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    Important Current Affairs 20th April 2019

    NATIONAL NEWS

    INS Shakti, INS Kolkata to take part in Chinese Navys 70th anniversary celebrations.

    •   The two Indian Navy Ships (INS) are scheduled to visit Chinese port of Qingdao from 21 to 26 April to participate in an International Fleet Review to celebrate the 70th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

    •  INS Kolkata is the lead ship of the Kolkata-class stealth guided-missile destroyers of the Indian Navy.

    •  INS Shakti is tanker and supply ship.

    •  Over 60 countries would join the commemorative event for the PLA Navy’s 70th founding anniversary on April 23.

    INTERNATIONAL NEW

    A Book of poem Khooni Vaisakhi on Jallianwala Bagh massacre, released in UAE.

    • A book containing English translation of the 100-year-old classic Punjabi poem about Jallianwala Bagh massacre, ‘Khooni Vaisakhi’ released in Abu Dhabi.

    • India’s Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri commended the launch of the book.

    • The poem was translated by Mr. Suri whose grandfather, revolutionary poet and novelist Nanak Singh, a Jallianwala Bagh survivor, wrote it after witnessing first-hand the events of April 13, 1919.

    Christina Koch To Set Record For Longest Spaceflight By A Woman.

    • NASA astronaut Christina Koch going to have her mission on the International Space Station (ISS) extended to 328 days, which would set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman.

    • Koch, who arrived at the space station on March 14 is scheduled to remain in orbit until February 2020 will eclipse the record of 288 days set by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2016-17.

    AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

    India and France to hold their largest Naval Exercise VARUNA.

    • India and France are all set to hold their largest-ever naval exercise with aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines and fighters early May as part of their expanding strategic partnership.

    • The exercise has been christened 'Varuna' and will take place off Goa and Karwar from 1 May 2019.

    The conduct of Varuna exercise was reiterated in the Joint Statement made by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France, on the 10th of March 2018.

    • The two countries will be deploying their aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and FNS Charles de gaulle with their Mig-29K and Rafale-M naval fighter jets.

    • The Indian participation will also include the destroyer INS Mumbai, frigate INS Trikand with their integral helicopters, IN submarine Kalvari, P8-I aircrafts and Dornier Maritime Patrol aircraft.

    • This comes after the successful operationalisation of the logistics support agreement between India and France under which Indian warships can access the French bases like Reunion Islands and in Djibouti.

    Under the same pact, French anti-aircraft destroyer FNS Cassard had docked at the Mumbai naval port in January 2019. This was second such logistics support agreement signed by India after the one signed by it with United States (US) in 2016.

    BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

    Cholamandalam MS General Insurance got ISO 31000:2018 certification.

    • An insurance giant Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Limited has received ISO 31000:2018 certification by TUV India. Chola MS has received certification for applying risk management system which conforms to the prescribed standards.

    The Certificate is valid for a period of 3 years from April 07, 2019, to April 06, 2022.

    • ISO 31000:2018 certification:

    ISO 31000:2018 is an international risk management standard. The standard provides guidelines, principles, framework, and a process for managing risk.

    It can be used by any organization regardless of its size, activity or sector. The application of these guidelines can be customized to any organization and its context.

    Bank of Maharashtra Joins M1X change TReDS Platform for MSME Bill Discounting.

    • Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) partnered with M1Xchange Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) platform for MSME bill discounting.

    • TReDS is a digital platform to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to get their bills financed at a competitive rate through an auction where multiple registered financiers can participate.

    Mynd Solutions is a technology management firm which runs the TReDS platform of M1Xchange.

    APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

    Shri N. Kashinath designated as Member (Signal & Telecom) of Railway Board.

    • Shri N. Kashinath took over as Member (Signal & Telecom) of Railway Board.

    • He was associated with Train Describer Project, Survey for the Mobile Train Radio Communication in Northeast Frontier Railway,

    • Shri N. Kashinath belongs to the 1980 Batch of the Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE).

    Dubai based RAKEZ appointed Cricket Champion Ravi Shastri as a Corporate Ambassador.

    • Former Cricketer Ravi Shastri appointed as Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) exclusive Corporate Ambassador to the Indian Business Community. Brand Ambassador may attract more Indian business leaders to set up or expand their operations in UAE through RAKEZ. This first-of-its-kind approach is one of the many other initiatives that RAKEZ will be launching in the future to attract more investors from all over the world and boost the economic growth of Ras Al Khaimah.

    ECI appointed Bihar Ex CEO AjayV Nayak as Special Observer for West Bengal.

    • Election Commission of India (ECI) appointed Bihar's former Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).

    • Ajay V. Nayak as a special observer for West Bengal

    He is a retired IAS officer of the 1984-batch has been appointed as a special observer for West Bengal by ECI.

    • The Commission has earlier appointed Vivek Dube as the special police observer for the state.

    Deutsche Bank appoints Kaushik Shaparia as CEO For India.

    • Deutsche Bank appointed Kaushik Shaparia as the chief executive officer for India He succeeds Ravneet Gill. Gill left the bank to head private lender YES Bank. Shaparia’s appointment will be effective from May 2019.

    SPORTS:

    Bajrang regained top spot in world wrestling rankings.

    • India's Bajrang Punia has regained the world number one spot in the men's 65-kilogram Wrestling freestyle category rankings.

    The rankings were released by United World Wrestling.

    • Punia, who won Gold in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games as well as a silver in the World Championships last year, secured 58 points ahead of Akhmed Chakaev of Russia.

    • Bajrang, who is currently preparing for the Asian Wrestling Championship to be held in China from the 23rd of this month, had first reached the world number one spot in November last year.

    • He won gold at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament in Bulgaria last month.

    • Punia secured 58 points ahead of Akhmed Chakaev of Russia.

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    Important Current Affairs 26th February 2019

    National News

    PM Modi Inaugurated 40-Acre National War Memorial in New Delhi

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated a new National War Memorial, situated in the India Gate complex in New Delhi, to the nation.

    • The National War Memorial, spread over 40 acres in the India Gate complex behind the canopy, is dedicated to soldiers killed during the Indo-China War in 1962, Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka and in the Kargil Conflict in 1999, and also those in the UN peacekeeping missions.

    FAGMIL Signs MoU with Himachal Pradesh to Establish India's 4th White Cement Plant Project

    • Under its diversification programme, FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals India Limited (FAGMIL) has taken up a project to establish a white cement plant near village Nohra Dhar in Himachal Pradesh, at a project cost of approximately Rs. 605 crores.

    • It will be the 4th white cement plant in the country. The installed capacity of the plant would be 0.3 million tonnes per annum and it will generate the direct employment of approximately150 persons.

    Madhya Pradesh Government Launched ‘Mukhyamantri Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’

    • Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath launched the State Government’s flagship scheme ‘Mukhyamantri Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’ that guarantees 100 days of employment every year to urban youth from economically weaker sections.

    • Under the scheme, Rs 4,000 stipend per month during 100 days period, would be given to the youth and they will also be given skill development training in order to become independent. (Only those youths, whose family’s annual income is less than Rs 2 lakh and who are in the age group of 21-30 years, are eligible for the scheme).

    INTERNATIONAL

    India strikes back: IAF jets destroy Jaish terror camps across LoC

    • In retaliation to the deadly Pulwama terror attack, the Indian Air Force fighter jets crossed the line of control in the early hours of February 26, 2019 and attacked Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

    • The same was confirmed by the Indian Foreign Secretary, Vijay Gokhale during a press conference in New Delhi on the same day. The Foreign Secretary revealed that India has struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot.

