Current Affairs May 3 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Indian Postal Department released Postage Stamp to commemorate 750th Birth Anniversary of Sri Vedanta Desika
In order to commemorate the 750th birth anniversary of Sri Vedanta Desikan, Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu unveiled a postage stamp in New Delhi on May 2, 2019. The stamp has been released by Indian postal department.

Postage Stamp to commemorate 750th Birth Anniversary of Sri Vedanta Desikai. The releasing of commemorative postage stamps inspire the younger generation to practice humanism, peace and compassion propagated by the great saint and spiritual icon.
About Sri Vedanta Desika:
i. Born in 1268 CE, he was Sri Vaishnava philosopher and one of the most brilliant stalwarts of Sri Vaishnavism in the post-Ramanuja period.
ii. He was an awardee of Vedanta Desika (supreme teacher of the conclusion of all knowledge).
iii. He also received titles such as ‘Kavitarkika-kesari’ and ‘Kavitarkika-simham’ (lion amongst poets); and ‘Ramanuja-daya-patram’.
iv. The most essential feature of his philosophy is the ‘aspect of inclusion’ which means anyone, irrespective of any caste or creed could join Sri Vaishnava fold.
v. The basis of his spiritual teachings was peace and humanity.

Govt has mandated Green Number plates on all electric vehicles in India
The Central government has instructed all state transport departments to mandate green number plates on all types of electric vehicles, whether brand new or used. The reason behind this move is to distinguish green vehicles for preferential treatment in parking, free entry in congested zones, and concessional toll.
Government plans regarding EV growth:
i. Allowing youngsters in the age group of 16-18 years to ride e-scooters, as they are gearless, and easy to use.
ii. To direct taxi aggregators to have an incremental share of electric vehicles from 2020, this could be 1 percent of the fleet every year.
iii. To set the rate of depreciation on EVs at 50% as against the 15% for conventionally powered vehicles.
Union minister for road transport and highways
Nitin Gadkari

The 14th edition of Sino-Indian border trade opens at Nathu La in Sikkim
The 14th edition of the annual Sino-Indian border trade opens at Nathu La, which is the frontier post at Sino-Indian border in Sikkim. Officials and traders of India and China made their presence at the border to symbolise the beginning of the border trade.
i. Every year, between 1st May to 30th November, the bilateral border trade between 2 nations is held for 4 days a week for 6 months.
ii. After a long interval of 44 years, cross border trade commenced on July 6, 2006 to promote the benefits of trade, increase tourism in Sikkim, thus offering employment for people of the region.
iii. 2 sections were there in India’s trade list:

  • The export list: it contained 36 items, namely, dairy products, flour, oil, biscuits, utensils, copper materials and many more.
  • The import list: it contained 20 items ranging from carpets, quilts, jackets, shoes, China clay and other things from the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

iv. The goods export from India totalled to Rs 45.03 crore in 2018, whereas goods imported from the TAR totalled to Rs 3.23 crore. In 2019, the export of at least Rs 50 crore is expected by India.
v. Between India and China there are 3 open trading border posts, namely: Nathu La in Sikkim, Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh  in Uttarakhand.
About TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region)
i. The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) or Xizang Autonomous Region, legally founded in 1965 (to replace the Tibet Area) is a province-level autonomous region in southwest China.
ii. The TAR is located on the Tibetan Plateau which is the highest region on Earth.
iii. The present borders of the TAR were established in the 18th century and includes about half of ethno-cultural Tibet.
iv. By area, the TAR is the 2nd-largest province-level division of China and has an area of 1,200,000 km2 (the largest province is Xinjiang).
v .TAR is the least densely populated provincial-level division of the PRC (People’s Republic of China) owing to its harsh and rugged terrain.

Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) and IIT-Delhi inked MoU to launch Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies
Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India and Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) have inked Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up a Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies in India as a commemoration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 2 October 2019.
i. The MoU has been signed by Principal Scientific Advisor to the Govt of India, Prof K. Vijay Raghavan and Director, IIT Delhi, Prof V. Ramgopal Rao in New Delhi.
ii. The Centre will work towards the implementation of sustainable, scientific and technological solutions for waste management by deploying available technologies for transformation of waste to wealth.
iii. The project has been approved under the recently constituted Prime Minister’s Science Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
iv. Apart from this, a waste to wealth programme management centre will also be set up at IIT Delhi.
About Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA):
i. Established in 1999, PSA is a “think-tank” and “action-tank” for science, technology and innovation activities.
ii. Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was the first PSA from 1999—2001 and Dr. R. Chidambaram from 2001-2018.
iii. Current PSA is Professor K. Vijay Raghavan.

