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Daily Current Affairs 18th & 19th Feb 2018

India’s largest train the trainers programme

  • Pullela Gopichand has initiated country’s largest train the trainers programme, inducting 1500 Physical Education teachers from across Gujarat for advanced training.
  • It aims to develop the skills of PE teachers so that they can impart the right techniques to children aspiring to make it big at sports.
  • It will look at all-round development in sports, targeting PE teachers, students & schools.

Maharashtra govt to roll out “Asmita Yojana”

  • Maharashtra govt is all set to roll out Asmita Yojana on the International Women’s Day next month.
  • Under the scheme, girls in Zilla Parishad schools will get sanitary napkin packet at Rs 5 while rural women can avail it at a subsidised rate of Rs 24 & Rs 29.
  • Beneficiary girls will be given Asmita Cards while participating SHGs will be entrusted with the task of supply & sale of sanitary pads.

Delhi, Mumbai to be world’s 10 biggest cities

  • As per the report released by United Nations’ World Urbanization Prospects, Delhi and Mumbai would be among the 10 largest cities in the world by 2030.
  • At present, Tokyo is the most populated city in the world with a population of 38 million.
  • As per the report the population in the Middle East, Asia and Africa is only going to increase by 2030.

India to get control of key port in Iran

  • India & Iran have signed a significant pact which gives India operational control of a part of strategically located Chabahar port for 18 months.
  • Agreement was signed after PM Modi held wide-ranging talks with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.
  • First phase of Chabahar port was inaugurated in Dec last year, opening a new strategic route connecting Iran, India & Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

India, Iran sign nine MoUs

  • India & Iran have signed 9 Memorandums of Understanding following the delegation-level talks b/w PM Modi & Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
  • The agreements were signed in areas like double taxation avoidance, extradition, agricultural cooperation, port lease, medicine & others.
  • Both the countries also signed an agreement on exemption from visa requirement for holders of diplomatic passports.

PM launches railway projects in Mysuru

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today dedicated to the nation, the electrification of railway line between Mysuru and KSR Bengaluru. At a function at Mysuru Railway Station, he also flagged off the Palace Queen Humsafar Express between Mysuru and Udaipur.
  • Earlier the Prime Minister visited Shravanabelagola for the Bahubali Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsava 2018.
  • He inaugurated the new steps carved at Vindhyagiri Hill by ASI. He also inaugurated the Bahubali General Hospital.

UK and India upgrade joint research on clean water and clean energy

  • UK-India research projects on ‘Water Quality Research’ and ‘Energy Demand Reduction in Built Environment’were launched today by Dr V K Saraswat, Member, National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST) India and Daniel Shah, Director, Research Councils UK (RCUK) India.
  • The ‘Water Quality Research’ programme has eight projects and ‘Energy Demand Reduction in Built Environment’ programme has four projects, with a total joint investment of up to £15 million. These projects aim to deliver mutual benefits and research solutions not only to the UK and India but also to address shared global sustainable development goals – clean water and clean energy.

India’s first artificial intelligence centre

  • Maharashtra state govt will be setting up India’s 1st institute for artificial intelligence.
  • The AI institute will give a fresh impetus to the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ & promote Mumbai as an investment destination in innovations & data analysis.
  • CM Devendra Fadnavis will unveil the plan for the institute during Magnetic Maharashtra Summit which will be inaugurated by PM Modi on Feb 18.

India slides 16 spots on globalisation index

  • According to Global Connectedness Index 2016, India dropped 16 spots to 78 from 62 in 11 years to 2015.
    India’s 16-place drop was the 2nd worst change among its neighbours in central & south Asia.
  • Georgia fared the best by moving up 43 spots to 56 while Sri Lanka was the worst, dropping 19 spots to 86.
  • The index takes into account international flows of trade, capital, information & people.

MoU Signed between BSI and NHM, UK

  • Botanical Survey of India & Natural History Museum have signed a MoU for cooperation in the field of genetic studies, research, training & conservation in India.
  • NHM will help in capacity building in areas of systematic botany & long-term conservation of plant genetic resources.
  • BSI is an organization for survey, research & conservation of plant resources, flora & endangered species of India.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Arrives in India

  • Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is on a 7 day visit to India to further strengthen strategic ties with a focus on defence and counter-terrorism besides expanding trade and investment ties.
  • Both sides are also expected to deliberate on enhancing cooperation in a civil nuclear sector.
  • His visit comes three years after PM Narendra Modi’s state visit to Canada.

