Current Affairs Quick Reminder and Quick Revision (1-15 November 2018)

  • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh on November 9, 2018 reviewed progress of ongoing projects being executed by the Land Ports Authority of India and the Border Management Division under the Ministry of Home Affairs. There was very good progress and Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) at five border crossing points out of seven approved projects have been completed. Terminals for smooth movement of goods and people at ICP Raxaul and ICP Jogbani on India-Nepal Border, ICP Petrapole and ICP Agartala on India-Bangladesh Border and ICP Attari on India–Pakistan Border have been made functional.

  • In the 8th Asian Shotgun Championship in Kuwait, Angad Vir Singh Bajwa has won a gold with a world record score in the men’s skeet final. He became the first Indian skeet shooter to win a continental or world level event. In India’s 10m rifle mixed team pairing of Elavenil Valarivan and Hriday Hazarika struck gold with a junior world record score. They finished with a score of 502.1, which is a World and Asian Junior record in the event. The Chinese pair finished with 500.9. Mehuli Ghosh and Arjun Babuta won bronze in the same event with the score of 436.9. Indian pair of Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary have won Gold medal creating a world record in the 10 meter air pistol mixed team junior event at 11th Asian Airgun Championships in Kuwait.

  • Donald Trump fired Attorney-General Jeff Sessions on November 7 replacing him with a loyalist who has echoed the President’s complaints about the special counsel investigation into Russia’s alleged election interference and will now take charge of the inquiry.

  • The talks on the Afghanistan peace process held in Russia on November 9, 2018. The talks, known as the “Moscow format” includeded a “high-level” delegation from the Taliban as well as a delegation of Afghanistan’s “High Peace Council”, along with representatives of 12 countries.

  • The Manipur unit of the Naga People’s Front, which is the Opposition party in adjoining Nagaland, wants France to intervene for a settlement to the peace talks between New Delhi and the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland. The reason: the seeds of the Naga movement for sovereignty were sown on French soil, specifically in Marseilles, during the First World War a century ago.

  • Using excavators, the Forest Department has started the massive task of cleaning up huge piles of waste and debris deposited over a 7-km stretch of Olive Ridley mass nesting beach near Rushikulya rookery in Odisha’s Ganjam district. Olive Ridleys start arriving for their mass mating in November.

  • The Army on November 9, 2018 inducted new artillery guns and equipment, including K9 Vajra and M777 howitzers, at Deolali artillery centre in Nashik district of Maharashtra. Besides, M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers and the K-9 Vajra, the third gun system inducted is the ‘Composite Gun Towing Vehicle’ for towing some of the existing guns in service with the country, while K-9 Vajra is a self-propelled artillery gun.

  • Nihangs, or Sikh religious warriors, displayed their skills on ‘Fateh Divas’ in Amritsar on November 8, 2018. It is celebrated a day after Deepavali to mark the arrival of the sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind in Amritsar after his release from Gwalior fort.

  • Oumuamua is the first interstellar object known to enter our solar system. A scientific paper led by two researchers at Harvard University made a splash in November first week by claiming that a cigar-shaped rock zooming through our solar system may have been sent by aliens. The researchers noted in a pre-print of the article that it was an “exotic scenario,” but that “Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent to the earth vicinity by an alien civilisation.”

  • A world record was created in Ayodhya on November 6, 2018 with over three lakh ‘diya’ (earthen lamps) lit up on the banks of the Saryu.Rishi Nath, official adjudicator of the Guinness World Records, made the announcement.


  • Kaiga Atomic Power Station (KAPS) Unit-1 has set a new world record among pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) with one of its units operating uninterrupted for 895 days as of October 25, 2018. The previous record of 894 days of continuous operation was held by a unit of pickering nuclear generating Station(PNGS) in Canada. KGS-1 now stands first among PHWRs and second among all nuclear power reactors in the world in terms of continuous operation. The unit has been operational since May 13, 2016. KGS-1 is an indigenous PHWR, powered by domestic fuel. It commenced commercial operations on November 16, 2000.

  • Taiwan’s president has commissioned a pair of guided missile frigates Ming Chuan and Feng Chia, that are expected to boost the island’s ability to counter Chinese submarines amid rising military threats from Beijing. The Perry class vessels were formerly part of the US Navy, and though built in the 1980s, have been d with cutting-edge technologies including sonar and undersea warfare combat systems.

