24 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

National News

ADB To Provide USD750 Million Loan To India For Railway Track Electrification 


i. Multilateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced that it has signed an agreement to provide USD 750 million equivalent in Indian rupee long-term financing to electrify railway tracks in India. 

ii. It is the largest single non-sovereign loan ever committed by ADBto Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) to fund the railways track electrification project.

Useful info:

  • Takehiko Nakao is the President of the Asian Development Bank.
  • Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines.

SEBI, IRDAI Set Up Regulatory Sandbox For Fintech Innovations

i. After the Reserve Bank of India released a draft framework for setting up a regulatory sandbox (RS) for fintech players in the counter, the market and insurance regulators  SEBI and IRDAI have also launched similar initiatives.

ii. RS is an infrastructure that helps fintech players live test their products or solutions, before getting the necessary regulatory approvals for a mass launch. It saves start-ups time and cost. 

Useful info:

  • SEBI Headquarter: Mumbai, Chairperson: Ajay Tyagi.
  • IRDAI Chairman- Subhash Chandra Khuntia, Headquarters in-Hyderabad.

MoU Signed Between DBT And DAE On Cancer Research

i. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under Ministry of Science and Technology and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), under Prime Minister of India, has signed an MoU for supporting joint collaborative research programmes in the area of Cancer. 

ii. The DAE was represented by its Tata Memorial Centre, which also functions as coordinating centre on behalf of The National Cancer Grid of India. 

International News

British PM Theresa May Announces Resignation

i. British Prime Minister Theresa May announces resignation from her post. She will resign on 7 June. 

ii. Her announcement triggers the start of a contest to replace her as Conservative leader and Prime Minister. 

SCO Meeting Of Council Of Foreign Ministers Held In Bishkek

i. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj represented India in the meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. 

ii. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also attended the meeting.

Useful info:

  • The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • India became a full member of the China-dominated grouping in 2017.
  • Along with India, Pakistan was also granted the SCO membership in 2017.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy Sworn In As Ukraine’s New President

i. Volodymyr Zelenskiy took the oath of office as the president of Ukraine and immediately announced that he is dissolving the Verkhovna Rada, the country’s parliament.

ii. In his inaugural speech, Zelenskiy called for the dismissal of several top security officials. He has replaced Petro Poroshenko. 

Useful info:

  • Ukraine Capital: Kyiv, Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia.

Appointments

Jagan Mohan Reddy To Be Sworn In As CM of Andhra Pradesh

i. IAndhra Pradesh, YSR Congress Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy will be sworn in as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh on 30th of May at Vijayawada. 

ii. Once sworn in, he will replace N Chandrababu Naidu has resigned as Andhra Pradesh CM.

4 Judges Elevated To Supreme Court of India

i. The Centre has cleared four names recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for elevation as judges of the apex court. The four appointed judges are Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice A S Bopanna, Justice B R Gavai and Justice Surya Kant.

ii. Law Ministry has issued the notification after President Ram Nath Kovind signed their warrants of appointment. Supreme Court will reach its full sanctioned strength of 31 judges after the appointment of four new judges. 

Useful info:

  • CJ Ranjan Gogoi is the present Chief Justice of India.

Banking and Economy News

India’s Economy To Grow 7.5% By 2020: OECD Report 

i. As per the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Economic Outlook, India’s economic growthwill regain strength and approach 7.5% by 2020 buoyed by rural consumption and subdued inflation.

ii. As per the report, Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in India is projected to strengthen to close to 7.25% in FY19.

RBI Allows Modern Currency Chests To Hike Service Charges

i. The Reserve Bank of India has announced that it will allow large modern currency chests to increase the service charges on cash deposited by non-chest bank branches from the existing rate of Rs5 per packet of 100 pieces to a higher rate subject to a maximum of Rs8 per packet. 

ii. For this, only a currency chest (CC) that fulfils the minimum standards will be eligible to be classified as a large modern CC

Useful info:

  • RBI 25th Governor: Shaktikant Das, Headquarters: Mumbai, Founded: 1 April 1935, Kolkata.

23 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

Defence News

Brahmos Air Missile Successfully Launched From Su-30 MKI Aircraft

i. Indian Air Force successfully fired the BrahMos air version missilefrom its frontline Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft. 

ii. The air-launched BrahMos missile is a 2.5-ton supersonic air to surface cruise missile with ranges of close to 300 km, designed and developed by BAPL. 

Useful info:

  • Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa is the present Chief of Air Staff of Indian Army.

Lt Bhawana Kanth, 1st Woman To Qualify To Go To Day Missions On Fighter Jet

i. Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth became the first woman pilot of the Indian Air Force to qualify to undertake missions by day on a fighter aircraft. 

ii. She completed the Day Operational syllabus on MiG-21 Bison. Bhawana joined the fighter squadron in 2017 and flew the first solo on MiG-21 Bison in 2018.

Tech Mahindra Signs Rs300 crore Defence Contract With Indian Navy

i. Tech Mahindra announced its biggest defence order worth over Rs 300 crore with the Indian Navy. As part of the ‘Armed Forces Secure Access Card’ (AFSAC) Project, Tech Mahindra will implement RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) based Access Control System across all naval bases and ships.

ii. The new AFSAC Card will replace the existing paper-based Identity Card for all Navy personnel including dependents and ex-servicemen. 

Miscellaneous News

5th Smart Cities India 2019 Expo Inaugurated In New Delhi

i. The 5th Smart Cities India 2019 expo, including Transport India, Solar India, Buildings India and Water India expos, was inaugurated by Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoUHUA) at the Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

ii. Organised by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) and Exhibitions India Group, the event builds upon Government of India’s ‘Smart Cities Mission’ through a display of a vast array of products and solutions relevant to building smart cities in India.

International News

WHO Declares Algeria, Argentina Malaria-Free

i. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Algeria and Argentina as malaria-free, with no recorded cases of indigenous transmission of the disease since 2013 and 2010 respectively.

ii. It accounted for an estimated 219 million cases from 87 countries and over 400,000 related deaths in 2017, according to WHO’s World malaria report 2018.

Useful info:

  • Malaria parasite was first discovered in Algeria by French physician Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran in 1880.
  • Algeria Capital: Algiers, Currency: Algerian dinar.
  • Argentina Capital: Buenos Aires, Currency: Argentine peso.

US, Japan, South Korea, Australia Hold 1st Naval Drills In Western Pacific

i. U.S. Navy ships conducted joint drills with warships from allies Japan, Australia and South Korea in their first combined exercise in the Western Pacific.

ii. The Pacific Vanguard exercise near the U.S. island of Guam takes place ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan, as Washington looks to allies in Asia to help counter China’s military might in the region.

Business News

HDFC Group Overtakes Tata Group As India’s Most Valuable

i. The HDFC group has overtaken the 151-year-old Tata group to emerge as India’s most valuable by way of market capitalization (m-cap). 

ii. The combined market value of the five listed companies of the HDFC group – HDFC, HDFC Bank, HDFC Life, HDFC Asset Management and Gruh Finance stood at Rs 11.66 lakh crore while the combined m-cap of 29 Tata group companies stood at Rs 11.64 lakh crore, about Rs 2,000 crore less than that of the HDFC group.

Ranks and Reports

Kids Right Index 2019: India Ranks 117, Iceland Tops

i. India stands in a lowly 117th position out of 181 countries in theKidsRight Index, the annual global index which ranks how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve child rights. Iceland secured the top position in the index followed by Portugal.

ii. Countries are judged on five indicators: right to life, right to education, right to health, right to protection and enabling environment for child rights.

