Current Affairs Quick Revision (1-15 September 2018)

  • The country’s first tribal tourism circuit was inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh on September 14, 2018. The tourism circuit is being developed under the Swadesh Darshan scheme. It covers 13 sites in Chhattisgarh including Jashpur, Kunkuri, Mainpat, Kamleshpur, Maheshpur, Kurdar, Sarodadadar, Gangrel, Kondagaon, Nathiya Nawagaon, Jagdalpur, Chitrakoot and Tirthgarh.

  • The Supreme Court on September 14, modified its previous order that provided for setting up of a committee to deal with complaints of dowry harassment. The court, while modifying its earlier verdict, said that there is no scope for courts for constitutionally filling up gaps in the penal law.

  • The Supreme Court on September 14 held that former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan was arrested unnecessarily, harassed and subjected to mental cruelty in a 1994 espionage case. The court also ordered a probe into the role of Kerala police officers in the case. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra awarded Rs. 50 lakh compensation to the 76-year-old Narayanan for being subjected to mental cruelty in the case. The court also formed a three-member panel headed by its former judge D K Jain to probe Narayanan being framed in the spy case.  

  • Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Zubin Irani on September 14 presented ‘Shilp Guru’ and National Award to Master craft persons at a function held at Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh.Eight ‘Shilp guru’ and 25 National awards were presented for the year 2016. Shilp Guru’ is the highest award in the Handicraft sector in India.

  • United Nation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says more than 18 million new cases of cancer are expected this year and it is estimated that 9.6 million people will die from various forms of the disease in 2018. The agency said in a report, that worldwide, one in five men and one in six women develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in eight men and one in 11 women die from it.

  • The Centre has approved an additional assistance of Rs. 157.23 crore for Uttar Pradesh and Rs. 60. 76 crore for Maharashtra. The assistance has been approved from National Disaster Response Fund for Uttar Pradesh affected by drought in rabi season during 2017-18 and for Maharashtra which was hit by pest attack and cyclone last year.  
  • In western Odisha, the festival of Harvest Nuakhai was celebrated on September 14. After harvest of new paddy of this season, rice has been processed and offered to Goddess Samaleswari in Sambalpur on this day. After this offering people of Western Odisha have arranged get together of family and friends Nuakhai Vetghat as a festival. People of western Odisha have also arranged Nuakhai Vetghat programs in Capital city Bhubaneswar.

  • Bihar government has approved a scheme for providing interim relief of Rs. one lakh to those affected by mob violence besides speedy trial of such cases. It will be made available to victims of mob violence within a month of the incident.

  • Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, an India-born woman scholar in the US, has been chosen for the prestigious Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar award 2018 for her work to help detect potentially life-threatening health issues using smartphones.Ms Nandakumar, studying at the University of Washington, has created a technology that turns an ordinary smartphone into an active sonar system capable of detecting physiological activities, such as movement and respiration, without requiring physical contact with the device.

  • Vijay Shankar Vyas, an agricultural economist who had worked with former Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh as a member of their Economic Advisory Councils, passed away on September 12. He was 87.

  • Veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani has been renominated as the Chairman of the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. The Committee examines complaints on unethical conduct by MPs and can also take up suo motu enquiry. P. Karunakaran has also been renominated as Chairman of the Committee on Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House.

  • The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Brunei Darussalam on Cooperation in the operation of Telemetry Tracking and Telecommand station for satellite and launch vehicles, and for cooperation in the field of Space Research, Science and Applications. The MoU was signed in New Delhi on 19th July 2018.

  • Shri Manoj Jhalani, Additional Secretary & Mission Director (NHM), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has been conferred with the prestigious UN Interagency Task Force (UNIATF) Award for his outstanding contribution towards prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and related Sustainable Development Goals.

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (Delhi Circle) of Ministry of Culture has discovered a hoard of 254 Copper Coins in the premises of Khirki Mosque during the course of conservation of the monument. This mosque lies on the southern periphery of the village Khirki. The mosque was built by Khan-i-Jahan Junan Shah, the Prime Minister of Firoz Shah Tughluq (1351-88), and is believed to be one of the seven mosques built by him.

  • The catastrophic floods that caused widespread havoc throughout Kerala last month have released several alien species of fish into waterbodies, raising a threat to the endemic aquatic ecosystem and biodiversity, scientists have reported. The proliferation of alien species poses a serious threat to the freshwater ecosystems of Kerala, considered a global hotspot for fish diversity.

  • The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has dropped the proposed water aerodrome project at Chilika Lake in Odisha. According to some experts, if implemented, would have negatively impacted the ecosystem and the surrounding human population at the world’s second largest brackish water lake. The CDA (Chilika Development Authority) in its report to the State government had said the water aerodrome project would seriously jeopardise the habitat of Chilika’s nearly one million avian visitors which come from the Arctic and Eurasian regions.

  • Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) is gearing up to undertake sea trials of India’s first missile tracking ship by the first week of October. Once ready, it will be India’s first, a force multiplier and cruise the country into a global elite club. The keel of the ship, It is a “topmost secret project”. It will be named after its induction into the Navy. For now, it is simply referred as VC 11184.

  • The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea re-opened crossing points on their shared border for the first time in 20 years on on September 12, 2018, cementing a stunning reconciliation and giving Addis Ababa a direct route to its former foe’s Red Sea ports.

  • Google will unveil its ‘Neighbourly’ app, to five more Indian cities. People in Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Mysore, Vizag, and Kota, will now get access to the app. The app, which was earlier unveiled in Mumbai and Jaipur, helps users find answers to all types of questions such as shopping, fitness, food and tuition centres.

  • Kulsoom Nawaz (68), the wife of Pakistan’s ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has died in London. The three-time first lady was diagnosed with cancer in August last year, and suffered a heart attack on 14th June. Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was elected as an MP last year after standing in for Nawaz Sharif. But she was not sworn in as she was already abroad for cancer treatment.

  • Delhi government on September 10, 2018 launched its ambitious project to deliver public services at the doorstep of residents. From driving licences to marriage certificates, Delhiites can now apply for 40 government documents to be delivered at their homes for a fee of Rs.50 per service. The applicant would have to call 1076 and fix an appointment with a mobile sahayak, who will go to their home and help with filling forms, payment of fees and collection of documents.

  • A rare and deadly livestock disease has resurfaced in M. Hosuru, a village in Kunigal taluk, Tumakuru district. Dairy farmers are facing an uncertain future with six head of cattle having died in the August-September 2018. Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF), an infectious viral disease originally from South Africa that affects cattle, was first spotted in Karnataka 10 years ago. It has neither a cure nor a vaccination that can prevent its spread.

  • Violence in northwest Syria has displaced more than 30,000 people this month alone, the United Nations said on September 10, warning that a looming assault could create the century’s “worst humanitarian catastrophe”. President Bashar al-Assad has now set his sights on Idlib, and his forces have stepped up bombardment of the densely populated province since the beginning of the month. That has prompted an estimated 30,452 people to be displaced within Idlib and parts of adjacent Hama province between September 1 and 9, the UN’s humanitarian coordination agency (OCHA) said.

  • According to the Society of Aquaculture Professionals,India is set gain the top slot in farmed shrimp production, overtaking China in 2019-20. India have already overtaken China in shrimp exports last year but are on par with regard to farmed shrimp production. While the shrimp production target for the current year stands at 7 lakh tonnes, India might end up producing 6.5 lakh tonnes, on par with China. Last year, India produced 6 lakh tonnes. Shrimp production in China declined after the outbreak of the Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) disease.

  • The World Meteorological Organisation forecast a 70% chance of an El Nino developing by the end of this year. El Nino can lead to drought in some regions, heavy rain in others.
  • U.S. celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who committed suicide in June at age 61, posthumously earned a pair of Emmy Awards on September 9 for his work on the popular CNN food-and-travel show he hosted, Parts Unknown. Bourdain was awarded one of the Emmys, the U.S. television industry’s highest honour, for outstanding writing of a nonfiction programme for an episode of the series set in southern Italy that aired last November during its 10th season.

  • Once an ominous harbinger of hard times and even famine due to critically low water levels, a massive “hunger stone” embedded deep in the Elbe River has reappeared in the Czech Republic after Europe’s long, dry summer. The boulder in the town of Decin, north of the capital Prague, is roughly the size of a van and bears the foreboding inscription, “If you can see me, then weep”.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on September announced a landmark increase in remuneration for ASHA and Anganwadi workers. Those receiving 3000 rupees so far, would now receive 4500 rupees. Those receiving 2200, would now get 3500 rupees. The honorarium for Anganwadi helpers has also been increased from 1500 to 2250 rupees. In addition, all ASHA workers and their helpers would be provided free insurance cover under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Prime Minister Suraksha Bima Yojana. Prime Minister also announced a significant increase in the honorarium given to Anganwadi workers.

  • In the US, more than a million people were ordered to evacuate the path of Hurricane Florence. Hurricane Florence, the powerful Category 4 storm packing winds of 220 kilometers per hour has the potential to bring catastrophic flooding to areas of the eastern United States.

  • Peru is celebrating the return of an ancient funeral mask (Sican mask) made of gold following a two-decade legal battle to repatriate the smuggled antiquity from Germany. The 8th century mask depicting a pre-Incan deity was seized in 1999 in Germany from a Turkish art dealer arrested for selling looted objects. It was handed over last week to Peru’s embassy in Berlin. The mask made of hammered gold alloy with silver eyes is one of the most emblematic of 9,000 art objects Peru has repatriated the last decade. Authorities believe the mask was taken from Peru in the late 1990s.

