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Current Affairs October 31 2018

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DoNER Minister Dr Jitendra Singh laid foundation stone of ‘Technology Facility Center’ at Jorhat, Assam
On October 29, 2018, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh laid the foundation stone of new Science Centre, the “Technology Facility Centre” (TFC) in Jorhat, Assam.

i. This will be established in the premises of the CSIR-North East Institute of Science & Technology (NEIST).
ii. For setting up the new Science Centre, the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) had allocated Rs.40 crore for its construction.
iii. It would be institutionalized by Department of Science & Technology (S&T) and CSIR.
iv. This will work as a Center of Excellence for all the eight States of Northeast for promoting research as well as job creation.
Other News:
i. The two programmes run by the Ministry of DoNER and NEC were mentioned. They are:
“North-Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project” (NERCORMP) and “North East Rural Livelihood Project” (NERLP).
ii. These will help in improving livelihood opportunities for unemployed youth, farmers, women and artisans.
♦ Capital: Dispur.
♦ Chief Minister:  Sarbananda Sonowal.
♦ Governor: Jagdish Mukhi.
♦ National Parks: Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park (UNESCO Natural World Herigate Site), Orang National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
♦ Airports: Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Dibrugarh Airport, Jorhat Airport, Tezpur Airport, Silchar Airport.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari & Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan laid foundation for India’s largest Dry Dock at Cochin Shipyard
On October 30, 2018, the Union Minister for Shipping , Road Transport and Highways, Mr Nitin Gadkari and Kerala Chief Minister Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan laid foundation of India’s largest Dry Dock at Cochin Shipyard.

About the Dock:
i. The new Dry Dock is being constructed at a cost of Rs 1799 Crore and is expected to be completed by May 2021.
ii. It will be 310 m long, 75m wide, with a depth of 13 m and drought of 9.5m.
iii. It will be designed to handle both ship building and repairs, and bear a load up to 600 T/m.
iv. It will have a water treatment plant and Green Belt Development.
v. It will be used to build specialized and technologically advanced large vessels like LNG Carriers, drill ships etc for the Indian Navy.
Other News:
i. Two 500 capacity passenger vessels built by CSL for Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration was also launched. These will help enhance intra island connectivity.
ii. He also launched 3 National Highways projects in Kerala, costing Rs 1557 Crore at an event in Eranholi in Thalassery in Kannur district. These include:

  • Construction of the 18.6 km, 4 lane Thalassery – Mahe bypass (NH-66) at a cost of Rs 1181 Crore ;
  • Construction of 0.78 km, 4-lane Railway Over Bridge near Neeleshwaram town (NH-66) at a cost of Rs 82 Crore and
  • Widening of 46.72 km from Nattukal to ThanavuJn (NH-66) to two lane with paved shoulder at a cost of Rs 294 Crore.

Ministry of Shipping:
♦ Union Minister: Mr Nitin Gadkari.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. P. Radhakrishnan, Shri. Mansukh L. Mandaviya.
♦ Capital: Thiruvananthapuram.
♦ Chief Minister: Pinarayi Vijayan.
♦ Governor: Palanisamy Sathasivam.
♦ National Parks: Periyar National Park, Silent Valley National Park, Pambadum Shola National Park, Mathikettan National Park, Eravikulam National Park, Anamudi Shola National Park.

Twelve Projects worth Rs 929 Crore approved under Namami Gange programme
On 29th October 2018, Executive Committee (EC) of the National Mission for Clean Ganga approved 12 projects worth Rs. 929 Crore under the Namami Gange programme in its 16th meeting.
Key Points:
Some of the approved projects are:
i. Two Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) for Delhi for creating 340 MLD waste treatment capacity at a cost of Rs 580 Crore.
ii. Two projects for West Bengal at a cost of Rs 50 Crore.
iii. Many projects were sanctioned for Uttar Pradesh with total cost of Rs 128 Crore.
iv. Two more projects were sanctioned under CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) category which will be funded by corporate groups.
v. INDORAMA Charitable Trust is funding the Ghat and Crematoria Work at Badrinath and Gangotri in Uttarakhand at a cost of Rs 26.33 Crore.
vi. Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) will be performing renovation and beautification of Ganga River Bank at Katwa, West Bengal at a cost of Rs 0.35 Crore.
About National Mission for Clean Ganga:
♦ Director General – Rajiv Ranjan Mishra
♦ Type – implementation arm of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA)

