Daily Current Affairs - 27th Aug 2019

Bids invited for spectrum auction body

  • The Department of Telecommunications has invited bids for selection of an agency to conduct the upcoming spectrum auction across various bands. This will be the biggest-ever auction with a total of over 8,000 MHz of spectrum for sale, including airwaves used for 5G services.
  • The guidelines for auction of spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz and 3300-3600 MHz bands will be announced separately.

Chandrayaan-2 scans Mitra crater

  • Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter or mother spacecraft has zeroed in on a crater on the moon named after 20th century’s acclaimed radio physicist Sisir Kumar Mitra. Images of the crater are among the second set of pictures of the northern craters sent by the orbiter.
  • The Mitra crater is on the edge of another crater. The orbiter was then around 4,300 km from the moon. The lander is set to separate from the orbiter on September 2 in preparation for its landing on the moon on September 7.

DR Congo announces new govt

  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has announced a new coalition government, seven months after the inauguration of President Felix Tshisekedi.
  • The power-sharing agreement will see 23 members of the executive drawn from Tshisekedi's Direction For Change and the remaining 42 from former President Joseph Kabila's Common Front for Congo.
  • Kabila presided over sub-Saharan Africa's biggest country for nearly two decades and still commands widespread support.

Exchange rate driven by capital flows, says RBI

  • Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor B.P. Kanungo has said that the exchange rate dynamics in India is driven by capital flows rather than current account balances.
  • He added that the central bank’s intervention in the foreign exchange market was aimed at curbing sudden turbulences not backed by economic fundamentals.
  • The Indian currency has came under pressure in recent times due to a host of factors including trade tensions between the U.S. and China, and the central bank had intervened to curb volatility.

G7 to finance fire-fighting aircraft for Amazon

  • G7 nations has agreed to spend 22 million US Dollars to tackle the huge forest fires engulfing the world's biggest Amazon rain-forest. This was stated by Presidents of France and Chile at the G7 summit in French town of Biarritz.
  • The G7 group comprising Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, has also agreed to support a medium-term reforestation plan which will be unveiled at the UN in September.
  • The initiative was announced after G7 leaders held talks on the environment, which focused on the fires destroying chunks of the Amazon rain forests.
  • Nearly 80,000 forest fires have been detected in Brazil since the beginning of the year a little over half in the Amazon region.

Google brings Nest Hub to India

  • Technology giant Google has launched its first smart display device ‘Google Nest Hub’ in India with a price tag of Rs.9,999. This device comes with Google Assistant built in, making it simpler for users to control all connected home devices such as lights, security cameras, ACs and televisions, besides giving easier access to other Google services such as Search, YouTube, Google Photos.
  • The 7-inch device is expected to heat up the competition in the voice-enabled smart home devices segment. This new product will compete with Amazon’s Echo Show 5 that comes with a 5.5 screen and is priced at Rs.8,999.

IET's IoT India Congress Concludes its 4th Edition

  • The fourth edition of India's largest confluence of digital-technology stakeholders, the IoT India Congress 2019 concluded its two-day event in Bangalore with a footfall of 1600+ participants and 70+ speakers. The IoT India Congress is the platform of platforms for the Internet of Things.
  • This year's theme was 'Mainstreaming the Internet of Things'.
  • In this edition, the IoT India Congress focussed on application-based sessions like use cases and Future Tech Spotlight, which delved into the practical application of IoT to better business outcomes.
  • IoT India Congress is a flagship event organised by the The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). The IET is one of the world's largest engineering institutions with over 168,000 members in 150 countries.

In Landmark Decision, Bangladesh Top Court Asks to Remove 'Virgin' Word from Muslim Marriage Docs

  • Bangladesh's top court has said that the word “virgin” must be removed from Muslim marriage certificates, the landmark verdict after campaigners challenged the “humiliating and discriminatory” term.
  • The apex court has ordered the Bangladeshi government to remove the term and replace it with “unmarried”
  • Under the South Asian country’s Muslim marriage laws, a bride has to select one of three options on the certificate – whether she is a Kumari (virgin), a widow or divorced.