  • The United States announced the closure of the Palestinian mission in Washington. As per the US, PLO leaders had failed to engage with US efforts to bring about peace with Israel and attempted to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court. The PLO, the internationally-recognised representative of the Palestinian people, opened the mission in 1994.

  • Nearly sixty-two years after Apsara came into existence, a swimming pool type research reactor “Apsara-upgraded”, of higher capacity was born at Trombay on 10th September 2018 at 18:41 hrs. The reactor, made indigenously, uses plate type dispersion fuel elements made of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU).

  • For the first time, bus services between Bihar and Nepal have started from September 11. The bus services have been commissioned following the agreement between India and Nepal. Four buses will ply from Bodhgaya to Kathmandu. Similarly four buses will ply from Patna to Janakpur. The Kathmandu bound bus will go via Patna ,Raxaul and Beerganj. The Janakpur bound bus will go via Muzaffarpur and Sitamarhi.

  • In Japan, the death toll from powerful earthquake and mudslides in Hokkaido has risen to 44.

  • The government has said that treatment of childhood cancer will be covered under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. NITI Aayog member Dr Vinod Kumar Paul said the rate in this regard has been fixed. Dr Paul said the scheme will provide health insurance cover of five lakh rupees to poor families. He said BPL and lower-middle-class families will benefit from it. Dr Paul said, 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres will be opened in the country by 2022 under Ayushman Bharat. He said, these centres will provide comprehensive healthcare against diseases like diabetes, cancer, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

  • The ‘Mission Vidya’ in Gujarat once again draws attention to the intractable problem of low learning levels among government school children. The month-long remedial teaching programme targeted more than 200,000 Class VI-VIII children with poor achievements in reading, writing and mathematics.

  • In a significant achievement and a major step towards Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of LCA Tejas, the mid-air refuelling of ‘wet contact’ trial for LCA Tejas MK-1 was successfully carried out today from an Indian Air Force base. The trial was a part of the Air-to-Air refuelling flight tests conducted by IAF. Before this ‘wet contact’ trial, the ‘dry contact trials’ were successfully conducted on September 04 & 06, 2018 where the Drogue (basket) extended from the IAF tanker aircraft by a fuel hose, was tracked and plugged into using the aircraft refuelling probe without taking fuel. IAF provided all required support to DRDO including the tanker aircraft for the successful test flight.

  • Justice Om Prakash Mishra has been sworn in as new Chief Justice of Nepal. The President Vidya Devi Bhandari administered oath of office and secrecy to Justice Mishra in Kathmandu on September 10. Earlier in the day, Parliamentary Hearing Committee (PHC) unanimously endorsed his name for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

  • Indo-Mongolia joint exercise Nomadic Elephant-2018, commenced on September 10 at Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) Five Hills Training Area, Ullanbaatar, Mongolia with a brief but impressive opening ceremony. The 12 days long joint exercise will be conducted from 10 Sep to 21 Sep 2018. Exercise Nomadic Elephant is an annual, bilateral exercise since 2006 which is designed to strengthen the partnership between Indian Army and Mongolian Armed Forces.
  • Field biologists from the East Godavari Riverine Estuarine Ecosystem (EGREE) Foundation have spotted ‘Pondicherry shark’, an endangered species protected under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, near the Kumbhabhishekam landing point in the city.

  • A crucial Bill that will pave the way for the re-introduction of the provision of anticipatory bail, which was revoked over 40 years ago in Uttar Pradesh during the Emergency, has been referred for Presidential assent. Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik has referred the Code of Criminal Procedure (Uttar Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2018, to the President.
  • Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to accord tribal status to the Hatti community of Sirmour district. The community has been accorded this status in Uttarakhand.

  • Scientists have developed a cyborg cockroach powered by a tiny neuro-controller that could be used in search and rescue missions to find people trapped under collapsed buildings.

  • Japan is suffering its first outbreak of pig cholera in more than 25 years. More than 600 animals have been culled.

  • The Reserve Bank of India has approved the appointment of Amitabh Chaudhry as the managing director and chief executive officer of Axix Bank for a period of three years. Chaudhry’s term will be effective from 1 January 2019 up to 31 December 2021. Chaudhry, who is currently the MD & CEO of HDFC Life insurance Company Ltd, will succeed current CEO Shikha Sharma.

