Current Affairs May 27 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Lt. Governor of Delhi inaugurated Sahara Hostel for ‘Veer Naris’
Anij Baijal, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has inaugurated Sahara Hostel for ‘Naval Widows’ or ‘Veer Naris’ at Vasant Kunj in New Delhi. The objective is to provide rehabilitation of Naval Widows or Veer Naris and their families at a time after the unfortunate demise of their husband who were serving Indian Navy.

Sahara Hostel for ‘Veer Naris’ey Highlights
i. This is a unique project steered by the Indian Navy and has been built with the help of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partnership with National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).
ii. The Hostel built over four floors and also has a common dining table and community hall.
iii. The widows who have completed a certain required period in government accommodation after the demise of their husbands are eligible to apply for stay in the Sahara Hostel for 1 year. The extension in the hostel beyond the 1 year period will be considered based on availability and merits of the case.
About National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC)
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
♦ Chairman & MD: Shiv Das Meena

India’s first Tree Ambulance initiated in Chennai by Green man of India
On the occasion of International Day for Biological Diversity i.e. on May 22, a first of its kind, tree ambulance was inaugurated in Chennai, Tamil Nadu by Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu. The initiative was proposed by Green man of India, Dr K Abdul Ghani and it is sponsored by the SASA Group. The ambulance can be availed through the number 9941006786 and volunteers can register on www.treeambulance.org.

Tree Ambulancei. Services provided by Tree Ambulance first-aid treatment are uprooted tree planting, seed bank, seed ball distribution, plant distribution, aiding tree plantation, shifting trees, a survey of trees and removal of dead trees.
ii. The reallocation of trees will be done free of cost.
iii. The ambulance has helpers and a plant expert, who carry gardening tools, water, manure, and pesticide with them.
Reason behind this launch:
Due to some kind of disaster each year, like cyclones Vardah and Gaja, tress used to get uprooted in the city and not even one of them is replanted due to which Chennai has lowest green cover among all the metropolitan cities in the country,  Also there are hundreds of dead trees in Chennai which poses hazard to the public. So to increase the green cover, this initiative has been started.
About Tamil Nadu:
♦ Capital – Chennai
♦ Governor – Banwarilal Purohit

25 states face Rs. 1 crore fine for missing deadline for plan on plastic disposal
25 state governments faced Rs. 1 crore each penalty for missing deadline for not submitting their action plans on plastic disposal to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The National Green Tribunal(NGT) had set a deadline as April 30, 2019.
Key Points:
i. The NGT had directed all states and Union territories except Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal and Puducherry to submit an action plan for implementation of various provisions of Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules 2016 by April 30, 2019. If failed, they had to pay Rs. 1 crore per month as per NGT order. In some cases, the punishment included imprisonment too.
ii. The 22 states/Uts are – Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Daman and Diu, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, UP and Uttarakhand had imposed complete ban on use of plastic carry bags but due to lack of proper regulation, thin carry bags and other plastic products were stocked, sold and used in majority of cities/towns across the country.
About CPCB:
Headquarters: New Delhi
Founded: September 22, 1974
About NGT:
Established: 2010
Chairperson: Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

RCEP inter-sessional meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand
On May 24, 2019, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) inter-sessional meeting was held in Bangkok, Thailand. The officials from 16 countries which included the 10-member ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India participated in this meeting.
Key Points:
i. China is the largest producer and exporter of aluminum products. Copper and Aluminum associates are of the opinion that if India reduces import duties to 0%, it will lead to Chinese goods being dumped into Indian markets. As a result, it will lead to the immediate closure of small-scale units.
ii. The RCEP countries are trying to conclude a treaty that would eliminate input tariffs on about 90% of traded goods.
iii. On the finished goods, the demand in the country is only 6.5 lakh tonnes, which is expected to grow to about 8 lakh tonnes in the next five years.
iv. As per the study of Niti Aayog, India’s trade deficit with China for aluminum is around $690 million and if the rates are further decreased under RCEP, the domestic aluminum industry will be under threat.
v.There is a consequence of the uncertainty over whether India will join RCEP and if it does, there will be pressure to keep the sensitive list of items, on which no reduction commitments will be taken.
About RCEP:
RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) and the six Asia-Pacific states. It was founded on November 20, 2012.

