Current Affairs Reminder (16-31 August, 2018)

In 18th Asian games,4 x 400 metres women’s relay team today clinched gold medal to maintain a remarkable domination in this event in the continental showpiece. The Indian women’s quartet of Hima Das, M R Poovamma, Saritaben Gayakwad and Vismaya Velluva Koroth ran 3 minutes and 28.72 seconds to claim the gold. Jinson Johnson won gold with a timing of 3 minutes 44.72 seconds in men’s 1500 metres final.

A two-day conference on ‘Motivating and Attracting Youth in Agriculture (MAYA)’ is being held at NASC, New Delhi from 30-31 August, 2018 . It is being organized by ICAR. Realizing the importance of rural youth in agricultural development especially from the point of view of food security of the country, ICAR had initiated a program on “Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA) during 2015-16. Under this scheme, special efforts are being taken up to attract the rural youth under the age of 35 years in agriculture so that the increase in the migration of rural youth towards cities is controlled.

The state government in matrilineal Meghalaya has made it mandatory for married people to produce marriage certificates for all official purposes. The government has also decided to deny government jobs and benefits to men who have abandoned their families and are not providing for maintenance of their children. Some of these men live with other women.

Railways and GAIL India Limited on August 30, 2018 signed an MoU for use of Natural Gas in Railway workshops and production units. The replacement of industrial gases and furnace oils with natural gas will results in cost benefits with potential of huge saving across all railway workshop and production units of Railways.

The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly on August 29 passed a Bill for the creation of three new districts — Pakke-Kesang, Lepa Rada and Shi Yomi – in the State. Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein had introduced the Arunachal Pradesh Re-Organisation of Districts (Amendment) Bill, 2018, in the House.

The non-attainment cities are those that have fallen short of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for over five years. Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan had said in April that the aim of pollution mitigation measures was to cut overall pollution in these cities by 35% in the next three years.

In Kerala, Workers of the Kudumbashree poverty eradication and women empowerment programme are going the whole hog to restore normal life in the regions scarred by the disaster. Members of the mission also chipped in with their weekly thrift — savings that range between Rs.10 and Rs. 20 — for ‘Snehanidhi,’ donation to the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund.

China’s second aircraft carrier, Type 002, being built at Dalian shipyard, has started the second phase of sea trials. Sea trials are essential to test and fine-tune a brand new ship’s complex systems, paving the way for its entry into the Navy. The new carrier will board 24 to 30 J-15 fighters — slightly more than Liaoning.

Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the air threaten to sap wheat, rice, and other staple grains of valuable nutrients, raising the spectre of mass malnutrition, researchers have warned. On current trends, higher CO2 concentrations could reduce iron, zinc and protein levels in the crops that feed the world by up to 17% by mid-century. Wheat, rice and maize together account for roughly 40% of protein, zinc and iron supply in the diet worldwide.

According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) annual report released on August 29, 2018, 99.3% of the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes that were withdrawn from circulation in November 2016 were returned. According to the report, after verification and reconciliation, the total value of the Rs. 500 and Rs.1000 as on November 8, 2016, the day before note ban came into effect, was RRs.15,417.93 lakh crore. The total value of the such notes returned from circulation was Rs.15,310.73 lakh crore.

The Central government and the World Bank have signed 300 million dollar loan agreements for India Energy Efficiency Scale up Programme on August 28. They signed 220 million dollar Loan Agreement and an 80 million Guarantee Agreement for the Efficiency Scale-Up Program. The Program, to be implemented by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), will help scale-up the deployment of energy saving measures in residential and public sectors, strengthen EESL’s institutional capacity, and enhance its access to commercial financing.

For the first time in five decades, a NASA astronaut candidate has resigned from training. Robb Kulin resigned from NASA effective August 31 for personal reasons. Some 18 thousand people seek the 12 spots that open each year. Kulin, who joined his class sounding upbeat, is the first would-be astronaut to leave training since a resignation in 1968.

In 18th Asian games, in Athletics, Arpinder Singh clinched India’s first men’s triple jump gold in 48 years with a jump of 16.77 metres. Star sprinter Dutee Chand clinched her second silver medal after finishing second in the women’s 200 metres final race. In Women’s Heptathlon, Swapna Barman clinched first ever gold after topping the standings in seven events with 6026 points. Barman created history by becoming the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold.

Ladakh, is getting a ‘BlackHOLE’ to swallow the mountains of trash rising in step with a surge in tourist arrivals. The innovative waste disposal technology from the Tesla stable will form the backbone of a waste disposal system being rolled out as the tourism boom has set off alarm bells lls over the adverse impact on Ladakh’s fragile ecology.

Veteran Indian development economist Satya S Tripathi has been appointed as the Assistant Secretary General and Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) by UN Chief António Guterres. Tripathi, who will succeed Elliott Harris of Trinidad and Tobago, has since 2017 served as Senior Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at UNEP.