Awards

Insurer Bharti AXA Bags Claims Excellence Award

i. Bharti AXA Life Insurance, a private life insurer, has been conferred with the FICCI Claims Excellence Award

ii. The insurer improved its individual claim settlement ratio, the number of claims paid to the number of claims received, to 96.85% in the financial year 2017-18. 

Business News

Shyam Saran To Be Conferred With Japan’s ‘Order of the Rising Sun’ Award

i. Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran will be conferred with Japan’s second highest national award, ‘Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star’. 
ii. He will be conferred with this award for his contributions to strengthen the strategic ties and enhancing mutual understanding between India and Japan. 

Useful info:

  • ‘The Order of the Rising Sun’ is a Japanese government honour established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji.

Sports News

Sethu FC Crowned As Indian Women’s League Champions

i. Sethu FC turned around a first-half deficit to clinch their first ever Indian Women’s League trophy after defeating Manipur Police at the Guru Nanak Stadium, in Ludhiana, Punjab.

Obituaries

Renowned Filmmaker & Film Historian Vijaya Mulay Passes Away

i. Renowned filmmaker, film historian, researcher and educationist Vijaya Mulay passed away at the age of 98 in New Delhi. 

ii. The film was entered into the Manheim Film Festival. She is most famously known for her 1974 film Ek Anek Aur Ekta, which was awarded the National Film Award for Best Educational Film.

22 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

National News

ISRO Successfully Launched Earth Observation Satellite ‘RISAT-2B’

i. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched the ‘RISAT-2B’ Satellite from the Sriharikota’s, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR. 

ii. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C46) lifted-off from the First Launch Pad and injected RISAT-2B into an orbit of 556 km, about 15 minutes and 25 seconds after lift-off.

iii. The RISAT-2B is a radar imaging earth observation satellite, weighing about 615 kg. The satellite is intended to provide services in the field of agriculture, forestry and disaster management. 

iv. The all-weather, radar imaging satellite has the capability to observe and image the earth from about 500 kms.

Useful info:

  • ISRO Director: K. Sivan, Headquarters: Bengaluru, Established in: 1969.

2019 Lok Sabha Polls Record Highest Ever Voter Turnout In History

i. As per Election Commission of India, the 2019 Lok Sabha elections witnessed a voter turnout of 67.10% (interim), which is the highest ever voter turnout in the history of general elections.

ii. The previous highest voter turnout of 66.44% was recorded in 2014. 

Useful info:

  • It was the 17th General Elections that was conducted in India.
  • Sunil Arora is the Chief Election Commissioner of India.
  • Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra are 2 Election Commissioner of India. 

Taiwan Expo 2019 Begins In New Delhi

i. Taiwan Expo 2019 began in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
ii. The representative of Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre Tien Chung-Kwang and Chairman of Taiwan External Trade Development Council, TAITRA James CF Huang inaugurated the three-day event in the presence of Joint Secretary Praveen Bonigala and ITPO Chairman LC Goyal. 

International News

TAPI Pipeline Meeting Held In Turkmenistan

i. The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline meeting was held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The groundbreaking of the TAPI gas pipeline will be held in Pakistan in October 2019.

ii. The TAPI gas pipeline project is expected to be completed by 2022 in Pakistan. The TAPI project, supported by the United States and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has been touted by Turkmenistan since the 1990s.

World Bank, CommBank Team Up For ‘World 1st’ Blockchain Bond Transaction

i. The World Bank and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) have teamed up to enable recording of secondary market bond trading using blockchain tech.

ii. The institutions announced that their successful recording of a secondary transaction for bond-i, a blockchain-operated debt instrument, on a distributed ledger shows the “vast potential” of the technology, and marks the first bond to have both issuance and trading recorded on a blockchain platform.

Useful info:

  • Bond-i was first issued in August 2018 by the World Bank, with the CommBank being a sole arranger. 

Saray Khumalo Becomes 1st Black SA Woman To Conquer Mount Everest

i. South African Saray Khumalo has reached the highest point on the planet becoming the first black African woman to scale Mount Everest. 
ii. This was her fourth attempt at climbing Mount Everest. In a previous attempt in May 2017, Khumalo had to be rescued from Mount Everest by helicopter.

Useful info:

  • Mount Everest is the world’s highest mountain at its official elevation of 8 848m above sea level.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay were the first people to reach the mountain’s summit on May 29, 1953.

Awards

Oman Author Jokha Alharthi Wins Booker International Prize

i. An author from Oman, Jokha Alharthi has won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for “Celestial Bodies”, the story of three sisters of a desert country confronting its slave-owning past and a complex modern world.

ii. Jokha Alharthi, the first Arabic-language writer to take the prize, will split the 50,000 pounds or 64,000 US dollar purse with her UK-based translator, Marilyn Booth. 

Business News

Facebook Registers New Fintech Firm in Switzerland

i. Social media giant Facebook has apparently formed a new financial tech firm, Libra Networks LLC, in Geneva, Switzerland. 

ii. Libra Networks was registered in Geneva by Facebook Global Holdings II LLC. Facebook registered the trademark “Libra” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office back in June, which was reportedly part of its secretive in-house crypto project.

Ola Launches Credit Card In Tie-Up With SBI Card

i. Ride-hailing company Ola has launched Ola Money SBI Credit Card in partnership with SBI Card, one of India’s largest credit card issuers.

ii. Powered by Visa, the Bangalore-based company aims to provide a flexible and convenient payment system alongside several benefits to its customers. 

Useful info:

  • Hardayal Prasad is the MD & CEO of SBI Card.
  • SBI Card was launched in October 1998 by the State Bank of India and GE Capital.
  • SBI Card is headquartered in Gurgaon, Haryana.

Important Days

International Day for Biological Diversity: 22 May

i. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 22 May, the date of the adoption of its text, as the International Day for Biological Diversity on 20 December 2000. 

ii. The theme for International Day for Biological Diversity 2019 is ‘Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health’. 

Ranks and Reports

India To Grow At 7.1% In FY’20: UN Report

As per the report by the United Nations, India’s economy is projected to grow at 7.1% in the fiscal year 2020 on the back of strong domestic consumption and investment. Indian economy expanded by 7.2% in 2018.

According to the report, GDP growth is a downward revision from the 7.4% estimated in January 2019. The World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2019 Mid-year Update noted that growth projections for 2019 have been revised downward in all major developed economies.

Useful info:

  • United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA.
  • It was founded on 24 October 1945. 
  • Mr Antonio Guterres of Portugal is the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Obituaries

Comedian And Co-Founder of ‘The Comedy Store’, Sammy Shore Passes Away

i. Sammy Shore, an actor and stand-up comedian who co-founded the Comedy Store, passed away. He was 92. 

ii. Shore co-founded The Comedy Store with screenwriter and actor Rudy de Luca in 1972.

 

21 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

Awards

Indian Peacekeeper To Be Honoured Posthumously By UN

i. Police Officer Jitender Kumar, an Indian peacekeeper is among the 119 military, police and civilian personnel who will be honoured with a prestigious UN medal 2019 for courage and sacrifice in the line of duty.

ii. Police Officer Jitender Kumar made the supreme sacrifice while serving in the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Central African country of Congo. 

iii. He will be honoured posthumously with the Dag Hammarskjold Medal as the world organisation observes the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. 

Useful info:

  • India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin.
  • India is the fourth largest contributor of uniformed personnel to the UN peacekeeping.

Kapil Sharma Acknowledged As Most Viewed Stand-up Comedian In India And Abroad

i. Comedian-actor Kapil Sharma has been acknowledged as the most viewed stand-up comedian in India and abroad by the World Book of Records London. 

ii. Having started his career as a stand-up comedian, Kapil initially performed on several comedy shows. 