    • The Indian Air Force used Mirage-2000 jets to drop 1000 kg of laser-guided bombs causing an estimated casualty of 200-300. In the intelligence led operation, India struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.

    Awards

    President Conferred 'Gandhi Peace Prize'

    • President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2015, 16, 17 and 18 at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

    • The award comprises a cash award of one crore rupees, a citation in a scroll, a plaque and a traditional handicraft item.

    • Here are the awardees that were facilitated at the occasion:

    1. For 2015: Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari was given the award for its contribution in Rural Development, Education and Development of natural resources.

    2. For 2016: Jointly to Akshaya Patra Foundation for its contribution in providing mid-day meals to millions of children across India and Sulabh International for its contribution in improving the condition of sanitation in India and emancipation of manual scavengers.

    3. For 2017: Ekal Abhiyan Trust for its contribution in providing Education for Rural and Tribal Children in remote areas pan India, Rural Empowerment, Gender, and Social Equality.

    4. For 2018: Japan's Yohei Sasakawa for his contribution in Leprosy Eradication in India and across the world.

    Lifetime Achievement Award For G.R. Karthikeyan

    •  G.R. Karthikeyan, father of India’s first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award at the FMSCI annual awards function.

    •  FIA president Jean Todt was the chief guest and handed over the awards.

    Appointments

     Indra Nooyi Joins Amazon’s Board of Directors

    • PepsiCo’s India-born former CEO Indra Nooyi has joined Amazon’s board of directors, the online retail giant. Starbucks executive Rosalind Brewer has also joined the Amazon Board.

    • She was Pepsico CEO from October 2006 to October 2018, where she also served as the Chairman of its board of directors from May 2007 to February 2019.

    Sports News

    Afghanistan Scores Highest Ever T20 International Score

    • Afghanistan scored 278 for the loss of three wickets from their allotted 20 overs, to register the highest-ever total in T20s at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.

    • Hazratullah Zazai scored 162 runs from just 62 balls. Zazai became the first player from Afghanistan to score 150 or more runs, and his 236-run opening stand with Usman Ghani became the highest partnership in T20Is.  

    Sri Lanka Becomes 1st Ever Asian Team To Win Test Series In South Africa

    • Sri Lanka cricket team became the first Asian side to win a Test series in South Africa after winning the series by 2-0.

    • Kusal Perera was given the Man of the Series award. Before Sri Lanka, only Australia and England have defeated South Africa in a Test series at home.

    Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta Wins Cannes International Open Trophy

    • Indian Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta lifted the Cannes International Open trophy. He took an easy draw with Pier Luigi Basso of Italy in the ninth and final round.

    • Abhijeet won the tournament with 7.5 points. It is his first solo International tournament victory.

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    Important Current Affairs 16th February 2019

    Committees:

    Rajasthan forms committees to review textbooks.

    • The Rajasthan government has set up two committees of experts and educationists to review the syllabus of school textbooks from class 1 to 8 and from class 9 to 12.

    • The committee to review the syllabus of class 1 to 8 will be coordinated by I V Trivedi.

    • The coordinator for the four-member committee for class 9-12 is the former Chairman of Rajasthan State Public Service Commission BM Sharma.

    Defense:

    IAF gets its first woman flight engineer.

    • Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal became the first woman flight engineer.

    • She was commissioned in January 2015 to the IAF's engineering branch

    • She created history when she was chosen as the first woman candidate to pursue the elite course.

    • A flight engineer is a member of an aircraft’s flight crew and requires special skills for constantly monitoring and operating its complex systems.

    Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: Takes over as COS.

    • He was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal on 26 Jan 2017 and Nau Sena Medal in 2007 by the President of India.

    BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

    RBI imposed penalty on 3 PSU banks.

    • The monetary penalty was imposed for non-compliance on monitoring of end-use of funds and on the restructuring of accounts.

    • A penalty of Rs 1.5 crore was imposed on Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and Rs 1 crore each on Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of India.

    INTERNATIONAL:

    India withdraws MFN status from Pakistan.

    • India has withdrawn the MFN (Most Favored Nation) status that it had granted to Pakistan.

    • It followed the attack in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pulwama that left 37 CRPF personnel dead.

    • The decision was taken during the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting held in New Delhi.

    • India had granted the status to Pakistan in 1996, a year after WTO’s formation.

    PM Modi on 2-day visit to South Korea.

    • PM Narendra Modi will pay a 2-day visit to South Korea from February 21 2019.

    • He will be conferred with the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize on February 22, in recognition of his national and international contributions.

    • He will also hold talks with President Moon Jae-in on a host of issues to strengthen strategic ties.

    GOVERNMENT SCHEME:

    App launched PMAY (U).

    • Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs launched the PMAY (U) Mobile App on 14 Feb 2019.

    • The app will allow beneficiaries to capture and upload high-resolution photographs of completed houses along with their families.

    • The PMAY (U) mission was launched on 25th June 2015 with an aim to provide houses to every eligible urban household in India by the year 2022.

    PM-SYM scheme implemented.

    • Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM).

    • Scheme was implemented by the Ministry of Labor and Employment on 15 Feb 2019.

    • The features of the scheme are family pension and minimum assured pension.

    • The unorganized workers whose monthly income is Rs 15,000/per month or less and belong to the entry age group of 18-40 years are eligible for the scheme.

    • Each subscriber under the PM-SYM shall receive minimum assured pension of Rs 3000/- per month after attaining the age of 60 years.

    • During the receipt of pension, if the subscriber dies, the spouse of the beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension. Family pension is applicable only to spouse.

    POLITY:

    16th Lok Sabha session concluded.

    • The last session of 16th Lok Sabha concluded on 14 Feb 2019

    • There were a total number of 331 sittings for Lok Sabha. 205 bills were passed and the productivity was 85%.

    • For Rajya Sabha, 154 bills were passed and the productivity was 68%

    AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:

    Bradley Cooper won the best director from PETA.

    • Bradley Cooper was awarded the ‘Oscar’ by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

    • The animal rights organization awarded the best director award to Cooper for his enlightened decision to cast his own canine companion in ‘A Star Is Born’.

    APPOINTMENTS:

    B P Sharma: CMD Pawan Hans.

    • B P Sharma was re-employed as the CMD of the state-run helicopter manufacturer Pawan Hans.

    • He was the CMD of Pawan Hans earlier in March 2015.

    • He will be serving for a period of 5 months.

    • Pawan Hans has a fleet of more than 50 helicopters.

    Sushil Chandra became Election Commissioner.

    • President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra as an Election Commissioner.

    • The post had fallen vacant after the appointment of the then Election Commissioner Sunil Arora as Chief Election Commissioner.

    • Ashok Lavasa is the senior-most Election Commissioner.

    Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has appointed senior IRS officer Pramod Chandra Mody as chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes.

    • He will succeed Sushil Chandra, who was recently appointed Election Commissioner.

    • The Government of India, Government of Himachal Pradesh (GoHP) and the World Bank signed a $40 Million Loan Agreement to help bring clean and reliable drinking water to the citizens of the Greater Shimla area.

    • William Barr was sworn for second time as the Attorney General of US.

    • Derrick Pereira is set to become the coach of the Indian Under-23 football team for the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualifiers, to be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from 22nd March.

    • Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) has notified that its CEO Harshil Mehta has resigned from his position with immediate effect on 13th February, 2019.