French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot resigned on August 28 in frustration over sluggish progress on climate goals and nuclear energy policy, dealing a major blow to President Emmanuel Macron’s already tarnished green credentials. Hulot, a former TV Presenter and green activist, who consistently scored high in opinion polls, quit during a live radio interview following what he called an accumulation of disappointments.

On August 28, in Athletics, Manjit Singh won gold in men’s 800 metres while Jinson Johnson took silver. Ace shuttler PV Sindhu created history by becoming the first Indian to win a Silver medal in Badminton. India also settled for two Silver medals in Archery as both the Compound Men’s and Women’s teams lost to South Korea in their respective Finals. India bagged two medals in Kurash, a form of wrestling indigenous to central Asia, with Pincky Balhara winning a silver and Malaprabha Yallappa Jadhav bagged a bronze, both in women’s 52 kg. category.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on August 26, 2018 tied a rakhi to a tree at Eco Park here as part of a programme to create awareness about environment among the people on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. The day was celebrated as the ‘Bihar Vriksh Suraksha Diwas’.

The Madhya Pradesh forest department has written to the National Tiger Conservation Authority to revive the plan to reintroduce cheetahs in the State’s Nauradehi sanctuary. The ambitious project was conceived in 2009. The country’s last spotted feline died in Chhattisgarh in 1947. Later, the cheetah — which is the fastest land animal — was declared extinct in India in 1952.According to the earlier action plan, around 20 cheetahs were to be translocated to Nauradehi from Namibia in Africa.

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), one of India’s premier avian research institutes, has started operating its regional centre on the campus of Wetland Research and Training Centre near Chilika Lake. The BNHS has been active in avian research in the Chilika Lake, which hosts nearly one million birds with 97 species being intercontinental migratory in nature during the winter season. The centre will carry out research on avian disease by collecting samples and monitor the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary.

Baby Rani Maurya was on August 26, sworn in as the new Governor of Uttarakhand. The oath of office and secrecy was administered to Ms. Maurya by the acting Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court Rajiv Sharma.

Emmerson Mnangagwa was officially sworn in as President of Zimbabwe on August 26 after winning a bitterly-contested election which was the country’s first since the ousting of strongman Robert Mugabe.

Small Fry is a book on life of Steve Jobs through his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs’s eyes. Jobs fathered her at 23, then denied paternity despite a DNA match, and gave little in financial or emotional support even as he became a god of the computing era. Small Fry, which goes on sale on September 4, is Ms. Brennan-Jobs’ effort to reclaim her story for herself.

U.S. playwright Neil Simon, who won more combined Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer, died on August 26, 2018 aged 91. A legend of American theatre, he was responsible for such works as The Odd Couple, The Sunshine Boys, Barefoot in the Park and Lost in Yonkers. He won Tony Awards for The Odd Couple, Biloxi Blues and Lost in Yonkers and a fourth for his overall contribution to American theatre. He was nominated for 13 other Tonys.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj inaugurated the 3rd Indian Ocean Conference in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam on August 27, 2018. She also unveiled the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in the Chancery building at the Embassy of India in Hanoi.

Country’s first flight powered by Biofuel landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport New Delhi on August 27. The test flight of Spice Jet took off from Dehradun. Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Minister of State for Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha received the first flight.

Punjab Government on August 27 tabled the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report on the incident of sacrilege of religious books in Punjab in the Vidhansabha during the ongoing monsoon session.

The body of a woman, who died 31 years ago while climbing Mount Elbrus in Russia’s North Caucasus, has been found on the slopes of Europe’s highest mountain. She was identified from a passport found on her as Yelena Konstantinovna Bazykina, born in 1951, a native of the city of Novaya Ladoga in the Leningrad Region. The woman also had a ticket for a flight from Moscow to Mineralnye Vody, dated 10th April 1987. A group of seven climbers was buried by an avalanche in the area in 1987 and the search at that time had produced no result.

Iran’s parliament on August 27 impeached Economy Minister Masoud Karbasian as the government struggles to face down a mounting economic crisis. Karbasian lost the vote of confidence, which was carried live on state radio, by 137 votes to 121, with two abstentions. He is the second minister in President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet to be impeached this month, following the removal of Labour Minister Ali Rabiei on August 8.

Neeraj Chopra on August 27, 2018 became the first Indian javelin thrower to win an Asian Games gold medal as he shattered his own national record by clearing a distance of 88.06 metres in men’s final. Chopra’s gold is India’s only second medal in javelin throw in Asian Games history after Gurtej Singh won a bronze in 1982 in New Delhi.

US senator John McCain, a celebrated Vietnam war hero, died on August 25 after losing a battle to brain cancer. He was 81. The six-term senator, McCain was also a Republican presidential nominee in 2008. McCain had been battling glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer discovered in July 2017. A fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, he spent more than five years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down. While in the custody he suffered torture that left him with lasting disabilities.

