Current Affairs Quick Revision and Reminder (16-30 September 2018)

  • The Union Home Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba launched an online ‘e-Sahaj’ portal in New Delhi on September 18, 2018 for grant of Security Clearance. The portal will facilitate an applicant to submit application online and also to view the status of his application from time to time.

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, on September 18, jointly unveiled e-plaques for the ground-breaking ceremony of two projects, via video conference. The projects include: (a) India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline (b) Dhaka-Tongi-Joydebpur Railway Project

  • The Royal Bengal tigress ‘Sundari’ will continue to stay in Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha’s Angul district. The local people are demanding that the tigress be shifted from the sanctuary alleging that it killed a woman.

  • The region around Assam Secretariat and Assembly has been declared ‘Protected Area’ by the Kamrup Metropolitan district Guwahati administration with effect from September 18.

  • The Maharashtra Government has taken the first step towards setting up a varsity dedicated to mitigating cyber threats. It has set aside Rs. 80 crore for the first round of its funding and the proposal for the project will be tabled in the State cabinet’s consideration in the first week of October. The new Cyber University will train 3,000 professionals to fight online space cyber attacks, internet crimes, and conduct cyber forensics.

  • Malayalam actor Captain Raju, 68, died on September 17. He has starred in 500 movies, including Nadodikkattu, Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha and Aavanazhi.

  • India’s first woman IAS officer after Independence, Anna Rajam Malhotra, who served in the Madras State under then Chief Minister C. Rajagopalachari and at the Central government, died in Mumbai on September 17, 2018. She was 91. Born Anna Rajam George in Kerala’s Ernakulam district in July 1927 and later married R.N. Malhotra, who served as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 1985 to 1990. Ms. Malhotra joined the civil services in 1951 and opted for the Madras cadre.

  • Cyclotrons are used to produce radioisotopes for diagnostic and therapeutic use for cancer care. Cyclone-30, the biggest cyclotron in India for medical application became operational this month when 30 MeV beam reached the Faraday Cup for the first time.

  • The Government has decided to incorporate the provision of penalties for States and Insurance Companies for the delay in settlement of insurance claims under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal BimaYojana (PMFBY). This crucial provision is part of the new operational guidelines issued by the Govt for the implementation of PMFBY.The farmers will be paid 12% interest by insurance companies for the delay in settlement claims beyond two months of prescribed cut-off date. State Governments will have to pay 12% interest for the delay in release of State share of subsidy beyond three months of prescribed cut-off date submission of requisition by insurance companies. The new operational guidelines come at the onset of the rabi season, which starts from 1st of October.

  • Germany on September 17 rolled out the world’s first hydrogen-powered train, signalling the start of a push to challenge the might of polluting diesel trains with costlier but eco-friendly technology.  Two bright blue Coradia iLint trains, built by French TGV-maker Alstom, began running a 100 km (62-mile) route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany — a stretch normally plied by diesel trains.

  • Union Science & Technology minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on September 18, 2018 inaugurated a novel holistic Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUSHR) project at Sun Dial Park in New Delhi that produces clean water which is reused for various purposes, while simultaneously recovering nutrients and energy from the urban waste water, thus converting the Barapullah drain into profitable mines.

  • Bangladesh’s Cabinet on September 17, 2018 approved the draft of a proposed agreement with India to allow it to use the Chittagong and Mongla sea ports for transporting goods to and from the northeastern States. The agreement will be effective for five years.

  • The ITU South Asia Area Office and Technology Innovation Centre will be established in New Delhi. This was announced by Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary General (SG) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), during the 4th BRICS Communications Ministers Meeting held in Durban, South Africa recently. ITU is a United Nations specialized agency for Information and Communication Technologies, with membership of 193 countries and nearly 800 private sector entities and academic institutions. As a member of the ITU since 1869, India has traditionally played a harmonising role in the deliberations and exchanges of the body, always respecting the core principles of equality and consensus-building. The country has also been a regular member of the ITU Council since 1952. The ITU South Asia Office will serve nine countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, in addition to the host country – which together account for nearly 24% of the global population.

  • A recent NITI Aayog publication on shifting cultivation which is particularly practised in the northeastern States, has recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture should take up a “mission on shifting cultivation” to ensure inter-ministerial convergence between ministries. Locally referred to as jhum cultivation, this practice is considered as an important mainstay of food production for a considerable population in northeast India in States like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur. The publication notes that between 2000 and 2010, the land under shifting cultivation dropped by 70 %.

