Daily Current Affairs - 27th Dec 2019

Allahabad Bank gets fresh capital of Rs 2,153 cr from govt

  • State-owned Allahabad Bank will get a fresh capital infusion of Rs 2,153 crore from the government in the current financial year.
  • Infusion of the capital into the bank by the government comes ahead of the merger with Indian Bank and will help the bank meet the regulatory requirement to get amalgamated with a bigger peer.
  • Notably, Allahabad Bank had not featured in the list of banks who were approved a total fresh capital infusion of Rs 55,250 crore, as announced on August 30 by the government.

Centre sends 11 teams to Gujarat to tackle the locusts

  • The central government has sent its teams to Gujarat to tackle the invasion of locusts entering various districts of the state from Pakistan side and damaging crops. Massive swarms of locusts - which are mainly tropical grasshoppers with strong powers of flight - descended on Banaskantha, Mehsana, Kutch, Patan and Sabarkantha districts of Gujarat over the last few days.
  • These locusts were destroying crops such as mustard, castor, fennel, cumin, cotton, potato, wheat and jatropha.

Earliest Sanskrit inscription in South India found in A.P.

  • In a significant find, the Epigraphy Branch of the Archaeological Survey of India has discovered the earliest epigraphic evidence so far for the Saptamatrika cult. It is also the earliest Sanskrit inscription to have been discovered in South India as on date.
  • Saptamatrika cult evidence dates back to 207 A.D. in Satavahana king Vijaya’s era. The discovery was made in Chebrolu village in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

Health Minister inaugurates second edition of Eat Right Mela in New Delhi

  • Inaugurating the second edition of Eat Right Mela in New Delhi, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that healthy eating should become a people's movement which in turn will help to reduce the disease burden in the country.
  • He also highlighted that on one hand, India is suffering from under-nourishment and on the other side, there is obesity due to the result of junk food, wrong choices of food, overeating and lack of exercise.

HRD Minister launches five documents developed by UGC

  • Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank launched the five documents developed by University Grants Commission, UGC covering the 5 verticals of Quality Mandate in New Delhi.
  • These five documents cover evaluation reforms, eco-friendly and sustainable university campuses, human values and professional ethics, faculty induction and academic research integrity.
  • Mr Nishank said that to improve the quality in Higher Educational Institutions, UGC has adopted the Higher Education Quality Improvement Programme Mandate.
  • He said, the quality mandate aims at evolving higher education system to equip country’s next-generation with vital skills, knowledge and ethics for leading a rewarding life.

IL&FS case: Sebi imposes Rs 25 lakh fine on rating agencies ICRA, CARE

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has slapped a penalty of Rs 25 lakh each on credit rating agencies CARE and ICRA for violation of the Sebi (Credit Rating Agencies) Regulations pertaining to assigning of rating to various non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of IL&FS.
  • In its order, Sebi said the rating agencies had failed to exercise their duty to investors at large and did not downgrade the ratings of NCDs of IL&FS in time despite having knowledge of the deteriorating financials of the issuer.
  • The regulator has given 45 days for the payment of penalty, which was levied under Section 15HB of the Sebi Act.

India's first university for transgender community to come up in UP's Kushinagar dist

  • The country’s first university for the transgender community will be established in Kushinagar district in Uttar Pradesh. The first of its kind university is being built by Bhartiya Kinnar Siksha Seva Sang which is India’s transgender education service trust.
  • The foundation is getting laid in Fazilnagar block and it will accommodate students from classes one to PG. They can also conduct their research work and get a Ph.D. Degree from the organization.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu declares victory in Likud party leadership race

  • Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory in a leadership primary in his right-wing Likud party, ensuring he will lead it into March elections. Around 57,000 Likud members cast their ballots across the country throughout yesterday.
  • Challenger Gideon Saar conceded defeat, saying he would now back Mr Netanyahu in March's general election.
  • Previous elections held in April and September saw Likud deadlocked with the centrist Blue and White party - with neither able to form a government.

Kane, Alli strike as Spurs fight back to sink Brighton

  • Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane and Dele Alli scored in the second half as Jose Mourinho's side came from behind to claim a 2-1 home victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League.
  • Kane followed up his own shot to equalise in the 53rd minute and cancel out Adam Webster's first-half header and Alli put Spurs ahead in the 72nd munute.

Ladakh region reels under intense cold wave

  • Ladakh region is reeling under severe cold weather conditions. Maximum temperatures are continuously recorded at sub-zero and the minimum mercury levels are varying from minus 17 to minus 29 degree Celsius, in the region.
  • Drass is standing by its credentials as world’s 2nd coldest habitation, with Maximum Temperature is at minus12.3 and the minimum at minus 29 degree Celsius.
  • Ladakh has a demand of around 45 MW of Power during the winters. However, as the canals and rivers are in a frozen state, reduced discharge of water affected the power generation.

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Retail valued at $34 billion after stock swap offer

  • Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Retail's latest valuation stands at $34 billion owing to a share swap scheme that has helped its shareholders monetise their investment (illiquid stock options). Stock owners in Ambani's unlisted retail business are given an offer whereby they can exchange four shares for one of its parent company Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).
  • With the RIL's latest market capitalisation standing at Rs 9.8 lakh crore ($137 billion), the stock swap offer values its subsidiary (Reliance Retail) at Rs 2.4 lakh crore, according to Bloomberg's calculation. It also values Reliance Retail at more than Tesco Plc, which is the UK's biggest supermarket chain.