Important Days

Anti-Terrorism Day: 21st May

i. May 21 is chosen as Anti-terrorism day in India to commemorate the death Anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi died in a terrorist attack.

ii. On this day Anti Terrorism pledge is taken in all the government offices and other public institutions. He served as the prime minister from 1984 to 1989.

Useful info:

  • Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was the youngest Prime Minister of India.

UAE Celebrates World Day For Cultural Diversity On May 21

i. On 21st May, the UAE celebrated World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development to highlight its efforts in promoting tolerance and cultural diversity.

ii. The event coincides with the country’s declaration of 2019 as the Year for Tolerance. The UAE has cultural relations with many countries and is an active member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO. 

Useful info:

  • UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.
  • Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay.

Appointments

Joko Widodo Elected President Of Indonesia For 2nd Term

i. Indonesia’s Joko Widodo has been re-elected as president of the country, beating rival Prabowo Subianto, a retired general. 

ii. Widodo and his vice-presidential running mate Ma’ruf Amin won the election by a 55.5% to 44.5% margin over Subianto and Sandiaga Uno.

Useful info:

  • Indonesia Capital- Jakarta, Currency- Indonesian rupiah.
  • Ambassador of India to Indonesia: Pradeep Kumar Rawat.

Miscellaneous News

NITI Aayog Pushes For Rs7,500-crore Proposal For AI Platform

i. Niti Aayog has circulated a cabinet note to provide Rs 7,500 crorefor the establishment of AIRAWAT, a cloud computing platform along with research institutes.

ii. This is part of the policy think tank’s proposal to create an institutional framework for artificial intelligence (AI) in the country. 

Useful info:

  • NITI Aayog: National Institution for Transforming India.
  • NITI Aayog CEO: Amitabh Kant, Vice Chairman: Rajiv Kumar.

Banking And Business News

Reliance Beats Indian Oil Corporation, Becomes Biggest Indian Company

i. Reliance Industries has toppled state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to become the country’s biggest company by revenue. 

ii. The Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate, in the 2018-19 fiscal year that ended March 31, reported a turnover of Rs 6.23 lakh crore. In comparison, IOC posted a turnover of Rs 6.17 lakh crore for the fiscal. 

SBI Ties Up With FMCG Arm Of The Art of Living

i. The State Bank of India (SBI) has announced a strategic partnership with the FMCG arm of The Art of Living – Sri Sri Tattva.

ii. Under this partnership, YONO users can avail a discount of 15% on the entire range of products offered by Sri Sri Tattva such as food, personal care, healthcare, homecare, BYOGI apparels and Shankara skincare products.

Useful info:

  • FMCG stands for Fast Moving Consumer Goods.
  • SBI Chairperson: Rajnish Kumar, Headquarters: Mumbai, Founded: 1 July 1955.

Sports News

Brooks Koepka Returns To World No. 1 After 4th Major Title

i. Brooks Koepka (of USA) returned to the top of the world rankings after his nerve-jangling second straight US PGA Championship victory at Bethpage Black. 

ii. The 29-year-old American has now won four major titles in his last eight starts and is the first man to ever hold back-to-back titles in two majors at the same time.

Obituaries

3 time Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda Passes Away

i. The former Formula One driver and three-time world champion Niki Lauda has passed away at the age of 70. 

ii. He hailed from Austria. Niki Lauda, who won titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984, was hugely admired, respected and liked within F1. He won two titles for Ferrari and one for McLaren.

20 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

NATIONAL NEWS

Kerala becomes first Indian State to tap into Masala Bond Market

Kerala became the first state to tap into masala bond market by listing the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB)’s masala bond worth of USD 312 million (Rs 2,150 crore) in London Stock Exchange (LSE)’s International Securities Market (ISM).

  • It has a fixed interest rate of 9.723% per annum. The bond issue builds on the Kerala government’s focus to get multinational corporations to invest in the state.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

TAPI meeting took place in Turkmenistan

A meeting on the development of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, also known as Trans-Afghanistan pipeline held in Turkmenistan recently.

  • Groundbreaking of the TAPI gas pipeline will be held in Pakistan in October this year.
  • The TAPI gas pipeline project is expected to be completed by 2022 in Pakistan.
  • The TAPI project, supported by the United States and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has been supported by Turkmenistan since the 1990s.

BANKING & FINANCE

Nilekani-led panel on digital payments submits report to RBI

A Reserve Bank of India-appointed committee headed by Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekanihas submitted its suggestions on promoting digital payments to Governor Shaktikanta Das.

  • In January, the RBI had set up the five-member panel on deepening digital payments with a view to encouraging digitisation of payments and enhance financial inclusion through digitisation.

HDFC Capital launches ‘HeART’ to mentor real estate technology companies

HDFC Capital Advisors, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HDFC Ltd, launched a new initiative called ‘HDFC Affordable Real Estate and Technology Program (HeART). It aims to mentor, partner and invest in real estate technology companies that drive innovation and efficiencies within the affordable housing ecosystem.

  • HDFC Capital Advisors said that as part of the HeART initiative, it will provide a platform to real estate technology companies with innovative products aimed at creating efficiencies and lowering costs in each part of the development cycle of real estate projects.

SPORTS

Karolina Pliskova wins Italian Open 2019 women’s title

Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova swept past Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4 to win the Italian Open in Rome. She clinched her 13th career title.

Rafael Nadal clinches Italian Open 2019 men’s title

In Tennis, defending champion Rafael Nadal of Spain has clinched the Italian Open 2019 title after beating Novak Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 in the final in Rome.

  • This is Nadal’s ninth Italian Open title. It is the 81st title of Nadal’s career.

BFA launches two new formats of game – AirBadminton & Triples

The world body governing Badminton, BFA, has launched two new formats of the game —AirBadminton and Triples with new dimensions of the court and an innovative shuttlecock called Airshuttle. Traditional competitive badminton has been an indoor game.

  • In the new formats launched globally at Guangzhou, AirBadmintion will be outdoor sports. In Triples format, the match will be played between a team of three players each with presence of at least one female.

AWARDS

Indian short film wins Nespresso Talents award in Cannes

Indian filmmaker, Achyutanand Dwivedi’s film, “Seed Mother”, won the third prize in the international section of Nespresso Talents 2019 in Cannes.

  • The three-minute film celebrates the exceptional spirit of Rahibai Soma Popere, a woman who champions the use of local seeds and traditional methods of farming in villages of Maharashtra.
  • This year’s theme was ‘We Are What We Eat’, aimed at exploring the world, experiencing diversity, and sharing experiences and knowledge through food.
  • The Nespresso 2019 first prize in the international section was won by New Zealand’s Josh Morrice for “Subak”, about rice cultivation in Bali, while the second prize went to Mexican filmmaker Marco Aurelio Celis’ “Ruffo”.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Metrology Day

World Metrology Day is an event occurring on the 20th of May celebrating the International System of Units. The date is the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. Metrology is the study of measurement.

  • The theme of World Metrology Day 2019 is “The International System of Units – Fundamentally better.”

World Bee Day

To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators (such as bees, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds), the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day.

19 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

NATIONAL NEWS

ISRO Director K Sivan inaugurates Young Scientist Programme

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Director K Sivan inaugurated the Young Scientist Programme (YUVIKA). The programme is aimed at imparting basic knowledge of science and space technology to school-going students from different states and Union Territories (UT) of the country in order to arouse their interest in space related activities.

  • The participants will be attending a residential training programme at 4 ISRO centres – Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram; U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Bengaluru; Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, and North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC), Shillong.

India sets Guinness World Records of ‘largest laundry lesson’

With 400 young Indian men participating across the country to learn laundry lessons to share the responsibility of cleaning clothes along with the female members of their homes, India achieved the Guinness World Records certificate for the largest laundry lesson recently. 

