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Important Current Affairs 9th January 2019

National News

Customers cannot be charged for availing tokenisation service: RBI 
•    The Reserve of India (RBI) has allowed all card payment networks to offer tokenisation service. However, the central bank has made it clear that no charges should be recovered from the customer for availing this service.
•    Tokenisation involves a process in which a unique token masks sensitive card details. The token is then used to perform card transactions in contact-less mode at Point Of Sale (POS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) code payments, etc.
•    The RBI has allowed card payment networks to offer card tokenisation services to any token requestor, that is, a third party app provider. A card holder can avail these services by registering the card on the token requestor’s app and after giving ‘explicit consent’.
 

Sports

Sharath-Manika duo shocks Manav-Archana, takes title 
•    Sharath Kamal, featuring in the mixed doubles event after 11 years, partnered Manika Batra to outclass the top-seeded pair of Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath in an all-Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) final and clinch the first individual title of the 11Sports 80th inter-State and National table tennis championship.
•    The tournament was held at J.N. Indoor Stadium of Cuttack


Egypt to host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
•    Egypt will host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations between 15th June and 13th July. Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad made the announcement in Senegalese capital Dakar yesterday.
•    The CAF executive committee preferred Egypt to South Africa as replacement for original hosts Cameroon, who were dropped due to delays in preparations and concerns over security.
•    Egypt will stage the biennial showpiece of African football for the fifth time
 

Economy and Banking

Nandan Nilekani to head five-member RBI panel on digital payments 
•    The Reserve Bank of India has appointed a five-member panel headed by Nandan Nilekani to suggest ways to improve digital payments. 
•    The committee will submit its report in 90 days from its first meeting.
•    Former Deputy Governor of RBI H.R. Khan, former Vijaya Bank MD and CEO Kishore Sansi, former Secretary of Information and Technology Aruna Sharma and Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer, Center for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE), IIM Ahmedabad, are the other members of the panel.
•    The panel would assess the current levels of digital payments in financial inclusion, suggest measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments, provide a road map for increasing customer confidence to use digital transactions, and suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening of digital payments.


Raisina Dialogue begins in New Delhi
•    Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg has pitched for promoting Ocean economy and said that resources in the ocean should be used properly.
•    Delivering her inaugural address at Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on Tuesday evening in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ms. Solberg said, rapid climate changes in the Arctic area will have a far-reaching global impact and the world has a responsibility to protect the ocean.
•    Calling for promoting blue economy, Ms. Solberg said, ocean-based industries help provide jobs. She also said there is a need to improve the health of the oceans.
 

International Relations

EAM Sushma meets Australian, Spanish counterparts 
•    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her Australian and Spanish counterparts in New Delhi.
•    Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, who is on her maiden visit to India, will give the Ministerial Address on ‘The Arrival of Global Politics' at the Raisina Dialogue.
•    Mrs Swaraj also met Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell Fontelles. The two leaders had a good discussion on various aspects of bilateral relations, including trade and investment, security and renewable energy.


India, Norway agree to combat international terrorism
•    India and Norway have agreed to closely collaborate on ocean economy and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
•    The two countries also decided to step up bilateral trade. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held delegation-level talks with his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg in New Delhi today.
•    They discussed ways to give new energy and direction to bilateral ties. The two countries also signed a MoU for holding an India-Norway Ocean Dialogue.
 

International News

Gautemala to withdraw from UN-backed anti-corruption commission 
•    Guatemala has said it is withdrawing from a UN-backed anti-corruption commission. It has given the UN body's staff 24 hours to leave the country. 
•    President Jimmy Morales accused the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, commonly known as CICIG, of polarising the country and putting its security at risk.
•    The CICIG was formed in 2006 upon the request of the Guatemalan government to combat high rates of impunity for crimes.
 

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Important Current Affairs 8th January 2019

National News

AAI bans single-use plastic items at 129 airports across country 
•    Airports Authority of India (AAI) has imposed a ban on single-use plastic items at its 129 airports across the country.
•    In a statement, the AAI said various steps have been taken to eliminate single-use plastic items at passenger terminals and city side.
•    The AAI said, on the basis of a third-party assessment carried out by Quality Council of India (QCI), 16 of its airports have been declared as Single-Use Plastic Free.
•    Single-use plastic items are used only once and then thrown in the trash.


Private FM channels to broadcast AIR News from today 
•    Private FM channels will be able to broadcast All India Radio News from today. Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore will launch the sharing of news at a function.
•    The Minister said, the radio has gained popularity again due to 'Mann Ki Baat' Programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
•     Colonel Rathore said, AIR FM covers 50 per cent of population in the country and private FM channels are being given opportunities in different cities and towns.


