Current Affairs November 9 2018

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Current Affairs November 9 2018

 INDIAN AFFAIRS

3-member inter-ministerial panel formed to address farmers’ issues: Odisha govt
On November 6, 2018, the Odisha government constituted a 3-member inter-ministerial committee to address issues raised by farmers.
i. The committee will be headed by:  Finance Minister Shashi Bhusan Behera.
ii. Other members of the committee are: Agriculture & Panchayatiraj Minister Pradeep Moharathy and Cooperative Minister Surjya Narayan Patro.
iii. Issues to be discussed are:  welfare of the farmers and development of agriculture in the state.
Background:
Notably, the hundreds of farmers from across the state under the banner of Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan were scheduled to attend a mega convention at Lower PMG today to press their demand of ‘price, prestige and pension’.
Odisha:
♦ Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik.
♦ Governor: Prof. Ganeshi Lal.
♦ Lakes : Chilika Lake, Kanjia Lake, Anshupa Lake, Balimela Reservoir.
♦ Dams: Rengali Dam, Kala dam, Pitamahal Dam, Kansbahal Dam, Tikhali Dam, Deras Dam, Salia Dam, Ghodahada Dam, Kuanria Dam.
♦ Festivals: Kalinga Mahotsav, Chandan Yatra, Durga Puja, Konark Dance Festival, Rath Yatra, Deepabali, Kumar Purnima.

Meghalaya announced Rs 378cr investment in Aqua Mission 2.0 starting April 2019
On November 8, 2018, Meghalaya government announced Rs 378 crore investment in the second phase of Aqua Mission.
i. It is the state’s flagship aquaculture mission aimed at cutting down fish imports into the hill state.
ii. The 2nd edition was announced by Fisheries Minister Comingone Ymbon at the 5th state aqua festival held here at the U Soso Tham auditorium.
About Aqua Mission 2.0:
i. Mission 2.0 aims at addressing the 15,000 MT shortfall of fish production in the state within the next 5 years beginning April 2019.
ii. The government would also bring 1,500 ha of water areas into fisheries production facilities.
iii. Under the mission, willing partners will need to contribute only 15 per cent while another 25 per cent will be credit linkages and the rest 60 per cent government assistance.
iv. The total investment will be Rs 378 crore which will be drawn from the Centre and external aids besides the state plan.
Other News:
The Centre already sanctioned Rs 51 crore under the Blue Revolution Scheme and about Rs 20 crore has been released.
Background:
i. The Meghalaya State Aqua Mission 1.0 has also increased production of fries from 0.9 million in 2012 to 9.69 million in 2017 to meet market demand.
ii. Under Mission 1.0, the government invested Rs 157 crore, of which Rs 111 crore was a subsidy component and Rs 46 crore loan component.
Meghalaya:
♦ Chief Minister: Conrad Sangma.
♦ Governor: Tathagata Roy.
♦ National Parks: Balpakhram National Park , Nokrek National Park.

Ad-hoc committee appointed for management of Mumbai Cricket Association: Bombay HC
On November 6, 2018, the Bombay High Court set up an ad-hoc (temporary) committee to look after day-to-day functioning of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).
i. The committee will consist of : Umesh Khanwilkar, Navin Shetty, Shahalam Shaikh, Ganesh Iyer and CS Naik.
ii. Umesh Khanwilkar and CS Naik has been given restricted charge of the bank account of the MCA.
iii. The Committee has been directed to submit audited statement of income and expenditure with better particulars to this Court quarterly.
iv. Further, all major decisions regarding MCA have to be taken with the prior consent of the court.
MCA:
♦ CEO: Chandrakant S. Naik.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.

Unemployment rate in India at 6.9%, a 2-year high: study by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy
Unemployment rate in India has increased to 6.9% in October 2018, the highest in 2 years, as per a study by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.
Key Points:
i. Labour participation rate, a measure of the proportion of adults willing to work, has declined to 42.4%, the lowest since January 2016.
ii. Estimated number of persons employed during October 2018 was 397 million. This is 2.4% lower compared to the 407 million persons employed in October 2017.
iii. Count of the unemployed persons actively looking for jobs almost doubled to 29.5 million in October 2018 from 14 million in July 2017 (and 21.6 million in October 2017)
About Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy:
♦ Type – business information company
♦ Established – 1976
♦ Chairman – S A Dave
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

