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Important Current Affairs of 24th May

INTERNATIONAL:

US, Japan, South Korea, Australia Hold 1st Naval Drills In Western Pacific.

• US State Department approved to sell air-defense missiles for worth of more than USD 600 million to Japan and South Korea.

This approval was result of rising tension with North Korea when a pair of missile was tested by North Korea last week.

The US government has approved sale of 94 SM-2 missiles used by ships against air threats along with 12 guidance systems for a total cost of USD 313.9 million.

About South Korea

Capital: Seoul

Currency: South Korean Won

President: Moon Jae-in

About Japan

Capital: Tokyo

Currency: Japanese Yen

Prime Minister. Shinzo Abe

About USA

Capital: Washington D.C.

Currency: United States Dollar

President: Donald Trump

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Jagan Mohan Reddy To Be Sworn In As CM of Andhra Pradesh.

• YSR Congress Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy sworn in as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh on 30th of May at Vijayawada.

• Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy announced this following his party achieving inching towards a landslide victory in the legislative elections for Andhra Pradesh Legislative assembly.

He will replace N Chandrababu Naidu who resides as Andhra Pradesh CM

About YSR Congress Party

President: Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy

Founded:12 March 2011

Odisha Cong chief resigns after party's defeat in LS polls.

• Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Niranjan Patnaik on Friday announced his resignation after the party's defeat in the state. "I've sent my resignation to Congress President (Rahul Gandhi) owning moral responsibility for party's poor show in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in (Odisha)," he said. "While Congress faced defeat in the state, I too lost at the hustings," Patnaik added.

About Niranjan Patnaik:

• Niranjan Patnaik is an Indian politician, from Orissa. He is currently state president of Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee and former minister of Orissa State.

• Born: 22 February 1948 (age 71 years), Anandapur

• Party: Indian National Congress

• Residence: Bhubaneswar

• Education: Utkal University (1962)

• Siblings: Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Chittaranjan Patnaik

• Children: Navajyoti Patnaik

YSRCP wins Andhra Assembly polls, Jagan Reddy to become CM.

• YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has won the Assembly election in Andhra Pradesh, with victory in 151 of the 175 constituencies in the state. The previous ruling party Telugu Desam Party (TDP) managed to win 23 seats. Meanwhile, YSRCP leader Ummareddy Venkateswarlu has announced that party chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy will take oath as the Chief Minister on May 30.

About Jagan Mohan:

• Yeduguri Sandinti Jaganmohan Reddy, is an Indian politician from Andhra Pradesh, who is the founder and leader of YSR Congress Party, and Leader of opposition in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly since 16 May 2014. He is the son of the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

• Born: 21 December 1972 (age 46 years), Pulivendula

• Party: YSR Congress Party

• Spouse: Y S Bharati (m. 1996)

• Education: Nizam College, The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet

• Siblings: Y. S. Sharmila

• Children: Harsha Reddy, Varsha Reddy

About YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

• YSR Congress Party is a regional political party in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in India. Currently, its president is Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, the son of former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Both YSR and Jaganmohan Reddy had been members of the Indian National Congress.

• President: Y. S. Vijayamma

• Leader: Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy

• Founder: Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy

• Founded: 12 March 2011

• Wings: YSR Congress Trade Union, YSR Congress Mahila Wing, YSR Congress Student Wing, YSR Congress Youth Wing

• Headquarters: Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Theresa May to resign as the Prime Minister of UK on June 7.

• Theresa May on Friday said she will step down as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on June 7. This comes as May faced backlash by her own MPs against her latest Brexit plan. Since January, the UK Parliament has rejected the withdrawal agreement that May negotiated with the European Union (EU) three times.

About Theresa may:

• Theresa Mary May is a British politician who serves as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 until 2019. May was first elected Member of Parliament for Maidenhead in 1997, and served as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016.

• Born: 1 October 1956 (age 62 years), Eastbourne, United Kingdom

• Party: Conservative Party

• Previous offices: Home Secretary of the United Kingdom (2010–2016),

• Education: St Hugh's College, Oxford (1974–1977), University of Oxford.

About United Kingdom:

• The United Kingdom, made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is an island nation in northwestern Europe. England – birthplace of Shakespeare and The Beatles – is home to the capital, London, a globally influential centre of finance and culture. England is also site of Neolithic Stonehenge, Bath’s Roman spa and centuries-old universities at Oxford and Cambridge.

BJD wins 112 seats in Odisha, Patnaik set to be CM for 5th time in row.

• BJD won 112 seats out of 146 in 2019 Odisha Assembly polls, with party President Naveen Patnaik set for a fifth consecutive term as CM. Patnaik becomes only the third CM after Sikkim’s Pawan Chamling and West Bengal’s Jyoti Basu to achieve the feat. BJP won 23 seats, Congress 9, and CPI(M) and an independent candidate won one seat each.

About Naveen Patnaik:

• Naveen Patnaik is an Indian politician who is the current and 14th Chief Minister of Odisha. He is also the president of the Biju Janata Dal, a writer and has published four books.

• Born: 16 October 1946 (age 72 years), Cuttack

• Party: Biju Janata Dal

• Education: The Doon School, Welham Boys' School, University of Delhi, St Stephen's College, Kirori Mal College Hostel

• Siblings: Gita Mehta, Prem Patnaik.

• Parents: Biju Patnaik, Gyan Patnaik.

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Important Current Affairs of 19th & 20th May

NATIONAL

Govt plans introducing artificial intelligence system in MCA 21 portal

• The union governmentplans to introduce artificial intelligence system in the MCA 21 portal as it seeks to make the compliance process easier as well as ensure routine enforcement activities are done round-the-clock on autopilot basis.

MCA 21 is the electronic backbone for the dissemination of information to all stakeholders, including the regulator, corporates and investors.

• All filings under the companies law are submitted to the ministry through this portal.

• Ministry of Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas has said the ministry would like to introduce Artificial Intelligence in MCA 21 when version 3 of the portal is rolled out in about a year's time.

India sets Guinness World Records of largest laundry lesson with the participation of 400 young men

• India achieved a Guinness World Records of ‘largest laundry lesson’ with the participation of 400 young Indian men.

The event was a part of #sharetheload campaign.

• It was done to share the responsibility of cleaning clothes at home along with the female members of the family

The event was initiated by Ariel India.

• It was hosted by Mandira Bedi and Indian Actor Anil Kapoor also joined the function.Earlier, the largest laundry lesson was achieved by Lion NANOX Team (Japan) at Lion Hirai Research Laboratory in Edogawa, Tokyo, Japan on November 29, 2017. It had 318 people.

Kerala became first state to list Masala Bond in overseas market

• Kerala became the first state to tap into masala bond market by listing the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB)’s masala bond worth of USD 312 million (Rs 2,150 crore) in London Stock Exchange (LSE)’s International Securities Market (ISM).

• The masala bond has tenor of 5-year and a 9.723% coupon

Kerala’s state finance minister Thomas Issac executed this move.

• The main objective of this initiative was to tap masala bond market and to rebuild the infrastructure in Kerala from the proceeds of masala bond.

AGREEMENTS

BSNL partnered with Google for expanding WiFi footprint

• Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) partnered with Google on the occasion of World Telecom Day.

• The main objective is to expand BSNL Wifi footprint in the country.

Currently, there are around 38,000 BSNL Wifi hotspot locations working across the country and one can use these after buying the Wi-Fi vouchers worth of Rs 19 and more.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS

HDFC Capital Advisors launched an initiative termed as HDFC Affordable Real Estate and Technology Programme (HeART).

• HDFC Capital Advisors, (a wholly-owned subsidiary of HDFC Ltd) launched an initiative termed astHDFC Affordable Real Estate and Technology Programme (HeART), the objective of which is to mentor, partner and invest in real estate technology companies which produce innovative products that aim at lowering costs and creating efficiencies in every stage of the development cycle of the affordable housing system.

