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    Important Current Affairs 23th February 2019

    APPOINTMENTS:

    Uma Nath Singh: 1st Lokayukta of Nagaland.

    • Justice Uma Nath Singh took oath as the First Lokayukta of Nagaland on February 22, 2019.

    • Governor PB Acharya administered the oath of office to Justice Singh at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Kohima.

    Lt Gen Ravi: 3rd member of CoA.

    • The Supreme Court appointed Lieutenant General Ravi Thodge as the 3rd member of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) for BCCI.

    • In 2017, the apex court had appointed a 4-member CoA, headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Vinod Rai.

    • The other 3 members of the CoA were -- former Indian women cricket captain Diana Edulji, Ramachandra Guha and Vikram Limaye.

    D.K. Jain appointed as BCCI Ombudsman.

    • The Supreme Court appointed retired judge of the court Justice D.K. Jain as the first BCCI ombudsman.

    • He was appointed under the new BCCI Constitution approved on August 9, 2018.

    AWARDS AND HONORS:

    PM Modi received Seoul Peace Prize 2018.

    • PM Narendra Modi received the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize for 2018 for his contribution to international cooperation and fostering global economic growth.

    • The award was presented to him by the Seoul Peace Prize Foundation at a grand ceremony.

    • A short film on the life and achievements of Prime Minister Modi was also screened at the event.

    POLITY:

    President promulgated 4 Ordinances.

    • President Ram Nath Kovind promulgated 4 Ordinances on 21 Feb 2019.

    a.         Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance

    b.         Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance

    c.         Companies (Amendment) Second Ordinance

    d.         Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Ordinance, 2019

    NATIONAL:

    Waste to Wonder' Park inaugurated.

    • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the “Waste to Wonder” Park under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) in New Delhi on 21 Feb, 19.

    • He also lauded SDMC for improving its rank from 202 to 32 in Swachh Sarvekshan, 2018 ranking.

    • Some of the main attractions of the “Seven Wonders Park” are the different sized tall replicas of Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramid of Giza, etc.

    GOVERNMENT SCHEME:

    Scheme for adolescent girls launched in UP.

    • UP CM, Yogi Adityanath launched a scheme for girls on 21 February 2019.

    • It will focus on girls aged between 11 to 14 years who have left studies and will take steps for proper nutrition and special care for them.

    • The state will also observe girls day on 8th of every month at Anganwadi centers across the state.

    SPORTS:

    ISSF Shooting World Cup held.

    • The ISSF (International Shooting Sports Federation) World Cup 2019 began in New Delhi on February 21, 2019.

    • Various events in the World cup will start from February 23rd and end on 27th at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.

    • Around 503 shooters from 58 countries will be competing for top honours with 8 of the 10 events offering Olympic quota places.

    India Korea start up hub launched.

    • PM Narendra Modi launched India Korea start up hub in Seoul on Feb 21, 2019.

    • India is one of the most open countries for FDI today and more than 90% of its sectors are now on automatic route for approval.

    • India has become the 6th largest producer of renewable energy in the world, as said by PM Modi during the launch.

    SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY:

    China unveiled first female AI news anchor.

    • China's state-run news agency, Xinhua, unveiled the world's first female AI news anchor (Xin Xiaomeng ) to read alongside its male AI news presenters on Feb 21, 2019.

    • Earlier, Xinhua also developed Qiu Hao, the world’s first male AI news anchor at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen held in November 2018.

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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 9th February 2019

    SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


    NASA: 2018 4th warmest year on record.
    •    The global surface temperatures on the Earth in 2018 were the 4th warmest since 1880.
    •    This was found in an independent analysis by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
    •    The global temperatures in 2018 were 0.83 degree Celsius
    2018’s temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015.
     

    BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


    IRDAI imposes fine on United India Insurance.
    •    Imposed a fine of Rs 9 lakh on state-owned United India Insurance Co Ltd for violating certain procedures.
    •    3 violations were found during the inspection, of which 2 attracted the fine.
    •    UIIC is headquartered in Chennai, while IRDAI is in Hyderabad.

    SBI fined by RBI.
    •    RBI slapped Rs 1 crore penalty on SBI, country's largest lender on 7th Feb 2019 for violating norms.
    •    RBI levied the penalty in the exercise of powers conferred under Section 47 A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
    •    SBI was charged for not monitoring the end use of funds in respect of one of its borrowers.