India mobile internet speeds falls, ranked 121 by Ookla Speedtest
On May 27, 2019, In Speedtest Global Index for April 2019 published by Ookla, India’s mobile internet speeds fell for the month April 2019. It was ranked 121 in mobile speeds and 68 in fixed broadband speeds.

ranked 121 by Ookla Speedtestey Points:
i. As per the report, India has maintained its position in fixed broadband with the average download speeds of 29.25 Mbps but the mobile speeds declined and the average download speed was 10.71 Mbps.
ii. In 2018, India was ranked 67 for fixed broadband speeds and 109 for mobile internet speeds.
iii. As per the 2019 rankings, Norway topped the position for mobile internet speeds with an average download speed of 65.41 Mbps. Singapore topped in fixed broadband with an average download speed of 197.50 Mbps.
About Speedtest Global Index of Ookla:
The Index compares internet speed data monthly from around the world. Data for the Index comes from the hundreds of millions of tests taken by real people using Speedtest every month.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India Ratings estimated India GDP Growth at 6.9% in FY19
On May 27, 2019, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), a rating agency estimated India GDP Growth at 6.9% in FY19 as against 7%, marginally lower than CSO’s (Central Statistics Office) advance estimate of 7%. The GDP growth was 7.2% during 2017-18. As per the report, 2018-19 will be the second consecutive year of an economic slowdown.
Key Points:
i. It has recommended the new government to take short-term and medium to long-term measures to limit the slowdown of the economy.
ii. Short term policy measures include agricultural price stability measures, supporting system credit growth especially to small industry and provision of adequate liquidity and accommodative policy environment among others.
iii. Long term policy measures include land and natural resource-related measures, labour related measures, capital-related measures, productivity related measures and sector-wise reforms.
iv. The Central Statistics Office(CSO) will release India’s GDP growth data for January-March 2019 and provisional annual estimates for 2018-19 on May 31, 2019.

CSD canteens imposed with new restrictions for sale of cheaper vehicles
In order to curtail the expenditure towards procurement of vehicles, the Indian Army has imposed restrictions on the purchase of cheaper cars by defence forces personnel from CSD canteens.  The new rules will come into effect from June 1, 2019.
i. Around Rs 17000 crore annually is sanctioned by Parliament for CSD under miscellaneous heads. In 2018, the car sales were over 6000 crores which led to overshot of budget and also carryover liability of payment to car manufacturers rises to Rs 4500 crore.
About new restrictions:
♦ Officers can buy vehicles valued up to Rs 12 lakh excluding GST from CSD canteens only once in eight years and the cars should be up to 2500 cc engine capacity.
♦ Jawans would be allowed to buy cars once during their regular service and once after retirement worth around Rs 6.5 lakh including GST.
About Indian Army:
♦ Founded: 1 April 1895
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Chief of the Army Staff (COAS): General Bipin Rawat, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Orchha town of Madhya Pradesh added to the Tentative List of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites
The architectural heritage of Orchha town in Madhya Pradesh has been added to the Tentative List of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The architectural heritage of Orchha town depicts a unique style of the Bundela dynasty.

