Current Affairs Today May 12 2018

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 INDIAN AFFAIRS

Punjab Signs MoU with UK for Setting Up Bio-Gas, Bio CNG Plants
On May 11, 2018, Punjab State Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with United Kingdom (UK) for setting up of bio-gas and bio- Compressed natural gas (CNG) plants in the state.
Punjab Signs MoU with UK for Setting Up Bio-Gas, Bio CNG Plants More information about Punjab Govt’s MoU with UK:
i. Parties to the MoU are Punjab Bureau of Industrial Promotion (PBIP), Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) and Rika Biofuels Development Ltd UK, while Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) will facilitate the regulatory clearances.
ii. Objective of this MoU is to find viable and sustainable solutions to paddy straw burning, which has become a major environmental concern in Punjab and surrounding region.
iii. As per the terms of the MoU, Rika will build more than 10 bio-CNG plants with a total investment of USD 100-150 million. Intake capacity of each plant will be around 100 MT per day.
iv. As these plants will be based on a new patented anerobic digester concept and straw extruding technology, it would not only promote sustainable agriculture practices by stopping burning which severely damages the soil but will also promote long-term soil health and improve agricultural yield as digestate/bio manure is rich in organic and inorganic matter.
v. In addition to this, these projects would create 1000 jobs across the whole operation and supply chain.
Quick Facts about Punjab:
♦ Capital – Chandigarh
♦ Current Chief Minister – Amarinder Singh
♦ Current Governor – V P Singh Badnore
♦ Important River – Sutlej

Chhattisgarh CM to launch Vikas Yatra
On May 12, 2018, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh launched Vikas Yatra from Dantewada district aimed at spreading awareness about the development the state has witnessed during Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Govt’s tenure in the state.
Chhattisgarh CM to launch Vikas YatraHighlights of Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh’s Vikas Yatra:
i. During the course of this Vikas Yatra, Mr. Raman Singh will distribute free pesticides to 5.5 lakh labourers.
ii. He will also give smartphones to 50 lakh families under Sanchar Kranti Yojna.
iii. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will also be attending the yatra.
iv. In context of this news, it is important to note BJP leader Raman Singh came to power by defeating Congress in 2013 Chhattisgarh state assembly polls.
Quick Facts about Chhattisgarh:
♦ 
Capital – Naya Raipur
♦  Current Governor – Balram Das Tandon
♦ Current Chief Minister – Raman Singh
♦ Important National Park – Guru Ghasidas National Park

Maharashtra becomes first state to sign MoU with GRIHA council for green buildings
On May 11, 2018, Maharashtra State Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Centre’s Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) Council to train state’s Public Works Department (PWD) officials to rate government buildings.
Details about Maharashtra Govt’s MoU with GRIHA:
i. Maharashtra has thus become the first Indian state to sign such MoU with GRIHA.
ii. As per the terms of the agreement, GRIHA Council, would train Maharashtra’s PWD’s civil and electrical engineers and architects to rate government buildings on basis of set parameters
iii. Objective behind this rating exercise is to encourage environment friendly/green buildings, that are designed, constructed, maintained and demolished using environmentally responsible processes and materials.
iv. GRIHA Council was founded by TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi) with support from Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Quick Facts about Maharashtra:
♦ 
Capital – Mumbai
♦ Current Chief Minister – Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Current Governor – Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao
♦ Important National Park – Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Customs and Postal Department hold First ever Joint Conference
On May 11, 2018, Indian Customs and Department of India Posts held a first ever Joint Conference in New Delhi to discuss measures for streamlining imports and exports by post.
Customs and Postal Department hold First ever Joint ConferenceHighlights of Customs and Postal Department Joint Conference:
i. The conference was attended by Commissioners of Customs from all the States having Foreign Post Offices (FPOs) and their counterpart Post Master Generals.
ii. In context of this news, it is important to note that Imports and exports by post are the 6th highest cited citizen grievances under Centralized Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS).
iii. For catering to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and to provide a boost to the Make in India program, Customs Department has proposed new simplified procedures for exports through India Post. 
iv. E-commerce giant Amazon and international logistics company DHL have been invited for making presentations on global best practices and identifying bottlenecks faced by Indian exporters.
v. In addition to this, Customs is planning to introduce non-intrusive technologies like x-ray scanning at Foreign Post offices to expedite release of goods.

