Current Affairs Quick Reminder for Revision (21-31 July 2018)

The Parliament has passed the State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2017 with the Lok Sabha on July 30 approving the amendments sent by the Rajya Sabha.  The Upper house had earlier passed the bill with amendments. The Bill seeks to repeal the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959, the State Bank of Hyderabad Act, 1956 and further to amend the State Bank of India Act, 1955. Under it, the five associates banks that were merged are State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore. The merger of these banks is already in effect from 1st April, last year. 


Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi was released from prison on July 29 after serving eight months for slapping Israeli soldiers. Seventeen year-old Tamimi and her mother Nariman, who was also jailed over the incident, arrived in their village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank. Both Tamimi and her mother were sentenced to eight months by an Israeli military court following a plea deal over the December incident, which the family said took place in their garden in Nabi Saleh. 


The Lok Sabha on July 30, 2018 passed the Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill 2018 which replaces the ordinance which was promulgated on 18th of May this year by the President of India. The Bill amends the Homeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 which sets up the Central Council of Homeopathy, CCH. The Central Council regulates homeopathic education and practice.


In Wrestling, Bajrang Punia has won his second consecutive international gold while Sandeep Tomar had to be content with a silver medal at the Yasar Dogu International in Istanbul, Turkey. Indian wrestlers returned with 10 medals, including seven by women, from the ranking event.


The International Army Games 2018 at Patriot Park in Moscow region was declared open by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. Indian teams are taking part in two major competitions– Tank Biathlon event at Alabino ranges, Moscow region and Elbrus Ring competition in Caucasus mountains. The games are being held from July 28 to August 11 at 24 training grounds in seven countries namely Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Iran, Kazakhstan, China and Russia. It is for the first time that Armenia and Iran are co-hosting events of the Army Games

The complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), bearing the names of over two crore citizens of Assam has been published on July 30. The NRC draft figures the names of 2 crore 89 lakh 83 thousand 677 citizens of the state. A total of 3 crore 29 lakh 91 thousand and 384 persons had applied for inclusion of their names in the NRC updation process. Names of 40 lakh 7 thousand and 707 people have not been included in the draft. 


In Indonesia, more than 200 hikers are trapped on a mountain on the tourist island of Lombok, after a deadly earthquake-triggered landslides which cut off escape routes. Hundreds of rescue workers are now working to evacuate them from Mount Rinjani, a popular hiking destination. 


Egypt defeated England, 2-0 to win the boy’s title at the WSF-World Junior Squash team championship in Chennai on July 29. Egypt’s Marwan Tarek, who lost the individual championship final, defeated Nick Wall of England in straight games. The first game saw Tarek poised to win easily before Wall fought back to 10-all. The Egyptian, however, snatched it on extra points and rode the momentum to seal the tie.


Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik laid the foundation stone of the 2nd Phase of Construction of North East Institute of Ayurveda & Homeopathy (NEIAH) at NEIAH Campus, Mawdiangdiang, Shillong on 29th July 2018.


India has been allotted a site of 1,50,000 sq. km in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN). These are rocks scattered on the seabed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt. It is envisaged that 10% of recovery of that large reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years. It has been estimated that 380 million metric tonnes of polymetallic nodules are available at the bottom of the seas in the Central Indian Ocean.


India Post released a special cover to mark Global Tiger Day at Bandipur in Karnataka on July 29. In all, 6,500 covers have been printed, each costing Rs. 25. The envelopes with a pictorial representation of tigers will be used by the Forest Department for its postal communication.


Bengali writer Ramapada Chowdhury, whose story Abhimanyu was made into a Hindi movie Ek doctor ki maut, died in Kolkata on July 29, 2018.


For the first time, an Indian vehicle manufacturer will deliver heavy duty, high mobility vehicles for the Army’s Russian-built Smerch Multi-Barrel Rocket launchers (MBRL) as well to carry strategic missiles developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In April, Ashok Leyland was awarded a Rs. 100-crore contract for 81 high mobility 10×10 vehicles by the Army to replace the Russian vehicles which currently carry the Smerch launchers.