  • A campaign for the freedom of an old and feeble elephant chained in Colombo’s Dehiwala Zoo for the past 66 years has garnered support from New Delhi. Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, who is known for her activism for animal rights, has written to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, urging him to have Bandula, the jumbo, freed.

  • The government on September 17, 2018 proposed the amalgamation of state-owned Bank of Baroda (BoB), Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank to create India’s third-largest bank. The move is part of the reforms initiated in the public sector banking segment.

  • The number of polluted stretches in India’s rivers has increased to 351 from 302 two years ago, and the number of critically polluted stretches — where water quality indicators are the poorest — has gone up to 45 from 34, according to an assessment by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Maharashtra, Assam and Gujarat ccount for 117 of the 351 polluted river stretches. The CPCB considers a BOD less than 3 mg/l an indicator of a healthy river and with a BOD greater than or equal to 30 mg/l is termed ‘priority 1′ river.

  • The Uttar Pradesh Police are set to launch a first of its kind dial-FIR scheme in the country where a common man can register regular crimes without going to a police station even as it is preparing an online photographic dossier of criminals that will be provided to policemen on 22,000 new i-pads.

  • ESIC “Chinta Se Mukti“ mobile app is available on UMANG platform of Govt. of India. With this app, the Insured Persons can view their contribution history, personal profile, claim status and also their entitlement to benefits. Grievances can also be lodged through this app. Besides, Insured Persons can also view knowledge bank on health topics and audio-visuals on benefits under ESI Scheme.

  • Indian artiste Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan won top honours at the first- of-its-kind International ‘Maqom’ music festival held in the ancient Uzbek city of Shakhrisabz. Maqom, the oriental system of music that is enhanced by string and percussion instruments across Asia, is quite different from the classical Hindustani “Thaat” system.

  • Prehistoric humans had a thirst for craft beer and were brewing such beverages at least 5,000 years earlier than thought, say scientists who have found evidence of alcohol production in the Eastern Mediterranean. Archeologists from the Stanford University in the U.S. and University of Haifa in Israel analysed three stone mortars from a 13,000-year old Natufian burial cave site in Israel. Their analysis confirmed that these mortars were used for brewing of wheat/barley, as well as for food storage.

  • Indigenously developed Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM), was successfully flight tested for the second time from the Ahmednagar range on September 16. All the mission objectives have been met. The two missions on 15 and 16 September 2018 have been successfully flight tested for different ranges including the maximum range capability.

  • Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge set a new marathon world record in Berlin on September 16, 2018, smashing the previous best as he clocked 2 hour 1 minute 39 second. The 33-year-old Olympic champion, aided by a string of pacemakers through to 25km of the 42.195 km race, took 1 minute 17 second off the previous best set four years ago by Dennis Kimetto. It was the largest single improvement on the marathon world record since Derek Clayton improved the mark by 2:23 in 1967.

  • Marking the revival of the spirit of warmth and cooperation of Marshal Tito-Pandit Nehru years, the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu was extended the rare honour of addressing the special session of the Parliament of the Republic of Serbia in Belgrade on September 15, 2018. It was in the same hallowed hall of the National Assembly of Serbia that former Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the world leaders while launching the Non-Alignment Movement along with the veteran leader of Yugoslavia Marshal Tito.

  • Moutaz Mousa Abdallah has become the Sudan’s new Prime Minister. A 21-member cabinet was sworn in at the presidential palace in Khartoum on September 15. Mousa Abdallah is also holding the finance portfolio in a bid to revive the country’s ailing economy. Sudan has been grappling with an acute foreign exchange shortage and inflation above 65 percent for several months, prompting President Omar al-Bashir last Sunday to sack the previous cabinet to fix the situation.

  • Four ‘child friendly courts’ were inaugurated in West Bengal on September 15, 2018 to help juvenile victims and offenders. Justice Madan B. Lokur of the Supreme Court inaugurated the State’s first such court at Bankshall court.

  • NASA’s most advanced space laser satellite blasted off on September 15, 2018 on a mission to track ice loss around the world and improve forecasts of sea level rise as the climate warms.  The $1 billion ICESat-2 mission was launched aboard a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force base in California at 1302 GMT. The launch marks the first time in nearly a decade that NASA has had a tool in orbit to measure ice sheet surface elevation across the globe. The preceding mission, ICESat, launched in 2003 and ended in 2009.

  • The much awaited Jaipur Literature Festival began in Houston at the Asia Society of Texas on September 14, 2018. The festival is touted as the world’s largest free literary gathering. The inaugural session also saw Congress leader and writer Shashi Tharoor discuss his book “Why i am a Hindu” with writer Namita Gokhale.

