Daily Current Affairs - 04th Aug 2019

China is no longer the top trading partner of US, reveals official data

  • As a result of their ongoing trade tussle, China is no longer the top trading partner of the United States and has been replaced by America's neighbours Mexico and Canada.
  • In the first half of the year, Mexico was the top trading partner of the United States followed by Canada, the latest official data reveals. As a result of the ongoing trade war between the US and China, imports from China to the US dropped by 12 per cent and America's export to China fell by 19 per cent.
  • After coming to power, Trump has imposed 25 per cent import tariff on Chinese products worth 250 billion US dollars. Another 10 per cent tarrif on products worth 300 billion dollars will come into effect on September 1.

Elephant population in country estimated at 29,964 as per 2017 census

  • Elephant population in the country is estimated at 29,964 as per the census conducted in 2017. The South Region accounted for 14,612 followed by North East with 10,139 elephants.
  • The tiger population across the country is estimated at 2,967 as per the 2018 census.
  • Census of tigers is undertaken at the national level once every four years and that of elephants at every five years.

European Union picks World Bank's Kristalina Georgeieva to lead IMF

  • European Union governments picked Bulgaria's Kristalina Georgieva as the bloc's candidate to lead the International Monetary Fund.
  • The 65-year-old chief executive of the World Bank got the backing of a majority of the 28 EU states, defeating the Dutch candidate Jeroen Dijsselbloem after two rounds of voting and prolonged negotiations among EU nations.
  • Most EU states backed Georgieva even though her candidacy will force a change in IMF rules that require the managing director to be younger than 65 years old when appointed.

German bank KfW explores funding for MMRDA infra projects

  • A delegation from Germany’s state-owned development bank KFW met the Mumbai Metropolitan Commissioner to discuss about the various infrastructure projects being undertaken by the Authority.
  • A statement issued by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority - MMRDA informed that the delegation was briefed about the various Metro and the multi-modal integration projects.
  • Metropolitan Commissioner, RA Rajeev has said that association with Germany's third largest bank will be a big boon to MMRDA's flagship project, the Mumbai Metro. MMRDA has planned 12 metro lines for Mumbai and its suburbs with a total length of 276 kilometers.

India, US agree to pursue collaboration between their defence industry & start-ups

  • Indian and US officials have agreed to pursue a policy environment conducive to collaboration between the defence industry and start-ups in both countries.
  • An understanding in this regard was reached during the 15th meeting of the India-US Defence Policy Group (DPG) in Washington. The meeting took stock of the progress made in various fields of defence cooperation in recent years, including in defence trade, technology, procurement, industry, research and development.

India-A beat West Indies-A and India U-19 team beat England U-19

  • India-A registered a comfortable seven-wicket win over West Indies-A in the second unofficial Cricket Test in Port of Spain.
  • Chasing 278 for a win, openers Mayank Agarwal made 81 off 134 balls while Priyank Panchal scored 68 off 121 deliveries to set up the win on the final day of the four-day match.
  • India Under-19 team beat England Under-19 by one wicket in a Tri-Series Youth ODI match at Chelmsford in UK.
  • Put into bat, England Under-19 were all out for 204 in 49.5 overs. The India Under-19 team chased down the target with 13.3 overs to spare with opener Yashasvi Jaiswal top-scoring with a 78 from 82 deliveries as his side reached 205 for 9 in 36.3 overs.

ISRO sets up Space Situational Awareness Control Centre in Bengaluru

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) laid foundation stone for Space Situational Awareness Control Centre in Bengaluru, Karnataka to protect Indian satellites from space debris. It will facilitate intensified activities foreseen for Space Situational Awareness & Management (SSAM), in view of the increasing debris population and operational space assets.
  • Space Situational Awareness Control Centre will host range of activities related to protection of space assets of India from inactive satellites, pieces of orbiting objects, near earth asteroids as well as adverse space weather conditions.

Mindtree appoints Cognizant’s Debashis Chatterjee as new CEO

  • IT company Mindtree Ltd appointed Debashis Chatterjee as its new chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director (MD).
  • S.N. Subrahmanyan, the CEO of Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) has been appointed as non-executive vice chairman.
  • This is the first top management change at Mindtree since the company was taken over by engineering behemoth Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T).