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    Important Current Affairs 15th February 2019

    NATIONAL:

    Pulwama Attack: MIB issues advisory to all private satellite TV Channels

    • The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has issued an advisory to all private satellite TV Channels in view of the terrorist attack in Pulwama District.

    • The Ministry in its advisory said that all channels are advised to be particularly cautious with regard to any content which is likely to incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitude or contains anything affecting the integrity of the nation.

    • The Ministry asked them to ensure that no such content is telecast which is violative of programme and advertising code as prescribed in the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act.

    Chandigarh woman becomes IAF's 1st female Flight Engineer

    • The Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted flight lieutenant Hina Jaiswal as its first woman Flight Engineer on Friday. Jaiswal, who hails from Chandigarh, studied engineering at Punjab University.

    • As a Flight Engineer, Hina will be posted to operational helicopter units of the IAF and routinely called to operate in demanding and stressful conditions.

    Train 18 launch despite attack befitting reply to terrorists: Goyal

    • Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has said that going ahead with the inauguration of India's fastest train, Vande Bharat Express (Train 18), was a befitting reply to the terrorists who perpetrated the Pulwama attacks.

    • He added the decision to continue with the flagging off programme was inspired by the way Mumbai reacted by showing their resilience following the 26/11 attacks.

    Security forces given full freedom to take action: PM on J&K attack

    • In light of the terror attack on CRPF jawans in J&K's Pulwama on Thursday, PM Narendra Modi said, "Our security forces have been given full freedom.

    • We have full faith in their bravery." Thanking all the nations who condemned the attack and showed support to India, PM Modi said, "A strong reply will be given to this attack.

    SC asks EC to be flexible in applying 3 years domicile for defence personnel

    • The Supreme Court of India has asked the Election Commission to be flexible in applying three-year domicile for defence personnel.

    • The apex court noted that though people in services are posted at peace place for three years, there is occasion when they are transferred in two-and-half years.

    • A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it will be open for the Election Commission to prescribe further flexible eligibility criteria to ensure that defence personnel are able to vote.

    • The bench said, there was no need to pass any further order. It noted that the Election Commission has taken a decision to allow armed forces personnel to vote at their place of posting which excludes Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern states.

    INTERNATIONAL:

    Trump to sign spending bill averting government shutdown

    • President Donald Trump has decided to sign a spending bill averting a government shutdown but will also issue an emergency declaration to fund his controversial border wall.

    • Declaring an emergency, a rare step, would free Trump to seek to redirect federal funds from elsewhere to help pay for a wall along the US-Mexico border.

    • US House of Representative Speaker and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi expressed disdain for the President's upcoming emergency declaration. She stated that the happening at the border is not an emergency.

    William Barr sworn in as US Attorney General

    • William Barr was sworn in for second time as the new Attorney General of United States, taking the helm of the Justice Department as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

    • Earlier, the Senate voted 54-45 to confirm his appointment. Barr, who also served as the Attorney General from 1991 to 1993 during President George HW Bush’s administration, succeeds Jeff Sessions.

    • As the country’s chief law enforcement officer, Barr will oversee the remaining work in Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign and decide how much Congress and the public know about its conclusion.

    NASA declares Mars rover Opportunity officially dead

    • NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity was officially declared dead on February 13, 2019, after having contributed almost 15 years of grand services.

    • The declaration came after the long wait of eight months after the robot stopped responding to engineers back on earth after the dust storm hit the red planet.

    • Setting off for Mars on the night of July 7, 2003, the golf-cart-sized robot has covered the distance of 28 miles since it has landed on the surface on January 25, 2004.

    • After landing the rover, towards its journey to Endurance Crater, started searching intensively for bedrock and sand dunes.

    • In an attempt to get a clue of water in its distant past, the rover studied the Victoria crater between the period of two years (2006 to 2008) and discovered how water had entered and left the region billions of years ago.

    SPORTS:

    Steyn overtakes Kapil, becomes joint 7th highest Test wicket-taker

    • South African pacer Dale Steyn went past former Indian captain Kapil Dev in the list of highest wicket-takers in Test cricket after registering figures of 4/48 against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

    • Steyn with 437 wickets to his name in the longest format is now at the joint seventh position in the all-time list of highest wicket-takers in Test cricket.

    Saina, Kashyap, Verma enter semifinals of Senior Nationals

    • Former champions Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and Sourabh Verma advanced to the semifinals of the 83rd Yonex-Sunrise Senior Badminton Nationals in Guwahati on Friday.

    • Saina will face 22-year-old Nagpur qualifier Vaishnavi Bhale, while Kashyap will face Lakshya Sen. The 26-year-old Sourabh Verma will meet qualifier Kaushal Dharmamer of Mumbai.

    • Shane Warne named brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals

    • Australia spin legend Shane Warne has been named as the new brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals for the upcoming Indian Premier League.

    • Warne, who led Rajasthan Royals to its first and only IPL title in 2008, was the mentor of the side last season.

    BUSINESS:

    IndiGo to curtail 30 daily flights in February

    • The country's largest airline IndiGo announced curtailing around 30 flights daily for the rest of February as it looks to stabilize operations and adjust crew rosters.

    • IndiGo, which has more than 41 per cent of domestic market share, said the cancellations represent 2 per cent of its flights and that operation would be normalised completely by March 31, 2019.

    • The budget carrier cancelled 49 flights on February 13 and the same has been informed to aviation regulator DGCA. The cancellations were reportedly caused by several factors like anticipated weather conditions and NOTAMS at various airports.

    • This resulted in extended duty times which then made it necessary to re-roster the crew and optimise the operations. Therefore, the airlines has decided to curtail its schedule for the remaining period of this month by approximately 30 flights a day.

    Appointments

     Ashwani Lohani, a retired bureaucrat, was appointed the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of National carrier Air India, on 13 Feb 2019.

    • This will be his second tenure.

    • In August 2017, he was named the Chairman to the Railway Board and retired on December 31, 2018.

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    Important Current Affairs 14th February 2019

    National:

    AYUSH Minister launches e-AUSHADHI portal
    • Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik on February 13, 2019 launched the e-AUSHADHI portal, for online licensing of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs and related matters at New Delhi. 
    • The portal aims to increase transparency, improve information management facility, improve data usability and increase accountability. 
    • Timelines will be fixed for processing of application through this portal with SMS and e-mail status updates at each step of the process.
    • e-AUSHADHI is an acronym for Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy Automated Drug Help Initiative. 

    CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra appointed as Election Commissioner
    •    Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra has been appointed the third Election Commissioner, completing the team that will oversee 2019 Lok Sabha polls due in April-May. 
    •    The three-member body now comprises Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Chandra.
    •     An IIT graduate, Chandra is a 1980 batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service

    Bihar Government announces universal old age pension scheme-Mukhyamantri Vridhajan Pension Yojna
    • The state government of Bihar has announced a universal old age pension scheme called Mukhyamantri Vridhajan Pension Yojna (MVPY) for all people above 60 years of age. 
    • The scheme will come into force from April 1, 2019. Except those senior citizens who have retired from government service, all will be eligible for 400 rupees monthly pension irrespective of caste, religion or community. 
    • The currently old age pension scheme is applicable to only the BPL category. 
    • Besides this, the state’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced a pension of Rs 6,000 for journalists above 60 years of age. 

