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Current Affairs October 21 2018

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Current Affairs October 21 2018

 INDIAN AFFAIRS

Mandatory R&D funding by companies: Prime Minister’s panel Science Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC)
On October 20, 2018, the Prime Minister’s Science Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) announced its order to make it mandatory for medium and large enterprises in key sectors to set aside funds for research and development.
i.The high-level panel wants the private sector to have a share of at least 1% of GDP by 2022.
ii.The committee wants India to achieve the global average of 1.5% of GDP, over the next years.
iii.This decision was taken after the Economic Survey pointed out that not enough investment in this sector is being given.
iv.It had said that R&D investment in India has been stagnant for 20 years at 0.6-0.7% of gross domestic product with that by the private sector at 0.35%
v.An Advanced Mission Mode Innovation and Research (ADMIRE) is proposed to be launched by line ministries to provide direct R&D grants to industry on a 50-50 model through competitive bidding.
Suggestions of the Council:
i.Ministries have been mandated to allocate at least 2% of their budgets as research and innovation grants related to priority concerns.
ii.It proposed a 100% tax holiday for patented products emerging out of R&D for the first five years of commercialization.

Industry Per cent of Budget for R&D
Automobiles 3%
Technology Hardware and Equipment 2%
Software and computer services 5%
Electronic and Electrical Equipment 2%
Industrial Engineering, Chemicals and General Industrials 1%
Oil and Gas , Construction 0.55%

 

India’s first railway station inside tunnel to come up in Himachal Pradesh
On October 20, 2018, India for the first time announced a railway station named, the Keylong station, to be built inside a tunnel at a height of 3,000 metres in Himachal Pradesh.

India’s first railway station inside tunnel to come up in Himachal Pradeshi. This will be built along the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line close to the Sino-India border.
ii. The station will be at a height of around 3,000 metres and will be inside a 27-km-long tunnel.
iii. It will connect all important locations between Bilaspur and Leh like Sundernagar, Mandi, Manali, Keylong, Koksar, Darcha, Upshi and Karu and other towns of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
iv. After completion, the line will halve the duration taken to cover the distance between Delhi and Leh, from 40 hours to 20 hours.
Background:
Keylong is the administrative centre of Lahaul and Spiti district, 26 km north of Manali and 120 km from the Indo-Tibetan border.
Himachal Pradesh:
♦ Capital: Shimla.
♦ Chief Minister: Jai Ram Thakur.
♦ Governor: Acharya  Devvrat.
♦ National Parks: Great Himalayan National Park, Pin Valley National Park.

NCW launches dedicated email to report instances of sexual harassment at workplace
On October 18, 2018, the National Commission for Women (NCW) launched a dedicated e-mail address to report instances of sexual harassment at workplace.
i. The email address is: [email protected].
ii. It was done after receiving formal written complaints from various women about instances of sexual harassment at their workplace.
The National Commission for Women (NCW):
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ Formed: 1992.
♦ Under National Commission for Women (NCW) Act, 1990.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge: World’s Longest Sea Bridge between China-Hong Kong to open on October 24
The world’s longest sea bridge Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge between China-Hong Kong will be opened for traffic on October 24, 2018.

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge: World's Longest Sea Bridge between China-Hong Kong to open on October 24Key Points:
i. The bridge is 55 kilometers long. It is situated in the Lingdingyang waters of the Pearl River Estuary.
ii. The construction of this bridge started in December 2009. It will reduce travel time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai, in China, from 3 hours to 30 minutes.
iii. It will also integrate the cities in the Pearl River Delta. The number of permits for cross-border private cars through the bridge has been fixed at 5,000.
iv. A government-commissioned study from 2016 estimated that 29,100 vehicles would use this bridge daily by 2030.
About Hong Kong:
♦ Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
♦ Official languages – Chinese, English
♦ Currency – Hong Kong dollar

US merges its embassy and Consulate General in Jerusalem into single diplomatic mission
On 18th October 2018, United States Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced that the US Embassy and US Consulate General in Jerusalem, Israel, are merged into a single diplomatic mission.
Key Points:
i. The new unit will remain in its current location. But it will not be autonomous in its affairs.
ii. This announcement has been made over 5 months after the inauguration of the US Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem.
iii. The US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, will guide the merger. Also, a new Palestinian Affairs Unit will be stationed inside the US Embassy Jerusalem.
iv. Through this unit reporting, outreach, and programming in the West Bank, Gaza and with Palestinians in Jerusalem will be conducted.
About Israel:
♦ Capital – Jerusalem
♦ Currency – New shekel
♦ Official language – Hebrew
♦ President – Reuven Rivlin
♦ Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu

7th Meeting of Education Ministers of SCO Member States held in Astana, Kazakhstan
On 17 October 2018, 7th meeting of education ministers of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

