Current Affairs Today May 10 2018

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 INDIAN AFFAIRS

Ram Nath Kovind becomes second president to visit Siachen base camp
On 10th May 2018, Ram Nath Kovind became the second president of India to visit Indian Army’s Siachen base camp.
Ram Nath Kovind becomes second president to visit Siachen base campRam Nath Kovind – second president to visit Siachen base camp:
i. President Ram Nath Kovind is also the Supreme Commander of Indian armed forces. Siachen base camp is also known as the “Third Pole”where temperatures drop to minus 50 degrees Celsius sometimes.
ii. He was accompanied by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. Ram Nath Kovind paid his respects at the Siachen war memorial to the martyrs.
iii. Nearly 11,000 army personnel have sacrificed their lives since the army began Operation Meghdoot on 13th April 1984 in Siachen.
iv. Ram Nath Kovind is the second Indian president to visit Siachen base camp. Former president APJ Abdul Kalam is the first Indian President who visited Siachen base camp in 2004.
About Indian Army:
♦ Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) – General Bipin Rawat
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

NITI Aayog to announce top 30 innovations of Atal Tinkering Marathon
On 10th May 2018, NITI Aayog will announce the top 30 innovations of Atal Tinkering Marathon in Delhi.
NITI Aayog to announce top 30 innovations of Atal Tinkering MarathonTop 30 innovations of Atal Tinkering Marathon:
i. Atal Tinkering Labs  of  the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of NITI Aayog, organized an Atal Tinkering Marathon, a six month long national level challenge.
ii. It was conducted in six thematic areas: clean energy, water resources, waste management, healthcare, smart mobility and agri-tech.
iii. From more than 650 innovations received, top 30 innovations have been selected from various States and Union territories of India.
iv. These Top 30 innovations and their prizes will be announced by Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog.
About NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog:
♦ CEO – Amitabh Kant
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

Govt approves green licence plates for e-vehicles
On May 9, 2018, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari stated that government has approved green licence plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private e-vehicles (electronic vehicles).
Govt approves green licence plates for e-vehiclesGreen licence plates for e-vehicles:
i. The green licence plates will make it easy to identify electric vehicles for preferential treatment in parking, free entry in congested zones and other proposed benefits like concessional toll.
ii. Currently there are four kinds of vehicle number plates in India: white licence plates with numbers in black font for private vehicles, yellow plates with black font for commercial vehicles, black plates with yellow font letters for self-driven rental vehicles and blue plates with white font for Embassies and High Commissions.
iii. In a bid to promote electric vehicles in India, government is also contemplating to allow youth in the age bracket of 16-18 years to drive electric scooters and making compulsory for taxi aggregators to have a certain percentage of e-vehicle fleet.

Suresh Prabhu inaugurates 6th US-India Aviation Summit in Mumbai
On May 9, 2018, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the 6th US-India Aviation Summit.
Suresh Prabhu inaugurates 6th US-India Aviation Summit in MumbaiHighlights of 6th US-India Aviation Summit:
i. This three-day Summit is being jointly organised by Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
ii. The Summit will serve as a platform for Indian civil aviation agencies and aviation industry representatives, including private sector airlines and airport operators, to identify advanced US technologies and practices, that can support their expansion and modernization efforts.
iii. Various sessions focusing on India’s projected aviation growth in next five years, aviation and runway safety, aviation security, technologies for worldwide airspace management and regional connectivity will be held during the course of this summit.
iv. India’s civil aviation sector is slated to be third largest market globally by 2020 and, potentially, the largest by 2030.

India’s clean energy capacity touches 70 GW: MNRE
Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has stated that India’s installed clean energy capacity has already touched 70 GW as per data compiled on March 31, 2018.
India’s clean energy installed capacity:
i. MNRE stated that that renewable energy capacity of 11788 MW was added during last fiscal, which is the highest ever in a single year.
ii. The ministry also added that 100 billion units of electricity was generated through renewables during last fiscal, which also is the highest ever so far.
iii. As per data compiled till March 31, 2018, 38 GW clean energy capacity is under implementation.
iv. On account of fast progress in the areas of renewable energy, Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh has reaffirmed government’s commitment to meet target of having 175 GW by 2022.

