Daily Current Affairs - 14th Nov 2019

39th India International Trade Fair begins

  • The 39th India International Trade Fair will begin at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. The theme for this edition of the fair is 'Ease of Doing Business'. First five days will be reserved for business and the Fair will be open to the general public from the 19th of this month.
  • This year the status of 'Partner Country' has been accorded to Afghanistan and South Korea will be the Focus Country. Bihar and Jharkhand will be the focus states.
  • Several countries, including Australia, Iran, the UK, Vietnam, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia are participating in the 14-day Trade Fair.

Badminton: Sindhu, Pranoy progress to 2nd round of Hong Kong Open

  • PV Sindhu and HS Pranoy progressed to the second round of Hong Kong Open Badminton Tournament. However, Saina Nehwal and Sameer Verma were ousted after suffering contrasting defeats in the opening rounds.
  • Sindhu, defeated world no 19 Kim Ga Eun of Korea 21-15, 21-16 while HS Prannoy beat China's Huang Yu Xiang 21-17, 21-17.

Chief Justice of India's office is public authority under RTI Act: SC

  • In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India has ruled that the Chief Justice of India is a public authority and his office comes under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, emphasizing that in a constitutional democracy, judges can't be above the law.
  • Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and three future Chief Justices were part of the constitution bench that have agreed that transparency and accountability go hand-in-hand.
  • But while deciding to give out information from the office of the Chief Justice, the Right to Privacy is an important aspect and has to be balanced with transparency, the judges said.

Clear statutory dues in 3 months: DoT to telcos

  • The Department of Telecommunications has issued a directive to telecom service providers to pay their statutory dues within three months as directed by the apex court.
  • According to an internal estimate prepared by the DoT, total dues on the telecom service providers arising out of SC order are around Rs 1.33 lakh crore
  • As per DoT's estimate, the liability of Bharti Airtel Group is Rs 62,187.73 crore, Vodafone Idea Rs 54,183.9 crore and BSNL and MTNL Rs 10,675.18 crore.
  • Companies under insolvency like Reliance Communications and Aircel have dues outstanding worth Rs 32,403.47 crore and companies under liquidation Rs 943 crore.

Climate crisis will affect lifelong health of young, warn doctors

  • According to a new report by Lancet, the climate crisis will determine the lifelong health of today’s children, doctors have warned, noting that global heating was already causing harm.
  • Children are especially vulnerable, and the global team of researchers say rising temperatures mean the bacteria causing deadly diarrhoea will thrive while poorer crop yields could lead to more malnutrition.
  • The report said infants were worst hit by malnutrition, and that, as temperatures have risen, the capability of many cereal crops to deliver full yields has fallen in the last 30 years.
  • As well as children, older people are particularly vulnerable to heatwaves since they are less able to regulate their temperature and fluid balance.
  • The authors found that 220 million more people over 65 were exposed to heatwaves in 2018 compared with 2000.
  • This year the accelerating impacts of climate change have become clearer than ever. The highest recorded temperatures in western Europe, and wildfires in Siberia, Queensland, and California triggered asthma, respiratory infections and heatstroke.
  • The report is produced by 120 experts from 35 institutions, including the World Health Organisation, World Bank, and Yale and Tsinghua universities.

Gold is third most consistently bought investment globally: WGC

  • The World Gold Council’s new consumer research report reveals that gold is the third most consistently bought investment, with 46% of global retail investors choosing gold products, which is just behind saving accounts (78%) and life insurance (54%).
  • The report states that more than two-thirds (67%) of all retail investors believe that gold is a good safeguard against both inflation and currency fluctuations, and 61% trust gold more than fiat currencies.
  • In jewellery, the survey shows that 56% of consumers have bought fine gold jewellery, compared to 34% who have bought platinum jewellery.
  • Gold compares poorly to other retail investments and fashion items when looked at through the lens of digital distribution, marketing and communications. Global retail investors only buy 9% of gold coins and 6% of jewellery online, compared with 25% of gold-backed ETFs.
  • Chief executive officer at the World Gold Council: David Tait

India becomes most favoured destination for energy investments: Dharmendra Pradhan

  • Addressing the investors in AbuDhabi at the roadshow organized by the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) to promote India as a favorable investment destination in the oil and gas sector, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that India is among the top 10 FDI destinations in the world.
  • He stated that in the last 5-6 years India has become the most favoured destination for energy investments. India has received 286 US dollars billion FDI in the last 5 years. This is almost half of the total FDI in India in the last 20 years.
  • He also said that India presently being the 3rd largest energy consumer in the world is poised to drive the global energy demand in the coming decades.

India to take on Bangladesh in 1st Test at Indore

  • India will take on Bangladesh in the first Test at Indore. It will be the second time that a Test is starting on this ground. The second Test will be played in Kolkata from November 22, with pink balls. It will the first Day and Night Test.

India, Switzerland hold bilateral meeting to discuss fight against tax evasion

  • India and Switzerland held Secretary-level bilateral meeting in New Delhi and discussed enhanced cooperation in the fight against tax evasion. Both the Secretaries expressed satisfaction over the progress made over the past few years in the area of administrative assistance in tax matters.
  • Welcoming the first transmission of financial account information on automatic basis between the two countries in September 2019, the Secretaries reiterated their countries’ commitment to global tax transparency for tackling offshore tax evasion.
  • This automatic exchange of financial account information will usher a new era of financial transparency as Indian tax administration will now know the details of all bank accounts held by Indians in Switzerland.