Maharashtra to host 2nd edition of Khelo India Youth Games 
•    Maharashtra is all set to host the second edition of Khelo India Youth Games which will officially begin tomorrow in Pune.
•    More than 9000 players from different states will participate in 18 different games at Khelo India Youth Games.
•    It has already been announced that Youth Olympic Gold Medallist in shooting Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhari, as well as weight lifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga will be among the cream of India’s youth sporting talent competing at these games.


Navy’s new air base in north of Port Blair 
•    Later this month, the Indian Navy will commission a new airbase 100 miles north of Port Blair in the strategically located Andaman and Nicobar islands.
•    The base, INS Kohassa, will be commissioned by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on January 24.
•    This will be India’s fourth air base and the third naval air facility in the archipelago, which are more closer to Southeast Asia than to the Indian mainland, overlooking key sea lanes of communication and strategic choke points.
 

Appointments

India born Gita Gopinath joins IMF as Chief Economist 
•    India born Gita Gopinath has joined International Monetary Fund as its chief economist.
•    She has become the first woman to occupy the top IMF post. 
•    Gopinath succeeds Maurice (Maury) Obstfeld as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF's Research Department. Obstfeld retired on December the 31st.
•    She is the 11th Chief Economist of IMF.
 

International Relations

India secures extradition of bookie Sanjeev Chawla 
•    India secured another legal victory in the U.K. as a judge at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has said that the extradition of alleged bookie Sanjeev Chawla can proceed, and referred the case to Home Secretary Sajid Javid for a final decision.
•    The extradition of businessman Vijay Mallya was ordered last month.
 

International News

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to step down on February 1 
•    In a surprise move, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Monday announced that he will step down from his position on February 1 - much before the end of his term in 2022.
•    Kim, 58, has been in this position for over six years now.
•    The president of the Washington-based World Bank has always been an American citizen nominated by the United States, which is the largest shareholder of this multilateral financial institution.
•    Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO, will assume the role of interim President effective February 1.


Sheikh Hasina sworn in as Bangladesh Prime Minister for fourth term 
•    Sheikh Hasina was sworn in as Bangladesh’s Prime Minister for a record fourth term Monday after a crushing election victory marred by deadly violence and claims of widespread rigging.
•    Ms. Hasina, 71, has presided over record economic growth in the South Asian country of 165 million people but critics have accused her of creeping authoritarianism.
•    Her ruling Awami League party and its allies won the December 30 elections by a landslide, securing 288 seats in the 300-seat parliament compared to just seven for the main opposition.
 

Sports

Sunil Chhetri Becomes Second Highest International Goal-scorer 
•    On January 6, 2019, Sunil Chhetri made history by becoming the second highest international goal-scorer among active players with 67 goals from 105 matches.
•    He went past Argentine great Lionel Messi who has scored 65 goals from 128 matches. 
•    Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest scorer with 85 goals from 154 matches.
 

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Important Current Affairs 7th January 2019

Sports

Scripting history, India scores maiden series win in Australia 
•    India scripted history winning the first ever series on Australian soil beating the home team 2-1 after the fourth and final Test ended in a tame draw due to inclement weather.
•    It is a rare first Down Under for India since Lala Amarnath's side visited the country back in 1947-48 months after independence to face Sir Don Bradman's 'Invincibles'
•    India has also become the first ever Asian team to win a Test series in Australia.
 

Awards

'Bohemian Rhapsody' wins best film
The Golden Globes 2019 was held at the The Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, California, United States
Complete list of winners
Film
•    Drama- “Bohemian Rhapsody”
•    Actress, Drama- Glenn Close, “The Wife”
•    Actor, Drama- Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
•    Comedy or Musical- “Green Book”
•    Actor, Comedy or Musical- Christian Bale, “Vice”
•    Actress, Comedy or Musical- Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
•    Actress-Supporting Role- Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
•    Actor-Supporting Role- Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
•    Foreign Language Film- “Roma”
•    Best Director- Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
•    Screenplay- Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, “Green Book”
•    Animated- “Spider-Man- Into the Spider-Verse”
•    Original Score- Justin Hurwitz, “First Man”
•    Original Song- “Shallow,” “A Star Is Born”
Television
•    Drama- “The Americans”
•    Actress, Drama- Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
•    Actor, Drama- Richard Madden, “Bodyguard”
•    Musical or Comedy- “The Kominsky Method”
•    Actress, Musical or Comedy- Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
•    Actor, Musical or Comedy- Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”
•    Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- “The Assassination of Gianni Versace- American Crime Story”
•    Actress, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Patricia Arquette, “Escape at Dannemora”
•    Actor, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace- American Crime Story”
•    Actress, Supporting Role, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”
 

National news

Polavaram project enters Guinness Book of World Record for concrete pouring 
•    The Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh on Monday entered the Guinness Book of World by pouring 32,100 cubic metres of concrete in 24 hours. 
•    The concrete work to make the spillway began at 8 am on Sunday and concluded at 8 am this morning. 
•    The project beat the existing record of 21,580 cubic metres which was achieved by Abdul Wahed Bin Shabib, RALS Contracting LLC and Alfa Eng. Consultant (all UAE), in Dubai between May 18 and 20 in 2017.
 