The UK India Business Council launched New Report – ‘Beyond the Top 200’
On November 5, 2018, UK India Business Council released its report named: ‘Beyond the Top 200-Effective International Collaboration for Indian Higher Education’.
Highlights:
i. India’s rise to superpower status has been accelerated by the government’s efforts at new higher education policy. This would enable young Indians to receive the world’s best higher education in India.
ii. By 2030 India will have the largest number of people in the world of college-going age – a staggering 140 million.
iii. Currently there are 736 universities in India educating 28.6 million students.
iv. India will need at least another 1,500 institutions by 2030 to accommodate this huge influx of students.
v. To become a 21st century global superpower however, India needs to place excellence, equal access, and employability at the centre of its Higher Education system.
vi. In a bid to collaborate with best institutions, Indian policy makers allow only “the top 200 in the world” to collaborate with the best Indian institutions.
vii. This however is not a suitable tool to judge  foreign universities.
About the report:
i. This builds on the initial paper of “India’s Education Policy” published in March 2018.
ii. The report was launched in the midst of UKIBC’s five-day visit to Delhi and Mumbai exploring future collaboration in the sector between our two countries.
iii. This was part of the FICCI Higher Education Summit.
iv. The delegation comprised of representatives from the Universities of London, Birmingham, Essex, East Anglia, Cardiff, Surrey, and the Eurocentres Language Schools Network.
UKIBC:
♦ Headquarters: London, UK.
♦ Group CEO: Richard Herald OBE.

Stamps with Diyas lamps to mark the celebration of Deepawali issued by United Nations Postal System
On November 8, 2018, to mark the celebration of Deepawali, United Nations Postal System issued stamps with Diyas lamps.

Stamps with Diyas lamps to mark the celebration of Deepawali issued by United Nations Postal Systemi. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin acknowleged the gesture and the stamps have been made available at UN headquarters post office and online.
ii. The sheet in the denomination of USD 1.15 contains ten stamps and tabs featuring festive lights and the symbolic lamps.
iii. The background of the sheet features the United Nations Headquarters building illuminated with the message of “Happy Diwali”.
Background:
On October 19 to commemorate the festival of Diwali, the United Nations Postal Administration issued the special event sheet.
United Nations Postal Administration:
♦ Headquarters: New York City, USA.

BANKING & FINANCE

Reserve Bank liberalised norms governing external commercial borrowings for infrastructure creation
On November 8, 2018, Reserve Bank of India liberalised the rules governing external commercial borrowing for infrastructure firms in terms of both tenure and the hedging requirements.
i. The modified norms states:

  • Reduction in minimum tenor for borrowing through the ECB route, from years to years.
  • The average maturity requirement for mandatory hedging has been reduced to years from earlier 10 years.

ii. These changes will facilitate infra companies to raise resources overseas.
iii. The ECBs with minimum average maturity period of 3 to 5 years in the infrastructure space will have to meet 100% mandatory hedging requirement.
Background:
The move comes amid concerns surrounding the availability of funds following a liquidity squeeze and the difficulties being faced by non-bank lenders, especially those facing asset liability issues due to heavy reliance on short-term funding for long-term assets.

Reserve Bank of India plans on setting up payments ombudsman
On November 8, 2018, Reserve Bank of India announced it’s plan to establish an ombudsman for digital payments by March 2019.

Reserve Bank of India plans on setting up payments ombudsmani. It would address increasing number of complaints currently being handled by the banking ombudsman.
ii. Earlier it issued instructions to mobile wallet issuers and non-banking payments entities to establish a publicly disclosed customer grievance redressal framework.

Paytm tied up with 2 govt depts in Karnataka for better payment experience
On November 8, 2018, Paytm partnered with two government departments in Karnataka for seamless payment experience.
i. The departments of Karnataka government are:
¨      The Directorate of Electronic Delivery of Citizen Services (EDCS) and
¨      DPAR (Department of Personnel and Administrative Service).
ii. Further, Paytm extended a cashback of 10 per cent for upto a maximum of Rs 20 per user on a minimum transaction amount of Rs 200 for payments.
iii. Additionally, the EDCS and DPAR (e-governance) had set up Bengaluru One centres in Bengaluru and Karnataka One centres in 17 cities of the State.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India’s economic growth to slow to 7.3% in 2019: Moody’s
On November 8, 2018, Moody’s Investor Service in its report titled ‘Global Macro Outlook 2019-20′ stated that Indian economy will slow down to 7.3% in 2019.
Highlights:
i. Indian economy will expand 7.4 per cent in 2018, but the growth will slow down to 7.3 per cent in the next fiscal.
ii. The economy grew 7.9 per cent in the first half (January-June) of 2018, reflecting post demonetisation base effect.
iii. The downfall has been cited cause of the effect of domestic demand on higher borrowing cost due to rising interest rates.
iv. The benchmark rate would be raised through 2019, which will further dampen domestic demand which will in turn lead to low economic growth.
v. This is why with real GDP will grow by 7.3 per cent in 2019 and 2020.
vi. However, the greatest downside risk to India’s growth prospects stem from concerns about its financial sector.
vii. The reasons include:

  • The impact of higher global oil prices,
  • Sharp rupee depreciation raising the cost of households’ consumption basket and weighing on the households’ capacity for other expenditures.

viii. A prolonged liquidity squeeze for non-bank financial institutions could lead to a sharper slowdown in credit growth.
ix. On a global level, global economic growth will slow in 2019 and 2020 to a little under 2.9 per cent from an estimated 3.3 per cent in 2018 and 2017.
x. Trade and geopolitical frictions between the US and China will persist for some time which will weigh on the global trade growth.
Moody’s Corporation:
♦ Headquarters: New York, USA.

UN World Food Programme, Alibaba Group partnered to eliminate hunger
On November 8, 2018, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Alibaba Group (Alibaba) entered into a strategic partnership to support efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 – a world with zero hunger. 

UN World Food Programme, Alibaba Group partnered to eliminate hungerObjective:
To support efforts towards the goal of ending world hunger by 2030.
Key Points:
i. The MOU was signed at Alibaba’s headquarters in  Hangzhou, China, by:
WFP’s Executive Director, David Beasley, and
Alibaba Partner and Chairman of the Alibaba Foundation, Sun Lijun.
ii. Under the framework, Alibaba will provide its leading technology and resources to support the digital transformation of WFP’s operations.
iii. Alibaba Cloud the cloud computing arm of Alibaba, will collaborate with WFP to develop a digital “World Hunger Map” to monitor the status of global hunger .
iv. The visual “World Hunger Map” will leverage data insights to help WFP improve assessment and monitoring to increase efficiency and shorten emergency response times.
v. Additionally, the parties also agreed to create a Digital Transformation Working Group to determine priorities, assess new opportunities, and review progress on projects.
Background:
Alibaba established the Alibaba Poverty Relief Program in December 2017, aiming to invest RMB10 billion in five years to alleviate poverty with focuses on education, rural commerce advancement, empowering women, healthcare and environmental sustainability.
About WFP:
♦ The United Nations World Food Programme works in 80 countries to assist 80 million people around the world.
♦ Headquarters: Rome,Italy.

US exempted India from certain sanctions for development of Chabahar port in Iran
On November 7, 2018, the United States exempted India from imposition of certain sanctions for the development of the strategically-located Chabahar Port in Iran.
i. It also granted a waiver for the construction of a railway line from the Iranian port city to the Afghan border and Afghanistan’s continued imports of Iranian petroleum products.
ii. All these sanctions were made under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA).
Background:
Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said that eight countries – India, China, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey – were temporarily allowed to continue buying Iranian oil as they showed “significant reduction” in oil purchase from the Persian Gulf country.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Ayodhya Deepotsav 2018 enters Guinness Book of World Records: Over 3 lakh diyas lit
On 6th November 2018, a new world record was set as 3,01,152 diyas were lit on the banks of River Sarayu, during Deepostav 2018, in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.

Ayodhya Deepotsav 2018 enters Guinness Book of World RecordsKey Points:
i. Deepostav 2018 was organised by Uttar Pradesh government on the occasion of Diwali. It has entered the Guinness Book of Records for lighting 3,01,152 earthen lamps.
ii. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and South Korean first lady Kim-Jung Sook were present while achieving this feat. They also performed ‘aarti’ with the earthen lamps.
iii. Yogi Adityanath also announced that a new airport will be named after Lord Rama, and a medical college will be named after Raja Dashratha in Uttar Pradesh.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Bakhira Sanctuary

Arunima Sinha, world’s first Indian woman amputee to scale Everest gets honourary doctorate in UK
On 6th November 2018, Arunima Sinha was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Strathclyde of United Kingdom in Glasgow, Scotland.

Arunima Sinha, world's first Indian woman amputee to scale Everest gets honourary doctorate in UKi. She has been awarded for her inspirational achievements in mountaineering. She is 30 years old.
ii. In 2013, she became the world’s first woman amputee to climb Mount Everest. She is a former Indian national Volleyball player. Her left leg was amputated below the knee after being thrown from a train while resisting a robbery.

