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Current Affairs May 2019
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Current Affairs May 2019 | 30th May
India moves up to 43rd in competitiveness; Singapore tops the chart
- India secured 43rd rank in the most competitive economy across the world and Singapore topped the chart by toppling the US from the first position and Hong Kong SAR ranked 2nd place as same as last year.
- The US ranked 3rd in the ranking and Switzerland ranked 4th. UAE first time entered into the top 5 rankings. Last year in 2018 UAE ranked 7th. Venezuela ranked last in the rankings due to high inflation, poor access to credit and a weak economy.
- The improvement of India’s rank was a result of its robust economic growth, large labour force and its huge market size. The World Competitiveness Rankings was published by IMD Business School every year.
Walmart Appoints Suresh Kumar as Chief Technology Officer
- US-based retail chain Walmart appointed Suresh Kumar, an IIT Madras graduate, and former Google executive, as chief technology officer and chief development officer.
- The appointment comes at a time when Walmart is transforming its customer and associate experiences.
- He has 25 years of technology leadership experience, coming from Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM. He has a unique understanding of the intersection of technology and retail, including supply chain, and has deep experience in advertising, cloud and machine learning.
US removed India, Switzerland from its currency monitoring list
- US Government removed India and Switzerland from its currency monitoring list. The monitoring list includes countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies and practices currency manipulation.
- It is prepared by the US Treasury Department. India had a significant trade surplus while Switzerland had a material current account surplus.
- In its semi-annual report to US Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, the Treasury Department removed India and Switzerland from the list. At present, the list includes 9 countries namely China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers celebrated on May 29
- International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was celebrated on May 29. This day adopted by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 57/129. The theme for this year is “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace”.
- The theme marks the upcoming 20th anniversary when for the first time the Security Council explicitly mandated a peacekeeping mission (UNAMSIL- United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone) to protect civilians.
- The day was first celebrated on May 29, 1948, to pay tribute to the 3700 uniformed and civilian personnel who lost their lives upholding peace. Ukraine is famous for its contribution to UN peacekeeping operations. Over 45,000 Ukrainians have served in the UN operations since 1991
RBI constitutes a committee for Housing Finance Securitisation Market
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) constituted a committee to review the existing state of mortgage securitisation in India and suggest measures to deepen it. The six-member committee on Development of Housing Finance Securitisation Market is headed by Harsh Vardhan, Senior Advisor, Bain & Co.
- The panel will review the regulations relating to mortgage-backed securitisation (MBS) currently in place, and make specific recommendations on suitably aligning the same with international norms.
- It will assess the role of various counterparties, including servicers, trustees, rating agencies, in the securitisation process and suggest the steps required. Mortgage-Backed security (MBS) is a type of asset-backed security that is secured by a mortgage or collection of mortgages.
Zaidi wins USD 100,000 Nine Dots Prize
- Mumbai-based Writer Annie Zaidi was announced as the 2019 winner of the $100,000 Nine Dots Prize, an award for creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues. She won the prize for her entry titled ‘Bread, Cement, Cactus’, a piece that combined memoir and reportage to explore concepts of home and belonging.
- Her proposed book, based on the prize-winning essay, will be published in May 2020 and will examine how a citizen’s sense of home might collapse, or recover. She is a freelance writer whose work includes reportage, essays, short stories, poetry, and plays. She has published both fiction and non-fiction, including a collection of essays Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales and Love Stories # 1 to 14, a collection of short fiction published in 2012.
- The Nine Dots Prize is sponsored by the Kadas Prize Foundation, a U.K.-registered charity, with support from the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Press. It aims to promote, engage and encourage innovative thinking so as to address problems facing the modern world. The prestigious book prize is awarded for creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues.
India’s first all-woman crew flies Mi – 17 V5 medium-lift helicopter
- Three women officers of Indian Air Force were part of India’s first all-women crew to fly a medium-lift helicopter Mi-17 V5. Flight Lieutenant Parul Bhardwaj (Captain), Flying Officer Aman Nidhi (co-pilot) and Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal (Flight Engineer) were three women IAF officers flew the chopper, which took off from a forward air base in South Western air command.
- All three women officers flew a Mi-1 7 V5 helicopter for Battle Inoculation Training mission. Under this mission, the helicopter had taken off and landed from restricted areas at a forward airbase in South Western air command.
- Flight Lieutenant Parul Bhardwaj became the first woman pilot to fly the Mi-17 V5. Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal became the first woman flight engineer of the IAF. Flying officer Aman Nidhi from Jharkhand also became the first woman IAF pilot from the state.
NSIC signed MoU with the Ministry of MSME for the 2018-19 financial year
- The National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for the year 2018-19.
- The MOU was signed by Ram Mohan Mishra and Arun Kumar Panda in the presence of Alka Nangia Arora, Joint Secretary, SME; Mercy Epao, Director (SME); P Udaya Kumar, Director, P&M, NSIC, and A.K. Mittal, Director, Finance, NSIC.
- The MoU envisages provision of enhanced services by NSIC under its marketing, financial, technology, and other support services schemes, for MSMEs in the country.
Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa receives the baton of Chairman, COSC from Admiral Sunil Lanba
- Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa received the baton of Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) from outgoing Chairman COSC and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba.Dhanoa, an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College and the National Defence Academy, was commissioned in the Flying Branch of Indian Air Force in June 1978.
- He is an experienced fighter pilot and a qualified CAT ‘A’ Flying Instructor with over 3000 hours of flying experience to his credit. The Air Chief Marshal has mainly flown the MiG-21 aircraft with flying experience across the entire spectrum of fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
- Admiral Sunil Lanba is proceeding on retirement on May 31, after a distinguished career spanning over four decades. Dhanoa is an ardent supporter of Tri-Services Jointmanship, he was instrumental in harmonising the efforts of the three Services in a number of Tri-Services issues.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 29th May
RBI extends time window for using RTGS
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that the time-window for using the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) for customer transactions will be extended from 4:30 pm to 6 pm on all working days. It will be effective from June 1, 2019.
- The current RTGS service window for customer transactions is available to banks from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. on a working day.
- The decision is after a robust year-on-year increase in the number of transactions by 8% to Rs.1,335 crore in March 2019. The aggregate amount of transactions rose 12% year-on-year to ₹1,255.51 crore. In the month of April, banks and customers combined used RTGS for 1.14 crore transactions worth Rs.112 lakh crore.
India, Sri Lanka and Japan signed a deal to develop a container terminal at Colombo
- Sri Lanka, Japan, and India signed an agreement to jointly develop the East Container Terminal at the Colombo Port. The joint initiative is estimated to cost between $500 million and $700 million.
- As per the agreement, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) retains 100% ownership of the East Container Terminal (ECT), while the Terminal Operations Company is jointly owned. Sri Lanka will hold 51% stake in the project and the joint venture partners will retain 49%.
- The ECT development project is aimed at neutralizing the growing influence of China, which has poured money into the South Asian island nation under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure plan. The ECT is located some three km away from the China-backed international financial city, known popularly as a port city.
Telangana to set up country’s first ‘Blockchain District in Hyderabad
- Telangana released a draft blockchain policy to set up country’s first ‘Blockchain District’ in Hyderabad. It is aimed to create an ecosystem for major blockchain companies, start-ups for promoting research, innovation and industry collaboration.
- Telangana Government signed an agreement with Tech Mahindra to set up the Blockchain district in 2018. The main focus will be given to the sectors such as banking, financial services and insurance, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, government institutions and departments, logistics and supply chains.
- The incentives like access to investments, subsidies, tax credits will be rolled out to attract enterprises, Small and Medium Enterprises and startups.
Standard Chartered launched Trade A1 Engine in partnership with IBM
- Standard Chartered launched Trade A1 Engine in partnership with IBM Standard Chartered in partnership with IBM has launched the Trade A1 Engine which will automate the high-risk process of trade documentation.
- It will enhance client experience through increased operational efficiency and strengthened operational control.
- This newly launched Trade A1 Engine will replace the Traditional documentary trade consisting of millions of data elements in paper-based that to be reviewed through a largely manual process.
Srei Equipment Finance ties up with Oriental Bank of Commerce for purchase of equipment
- Srei Equipment Finance tied up with Oriental Bank of Commerce to offer loans for the purchase of equipment under a co-lending arrangement. Srei Equipment Finance is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Srei Infrastructure Finance.
- The funds for the project will be sourced through a platform named iQuippo, a unique digital marketplace of Kanoria Foundation. It will help in loan origination, loan dues collection, auction of equipment, valuation of equipment and other facilities.
- The co-lending arrangement will include the financing of construction, mining and allied equipment, medical equipment, commercial vehicles and farm equipment. Srei Equipment Finance Ltd. (SEFL) is one of the leading financiers in the Construction, Mining and Allied Equipment (“CME”) sector in India.
Motilal Oswal AMC introduces WhatsApp transaction platform
- Motilal Oswal Asset Management Company (AMC) become the first Indian fund house to launch WhatsApp transaction platform for mutual fund transactions for new as well as existing investors. This enables investors to use WhatsApp to invest in any scheme from Motilal Oswal AMC.
- Investors can either invest a lump sum or through SIPS. An investor should add Motilal Oswal AMC number (+91 9372205812) to his/her contact list.
- Then on WhatsApp, type ‘Hi’ on the above number and share the PAN details, his/her mode of investment, fund, amount. Finally, authorize payment for the transaction through the payment link sent.
Malaysia to send back hundreds of tonnes of imported plastic waste
- The Malaysian government have said that hundreds of tonnes of imported plastic waste will be shipped back to where it came from insisting that the country did not want to be a global dumping ground.
- The announcement was made by the Malaysian Minister for Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin. The Ministry said 450 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste in 10 containers from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States will be shipped back.
- Plastic imports to Malaysia have tripled since 2016, to 8,70,000 tonnes in 2018. The Malaysian government also urged the developed countries to review their management of plastic waste and stop shipping garbage to developing countries.
WHO recognized ‘burn-out’ as medical condition and ‘gaming disorder’ a recognized illness
- Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) in its World Health Assembly held in Geneva, had for the first time recognized ‘burn out’ as a medical condition in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which was extensively used as a benchmark for diagnosis and health insurers.
- WHO in its catalogue of diseases and injuries defined burn-out as a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.
- The updated list of International Classification of Diseases (ICD) dubbed as ICD-11 which was drafted last year after the recommendations from health experts around the world. The ICD-I which will take effect in January 2022, contains several other additions, including classification of “compulsive sexual behaviour as a mental disorder. WHO had also the first time recognised video gaming as an addiction, listing it alongside gambling and drugs like cocaine
Current Affairs May 2019 | 28th May
India elected to Executive Board of first UN-Habitat Assembly
- India has been elected to the Executive Board of the first UN-Habitat Assembly. Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in a tweet said the nation’s global clout continues to grow significantly.
- The Ministry said, in an extremely proud development, India has been elected to the Executive Board of the first UN-Habitat Assembly at the Plenary Session of the Assembly started yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya.
- The special theme for the UN-Habitat Assembly is “Innovation for Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities”.
DRDO successfully test-fired the new version of the Akash
- The Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO) successfully test-fired the new version of the Akash surface-to-air defence missile system with a new indigenously-developed seeker in Balasore off the Odisha coast on 27 May.
- This is the second successful test of the missile. The medium range multi-target engagement capable missile was developed as part of the Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) other than Nag, Agni, Trishul, and Prithvi missiles.
- The supersonic missile has a range of around 25 km and up to the altitude of 18,000 metres. The missile uses high-energy solid propellant for the booster and ramjet-rocket propulsion for the sustainer phase. The missile system is said to be highly mobile.
Russia launched the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker ‘Ural’
- Russia launched the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker ‘Ural’ at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.
- Russia is preparing for shipping via the Northern Sea Route (NSR).
- The Ural will be given to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the other 2 ice-breakers Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia) enter into service. The Arktika was floated in 2016.
India’s first Tree Ambulance initiated in Chennai by Green man of India
- On the International Day for Biological Diversity, tree ambulance was inaugurated in Chennai, Tamil Nadu by Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu. The initiative was proposed by Green man of India, Dr K Abdul Ghani and it is sponsored by the SASA Group.
- The ambulance can be availed through the number 9941006786 and volunteers can register on www.treeambulance.org. Services provided by Tree Ambulance first-aid treatment are upmysqladmined tree planting, seed bank, seed ball distribution, plant distribution, aiding tree plantation, shifting trees, a survey of trees and removal of dead trees.
