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Important Current Affairs 11th January 2019

National News

Agreement for Renukaji dam multipurpose project Signed
The Agreement for the construction of Renukaji Dam Multi-Purpose Project was signed by six states, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in the presence of Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Features of the Project
The important features of the project are:
Renukaji Dam Multi-Purpose Project is a storage project on the Giri river which is tributary of the Yamuna at Sirmour district of Himachal.
A 148 m-high rock-filled dam would be constructed across the river Giri.
The project also involves the generation of 40 MW of power during peak flow to be executed by Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL).

India Manufacturing Barometer 2019 Report 
The India Manufacturing Barometer 2019 Report has been prepared by Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in association with PwC.
The report was prepared based on the survey of companies which contribute approximately 12 per cent to the manufacturing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country from the automobiles, chemicals, electrical machinery, food processing, leather, pharmaceuticals and textiles sectors.
Findings of the Report
The important findings in the India Manufacturing Barometer 2019 are:
India would witness faster growth in the next 12 months driven by expanding domestic market, technology and increased spending.
Around 74 per cent of companies surveyed believes that the next 12 months will see faster growth in their sector.
Around 58 per cent of those surveyed believes that their sector would grow faster by at least 5 per cent.


RBI tweaks Gold Monetisation Scheme 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made changes with the Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS) to allow charitable institutions, central government entities and state government entities to deposit gold under GMS.
Now the entities allowed to deposit gold under the scheme include Resident Indians [Individuals, HUFs, Proprietorship & Partnership firms, Trusts including Mutual Funds/Exchange Traded Funds registered under SEBI (Mutual Fund) Regulations, Companies, charitable institutions, Central Government, State Government or any other entity owned by Central Government or State Government.

West Bengal exits Ayushman Bharat scheme 
The government of West Bengal has decided to exit from the Centre’s ambitious Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana.
Reasons cited by the West Bengal for the Withdrawal
The letter of the West Bengal government to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Family Welfare,  Government of India  has cited the following reasons for the withdrawal:
The Government of India was issuing entitlement letters to the beneficiaries without the knowledge of the state government.
Prior to the launch of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, West Bengal had well established Swasthyasathi. It was agreed to retain the name of Swasthyasathi, this was even acknowledged in the MoU between the State and the Ministry of Family and Health, Government of India. But the centre has unilaterally changed the name of the scheme to Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana.

National Clean Air Programme Launched 
The Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). The programme aims to tackle the challenge of increasing pollution in the cities and towns.
Features of the Programme
The important features of the programme are:
It is a five-year action plan with a tentative target of 20-30% reduction in concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 by 2024, with 2017 as the base year.
The plan covers 102 non-attainment cities, across 23 states and Union territories, which were identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the basis of their ambient air quality data between 2011 and 2015.

NIC Command and Control Centre Inaugurated

The Minister for Electronics and IT (MeitY) Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated the National Informatics Centre (NIC)’s Command and Control Centre (CCC) and its Centre for Excellence in Artificial Intelligence.
Role of Centre’s Command & Control Centre
National Informatics Centre hosts over 10,000 e-Governance applications and offers Data Centre and Cloud services to the Government.
The Command and Control Centre is set up as a specialized facility with a nationwide view of ICT infrastructure for effective monitoring and management of the performance & availability of all these critical services. The Command and Control Centre will increase the agility of NIC’s nationwide ICT infrastructure.
 

International News

Cabinet approves Currency Swap Agreement with Japan 
The Union Cabinet has approved India’s Currency Swap Agreement with Japan. The $75-billion bilateral currency swap arrangement is a milestone in mutual economic cooperation and special strategic and global partnership between two countries.
Currency Swap Agreements
A Currency swap agreement is a foreign exchange agreement between two parties to exchange a given amount of one currency for another and, after a specified period of time, to give back the original amounts swapped.
 

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Important Current Affairs 10th January 2019

Rankings and Indices

India to become world's third largest consumer market by 2030: WEF 
•    A report by World Economic Forum today said that India is set to become the world's third largest consumer market behind only USA and China by 2030.
•    The report said consumer spending in India is expected to grow from 1.5 trillion US dollar at present to six trillion US dollar by 2030.
•    The report said that with the annual GDP growth rate of 7.5 percent, India is currently the world's sixth largest economy.
•    The report titled 'Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Market - India' also noted that growth of the middle class will lift nearly 25 million households out of poverty.
 

