Current Affairs 19th January 2018:
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Current Affairs Today: IMPORTANT DAY
National Disaster Response Force Raising Day:
- National Disaster Response Force, NDRF is celebrating its 13th Raising Day on January 19 2018.
- The Force was raised on 19th January, 2006, as a specialised force capable of responding to any type of disaster in the country and abroad.
- It is strategically deployed across the nation as per the vulnerability profile.
Current Affairs Today: NATIONAL
Government brings nine more cities under Smart City Mission:
- The government decided to add nine more cities to its existing list of proposed Smart Cities.
- The nine new cities added by the Housing and Urban Affairs in the proposed list includes Silvassa, Erode, Diu, Biharsharif, Bareilly, Itnanagar, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Kavaratti.
- Under the Smart City Mission, ninety cities have so far been identified through three rounds of competition for implementing various projects.
- Under the scheme, each city will get Rs 500 crore as central assistance for implementing various projects. A total investment of Rs 1.91 lakh crore has been proposed by these 90 cities.
Central Railway to install 11,000 CCTVs in all Mumbai trains:
- The Central Railway has planned to install 11,000 CCTVs in all the compartments of its local trains by the end of 2018 at an estimated cost of ₹177 crore.
- The move is aimed at improving safety in suburban trains.
- Each coach will have six cameras in its compartments and talk-back systems will also be installed in women’s compartments.
|Ministry of Railways (Cabinet minister)
|Member of Rajya Sabha
|Ministry of Railways (Minister of state)
||Manoj Sinha, Rajen Gohain
Government launches 100 accessible websites for Divyangs:
- Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot launched 100 accessible websites for Divyangs. These 100 government websites are now divyang friendly.
- The divyang-friendly websites, especially for visually impaired, use features such as screen readers and screen magnifiers, which can relay website content to the user in audio format.
- 900 such websites will be launched in a phased manner.
|Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (Cabinet minister)
||Thawar Chand Gehlot
|Member of the Rajya Sabha
|Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (Minister of state)
||Krishan Pal Gurjar, Vijay Sampla, Ramdas Athawale
CURRENT AFFAIRS: INTERNATIONAL
Britain announces public register against money laundering:
- Britain has announced the world’s first public register that requires overseas companies that own or buy property in the country to provide details of their ultimate owners.
- The government is set to publish relevant draft laws and the register will go live by early 2021.
- Properties in Britain worth 250 million dollars have been under criminal investigation for being linked to corruption since 2004.
- Over 75 per cent of the properties currently under investigation have been suspected of being used off-shore corporate secrecy, a tactic regularly seen by investigators pursuing high-level money laundering.
|Britain Prime Minister
State of emergency extended for another 6 months in Turkey:
- In Turkey, state of emergency has been extended for another six months. Turkey’s parliament voted in favour of extending emergency in place since a failed coup in summer 2016.
- The sixth extension will become effective from today at 10 am local time.
- After the latest extension, Turkey will have spent a year and a half under emergency rule, during which time the president and government are allowed to bypass parliament in passing new laws and suspend rights and freedoms.
- About 50,000 people have been jailed and over 110,000 dismissed or removed from their jobs in Turkey since the state of emergency was first declared in 2016.
||Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
India joins Australia Group export control regime:
- India joined the Australia Group export control regime, an informal forum which seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons.
- The inclusion is expected to raise India’s stature in the field of non-proliferation and help in acquiring critical technologies.
- India has managed entry into Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group despite not being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
|Australia Prime Minister
India Israel Free Trade:
- The Israeli government is pushing for a free trade agreement (FTA) with India to boost trade and investments.
- This will help to lower tax rates and removal of excessive regulations would help the private businesses to prosper.
- Free trade agreements are an important economic agreement in various areas and it helps in reducing tariffs, non-tariff barriers.
Current Affairs Today: STATE
Maharashtra government approves Rs 4,000-crore project to promote climate-resilient agriculture:
- Maharashtra Government has approved a 4,000-crore rupee project aimed at promoting climate-resilient agriculture.
- A government resolution issued recently informs that the project, named Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjivani Yojna, will be implemented in 5,142 villages across 15 districts.
- Objectives of the project will be to improve soil quality, develop foodgrain varieties which can sustain climate variations and effect necessary changes in the crop pattern as per the availability of water in a particular region.
- The scheme would cover small- and medium- scale farmers, who are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
- About 70 percent of the project’s cost will be borne by the World Bank while the state will contribute 30 percent over six years. The project will roll out in the upcoming financial year.
|Maharashtra Chief Minister
||C. Vidyasagar Rao
Kashmiri publishing house enters Limca Book of Records:
- Gulshan Books, a Kashmiri publishing house at Jammu and Kashmir’s Nehru Park has found its way into the Limca Book of Records 2018 for its wide collection of 80,000 books.