Economy and banking

Banks get a breather on bad loans 
•    For the first time since the bad loan saga began to play out six years ago, Indian banks have reported a decline in the proportion of loans gone bad for the half-year ended September 2018.
•    Their aggregate Gross Non-Performing Asset (GNPA) ratio dipped from 11.5% in March 2018 to 10.8% in September 2018. The GNPA ratio captures the proportion of loans in a bank’s books on which borrowers haven’t repaid dues for more than 90 days.
 

International news

Malaysia’s king abdicates in historic first 
•    Malaysia’s king has abdicated in a historic first for the country that ended weeks of speculation about his future after he took medical leave.
•    Sultan Muhammad V’s decision marks the first time a king has abdicated in the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1957.
•    Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with a unique arrangement where the throne changes hands every five years between rulers of the nine Malaysian States headed by centuries-old royalty. The rotating monarchy system has been in place since independence from Britain in 1957, and Sultan Muhammad V is the first monarch to have renounced the throne.
 

International relations

U.S., China hold crucial talks to ease trade war 
•    Delegates from the US and China on Monday began the crucial face-to-face negotiations here to ease a bitter trade war between the world’s two largest economies amid growing concerns about China’s slowing economy and its impact on American businesses.
•    The US and China have been locked in an escalating trade spat since early 2018, raising import tariffs on each other’s goods.


OVL makes oil discovery in Colombia 
•    ONGC Videsh Ltd., the overseas arm of State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) has made a second oil discovery in Colombia that has increased prospects of its onland block in the South American nation.
•    OVL is the operator of the block with 70% stake while Petrodorado South America S A Sucursal (PDSA) of Colombia holds the remaining 30%.
•    The well was spudded on November 7, 2018, and the company completed drilling on December 15, 2018.


Norwegian PM arrives in New Delhi 
•    Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg has arrived in New Delhi on a three-day state visit to India. 
•    She was accompanied by senior officials from her government and a large business delegation. 
•    She will participate in the Indo-Norwegian Business Conference.
•    She will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will call on the visiting dignitary.
•    The Norwegian Prime Minister will deliver the Inaugural address at the Raisina Dialogue.
 

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Important Current Affairs 6th January 2019

National News

Govt allocates Rs 10,900 cr for development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in next 4-years
•    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Dr K Sivan has said that the Union Government has allocated 10,900 crore rupees for the development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in the next four years.
•    Pointing out that the Centenary year celebrations of ISRO founder Dr Vikram Sarabhai will be held next year, Dr Sivan said that ISRO will rededicate itself to become a world class organization, capable of addressing the varied socio economic challenges of the nation.


9-day long International Kite Festival kicks off in Ahmedabad 
•    In Gujarat, the nine-day long international kite festival kicked off at Sabarmati River Front in Ahmedabad
•    About 500 kite fliers 13 different states of the country and 19 cities of Gujarat are also taking part.
•    The festival is also planned at Vadodara, Kevadiya, Dwaraka, Surat, Rajkot, Jetpur, Songadh, Saputara and Dhordo in the coming days.


Govt notifies High-Level Committee for implementation of Clause VI of Assam Accord 
•    The government has notified a High-Level Committee for implementation of Clause six of the Assam Accord.
•    The clause envisaged that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, should be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the people of Assam.
•    The nine-member committee, comprising of eminent Assamese persons from different fields, is headed by former bureaucrat MP Bezbarauah. 
•    The committee will examine the effectiveness of actions since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.


Cabinet approves 10% job quota for ‘economically weaker’ upper castes 
•    The Union Cabinet Monday approved a 10 per cent reservation for ‘economically backward’ upper castes in government jobs. 
•    Ahead of the General Elections this year, the government has announced reservation in jobs for those belonging to the upper castes and earning less than Rs 8 lakh per year.
•    A bill to amend Article 15 and 16 of the constitution will be moved in Parliament to this effect.
•    The Supreme Court has capped the quota for caste-based reservation for government jobs at 50%.
 

International News

Egypt opens West Asia's largest cathedral in its New Administrative Capital 
•    Egypt has opened West Asia's largest cathedral in its New Administrative Capital, 45 kilometres east of Cairo. 
•    President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the newly-built Cathedral of Nativity and also a mosque yesterday on the eve of Coptic Christmas.
•    The ceremony was attended by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and a host of Arab dignitaries. 
•    It included recorded video messages of support from the region's top Christian clerics as well as Pope Francis.
 