International Relations

Sushma Swaraj meets Iranian counterpart
•    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday met her Iranian counterpart Javed Zarif
•    The two leaders held a wide-ranging discussion on important bilateral issues and shared perspectives on the regional situation.
•    On the sidelines of Raisina dialogue, Mrs Swaraj also met Foreign Minister of Mongolia Damdin Tsogtbaatar.
•    Mrs Swaraj had a productive meeting with her Mongolian counterpart and took stock of positive developments in a relationship in areas of energy, renewable energy, development partnership, capacity building and culture.


US-China talks to resolve trade war concludes in Beijing on positive note 
•    The extended US-China talks to resolve the trade war between the two greatest economy concluded in Beijing on a positive note on Wednesday.
•    After the talks concluded, Ted McKinney, US Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs said the discussions went just fine, without elaborating.
•    Meanwhile, confirming the conclusion of the trade talks, China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing that the extension of the talks indicates that both sides are serious about this consultation.
 

National News

Govt launches Web- Wonder Women Campaign 
•    The government launched Web- Wonder Women Campaign to celebrate the exceptional achievements of women who have influenced and impacted society through social media.
•    The Campaign aims to recognize the fortitude of Indian women stalwarts from across the globe who have used the power of social media to run positive campaigns to steer a change in society.
•    The Campaign invites entries from across the world till 31st of this month. Indian-origin women, working or settled anywhere in the world, are eligible for nomination.
 

Sports

Hockey India removed Harendra Singh as coach of India Men's Team 
•    Indian men's hockey coach Harendra Singh was sacked from the position and offered the task of helming the junior squad by the national federation.
•    Hockey India said that it will be inviting applications for the position of chief coach and in the interim the team will be overseen by Hockey India High Performance Director David John and current Analytical Coach, Chris Ciriello.
•    Harendra Singh was brought in as men's coach in May 2018 after Sjoerd Marijne was moved back to the women's camp
 

International News

US Secretary of State arrives in Baghdad to meet PM 
•    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday arrived in Baghdad on a surprise visit to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.
•    Pompeo also met other Iraqi officials, including the speaker of parliament Muhammad Al Halbusi.
•    The US Secretary of State's visit to Baghdad is part of his West Asia tour.
•    Mr. Pompeo plans to reassure allies about America's commitment to the region despite US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria.


Congo: Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi wins presidential election
•    In Congo, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi has won the long-delayed presidential election.
•    The electoral commission announced today that Tshisekedi has won with 38.57 percent of more than 18 million ballots cast.
•    If Tshisekedi’s victory is confirmed by the constitutional court, Democratic Republic of Congo will see its first peaceful democratic transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.
 

Appointments

N. Ram appointed president of Alliance for Media Freedom 
•    N. Ram, chairman, THG Publishing Private Limited, has been appointed president of the Alliance for Media Freedom (AFMF), a cross-media advocacy and action group of media organisations, promoters and journalists.
•    The Alliance, which is dedicated to work for the cause of media freedom, media independence and the safety of the last journalist, adopted a charter that underlines the importance of creating enabling conditions to safeguard free speech guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
•    The Alliance which has been functioning informally for the last seven months in the cause of media freedom and independence, resolved to take steps to formalise and institutionalise its existence.
 

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Important Current Affairs 9th January 2019

National News

Customers cannot be charged for availing tokenisation service: RBI 
•    The Reserve of India (RBI) has allowed all card payment networks to offer tokenisation service. However, the central bank has made it clear that no charges should be recovered from the customer for availing this service.
•    Tokenisation involves a process in which a unique token masks sensitive card details. The token is then used to perform card transactions in contact-less mode at Point Of Sale (POS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) code payments, etc.
•    The RBI has allowed card payment networks to offer card tokenisation services to any token requestor, that is, a third party app provider. A card holder can avail these services by registering the card on the token requestor’s app and after giving ‘explicit consent’.
 

