Daily Current Affairs - 17th Sep 2019

Rupee plunges nearly 1%, RBI steps in to cut losses

  • Rise in crude oil prices spooked all the emerging market currencies with rupee being hit worst, despite the central bank’s intervention that helped the currency to reduce losses.
  • The rupee opened weaker at 71.75 against the dollar compared with the previous close of 70.93. It hit the day’s low of 71.68 before closing at 71.60, down 68 paisa, or 0.96%.
  • Crude oil prices surged following drone attacks at the site of the largest oil processing plant run by the Saudi state oil company, Aramco.

38th Sharjah Intl. Book Fair to be organized from 30th Oct to 9th of Nov

  • The 38th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) will be organized from 30th of October to 9th of November this year, where authors, publishers, intellectuals and artists worldwide will bring their experiences and expertise to this prominent event and partake in a vibrant cultural programme.
  • UNESCO has named Sharjah as the World Book Capital City for the year 2019 in recognition of the city’s continuous efforts in promoting books and literacy.
  • Aligning itself with the title of the World Book Capital, the SIBF will be organized under the theme 'Open Books, Open Minds'.

Air India SPV raises Rs. 7,000 crore

  • Air India Assets Holding Limited (AIAHL), a special purpose vehicle created to partially relieve Air India of its debt liabilities, has raised Rs. 7,000 crores to refinance its debt after a bidding process where its bond issue was fully subscribed.
  • The bond was floated by Air India Asset Holdings (AIAHL), which houses around Rs 26,500 crore of Air India’s Rs 60,000 crore debt and non-core assets like real estate.
  • Among the top three subscribers were Trust Capital, ICICI Bank, and State Bank of India (SBI). While Trust Capital and ICICI each subscribed to Rs 2,000 crore each, SBI subscribed to Rs 1,100 crore.

Bangladesh: PM Hasina receives Dr Kalam Smriti International Excellence Award

  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh was conferred the Dr Kalam Smriti International Excellence Award 2019 in Dhaka . The award has been instituted in the memory of former Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
  • The award citation lauded Prime Minister Hasina for her vision of a peaceful and prosperous South Asia, free of tension, conflicts and terrorism. It acknowledged her contribution to fostering cooperation between India and Bangladesh.
  • Earlier, the Presidents of the Maldives, Ghana and Mauritius received the prestigious award since its introduction in 2015.
  • This award is given every year to honour statesmen or leaders who have shown excellence in their fields to achieve the best for their countries.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to honour PM Modi for providing safer sanitation to 50 crore people under Swachh Bharat Mission

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's will honour Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Swachh Bharat Mission, a sanitation initiative that improved access to toilets. Mr Modi will receive its annual Goalkeepers Global Goals Award for providing 500 million people in India safer sanitation.
  • The Swachh Bharat Mission was launched in 2014 and its components include the construction of household toilets, community and public toilets and solid waste management.
  • According to the latest government data, the rural sanitation coverage has reached 99.99 per cent till now from 39 per cent in 2014.
  • Over ten crore household toilets have been built so far under Swacchh Bharat Mission while 35 States and Union Territories have been declared Open Defecation Free.

Centre to give support of Rs 8,500 crore to ECGC: Piyush Goyal

  • Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has said the Central government will give support of 8,500 crore rupees to Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India, ECGC, in the next five years.
  • Mr Goyal also said ECGC has introduced a scheme called Niryat Rin Vikash Yojana - NIRVIK to enhance loan availability to exporters. This scheme will also help ease the lending process. He said ECGC provides credit guarantee to exporters up to 60 per cent of loss.
  • Under the new scheme NIRVIK, up to 90 per cent of the principal amount and interest will be covered through insurance. It will cover both pre and post-shipment credit.