- A division of Sheikh Muhammad Usman and Sons, Gulshan Books is the only bookshop-library on a lake.
- Gulshan books have a reading room and a cafe, where a reader can enjoy their favourite books over a cup of tea or coffee for as long as they want.
- The publishing house has displayed a wide variety of books and literature based on the valley.
|Jammu and Kashmir Capital
|Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister
|Jammu and Kashmir Governor
||N N Vohra
Mumbai Police to have 8-hour duty schedule for first time:
- The Mumbai Police will be switching to an eight-hour duty schedule for officials at the constabulary and assistant sub-inspector levels, for the first time in its 154-year history.
- An estimated 75% of the 94 police stations will be covered under the schedule.
- It is expected to be extended for officials of all ranks gradually.
Current Affairs Today: BANKING and ECONOMY
Paytm Payments Bank starts physical debit card delivery:
- Paytm Payments Bank Savings Account holders can now order physical debit cards from the Paytm app.
- Earlier the bank provided only a Digital Rupay card which was linked to a user’s Paytm Payments Bank savings account.
- The users will be charged a one-time fee of ₹120 to get the card.
|Paytm Payments Bank Headquarters
||Noida, Uttar Pradesh
|Paytm Payments Bank CEO
WhatsApp may launch digital payments in India next month:
- Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp may launch its digital payments feature in India next month.
- WhatsApp is working with State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Axis Bank to integrate its Unified Payments Interface (UPI)- based payments platform.
- The platform is in beta stage with one of the partner banks.
GST rates on 29 goods, 53 services cut:
- The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has reduced the rates on 29 goods and 53 categories of services.
- Some of the services for which the rates have been cut include tailoring (18% to 5%), admission to theme parks (28% to 18%), and petroleum and natural gas mining and exploration (18% to 12%).
- The goods on which the rates have been reduced include biodiesel buses used for public transport (28% to 18%), sugar boiled confectionery, biodiesel, drinking water packed in 20 litre containers (all from 18% to 12%), and LPG supplied to domestic consumers by private distributors (18% to 5%).
- The new rates would come into effect on January 25.
Axis Bank partners NGO Srijan to mentor IIM graduates:
- Axis Bank is partnering with NGO Srijan through an initiative called Buddha Fellowship Programme to help nurture talent for the development sector.
- The bank is mentoring 15 graduates from the Indian Institutes of Management at Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Shillong, who have been taken on board by Srijan as campus hires.
- Axis Bank, along with Srijan, recently hosted a day-long event where the graduates had sessions with some of the bank’s business heads as well as other senior honchos.
|Axis Bank Headquarters
|Axis Bank Tagline
||Badhti ka naam zindagi
|Axis Bank CEO
WhatsApp Business app launched:
- Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp formally announced the launch of a new ‘Business’ application.
- Called WhatsApp Business, it’s a free-to-download Android application for business users. The application, which was available in beta for almost a month, is currently available in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Britain and the US.
- The app will roll out for other countries, and in India, in the coming weeks. WhatsApp Business will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for its 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them.
- The app will help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses and website
Current Affairs Today: APPOINTMENTS
Romania to get third Prime Minister in seven months:
- Romania’s ruling party has nominated Viorica Dancila as the country’s new PM after Mihai Tudose resigned from the post following a power struggle within the party.
- Dancila is poised to become Romania’s first female PM and the third premier to assume the office in seven months.
- Tudose’s predecessor Sorin Grindeanu was removed after a no-confidence vote against him last June.
Current Affairs Today: AWARDS
Kashmiri-origin Nus Ghani becomes first Muslim woman minister to address House of Commons:
- Nus Ghani, a Kashmiri-origin parliamentarian in the UK, became the first female Muslim minister to speak from the British Parliament dispatch box.
- Ghani, born in Birmingham to parents who migrated from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, was cheered by her colleagues as she addressed the House of Commons as a junior minister in the Department for Transport.
- The 45-year-old was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Transport by British Prime Minister Theresa May as part of her New Year reshuffle last week.
- The Conservative Party MP from Wealden was also given the assistant government whip in the reshuffle to oversee party discipline.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: DEFENCE
Rudra In Republic Day parade
- Indigenously-developed weapon system integrated helicopter Rudra will make its maiden appearance in the Republic Day parade
- The flypast by the Indian Air Force on the Republic Day parade will involve 38 aircraft, including 21 fighters, 12 helicopters and five transporters; these are lead by the group Captain Rahul Bhasin.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SCIENCE
- The scientist of NASA and NOAA recorded that 2017 as the second warmest year.
- According to the report 2016 is the warmest state.