Sports News

Head Constable Rani wins gold medal in Senior National's Judo C'Ship 
•    Lady head constable Rani of 5th Indian Reserve Battalion of Himachal Pradesh Police won a Gold medal in the Senior National Women's Judo Championship at Visakhapatnam
•    She claimed top honours in the 78 kg category. 
•    Rani was also declared the best Judoka at the Championship.

Awards News

WCD minister Maneka Gandhi confers National Anganwadi Awards 
•    Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi today conferred National Awards to 97 Anganwadi workers for their exceptional achievements for the year 2017-18 in New Delhi.
•    The award is given to motivate the Anganwadi workers and recognize their exemplary services in the field of child development and related areas under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme.
 

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Important Current Affairs 5th January 2019

National news

Swachh Survekshan 2019 launched across 4,237 Urban Local Bodies
•    The Minister of State (I/C), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Shri Hardeep S Puri has officially kicked off the Swachh Survekshan 2019, the fourth edition of the annual cleanliness survey of Urban India
•    This year, the survey will be conducted across 4,237 towns and cities between January 4 - 28, 2019. The completely digital and paperless survey will be completed in a record time of 28 days. 
•    As a prelude to encouraging cities to improve urban sanitation, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) had conducted ‘Swachh Survekshan-2016’ survey for ranking 73 cities in January 2016. 
•    This was followed by ‘Swachh Survekshan-2017’ conducted in January-February 2017 where 434 cities were ranked. 
•    The third round of survey ‘Swachh Survekshan-2018’ was a quantum leap of scale - conducted across 4,203 cities, in a record time of 66 days, and became the largest ever sanitation survey in the world, impacting around 40 crore people.


NGT imposes Rs 100 Cr fine on Meghalaya govt
•    The National Green Tribunal has imposed a fine of 100 crore rupees on Meghalaya government for its failure to curb illegal coal mining in the state.
•    The amount of the fine has to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board within two months. The action comes after a high-level committee submitted an adverse report to a bench headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel.
•    The report stated that majority of the mines in the state are operating without a lease or licence.

Lok Sabha passes Aadhar, Companies Amendment Bill
•    The Lok Sabha on Friday passed Aadhaar and other laws (Amendment Bill) 2018 and Companies Amendment Bill 2018. The Aadhaar Bill seeks to amend the Aadhaar Act, 2016, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
•    It provides for voluntary sharing of the 12-digit identification number for obtaining new mobile phone connections and opening bank accounts. The government move comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s judgment.
•    The Apex court in September last year struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that made seeding of the biometric ID with SIMs and bank accounts mandatory, stating that it had no legal backing.
•    The Companies (Amendment), Bill, 2018 replaces the Ordinance promulgated in November last year.

International news

China develops its own 'Mother of All Bombs’ 
•    China has developed a massive bomb, said to be the country's answer to the US-built 'Mother of All Bombs', the most powerful non-nuclear weapon, as per a report by official media.
•    A state-run Global Times reported that China's defence industry giant NORINCO for the first time showcased the aerial bomb, the country's largest non-nuclear bomb.
•    The daily said it is dubbed as the Chinese version of the "Mother of All Bombs" due to its huge destruction potential that is claimed to be only second to nuclear weapons
•    Although China is using the same nickname for its bomb, said to weigh several tonnes, the Chinese weapon is smaller and lighter than its American counterpart.
•    To match the US weapon, Russia developed the "Father of All Bombs" which is both bigger and thermobaric, meaning it uses gas to create a huge fireball rather than a shockwave.


James Jeffrey to Replace Brett McGurk as Top U.S. Envoy in ISIS Fight
•    Ambassador James Jeffrey will replace Brett McGurk as the United States Special Envoy to Defeat ISIS
•    McGurk resigned in late 2018 over disagreements with President Donald Trump’s strategy to resign from Syria, leaving office on Dec

Awards


Young entrepreneurs honoured with National Entrepreneurship Awards 
•    Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday honoured outstanding young entrepreneurs with National Entrepreneurship Awards in New Delhi.
•    The awards aim to recognize and honour outstanding young first-generation entrepreneurs and those who have contributed immensely in building the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
•    A total of 43 awards were given this year. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Prabhu said, the government will provide full support to the young entrepreneurs to enhance their business.

AP govt bags CBIP award for Polavaram project 
•    The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday bagged the Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP) award for speedy execution of Polavaram multipurpose project on the Godavari river.
•    AP Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswar Rao received the award in the category of “Best Implementation of Water Resources Project” for better planning, implementation and monitoring at an event

Sports

80th National Table Tennis Championship begins in Cuttack
•    80th National Table Tennis Championship begins in Cuttack
•    As many as 35 teams, including 550 players from different parts of the country are participating in the mega championship.
•    Medal winners at Commonwealth Games and Asian Games Manika Batra, Senior players like Sharath Kamal, Madhuriba Patkar, Olympian Ankita Das are some of the key players who will be in the limelight during the event.