Construction work on Kartarpur Corridor will be completed before scheduled time: Govt

  • Union Home Ministry has said that the construction work on Kartarpur Corridor on Indian side at Dera Baba Nanak will be completed before the scheduled time. Out of 3.5 Kilometre-long stretch, around 70 per cent of construction work has been completed and rest of the 30 per cent will be finished before 31st of October.
  • There are three major construction works on Indian side, the construction of a 3.5 Kilometre-long four-lane highway from Gurdaspur to International Border which is being built by the National Highways Authority of India.
  • The Kartarpur corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

Digital certificate of origin system unveiled

  • In continuation of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcements to revive the export sector, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal launched the common digital platform for the issuance of certificates of origin and a steel import monitoring system (SIMS).
  • SIMS will provide advance information about steel imports to various stakeholders including producers and importers to have effective policy interventions.

Fuel prices may rise by up to Rs. 5 a litre

  • Prices of petroleum products like petrol and diesel are likely to go up by up to Rs. 5 a litre each over the course of the next few days as international crude oil prices shot up after the drone attack on Saudi Aramco’s facility at Abqaiq.
  • Benchmark Brent crude prices were up by over $6 at $67 a barrel on Monday, which is a jump of over 10%, and could rise further.

ICC Test Rankings: Virat Kohli holds on to second spot

  • India cricket captain Virat Kohli has managed to hold on to his second position in the ICC Test Rankings for batsmen. Kohli, with 903 rating points, is 34 points behind Australia's Steve Smith who tops the position with 937 points.
  • Meanwhile Smith's compatriot Pat Cummins has also retained his number one position in the ICC Test bowlers' rankings.

India, Iran hold Foreign Office Consultations in Tehran

  • The sixteenth round of Foreign Office Consultations between India and Iran was held in Tehran. Foreign Secretary of India Vijay Gokhale has led the Indian delegation.
  • The two sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation, ongoing connectivity and infrastructure development projects, including the development of Shahid Behesthi Port, Chabahar and full operationalization of the Chabahar Agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan.
  • Both sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interes.

Indian Men's team books QF berth at ITTF Asian Table Tennis C'ships in Indonesia

  • The Indian men's team booked a quarterfinal berth at the ITTF Asian Table Tennis Championships at Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In the final of the 1st Division, they defeated Thailand 3-Nil.
  • In the main draw, eight teams compete against each other and only the finalists of the 1st Division qualify for the Champions Division.

No breakthrough in Johnson’s Brexit talks with EC’s Juncker

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker held their first face-to-face talks, without any visible signs of a breakthrough on an elusive Brexit deal. The European Commission said after the meeting that Britain had yet to offer any legally operational solutions to the issue of the Irish border, the main roadblock to a deal.
  • Mr. Johnson said the U.K. will leave the EU on the scheduled October 31 date, with or without a withdrawal agreement. But he insists he can strike a revised divorce deal with the bloc in time for an orderly departure.

RCom arm Global Cloud Exchange files for bankruptcy

  • Global Cloud Exchange (GCX), an arm of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom), has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. after it failed to pay $350 million on its 7% bonds that matured at the beginning of August.
  • GCX owns one of the world’s largest private undersea cable systems.
  • GCX parent RCom, with a debt of Rs.46,000 crore, has already filed for bankruptcy in India under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code laws.

SC asks Centre, J&K administration to restore normalcy in Valley

  • The Supreme Court of India asked the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration to make all endeavours to restore normalcy in Kashmir Valley as soon as possible. However, the court made it clear that the restoration would be on a selective basis keeping in mind national interest.
  • The bench asked him to file an affidavit indicating steps taken so far in the matter.

UAE ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in facing possible oil supply disruption: UAE Minister

  • United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy and Industry has affirmed their readiness to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in facing any possible disruption to oil supplies. The Ministry has reached out to Saudi Arabia following the terrorist attack against two Saudi Aramco oil facilities to provide technical and logistical support for continuing operations.
  • Saudi Arabia has a significant influence on the global energy sector because it produces about 10 per cent of the world's oil. Aramco is the world's largest refinery and petrochemical complex.