    RBI Monetary Policy of February.
    •    RBI cuts key lending rate (repo) by 0.25 pc to 6.25 pc
    •    Reverse repo rate cut to 6pcs, bank rate to 6.5pc, CRR unchanged at 4pc
    •    Headline inflation estimates revised down to 2.8 pc in Q1, 3.2-3.4 pc in first half of next fiscal
    •    Projects GDP growth to accelerate to 7.4 pc next fiscal, from 7.2 pc in 2018-19
     

    Suresh Prabhu addresses interactive session.
    •    An interactive session on the Indo-Africa Strategic Economic Co-operation was held in New Delhi on 6th Feb 2019.
    •    It was organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    •    The bilateral trade between Africa and India has increased from $7 billion in 2001 to $78 billion in 2014 and then $60 billion in 2017.
    •    Suresh Prabhu is the Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation.
     

    AWARDS AND HONORS


    Yes Bank wins Data Science Innovation Award.
    •    Yes, Bank was announced as the winner of the 9th edition of Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018 for its ‘Yes Engage Enrich Excel (EEE)’ project in data science.
    •    Its EEE program is an industry-first analytics tool that aids the Bank’s relationship managers with top 3 talking points to engage with their customers.
    •    Aegis Graham Bell Award promotes innovations and entrepreneurship in the ICT domain.

    Sanjiv Chadha awarded in UK.
    •    The State Bank of India’s UK Chief Mr Sanjiv Chadha has been honoured with the ‘Freedom of the City Of London’.
    •    The award was given by the city of London Corporation in recognition of his contribution to promoting bilateral relations
    •    The previous Indian recipient of the honour is Jawaharlal Nehru, the first PM of India. Other recipients include author J K Rowling and actor Dame Judi Dench.
     

    APPOINTMENTS


    Pradeep Singh became Civil Aviation Secretary.
    •    The government appointed Air India Chief Managing Director and Chairperson Pradeep Singh Kharola as the secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
    •    Kharola will take over from Rajiv Nayan Choubey.
    •    He is an IAS officer of Karnataka cadre from the 1985 batch, who was named chairperson of Air India in November 2017.

    NATIONAL


    Nitin Gadkari laid foundation of NH project.
    •    Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, laid the foundation for 5 National Highway projects of length 632 km in Ayodhya on 8 Feb 2019
    •    The estimated cost is Rs. 7195 crore and the project will establish direct connectivity from Ayodhya to Ambedkar Nagar and Chitrakoot.
    •    He will also visit Prayagraj to inaugurate Phase 2 of River Information System on National Waterway-1.

    Ujjwala Utsav observed by Oil industry.
    •    Ujjwala Utsav was observed by the Oil industry in New Delhi on 7th Feb 2019
    •    It was observed to celebrate the stellar role played by all stakeholders in making PMUY scheme a success.
    •    PMUY anthem - 'Ujjwala Bharat Ujjwala' composed by Kailash Kher was also launched on the occasion.
     

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    Important Current Affairs 12th January 2019

    Science

    Earth’s north magnetic pole moving at alarming rate 
    Rapid shifts in the Earth’s north magnetic pole are forcing researchers to make an unprecedented early update to a model that helps navigation by ships, planes and submarines in the Arctic.
    Beggan said the moving pole affected navigation, mainly in the Arctic Ocean north of Canada. NATO and the U.S. and British militaries are among those using the magnetic model, as well as civilian navigation.
    Beggan said the recent shifts in the north magnetic pole would be unnoticed by most people outside the Arctic, for instance using smartphones in New York, Beijing or London.
     

    International news

    Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza 
    The Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza (SIDCOP), an initiative to bring Indian IT companies and Chinese enterprises closer to each other on a single AI enabled platform. This is a partnership by National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) with Municipal Governments of Guiyang and Dalian.
    Indian IT enterprises are world renowned for their expertise in business transformation and operational optimization by using IT tools in complex business environments.
    SIDCOP, which is a boundary-less marketplace offers this opportunity for Chinese enterprises in order to assist them in operational optimization and adopting industry best practices in business solutions.
     