Privatisation of cooperative spinning mills

  • Maharashtra govt has decided to allow privatisation of spinning mills & powerloom societies that are operated on cooperative basis across the state.
  • It will be allowed to be privatised provided they are ready to return the govt equity, loan & interest thereupon.
  • State’s new textile policy allows them to change land use, which means they can use it for reasons other than industrial purpose.

Pakistan borrows $500 million from China

  • Pakistan has contracted a commercial loan of $500 million from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to shore up its depleting reserves.
  • This is the 2nd loan that the ICBC has given to Pakistan to support its diminishing foreign currency reserves.
  • The loans are obtained to stop the downward slide of the official foreign currency reserves that currently stand at $12.8 billion.

Union Bank hit by fraud

  • Days after the fraud at PNB shook the country, Union Bank has suffered three fraudulent remittances of nearly $2 million.
  • Just like the fraud at PNB, no entries of remittances were made in the ledgers of City Union Bank & transfers were pushed through the SWIFT financial platform.
  • The transfers were made through correspondent banks even though it had not requested the transfers.

China To Host 2018 SCO Summit At Qingdao In June

  • China will host 2018 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit at Qingdao, eastern Shandong Province in June 2018.
  • China had taken over rotating chair of SCO after 17th SCO summit concluded in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan in June 2017.
  • SCO is a Eurasian economic, political and security organization headquartered in Beijing, China. It was founded in 2001.

WhatsApp to launch inter-bank money transfer

  • WhatsApp will launch a “full feature” inter-bank money transfer service in India, its biggest market, after a test involving a million users.
  • This uses customers’ phone numbers linked to bank accounts to facilitate payments.
    4 banks will join United Payments Interface which powers the payments service for WhatsApp.
  • At present ICICI Bank processes the fund transfers on WhatsApp.

Sachin made T20 Mumbai League’s ambassador

  • Sachin Tendulkar has been made the brand ambassador of the upcoming T20 Mumbai League.
  • The league will be organised by Sports India Pvt Ltd, a consortium of IIFL Group as Lead Member and Wizcraft, with the approval and sanction of the Mumbai Cricket Association.
  • 6 teams from Mumbai North, North-West, North-East, North- Central, South-Central and South will participate in the League.

Vice admiral RB pandit, AVSM assumes charge as Commandant Indian Naval Academy

  • Vice Admiral SV Bhokare, AVSM, YSM, NM handed over his responsibilities as the Commandant, Indian Naval Academy (INA) to Vice Admiral RB Pandit, AVSM after a successful tenure of over 15 months, today, Monday, 19 February 2018.

Bhuvneshwar Is The First Indian to take a 5-wkt in all formats

  • Fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar has become the first Indian bowler to take a five-wicket haul in all three formats in international cricket.
  • Bhuvneshwar is the second Indian to take a five-wicket haul in T20Is after Yuzvendra Chahal.

Foundation stone for Navi Mumbai airport

  • PM Modi has laid the foundation stone of Navi Mumbai International Airport.
  • The new airport which is expected to ease the load of congested Mumbai airport will become functional in 2019.
  • City Industrial Development Corporation is developing the airport along with GVK Group.
  • The 16,700-crore project which was overdue from past 21-year was planned in 1997 to meet the growing needs of Mumbai.

Maharashtra’s first global investors summit

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ Convergence Summit 2018.
  • This is Maharashtra’s first Global Investors Summit and is being regarded as one of the biggest such events, especially on the lines of the ‘Make In India’ initiative.
  • The summit is being attended by the top names from India Inc as well as prominent global corporates.

Pranab Mukherjee to get honorary D.Litt

  • Former President Pranab Mukherjee will be conferred an honorary D.Litt by the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology.
  • Mukherjee will be conferred the honour during IIEST convocation for his role as a public figure for many decades.
  • Mukherjee was also awarded an honorary D. Litt by Jadavpur University in December last year.

RIL eyes ₹60,000 cr. digital industrial area

  • Reliance Industries (RIL), along with global firms, is planning to invest more than ₹60,000 crore in Maharashtra in the next 10 years for establishing an integrated digital industrial area for the ‘fourth industrial revolution.’
  • “RIL, along with other global companies, will invest over ₹60,000 crore in the next 10 years in Maharashtra which will be the first integrated digital industrial area in the country,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman, RIL.