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Important Current Affairs 4th January 2019

National

Ten-day Indian Panorama Film Festival to open on 4th January, 2019 
•    The Indian Panorama Film Festival is being organized from 4th to 13th January, 2019. The ten-day Festival is being organized by the Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting at Siri Fort Auditorium II, New Delhi.
•    The directors of the opening feature film ‘Olu’ and of the opening non-feature film ‘Kharvas’ viz. Shri Shaji N Karun and Shri Aditya Suhas Jambhale will be present on the occasion.
•    All the films selected under the Indian Panorama section in the 49th International Film Festival of India will be screened during the Festival. A total of 26 Feature Films and 21 Non-Feature Films will be screened.


Setting up of Space Technology Park and Museums
•    The ISRO has plans to set up Space Galleries in various locations in the country. The Space Galleries are expected to disseminate the knowledge about space science and technology amongst the citizens of our country. 
•    The Gallery will consist of interactive methods/ models describing the principles of Space science and technology.
•    Initially, Space Galleries are planned to be established at Birla Science Centre at Hyderabad, Nehru Science Centre at Mumbai and National Science Centre at PragatiMaidan in New Delhi. In addition to this, ISRO has taken initiatives to establish space gallery in all the national museums/science centres (under Ministry of Culture) across the country in a phased manner.
•    In addition to the Space Galleries, ISRO is planning to establish Knowledge centres, mobile exhibitions, competitions amongst students and various talks/ lectures on Space Science/ technology related aspects.


Parliament passes NCTE amendment Bill 
•    Parliament has passed the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2018, with the Rajya Sabha approving it on Thursday.
•    The bill seeks to grant retrospective recognition to Central and State institutions which had conducted teacher education courses without approval by the Council.
•    This will be a one-time measure to ensure that the future of about 17 thousand students having degrees from such institutions is secured.
•    All institutions running teacher education courses, such as B.Ed, have to obtain recognition from the Council.


First-ever Kisan Cricket League to commence on Feb 20
•    In a bid to encourage cricket among rural Indian aspirants, the first-ever Kisan Cricket League - The Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Cup of Hope - will be held from February 20 to March 20.
•    The event introduces a fresh short format cricket tournament aimed at engaging rural dwellers between 17-24 years of age to take up the sport.
•    Kisan Cricket League will have eight teams - Mighty Himalayans, Frontier Gabroos, Awadhi Brothers, Eastern Eagles, Western Tharyans, Oruvan Thalaivas, Sahyadri Rangers and a special team for tribal youngsters, The Birsa Boys.


East Siang District achieves 100% electrification under Saubhagya Scheme 
•    In Arunachal Pradesh, East Siang District has achieved 100 percent electrification under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana- Saubhagya Scheme.
•    Pasighat Electrical division has electrified 2,662 households which were earlier left out till the end of December last year. The power department has electrified 1,483 villages under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya-Gram Jyoti Yojana in the state so far.


Cyclonic storm PABUK likely to cross Andaman Sea on Jan 5
•    Cyclonic storm “PABUK” is very likely to emerge into the Andaman Sea around forenoon on 5th January.
•    India Meteorological Department IMD said thereafter it is very likely to cross the Andaman Islands around Sunday evening.

Sports

Arunima Sinha becomes world’s first woman amputee to scale Mount Vinson 
•    Arunima Sinha, the Indian mountaineer who became the world’s first woman amputee to climb Mount Everest in 2013, has now become the first woman amputee to climb Mount Vinson (highest peak of Antarctica).
•    Sinha is a national level volleyball player who had one of her legs amputated in 2011 after she was pushed from a running train by dacoits she had resisted. She had earlier said that she planned to scale six peaks in six continents.
 

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Important Current Affairs 3rd January 2019

National

 Cabinet gives ex post facto approval to India's Approach for COP 24, Katowice, Poland
•    The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the negotiating stand of India at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Katowice, Poland from 2-15 December 2018.
•    The Indian delegation was led by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
•    The key focus of meeting was to finalize guidelines for implementation of Paris Agreement in post 2020 period. India's approach was guided by principles and provisions of UNFCCC and Paris Agreement particularly the principles of Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capability (CBPR-RC).