CM Pema Khandu inaugurates Arunachal’s biggest solar plant
On 10th May 2018, Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu inaugurated Arunachal Pradesh’s biggest solar power plant at Energy Awareness Park in Itanagar.
CM Pema Khandu inaugurates Arunachal's biggest solar plantArunachal Pradesh’s biggest solar power plant:
i. The plant has a capacity of 1 MW. It was commissioned on 1st April 2018. Estimated investment for the park is Rs 8.50 crore.
ii. The project was implemented by Arunachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency (APEDA).
iii. The fully-automatic plant will be able to operate without manpower. Based on weather and solar radiation, power generation starts at 5.30 am and continues till 6 pm.
iv. The plant has generated over 1 lakh units of electricity from the start of its commissioning.
About Arunachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency (APEDA):
♦ Director – Marki Loya
♦ Type – A state government agency of government of Arunachal Pradesh

Pawan Kalyan unfurls world’s largest Indian flag in Telangana
On 10th May 2018, Pawan Kalyan, actor and Jana Sena Party founder, unfurled the flag, claimed to be the world’s largest Indian national flag at Hyderabad, Telangana.
Pawan Kalyan unfurls world's largest Indian flag in TelanganaPawan Kalyan unfurls world’s largest Indian flag in Telangana:
i.  Pawan Kalyan unfurled the flag to commemorate the first war of the India’s independence that took place in 1857.
ii.The flag was 122 feet in length and 183 feet in width. The flag was prepared by an organisation called ‘Vibrants of Kalam’.
iii. This flag is claimed to be world’s largest Indian National Flag. Pawan Kalyan administered a national integration pledge to youth who attended the event.
Some National Parks in Telangana:
♦ Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park
♦ Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park
♦ Mrugavani National Park

Guj-Poland sign MoU on organising independence centenary
On 9th May 2018, a MoU was signed between Gujarat government and the Poland government regarding the centenary celebrations to mark independence of Poland in Delhi and other regions of the world.
Guj-Poland sign MoU on organising independence centenary:
i. The department of youth and cultural affairs of Gujarat government will be co-organisers for the centenary celebrations.
ii. The MoU was signed by Polish ambassador to India Adam Burakowski and principal secretary of youth and cultural affairs department V P Patel.
iii. According to the MoU, the Gujarat state government’s cultural affairs department will help Poland in organising and publicising “generations to generations” programme in Delhi and other regions of the world.
iv. During the World War II, King of Jamnagar Digvijaysinh Jadeja offered shelter to more than 600 women and children of Poland.
iv. A programme about the king offering shelter to Polish people will be conducted. Poland got independence in October 1918.
Some important stadiums in Gujarat:
♦ Moti Bagh  Cricket Stadium
♦ IPCL Sports Complex Ground
♦ Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

SCO Tourism Ministers’ conference held in China
On 9th May 2018, the SCO Tourism Ministers’ conference was held in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
SCO Tourism Ministers’ conference:
i. This is the first tourism ministerial meeting between member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
ii. Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism and Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, India, K. J. Alphons represented India at the conference.
iii. Tourism ministers of member states of SCO deliberated on travel product development, tourist security and research on high-tech tourism management to develop a smart tourism system.
iv. An action plan for tourism cooperation between SCO member states from 2019 to 2020 was approved at the conference.
v. The joint action plan specifies efforts for cooperation between national tourism administrations, measures to enhance tourist experience and safety, development of tourist products and promotion of smart tourism.
vi. The joint action plan will be submitted for official signing at the 18th SCO Summit that will be hosted in Qingdao, China.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):
♦ Founded – 2001
♦ Eight member states: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
♦ Headquarters- Beijing, China
♦ SCO Secretary-General – Rashid Alimov
♦ SCO Secretariat – Beijing, China