Oxford University scientists has found a distinct species of primitive human that also roamed the Eurasian continent 50,000 years ago. Her mother was a Neanderthal, but her father was Denisovan. Nicknamed by Oxford University scientists, Denisova 11 — her official name — was at least 13 when she died, for reasons unknown.It wa unlocked from a bone fragment unearthed in 2012 by Russian archeologists at the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. Analysis of the bone’s DNA left no doubt: the chromosomes were a 50-50 mix of Neanderthal and Denisovan, two distinct species of early humans that split apart between 4,00,000 to 5,00,000 years ago.

A new satellite named Aeolus, that will use advanced laser technology to track global winds and improve weather forecasts has been successfully put into orbit. The launch of the “Aeolus” satellite took place at 2120 GMT on August 22, 2018.

The Central Government on August 25 appointed G. Satheesh Reddy as the new Secretary, Defence (R&D) and Chairman, Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), for a period of two years. The distinguished scientist and expert in navigation technologies succeeds S Christopher who retired on May 29. G. Satheesh Reddy has served as Scientific Adviser to the Raksha Mantri from June 2015 to June 2018. Prior to that he was Director of the Research Centre Imarat (RCI). He is currently the Director General, Missiles & Strategic Systems. He has played a significant role in the development of the country’s missiles systems and their launches.

The Airports Authority of India has allotted space for the opening of Tribes India outlets at various airports. The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation, TRIFED, has been offered spaces at the airports of Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Kolkata, Dehradun, Varanasi, Pune, Goa, Coimbatore, Lucknow, Amritsar and Gangtok. The presence of Tribes India outlets at these airports will be a good opportunity to market and promote tribal products. The aim is to bring about a multi-dimensional transformation of the tribal society and a shift in the perception of their existing image.

Former President Pranab Mukherjee on August 24, 2018 launched Neta App that allows voters to rate and review their political representatives. It aims to foster political accountability and transparency among leaders. The App launched in New Delhi will let users rate their MLAs and MPs and is being billed as an instrument to gauge voter sentiment across constituencies in the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend a two-day BIMSTEC summit in Nepal from 30th of this month. Ways to counter terrorism and radicalisation will be discussed during the summit.

Veteran Odia actor Debu Bose passed away in Hyderabad on August 23. He was 75. Bose had worked in more than 120 films, television shows and innumerable plays. he actor had started his career with Odia movie Tapasya in the 1980s. Multi-talented Bose also worked as a choreographer for the Odia film Man Ra Akash. He was a disciple of Odissi dancer Late Guru Kelurcharan Mohapatra.

A Supreme Court-appointed subcommittee to monitor the water in the Mullaperiyar dam has recommended that Tamil Nadu keep the level below 140 feet in the light of the floods in Kerala. U.P. Singh, Secretary, Union Water Resources Ministry is the head of the committee. The Mullaperiyar dam is located in Kerala, but it is operated by Tamil Nadu. It has been a source of dispute between the two States.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on August 23 inaugurated the country’s “largest” incubation centre for startups.

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison will become Australia’s new Prime Minister after winning a Liberal party leadership vote on August 24. Mr Morrison, won an internal ballot 45-40 over former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did not contest the party ballot as he was under pressure from poor polling, a looming election, and a revolt by conservative MPs. Josh Frydenberg, the environment and energy minister, was selected as deputy Liberal leader.

A Japanese woman will be flying through the glass ceiling as she becomes her country’s first female fighter pilot. Japan’s military has announced that first Lieutenant Misa Matsushima, 26, will begin duty on August 24 having completed her training to fly F-15s. Japan’s air force began recruiting women in 1993 – except as fighter jet and reconnaissance aircraft pilots. It lifted that final ban in late 2015.

Setting aside its ban on the sale of oxytocin, the Health Ministry has allowed private retail stores to sell the life-saving hormone from September 1. State-owned Karnataka Antibiotics Pvt Ltd will be the only company to manufacture and distribute oxytocin in India from September 1.

Indian women’s team fast bowler Jhulan Goswami on August 23, announced her retirement from T20 Cricket Internationals. The veteran player played 68 T20 Internationals and took 56 wickets at an economy rate of 5.45. The 35-year-old will only play ODIs. In ODIs, she is the world’s highest wicket-taker with 200 scalps from 169 games.

Sawarn Singh, Dattu Baban Bhokanal, Om Prakash and Sukhmeet Singh won Gold in Rowing Men’s Quadruple Sculls event at the 18th Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta – Palembang, Indonesia.

