Current Affairs May 24 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

ICGS and Assam Rifles signed “Affiliation Charter” in Shillong
The Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) ‘Shaurya’ and the 3rd (Naga Hills) Battalion of the Assam Rifles has signed an ‘Affiliation Charter’ at Laitkor in Shillong. The objective is to enhance inter-armed forces cooperation and utilise each other’s assets for training and sports. The ‘Affiliation Charter’ was signed by director generals of Indian Coast Guard and Assam Riffles.

ICGS and Assam Rifles signed “Affiliation Charter”Additional Information
i. The Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force of India. They have total 46 battalions guarding the India-Myanmar border and also countering the insurgency in the north-eastern states.
ii. The 3rd (Naga Hills) Battalion of Assam Rifles is the oldest battalion which was first time raised in 1835 as ‘The Cachar Levy’. They have total 750 personnel under the battalion which comprised of all the ranks for guarding the Eastern Frontier of Assam from Brahmaputra River to the Cachar Hills.
iii. The 3rd (Naga Hills) Battalion is based at Kohima in Nagaland where it had fought bravely with Japanese forces in World War-II.
iv. The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is one of the youngest armed forces under Ministry of Defence. Currently ICG have 142 ships and 62 aircraft.
About Assam Rifles
♦ Headquarter: Shillong
♦ Director General: Lt Gen Sukhdeep Sangwan
♦ Motto: Sentinels of the North East
About Indian Coast Guard
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
♦ Director General: Rajendra Singh
♦ Motto: We Protect

India-China Border Personnel Meet between armies held in Ladakh
On May 21, 2019, The Border Personnel Meet (BPM) between the armies of India and China was held in Eastern Ladakh sector of Jammu and Kashmir at the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) – TWT Meeting Point. The Indian delegation was led by Major General Arvind Kapoor from the Fire and Fury Corps and the Chinese delegation was led by Senior Colonel Gan Wei Han.
Key Points:
i. The BPM began by saluting the National Flags by members of the delegation and then followed by the exchange of greetings.
ii. India and China emphasized the mutual desire of maintaining peace and tranquility and improving relations at the functional level at the border areas.
iii. BPM was also held on the occasion of Baisakhi at the same spot in April 2019.
About BPM:
BPM is a mechanism where the armies of the countries meet together to sort out the disputes that arise out of the misunderstandings along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
About Indian Army:
♦ Chief of Army Staff: General Bipin Rawat
♦ Motto: Service Before Self
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
About Chinese Army:
♦ Chief of Joint Staff Department: General Li Zuocheng

5th Smart Cities India 2019 Expo inaugurated in New Delhi
On May 22, 2019, 5th Smart Cities India 2019 Expo including Transport India, Solar India, Buildings India and Water India expos was inaugurated by Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

Smart Cities India 2019Key Points:
i. The event was organized by India Trade Promotion Organization(ITPO) and Exhibitions India Group. It initiated to strengthen ‘Smart Cities Mission’ through the display of various products and solutions relevant to building smart cities in India.
ii. A knowledge paper by the Knowledge Partner KPMG titled “IoT in Smart Cities” was released. IoT stands for Internet of Things.
iii. The event also witnessed the launch of a whitepaper by Industry Partner Mazars Advisory. The whitepaper ‘Synchronising a SMARTER India’ deals with the global smart cities market, the inception of the Smart Cities Mission and its focus areas.
About Smart Cities Mission:
Smart Cities Mission was launched by the Government of India on June 25, 2015. The objective is to promote sustainable and inclusive cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India is responsible for its implementation.

High-level panel suggested for ‘Elephant Bonds’ for infrastructure projects and investing undisclosed income
A government-appointed high-level panel has suggested for issuance of ‘Elephant Bonds’ for infrastructure projects and people who are declaring undisclosed income will have to mandatorily invest half of that amount in these securities. The duration of ‘Elephant Bond’ will be 25-years. The 12-member panel headed by economist Surjit Bhalla was set up by Ministry of Commerce and Industries last year.
Key Highlights
i. Other members of the panel include Principal Economic Advisor Sanjeev Sanyal, former commerce secretary Rajiv Kher and Chairman of Quality Council of India Adil Zainulbhai.
ii. The panel has also recommended a road map for doubling India’s exports of good and service to over USD 1,000 billion by 2025.
iii. The other important recommendations by the panel also include lowering effective corporate tax rate, bringing down cost of capital and simplifying regulatory and tax framework for foreign investment funds.
iv. The other recommendations also include increasing capital base of Export-Import Bank of India (Exim) Bank by another Rs 20,000 crore by 2022, setting up of empowered investment promotion agency and seeking inputs from industry and MSMEs before signing free trade agreements (FTAs). For the textiles and garments sector, it suggested modification in labor laws (like the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947) to remove limitation on firm size and allow manufacturing firms to grow.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