- The reallocation of trees will be done free of cost. iii. The ambulance has helpers and a plant expert, who carry gardening tools, water, manure, and pesticide with them. Due to some kind of disaster each year, like cyclones Vardah and Gaja, trees used to get upmysqladmined in the city and not even one of them is replanted due to which Chennai has lowest green cover among all the metropolitan cities in the country. Also, there are hundreds of dead trees in Chennai which poses a hazard to the public.
Orchha town of Madhya Pradesh added to the Tentative List of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites
- The architectural heritage of Orchha town in Madhya Pradesh added to the Tentative List of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
- The architectural heritage of Orchha town depicts a unique style of the Bundela dynasty. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had sent a proposal to UNESCO to include the architectural heritage of Orchha town in its list of World Heritage Sites on April 15, 2019.
- For a historical site to be a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, it must be first included in the tentative list. Once included another proposal is sent to UNESCO, only then the site is included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. Situated on the banks of the Betwa river, Orchha is around 80 km from MP’s Tikamgarh district and 15 km from Jhansi district of UP.
Guy Gunaratne received the 2019 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize
- Sri Lankan writer Guy Gunaratne was announced as the winner of 2019 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize. He won the award for his debut novel ‘In Our Mad and Furious City’.
- Guy Gunaratne is a 35 years old British-Sri-Lankan human rights documentary filmmaker, turned debut novelist. He won over 5 other shortlisted authors.
- 2018’s winner Kayo Chingonyi won for his critically-acclaimed debut poetry collection, Kumukanda, which explores black masculinity.
Donald Trump becomes the first world leader to meet Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito
- US President Donald Trump has become the first-ever foreign leader to meet Japan’s newly crowned emperor, Emperor Naruhito.
- The emperor had ascended the throne, followed the abdication by his father, Emperor Akihito.
- Emperor Akihito became the first Japanese emperor to abdicate his throne since 1817.
Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019
- Menstrual Hygiene Day is being celebrated in the world today. Though the world is slowly moving towards removing the social stigma surrounding menstruation, the word ‘period’ still remains a taboo in most societies.
- In most countries, girls still avoid going to school when they are on their period. Women in rural areas or in poverty-ridden nations still use paper and other harmful materials such as dried leaves and plastic as a substitute for sanitary pads.
- To do away with the same, the main theme of this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day is ‘It’s Time for Action!’ The day aims to ensure no girl is left behind. In the year 2018, around 310 organizations educated around 27.2 million girls across 134 countries. For the year 2019, the participating organizations are committed to educating a total of 41.4 million girls across the world.
High profile guest list for PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s oath-taking ceremony for his second consecutive term will take place on May 30, 2019. President Ram Nath Kovind will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the Prime Minister and other members of the Union Council of Ministers.
- New council of minister will also take oath in Rashtrapati Bhavan. Government of India has invited the leaders of the BIMSTEC Member States for the Swearing-in ceremony on May 30. This is in line with the Government’s focus on its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.”
- Among movie stars, chief ministers and other international leaders, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Sooronbay Jeenbekov, (current president of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization), along with the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, are few other invited international leaders.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 27th May
P S Golay was sworn in as Sikkim chief minister
- Prem Singh Golay, President of the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), took oath as the Chief Minister of Sikkim. Golay was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Ganga Prasad.
- Along with Golay, state’s Council of Ministers also took the oath including Kunga Nima Lepcha, Sonam Lama, Arun Upreti, Loknath Sharma, BS Pant, Mani Kumar Sharma, Mingma Norbu, Bhim Hang Subba, Karma Loday Bhutia and Sanjit Kharel.
- The swearing-in ceremony was attended by outgoing Chief Minister Pawan Chamling.
ICMR head Balram Bhargava wins Dr Lee Jong-wook Prize for Public Health
- Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Professor Balram Bhargava recently won the 2019 Dr Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize for Public Health.
- He was bestowed with the award at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva.
- He bagged the award for his achievements as a clinician, innovator, researcher and trainer.
RBI proposes guidelines for large Non-Banking Financial Companies
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released draft guidelines on liquidity risk management framework for non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and core investment companies (CICs) with an aim to help them deal with severe liquidity problems and prevent re-occurrence of IL&FS type of debt crisis.The guidelines were released after an analysis of the recent developments in the NBFC sector.
Corporation Bank launches Corp SME Suvidha for MSMEs
- Corporation Bank launched ‘Corp SME Suvidha’, a product for GST-registered MSMEs.
- The product has been designed as part of the bank’s efforts to provide the best products to the MSME sector.
- PV Bharathi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation bank, launched the product in Mangaluru recently.
NSIL, the commercial arm of ISRO, was inaugurated in Bengaluru
- NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was inaugurated in Bengaluru. It’s main objective is to scale up industry participation in Indian space programs. It was inaugurated by ISRO’s honorary adviser, Dr.K Kasturirangan in the presence of chairman Dr. K Sivan.
- NSIL was incorporated on March 6, 2019, for commercially utilizing research and development activities carried out by ISRO in the area of space with an authorized share capital of Rs.100 crore and initially paid-up capital of Rs.10 crore.NSIL will act as an aggregator for all space-related activities in industry and develop private entrepreneurship in space-related technologies.
- It will be responsible for manufacturing and production of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) and Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) through technology transfer mechanisms. It will also cater to emerging global commercial SSLV market demand, providing satellite building and satellite-based services, including the supply of sub-systems for various domestic and international application needs and will enable space technology spin-offs through Indian industry interface.
Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar of India appointed to head UN peacekeeping operation in South Sudan
- The commandant of the Indian Army Infantry School, Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar, aged 57 has been appointed as the new force commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
- He will succeed Lieutenant General Frank Kamanzi of Rwanda. He will command over 1 6,000 peacekeepers which include nearly 2,400 from India. He has experience with the Indian Armed Forces for more than 34 years. ii. In 1 983, he graduated from the Indian Military Academy.
- He obtained a Master of Philosophy degree in Defence and Strategic Studies from the University of Madras. He served the UN Angola Verification Mission Ill from 1996 to 1997 and UN Mission in Sudan from 2008 to 2009.
Acharya Balkrishna receives ‘UNSDG 10 Most Influential People in Healthcare Award’
- Patanjali Ayurved Limited Managing Director, Acharya Balkrishna received the ‘UN SDG 10 Most Influential People in Healthcare Award’ on behalf of Patanjali Group of Institutions in Geneva.
- Baba Ramdev termed the achievement as a moment of pride. “Acharya Balkrishna was invited to represent India. In the context of global health, how lifestyle diseases can be treated with Yoga, Ayurveda and traditional Indian methods, Patanjali has contributed towards this. So, Acharya Balkrishna was awarded by UNSDG. We are proud,” he said at a press conference in Haridwar.
- Patanjali Ayurved is a company producing range Ayurvedic medicinal and personal care products, among other consumer items. Popular yoga guru Baba Ramdev co-founded the company along with Balakrishna.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 25th and 26th May
Paytm Payments Bank turns profitable in 2nd year with a 19cr profit
- Paytm Payments Bank announced it has turned profitable within its second year of operations, posting a ₹19-crore profit for the financial year 2018-19.
- It had reported a ₹20.7-crore loss for the financial year 2017-18.
- Paytm Payments Bank formally began operations in 2017 and claims to have over 19% of mobile banking transactions’ market share as of March 2019.
India’s crude oil imports jump 14% in April to 6-month high
- India’s crude oil imports jumped 14% year-on-year in April to 19.72 million tonnes, the highest since October 2018. Oil imports from Iran had fallen 57% year-on-year in April after waiver from US sanctions on Iran ended recently.
- The government had earlier this month it will decide on Iranian oil imports post elections. Diesel imports also surged to about 250,000 tonnes, the highest since July 2017.
- While monthly liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) imports fell more than 10%, but on a year-on-year basis, they are up about 45%. The country’s demand for LPG had risen to a record in the fiscal year ended in March amid government measures to provide cleaner cooking fuel to rural households, and analysts expect consumption to keep rising.
Pakistan successfully test fired Shaheen-II
- Pakistan has successfully test-fired a land-based ballistic missile named ‘Shaheen-II’ on 21st May 2019. The impact point of the missile was in the Arabian Sea. It is an intermediate-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile which could 2,000 km (1,250 miles). The test was conducted to ensure operational readiness of the Pakistan Army’s Strategic Forces Command.
- Shaheen missile series is named after a Falcon (bird) species that lives in Pakistan’s mountains. Shaheen-II is a highly capable missile as it fully meets Pakistan’s strategic needs towards the maintenance of desired deterrence and stability in the region.
- It is a land-based supersonic intermediate-range surface-to-surface guided ballistic missile. It is capable of carrying all kinds of warheads i.e. both conventional (high explosive) as well as nuclear warheads.
German payments company Wirecard teams up with India to issue PAN cards
- German payments company Wirecard would work with India to simplify the process of issuing tax identity cards required to open bank accounts, transfer money or complete business transactions.
- The deal, with state company UTI Infrastructure Technology and Financial Services, seeks to widen the distribution of so-called PAN cards in India of 1.3 billion where most people still live and work in the informal economy.
- Wirecard, which is already present in India, with its network of 15,000 retail agents in 350 cities would help collect and scan in the documents that people need to apply for a PAN card.
RBI Allows Modern Currency Chests To Hike Service Charges
- Reserve Bank of India announced that it will allow large modern currency chests to increase the service charges on cash deposited by non-chest bank branches from the existing rate of Rs 5 per packet of 100 pieces to a higher rate subject to a maximum of Rs 8 per packet.
- For this, only a currency chest (CC) that fulfils the minimum standards will be eligible to be classified as a large modern CC.
- The increased rates can be charged only after such classification by the issue office concerned.
World Thyroid Day observed on May 25
- World Thyroid Day is celebrated annually on May 25. It is observed to educate public on checking thyroid function regularly, awareness of the disease and to initiate precautionary action.
- This day was celebrated for the first time in 2008 by the American Thyroid Association(ATA) and the European Thyroid Association(ETA).
- The main focus of this year is on the children with or at risk of developing thyroid diseases due to the rising incidence of thyroid disease including pediatric thyroid cancer. It is common worldwide and affects people of all ages. It is usually caused by iodine deficiency. The most common thyroid disorders are hypothyroidism, thyroiditis or Goitre.
Narendra Modi to be sworn-in as Prime Minister for the second term on May 30
- Narendra Modi will be sworn in as India’s 16th Prime Minister on May 30, 2019, for his second term. President Ram Nath Kovind will administer the Oath of Office and Secrecy to Modi and to the members of the Union Council of Ministers at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.
- The new Cabinet is expected to retain several Ministers of previous Government and will also give representation to the newly-elected Members of Parliament (MPs) from states and regions where the BJP has performed well, especially from West Bengal and Odisha. Exercising powers under Article 75 (1) of the Indian Constitution, President Ram Nath Kovind on May 25, 2019, appointed BJP leader Narendra Modi as Prime Minister and invited him to form a new government at the Centre.
- President Kovind also asked Modi to advise the names of others to be appointed as the Union Council of Ministers and requested him to specify the date and time of the swearing-in ceremony.
India to grow at 7.1% in FY’20: United Nations’ report
- India’s economy is projected to grow at 7.1 per cent in the fiscal year 2020 on the back of strong domestic consumption and investment but the GDP growth is a downward revision from the 7.4 per cent estimated in January this year, according to a report by the United Nations.
- The World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2019 Mid-year Update said that the Indian economy, which generates two-thirds of the regional output in South Asia, expanded by 7.2 per cent in 2018. The estimates for India, however, reflect a downward revision from the projections made in the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 report released in January this year.
- That report had estimated that India would grow at 7.6 per cent in the fiscal year 2019 and 7.4 per cent in 2020. It must be noted that despite the downward revisions, India remains the fastest growing major economy in the world, ahead of China.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 24th May
Sensex, Nifty at Record Highs, Markets breaches 40,000 mark
- On 23rd May, the stock market opens with benchmark indices. Sensex and Nifty opening at record highs as the early trend showed.
- The S&P BSE Sensex surged as 1,014.75 points to hit an all-time high of 40,124.96. The Nifty 50 index climbed as much as 303.25 points to hit a record high of 12,041.15. For the first time on the National Stock Exchange – Nifty Bank Index crossing 31,000 mark.
- On 23rd May 2019, Asian shares were trading with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside easing 0.01 per cent.
UN downgraded the global economic growth forecast to 2.7% in 2019
- United Nations (UN) in its mid-year report on economic prospects named “World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2019 Mid-year Update” diminished the global economic growth forecasts for 2019 to 2.7% and for 2020 to 2.9%.
- In the January predictions, the economic growth was projected at 3% for both years. The reason behind the lowering of the forecast is high trade tensions, uncertainty over political policies and a complicated confluence of internal and external factors affecting most of the developed and developing economies.