    International:

    Airbus to stop producing world's largest passenger jet A380
    •    European planemaker Airbus has announced it will make its last deliveries of its A380 jet, the world's largest commercial passenger plane, in 2021. 
    •    The decision comes after Emirates, the largest customer of the A380, reduced an outstanding order for 53 planes to only 14. The cancellation will affect the jobs of as many as 3,500 Airbus staff

    Google to invest $13 billion in US in 2019: CEO Pichai
    •    Google aims to invest $13 billion in offices and data centres in the US in 2019, CEO Sundar Pichai revealed. 
    •    This will enable Google to hire "tens of thousands of employees" alongside creation of over 10,000 construction jobs, Pichai said. "2019 marks the second year in a row we’ll grow faster outside of Bay Area than in it", he added

    Egypt's Parliament to vote on extending president's term
    • Egypt's Parliament has begun deliberations over constitutional amendments that could allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to stay in office till 2034. 
    • The amendments will provide Sissi with 12 more years after his current, second term expires in 2022.
    • The 596-seat Egyptian assembly has already given its preliminary approval to the changes last week. 
    • The amendments are near certain to be overwhelmingly approved by the legislature, packed with el-Sissi's supporters, but will also need to be put to a national referendum to become law.

    Cuba warns of possible US military intervention in Venezuela
    • Cuba has warned of possible US military intervention in Venezuela under the humanitarian pretext and called for international efforts to avoid the scenario. 
    • A Cuba government statement issued on February 13, 2019 stated that the US intends to create a humanitarian pretext to initiate military aggression against Venezuela. 
    • The statement read that US military aircraft had transported troops between February 6 and 10, involving US military bases in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean islands without the consent of local governments. 

    ICJ rules that it has jurisdiction to hear Iranian claim against US over frozen assets
    • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that it has the jurisdiction to hear part of a case brought by Iran against the US, to unfreeze Iranian assets of nearly 2 billion dollars held in the US. 
    • The ruling opens the way for the court to hear Iran's case on its merits. Iran filed the case in 2016, based on the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two nations, from which the US unilaterally withdrew last year.
    • The case revolves around assets seized from the Iranian national bank, Bank Markazi, which were taken by the US to compensate victims of a 1983 suicide bombing of a Marine Corps base in Beirut, Lebanon.
    • Iran denies involvement in the attack which killed more than 300 and injured many more, most of whom being US military personnel. 

    Australia government loses bill blocking sick asylum seekers
    • Australian legislators have passed a landmark bill making it easier for asylum seekers, being held on remote Pacific islands, to get medical treatment in the country. 
    • This is the first time in decades the government has lost a vote on its own legislation in the lower house as the bill was passed with an opposition amendment. 
    • The bill is expected to sail through the upper Senate later this week after which it will become a law. 
    • Prime Minister Scott Morrison had strongly opposed the legislation. He said there is no form of the bill that does not weaken Australia's border protection. 
    • Under Australia’s offshore detention policy, asylum seekers arriving by boat are sent to detention centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

    Sports:


    Prajnesh Gunneswaran breaks into men's singles top 100
    • India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran has made it to the top-100 of Men's Singles Tennis rankings with a jump of six places that took him to 97. 
    • With the feat, Gunneswaran has become the third Indian player to break into the top-100 barrier in the past decade after Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri. 
    • He reached the semifinals of the ATP Chennai Challenger last week to ensure his entry into the coveted bracket. If he is able to maintain his rank inside top-100, it will secure him entry into Grand Slam singles main draws. 
    • In the doubles, Rohan Bopanna stayed put at 37 and was followed by his partner Divij Sharan at 39. 


    Business:

    Govt may relax FDI norms for single-brand retailers: Report
    •    The Cabinet is reportedly considering a proposal to relax mandatory 30% local sourcing norms for foreign single-brand retailers.
    •     As per existing FDI norms, 100% foreign investment is permitted but with 30% of the value of the goods sourced from the country. 
    •    The proposal also suggests that retailers may sell online before opening a physical store if they invest $200 million

    Town with Google, FB billionaires US richest with 3.2cr avg income
    •    Silicon Valley suburb Atherton, home to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, is America's richest community for the third year in a row, according to Bloomberg Richest Places annual index. 
    •    Atherton's household income averaged $450,696 (₹3.2 crore as of now) in 2017. Stanford University and Google and Facebook headquarters are a short drive away from Atherton.

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    Important Current Affairs 12th February 2019

    NATIONAL NEWS

    PM Modi Inaugurates Visakhapatnam Strategic Petroleum Reserve Facility.


    •     Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the 13.3 million metric ton capacity Visakhapatnam Strategic Petroleum Reserve facility at Guntur in Andhra Pradesh
    •    He also inaugurated Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited’s Vashishta and S1 development project located in the Krishna-Godavari Offshore Basin.
    •    Mr. Modi also laid the foundation stone for setting up of a new terminal of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) at Krishnapatnam.


    Centre allocates Rs 59 crore for Asiatic Lion conservation in Gujarat's Gir.


    •    The Ministry of Environment launched a three-year Asiatic Lion Conservation Project in collaboration with the state of Gujarat. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) allocated Rs 59 crores, which will focus on better management of the lion habitat, disease control and veterinary care for them.
    •    Gujarat government also implemented Rs 80 crore that will be spent on specialised veterinary hospitals and full-fledged ambulances for lions.


    Himalayan Cloud Observatory Set Up In Tehri.
    •    A Himalayan Cloud Observatory is set up in Tehri district of Uttarakhand with a motive to forecast and monitor cloudburst incidents in the Himalayan region and help to minimize the damage.
    •    The Observatory is established in the SRT campus, in Tehri and is in the testing period. This is the second observatory in the country to monitor cloud activities by the Indian Science and Technology Department and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur that can function in high-altitudes.

     Great Indian Bustard Announced As The New Mascot For COP-13.
    •    Union Environment Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, announced the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) as the mascot for the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) to be held in Gujarat in 2020. He also revealed that the bird has been fondly named by the ministry as 'Gibi'.
    •    CMS-COP 13 is a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species and their habitats. It has over 120 participating countries.

     Dharmendra Pradhan Inaugurated 13th PETROTECH 2019 In Greater Noida.
    •    The 13th International Oil and Gas Conference – PETROTECH – 2019 got underway at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. Over 95 Energy Ministers from partner countries are expected to participate in the three day Conference.
    •    The theme of the conference is 'Collaborating For Sustainable and Secure Energy Access for all'. 

     Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Lays Foundation Stone of Mega Food Park in Mathura.
    •    Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal laid the foundation stone of a Mega Food Park at Chhata-Barsana road in Mathura. The Park will provide direct and indirect employment to five thousand persons and benefit about 25,000 farmers.
    •    The Mega Food Park is being set up in over 57 acre of land at a cost of around 121 crore rupees. The Centre has also approved financial assistance of 50 crore rupees to the project. 

    MOU Signed Between EIL and Mongolia for Project Management Consultancy for Oil refinery.
    •    A MoU was signed between Engineers India Limited (EIL) and Mongolia for Project Management Consultancy for oil refinery. EIL is a PSU under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. 
    •    The agreement was signed on the sidelines of PETROTECH-2019 event at Greater Noida, UP. The MoU is for Project Management Consultancy services for construction of an oil refinery plant in Mongolia by EIL. 

    INTERNATIONAL

    ADB Debuts in Offshore Philippine Peso Bond Market.
    •     The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has raised 5.2204 billion Philippine pesos ($100 million) from a new issue of local currency bonds in the international market. Currency-linked bonds are denominated in the local currency but settled in US dollars. 
    •    The bonds pay a fixed interest rate of 5.25% and have a final maturity of 4 years. ADB issued bonds in the Philippine domestic capital market in 2005 and 2007 but this issue is the first time it has mobilized Philippine peso funding from international investors through a currency-linked structure.