  • National award-winning actor Anil Kapoor joined the function which was initiated by Ariel India and hosted by Mandira Bedi. The event was part of the #sharetheload campaign.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

BSE launches BSE StAR MF App for its Mutual Fund Platform

Leading stock exchange BSE said it has launched ‘BSE StAR MF’ app to enable more participation and help mutual fund distributors process transactions faster. “BSE StAR MF mobile app supports real-time client registration and paperless transactions, creates and uploads mandate for SIPs, generates the basket of multiple orders, tracks and allows the distributor to analyse his business at his fingertips.

  • BSE StAR MF is the exchange’s mutual fund platform which helps distributors purchase and redeem mutual fund units on behalf of their clients.

BSNL partners with Google to expand WiFi footprint

On the occasion of World Telecom Day on 17 May, state-run telecom major BSNL has partnered with Google to increase access to its WiFi footprint in the country. With the launch of this service, people across the country will be able to enjoy BSNL’s free WiFi services.

  • This initiative will allow customers use BSNL’s high speed internet services on WiFi. BSNL is also taking steps to increase the rural WiFi footprint, promoting the government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative.

Tech Mahindra collaborate with Rakuten Aquafadas

IT services firm Tech Mahindra and French digital content publishing firm Rakuten Aquafadassigned an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to collaborate on building enhanced customer experience offerings.

  • Rakuten Aquafadas and Tech Mahindra aim to build a Customer Experience Offering leveraging the suite of software that Rakuten Aquafadas provides for digital publishing.

SPORTS

ICC releases official World Cup 2019 song

The International Cricket Council (ICC) released its official song ‘Stand By’ for the forthcoming Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, that begins on May 30 in England and Wales.

  • The song, a collaboration between new artist LORYN and Rudimental will be played in ground and city events across the tournament as the official song to this summer’s showpiece event.

OBITUARIES

Former swimming champion M B Balakrishnan passes away

Former South Asian Games swimming gold medalist M B Balakrishnan passed away in a road accident. He won a gold in the National Games at Guwahati in 2007 and later rewrote the 50m backstroke national record in July 2010 at the Senior National Championships in New Delhi.

  • He won the 100m and 200m backstroke events at the South Asian Games the same year. 

18 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

Defence News

Indian Navy Successfully Test-Fires MRSAM Missile 

i. The Indian Navy has successfully test-fired a Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM), achieving a significant milestone to enhance its anti-air warfare capability.

ii. The test-firing of the missile was undertaken on the western seaboard by Indian naval ships Kochi and Chennai.

Useful info:

  • The ship was commissioned on April 12, 1990.

Indian Coast Guard Ship Vigraha Decommissioned

i. The Indian Coast Guard ship (ICGS) Vigraha was decommissioned atVisakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. It is a frontline offshore patrol vessel (OPV). 

ii. It was commissioned into service on April 12, 1990. It has played an instrumental role in protecting the east coast of India for 29 years of service from 1990 to 2019.

Useful info:

  • Sunil Lanba is the 23rd Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy.
  • Vice Admiral Karambir Singh has been appointed as the next Chief of Naval Staff.

Summits Held

3rd India-Botswana Hold Foreign Office Consultations In Delhi

i. The third round of Foreign Office Consultations between India and Botswana was held in New Delhi. The Indian side was led by Joint Secretary, East and Southern Africa in the Ministry of External Affairs Dr. Neena Malhotra. 

ii. The Botswana side was headed by Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation of Botswana Government, Tapiwa Mongwa.

Useful info:

  • Botswana Capital: Gaborone, Currency: Botswana pula.

11th India-Iran Joint Consular Committee Meeting Held In New Delhi

i. The 11th Joint Consular Committee Meeting between India and Irantook place in New Delhi. Mr. 

ii. The meeting provided an opportunity to review the status of ongoing cooperation in consular and visa related issues and to discuss ways and means to further expand people to people contacts and promote friendly exchanges between India and Iran.

Useful info:

  • Iran Capital: Tehran, Currency: Iranian rial.

Awards

UNDRR Confers Dr P.K. Mishra With Sasakawa Award 2019

i. United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)conferred Sasakawa Award 2019 for Disaster Risk Reduction to Dr. Pramod Kumar Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister of India.

ii. The award was announced at the Award Ceremony during the ongoing 6th Session of Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) 2019 at Geneva.

Useful info:

  • The United Nations Sasakawa Award is the most prestigious international award in the area of Disaster Risk Management.

Ranks and Reports

GSI Report: Arunachal Has Highest 35% of India’s Graphite Deposits

i. The Geological Survey of India (GSI) in its report revealed that about 35 % of India’s total Graphite reserves are found in Arunachal Pradesh. This is the highest found in the country. 

Useful info:

  • Geological Survey of India (GSI) was founded in 1851 with primary goal of finding coal deposits for the Railways.
  • It is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines and it is Headquartered in Kolkata.
  • Graphite is the most stable allotrope of Carbon, with standard entropy being zero.

Sports News

ICC World Cup 2019: USD 10 million On Offer, Winner To Earn 4 million

i. Ten million US Dollars or a little more than 70 crore rupees are on offer in the upcoming ICC men’s cricket World Cup 2019. The 46-day tournament will be played across 11 venues in the United Kingdom from 30th of May.

ii. Besides a trophy, the World Cup winner will earn a cash award of 4 million US dollars (about 28 crore rupees) which is the highest prize money on offer in the history of the tournament. 

Useful info:

  • 2015 World cup was held jointly in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Australia (5th title) was the champion team.
  • New Zealand team was runner up.

Obituaries

Veteran Telugu Actor Rallapalli Venkata Narasimha Rao Passes Away

i. Veteran Telugu actor Rallapalli Venkata Narasimha Rao passed away in Hyderabad following a cardiac arrest. He was 74. 

ii. He was a five-time winner of the prestigious Nandi award in undivided Andhra Pradesh.

17 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

National News

NSG Commandos Summit Mount Everest In Maiden Attempt

i. Commandos of the premier counter-terror force National Security Guard (NSG) created history as they scaled the Mount Everest (world’s highest peak) in their maiden attempt. 

ii. A seven-member team of NSG, led by Lt Col J P Kumar, successfully unfurled the Indian flag at the 8,848-metre tall peak. 

Useful info:

  • A bill for the creation of NSG was introduced in the parliament in August 1986.
  • It received the assent of the President on September 22, 1986, and it formally came into being from that date.
  • Sudeep Lakhtakia is the Director General of NSG.

International News

Donald Trump Unveils Merit-Based Immigration System

i. US President Donald Trump has rolled out a merit-based immigration system from which foreigners, including hundreds and thousands of Indian professionals and skilled workers, waiting to get Green Cards or permanent legal residency stand to benefit. 

ii. As per the proposed system, permanent legal residency would be given based on points for their age, knowledge, job opportunities and civic sense. The proposals significantly increase the quota for skilled workers from the existing nearly 12% to 57%.

Useful info:

  • Washington DC is the capital city of the USA.
  • Washington DC was formerly known as District of Columbia.

Taiwan Becomes First Country In Asia To Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

i. Taiwan has approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, a landmark decision that makes the self-ruled island the first place in Asia to pass gay marriage legislation. 

ii. The successful bill includes limited adoption rights for same-sex couples.

Saudi Arabia Approves Permanent Residency For First Time 

Image result for Saudi Arabia Approves Permanent Residency For First Timei. The Saudi government has approved for the first time a scheme that gives permanent residency to certain expatriates, allowing them to own real estate in the kingdom and reside with their families without a Saudi sponsor.

ii. The “Privileged Iqama” system will offer a permanent residence scheme and one that can be renewed annually to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds.