- But despite of downward revision, India remains the fastest growing major economy in the world, ahead of China’s growth rate of 6.3%.
Bengaluru based Doctor Hema Divakar gets ‘Global Asian of the Year’ Award
- Bengaluru based doctor Hema Divakar received the ‘Global Asian of the Year 2018-19’ Award for women services and contribution towards Women’s Healthcare Ecosystem.
- Dr Hema was conferred the award at the Asian Business & Social Forum 2019 under the ‘In Service of the Society and the Nation’ category.
- UAE’s Trade Promotion Director Mohammed Naser Hamdan A1 Zaabi presented her the award.
Department of Biotechnology signed MoU with DAE on cancer research
- Two departments under the Government of India, Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for supporting joint collaborative research programmes in the area of Cancer.
- The MOU aims to help build different initiatives in the field of cancer like strategizing and prioritizing. MoU shall help strengthen various initiatives mandatorily for cancer.
- DAE is engaged in the development of nuclear power technology, applications of radiation technologies in the fields of agriculture, medicine, industry and basic research.
Dr Ankur Patwardhan conferred with ‘German Chemistry Prize’
- Dr. Ankur Patwardhan, a scientist from Pune won second place in ‘German Chemistry Prize’ in an international competition named ‘Elsevier Foundation-ISC3 Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge’ during in the 4th Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference held in Dresden, Germany.
- Dr Ankur Patwardhan received the second prize with €25,000 for his project ‘Butterfly attractant for pollination and ecosystem health’. The first prize was won by Dr Ramia Al Bakain with €50,000 for his project “New green technique to remove toxic metal from wastewater’.
- At present, Dr Ankur is working as head of the ‘Annasaheb Kulkarni Biodiversity Department’ at Abasa Garware College, Pune.
ADB granted $750 mn loans to India for Railway Track Electrification Project
- Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed an agreement with Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC), an entity owned by Government of India (GOI) to provide USD 750 million long-term financing for the Railways Track Electrification Project as part of a broad modernization program to reduce the dependence India’s railway sector on fossil fuels.
- It is the largest single non-sovereign loan ever.
- IRFC will use the proceeds from the loan to install electric traction equipment along about 3,378 kilometres of existing railway lines. It is the financing arm of Indian Railways for mobilizing funds from domestic and international capital markets and is registered as a non-banking finance company (NBFC).
India test-fires BrahMos high-speed cruise missile from Su-30 fighter jet
- India said its supersonic cruise missile passed another key test Wednesday, May 22 when it successfully hit a land target after being fired from a fighter jet. The Indian defence ministry said a specially converted Su-30 MKI fighter jet successfully fired the 2.5-tonne missile, which has a range of about 300 km (185 miles).
- The first BrahMos test on a sea target was staged in November 2017. India said then it was the first country “to have successfully fired an air-launched 2.8 Mach surface attack missile of this category on a sea target.” The BrahMos missile provides Indian Air Force with a much-desired capability to strike from large standoff ranges on any target at sea or on land with pinpoint accuracy by day or night and in all weather conditions.
- BrahMos is a supersonic medium-range liquid-fuelled ramjet-powered cruise missile that can be launched from sea, land and air. It is a two-stage missile, with a solid-fueled first stage to bring it to supersonic speed. Surface-launched missiles can carry a 200-kg warhead, while the air-launched variant can carry a payload of 300 kg.
WHO: Algeria and Argentina declared Malaria-Free
- The World Health Organisation has announced Algeria and Argentina as the latest countries to be recognised as malaria-free.
- Both countries have registered zero cases of malaria in the last three years. Other than Algeria and Argentina, there are 36 other countries that are recognised as malaria-free by the WHO.
- While all these nations are moving away from malaria, India is still continuing its fight with around 9.5 million cases of malaria recorded in 2017.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 23rd May
Assam Rifles battalion, Indian Coast Guard ship sign affiliation charter
- An affiliation charter was signed between 3rd (Naga Hills) Battalion of the Assam Rifles and the Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Shaurya’ with an aim to enhance inter-armed forces cooperation and utilise each other’s assets for training and sports. The charter was signed by the director generals of the two sides at an impressive ceremony held at Laitkor in Shillong.
- The Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force of India with a rich history of valour, courage and tradition. They have 46 battalions manning the Indo-Myanmar border and countering the insurgency in the northeastern states.
- The Indian Coast Guard, with 142 ships and 62 aircraft, is one of the youngest armed force under the Ministry of Defence.
Bhawana Kanth Scripts History, Becomes India’s First Woman Pilot to Qualify for Combat Missions
- Scripting history, Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth on Wednesday became the first woman pilot of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to qualify to undertake combat missions on a fighter jet.
- An IAF official said Kanth has completed operational syllabus for carrying out combat missions on Mig-21 Bison aircraft during day time. She will be allowed to carry out night operations once she completes training for night missions.
- Bhawana joined the fighter squadron in November 2017 and flew the first solo on MiG-21 Bison in March last year. She is from the first batch of women fighter pilots of the IAF. Three women — Kanth, Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh — were commissioned as flying officers in July 2016, less than a year after the government decided to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis
Supreme Court gets four new judges, now has full strength
- Four new judges were appointed to the Supreme Court, raising their number to 31, the full sanctioned strength. As of now, the apex court is functioning with 27 judges.
- The sanctioned strength is 31, including the Chief Justice. In the recent past, this is for the first time that the SC will have a full sanctioned strength. The four appointed are justices Aniruddha Bose, A S Bopanna, B R Gavai and Surya Kant.
- The names of justices Bose and Bopanna were earlier returned by the government to the SC collegium citing seniority and representation of regions as the reasons.
HDFC group surpasses Tatas in terms of market capitalization, becomes the most valuable business house
- Financial services conglomerate HDFC group on Tuesday become the most valuable business house in the country, overtaking Tata Group, with the cumulative market valuation of its four listed companies at Rs 11.53 lakh crore.
- Tata Group, on the other hand, with 17 listed firms had a combined market valuation of Rs 11.43 lakh crore.
- With a market capitalization of Rs 6.65 trillion, HDFC Bank is the third most valuable firm after TCS (Rs 7.98 lakh crore) and Reliance Industries (RIL) (Rs 8.58 lakh crore) in the country.
UN To Honour Late Malawian Soldier With Highest Peacekeeping Award
- The United Nations on Monday announced that it will honor the “brave and selfless” action of a late UN peacekeeper from Mali, who sacrificed his life while saving his colleague during an operation against a local armed group last year.
- Mr Chitete, of Mali, was killed in November last year during an operation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to combat the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed force that has been disrupting the UN’s ongoing efforts to treat and halt the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
- Whilst fighting alongside other Malawian and Tanzanian peacekeepers attached to the UN Mission in DRC (MONUSCO), Chancy Chitete and his colleagues came under heavy fire. He and his team fought back, allowing other troops to tactically withdraw, the statement said.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 22nd May
International Day for Biological Diversity observed
- United Nations (UN) has adopted May 22 as The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The objective of observing this day is to spread awareness about species turning endangered or going to extinct.
- Year 2019 theme is – “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health.”First Biological Diversity International Day was observed by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly on December 29, 1993.
- A few years later in the year 2000, UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB).
ISRO successfully launched radar imaging satellite RISAT-2B
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its radar imaging satellite RISAT-2B on May 22, 2019.
- It is a radar imaging earth observation satellite. To launch this satellite ISRO used launch vehicle PSLV-C46 from Sriharikota. The launch was taken place from the first launch pad and the 300 kg RISAT-2B was placed into an orbit of 555 km with an inclination of 37 degrees to the equator.
- This is the fourth flight unit of the RISAT programme and it would be used for reconnaissance, strategic surveillance and disaster management.
Niti Aayog plans Artificial Intelligence push with Rs 7500 cr proposal
- The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) proposed a Rs. 7500 crore plan to give a strong push to Artificial Intelligence in India. This fund will help to create a new cloud platform and to build new research institutes.
- NITI Aayog requested cabinet Government to invest Rs. 7,500 crore initially over a three year period and set up a high-level task force to oversee its rollout and implementation.
- This whole mission will be monitored by a task force. This task force will be headed by a member of NITI Aayog. However, representation from all ministries and states, experts will also be there in the task force.NITI Aayog’s plan includes investments in 20 ICTAI, 5 CORE, and setting up of AIRAWAT for increasing AI technology in the country.
‘Celestial Bodies’ wins Man Booker International Prize 2019
- Oman author Jokha Al Harthi on May 22, 2019, won the prestigious ‘Man Booker International Prize 2019’ for her novel “Celestial Bodies”. With this, Al Harthi became the first Arabic-language writer to win the prize and the first female writer from Oman to have her work translated into English.
- Al Harthi will split the prize money of 50,000 pounds (USD 64,000) with her UK-based translator, Marilyn Booth. Alharthi received the award from Historian Bettany Hughes, the chairwoman of the judging panel, at a ceremony at the Roundhouse, London. While presenting the award, Hughes mentioned that the novel wins “over the head and the heart in equal measure.”
- Al Harthi also won the ‘Best Omani Novel Award’ for Celestial Bodies in 2010. The “Celestial Bodies” novel is the story of three sisters Mayya, Asma, and Khawla. The novel, set in the Omani village of al-Awafi, confronts Oman’s history of slavery, which was abolished in the country only in 1970. After suffering heartbreak, Mayya marries into a rich family; Asma marries for duty, and Khawla is shown waiting for a man who has immigrated to Canada.
India adopts a new standard definition of Kg, Kelvin, mole and ampere
- India on May 20, 2019, joined several nations across the world in implementing the new definition of four of the seven base units – kilogramme, Kelvin, mole and ampere. With this, the definition of the base units will change in the national records, including in the textbooks.
- The resolution to redefine four of the seven base units was passed by representatives of 60 countries including India at the 26th meeting of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM), which was held from November 13-16, 2018 in Versailles, France. The resolution was scheduled to come into force on May 20, 2019.
- The CGPM is the highest international body of the world for accurate and precise measurements. It comprises 60 countries and 42 Associate Members. The new change in the definitions will result in uniform and worldwide accessible SI system for international trade, high- technology manufacturing, human health and safety, protection of the environment, global climate studies and the basic science underpinning these.
RBI to establish a supervisory body to strengthen regulation of banks & NBFCs
- The Reserve Bank of India’s central board decided to create a specialised supervisory and regulatory cadre within the RBI to strengthen the supervision and regulation of commercial banks, urban cooperative banks and non-banking financial companies.
- A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Central Board here chaired by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.
- The Board reviewed the current economic situation, global and domestic challenges and various areas of operations of the Reserve Bank.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 21st May
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu calls for protecting Ongole cattle breed
- Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for protecting Ongole cattle breed. He had released a compendium on Ongole breed of cattle at Vijayawada recently and also stressed that cattle wealth is national wealth.
- Vice President Venkaiah Naidu highlighted that Brazil has imported these cattle breeds and produced hybrid Ongoles to earn huge revenue through export. While in India this cattle is neglected. Ongole cattle is an indigenous cattle breed that originates from Prakasam District in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
- The breed derives its name from the place the breed originates from, Ongole. The Ongole breed of cattle, Bos Indicus, has a great demand as it is said to possess resistance to both foot and mouth disease and mad cow disease.
Google suspends business with Huawei
- In a huge blow to Huawei, Google has suspended all business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services and cancelled its Android license.
- The move comes after the US Commerce Department added Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and 70 affiliates to its “Entity List” thus, banning the telecom giant from buying parts and components from US companies without the US government approval. It comes amid the ongoing trade war between the US and China. With the move, Google apps such as Chrome, Gmail, YouTube and Google Play will cease to exist on the upcoming Huawei phones.
- The move could impact the future of Android on smartphones made by the Chinese company and its sub-brand, Honor. It would also impact future updates to Huawei phones. Huawei largely relies on Android for the smartphones it sells outside of China.
NASA researchers found evidence of water on Ultima Thule Surface
- NASA has recently discovered evidence of water, ice and organic molecules on Ultima Thule surface.
- NASA has published the first profile of Ultima Thule revealing details about the complex space object. On Ultima Thule researchers are investigating on features like bright spots and patches, craters and pits, hills and troughs on it. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft discovered Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, nicknamed Ultima Thule early this year.
- Ultima Thule is 4 billion miles from Earth and has captured scientists’ curiosity since they discovered it had a snowman-like appearance.
Lok Sabha Election Results 2019 likely to be delayed due to tallying of VVPAT slips
- The Lok Sabha Election Results 2019 are likely to get delayed due to the process of tallying the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips of five EVMs instead of one in each assembly, as per the ruling of the Supreme Court.