  • According to a study titled ‘Extreme Weather Event-Induced Deaths in India 2001–2014: Trends and Differentials by Region, Sex and Age Group’, 2001-2014 by research-based organisation Population Council, from 2001-2014, 25% of all accidental deaths in India due to unnatural causes happened as a result of extreme weather events. The men and the elderly were at maximum risk.The burden of deaths was the highest in central India, and Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal were affected the most by extreme weather events.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has copleted the three nation tour of Cyprus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Before leaving for India President Ram Nath Kovind on September 9, 2018 paid floral tributes on the bust of Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore at the park situated on Thakurova street of Prague. The street is named ‘Thakurova’ to honour and commemorate Rabindra Nath Tagore who had a close association with the Czech Republic.

  • Bogibeel is India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge and is likely to be inaugurated soon. Bogibeel bridge in the North-East part of India has been a major engineering challenge for Indian Railways. Built over the Brahmaputra river, Bogibeel bridge connects the North and South banks of river Brahmaputra and is situated in the eastern region of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. The Bogibeel bridge will provide much-needed connectivity between Dibrugarh in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. The 4.94 kilometres long rail-cum-road Bogibeel bridge has two railway lines at its lower deck and a three lane road bridge on the top.

  • A group of 45 women from 10 countries, ‘solar mamas’ who learnt the skills needed for the fabrication of solar panels, lights and photovoltaic circuits in a six-month-long training programme, were felicitated at a ‘graduation ceremony’ at the Barefoot College at Tilonia village (Ajmer, Rajasthan) on Septembe 8, 2018.

  • Aero India expo 2019 to remain in Bengaluru. The Yelahanka Air Force station in Bengaluru has hosted all the 11 editions of Aero India since its inception in 1996. Aero India has emerged as the premier air show in Asia, attracting all the major aerospace manufacturers around the globe.
  • Dr Arif Alvi was sworn in as the 13th President of Pakistan at a ceremony at Aiwan-i-Sadr in Islamabad on September 9. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar administered the oath to Alvi. Alvi won the presidential election last Tuesday by securing 352 votes in the electoral college of National and Provincial Assemblies and the Senate. A senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader, Alvi was elected to the National Assembly from Karachi’s NA-247 constituency during the July 25 polls.

  • General Purna Chandra Thapa has become the new Chief of Army Staff of Nepal. President Vidya Devi Bhandari conferred insignia and administered oath of office and secrecy to Gen. Thapa in Kathmandu.

  • The Ministry of Personnel and Public Grievances is organizing a two day regional conference on ‘Good Governance with Focus on Aspirational Districts’ in Bhopal from September 10, 2018. The Department of Administrative Reforms and Government of Madhya Pradesh are jointly organizing the conference where delegates from 12 States and two Union Territories will participate.

  • In Uttar Pradesh, the Iconic ‘Hazratganj Chauraha’ of Lucknow city will be renamed after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as ‘Atal Chowk’. State Government has also announced to convert Vajpayee’s ancestral house in Bateshwar, Agra into a memorial and develop a tourist circuit there.

  • A report was presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Global Mobility Summit, Move, in New Delhi on September 7, in which “Safe, Adequate, Holistic Infrastructure or SAHI” mobilitiy has been recommended.

  • As a consequence of CISMOA, India will get access to Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System, or CENTRIXS, which is the secure communication system network of the US. Navy ships with CENTRIXS on board can communicate securely with the U.S. Navy when needed and can benefit from the wider situational picture of the region as they have a large number of ships and aircraft deployed.

  • Burt Reynolds, the moustachioed heart-throb of 1970s cinema who won acclaim in Deliverance and a host of awards later in his career for Boogie Nights, died on September 6, 2018.

  • The “World Trade Center Protocol” is a new method used to help identify victims of train and plane crashes and terrorist attacks. It was used in Argentina, Canada, South Africa and elsewhere. Moving from table to table, the scientists showed how they clean the bone, pulverise it into a powder, add chemicals, incubate the sample, and then place it into a large white auto-extraction machine that pulls out any recoverable DNA from the damaged material. This new DNA analysis techniques are helping to identify more victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

  • David Cronenberg, director of classics such as The Fly, won the lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival for a 50-year career directing scary movies. Guillermo del Toro, the Shape of Water director who began in the horror genre, gave Mr. Cronenberg the special Golden Lion.

  • The World Summit on Accreditation pertaining to educational institutes inaugurated in New Delhi on September 8. Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the 4th edition of the Summit in New Delhi. The three-day Summit focussed on challenges and opportunities in outcome-based accreditation. The theme this year is – Challenges and Opportunities in Outcome-Based Accreditation.