• Due to the upcoming technology disruptions, all processes like land approvals, planning and design, construction, project management, sales and facilities management would undergo a drastic change.

• HDFC Capital will also be collaborating with leading academic institutions, industry platforms and accelerators which would aid in creating an ecosystem that supports various components in the development of affordable housing.

Panel submits report on digital payments to RB

• A Reserve Bank of India-appointed committee on ‘suggestions on promoting digital payment’. It was headed by Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani has submitted its suggestions on promoting Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision 2019 - 2021, digital payments to Governor Shaktikanta Das.

• The five-member panel was encouraging digitisation of payments and enhance financial inclusion through digitisation.

RBI will examine the recommendations of the committee and will link the action points, wherever necessary, in its Payment Systems Vision 2021 for implementation.

• Panel Members: Besides Nandan Nilekani (Infosys co-founder), H R Khan (former RBI deputy governor), Kishore Sonsi (former MD and CEO of Vijaya Bank), Aruna Sharma (former secretary in ministries of IT and steel) and Sanjay Jain (chief innovation officer, Centre for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship (Cll E), 11M Ahmedabad).

RECOGNITION

Nancy Pelosi honoured with 2019 John F Kennedy Profile in Courage Award

• The USA's House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was honoured with 2019 John F Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. She was recognized for putting national interest above her party's interest, for her efforts to pass former President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law(Obama Care) and also for helping Democrats reclaim control of U.S. House during 2018 elections.

• She has served in House of Representatives since 1987.

• Previous Honorees of the award includes former Presidents Barack Obama, Gerald Ford, and prominent lawmakers Rep. John Lewis and late Sen. John McCain.

About JFK Profile in Courage Award:

It is an annual award that was created in 1989 by members of President J.F. Kennedy’s family.

It seeks to honor J.F. Kennedy and to recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage which he admired most. The award recognizes a public official (or officials) at the local, federal or state level whose actions speaks of qualities of politically courageous leadership.

OBITUARIES

I M Pei The Master Architect Passes Away

• I M Pei, a dominant figure in American architecture for more than three decades who designed the Louvre’s crystal pyramid, has passed away.

• Pei’s more than 50 projects included the Musee d’Art Moderne in Luxembourg (2006) and the 72-story Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong (1989).

• He was honored with the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal in 1979; the Grande Medaille d’Or from the Academie d’Architecture de France; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the USA.

SPORTS

PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal to spearhead Indian challenge at Sudirman Cup in China

• Sudirman Cup tournament will begin at the Guangxi Sports Center Gymnasium in Nanning, China .

• The Top shuttlers PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will spearhead the Indian challenge at this prestigious tournament.

• The Indian team will begin their campaign tomorrow against Malaysia in Group 1-D.India reached the quarterfinals twice in the 2011 and 2017 editions but failed to cross the last eight stage.

Sudirman Cup is a mixed team Badminton Championship held every two years.

• There are 12 elite teams that will take part in the tournament. Each group comprises of three teams, with the top two qualifyings for the quarterfinals.

Rafael Nadal claimed the Italian Open 2019 title

• Rafael Nadal has won a record 34th ATP Masters 1000 title by defeating Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final 2019. This is his ninth Rome title. 

• Nadal dominated in a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 win broke a tie with his longtime rival Djokovic. For his victory, Nadal received 1,000 ATP Ranking points and earned ₹7.5 crore. Djokovic produced an error-strewn performance in his 54th meeting with Nadal.

• After three semi-final defeats in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, Nadal has returned to his best form ahead of Roland Garros and clinched his first title of the season.

Result of Italian Open 2019:

Men's Singles:

Spain Rafael Nadal

Women's Singles:

Czech Republic Karolína Plíšková

Men's Doubles:

Colombia Juan Sebastián Cabal / Colombia Robert Farah

Women's Doubles:

Belarus Victoria Azarenka / Australia Ashleigh Barty.

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Important Current Affairs 18th May 2019

NATIONAL

Eleventh India Iran Joint Consular Committee Meeting (JCCM) in New Delhi

• India Iran Joint Consular Committee Meeting (JCCM) held in New Delhi on May 14, 2019. The Indian delegation was led by Amit Narang, Joint Secretary in Consular, Passport and Visa (CPV) division and the Iran delegation was led by Ali Asghar Mohammadi, Director General of Consular Affairs.

• The purpose of this meeting is to review the status of ongoing cooperation in consular and visa related issues and also to discuss the strategy to further expand people to people contacts and to promote friendly exchanges between India and Iran.

• Both countries have discussed some important issues between India and Iran:

Early conclusion of Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance on civil and commercial matters.

To extend the longer duration of e-Visa for each other nationals on reciprocity.

• About Iran

♦ Capital: Tehran

♦ Currency: Iranian Rial

Indian Navy conducted missile tests to boost its anti air warfare capabilities

• The Indian Navy conducted significant missile tests boosting its anti-air warfare capabilities. The first cooperative engagement firing of the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) or Barak-8 was held on the Western Seaboard.

• The firing was undertaken on the western seaboard by the INS Kochi and the INS Chennai wherein the missiles of both ships were controlled by one ship to intercept different aerial targets at extended ranges. Interestingly, one of the ships controlled the complete mission through its automated data links. The firing trials were carried out by Indian Navy, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

• This was achieved by network-centric operations that helped to combine the capabilities of all military platforms in a formation. The MRSAMs are fitted onboard the Kolkata Class Destroyers. These would also be fitted on all future major warships of the Indian Navy.

Kerala State to go paperless under E Vidhan initiative

• The Kerala State Assembly is undertaking E-Vidhan, an initiative to digitize all records. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in 14 months. The project is expected to cost aroundRs.40 crore.

•  Once the project is completed, all the Assembly proceedings like submission of notice by a member, question and answers, and all the other correspondence and business concerning the Assembly will go paperless.

• Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society:

•  The state has awarded the work to Cyberpark, which is run by the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society.

• It has started working on the ambitious project, E-Vidhan to enable the state legislature to go completely paperless.

• Benefits of E-Vidhan:

• The Assembly handles hundreds of various committee reports, Bills, notices, and various other reports which demand massive paperwork. E-Vidhan will completely get rid of paper in all the business transacted by the Assembly.

• The functioning of various departments linked to the Assembly and library will also be made paperless as part of the project.

• It will save around 35 crore to 49 crore annually as the state has been spending around 40 crore for taking tonnes of paper printouts. 

INTERNATIONAL:

Kami Rita sets record by scaling Mount Everest for the 23rd time

• A Nepalese Sherpa climber Kami Rita has scaled Mount Everest for a 23rd time, breaking his own record for the Most successful ascents of the world's highest peak. Rita reached the 8,850-metre (29,035-feet) summit with other climbers via the Southeast Ridge route.

• His latest ascent took him two summits clear of two fellow Sherpas, who have successfully climbed the peak 21 times.

About Kami Rita Sherpa:

• Rita belongs to Thame village of Solukhumbu district in Nepal. Rita first scaled Everest in 1994and has been making the trip nearly every year since.

•In 2017, Kami became the third person to climb Mount Everest for the 21st time. With this, he matched the achievement of Phurba Tashi Sherpa and Apa Sherpa, both of them, have retired since then. In 2018 he summited the Mt. Everest 22nd time in 2018 and set a record of most summits on Mount Everest.

Who are Sherpa climbers?

Sherpa is one of the ethnic groups native to the most mountainous regions of Nepal and the Himalayas.

APPOINTMENTS:

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank appointed Nitin Chugh as MD and CEO

• Ujjivan Small Finance Bank appointed Nitin Chugh as its Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for a period of 3 years from December 1, 2019.

• The present MD and CEO Samit Ghosh’s tenure will end on November 30, 2019.

