Daily Current Affairs - 28th Aug 2019

Brazil rejects aid from G-7 countries to fight Amazon forest fires

  • Brazil's government has said it will reject an offer of aid worth millions of dollars from G7 countries to help fight raging fires in the Amazon rainforest, claiming it has the blazes under control.
  • Tensions have risen between France and Brazil after France President Macron tweeted that the fires burning in the Amazon basin amounted to an international crisis and should be discussed as a top priority at the G7 summit.
  • Brazilian President Bolsonaro reacted by blasting Macron for having a "colonialist mentality."

British Opposition parties agree on plan to prevent no-deal Brexit

  • British Opposition parties have agreed on a strategy to prevent Britain from leaving the European Union without a deal in place by October 31 deadline. Senior MPs of prominent Opposition parties issued a joint statement after the meeting stating that they would work together on passing legislation in the House of Commons to ensure British Prime Minister Boris Johnson does not pull the UK out of the EU without an agreement in place.
  • The meeting follows concerns that in his pursuit of a "do or die" Brexit, Boris Johnson may attempt to suspend Parliament and prevent MPs from having their say.

BS-VI fuel will cost more as oil companies plan to hike prices from April 2020

  • State-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) are set to increase the prices of petrol and diesel with effect from April 2020 to recover over Rs. 30,000 crore of investments made by these firms in upgrading their refineries to meet the BS-VI standards.
  • In 2016, the union government has decided to meet the global best practices and leapfrog to BS-VI, skipping BS-V norms. BS-VI emission norms are equivalent to Euro VI, to be effective from April 1, 2020.
  • Currently, the price build-up of petrol comprises the base price of Rs.32.81 and freight cost of ?0.35 per litre. The price charged to dealers (excluding excise duty and VAT) is Rs.33.16. With excise duty at Rs.19.98 per litre, average dealer commission of Rs.3.55 per litre and VAT (including VAT on dealer commission) of Rs.15.30 per litre, the retail selling price at Delhi is rounded off to Rs.71.99 per litre.

Fault lines exposed in MF industry, several risky investments made for higher yields: SEBI Chief

  • Securities and Exchange Board of India - SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi has asked mutual fund companies to play as per rules and stop compromising on safety of investor’s money. Mr. Tyagi said the mutual fund industry has exposed its fault lines with several risky investments made for want of higher yields.
  • Referring to the industry's tagline of 'Mutual Funds Sahi Hai', Mr. Tyagi said the investors repose a lot of faith and trust in these funds and the industry must be careful not to erode this trust.

FDI: Cabinet may consider easing norms

  • The Union Cabinet will consider relaxing foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in several sectors, including single-brand retail and digital media, to attract overseas players.
  • Other sectors where FDI rules would be eased are coal mining and contract manufacturing. The government may approve a proposal to allow 100 per cent FDI in contract manufacturing.
  • Similarly, the government is looking at coming out with a clarification on applicability of the foreign direct investment policy on the digital media sector.

Feroz Shah Kotla Cricket Ground in Delhi is set to be renamed as Arun Jaitley Stadium

  • The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) has decided to rechristen Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium as Arun Jaitley Stadium in the memory of its former president who passed away on Saturday.
  • Jaitley, during his tenure at DDCA, is credited with renovating the stadium into a modern facility, increasing its capacity to accommodate more fans besides constructing world class dressing rooms.

India bags four medals in Worldskills Kazan competition

  • The Indian team created history by winning one gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the 45th WorldSkills Kazan 2019 competition, in Russia. It has been the country's best performance since it first participated at the event in 2007.
  • S Aswatha Narayana won the gold medal in water technology. Pranav Nutalapati won silver medal in web technologies. Sanjoy Pramanik and Shweta Ratanpura won one bronze medal each in Jewellery and graphic design technology.