    National news

    25th edition of Partnership Summit 2019 
    Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate the 25th edition of Partnership Summit 2019 in Mumbai. The two-day summit will provide a platform for discussions between Indian and global leaders on economic policy and growth trends in India. It will also offer new partnerships and investment opportunities in sectors like Artificial Intelligence, big data, agri and food processing, defence and aeronautics, renewable energy and tourism.
    The theme of the sessions will vary from reforms and deregulation to infrastructure development as a necessity for growth. With an aim to showcase a New India, the summit is being organised by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Maharashtra Government and Confederation of Indian Industry.


    Armed Forces Veterans Day 

    The Armed Force are celebrating the Veterans Day on 14 Jan to honour the veterans of the Army, Navy and Air Force.  To mark the occasion, veteran rallies will be held country wide at Armed Forces stations.  The main celebration in Delhi will take place at the Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt.  Raksha Mantri and Raksha Rajya Mantri will grace the occasion amongst many other eminent officials associated with the Veterans affairs.

    Indus Food 2019 
    INDUS FOOD-II with the theme of ‘World Food Supermarket’ will be held on 14th and 15th January, 2019, at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. The event is aimed at promoting India as a strong and reliable exporter of food and beverage products to the world. INDUS FOOD 2019 will promote value addition to India’s agriculture exports and integrate Indian farmers and agricultural products with global value chains.
    With more than 700 buyers from 70 countries visiting INDUS FOOD-II and more than 500 food suppliers, the event will lead to greater interaction of Indian exporters with global customers leading to enhanced product development and better price realization in international markets. 

     
    Army Tech Seminar (ARTECH 2019) 
    In its quest for modernization through optimum use of emerging technologies, Indian Army organised the Army Technology Seminar-2019  (ARTECH 2019) on the theme “Disruptive Impact of Emerging Technologies on Land Warfare” at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt on 11 Jan 2019.  The seminar was aimed to bring together stakeholders in the military, academia and industry to provide perspective on the available and emerging technologies which could have an impact on warfighting. An exhibition showcasing military innovations developed by field Army, DRDO, Academia and industry was also organised during the seminar.


    Sanskriti Kumbh, a 29 days Cultural extravaganza begins at Kumbh Mela Area, Prayagraj 
    The biggest cultural festival named Sanskriti Kumbh is celebrating the conglomeration of Spiritual Consciousness and Cultural Heritage of India in the main premises of Kumbh Mela area in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. The Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India is organizing Sanskriti Kumbh with intent to showcase the rich Cultural Heritage of India in all its rich and varied dimensions viz. Performing Arts- Folk, Tribal and Classical art forms, Handicrafts, Cuisines, Exhibitions etc. all in one place.
    Kumbh Mela is one of the oldest and largest congregation in the world. Kumbh Mela is attended by millions of people irrespective of all caste, creed, sex and region. The significance of Kumbh Mela has been enhanced at the Global level as the UNESCO has inscribed Kumbh Mela on the list of Intangible Cultural heritage for humanity in 2017. This time Kumbh is being organized in the city of Prayagraj which is located at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and Mystic river of Saraswati in Uttar Pradesh.
     

    Economy news

    Industrial production falls to 0.5% in November 

    Industrial production in November grew at just 0.5 per cent compared to 8.1 percent in October, as per data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) Friday. Factory output had grown by 8.5 per cent in November 2017. The last low was in June 2017, when IIP growth contracted by 0.3 per cent. The October IIP was also revised to 8.4 per cent from 8.1 per cent earlier by the CSO.

    The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which details out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mineral mining, electricity and manufacturing. The all India IIP is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to that in a chosen base period.

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    Important Current Affairs 8th December 2018

    National News

    State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART) Project
    Over 49 companies including the Tata Group, Amazon, ITC, and Patanjali, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government’s ‘State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART)’ project, assisted by World Bank, to revamp the agricultural value chain and improve the price realisation for the farmer.
    Project SMART entails an investment of Rs. 2,000 crore, of which World Bank contributed Rs. 1,500 crore while the State government contributed Rs. 430 crore. The balance Rs. 70 crore was raised by Village Social Transformation Foundation (VSTF) through its partners.
    Significance
    •    The project is giant step towards transformation of rural economy and empowerment of farmers and also sustainable agriculture through public-private partnership (PPP) model. 
    •    It seeks to ensure higher production of crops and create robust market mechanism to enable farmers to reap higher remunerations for the yield. 

