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India-US Bilateral Trade Meeting held in New Delhi
On May 6th, 2019, India-US Bilateral trade meeting was held in New Delhi. It was co-chaired by Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Government of India and Mr Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, USA.
i. An official release said both leaders appreciated the strong, robust and growing bilateral ties across the spectrum of trade and commerce. Both the sides expressed satisfaction over the year 2018, with bilateral trade in Goods and Services registering a growth of 12.6%.
ii. Both sides agreed to deepen economic cooperation and bilateral trade by ensuring greater cooperation amongst stakeholders.
iii. They discussed various outstanding trade issues and agreed to engage regularly at various levels to resolve outstanding trade issues by exploring suitable solutions which are mutually beneficial and promote economic development and prosperity in both countries.
♦ Capital: Washington, DC
♦ Currency: US Dollar
♦ President: Donald Trump
India and Bangladesh agreed to jointly produce film on the life of Mujibur Rahman
India and Bangladesh in a meeting agreed to jointly produce the film based on the life and works of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and documentary of Bangladesh Liberation War 1971. The delegation from Bangladesh side led by Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Adviser to Prime Minister of Bangladesh met Amit Khare, Secretary of Information and Broadcasting Ministry. The co-production of the film was earlier announced by the PM of both India and Bangladesh.
i. The movie will be directed by Shyam Benegal and the scriptwriter of the movie will be Atul Tiwari and the director of the documentary will be from Bangladesh who would be assisted by a co-director from India.
ii. Additionally, Prasar Bharti has decided to carry Bangladesh TV on DD Free Dish platform and also to waive carriage fees. Bangladesh delegation also agreed to launch Doordarshan channel in DTH platform of Bangladesh.
♦ Capital: Dhaka
♦ Currency: Bangladeshi Taka
KVIC distributed 1 lakh bee-boxes under the ‘Honey Mission’ initiative that produced 246 metric tonnes of honey so far
For the first time in India, under the ‘Honey Mission’ initiative, (KVIC) Khadi and Village Industries Commission (in less than 2 years) distributed more than 1 lakh bee-boxes among farmers and jobless youths across India.
i. KVIC has helped in creating more than 10,000 new jobs and 25,000 additional man-days through the manufacturing of bee boxes and honey extractors. Bee-keeping would also open many job avenues for aspiring young entrepreneurs.
ii. In August 2017, the initiative of ‘Honey Mission’ was launched in accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Sweet Revolution‘ in 2016 while introducing Banas Honey project at Deesa, Gujarat.
iii. The KVIC had offered the beekeepers training on the effective examination of the honeybee colonies, wax purification, and management of the bee colonies.
iv. Being an agency of Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), KVIC would offer loans for setting up honey-processing, packaging and labelling units.
v. After the implementation of this mission, till date, 246 metric tonnes of honey, amounting over Rs 4 crore, has been extracted through the bee-boxes.
Senegal’s lawmakers gives the approval of the removal of the prime minister’s position
In the very first initiative of President Macky Sall’s 2nd term in office, Senegalese parliament has approved a constitutional reform to remove the post of prime minister.
i. The motion was passed with 124 MPs (member of parliament) voting in favour of the motion, while 7 MPs voting against the motion.
ii. The parliament also supported the legislative alterations, whose prime objective was to prevent the president from dissolving the National Assembly. In doing so, it could no longer raise a motion of no confidence against the government.
iii. The Opposition parties have rejected the constitutional alterations.
iv. Macky Sall, in early April, announced the decision for the Prime Minister (Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne) to abolish his own job.
About Senegal’s President and Prime Minister:
i. Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne served as the Prime Minister of Senegal since 6th July 2014. He is the 3rd prime minister appointed by President Macky Sall. President Sall reappointed Dionne as Prime Minister on 6 September 2017. Dionne was preceded by Aminata Toure.
ii. Macky Sall has been the President of Senegal since April 2012. He was re-elected as the President in the first round voting in February 2019 Senegalese presidential election. Sall was preceded by Abdoulaye Wade.