  • India agreed to supply 160 railway passenger coaches to Sri Lanka valued at around 82 million US dollars under concessional financing. India has agreed to supply 160 railway passenger coaches to Sri Lanka valued at around 82 million US dollars under concessional financing. The agreement to supply coaches custom-made in India, was signed between RITES Limited of India and Sri Lankan government in Colomboon September 7. The current contract is part of a line of credit agreement for procurement of railway rolling stock and upgradation of rail tracks worth 318 million US dollars, which was signed between EXIM Bank of India and Government of Sri Lanka in June 2017.

  • The United States has recalled its envoys to three Latin American countries that recently switched diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China. The countries are Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Panama. The move comes after USA accused China of engaging in a campaign of “political interference” by, what it said, poaching Taiwan’s allies in the western hemisphere. China sees self-ruling Taiwan as part of its territory to be brought back into its fold and has not ruled out using force to do so.

  • The United Nations Postal Administration will issue a New York special event sheet on the 19th of October to to commemorate the festival of Diwali. The sheet in the denomination of USD 1.15 contains ten stamps and tabs featuring festive lights and the symbolic lamps known as ‘diyas’. The background of the sheet features the United Nations Headquarters building illuminated with the message of “Happy Diwali” to celebrate the spirit of the festival.

  • Ankur Mittal claimed the men’s double trap gold medal in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship in Changwon, South Korea, on September 8, 2018 for his career’s biggest triumph and the Indian shooting team continued their dominance in the premier tournament.The multiple World Cup medallist shot 140 out of 150 to go into a shoot-off for gold with China’s Yiyang Yang and Slovakia’s Hubert Andrzej. The 26-year-old overcame the Chinese 4-3 to emerge triumphant after the Slovakian had missed his second shoot-off clay target to settle for bronze.

  • A resolution seeking creation of a Legislative Council in Odisha was passed in the State Assembly on September 6, 2018. The resolution moved by State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha was passed with as many as 104 of the total 147 legislators casting their votes in its favour. The ruling Biju Janata Dal has 117 members in the House. The proposed Council will have 49 members, which is one-third of the total members of the State Assembly.

  • The Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Dr. Satya Pal Singh lead a high level delegation to the G-20 Education Ministers’ Meeting as well as Joint Ministerial Meeting held at Mendoza, Argentina on 5th & 6th September, 2018. It was the first ever meeting of Education Ministers in the history of G-20.

  • India Blue thrashed defending champion India Red by an innings and 187 runs in the final to win the Duleep Trophy at Dindigul, Tamil Nadu on Septemebr 7. India Blue scored 541 in the first innings while India Red scored 182 in the first innings and 172 in the second innings.

  • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the 6th International Geriatric Orthopaedic Society of India Conference on the theme “Increased Longevity with Reduced Fragility and Enhanced Mobility”, at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on September 7, 2018.

  • Indian Naval Ships Kirch, Sumitra and Cora Divh entered Trincomalee, Sri Lanka to participate in the sixth edition of SLINEX 2018, a bi-lateral Naval Exercise between India and Sri Lanka, from 07 to 13 September 2018.

  • The Embassy of India in Israel held a ceremony in Haifa to mark the Centenary of the Battle of Haifa when on 23 Sep 1918, Indian soldiers from the Jodhpur, Mysore and Hyderabad Lancers liberated the city of Haifa.

  • India is the Partner Country in the 87th Izmir International tradeshow which begins in Turkey from, September 7, 2018. In this tradeshow India will also be launching a mega business pavilion ‘Source India’ hosting 75 Indian companieswith the aim of tie-ups in order to increase India’s exports to Turkey and other neighbouring countries.

  • The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) has emerged as a major friction point between India and USA and has the potential to derail the relationship.India had made it clear that it would go ahead with the S-400 Triumf missile system deal with Russia even as U.S. sanctions loom large.

  • The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has successfully carried out mid-air refuelling for the first time with an IL-78 tanker. The mid-air refuelling carried out on September 4, 2018, is one of the critical requirements for the Tejas to achieve Final Operational Clearance.

  • India has backed Mauritius over its claim on the disputed Chagos islands, which is home to Diego Garcia — the key military base of the U.K. and the U.S. in the Indian Ocean, saying its decolonisation was incomplete as long as the atolls were under British control.

  • The Russian military on September 5, confirmed that air strikes were carried out on Syria’s last major rebel stronghold Idlib with planes targeting the “terrorist” Al-Nusra front.

  • According to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, ambitious action on climate change could contribute an extra $26 trillion to the world economy by 2030. The think tank said that the economic benefits offered by a shift to a low-carbon economy have been “grossly” underestimated. Global Commission on the Economy and Climate is ia think tank grouping former heads of government and top economic and business leaders.

  • India’s Saurabh Chaudhary continued his brilliant run of form as he clinched the 10 metres Air Pistol Junior gold at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Shooting World Champion September 6. The 16-year-old produced an impressive show in the final to clinch the gold with a new junior world record. Arjun Singh Cheema claimed bronze in the same event with a score of 218 while Korea’s Hojin Lim clinched silver.

