Daily Current Affairs - 05th Sep 2019

ATP Challenger: Prajnesh Gunneswaran storms into pre-quarterfinals

  • In tennis, Indian top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran progressed to the pre-quarterfinals of the hardcourt ATP Challenger tournament Jinan Open in China. He won 6-2, 6-2 over his Japanese qualifier Renta Tokuda.
  • In the doubles, fourth-seeded Indian pair of Saketh Myneni and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan overcame Japan's Shintaro Imai and Toshihide Matsui 6-4, 6-3 in their opening round.

Bangladesh: Prof Muhammad Yunus conferred 'Lamp of Peace of Saint Francis ' award

  • Nobel Laureate from Bangladesh Professor Muhammad Yunus was conferred the 'Lamp of Peace of Saint Francis ' award by the Vatican for his contribution towards establishing peace and harmony. This award is a recognition for distinguished work by an individual for promoting peace and dialogue among people.
  • The Lamp of Peace award was first given to the Polish trade union leader Lech Walesa in 1981. Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev and Angela Merkel are a few other prominent persons who received this award earlier.

Boehringer, Lupin ally for cancer drug

  • German Pharmaceutical major Boehringer Ingelheim and India’s Lupin Ltd. have announced a licensing, development and commercialisation agreement for Lupin’s MEK inhibitor compound (LNP3794) as a potential targeted therapy for patients with difficult-to-treat cancers.
  • As per the deal, Lupin will receive a $20 million upfront payment with potential total milestones of more than $700 million and royalties on the sales of the product.

British Parliament rejects PM Boris Johnson's proposal to hold general election next month

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a double defeat in the House of Commons after MPs turned down his motion for a general election on October 15. The motion calling for the vote fell far short of the required 434 super majority to pass.
  • Earlier, MPs backed a bill aimed at blocking a no-deal Brexit, if the Prime Minister hadn't agreed a plan with the EU ahead of the 31 October deadline. Both the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats also criticised the Prime Minister's motion as a plot to make sure the UK left the EU without a deal.

CBI's 1st national conference on cybercrime investigation inaugurated

  • CBI Director Rishi Kumar Shukla has inaugurated the 1st National Conference on Cyber Crime Investigation and Cyber Forensics at CBI Headquarters in New Delhi.
  • The two-day conference covers one of the mandates of CBI which is to investigate crimes with inter-state and international ramifications.
  • Cybercrimes pose unique challenges to law enforcement officers and such crimes are complex and require certain skills and forensic skills for detection.
  • The CBI Director said that the conference is aimed at creating the platform and bringing together investigators, lawyers, forensic experts and academia to discuss challenges related to cybercrime and ways to find solutions.

Chief Executive of Hong Kong announces to withdraw extradition bill

  • Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam has said she will withdraw the controversial extradition bill which triggered three months of unprecedented pro-democracy rallies in the country
  • The proposal, introduced in April,2019 would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. The bill was suspended in June when Ms Lam called it dead, but she stopped short of withdrawing it. Full withdrawal is one of five key demands of protesters, who are also calling for full democratic rights.

Crisil cuts FY20 growth forecast to 6.3%, expects ‘mild’ pick-up in Q2

  • Rating agency Crisil has revised the growth forecast for India for the current financial year sharply to 6.3% from 6.9% projected earlier, after the first-quarter growth rate plummeted to a 25-quarter low of 5%.
  • Low domestic private consumption demand, slump in manufacturing, halving of merchandise exports growth, and a high-base effect from last year have eaten away at first-quarter growth.

Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and Masood Azhar declared terrorists under UAPA

  • India's most wanted Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and Masood Azhar have been declared terrorists under the recently amended - Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act.They have been declared individual terrorists under the amended terror law by the government.
  • Masood Azhar is designated as a global terrorist by the United Nations under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 on the 1st of May this year.
  • Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi are also designated as global terrorists by the United Nations in December 2008.
  • Dawood Ibrahim who is also designated as a Global terrorist by the United Nations executed a series of bomb blasts with his associates in Mumbai in March 1993.