Sports

Sharath-Manika duo shocks Manav-Archana, takes title 
•    Sharath Kamal, featuring in the mixed doubles event after 11 years, partnered Manika Batra to outclass the top-seeded pair of Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath in an all-Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) final and clinch the first individual title of the 11Sports 80th inter-State and National table tennis championship.
•    The tournament was held at J.N. Indoor Stadium of Cuttack


Egypt to host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
•    Egypt will host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations between 15th June and 13th July. Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad made the announcement in Senegalese capital Dakar yesterday.
•    The CAF executive committee preferred Egypt to South Africa as replacement for original hosts Cameroon, who were dropped due to delays in preparations and concerns over security.
•    Egypt will stage the biennial showpiece of African football for the fifth time
 

Economy and Banking

Nandan Nilekani to head five-member RBI panel on digital payments 
•    The Reserve Bank of India has appointed a five-member panel headed by Nandan Nilekani to suggest ways to improve digital payments. 
•    The committee will submit its report in 90 days from its first meeting.
•    Former Deputy Governor of RBI H.R. Khan, former Vijaya Bank MD and CEO Kishore Sansi, former Secretary of Information and Technology Aruna Sharma and Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer, Center for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE), IIM Ahmedabad, are the other members of the panel.
•    The panel would assess the current levels of digital payments in financial inclusion, suggest measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments, provide a road map for increasing customer confidence to use digital transactions, and suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening of digital payments.


Raisina Dialogue begins in New Delhi
•    Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg has pitched for promoting Ocean economy and said that resources in the ocean should be used properly.
•    Delivering her inaugural address at Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on Tuesday evening in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ms. Solberg said, rapid climate changes in the Arctic area will have a far-reaching global impact and the world has a responsibility to protect the ocean.
•    Calling for promoting blue economy, Ms. Solberg said, ocean-based industries help provide jobs. She also said there is a need to improve the health of the oceans.
 

International Relations

EAM Sushma meets Australian, Spanish counterparts 
•    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her Australian and Spanish counterparts in New Delhi.
•    Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, who is on her maiden visit to India, will give the Ministerial Address on ‘The Arrival of Global Politics' at the Raisina Dialogue.
•    Mrs Swaraj also met Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell Fontelles. The two leaders had a good discussion on various aspects of bilateral relations, including trade and investment, security and renewable energy.


India, Norway agree to combat international terrorism
•    India and Norway have agreed to closely collaborate on ocean economy and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
•    The two countries also decided to step up bilateral trade. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held delegation-level talks with his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg in New Delhi today.
•    They discussed ways to give new energy and direction to bilateral ties. The two countries also signed a MoU for holding an India-Norway Ocean Dialogue.
 

International News

Gautemala to withdraw from UN-backed anti-corruption commission 
•    Guatemala has said it is withdrawing from a UN-backed anti-corruption commission. It has given the UN body's staff 24 hours to leave the country. 
•    President Jimmy Morales accused the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, commonly known as CICIG, of polarising the country and putting its security at risk.
•    The CICIG was formed in 2006 upon the request of the Guatemalan government to combat high rates of impunity for crimes.
 

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Important Current Affairs 8th January 2019

National News

AAI bans single-use plastic items at 129 airports across country 
•    Airports Authority of India (AAI) has imposed a ban on single-use plastic items at its 129 airports across the country.
•    In a statement, the AAI said various steps have been taken to eliminate single-use plastic items at passenger terminals and city side.
•    The AAI said, on the basis of a third-party assessment carried out by Quality Council of India (QCI), 16 of its airports have been declared as Single-Use Plastic Free.
•    Single-use plastic items are used only once and then thrown in the trash.


Private FM channels to broadcast AIR News from today 
•    Private FM channels will be able to broadcast All India Radio News from today. Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore will launch the sharing of news at a function.
•    The Minister said, the radio has gained popularity again due to 'Mann Ki Baat' Programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
•     Colonel Rathore said, AIR FM covers 50 per cent of population in the country and private FM channels are being given opportunities in different cities and towns.


Maharashtra to host 2nd edition of Khelo India Youth Games 
•    Maharashtra is all set to host the second edition of Khelo India Youth Games which will officially begin tomorrow in Pune.
•    More than 9000 players from different states will participate in 18 different games at Khelo India Youth Games.
•    It has already been announced that Youth Olympic Gold Medallist in shooting Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhari, as well as weight lifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga will be among the cream of India’s youth sporting talent competing at these games.