Frozen Semen Station being set up in Maranga,Purnea under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission
On May 12, 2018, Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh laid foundation stone of the frozen semen station in Maranga, Purnea, Bihar.
Salient features of Frozen Semen Station in Maranga, Purnea:
i. Frozen semen station in Maranga, Purnea is being set up at a cost of Rs 64 crore (100% contribution from the Central Government) under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission.
ii. Launched in 2014, Rashtriya Gokul Mission is geared towards conserving and developing indigenous breeds to increase milk productivity.
iii. Frozen semen station in Purnea will be the first state-of-the-art semen production centre in India.
iv. The station will have a highly modern bull shade, semen processing lab, feed and godown, agricultural equipment, and other facilities.
v. 300 high genetic merit bulls will be kept at the station and 50 lakh semen dose will be produced per year.
vi. This semen station will play an instrumental role in rapidly increasing milk productivity of cows and buffaloes in the state.

Kerala State Electricity Board has signed a MOU with NTPC
On May 11, 2018, Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for increasing solar power generation in the state.
Kerala State Electricity Board has signed a MOU with NTPCDetails about Kerala State Electricity Board – NTPC MoU:
i. The MoU includes an agreement to set up a 15 MW solar power unit at the NTPC complex in Kayamkulam.
ii. In addition to this, scope for setting up solar plants at reservoirs, open space and top of buildings would also be explored.
iii. Power generated through these projects would be given to KSEB at a rate fixed by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.
iv. The MoU was signed by KSEB and NTPC officials in presence of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Kerala Power Minister M M Mani.
Quick Facts about NTPC:
♦ Founded in – 1975
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Chairman and MD – Gurdeep Singh

J-K govt approves scheme for placement of JKPS officers in higher scale
On May 12, 2018, Jammu and Kashmir State Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, approved a notification of the non-functional (monetary) scheme (NFS) and its implementation for members of the general executive cadre of the Jammu and Kashmir Police Service (JKPS).
i. This scheme seeks placement of Jammu and Kashmir Police Service (JKPS) officers in higher scales.
ii. As per the scheme, a junior scale JKPS officer, in the pay band of Rs 9300-34800 with Grade Pay (GP) of Rs. 4800 with 10 years in the junior scale will be eligible for placement in the time scale (non-functional) of Rs. 15600-39100 with GP of Rs 6600 after assessment by the selection committee.
iii. Similarly, a time scale JKPS officer with four years service will be eligible for placement in the selection grade-II (non-functional) of Rs 15600-39100 with a grade pay of Rs 7600 after assessment.
iv. This scheme shall be effective, retrospectively from January 1, 2018.
Quick Facts about Jammu & Kashmir:
♦ Capital – Srinagar (Summer), Jammu (Winter)
♦ Current Governor – Narinder Nath Vohra
♦ Current Chief Minister – Mehbooba Mufti
♦ Important National Park – Dachigam National Park, Kishtwar National Park

SC approves scheme to grant compensation to rape & acid attack victims
On May 11, 2018, Supreme Court of India approved “Compensation Scheme for Women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/other crimes”, a scheme for mandatory grant of compensation to victims of sexual assault and acid attack.
SC approves scheme to grant compensation to rape & acid attack victimsSalient features of “Compensation Scheme for Women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/other crimes”:
i. Under the scheme, a compensation fund will be set up and it would be managed by State Legal Services Authority(SLSA).
ii. Compensation for gangrape victim will be in the range of Rs 5 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh, minimum compensation of Rs. 4 lakh is to be paid in case of rape or unnatural sexual assault while for acid attack victims minimum compensation will be Rs 7 lakh for total disfigurement and Rs 5 lakh in case of 50% burns.
iii. Most important feature of the scheme is that, grant of monetary relief is not linked with the trial in such cases and the victim can approach the State or District Legal Services Authority for compensation immediately after the incident.

