Current Affairs May 4 2019

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INTERNATIONAL  AFFAIRS

Nirmala Sitharaman reached Kyrgyzstan Defence Ministers’ Meet and held bilateral meetings

  • Nirmala Sitharaman, the current Defence Minister of India held a bilateral meeting with General Wei Fenghe, Honourable Defence Minister of China, in which they discussed regional and bilateral security issues. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ Meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
  • Nirmala Sitharaman was in Kyrgyzstan on a 3-day visit to attend the SCO meet and to hold bilateral meetings with the member-countries on the summit’s sidelines………………………………….Click here to Read more

GReVD: SIPRI launches Global Registry of Violent Deaths
Stockholm International peace research institute (SIPRI) has launched a new initiative named Global Registry of Violent Deaths (GReVD) to establish the annual number of violent deaths worldwide.GReVD will count deaths caused by all forms of violence and display these in an open-source database and enable monitoring of progress on the world’s commitment to ‘significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere’ by 2030 as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—Goal 16.
i. The database will enable policymakers and researchers and the general public to track trends in violence at global, regional, national, provincial, city and municipal levels.
ii. GReVD will hold a single entry for every violent death, including perpetrator, time, location, victim and type of violence.
iii. The sources will be verifiable news reports of lethal events and processing will involve machine coding to manage the volume of entries, as well as human coding to ensure accuracy and consistency.
iv. The first phase of the project is financed by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and Swedish Postcode Foundation.
About Stockholm International Peace Research Institute:
♦ Headquarters: Solna Municipality, Sweden
♦ Founder: Government of Sweden
♦ Founded: 6 May 1966

India-Australia Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism
The 11th meeting of the joint working group on counter-terrorism between India and Australia held at Canberra, Australia on May 2, 2019. Mahaveer Singhvi, Joint Secretary (Counter-Terrorism) led Indian delegation while Paul Foley, Australia’s Ambassador for Counter Terrorism led Australian delegation for the meeting.

India-AustraliaKey Highlights
i. The objective of this meeting is to discuss the counter-terrorism challenges which both countries are facing such as financing of terrorism, the use of the internet for terror purposes, radicalisation and foreign terrorist fighters.
ii. Indian delegation thanked Australia for co-sponsoring the listing proposal of Masood Azhar along with United States, United Kingdom, France, and other friendly countries. The two sides also embrace the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 1267 Sanctions Committee.
iv. Mahaveer Singhvi, Joint Secretary (Counter-Terrorism) also pay a visit to Mr. Tony Sheehan, Deputy Secretary (International Security), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia.
v. Both sides have agreed to hold the next meeting of the Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism in India at a mutually convenient date.
Additional Information
The 10th meeting of Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism between India and Australia was held at New Delhi on June 18, 2018.
About Australia
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian Dollar

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Vodafone Idea collaborates with IBM and signs a multi-million dollar IT deal
Vodafone Idea Ltd, India’s largest telecom operator  notified a 5-year multi-million-dollar IT outsourcing deal with IBM (International Business Machines Corporation).

Vodafone Idea collaborates with IBMi. The collaboration will contribute to Vodafone Idea’s merger synergy objectives by decreasing its IT related costs.
ii. This partnership will offer Vodafone Idea with a hybrid cloud based digital platform to enable engagement with its 387 million subscribers (as of  31 December, 2018), thus boosting business efficiency, scale and easiness of its business processes. Moreover, IBM’s analytics, AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things) and security capabilities will boost Vodafone Idea’s progression.
iii. Vodafone Idea will also leverage Dynamic Automation and Robotic Process Automation to enhance its IT operations.
Vodafone:-
CEO                   :  Nick Read
Headquarters :  London, United Kingdom
IBM (International Business Machines Corporation):-
CEO        :               Ginni Rometty
Headquarters :  New York, United States
 
According to ADB’s report, Asia-Pacific is estimated to grow 5.7% in 2019
According to Takehiko Nakao, President and Chairperson of Asian Development Bank, the Asia-Pacific region is supposed to grow at 5.7% in 2019 but the rising trade tensions might hinder its growth.
Key points:
i. ADB’s Asian Development Outlook 2019 report released in April states that developing Asia comprising of 45 countries is estimated to grow by 5.7% in 2019 (which is pointed out by Nakao). However, the growth outlook for developing Asia is approximated to come down to 5.6% in 2020.
ii. While addressing the opening session of the Board of Governors at ADB’s 52nd Annual Meeting in Nadi, Fiji, Mr. Nakao notified that the consumer and investor behavior could diminish due to trade tensions between the nations.
iii. ADB’s lending hiked to a high of 21.6 $ billion in 2018 which was 10% higher as compared to 2017.
iv. In the session, Mr. Nakao discussed on the Strategy 2030 plan of ADB. This plan will focus on six major areas which are as follows:

  • action plans for the private sector
  • addressing poverty and inequality
  • enhance the progress in gender equality,
  • continue to stimulate regional cooperation
  • expand the private sector operations
  • effective usage of the non-renewable resources

v. With more than 2,000 delegates, this was the single largest gathering in Fiji and this was the 1st time that the ADB held its annual meeting in the Pacific region.
About ADB (The Asian Development Bank ):
It is a regional development bank founded on 19 December, 1966.
i. ADB’s headquarters: In the Ortigas Center, located in the city of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines.
ii. ADB maintains 31 field offices worldwide in order to boost social-economic development in Asia.
iii. From the 31 members at its foundation, ADB presently has 68 members among which 49 members are from within Asia and the Pacific, while 19 members are from outside.
iv. As of 31st December 2016, Japan and United States hold the largest proportion of shares of ADB at 15.607%. China holds 6.444%, India holds 6.331% while Australia holds 5.786%.
Static GK:
♦ Country: Fiji (a country in Oceania)
♦ Capital: Suva
♦ Currency: Fijian dollar

CBDT and GSTN sign an agreement to seize evaders to decrease black money generation
The income tax (I-T) department and Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) signed a joint agreement to enhance information exchange between the 2 firms and to arrest tax evaders and decrease generation of black money.
Key Points:
i. The income tax department will exchange important financial information, namely, status of I-T (Income Tax) return filings, yield of business, gross total income, turnover ratio with GSTN.
ii. The 2 agencies are yet to decide on the procedure of information exchange for “automatic”, “spontaneous” and “request based” data.
iii. The principal of I-T (systems) or director general of I-T (systems) will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GSTN for exchange of such information.
iv. The circular issued by the central board of direct taxes stated that the various methods of transfer of data between the 2 agencies that the MoU would include are: confidentiality, timing, secure preservation and disposal after use, related to the exchange of data.
v. This specific step will permit the I-T department to probe the information filed by businesses in income tax returns as compared to the yearly GST (Goods and Services Tax)returns.

London topped in attracting Indian investments with an all-time high record of 52 investment projects in 2018
London & Partners (L&P), the Mayor of London’s promotional agency, in the new report analysis, based on FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) Markets and FDI Intelligence data stated that in 2018, the UK became the top-most nation to attract Indian FDI with 52 projects. US attracted Indian FDI with 51 projects while the UAE  with 32 projects.
Facts:
i. Indian companies investing and expanding in London reached an all-time high in 2018, with 32 investment projects, which is a huge leap from 2017.
ii. Taxi hailing firm, Ola and Indian hospitality firm, OYO (On Your Own) have also notified investments in the British capital in 2018.
iii. Between 2017 to 2018 FDI from India into London hiked by 255%, and that to UK increased by over 100% as compared to 2017.
iv. As part of the Mayor of London’s International Business Programme, L&P’s trade delegation which includes London’s certain fastest growing FinTech (Financial Technology) and business tech companies, will give coverage to Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.
v. Certain businesses  of London travelling to India are:

  • McLEAR- it is a wearable technology company that specialises in mobile payments
  • GrantTree- this company provides funding expertise
  • Headstart- this enterprise offers recruitment and employability expertise
  • ProtectBox: it specialises in cyber security.

vi. The report notifies that in the last 10 years, Indian companies have added 2.49 billion pounds in capital expenses and also helped in the creation of over 5,691 new jobs for London’s economy.
About  UAE (United Arab Emirates)
♦ Capital: Abu Dhabi
♦ Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham
About  United Kingdom (UK)
♦ Capital: London
♦ Currency: Pound sterling