2nd U20 Mayors Summit held in Tokyo
The second Urban 20 (U20) Mayors summit was held in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan from May 20 to May 22, 2019. The themes of the summit were Climate Action, Circular Economy, Social Inclusion and Integration, Sustainable Economic Growth and Gender Equality. The U20 Mayors summit takes place one month ahead of the G20 summit which is to be held in Osaka, Japan.

U20 Mayors Summit held in Tokyoi. The aim of this summit was to allow invited Mayors to discuss and approve a communiqué which will be formally presented to the G20 Summit. Urban 20 (U20) is an initiative developed in 2017 under the leadership of the Mayor of Buenos Aires and Mayor of Paris and convened by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) in collaboration with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).
About Japan
♦ Capital: Tokyo
♦ Currency: Japanese Yen
♦ Prime Minister: Shinzo Abe

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI permitted modern currency chests to hike service charges
On May 23, 2019, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permitted the modern Currency Chests (CC) to hike service charges on the cash deposited by non-chest bank branches from Rs.5 per packet of 100 pieces to a higher rate subject to a maximum of Rs.8 per packet.
i. Only those Currency Chests(CC) will be classified as large modern Currency Chests who fulfill the minimum standards. After the fulfillment of this criteria, the rates can be increased.
About Reserve Bank Of India:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Governor: Shaktikanta Das
♦ Deputy Governors: BP Kanungo, N S Vishwanathan, Viral Acharya, and Mahesh Kumar Jain

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India has terminated the purchase of Iranian Oil after US waivers expired
The import of oil has been stopped from Iran by India after American waivers granted to eight buyers expired at the start of May 2019. As of April end, the dependency on Iranian oil has been dropped to 1 million tonnes a month from about 2.5 billion tonnes a month.
i. On May 2, 2019, US has ended the waivers that had allowed the top buyers of Iranian oil, including India, to continue their imports for six months. It was being done to reduce Iran’s crude oil export to zero.
ii. With this, India has joined Greece, Italy, Taiwan, and Turkey to abide with the US sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme.
iii. India will substitute the shortfall from alternate supply sources available in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, and Mexico.
About Iran
♦ Capital: Tehran
♦ Currency: Iranian rial
♦ President – Hassan Rouhani

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Satara Mountaineer Priyanka Mohite, becomes the first Indian woman to scale  world’s fifth highest mountain Mount Makalu
26-year-old Satara-based mountaineer, Priyanka Mohite, becomes first Indian woman to successfully scale world’s fifth highest peak, Mount Makalu (8,481 metres).

Jagan Mohan ReddOther Achievements:
i. In 2013, she scaled Mount Everest at the age of 21 and became the third youngest person to do so.
ii. In 2016, she claimed Mt. Kilimanjaro.
iii. In 2018, she claimed Mount Lhotse (8,516 metres (27,940 ft)), the fourth highest mountain in the world.
About Mount Makalu:
♦ Located – Mahalangur Himalayas 19 km southeast of Mount Everest
♦ First ascent – 15 May 1955 by an American team led by Riley Keegan

Ariel India achieved Guinness World Records Certificate for ‘Largest Laundry Lesson’ under #ShareTheLoad Campaign
Ariel India achieved Guinness World Records Certificate for the ‘Largest Laundry Lesson’ under Sons #ShareTheLoad Campaign. It was done to impart the largest laundry lessons to the sons in order to assist the female members of their family. The team consisted of 400 young men.
Key Points:
i. The event was hosted by Mandira Bedi and Indian Actor Anil Kapoor also joined the function.
ii. The Sons #ShareTheLoad campaign was initiated by Ariel India on January 24, 2019, and had received 73MM views across the nation. It has been hosting the campaign since 2015 and the 3rd edition was launched earlier of this year.
iii. Earlier, the largest laundry lesson was achieved by Lion NANOX Team (Japan) at Lion Hirai Research Laboratory in Edogawa, Tokyo, Japan on November 29, 2017. It had 318 people.
About Guinness World Records:
♦ Originally Published: 1955
♦ Subject: World Records
♦ Publisher: Jim Pattison Group
♦ Genre: Reference work
♦ Authors: Craig Glenday, Norris McWhirter