Model village built with Indian assistance inaugurated in Sri Lanka

  • In Sri Lanka, the Gandhi Nagar model village built with Indian assistance was inaugurated and the completed houses handed over to the beneficiaries. It is the second of the 100 model villages being built with Indian assistance and is named after Mahatma Gandhi, in his 150th birth anniversary.
  • High Commissioner of India, Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Sri Lanka Minister of Housing Sajith Premadasa jointly inaugurated the village and handed over the houses.
  • Government of India has partnered with the Sri Lankan government to build 100 model villages with a total of 2,400 houses all across Sri Lanka under Indian grant assistance of 120 crore rupees.

Navdeep Saini enters record books on international debut

  • India pacer Navdeep Saini made a dream start to his international career on Saturday as he became the second bowler to record a wicket-maiden in the 20th over of a T20 international match.
  • Saini, who came into the attack in the 5th over, picked up the wickets of Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer off successive deliveries in his first over itself.
  • He returned for his second spell and picked up the wicket of Kieron Pollard for 49 in the final over without conceding a single run to finish with 3 wickets for 17 from 4 overs.
  • Saini is only the second bowler after Singapore's Janak Prakash to manage a wicket-maiden in the 20th over of a T20 international match on debut. But the feat has never been achieved by a debutant in a T20I between two Test-playing nations.

President Kovind honoured with National order of Merit, highest award of Republic of Guinea

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has been awarded the National order of Merit by the President of Guinea for his exceptional contribution to the advancement of overall relations and development of mutual cooperation between India and Guinea and for promoting friendship and partnership between the people of both the countries.
  • This is the highest award of Republic of Guinea.

RBI fines PNB Rs 50 lakh for delay in reporting Kingfisher Airlines fraud

  • RBI has imposed a penalty of Rs 50 lakh on Punjab National Bank (PNB) for the delay in reporting of fraud observed from the fraud monitoring report-1 submitted by Punjab National Bank on July 10, 2018, in the account of Kingfisher Airlines Limited.
  • In exercise of the powers conferred under various sections of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, a penalty of Rs 50 lakh was imposed by the RBI on the bank.

RBI tightens fit-and-proper criteria for directors on PSB boards

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has tightened fit-and-proper criteria for directors on boards of state-run Public Sector Banks (PSBs). In this regard, it has issued RBI (‘Fit and Proper’ Criteria for Elected Directors on the Boards of PSBs) Directions, 2019.
  • Purpose of directions is to determine ‘fit and proper’ status of person to be eligible to be elected as a director on PSBs. It has for the first time, laid down exhaustive list for the disqualification of directors. The revised norms are applicable only to PSBs and RBI in future may issue separate guidelines for private banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFcs).

Reliance Industries to acquire 87.6% stake in Fynd for Rs 295 crore

  • Reliance Industries Ltd will acquire an 87.6% stake in Shopsense Retail Technologies, also known as Fynd, for Rs 295 crore.
  • The company said its wholly-owned subsidiary Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Ltd has an option to further invest up to Rs 100 crore by December 2021 in Fynd, a software technology company formed in September 2012.
  • Fynd provides technology platform and solutions to merchants to manage their inventory and sales across multiple demand channels for consumers, including e-commerce platforms.

Turkish President Erdogan lays stone for modern Turkey's first new church

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan laid the foundation stone for the first new church of the country since it became a modern republic in 1923. The Orthodox Mor Ephrem Church in the Istanbul suburb of Yesilkoy will serve the 17,000-strong Syriac Christian community.
  • In recent years, Turkey has restored and reopened churches, but the Islamic-rooted government has been criticised for trying to Islamicise the officially secular country.

Verstappen finally claims his maiden F1 pole position!

  • Max Verstappen clinched his first ever F1 career pole position with a brilliant record-setting effort edging out the Silver Arrows of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.
  • It means the Red Bull driver is the 100th different driver in the history of Formula 1 to win a Grand Prix pole.