PM to inaugurate Indian Science Congress at Jalandhar
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Indian Science Congress at Jalandhar on January 3, an annual congregation that witnesses deliberations by top scientific minds of the country.
•    The theme for ISC-2019 is ‘Future India-Science and Technology’ and it will be hosted by the Lovely Professional University (PLU), Jalandhar from January 3-7


Cabinet approves restructuring of National Health Agency as the National Health Authority 
•    Union Cabinet has approved the restructuring of National Health Agency as the National Health Authority for better implementation of Pradhan Mantri - Jan Arogya Yojana.
•    National Health Authority will be chaired by Union Health Minister to enable the decision making at a faster pace, required for smooth implementation of the scheme.
•    National Health Authority will have full accountability, authority and mandate to implement the Pradhan Mantri - Jan Arogya Yojana through an efficient, effective and transparent decision-making process.


Assam CM welcomes Cabinet decisions on Assam Accord
•    Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal has welcomed the Union Cabinet's decision to implement the Assam Accord signed in 1985.
•    The Union Cabinet yesterday approved the setting up a high-level committee for implementation of clause 6 of the Assam Accord and measures envisaged in the Memorandum of Settlement, 2003 and other issues related to the Bodo community.


Cabinet approves amendment to Trade Unions Act, 1926
•    The Cabinet has approved amendment to the Trade Unions Act, 1926 to make provisions regarding recognition of trade unions.
•    The approval will facilitate recognition of Trade Unions at Central and State level.
•    The proposed bill will ensure that the nomination of workers’ representatives in tripartite bodies by the government will become more transparent.

Economy and Banking

Cabinet approves first-ever three way merger in Indian Banking 
•    The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the scheme of amalgamation for amalgamating Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, with Bank of Baroda as the transferee bank and Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank as transferor banks.
•    The amalgamation will be the first-ever three-way consolidation of banks in India, with the amalgamated bank being India's second largest Public Sector Bank.
•    The amalgamation will help create a strong globally competitive bank with economies of scale and enable realisation of wide-ranging synergies.
 

Obituary

Ramakant Achrekar dies in Mumbai 
•    Ramakant Achrekar, childhood coach of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, died on Wednesday. 
•    Achrekar, 87, who is known to shape Tendulkar's career, took his last breath at his Shivaji Park residence in Dadar, Mumbai.
•    Besides Tendulkar, he also coached some prominent players in Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre, Sameer Dighe and Balwinder Singh Sandhu.
 

Space Science

China's lunar rover Chang'e 4 makes historic landing on dark side of Moon 
•    Chinese space probe successfully touched down on the far side of the moon on Thursday, a historic first landing on a mission seen as an important step for China's space programme.
•    Chinese state television said the Chang'e-4 lunar probe, launched in December, made the "soft landing" at 0226 GMT and transmitted the first-ever "close range" image of the dark side of the moon.
•    Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the moon but none has landed on it.
 

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Important Current Affairs 2nd January 2019

National

8th Global Kokan festival foresees vision 2025 for Kokan Development 
•    To facilitate the development of the region, Kokan Bhumi Pratisthan will be organaising the 8th Global Kokan Festival which will be held at Mumbai Exhibition Center in Mumbai.
•    This mega event will be inaugurated by Chief Guests Suresh Prabhu (Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Civil Aviation), Anant Geete (Union Cabinet Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises) and Vinod Tawde (Minister Of Higher & Technical Education and Cultural Affairs).
•    Global Kokan festival is hosted by Jaykumar Rawal (Minister of Tourism) and Subash Desai (Minister for Industries and Mining), Deepak Kesarkar (Minister of State for Home (Rural), Finance and Planning), and Ravindra Chavan (Minister of State - Ports, Medical Education, Information and Technology, Food and Civil supplies, Consumer protection).
•    The inaugural day will see the announcement of launch of "Vision 2025" for Kokan region, a special white paper documenting the issues faced by people of Kokan region. The detailed report will be launched after 3 months with full study of the region in term of infrastructure, Business, tourism, etc.


1st January - DRDO day 
•    The DRDO was established in 1958 with just 10 laboratories to enhance the research work in defence sector.
•    DRDO Chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy said that the country is self-reliant in areas of missiles, radars, sonars and torpedoes and many other systems.
•    Mr Reddy said, the Organisation has been working over the years to develop state of the art weapon system for the country's armed forces.


PM Modi renames Ross, Neil & Havelock Islands in Andaman and Nicobar 
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the renaming of three islands of Andaman and Nicobar on the occasion of 75th anniversary of Tricolour hoisting by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Port Blair.
•    Ross Island has been renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, the Neil Island would now be known as Shaheed Dweep and the Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.
•    Mr Modi also released a commemorative stamp, its first-day cover and a 75 rupees coin on this special day. He also announced setting up of a deemed university after Netaji Bose.