    Appointments


    It unites agriculture-oriented corporates and farmers by providing them common platform.
    Ex-Diplomat Elected To UN's Socio-Economic, Cultural Panel 
    Former senior Indian diplomat Preeti Saran has been elected unopposed to an Asia Pacific seat on the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) of the UN. Ms Saran will begin her four-year term on January 1, after another former Indian diplomat, Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, completes his third term on the CESCR at the end of this year.
    About Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR):
    •    The CESCR was set up in 1985 by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.
    •    It was constituted with an aim to monitor on its behalf the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR), which has been ratified by 169 countries.
    •    The countries that are parties to the covenant are required to submit reports to the CESCR every five years on how they protect the economic, social and cultural rights.

    Science and Technology


    China Launches 1st Mission to Land on the Far Side of the Moon
    China has launched the first mission to land a robotic craft on the far side of the Moon. The Chang'e-4 mission will see a static lander and rover touch down in Von Kármán crater, located on the side of the Moon which never faces Earth. The payload blasted off atop a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The mission will pave the way for the country to deliver samples of Moon rock and soil to Earth.
    Von Kármán crater is of interest to scientists because it is located within the oldest and largest impact feature on the Moon - the South Pole-Aitken Basin. This was probably formed by a giant asteroid impact billions of years ago.The landers will characterise the region's geology and the composition of rock and soil.
    The mission is part of a larger Chinese programme of lunar exploration. The first and second Chang'e missions were designed to gather data from orbit, while the third and fourth were built for surface operations.

    International News

    UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism
    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has launched a new framework to combat the scourge of international terrorism and coordinate efforts across the peace and security, humanitarian, human rights and sustainable development sectors. 
    Termed the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, the framework is an agreement between the UN chief, 36 organizational entities, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organisation, to better serve the needs of Member States when it comes to tackling the scourge of international terrorism.

    2023 is international year of millets: FAO 
    The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has decided to observe 2023 as the International Year of Millets, upon the request from the Indian government. 
    This decision was taken at the 160th session of FAO Council, currently underway in Rome, which also approved India’s membership to the Executive Board of the World Food Program (WFP) for 2020 and 2021, it said.

    Awards

    Ministry of New and Renewable Energy conferred Skoch Award for National Significance

    Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India has been conferred the Skoch Award for National Significance at an event held recently in New Delhi. The award was received by Secretary, Ministry of New Renewable Energy Shri Anand Kumar.
    The award has been conferred on the Ministry considering its purpose and critical role played in installing about 73 GW renewable energy capacity in the country. With 21 per cent of total installed capacity, within the year renewable energy grossed a magic figure of providing one billion units of electricity in the country.
    Today, India ranks 4 in the world in wind energy capacity and 5th in solar & total renewable energy capacity installed in the world. India has played a critical role in setting up of international solar alliance. Further, India moved a resolution during the first meeting for making it a global initiative.



     

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    Important Current Affairs 4th December 2018 English

    (National news)

    Train 18 Crosses 180 kmph Speed Limit 
    India’s first locomotive-less train, known as Train 18, breached the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run in the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section.
    When this 100-crore indigenously designed train is made operational, it will become the country’s fastest train.
    On October 29, the high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled (engine-less) train was flagged off here by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani.With 16 coaches, the train will have the same passenger carrying capacity as that of the Shatabdi Express.

    (International news)

    Soyuz 
    A Soyuz rocket carrying Russian, American and Canadian astronauts took off from Kazakhstan and reached orbit on Monday, in the first manned mission since a failed launch in October.
    Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency blasted off for a six-and-a-half month mission on the International Space Station at 1131 GMT.
    The Soyuz is the only means of reaching the ISS since the U.S. retired the space shuttle in 2011.
    About ISS    
    The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, with the first long-term residents arriving in November 2000. It has been inhabited continuously since that date.

    (Science news)

    NASA’s Osiris-Rex Spacecraft
    After a two-year chase, a NASA spacecraft arrived on December 3 at the ancient asteroid Bennu, its first visitor in billions of years.
    It is the first U.S. attempt to gather asteroid samples for return to Earth, something only Japan has accomplished so far.
    Japan managed to return some tiny particles in 2010 from its first asteroid mission , also named Hayabusa.
    Japan managed to return some tiny particles in 2010 from its first asteroid mission , also named Hayabusa.