  • Gate Mitras or gate counsellors will soon be deployed at 106 unmanned level crossings in Uttar Pradesh and efforts are on to enlist the services of 400 ex-servicemen to man them. These crossings are located on the Lucknow-Kanpur route, Lucknow-Varanasi route and Lucknow-Prayag route.

  • Former Union Minister Satya Prakash Malaviya died on September 16, 2018 at 84. Born at Malviyanagar in the city of Allahabad, the former Union minister was jailed for 18 months during Emergency. He began his political career as a member of Praja Socialist Party. He later joined the Congress. Malaviya served as the petroleum minister in the cabinet headed by former prime minister Chandra Shekhar. He also served as environment minister in the Uttar Pradesh cabinet.

  • Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has declared the state open defecation free (ODF). All 22 districts, 4,171 Gram Panchayats and 7,565 villages in the state are ODF as per Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) guidelines.

  • Indian boxers Simranjit Kaur, Monika and Bhagyabati Kachari won gold medals at Ahmet Comert Tournament in Istanbul, Turkey. Simranjit defeated Sema Caliskan, Monika beat Ayse Cagirer while Bhagyabati humbled Selma Karakoyun. All those who lost are from Turkey. World Championship silver medallist Sonia Lather settled for a bronze.

  • Along with the Swcchata campaign, the Indian Coast Guard observed International Coastal Cleanup-2018 day in Mumbai on September 15, 2018. The International Coastal Clean-up day is conducted in various parts of the world on third Saturday of September every year under the aegis of United Nations Environment Program and under the aegis of South Asia Co-operative Environment Program in the South Asian Region. The Indian Coast Guard has been involved in this activity since 2006.

  • Two persons were killed today in a landslide set off by Super Typhoon Mangkhut as it smashed through the Philippines. Mangkhut tore through the northern part of Luzon island, where it made landfall today, ripping off roofs, felling trees and knocking out power. The Typhoon packed sustained winds of 170 kilometres or 105 miles per hour and gusts of up to 260 km per hour as it left the Philippines. Approximate 5000 kgs of garbage was collected and handed over to BMC for disposal.

  • In its 22-page judgment, a Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra pointed out that though the country was declared leprosy-free on December 31, 2005, the reality is “entirely different”. The Supreme Court referred to progress reports of the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) to show that only 543 districts of the total 642 districts in the country had achieved the World Health Organisation-required prevalence rate of less than one case of leprosy for 10,000 persons.

  • A report by the parliamentary panel on External Affairs, headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, has expressed concern that Chinese infrastructure built close to the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction has not been dismantled, but “commended” the overall handling of the Doklam crisis by the Narendra Modi government.

  • Mahindra Group has pledged to go carbon neutral by 2040. This was stated by chairman Anand Mahindra at the Global Climate Action Summit that is currently underway at San Francisco. Mahindra will focus on energy efficiency and the use of renewable power to achieve this target. Residual emissions will be addressed through carbon sinks.

  • A 1,500-year-old Mayan altar discovered in a small archaeological site in northern Guatemala is drawing comparisons to popular fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones for its descriptions of the Kaanul dynasty’s political strategies aimed at bringing entire cities under its control.

  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the richest person on the planet, has announced that he is creating a philanthropic fund to help homeless families and launch preschools in low-income communities, committing an initial $2 billion.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched nationwide Swachhata Hi Sewa Movement from New Delhi on September 15, 2018. The objective of the campaign is to mobilise people for sanitation to contribute to the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a Clean India. It will continue till Gandhi Jayanti on 2nd of October.

  • The 15th Prawasi Bhartiya Diwas -2019 will be held at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh in January next year. The three day event will begin from 21st of January. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the event and President Ram Nath Kovind will give valedictory speech on the 23rd.
    The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will visit Sikkim on September 23rd and inaugurate the state’s first Airport at Pakyong in east district.

  • Maldives have lifted the 2018 South Asian Football Federation Cup. In the final at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka on September 15, they defeated defending champions India 2-1. At half-time, the winners led One-nil. The win for Maldives comes 10 years after their first SAFF Cup title in 2008. Seven-time champions India had started as favourites in the summit-clash.

  • The Tata Mumbai Marathon, to be held on January 20, 2019, has been accorded the gold label by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The 16th edition of the race became the only gold label marathon in the country and joined the elite list of marathons in Asia.

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