India's First Woman DGP Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya Dies

  • The first woman Director General of Police (DGP), Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya, died in Mumbai following an illness. Ms Bhattachary, a 1973 batch IPS officer, made history when she was appointed the DGP of Uttarakhand in the year 2004. She retired on October 31, 2007.

Iran's President tells US to take first step towards dialogue by lifting all sanctions

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has told the United States to take the first step towards dialogue by lifting all sanctions against his country. Rouhani said the US must retreat from what he called all illegal, unjust and wrong sanctions against Iran.
  • He spoke a day after President Donald Trump said that he was open to a meeting if the circumstances were right.
  • Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated since Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 deal limiting Iran's nuclear activities, last year and reinstated sanctions.

Kazi Nazrul Islam's 43rd death anniversary observed in Bangladesh

  • The 43rd death anniversary of the rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam was observed on August 27th. Known as the Rebel Poet or Bidrohi Kobi Nazrul wrote nearly 3000 songs and composed many of them which are known as Nazrul Geeti. His poems were a source of inspiration during the liberation war of Bangladesh.
  • At the time of Bangladesh's independence in 1971 poet Nazrul was staying in Kolkata. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman brought him to Dhaka with state honours.

Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal top India’s child well-being index

  • As per a report released by the non-government organisation World Vision India and research institute IFMR LEAD, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Puducherry have topped the charts in the child well-being index, a tool designed to measure and tracks children’s well-being comprehensively.
  • Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh featured at the bottom. The report is an attempt to look at how India fairs on child well-being using a composite child well-being index. 24 indicators were selected to develop the computation of the child well-being index.

Peru, Colombia propose emergency Amazon summit as fires blaze

  • Peru and Colombia have proposed an emergency Amazon summit for countries in the region on September 6th in Colombia to protect the vast rainforest. Peru President Martin Vizcarra and his Colombian counterpart Ivan Duque have called for the urgent meeting to "join forces" in protecting the rainforest.
  • The Summit's aim is to establish a pact to conserve, develop and sustainably use the Amazon rainforest while also benefitting the communities that live there, mentioned the statement.

Review capital framework every 5 years

  • The Bimal Jalan Committee, set up to review the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) economic capital framework, has suggested that the framework may be periodically reviewed after every five years.
  • The panel also recommended to align the central bank’s accounting year with the financial year which could reduce the need for paying interim dividend.
  • The committee also recommended that the RBI should put in place a framework for assessing the market risk of its off-balance sheet exposures in view of their increasing significance.

Russian spacecraft carrying first humanoid robot docks at ISS

  • Russia's unmanned spacecraft carrying the first humanoid robot into orbit, has docked at the International Space Station (ISS) following a failed attempt over the weekend.
  • The unmanned Soyuz spaceship, with the robot named Fedor, sat in the commander's seat, was blasted off from a Russian spaceport in southern Kazakhstan. Fedor will eventually carry out dangerous operations such as spacewalks.

Sports Minister gives Rs 1.82 cr to medallists of Para-Badminton World Championship

  • Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has handed over 1.82 crore rupees to the medallists of the Para-Badminton World Championship, amending the policy for para-athletes to make them eligible for more cash awards.
  • As per the amended guidelines, medal winners in world events and world championships, organised by International Paralympic Committee, International Sports Federation and recognised by International Olympic Committee, will be eligible for cash awards from the government.
  • The first set of athletes who received their cash awards under the changed guidelines are para-badminton players. They have just won 12 medals at the recently-concluded World Championships.

Sudan urges UNSC to withdraw all peacekeepers by June 2020

  • Sudan urged United Nations Security Council(UNSC) to lift its suspension of troop withdrawals and ensure all peace keepers leave Darfur by June 2020.
  • Sudan's UN Ambassador told the council that it's time to shift from peace keeping to peace building in Darfur and to end restrictions on the government's movement of arms and troops in and out of the region.
  • In June, the Security Council voted unanimously to put the brakes on the withdrawal of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force from Darfur as the country dealt with a political crisis.