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Article on Coalgate won Asian College of Journalism’s Award for Investigative Journalism, 2018
The article titled ‘Coalgate 2.0’ written by Nileena MS has won the Asian College of Journalism’s (ACJ) Award for Investigative Journalism, 2018. The article was published in “The Caravan Magazine” in March 2018.  The final jury which includes Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Nilita Vachani and Dr. A R Venkatachalapathy unanimously approved Nileena’s work as the winner.
Key Highlights
i. The Award comprised of a trophy, a citation, and Rs. 2 lakh cash prize. The award was presented by John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg News, who was also the chief guest at the journalism school’s annual convocation ceremony.
ii. Nileena’s article investigated the allotment of captive coal blocks in Parba East and Kanta Basan regions of Chhattisgarh. It also explored deforestation, relocation of people, loss of livelihood and denial of forest rights to tribals.
iii. ‘Coalgate 2.0’ published in “The Caravan Magazine” is an excellent example of investigative journalism in the field of financial reporting.
iv. Other stories considered for nominations and have been awarded special mentions by the jury include:

  • The Chroncile of Crime Fiction That is Adityanath’s Encounter Raj” authored by Neha Dixit and published in ‘The Wire’.
  • “The Death of Judge Loya” authored by Nikita Saxena and published in ‘The Caravan Magazine’.

About Award for Investigative Journalism

  • This award is given by the Asian College of Journalism with support of the Media Development Foundation.
  • The criteria for getting this award is comprised of a solid work of investigative journalism, combining extensive research uncovering new evidence to reveal a truth, hitherto unknown to most, and of essential public interest.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

CEA included as a member of Advisory Council of 15th Finance Commission
The Chief Economic Adviser (CEA), Dr. Krishnamurthy Subramanian has been included as the member of the Advisory Council to the 15th Finance Commission headed by N.K. Singh. The Advisory Council now has 12 members after inclusion of Chief Economic Adviser Dr. Krishnamurthy Subramanian. Other members include Dr. D.K. Srivastava, Dr. Indira Rajaraman, Dr. Arvind Virmani, Dr. Surjit S. Bhalla, Dr. Sanjeev Gupta, Prof. Pinaki Chakraborty, Sajjid Chinoy, Neelkanth Mishra, Prachi Mishra, Dr. M. Govinda Rao, and Dr. Omkar Goswami.
Additional Points
i. In April 2018, 15th Finance Commission had constituted an Advisory Council for the following purpose:

  • To advise the Commission on any issue or subject related to the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the commission, which may be of relevance.
  • To assist in the preparation of any paper or research study which would enhance the understanding of Commission on the issue contained in its Terms of Reference (ToR).
  • To help in broadening the Commission’s ambit and understanding to seek best national and international practices on matters related to fiscal devolution and also improving the quality and reach and enforcement of its recommendation.

ii. In December 2018, Dr. Krishnamurthy Subramanian appointed as the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) to the central government for three years.
About 15th Finance Commission
The 15th Finance Commission was constituted in November 2017. The role of Commission is to give recommendations for devolution of taxes and other fiscal matters to the central government for 5 years, commencing from April 1, 2020.
♦ Chairman: N.K. Singh

Godavarthi Venkata Srinivas named India’s envoy to Senegal
On 30th April 2019, Shri Godavarthi Venkata Srinivas (IFS:1993) was appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Senegal.
Presently, he is Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.
i. He succeeds Shri Rajeev Kumar, who is the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Mozambique.
ii. He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
About the Ministry of External Affairs:
♦ Founded: 2 September 1946
♦ Minister: SushmaSwaraj, Minister of External Affairs
♦ Jurisdiction: India
♦ Headquarters: Cabinet Secretariat, Raisina Hills, Delhi, New Delhi
About Senegal :
♦ Capital: Dakar
♦ President: MackySall
♦ Currency: West African CFA franc

Paytm president Bhushan Patil quits 
Bhushan Patil, President of India’s mobile payment and commerce platform, Paytm has quit the company.

Bhushan Patili. In March 2016, he had joined Paytm after serving five years at  Alibaba.com.
ii. Recently, Paytm and Paytm Mall together could raise anywhere between $1-2 billion from investors.
iii. eBay, American multinational e-commerce corporation is preparing to make an investment in Paytm Mall.
About Paytm:
♦ Founder: Vijay Shekhar Sharma
♦ Founded: 2010
♦ Headquarters: Noida
♦ Parent organization: One97 Communications

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Ministry of Defence approved Indian Navy’s Rs 3,600 crore deal for 10 ‘Kamov Ka-31’ Helicopters
3,600 crore deal for 10 ‘Kamov Ka-31’ HelicoptersMinistry of Defence gave approval to Indian Navy to acquire 10 ‘Kamov Ka-31’ Airborne Early Warning and Control Helicopter for a deal worth of Rs 3,600 crore from Russia. These 10 helicopters would be deployed on the aircraft carriers and warships of the Indian Navy including the INS Vikrant and Grigorovich-class frigates. The Kamov Ka-31 helicopters will strengthen the capability of Indian Navy against aerial threats to its aircraft carriers and large warships.
Key Highlights
i. The deployment of helicopters will help in sanitising the air space around the battle groups led by the aircraft carriers while carrying out operations in the sea or anti-submarine warfare operations.
ii. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the deal which is headed by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and includes the three services chiefs and the defence secretary.
About Russia
♦ Capital: Moscow
♦ Currency: Russian Ruble