- Generally, counting of votes using one VVPAT takes around an hour. With the addition of four more VVPAT, this time would go up by four hours.
- Hence, the election results, which were to be declared on May 23, will likely be delayed by a few hours.
8th Indo-Myanmar coordinated Navy patrol begins
- Navy ships from Myanmar reached Port Blair to attend the opening ceremony of the 8th Indo-Myanmar Coordinated Patrol (IMCOR) which will be held from May 20-28.
- Myanmar ships UMS King TabinShweHti and UMS Inlay would undertake a coordinated patrol (CORPAT) with Indian Naval Ship Saryu under the program.
- The ships will patrol along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) between the two countries covering a distance of roughly 725 kilometres in four days, augmented by patrol aircraft from both navies.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 20th May
ISRO to conduct seven mega missions in the next 10 years
- Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) recently announced for its upcoming mission over next 10 years. Apart from much awaited and ambitious Chandrayaan-2, some other mega missions will be conducted. Among these seven mega missions, ISRO has defined XPoSat and Aditya-L1 missions only.
- India’s second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, will be flight ready by May end. ISRO has recently declared that the spacecraft will be launched in July 2019. Xposat payload was developed by Raman Research Institute. “The spacecraft will carry Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays (POLIX) payload which will study the degree and angle of polarisation of bright X-ray sources in the energy range 5-30 keV.
- The satellite has a mission life of five years. Aditya L1, the Sun mission, may play a key role in understanding and predicting climate change on Earth. The payloads will study the solar corona. The launch may happen by mid-2020 and will be placed in ‘libration orbit’, which is about 1.5 million km from Earth.
Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise – SIMBEX-2019
- After completion of naval exercise IMDEX-19, Indian Naval ships INS Kolkata and INS Shakti would participate in annual bilateral naval exercise between India and Singapore – SIMBEX-2019. This naval exercise is scheduled from May 16 to May 22, 2019.
- Along with INS Kolkata and INS Shakti, Indian long-range maritime patrol aircraft Poseidon-8I (P8I) will also participate in SIMBEX-19. On the other side of Singapore, RSN ships Steadfast and Valiant, maritime patrol aircraft Fokker-50 (F-50) and F-16 fighter aircraft will participate.
- This exercise is aimed to extend the bridges of friendship through cultural, economic and maritime interactions with countries of east and south-east Asia. SIMBEX-19 will also relieve two-month-long deployment of INS Kolkata and INS Shakti in the South and East China Seas.
Government to introduce artificial intelligence system in MCA 21 portal
- The Union Corporate Affairs Ministry plans to introduce artificial intelligence system in the MCA21 portal in order to make the compliance process easier as well as to ensure routine enforcement activities are done regularly on autopilot basis.
- The portal is the electronic backbone for distribution of information to all the concerned stakeholders, including the regulator, corporates and investors. All the filings under the companies law are submitted to the ministry through this portal. The MCA21 system was started in 2006.
- The first phase of the e-governance initiative of the ministry was implemented by Tata Consultancy Services and the second phase is being implemented by Infosys for the period from January 2013-July 2021.
26 Maharashtra reservoirs hit zero water storage level
- According to the data released by the Water Conservation department of Maharashtra, 26 reservoirs in the state hit zero water storage level on May 18, 2019. The water storage in Aurangabad Division, which comprises Aurangabad, Beed, Hingoli, Parbhani and Osmanabad districts, was reported to be 0.43 per cent in comparison to 23.44 per cent last year.
- The other dams that have hit the zero storage level include Kadakpurna and Pentakli in Buldhana, Gosikhurd, Dina and Nand in Nagpur Division, Upper Tapi Hathnur in Jalgaon, Waki, Bham, Bhavli and Punegaon in Nashik Division, Dibhe, Ghod, Pimpalgaon Joge, Wadaj and Temghar in Pune, Bhima, Kundali Tata and Lonavala Tata in Solapur.
- The water storage in Maharashtra’s 103 large, medium and small reservoirs stood at 11.84 per cent, against 23.73 per cent last year.
Nandan Nilekani Committee on Digital Payments submits its report to RBI
- Nandan Nilekani-headed High-Level Committee on Deepening of Digital Payments on May 17, 2019, submitted its report to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The Committee submitted the report after much deliberation with the consultations and various stakeholders.
- The Reserve Bank will now examine the recommendations of the Committee. If necessary, the bank will merg e the recommendations with the recently released ‘Payment Systems Vision 2021’, published on May 15, 2019.
- The RBI constituted a High-Level Committee on Deepening of Digital Payments on January 8, 2018, to encourage digitisation of payments under the Chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).The Committee was asked to submit its report within a period of 90 days from the date of its first meeting.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 18th & 19th May
India delivers replacement Mi-24 helicopters to Afghanistan
- India recently delivered the first pair of replacement Mi-24 attack helicopters to Afghanistan. Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Vinay Kumar handed over to Afghanistan Defence Minister, Asadullah Khalid.
- India had first delivered the Mi-24 Helicopters to Afghanistan in December 2015.
- India has been one of the largest donors of Mi-24 helicopters to Afghanistan and has contributed almost USD three billion as an aid to the war-torn country since 2001.
Buddha Purnima 2019
- Buddha Purnima is celebrated across the globe to mark the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, later the Gautama Buddha—founder of Buddhism. Buddha Purnima is also known as Vaisakha or Vesakha and celebrations of Lord Buddha’s birth are observed on this highly auspicious day.
- Buddhists across the globe celebrate this day by following some rituals and prayer to the lord. Buddha Purnima is usually the most important festival of the year for Buddhism followers.
- It falls on May 18 this year. it is celebrated in many Asian and foreign lands too, such as Cambodia, Japan, China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines and Australia, Canada, USA to name a few, however in different ways.
Indian Navy successfully test-fires MRSAM missile
- The Indian Navy has successfully test-fired a Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM), achieving a significant milestone to enhance its anti-air warfare capability. The test-firing of the missile was undertaken on the western seaboard by Indian naval ships Kochi and Chennai.
- The test-firing of the missile was carried out jointly by the Indian Navy, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries. The DRDO has jointly developed the missile in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries.
- The MRSAM has been manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited. The ministry said the missiles will significantly enhance the combat effectiveness of the Indian Navy.
Taiwan becomes first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage
- Taiwan has legalised same-sex marriage, the first of any Asian state, with the passage of legislation giving gay couples the right to marry. Lawmakers comfortably passed part of a bill that would allow gay couples to enter into “exclusive permanent unions” and apply for marriage registration with government agencies.
- Thousands of gay rights supporters gathered in heavy rain outside parliament in the capital, Taipei, to watch a live broadcast of the proceedings. Supporters shouted “First in Asia!” after the article was passed.
- Two other versions backed by conservatives avoided the word marriage and described same-sex partnerships as a “same-sex familial relationship” or “same-sex union”.Taiwan, whose annual gay pride parade is the largest in the region, has long been a hub for LGBT activism. Advocates called for other Asian nations to follow its lead.
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is observed
- World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is being observed across the globe on 17th May. The purpose of observing the Day is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
- The theme for this year is bridging the standardization gap. In his message, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres said technological advances such as 5G and the Internet of Things have the potential to deliver considerable social and economic benefits and to drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
- 17th May also marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.
The World Celebrates the Second International Day of Light on 16 May 2019
- May 16th 2019 marks the global celebration of the second edition of the International Day of Light.
- The International Day of Light is an official observance of UNESCO that provides an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications, and energy.
- The broad theme of light allows many different sectors of society worldwide to participate in activities that demonstrate how science, technology, art and culture can help achieve the goals of UNESCO – education, equality, and peace.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 17th May
Taiwan Expo 2019 begins in Delhi
- Tien Chung-Kwang, Representative of Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre and TAITRA James CF Huang, Chairman of Taiwan External Trade Development Council, inaugurated the three-day Taiwan Expo 2019 in New Delhi.
- The expo focuses on green products, health care sector, agriculture, tourism, biotechnology and electrical equipment.
- Around 150 exhibitors will showcase their products in 230 stalls.
Arunachal has India’s 35% graphite deposits: GSI Report
- A recent report published by Geological Survey of India (GSI) reveals 35% of country’s graphite deposits are found in Arunachal Pradesh. It is the largest amount of graphite found in India at one place.
- GSI showcased these numbers during its annual interactive meeting with the Department of Geology and Mining and Industries, Government of Arunachal Pradesh in Itanagar.
- Graphite is a naturally-occurring form of crystalline carbon. It is a native element mineral found in metamorphic and igneous rocks.
Lokpal Website inaugurated by Chairperson Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose
- Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, the Chairperson of the Lokpal inaugurated the website of Lokpal. The Website can be accessed at http://lo-kpal.gov.in.
- The Website has been developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC). It provides the basic information with respect to the working and functioning of the Lokpal.
- Established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, Lokpal is the first of its kind institution in India. It is a multi-member body with a Chairperson and Members.
Tennis legend Sir Andy Murray receives Knighthood at Buckingham Palace
- Three-time Grand Slam champion, Sir Andy Murray on May 16, 2019, received the Knighthood by Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his services to tennis and charity.
- The move comes over 2 years after the Knighthood was announced in the Queen’s New Years Honours in 2016 after he won the second Wimbledon title, fetched second Olympic gold and emerged as World No. 1 in the rankings.
- Recipients of the royal honor of Knighthood are allowed to choose the occasion and timings of collecting it.
Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Vigraha decommissioned
- Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Vigraha, a frontline offshore patrol vessel, sailed into history at the sunset on Wednesday. After 29 glorious years of service from 1990 to 2019, the ship was decommissioned at the coast guard jetty here
- ICGS Vigraha was the seventh offshore patrol vessel built by the Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai and it was commissioned on April 12, 1990. The ship was later based at Visakhapatnam and has been instrumental in protecting the east coast in general and Andhra Pradesh coast in particular since then.
- ICGS Vigraha is the symbolic representation of an able-minded warrior in the battlefield and true to her name, she has brought many laurels. Vigraha has been instrumental in saving many lives at sea and helped in the apprehension of many smugglers and poachers. Among them, 275 kg silver haul was the most prominent.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 16th May
US President Donald Trump declares a national emergency
- The President of the United States, Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to protect the US computer networks from foreign adversaries. The announcement was made through an executive order that effectively bars US companies from using foreign telecoms that are believed to pose a risk to the security of the nation.
- The move has authorized US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to block transactions that involve information or communications technology that pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States.
- The executive order aims to protect the United States from foreign adversaries who are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services. The move will give the United States the power to prohibit transactions posing an unacceptable risk to national security.
MoU signed for Plantation of 10,000 Rudraksha Trees in Uttarakhand
- To create a greener ecosystem in Ganga Basin National Mission for Clean Ganga has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with HCL Foundation and INTACH.
- Its objective is to undertake the project of Plantation of Rudraksha Trees in Uttrakhand. It is a CSR initiative under Namami Gange Programme. The project aims at planting 10,000 Rudraksha trees in the Ganga Basin area in Uttarakhand in association with the local community.
- This project will also address the issue of unemployment as locals will get work in this project. Namami Gange Mission project will give inclusive and sustainable solutions for a cleaner ecosystem along the stream of 97 towns and 4,465 villages on the Ganga stem.
Nuclear Test Ban Body CTBT Offers India Observer Status
- India’s growing influence at the international level can be understood from this point that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) has recently invited India to become an ‘observer’ in its meetings.
- India will get rights to data from the International Monitoring System – IMS, also to a network that includes 337 facilities (321 monitoring stations and 16 radionuclide labs) located in 89 countries. This is an advanced system that can be detected even small nuclear explosions using seismology, hydroacoustics, infrasound and radionuclide technology. India will be able to access information of its neighbouring countries and their nuclear initiatives.
- The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is an international treaty that is banning all nuclear explosions – everywhere, by everyone.
India joins global initiative to combat online extremism
- India joined a major global initiative ‘Christchurch call to action’ to combat terrorism and extremism online, and make the internet a safe and secure place to be. The initiative was launched during the “Online Extremism Summit” in Paris jointly by India, France, New Zealand, Canada and several other countries with an aim to prevent the abuse of the internet.
- A total of 18 countries including the European Union supported the initiative along with social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Soon after the launch, Facebook announced that it had intensified live streaming rules and will in future ban Facebook Live users who ever shared terrorist or extremist content online.
- The ‘Christchurch call to action’ initiative has been named after the New Zealand city Christchurch, where over 50 people were killed and over 20 got injured in shootings at two mosques.