ITDC appoints Kamala Vardhana Rao as its new Chairman and Managing Director

  • India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has appointed G.Kamala Vardhana Rao as the new Chairman and Managing Director. Rao, an IAS officer 1990 batch from Kerala Cadre, was the Principal Secretary, Kerala government. He has also served as the Secretary of Kerala Tourism in 2014-15.
  • In a span of close to three decades, Rao has served multiple positions including Chairman of Indian Tobacco Board, Director of Fisheries Department, Director, Department of Tourism and Culture, Andhra Pradesh government.

Japanese spacecraft starts year-long journey home from asteroid

  • After departing from a distant asteroid, Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft started its year-long journey home after successfully completing its mission to bring back soil samples and data that could provide clues to the origins of the solar system.
  • The spacecraft left its orbit around the asteroid Ryugu, about 300 million kilometres from Earth.
  • Hayabusa2 made two touchdowns on the asteroid and successfully collected data and samples during its 1 and half-year mission since arriving there in June 2018.
  • The spacecraft is expected to return to Earth in late 2020 and drop a capsule containing the precious samples in the Australian desert.

Nita Ambani Becomes 1st Indian Trustee to be Elected to Board of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Educationist, philanthropist and businesswoman Nita Ambani has been named an honorary trustee of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nita Ambani’s election took place at a meeting of the Board on November 12. She is the first Indian to be so honoured.
  • Nita Ambani is the founder and chairperson of the Reliance Foundation, an Indian philanthropic organisation that has supported The Met since 2016.

PM Modi calls upon business leaders from BRICS nations to invest in India

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called upon business leaders from the BRICS nations to invest in India, particularly in infrastructure development. Mr Modi said, India is the world's most open and investment-friendly economy due to political stability, predictable policy and business-friendly reforms.
  • Prime Minister said, BRICS accounts for 50 per cent of the world's economic growth and called upon BRICS business leaders to exploit the opportunities among member countries.
  • The meeting of working groups of BRICS Business Council concluded on the first day of BRICS 2019. In this meeting, leaders of working groups have agreed on 30 important proposals related to different areas.

Retail inflation jumps to 4.62 per cent in Oct on higher food prices

  • According to union government data released, retail inflation surged to 4.62 per cent in October this year mainly on account of higher food prices. The inflation in the food basket spiked to 7.89 per cent in October this year as against 5.11 per cent the preceding month.
  • The inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 3.99 per cent in September and 3.38 per cent in October last year.
  • The Reserve Bank mainly factors in the CPI-based inflation to arrive at its bi-monthly monetary policy.

SpaceX successfully launched 60 Starlink satellites into orbit as part of Elon Musk's high-speed internet plan

  • SpaceX's plans to bring global internet coverage to the world just took another leap forward as its 9th Falcon 9 rocket flight of the year launched 60 new Starlink internet satellites into orbit. Tucked inside the rocket's nose cone were 60 Starlink satellites — the second batch (and first operational set) of SpaceXs broadband internet megaconstellation, which the company hopes will help provide affordable internet coverage to the world.
  • Currently, internet users rely on wireless cell towers or cables routed into our homes and offices to access the internet.
  • The stated aim of SpaceX's Starlink project is to create a network of nearly 12,000 satellites to bring high-speed internet to remote and rural parts of the world.

Sri Lanka Criminalises Sports Betting, Match-Fixing

  • Sri Lanka introduced tough penalties for match-fixing and tightened sports betting in a bid to stamp out graft scandals that have dogged the country's cricket team.
  • Betting on sports matches hosted in Sri Lanka was already illegal, but the new rules will also ban Sri Lankans from gambling on overseas contests.
  • Offenders could face up to 10 years' jail and fines of up to 100 million rupees ($555,000) for match-fixing under the new law, which also bans people with family links to gambling businesses from sitting on the sport's local governing body.

Sri Lanka: Campaigning for Presidential elections ends

  • In Sri Lanka, campaigning for the Presidential elections ended midnight last night, with both main candidates addressing election rallies till late in the evening. Polling will be held on Saturday. Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) contender Gotabaya Rajapaksa expressed confidence of his election victory. New Democratic Front’s candidate is Sajith Premadasa.

Supreme court upholds disqualification of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs of Karnataka

  • The Supreme court of India has upheld the disqualification of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs by the then Karnataka Speaker but allowed them to contest the upcoming by-polls to be held on 5th of December. The court, however, struck down the portion of the Speaker's order by which the legislators were disqualified till the end of the term of 15 Karnataka Assembly.
  • The court said, if elected in by-polls, these disqualified MLAs can become Ministers or hold public office.
  • In July this year, 17 MLAs were disqualified by the then Karnataka Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar based on the complaint of Congress and JD (S).
  • The absence and resignation of these MLAs from the Assembly during the trust vote led to the collapse of then Kumaraswamy-led Government.

Unilever appoints Nils Andersen as new Chairman

  • Unilever has named non-executive director Nils Andersen as its new chairman, to utilize his deep experience across consumer goods and logistics industries to help the company to navigate a dip in emerging market sales growth and fix its foods business.
  • Andersen will replace Marijn Dekkers, who is standing down after more than three years as chairman.
  • Andersen, who was appointed non-executive director of Unilever in 2015, will support chief executive Alan Jope at a time when India and China, two of the company's biggest markets, are showing signs of slowdown.