India sends 2nd relief consignment for Rohingyas in Bangladesh
Indian Government has sent 2nd relief consignment for Rohingyas (who fled Myanmar) residing in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Relief consignment for Rohingyas in Bangladesh:
i. The 373-tonne consignment, which was loaded on Indian Navy Ship INS Airavat sailed from Vishakhapatnam and reached Chattogram on May 7, 2018.
ii. The relief consignment contained 104 tonnes of milk powder, 61 tonnes of baby food, 102 tonnes of dried fish, 50000 raincoats and 50000 pairs of gum boots.
iii. This relief material specifically addresses the needs of Rohingya women and children in the wake of onset of monsoon.
iv. It is to be noted that nearly 600000 Rohingyas fled Myanmar’s violence-hit Rakhine state to neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017 post a military crackdown against alleged militant outfits of Rohingya Muslims.
v. Earlier also, in September 2017, India had sent relief materials for 300000 Rohingyas under ‘Operation Insaniyat’.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

AAI, Harris Ink Rs 945-Cr Deal For Futuristic Telecom Infra
On 10th May 2018, Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed a Rs 945-crore deal with the Harris Corporation of the US for development of its futuristic telecommunications infrastructure (FTI) programme.
AAI, Harris Ink Rs 945-Cr Deal For Futuristic Telecom Infra:
i. The contract is for 15 years. It was signed at the sixth edition of the US-India aviation summit that started on 10th May 2018 in Mumbai.
ii. The implementation of FTI network will offer improved air traffic safety, airspace capacity and environment friendly flight levels.
iii. Under this, all telecommunication links and each network equipment in the AAI airports will be monitored centrally 24/7 for immediate response to fix any outages.
iv. According to the deal, Harris Corporation will be the prime contractor and systems integrator for the programme. The programme will be executed in two years.
v. Harris Corporation will upgrade network operations, improve security, performance, reliability and quality of the air traffic management communications network, and reduce telecommunications costs.
vi. The FTI projectwill offer high availability of SLA-based telecommunication links through advanced technology and communications infrastructure at AAI airports.
vii.  Performance of all telecommunication links will be continuously monitored at network operation control centres (NOCCs) at Delhi and Bangalore.
viii.Security operation control centres (SOCCs) will protect the network from cyber threats.
ix. Remote and virtual tower (RVT) is a new concept through which air traffic service at an airport is conducted somewhere else.
About Airports Authority of India (AAI):
♦ Chairman – Guruprasad Mohapatra
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

Indian tea industry records highest ever production, export in FY18
On 8th May 2018, the Indian tea industry reached the highest ever production of 1,325.05 million kg and export of 256.57 million kg during the financial year 2017-18.
Indian tea industry records highest ever production, export in FY18Indian tea industry records highest ever production, export in FY18:
i. The total tea production in 2017-18 increased by 74.56 million kg or 5.96 % compared to 2016-17. In 2016-17, India produced 1,250.49 million kg of tea.
ii. The total quantity of tea exports during 2017-18 fiscal increased by 28.94 million kg or 12.71 % compared to 2016-17. The tea exports were 227.63 million kg in 2016-17.
iii. The foreign exchange obtained from tea exports was $785.92 million in 2017-18. It is an increase of $95.19 million or 13.78 % over 2016-17.
iv. In rupee terms, the total value of the exports was Rs 5,064.88 crore in 2017-18. The value realisation has increased by Rs 432.38 crore or 9.33 % over 2016-17.
v. The growth in exports is mainly attributed to 5 countries:

  • Egypt (7.49 million kg)
  • Iran 6.95 million kg)
  • Pakistan (4.96 million kg)
  • China (2.91 million kg)
  • Russia (2.89 million kg)

About Tea Board India:
♦ Chairman – P. K. Bezboruah
♦ Functions under – Ministry of Commerce & Industry