ICC World Cup 2019: First Time an Anti-corruption officer for each team
- In a first, all the 10 participating teams of the upcoming ODI World Cup will have a dedicated anti-corruption officer attached with it to deliver a corruption-free tournament.
- The ICC will attach an anti-corruption official with each team starting from warm-up matches till the end of the tournament.
- The move was part of the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit’s effort to deliver a fixing and corruption-free World Cup and also an effort to build better relations between players and the ACU.
China blocks all editions of Wikipedia
- China has blocked all the language editions of the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) earlier reported that the country began the process of blocking language editions of Wikipedia in April 2019.
- Previously, China had enforced a ban on viewing the Chinese version of Wikipedia along with some sensitive pages such as Dalai Lama and the Tiananmen massacre. Though China blocked most of the editions of Wikipedia along with the Chinese language version in 2015, some of them were still accessible.
- The block comes at a time when Chinese authorities under the Chinese President Xi Jinping are placing controls on internet usage and are trying hard to clean out ‘Great Firewall’ proxy tools such as Virtual Private Network (VPN) software.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 15th May
Indian Navy introduces entrance test for direct entry of officers
- The Indian Navy on May 14, 2019, introduced a new test called the Indian Navy Entrance Test (INET) for the direct entry of officers after graduation.
- INET is a new computer-based entrance test introduced, which will be conducted twice a year from September 2019 in various centres across the city.
- The entrance examination will be held along with the University Entry Scheme (UES), Combined Defence Services (CDS), Naval Academy exam and National Defence Academy.
Paytm launches credit card
- Paytm launched a credit card in partnership with the Citigroup thereby, widening its financial product base. Paytm, has taken a huge step forward in the competitive digital payments market.
- For the Citigroup, it will give the banking institution an opportunity to vastly expand its credit card customer base in the country.
- Paytm’s popularity grew three-fold when the Indian Government in a shocking announcement decided to ban high-value currency notes in November 2016.
Moon is shrinking and shaking: NASA Study
- In a recent study published by NASA, it has been revealed that the moon is shrinking from millions of years and still counting. NASA study said that the moon is shrinking as its interior cools, getting more than about 150 feet skinnier over the last several hundred million years.
- NASA claims that as per first evidence these faults of shrinking is still active and producing moonquakes today as the Moon continues to gradually cool.
- NASA study finds that some of these quakes can be fairly strong, around five on the Richter scale.
India to co-chair Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)
- India was chosen as the Co-chair of the Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) for the fiscal year 2020. The decision was taken unanimously during the meeting of the GFDRR in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 6th Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
- This will be the first time that India will co-chair the CG meeting of GFDRR. India became a Member of the Consultative Group (CG) of GFDRR in 2015.The move will enable India to work with the member countries and organisations with an aim to advance the disaster risk reduction agenda during the period it holds the position.
- India will pursue a focused agenda and will take forward the ongoing work streams of GFDRR. The “Disaster Resilient Infrastructure” (DRI) will be a central theme for India’s engagement with the GFDRR partners and stakeholders.
India’s GS Lakshmi appointed first female match referee by ICC
- Former Indian cricketer, GS Lakshmi was on May 14, 2019, appointed by the International Cricket Council as the first-ever woman referee on the international panel of match referees.
- With the decision, the 51-year-old will be eligible to officiate in international games with immediate effect.GS Lakshmi’s appointment comes just a month after Australia’s Claire Polosak was appointed as the first woman umpire in men’s one-day internationals.
- Lakshmi, who was first appointed as a match referee in domestic women’s cricket in 2008-09, has overseen three women’s one-day internationals and three women’s Twenty20s.
Aarohi Pandit Flies Solo Across Atlantic Ocean, Sets World Record
- Mumbai based Aarohi Pandit, 23, became the world’s first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). She achieved the feat after flying from Wick in the UK to the Iqaluit Airport in Canada on 13th May.
- The journey was divided into five parts, which included stops at Iceland and Greenland. Additionally, Pandit also became the first woman to have successfully completed a solo flight journey across Greenland Icecap in an LSA.
- Aarohi Pandit is flying across the globe as a part of the WE! Women Empower Expedition. Under it, an all-women team is set to circumnavigate the world in LSA for the first time. It is noteworthy that Pandit, along with her 22-year-old fellow pilot for the expedition Keithair Misquitta, are the only women in India to have a license to charter LSA flights.
Justice A K Sikri appointed NBSA Chairperson
- Former Supreme Court judge Justice A.K. Sikri has been appointed Chairperson of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA). He will assume office on May 26 and succeed Justice R.V. Raveendran who completes his term on May 25.
- Justice Sikri has delivered several verdicts in the area of human rights — on transgenders (given the legal status of the third gender) and euthanasia (passive euthanasia for patients in a permanent vegetative state).
- Other key verdicts include compensation for people with disability, child trafficking, child labour, juvenile delinquents and others. The NBSA is a self-regulatory body that implements the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and Guidelines for its member news broadcasters.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 14th May
Home Ministry cancels the registration of Infosys Foundation
- The Union Home Ministry has terminated the registration of NGO Infosys Foundation for allegedly violating the norms in receiving foreign grants. Under the Ministry’s rules, all non-governmental organizations have to mandatorily register under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act to receive funding.
- The Ministry had served a show cause notice to Infosys Foundation in 2018 for failing to submit its annual income and expenditure statement of funding received from foreign sources up to six years.
- According to FCRA guidelines, registered organizations are required to submit an online annual report electronically with scanned copies of income and expenditure statement, receipts and payment account, the balance sheet for every financial year within nine months of the closure of the financial year.
Ayush Ministry’s new advisory bars non-AYUSH scientists from researching on AYUSH drugs
- The Union Ministry of AYUSH recently issued an advisory barring non-AYUSH scientists from undertaking any research work on AYUSH drugs and treatments. The decision has shaken up the Indian research community.
- The advisory virtually bars non-AYUSH scientists from undertaking any research work on AYUSH drugs and treatments.
- It also bars editors of scientific and medical journals from publishing the work of non-AYUSH researchers whose findings may cause”damage to the image of traditional healthcare systems”.
ISRO inaugurates ‘Yuvika 2019’: The Young Scientist Programme
- The ISRO Young Scientist Programme YUVIKA 2019, which received an astounding response from students across the country, has been inaugurated. The Indian Space Research Organisation, in a fresh announcement today, stated that YUVIKA 2019, which is a two-week summer vacation residential programme, will be conducted from 13 to 26 May 2019.
- The Young Scientist Programme will be inaugurated by ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. A total of 107 students would be fortunate to get trained by ISRO Scientists as part of YUVIKA 2019. Diverse science topics ranging from Environment science, Renewable Energy, Astronomy, Rocket engineering, Space applications as well soft skill improvement modules such as teamwork, communication, leadership etc. have been selected as part of two-week course curriculum.
- The course material has already been pre-loaded on Tablets, which the students will be provided with during the programme. Students will also get to personally visit ISRO laboratories and interact with senior ISRO scientists.
Plastic Waste included in the Basel Convention
- Around 180 member countries, except the United States, amended the 1989 Basel Convention to include plastic waste, a decision that aims to protect the environment and human health from the damaging effects of harmful chemicals and waste.
- The decision was taken during the 14th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam & Stockholm Conventions under the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in Geneva, Switzerland. Around 1,400 representatives deliberated on this pressing environmental issue for 12 days before reaching to the conclusion.
- The meeting was held under the theme of “Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”. Basel Convention is an international treaty that aims to reduce the movement of hazardous waste between the countries. It particularly focuses on preventing the transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries.
Retired SC Justice MB Lokur appointed to Supreme Court of Fiji
- Justice Madan Bhimarao Lokur, who retired as the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court in December 2018, has been appointed to the Supreme Court of Fiji’s non-resident panel for the duration of three years.
- Justice Lokur received the appointment letter for the same on December 31, 2018, a day after he retired from the Supreme Court of India. Speaking on the same, Justice Lokur said that he was invited by the Chief Justice of Fiji to be part of the Fiji Supreme Court and he accepted the offer.
- The Supreme Court of Fiji consists of the Chief Justice, who is also the President of the Supreme Court, all Justices of Appeal who are also members of the Court of Appeal and others specifically appointed as Supreme Court judges.
Department of Biotechnology launched MANAV: Human Atlas Initiative
- Department of Biotechnology (DBT) working under the ministry of science and technology has recently launched human tissue mapping project called MANAV: Human Atlas Initiative.
- It has been launched to improve understanding of human physiology. The objective of this initiative is to map every single tissue of the human body to find out the deepest information and roles of tissues and cells linked to a variety of ailments.
- Through physiological and molecular mapping this programme involved in getting better biological insights, develop disease models through predictive computing and have a holistic examination and at last drug discovery.
NABARD announces Rs 700-crore venture capital fund for rural agricultural startups
- India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has recently announced for Rs. 700 crore project funds for equity investments in agriculture and rural start-ups.
- NABARD was used to contribute to other funds but it is for the first time when NABARD launched its own funds. This project was launched by Nab Ventures, an auxiliary unit of NABARD. NABARD proposed the amount of Rs 500 crore with an option to retain over-subscription of Rs 200 crore. Company names it green-shoe option.
- With this initiative, NABARD will assist those start-ups who are engaged in agriculture and rural areas’ development. It will help to boost the rural economy. When rural startups will get some funds and work for benefit of villages, it will automatically improvise rural financial condition.
Nirbhaya rape case investigator Chhaya Sharma gets McCain Institute award
- Chhaya Sharma, an officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS) and investigation officer of the Nirbhaya rape case was felicitated with McCain Institute Award 2019. Chhaya Sharma is serving as deputy inspector general (DIG) at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India.
- She was awarded the McCain Institute Award for Courage and Leadership. McCain writes that she has protected human rights throughout his career. During an investigation of various sensitive criminal cases and protecting human rights she was leading various teams in 19 years.
- Her approach is always a victim-centric through her numerous investigations of serious crimes, particularly against women and children.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 13th May
International Nurses Day observed globally
- International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on 12 May. It celebrates the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. The theme for 2019 International Nurses Day 2019 is – “Nurses – A Voice to Lead – Health for All”.
- Florence Nightingale (the foundational philosopher of the modern nursing) was born on 12 May in 1820. International Council of Nurses established the day in 1974 to be celebrated every year to highlight the importance of nurses role in providing the best healthcare services. She became an important figure of the nursing since the Crimean War during the 1850s.
- Nurses render health services to the individual, the family and the community and coordinate their services with those of related groups. The need for nursing is universal.
Hinduja brothers return to top of UK rich list
- Indian-born industrialist brother, Sri and Gopichand Hinduja, reclaimed the title of Britain’s wealthiest by posting fortunes of 22 billion pounds to their name. The industrialist brothers posted a 1.35 billion jump in their fortunes to rank at the top of The Sunday Times Rich List 2019.
- The second spot went to Mumbai-born Reuben brothers with 18.66 billion pounds.
- The Sunday Times Rich List estimates the 1,000 richest people in the United Kingdom based on identifiable wealth including land, property, other assets such as art, and shares in companies. It does not include the amount contained in people’s bank accounts, though.
National Technology Day
- It’s National Technology Day, observed on May 11 across India and the day also marks India’s progress in science and technology. For example, it was on May 11 that India conducted its nuclear missile Shakti, also known as Operation Shakti.
- The National Technology Day was coined by late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- While 2018 theme was “Science and Technology for a Sustainable Future”, in 2017, it was around inclusive and sustainable growth.
IMF bails out cash-strapped Pakistan with a new loan
- Following months of negotiations, Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund have reached an agreement, wherein the IMF has agreed to provide the cash-strapped nation with bailout fund worth $6 billion.
- The agreement is Pakistan’s 22nd bailout with the IMF, as the country struggles to deal with its falling economy, triggered by low growth, soaring inflation and mounting debt. Under the new loan deal, Pakistan will receive $6 billion from the IMF in addition to $2 to $3 billion from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank over the next three years.
- The agreement comes weeks after former World Bank official Sheikh was appointed as Pakistan’s adviser on finance, following the sudden resignation of Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar.
RIL acquires toy retailer Hamleys
- Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) acquired toy retailer Hamleys in 67.96 million pounds all-cash deal.
- The move would assist Reliance to become a major player in the global toy market.
- Hamley was owned by C Banner International, a Chinese fashion conglomerate, since 2015 and was founded in 1881 by William Hamley.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 11th & 12th May
IAF gets its first Apache Guardian attack helicopter in the US
- The Indian Air Force has received its first Apache Guardian attack helicopter. The Apache Guardian attack helicopter was formally handed over to India on May 10 at the chopper production facility in Arizona, US.