    INS Trikand Participates In Exercise ‘Cut class Express 2019’.
    •    INS Trikand, the frontline warship of the Indian Navy, participated in a multi-national training exercise ‘CUTCLASS EXPRESS 2019’. The annual Exercise Cutlass Express is sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and conducted by Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF).
    •    It is the eighth iteration of the annual multinational maritime exercise and was held in the vicinity of Djibouti, Mozambique and Seychelles.

    Hindi Included As 3rd Official Court Language in Abu Dhabi.
    •    Abu Dhabi has decided to include Hindi as the third official languageused in its courts, alongside Arabic and English, as part of a move designed to improve access to justice.
    •    The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) announced that it has extended the adoption of interactive forms of statement of claims filed before courts by including Hindi.


    Multinational Maritime Exercise ‘Aman 19’ Commenced In Karachi.
    •    The 5-day multinational maritime exercise ‘AMAN-19’ in which 46nations participated from all over the world was formally commenced at Pakistan Navy Dockyard, with a colorful flag hoisting ceremony.
    •    Principal aim to conduct this exercise is to facilitate a forum of understanding of each other’s maritime concepts and operation cultures and to produce ways and means to confront common threat at sea.


    AWARDS

    Yes Bank Wins The Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018.
    •    Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018 announced Yes Bank as the winner in ‘Innovation in Data Science’ category for their industry-first project ‘Yes EEE (Engage Enrich Excel)’ at Panaji, Goa.
    •    It was hosted by the Government of Goa. Aegis Graham Bell Awards (AGBA) Promotes innovations and entrepreneurship in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) domain.

    BAFTA Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List Of Winners.
    •    Netflix drama 'Roma' won the top prize at the 72nd edition of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts or BAFTA awards. 
    •    However, with seven BAFTAs in its kitty, director Yorgos Lanthimos's The Favourite emerged the top winner in 2019.

    Deepa Mehta to Be Feted With Lifetime Achievement Award.
    •     Acclaimed Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta will be given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Mehta is best known for her Elements Trilogy - 'Fire', 'Earth' and 'Water'.
    •    The Canadian Screen Awards are awards given annually by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television recognizing excellence in Canadian film, English-language television, and digital media productions.

    Grammy Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List of Winners.
    •    The 61st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held at Staples Center in Los Angeles. 
    •     The show was hosted by Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys.

    Appointments:


    Ruchira Kamboj Appointed India's Ambassador to Bhutan.
    •    Ruchira Kamboj was appointed as the Ambassador of India to Bhutan. She is serving as the High Commissioner of India to South Africa since 2017.
    •    Kamboj has previously served as the Ambassador/PR to Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO, Paris.


    Egypt’s President El-Sissi Elected as Chairman of African Union.
    •    Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has been elected as the chairman of the African Union at the continental body’s summit in Ethiopia.
    •    El-Sisi’s election brings an end the one-year chairmanship of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.


    BANKING

    RBI Doubles The Limit Of Bulk Deposits From Rs. 1 Crore To Rs 2 Crore.
    •     Reserve Bank of India decided to treat deposits to over Rs.2 crore as ‘bulk’ as they doubled the limit for the same from the earlier Rs.1crore.This move will enhance the operational freedom of Banks.
    •    According to current RBI rules, last reviewed in January 2013, banks have the option of not permitting premature withdrawals of ‘large rupee term deposits’ of INR 1 crore and above. National Federation of Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies Limited (NAFCUB)has suggested this proposal.

    SPORTS

    Corentin Moutet Clinched Chennai Open ATP Challenger Title.
    •     In Tennis, France’s Corentin Moutet has clinched the Chennai Open ATP Challenger tournament title after beating Andrew Harris of Australia in the singles final.
    •    It was the second Challenger title for Moutet, who received 80 ATP points, while Andrew got 48 ATP points.

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    Important Current Affairs 10th February 2019

    NATIONAL


    Great Indian Bustard (GIB) announced as the new mascot for the 13th UN Convention on the CMS COP-13.
    •    Union Environment Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, on Friday announced the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) as the mascot for the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) to be held in Gujarat in 2020.The Government also launched a website for the COP-13.
    •    CMS-COP 13 is a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species and their habitats. It has over 120 participating countries. So far, 12 COPs (Conference of Parties) have been convened.
    •     COP-13 will be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 15 – 22 February, 2020

    Union Minister Suresh Prabhu launches two schemes in Mumbai.
    •    On February 9, 2019, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu launched two schemes, the Hirkani Maharashtra chi and District Business Plan Competition in Mumbai.
    •    OVER VIEW OF SCHEMES:
        Under Hirkani Maharashtra chi, women’s SHGs will display their business plan at taluka level. Ten groups will be selected from each taluka and Rs. 50,000 will be given to each SHG to implement their idea. Five SHGs at district level will be selected and Rs. 2 lakh will be given to each SHG to take the idea forward.
        Under District Business Plan Competition, competitors at district level will display ideas, out of which five ideas will be selected from agriculture, social service, education and Work order worth Rs. 5 lakh will be given to the 5 selected ideas to implement the same.

    Health Ministry conducts 8th round of National Deworming Day campaign.
    •    On February 8,2019,The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) conducted its eighth round of National Deworming Day (NDD) with an objective to reduce the prevalence of Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) or parasitic intestinal worms so that there will be no longer be public health problem.
    •    The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) envisioned an open-defecation-free India which holds the capacity to reduce the overall worm burden in a community.


     Voter verification and Information Programme was launched by Election Commission.
    •    On 8th February 2019, Election Commission of India (ECI) launched a Voter Verification and Information Programme (VVIP) for citizens to verify their details, change the details, new registration and corrections. The programme focus on 2019 General Election.
    •    The ECI has set up helpline centres in all districts in India. The voter helpline number is 1950 and they are well equipped with to help callers with latest information.
    •     VVIP technology was launched during 2day training cum workshop on the use of Information and Communication Technology which was held in New Delhi.
    •    ECI also launched a ‘PwD app’ to enable Persons with Disabilities (PWD) to request to change in address, change in particulars and new registration by using mobile application.
    •     Voter Helpline app was also launched which will help voters to check their names in electoral roll, submit online forms, application status checking and complaints filing.

    Two day Bengal Global Summit held in Kolkata.
    •    On February 7, 2019, the fifth edition of West Bengal Global Business Summit was inaugurated by state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. It is a two day summit held in Rajarhat, Kolkata.
    •    West Bengal bagged over Rs. 40,000 crore worth of investment proposals from Reliance, Group, ITC and others multinational companies on the first day of the business summit.
    •     The summit came to an end with West Bengal government signing 86 agreements entailing business proposals worth 2.84 lakh crore.
    •    West Bengal with a Gross State Domestic Product of USD 155.32 billion is the 4th largest contributor to India’s GDP and 6th contributor to India’s manufacturing GDP.

    Assam’s Finance Minister presented 1,193 crore Deficit Budget.
    •    Assam’s Finance Minister, Himanta Biswas has presented the fourth Deficit Budget of the state for the fiscal year 2019-20 in the legislative assembly which amounts to 1,193 crore.
    •    This budget is the 2nd digital budget of the state
    •    The total revenue of the budget in comparison with previous has increased by 20% and the total expenditure has crossed 70,000 crore.
    •    The budget mainly focuses on dimensions of social security and capital expenditure.
    •    Brides will be given one tola gold belonging to families having income of less than Rs. 5 lakh per annum.
    •    Students who passes in 12th class examination with first division will be given e-bike
    •    Widows below 45 years will be given immediate support of Rs. 25,000.
    •    Rice would be sold at Rs.1 per kg to benefit poor families.
     