India beats US, takes 2nd spot in most app downloads in 2017:
- India overtook the US to take the second spot for the number of app downloads in 2017, as per the App Annie 2017 Retrospective report.
- The report also said a user in India has nearly 80 apps and accesses over 40 of them per month.
- Globally, the app downloads exceeded 175 billion, while consumer spending exceeded $86 billion.
Microsoft developing AI to draw text-based images:
- Microsoft is developing an artificial intelligence technology (AI) that can generate images based on text descriptions.
- Called a ‘drawing bot’, it produces a nearly three-fold boost in image quality compared to previous state-of-the-art technique for text-to-image generation.
- It also adds details to images that weren’t in the text, indicating it has an artificial imagination.
2017 Was the Second Hottest Year on Record:
- Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since 1880, according to an analysis by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).
- Continuing the planet’s long-term warming trend, globally averaged temperatures in 2017 were 0.90 degrees Celsius (1.62 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean.
- That is second only to global temperatures in 2016. In a separate, independent analysis, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded that 2017 was the third-warmest year in their record.
Thinnest data storage device with dense memory capacity made:
- China and US-based researchers have developed “atomristors”, the thinnest data storage device with dense memory capacity.
- The team developed a 1.5-nanometre-thick memory cell using graphene (2D form of carbon) and semiconducting atomic sheets.
- Memory storage and transistors have been separate components on a microchip, but atomristors combine both functions on a single system.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SPORTS
ICC Awards 2017:
- Virat Kohli became only the third cricketer to be named the captain of International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Test and ODI teams in the same year.
- Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year – Virat Kohli (India)
- ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year – Steve Smith (Australia)
- ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year – Virat Kohli (India)
- ICC Men’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year – Hasan Ali (Pakistan)
- ICC Men’s Associate Cricketer of the Year – Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
- ICC Men’s T20I Performance of the Year – Yuzvendra Chahal (6-25 v England for India)
- David Shepherd Trophy for ICC Umpire of the Year – Marais Erasmus
- ICC Spirit of Cricket – Anya Shrubsole (England)
- ICC Fans Moment of the Year – Pakistan stun India to win the ICC Champions Trophy 2017
PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth to lead India’s charge in Asian Team Championship:
- Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu and World Number 3 Kidambi Srikanth will lead the Indian women’s and men’s team respectively at the Asian Team Championships to be held in Malaysia from February 6 to 11.
- The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has decided to field a formidable line up for this year’s edition at Alor Setar, which will serve as qualification tournament for the Thomas and Uber Cups Finals.
- Leading India’s charge in the men’s singles will be Srikanth, who clinched four titles last year. He will have strong back up from H S Prannoy, Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma who have proven that they can win against the best in the world on a given day.
- In the women’s singles category, Sindhu will take the baton in her hands along with London Games bronze medallist Saina Nehwal. Krishna Priya and Ruthvika Gaade will also be in the team.
Kohli becomes second India batsman to reach 900-point mark:
- Virat Kohli has become only the second India batsman after Sunil Gavaskar to reach the 900- point mark in the latest ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen.
- Gavaskar, one of the ICC Cricket Hall of Famers, had achieved the milestone in his 50th Test when he scored 13 and 221 at The Oval in 1979 to jump from 887 points to 916 points, which remained his career-best.
- Kohli, who recorded his 21st century at Centurion, got to the rare feat in his 65th Test after vaulting from 880 points to 900 points.
- Kohli is only the 31st batsman in the history of Test cricket to reach 900 points. Don Bradman sits on top of the table with 961 points, followed by Steve Smith (947), Len Hutton (945), Ricky Ponting and Jack Hobbs (both 942 points).
India rise three places in latest FIFA rankings:
- India jumped three rungs to be placed 102nd in the first FIFA rankings of the year released. India, who are just above 103rd placed Qatar, are ranked 14th among Asian countries.
- India garnered 13 points in the last one month for a total of 333 points. The Indians remained unbeaten in 2017, having won seven of their nine matches while two ended in draws. India had also qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
- The top 14 spots remained unchanged with reigning World Champions Germany at the top followed by Brazil, Portugal, Argentina and Belgium. Iran is the top-ranked Asian team at the 34th position.
Current Affairs Today: OBITUARY
Cartoonist Chandi Lahiri passes away:
- Eminent cartoonist Chandi Lahiri passed away in Kolkata. He was 86.
- Starting his a career as a journalist, he entertained the readers for more than five decades with his cartoons published in various English and Bengali newspapers and magazines.
- He is also called the creator of ‘pocket cartoons’ in Bengal.
- The famous cartoonist also wrote a few books like “Catoon er itibritto (the history of cartoons)” and “Scene’s Freedom: a history in cartoons 1947-1993”, that are rich in knowledge and observations about the art form.