In an effort towards women empowerment, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan has appealed to the nation to ‘Gift a Skill’ to sisters on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD, also known as the Quad) is an informal strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia and India. A report on the policy recommendations on Indian Ocean security by four think tanks from the Quad countries was launched at the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on August 22 in New Delhi. The Quadripartite Commission on Indian Ocean Regional Security was also formed which put out a series of 20 policy recommendations for stability in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Reliance Industries on August 23, 2018 became the first company to cross Rs 8 trillion in terms of market capitalisation (market-cap), becoming the country’s most valued firm.

Exercise Pitch Black, a biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise was hosted by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) from 24 Jul 18 to 18 Aug 18 in Darwin, Australia. After successful participation, IAF contingent de-inducted from Australia and in the return leg carried out a bilateral exercise with Royal Malaysian.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India organized an orientation workshop for various stakeholders participating in the Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month) being celebrated in the month of September. The workshop was held in New Delhi on August 23.

In Bhutan, the ninth edition of Mountain Echoes Literature Festival bagan in Thimphu on August 22. The four-day Literature Festival began with a tribute to former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was remembered at the annual event for his animated style of poetry recitations.

The Supreme Court on August 21 scrapped the use of NOTA (none of the above) option for Rajya Sabha polls, saying it would usher back the “Satan of defections.” A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, held that the option is meant only for universal adult suffrage and direct elections and not elections held by the system of proportional representation by means of the single.

The UAE government has promised Rs.700 crore assistance for Kerala’s post-flood reconstruction effort even as the State on August 21, sought a Rs.2,600 crore special package from the Centre to cope with the deluge that has left 228 dead and displaced over 14 lakh people.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met in Delhi for the sixth time on August 21 with Cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha in the chair to review the rescue and relief operations in Kerala.

Karnataka has told the Centre, two days before the deadline to submit recommendations on the demarcation of the ecologically-sensitive areas (ESAs), that it disagrees with the K. Kasturirangan-led panel report. The panel had suggested declaring 1,576 villages along the Western Ghats as ESA, which would heighten conservation measures and place restrictions on certain construction activities.

The Supreme Court’s order to seal and close 27 resorts operating in corridors used by elephants in the Nilgiris is a necessary step to restore the ecology of these spaces. Weak regulation of ecotourism is severely impacting important habitats, and affecting animals that have large home ranges, like elephants. Fragmentation of forests makes it all the more important to preserve migratory corridors. The movement of elephants is essential to ensure that their populations are genetically viable, and help regenerate forests on which other species, including tigers, depend.

Real average daily wages in India almost doubled in the first two decades after economic reforms, but low pay and wage inequality remains a serious challenge to inclusive growth, the International Labour Organization warned in its India Wage Report.In 2011-12, the average wage in India was about Rs. 247 rupees a day, almost double the 1993-94 figure of Rs.128. However, average labour productivity (as measured by GDP per worker) increased more rapidly than real average wages. Daily wages in urban areas (Rs.384) also remain more than twice as high as those in rural areas (Rs. 175). The gender wage gap decreased from 48% in 1993-94 to 34% in 2011-12.

Iran unveiled its first domestic fighter jet ‘Kowsar’ on August 21. It had “advanced avionics” and multi-purpose radar, and that it was “100% indigenously made” for the first time.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has apologised to 18 members of the “Windrush generation” who were forced to leave or detained because they were not given documents when they came to the country from the Caribbean after the Second World War . Those arriving in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries have been labelled the Windrush generation. This is a reference to the ship MV Empire Windrush, which arrived at Tilbury Docks, Essex, on 22 June 1948, bringing workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands, as a response to post-war labour shortages in the UK. The ship carried 492 passengers – many of them children.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on August 22 announced that his government will soon resume death penalties after a 42-year moratorium but will send home five Pakistanis sentenced to death for execution in their home country.

In the 18th Asian Games on August 22, Rahi Sarnobat gave India another Gold in shooting. Sarnobat became the first Indian female shooter to win a gold at the Asian Games, achieving the rare feat after a nerve-wracking 25m air pistol finals.

At 18th Asian Games on August 22, India defeated Hong Kong 26-0 to break their 86 year old record of the biggest win margin.

President Ram Nath Kovind will inaugurate the International Buddhist Conclave in New Delhi on August 23. The conclave themed as, Buddha Path – The Living Heritage aims to showcase Buddhist Heritage in India and boost tourism. the Ministerial level delegation from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka will also participate in the conclave along with delegates from the 29 countries participating in the International Buddhist Conclave including US, UK, Russia, Japan, Germany and France.  

Using data from the Chandrayaan-I spacecraft, that was launched by India 10 years ago, NASA on August 21, said that scientists have found frozen water deposits in the darkest and coldest parts of the Moon’s polar regions. Scientists used data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, launched in 2008 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), to identify three specific signatures that definitively prove there is water ice at the surface of the Moon.

Assam State Zoo is reportedly afflicted with the deadly canine virus causing deaths of several animals. Canine virus is the root-cause for the spread of a disease known as ‘Canine Distemper’.