- India signed a contract for 22 of the Apache Guardian choppers with the US in September 2015. Air Marshal AS Butola, who represented the Indian Air Force, accepted the first Apache in a ceremony at Boeing production facility where US government representatives were also present.
- The first batch of these helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by July.
Konkan Railways signs an agreement with Nepal
- Konkan Railways Corporation Ltd (KRCL) on Friday signed an agreement with Nepal’s Department of Railways under which the former will supply two 1600 HP DEMU train sets.
- The said trains will run on the 34 km long stretch between Jayanagar in India and Kurtha in Nepal. Manufactured by the Integrated Coach Factory located in Chennai, each train will consist of three coaches, including an air-conditioned coach.
- The Jayanagar-Kurtha Railway Link has been built by IRCON with a financial grant from the Government of India (GoI) under the India-Nepal Development Partnership program.
India to host WTO Ministerial Meeting of Developing Countries
- India has convened a WTO (World Trade Organization) ministerial meeting of 16 developing and six least developed countries starting today.
- Issues such as impasse on the appointment of WTO’s appellate body members and way forward on reforms at the global trade body would be discussed in the meeting. The meeting is being held at a time when the multilateral rules-based trading system is facing serious and grave challenges.
- The 22 countries would also try to build consensus on how to move forward on the WTO reforms while preserving the fundamentals of the multilateral trading system.
The inaugural edition of world’s first women’s cricket magazine ‘CRICZONE’ hits stands
- The inaugural issue of world’s first exclusive women’s cricket magazine ‘Criczone’ was released with Indian team vice-captain Smriti Mandhana featuring as the cover story.
- Top international cricketers like Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana along with overseas players like Danielle Wyatt, Sophie Devine attended the event which is held on the sidelines of the inaugural women’s T20 challenge.
- It is a one-stop solution, exclusively dedicated to providing updates, articles, news, interviews etc. from the world of women’s cricket. The magazine is being published by Yash Lahoti.
Justice A S Oka sworn-in as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court
- Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka was sworn-in as the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court here on Friday. Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R Vala administered the oath of office to Justice Oka at the Raj Bhavan.
- Oka took the oath in English as the new Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court at the Glass House in Raj Bhavan. Justice Oka, 58, of the Bombay High Court, succeeded Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, who was elevated as a Supreme Court judge in January.
- He has given many landmark judgements including those revolving around noise pollution, the rights of atheists and the right to give “no religion” as an option in government application forms, a judgement striking down the beef ban in Maharashtra and encouraging prison reforms, among others.
Ireland declares a climate emergency
- Ireland on May 9, 2019, became the second nation in the world after Britain to declare a climate emergency. The Irish Parliament accepted an amendment to a parliamentary report declaring the emergency without a vote. The parliamentary report also called upon the parliament to examine how the Irish government can improve its response to the issue of biodiversity loss.
- The decision was hailed by environmental campaigners who called it as historic. The declaration of the emergency is a call for governments across the world to change their behaviour towards the climate and biodiversity in profound ways, on a sustained basis.
- The also calls for the government to fast track legislative changes with respect to climate deterioration. It also involves drastic cut down of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
World Migratory Bird Day 2019
- In 2019, World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated on May 11 and October 12. The celebration sets in motion a number of participant-created events around the world that take place over the next few days.
- World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) started in 2006 and is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It has a global outreach and is an effective tool to help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them.
- Every year people around the world take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, education programs, exhibitions and bird-watching excursions to celebrate WMBD. All these activities can also be undertaken at any time on the year because that countries or regions observing the peak of migrations at different times, but the main day for international celebrations is May 11.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 10th May
WHO partners with IFBA to eliminate Trans Fat
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has partnered with the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) to achieve its target under ‘REPLACE Strategy’ of eliminating Trans-fat from industrially produced global food supply by 2023.
- As per WHO, Trans-fat (worst form of fat in food) is responsible for more than 5,00,000 deaths each year from coronary heart disease globally.
- Therefore, eliminating Trans Fat from the food supply by 2023 is one of the most effective and simplest ways to save lives and simultaneously creating a healthier food supply.
Croatian World Cupper Igor Stimac set to be appointed Indian football team coach
- Former Croatia international and manager Igor Stimac will be appointed as the Indian men’s team coach after the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF).
- His name was recommended by All India Football Federation’s (AIFF, is governing body of association football in India) technical committee, headed by Shyam Thapa.
- His first assignment as Indian men’s football team coach will be upcoming ‘King’s Cup’ 2019 in Thailand, where India in its first match will face Curacao, a Caribbean nation.
Samsung unveils world’s highest-resolution image sensor
- Samsung Electronics Co on Thursday introduced the world’s highest-resolution image sensor, with 64 megapixels for smartphones, to meet the growing demand for mobile devices with better image quality.
- Samsung unveiled two new 0.8-micrometer pixel image sensors — the 64-megapixel ISOCELL Bright GW1 and the 48-megapixel ISOCELL Bright GM2, expanding its 0.8-micrometer pixel image sensor lineup, the smallest pixel size currently available in the market.
- The world’s biggest smartphone vendor has focused on improving camera function across its range of smartphones, as more people consider picture quality to be one of the most important features when buying new devices, Yonhap news agency reported.
Singapore Criminalises Publication of Fake News.
- Singapore has passed a law (The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill) which criminalises the publication of fake news in the country and allows the government to block and order the removal of such content.
- The law bans falsehoods that are prejudicial to Singapore or likely to influence elections and requires service providers to remove such content or allows the government to block it. Offenders could face a jail term of up to 10 years and hefty fines.
- As per many Human Rights Watch, it is a “disaster for online expression by ordinary Singaporeans” and a powerful step against the independence of online news portals.
India Joins Naval Exercises By US, Philippines, Japan In South China Sea
- Indian Navy on Thursday participated with the navies of the US, the Philippines and Japan in their first joint naval exercise in the disputed South China Sea, where China is flexing its muscle.
- The vessels included Indian destroyer INS Kolkata and tanker INS Shakti, a guided missile destroyer from the US Pacific Fleet, Japanese aircraft carrier Izumo and the Philippines patrol vessel Andres Bonifacio, the US Navy said in a statement.
- It showcased India’s commitment to enhance interoperability with like-minded countries for ensuring safe maritime environment.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 9th May
World Red Cross day celebrated across the world
- World Red Cross is celebrated on May 08 every year to pay tribute to the people participated in the event as well as remembering their contribution to helping people in need. This is basically an annual celebration of the principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This day is celebrated on this day because it marks the birth anniversary of Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
- The theme for World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day 2019 is “love”, which focus on asking people about what they love about Red Cross and Red Crescent.
- First Red Cross Day was celebrated in 1948 when it was officially declared as World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. It was earlier known as ‘Red Cross Truce’ and it was studied by an International Commission established at the 14th International Conference of the Red Cross.
Global Road Safety Week 2019 celebrated
- Fifth global road safety week is being celebrated between May 06 to 12, 2019. The theme for this year is -“Leadership for road safety”. United Nation believes that global goals can be achieved only if precious life is safe.
- To make it sure, the UN has launched action through the ongoing campaign: Save Lives #SpeakUp.The #SpeakUp campaign runs on the philosophy of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. Many countries started adopting the first global Decade of Action on May 10, 2011.
- The Global Plan for the Decade of Action outlines steps towards improving road safety within 5 pillars of activity: road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash response.
Trump imposes harsher sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, copper and aluminium industry
- The President of the United States, Donald Trump on May 8, 2019, imposed harsher sanctions on the iron, copper, steel and aluminium industry of Iran. The move is aimed at stopping Iran from pursuing its nuclear interests and acquiring a nuclear weapon and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
- The decision comes a year after President Trump decided to pull the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal, calling it fatally flawed and one-sided and re-imposed economic sanctions against the nation.
- Trump called the deal defective at its core and said that he feared that it will allow the Iranian regime to accumulate nuclear weapons. He stated that the deal allowed the Iranian regime to preserve its nuclear infrastructure, keep enriching uranium and continue research and development.
158th birth anniversary of Tagore being celebrated today
- The 158th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore is being celebrated all over West Bengal today. Various programmes have been organised to pay respect to Gurudev Tagore. The day began with musical soirees, probhat ferry and garlanding statues and portraits of Tagore.
- Our Kolkata Correspondent reports that streams of people have converged at Jorasanko Thakurbari the birthplace of Rabindra Nath.
- The West Bengal Government has organised a special musical programme in Kolkata this afternoon to pay tributes to Gurudev Tagore. The day is also being observed in Santiniketan.
India & Turkey vow to strengthen economic relations
- India and Turkey vowed to strengthen economic relations with the aim of reaching 10 billion US dollars bilateral trade by 2020.
- Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal, who is on a three-day visit to India since May 7, held talks with Gitesh A Sarma, Secretary (West) under the institutional mechanism of foreign office consultations on Wednesday.
- Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement that Deputy Foreign Minister Onal and Secretary (West) held cordial discussions on various aspects of bilateral ties including examining opportunities for enhancing trade and investment relations.
India, China sign protocol for export of Indian Chilli Meal
- India and China have signed a protocol for export of Indian Chilli Meal from India to China.
- The move came after a meeting between the Anup Wadhawan, Commerce Secretary, and Li Guo, Vice Minister of the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC).
- During the meeting, both the sides discussed the trade-related issues such as the long pending Indian request for clearance of agricultural products. They also agreed for a quick resolution of the market access issues.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 8th May
Two Indians, among 115 UN personnel, staff honored for sacrifice in the line of duty
- An Indian police officer deployed to the UN mission in Congo and a consultant with the UN development programme killed in the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash are among 115 UN peacekeepers and staff honoured by the global organisation for their sacrifice in the line of duty.
- Police Officer Jitender Kumar serving in the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and Shikha Garg, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) consultant attached with India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, along with 113 UN personnel and staff, lost their lives in the service of peace between January 2018 and March 2019.
- 103 out of 1155 peacekeepers were African peacekeepers. At tribute ceremony, their names were read out loud and it was attended by diplomats and family members.
Indian Student Trio Emerges First Runner-up in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup World Championship
- An Indian student trio has emerged the first runner-up in Microsoft’s prestigious Imagine Cup World Championship final held in Seattle for their innovative smart automated anti-pollution and drug delivery mask.
- Aakash Bhadana and his friends Vasu Kaushik and Bharat Sundal developed “Caeli”, the world’s first smart automated anti-pollution and drug delivery mask specifically designed for asthmatic and chronic respiratory patients, which won the first position in the Asia Regional Final contest held in Sydney in February.
- The championship was won by the Team Easy Glucose from the United States which won USD 100,000 and a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Caeli is a sleek, portable, easy-to-fit-inside-your-pocket nebulizer and a customized mask. Drug doses can be scheduled through the app.
India re-elected as an observer to Arctic Council
- India has been re-elected as an observer to intergovernmental forum Arctic Council.
- The Arctic Council promotes cooperation, coordination and interaction among Arctic states, the region’s indigenous communities and other inhabitants on common issues, particularly on sustainable development and environmental protection.
- Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States are members of the Arctic Council. Indian researchers have been studying whether there is a correlation between the Indian monsoon and the Arctic region.
BRO celebrates 59th Raising Day
- The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), the leading road construction agency under the defence ministry, Tuesday celebrated its 59th Raising Day and said it was fully geared up to meet the challenges that lie ahead.
- BRO executes road construction and maintenance works along the northern and western frontiers primarily to meet the strategic requirements of the army and is responsible for over 53,000 km of roads, the ministry said in a statement.
- The BRO has also constructed roads in friendly foreign countries such as Bhutan, Myanmar, Afghanistan, thus contributing towards our strategic objectives in the region.
Stress buster serotonin may help treat the neurological decline
- In a surprising discovery, researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Mumbai have found a novel function for serotonin (a chemical that signals between neurons).
- The recent discovery establishes that serotonin is involved in the generation of new mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) in neurons, increased cellular respiration and fuel (ATP) in the cell. Serotonin’s newly identified function has been studied in mice and rats.
- If found to be true in humans, which is likely to be the case, it may have important medical implications. The team, jointly led by Vidita A. Vaidya and Ullas Kolthur-Seetharam from TIFR, in collaboration with Ashok Vaidya from KHS, provides insights into how serotonin generates more mitochondria thereby giving neurons the capacity to produce more energy and the ability to cope with stress better.
India, UK in talks to build Naval supercarrier under ‘Make in India’
- The United Kingdom is in talks with the Indian government on building a new state-of-the-art aircraft carrier along the lines of Britain’s HMS Queen Elizabeth as part of the ongoing ‘Make in India’ negotiations.
- The talks are underway for the Indian Navy to buy detailed plans for the 65,000-ton British warship to build a so-called “copycat supercarrier” to be named INS Vishal in 2022.