With a view to resolve the stress and revive such assets in the thermal power sector, the government on July 29, 2018 decided to set up a high-level empowered committee headed by Cabinet Secretary with representatives from the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal, and the lenders having major exposure to the power sector.


HDFC received the award for being the ‘best performing primary lending institution’ under the credit-linked subsidy scheme for the EWS (economically weaker sections) and LIG (low income group) category and the second best in the middle income group (MIG) category under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).’ Renu Sud Karnad, MD, HDFC received the award from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


A FASTag is a reloadable tag that automatically deducts toll charges and allows a vehicle to pass through a toll gate without stopping for the payment. It uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to make cashless payments through a prepaid account linked to it.The tag is fixed to the windscreen of a vehicle and an RFID antenna in the canopy of the toll gate scans the QR code and the tag identification number, following which the boom barrier lifts to allow a vehicle to pass through. The tag is valid for five years.


Wendy Tuck of  Australia became the first female skipper to win a round-the-world yacht race, after clinching overall victory in the Clipper 2017-18 event.


Scientists have discovered chemical substances antibiotic propertied on the leaf of a common field weed Arabidopsis thaliana, or thale cress, paving the way for development of new drugs.Many of the antibiotics used today were developed from natural products made by bacteria themselves in order to ward off other bacteria. These products used to be sought and found primarily in soil. This microcosm, known as the phyllosphere, is poor in nutrients.


International Tiger Day was being celebrated on July 9, 2018. Global Tiger Day is celebrated every year on 29 July to raise awareness about tiger conservation. In Madhya Pradesh, State Tiger Foundation Society of Forest Department is organizing wall painting competition in 6 cities to raise awareness and support for tiger conservation.


The two neighbours Ethiopia and Eritrea remained deadlocked in a conflict that has over time claimed more than 50,000 lives over a dispute concerning the border town of Badme. A boundaries delimitation commission had awarded the area to Eritrea in 2002, but Ethiopia refused to cede control. But now it has acccpted the treaty.


India has been designated as a nodal centre for preparing flash-flood forecasts by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). India will have to develop a customised model that can issue advance warning of floods in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.


The India Meteorological Department has launched a system that provides information of lightning strikes across the country every 15 minutes. The information is updated on the IMD website based on data from satellite INSAT-3D.


A powerful typhoon hurtled towards Japan on July 28, prompting authorities to issue early evacuation orders, with western areas recently devastated by floods and landslides in the storm’s crosshairs. Typhoon Jongdari  brought torrential rain and winds of up to 180 kilometres an hour. Meteorological Agency officials said, the storm made landfall in Fukuoka Prefecture


Ace Indian shuttler Sourabh Verma on July 29 lifted the Russian Open Badminton trophy at Vladivostok. In the title clash, Sourabh came back from a game behind to beat Japan’s Koki Watanabe, 18-21, 21-12, 21-17, and win his first title of the season. Sourabh had won the Chinese Taipei Masters in 2016, and finished runners-up at Bitburger Open the same year.


Indian women’s compound archery team created history by scaling to the top of the world rankings in the recently published chart which is bound to give a big boost ahead of next month’s Asian Games in Indonesia. With their twin silver medal-winning effort in the Antalya and Berlin World Cups, the Indian women’s compound team lead the chart with 342.6 points, six points ahead of second-placed Chinese Taipei.


In Tamil Nadu, the tiger population in the reputed Mudumalai Tiger reserve has doubled to 60 from 30, due to intensive conservation efforts.


In Indonesia, a strong earthquake of 6.4 magnitude has hit the densely populated Lombok region. According to the United States Geological Survey, the epicenter of the quake was about 129 kilometres northeast of the island’s main city of Mataram at a depth of some 360 miles.


The government on July 26 decided that a museum for all prime ministers of the country would be constructed in the Teen Murti Bhavan complex that houses the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML).


Justice BN Srikrishna Committee submitted its report to Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on July 27, 2018. The Committee was constituted on 31st July last year to deliberate on a data protection framework. n his report the Committee has stressed on a regulatory framework for operation of AADHAR.


The Google has announced two new products aimed at helping customers develop and deploy intelligent connected devices at scale. The first one was ‘Edge TPU,’ a new hardware chip, so small that four of them can fit on a U.S penny, Injong Rhee, VP, IoT, Google Cloud, demonstrated on the stage.