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad to become world’s oldest leader
92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad will become world’s oldest elected leader after he will be sworn in as Malaysia’s Prime Minister following a fiercely contested 14th General election.
Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad to become world's oldest leader About Mahathir Mohamad:
i. Earlier, Mahathir governed Malaysia for 22 years from 1981 to 2003 as strongman leader of the Barisan Nasional coalition.
ii. However, for the 14th General Election, he came out of retirement and defected to the opposition.
iii. The opposition coalition under Mahathir managed to get the simple majority and defeated incumbent PM Najib Razak, who came to power in 2009.
iv. Najib’s defeat also marks the ouster of ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has been in power since Malaysia’s independence in 1957.
Quick Facts about Malaysia:
♦ Capital – Kuala Lumpur
♦ Currency – Ringgit
♦ Independence from United Kingdom – 1957

AQUISITIONS & MERGERS

China’s Alibaba buys Pakistan e-commerce firm Daraz
On 8th May 2018, Alibaba announced that, it has bought Pakistani e-commerce firm Daraz.
China's Alibaba buys Pakistan e-commerce firm DarazAlibaba buys Pakistan e-commerce firm Daraz:
i. Financial details of the transaction were not revealed. Daraz was founded in 2012.
ii. It operates in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. Daraz will continue to function under the same brand.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Yahoo Squirrel Group Chat App Unveiled for Android and iOS
Yahoo has launched its own new group chat app named Squirrel.
Yahoo Squirrel Group Chat App Unveiled for Android and iOSSquirrel Group Chat App:
i. Squirrel Group Chat App is still in testing. It is available on Google Play and the App Store.
ii. If you need to start using the app, you need a friend who already uses the app to invite you into a group.
iii. Squirrel focuses on group chats. It has features that enables you to organise conversations with several people.

Ravi Shankar Prasad launches website of Digital India Internship Scheme
On May 9, 2018, Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launched the website of Digital India Internship Scheme in New Delhi.
Benefits of Digital India Internship Scheme:
i. Under Digital India Internship Scheme, 25 interns will be inducted for a period of maximum three months, during which they will get an opportunity to gain first hand and practical work experience under the guidance of qualified and experienced Supervisor and Mentor.
ii. During the internship, the students will learn about working of transformative initiative of Digital India and will gain exposure to technology policy and decision making of government of India
iii. The selected interns will be paid a stipend of 10 thousand rupees per month.
iv. Proposed areas of internship: Cyber Law/IT Act, Research and Development in Electronics and IT, Digital Forensics, Mobile Governance, Malware Analysis, Cloud Computing, Software/Hardware Industry Promotion, Digital Literacy and Digital Payments.

Astronomers find first carbon-rich asteroid in Kuiper Belt
Astronomers have discovered an unusual, first of its kind, carbon-rich asteroid in the Kuiper Belt. This object has been designated 2004 EW95.
Astronomers find first carbon-rich asteroid in Kuiper BeltDetails about 2004 EW95:
i. Kuiper belt is a circum-stellar disc in the outer Solar System, extending from the orbit of Neptune to approximately 50 astronomical unit (AU) from the Sun.
ii. As per the study, 2004 EW95 seems to have formed in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and then would have been flung billions of kms to its current locations.
iii. Researchers have found that 2004 EW95’s reflectance spectrum (specific pattern of wavelengths of light reflected from an object) is different from similar small Kuiper Belt Objects.
iv. Discovery of this object, technically referred to as carbonaceous asteroids, testifies theoretical models, which suggest that during early days of our solar system,  after the gas giants formed, they rampaged through the solar system, ejecting small rocky bodies from the inner solar system to far-flung orbits at great distances from the Sun.

OBITUARY

Former MP Minister Nirmal Hirawat Dead
Former Madhya Pradesh minister and senior Congress leader Dr Nirmal Hirawat died of a heart attack on May 9, 2018 at his residence in Katangi town in Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh.
About Dr Nirmal Hirawat:
i. Dr Nirmal Hirawat was 74. He is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.
ii. He was instrumental in getting the status of a tehsil for Katangi.
iii. He was a member of Madhya Pradesh’s former Chief Minister, Shyama Charan Shukla’s cabinet.