    INTERNATIONAL


    Multinational Maritime Exercise ‘Aman 19’ commenced in Karachi.
    •    The 5-day multinational maritime exercise ‘AMAN-19’ in which 46 nations participated from all over the world was formally commenced at Pakistan Navy Dockyard, with a colourful flag hosting ceremony.
    •    Pakistan’s Naval Chief, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi welcomed the participations of Exercise AMAN-19, the 6th episode of the AMAN initiative.
    •    Principal aim to conduct this exercise is to facilitate a forum of understanding of each other’s maritime concepts and operation cultures and to produce ways and means to confront common threat at sea.
    •    Commander Pakistan fleet, Vice Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi genially welcomed the eminent participating nations for a mutual resolve with motto “Together for Peace”.
    •    The exercise will have 2 phases- Harbour phase and sea phase.
     

    BANKING AND FINANCE


    Asian Development Bank raised $100 million in international market.
    •    On 8th February 2019, The Asian Development Bank raised $100 million from peso-linked bonds in the international market. It was their maiden issue of Philippine peso.
    •    The move will help to reduce foreign exchange risk for ADB’s borrowers and support its growing local currency lending operations in Philippines.
    •    J P Morgan was the sole lead manager and bonds were fully placed with institutional investors in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
    •    Earlier in 2005 and 2007 ADB issued bond in the Philippine domestic capital market but it was the first time to mobilize Philippine peso funding from international investors through a currency linked structure.
    •    ADB is an international development finance institution and a regional development bank with a motto to fighting poverty in Asia and the Pacific.


    RBI Doubles the limit of bulk deposits from Rs. 1 crore to Rs 2 Crore.
    •    On 7th February 2019, Reserve Bank of India decided to treat deposits to over Rs.2 crore as ‘bulk’ as they doubled the limit for the same from the earlier Rs.1crore. This move will enhance operational freedom of Banks.
    •     RBI also proposed banks would maintain their bulk deposits interest rate cards in the core banking system for supervisory review.
    •    The right to offer differential rate of interest in bulk deposits as per their requirements and Asset Liability Management (ALM) projections is vested with banks.
    •     For a similar maturity period interest rate on bulk deposits are marginally higher than smaller amount fixed deposits.
    •    National Federation of Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies Limited (NAFCUB) has suggested this proposal.
    •    The decision in proposal for setting up an Umbrella Organization (UO) for urban cooperative banks in pending with RBI.


    RBI fines Allahabad Bank Rs 1.5 crore for not monitoring fund use, fraud reporting delay.
    •    On Feb. 8 2019, Allahabad Bank said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 1.5 crore on them for not monitoring end use of funds, delay in classification and reporting of fraud and non-adherence with RBI guidelines during restructuring of accounts in respect of one of its borrowers.
     

    BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


    Himachal’s growth rate projected at 7.3% in current financial year.
    •    Economic Survey Report for 2018-19 has projected the growth rate in Himachal Pradesh to be around 7.3% for the current financial year, 2018-19, while the per capita income is estimated at Rs 1, 76,968. Economic growth was 6.5% in the last fiscal, highest in last 3 years.
    •    Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in current fiscal has increased to Rs 1, 36,542 crore and estimated to be about Rs 1, 51,835 crore in 2018-19.
     

    AWARDS AND RECOGNIZATION


    Yes Bank wins the Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018 for ‘Innovation in Data Science’.
    •    On Feb. 1 2019, Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018 announced Yes Bank as winner in ‘Innovation in Data Science’ category for their industry-first project ‘Yes EEE (Engage Enrich Excel)’ at Panaji, Goa. It was hosted by the Government of Goa.

    Sena Medals awarded to 92 army men, including Lance Naik Wani.
    •    Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, GOC-in-C (General Officer Commanding), Northern Command, presented Gallantry and Distinguished Service Awards to army officers, other ranks and next of kin (for posthumous awards).
    •    The army commander presented 1 Bar to Sena Medal (Gallantry), 76 Sena Medals (Gallantry), 7 Sena Medals (Distinguished) and 8 Vishist Seva Medals.
    •    Lance Naik Wani was conferred with the Bar to Sena Medal (Gallantry), received by his wife on his behalf. The brave soldier had sacrificed his life while combating terrorists at Batagund Village in Jammu & Kashmir in November 2018.
    •    20 units were also awarded for their overall outstanding performance in the Command Theatre in the year 2018.
     

    APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION


    Radheyshyam Julaniya to replace Rahul Bhatnagar as Union Sports Secretary.
    •    IAS officer (Madhya Pradesh cadre), Radheyshyam Julaniya will replace Rahul Bhatnagar as the Union Sports Secretary.
    •    Bhatnagar has been released by the Sports Ministry and is set to join the Ministry on Panchayati Raj.
    •    Notable achievements of the Sports Ministry during the tenure of Mr. Rahul Bhatnagar include opening of the National Sports University, Khelo India Youth Games, hosting international tournaments like Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneshwar and World Women’s Boxing Championship in New Delhi.
     

    SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


    Helicopter-launched anti-tank missile ‘Helina’ test-fired in Balasore, Odisha.
    •    India test-fired Helina, a helicopter-launched version of the Nag anti-tank guided missile, with a hit range of 7-8 km, from the Odisha Coast on Friday.
    •    Helina was launched from an Army chopper and the weapon system was tested for its full range at 12:55 PM near the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur in the Balasore District of Odisha.
    •    Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Helina is said to be one of the most advanced anti-tank weapons in the world. It is guided by an Infrared Imaging Seeker (IIR) operating in the lock-on-before-launch mode.
     

    SPORTS


    Rohit Sharma becomes 1st Indian to smash 100 sixes in T20 Cricket.
    •    Indian opener Rohit Sharma became the first man from his country to smash a century of sixes in T20I cricket in the second T20 between India and New Zealand held in Eden Park in New Zealand.
    •    He made his T20I debut against England but played his first innings against South Africa in 2007 T20I.
    •    Rohit Sharma surpassed Martin Guptill to become the highest scorer in T20 Internationals with 102 sixes.


    Ricky Ponting has been appointed the assistant coach of Australia for 2019 World Cup.
    •    On 8th February 2019, Cricket Australia appointed Ricky Ponting as assistant coach for Australia’s cricket team for 2019 World Cup. He had won world cup for three times.
    •    The main coach for Australian Cricket team is Justin Langer. Ponting was appointed after David Saker’s resignation from the post.
    •    Ricky Ponting worked as assistant for Australia’s T20 in 2017 and 2018. The current batting coach for the team is Graeme Hicks.
    •    ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Scheduled to be hosted by England and Wales from 30th May to 14th July 2019.
    •    Ponting play 375 ODI’s and 168 tests for Australia. He won the World Cup for the 1st time in 1999 before captaining and in 2003 and in 2003 and 2007.
     

    OBITUARY


    British actor Albert Finney, five time Oscar nominee died at age of 82.
    •    On February 9, 2019, five time Oscar nominated actor Albert Finney died at the age of 82 due to chest infection in London.
    •    The veteran actor was best known for his roles in Tom Jones, Erin Brockovich and Annie.
     