Useful info:

  • Saudi Arabia Capital: Riyadh, Currency: Saudi riyal.

Appointments

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank Appoints Nitin Chugh As Next MD and CEO

i. Ujjivan Small Finance Bank Limited has appointed Nitin Chugh as its next Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from December 1, 2019.

ii. Bank’s current MD and CEO, Samit Ghosh is retiring on November 30, 2019. The bank has received the approval of its application for Chugh’s appointment, from the Reserve Bank of India. 

Jeffrey Rosen Confirmed As US’ Next Deputy Attorney General

i. Jeffrey Rosen was confirmed as the United States’ latest deputy attorney general by the US Senate after his predecessor, Rod Rosenstein, left the department.

ii. Rosenstein oversaw Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations into Russian collusion in the 2016 Presidential elections, before stepping down from his post in April.

Business News

IBM Garage To Co-Create AI-based Automation Solutions With HDFC ERGO

i. IBM India has tied-up with HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company, India’s third-largest non-life insurance provider in the private sector, to co-create new Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solutions.

ii. Leveraging IBM Garage that uses data-driven insights to develop end-to-end strategies and solutions for business transformation, teams from HDFC ERGO and IBM Services will work together to develop and test new solutions. 

BSE Launches BSE StAR MF App For Its Mutual Fund Platform 

i. Leading stock exchange BSE has launched ‘BSE StAR MF’ app to enable more participation and help mutual fund distributors process transactions faster.

ii. As per the BSE, this mobile app supports real-time client registration and paperless transactions, creates and uploads mandate for SIPs, generates the basket of multiple orders, tracks and allows the distributor to analyse his business at his fingertips.

Useful info:

  • BSE MD & CEO: Ashishkumar Chauhan.

Important Days

International Day of Light: 16 May

i. May 16th is celebrated globally as the International Day of Light. 2019 marks the global celebration of the second edition of the event.

ii. It is an official observance of UNESCO that provides an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of light and the role it plays in science, culture, and art, education, sustainable development, communications, and energy.

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day: 17th May

i. World Telecommunication & Information Society Day is observed all over the world on 17th May. 

ii. The theme forWorld Telecommunication & Information Society Day 2019 is ‘Bridging the Standardization Gap’.

Useful info:

  • 17th May also marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.

16 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

National News

India Signs ‘Christchurch Call to Action’

i. India signed the ‘Christchurch Call to Action’ in Paris. The agreement came in the backdrop of the attacks on mosques in March and is aimed at stopping the abuse of the Internet by extremists.

ii. India was represented by Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Lokpal Website Launched

i. The website of the Lokpal www.lokpal.gov.in has been launched. It was inaugurated by Chairperson Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose in presence of all the Members of Lokpal in New Delhi.

ii. It provides basic information about the working and functioning of the anti-corruption ombudsman. 

iii. The Lokpal is the first institution of its kind in India established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 to inquire and investigate into allegations of the corruption against public functionaries.

Captain Aarohi Pandit Becomes 1st Woman In World To Cross Atlantic Ocean Solo In a LSA

i. Captain Aarohi Pandit, a 23-year-old pilot from Mumbai became the world’s first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a Light Sports Aircraft (LSA)

ii. She achieved the feat when she landed her tiny aircraft at Iqaluit Airport in Canada, after a gruelling 3,000 km long flight, under adverse and extreme weather conditions. 

Nepali Sherpa Kami Rita Scales Mt Everest For 23rd Time; Creates World Record

i. Nepalese Sherpa climber Kami Rita has scaled Mount Everest for a 23rd time, breaking his own record for the most successful ascents of the world’s highest peak. He first scaled Everest in 1994.

ii. He reached the 8,850-metre (29,035-feet) summit with other climbers via the Southeast Ridge route. 

Sikkim Statehood Day: 16th May

i. President Ram Nath Kovind has greeted the people of Sikkim on their statehood day. 

ii. It was on 16th May 1975 that Sikkim officially merged with the Indian union and became the 22nd state of the country.

Banking/Business/Economy News

RBI Releases ‘Vision 2021’ For Payment Systems For ‘Cash-Lite’ Society

i. Reserve Bank of India has released a vision document ‘Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision 2019 – 2021’, with its core theme of ‘Empowering Exceptional E-payment Experience’ for ensuring a safe, secure, convenient, quick and affordable e-payment system.

ii. The move comes as the apex bank expects the number of digital transactions to increase more than four times to 8,707 crores in December 2021. 

Useful info:

  • RBI 25th Governor: Shaktikant Das, Headquarters: Mumbai, Founded: 1 April 1935, Kolkata.

India’s Overall Exports Registered Positive Growth Of 1.34% In April 2019

i. According to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry data, India’s overall exports, combining Merchandise and Services, in April 2019 is estimated to be around 44 billion US dollars with a positive growth of 1.34% over April 2018. 

ii. Overall imports in April 2019 is estimated to be around 53 billion dollars with a positive growth of 4.5% over the corresponding period of 2018. 

Useful info:

  • Suresh Prabhu is the Minister of Commerce & Industry Ministry.

SIDBI Launched A Pilot Scheme For Fintech NBFCs

i. To give a fillip to digital lending, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has put together a pilot scheme to extend financial assistance of up to Rs10 crore to new-age fintech non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) engaged in financing small businesses and other income-generating activities.

ii. SIDBI has set the exposure cap for lending to a single new-age fintech NBFC at 30% of NOF of the new-age fintech NBFC, subject to maximum cap of Rs10 crore. 

Useful info:

  • SIDBI was set up in 1990 under an Act of Indian Parliament.
  • Mohammad Mustafa is the Chairman & Managing Director of SIDBI.

Infosys Foundation’s FCRA Licence Cancelled

i. The Home Ministry has cancelled the registration of Bengaluru-based NGO Infosys Foundation for alleged violation of norms in receiving foreign grants

ii. All non-government organizations (NGOs) are mandatorily required to be registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act or FCRAto receive foreign funding.

Useful info:

  • Infosys Foundation was established in 1996.
  • Sudha Murthy is the chairperson of the Foundation. 

Tech Mahindra Partners With French Based Firm Rakuten Aquafadas

i. IT services firm Tech Mahindra and French digital content publishing firm Rakuten Aquafadas signed an MoU to collaborate on building enhanced customer experience offerings.
ii. Rakuten Aquafadas and Tech Mahindra aim to build a Customer Experience Offering leveraging the suite of software that Rakuten Aquafadas provides for digital publishing.

Appointments

Sanjiv Puri Appointed ITC’s New Chairman

i. ITC Managing Director Sanjiv Puri has been appointed as the chairman by the Board of Directors. His new designation will now be chairman and managing director. 

ii. He has been the Managing Director since 2018. He was appointed on the board in December 2015 and as the CEO in February 2017. 

Sports News

China To Host 2023 Asian Cup Football Tournament

i. China has become the sole contender to host Asian Cup Football tournament in 2023 after South Korea has announced to withdraw its bid to host the game. 

ii. The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced that it had pulled out to strategically focus on a joint bid with North Korea to host the Women’s World Cup in the same year.

15 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

National News

India To Co-Chair Consultative Group Of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery

i. India is unanimously chosen as co-chair of the Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)for the fiscal year 2020. 

ii. The decision was taken during the CG meeting of GFDRR held in Geneva, Switzerland, on the margins of the 6th Session of the GPDRR 2019.

iii. The CG Meeting was co-chaired by Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, the European Union (EU) and World Bank. This is the first time that the country has been afforded the opportunity of co-chairing the CG meeting of GFDRR.

Useful info:

  • GFDRR is a global partnership that helps developing countries better understand and reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change.
  • India became a member of CG of GFDRR in 2015 and expressed its interest to co-chair in last meeting of CG held in October 2018.