Uri Avnery, a left-wing peace activist who in 1982 became the first prominent Israeli to meet in public with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, died on August 20 in a Tel Aviv hospital. He was 94. The encounter took place during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and war with Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), then designated a terrorist group by Israel.

Meerut teenager Saurabh Chaudhary clinched India’s first shooting gold of the 18th Asian Games in men’s 10m air pistol , collecting a Games record score of 240.7 on August 21. Another shooter Abhishek Verma settled for a bronze in the same event.

India got its second Gold medal at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia when Vinesh Phogat defeated Japan’s Yuki Irie in the final of freestyle 50 kg category in Women’s Wrestling on August 20. With this victory, Vinesh created history as she is the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold in the Asian Games.

The CPCB guidelines, upon which the map is based, states that water is fit for bathing when the amount of fecal coliform bacteria, found mainly in human faeces, is not more than 2,500 most probable number (MPN) per 100 ml, dissolved oxygen is not more than 5 mg per litre, bio chemical oxygen demand is less than 3 mg per litre and the pH level-measurement of how acidic the water is, is between 6.5 to 8.5. Apart from West Bengal, the water of the Ganga is also unfit for bathing in States such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The map further reveals that Uttrakhand remains the only exception with 11 stretches of the Ganga being fit for bathing along with Ara town in Bihar.

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi was conferred with Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award on the occasion of 74th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on August 20, 2018. The award was given at a function in New Delhi in presence of former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress leader Karan Singh.

The MI-17 B of the 109 Helicopter Unit, nicknamed ‘The Knights’, from Sulur in Tamil Nadu, is one of the 24 IAF choppers involved in the massive air relief and rescue campaign code-named ‘Operation Karuna’ that commenced on August 9.

More than 7,500 participants from 20 countries have registered for NITI Aayog’s global mobility hackathon, MoveHack 2018 till now. The hackathon was launched on 1st of this month with the aim to bring about innovative solutions to problems pertaining to mobility and transportation.

The 11th World Hindi Conference concluded in Port Louis, Mauritius on August 20. Addressing the concluding session, acting President of Mauritius Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory expressed confidence that Hindi will strengthen world peace. Mr. Vyapoory said, the present state of Hindi is very encouraging and it will find its rightful place in the United Nations as 7th recognised language.

NABARD All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey 2016-17 covered a sample of 1.88 lakh people from 40,327 rural households. Only 48% of these are defined as agricultural households, which have at least one member self-employed in agriculture and which received more than ?5,000 as value of produce from agricultural activities over the past year, whether they possessed any land or not. NABARD found that 52.5% of the agricultural households had an outstanding loan on the date of the survey, and thus were considered indebted. For non-agricultural households in rural India, that figure was 10 percentage points lower, at only 42.8%.

The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), India’s next indigenous fighter, is expected to make its first flight by 2032. Development work on the jet is under way. The AMCA will feature geometric stealth and will initially fly with two GE-414 engines. Once we develop our own engine, it can be replaced with that. We expect the first flight in 2032.

The indigenously designed SAAW (Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon) guided bombs were flight-tested from a Jaguar jet in the Chandan range in Rajasthan. In Pokhran, another indigenously developed helicopter-launched anti-tank guided missile, Helina, was tested. The DRDO Research Centre Imarat here had been involved in their development.

Jharkhand government has decided to include life and thoughts of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in school curriculum.

Shooters Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar gave India its first medal of the 18th Asian Games being held in Indonesia. In the Finals of the 10-metre Air Rifle Mixed Team event, the pair finished third with 429.9 points to bag a Bronze. Chinese Taipei took home the Gold, while China settled for the Silver.

Bajrang Punia gave India’s first gold medal in 18th Asian Games by defeating Japan’s Daichi Takatani 11-8 in the final of Men’s Freestyle 65 kg. category on August 19, 2018.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj inaugurated “Panini Language Laboratory” (Panini Bhasha Prayogshala) at Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI) in Mauritius on August 19. The Lab has been gifted by the Government of India and it will help MGI in teaching of all Indian languages in Mauritius.

Scientists have found a way to produce a mineral, known as magnesite, in a lab that can absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, offering a potential strategy for tackling climate change. By reducing a process that normally takes thousands of years to a matter of days, the research could boost the burgeoning field of carbon capture and storage (CCS).

India defeated Bangladesh in the final of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Under-15 Women’s Championship in Thimpu, Bhutan on August 19, 2018. A solitary second-half strike by Sunita Munda helped the Indian U-15 team clinch the title. In the semifinal  India had defeated Nepal 2-1. This is the second edition of the Championship. Bangladesh had won the inaugural edition last year, beating India, 1-0 in the final played at Dhaka.