Actor Jayant Sawarkar to get Maharashtra government’s Natvarya Prabhakar Panshikar Lifetime Achievement award
Marathi actor Jayant Sawarkar will be awarded the Maharashtra government’s Natvarya Prabhakar Panshikar Lifetime Achievement award in the field of theatre.
Key Points:
i. Also, Tabla artist Vinayak Thorat will be awarded the Sangeetacharya Annasaheb Kirloskar Lifetime Achievement.
ii. Both the awards consist of cash prizes of Rs 5 lakh, citation and memento each. Dates for the presentation of the awards have not yet been announced.
iii. Jayant Sawarkar started his career in Marathi theatre as a backstage artist. His role as a clown in “Samrat Singh” fetched him fame.
iv. Vinayak Thorat has accompanied top artists like Jitendra Abhishekhi, D Datar, Mogubai Kurdikar, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, etc.
Some National Parks in Maharashtra:
♦ Gugamal National Park
♦ Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Super 30 founder Anand Kumar honoured with education award ‘Global Education Award’ in Dubai
On November 8, 2018, Mathematician and Super 30 founder Anand Kumar was awarded ‘Global Education Award’.

Super 30 founder Anand Kumar honoured with education award ‘Global Education Award’ in Dubaii. This was awarded by Malabar Gold & Diamonds’, flagship company of Malabar Group, a leading Indian business conglomerate.
ii. He was honoured for his “pioneering” contributions to the field of education.
iii. His selection was done from a list of 100 names working in the field of education by a 12-member jury.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Tesla named board director to replace Musk
On November 8, 2018, electric car pioneer Tesla named Robyn Denholm, chair of the company replacing Elon Musk.

Tesla named board director to replace Muski. Denholm , prior to this appointment was the chief financial officer with Telstra.
ii. She has been an independent director of Tesla since 2014 and heads its audit committee.
iii. Musk had to resign as Tesla chairman under a September arrangement with US regulators to settle fraud charges.

Retired Gauhati High Court judge Pranoy Kumar Musahary appointed as the first chairperson of Lokayukta in Meghalaya
On November 8, 2018, Justice (Retd) of Gauhati High Court, Pranoy Kumar Musahary, was sworn in as the chairperson of Meghalaya’s first Lokayukta.

Pranoy Kumar Musahary appointed as the first chairperson of Lokayukta in Meghalayai. Upon appointment, he urged the Conrad Sangma government to speed up the appointment of other members of the Lokayukta.
Background:
The Lokayukta is empowered to probe allegations of corruption against public functionaries.

Jeff Sessions resigns as United States Attorney General
On 7th November 2018, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned from his position, at US President Donald Trump’s request.
i. Matthew Whitaker has been appointed the acting Attorney General of United States.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

UAV – CH7: China unveils ‘most advanced’ stealth drone
On 6th November 2018, China unveiled UAV – CH7, its new-generation stealth combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), claimed to be the most advanced drone developed so far by China.
Key Points:
i. It was unveiled at the Air Show China 2018 in Zhuhai, China. With UAV – CH7, China has become the second country, following the US, to produce high-altitude long-endurance combat UAVs with advanced penetration capabilities.
ii. UAV – CH7 has internal weapon bays. It can launch weapons, like anti-radiation missiles, air-to-ground or anti-ship missiles and long-distance precision-guided bombs. It can be customised.
iii. It is 10 metres long. It has a wingspan of 22-metres. It has a maximum take-off weight of 13,000 kilogramme.
iv. It has a cruise altitude of 10-13 kilometres and a cruising speed of 0.5-0.6 of a Mach. It can stay in flight for 15 hours.

China unveils replica of its first permanently crewed space station
China has unveiled a replica of its first permanently crewed space station, which will replace the International Space Station.

China unveils replica of its first permanently crewed space stationKey Points:
i. The replica was displayed at the Air Show China 2018 held in Zhuhai, China. The core module was 17 metres in length. It weighed 60 tonnes.
ii. 3 astronauts will be permanently stationed in the orbiting lab. The crew will conduct biological and microgravity research.
iii. Assembly would be completed around 2022. The station will have a lifespan of nearly 10 years. It would be open to all countries to conduct science experiments.
iv. International Space Station is a collaboration between the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan.
v. It weighs 400 tonnes. It has been functioning since 1998. It would retire in 2024.
About China:
♦ Capital – Beijing
♦ Currency – Renminbi
♦ Official language – Standard Chinese
♦ President – Xi Jinping