Navy’s new air base in north of Port Blair 
•    Later this month, the Indian Navy will commission a new airbase 100 miles north of Port Blair in the strategically located Andaman and Nicobar islands.
•    The base, INS Kohassa, will be commissioned by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on January 24.
•    This will be India’s fourth air base and the third naval air facility in the archipelago, which are more closer to Southeast Asia than to the Indian mainland, overlooking key sea lanes of communication and strategic choke points.
 

Appointments

India born Gita Gopinath joins IMF as Chief Economist 
•    India born Gita Gopinath has joined International Monetary Fund as its chief economist.
•    She has become the first woman to occupy the top IMF post. 
•    Gopinath succeeds Maurice (Maury) Obstfeld as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF's Research Department. Obstfeld retired on December the 31st.
•    She is the 11th Chief Economist of IMF.
 

International Relations

India secures extradition of bookie Sanjeev Chawla 
•    India secured another legal victory in the U.K. as a judge at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has said that the extradition of alleged bookie Sanjeev Chawla can proceed, and referred the case to Home Secretary Sajid Javid for a final decision.
•    The extradition of businessman Vijay Mallya was ordered last month.
 

International News

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to step down on February 1 
•    In a surprise move, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Monday announced that he will step down from his position on February 1 - much before the end of his term in 2022.
•    Kim, 58, has been in this position for over six years now.
•    The president of the Washington-based World Bank has always been an American citizen nominated by the United States, which is the largest shareholder of this multilateral financial institution.
•    Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO, will assume the role of interim President effective February 1.


Sheikh Hasina sworn in as Bangladesh Prime Minister for fourth term 
•    Sheikh Hasina was sworn in as Bangladesh’s Prime Minister for a record fourth term Monday after a crushing election victory marred by deadly violence and claims of widespread rigging.
•    Ms. Hasina, 71, has presided over record economic growth in the South Asian country of 165 million people but critics have accused her of creeping authoritarianism.
•    Her ruling Awami League party and its allies won the December 30 elections by a landslide, securing 288 seats in the 300-seat parliament compared to just seven for the main opposition.
 

Sports

Sunil Chhetri Becomes Second Highest International Goal-scorer 
•    On January 6, 2019, Sunil Chhetri made history by becoming the second highest international goal-scorer among active players with 67 goals from 105 matches.
•    He went past Argentine great Lionel Messi who has scored 65 goals from 128 matches. 
•    Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest scorer with 85 goals from 154 matches.
 

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Important Current Affairs 7th January 2019

Sports

Scripting history, India scores maiden series win in Australia 
•    India scripted history winning the first ever series on Australian soil beating the home team 2-1 after the fourth and final Test ended in a tame draw due to inclement weather.
•    It is a rare first Down Under for India since Lala Amarnath's side visited the country back in 1947-48 months after independence to face Sir Don Bradman's 'Invincibles'
•    India has also become the first ever Asian team to win a Test series in Australia.
 

Awards

'Bohemian Rhapsody' wins best film
The Golden Globes 2019 was held at the The Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, California, United States
Complete list of winners
Film
•    Drama- “Bohemian Rhapsody”
•    Actress, Drama- Glenn Close, “The Wife”
•    Actor, Drama- Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
•    Comedy or Musical- “Green Book”
•    Actor, Comedy or Musical- Christian Bale, “Vice”
•    Actress, Comedy or Musical- Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
•    Actress-Supporting Role- Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
•    Actor-Supporting Role- Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
•    Foreign Language Film- “Roma”
•    Best Director- Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
•    Screenplay- Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, “Green Book”
•    Animated- “Spider-Man- Into the Spider-Verse”
•    Original Score- Justin Hurwitz, “First Man”
•    Original Song- “Shallow,” “A Star Is Born”
Television
•    Drama- “The Americans”
•    Actress, Drama- Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
•    Actor, Drama- Richard Madden, “Bodyguard”
•    Musical or Comedy- “The Kominsky Method”
•    Actress, Musical or Comedy- Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
•    Actor, Musical or Comedy- Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”
•    Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- “The Assassination of Gianni Versace- American Crime Story”
•    Actress, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Patricia Arquette, “Escape at Dannemora”
•    Actor, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace- American Crime Story”
•    Actress, Supporting Role, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”
 