UN Dag Hammarskjold Medal to be conferred upon Late Jitender Kumar on International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
The UN (United Nations) Dag Hammarskjold Medal will be awarded posthumously to Indian Police Officer Jitender Kumar during the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, on May 29 at the UN headquarters in New York. He is among the 119 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives in 2018 and early 2019. They will be honored by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Hammarskjold Medali. Late Jitender Kumar sacrificed his life while serving the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). His medal will be collected by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin.
ii. On the other hand, Chancy Chitete, a soldier from Malawi will be honoured with the UN’s highest peacekeeping award. He was killed in November 2018 during an operation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to combat the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed force that has been disrupting the UN’s ongoing efforts to treat and halt the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
Additional Information:

  • India is the fourth largest contributor of uniformed personnel to the UN peacekeeping.
  • India has lost the highest number of its peacekeepers deployed in various UN peacekeeping operations in the last 70 years.

About Dag Hammarskjöld Medal:

  • Established in 1997 by UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1121, it is a posthumous award presented to members of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations who have lost their life while serving in peacekeeping operations.
  • The medal is named after Dag Hammarskjöld, who was the second Secretary-General of the United Nations.

About UN:
♦ Headquarters: New York
♦ Secretary-General– Antonio Guterres

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Govt has cleared the appointment of 4 new Supreme Court judges
The Centre has approved the four names recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for elevation as judges of the Supreme Court. The newly appointed judges have been administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The appointment has been made by the President under clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution.

4 new Supreme Court judgesi. The new appointees are – Justices B R Gavai, Justice Surya Kant, Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice A S Bopanna.
ii. With these four appointments, now the Supreme Court has reached its full sanctioned strength of 31 judges. Prior to the appointment, the apex court was functioning with 27 judges including the Chief Justice.
About New Appointees:

  • Justice Gavai was serving as a judge of the Bombay High Court. He will become the Chief Justice of India (CJI) for around 6 months in 2025 and he will be the CJI belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) community after Justice (retd) K G Balakrishnan.
  • Justice Kant, who was till now the chief justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, will succeed Justice Gavai as the CJI in November 2025 and he will remain in office till February 2027.
  • Justice Bose, was serving as the chief justice of the Jharkhand High Court.
  • Justice Bopanna, whose parent high court is Karnataka, was till now the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court.

About Supreme Court of India:
♦ Establishment: 1 October 1935 (as Federal Court of India), 28 January 1950 (as Supreme Court of India)
♦ Location: New Delhi
♦ Authorized by: Constitution of India

Chandrababu Naidu resigned, Jagan Mohan Reddy likely to take oath as Andhra Pradesh CM on May 30
In Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections, YSR (Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara) Congress party got a massive mandate. As Chandrababu Naidu resigned from the post of Chief Minister (CM) of Andhra Pradesh, YSR Congress Party President Jagan Mohan Reddy is likely to take oath as CM of Andhra Pradesh on May 30, 2019.

Jagan Mohan ReddyKey Highlights
i. In Assembly elections, YSR Congress won 151 seats out of 175-Assembly seats. However former CM Chandrababu Naidu led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) won only 23 seats.
ii. In Lok Sabha Election, YSR Congress won 22 seats out of 25 seats and the other remaining 3 seats were won by Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
About Andhra Pradesh
♦ Capital: Amravati
♦ Governor: E.S.L. Narasimhan
♦ National Parks/Wildlife Sanctuaries: Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary, Mrugavani National Park, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary etc.
♦ Dance Forms: Kuchipudi, Lambadi, Bonalu, Dhimsa, Kollatam etc.

TAFE roped in Akshay Kumar as its brand ambassador
On May 22, 2019, India’s second largest tractor manufacturer by volumes, Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd (TAFE) has roped in Bollywood Actor Akshay Kumar as its brand ambassador for the Massey Ferguson brand.