About Senegal (it’s a nation in West Africa)
♦ Capital: Dakar
♦ Currency: CFA franc, West African CFA franc
Mali’s President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta named a new government after the Ogossagou Massacre
Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Mali’s president named a new government comprising of 37 members to oversee the formation of a “broad-based” government, under Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, after his predecessor Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga resigned in April.
i. Maiga and his entire cabinet ministry had resigned amid the massacre of over 160 members of the Fulani herding community in Ogossagou village (near Mali’s border) with Burkina Faso.
ii. Thousands of grieving commoners took to the streets on 5th April, 2019 to protest against the rising violence that killed 600 people.
iii. Prime Minister Boubou Cisse had signed an agreement declaring his agreement for setting up a politically-inclusive new government, with the opposition and majority party representatives, in Bamako.
iv. The new executive is inclusive of 10 women. This is fewer than the previous team that included about one-third.
v. It also comprises the foreign minister Tiebile Drame, who led the polling campaign of Soumaila Cisse against Keita in 2018.
vi. General Ibrahim Dahirou Dembele, former army chief of staff under the party that emerged from a 2012 takeover got the major portfolio of defence.
vii. Malick Coulibaly was chosen as the justice minister. He was the president of Mali’s National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH).
viii. Michel Sidibe, whose term at the UN (United Nations) agency was maligned by sexual allegations, has been chosen as the health minister. He is the chief of UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS).
About Mali (a nation in West Africa)
♦ Capital: Bamako
♦ Currency: CFA franc, West African CFA franc
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI directs banks to enhance housing loan limits for eligibility under priority sector lending
To include the RRBs (Regional Rural Banks) and SFBs (Small Finance Banks) in the same level as the other Scheduled Commercial Banks, (RBI) Reserve Bank of India has notified them to enhance housing loan limits to individuals up to Rs 35 lakh in metropolitan centres (which would have a population of over 10 lakhs) and Rs 25 lakh in other centres, under Priority sector Lending (PSL).
i. The total cost of the dwelling unit in the metropolitan centres should not exceed Rs 45 lakh and at other centres should not go beyond Rs 30 lakh for them to be eligible for classification under PSL.
ii. Previously, in case of SFB’s loans up to Rs 28 lakh to individuals in metropolitan centres and Rs 20 lakh in other centres, were eligible for classification under PSL, provided that the cost of dwelling unit did not exceed Rs 35 lakh for metropolitan centres and Rs 25 lakh for other centres.
iii. RBI notified that the existing family income limit of Rs 2 lakh per annum, eligible for loans to housing projects solely for the purpose of construction of houses for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and Low-Income Groups (LIG), has been updated to Rs 3 lakh per annum for EWS and Rs 6 lakh per annum for LIG.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Direct tax collections fall short of Rs 82,000 crore in 2018-19 due to shortage in corporate tax collections
Direct tax collections fell short by Rs. 82,000 crore at 11.18 crore in FY2019 (financial year), and one of the major reasons for this shortage is low corporate tax collections. The collections from some regions were much lesser than the last year.
i. Rs.12 lakh crore was the target set by the government. But the sum total of the tax collection numbers indicate that it got 13.4% more than the previous fiscal year but fell short of the updated target of 18%.
ii. Moreover, the profits of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have been lesser, which again had a negative impact on tax collections.
iii. The CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) has formed a committee for a central action plan for year 2019-20. This committee will suggest areas of improvement for effective tax collection.
GRIHA Council Launched “GRIHA for Existing Day Schools”, a rating system for evaluating existing schools in India
GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assesment) Council has launched “GRIHA for Existing Day Schools” in India, to comply with the nation’s vision for a greener and sustainable future.
i. “GRIHA for Existing Day Schools” is a rating device that would be able to assess the environmental performance of the existing schools in India.
ii. The integrated rating system also acquaints the school students with the concepts of ‘sustainability’ and ‘greenery’ by involving them in accessing the environmental impact of schools on the environment as a whole. The students would do evaluation under the guidance of their teachers.
iii. The product-launch event had taken place at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Mr Dinesh Kumar, Head, Department of Education in Science and Mathematics, National Council of Educational Research and Training, and other dignitaries were present at during the launch.