National news

Polavaram project enters Guinness Book of World Record for concrete pouring 
•    The Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh on Monday entered the Guinness Book of World by pouring 32,100 cubic metres of concrete in 24 hours. 
•    The concrete work to make the spillway began at 8 am on Sunday and concluded at 8 am this morning. 
•    The project beat the existing record of 21,580 cubic metres which was achieved by Abdul Wahed Bin Shabib, RALS Contracting LLC and Alfa Eng. Consultant (all UAE), in Dubai between May 18 and 20 in 2017.
 

Economy and banking

Banks get a breather on bad loans 
•    For the first time since the bad loan saga began to play out six years ago, Indian banks have reported a decline in the proportion of loans gone bad for the half-year ended September 2018.
•    Their aggregate Gross Non-Performing Asset (GNPA) ratio dipped from 11.5% in March 2018 to 10.8% in September 2018. The GNPA ratio captures the proportion of loans in a bank’s books on which borrowers haven’t repaid dues for more than 90 days.
 

International news

Malaysia’s king abdicates in historic first 
•    Malaysia’s king has abdicated in a historic first for the country that ended weeks of speculation about his future after he took medical leave.
•    Sultan Muhammad V’s decision marks the first time a king has abdicated in the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1957.
•    Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with a unique arrangement where the throne changes hands every five years between rulers of the nine Malaysian States headed by centuries-old royalty. The rotating monarchy system has been in place since independence from Britain in 1957, and Sultan Muhammad V is the first monarch to have renounced the throne.
 

International relations

U.S., China hold crucial talks to ease trade war 
•    Delegates from the US and China on Monday began the crucial face-to-face negotiations here to ease a bitter trade war between the world’s two largest economies amid growing concerns about China’s slowing economy and its impact on American businesses.
•    The US and China have been locked in an escalating trade spat since early 2018, raising import tariffs on each other’s goods.


OVL makes oil discovery in Colombia 
•    ONGC Videsh Ltd., the overseas arm of State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) has made a second oil discovery in Colombia that has increased prospects of its onland block in the South American nation.
•    OVL is the operator of the block with 70% stake while Petrodorado South America S A Sucursal (PDSA) of Colombia holds the remaining 30%.
•    The well was spudded on November 7, 2018, and the company completed drilling on December 15, 2018.


Norwegian PM arrives in New Delhi 
•    Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg has arrived in New Delhi on a three-day state visit to India. 
•    She was accompanied by senior officials from her government and a large business delegation. 
•    She will participate in the Indo-Norwegian Business Conference.
•    She will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will call on the visiting dignitary.
•    The Norwegian Prime Minister will deliver the Inaugural address at the Raisina Dialogue.
 

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Important Current Affairs 6th January 2019

National News

Govt allocates Rs 10,900 cr for development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in next 4-years
•    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Dr K Sivan has said that the Union Government has allocated 10,900 crore rupees for the development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in the next four years.
•    Pointing out that the Centenary year celebrations of ISRO founder Dr Vikram Sarabhai will be held next year, Dr Sivan said that ISRO will rededicate itself to become a world class organization, capable of addressing the varied socio economic challenges of the nation.


9-day long International Kite Festival kicks off in Ahmedabad 
•    In Gujarat, the nine-day long international kite festival kicked off at Sabarmati River Front in Ahmedabad
•    About 500 kite fliers 13 different states of the country and 19 cities of Gujarat are also taking part.
•    The festival is also planned at Vadodara, Kevadiya, Dwaraka, Surat, Rajkot, Jetpur, Songadh, Saputara and Dhordo in the coming days.


Govt notifies High-Level Committee for implementation of Clause VI of Assam Accord 
•    The government has notified a High-Level Committee for implementation of Clause six of the Assam Accord.
•    The clause envisaged that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, should be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the people of Assam.
•    The nine-member committee, comprising of eminent Assamese persons from different fields, is headed by former bureaucrat MP Bezbarauah. 
•    The committee will examine the effectiveness of actions since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.