Orchha town of Madhya PradeshKey Points:
i. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had sent a proposal to UNESCO to include the architectural heritage of Orchha town in its list of World Heritage Sites on April 15, 2019.
ii. For a historical site to be a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, it must be first included in the tentative list. Once included another proposal is sent to UNESCO, only then the site is included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.
About Orchha town, Madhya Pradesh:
i. Situated on the banks of the Betwa river, Orchha is around 80 km from MP’s Tikamgarh district and 15 km from Jhansi district of UP. Orchha town is located in Niwari district of MP’s Bundelkhand region.
ii. It was built by King Rudra Pratap Singh of Bundela dynasty in the 16th century. Bundela architecture has Mughal influence due to the closeness of both the dynasties. Veer Singh Dev, King of Bundela dynasty, was a close friend of Mughal emperor Jahangir.
iii. It is famous for its Chaturbhuj Temple, Orchha Fort complex and Raja Mahal. It is the only place in India where Lord Rama is worshipped as a king with a dedicated temple in his name called Sri Ram Raja Mandir.
iv. It is renowned for 2 elevated minarets called Saavan and Bhadon and 4 palaces- Raj Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Jahangir Palace and Rai Praveen Mahal, and also for its concept of stonework windows, open bungalows, animal statues depicting the culture of Bundelkhand.
About UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites List:
UNESCO inaugurated the list by adopting a treaty known as ‘The World Heritage Convention’ in 1972. It aims is to identify and protect the world’s natural and cultural heritage. The list of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the ‘World Heritage Programme’, administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. At present, there are 37 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India (1 mixed, 7 Natural and 29 Cultural).
About Archaeological Survey of India (ASI):
♦ Founder: Alexander Cunningham
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Director General: Dr. Usha Sharma

“UNSDG 10 Most Influential People in Healthcare Award” conferred to Acharya Balkrishna of Patanjali Ayurved
On May 26, 2019, Acharya Balkrishna, the Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved and an aide of Baba Ramdev (Yoga Guru) was felicitated with “United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) 10 Most Influential People in Healthcare Award” in Geneva, Switzerland. He received the award on behalf of Patanjali Group of Institutions.

UNSDG 10 Most Influential People in Healthcare Awardey Points:
i. He was a representative from India at UNSDG.
ii. The award was conferred to him for the contributions made by Patanjali in curing lifestyle diseases with Yoga, Ayurveda and traditional Indian methods. He dedicated the award to all those who contributed to mainstream Yoga and Ayurveda at the Global Level.
iii. He was one among the 5 keynote speakers of UNSDG along with Randy Oostra, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H Fore, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Abe Lee.
About Patanjali Ayurved:
♦ It produces Ayurvedic medicinal and personal care products and other consumer items.
♦ Founded: January 2006
♦ Headquarters: Haridwar, Uttarakhand
♦ Founders: Baba Ramdev & Acharya Balkrishna
About Sustainable Development Goals .(SDGs):
These are adopted by the UN Member states for peace and prosperity of the people and planet. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted in 2015. There are 17 SDGs with 2030 as its target year for the accomplishment of the goals.

Writer Guy Gunaratne honoured with the 2019 Dylan Thomas Prize for ‘Mad and Furious City’
British-Sri Lankan writer, Guy Gunaratne was honoured with 2019’s Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize for his debut novel ‘Mad and Furious City’ in Wales, United Kingdom. He received the cash prize of £30,000.

2019 Dylan Thomas PrizeKey Points:
i. The 35-year-old human rights documentary maker-turned-debut novelist won the award beating 5 other shortlisted authors.
ii. His debut novel is a fictional account of 48 hours in North London housing estate after the murder of a British soldier. It was also shortlisted for The Gordon Burn Prize, The Goldsmiths Prize, and the Writers Guild Awards and also longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2018.
iii. The other titles shortlisted for the Swansea Prize were House of Stone by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Trinity by Louisa Hall, FOLK by Zoe Gilbert and Melmoth by Sarah Perry.
About Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize:
It is established in memory of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and awarded every year for the best published literary work in English language, written by an author aged 39 or under. 2019 marks the 11th year of the world’s largest English language literary prize for young authors.