Nirmala Sitharaman releases postage stamp to mark service of DRI

  • Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has released a postage stamp to commemorate the service and contribution of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
  • DRI was constituted on December 4, 1957, to function as an apex intelligence agency of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs to counter smuggling. It has established itself as a premier intelligence agency commanding the trust of international and national agencies

No Pakistan players, 5 Indians to be part of Asia XI vs World XI: BCCI

  • The BCCI has said that the possibility of India and Pakistan players playing together will not arise in the combined Asia XI team next year. Asia XI and World XI are scheduled to play two T20s in Bangladesh in March 2020.
  • The World XI has played only three T20Is so far, whereas Asia XI have never fielded a side in T20Is. The last World XI match played was against West Indies at Lord’s on March 31, 2018.

NPR: house-to-house verification planned

  • The Narendra Modi government proposes to update the National Population Register (NPR), which already has an electronic database of more than 119 crore residents, by verifying the details of all respondents through house-to-house enumeration, according to an official manual for conducting the fresh NPR exercise.

Pakistan to import polio markers from India

  • The Federal Cabinet of Pakistan has decided to import polio markers from India in a bid to reduce the price of medicines. The Federal Cabinet took the decision to give a one-time permission for import of polio markers from India as it would reduce prices of 89 medicines by at least 15%.
  • The prices of 89 medicines were decreased in line with the Pricing Policy of 2018 as prices of innovator drugs have to be reduced by 10% after three years of their launch in the market.
  • The markers used to mark the fingers of children after administering them polio vaccine are approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • There are only two WHO pre-qualified manufacturers in the world, India and China, which manufacture non-toxic markers to prevent children from swallowing the ink.

Russia, China and Iran to hold naval exercises in Gulf of Oman

  • China, Russia and Iran will conduct joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman amid heightened tensions in the region after the Trump administration withdrew from a landmark nuclear pact with Tehran.
  • The military exercises scheduled are intended to deepen exchange and cooperation between the navies of the three countries.
  • The US ramped up its military presence in the Middle East and sent missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the attacks.

Syed Akbaruddin terms 2019 a year of successes for India at UN

  • India's Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin has said that 2019 was a year of many successes for India at the UN.
  • The year 2019 will be remembered as a watershed moment in India's fight against terrorism, climate change or its efforts for sustainable development.
  • The year saw Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar listed as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council following India's persistent efforts.
  • On the climate front, Mr Akbaruddin said, the inauguration of a 50-kilowatt 'Gandhi Solar Park' by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a first of its kind effort by India at the UN.
  • In yet another highly significant diplomatic win for India, India's candidature for a non-permanent seat in the powerful Security Council for the 2021-22 term was unanimously endorsed by the Asia-Pacific group at the UN.
  • United Nations took note of India's contribution towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Its ambitious programmes such as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and the Aadhar biometric identity card that paves the way for financial inclusion for it’s over a billion-strong population were highly praised by the world body.

Tamil Nadu tops good governance index among big states, Maharashtra and Karnataka get second, third slot

  • According to data provided by the Personnel Ministry, the southern state of Tamil Nadu has bagged the top position in the composite ranking for good governance index (GGI), followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka,
  • Chhattisgarh has got the fourth position, followed by Andhra Pradesh (fifth), Gujarat (sixth), Haryana (seventh) and Kerala at the eight rank.
  • The states and union territories have been divided into three groups -- big states, north-east and hill states, and union territories -- for the rankings based on certain indicators separately.
  • In the north-east and hill category, Himachal Pradesh has topped the ranking followed by Uttarakhand, Tripura, Mizoram, Sikkim, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir (now divided into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh), Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Among the union territories, Pondicherry(Puducherry) has got the first position, followed by Chandigarh, Delhi, Daman and Diu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep.

Typhoon Phanfone hits hard centre of Philippines killing 20 people

  • Typhoon 'Phanfone' has killed at least 20 people in Philippines, leaving a trail of devastation through the centre of the country.
  • The storm-battered several islands with gusts of 190km/h, destroying homes and power lines and spoiled Christmas celebrations in the predominantly Catholic country. It forced thousands to flee their homes and many people are still missing.
  • More than 58,000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm and about 25,000 others were stranded at ports when ferries services were suspended.
  • About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year. It is also located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions often occur, making the country of more than 100 million people one of the world's most disaster-prone.

Virender Sehwag to deliver Pataudi lecture

  • Former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag will deliver the seventh Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Lecture in Mumbai on January 12. This was confirmed by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly . The BCCI awards will also be given away on the same day.

WCD Ministry invites application for Nari Shakti Puraskar for 2019

  • Ministry of Women and Child Development has invited applications for Nari Shakti Puraskar for the year 2019. The National Award is given annually to individuals, groups, institutions in recognition of their exceptional work towards the cause of women empowerment, especially for vulnerable and marginalized women.
  • Nearly 40 Nari Shakti Puraskar will be given on International Women’s Day observed on 8th March 2020.