Japanese firm Lixil has developed a latrine that sells for just a few dollars and features a self-sealing trapdoor to keep out disease-spreading insects and seal in unpleasant odours. The company has partnered with UNICEF, which will help promote its SATO toilet in developing countries.


UP has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) for building the capacity of the state MSME sector to raise funds from the markets and list on stock exchanges.


The government has notified a decision to allow sugar mills to manufacture ethanol directly from sugarcane juice or intermediate product called B-molasses. The sugarcane control order of 1966 has been amended in this regard and the same has been notified by the Union Food Ministry.


United States’ Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug called tafenoquine to treat the recurring form of malaria, which forms 34 per cent of India’s 1.3 million malaria cases.This drug may help India achieve its target of eliminating malaria by 2030. This is because P Vivax is the kind of malaria that’s particularly tough to get rid of as it has the capability to stay dormant in the liver for several years to be able to recur many times.


The TTD (Tirumala) decided to dispensed with the performance of all daytime ‘arjitha sevas’ on July 27 in connection with the lunar eclipse.


Two Indians, Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk are among the six winners of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award. The awards declared today are regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize. The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation said in its citation that Vatwani is being recognised for his tremendous courage and healing compassion in embracing India’s mentally-afflicted destitutes. Wangchuk, has been recognised for his uniquely systematic, collaborative and community-driven reform of learning systems in remote northern India, improving the life opportunities of Ladakhi youth in Jammu and Kashmir.


Lok Sabha passes Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill Parliament has passed the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2018 with the Rajya Sabha approving it on July 26. The Bill allows a court trying an offence related to cheque bounce to direct the drawer to pay interim compensation to the complainant. The compensation will not exceed 20 per cent of the cheque amount and will have to be paid by the drawer within 60 days of the trial court’s order.


Using a radar instrument on an orbiting spacecraft, scientists have spotted what they said appears to be a sizeable salt-laden lake under ice on the southern polar plain of Mars, a body of water they called a possible habitat for microbial life. The reservoir they detected — roughly 20 km in diameter, shaped like a rounded triangle and located about 1.5 km beneath the ice surface — represents the first stable body of liquid water ever found on Mars.


Two mountain gorillas have been born in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s famous Virunga National Park, bringing the number to nine babies born this year. The park said in a statement that a 19-year-old mountain gorilla gave birth to third child, a boy, while eight-year-old gave birth to the first baby, a girl. The mountain gorilla is one of the world’s most endangered animals.


In Football, Frenchman Benjamin Pavard’s stunning strike against Argentina has been voted the best goal of the FIFA World Cup that was held in Russia recently. The 22-year-old Stuttgart defender ran onto a left-wing cross from Lucas Hernandez and sent a right-footed half-volley spinning into the top corner to level eventual champions France’s last-16 tie with Argentina at 2-2 in the 57th minute. France went on to win the game 4-3, before beating Croatia, 4-2 in the Final. FIFA said, Colombian Juan Quintero’s free-kick against Japan was the second best goal.


According to the Union Minister Subhash Bhamre, as per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) database, China’s military expenditure was $2,28,230 million in 2017 while that of India stood at $63,923 million that year, Bhamre said in the Lok Sabha. In 2017, India has spent 2.5 per cent of its GDP on the military, while China has spent 1.9 per cent of the GDP, the minister of state for defence said.


The brand Manohari Gold Tea, produced by Manohari Tea Estate in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh district, fetched Rs. 39,001 per kg at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC), which is the record price for orthodox teas during sale number 30. Guwahati-based Saurabh Tea Traders purchased the tea from Contemporary Brokers for buyers in Delhi and Ahmedabad. The earlier record of Rs18,801 per kg was for a speciality tea from Donyi Polo Tea Estate in Arunachal Pradesh.


Insurance regulator IRDAI has constituted a 16-member committee under the chairmanship of  P.J. Joseph to examine motor third party insurance pricing aspects and make recommendations on the premium rates for 2019-20. This is for the first time the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has formed such a committee. 