  • Activities related to the development of the Chabahar port in Iran will be exempt from U.S. sanctions that kicked in on November 6, following the 180-day cool-off period after the U.S. withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or the ‘Iran Deal’) in May. This waiver will bring some measure of relief to India which had been discussing a sanctions exemption for Chabahar, having signed an agreement with Iran and Afghanistan in May 2016 for the port’s development.

  • The Union Cabinet on November 8, 2018 was apprised of India joining as Member of Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme (AMF TCP)under International Energy Agency (IEA) on 9thMay, 2018.  AMF TCP works under the framework of International Energy Agency (IEA) to which India has “Association” status since 30thMarch, 2017. Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India has joined AMF TCP as its 16th member on 9thMay, 2018. The other member Countries of AMF TCP are USA, China, Japan, Canada, Chile, Israel, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Thailand.

  • India has been elected as a member of the International Telecommunications Union-ITU Council for another four-year term from 2019 to 2022. The elections to the Council were held during the ongoing ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 at Dubai. The ITU has 193 member states who elect representatives to the Council. The country has been a regular member of the ITU Council since 1952.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on November 7, 2018 celebrated Diwali with jawans of the Indian Army and ITBP, at Harsil, one of the remotest border posts in Uttarakhand.
  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman celebrated Diwali at Andra La-Omkar and Anini in Arunachal Pradesh with Indian troops deployed in the forward posts. The high altitude post of Andrala Omkar is 35 to 40 kilometres away from the nearest road head.

  • U.S. President Donald Trump has declared that the U.S. is quitting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a bilateral agreement with Russia signed in 1987. The decision was not unexpected since the U.S. has long maintained that Russia has been violating the treaty and Mr. Trump has been critical of arms control agreements because, according to him, other countries cheat putting the U.S. at a disadvantage.

  • Veteran journalist and The Hindu Publishing Group Chairman N. Ram has been chosen for the prestigious Raja Ram Mohan Roy Award, presented by the Press Council of India (PCI), for his outstanding contribution towards journalism, the Council announced on November 5. In a statement, the PCI also announced National Awards for Excellence in Journalism for 2018. Ruby Sarkar, chief correspondent of Deshbandhu, Bhopal, and Rajesh Parshuram Joshte of Daily Pudhari, Ratnagiri, have been named joint winners for ‘Rural Journalism’.

  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that eight countries including India have been exempted from the US sanctions for buying Iranian oil. These nations include China, Japan, Italy, Greece, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. The US on November 5 imposed the toughest ever sanctions on Iran. The sanctions cover Iran’s banking and energy sectors and reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian oil imports. India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80 per cent of its oil needs through imports. Iran is its third-largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia and meets about 10 per cent of total needs.

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in partnership with HCL Foundation and German development agency GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) organized “Bal Ganga Mela” at HCL’s Noida campus on November 4, 2018. More than 500 children from HCL Foundation-supported government schools in Noida, bridge centres, Power of One community champions and scholars participated in the mela. The day is symbolic as it marks the declaration of Ganga as the National River of India in 2008 and is dedicated to raising awareness about rejuvenating the holy river and teaching children to become environmentally aware and responsible citizens.

  • The Union Food Processing Ministry on November 5, 2018 approved the operationalization strategy for Operation Greens to ensure availability of Tomato, Onion and Potato throughout the country round the year without price volatility. Operation Greens was announced in the Budget speech of 2018-19 with an outlay of 500 crore rupees to stabilize the supply of Tomato, Onion and Potato crops.

  • Dozens of Yemeni rebels have been killed in battles and air strikes in Hodeida, on November 4, as pro-government forces advanced in the insurgent-held Red Sea port city. Fifty-three Houthis were killed and dozens injured over the past 24 hours,. Thirteen pro-government troops were also killed.

  • Vice-Admiral M.P. Awati (retd.), who commanded a naval unit of the Eastern Fleet in the 1971 India-Pakistan war and whose actions led to the destruction of an enemy submarine, passed away at his hometown near Satara in Maharashtra on November 4, 2018. Vice-Admiral Awati, a Vir Chakra recipient, was 91.

  • In Paradise at War: A Political History of Kashmir, historian and policy analyst Radha Kumar argues that the challenge for both mainland Indians and Kashmiris is to get their conflicting internal actors on the same page. She looks forward to the day when the Central and State governments shoulder this challenge together, like they did from 2002 to 2007.