Cabinet approves 10% job quota for ‘economically weaker’ upper castes 
•    The Union Cabinet Monday approved a 10 per cent reservation for ‘economically backward’ upper castes in government jobs. 
•    Ahead of the General Elections this year, the government has announced reservation in jobs for those belonging to the upper castes and earning less than Rs 8 lakh per year.
•    A bill to amend Article 15 and 16 of the constitution will be moved in Parliament to this effect.
•    The Supreme Court has capped the quota for caste-based reservation for government jobs at 50%.
 

International News

Egypt opens West Asia's largest cathedral in its New Administrative Capital 
•    Egypt has opened West Asia's largest cathedral in its New Administrative Capital, 45 kilometres east of Cairo. 
•    President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the newly-built Cathedral of Nativity and also a mosque yesterday on the eve of Coptic Christmas.
•    The ceremony was attended by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and a host of Arab dignitaries. 
•    It included recorded video messages of support from the region's top Christian clerics as well as Pope Francis.
 

Sports News

Head Constable Rani wins gold medal in Senior National's Judo C'Ship 
•    Lady head constable Rani of 5th Indian Reserve Battalion of Himachal Pradesh Police won a Gold medal in the Senior National Women's Judo Championship at Visakhapatnam
•    She claimed top honours in the 78 kg category. 
•    Rani was also declared the best Judoka at the Championship.

Awards News

WCD minister Maneka Gandhi confers National Anganwadi Awards 
•    Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi today conferred National Awards to 97 Anganwadi workers for their exceptional achievements for the year 2017-18 in New Delhi.
•    The award is given to motivate the Anganwadi workers and recognize their exemplary services in the field of child development and related areas under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme.
 

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Important Current Affairs 5th January 2019

National news

Swachh Survekshan 2019 launched across 4,237 Urban Local Bodies
•    The Minister of State (I/C), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Shri Hardeep S Puri has officially kicked off the Swachh Survekshan 2019, the fourth edition of the annual cleanliness survey of Urban India
•    This year, the survey will be conducted across 4,237 towns and cities between January 4 - 28, 2019. The completely digital and paperless survey will be completed in a record time of 28 days. 
•    As a prelude to encouraging cities to improve urban sanitation, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) had conducted ‘Swachh Survekshan-2016’ survey for ranking 73 cities in January 2016. 
•    This was followed by ‘Swachh Survekshan-2017’ conducted in January-February 2017 where 434 cities were ranked. 
•    The third round of survey ‘Swachh Survekshan-2018’ was a quantum leap of scale - conducted across 4,203 cities, in a record time of 66 days, and became the largest ever sanitation survey in the world, impacting around 40 crore people.


NGT imposes Rs 100 Cr fine on Meghalaya govt
•    The National Green Tribunal has imposed a fine of 100 crore rupees on Meghalaya government for its failure to curb illegal coal mining in the state.
•    The amount of the fine has to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board within two months. The action comes after a high-level committee submitted an adverse report to a bench headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel.
•    The report stated that majority of the mines in the state are operating without a lease or licence.

Lok Sabha passes Aadhar, Companies Amendment Bill
•    The Lok Sabha on Friday passed Aadhaar and other laws (Amendment Bill) 2018 and Companies Amendment Bill 2018. The Aadhaar Bill seeks to amend the Aadhaar Act, 2016, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
•    It provides for voluntary sharing of the 12-digit identification number for obtaining new mobile phone connections and opening bank accounts. The government move comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s judgment.
•    The Apex court in September last year struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that made seeding of the biometric ID with SIMs and bank accounts mandatory, stating that it had no legal backing.
•    The Companies (Amendment), Bill, 2018 replaces the Ordinance promulgated in November last year.

International news

China develops its own 'Mother of All Bombs’ 
•    China has developed a massive bomb, said to be the country's answer to the US-built 'Mother of All Bombs', the most powerful non-nuclear weapon, as per a report by official media.
•    A state-run Global Times reported that China's defence industry giant NORINCO for the first time showcased the aerial bomb, the country's largest non-nuclear bomb.
•    The daily said it is dubbed as the Chinese version of the "Mother of All Bombs" due to its huge destruction potential that is claimed to be only second to nuclear weapons
•    Although China is using the same nickname for its bomb, said to weigh several tonnes, the Chinese weapon is smaller and lighter than its American counterpart.
•    To match the US weapon, Russia developed the "Father of All Bombs" which is both bigger and thermobaric, meaning it uses gas to create a huge fireball rather than a shockwave.