- The report noted that such a new Naval carrier would serve alongside India’s 45,000-ton carrier INS Vikramaditya — bought from Russia in 2004 — and the currently under-construction 40,000-ton INS Vikrant, and could give India a larger carrier fleet than Britain.
Indian-origin journalist conferred with V K Krishna Menon award
- G D ‘Robert’ Govender, an Indian-origin journalist in South Africa, has been honoured in the UK with 2019 V K Krishna Menon award for his outstanding contribution as a pioneer of decolonised journalism.
- The South Africa-born journalist was awarded posthumously during an event here on Friday to mark the 123rd birth anniversary of Indian diplomat and politician V K Krishna Menon.
- During a career spanning nearly 60 years, Govender developed a reputation as a campaigning journalist and author and was also the first journalist to call for an international boycott of South Africa’s whites-only sports teams.
India scores another UN win as Jagjit Pavadia re-elected to INCB
- India scored another victory at the United Nations Tuesday when Jagjit Pavadia was re-elected to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) for another term, posting the highest tally of 44.
- Pavadia has been a member of the International Narcotics Control Board since 2015, and second vice-president and chair of the standing committee on estimates since 2015 and 2017.
- The INCB says its an independent, quasi-judicial expert body established in 1968 as a monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions. India has been on roll at UN elections in recent year, including the most celebrated re-election of Dalveer Bhandari to the International Court of Justice in 2017, beating the UK nominee in testimony to India’s growing clout globally.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 7th May
World Asthma Day 2019 observed globally
- The World Asthma Day was observed across the globe on May 7, 2019, the first Tuesday of May 2019. The day is observed across the world to spread awareness about Asthma and its care around the world.
- The day is organised and sponsored by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) as a partnership between health care groups and asthma educators to raise awareness about asthma.
- GINA works with health care professionals and public health officials around the world to reduce asthma prevalence, morbidity, and mortality. GINA is also one of the founding participants in the World Health Organization’s Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD).
India, US agree to strengthen economic co-operation
- India and the United States have agreed to strengthen economic co-operation and bilateral trade by ensuring greater collaboration amongst stakeholders, including government, businesses and entrepreneurs.
- This was agreed upon during a bilateral trade meeting that was held between the two countries in New Delhi.
- The meeting was co-chaired by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
Justice PR Ramachandra Menon sworn-in as Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh HC
- Justice PR Ramachandra Menon was sworn-in as the Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court. The office the Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh fell vacant after the resignation of Chief Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi following his appointment as Judicial Member in the Lokpal.
- He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Anandiben Patel at Raj Bhawan Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
- Menon’s name was recommended for the position of Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court by Supreme Court Collegium on April 8, 2019, following which, he was appointed for the said position by President Ram Nath Kovind. He earlier served as a Judge in the Kerala High Court.
Sushma Swaraj to attend Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting
- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan later in May 2019.
- The two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting will conclude on May 22, 2019, a day ahead of the announcement of the Lok Sabha Election 2019 results.
- The meeting assumes significance as it will be held ahead of the planned heads of government meeting in Bishkek on June 14-15, 2019. This meeting is expected to be attended by PM Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Imran Khan.
US may propose a hike in H-1B visa application fee
- US Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta announced that the Trump administration may propose a hike in the H-1B visa application fee.
- The hike in application fee will be aimed at increasing funding for the expansion of an apprentice programme, which trains American youths in technology-related activities.
- However, Acosta did not give details of the proposed increase in the H-1B filing fee. If H-1B filing fees increases, the Indian IT companies, which account for a large number of H-1B applications, are likely to face the additional financial burden.
Karnataka takes steps to limit the weight of School Bags
- The circular, issued by the department of primary and secondary education, issued clear guidelines on the upper limits that school bags can weigh. As per the circular, bags of students of Class I and II can only weigh around 1.5kg to 2kg while those of Class III, IV and V can weigh 2kg to 3kg.
- Students from Class VI-VIII can have their bags weighing only up to 3kg-4kg and those of Class IX and X can weigh up to 5kg.
- This direction is binding on schools across the state from this academic year. The order announced that students of Classes I and II should not be given homework. Also, their notebooks cannot exceed 100 pages. Also, schools are directed to observe every third Saturday of the month as ‘Bagless Day’. On this day, teachers are expected to engage students in educational extracurricular and cultural activities. The order also directs schools to make provisions where students could drop their textbooks instead of carrying them home on a daily basis.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 6th May
Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Phase 5: Voting held in 51 Constituencies
- The voting for the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 was held on May 6, 2019, in 51 constituencies spread over seven states.
- The polling was held for 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 12 in Rajasthan, 7 each in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, 5 in Bihar and 4 in Jharkhand.
- In Jammu and Kashmir, polling was held in Pulwama and Shopian districts of Anantnag and Ladakh constituencies.
Indian Navy launches fourth Scorpene class submarine ‘INS Vela’
- The Indian Navy on May 6, 2019, launched the fourth Scorpene class Submarine of Project 75 ‘INS Vela’ at the Kanhoji Angre Wet Basin of Mazagon Dock Limited at Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- The submarine will now undergo rigorous trials and tests in both harbour and sea phases before induction into the Indian Navy.
- The submarine was manufactured by Mazagon Dock Limited, with the help of the main collaborator Naval Group, France (formerly DCNS).
Ratan Tata invests in Ola Electric Mobility
- Ratan Tata, the Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, invested in Ola Electric Mobility (OEM), the electric vehicle business of cab aggregator Ola.
- However, the details of the investment were not disclosed. Tata is also an early investor in ANI Technologies, Ola’s parent company. He had invested in ANI Technologies in July 2015.
- In March 2019, the Ola Electric Mobility had raised Rs 400 crore in a funding round led by Tiger Global and Matrix India.
Climate Emergency declared in England
- UK Parliament recently passed a motion of an Environment and Climate Emergency. The UK has become the first country to declare such an emergency in the world.
- The declaration of an emergency was one of the key demands put to the government by environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion, in a series of protests over recent weeks.
- Before this, Welsh and Scottish governments had both declared a climate emergency. However, the government has not cleared what “climate emergency” means, but several cities, including Bristol and London, have already declared their own emergencies.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 4th & 5th May
Former ISRO Chairman awarded France’s Highest Civilian Honour
- Former ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar was conferred with France’s highest civilian honour, Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur, for his contribution to India-France space cooperation.
- Kumar was conferred with the prestigious honour by France’s Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler on behalf of the French President.
- A S Kiran Kumar served as the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation from 2015 to 2018. He was succeeded by K Sivan, the former Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center and Liquid Propulsion centre. He currently holds the Chair of the ISRO Committee on Earth Observation Satellites.
ISRO to launch radar imaging satellite ‘RISAT 2BR1’
- India is planning to launch its latest radar imaging satellite RISAT 2BR1 towards the end of May 2019 on one of the variants of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket.
- The rocket that would carry the radar imaging satellite is designated as PSLV-C46 as per ISRO’s numbering system. Following the launch of RISAT 2BR1, ISRO will send up a cartography satellite Cartosat-3.
- The RISAT, which was first deployed in orbit on April 20, 2009, as the RISAT-2, uses synthetic aperture radars (SAR) to provide Indian forces with all-weather surveillance and observation, which are crucial to notice any potential threat or malicious activity around the nation’s borders. Following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the launch of RISAT-2 was prioritised over RISAT- 1, as its C-band SAR radar was not yet ready and RISAT -2 carried an Israeli-built X-band radar.
Zero Pendency Courts Project
- A Delhi High Court’s pilot project report on the backlog of cases has said the Capital needed 43 more judges above the current strength of 143 to clear all the pending cases in one year. The ‘Zero Pendency Courts Project’ is a one-of-its-kind project in India aimed to study the life cycle of cases to come up with optimal timelines for cases.
- The primary goal of the project was to study the flow of cases in the absence of backlog. The report said with a lesser number of judges, the workload of an individual judge would increase. “It is therefore important to arrive at an optimal judge strength to handle the cases pending in the system,” it said.
- It suggested bumping up the current strength of judges from 143 to an “ideal” 186 judges to clear all the pending cases in one year.
Nepali teen dances for continuous 126-hour to set a new world record
- A Nepali teenager danced continuously for 126 hours to set a Guinness World Records on ‘Longest Dancing Marathon by an Individual’, a feat previously held by an Indian.
- Bandana, a resident of Dhankuta district in eastern Nepal, said she received the official confirmation from the Guinness Records.
- Bandana beat the record set by Kalamandalam Hemalatha, who danced continuously for 123 hours and 15 minutes in 2011.
SpaceX Dragon Heads to Space Station After Successful Launch
- SpaceX has successfully launched a cargo mission for NASA to the International Space Station (ISS), its fifth launch of the year, after being delayed by a few days due to a couple of issues. SpaceX successfully launched its 17th commercial cargo mission to the International Space Station.
- The spacecraft will remain at the space station for about four weeks before returning to Earth with more than 1,900 kg of research and return cargo.
- Loaded with about 2,500 kg of research, supplies and hardware for crew members living and working on the orbiting laboratory, the spacecraft launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to reach the ISS on May 6. The spacecraft will remain at the space station for about four weeks before returning to Earth with more than 1,900 kg of research and return cargo.
Maha Vajiralongkorn crowned as Thailand king
- Maha Vajiralongkorn was officially crowned as king of Thailand in a spectacular yet centuries-old coronation ceremony held at the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The island country is estimated to spend more than $30 million in the three-day ceremony, which is being held after almost seventy years. The last time such a ceremony took place was in 1950 for King Adulyadej, also known as Rama IX.
- Vajiralongkorn, who is the tenth monarch of the reigning Chakri dynasty, ascended the throne after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016 and has since been dispatching his duties as a king. Vajiralongkorn, also called Rama X, had requested for time to mourn the death of his father before he acceded to the throne.
- Thai kings are regarded as almost divine and are seen as a unifying presence in the country. Kings are protected by the world’s strictest lese majeste laws, which makes criticism of them and other top royals punishable by up to 15 years in prison. With the absolute rule by kings ending in 1932, it ushered in a constitutional monarchy.
Gujarat: shops, businesses can remain open 24X7 now
- Shops and other businesses in Gujarat can remain open round the clock now with the Gujarat Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 2019 coming into force from May 1, the government said.
- With this, commercial establishments in municipal corporations limits, or those near national highways, railway stations, state transport depots, hospitals and petrol pumps will be allowed to operate 24 hours. The shops and commercial entities operating near state highways and within municipality limits can now operate between 6 am to 2 am.
- Employees will get twice the regular salary for working overtime, against the one-and-a-half-time as provided under the earlier act. Working hours for women employees can be between 6 am and 9 pm, which could be relaxed only if a written request is made and after the authorities consider safety issues.
RBI penalises Vodafone m-pesa, PhonePe and three others over regulatory violations
- The Reserve Bank of India has imposed penalties on five prepaid payment instrument (PPI) issuers, including Vodafone m-pesa and PhonePe, for violation of regulatory norms.
- Also, penalties have been imposed on Western Union Financial Services Inc and MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc, both US firms, for non-compliance of guidelines. A penalty of Rs 3.05 crore has been imposed on Vodafone m-pesa and Rs 1 crore each on Mobile Payments, PhonePe, Private and GI Technology.
- A penalty of Rs 5 lakh has been imposed on Y-Cash Software Solutions. The RBI said it has imposed a penalty of Rs 29,66,959 and Rs 10,11,653 on Western Union Financial Services Inc, USA, and MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc, USA, respectively, for non-compliance of regulatory guidelines.
Navy’s Missile Destroyer INS Ranjit to Be Decommissioned on 6 May
- Frontline missile destroyer of the Indian Navy INS Ranjit would be decommissioned at the naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam on Saturday, 6 May after serving for 36 years. INS Ranjit, the third of the five Kashin-class destroyers built by erstwhile USSR, was commissioned in 1983. The officer went on to serve as the Chief of Naval Staff during 1996-98.
- Over the years, the ship has the distinction of serving in both western and eastern seaboard and has been the flagship of both the western and eastern Fleets. With a motto of ‘Sada Rane Jayate’ or ‘Ever Victorious in Battle’, INS Ranjit has been at the forefront in keeping the nation secure and participated in a number of operations
- As the sun sets on 9 May 2019, the naval ensign and the commissioning pennant would be lowered for the last time onboard INS Ranjit, symbolising the end of the Ranjit era in the Indian Navy.