7th Meeting of Education Ministers of SCO Member States held in Astana, KazakhstanKey Points:
i. The meeting was organised with the assistance of: Government of Kazakhstan, Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and Rector’s Office of the University of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, (USCO) and the main (basic) universities of Kazakhstan, affiliated with USCO.
ii. Minister of Education and Science of Kazakhstan Yerlan Sagadiyev chaired the event.
iii. Measures to implement the 15 June 2006 agreement on cooperation in education between the governments of SCO member states throughout 2019 and 2020 was approved.
iv. Implementation of the agreement between the governments of SCO member states on establishing and operating USCO was approved.
v. SCO Secretary-General’s initiative to establish the SCO Youth League at the SCO Secretariat in Beijing was approved.
vi. It was agreed to conduct the 8th meeting of education ministers of SCO member states in the Russian Federation during the Russian Federation’s presidency of SCO.
vii. Dr. Satya Pal Singh, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, participated on behalf of Government of India.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):
♦ Secretary General – Rashid Alimov
♦ Headquarters – Beijing, China

China and ASEAN to hold joint naval exercises: Singapore
On October 19, 2018, Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen at a gathering of ASEAN defence ministers in Singapore announced commencement of first joint maritime exercises of China and ASEAN countries on last week of October.
i. The navies of China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise in the South China Sea near the city of Zhanjiang.
ASEAN:
♦ Full Form: Association of South East Asian Nations.
♦ Headquarters: Jakarta, Indonesia.
♦ Members (10): Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Brunei.

BANKING & FINANCE

International Finance Corporation launched $1-billion masala bonds
On October 20, 2018, to help Indian government boost capital flows into the country, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, launched a $1 billion masala bond programme.
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also permitted banks to issue masala bonds overseas for their capital requirements and to finance infrastructure and affordable housing.
ii. The first tranche of $100 million of IFC’s masala bond programme was offered to a range of investors, including asset managers, banks, and a pension fund, in the United States and Europe at the London Stock Exchange.
About IFC:
♦ Headquarters: Washington D.C., US.
♦ Founded: 20 July 1956.
♦ Member Countries: 184 countries

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

NASSCOM signs MoU with Dubai Internet City (DIC) to expand Indian SMEs in MENA region
National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has signed a MoU with the Dubai Internet City (DIC)to help small and medium-sized Indian enterprises expand their operations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

NASSCOM signs MoU with Dubai Internet City (DIC) to expand Indian SMEs in MENA regionKey Points:
i.  The MoU between NASSCOM and the Dubai Internet City DIC is the first of its kind in the MENA region.
ii. The MoU was signed by Ammar al-Malik, Managing Director of DIC and Dubai Outsource City (DOC) and Kamal Agarwala, SME Council Chair, NASSCOM.
iii. As per the MoU, DIC will give NASSCOM’s, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) members opportunity to develop their operations by offering support and a platform to expand in the MENA region.
iv. DIC already houses Indian companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, and the HCL Technologies.
About National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM):
♦ President – Debjani Ghosh
♦ Chairman – Rishad Premji
♦ Headquarters – Noida, Uttar Pradesh

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Ustad Chand Khan Lifetime Achievement Award conferred to Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt
On October 20, 2018, Sursagar Society of Dilli Gharana announced Grammy-winning Hindustani classical music instrumentalist Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt as the recipient of the annual Ustad Chand Khan Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ustad Chand Khan Lifetime Achievement Award conferred to Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatti. The award will be given at the two-day Indian classical music festival scheduled to be held on October 21-22, 2018 and organized by Sursagar Society of Dilli Gharana.
ii. Mr. Bhatt is known for his Grammy award winning album “A Meeting by the River” with Ry Cooder.

Minal Patel Davis honoured with Presidential Medal for Combating Human Trafficking
On October 19, 2018, Indian-American woman Minal Patel Davis, received the ‘Presidential Medal for Combating Human Trafficking‘ in the White House, USA.

Minal Patel Davis honoured with Presidential Medal for Combating Human Traffickingi.  She received the award from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for her extraordinary contribution towards combatting human trafficking inHouston.
ii. She is currently the Special Advisor on Human Trafficking to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
iii. She is a past speaker at the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Maeen Abdulmalik Sworn in as Yemen’s New PM
On October 20, 2018, Yemen’s newly appointed Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik took the oath before Yemeni President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Maeen Abdulmalik Sworn in as Yemen’s New PMi. He replaced his sacked predecessor Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr.
Yemen:
♦ Capital: Sana’a.
♦ Currency: Yemeni rial.