TAFE roped in Akshay Kumari. TAFE Ltd has a presence across 100 countries and sale of 2.5 million tractors to date.
ii. Massey Ferguson range includes over 125 products and variants.
About TAFE:
♦ Parent Organization: Amalgamations Group
♦ Founded: 1960
♦ Founder: S. Anantharamakrishnan
♦ CEO: Mallika Srinivasan
♦ Headquarters: Chennai

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA discovered 18 hidden ‘Earth-sized Exoplanets’ outside our Solar System
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had discovered 18 Earth-sized Exoplanets outside our solar system. The NASA scientists had discovered these exoplanets with NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope by using a new technique.  The study is published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Key Highlights
i. The new method was basically an algorithm which was explained by Dr. Rene Heller from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research as “Standard search algorithms attempt to identify sudden drops in brightness”. By using this algorithm NASA’s scientists discovered 18 exoplanets.
ii. The discovery has been made by Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), the Georg August University of Göttingen, and the Sonneberg Observatory.
About NASA
♦ Headquarter: Washington D.C.
♦ Motto: For the Benefit of All

ISRO flagged off shipment of India’s largest liquid hydrogen storage tank
Recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Chairman K. Sivan flagged off the shipment of India’s largest liquid hydrogen storage tank at the VRV Asia Pacific’s manufacturing plant at Sri City in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Liquid hydrogen is used as fuel for satellite launch vehicles.

ISRO flagged off shipment of India’s largest liquid hydrogen storage tankKey Highlights
i. This was a collaborative effort between Satish Dhawan Space Centre and VRV Asia Pacific under Make in India initiative. The storage tank was manufactured with a Liquid Nitrogen (LIN) shield.
ii. The capacity of storage tank is 120 kilo litres.
About ISRO
♦ Headquarter: Bengaluru
♦ Chairman: K. Sivan

Pakistan military test-fired ballistic missile Shaheen-II
Recently, Pakistan military has test-fired its surface-to-surface ballistic missile Shaheen-II which is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads. The range of the missile is up to 1500 km. The missile is capable of hitting major cities of India.

Shaheen-IIi. According to Pakistan military, Shaheen-II missile fully meets Pakistan’s strategic needs towards the maintenance of desired deterrence stability in the region.
About Pakistan
♦ Capital: Islamabad
♦ Currency: Pakistani Rupee
♦ Prime Minister: Imran Khan

First satellites for Elon Musk’s Starlink internet venture launched by SpaceX
SpaceX launched the first batch of 60 small satellites into low-Earth orbit for Elon Musk’s new Starlink internet service. These 60 small satellites launched by Falcon 9 Rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Key Highlights
i. Each of the 60 satellites weighs around 227 kg which makes them the heaviest payload carried by SpaceX till date.
ii. Till now, Musk’s Starlink internet is only authorized for US operations.
About SpaceX
♦ Headquarter: Hawthorne, California, US
♦ CEO: Elon Musk

ENVIRONMENT

Earth’s oldest fungi fossil aged 1billion years discovered
Researchers of Belgium in collaboration with the University of Liege discovered the Earth’s oldest fungi fossil named Ourasphaira giraldae aged 1 billion years in Canada. They are about 600 million years older than the last discovery.
Key Points:
i. The study was published in the journal Nature.
ii. Researchers found the presence of chitin, a fibrous substance that forms on fungal cell walls. The fossils were found in by its ratio of radioactive elements.
iii. Fungi are abundantly available organisms on the planet. They are the third largest contributor to global biomass after plants and bacteria.

New medicinal plants of Zeliangrong ethnic group discovered in Manipur
New medicinal plants of Zeliangrong ethnic group were found in Manipur by the research team from North Eastern Regional Institute of Sciences and Technology, Arunachal Pradesh. This study was published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. The lead author of the study was Robert Panmei and the members were P. R. Gajurela and B. Singh.
Key Points:
i. Zeliangrong ethnic group is one of the 32 tribes in Manipur, living in the Tamenglong district. It comprises of three groups namely Zeme, Liangmai and Rongmei which are collectively known as Zeliangrong.
ii. 27 healers of the Zeliangrong ethnic group were examined and the researchers documented 145 medicinal plants for treating 59 ailments.
iii. Scientists identified plants like Gynura cusimbua, Hedyotis scandens, Mussaenda glabra, and Schima wallichii whose medicinal usage was reported for the first time.
iv. The study was conducted with the consent of the community as per the code of ethics of the International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE).
About International Society of Ethnobiology:
♦ President:  John Richard Stepp
♦ Location: Florida, USA