Economy and Banking

RBI offers relief to MSMEs; allows restructuring of debt up to Rs 25 crore 
•    Reserve Bank has allowed a one-time restructuring of existing debt of up to 25 crore rupees for the companies which have defaulted on payment but the loans given to them have continued to be classified as standard assets. 
•    The decision will help the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which are facing cash crunch in the wake of demonetisation and GST implementation.
•    To be eligible for the scheme, the aggregate exposure, including non-fund based facilities of banks and NBFCs, to a borrower should not exceed 25 crore rupees as on January 1, 2019, and the restructuring has to be implemented by 31st of March 2020.


RBI Financial Stability Report 
Indian banking sector has begun to show improvement in asset quality of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) during July-September quarter this year.
•    This positive sentiment was attributed to a host of factors including credit growth of banks coupled with improvement in the asset quality of the banks.
•    The FSR reflects the collective assessment of the Sub-Committee of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) on risks to financial stability, as also the resilience of the financial system.
•    According to the report, credit growth of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) has improved between March 2018 and September 2018, driven largely by private sector banks.
•    The report also projected that GNPA ratio may decline to 10.3 per cent in March 2019, from 10.8 per cent in September 2018


Moody's downgrades Yes Bank ratings 
•    Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday downgraded Yes Bank's ratings to non-investment grade and changed outlook to negative from stable on the back of various resignations from the Board.
•    The resignations, when seen in conjunction with RBI's September directive to restrict the term of the bank's MD & CEO Rana Kapoor, till January 31, 2019, have raised concerns over corporate governance
•    Moody's has downgraded foreign currency issuer rating to 'Ba1' from 'Baa3', and also the bank's baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA to 'ba2' from 'ba1'. The rating implies that these instruments are non-investment grade, speculative.
•    Headquartered in Mumbai, Yes Bank had total assets of Rs 3.7 lakh crore at September 30, 2018.
•    On November 14, Yes Bank non-executive chairman Ashok Chawla resigned as his name figured in a CBI chargesheet filed in the Aircel-Maxis case. Another independent director Vasant Gujarathi too tendered his resignation on the same day.

Appointments

LIC MD to officiate as chairman 
•    Life Insurance Corporation of India MD Hemant Bhargava has been given the additional charge of the chairman after V.K. Sharma retired
•    Mr. Bhargava took charge as MD in February 2017.

Sports

ICC Test ranking: Virat Kohli, Kagiso Rabada tops 2018 
•    It turned out to be a glorious 2018 for India captain Virat Kohli and South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada as both maintained their respective pole positions in the year-end ICC Test Player Rankings.
•    Kohli, who attained a career-high 937 points during the year, which is the highest ever by an India batsman, scored 1322 runs in all. He overtook Steven Smith in August and has now held the top position for 135 days.
•    Rabada, who split the top ranking with England’s seasoned fast bowler James Anderson during the year, is just six points ahead of his adversary.
 

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Important Current Affairs 1st January 2019

National

ISRO launches Samwad with students to engage them on space science activities 
•    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched Samwad with Students as part of its outreach programme. The Indian Space agency will engage youngsters across the country in activities concerning space science under this programme.
•    During the inauguration in Bengaluru yesterday, 40 students and 10 teachers from select schools interacted with ISRO Chairman Dr. K Sivan about the Indian Space Programme and their benefits to the common man.
•    The Chairman asked students to study science and mathematics with absolute seriousness which would enable them to take up challenging careers.
 

International

Pakistan, India exchange list of nuclear installations 
•    India and Pakistan on Tuesday exchanged the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations between them.
•    In a statement, the External Affairs Ministry said, the list was exchanged through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad
•    Under the 1988 agreement, the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities on the first of January every year.


US, Israel quit UNESCO citing bias 
•    The United States and Israel officially quit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the close of 2018. The countries had announced their decisions in 2017 of withdrawing from the agency, accusing it of bias against Israel.
•    America has demanded fundamental reform in UNESCO, which was co-founded by it after World War II to foster peace. Israel joined the agency in 1949. It is best known for its World Heritage program, which designates cultural sites and aims to preserve traditions
•    The withdrawals will not greatly impact UNESCO financially since it has been dealing with a funding slash ever since 2011 when both Israel and the US stopped paying dues after Palestine was voted in as a member state.


Qatar will cease to be a member of OPEC
•    Qatar will cease to be a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries today. The country had sent an official notification to the OPEC expressing its wish to pull out and to focus on its liquefied natural gas production in December.
•    The decision came amid the ongoing diplomatic and economic blockade imposed on the country by its Persian Gulf neighbours and several Arab states.
•    These countries accuse Doha of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Qatar has strongly refuted these allegations.


Bangladesh: Awami League registers landslide victory in Parliamentary elections 
•    Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League has registered a landslide victory in Parliamentary elections.
•    The ruling Awami League-led grand alliance bagged 266 seats and its ally Jatiya Party secured 21. The opposition National Unity Front (UNF) with BNP being its key partner got only seven seats. Independent candidates won in two seats. The election was postponed in one seat due to the death of a candidate.