An entire forest division in Assam will start moving 160 km northeast. The one-horned rhino of the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) is the reason for this “long march”. On August 14, Assam’s Environment and Forest Department issued a notification saying the KNP had been split into two divisions — the existing Eastern Assam Wildlife and the new Biswanath Wildlife — for “intensive wildlife management”. The Brahmaputra separates the two divisions straddling a total area of 1,030

Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan died in Switzerland on August 18. He was 80. He was the first black African to become UN secretary-general. Mr Annan served two terms as UN chief from 1997 to 2006. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for helping to revitalise the international body, during a period that coincided with the Iraq War and the HIV/Aids pandemic.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party Chief, Imran Khan has taken oath as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan on August 18, 2018. Imran Khan was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan by the newly-elected members of the National Assembly on August 17. He got 176 votes, while his opponent and Chief of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shehbaz Sharif managed to secure 96 votes. In the July 25 elections, PTI emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats.

President of UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has announced the formation of a national emergency committee to provide relief assistance to people affected by flash floods in Kerala. The committee will be chaired by the Emirates Red Crescent ( ERC) and include representatives from the UAE’s humanitarian organisations. The committee will also seek the help of dignitaries of the Indian resident community.

The Indian economy clocked a 10.08% growth rate in 2006-07 under the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the highest since liberalisation of the economy in 1991, according to official data. The highest ever growth rate since Independence was recorded at 10.2% in 1988-89 when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister. The back series data on GDP has been prepared by the Committee on Real Sector Statistics, constituted by the National Statistical Commission. The report has been released on the website of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

On August 18, 1868, helium was discovered by astronomers studying the sun during a total solar eclipse.The site of this discovery was none other than the Andhra coast at Machilipatnam and Guntur. It is the only element to have been seen in the sun before it was known to exist on earth. On August 18, 1868, astronomers across the globe geared up to watch the solar eclipse in its path of totality. Those from the Royal Astronomical Society led by Major James Francis Tennant, and French astronomer Pierre Jules Janssen, chased the eclipse to Guntur. The Government Astronomer of the Madras Observatory, Norman Robert Pogson and his team watched the eclipse from Machilipatnam.

India, which hosted the first Asiad in New Delhi in 1951, showed its young face too at the parade of nations with 20-year-old javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, the country’s first-ever World champion in athletics, carrying the National Flag as his teammates, all in dashing blue suits, marched in to a loud applause.

Delhi government’s additional director of health S.K. Arora has been awarded the prestigious WHO World No Tobacco Day 2018 Award for his extraordinary contribution towards tobacco control. Tobacco prevalence in Delhi has come down by 6.5% in the past six years, which is more than the rest of India average figures. The National Health Policy 2017 has set targets of relative reduction in tobacco prevalence by 15% by 2020 and 30% by 2025. Delhi has already achieved these targets before 2017.

1th World Hindi Conference will begin in Mauritius from August 18. The Prime Minister of Mauritius Praveen Kumar Jagannath will inaugurate the conference in Port Louis. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and other ministers are also reaching Port Louis to attend it. “Hindi World and Indian Culture” is the theme of conference.

The first Humboldt penguin was born in India at Byculla zoo in Mumai on August 15. It is now called as ‘the freedom baby’. he seven penguins in Byculla zoo paired up soon after being placed in their enclosure more than two years ago, with only little Bubbles remaining single. Donald and Daisy, Olive and Popeye, and Mr. Molt and Flipper achieved celeb status. In fact, three-year-old Mr. Molt, the new father, had a brief fling with Bubbles before dumping her for Flipper, who is four-and-a-half years old.

International Conference on Recent Advances in Food Processing Technology (iCRAFPT) got underway on August 17 at Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Thanjavur in Tamilnadu. The conference was inaugurated by Sh. Jagadish Prasad Meena, Secretary, MoFPI.

Kalibhanjdia Island spread over 8.5 square km, a place in Bhitarkanika, has attracted the attention of foreign scientists as its possesses 70% of the total mangrove species of the world.

The Odisha government is setting up a world-class interpretation centre at Dangamal near Bhitarkanika National Park to showcase its efforts in protecting crocodiles and preserving its rich mangrove diversity. The project, which has been approved under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project, will be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs.3 crore.

The Whitefield police (Bengaluru), who celebrated Independence Day on the theme ‘freedom from drugs,’ have set up the blind box. The idea is to help people who want to give information about illegal activities anonymously.

US singer Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76. The “Queen of Soul” was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and made her debut in 1961. Her style on such hits as “Respect” and “Natural Woman” attracted fans all over the world and influenced Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and other pop divas. She received the Grammy Award 18 times and was the first female vocalist to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Teen cyclist Esow Alben has ed history by claiming India’s first ever medal – a silver- at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Aigle, Switzerland. The 17-year-old from Andaman and Nicobar trains in Delhi at the Sports Authority of India’s National Cycling Academy. He put enormous pressure on Czech Republic’s Jakub Stastny in the final sprint before settling for the silver medal. Esow finished just 0.017 seconds behind gold medallist Stastny in the thrilling photo-finish of a race.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won a landslide victory in a run-off against Opposition rival Soumaïla Cissé, giving him a second term. Mr. Keita won 67% of the vote in an election marred by militant attacks and allegations of fraud.