Currently, Nitin Chugh is Group Head of Digital Banking of HDFC Bank.

• About Ujjivan Small Finance Bank

♦ Headquarter: Bengaluru, Karnataka

♦ Tagline: We belive in your belief

DAYS:

International Museum Day is observed on 18th May

• International Museum Day (IMD) is an international day that is celebrated on 18th May every year. It is coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The objective of International Museum Day (IMD) is to raise awareness of the fact that, Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples. The theme for International Museum Day (IMD) 2019 is Museums as Cultural Hubs: The future of tradition.

History:

• IMD was officially established in 1977 with the adoption of a resolution during the ICOM General Assembly in Moscow, Russia to create an annual event with the aim of further unifying the creative aspirations and efforts of museums and drawing the attention of the world public to their activity.

• ICOM suggested a theme for the first time in 1992: Museums and Environment.

• Museums in the Society:

• The role of museums in society is changing. Museums keep reinventing themselves in their quest for becoming more interactive, audience focused, community oriented, flexible, adaptable and mobile. They have become cultural hubs functioning as platforms where creativity combines with knowledge and where visitors can also co-create, share and interact.

• At once a focal point for the community and an integral part of a global network, museums offer a platform for translating local communities needs and views into a global context.

• About ICOM:

Formed on: 1946

Location: Paris, France

• The purpose of ICOM is Conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world's natural and cultural heritage.

 World AIDS Vaccine Day is celebrated on 18th May

• May 18 is celebrated as World AIDS Vaccine Day, also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. On this day, HIV vaccine advocates promote the continued urgent need for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. World AIDS Vaccine Day observance is headed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID).

• This day provides a chance to thank several volunteers, community members, health professionals and scientists those who are working and researching to find a safe and effective HIV vaccine for prevention.

HIV research also includes efforts to develop a vaccine for HIV treatment (called a therapeutic vaccine). A safe and effective therapeutic HIV vaccine could prevent HIV from advancing to AIDS, replace daily use of HIV medicines, and help eliminate HIV from the body.

NIAID:

Formed on: 1955

Headquarters: Maryland, US

NIAID is one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

NIAID's mission is to conduct basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases.

SPORTS:

Sourav Ganguly and Sanjay Manjrekar inducted in ICC commentary panel for World Cup 2019

• Former Indian cricketers Sourav Ganguly and Sanjay Manjrekar are inducted into the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) commentary panel for World Cup 2019. World Cup 2019 will begin from May 30, 2019 in England and Wales.

• The debut commentary will be made by Michael Clarke, former Australian batsman, who was the captain of the 2015 World Cup winning team and Nasser Hussain, Ian Bishop, Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Atherton, Brendon McCullum, Graeme Smith and Wasim Akram are also the part of panel.

• Other commentrators of the tournament are Shaun Pollock, Michael Slater, Mark Nicholas, Michael Holding, Isa Guha, Pommie Mbangwa, Harsha Bhogle, Simon Doull, Ian Smith, Ramiz Raja, Athar Ali Khan, and Ian Ward.

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Important Current Affairs of 17th May

NATIONAL:

Lokpal website launched in the country.

• The website of the Lokpal www.lokpal.gov.in has been launched in India. It was inaugurated by Chairperson Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose in presence of all the Members of Lokpal in New Delhi.

• It provides basic information about the working and functioning of the anti-corruption ombudsman.

• The Lokpal is the first institution of its kind in India established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013to inquire and investigate into allegations of the corruption against public functionaries.

About the Lokpal Act:

The Lokpal Act, which was passed in 2013 after a nationwide anti-corruption movement. The act provides for setting up of Lokpal at the centre and Lokayuktas in the States.

• It has jurisdiction over all Members of Parliament, central government employees, and top functionaries and public servants, including the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers in cases of corruption.

About Lokpal:

The Lokpal consists of a Chairperson and eight members. Four of the judicial members have been former Chief Justices of different High Courts and the four non-judicial members have been from All India Services/Central Services.

• First Chairperson of the Lokpal is Shri Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose is a former Judge of Supreme Court of India and was a sitting member of National Human Rights Commission.

• Judicial members are Shri Justice Dilip B Bhosale, Shri Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty, Smt. Justice Abhilasha Kumari, Shri Justice Ajay Kumar Triphathi.

Non-Judicial members are Shri Dinesh Kumar Jain, Smt. Archana Ramasundaram, Shri Mahender Singh, Dr. Indrajeet Prasad Gautam.

CBIC introduced weightage system for appointments under compassionate appointment scheme.

• Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) introduced a weighting system for appointments under compassionate grounds which will be based on nine criteria like family income, dependents, remaining service period of the deceased, etc.

• The main objective is to ensure objectivity, transparency, and uniformity in the selection process for appointments on the compassionate ground.

• The government appoints the dependent member of a government employee under compassionate appointment scheme on the grounds of medical condition or that employee dying in harness.

• The guidelines for appointment are issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and CBIC introduced a weighted points system for its cadres according to the guidelines of DoPT.

INTERNATIONAL:

China to host 2023 Asian Cup.

• China has become the sole contender to host the Asian Cup Football tournament in 2023. The announcement came after South Korea has announced to withdraw its bid to host the game.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced that it had pulled out to strategically focus on a joint bid with North Korea to host the Women’s World Cup in the same year.

• China's interest to host:

• In February 2013, China suggested interest in hosting the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. However, in September 2013, the CFA withdrew its bid.

• In late 2015, the CFA confirmed their intention to bid for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. In March 2019 China had officially proposed to bid for the 2023 Asian Cup. China has previously hosted the 2004 Asian Cup.

About 2023 AFC Asian Cup:

The 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup will be the 18th edition of the AFC Asian Cup. It is organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).  The tournament will involve 24 national teams.

Taiwan becomes 1st Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage.

• Taiwan has become the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage following a vote on Friday. In 2017, the island's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry. Taiwan's parliament was given a two-year deadline and was required to pass the changes by May 24.

About Taiwan:

• Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is a state in East Asia. Neighbouring states include the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south.

• Capital: Taipei

• Dialing code: +886

• Currency: New Taiwan dollar

• Official scripts: Traditional Chinese; Formosan Latin alphabet;

• GDP (nominal): 2018 estimate

• Official languages: Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese Mandarin, Standard Mandarin.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Sony, Microsoft partners to build future cloud solutions for gaming and content streaming.

• Sony and Microsoft have announced a partnership to build future cloud solutions supporting both gaming and content streaming alongside AI solutions.   

• PlayStation maker Sony will use Xbox maker Microsoft's data centres and Azure cloud computing service for its existing game and streaming platforms. In return, Microsoft will gain access to Sony's image sensors.

• The partnership comes as Google works to disrupt the video game world with a Stadia platform that will let players stream blockbuster titles to any device they wish. The Stadia platform will open to gamers later this year in the United States, Canada, Britain and other parts of Europe.

• Google is focused on working with game makers to tailor titles for play on Stadia. It has already provided the technology to more than 100 game developers. The Stadia tech platform aims to connect people for interactive play on PCs, tablets, smartphones and other devices.

• Streaming games from the cloud brings the potential to tap into massive amounts of computing power in data centers.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Retd. Justice Lokur appointed as a judge of SC of Fijis non resident panel.

• The Retired judge of Indian Supreme Court Justice Madan B Lokur is appointed as ajudge of Supreme Court of Fiji's non-resident panel. He has been appointed in the new role for a period of three years.

• The Supreme Court of Fiji has three sessions in a year. Justice Lokur will join it for the session from August 15 to August 30, 2019.

• Justice Lokur was retired as a Supreme Court justice on December 31, 2018. It is likely that Justice Lokur received the offer from Chief Justice of the Fiji Supreme Court on the day of his retirement itself.