3 Less Polluting Firecrackers named – SWAS, SAFAL and STAR released by CSIR
On October 29, 2018, the Ministry of Science & Technology announced development of Less Polluting Firecrackers named SWAS, SAFAL and STAR.
i. These have been developed by CSIR and these are not only environment friendly but 15-20 % cheaper than the conventional ones.
ii. The full forms of the firecrackers are:

  • SWAS : safe water releaser,
  • SAFAL: safe minimal aluminium  and
  • STAR : safe thermite cracker.

Other News:
i. For the first time in India, an Emission testing Facility has been established at CSIR-NEERI.
ii. Additionally, a raw material characterization facility will also be coming up.
iii. CSIR would further install additional facilities for raw materials testing at Sivakasi.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ President: PM Narendra Modi.
♦ Vice-President: Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

 “Gandhian Thoughts and Sanitation” seminar organized in Wardha, Maharashtra
A seminar titled “Gandhian Thoughts and Sanitation” was organized by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation inWardha district, Maharashtra.
i. The seminar was focused on the Gandhian ideology on sanitation and its implementation through Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).
ii. Topics like appropriate technologies in rural sanitation, organic waste management, and preventive sanitation linked with Nai Talim and industrialization: Gandhi’s concept of Swachh evam Swawalambhi Sankul, were discussed.
iii. At the end of the seminar a visit to Sevagram was done, to experience and learn from Gandhiji’s time there.

5th National Summit on Good and Replicable Practices and Innovations in Public Health Care System in Kaziranga in Assam
On 30th October 2018, the 5th National Summit on Good and Replicable Practices and Innovations in Public Health Care Systems in India started at Kaziranga in Assam.

i. The summit will be held for 3 days. The objective of the summit is to share and learn the good practices implemented by several states and organizations to improve the health sector.
ii. Senior officials, public health experts, and experts from academic institutions are taking part in the summit.

India’s First Robotic Dinosaurs Gallery inaugurated in Kapurthala, Punjab
On 27th October 2018, India’s first gallery on robotic dinosaurs was opened to the public at the Pushpa Gujral Science City, in Kapurthala, Punjab.
Key Points:
i. This gallery is a joint initiative of the Union and state governments. The Pushpa Gujral science city is the biggest project of its kind in northern India.
ii. It has been set up in 72 acres of land on Jalandhar-Kapurthala road in Punjab.
iii. The gallery was inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala and the Director General of the science city, Mohd Tayyab.
iv. A total of 7 moving dinosaurs, made of steel and silica gel with motors, have been added to the existing 46 exhibits of dinosaurs.
v. The new gallery will display the story of birth and evolution of dinosaurs in a unique way. It has both robotic dinosaurs and manually operated ones. It has been built at a cost of Rs. 1.50 crore.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Punjab:
♦ Jhajjar Bacholi wildlife sanctuary
♦ Kathlaur Kushlian wildlife sanctuary
♦ Takhni-Rehampur wildlife sanctuary


World’s first sovereign Blue Bond launched by Seychelles, assisted by WB
On October 29, 2018, Republic of Seychelles launched the world’s first sovereign blue bond worth US$15 million to finance sustainable marine and fisheries projects.

The bond was announced at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali by the Vice-President of the Republic of Seychelles, Vincent Meriton.
i. Seychelles is the first nation to pioneer such a financing instrument.
ii. The World Bank assisted in developing the blue bond and reaching out to the three investors: Calvert Impact Capital, Nuveen, and U.S. Headquartered Prudential Financial, IncStandard Chartered acted as placement agent for the bond.
iii. The Seychelles blue bond is partially guaranteed by a US$5 million guarantee from the World Bank (IBRD) and further supported by a US$5 million concessional loan from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
iv. The grants and loans will be provided through:

  • The Blue Grants Fund and Blue Investment Fund, managed respectively by the Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT)and the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS).

v. The bond aims to:

  • Support for the expansion of marine protected areas,
  • Improved governance of priority fisheries,
  • The development of the Seychelles’ blue economy,

Contributing to the World Bank’s South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Program.
After tourism, the fisheries sector is the country’s most important industry, contributing significantly to annual GDP and employing 17% of the population.
♦ Capital: Victoria.
♦ Currency: Seychellois rupee.