India registers over 80% decline in new HIV cases

  • The Union government has said that there has been more than 80 per cent decline in new HIV infection cases in the country since its peak in 1995. The global average of decline in new infection is estimated at 47 per cent.
  • Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said, National Aids Control Organization has signed an MoU with 18 Ministries and Departments to augment a comprehensive AIDS response mechanism. He said the government is committed for meeting all the set goals to eradicate HIV from the country
  • Meanwhile, National Aids Control Organization, NACO signed an MoU with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for prevention and control of HIV related disease. This MoU intends to create awareness and educate people about the ill-effects of drugs abuse on the individual, family, workplace and society at large.

India to have 10,000 CNG stations in next 5 years: Petroleum Minister

  • Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said India will have ten thousand CNG stations in the next five years. He said by 2050, India's incremental energy needs will be primarily met by CNG. The Minister said, India will aim to lead Electronic Vehicle technology and won't shift to lithium import dependence.
  • He said that in last 5 years, the number of domestic PNG connections, CNG vehicles and CNG stations have more than doubled.
  • The Minister also said that country will continue to harness multiple sources of energy, including fossil fuels, renewables, EVs and gas to provide reliable, affordable, sustainable and universal access to clean fuel to all.

Minority Affairs Ministry team to visit Kashmir to identify areas for implementing Central govt's development projects

  • A team of Minority Affairs Ministry will be on a two-day visit to Kashmir to identify the areas to implement Central government's development projects.
  • Due to Article 370 and other reasons, several developmental projects could not reach to people of Jammu and Kashmir and the visiting team will assess the need of opening schools, colleges, skill development centres, hospitals and others facilities for the development of the J&K and Ladakh.
  • The team will also prepare a comprehensive report on the possibilities of social-economic development projects in the regions.

No shortage of pulses in country, says govt

  • Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said that there is no shortage of pulses in the country. He asserted that if hoarding occurs anywhere, the government will take strong measures against it.
  • He stated that the production of pulses is estimated to be 260 lakh tonnes and import of 10 lakh tonnes is estimated this year. A total of 307 lakh tonnes of pulses will be available with the government in the current year, of which 290 lakh tonnes is estimated to be consumed.

PM highlights war on single-use plastic

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to a G7 session on environment has highlighted India’s large-scale efforts towards eliminating single-use plastic, conserving water, harnessing solar energy and protecting flora and fauna for a sustainable future.
  • Mr. Modi said India will achieve most of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) climate change goals set for 2030 in the next one and a half year.
  • Mr. Modi is attending the G7 Summit in the French town of Biarritz on special invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.

PM Modi announced to celebrate September as a month of nutrition

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced to celebrate September as a month of nutrition. In his Mann Ki Baat programme, Mr. Modi laid emphasis on creating awareness to fight malnutrition among children, particularly the girl child.

PM Modi reiterates, any discussion with Pakistan will be bilateral

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, saying the two countries can discuss and resolve all issues bilaterally.
  • He said this on the sidelines of G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
  • Meanwhile, President Trump had also agreed with Mr Modi's view that issues between India and Pakistan are bilateral in nature.

RBI to transfer Rs 1.76 lakh cr as dividend, surplus reserve to govt

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to transfer 1.76 lakh crore rupees as dividend and surplus reserve to the union government.
  • The amount includes over 1,23,000 crore rupees of surplus for the year 2018-19 and 52,637 crore rupees of excess provisions identified as per the revised Economic Capital Framework.
  • RBI’s Central Board has accepted the recommendations of a high-level panel headed by former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan on transfer of excess reserves to the government.

Trump says, US, Chinese trade negotiators would very shortly resume trade talks

  • United States President Donald Trump had said that US and Chinese trade negotiators would very shortly resume trade talks.
  • Talking to reporters at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, Trump said China called and stressed to make a deal over the issue.
  • Trump's remarks came amidst reports of Asian stock markets tumbling. Earlier, the US President announced tariff hikes on effectively all Chinese imports to the US. It came after Beijing said it would impose fresh duties and raise tariffs on US imports into China.

US Open Tennis: Prajnesh Gunneswaran knocked out in opening round

  • India's top-ranked men's singles tennis player, Prajnesh Gunneswaran was knocked out in the opening round of US Open Tennis Championship being held in New York.
  • Prajnesh lost the steam after confident start against world number five Daniil Medvedev. He lost in straight sets 4-6, 1-6, 2-6 to the Russian.
  • He completed in all Grand Slams this season, though he is yet to win a round in singles main draw.