Indian Navy’s 1st Full-Fledged SSB Opened At Kolkata

i. The Indian Navy’s first full-fledged Services Selection Board (SSB)was inaugurated by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba at Diamond Harbour near Kolkata, West Bengal. 

ii. The SSB (Kolkata) is located at a place that was previously occupied by a Naval Coastal Battery. This is the fifth SSB of the Indian Navy. The other boards are located in Bhopal, Bengaluru, Visakhapatnam and Coimbatore. 

MoU Signed For Rudraksh Plantation In Ganga Basin

i. A tripartite MoU was signed between National Mission for Clean Ganga, HCL Foundation and INTACH for taking up a project of ‘Plantation of Rudraksh Trees in Uttarakhand’ as a part of CSR initiative under the ‘Namami Gange’ Programme.

ii. The project aims at planting 10,000 Rudraksh trees in the catchment area of river Ganga in Uttarakhand in association with local community and other stakeholders. 

International News

UN Imposed Sanctions On Terror Group ISIS Khorasan

i. The UN has imposed sanctions on terror group ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K) for its links with Al-Qaeda and involvement in several attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

ii. The United Nations Security Council’s 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee sanctioned Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan (ISIL-K). It is now subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

Useful info:

  • ISIS-K is known as ‘ISIS’ South Asia Branch, ISIL Khorasan, Islamic State’s Khorasan Province’ and ‘South Asian Chapter of ISIL’.

Banking/Business/Economy News

HDFC Partners With IMGC For Home Loans

i. Housing finance major HDFC Limited has partnered with India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation (IMGC) to offer a mortgage-guaranteed home loan product.

ii. The partnership aims to make it possible for HDFC to further penetrate the home loan market and access an enlarged customer base, helping them to own a home of their choice. 

Useful info:

  • Aditya Puri is the MD of HDFC Bank.
  • Headquarters in Mumbai, Maharashtra. 

WPI Inflation Slides To 3.07% in April

i. Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation for April eased to 3.07%, from 3.62% in April 2018. The latest WPI print was also lower than 3.18% recorded in March this year. Build up inflation for the financial year so far was 0.75%, lower than 0.86% in the corresponding period of the previous year.

ii. The overall WPI print for April was dragged down by a sharp decline in manufactured products (which accounts for two-third weightage in the WPI basket), which came in at a 30-month low of 1.7% (2.16% in March 2019).

Airtel, HDFC Life Insurance Tie Up To Offer Free Cover

i. Bharti Airtel and HDFC Life Insurance have tied up to offer life cover for customers who get a prepaid recharge done.

ii. Airtel’s new Rs249-prepaid bundle (which will include 2 GB data, unlimited calls across networks, and 100 SMSes per day) will also offer a cover worth Rs4 lakh from HDFC Life.

Paytm Partners With Citibank To Launch 1st Credit Card- ‘Paytm First Card’

i. Digital payments company Paytm, in association with Citibank,launched its first credit card called Paytm First Card. 

ii. The card is issued by Citibank and doesn’t involve any hidden fees or charges. Paytm First Card comes with unlimited cash back and will be accepted in India as well globally.

Useful info:

  • Paytm Founder: Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
  • Parent Organization: One97 Communications.

Appointments

BharatPe Ropes In Salman Khan As Brand Ambassador

i. Merchant service and UPI payments app BharatPe has roped in Bollywood actor Salman Khan as its brand ambassador. 

RBI Appoints R Gandhi On YES Bank Board

Image result for RBI Appoints R Gandhi On YES Bank Board i. The Reserve Bank of India has appointed its former Deputy Governor, R Gandhi, on the board of private sector lender YES Bankas an additional director.

ii. The appointment has been done in exercise of powers conferred under sub-section (1) of Section 36AB of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. 

Useful info:

  • Yes Bank Headquarters: Mumbai, Founder: Rana Kapoor.

Maj Gen A K Dhingra Appointed As 1st Special Operations Division Commander

i. Ace Special Forces operative and Sri Lanka war veteran Major General AK Dhingra has been appointed as the first head of country’s first tri-services Special Operations Division comprising commandos from all three services.

ii. The Armed Forces Special Operations Division has been set up by the government to undertake joint operations by three services and will have elements from the Army’s Parachute Regiments SF, Marine Commandos (MARCOS) of the Navy and the Garud Commandos of the Indian Air Force.

Important Days

International Day of Families: 15 May

i. In 1993, the General Assembly decided in a resolution that 15 May of every year should be observed as The International Day of Families.

ii. The Theme for 2019 International Day of Families is “Families and Climate Action: Focus on SDG 13″. 

14 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

National News

DRDO Successfully Conducts Flight Test of ABHYAS

i. India successfully conducted the flight test of ABHYAS – High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) from a test range in Odisha. 

ii. The trial, carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Balasore, was tracked by various radars and electro-optic systems.

Useful info:

  • DRDO Chairman: G Satheesh Reddy, Estd. in: 1958, Headquarters in: Bengaluru.

Doordarshan Launches Online Souvenir Store In Partnership With Amazon India

i. Doordarshan has launched an online souvenir store for its viewers on Amazon India so that one can easily access it. 

ii. Doordarshan is India’s first broadcaster which has started Souvenir store. A. Surya Prakash Chairman, Prasar Bharati launched DD souvenir store on Amazon India. 

WTO Ministerial Meeting of Developing Countries Concludes In New Delhi

i. The WTO Ministerial Meeting of Developing Countries concluded in New Delhi. The Ministerial Meeting began with a dinner hosted by the Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu. 

ii. The Director-General of WTO, Roberto Azevedo, was also present at the occasion.

International News

Cannes Film Festival Begins In France

i. The Cannes Film Festival has begun in France. Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare is leading the Indian delegation at Cannes and will inaugurate India Pavilion.

ii. The Pavilion will showcase Indian cinema across linguistic, cultural and regional diversity, with the aim of forging international partnerships in distribution, production, filming in India. Indian Delegation will also release a special poster to mark the golden jubilee of International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2019). 

Useful info:

  • For Cannes 2019, Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has been named the jury president.
  • It was Founded in 1946 as International Film Festival.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu 4-Day Visit To Vietnam: Complete Highlights 

i. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu undertook an official visit to Vietnam at the invitation extended by Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, Vice President of Vietnam. 

ii. He was also invited by the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha and the organizers of the 16th UN Day of Vesak that is being held at the Tam Chuc Pagoda in Hanam Province in Vietnam to deliver the keynote address during the inaugural session.

Useful info:

  • Vietnam Capital: Hanoi, Currency: Vietnamese dong, Vice President:Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh.

Appointments

LIC Mutual Fund Appoints Dinesh Pangtey As CEO

i. LIC Mutual Fund appointed Dinesh Pangtey as the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Pangtey was Director and CEO at LIC Group’s private equity division LIC HFL AMC.

ii. He joined LIC as a direct recruit officer in 1984. He has also served as Regional Manager Marketing channel in Western Zone spanning the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa.

Useful info:

  • LIC Mutual Fund was established on 20th April 1989 by LIC of India.

Banking News

RBI Slaps Rs1-crore Fine On Nainital Bank

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs1 crore on Nainital Bank for its failure to fully automate the non-performing asset (NPA) identification process, despite specific directions issued in this regard.

ICICI Bank Joins Hands With Travel Portal Goibibo

i. ICICI Bank announced the launch of a co-branded multi-currency card with online travel booking portal Goibibo. 

ii. The card also includes benefits of up to Rs20,000, including gift vouchers of Rs15,000 from Goibibo. 