ICMR Director-General Professor Balram Bhargava honoured with Dr. Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize for Public Health
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director-General Professor (Dr) Balram Bhargava was honoured with the 2019 Dr. Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize for Public Health at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. The event was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Balram BhargavaKey Points:
i. He was awarded for his contributions as a clinician, innovator, researcher, and trainer.
ii. He is the Secretary to the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and a Professor of Cardiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. He is the Executive Director for Stanford India Biodesign Centre, School of International Biodesign (SiB), New Delhi.
iii. He was awarded SN Bose Centenary award, Tata Innovation Fellowship and Vasvik Award for Biomedical Technology Innovation, Ranbaxy Award and the OP Bhasin Award in the field of Health and Medical Sciences. He is the recipient of Padma Shri Award and the UNESCO Equatorial Guinea International Prize for research in Life Sciences at Paris.
About Dr. Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize:
Established in the year 2008, it is awarded for those who make outstanding contributions to public health. It is named after Dr. Lee Jong-wook, a Korean public health doctor and former Director-General of the World Health Organization.

Virat Kohli India’s most trusted sports personality
According to the report published by consumer-insights company TRA, named “Most Trusted Personalities in 2019”, captain of Indian cricket team Virat Kohli is India’s most trusted sports personality. Sachin Tendulkar is placed at second number in the list of India’s most trusted sports personality.

Virat KohliKey Highlights
i. Recently Virat Kohli hit 100 million followers on social media, making him India’s most followed sportsperson on social media and also became the world’s most followed cricketer.
ii. The reports also include the most trusted personalities in 2019 which includes 39 personalities from cinema, sports, business among others.
iii. Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan is India’s most trusted personality and also leads the list of actors, while Deepika Padukone topped the list of India’s most trusted female actor.
iv. In the business category, Ratan Tata is India’s most trusted business personality which was followed by Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani.

About TRA:
Former Name – Trust Research Advisory
Headquarters – Mumbai

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Prem Singh Tamang sworn in as the Chief Minister of Sikkim
On May 27, 2019, The president of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), Prem Singh Tamang, who is popularly known as PS Golay was sworn in as the 6th Chief Minister of Sikkim. His party secured 17 seats out 32 in the Assembly polls against Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF). SDF which had ruled the state for 25 years secured only 15 seats. He succeeded Pawan Kumar Chamling of SDF, the longest-serving CM of the country.

Prem SinghKey Points:
i. Along with 11 other MLA’s (Member of Legislative Assembly), the Governor of Sikkim, Ganga Prasad undertook the oath taking ceremony which was held at Palzor Stadium, Gangtok. Sikkim can have a maximum of 12 ministers, including the chief minister.
ii. Prem Singh Tamang was elected to the state assembly in 1994 as SDF candidate and served as the Minister for different departments till 2009.
iii. He formed SKM in February 2013. He was convicted in a corruption case in 2016 and was released on August 10, 2018.
iv. Article 164 of the Indian Constitution allows anyone to become a minister or a chief minister provided he got himself elected to the Assembly within six months of taking the oath. Thereafter, the governor invited him to form the government.
About Sikkim:
Capital: Gangtok
National Parks: Khangchendzonga National Park
Wildlife Sanctuaries: Barsey Rhododendron WLS, Fambong Lho WLS, Kitam (Bird) WLS, Kyongnosla Alpine WLS, Maenam WLS, Pangolakha WLS, Shingba (Rhododendron) WLS

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Russia launched the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker ‘Ural’
On May 25, 2019, Russia launched the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker ‘Ural’ at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.  Russia is preparing for shipping via the Northern Sea Route (NSR).

world's largest nuclear-powered icebreaker 'Ural'Key Points:
i. The Ural will be given to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the other 2 ice-breakers Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia) enter into service. The Arktika was floated in 2016.
ii. By 2035, Russia’s Arctic fleet will have a minimum of 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, among them 9 will be powered by nuclear reactors.
About Russia:
Capital: Moscow
Currency: Russian Ruble

BrahMos Missile test-fired from Car Nicobar Island
A supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos was test-fired by Eastern Command Unit of the Indian Army from Car Nicobar Islands, the northernmost of the Nicobar Islands, an archipelagic island chain in the eastern Indian Ocean. This exercise was part of the joint training by the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force.
Key Highlights
i. There was a specially designed target chosen at a range of 270 km which BrahMos missile successfully hit the target. This validated the capability of deep penetration and accurate engagement of targets in depth by BrahMos missile.
ii. The BrahMos missile was a joint collaboration between India and Russia and the range of the missile is 300km which can be launched from different platforms.