  • Bengaluru International Airport plans to roll out facial recognition facility for the passengers of some select airlines from 2019. The airport operator said the move will also bolster government’s proposed DigiYatra project which seeks to minimise paperwork for air travel under a digital system for airport entry and boarding flights using a passenger’s Aadhaar number and mobile phone.

  • Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the Haqqani network, one of the most powerful and feared groups in the Afghan insurgency, has died. Haqqani, who founded the network in the 1970s, gave up the leadership some years ago to his son Sirajuddin.

  • India on September 5, 2018, retained the top WHO position in South-East Asia Region with Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh unanimously re-elected as Regional Director for another five-year term beginning February 2019.The elections were held at the ongoing Regional Committee meeting of WHO South-East Asia.

  • India and Bulgaria on Septemebr 5, 2018 signed an MoU on Civil Nuclear cooperation. On the second day of the Visit of President Ram Nath Kovind, the two countries also signed MoUs in the field of investment, Tourism, and establishment of Hindi chair at Sofia university. A program of Cooperation on science and Technology was also signed.

  • Saudi Arabia will punish online satire with up to five years in prison. Producing and distributing content that disrupts public order, religious values and public morals… will be punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of three million riyals ($8,00,000).

  • A Japanese team has developed a “space elevator” and will conduct a first trial in September 2018, blasting off a miniature version on satellites to test the technology. The test equipment, produced by researchers at Shizuoka University, will hitch a ride on an H-2B rocket being launched by Japan’s space agency from southern island of Tanegashima.

  • Australia has minted a gold coin encrusted with rare pink diamonds worth $1.8 million to meet growing demand for high-end collectables from the ultra-rich. The 2-kg treasure, which depicts a sailing ship, a gold prospector and boab trees, is considered legal tender and will be sold to the highest bidder.

  • The historical dargah of Sufi mystic Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer is all set to get a facelift as a memorandum of understanding has been signed by the Dargah Committee, the Ajmer Municipal Corporation and Hindustan Zinc for spending ?5.68 crore to clean and manage the shrine. The 13th-century dargah has been included among the Swachh Iconic Places, a clean-up initiative focused on iconic heritage, spiritual and cultural places through a multi-stakeholder approach model. The campaign was initiated under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2016.

  • Seven truckloads of PDS rice received in the nick of time has sweetened Mongmong, a major festival of the Sangtams, the largest of the three principal tribes in Nagaland’s Kiphire district bordering Myanmar. The festival is celebrated from September 1-6 every year as a festival of togetherness, forgiveness and prayer for a bountiful harvest.

  • A superbug resistant to all known antibiotics that can cause “severe” infections or even death is spreading undetected through hospital wards across the world, scientists in Australia warned. The bacteria, known as Staphylococcus epidermidis, is related to the better-known and more deadly MRSA superbug.

  • The United Arab Emirates has selected its first two astronauts to go on a mission to the International Space Station. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum named the new astronauts as Hazza al-Mansouri, 34, and 37-year-old Sultan al-Neyadi. The oil-rich Gulf nation has already announced plans to become the first Arab country to send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars by 2021, naming it “Hope”.

  • France has banned mobile phone in schools. High schools, which teach students aged 15 to 18, can introduce partial or total bans on electronic devices as they reopen after the summer break, though this will not be obligatory.

  • The Government has approved a proposal to increase wages of artisans by over 36 per cent, from five rupees 50 paisa per hank to seven rupees 50 paisa. The enhancement in wages will draw youth towards taking up spinning as a profession. This increase will also attract new and younger artisans to Khadi.

  • The National Nutrition Month is being celebrated across the country to mark the fight against malnutrition. During this month, various programmes have been organized by the Women and Child Development Ministry to spread broad awareness on the issues related to malnutrition like stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth weight in children. The Nutrition Month will also focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers to eliminate the deficiencies prevailing in the Health sector.

  • The International Women Entrepreneurs Summit 2018 is being held in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Vice President of Nepal Nanda Bahadur Pun inaugurated the summit on September 3. The theme of the 3-day event is “Equality begins with Economic Empowerment”. The main objective of the summit is to bring together achievers, women business leaders, professionals, international service providers, resource organizations, experts, government representatives and other stakeholders with a focus on innovative economic transformation through discussions and collaborations.

  • The Conference on E-Mobility in Indian Railways began in New Delhi on September 4 to discuss the strategies regarding future of mobility in the country.

  • NASA has announced the CO2 Conversion Challenge, which asks teams of scientists and inventors to come up with a way to turn CO2 into molecules that can be used to produce all manner of things. And there’s big prize money on the line. To start, NASA is asking teams to focus on converting CO2 to Glucose, but the language of the challenge suggests you can approach that goal from any angle you wish.