James Jeffrey to Replace Brett McGurk as Top U.S. Envoy in ISIS Fight
•    Ambassador James Jeffrey will replace Brett McGurk as the United States Special Envoy to Defeat ISIS
•    McGurk resigned in late 2018 over disagreements with President Donald Trump’s strategy to resign from Syria, leaving office on Dec

Awards


Young entrepreneurs honoured with National Entrepreneurship Awards 
•    Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday honoured outstanding young entrepreneurs with National Entrepreneurship Awards in New Delhi.
•    The awards aim to recognize and honour outstanding young first-generation entrepreneurs and those who have contributed immensely in building the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
•    A total of 43 awards were given this year. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Prabhu said, the government will provide full support to the young entrepreneurs to enhance their business.

AP govt bags CBIP award for Polavaram project 
•    The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday bagged the Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP) award for speedy execution of Polavaram multipurpose project on the Godavari river.
•    AP Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswar Rao received the award in the category of “Best Implementation of Water Resources Project” for better planning, implementation and monitoring at an event

Sports

80th National Table Tennis Championship begins in Cuttack
•    80th National Table Tennis Championship begins in Cuttack
•    As many as 35 teams, including 550 players from different parts of the country are participating in the mega championship.
•    Medal winners at Commonwealth Games and Asian Games Manika Batra, Senior players like Sharath Kamal, Madhuriba Patkar, Olympian Ankita Das are some of the key players who will be in the limelight during the event.

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Important Current Affairs 1st January 2019

National

ISRO launches Samwad with students to engage them on space science activities 
•    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched Samwad with Students as part of its outreach programme. The Indian Space agency will engage youngsters across the country in activities concerning space science under this programme.
•    During the inauguration in Bengaluru yesterday, 40 students and 10 teachers from select schools interacted with ISRO Chairman Dr. K Sivan about the Indian Space Programme and their benefits to the common man.
•    The Chairman asked students to study science and mathematics with absolute seriousness which would enable them to take up challenging careers.
 

International

Pakistan, India exchange list of nuclear installations 
•    India and Pakistan on Tuesday exchanged the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations between them.
•    In a statement, the External Affairs Ministry said, the list was exchanged through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad
•    Under the 1988 agreement, the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities on the first of January every year.


US, Israel quit UNESCO citing bias 
•    The United States and Israel officially quit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the close of 2018. The countries had announced their decisions in 2017 of withdrawing from the agency, accusing it of bias against Israel.
•    America has demanded fundamental reform in UNESCO, which was co-founded by it after World War II to foster peace. Israel joined the agency in 1949. It is best known for its World Heritage program, which designates cultural sites and aims to preserve traditions
•    The withdrawals will not greatly impact UNESCO financially since it has been dealing with a funding slash ever since 2011 when both Israel and the US stopped paying dues after Palestine was voted in as a member state.


Qatar will cease to be a member of OPEC
•    Qatar will cease to be a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries today. The country had sent an official notification to the OPEC expressing its wish to pull out and to focus on its liquefied natural gas production in December.
•    The decision came amid the ongoing diplomatic and economic blockade imposed on the country by its Persian Gulf neighbours and several Arab states.
•    These countries accuse Doha of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Qatar has strongly refuted these allegations.


Bangladesh: Awami League registers landslide victory in Parliamentary elections 
•    Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League has registered a landslide victory in Parliamentary elections.
•    The ruling Awami League-led grand alliance bagged 266 seats and its ally Jatiya Party secured 21. The opposition National Unity Front (UNF) with BNP being its key partner got only seven seats. Independent candidates won in two seats. The election was postponed in one seat due to the death of a candidate.