WTO to set up dispute panel on India-US case on export subsidies
On October 30, 2018, the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement body has set up a panel to look into the India-US export-subsidy dispute.
i. This was established on the request of the US to examine the allegations on India’s export incentive measures.
ii. The US has challenged India’s export subsidy programmes such as Merchandise Exports from India Scheme in the WTO, asserting that these initiatives were harming its companies.
iii. According to US, all WTO members, including India, are required to provide subsidies consistent with provisions of the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.
India’s exports to the US stood at USD 47.9 billion in 2017-18, while imports aggregated at USD 26.7 billion during the same fiscal.
♦ Headquarters: Geneva Switzerland.
♦ Membership: 164.
♦ Founded: Jan 1, 1995.
♦ Director-General: Roberto Azevêdo

6th tranche of electoral bonds announced ;SBI the only issuing authority
On October 30, 2018, the Finance ministry announced the issuance of the 6th tranche of electoral bonds that will take place from November 1-10, 2018.
i. State Bank of India (SBI), has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through its 29 authorised branches with effect from November 1 to 10.
ii. The 29 specified SBI branches are in cities like New Delhi, Gandhinagar, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Mumbai, Jaipur, Lucknow, Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati.

  • The sale of first batch of electoral bonds took place from March 1-10, 2018.
  • The second phase was launched from April 2-10.
  • The third phase took place during May 1-10,
  • The fourth tranche was launched from July 2-11 and
  • The fifth was between October 1 and October 10.

About Electoral Bonds:
♦ The government notified the Electoral Bond Scheme in January 2018.
♦ As per provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or entities incorporated or established in India.
♦ Registered political parties that have secured not less than 1 per cent of the votes polled in the last election of the Lok Sabha or legislative assembly will be eligible to receive electoral bonds.
♦ An electoral bond will be valid for 15 days from the date of issue.
♦ No payment would be made to any payee political party if the bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period. The bond deposited by any eligible political party into its account would be credited on the same day.
♦ It is an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding.


Jair Bolsonaro elected President of Brazil
On 29th October 2018, Jair Bolsonaro was elected the president of Brazil.

Key Points:
i. Jair Bolsonaro won 55.2% of the votes surpassing his rival Fernando Haddad of Workers’ Party, who had secured 44.8% in the presidential election.
ii. Jair Bolsonaro will assume office as President of Brazil, on 1st January 2019. He will replace Michel Temer.
iii. Jair Bolsonaro is 63 years old. He is a former Army captain. He leads the Social Liberal Party (PSL).
About Brazil:
♦ Capital – Brasília
♦ Currency – Real
♦ Official language – Portuguese


Manipur emerges overall champions in first North East Olympic Games 2018
From 24th to 29th October 2018, the 1st edition of North East Olympic Games 2018 was held at Main Stadium Khuman Lampak Sports Complex, in Imphal, Manipur.

Key Points:
i. The North East Olympic Games 2018 was organized by Manipur Olympic Association (MOA) under the administration of the North East Olympic Association.
ii. It was inaugurated by Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh. 236 participants from Arunachal, 246 from Assam, 134 from Mizoram, 165 from Meghalaya, 224 from Nagaland, 128 from Tripura, 179 from Sikkim and 248 from Manipur, participated.
iii. The games included 12 disciplines: Athletics, Archery, Badminton, Boxing, Football, Judo, Karate-Do, Shooting, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Weightlifting and Wushu.
iv. Manipur was crowned as the overall champions. Manipur won 159 medals: 80 Gold, 48 Silver and 31 Bronze.
v. Assam came second with 140 medals: 46 Gold, 53 Silver and 41 Bronze. Arunachal Pradesh finished third with 76 medals: 18 Gold, 20 Silver and 38 Bronze.
vi. The 2nd edition of North East Olympic Games will be held in Arunachal Pradesh in 2019.