India, Indonesia begin joint drill

  • A special task force of Indian Army & Indonesian Army have begun the 6th Garuda Shakti exercise in the West Java province of the archipelago country.
  • Drill aims to build experience sharing in counter-terrorism operations, close quarter combat & other areas of special operations.
  • The exercise b/w Indian & Indonesian Special Forces highlights the increasing trust & cooperation b/w the 2 armies.

Singapore to impose carbon tax from 2019

  • Singapore said Monday it would impose a carbon tax from next year to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and make companies more competitive as global agreements on climate change take effect.
  • Finance minister Heng Swee Keat said the tax would be levied on all facilities producing 25,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions a year.
  • The tax, to be applied to all sectors, will be Sg$5.0 ($3.8) per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 to 2023, after which the levy will be reviewed and possibly raised to between Sg$10 and Sg$15 per tonne by 2030.

Axis Bank hikes MCLR by 10 basis points

  • Axis Bank has hiked its benchmark marginal cost of funds based lending rate by 10 basis points in the three month to three year buckets.
  • The bank’s 3 month MCLR is now 8.15% and 6 months at 8.30% while the 1 year rate is 8.40%.
  • This is the second time that the bank has hiked its lending rates in two months.
  • MCLR is closely linked to the cost banks pay on their deposits.

PhonePe Partners With IOCL For Deployment Of PoS Terminals

  • Digital payments entity PhonePe partnered with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) for the adoption of its indigenously-designed Point of Sale (POS) device at IOCL retail outlets.
  • As part of this partnership, customers can pay using UPI, credit and debit cards, PhonePe wallet and other external wallets like Jio Money & Freecharge for their fuel purchases, through the PoS device at 30 IOCL retail outlets in Bengaluru.

PSB to transfer officers completing 3 years

  • Central Vigilance Commission has issued an advisory to all public sector banks ordering them to transfer the officers who have completed 3 yrs as on Dec 31, 2017.
  • As per Bank’s Transfer Policy, no officer would be retained in the same post for a period in excess of 3 yrs & in the same station for a period in excess of 5 yrs.
  • CVC is an apex governmental body to address governmental corruption.

Saudi Arabia allows women to start business

  • Women in Saudi Arabia can now open their own businesses without the consent of a husband or male relative.
  • Women can now practice all their commercial transactions in Ministry of Commerce & Investment without a guardian or a notary.
  • This approach will open the door to women in Saudi to highlight their talents & ideas & translate them into a realistic business with a worthy financial return.

ISRO plans to launch 2nd space observatory

  • Indian Space Research Organisation is planning to launch the country’s second AstroSat-2 or space observatory.
  • The mission is meant to further the study of astronomy and astrophysics.
  • The advantage of having such a space observatory in outer space is that it helps observe distant planets, galaxies and other astronomical objects more clearly than from the Earth.

Paytm appoints Pallavi Shroff as board member

  • Paytm has appointed Pallavi Shroff, managing partner of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas law firm to its board of directors.
  • Her appointment will drive the growth of financial services business such as lending, insurance & wealth management.
  • She joins as an independent director & is the 7th appointee to Paytm’s board.

Shoaib Akhtar named PCB brand ambassador

  • Former Pak pacer Shoaib Akhtar has been named as the brand ambassador of Pakistan Cricket Board.
  • He was also appointed as the advisor to chairman on cricket affairs.
  • Shoaib has represented Pakistan in 46 Tests, 163 ODIs & 15 T20Is picking 444 wickets in international cricket.
  • His career had been like a roller coaster ride as his journey was marred by controversies, struggles & injuries.

Roger Federer wins Rotterdam Open title

  • Roger Federer celebrated his return to the top of the world rankings by winning his 3rd Rotterdam Open.
  • Federer thrashed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 in a one-sided final that lasted less than an hour.
  • In the Open era, only American Jimmy Connors has won more titles than Federer, with 109.
  • Federer first became world number one in 2004, but has not topped the rankings since Oct 2012.

Gundu Hanumantha Rao passes away

  • Well-known Telugu cinema comedian Gundu Hanumantha Rao passed away in Hyderabad.
  • He was suffering from heart and kidney ailments and was undergoing treatment.
  • The actor was facing a financial crisis, following which the state government and actor Chiranjeevi came forward to help with his treatment expenses.
  • He acted in nearly 400 films and received three Nandi state awards.
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