Govt Depts Earmark Rs 16,500 Cr For Swachh Bharat Mission In 2018-19
Rs 16,500 crore has been allotted by 71 ministries and departments of the central government for implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in 2018-19.
Govt Depts Earmark Rs 16,500 Cr For Swachh Bharat Mission In 2018-19Govt Depts Earmark Rs 16,500 Cr For Swachh Bharat Mission In 2018-19:
i. This amount is over and above the budget of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation for Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).
ii. The Swachhata Action Plan (SAP) 2018-19 was released by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha at a meeting of Union secretaries and senior officials on 11th May 2018 in New Delhi. SAP Compendium 2018-19 was also released at the meeting.
Some important dams in India:
♦ Tehri Dam – Bhagirathi River
♦ Lakhwar Dam – Yamuna River
♦ Idukki Dam – Periyar River

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

US-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018
On May 10, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced that he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12, 2018 in Singapore.
US-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018Details about Donald Trump – Kim Jong Un meeting:
i. This will be the first ever meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean leader.
ii. Key issue to be discussed during the meeting will be North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme and intercontinental ballistic missile launches which raised geopolitical tensions across the world

BANKING & FINANCE

India’s growth will accelerate to 7.3 pct: Fitch
As per Credit rating agency Fitch, Indian economy is projected to grow at 7.3 percent in current fiscal i.e. 2018-19 and 7.5 percent in next fiscal.
India's growth will accelerate to 7.3 pct: FitchOutlook of Indian Economy – Fitch:
i. The above projection has been made in Fitch’s second-quarter Sovereign Credit Overview for Asia Pacific region.
ii. Fitch has outlined that India’s economic growth is likely to accelerate as money supply has recovered to its pre-demonetisation level (pre-November 2016) and disruptions related to the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), in July 2017 have diminished.
iii. Besides, implementation and continued broadening of the government’s structural-reform agenda will lead to a gradual improvement in country’s business environment.
Quick Facts about Fitch Ratings:
♦ 
Founded in – 1914
♦ Headquarters – New York, US
♦ Current President and CEO – Paul Taylor

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India Inc Invests over $4 bn in South Africa
According to a report titled ‘Indian Industry’s Inclusive Footprint in South Africa – Doing Business, Doing Good’, released by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 140 Indian companies have invested close to $4 billion in South Africa, creating nearly 18000 direct employment opportunities.
Investment of Indian Companies in South Africa:
i. Investment of Indian companies in South Africa is mainly in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, Information Technology (IT), automobile industry and finance sectors.
ii. Major Indian companies that have invested in South Africa are Wipro, Cipla, Coal India, HCL Technologies, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra and Zomato.
iii. It is noteworthy that investment of Indian companies in South Africa is not just limited to tapping business opportunities but also comprise Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and skill development initiatives aimed at empowering local people.
Quick Facts about South Africa:
♦ Capital – Pretoria (Executive), Bloemfontein (Judicial), Cape Town (Legislative)
♦ Currency – South African rand
♦ Current President – Cyril Ramaphosa
♦ Neighbouring Countries – Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho (encircling)