2018 Isle of Man International Chess Tournament
From 20th October to 28th October 2018, the 2018 Isle of Man Chess Tournament was held at the Villa Marina, Douglas, in Isle of Man.
Key Points:
i. Grandmaster B Adhiban from India beat Michael Adams of England in the ninth and final round, and finished tied third with 6.5 points. He was the best performing Indian at the tournament.
ii. He was tied in the third spot with Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Grischuk of Russia, Hikaru Nakamura and Jeffery Xiong of United States, Gawain Jones of England and Wang Hao of China.
iii. Poland’s Radoslav Wojtaszek is the winner of the event. Total prize money of the tournament was 133000 Pounds Sterling.
iv. India’s Vishwanathan Anand ended the final round with a draw against Wang Hao and finished with 6 points.

Elina Svitolina wins WTA Finals in Singapore
On 29th October 2018, Elina Svitolina won the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Key Points:
i. Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina defeated America’s Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and won the season-ending WTA Finals.
ii. This is the biggest title in Elina Svitolina’s career. She is the first player to go through the WTA Finals undefeated after Serena Williams in 2013.

Lewis Hamilton secures 5th world title as Max Verstappen takes Mexican GP victory
On 28th October 2018, Lewis Hamilton won his 5th drivers’ world championship and equaled Juan Manuel Fangio’s Formula One record. Max Verstappen won the Mexican Grand Prix, in Mexico.

Key Points:
i. Lewis Hamilton finished in the 4th position in the Mexican Grand Prix. This is the 3rd time he has won the drivers’ world championship title without finishing on the race podium.
ii. He has already won the drivers’ world championship in 2008, 2014, 2015 and 2017.
iii. Mexican Grand Prix results:
1 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2 – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
3 – Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
4 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Vishal bags gold, Raegan settles for silver in 2018 Egypt Junior & Cadet Open
India’s Vishal Rajveer Shah won gold and Raegan Alburquerque won silver in the 2018 Egypt Junior & Cadet Open table tennis tournament, held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, from 24th to 28th October 2018.
Key Points:
i. India’s Vishal Rajveer Shah defeated Mostafa 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 and bagged gold medal and won the mini cadet boys singles’ title.
ii. India’s Raegan Alburquerque, was defeated by China’s Ding Shixian 11-8, 10-12, 13-11, 11-9, 13-11 in the Junior Boys singles category. Raegan Alburquerque won a silver medal with a cash prize of $150.


African American playwright Ntozake Shange passes away
On 27th October 2018, African American playwright Ntozake Shange, passed away, in the United States.

Key Points:
i. Ntozake Shange was 70 years old. She had addressed sensitive issues related to racism.
ii. Her original name was Paulette Linda Williams. Some of her important works are: Daddy Says (1989), From Okra to Greens/A Different Kinda Love Story (1983), Mother Courage and Her Children (1980), For Coloured Girls, etc.

Senior composer & lyricist Yashwant Dev passes away in Mumbai
On 30th October 2018, senior composer and lyricist Yashwant Dev died in Mumbai.

Key Points:
i. Yashwant Dev was 92 years old. He had composed and written many popular Marathi songs.
ii. He had received several awards like: Gan-samradni Lata Mangeshkar Award and Gadima puraskar. He had also worked in Music section of All India Radio, Mumbai.


World Savings Day or World Thrift day – October 31
On 31st October 2018, World Savings Day or World Thrift day was celebrated all over the world.
Key Points:
i. When: On October 31, 1924, World Savings Day or World Thrift day, was established during the 1st International Savings Bank Congress (World Society of Savings Banks) in Milano, Italy.
ii. In India due to the death of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, this day is celebrated on 30th October.
iii. Why: This day creates awareness among people about the importance of saving their money in a bank.

World Cities Day
October 31 is celebrated as World Cities Day.
i. The general theme of World Cities Day is Better City, Better Life.
ii. This theme was selected because cities need support to:

  • Become resilient and develop their capacity to absorb the impact of hazards,
  • Protect and preserve human life and
  • limit damage to and destruction of public and private assets while continuing to provide infrastructure and services after a crisis.

iii. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly by its resolution 68/239.
iv. It promotes the international community’s interest in global urbanization, addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.
v. The main event of this years ‘World Cities Day’ was celebrated in Liverpool, UK.
United Nations General Assembly:
♦ Headquarters: New York, USA.
♦ President: María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés
♦ Member states: 193.

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