  • India is ranked at 120 out of 122 countries on the Water Quality Index, said Niti Aayog, adding that 70% of the country’s water supply is contaminated. A recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) pointed out that only 18% of the rural population has access to potable piped water, failing to meet the 2017 target of 50%. A new report by Safe Water Network (SWN) says the government needs to spend Rs. 44,000 crore on 2.2 lakh small water enterprises to provide safe drinking water to about 37 crore people.

  • The State Administrative Reforms Commission has proposed to treat those giving dowry as victims than as perpetrators and exempt them from punishment to overcome the hurdles in implementing the Kerala Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. The commission’s third report on ‘Welfare to Rights’ submitted to the government says that a major problem in implementing the Kerala Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, is the provision for punishing both the givers as well receivers of dowry on similar grounds.

  • After a long a gap, a flock of five greater flamingoes has been spotted along the coast of Hope Island, a part of the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh. The long-legged and long-necked birds were last seen in a group about two and a half decades ago, while a lone flamingo was recorded in the 2016 Asian Water Bird Census at Sirra Yanam village in the East Godavari district.

  • The tigress Avni, said to have killed 13 people, was shot dead in Yavatmal on November 2, 2018 night by civilian hunter Asgar Ali. Union Minister Maneka Gandhi has severely criticised the Maharashtra government for permitting a hunter to kill “man-eating” tigress Avni, calling it a “ghastly murder”.
    India’s first indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant has successfully completed its first deterrence patrol on November 5. This completes establishment of the country’s nuclear triad.

  • The Western Pacific nation of Palau has become the first country to ban many kinds of sunscreen, in a move to protect its coral reefs from chemicals that scientists say cause significant damage. Under the ban, which will take effect in 2020, “reef-toxic” sunscreen — defined as containing one of 10 prohibited chemicals, a list that could grow later — can be confiscated from tourists when they enter the country, and retailers who sell it can be fined up to $1,000.

  • The killing of tigress Avni in Yavatmal has caused outrage among wildlife activists. Sarita Subramanian of the Earth Brigade Foundation, which has been fighting against the order to kill Avni, termed the killing a “state-sponsored fake encounter.”

  • Veteran ‘villupaattu’ exponent, Poongani, 86, the country’s oldest ‘villupaattu’ performer, died at Kottaaram near on November 2. Poongani, a recipient of the Om Muthumari Award, instituted by the Department of Journalism, University of Madras, was said to have performed at over a thousand events.
  • TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, has issued an advisory to enforcement agencies calling for increased efforts to help curb trafficking and sacrifice of owls. The advisory follows TRAFFIC’s investigations into illegal owl trade in India, published in the report ‘Imperilled Custodians of the Night’.

  • In football, Bangladesh beat Pakistan 3-2 in the penalty shoot out to win the SAFF Under-15 Championship in Lalitpur, Nepal. Bangladesh clinched the six-nation SAFF Under-15 Championship title with an all-win record.

  • In a bid to stamp out poverty and hunger, more than 20 countries have committed to a new declaration on agricultural and rural development. The commitment came at the end of a forum on international development cooperation in Changsha, China. The Changsha Declaration aims to ramp up the efforts towards South-South Cooperation, an initiative working to eliminate hunger and malnutrition through the mutual sharing and exchange of good practices, resources, and know-how between countries of the global south.

  • India will extend Line of credits of more than 350 million US Dollars to Zimbabwe for two power projects and a drinking water project. India will give about 3 million US dollar grant for upgradation of Indo-Zim Technology centre. Assistance for construction of Mahatma Gandhi Convention Centre in Zimbabwe will also be granted by India.

  • Microcephaly, caused by Zika Virus, is a birth defect in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected. About 2000 samples were tested for Zika virus in Rajasthan out of which 159 cases were confirmed positive. The government is maintaining high vigil of the possibility of adverse pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to Zika virus.

  • The Indian Coast Guard has launched a new offshore patrol vessel called ICGS Varaha from a corporate shipyard near Chennai. The vessel has been designed and built indigenously. This is the third in a series of seven similar ships to be handed over to the Coast Guard. The timeline for the delivery of all the vessels is March 2021. ICGS Varaha will soon be fitted with advanced navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machineries. The weapons will include a 30 mm guns with Fire Control Systems. It will also be capable of carrying a twin-engine helicopter and four high-speed boats for Search and Rescue and Maritime Patrol. It also carries pollution response equipment to contain the oil spill at sea.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated a two-day Gyan Kumbh at Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar on November 3, 2018. He said that besides educating children, it is imperative on the part of teachers to inculcate good manners and character building in the students. The president also addressed the first convocation of the AIIMS at Rishikesh.