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has upgraded the unified payments interface (UPI) with enhanced security features and overdraft facilities. Unveiling the UPI 2.0 on August 16, RBI Governor Urjit Patel said that the upgraded UPI was the result of the calibrated approach adopted by RBI in the initial years as a developer and in the later years as a catalyst and facilitator.

In Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez has been sworn in as the new President after defeating his liberal rival in April elections. Mr Abdo Benítez is the son of a close aide to ex-military dictator Alfredo Stroessner, and has faced criticism for defending the former leader’s record. He replaces Horacio Cartes.

The Environment Ministry has allowed scientists to test the suitability of land in Maharashtra’s Hingoli district to host the India wing of the ambitious Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project. This is a key step to establishing the one-of-its-kind astronomical observatory. The project involves constructing a network of L-shaped arms, each four kilometres long, which can detect even the faintest ripples from cosmic explosions millions of light years away. The discovery of gravitational waves earned three U.S. scientists the Nobel for physics in 2017.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on August 15, 2018 dedicated the state’s first civil airport at Hisar to the people of Haryana, saying it would open the possibilities of creating an economic corridor and vibrant industrial ecosystem.

A ‘priceless’ 12th century bronze Buddha statue that was stolen from Bihar 57 years ago has been returned by British police to the Indian High Commission in London. The statue that was stolen from the Archaeological Survey of India site museum in Nalanda, along with 13 others in 1961, was identified at a trade fair in London in March this year by Lynda Albertson of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art and Vijay Kumar of the India Pride Project — a volunteer-based, crowd-sourced project that works to track down and return stolen heritage.

Botanists have discovered a new species of orchid in Peru’s central Amazonian rainforest. The orchid was given the name Andinia tingomariana and has been classified as belonging to the Andinia genus. It was recently discovered in the Tingo Maria National Park.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, a health for all scheme, on the the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day on August 15. The scheme provides health assurance coverage to 70 lakh families, covering more than 70% of the State’s population.

As per the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the recent incident of cyber attack in Pune-based Cosmos Cooperative Bank, that has caused an over Rs. 90-crore loss, is due to a malware attack on the bank’s system. Hackers transferred over Rs. 90 crore out on August 11 and 13 through the malware attack on the bank’s server by cloning debit cards of the bank’s customers. The transactions were carried through automated teller machines (ATMs) in 28 countries, including Canada, Hong Kong and India. Visa and Rupay debit cards were cloned.

The Maharashtra government has announced emergency measures to tackle the widespread pink bollworm (PBW) infestation in parts of the State. It will set up 16-member committees in each district to monitor relief measures and minimise economic losses to farmers. An estimated 35 lakh hectare of cotton crop has already been lost, which feeds on cotton fibre and bolls. The losses in Vidarbha and Yavatmal have been assessed at Rs. 3,414 crore.

Every year in the months of June, July and August, writers, progressive farmers and environmentalists — all members of Pragnavanta Parisara Vedike — gather in Devarayanadurga reserve forest of Tumkuru district (Karnataka) to sow seeds. It’s a tradition that was started nearly two decades ago, with one goal — to revive around 25 acres of forest that was stripped bare of thick vegetation due to constant fires.

Noted Malayalam poet and Sahitya Akademi awardee Chemmanam Chacko died in Kakkanad on August 15 at 92.

The Turkish lira lost a fifth of its value against the U.S. dollar in the second week of August 2018. The currency has lost over 40% of its value against the dollar this year.

The U.S. Treasury had recently sanctioned two Turkish Ministers in response to Turkey’s continuing detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson on spying and terror charges. Mr. Brunson was detained in 2016 as part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown following an unsuccessful coup against him. U.S. President Donald Trump also said that he would double import tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium.

Pakistan’s newly-elected Parliament on August 15 voted an ally of Imran Khan as the Speaker of its lower house. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Asad Qaiser was sworn in as the Speaker of the National Assembly, Parliament’s lower house.

Ajit Wadekar, who recorded historic series wins in the West Indies and England in 1971, passed away on August 15 in Mumbai. He was 77. Wadekar led India to a 2-1 win against England at home in the 1972-73 series. Wadekar scored 2,113 runs in his Test career, including one hundred, and was also the country’s first ODI captain. He appeared in just two matches, though. India lost both those ODIs against England, which prompted Wadekar to retire from international cricket in 1974. The left-hander ended his Test career with 14 half centuries, four of those being 90-plus scores. The Mumbaikar went on to serve as India’s manager in the ’90s during Mohammed Azharuddin’s captaincy. In his tenure as manager, India had finished semifinalists at the 1996 World Cup. He later went on to become the chairman of selectors. Wadekar is the only cricketer apart from Lala Amarnath and Chandu Borde to have served as captain, manager, and selector in Indian cricket. He was bestowed the Arjuna Award in 1967 and Padmashri in 1972.