About GRIHA Council:
i. It was founded by TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) with an active aid from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and from various environment- sustainability experts across India.
ii. It is a registered society that deals with scientific and administrative issues pertaining to the environment and sustainable habitats across India.
iii. The GRIHA Council promotes GRIHA-the National Rating System as an evaluation tool for green buildings and sustainable habitats.
India’s MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) tourism growing at 8% a year
The report titled “India Inbound Tourism: Unlocking the Opportunity” published that India’s MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition) tourism are growing at 8 per cent a year. The report is published by the Federation of Indian Chambers & Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with Yes Bank.
i. India has ranked 24th in MICE tourism worldwide. Out of 12,563 international meetings held in 2018, India hosts only 175 meetings which are around 1.4% and MICE tourism was pegged at Rs 25,000 crore with a yearly growth of 8%.
ii. In 2018, India ranked 5th in the Asia Pacific region in MICE tourism. The top four countries were Japan followed by China, South Korea and Australia.
iii. According to estimates, the global MICE tourism is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5% which will reach USD 1.2 trillion by 2023.
About Yes Bank
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai
♦ Tagline: Experience our Expertise
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
♦ President: Sandip Somany
Microsoft released its own Blockchain–based Service
Recently, Microsoft has released its own fully managed Azure Blockchain Service. This will help in simplifying the formation, management and governance of the businesses so that they can pay attention to workflow logic and application development. Businesses can develop their applications on this new cloud-based platform.
i. “Quorum”, an enterprise-focused version of open-sourced platform Ethereum, will be the first ledger available in Azure Blockchain Service. This has been announced after a partnership between J.P Morgan and Microsoft.
♦ Headquarter: Redmond, Washington, US
♦ CEO: Satya Nadella
Foreign exchange reserves of India rose by USD 4.368 billion
According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, India’s foreign exchange has risen by USD 4.368 billion. Now the foreign exchange of India is USD 418.515 billion.
i. The foreign currency assets has risen by USD 4.387 billion to USD 390.421 billion and the gold reserves has remained unchanged at USD 23.303 billion.
ii. The Special Drawing Rights (SDR) has declined by USD 5.9 million to USD 1.449 billion and India’s reserves position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also declined by USD 13.6 million to USD 3.341 billion.
♦ Headquarter: Washington, D.C. , US
♦ MD & CEO: Christine Lagarde
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
FIFA announces two new award categories to promote women’s football globally
On 6th May 2019, Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has introduced two new award categories, off Women’s goalkeeper of the year and a women’s team of the year, to promote women’s football across the globe.
i. These additions mean and both men and women will be up for receiving accolades in the same categories at the FIFA Best ceremony 2019 in Milan, Italy that will take place on 23 September 2019.
♦ President: Gianni Infantino
♦ Headquarters: Zurich, Switzerland
♦ Founded at: Paris, France
♦ Founded: 21 May 1904, Rue Saint-Honore, Paris, France
♦ Senior Vice-President: Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
NASA’s first Planetary Defence Technology to collide with small moonlet in 2022
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will hit an asteroid named Didymoon or Didymos B with a spacecraft called Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) in 2022. This will be the first mission which demonstrates a planetary defence technique. The asteroid is 150 m tall which orbiting a larger body called Didymos A. This will help in understanding the state of the asteroid system.
i. The spacecraft Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will carry an optical navigation system which captures the images. This will help the spacecraft to reach its target successfully.
ii. The DART spacecraft will use small hydrazine thrusters which utilise the electric propulsion system.
iii. The spacecraft will collide with the asteroid at a speed of approximately 6 kmps (km per second) and this collision will change the speed of the asteroid in its orbit by fraction of 1%.