External benchmark-based lending must: RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made it mandatory for all banks to link floating rate loans to retail customers and loans to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) — to an external benchmark.
  • The move is aimed at faster transmission of monetary policy rates. Banks have been reluctant to cut interest rates despite the RBI lowering the repo rate by 110 basis points (bps) between February and August.
  • The RBI, therefore, has issued a circular making it mandatory for banks to link all new floating rate personal or retail loans and floating rate loans to MSMEs to an external benchmark effective October 1, 2019.
  • At present, interest rates on loans are linked to a bank’s marginal cost of fund-based interest rate (MCLR). Banks can choose from one of the four external benchmarks — repo rate, three-month treasury bill yield, six-month treasury bill yield or any other benchmark interest rate published by Financial Benchmarks India Private Ltd.
  • Adoption of multiple benchmarks by the same bank is not allowed within a loan category, the RBI said.

Food Ministry to ban single-use plastic products from Sep 15: Paswan

  • Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan has announced a blanket ban on all types of single-use plastic products in his Ministry and its all PSUs from 15th September month.
  • The decision was taken in a high-level meeting with Secretaries of both the Departments and with other senior officials of the Ministry.

India among top 10 nations in gold reserves

  • India has pipped the Netherlands to move into the list of top ten countries in terms of total gold reserves. According to the World Gold Council, India has gold reserves totalling 618.2 tonnes, which is marginally higher than the Netherlands’ reserves of 612.5 tonnes.
  • India’s gold reserves have grown substantially in the past couple of decades from 357.8 tonnes in the first quarter of 2000 to the current 618.2 tonnes.
  • U.S. leads the country list with total gold reserves of 8,133.5 tonnes followed by Germany with 3,366.8 tonnes.
  • The IMF is ranked third with a holding of 2,451.8 tonnes, it is followed by countries such as Italy (2,451.8 tonnes), France (2,436.1 tonnes), Russia (2,219.2 tonnes), China (1,936.5 tonnes), Switzerland (1,040 tonnes) and Japan (765.2 tonnes) before India at the 10th spot.
  • India’s neighbour Pakistan has seen its standing unchanged at the 45th position with total gold reserves of 64.6 tonnes.
  • Interestingly, in terms of individual countries, India actually ranks ninth since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) occupies the third position after the U.S. and Germany.

India, Pak agree to visa-free travel of Indian pilgrims for Kartarpur Sahib Corridor

  • India and Pakistan have agreed to visa-free travel of Indian pilgrims, without any restrictions based on their faith for the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. The understanding was reached during the third round of talks on the modalities for operationalization of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor held at Attari.
  • Five thousand pilgrims can visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib using the Corridor every day. Additional pilgrims, over and above the figure of five thousand, can visit on special occasions but that will be subject to capacity expansion by Pakistan side.

India, Russia sign 15 agreements

  • India and Russia signed 15 agreements taking bilateral cooperation to a new high at the 20th annual summit in Vladivostok, Russia.
  • The agreements were exchanged in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin after the restricted and delegation-level talks.
  • The agreements include four in the area of oil and gas, LNG and coking coal, five in trade and investments, two in infrastructure and one each in defence and audiovisual production.
  • The MoU on defence is about the production of spare parts for Russian origin arms under Make-in-India program through joint ventures.
  • The MoUs in infrastructure relate to the establishment of maritime links between Vladivostok and Chennai to improve connectivity.
  • Other MoUs relate to the exploration of cooking coal in the Arctic region, sourcing LNG from Russia. An agreement has also been exchanged for combating customs violations during 2019-22.
  • An agreement between Invest India and the Russian Direct Investment Fund has been signed for Investment Collaboration.

Indian boys settle for silver at Asian Junior and Cadet TT Championships

  • In Table Tennis, the Indian boys team has settled for a silver medal after losing the final 0-3 to top seed China at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships held at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. However, the second-place helped Indian boys qualify for the World Junior Championships to be held at Korat, Thailand in November this year.