Afghanistan presidential election delayed until July 20
•    Afghanistan's presidential election will be delayed until July 20 next year, three months later than the ballot had been scheduled to be held.
•    The announcement by the Independent Election Commission comes after weeks of speculation that the vote would be postponed to create space for US-led efforts to end the 17-year war with the Taliban.
•    The presidential ballot was originally scheduled for April 20.
 

Economy and Banking

Govt infuses nearly Rs 11,000 cr capital in public sector banks
•    The government has infused 10,882 crore rupees in four public sector banks, including UCO Bank and Syndicate Bank. It is part of 28,615 crore rupees capital infusion to be done in seven public sector lenders.
•    UCO Bank has received 3,074 crore rupees in the equity by way of preferential allotment yesterday. Besides, Bank of Maharashtra got 4,498 crore rupees, Syndicate Bank 1,632 crore and the Central Bank of India 1,678 crore.
•    The government has already announced infusion of 10,086 crore rupees in Bank of India, 5,500 crore in Oriental Bank of Commerce and 2,159 in United Bank of India.
 

Obituary

Veteran Actor Kader Khan Dies At 81 
•    Veteran actor Kader Khan died in a hospital in Canada on Monday. He was 81.
•    Born in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 22, Kader Khan was best known for his work as an actor and a writer in numerous films. 
•    He has worked with directors like Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra. 
•    He has featured in over 300 films.
 

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Important Current Affairs 31st December 2018

National

Government to appoint Committee to monitor DFI implementation 
The government will soon be appointing a committee to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Doubling Farmers’ Income (DFI) committee. This committee will oversee the implementations of various recommendations and have specific terms of reference.
Together with supervising and monitoring, it will even handhold those involved in implementing the recommendations.
Committee on Doubling Farmers Income (DFI)
The government had appointed an expert committee headed by Ashok Dalwai in 2016 to look into the entire agriculture ecosystem in the country to suggest ways and means to reform it so that farmers’ income can be doubled by 2022.


Delhi Police becomes first police force in India to digitise all malkhanas
With the launch of ‘E-Malkhana’ in the remaining 10 districts at Chinamaya Mission, the Delhi Police has become first in country to have digitalised malkhana in Police Stations of its all districts. Malkhanas are rooms for keeping seized arms and ammunition. According to the release, around 3,11,600 case properties have been encrypted in digital form across all the police stations in the state.

PM releases commemorative stamp on Maharaja Suheldev 
PM Narendra Modi released a commemorative stamp on Maharaja Suheldev. He described Maharaja Suheldev as a brave warrior and a hero who inspires the people and said that the Union Government is determined to preserve the legacy of all those who contributed to the cause of India’s defence and security, and to its social life.
Legacy of Maharaja Suheldev
Maharaja Suheldev is a semi-legendary king whose references are found somewhere between the boundary of fiction and history.


Khushi Scheme of Odisha 
Khushi scheme of Odisha aims to provide good menstrual hygiene care to women of the state. The initiative aims to promote health and hygiene among school going adolescent girls leading to higher retention in school and greater empowerment of women.
About the Initiative
Under the scheme, the government will provide free sanitary napkins to 17 lakh girls studying in Classes 6 to 12 in government and government-aided schools. The scheme is being implemented by the health and family welfare department of the state at a cost of Rs 70 crore per year.


Ujjwala Sanitary Napkin initiative 
The oil marketing companies have launched Ujjwala Sanitary Napkin Initiative, as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Odisha.
According to the data from the National Family Health Survey-4, overall use of sanitary napkins in Odisha is 33.5 per cent and only 42.8 per cent of rural women between the age of 15 and 24 years use proper hygienic methods of protection during menstruation. The oil companies came up with this initiative keeping this scenario in mind.


PM launches comprehensive pension management software SAMPANN 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 29th December launched a comprehensive pension management software SAMPANN to facilitate pensioners of the telecom department. SAMPANN, an acronym for System for Accounting and Management of Pension, will help in the timely disbursement of pensions, he said at a public meeting in Varanasi. PM Modi said the Centre is using technology to improve ease of living and greater ease of access to citizen-centric services.
 

Obituary

Noted filmmaker Mrinal Sen passes away
Legendary filmmaker Mrinal Sen passed away at the age of 95 in Kolkata this morning. A Padma Bhushan and Dada Saheb Phalke awardee, Sen paved the way for parallel cinema in the country with films like Ek Din Achanak, Padatik, Mrigaya, Akaler Sandhane, Chorus, Kharij, Khandahar, Bhuwan Shome, Akash Kusum and Calcutta 71.
 

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