♦ Headquarter: Washington, D.C. , US
♦ Founder: Dwight D. Eisenhower
♦ Motto: For the benefit of all
Approval from NOTTO required for organ allocation to foreign nationals
The National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), an apex body that coordinates with States on the procurement and distribution of organs in compliance with the Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA), has issued guidelines according to which an organ could be allocated to foreigners only after it gives its approval. This decision was made due to media reports which stated that foreign nationals getting organs ahead of Indian nationals on the waiting list.
i. The Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu (Transtan) has also issued guidelines which will bring greater transparency in the allocation of organs to people. The guidelines include that private hospitals should obtain the consent of the donor family before allocating the organs to foreigners.
About Tamil Nadu
♦ Capital: Chennai
♦ Governor: Banwarilal Purohit
♦ Chief Minister: Edappadi K. Palaniswami
♦ National Parks/Wildlife Sanctuaries: Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Guindy National Park, Periyar National Park, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary etc.
♦ Dance Forms: Bharatanatyam, Kummi, Theru Kotthu, Chakkai Attam etc.
UN report termed ‘Global Assessment’ notifies that 40% of amphibian species and 1 million of insect and fauna are threatened
The UN Report termed as ‘Global Assessment’, stated that, among the approximated 8 million plant, insect and animal species, around 1 million is at risk of extinction within decades. The research study confirms that this extreme loss is a direct result of human activity and has the consequence of a direct threat to human well-being worldwide.
i. The report was endorsed by 130 countries, including the U.S., Russia and China.
ii. The research study was launched in Paris by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). IPBES is headed by Robert Watson, a British environmental scientist.
iii. The research study has been compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries.
iv. The basic foundation of the study lies in the dire need to incorporate a new “post-growth” form of economics, which would help to alter the risks of pollution, habitat destruction and carbon emissions.
v. The researchers notified that industrial farming and fishing are the major causes of species extinction.
vi. The Species extinction rate has accelerated by tens to hundreds of times over the last 10 million years.
vii. The report also stated that the average abundance of native species in most major habitats has decreased by at least 20%, mostly since 1900.
viii. It also notifies that humans have severely changed 75% of land surface, 40% of oceanic environment and 50% of inland waterways, causing irreparable damage through urbanisation, deforestation and agricultural malpractices.
West Indies record ODI cricket’s first-ever 350+ score opening stand
West Indies player John Campbell and Shai Hope created the history by making first-ever 350 plus run opening stand against Ireland. Both players shared 365 runs for the first wicket and also become the only opening pair to score 150 runs each in one inning of a 50-over match. The venue of the match was Clontarf Cricket Club Ground, Dublin, Ireland.
i. Previously, the highest first wicket opening stand was 304 runs in ODI cricket by Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq against Zimbabwe in 2018.
Former Windies batsman Seymour Nurse passes away aged 85
On 6th May 2019, Former West Indies Batsman Seymour Nurse died after prolonged illness at the age of 85.He was born on 10 November 1933 at Saint Michael, Barbados.
i. Nurse has played 29 Tests between 1960 and 1969.
ii. He was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1967.
iii. He had served as Coach and cricket selector at the Barbados National Sports Council after retirement.
iv. He scored 2523 runs at an average of 47.6 with six hundred and ten fifties.
Former billiards player Derek Sippy Passed Away
On 6th May 2019, Former Indian Cue sports Player, Coach and administrator Derek Sippy, who was in his 60s, died due to a massive heart attack in Mumbai, Maharashtra. His death was confirmed to Press Trust of India (PTI) by Manav Panchal, Honorary Secretary of the Billiards and Snooker Association of Maharashtra (BSAM).
i. He had served as secretary of BSAM for several years.
ii. He was the Indian team’s coach at recently concluded Asian Under-21 Boys Snooker and Asian Women Snooker tournament in Chandigarh which was held from April 27th to May 3rd, 2019 at Community Centre, Sector 19, Chandigarh.