  • Indian Shooter Om Prakash Mitharwal picked up his maiden gold medal at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Championships on September 4, 2018. He claimed the top honours in the 50 metres pistol event in Changwon, South Korea today. The 23-year-old, a bronze-winner in the 10m air pistol and the 50m pistol events of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast earlier this year, shot a score of 564 to finish on top.

  • At the 2+2 dialogue between India and the U.S. here on September 6, an announcement could be made about an in-principle agreement between the two sides on the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), but its signing is doubtful, say officials on both sides.

  • A public credit registry is an information repository that collates all loan information of individuals and corporate borrowers. A credit repository helps banks distinguish between a bad and a good borrower and accordingly offer attractive interest rates to good borrowers.

  • 18-year-old Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee, who won six gold and two silvers, was declared as the Most Valuable Player of the 18th Asian Games. No woman has ever won so many golds in a single edition of the Games.

  • Scientists have developed a wearable device that could generate energy from the swing of an arm while walking or jogging. The research was published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials. The device, about the size of a wristwatch, produces enough power to run a personal health monitoring system. The researchers used a well-known piezoelectric material, PZT, and coated it on both sides of a flexible metal foil to a thickness four or five times greater than in previous devices.

  • A huge fire has engulfed the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. This is the oldest scientific institution in the country.The museum, which once served as the residence for the Portuguese royal family, celebrated its 200-year anniversary earlier this year.

  • India ended their Asian Games 2018 campaign with the highest medal tally at the tournament ever, with a total of 69 medals which includes 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze medals. India have thus surpassed their previous highest tally of 65 medals which they registered at the 2010 edition of Asiad in Guangzhou. Indian women hockey captain Rani Rampal was the country’s flag-bearer in the closing ceremony.

  • In India, international tourists arrivals grew from 14.57 million in 2016 to 15.54 million in 2017. International tourism receipts for India grew from 22.42 billion dollars in 2016 to 27.36 billion dollars last year.

  • The Delhi Movelo Cyclothon organised by NITI Aayog was flagged off by Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju at India gate on September 2. The nine-km Cyclothon aims to create awareness about future of transportation and evolving technologies in the sector. The initiative mainly focuses on urban areas to curb congestion and vehicular pollution. In the context of the same, MOVE Summit will held on 7th and 8th September, which will include stakeholders to be engaged towards building a public interest framework for the global mobility agenda.

  • The US military has decided to cancel 300 million dollars aid to Pakistan over its failure to take decisive actions against terror groups. The move is part of a broader suspension of aid announced in January 2018. US President Donald Trump since assuming office has been tough on Pakistan over its inaction against terror groups. Trump in August last year unveiled his new South Asia policy and asked Pakistan to do more against such groups. The US in January this year suspended more than 1.15 billion dollar security assistance to Pakistan, accusing it of harbouring terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network and showing unwillingness to take decisive actions against them.

  • US Army General Austin Miller has assumed command of the 41-nation NATO mission in Afghanistan. Miller took over on September 2, from General John Nicholson, who held the post for more than two years, at a ceremony attended by senior Afghan officials and foreign ambassadors in Kabul.

  • The mega merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular has been cleared by National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), paving the way for the creation of India’s largest telecom operator worth over 23 billion US dollar with a 35 per cent market share. After merger, the current market leader Bharti Airtel will be dislodged from the pole position, by its sheer size and scale. The government had approved on 26th July the merger of Vodafone India and Idea after the two firms provided for over 7,248 crore rupees as one-time spectrum charge.

  • Jain religious leader Tarun Sagar passed away after prolonged illness in Delhi on September 1. The 51-year-old Jain muni was suffering from jaundice but had stopped taking medicines for the past few days. Born as Pawan Kumar Jain in Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh district in 1967, the Digambar Jain monk had a massive following in the Jain community. He was most popular for his lecture series called “Kadve Pravachan”.

  • Census 2021 will collect data on Other Backward Classes (OBC).The decennial exercise will involve 25 lakh enumerators, and “maps/geo-referencing at the time of house listing is also under consideration.The decision to count the OBCs in the Census was taken to get a correct perspective on the social status in the country.

  • India and Nepal on Auugust 31 signed an MoU on Preliminary Engineering-cum-Traffic Survey on Broad Gauge Rail Line between Raxaul and Kathmandu. India and Nepal had agreed in April this year to construct a new electrified rail line with India’s financial support connecting the border city of Raxaul in India to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. has been entrusted to conduct a preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey of the new rail line in consultation with the Government of Nepal.