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    Important Current Affairs 3rd February 2019

    National News

    22nd AIIMS to come up in Haryana
    The 22nd AIIMS would come up in Haryana. The announcement was made regarding this at the Interim Budget 2019. The AIIMS would be established at Manethi village in Haryana’s Rewari district.
    All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)
    All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is the autonomous institutions set up under the act of parliament. The All India Institute Of Medical Sciences Act, 1956 provides for the establishment of AIIMS  as Institute of National Importance.

    India’s Mithali Raj Becomes First Woman Cricketer to Play 200 ODIs 
    India’s One-day International (ODI) captain Mithali Raj has become the first woman to play 200 ODI matches with her appearance in the match against New Zealand. The record for largest number of games played by a Woman Cricketer was already in the name of Mithali Raj. Mithali Raj had achieved the milestone when she played her 192 ODI of the career, going past Charlotte Edwards’ record of 191 appearances.
    The 36-year-old Mithali Raj is playing the game at the international circuit for almost twenty years and she is also the fourth-highest among the cricketers as a whole, as Mithali is just behind Sachin Tendulkar (463), Sanath Jayasuriya (445) and Javed Miandad (233).


    Bharathi appointed as the MD and CEO of Corporation Bank
    The government has appointed P.V.Bharathi as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Corporation Bank. Earlier she has served as the Executive Director of Canara Bank. Corporation Bank is public-sector banking The company headquartered in Mangaluru, India. She took charge on February 1, 2019. The bank has a pan-Indian presence.  The bank has a network of 2,600 fully automated CBS branches, 3,040 ATMs, and 4,724 branchless banking units across the country.

    International News

    5 countries elected as non-permanent members of UNSC
    United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected South Africa, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Germany and Belgium as non-permanent members of UN Security Council (UNSC). They will have two-year term beginning January 1, 2019.
    These five non-permanent members were elected according to the following pattern
    •    Two seats for Group of African states and Group of Asia-Pacific states,
    •    One for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean states
    •    Two seats for Western European and other states.


    International World Cancer Day celebrated on 4th February 
    The world celebrates the World Cancer Day on 4th February. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The aim is to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. The main goal is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer and is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer.

    Obituary

    Padma Shri R.B.Patil passed away
    Padma Shri R.B. Patil, 93-year-old, passed away in Hubballi. He established North Karnataka’s first comprehensive centre for cancer in 1977 from voluntary donations.  Dr.Patil completed his education in England and continued to see patients until recently before his health deteriorated. The mortal remains of the surgeon were kept at his nursing home in Vidyanagar, Hubballi, for people to pay tributes.

    Award


    P.S.Krishnan is to receive K.Veeramani Award
    K.Veeramani Award for Social Justice 2018 will be conferred on P.S. Krishnan, former Secretary, Government of India. Dravidar Kazhagam leader Veeramani will felicitate the awardee at a function in New Delhi. About the award: Periyar International Inc., (USA) gives an annual award for outstanding contributions to Social Justice, which is named his honor.  Mr.V.P.Singh, former Prime Minister of India, was the first recipient of the award. K.Veeramani is an Honorary Associate of Rationalist International.
     

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    Important Current Affairs 1st February 2019

    National News

    Highlights of 2019 – 20 Interim Budget 
    •    6,000 rupees yearly direct support to farmers through PM-KISAN Programme.
    •    3,000 rupees pension for unorganised sector workers earning upto 15,000 rupees through a mega Pension Scheme - Pradhan Mantri Shram- Yogi Maandhan.
    •    Direct tax system simplified; Returns to be processed in 24 hours with  immediate refunds.
    •    Allocations to Health care, MGNREGA, SC/ST welfare programmes, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Development of infrastructure in North-East hiked substantially.
    •    A separate Department of Fisheries.
    •    Allocations to Defence budget crosses three lakh crore rupees for the first time.
    •    10 point vision for 2030 to realize India’s social economic potential; 10 trillion dollars economy in 13 years.
    •    An All India Institute of Medical Sciences - AIIMS for Haryana.
    •    Single window clearance for shooting films to be made available to Indian film makers.
    •    The fiscal deficit pegged at 3.4 percent of GDP are the highlight of the Interim Budget for 2019-20.
    Budget
    1.    What is an interim budget?
    An interim budget is the budget of a regime or administration that is going through a period of transition.
    2.    When is an interim budget presented?
    The government presents an interim budget if it does not have time to present a full Budget or if the general elections may be in the near future.
    3.    Why do we need an interim budget?
    The government needs Interim Budget to work during the time it takes for a new government to make its own fiscal plan. The budget for the year permitted by Parliament gives the government spending rights only till 31st March i.e. end of the financial year.

    Government Unveils vision for the Next Decade 
    The Government has unveiled its vision for the next decade, listing thereby ten most important dimensions in 2030. “With this comprehensive ten-dimensional Vision, we will create an India where poverty, malnutrition, littering and illiteracy would be a matter of the past.
    The dimensions of Vision-2030 outlined by Shri Goyal are as follows-  
    •    To create physical and social infrastructure for ten trillion dollar economy and to provide ease of living.
    •    Digital India led by the youths with innumberable start-ups and million of jobs.
    •    To make India pollution free by focusing on Electrical Vehicles and renewables.
    •    Rural industrailisation using modern technologies to generate massive employment.
    •    Clean rivers, with safe drinking water to all Indians and efficient use of water in irrigation using micro-irrigation techniques.
    •    Besides scaling up Sagarmala, India’s coastline and ocean waters will power development
    •    Through our space programme – Gaganyaan, India becoming the launch-pad of satellites for the World
    •    Self sufficiency in food production and producing food in the most organic way.
    •    A healthy India by 2030 and a distress free health care and wellness system for all. Ayushman Bharat and women participation would be an important component in it.
    •    Employees working with elected Government, transforming India into Minimum Government Maximum Governance nation.

    PETROTECH-2019 
    PETROTECH-2019, the 13th International Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition, being organised under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India. India’s flagship hydrocarbon international conference is expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister of India.
    Aim : The PETROTECH 2019 exhibition will focus on development in technologies for exploration & production, process control, refining and pipeline and services, systems, products, oil field hardware, software, analytical instruments, Renewable, R&D, HSE, training and publications of technical literature.
    About Conference: The PETROTECH series of International Oil & Gas Conference is a biennial platform for national and international experts in the oil & gas industry to exchange views and share knowledge, expertise, and experiences. Being held for the last over two decades with growing participation.


    8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava 
    An International Conference on 8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava was held in New Delhi. The conference was organised as part of events to commemorate 50-years of formalization of diplomatic ties between India and Bhutan.
    Guru Padmasambhava
    •    Guru Padmasambhava was born in India and travelled all across Himalayan region in the 8th century to spread Buddhism and Buddhist teachings.
    •    Guru Padmasambhava is highly revered in Bhutan. There is an image or painting of the Guru Padmasambhava in every Bhutanese home or temple.
    •    Guru Padmasambhava was also known as Guru Rinpoche is widely venerated as a “second Buddha” by adherents of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, the Himalayan states of India, and elsewhere.


    Human Space Flight Centre Inaugurated 
    •    The Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) which would be the core of ISRO’s future manned missions was inaugurated at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.
    •    The Human Space Flight Centre will implement the first development flight of Gaganyaan with the support of existing ISRO Centres.
    •    The Human Space Flight Centre would be responsible for end-to-end mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions.

    New India by 2022
    Shri Goyal said that a New India would celebrate its 75th Independence year in 2022 when every family would have a house with access to water, electricity and toilets; farmers income would have doubled; and the country would be free from terrorism, communalism, corruption and nepotism.