Cyclone Fani hits Odisha and West Bengal
Cyclone Fani with a maximum wind speed of 240-250 kmph, is one of the most biggest and fiercest cyclonic storm over the east coast in nearly two decades. Several villages nearby Puri in Odisha have submerged due to heavy rains and till now at least 3 people have lost their life.The word Fani (pronounced as Foni) means snake was suggested by Bangladesh.

Cyclone FaniKey Highlights
i. Central government has released Rs 1086 crore advanced financial assistance to four states for undertaking preventive and relief measures to deal with cyclone ‘Fani’. Out of this sanctioned amount, Odisha will receive Rs 340.87 crore, West Bengal Rs 235.50 crore, Tamil Nadu Rs 309.37 crore and Andhra Pradesh will get Rs 200.25 crore.
ii. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has started helpline number 1938 for Cyclone Fani. The people can call this helpline number and can ask for help from the government.
iii. Till now, 11 lakhs people have been evacuated from eastern coastline of Odisha and West Bengal and around 4000 shelters have been created to accommodate those displaced people.
iv. According to the government, around 10,000 villages and 52 towns in Odisha got affected by cyclone Fani and around 223 trains have been cancelled due to cyclone Fani.
v. The Indian Coast Guard has deployed around 34 disaster relief teams at different spots in Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh and also deployed four ships to handle any exigency.
Fani:
i. The word Fani (pronounced as Foni) means snake was suggested by Bangladesh.
ii. Fani was picked up from a pool containing 64 names suggested by eight countries in the North Indian Ocean basin.(Eight Countries are India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan and Thailand).
iii.The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has devised a mechanism where countries submit a list of names from time to time.
WHO:
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 192 Member States and Territories.
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
President: David Grimes
Formation: 23 March 1950

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

The 16th Ministerial Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue held in Doha, Qatar with the theme ‘Partners in Progress’
Asia Cooperation Dialogue’s (ACD) 16th Ministerial Meeting was held in Doha, Qatar. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani headed the 2019 dialogue. The Indian delegation was led by Gen. (Dr) V.K. Singh (Retd), Minister of State for External Affairs.

Asia Cooperation Dialogue held in Doha, QatarKey Points:
i. Before this, the Senior Officers’ Meeting (SOM) was held on April 30 and attended by Mr. Manish, the Joint Secretary (South).
ii. Dr. V.K. Singh, in his address, expressed his grief for the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka (on April 21, 2019) and focussed for the global community to adopt the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (UNCCIT) efficiently.
iii. By putting more stress on the theme “Partners in Progress”, the minister brought into limelight India’s desire to work collaboratively with all ACD Member States, in agreement with the Indian Government’s approach of “Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth”.
iv. He emphasized the Member States in joining the International Solar Alliance that was launched in November 2015 to bring in energy security for sustainable development and poverty removal by in Asia by promoting renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.
About The Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD)
i. The ACD is an inter-governmental organization founded on 18th June, 2002. It has 34 member countries. Its Secretary General is Bundit Limschoon.
ii. The ACD’s 1st meeting was held in Thailand in 2002 in which 18 Asian founding countries participated.
iii. Qatar hosted the 5th meeting in 2006.
iv. The major agendas of the ACD 2030’s vision are: promoting ACDs core principles and values and the spirit of Pan-Asian partnership.
About  Qatar
♦ Capital: Doha
♦ Currency: Qatari Riyal

BANKING & FINANCE

LIC HFL initiated UDYAM-a skill development centre for marginalized youth in Bangalore
As a part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), LIC Housing Finance Ltd (LIC HFL) in association with Lok Bharti Education Society has unveiled a skilling centre named “UDYAM” in Bangalore, which will provide skill development training to marginalized youth in the sectors of BFSI, Retail and IT/ITES.
i. Currently it has been launched in Delhi and Bangalore and later on be expanded to other cities.
About LIC HFL:
♦ Headquarters – Maharashtra
♦ CEO – Vinay Sah
♦ Founder – Life Insurance Corporation

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

SEBI has banned NSE from securities market for 6 months owing to the Co-Location Case
Market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has banned NSE, National Stock Exchange from gaining access to the securities market for a period of 6 months.
SEBI also fined NSE a sum of Rs.1,000 crore, that is, Rs. 624.89 crore and an additional 12% interest, from 1st April 2014 for NSE’s failure to exercise effective due diligence during co-location facility. The amount is to be deposited in the Investor Protection and Education Fund (IPEF).