More than 6000 people were missing and several were feared dead after the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam, under construction in southern Laos collapsed, causing flash flooding that swept away homes. The dam is located in San Sai district of Attapeu province.


According to the Azim Premji, chairman of India’s third-largest software services exporter Wipro, developed nations, including the U.S., were responding to the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project with barriers to free trade triggering a trade war that is detrimental to India. The contribution of India to the G20-OECD BEPS project is well known. Developed countries including the U.S. were responding to these changes with a view to regaining the tax base and looking for tax measures like tariffs and outsourcing tax, which serve as a barrier to free and fair trade.  Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) refers to tax avoidance strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations. Under the inclusive framework, over 100 countries and jurisdictions are collaborating to implement the BEPS measures and tackle BEPS.


Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India has organized 2nd meeting of National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges under POSHAN Abhiyaan on 24th July, 2018 in New Dehli under the Chairmanship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. The Government of India has set-up POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) which was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 8thMarch, 2018 from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.


Sale of Khadi and Village Industries (KVI) products has increased during the last two years registering the sale of Rs. 52138.21 crore in 2016-17 and Rs. 59098.04 crore in 2017-18. Honey has been the highest exports grosser with Rs. 13349.03 and 13627.15 lakh in 2016-17 & 2017-18.


In Cricket, Pawan Shah smashed 282, the second highest individual score in Under-19 internationals as India posted a mammoth 613 for 8 against hosts Sri Lanka in the first innings on the second day of the final ‘Youth Test’ in Hambantota on July 25, 2018.


According to the Union Minister Subhash Bhamre, China’s expenditure on the military was three times more than India last year, but the share of its defence spending in GDP was less than India’s. As per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) database, China’s military expenditure was $2,28,230 million in 2017 while that of India stood at $63,923 million that year, Bhamre said in the Lok Sabha. In 2017, India has spent 2.5 per cent of its GDP on the military, while China has spent 1.9 per cent of the GDP, the minister of state for defence said.


Pakistan has got its first-ever woman Chief Justice of a high court. Justice Tahira Safdar was named as the Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar. Justice Safdar will take charge of her new role following the retirement of incumbent Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Mohammad Noor Muskanzai, who attains superannuation on the 31st of next month. Justice Safdar had made history in 1982 when she became the first woman civil judge in Balochistan. She is currently a member of the three-judge special court conducting the trial of former President Pervez Musharraf for committing treason by proclaiming a state of emergency in November, 2007.


Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath set a record of sorts on July 23, 2018 by visiting all 75 districts of the State during the past 16 months he has been in office. With his visit to Hathras, the Chief Minister has covered all districts of the State, a government spokesman said. On Sunday he had visited Etah, making it the 74th district to be visited by him.


German footbal player Mesut Özil’s decision to quit the national team due to “racism and disrespect” he faced over his Turkish roots threw a spotlight on Monday on the country’s relations with its largest immigrant community. Mr. Özil, 29, was a key member of Germany’s World Cup-winning side in 2014 — and also of the side eliminated at the group stage of the 2018 tournament in Russia.


India in 2018 has fallen out of the top 10 destinations for FDI in terms of its attractiveness, according to an AT Kearney report. India ranks 11 in the 2018 AT Kearney FDI Confidence Index, down from 8 in 2017 and 9 in 2016. 


Iran was the second-biggest oil supplier to Indian state refiners between April and June, India’s Oil Minister said on Monday, replacing Saudi Arabia. India, Iran’s top oil client after China, shipped in 5.67 million tonnes or about 4,57,000 barrels per day (bpd), of oil, from the country in the first three months of this fiscal year. Iraq continued to be the top oil supplier to India in the April-June period.


Leading 24 lenders of the country on July 23 signed an agreement among themselves to grant power to the lead lender of the consortium to draw up a resolution plan for stressed assets. The agreement, known as Inter-Creditor Agreement (ICA) was framed under the aegis of the Indian Banks’ Association and follows the recommendations of the Sunil Mehta Committee on stressed asset resolution.