About Justice Lokur:

Justice Lokur became a judge of the Supreme Court on June 4, 2012. He enrolled as an advocate in July 1977 and practised in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court.

He became an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court in 1981 and was designated Senior Advocate in 1997. He was appointed Additional Solicitor General in 1998 and continue in that position until February 1999 when he became an Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court and made a permanent judge in July 1999.

• Fiji:

President: George Konrote

Prime Minister: Frank Bainimarama

Capital: Suva

Currency: Fijian dollar (FJD)

Cyril Ramaphosa re-elected as President of South Africa.

• African National Congress (ANC) won South African elections with majority and secured 57.51 percent votes and Cyril Ramaphosa elected as South African President.

Last year in February 2018, Cyril Ramaphosa elected as South African President after President Jacob Zuma resigned from the post due to charges of corruption

This was the first time that African National Congress has got less than 60 percent votes in national polls.

• About South Africa

Capital: Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein

Currency: South African rand

Former Apple retail chief & Burberry CEO joins Airbnb board.

• US-based home-renting platform Airbnb has appointed Angela Ahrendts, former Senior Vice President of Retail at Apple, as its third independent non-affiliated board member. Ahrendts joined Apple in 2014 after serving as CEO of the British fashion house Burberry for eight years. Notably, Ahrendts had been one of the highest-paid employees at Apple with total compensation of $26.5 million in 2018.

About Airbnb:

• Airbnb,  Inc., headquartered in San Francisco,

•  operates a global online marketplace and hospitality service accessible via its websites and mobile apps.

• Members can use the service to arrange or offer lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences.

• Founded: August 2008, San Francisco, California, United States

• Revenue: 260 crores USD (2017)

• CEO: Brian Chesky (Aug 2008–)

• Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States

• Founders: Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia

• Subsidiaries: HotelTonight, Tilt.com, Accomable, Aibiying, MORE

About Angela Ahrendts:

• Angela Jean Ahrendts, DBE is an American businesswoman and was the senior vice president of retail at Apple Inc.

• She was the CEO of Burberry from 2006 to 2014. Ahrendts left Burberry to join Apple in 2014.

• Born: 12 June 1960 (age 58 years), New Palestine, Indiana, United States

• Salary: US$73.1 million (2014)

• Net worth: $150 million

• Spouse: Gregg Couch

• Residence: California, US; London, England

• Siblings: Kimberly Ahrendts, Carrie Ahrendts, Amy Montefalco, Amanda Ahrendts

DAYS:

Sikkim Statehood Day - 16th May.

• Sikkim celebrated its 43rd statehood day. It was on May 16, 1975 that Sikkim had officially become a state under the Union of India and Kazi Lhendup Dorjee became its first chief minister. Sikkim has the highest number of employees on the government payroll constituting about 14 percent of its population. It officially became the 22nd state of the country.

• About Sikkim

Capital: Gangtok

Chief Minister: Pawan Chamling

World Hypertension Day is celebrated on 17th May.

• World Hypertension Day (WHD) is celebrated on 17th May. WHD was designated and initiated by the World Hypertension League (WHL). The day was initiated to increase the awareness of hypertension. This was especially important because of the lack of appropriate knowledge among hypertensive patients.

• The WHL launched its first WHD on May 14, 2005. Since 2006, the WHL has been dedicating May 17 of every year as WHD. The theme for World Hypertension Day 2019 is Know Your Numbers. The theme is with a goal of increasing high blood pressure (BP) awareness in all populations around the world. In 2019, WHL in conjunction with the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) will also promote May Measurement Month (MMM).

• World Hypertension League (WHL):

It was established in 1966. WHL an umbrella to organizations of 85 national hypertension societies and leagues.

World Telecommunication Day is observed on 17 May.

• World Telecommunication Day is celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969. It marks the founding of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865, Paris.

It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.

The day is celebrated with a view to:

• stimulate reflection and exchanges of ideas on the theme adopted by the Council

• debate the various aspects with all partners in society

• formulate a report reflecting national discussions on the issues underlying the theme, to be fed back to ITU and the rest of its membership

Main Objective:

Setting standards is a fundamental pillar of ITU's mission as the specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies (ICTs). ITU standards help accelerate ICTs for all Sustainable Development Goals.

Theme 2019:

The theme for 2019 is Bridging the standardization gap. The 2019 theme will allow ITU Membership and other key stakeholders to focus on the opportunities for:

• participation of developing countries in ITU's standards-making process

• empowering local experts in the standardization process at the national, regional and international levels

• promoting the implementation of international standards in developing countries.

AWARDS:

Sir Andy Murray received the knighthood award for services at Buckingham Palace.

• Sir Andy Murray, who is a Unicef UK ambassador, received the knighthood for services to tennis and charity at Buckingham Palace. The Honours award are used to recognise merit in terms of achievement and service. The three-time Grand Slam champion was named in the Queen's New Years Honours in 2016, following his second Wimbledon win and second Olympic gold.

Sir Andy revealed in January that he planned to retire after this year's Wimbledon, forcing back tears as he told reporters at the Australian Open that his hip injury was going to bring a premature end to his glittering career. He had surgery in January and has since begun his rehabilitation

• United Kingdom:

Monarch: Elizabeth II

Prime Minister: Theresa May

Capital: London

Currency: Pound sterling(GBP; £)

National/Official language: English

• Sir Andrew Barron Murray:

He is a British professional tennis player from Scotland. He ranked No. 217 in men's singles (as of May 2019).

Murray represents Great Britain in his sporting activities. He is a three-time Grand Slam tournament winner, two-time Olympic champion, Davis Cup champion, winner of the 2016 ATP World Tour Finals and former world No. 1.

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Important Current Affairs of 16th May

NATIONAL:

India's Chandrayaan-2 to carry NASA payload too in July: ISRO

• India's second Moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, that's planned for a July launch will have 13 payloads and one passive experiment from American space agency NASA, ISRO said on Wednesday. The spacecraft with a 3.8-tonne mass has three modules- orbiter, lander, and rover. Eight of the 13 Indian payloads will be on orbiter, three will be on lander and two on rover.

About Chandrayaan-2:

• Chandrayaan-2 is India's second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1.

• Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation, the mission is planned to be launched to the Moon by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III.

• It includes a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all developed indigenously.

Hyundai partners with ALD Automotive for car leasing service.

• Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) has collaborated with ALD Automotive India, a globally renowned automotive leasing and fleet management company, as part of its in its smart mobility solutions initiative.

• The flexible leasing solutions will provide an attractive alternative to owning a car to salaried individuals, working professionals, small and medium enterprises, corporates and public sector.

• Hyundai Leasing will be available across Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore in the first phase.

• The lease will be made available across the entire Hyundai product line-up at an attractive monthly lease rental. The benefits of leasing to the customers include no upfront cost, no financial risk, efficient tax management, easy up-gradation and no maintenance and insurance hassles

About Hyundai:

• The Hyundai Motor Company, commonly known as Hyundai Motors, is a South Korean multinational automotive manufacturer headquartered in Seoul.

• Parent organization: Hyundai Motor Group

• Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea

• Subsidiaries: Kia Motors, Hyundai Card Co.,Ltd., Beijing Hyundai, etc.

About ADL Automotive:

• ALD Automotive is a French fleet managing and operational car leasing company and a fully owned subsidiary of Société Générale. The company is active internationally and manages around 1.5 million vehicles.

• Headquarters: Rueil-Malmaison, France

• Number of employees: 6,500 (2017)

• Parent organization: Société Générale

• Subsidiaries: Merrion Fleet Management Limited,etc.

INTERNATIONAL:

Alabama Senate passes bill to ban abortion.