In a 1st, NABARD Announces Rs700-cr Venture Capital Fund For Agriculture, Rural Startups

i.The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) announced Rs 700-crore venture capital fund for equity investments in agriculture and rural-focused startups.

ii. NABARD has been contributing to other funds till now and this is the first time that the rural development bank has launched a fund of its own. 
iii. The fund has been launched by Nabventures, a subsidiary of NABARD, and has a proposed corpus of Rs 500 crore with an option to retain over-subscription of Rs 200 crore, called as the greenshoe option.

Useful info:

  • NABARD Chairman- Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Headquarters- Mumbai, Established on- 12 July 1982.
  • NABARD is now 100% owned by the government.

Awards

CEAT Cricket Rating Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List of Winners

i. CEAT Cricket Rating (CCR) Awards 2019 were announced in Mumbai. 

ii. India captain Virat Kohli bagged the International Cricketer and Batsman of the Year award during the CCR International awards. Pacer Jasprit Bumrah was adjudged as International Bowler of the Year.

Sports News

Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup 2019: Japan’s Yosuke Asaji Wins Title

i. India’s Rahil Gangjee finished tied 39th while Viraj Madappa ended tied 53rd at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup held in Japan. Japan’s Yosuke Asaji won the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup 2019 at the Sobu Country Club.

India’s GS Lakshmi Becomes 1st Ever Female ICC Match Referee

i. India’s GS Lakshmi has become the first ever woman to be appointed to the ICC International Panel of Match Referees and will be eligible to referee international games with immediate effect.

ii. The 50-year-old first officiated as a match referee in domestic women’s cricket in 2008/09. Lakshmi has overseen three women’s ODI matches and three women’s T20I matches. 

Useful info:

  • The first woman on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires was Kathy Cross, who retired in 2018.

13 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

BOOKS & AUTHORS

World’s first women’s cricket magazine “CRICZONE” launched

The inaugural issue of world’s first exclusive women’s cricket magazine ‘Criczone‘ was released in Jaipur with Indian team vice-captain Smriti Mandhana featuring as the cover story.

  • Top international cricketers like Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smiriti Mandhana alomg with overseas players like Danielle Wyatt, Sophie Devine attended the event which is held on the sidelines of the inaugural women’s T20 challenge.

SPORTS

Sana Mir becomes highest wicket-taking spinner in ODI

Pakistan off-spinner Sana Mir has become the most successful women’s ODI spinner in history after she took her 147th wicket, highest ever by any spinner in One-day International (ODI) cricket.

  • It was her 118th appearance for Pakistan and surpassed West Indies spinner Anisa Mohammed and Australia’s Lisa Sthalekar, who had accumulated 146 wickets each. Currently, Mir is placed on the third position in the ICC’s ODI bowling ranking, which is topped by Indian pacer Jhulan Goswami.

India’s Jehan scores big win at Spanish Grand Prix

India’s racing sensation Jehan Daruvala created history during the Spanish F1 Grand Prix, scoring a dramatic victory in the inaugural round of the all-new FIA Formula 3 Championship in Barcelona. 

  • Jehan began his career in karting at the age of 10. Since then he has won the Indian National Karting Championship, the Malaysian Junior Yamaha Karting Championship, the FIA CIK Asia Pacific KF3 Championship and the British Superone National Karting Championship.

Djokovic outsmarts Tsitsipas to clinch third Madrid title

Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic defeated Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 in the Madrid Open final, claiming his third title at the clay-court event and 33rd ATP Masters 1000 crown.

  • The world No. 1 took one hour and 32 minutes to defeat the rising Greek star, adding a third championship in the Spanish capital to the trophies he won in 2011 and 2016. At the end of his 250th week atop the ATP rankings, Djokovic managed to clinch his second title of the year.

Indian-American student wins ESPN Esports championship

A team from Georgia Institute of Technology, including an Indian-American student, has won “Hearthstone Collegiate Championship”, part of the first-ever ESPN Collegiate Esports ChampionshipShiv Chopra along with two Georgia Tech teammates swept off Minnesota team 3-0 in the finals in Houston.

  • Some 400 college teams from the US and Canada participated in the Hearthstone championship qualifiers starting in March this year.

AWARDS

Van Dijk wins Premier League Player of the Season award

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been named Premier League Player of the Season. By doing so, he became the first defender to win the Player of the Season award in seven seasons, after Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany in 2011-12.

  • However, the 27-year still has to wait to see whether his team will lift the Premier League trophy.

OBITUARIES

Actor Peggy Lipton passes away at 72

The Mod Squad actor Peggy Lipton passed away at the age of 72. Lipton was born in 1946, in the city of New York. Later, she began her acting career in 1965. She appeared in television shows such as Bewitched and The Magical World of Disney. However, she gained recognition for her extraordinary work in Mod Squad.

  • The veteran actor won her first Golden Globe award in 1971 after getting nominated for four times.

Acting guru Roshan Taneja passes away

Roshan Taneja, who trained scores of Hindi film actors including the likes of Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Jaya Bachchan, Anil Kapoor and Shatrughan Sinha, has passed away. He was 87.

  • Roshan Taneja, known to many as the ‘pioneer of method acting’ in India, is held in high regard in the Hindi film industry. He had been training talent since the 1960s, first at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune and later at his private school in Mumbai, the Roshan Taneja School of Acting.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Nurses Day 2019

International Nurses Day is observed on May 12 every year to honour the contributions made by nurses in the society. It is celebrated on birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

  • Famous for being the ‘Lady with the Lamp’, Florence Nightingale’s far-sighted ideas and reforms have greatly influenced the modern healthcare and the Nurses Day honours her. International Nurse Day theme this year is “Nurses – A Voice to Lead – Health for All”. This year Nurses Day also coincides with Mother’s Day.

12 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

NATIONAL NEWS

UNEP Report states that India & China tops a list of nations for illegal sand mining

India and China top a list of countries where illegal sand mining has become a major environmental problem, according to a report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). While we cannot do without sand, responsible mining should be incentivised, said the report, ‘Sand and Sustainability: finding new solutions for environmental governance of global sand resources’.

  • Unsustainable sand mining was being fed by growth of construction work in China, followed by India, the report said.
  • Useful info:
    UNEP Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya

SPORTS

Manchester City legend Yaya Toure retired from Football

Former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has announced his retirement from football, with a view to concentrating on a career in coaching. Toure joined Man City from Barcelona in 2010 and went on to make 316 appearances for the Citizens, scoring 79 goals and providing 50 assists on the way to winning three Premier League titles, three League Cups and one FA Cup. 

  • During his time at Barca, Toure made 118 appearances, collecting six goals and eight assists, winning five major honours including the Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey.

Chennai Super Kings Become 2nd Team To Register 100 IPL Wins

Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings by 37 runs to become the first franchise to register 100 Indian Premier League wins. The Rohit Sharma-led side reached the feat in their 175th match which includes a win via Super Over and 75 losses.

  • Fellow-three time champs Chennai Super Kings are the second most successful franchisewith 93 matches won from 152 played with 58 lost including one in the Super Over.

Mumbai Indians defeat Chennai Super Kings by 1 run to win unprecedented fourth IPL title

The summit clash of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 between Mumbai Indians (MI) and defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is being held at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.

  • Lasith Malinga redeems himself as he dismisses Shardul Thakur on the last ball of the match and with that Mumbai beat Chennai by 1 run in the end.

APPOINTMENTS

Parveen Pardeshi Appointed As The New BMC Chief

Chief Miniter of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis has appointed Parveen Pardeshi as the new BMC chief. Praveen will replace Ajoy Mehta. Pardeshi was the additional chief secretary to Chief Minister Fadnavis. Pardeshi is a 1985-batch IAS officer who is one of the top bureaucrats in Fadnavis’ government.