Afghanistan presidential election delayed until July 20
•    Afghanistan's presidential election will be delayed until July 20 next year, three months later than the ballot had been scheduled to be held.
•    The announcement by the Independent Election Commission comes after weeks of speculation that the vote would be postponed to create space for US-led efforts to end the 17-year war with the Taliban.
•    The presidential ballot was originally scheduled for April 20.
 

Economy and Banking

Govt infuses nearly Rs 11,000 cr capital in public sector banks
•    The government has infused 10,882 crore rupees in four public sector banks, including UCO Bank and Syndicate Bank. It is part of 28,615 crore rupees capital infusion to be done in seven public sector lenders.
•    UCO Bank has received 3,074 crore rupees in the equity by way of preferential allotment yesterday. Besides, Bank of Maharashtra got 4,498 crore rupees, Syndicate Bank 1,632 crore and the Central Bank of India 1,678 crore.
•    The government has already announced infusion of 10,086 crore rupees in Bank of India, 5,500 crore in Oriental Bank of Commerce and 2,159 in United Bank of India.
 

Obituary

Veteran Actor Kader Khan Dies At 81 
•    Veteran actor Kader Khan died in a hospital in Canada on Monday. He was 81.
•    Born in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 22, Kader Khan was best known for his work as an actor and a writer in numerous films. 
•    He has worked with directors like Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra. 
•    He has featured in over 300 films.
 

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Important Current Affairs 30th December 2018

National

One District, One Product scheme of Uttar Pradesh
The government of Uttar Pradesh has initiated One District, One Product scheme to encourage indigenous and specialized products and crafts of the state.
Aim
•    The scheme aims to capitalize the rich heritage of the Uttar Pradesh by reviving them through modernization and publicisation to enhance the reach of these products.
Uttar Pradesh is a vast state with vast diversity in all facets of life. The diversity of products and crafts in UP is breathtaking. 


Proposals for implementation of Mahila Police Volunteer Scheme approved
•    The proposal from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh for the implementation of Mahila Police Volunteer Scheme has been approved by the union government.
•    Haryana was the first state to adopt the initiative of Mahila Police Volunteer at Karnal and Mahindergarh District on a pilot basis under the Nirbhaya Fund during the financial year 2016-2017.


Bimal Jalan Panel on Economic Capital Framework
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up an expert committee, headed by its former governor Bimal Jalan, to suggest how the central bank should handle its reserves and whether it can transfer its surplus to the government. The committee will submit its report within 90 days of its first meeting.

National Commission for Homeopathy Bill, 2018 
The Union Cabinet has approved the National Commission for Homeopathy bill, 2018. The National Commission for Homeopathy seeks to replace the existing regulator Central Council of Homoeopathy.
Features of the Bill
The salient features of the draft National Commission for Homeopathy bill are:
•    Constitution of a national commission with three autonomous boards.
•    The Homoeopathy Education Board to be vested with the responsibility of overseeing the Homeopathy education in the country.
•    The board of assessment and rating to assess and grant recognition to educational institutions of Homoeopathy.
 

International

PM Inaugurates International Rice Research Institute’s South Asia Regional Centre 
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the International Rice Research Institute South Asia Regional Centre (IRRI SARC) in Varanasi.
•    It is the sixth campus of IRRI SARC. The institute will complement the government’s effort to double farmer’s income by 2022.
Components of the IRRI SARC are:
•    The education and training arm of IRRI SARC will educate scientists and agriculture leaders about the latest technologies and innovations for sustainable farming.
•    The IRRI SARC will house laboratories for digital crop monitoring and assessment.
•    IRRI SARC will house demonstration fields for testing various varieties of rice.
 

Space

Union Cabinet approves budget for Gaganyaan project 
The Union Cabinet has approved a budget of Rs 10,000 crore for India’s Gaganyaan project. The allocation of the budget comes after the announcement of Prime Minister that, an Indian would travel to space in an Indian spacecraft by 2022 in his 2018 Independence Day speech.
About
•    India will launch two unmanned missions before the final mission. The first unmanned test-flight will be launched in December 2020.
•    The second unmanned test will be conducted in July 2021 and the human space flight will be launched in December 2021.
•    The module carrying three Indians will be attached to a service module. These two modules will comprise the orbital module that will be integrated with an advanced GSLV Mk III rocket.
 

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