Over 6,000 Railway Station to be equipped with free Wi-Fi facilities by end of September

  • More than six thousand Railway Station will be equipped with free Wi-Fi facilities by the end of this month. So far this facility is available at four thousand Railway Stations with five lakh people are using this free Wi-Fi facilities.
  • RailTel has taken a lead in providing fast Wi-Fi for the use of passengers.
  • Free Wi-Fi is a pro-passenger initiative of the Railway Ministry which in line the Prime Minister's 'Digital India' programme.

Pakistan continuously snubbed by International community for its role in aiding, abetting terrorism

  • The desperation of Pakistan over its failure to muster the support of international community has been exposed thoroughly. In continued snub to Pakistani establishment, international agencies have taken it to task for its role in aiding and abetting terrorism. They have also made it clear that J&K issue is bilateral and Pakistan must take measures to curb terror activities from its soil.
  • First, the International Court of Justice order forced Pakistan to grant consular access to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav. He has been falsely implicated on espionage charges by Pakistan.
  • The European Union has also made it clear that it is up to India and Pakistan to resolve the issue bilaterally. They also made a veiled reference to Pakistan to stop cross border terrorism.
  • Not getting any support from international community, Pakistan has now stooped to a new low and resorted to attack on Indian High Commission in London by British Pakistanis.

PSBs must have Rs. 10 lakh crore business to appoint CGMs’

  • The Union Finance Ministry has decided to fix a cut-off mark in terms of total business of public sector banks (PSBs) to create the position of chief general managers (CGMs).
  • In a communication to bank chiefs, the government said PSBs having a total business of ?10 lakh crore will be eligible to have CGM posts in Scale VIII. As a result, three sets of merger bound banks of the four sets announced by the Finance Minister — will be eligible for CGMs.
  • A bank can appoint a maximum of one CGM for four general managers (Gms). Candidates with two years of experience as general managers will be eligible to become CG.
  • Post merger, the total business of PNB-OBC-UBI pack will be close to Rs.18 lakh crore, the Canara and Syndicate combine, over Rs.15 lakh crore and Union Bank-Corporation Bank-Andhra Bank, Rs.14.6 lakh crore.

Roger Federer knocked out of US Open

  • Struggling with injury, Roger Federer has been knocked out of the US Open by world no.78 Grigor Dimitrov. Five-time Champion Roger Federer was knocked out after losing to Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals with scoreline 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Social media platforms must build safety wall to avoid misuse, says CEC Sunil Arora

  • Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora has insisted that social media platforms have to build a safety wall to avoid their misuse to quickly spread the menace of misrepresentation and misinterpretation of facts.
  • He was addressing the media in Bengaluru at the end of the fourth General Assembly of Association of World Election Bodies.
  • He also said, social media has to be utilized for Election Commissions Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation Programme (SVEEP), campaigns on voter education, enrolment drive, ethical voting and countering misrepresentations about Electronic Voting Machines.

Sourabh Verma enters second round of Chinese Taipei Open

  • Shuttler Sourabh Verma has entered the second round of Chinese Taipei Open. He defeated Japan's Kazumasa Sakaik 22-20, 21-13 in Men's Singles. Sourabh, who had won the Hyderabad Open last month, is likely to clash with top seed and local favourite Chou Tien Chen in the second round.

Teacher's day being celebrated today; Prez Kovind to confer National Awards to teachers

  • September 5th is observed as Teacher's Day every year to mark the birth anniversary of former President and great educationist Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. President Ram Nath Kovind will confer the National Award to Teachers-2018 in New Delhi today.

Trump declines to rule out meeting with Iran's President Rouhani

  • US President Donald Trump has declined to rule out meeting with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani even as his administration piled more sanctions on Tehran. Meanwhile, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani had announced earlier that Tehran was poised to take another step back from its commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal, from which the US withdrew from in May.