ENVIRONMENT

For the first time, world’s rarest Albino Panda caught on camera in southwestern Sichuan province of China
For the first time, world’s rarest Albino Panda was caught on camera at Wolong National Nature Reserve in the southwestern Sichuan province of China.
Key Points:
i. The spotless, red-eyed, all-white panda is believed to be the world’s solely recognized albino giant panda. China’s People’s Daily mentioned that the Panda is one to two years old and its gender is yet to be identified.
ii. Pandas are listed as vulnerable species. It means that their survival is threatened and conservation efforts are undertaken to reduce the risk of extinction.
iii. More than 80% of the world’s wild pandas live in Sichuan and rest are spotted in Shaanxi and Gansu province and according to World Wildlife Fund, the population of the pandas is decreasing to 2,000.
iv. China has estimated 10 billion Yuan ($1.45 billion) for the Giant Panda National Park for their conservation.

Research published revealed formation of the moon brought water to earth
Recently, research published on the journal ‘Nature Astronomy’ by Planetologists at the University of Munster based in Germany, revealed that water came to earth with the formation of the moon some 4.4 billion years ago. The moon was formed when Earth was hit by a body about the size of Mars which is also called Theia.
Key Highlights
Earlier scientists had assumed that Theia was originated in the inner solar system near Earth. However, research revealed that Theia comes from the outer solar system and it had delivered large quantities of water to earth.
About Germany
♦ Capital: Berlin
♦ Currency: Euro

SPORTS

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton won Monaco Grand Prix
Five-time formula one world champion, Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes won Monaco Grand Prix that was held in Circuit de Monaco La Condamine and Monte Carlo, Monaco. Hailing from England, the United Kingdom, this was his sixth straight win in the year 2019.

Lewis Hamilton won Monaco Grand PrixKeyPoints:
i. He beat Red Bull Racing-Honda, Max Verstappen who dropped from second on the road to fourth in the results because of a five-second penalty.
ii. Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari won the second place while Mercedes Valtteri Bottas completed the Monaco Grand Prix in third place.

OBITUARY

Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann passed away  at the age of 89 in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Murray Gell-Mann, Nobel Prize-winning physicist passed away at the age of 89 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He hailed from New York City, United States.

Murray Gell-Manni. He transformed physics by devising a method known as “eightfold way” for sorting subatomic particles into simple groups of eight—based on an electric charge, spin and other characteristics.
ii. He was honoured with Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions in the year 1969.
iii. He also developed a theory of “quarks,” indivisible components of matter that makeup protons, neutrons and other particles.

Former prime minister of Thailand and royal confidante Prem Tinsulanonda passed away at the age of 98 in Bangkok, Thailand
The former prime minister of Thailand and royal confidante Prem Tinsulanonda passed away at the age of 98 in Bangkok, Thailand. He was born in southern Thailand.

Prem Tinsulanondai. He was the most trusted advisor of late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and served as the 16th prime minister of Thailand from 1980 to 1988.
ii. He first achieved national prominence in 1974-77& later served as the deputy interior minister in 1977 and later army commander and defence minister.

Donald Cash died on Everest just after climbing the Highest Peak on Each Continent
A 54 years old American from Utah, Donald Cash died on Mount Everest just after climbing the highest peak on each seven continent. He was a software salesman and had a goal of climbing the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents. He left his job to join the “Seven Summits Club”.

Donald Cashi. Donald Cash was 12th climber to die on Everest in the range with elevations above 25,000 feet in this year’s spring climbing season.
About USA
♦ Capital: Washington D.C
♦ Currency: United States Dollar
♦ President: Donald Trump

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