    GSAT-11 Ready For The Launch
    A team of top officials and engineers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (IISRO), now stationed in the Guiana Space Centre, South America, is going over the last steps before it sees off the heaviest Indian communication satellite, GSAT-11, to its space orbit. The liftoff is slated for the wee hours of Wednesday, December 5, India time.
    GSAT-11 is part of ISRO’s new family of high-throughput communication satellite (HTS) fleet that will drive the country's Internet broadband from space to untouched areas.
    Already up in space are two HTSs — GSAT-29 (November 14) and GSAT-19 (June 2017) — while one more is due to join them in the near future. They are all to provide high-speed Internet data services at the rate of 100 Gbps (Gigabits per second) to Indian users.
    Its co-passenger is South Korea’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A, a meteorology satellite.
     


     

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    Mesentery, a new Human organ discovered

    Researchers have recently discovered a new organ that was hidden in plain sight inside our digestive system this whole time.
    ●    The existence of the human body’s 79th organ, known as the ‘mesentery’, has been known for hundreds of years. However, until recently, it was thought to be a fragmented structure comprising separate parts.
    ●    It was Dr. J Calvin Coffey, Professor of Survey at the University of Limerick in Ireland, who discovered that it was one continuous organ.
    ●    Although the structure of the organ is known, its functions are not very well understood.
    ●    Studying the organ more closely could be the key to better treatment of various abdominal and digestive diseases. 
    ●    The evidence of the organ’s new found status has been now published in the Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology journal. 
    ●    The organ has been listed in the journal as one that had not been acknowledged up until now.
    ●    The anatomic description of the organ that had been laid down in research books in the past 100 years has been completely incorrect. 

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    Indian timekeepers add leap second to sync with Earth's spin

    NASA missions, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) which watches the Sun, will join timekeepers around the world to add a leap second to its clocks, just before midnight on New Year’s Eve.
    ●    Clocks will add the extra second to keep in sync with Earth’s rotation, which gradually slows down over time.
    ●    When the dinosaurs roamed Earth our globe took only 23 hours to make a complete rotation. In space, millisecond accuracy is crucial to understanding how satellites orbit.
    ●    The leap second is also key to making sure that SDO is in sync with the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) used to label each of its images.
    ●    SDO has a clock that counts the number of seconds since the beginning of the mission. 
    ●    To convert that count to UTC requires knowing just how many leap seconds have been added to Earth-bound clocks since the mission started.
    ●    When the spacecraft wants to provide a time in UTC, it calls a software module that takes into consideration both the mission’s second count and the number of leap seconds – and then returns a time in UTC.

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    First Biological Pacemaker using Human Stem Cells developed

    A group of scientists from the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine developed the first functional pacemaker cells from human stem cells.
    ●    The invention will help in paving the way for alternate, biological pacemaker therapy.
    ●    The study was published in December 2016 the journal Nature Biotechnology.
    ●    The scientists used a developmental-biology approach to ascertain a specific protocol for generating the pacemaker cells.
    ●    The study stated that sinoatrial node cardiomyocytes derived from human pluripotent cells function as a biological pacemaker.
    ●    It goes on to explain that human pluripotent stem cells can be manoeuvred in 21 days to develop into pacemaker cells, which regulate heart beats with electrical impulses.
    ●    The human pacemaker cells were tested in rat hearts. 
    ●    Pluripotent stem cells hold the potential to differentiate into more than 200 different cell types that make up every tissue and organ in the body.
    ●    Sinoatrial node pacemaker cells are the heart's chief pacemaker. It controls the heartbeat throughout life.
     

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    Scientists find material that can withstand 4000 degrees Celsius

    Scientists have identified materials that can withstand temperatures of nearly 4,000 degrees Celsius.
    ●    It may pave the way for improved heat resistant shielding for the faster-than-ever hypersonic space vehicles. 
    ●    Researchers from Imperial College London in the UK discovered that the melting point of hafnium carbide is the highest ever recorded for a material.
    ●    Tantalum carbide (TaC) and hafnium carbide (HfC) are refractory ceramics, meaning they are extraordinarily resistant to heat. 
    ●    Their ability to withstand extremely harsh environments means that refractory ceramics could be used in thermal protection systems on high-speed vehicles and as fuel cladding in the super-heated environments of nuclear reactors.
    ●    However, there has not been the technology available to test the melting point of TaC and HfC in the lab to determine how truly extreme an environment they could function in.

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