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

British Council awards for three Indian alumni of UK universities
Three Indian alumni of UK universities, Saumya Saxena, Ruchi Shah and Sushant Desai, have been awarded by the British Council for their outstanding achievements and contribution to the country.
Customs and Postal Department hold First ever Joint ConferenceMore information about Indian alumni of UK universities awarded by British Council:
i. Saumya Saxena, an alumni of the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford has been presented ‘Professional Achievement Award’ for exemplary leadership in professional field.
ii. Ruchi Shah, a post graduate of the University of the Arts London has been presented ‘Social Impact Award’ for exceptional contribution to creating positive social change.
iii. Sushant Desai, a post graduate from the University of Edinburgh has been presented ‘Entrepreneurial Award’ for playing leading role in business innovation.
iv. It is important to note that more than 150000 Indians have studied in United Kingdom (UK) in the last ten years.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Pawan Kumar Agarwal gets extension as CEO FSSAI
On 9th May 2018, Pawan Kumar Agarwal was given three months extension as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Pawan Kumar Agarwal gets extension as CEO FSSAIPawan Kumar Agarwal gets extension as CEO FSSAI:
i.  Pawan Kumar Agarwal is a 1985-batch IAS officer of West Bengal cadre. He has been given three-month extension beyond 15th May 2018.
ii. He became the CEO of FSSAI in December 2015.
About FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Functions under – Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

Singer Mohit Chauhan nominated as Green Ambassador for Sikkim
Bollywood singer Mohit Chauhan has been nominated as the Green Ambassador of the Sikkim by Sikkim government.
Singer Mohit Chauhan nominated as Green Ambassador for SikkimSinger Mohit Chauhan – Green Ambassador for Sikkim:
i. Mohit Chauhan is a Bollywood playback singer. He also sings for the ‘Silk Route’ band.
ii. He has been nominated as the Green Ambassador to promote Sikkim as a Green Destination both at a national and international level, on voluntary basis.
Some Wildlife sanctuaries in Sikkim:
♦ Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary
♦ Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary
♦ Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary

Ravi Venkatesan steps down from Infosys board
On 11th May 2018, Infosys announced that its independent director Ravi Venkatesan has resigned from the Board with immediate effect.
Ravi Venkatesan steps down from Infosys board:
i. Infosys has said that, Ravi Venkatesan has resigned from the Board to pursue a new opportunity.
ii. Ravi Venkatesan is a former Microsoft India chairman. He joined Infosys Board in April 2011 as an additional director.
iii. After Ravi Venkatesan’s resignation the board strength of Infosys has reduced to eight members.
About Infosys:
♦ CEO & MD – Salil S Parekh
♦ Established – 1981

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

SpaceX launches most powerful Falcon 9 rocket, carrying Bangladesh’s first communication satellite
On 11th May 2018, SpaceX launched its most powerful Falcon 9 rocket named Block 5, carrying the first high-orbit communications satellite for Bangladesh named “Bangabandhu Satellite-1” from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
SpaceX launches most powerful Falcon 9 rocket, carrying Bangladesh’s first communication satelliteThe Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket:
i. The rocket is designed for less maintenance and refurbishment between flights. It has been certified to carry humans to space.
ii. The Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket’s main aim was to propel Bangabandhu Satellite-1 to a geostationary transfer orbit nearly 35,000 km above earth.
iii. Bangabandhu Satellite-1 is a communications satellite for Bangladesh. It will provide video and communications coverage over Bangladesh and its territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal, and in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
iv. It will also offer broadband connectivity to rural areas in Bangladesh. It has been named after the father of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
v. It has been designed and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space, France. SpaceX said that the mission would last for a minimum of 15 years.
vi. The rocket has been built to re-fly up to 10 times with minimal refurbishment. After liftoff, the rocket landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
About SpaceX:
♦ CEO – Elon Musk
♦ Headquarters – Hawthorne, California, United States

ENVIRONMENT

World’s second oldest rock is from Odisha
A rock sample found eight years ago in Champua, in Kendujhar district of Odisha has been declared the world’s second oldest rock.
World's second oldest rock is from OdishaWorld’s second oldest rock is from Odisha:
i. Scientists have found a grain of magmatic zircon (a mineral that contains traces of radioactive isotopes) in the rock. Through which it has been estimated to be 4,240 million years old.
ii. The discovery was made by researchers from University of Calcutta and Curtin University, Malaysia, and Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing.
iii. The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. Presence of zircon older than this was found only in Jack Hill, Western Australia, which is 4,400 million years old, making it the oldest known rock sample.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha:
♦ Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary
♦ Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary

SPORTS

Rafael Nadal broke a 34-year-old record by winning his 50th straight set on clay, the most consecutive sets won by a player on a surface.
On 10th May 2018, Rafael Nadal broke John McEnroe’s record of 49 straight sets won on the same surface by defeating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of the Madrid Open, in Spain.
Rafael Nadal broke a 34-year-old record by winning his 50th straight set on clay, the most consecutive sets won by a player on a surface.Rafael Nadal broke John McEnroe’s record of 49 straight sets won on the same surface:
i. Rafael Nadal won 50 consecutive sets on clay surpassing John McEnroe’s record set on carpet in 1984.
ii. Rafael Nadal is expecting to win his sixth Madrid Open title.
About Madrid Open:
♦ Dates – 4th to 13th May 2018
♦ Location – Madrid, Spain

OBITUARY

Renowned storyteller Ankit Chadha had Passed away
On 9th May 2018, Ankit Chadha, a renowned storyteller died in an accident near Pune, Maharashtra.
Renowned storyteller Ankit Chadha had Passed awayDeath of Ankit Chadha:
i. Ankit Chadha was popular for his unique style of storytelling in Urdu. It is said that, Ankit Chadha had gone for a walk along the shores of Uksan lake and drowned in the lake after he slipped accidentally.
ii. He was 30 years old. He had performed at various national and international stages, and also in universities like Harvard, Yale and Toronto.
Some important lakes in Maharashtra:
♦ Rankala Lake
♦ Salim Ali Lake
♦ Shivasagar lake

BOOKS & AUTHORS

Across the Bench – Insight into the Indian Military Judicial System’ by Lt Gen Gyan Bhushan
On 11th May 2018, Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff, released the book ‘Across the Bench – Insight into the Indian Military Judicial System’.
Across the Bench - Insight into the Indian Military Judicial System' by Lt Gen Gyan BhushanAcross the Bench – Insight into the Indian Military Judicial System:
i.‘ Across the Bench – Insight into the Indian Military Judicial System’ has been written by Lt Gen Gyan Bhushan.
ii. Lt Gen Gyan Bhushan is a former Army Commander and Member ‘A’, Armed Forces Tribunal, Lucknow Bench.
iii. The book speaks on military judicial system, command and management issues in the military establishments and issues related to veterans, their families and dependents.
Some important museums in India:
♦ Gandhi Smriti Sangrahalaya – Bhitiharwa, Bihar
♦ Gaya Museum – Gaya, Bihar
♦ Maharaja Lakshmeshwar Singh Museum – Darbhanga, Bihar

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Nurses Day
On 12th May 2018, International Nurses Day was celebrated all over the world.
International Nurses DayInternational Nurses Day:
i.I nternational Nurses Day is celebrated throughout the world on 12th May every year to mark the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
ii. The International Nurses Day honours the contributions of nurses to society. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) celebrates this day since 1965.
iii. The theme for International Nurses Day 2018 was chosen as “Nurses A Voice to Lead – Health is a Human right” by ICN.
iv. Indian President Ram Nath Kovind presented Florence Nightingale awards to 35 nurses for their extraordinary services at an event at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.
About International Council of Nurses (ICN):
♦ President – Annette Kennedy
♦ Purpose – To represent nursing worldwide, advancing the profession and influencing health policy

World Migratory Bird Day
On 12th May 2018, the World Migratory Bird Day was celebrated throughout the world.
World Migratory Bird DayWorld Migratory Bird Day:
i. The World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated from now on twice a year, on the Second Saturday in May and in October. It will also be observed on 13th October 2018.
ii. World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) aims to create awareness on the need for conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.
iii. The theme for World Migratory Bird Day 2018 is: “Unifying our Voices for Bird Conservation”. Also 2018 is the “Year of the Bird”.
Some important bird sanctuaries in India:
♦ Kolleru Bird Sanctuary – Andhra Pradesh
♦ Khaparwas Wildlife Sanctuary – Haryana
♦ Bankapura Peacock Sanctuary – Karnataka