Nihal Sarin became India’s 53rd Grandmaster after attaining his third and final GM-norm in the Masters on August 14. Telangana boy E. Arjun also became a GM, India’s 54th, in the same tournament.

President-elect of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, has said, India and China, the most populous nations in the world, are key to making the United Nations relevant to everyone. The 193-member UN body had in June elected Garces as its next president, making her only the fourth woman to lead the General Assembly in its 73-year history. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, veteran Indian diplomat and sister of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was the first woman to be elected President of the General Assembly in as early as 1953.

Former India spinner Ramesh Powar was named head coach of the women’s national team till the ICC World T20, scheduled to be held in November.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s on Independence Day, announced that an Indian astronaut will be sent into space by 2022 on board Gaganyaan. Addressing media persons in Bengaluru, the ISRO Chairman said, ISRO is ready to carry out the task entrusted to it by the Prime Minister.

The President Shri Ram Nath Kovind on August 15, 2018 presented Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman to the Sanskrit scholar Shri Murali Nandi.

Nebraska on August 14,2018 carried out America’s first execution using fentanyl — the opioid at the centre of the nation’s deadly overdose crisis — as part of an untested four-drug combination. Carey Dean Moore, who was sentenced to death for two 1979 murders, was the first prisoner executed in the State in 21 years.

Neeraj Chopra, star javelin thrower, was named as the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent for the Asian Games opening ceremony to be held on August 18, 2018 in Jakarta. The Games will be held from August 18 to September 2 in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. The 20-year-old Neeraj is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion and won a Gold in the Savo Games in Finland. Neeraj had won the gold medal in the Asian Athletic championships in 2017 with a throw of 85.23 meters. He had also bagged a gold in the 2016 IAAF World U-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2018 announced the launch of world’s largest government-funded programme – the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan. It will be launched on the birth anniversary of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay on September 25. Announcing this from the ramparts of historic Red Fort after unfurling the tricolour on the occasion of 72nd Independence Day, Mr Modi said, it is high time to ensure that the poor gets access to good quality and affordable health care. The healthcare initiative will have a positive impact on 50 crore Indians under Ayushman Bharat.

The Tata brand remained India’s most valuable brand this year as per the latest findings by Brand Finance, a U.K.-based independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. The Tata group’s brand value, estimated at $14.2 billion. At this valuation, Tata’s brand value is even higher than Airtel’s ($6.7 billion) and Infosys’s ($6 billion), which are No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. LIC, ranked fourth in brand value at $6 billion.

The 91-year-old Chhattisgarh Governor Balramjidas Tandon died on August 14, 2018 in Raipur. Balramji das Tandon had assumed the office of Governor in Chhattisgarh on July, 2014. Born on November 1, 1927, Shri Tandon started his political career as corporator of Amritsar Municipal corporation in 1953. Tandon was one of the founder members of Jansangh which later became Bharatiya Janata Party.

A special film festival on the theme “Freedom Struggle and Freedom Fighters” began on August 15 in Mumbai. The festival is organized by the Films Division to mark India’s 72nd Independence Day.

Between 1990 and 2016, 33 per cent of India’s coastline underwent erosion and in the same duration, about 29 per cent of the coastline expanded, shows a recent technical report by the National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. A state-wise analysis shows that the maximum proportion of eroded coastline was in West Bengal where up to 63 per cent of the 534 km long coastline was eroded. West Bengal is followed by Puducherry (57 per cent), Kerala (45 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (41 per cent).

According to the Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan, the research of National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad would contribute towards increase the income of farmers. He appreciated NIAB’s outreach programme for farmers — MILAN (Meeting of Indian Livestock Farmers and Agriculturists with NIAB scientists).

Delhi is the first police force in the country to have an all-women SWAT team. Home minister Rajnath Singh has formally inducted the unit in Delhi Police on August 10. Trained by specialists from India and abroad, 36 women constables from northeastern states have been inducted into the squad after rigorous, 15-month training. It is the brainchild of police commissioner Amulya Patnaik.

Vienna has dislodged Melbourne for the first time at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index 2018, strengthening the Austrian capital’s claim to being the world’s most pleasant city to live in. Vienna regularly tops a larger ranking of cities by quality of life compiled by consulting firm Mercer. It is the first time it has topped the EIU survey, which began in its current form in 2004. At the other end of the table, Damascus retained last place, followed by the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, and Lagos in Nigeria. The survey does not include several of the world’s most dangerous capitals, such as Baghdad and Kabul. India’s capital Delhi was ranked at 112 and Mumbai at 117.


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