SPORTS

ICC Rankings: Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh tops ODI all-rounders list
Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh aged 32, topped the ODI all-rounders list in the ICC Rankings.
i. Two Indian Cricketer, Kedar Jadhav, and Hardik Pandya was ranked in the top 20 list. Kedar Jadhav was ranked 12th in the list while Hardik Pandya ranked 20th in the list.
Top 5 ODI all-rounders in the list:

  1. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
  2. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
  3. Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan)
  4. Imad Wasim (Pakistan)
  5. Mitchell Santner (New Zealand)

Sethu FC crowned Indian Women’s League Champions defeating Manipur Police SC
On May 22, 2019, Sethu FC from Madurai led by the captain, Indumathi was crowned as the 2018-19 Indian Women’s League Champions after the 3-1 win over Manipur Police SC. The 3rd edition of the match was held at the Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana, Punjab.
Key Points:
i. Manipur Police SC was on the lead during the first half with 0-1. Later on, Sethu FC made a stunning comeback by defeating Manipur Police SC with 3-1. Radharani Devi scored a goal to Manipur Police SC. Sethu FC scored the first goal from Umapati Devi and then 2 goals by Sabitra Bhandari.
ii. The top goal scorer was Ngangom Bala Devi of Manipur Police SC with 26 goals.

About Indian Women’s League:
Established – 2016
Run by – All India Football Federation (AIFF)

ITF men’s Futures tennis title won by Anirudh and Niki
2019 International Tennis Federation (ITF) men’s Futures tennis tournament title was held in Kampla, Uganda. In the finals of Men’s doubles, Anirudh Chandrasekar and Niki Poonacha defeated Simon Carr and Ryan James Storrie by 6-3, 6-4 to win a title.

ITF men’s Futures tennisKey Highlights
i. This was the maiden title for Anirudh in the international circuit while it was fourth title for Poonacha, who had also won a singles titles last year in Indonesia.
ii. They won the prize money of USD 15,000.
About Uganda
♦ Capital: Kampala
♦ Currency: Ugandan Shilling
About International Tennis Federation (ITF)
♦ Headquarter: London, U.K
♦ President: David Haggerty

OBITUARY

Renowned Kenyan author and gay rights activist, Binyavanga Wainaina passed away at the age of 48 in Nairobi
Veteran Kenyan writer, gay right activist and founder of the literary magazine Kwani,  Binyavanga Wainaina passed away at the age of 48 in Nairobi. He was born in Nakuru, Kenya.

Binyavanga WainainaAchievements:
i. In 2002, he won Caine Prize for his short story “Discovering Home”.
ii. In 2003, he was conferred with the award by the Kenya Publisher’s Association for his services to Kenyan literature.
iii. In 2014, he was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time Magazine.
iv. He has written for The EastAfrican, National Geographic, The Sunday Times (South Africa), Granta, The New York Times, Chimurenga and The Guardian (UK).

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Commonwealth Day celebrated on May 24
International Commonwealth Day was celebrated on May 24, 2019, by the people in Commonwealth countries. The theme for this year is ‘A Connected Commonwealth’.

International Commonwealth DayKey Points:
i. Commonwealth Day was earlier known as the Empire Day. In 1958, Harold Macmillan, the then Prime Minister of United Kingdom, announced in Parliament the renaming of Empire Day as Commonwealth Day and since then it is celebrated.
ii. It is celebrated on the second Monday in March in many countries whereas in India it is celebrated on May 24.
iii. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Commonwealth.
About Commonwealth of Nations:
♦ Member States: 53
♦ Headquarters: London, UK
♦ Secretary-General: Patricia Scotland

19th World Turtle Day celebrated on May 23
19th World Turtle Day was observed on May 23, 2019. It is celebrated annually to educate people about the things they can do to protect the habitats of turtle and tortoises. The theme of this year is “Adopt, Don’t Shop”.
Key Points:
i. For the first time, it was celebrated in the year 2000.
ii. It was founded by the American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) to increase the respect and knowledge of turtles. These animals survived for 200 million years.
iii. As a part of the celebrations, India Biodiversity Portal launched the 1st edition of ‘Turtle Spotting Week’ to document these creatures across India. It was organized from May 17 to May 23, 2019. There are at least 28 species of freshwater turtles in India.
About American Tortoise Rescue(ATR):
♦ Founders: Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson
♦ Founded: 1990
♦ Location: Malibu, California, USA

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