SEBI has banned NSEWhat is Co-Location Case? 
It is a system in trade execution, where a broker’s server is kept in the exchange premises to decrease latency or delay in computational terms.
i. SEBI got complaints against NSE in 2015, which stated that the computational systems that NSE used to distribute information through co-location facilities were partial and it allowed the users to extract data before the others could, thus creating a pool of information-imbalance among the users.
SEBI’s say in the Co-Location Case:
i. NSE was charged guilty of fraud and unfair trade practice under the SEBI ‘Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices’ (PFUTP) Regulations.
ii. NSE also affected market fairness by not exercising requisite due diligence while fixing the TBT (tick-by-tick data feed) architecture.
iii. SEBI, having estimated that NSE had earned a profit of Rs 624.89 crore during 2010-11 to 2013-14 from its co-location operation, and ordered the former and the present top employees in the exchange-management to refrain from holding any position in the stock exchange for 2 to 3 years.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI ):-
Headquarters    : Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman        :   Ajay Tyagi
National Stock Exchange of India Limited(NSE):-
CEO                   :  Vikram Limaye
Headquarters :    Mumbai

Netherlands emerges  as the 3rd largest source of FDI in India
The Netherlands, a country in north-western Europe, became the third largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India during 2017-18, with an investment of United States Dollar (USD) 2.67 billion across all sectors. Mauritius and Singapore are the top two countries for FDI in India during 2017-18 with an investment of USD 13.41 billion and USD 9.27 billion respectively.
Key Highlights
i. After Singapore, the Netherlands was the second largest destination for foreign investment by Indian companies with an investment of USD 12.8 billion in 2017-18.
ii. The bilateral trade between India and the Netherlands was USD 8.77 billion in 2017-18. Indian exports to the Netherlands up by 14.7% and imports were up by 18.2%.
About Netherlands
♦ Capital: Amsterdam
♦ Currency: Euro, United States Dollar (USD)

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Former ISRO chief A.S. Kiran Kumar conferred ‘Knight of the Legion of Honour’ Award
Former ISRO chiefFormer Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief has been conferred France’s highest civilian award “Knight of the Legion of Honour”. This award is for his invaluable contribution to the development of the India-France space cooperation. The award has presented by Ambassador of France to India, Alexandre Ziegler, on the behalf of President of the French Republic. The Padma Shri awardee served as the ISRO chief from 2015 to 2018.
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
♦ Headquarter: Bengaluru
♦ Director: K. Sivan
About France
♦ Capital: Paris
♦ Currency: Euro

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

US Air Force General Tod D. Wolters declared as the top military officer of the 29-nation NATO military alliance
Tod D. Wolters, the former pilot, who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, has been declared as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe during the ceremony at NATO‘s (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) military headquarters in Mons, southern Belgium. This is one of the most challenging and extremely important military positions in the world.

Key Points:
i. US Air Force General Tod D. Wolters who is supposed to run for a tenure of 2 to 3 years,  was preceded by U.S. Army General, Curtis M. Scaparrotti.
ii. Wolters will also be the commander of U.S. forces in Europe across more than 19 million square miles. This area includes 104 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, contains more than a quarter of the world’s population, and generates more than a quarter of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
iii. An American military officer always holds the NATO post of SACEUR (The Supreme Allied Commander Europe).
iv. Wolters will supervise NATO’s biggest reinforcement of its collective defences since the Cold War in Eastern Europe.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), also known as the North Atlantic Alliance:
i. It is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. It implements the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4th April 1949.
ii. NATO’s headquarters: Haren, Brussels, Belgium

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Giant asteroid ‘99942 Apophis’ will fly past Earth in a decade
The 340m wide asteroid named 99942 Apophis will fly past Earth like a ‘moving star- like point of light’ on April 13, 2029. It will fly above the earth’s surface at 30,500 km and first become visible with a naked eye in the night sky over the Southern Hemisphere from the east coast to the west coast of Australia.
Key Highlights
i. In 2004, astronomers at the Kitt Peak National Observatory based in Arizona discovered Apophis and claims about the chance of 2.7% that asteroid may impact Earth in 2029. However, further observation ruled out that chance but Apophis still has a small chance of impacting Earth which is less than 1 in 100,00- many decades from now.
ii. In the session International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Planetary Defense Conference 2019 held in College Park, Maryland on April 30, the asteroid was the main topic of discussion among scientists who talked about observation strategies, exploration missions and encounter preparation.