• The Alabama Senate has passed the most restrictive abortion Bill in the U.S., which places a near-total ban on the termination of pregnancy (abortion), even in cases of rape and incest, and could punish doctors who perform the procedure with life in prison. •The text passed by the Republican-led Senate has been sent to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for signature into law and, if approved, is expected to trigger a legal battle.

Under the Bill:

• Performing an abortion is a crime that could land doctors who perform it in prison for 10 to 99 years

• Abortions would only be legal if the life of the mother is in danger or the foetus has a fatal condition

• ACLU, the largest human rights defence organisation in the United States, promised to file a lawsuit to block its implementation. The Republican-led Senate approved the measure by 25 votes to six.

• The National Organization for Women called the bill unconstitutional and said its passage would send women in the state back to the dark days of policymakers having control over their bodies, health, and lives.

AGREEMENTS AND MOU’s:

India signed the Christchurch Call to Action in Paris.

• India signed the Christchurch Call to Action in Paris. The agreement came in the backdrop of the attacks on Christchurch in March and is aimed at stopping the abuse of the Internet by extremists.

The meeting held in Paris was attended by representatives of online giants like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon. India was represented by Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Document highlights:

• Counter the drivers of terrorism and violent extremism by strengthening the resilience and inclusiveness of societies to enable them to resist terrorist and violent extremist ideologies, including through education, building media literacy to help counter distorted terrorist and violent extremist narratives, and the fight against inequality.

• Ensure effective enforcement of applicable laws that prohibit the production or dissemination of terrorist and violent extremistcontent, in a manner consistent with the rule of law and international human rights law, including freedom of expression.

• Encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online, to avoid amplifying terrorist and violent extremist content.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI plans to achieve a highly digital and cash lite society.

• Reserve Bank of India on May 15 released a vision document, 'Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision 2019 - 2021', with its core theme of Empowering Exceptional (E) payment Experience that aims to achieve a highly digital and cash-lite society.

• RBI targets to:

• Increase digital payment transaction of GDP by 15%

• Increase payment system operators

• fourfold increase in digital transactions

• increase debit card transactions by 35%

• increase total card acceptance infrastructure to six times

• Reduce currency in circulation with no specific target

• Reduce the volume of cheque-based payments to less than 2%

• Reduce pricing of electronic payment services by at least 100 basis points

• Improve the security of digital payment systems

• Facilitate mobile-based payment transactions

• To achieve these objectives, the RBI outlined specific actions to take over the next two years. Some of these include:

• Set up self-regulatory bodies for payment system operators, develop feature phone-based payment services to complement smartphone-based services and develop offline payment solutions and USSD-based payment solutions

• Improve interoperability and build capability to process transactions of one system in another and explore the adoption of newer technologies, including distributed ledger technology for enhancement of digital payment services.

• Encourage standing instructions for payment transactions and Push contact-less payments and tokenization.  It plans to improve the use of bill discounting systems or TReDs and increase coverage of the cheque truncation system.

• Current RBI's Policy rates and Reserve ratios:

Bank Rate: 6.25%

Repo Rate: 6.00%

Reverse Repo Rate: 5.75%

Cash Reserve Ratio: 4%

Statutory Liquidity Ratio: 19.00%

HDFC collaborated with IMGC for a mortgage guarantee-backed home loan.

• HDFC Bank collaborated with IMGC (India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation) for a mortgage guarantee-backed home loan.

• Mortgage guarantee is a financial product which compensates lending institutions for the losses that may occur when a home owner defaults on a mortgage loan.

In ‘mortgage guarantee’, the risk of the home loan gets transmuted from the bank/FIs (financial institution) to the mortgage guarantee company.

• This collaboration will help HDFC provide more loan to a home loan customer on an improved eligibility.

The main objective of the collaboration is to address middle age-salaried customers, self employed customers and young salaried customers.

About HDFC Bank

Industry -Banking, financial services

Founded - August 1994

Headquarters - Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

About India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation:

• India’s first Mortgage Guarantee Company, India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation (IMGC) is a joint venture that combines the developmental mandate of National Housing Bank (NHB), the technical expertise of Genworth Financial, and the resources of International Finance Corporation (IFC) & Asian Development Bank (ADB).

• IMGC has come into being with a vision to make early home ownership a real possibility through the provision of Mortgage Guarantee.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Himalaya Men announces Kohli & Pant as brand ambassadors.

• Himalaya Men announced Virat Kohli, captain of the Indian cricket team, and Rishabh Pant, "ICC Emerging Player of the Year 2018", as the official brand ambassadors for Himalaya Men Face-Wash range. Commenting on the association,

About Himalaya :

• The Himalaya Drug Company is an Indian company established by M Manal in 1930 and based in Bangalore, India. I

• t produces health care products under the name Himalaya Herbal Healthcare whose products include ayurvedic ingredients.

IPS officer Deven Bharti to head Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.

• The Maharashtra government on Wednesday appointed senior IPS officer Deven Bharti as the chief of the state's Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). Bharti, a 1994-batch IPS officer, has investigated several high-profile cases including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the murder of senior crime journalist J Dey. He is also known for his crackdown on terror outfit Indian Mujahideen.

About Anti-Terrorism squad:

• Anti-Terrorism Squad. The Anti-Terrorism Squad(ATS) is a special police force in several states of India including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar.

• In Maharashtra it is headed by senior of the Indian Police Service. The squad has stopped several terrorist attacks in the country.

OBITUARIES:

Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke dies aged 89.

• Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke passed away on Thursday at the age of 89, his wife Blanche d'Alpuget said in a statement. Hawke, who served as Australia's Prime Minister from 1983 to 1991, was the country's third longest-serving leader after Robert Menzies and John Howard. Hawke is survived by his wife and his four children.

About Bob Hawke:

• Robert James Lee Hawke, AC, GCL was an Australian politician who was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia and the Leader of the Labor Party from 1983 to 1991.

• He was the longest-serving Labor Party Prime Minister. Hawke was born in South Australia but moved to Western Australia as a child.

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Important Current Affairs of 15th May

NATIONAL:

India to co-chair 2020 CG of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.

• India was unanimously chosen by member countries as next co-chair of Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) for the fiscal year 2020. This decision was taken during Consultative Group meeting of GFDRR 2019 held from 13 May- 17 May in Geneva, Switzerland. This is the first time that India has been given the opportunity of co-chairing CG meeting of GFDRR.

• The Consultative Group meeting held in Geneva was the 6th Session of GPDRR 2019. The CG Meeting 2019 was co-chaired by the European Union (EU), Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, and World Bank.

GFDRR in cooperation with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and EU also organized the 4th edition of World Reconstruction Conference (WRC) on May 13-14, 2019 in Geneva.

• The participants included experts, policymakers, leaders, and practitioners from various government, international organizations, academia, private sector and NGOs from both developing and developed countries.

• India and GFDRR:

In 2015, India became a member of Consultative Group (CG) of GFDRR. At the 5th session of GFDRR held in October 2018, Indiaexpressed its interest to co-chair the meet.

• India's candidature was backed by member countries because of India's consistent progress in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and also various initiatives it has undertaken to form a coalition on disaster resilient infrastructure.

Paytm Partners With Citibank To Launch 1st Credit Card- Paytm First Card.

• Digital payments company Paytm, in association with Citibank, launched its first credit card called Paytm First Card.

Paytm First Card comes with unlimited cash back and will be accepted in India as well globally.

The card is issued by Citibank and doesn’t involve any hidden fees or charges.

India had world's highest child mortality rate in 2015: Lancet study

• India had more deaths among children under five than any other country in 2015, with large disparities in the child mortality rate between richer and poorer states, a Lancet study has found. The researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US analysed state-level Indian data on the causes of death among children under five for the years 2000-2015. They found that India made great progress during the period, reducing annual mortality among children under five from 2.5 million in 2000 to 1.2 million in 2015 - which was still the highest in the world.