CFTRI, DFRL Food To Cyclone-Hit Victims
- The two premier food research institutes in the city CSIR-CFTRI and DFRL are fully geared up to send food packets to cyclone-ravaged areas of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
- CFTRI (Central Food Technological Research Institute) Director Dr K.S. M.S. Raghavarao is leading the effort with staff and students fully prepared to produce about one lakh meals which will be sent to the needy places in batches.
- Meanwhile, the officers and staff in DFRL (Defence Food Research Laboratory) are also gearing up to supply nearly two tonnes of food to the cyclone victims of the three States.
Krishnamurthy Subramanian appointed as a member of Advisory Council of 15th Finance Commission
- The Chief Economic Advisor to Central government, Dr Krishnamurthy Subramanian has been included as the member of the Advisory Council of the Fifteenth Finance Commission.Dr. Krishnamurthy Subramanian will be the twelfth Member of the Council.
- The role and function of the Council is to advise the Commission on any issue or subject related to the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Commission, which may be of relevance and to assist in the preparation of any paper or research study which would enhance the Commission’s understanding on the issue contained in its ToR.
- Its functions also include helping in broadening the Commission’s ambit and understanding to seek best national and international practices on matters pertaining to fiscal devolution and improving the quality and reach and enforcement of its recommendations.
Article on Coalgate wins ACJ Award for Investigative Journalism
- The article titled ‘Coalgate 2.0’ authored by Nileena M S and published in The Caravan magazine in March last year has won the ACJ Award for Investigative Journalism, 2018.
- The final jury comprising Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Nilita Vachani and Dr A R Venkatachalapathy Friday unanimously decided on Nileena’s work as the winner.
- The award, which comprises a trophy, a citation and Rs lakh 200,000/- cash prize, was presented to the winner by John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg News, who was the chief guest at the journalism school’s annual convocation ceremony. Nileena’s story investigates the allotment of “captive coal blocks” in Chhattisgarh’s Parba East and Kanta Basan regions. The article explores deforestation, re-locations of people, loss of livelihood, and denial of forest rights to tribals. ‘Coalgate 2.0’ is a sterling example of investigative journalism in the field of financial reporting,”.
Defence ministry approves Navy’s Rs 3,600-crore deal with Russia for 10 Kamov-31 helicopters
- The defence ministry has approved the procurement of 10 Kamov Ka-31 Airborne Early Warning and Control helicopters for the Indian Navy.
- The cost of the deal would be around Rs 3,600 crore and the 10 helicopters would be deployed on the aircraft carriers and warships of the Navy including the INS Vikrant and Grigorovich-class frigates.
- The aim of the choppers is to sanitise the air space around the battle groups led by the aircraft carriers while carrying out operations in the sea or anti-submarine warfare operations.
World Press Freedom Prize 2019 awarded to Myanmar Journalists
- The World Press Freedom Prize also known as UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2019 is formally conferred every year by Director-General of UNESCO, on occasion of World Press Freedom Day observed on 3 May.
- In 2019 award would be shared by two jailed Myanmar journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo who reported on alleged human rights violations in the state of Rakhine, Myanmar. The Reuters reporters are serving a seven-year prison sentence in Myanmar. They are charged with breaking the country’s secrets law for their journalistic investigation on the military’s brutal crackdown and killings of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
- The award recognises their exceptional courage in reporting on alleged human rights violations in Myanmar’s state of Rakhine. Both Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s documentary on the taboo topic regarding crimes committed against Rohingyas landed them behind the bars. The award paid a tribute to their courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression.
World Press Freedom Day 2019
- World Press Freedom Day or World Press Day is announced by the United Nations General Assembly on 3rd May to spread awareness about the importance of Freedom of Press in functioning, information providing, its significance and to awaken the government of its duty to uphold and respect the right to freedom of expression.
- The 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day in 2019 is lead by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The theme of World Press Freedom Day 2019 is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation” which focuses on the challenges faced by media in elections and also media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 3rd May
Sri Lankan cricket legend Kumar Sangakkara named first non-British president of Marylebone Cricket Club
- Sri Lanka’s former captain Kumar Sangakkara will become first Non-British president of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
- He will take up the charge of president post on 1st October 2019 and will serve for 12 months period. His tenure at Lord’s will witness two England test matches against West Indies and Pakistan and also the launch of ‘The Hundred’, an England and Wales Cricket Board’s new 100-ball cricket format.
- He was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the MCC in 2012. Later, he joined MCC’s World Cricket committee and remains an active member since then.
Apurvi Chandela becomes world number one in 10m air rifle
- Indian shooting ace Apurvi Chandela Wednesday attained the world number one position in the women’s 10m air rifle event while compatriot Anjum Moudgil rose to number two after consistent performances in recent years.
- The rifle ace from Jaipur is among the five Indian shooters to have already secured 2020 Olympics quotas for the country.
- Chandela shot a world record score of 252.9 to clinch gold at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in February. She is a gold medallist at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Game and a bronze winner in the next edition at Gold Coast.
Afghans call for ceasefire as “Loya Jirga” Peace Summit wraps up
- A historic “loya jirga” peace summit in Kabul ended on Friday with delegates from across Afghanistan demanding an immediate and permanent ceasefire, and President Ashraf Ghani saying he was conditionally prepared to implement the call.
- This week’s loya jirga, or grand assembly, saw about 3,200 religious and tribal leaders, politicians and representatives try to find a breakthrough in Afghanistan’s gruelling conflict, which is now in its 18th year.
- This week’s jirga was a remarkable gathering of Afghans from many walks of life. Emotions rode high with attendees sharing tears, recriminations and at least one fist fight as they revisited the horrors of Afghanistan’s recent past.
Government and IIT-Delhi signs MoU to set up a Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies.
- To commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India and Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) have come together to bring the best of science and technology to implement waste management in India.
- Principal Scientific Advisor to the Govt of India, Prof K. Vijay Raghavan and Director, IIT Delhi, Prof V. Ramgopal Rao signed a Memorandum of Understanding today in New Delhi for setting up a Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies for implementation of sustainable, scientific and technological solutions for waste management, through validation and deployment of available technologies for transformation of waste to wealth.
- The waste to wealth mission project has been approved under the recently constituted Prime Minister’s Science Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC), which is an overarching body for assessment, creation and implementation of major scientific, technology and innovation interventions for India.
Vice President released a postage stamp to commemorate the 750th birth anniversary of Sri Vedanta Desikan
- The Vice President, Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu released a postage stamp to commemorate the 750th birth anniversary of Sri Vedanta Desikan in New Delhi today.
- Releasing commemorative postage stamps is an initiative to pay tribute to great contributions of visionaries like Sri Vedanta Desikan but it also aims to inspire our younger generation to follow in their footsteps.
- It emphasizes that children must internalize and practice lofty ideals of humanism, peace and compassion propagated by the great saint and spiritual icon.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 2nd May
Second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 to be launched in July
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to be launched between July 9 and 16 2019. The Chandrayaan-2’s lander will touch down near Moon’s south pole on 6th September 2019.
- It is India’s second lunar mission. It would be launched using India’s most powerful rocket GSLV MK-III from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
- Chandrayan-2 mission would land on the southern pole of the moon, which is still unexplored by any of the countries. Therefore landing of spacecraft near lunar’s south pole would be historically significant as it would give ISRO opportunity to name that site on the moon.
U.S. Commission says religious freedom in India deteriorated in 2018
- According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom 2019 report, India saw an “overall deterioration of religious freedom conditions in 2018”.
- US Commission on International Religious Freedom is a bipartisan, independent federal government commission, created by the International Religious Act of 1998.
- The Chairperson of Commission, Tenzin Dorjee gave a dissenting view. He argued that India is an open society with a robust democratic and judiciary system where religious harmony exists.
14th edition of Sino-Indian border trade opens at Nathu La
- The 14th edition of the annual Sino-Indian border trade opened at Nathu La, the frontier post at Sino-Indian border in Sikkim.
- To mark the commencement of border trade, officials and traders of both countries (India and China) were present at the border.
- After a gap of 44 years, cross border trade was resumed on 6th, July 2006. It’s reopening not only enhanced benefits of trade but has also increased tourism in Sikkim and provided a means of livelihood for people of this region.
Pakistan to observe February 27 as ‘Operation Swift Retort’
- Pakistan will observe the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) retaliatory action on 27th February 2019 against India as ‘Operation Swift Retort’
- It was mentioned at PAF’s Air Staff presentation, which is held quarterly every year to take stock of operational preparedness of the force.
- According to PAF, “swift response” demonstrates their firm resolve, capacity and capability in thwarting (opposing successfully) the criminal designs of the adversary.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sentenced in UK prison
- Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange was sentenced on 1 May 2019 to 50 weeks (about 1 year 1 month) in a British prison for breaching his bail by entering the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
- The 47-year-old Australian national was arrested when Ecuador terminated his asylum on 11th April 2019.
- He currently faces US federal conspiracy charges in response to allegations that he conspired with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to download classified databases, which is one of the largest leaks of government secrets till date.
The Indo-French joint naval exercise “Varuna 2019” begins
- The first part of the 17th edition of bilateral exercise ‘Varuna’ 2019, is being conducted between Navies of India and France off the Goa coast from 1st to 10th May 2019.
- It will be conducted in two phases, with first part of Varuna 19.1, conducted off the Goa coast from 1st to 10th May 19 and second part, Varuna 19.2, is scheduled to be held at end of May 2019 in Djibouti.
- The joint naval exercise was first initiated in 1983 and was named as ‘Varuna’ in 2001. The objective behind conducting joint operations is to develop interoperability between two navies and to foster mutual cooperation by learning from each other’s best practices.
UNSC designates Masood Azhar as global terrorist.
- The United Nation Security Council (UNSC) 1267 Committee designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” after China lifted its prolonged hold on proposal to blacklist him.
- The move is a huge diplomatic win for India. It is also a symbolic victory for India in relation to terrorism spreading from groups in Pakistan as Masood Azhar is considered a blue-eyed boy of ISI (Pakistan’s spy agency).
Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Makalu claims discovery of footprints of snowman ‘Yeti’
- Indian Army posted photographs of “mysterious footprints” that measure about 32×15 inches, on Twitter claiming that its Mountaineering Expedition team to Mt Makalu (8485m, is the 5th highest mountain in the world) sighted “the mythical beast Yeti”.
- Yeti is a mythical creature who is believed to exist in Himalayan areas of India, Nepal and Tibet. The term “Yeti” is taken from the Nepali dictionary which means ‘abominable snowman’. It is also known as ‘Meh-The’ in Tibetan folklore.
- In 1921, British explorer Charles Howard-Bury claimed to have found footsteps of Yeti near Lakhpa La pass (or Lhagba La is about 7km northeast of Mount Everest in Tibet Autonomous Region) while on an expedition in the Himalayas.
Sebi bars NSE from accessing securities market for 6 months in co-location case
- Markets regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has barred leading stock exchange NSE from accessing the securities market for a period of six months in the much-awaited order on the co-location case.
- Co-location refers to system wherein a broker’s server is kept in the exchange premises to reduce latency (as it directly influences the amount of time trader takes to interact with the market), or delay in computing terms while executing trades.
- In 2015, SEBI received complaints against NSE in which it was alleged that the system used by NSE to disseminate data through co-location facilities was partial, as it allowed users to get information before others and thereby created an information asymmetry between users.
Current Affairs May 2019 | 1st May
1 May: Labour Day
- Labour Day was observed across the world on May 1, 2019. The day is also known as International Workers Day and May Day.
- The day is celebrated by the working classes and is promoted by the international labour movement, socialists and communists.
- Over 90 countries, including North Korea, celebrate Labour Day on May 1 as a national holiday. In India, the first celebration of the Labour Day was organised in Madras (now Chennai) by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923.
Environment Ministry constitutes a committee to implement the National Clean Air Programme
- The Union Environment Ministry has constituted a new committee to implement the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which aims to cut pollution in the 102 worst affected cities by 20-30 per cent by 2024.
- The committee would be headquartered in New Delhi and its key role will include ensuring inter-ministerial organisation and cooperation, sharing information and resolving issues that could arise between ministries. The committee would also give overall guidance and directions to effectively implement the programmes.
- The main objective of the programme is comprehensive mitigation actions for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution besides augmenting the air quality monitoring network across the country and strengthening the awareness and capacity building activities.
BHEL signs MoU with ARAI for e-mobility projects
- Bharat Heavy Electricals and Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), an autonomous body affiliated to the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises have signed an MoU for cooperation on various projects related to e-mobility.
- BHEL’s unique strength as a technology developer and implementer and ARAI’s advanced facilities and expertise in design, testing and certification of mobility products, will generate synergies in implementing solutions for Electric & Trolley Bus, EV Chargers, Battery & Charger testing, etc.
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