IL&FS Investment Managers’ non-executive director Vibhav Kapoor resigns from board
On 19th October 2018, IL&FS Investment Managers Ltd non-executive director Vibhav Kapoor resigned from its board.
Key Points:
i. The reason for his resignation was not revealed. Several top officials had resigned from the group recently, following allegations on the IL&FS group regarding defaults in loan payment and corporate governance issues.
ii. Independent directors of IL&FS Financial Services: Renu Challu, Surinder Singh Kohli, Shubhalakshmi Panse and Uday Ved had resigned recently.
iii. Also, IL&FS Engineering and Construction Company’s Managing Director Murli Dhar Khattar had resigned on October 3, 2018.
iv. IL&FS Financial Services MD&CEO Ramesh C Bawa had resigned on September 22, 2018.
About Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS):
♦ Non-executive chairman – Uday Kotak
♦ Vice Chairman & Managing Director – Vineet Nayyar
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Kunlong: China-built world’s largest amphibious plane completed maiden flight test
On October 20, 2018, China’s indigenously designed and built amphibious aircraft AG600 is the world’s largest aircraft that completed its maiden flight.

Kunlong: China-built world’s largest amphibious plane completed maiden flight testi. It was developed by the state-owned aircraft firm Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
ii. The aircraft code-named Kunlong was piloted by four crew members.
iii. It took off from the Zhanghe Reservoir and landed on the water in Hubei province’s Jingmen
iv. It is powered by four domestically-built turboprop engines and has a range of 12 hours and can have a high speed of 145 kilometres.
v. It will be mainly used for maritime rescue, fighting forest fires and marine monitoring.
China:
♦ Capital:  Beijing.
♦ Currency: Renminbi.

Feihong-98 (FH-98): China successfully tested World’s Largest Unmanned Transport Drone
On October 17, 2018, China successfully tested the world’s largest unmanned transport drone.
i. It’s name is Feihong-98 (FH-98) and it can carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes.
ii. It was developed and modified by the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology.
iii. It was adapted from the prototype of the Shifei Y5B, a China-developed first fully domestically-built transport aircraft.
iv. FH-98 has a flight height of 4,500 metres, a cruising speed of 180 kilometers per hour, and a maximum range of 1,200 kms.
v. It features simple take-off and landing, simple operation, advanced technology, at an affordable cost.
Other News:
China will sell 48 of its Wing Loong II high-end reconnaissance and multi-role Chinese drones to its all-weather ally Pakistan.

ENVIRONMENT

Earliest known flesh-eating fish identified in South Germany
On October 20, 2018, Scientists have unearthed the fossilized remains of a piranha-like species believed to be the earliest known example of a flesh-eating fish.
i. This bony creature, found in South Germany, lived about 150 million years ago.
ii. Martina Kölbl-Ebert, of Jura-Museum Eichstätt led the study.
iii. They found  long pointed teeth on the exterior of a bone forming the roof of the mouth suggesting that the pattern and shape of the teeth, jaw morphology was well-equipped to slice fins and flesh

SPORTS

Summer Youth Olympic Games 2018 held in Buenos Aires, Argentina

From 6th to 18th October 2018, Summer Youth Olympic Games 2018 was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  • Manu Bhaker led the Indian team as the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent in the opening ceremony. Jeremy Lalrinnunga was India’s flag bearer at the closing ceremony.
  • Russian Federation topped the medal tally with 59 medals: 29 gold, 18 silver and 12 bronze medals.
  • India obtained 18th position with 13 Medals: 3 gold, 9 silver and 1 bronze………………..Click here to Read more

Gold medal winners:

Sl. No. Event Winner Highlights
1 10m Air Pistol Men’s Shooting Saurabh Chaudhary
2 Men’s 62kg Weightlifting Jeremy Lalrinnunga India’s first ever Youth Olympics Gold medal
3 10m Air Pistol Women Shooting Manu Bhaker Manu Bhaker has become the 1stIndian shooter to win gold in Youth Olympic Games

Sergio Perez extends F1 contract with Force India for 2019
Force India has announced a one-year extension for 2019 for Formula One Mexican driver Sergio Perez.

Sergio Perez extends F1 contract with Force India for 2019Key Points:
i. Sergio Perez has been with Force India since 2014. He is in 7th position in the 2018 championship standings. He has held the 7th position since 2016.
ii. He has achieved 5 podium finishes in his career. His best finish of this season was a third place at Azerbaijan. He is 28 years old.
About Force India:
♦ Formula One racing team and constructor based in Silverstone, United Kingdom, with an Indian license
♦ Team Principal & CEO – Otmar Szafnauer

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Solidarity day – October 20
On 20th October 2018, National Solidarity day was observed in India.
Key Points:
i. National Solidarity day is observed in India on October 20 every year. On October 20, 1962, China started the attacks on India and the Sino-Indian War started.
ii. National Solidarity Day is an annual reminder of fundamental unity. This day honours our Armed Forces who guard our extensive borders.