BANKS AND APPOINTMENTS:

Yes Bank falls 9% after RBI appoints director in rare move.

• Shares of Yes Bank plunged up to 9% on Wednesday, falling to its lowest since November 2018. This came following the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) appointment of former Deputy Governor R Gandhi as an additional director on the private lender's board in a rare move. The appointment comes days after Yes Bank reported a fourth-quarter loss of ₹1,507 crore.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

RBI appointed R.Gandhi as Additional director of Yes Bank.

• The Reserve Bank of India has appointed its former Deputy Governor R. Gandhi as an additional director on the board of private sector lender Yes Bank with immediate effect. The appointment is for two years, that is till May 13, 2021.

R. Gandhi’s appointment comes against the backdrop of Yes Bank reported a loss of ₹1,507 cr for March quarter. This appointment will significantly strengthen Yes Bank's Board Composition and the Bank will immensely benefit from R. Gandhi's experience and wisdom at the Yes Bank.

• Mr.R.Gandhi:

Gandhi was RBI Deputy Governor during April 2014 and April 2017. Gandhi was the driving force for the design and implementation of  real-time gross settlement system or RTGS.

• About Yes Bank:

Founded on: 2004

Founder: Rana Kapoor, Ashok Kapur

Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra

Chairman: Brahm Dutt

MD & CEO: Rana Kapoor

Yes Bank is India's 4th largest private sector Bank.

AIFF Appoints Igor Stimac As Indian Football Team Coach.

• The Indian football team has been without a coach since the departure of Stephen Constantine in January.

• Croatia's Igor Stimac has been appointed the head coach of the Indian football team for a two-year term, the All India Football Federation announced on Wednesday.

• The official announcement was made on the Indian Football Team.

• Igor stimac:

• he was part the of the Croatia team that finished third in the 1998 World Cup, and a member of the national squad which qualified for the quarterfinals of the UEFA European Championship 1996 (Euro) in England.

• Besides, he was also a part of the Yugoslavia U-19 national team which won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1987. 

• Stimac's major achievement was guiding Croatia to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. During his tenure as the national coach of Croatia, he handed debuts to the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Ante Rebic, Alen Halilovic, and Ivan Perisic, amongst others.

• His last assignment was with Al-Shahania Club in Qatar.

All India Football Federation:

• The All India Football Federation, also simply known as the AIFF

• is the governing body of association football in India.

• Formed in 1937, the federation was one of founding members of the Asian Football Confederation, the overseer of football in Asia.

Maj Gen Dhingra appointed 1st chief of Armed Forces Special Ops.

• Sri Lanka Civil War veteran Major General AK Dhingra has been appointed as the first Chief of the Armed Forces Special Operations Division. The formation will have Special Forces commandos from the Army's Parachute Regiment, Navy's MARCOS and Air Force's Garud Commando Force. The forces will be trained together and will be tasked in dealing with specific operations.

ARMED FORCES SPECIAL OPS DIVISION:

•  The Armed Forces Special Operations Division has been set up by the government to undertake joint operations by three services and will have elements from the Army's Parachute Regiments SF, Marine Commandos (MARCOS) of the Navy and the Garud Commandos of the Indian Air Force

Myntra-Jabong hires former YouTube exec as marketing head.

• E-commerce major Flipkart-owned fashion e-tailer Myntra-Jabong has appointed former YouTube executive Harish Narayanan as head of marketing. Narayanan will be taking over from Mithun Sundar, who currently heads revenue and marketing, and will report directly to Myntra-Jabong head Amar Nagaram. The IIM Lucknow alumnus headed B2B marketing for YouTube Asia-Pacific for over 2.5 years

DAYS:

International Day of Families is observed on 15 May.

• The International Day of Families (IDF) is observed on the 15th of May every year. The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993. The day reflects the importance the international community attaches to families. It was first observed in 1996.

The International Day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families. On this day, people across the world celebrate spending time with their families and reuniting with family members.

The theme for IDF 2019 is Families and Climate Action: Focus on SDG 13.

The SDG 13 targets include:

• Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning

• Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.

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Important Current Affairs 14th May 2019

NATIONAL:

NABARD launched Nab Ventures- its maiden fund to give support to agriculture, food, rural startups.

• NABARD (The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development), Nab Ventures notified its first time funding termed ‘NAB VENTURES Fund I‘ which is a Rs 700-crore venture capital fund for equity investments to provide support for agriculture, food and rural startups (which would help improve rural livelihoods)

The fund has a proposed corpus of Rs 500 crore has a greenshoe option of Rs 200 crore and has received an anchor commitment from NABARD.

The a forementioned fund is registered with SEBI as a Category II Alternative Investment Fund and would raise the resources from domestic and global investors.

India's GS Lakshmi becomes first ever female ICC match referee.

• India's GS Lakshmi has become the first ever woman to be appointed to the ICC International Panel of Match Referees and will be eligible to referee international games with immediate effect. The 50-year-old first officiated as a match referee in domestic women's cricket in 2008/09. Lakshmi has overseen three women's ODI matches and three women's T20I matches.

NABARD subsidiary announces 700 cr fund for rural startups.

• Nabventures, a subsidiary of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has announced a 700-crore venture capital fund for investments in agriculture, food and rural-focused startups. The fund has a proposed corpus of 500 crore with an option to retain over-subscriptions of 200 crore. Till now, NABARD has contributed 273 crore to 16 alternate investment funds.

INTERNATIONAL:

GTA publisher Rockstar Games buys KBC game maker Dhruva.

• Grand Theft Auto publisher Rockstar Games has acquired Swedish developer Starbreeze AB's 91.82% stake in Bengaluru-headquartered video game studio Dhruva Interactive for over ₹55 crore. Founded in 1997 by Rajesh Rao, Dhruva Interactive is claimed to be India's first-ever game development studio. It is best known for its games Kaun Banega Crorepati, N64 Mission: Impossible and Forza Horizon.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Iran's Foreign Minister meets Swaraj in India amid US sanctions.

• Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj in Delhi on Tuesday during his two-day visit to the country. His visit comes amid increased tensions with the US in the wake of renewed sanctions. India has reportedly stopped imports of Iranian oil after the US withdrew waivers granted to nations on the imports.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company launched Mosquito Disease Protection Policy which will cover people against common mosquito-borne diseases.

• India’s 3rd-largest non-life insurance provider in the private sector, HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company launched a scheme termed ‘Mosquito Disease Protection Policy’ which will cover a person against common mosquito-borne diseases, namely, Dengue Fever, Malaria, Chikungunya, Japanese Encephalitis, Kala-azar, Lymphatic Filariasis and Zika Virus.

• These mosquito-borne diseases lead to financial burden due to hospitalization or affect the No Claim Bonus of any conventional Health Insurance.

• The policy by HDFC ERGO will cover hospitalization expenses. The policyholder may opt for a huge amount to be paid as a policy benefit on offering the proof of hospitalization.

The policy will also pay the beneficiary the sum insured if in case of the policyholder dies due to the disease.

• This policy also provides international cover to people and also covers all the vector-borne diseases listed in the policy document.

• The policy cover will be available for people between the age of 91 days to 65 years.Along with these benefits, the policyholders will have access to different wellness

• services, namely, discounts and specialized programs like health tips, diet consultation and other programs offered on the health mobile application of HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd.) ERGO.

Allahabad Bank reduced 0.05% points in benchmark lending rate.

• State-owned Allahabad Bank announced a reduction in benchmark lending rate by 0.05 percentage points across various tenors. The marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR) for a one-year loan has been reduced to 8.60% from 8.65%effective May 14.

Most of the loans including housing loans are benchmarked against MCLR for one year.

Revised MCLR:

• 1 month:  8.20%

• 3 months: 8.40%

• 6 months: 8.45%

Wholesale inflation eases to 3.07% in April.