Punjab shot-putter Dhanvir Singh and Kerala 400m hurdler Vishnu Priya set new meet records to win gold medals in the 15th National Youth Athletics Championships in Vadodara. Dhanvir threw 19.69 metre in his fifth attempt to erase the earlier meet record of 19.34m set by Navtejdeep Singh in 2011.  The silver medal in the competition was claimed by Adish Ghildiyal of Uttarakhand. Aniket Kala of Uttarakhand took the bronze.


The Andhra Pradesh government will intensify efforts to tap the commercial benefits from salicornia, a plant that grows in abundance on salty marshes in the mangrove wetlands. The plant yields a salt substitute with low sodium content.


Kerala has topped the Public Affairs Index 2018 for the third time, for being the best governed large State in the country. Tamil Nadu and Telangana stood second and third respectively.


Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman has just become the fastest man to reach 1000 runs in one-day international, shaving the earlier mark by a whopping three innings. That beat the record of 21 innings, held jointly by five batsmen. That beat the record of 21 innings, held jointly by five batsmen (Viv Richards, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Quinton de Kock, Babar Azam). Zaman getting there in 18 innings.


Typhoon Ampil hit Chinese financial hub Shanghai on July 22, 2018 bringing heavy rainfall and disrupting transport and shipping. The typhoon first hit the island of Chongming, 45 km east of the city, with winds of up to 28 metres per second near its eye.


The Ministry of Minority Affairs has decided to increase the scholarship of schoolgirls belonging to minority communities by up to 15 per cent. The Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), a subordinate organisation of the ministry, has decided to increase the total budget for its ‘Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship Scheme’ for schoolgirls. Under the scheme, the girl students of Class 9 and 10 are given Rs.5,000 each per year and the students of Class 11 and 12 are given Rs.6,000 each per year.


Noted Malayalam writer, S Hareesh has withdrawn his latest novel “Meesa” (Moustache), citing alleged threats from right-wing groups. According to Hareesh, the Kerala Sahitya Akademi winner, he was really pained over a campaign against his novel being serialised in Mathrubhumi weekly.


The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has developed an online tool, TreadWill, to help people cope with issues related to mental health. The tool has been developed by a team with collaborative support from the Computer Science and Engineering and Humanities and Social Sciences, HSS (Psychology) departments.


The Home Ministry has purchased 5,000 rape investigation kits which would be given to police stations across the country for the speedy probe in sexual harassment cases. Each kit comes with a set of test tubes and bottles and costs 200 to 300 rupees.


According to DBS the Asia-10 economies are – China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. By 2030, Asia-10 economies will grow so robustly that they will, on aggregate, amount to over $28.35 trillion in real GDP (2010 constant dollars) terms, while for the United States will amount to $22.33 trillion.


The Maharashtra government on July 21, 2018 announced a special package of Rs 212.22 billion for the backward regions of Vidarbha, Marathwada and North Maharashtra in the state.


Macau authorities took in more than 500 greyhounds abandoned following the closure on July 21, 2018 of Asia’s only legal dog-racing track. The former Portuguese territory has been the only place in China where dog racing is legal. However, betting on dog races at Macau’s Canidrome — a tradition of more than 50 years — soured after animal rights groups accused the stadium of mistreating dogs and euthanising ones that underperformed on the track. It was ordered closed on July 21, 2018.


NASA is preparing to send the Parker Solar Probe closer to the Sun than any other spacecraft has ventured, enduring wicked heat while zooming through the solar corona to study this outermost part of the stellar atmosphere that gives rise to the solar wind.It is a robotic spacecraft the size of a small car, is slated to launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida, with Aug. 6 targeted as the launch date for the planned seven-year mission.


The US has said that it is working with partner countries, including India, to help them identify and avoid engaging in potentially sanctionable activity under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). As per the US state department, it is fully committed to implementing CAATSA under which sanctions kick in against countries that purchase significant military equipment from Russia.


Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen bagged a Gold medal on July 22, by lifting the Asia Junior Badminton Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia. Placed sixth, Lakshya stunned local favourite and top seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn in straight games, 21-19, 21-18 in the Final. The 16-year old had defeated China’s second seed Li Shifeng and fourth-placed Ikhsan Leonardo Imanuel Rumbay of Indonesia en route to the summit clash.

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