World Athletics Day 2019 observed on May 7
On 7th May 2019, World Athletics Day was observed to promote Athletics as the primary sport in schools and institutions, to raise awareness about the sports and to educate youngsters about the importance of the sports. It is the sport’s annual worldwide festival of youth and one of the busiest programmes of competitions on the athletics calendar.
i. The first World Athletics Day was celebrated in 1996. International Association of Athletics Federations(IAAF) is authorised to decide the date of this day.
ii. This Day, which is organized by the IAAF, helps to establish an important link between the youth, our sport, and environmental conservation.
iii. The most common types of athletics games covered on this day are road running, race walking, track and field and cross country running.
About IAAF: Its former name was International Amateur Athletic Federation.
♦ Headquarters: Monaco
♦ President: Sebastian Coe
♦ Founded: 17 July 1912, Stockholm, Sweden
May 7th observed as World Asthma Day
World Asthma Day is observed annually on the first Tuesday of May to raise awareness regarding Asthma and its care. This year it coincided with May 7th. It is supported by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), World Asthma Foundation, and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The theme of this year is “STOP for Asthma”. STOP means Symptom evaluation, Test response, Observe and assess, Proceed to adjust treatment.
i. The inaugural World Asthma Day was held in 1998 in more than 35 countries. The first World Asthma Meeting was held in Barcelona, Spain.
ii. Asthma is a condition which cannot be cured, it can only be controlled with effective management tips.
Karnataka Government limits the weight of school bags not more than 10% of the child’s weight
Karnataka government issued a circular, following the order of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, directing all schools in the state, including government, aided and unaided institutions, to limit the weight of a schoolbag which is not more than 10% of the child’s weight.
i. The weight of a bag of a student in Class 1 or 2 should not be more than 2 kg and these students should not be given any homework.
ii. For the students from Class 3 to 5, it can weigh between 2 and 3 kg.
iii. The weight increases accordingly, with the students of Class 9 and 10 are allowed to carry bags of weight 4-5kg.
iv. The third Saturday of every month should be followed as “No School Bag Day”. Teachers are required to keep the students busy without any books or supplementary materials and indulge in activities like field visits, general knowledge clubs, art classes, indoor and outdoor games, abacus, dance classes and debates.
v. Schools have been asked to make provisions for drinking water facilities so students don’t have to carry water bottles which eases their daily load. Also, management have been directed to create awareness about carrying heavy school bags.
♦ Chief minister: H. D. Kumaraswamy
♦ Capital: Bengaluru
♦ Governor: Vajubhai Vala
♦ Festivals: Ganesha Chaturthi, Hampi Festival, Gowri Festival, Pattadakal Dance Festival, Mahamastakabhisheka (Shravanabelagola), Kambala Festival
♦ National Parks: Anshi National Park, Bandipur National Park, Bannerghatta National Park, Kudremukh National Park, Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarahole) National Park
♦ Wildlife Sanctuaries: Arabithittu WLS, Attiveri WLS, Bhadra WLS, Bhimgad WLS, Brahmagiri WLS, Cauvery WLS, Nugu WLS, Pushpagiri WLS, Ranganathittu Bird WLS, Sharavathi Valley WLS, Someshwara WLS.
The voice of Kerala’s Mappila songs, Eranholi Moosa passes away
Veteran singer, Eranholi Moosa died at the age of 75 at his residence at Gopalpet in Thalassery in Kerala’s Kannur district. He was undergoing treatment for pulmonary diseases for quite some time.
i. He has served as the vice-chairman of the Folklore Academy.
ii. He was noted for many famous numbers like “Manikya Malar”, ‘Manassinteyullil ninnu’ and ‘Arimulla punchiri’ and many others. He has performed on stages in India and Gulf countries.
♦ Chief Minister : Pinarayi Vijayan
♦ Governor: Palanisamy Sathasivam
♦ Statehood: November 1, 1956
♦ National Parks- Anamudi Shola National Park, Eravikulam National Park, Mathikettan Shola National Park, Pambadum Shola National Park, Periyar National Park, Silent Valley National Park
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