• India's inflation measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) eased to 3.07% in April from 3.18% in the previous month, driven by a fall in prices of fuel and manufactured items. However, inflation in food articles stood at 7.37%, up from 5.68% in March. This comes after India's retail inflation in April rose to a 6-month high of 2.92%.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

LIC Mutual Fund appointed Dinesh Pangtey as CEO.

• LIC Mutual Fund appointed Dinesh Pangtey as the company's Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

• He joined LIC as a direct recruit officer in 1984

He was Director and CEO at LIC Group's private equity division LIC HFL AMC. He also served as Regional Manager Marketing channel in Western Zone spanning the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa.

• He has more than 35 years of experience across private equity, life pension, group annuation scheme and insurance sector.

Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube resigns with immediate effect.

• Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube has resigned from the grounded airline with immediate effect due to "personal reasons". The development comes just a day after Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer of the company Amit Agarwal resigned, also citing personal reasons. Jet Airways, which suspended its operations indefinitely, has only received a bid from Etihad Airways for a minority stake.

Jet Airways CFO Amit Agarwal resigns due to personal reasons.

• Debt-ridden carrier Jet Airways' Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Deputy Chief Executive Officer Amit Agarwal has resigned from his positions at the airline, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. "[He] has resigned from services of the company due to personal reasons, with effect from May 13," the airline said. Agarwal had joined the airline in December 2015.

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Important Current Affairs 12th May 2019

INTERNATIONAL:

Hinduja brothers named UK's wealthiest people for third time.

• The Hinduja brothers have been named the UK's wealthiest people for the third time, according to Sunday Times Rich List. Sri and Gopi Hinduja saw their wealth increase by £1.35 billion from last year to £22 billion (around ₹2 lakh crore). The Hinduja Group was founded in Mumbai in 1914 and operates in fields including oil, banking, IT and property.

Elon Musk's brain tech startup Neuralink raises $39 million.

• Neuralink, an American neurotechnology startup co-founded by Elon Musk, has raised $39 million of a planned $51 million funding round, Bloomberg said quoting a filing with the SEC. As per its LinkedIn, Neuralink is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers. Notably, billionaire Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

India to sign pact with Mongolia to built its first petrochemical refinery.

• India and Mongolia are expected to sign an agreement this week for the construction of Mongolia’s first petrochemical refinery that is expected to cut some of its dependence on Russian fuel. When signed, the project will be the largest being undertaken by the government of India under its Lines of Credit programme, two people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

• The petrochemical refinery -- near Sainshand in southern Dornogovi province -- is to be built at an approximate cost of $1.25 billion utilising the $1 billion line of credit announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Ulan Bator in 2015. It is expected to be completed by 2022.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI proposes app to help visually challenged identify notes.

• The RBI has proposed to introduce a mobile application to help visually challenged citizens identify Indian currency notes, and has invited bids from technology firms for the same. The application should be searchable via voice option in all app stores, it said. Currently, intaglio printing-based identification marks on banknotes of ₹100 and above help the visually challenged recognise currency.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Emirates Chief Commercial Officer resigns after profit falls.

• Emirates Chief Commercial Officer Thierry Antinori has resigned, a company spokesperson said on Sunday, days after the Gulf airline announced its weakest profit in a decade. Emirates posted a 69% fall in 2018-19 profit amid rising fuel costs and slow passenger growth. Antinori, who joined Emirates in 2011, was responsible for commercial operations, the frequent flyer program and cargo division.

DAYS:

International Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May.

• International Nurses Day (IND) is an international day observed around the world on 12 May of each year, to mark the contributions that nurses make to society. It was first observed in 1965.

• ICN commemorates this important day each year with the production and distribution of the International Nurses' Day (IND) resources and evidence. The theme for the year 2019 is "Nurses: A voice to lead - Health for All".

SPORTS:

Man City win their 4th PL title as title race goes till last day.

• Manchester City clinched their fourth Premier League title after winning the 2018/2019 season on the last day of the league that started on August 11, 2018. Manchester City registered a 4-1 victory against Brighton to accumulate 98 points in 38 matches with 32 victories, while Liverpool, who were also in the title race till today, finished second with 97 points.

Lewis Hamilton wins Spanish Grand Prix, Bottas finishes second.

• Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton clinched the title at the Spanish Grand Prix, also winning the extra point for the fastest lap at the race on Sunday. The race saw Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas finish second in the race, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen finishing in the third spot. This was the fifth straight 1-2 finish for Mercedes.

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Important Current Affairs of 7th May

NATIONAL:

INS Vishal: India, UK in talks to replicate Naval Supercarrier.

• Art aircraft carrier along the lines of Britain's HMS Queen Elizabeth as part of the ongoing 'Make in India' negotations, according to a media report.

• The talks are under way 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.

• "An Indian delegation has already visited Rosyth dockyard in Scotland where HMS Queen Elizabeth was assembled and where a second supercarrier, HMS Prince  .

NEET chance: HRD Ministry to decide on Karnataka’s request

• HRD Ministry on Monday assured the Karnataka Government it would soon decide on their request to allow over 500 students from the State, who missed the NEET exam on Sunday due to a train delay.

• HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that the National Testing Agency will conduct NEET exam again for those students of Karnataka who missed their exam as their train was delayed which has come as a major relief to the candidates.NEET for these students will be conducted on May 20.

• Nearly 365 students from north Karnataka had missed appearing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) on May 5, as the train in which they were travelling reached Bengaluru over seven hours late.

Bombs hurled, booths ‘looted’ in West Bengal

• A helpless Election Commission of India watched Bengal’s poll percentage drop by notches even as sporadic violence, bombing and booth-capturing marred the fifth phase of elections too with both the Opposition BJP and Left Front and the ruling Trinamool Congress accusing each other of “rampant rigging.

• Reports of violence and booth jamming came in from Barrackpore where the turncoat TMC strongman and former MLA Arjun Singh was fighting against former Union Minister Dinesh Trivedi.

• While a suave and composed Trivedi was seen playing cricket with children amid overseeing polling, Singh ran from booth to booth alleging massive rigging by TMC workers. He reportedly exchanged fisticuffs with police officials before complaining that “the police were helping the TMC rig elections. He fell down and injured himself while chasing away ‘outsiders’.

• Bombs were hurled at Himli Saolapara in Gaighata Assembly segment of Bongaon parliamentary constituency where one TMC supporter received head injuries. Later the CAPF resorted to massive lathi-charge.

INTERNATIONAL:

US wants India to eliminate trade barriers for American companies: Ross

• The US wants India to eliminate trade barriers for American companies and remove restrictions with regard to data localisation to cut the cost of doing business, visiting US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday.

• "Our goal is to eliminate barriers to the US companies operating here including data localisation restrictions that actually weaken data security and increase the cost of doing business," he said here.Ross was speaking at the Trade Winds Forum and Trade Mission. He is accompanying a delegation of over 100 American businesses.He also alleged that India imposes very high import duties on goods like automobiles, motorcycles, agri products and alcoholic beverages."

•  Currently US businesses face significant market access barriers in India. These include both tariff and non-tariff barriers as well as multiple practices and regulations to the disadvantage of foreign companies."India's average applied tariffs rate is 13.8 per cent and that remains the highest of any major world economy, the very highest.

• It has for example a 60 per cent tariff on auto, while the US has 2.5 per cent. It has 50 per cent tariff on motorcycles and 150 per cent on alcoholic beverages. Just a few extreme examples," he added.

US deploys carrier strike group to send ‘clear message’ to Iran

• The US is deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force in the Middle East to send a “clear and unmistakable” message to Iran that any attack on American interests or its allies will be met with “unrelenting force”, National Security Advisor John Bolton has warned.

• Bolton said on Sunday the decision to deploy the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region in the Middle East was in response to a number of “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran.

