the border to Bangladesh.
  • Buddhist-majority Myanmar refuses to grant citizenship or basic rights to the mostly Muslim Rohingyas.

US-South Korea drills will affect nuclear talks, warns N Korea

  • North Korea said that upcoming US-South Korea military drills could impact the proposed resumption of nuclear talks between N.Korea and USA, and hinted that it could reconsider its moratorium on nuclear testing.
  • The joint drills have been held for years but were scaled down to facilitate dialogue with North Korea after Trump's historic first summit with Kim in Singapore last year.

Vijayveer wins his 3rd gold at Junior Shooting World Cup

  • Vijayveer Sidhu picked up his third gold medal of the ongoing ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany, combining with Rajkanwar Singh Sandhu and Adarsh Singh to clinch the men's 25m pistol event.
  • India maintained its top spot at the medal standings after day three with 7 gold 7 Silver and 2 Bronze in a total of 16 medals won so far. China is second with 5 Gold 3 Silver and 5 bronze.