SPORTS

Asian Youth Women Handball Championship 2019
The 8th edition Asian Youth Women Handball Championship 2019 will be held in Jaipur from August 21 to 30. This is the first time Jaipur will host this prestigious tournament. Earlier in 2015, Delhi hosted the event and finished at seventh place. This event will be organised by Asian Handball Federation (AHF).
Key Highlights
i. In this event, total 10 teams will participate including defending champion South Korea.
ii. Till now seven edition of this event had been held and all the seven time South Korea became victorious. The 7th edition was held in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2017 and South Korea was the champion while Japan and China had finished second and third place respectively.
About Asian Handball Federation (AHF)
♦ Headquarter: Kuwait City, Kuwait
♦ President: Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah

Bajrang Punia won gold at Ali Aliev Tournament 2019
A 25-year old, Bajrang Punia won a gold medal at Ali Aliev Tournament, held at Kaspiysk in Dagestan, Russia. He defeated Russian wrestler Viktor Rassadin in 65-kg category by 13-8. This was his second gold medal in the last 10 days. Last week, Punia won a gold medal in the 65-kg category at the Asian Championship in Xi’an, China.

Bajrang Puniai. Bajrang Punia won prize money of around USD 7,700. He currently holds the world No. 1 rank in the 65kg freestyle category.
About Russia
♦ Capital: Moscow
♦ Currency: Russian Ruble

Barcelona and Spain legend footballer Xavi Hernandez announced retirement
39 years old, Barcelona Midfielder, Xavi Hernandez, has announced his retirement from football by the end of the season 2018-19. He currently plays for Al-Sadd in Qatar. After the 2014 World Cup, he announced his retirement from international football.
i. He was the part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa, in which Spain won the tournament for the first time.
ii. Other Awards received by him:

  • He won La Liga Midfielder of the Year in the year 2009, 2010, 2011.
  • He won La Liga Spanish Player of the Year in the year 2005.
  • He won La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year in the year 1999.
  • He was placed in third place in Ballon d’Or/FIFA Ballon d’Or in the year 2009, 2010, 2011.
  • He also won six-time Copa Catalunya and one-time Catalunya Super Cup winner.

OBITUARY

Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in Star Wars passed away at 74 in North Texas
Peter MayhewActor Peter Mayhew, well known for portraying Chewbacca the Wookiee in the Star Wars films, has died at the age of 74 at his home in North Texas, U.S. He was born on 19 May 1944 in Barnes, London.
i. He starred in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, episode 3 of the prequels, later he reprised his famous role in 2005’s Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens in 2015, even though he has some health complications.
ii. He also wrote two books titled “Growing Up Giant” and “My Favorite Giant”.

CPM leader and former finance minister, V Viswanatha Menon passed away at 92 in Kochi
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and former finance ministerV Viswanatha Menon Passed away at the age of 92 in Kochi, Kerala. He was popularly known as “Ambadi Viswam”. He was born in  Ernakulam, Kerala.
i. He served as the Finance Minister in 1987 during the Left Democratic Front government led by E.K. Nayanar.
ii. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1967 and was also a member of Rajya Sabha from 1974 to 1980. He was elected to Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1987 from Thrippunithura constituency.
iii. He has presented five state budgets and also holds the record for delivering the longest budget speech of two hours and 35 minutes.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Press Freedom Day observed on May 3
World Press Freedom Day is observed annually on May 3 to raise awareness among the international community that freedom of the press and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights.  This day also pay tribute to media professionals who risked or lost their lives in the line of duty.

World press freedom dayi. This year marked the 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day which was observed with a theme “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”.
ii. The day was initiated by the UN General Assembly in December 1993 after the recommendation of 26th UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991 which led to the adoption of Declaration of Windhoek.
iii. The main event for 2019 took place in Addis Ababa, African Union Headquarters which was jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
About UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize:
Since 1997, it is awarded to recognize an individual or an organization for defending or promoting freedom of expression. The award is named after a Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist murdered in 1986 after denouncing drug barons. This year Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo conferred with 2019 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize.

May 3 observed as a National Space Day 2019
National Space Day is observed on the first Friday of May every year. This year first Friday of May coincide with May 3, so science community celebrates this day to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in young people and to inspire them to pursue a carrier in space-related jobs.
Additional Information
i. In 1997, Space Day was created by the Lockheed Martin Corporation as a one day event. The main objective is to observe the many wonders of the unknown space that our planets float and also to encourage children to have more interest in scientific study.
ii. In 2001, Senator John Glenn, former astronaut, expanded the Space Day as International Space Day so that scientific community can celebrate this day worldwide.

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