    Shri Rajiv Nayan Choubey takes Oath of Office and Secrecy as Member, UPSC (Appointment)
    •    Shri Rajiv Nayan Choubey, took the Oath of office and Secrecy as Member, Union Public Service Commission today. The oath was administered by Shri Arvind Saxena, Chairman, UPSC.
    •    An officer of the 1981 batch of Indian Administrative Service of Tamil Nadu Cadre, Shri Choubey during his career spanning over more than 35 years, has held several important positions in the Central Government as well as in the Government of Tamil Nadu.
    •    He served as Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Development Commissioner 
    (Handloom) in the Ministry of Textiles, Director General in the Directorate General of
    Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Power, Special Secretary, Ministry of Power and prior to his joining the Commission, he was serving as Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, In the State also, he held various important positions in the Revenue, Rural Development, Transport, Finance, Industries, Telecommunications and Personnel & General Administration Department.

    International news

    UNSC adopts resolution to extend sanctions against CAR for another year
    The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR) for another year.
    Resolution 2454, adopted unanimously yesterday by the 15-member council, decides to renew the sanctions regime - an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020.
    Details of Sanctions
    On 5 December 2013 the United Nations Security Council, concerned at the continuing deterioration of the security situation in the Central African Republic, imposed an arms embargo on the Central African Republic. This was followed on 28 January 2014 by a travel ban and asset freeze in connection with individuals who act to undermine the peace stability and security of CAR or who violate the arms embargo.
    About Central African Republic (CAR)
    The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west.

    India now 6th largest economy in the world with high growth 
    •    Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the country has witnessed its best phase of macro-economic stability, becoming the sixth largest economy in the world from being the 11th in the World in 2013-14.
    •    Presenting the Interim Budget for the year 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said “India is the fastest growing major economy in the world” with an average GDP growth of 7.3% per annum, the highest ever achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991.
    •    Shri Goyal said under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a clean, decisive and stable Government reversed the policy paralysis, laid foundation for sustainable growth and restored the image of the country.

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    Important Current Affairs 28th December 2018

    National News

    Lok Sabha passes Triple Talaq 
    •    The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, after a heated debate.
    •    The Bill to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance issued in September.
    •    Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. The fresh bill is proposed to supersede an earlier bill passed in the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha


    Centre extends deadline to update NRC
    •    The Centre has given an extension of six months to complete the ongoing exercise for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam by June 30.
    •    In a notification, the Registrar General of India Sailesh said the decision was taken as the exercise to enumerate citizens in the NRC, a list of Assam’s residents, could not be completed within the specified date of December 31, 2018.
    •    On December 6, 2013, the government issued the first notification setting a deadline of three years for completion of the entire NRC process. Since then, five extensions have been given by the government. 
    •    The draft NRC was published on July 30 and included the names of 2.9 crore people of the total 3.29 crore applicants.


    Nitin Gadkari lays foundation stone of 11 projects for Yamuna rejuvenation
    •    Union Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone of 11 projects for Yamuna Rejuvenation under Namami Gange Programme in New Delhi.
    •    Most of the projects are for the sewerage infrastructure and are at various stages of implementation.
    •    These projects under Yamuna Action Plan III are located in three drainage zones namely Kondli, Rithala and Okhla in Delhi.


    Niti Aayog releases second Delta Ranking of Aspirational districts
    •    Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant today released the Second Delta Ranking of the Aspirational Districts Programme. The ranking details the incremental progress achieved by the districts during June to October this year across six key development sectors.
    •    Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu has shown the most improvement overall, followed by Nuapada district in Odisha, Siddarthnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar's Aurangabad and Koraput in Odisha. These districts have championed the development narrative in fundamental parameters of social progress.
    •    Nagaland's Kiphire district, Jharkhand's Giridih, Chatra in Jharkhand, Hailakandi in Assam, and Pakur in Jharkhand have shown least improvement.
    •    The districts have been ranked in a transparent basis on parameters across various performance indicators like Health and Nutrition, Education, Skill Development and Basic Infrastructure among others.
    •    The rankings are based on the data that is publicly available through the Champions of Change Dashboard, which includes data entered on a real-time basis at the district level. 
    •    The Aspirational District Programme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January this year with the aim to rapidly transform the districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.

    Economy and Banking

    Bimal Jalan to head six-member panel on RBI’s economic capital framework
    •    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in consultation with the government, has set up a six-member committee to review the economic capital framework of the central bank.
    •    Former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan will be the committee’s chairman and former Deputy Governor Rakesh Mohan deputy chairman.
    •    The other members are Economic Affairs Secretary Subash Chandra Garg, RBI Deputy Governor N.S. Vishwanathan and two board members of the RBI — Bharat Doshi and Sudhir Mankad.
    •    Dr. Jalan was the Governor of the RBI between November 1997 and September 2003.
    •    The committee would submit its report within 90 days from the date of its first meeting, the RBI said in a statement on Wednesday.
    •    The terms of reference of the committee would be to review status, need and justification of various provisions, reserves and buffers presently provided for by the RBI, keeping in mind ‘public policy mandate of the RBI, including financial stability considerations.’
    •    The committee will also review best practices followed by the central banks globally in making assessment and provisions for risks, to which central bank balance sheets are subjected.

    RBI launches survey to capture retail payment habits in 6 cities 
    •    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will capture payment habits of individuals in six cities, including four metropolitan towns. For the purpose, the central bank has launched a 'Survey on Retail Payment Habits of Individuals (SRPHi)'.
    •    the survey will cover a sample of 6,000 individuals from various socio-economic backgrounds across six cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Guwahati. 
    •    The survey seeks qualitative responses from individuals on their payment habits. The findings may provide some idea about awareness and usage habits of digital payment products.
    •    The central bank further said that Sigma Research & Consulting Pvt Ltd has been engaged to conduct the fieldwork of the survey on behalf of the RBI.

    International News

    UAE resumes Damascus embassy in Syria after 6 years of suspension 
    •    United Arab Emirates has resumed its diplomatic service at Damascus in Syria after six years of suspension signaling a thaw in the relations between the two countries, as also with the Arab world.
    •    The Charge d'Affaires of the UAE Embassy began discharging his duty yesterday.
    •    This move will also prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian affairs.
    •    UAE had closed its Embassy in the early years of the Syrian conflict.

    Sports


    Former Australia captain Ponting inducted into ICC Hall of Fame
    •    Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was formally inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame
    •    To mark the occasion, Ponting received his commemorative cap from compatriot ICC Cricket Hall of Famer, Glenn McGrath, during the tea break on the opening day of the third Test against India at the MCG.
    •    Ponting was named in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame along with former India captain Rahul Dravid and England woman wicketkeeper-batter Claire Taylor during the ICC Annual Conference in Dublin in July.

    Persons


    Colin O’Brady - first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica
    •    An American adventurer has become the first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica without assistance of any kind.
    •    Colin O’Brady, 33, took 54 days to complete the nearly 1,600 km journey, crossing the frozen continent from coast to coast.
    •    Mr. O’Brady and an Englishman, Louis Rudd, 49, set off individually on November 3 from Union Glacier in a bid to be the first to complete a solo, unassisted crossing of Antarctica.
    •    His voyage was tracked by GPS, and live updates of the trip were provided daily on his website colinobrady.com
    •    In 1996-97, a Norwegian polar explorer, Borge Ousland, made the first solo crossing of Antarctica but he was wind-aided by kites on his voyage.

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