• The deployment of the strike group and bomber task force comes after US President Donald Trump last month refused to give waivers to countries like India from buying oil from Iran, in an attempt to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero.

• After coming to power, Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal last year and has imposed stringent sanctions against what he describes as the “authoritarian” Iranian regime

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Yes Bank shares fall over 5%;  m-cap drops by Rs 2,135 cr

• Shares of Yes Bank on Monday dropped by over 5 per cent, wiping out Rs 2,135.29 crore from its market valuation, after ratings downgrade.The scrip tumbled 5.30 per cent to close at Rs 166.30 on the BSE.

• During the day, it tanked 5.75 per cent to Rs 165.50. It was the worst hit among the 30-front-line shares.On the NSE, shares dropped 5 per cent to close at Rs 167.In terms of volume, 43.12 lakh shares of the company were traded on the BSE during the day, while over 4 crore units changed hands on the NSE.The company’s market valuation fell by Rs 2,135.29 crore to Rs 38,515.71 crore on the BSE.

• The private sector lender had a double whammy Saturday after domestic rating agency ICRA downgraded its long-term ratings along with a negative outlook, citing a spike in its lower-rated advances and falling core capital buffers.The agency downgraded ratings on instruments totalling borrowings over Rs 33,000 crore by the lender, ICRA said.The bank had also reported its maiden loss of over Rs 1,506 crore in the March quarter, driven by a near ten-fold spike in provisions.

Hughes, Airtel to combine India VSAT biz

• Telecom operator Bharti Airtel and Hughes Communications India Ltd (HCIL) Tuesday announced they will combine their VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) satellite operations in the country.

• HCIL is a subsidiary of broadband satellite networks and services provider Hughes Network Systems.Hughes will have majority ownership in the combined entity while Airtel will have a significant shareholding, according to a statement.

• The statement did not spell out the financial details of the transaction, which is subject to requisite approvals."The combined entity will benefit from enhanced scale, improved operational efficiencies and wider market reach.

• The combined entity will be well positioned to leverage the demand for secure connectivity in a rapidly growing digital economy," it said.VSAT is used to provide satellite based telecom and internet access to individuals and enterprise users.HCIL is a broadband satellite service operator in India, and offers a range of broadband networking technologies, solutions, and services for businesses and governments.

Ratan Tata invests in Ola Electric Mobility

• Ride hailing major Ola Monday said Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, has invested in its EV business — Ola Electric Mobility (OEM).This investment, which is part of OEM’s series A round of funding, is in Tata’s personal capacity, Ola said in a statement.

• Details of the funding were not disclosed.“His investment in Ola Electric will bring his deep experience and mentorship to the company’s ambitions to make electric mobility viable at scale,” it added.

• Tata is also an early investor in ANI Technologies, Ola’s parent company. He had invested in ANI Technologies in July 2015.In March this year, OEM had announced raising Rs 400 crore in a funding round led by Tiger Global and Matrix India.    

SPORTS:

Federer makes retirement claim ahead of Madrid return

• The topic of when Federer will finally hang up his racket has followed the Swiss for several years.But the 37-year-old has been able to put off 'Father Time' by continuing to win major trophies and remain in the top 10 in the world.And in a further show that he's not ready to quit, Federer has decided to play during the clay court season for the first time since 2016.

• Speaking in an interview with Spanish publication Marca ahead of the tournament, Federer was asked if he was surprised that he's still able to compete at such a highlevel at 37.

• And the 20-time Grand Slam revealed the major factor in his decision to carry on playing."A little, yes," Federer admitted."If you told me ten years ago that this would be happening, I wouldn't have believed it. I could have hoped for a top ten or top 20 place, but not this."If I'd been asked in 2009 if I would be playing in 2019 I'd have said only if I was still competitive."I have made my career and I do not need to play to lose in the second round in any tournament. My goal is to win, as I did at the beginning of the season."If I feel like I can't be the best, it's better for me to stop."I still enjoy the victories in Masters 1000 events or being world No 1, as I did last year in Rotterdam."In a wide-ranging interview, Federer was also asked about the clay court form of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

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Important Current Affairs 6th May 2019

NATIONAL:

DPIIT recommends relaxation in Income Tax rules to facilitate fundraising by start-ups.

• The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) brought relaxation in the income tax rules related to residential properties’ sale and carry-forward of losses, in order to facilitate fundraising by start-ups.

• The relaxation laws are part of the ‘Startup India Vision 2024‘ that’s been prepared by the DPIIT.

• The DPIIT recommended amendments in Section 54GB of the Income Tax Act, that is, capital gain on transfer of residential property not to be charged in certain cases and Section 79 that states, carry forward and set off of losses would be done for specific companies.

• The DPIIT has proposed to reduce shareholding requirements of founders from 50% to 20% and compulsory tenure from 5 years to 3 years.

• Start-up promoters need to hold 100% shares for carrying forward of losses.

Startup India, launched in January 2016 is the flagship initiative of the government.

It intends to build a strong ecosystem for the growth of start-up businesses for driving sustainable economic growth and increase employment opportunities.

Bandana sets Guinness World Records on Longest Dancing Marathon by an Individual.

• An 18-year old girl from Nepal named Bandana set a Guinness World Records on'Longest Dancing Marathon by an Individual'. She danced exclusively to Nepalese music continuously for 126 hours (over five days).

• She broke the record set by India's Kalamandalam Hemlatha, who danced continuously for 123 hours and 15 minutes in 2011.

She performed classical dance form Mohiniyattam and set the record at age of 37.

BigBasket receives $150 million in funding, becomes the newest unicorn.

• Supermarket Grocery, which runs and operates the online grocery brand BigBasket, has received $150 million in a financing round led by South Korea’s Mirae Asset- Naver Asia Growth Fund, UK’s CDC Group, and existing investor Alibaba, said the company on Monday.

• This round has boosted the company’s valuation to over $1 billion, pushing it to the coveted ‘unicorn’ club.

INTERNATIONAL:

US to hike tariffs on USD 200 bn of Chinese goods.

• President Donald Trump announced on 5th May that the U.S. would raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% from 10th May because trade talks are moving too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. Mr.Trump’s action came ahead of the arrival of a major Chinese delegation to Washington for the latest round of talks around, it is believed, could possibly lead to a deal.

• For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50 Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods. 10% will go up to 25%. The two sides have imposed tariffs on $360 billion in two-way trade since 2018. But Mr.Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to a truce in December to refrain from further escalation.

• The two sides have imposed tariffs on USD 360 billion in two-way trade since 2018. But Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to a truce in December to refrain from further escalation. Trump said that he wants to reduce the huge US trade deficit with China, which in 2018 totalled $378.73 billion if trade in services is included.

• Besides a greater opening of the Chinese market to US goods, Trump is pressing for structural changes such as Beijing ending its practice of forcing US companies that operate in China to share their technology. Trump is also demanding that China halt theft of intellectual property and subsidies to state-owned companies.

Oil tumbles, China stocks plunge over 4% after Trump vows tariff hike.

• Global financial markets tumbled on Monday after US President Donald Trump unexpectedly jacked up pressure on China to reach a trade deal, saying he would hike US tariffs on Chinese goods this week.

• Equity markets, which had been largely expecting a trade accord, fell sharply across export-reliant Asia as further talks were thrown into doubt.

• Chinese shares plunged more than 4% at one point, while US stock market futures fell close to 2 %. Oil prices plunged and the Chinese yuan tumbled.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Yes Bank slips 3 notches to 10th spot as most valued bank.

• Private lender YES Bank Ltd has slipped three notches to 10th spot, in terms of market valuation, for the first time, as its shares slumped over 30% in the last four sessions after the bank reported a surprise net loss in its March quarter earnings.

• YES BANK is now the 10th most valued bank from seventh earlier, slipping below market valuation of state-run lenders - Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank.

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