“Mahila-E-Haat”: online portal to promote women farmers and entrepreneurs launched by WCD
On November 8, 2018, the Women and Child Development Ministry launched an online marketing portal named: “Mahila-E-Haat” for promoting women farmers and entrepreneurs.
Objective:
For unique organic products of the women farmers and entrepreneurs from across the country.
Key Points:
i. It will serve as an e-platform to bring them together and promote the achievements of women farmers.
ii. It was launched during the 5th “Women of India National Organic Festival, 2018”.
About the 5th edition of Women of India National Organic Festival, 2018″:
i. It was a 10-day festival that was organized by the Women and Child Development Ministry to promote women entrepreneurs.
ii. It commenced from October 26 to November 4, 2018 and was held at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts at Janpath, New Delhi.
iii. It saw a participation of nearly 12 lakh people where they showcased organic products, ranging from food and fabrics to the wellness and personal care products.
iv. The total sale of the products brought by women from 26 states touched a record high this year at over Rs 2.75 crore, up from last year’s Rs 1.84 crore.
Ministry of Women and Child Development:
♦ Union Minister: Smt Maneka Gandhi.
♦ Minister of State: Dr. Virendra Kumar.
♦ Secretary: Shri Rakesh Srivastava.

ENVIRONMENT

Ozone layer recovering: four-yearly review of the Montreal Protocol
On 5th November 2018, the four-yearly review of the Montreal Protocol by United Nations stated that, the ozone layer is recovering at a rate of 1 to 3 % per decade.
Key Points:
i. The report was released by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in Quito, Ecuador.
ii. The four-yearly review of the Montreal Protocol, a 1987 ban on man-made gases that damage the fragile high-altitude ozone layer, was conducted.
iii. As per the report, long-term decrease is seen in the atmospheric abundance of controlled ozone-depleting substances and recovery of stratospheric ozone is ongoing.
iv. Most of the banned gases have been eliminated. But there is an unexpected increase in production and emissions of CFC-11 from eastern Asia from 2012. The source country or countries had not yet been identified.
v. The northern hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is scheduled to heal completely by the 2030s and the southern hemisphere by 2050s and polar regions by 2060.
vi. Antarctic ozone hole was expected to close gradually, returning to 1980 levels in the 2060s.
vii. The report stated that, if CFC-11 emissions continue at the same rate, return of mid-latitude and polar ozone-depleting chemicals to their 1980 values would be delayed by 7 and 20 years, respectively.

SPORTS

Rohit Sharma becomes first batsman to hit four T20I hundreds
On 6th November 2018, Rohit Sharma became the first batsman to score four Twenty20 International (T20I) centuries.
i. He achieved this feat in 58 balls during the second T20I match against the West Indies at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
ii. He has surpassed the record of New Zealand’s Colin Munro who had scored three centuries.
iii. He has also surpassed Virat Kohli to become the highest run-scorer of India in T20Is.
iv. Overall, Rohit Sharma is the second-highest run-scorer now with 2203 runs in T20Is behind New Zeland’s Martin Guptill with 2,271 runs.

OBITUARY

K P S Srivastava, a veteran PTI (Press Trust of India) journalist passed away
On 6th November 2018, K P Srivastava, a former PTI (Press Trust of India) journalist, passed away following a short term illness.
i. He was 93 years old. He joined PTI as a reporter in Lucknow in 1950s. He became editor of PTI in 1980s.
ii. He also served as a Special Correspondent of PTI. After his retirement, he was the press advisor to former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar.

Bhajan singer Vinod Agarwal passes away
On 6th November 2018, Bhajan singer Vinod Agrawal passed away following a short term illness, in New Delhi.

Bhajan singer Vinod Agarwal passes awayi. He was 63 years old. He was born in 1955 in New Delhi. He was a popular singer of devotional songs. He was known for his idiosyncratic and versatile style.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Radiology – November 8
On 8th November 2018, International Day of Radiology was observed throughout the world.

International Day of Radiology – November 8Key Points:
i. When: In 2012, November 8 was marked as International Day of Radiology, as joint initiative of European Society of Radiology (ESR), Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and American College of Radiology (ACR).
ii. This day marks the date of discovery of the existence of X-rays by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1895.
iii. Main theme of International Day of Radiology 2018 is: Cardiac imaging.
iv. Also, November 8 is observed as World Radiography Day by the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists.
About European Society of Radiology (ESR):
♦ Founded – February 2005
♦ Chairperson – Bernd Hamm
♦ Headquarters – Vienna, Austria

National cancer awareness day
On November 7 is celebrated as National Cancer Day annually.

National cancer awareness dayi. It was revived by Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan in 2014.
ii. Indian society of oncology had partnered with four states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Himachal Pradesh to launch the  ‘Pendharkar model’.
iii. Under this, government staff at district hospitals will be trained in handling cancer care and providing chemotherapy.
iv. So far, 125 districts have the ongoing training programme.
Background:
Around 50 to 60 per cent of cancer patients did not follow up on their treatments.
Indian society of oncology:
♦ President: Dr. Dinesh Pendharkar.