  • He has earlier served in various departments of the Indian Administrative services, including the Revenue Department and the Forest Department.

OBITUARIES

83-year old renowned singer, Yakshagana ‘bhagawatha’ Nebburu Narayana Hegde passes away

Yakshagana ‘bhagawatha’ (singer) Nebburu Narayana Hegde passed away at his residence at Nebburu in Sirsi taluk of Uttara Kannada. He was 83. He was popularly called Nebburu in the coastal belt particularly in the Badagu Thittu school of Yakshagana.

  • He was a recipient of the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, the Karnataka Yakshagana and Janapada Academy Award.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Migratory Bird Day 2019

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was initiated in 2006 helds on 12 and is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. Every year people around the world take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, education programmes, exhibitions and bird-watching excursions to celebrate WMBD.

  • The Day is celebrated on second Saturday in May and October. In 2019, this Day will be celebrated on 11 May and 10 October. The theme for WMBD 2019 is “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution!”

11 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

National News

1st Apache Helicopter Formally Handed Over To IAF

i. First AH-64E (I) – Apache Guardian helicopter was formally handed over to the Indian Air Force at Boeing production facility in Arizona, USA. 

ii. IAF had signed a contract with US Government and M/s Boeing Ltd in Sep 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The first batch of these helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by July 2019.

Useful info:

  • Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa is the present chief of Air Staff of Indian Air Force.

Konkan Railways Signs Contract Agreement With Nepal To Supply DEMU Train Sets

i. Konkan Railways Corporation Ltd has signed a contract agreement with Nepal’s Department of Railways to supply two 1600 HP DEMU train sets

ii. These trains will be used to operationalise railway link between Jayanagar in India and Kurtha in Nepal. The train sets will be manufactured by the Integrated Coach Factory, Chennai. 

Useful info:

  • Nepal Prime Minister: K P Sharma Oli, Capital: Kathmandu. 

New Heat-Sensing Snake Species Found, Named After Arunachal Pradesh

i. Pune-based Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) team found a new species of reddish-brown pit viper snake with a unique heat-sensing system, the first in past 70 years in India.

ii. The species is named ‘Trimeresurus arunachalensis’ after Arunachal Pradesh, where it was discovered. This makes Arunachal Pradesh the only state to have a pit viper named after it.

National Technology Day: 11th May

i. National Technology Day is observed every year on 11th of May in India, acting as a reminder of the anniversary of Shakti.

ii. Shakti is the Pokhran nuclear test which was held on the 11th of May, 1998. The first nuclear test Pokhran with a codenamed as ‘Smiling Buddha’ was carried out in May 1974. 

International News

Ireland Becomes 2nd Country To Declare Climate Emergency

i. Ireland has declared a climate emergency in their country, to be the second country after Britain to do so. 

ii. Britain’s parliament became the first in the world to declare a climate emergency, passing the largely symbolic motion on May 1. 

Useful info:

  • Dublin is the capital city of Ireland.

Business News

Bharatpe Launches India’s 1st UPI Bahi Khata For Merchants

i. BharatPe – India’s first Fintech start-up enabling payments for merchants through interoperable UPI QR codes, has announced its foray into merchant services with a new app. 

ii. Along with UPI payments, the app now allows merchants to manage their entire Bahi Khata and even note receivables and payables seamlessly. 

Appointments

Actress Dia Mirza Selected Among 17 New ‘SDG Advocates’ Of UN

i. Indian actress Dia Mirza and Alibaba chief Jack Ma are among the 17 global public figures appointed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as the new advocates to drive action and solidify global political will for the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Awards

Actress Anne Hathaway Receives Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

i. Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in Los Angeles, US.

Obituaries

ITC’s Non-Executive Chairman YC Deveshwar Passes Away

i. The Padma Bhushan awardee and ITC’s Non-Executive Chairman YC Deveshwar passed away at the age of 72. He spearheaded the diversification of ITC to an FMCG company. 

ii. He stepped down as chief executive of ITC in 2017. Between 1991 and 1994, he led state-owned carrier Air India as the Chairman and Managing Director.

Tamil Novelist and Sahitya Akademi Awardee Thoppil Mohamed Meeran Passes Away 

i. Noted Tamil novelist and Sahitya Akademi awardee Thoppil Mohamed Meeran, passed away in Pettai, Tamil Nadu. 

ii. Saaivu Naarkkaali (The Reclining Chair), released in 1995, bagged him the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in 1997. 

10 MAY 2019, CURRENT AFFAIRS

National News

Indian Army To Commemorate 2019 As ‘Year of next of kin’

i. The Indian Army is commemorating this year as the ‘Year of Next of Kin’ and plans to reach out to the next of kin of battle casualties, ex-servicemen and serving soldiers to inform them of entitled financial benefits, welfare schemes and help resolve pension-related pro kiblems.

ii. The Directorate of Indian Army Veterans will be the nodal agency.

Useful info:

  • Chief of the Army Staff – General Bipin Rawat.

WTO Ministerial Meeting of Developing Countries To Held New Delhi

i. A WTO Ministerial meeting of developing countries is being hosted by India in New Delhi

ii. Sixteen developing countries, Six Least Developed Countries (LDC) (Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Brazil, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda) and DG, WTO participated in the meeting.

International News

Australian Flight Carrier, Qantas Operated World’s First Zero-waste Flight

i. The Australian flight carrier, Qantas has operated the world’s first zero-waste commercial flight from Sydney to Adelaide which disposed of all waste through compost, reuse or recycle.

ii. The Australian airline Qantas has planned to eliminate 100 millionsingle-use plastics by the end of 2020 and also to reduce 75% of airline’s waste by the end of 2021.

Useful info:

  • Australia Capital: Canberra, Currency: Australian Dollar.

Facebook Chooses London As Base For WhatsApp Payments 

i. Facebook has chosen London as the centre for the global roll-out of WhatsApp pay, before the social media giant launches its digital payments service on the mobile messaging platform in India.
ii. WhatsApp would hire nearly 100 people in London to focus on the digital payments service and additional operations staff would be hired in Dublin.

Important Days

5th United Nations Global Road Safety Week

i. The 5th United Nations Global Road Safety Week is being observed from May 6 to 12, 2019. It is celebrated once in two years.

ii.  The theme of the Road Safety Week is ‘Leadership for Road Safety’.

Useful info:

  • WHO Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland, Director-General: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Banking/Business News

RIL Acquires British Toy Retailer Hamleys

i. Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) acquired British toy retailer ‘Hamleys’in an all-cash deal. RIL has acquired Hamleys in 67.96 million pounds (about Rs. 620 cr).

ii. With this announcement, Reliance will get hold of 100% shares of Hamleys Global Holdings Limited (HGHL).

Bank Credit Grows 13.2% In FY19 

i. Bank credit grew by 13.2% in the financial year 2018-19 as compared to 10.3% in the previous financial year, mainly aided by loans to services and retail sector. 

ii. Deposit growth also gained momentum, growing by 10% as compared to 6.7% a year ago.

iii. RBI Data-

  • The Reserve Bank of India’s data on the deployment of gross credit across different sectors shows healthy credit growth in the services sector followed by retail sector.
  • Credit growth in services sector till the middle of February was 23.7% and in retail sector it was 16.7%. Credit growth in the industry sector was 5.6%.

Sports News

Amul To Sponsor Afghanistan In 2019 World Cup 

i. Amul has been announced as the principal sponsor of the Afghanistancricket team for the upcoming World Cup, slated to be held in England and Wales from May 30.

ii. The logo of brand Amul will appear on the leading arm of the Afghanistan team playing jerseys as well as on the training kits throughout the showpiece event.

Useful info:

  • Afghanistan Capital: Kabul, Currency: Afghan Afghani.