  • Seychelles has raised 15 million dollars by offering the world’s first ‘Blue Bond,’ raised from investors to finance ocean-based projects, to expand its marine protected areas and boost its fisheries sector. The Indian Ocean group of islands’ economy is dependent on the ocean and on fisheries for food, nutrition and livelihoods, marine habitats, and other blue economy sectors like tourism.

  • Jammu and Kashmir’s Mohammed Mudhasir took the first hat-trick of the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season on November 2 when he took four wickets in four balls. Mudhasir got the wickets of Chetan Bist, Tajinder Singh Dhillon, Rahul Chahar and Tanvir Mashart Ul-Haq to achieve the incredible feat.

  • This year’s Global Passport Power Index ranks are out and India stands at 66th on the list. The list was compiled by the Passport Index, an online tool which collects and displays the ranks of the passports of the world. It was made on the basis of the total visa-free score ranking of world passports. It is the only real-time global ranking portal of the world’s passports which updates new visa waivers and changes.

  • The term “open mouth operations” was coined by Julian Wright and Greame Guthrie in their paper Market-Implemented Monetary Policy with Open Mouth Operations. In India Dr. Y. V. Reddy had coined the phrase to describe his speech in Goa on August 15, 1997 at a conference of the Foreign Exchange Dealers’ Association. The objective of an “open-mouth operation” is clear: influence a target audience to behave in a manner favourable to you or your objectives.

  • According to the all-India synchronised census of elephants in 2017, their population was 27,312. The States with the highest elephant population are Karnataka (6,049), followed by Assam (5,719) and Kerala (3,054).

  • The Maharashtra Cabinet on November 1, 2018 approved the conversion of decommissioned carrier INS Viraat into a floating museum. As per primary estimates, the project worth 852 crore rupees will be implemented through public-private-partnership (PPP).A state Government press release said the decision has been taken to elicit interest among the school and college students in the marine sector. Besides, it will make the new generation familiar with the glorious history of INS Viraat.

    Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar has announced to raise social security pension by Rs. 200 per month to Rs. 2,000 per month, with the enhancement coming into effect from November 1. He made the announcment while addressing a gathering in Panipat.

  • Section 7 of the RBI Act empowers the central government to issue directions to the RBI in public interest. This section has, however, never been invoked by the government so far. Section 7 has two parts — consultation and then issuing a direction to the RBI for taking some action in public interest.

  • In the USA, Pittsburgh synagogue shooting was a mass shooting that occurred at Tree of Life synagogue of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 27, 2018. The incident happened while Shabbat morning services and a bris were being held. 11 people were killed, and seven were injured. The sole suspect is 46-year-old Robert Gregory Bowers.
    Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen, who helped oversee talks leading to the Oslo peace accords, has been named as the next special envoy to Syria.

  • The Supreme Court of Pakistan on October 31, 2018 acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy. This was her final legal appeal before execution. Ms. Bibi was accused of committing blasphemy in 2009. In 2010, a trial court sentenced her to death. In 2014, the Lahore High Court upheld the trial court’s verdict. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar finally overturned the conviction.

  • The RBI earns income from lending to commercial banks and from purchase and sale of government securities. It also has a surplus seigniorage which is the difference between the value of notes that it prints and the cost of printing and distributing them. After setting aside an amount for contingency and asset development, the RBI transfers the surplus to the government. In 2016, that amount was Rs. 65,876 crore; this dropped to Rs. 30,659 crore in 2017. This year, it paid Rs. 50,000 crore to the government.

  • Sri Lanka’s bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa was suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and charged with match-fixing, compounding the crisis that has gripped the game in the island nation. Zoysa has been charged with articles which relate to match-fixing and encouraging players to influence results.

  • India clinched the five-match series 3-1 defeating the West Indies by 9 wickets in the fifth and final One Day International at Thiruvananthapuram on November 1, 2018. Riding on Rohit Sharma’s 63 off 56 balls, India achieved the 105-run victory target in 14.5 overs. Ravindra Jadeja was adjudged Man of the Match for his four-wicket haul. Indian skipper Virat Kohli was adjudged Man of the series. This is also India’s sixth successive series win at home. India had lost a series at home in 2015, when they went down 2-3 against South Africa.

  • Over seven million children face a serious threat of famine in Yemen and ending the country’s war will not save all of them, the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, said. Talking to reporters in Hodeida, regional director of UNICEF Geert Cappelaere said, more than half of the 14 million people at serious risk of famine in the impoverished country are children. Saudi Arabia and its allies entered the war to bolster Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after the Iran-backed Huthi rebels took over the capital Sanaa.