  • Commerce & Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu attended the 6th East Asia Summit- Economic Ministers’ Meeting (EAS-EMM) and 15th India-ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM) in Singapore on September 1, 2018. Singapore is currently holding the Chair of ASEAN. The 6th East-Asia Economic Ministers’ Meeting was chaired by Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore, and was attended by Economic Ministers from 10 ASEAN countries and their eight dialogue partners, Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation and the United States of America.

  • The leader of Russia-backed separatists in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine was killed on August 31 in a blast at a café in Donetsk city. Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Ukraine of assassinating the separatist leader, Alexander Zakharchenko. Mr. Zakharchenko led the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic since 2014.

  • Justice Tahira Safdar was sworn in as the first woman Chief Justice of a Pakistani high court on September 1. Justice Safdar was sworn in as the Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court at a ceremony held at the Governor House. She made history in 1982 when she became the first woman civil judge in Balochistan.

  • Bulgaria’s three ministers, Ministers of public works, transport and interior affairs on August 31 resigned after heavy criticism directed at the government over a deadly tourist bus crash. Seventeen passengers died when their bus ran off the road in torrential rain and plunged 20 metres into a river gorge in western Bulgaria. Prime Minister Boyko Borisov had asked the three ministers to step down.

  • As per the recent census, the population of the Nilgiri tahr (an endangered mountain goat) at the Mukurthi National Park has grown by an impressive 18% in the last two years, from 480 to 568. However the population also faces several threats. Researchers point to the continuing spread of invasive species of flora, such as wattle and pine, and exotic weeds like scotch broom (Cystisus scoparius) and gorse, which end up diminishing grazing land.

  • High discharge of water from China, the highest in 50 years, is threatening to submerge at least 12 villages along the river Siang in Arunachal Pradesh. The Siang is the principal constituent river of the Brahmaputra known as Yarlung Zangbo in China. It originates from the glacier mass of the Kailash Range of the Himalayas at an elevation of about 5300 m and flows through China. The river flows eastwards for about 1600 km through the Tibetan Plateau. Before entering India the river Siang or Dihang flows through a deep gorge across the eastern extremity of the Himalayas. The river then flows through Arunachal Pradesh in a south/ south easterly direction for about 230 km to reach Pasighat. Two other rivers viz. the Lohit and the Dibang join the Siang at about 30 km downstream of Pasighat to form the mighty Brahmaputra river.

  • The IT Ministry has issued an advisory against the deadly ‘momo challenge’, asking parents and guardians to guard children from the game which lures players into a series of violent acts, ending with a suicide dare.
  • Minister of State, (IC), for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik inaugurated the Fourth International Ayurveda Congress (IAvC) at Netherlands on September 1, 2018. The Minister is visiting Netherlands from September 1-4, 2018 to participate in the Congress jointly organized by International Maharishi Ayurveda Foundation, Netherlands; All India Ayurvedic Congress, New Delhi and the International Academy of Ayurveda, Pune in association with the Indian Embassy in the Netherlands.  The congress would focus on promotion and propagation of Ayurveda in Netherlands and its neighboring countries of Europe.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, on August 31, 2018 jointly inaugurated the Pashupatinath Dharmashala in  Kathmandu, with the Prime Minister of Nepal, Shri K.P. Oli.

  • ONGC-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) plans to merge its subsidiary Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) with itself. Early this year, the government transferred its 51% stake in HPCL to ONGC for Rs. 36,915 crore. HPCL owns 17% stake in MRPL while its parent ONGC holds a majority 71.63% stake in the company.

  • NASA scientists peering deep inside Jupiter’s Great Red Spot — a storm raging on the planet for over 350 years — have detected signs of water above the planet’s deepest clouds.

  • More than 300 sea turtles from an endangered species were found dead on a beach in Mexico, trapped in a banned fishing net, authorities said. In Mexico’s second mass turtle death in as many weeks, the Pacific Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) were found floating just off the beach of Puerto Escondido.

  • The fourth BIMSTEC summit concluded in Kathmandu on August 31, 2018 with the leaders reaffirming their strong commitment to make BIMSTEC a dynamic, effective and result-oriented regional organization. The Prime Minister of Nepal K.P. Sharma Oli presented the draft Kathmandu declaration which was unanimously adopted by all member states.

  • Union Minister for Women & Child Development, Maneka Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on August 31, 2018 inaugurated the widows’ home ‘Krishna Kutir’ at Vrindavan. The Home for Widows, Krishna Kutir has been constructed on 1.4 hectare of land at a cost of 57.48 Crores with a capacity of 1000 inmates. The design of the Home is old age friendly and there are facilities of ramp, lifts, electricity back up, water and other amenities for meeting the requirement of senior citizens and persons with special challenges. Krishna Kuteer is also equipped with a large modern kitchen and a skill cum training centre.

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