Researchers identify drugs that block CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing
On 2 May 2019, In the journal, ‘Cell’ researchers authored that the discovery of the first small-molecule inhibitors of the Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 (SpCas9) protein could enable more precise control over CRISPR-Cas9-based genome editing.
i. The research was headed by Amit Choudhary of the Broad Institute, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
ii. SpCas9 is being developed as a gene therapy agent for multiple conditions, including HIV, vision disorders, muscular dystrophy, and other hereditary disorders.
iii. The new compounds allow for reversible and dose-dependent control of SpCas9-based technologies, including its applications for gene editing, base editing, and epigenetic editing in mammalian cells.
iv. These first small-molecule CRISPR-Cas9 inhibitors are much smaller than the previously discovered anti-CRISPR proteins.
About Journal Cell:
♦ Editor: John Pham
♦ First issue date: 1974
♦ Discipline: Biology

OBITUARY

Justice Subhashan Reddy Dies At The Age of 76
On 1 May 2019, Former Chief Justice of Madras and Kerala High Courts, Justice Subhashan Reddy died at the age of 76 in Gachibowli due to age-related ailments.
He was born at Amberpet in Hyderabad, Telangana in 1943.
Justice Subhashan ReddyKey Points:
i. He studied law at the University of University College of Law, Osmania University.
ii. He enrolled as an advocate in January 1966 and practiced Constitutional, Civil, Criminal, Revenue and Taxation laws. He was retired in March 2005.
iii. In 1991, he was appointed as the judge of High Court of Andhra Pradesh and later served as Chief Justices of  High Courts of Madras in 2001 and Kerala in 2004.
iv. After his retirement, he served as the chairperson on the AP State Human Rights Commission and acted as the Andhra Pradesh Lokayukta in 2012.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Coal Miners Day observed on May 4
On 4th May 2019, Coal Miners Day was observed to highlight the toughest profession and the people working in coal mines. Several communities raise awareness and funds on this day for other organizations in the coal mining area and workers.
i. This day was established to show the appreciation for the sacrifices, honour the accomplishments and remember the tragedies that these hardworking individuals experience.
ii. The annual celebration of Coal Miners Day began in 1975.
Developments in Coal Mining:
i. In the 18th Century, the industrial revolution started in Britain and later expanded to continental Europe and North-A America.
ii. In 1880s New coal cutting machines were introduced.
iii. In 1912, Steam Shovels were used in surface coal mining.
Coal Mining in India:
i. In 1774, coal mining began in India.
ii. John Sumner and Suetonius Grant Healthy of the East India Company commenced commercial exploitation in the Raniganj Coalfield along the Western bank of Damodar River.
iii. In 1853, Steam Locomotive introduced.
iv. In India, coal-rich regions areJharkhand, Orissa,  Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and some central and southern parts of the country.
About Indian Ministry of Coal:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Jurisdiction: India
♦ Minister: Piyush Goyal

International Firefighters’ Day is observed on May 4
On 4th May 2019, International Firefighters’ Day (IFFD) was observed to recognize and honor the sacrifices that firefighters make to ensure that their communities and environment are as safe as possible.

International Firefighters' Dayi. The symbol for International Firefighters Day is a red and blue ribbon. The color red signifies fire and the blue denotes water. These colors also signify emergency services around the world.
ii. It was initiated after a proposal emailed out by firefighter named JJ Edmondson on January 4, 1999, calling for an international holiday that would honor the sacrifices and triumphs of firefighters who died in a bushfire in Australia on December 2, 1998.
iii. May 4 used to be a traditional Firefighters’ Day in many European countries because it is the day of Saint Florian who is the patron saint of chimney sweeps and firefighters.
iv. On the first Sunday in May at noon, fire sirens sound for 30 seconds followed by a minute’s silence in respect of past firefighters. This is known as the “Sound Off“.
About International Association of Fire Fighters:
♦ Founded: 1918
♦ Key person: Harold A. Schaitberger
♦ Office location: Washington, D.C., United States

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