  • The Union Cabinet has approved renaming of Jharsuguda Airport, Odisha as “Veer Surendra Sai Airport, Jharsuguda” Veer Surendra Sai is a well-known freedom fighter of Odisha. Renaming of the Jharsuguda airport in his name will fulfill long-pending demand of the Odisha Government, which reflects the sentiments of the local public of the respective area. It will also be a befitting tribute to the contribution of the revered personality associated with the State.
    Kerala, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh observed Statehood Day on November 1. In a series of tweets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended his greetings to the people of these states. He hoped for the progress, prosperity and well being of the people of these states.

  • Satyajit Ray’s epic masterpiece ‘Pather Panchali’ has been included in BBC’s 100 best foreign language films list. The list was culled out from a poll where over 200 critics from 43 countries picked their best foreign language film. It all narrowed down to 100 films from 67 different directors, from 24 countries, and in 19 languages. Ray’s film, released in 1955 and the first in his Apu trilogy, was placed at number 15 in the list, which has been topped by Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Seven Samurai’.

  • Environment Ministry on November 1 constituted 52 special action teams that will go to various places of Delhi-NCR and report the incidents of pollution to the concerned enforcing agency. The teams will also post reports of the pollution on various social media platforms such as Sameer App of Central Pollution Control Board, CPCB. The Union Environment Minister also flagged-off special buses called Pariyayantra. These buses are equipped with an air filter system.

  • Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai will be honoured by Harvard University for her work promoting girls’ education. Harvard’s Kennedy School said Yousafzai will be conferred with the 2018 Gleitsman Award at a ceremony on 6th December. Yousafzai became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 when she was recognized for her global work supporting schooling for all children. As a teen in Pakistan, she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban. She later founded the nonprofit Malala Fund to support her work

  • Union Minister Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal distributed prizes for cleanliness among Mega Food Parks and Cold Chain Units for maintaining, promoting and encouraging Swachhta Culture. The first prize was awarded to M/s. Patanjali Food and Herbal Park (P) Ltd. in Haridwar, the second prize by Satara Mega Food Park (P) Ltd., Satara District, Maharashtra and third by Pagro Frozen Foods Pvt.(P) Ltd. (Cold Chain Project) in Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab.

  • Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai will be honoured by Harvard University for her work promoting girls’ education. Harvard’s Kennedy School said Yousafzai will be conferred with the 2018 Gleitsman Award at a ceremony on 6th December. Yousafzai became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 when she was recognized for her global work supporting schooling for all children.

  • India’s soil biodiversity is in grave peril, according to the Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas prepared by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The WWF’s ‘risk index’ for the globe —indicating threats from loss of above-ground diversity, pollution and nutrient over-loading, over-grazing, intensive agriculture, fire, soil erosion, desertification and climate change. The findings were part of the bi-annual Living Planet Report (LPR) 2018.

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, graced and addressed the Vigilance Awareness Week 2018 (October 29 to November 3) function organised by the Central Vigilance Commission in New Delhi on October 31, 2018. The theme of this year’s Vigilance Awareness Week is ‘Eradicate Corruption – Build a New India’.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation Statue of Unity, built in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Kevadiya in Narmada district of Gujarat on October 31, 2018. Unveiling the 182-metre statue of the Iron Man of India, world’s tallest, on his 143rd birth anniversary, Prime Minister said Sardar Patel’s statue will remind the world about the courage of the man who thwarted attempts to disintegrate India.

  • India has jumped 23 places in ease of doing business ranking 2019. It was at 100th place last year and now it is at 77th rank. India is now recognised as among top ten improvers for the 2nd consecutive year. It is now ranked first among South Asian countries compared to 6th rank in 2014. India saw a massive jump in the parameter “dealing with construction permits” to 52th position against 181th a year ago by reducing time for processing permit applications, streamlined procedures, and improved transparency among other measures. Newzeeland got the top ranking, followed by Singapore.

  • Railways has scrapped flexi-fare in 15 premium trains completely. It has also removed flexi-fare from 32 trains during the lean period of February, March and August. The review of the scheme has been done based on the recommendation of the committee, Comptroller and Auditor General’s report, and representations from passengers. On September, 2016, the railways had introduced flexi-fare for premier trains like Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi Express trains.
    The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of S. S. Deswal as Director General of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). He took charge from R K Pachnanda.

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