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Important Current Affairs 5th September 2018 English

                                                     (International News)

The International Women Entrepreneurs Summit 2018 

 
The International Women Entrepreneurs Summit 2018 was inaugurated by the Vice President of Nepal Nanda Bahadur Pun in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal on September 3, 2018.
Nepal’s Vice President emphasised upon empowering women in all areas including social, political and economic. 
The three-day event is being organised by the South Asian Women Development Forum. It is expected to witness participation from delegates belonging to 27 countries including China and the SAARC, ASEAN, EU, African and Arab countries.
The Theme of the International Women Entrepreneurs Summit 2018: ‘Equality begins with Economic Empowerment’

Objective of the Summit
The main objective of the summit is to bring together achievers, women business leaders, professionals, international service providers, resource organisations, experts, government representatives and other stakeholders with a focus on innovative economic transformation through discussions and collaborations.


Arif Alvi elected Pakistan President

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Dr Arif Alvi has become the 13th President of the country.
Alvi was the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate and was contested by PML-N and other opposition parties — MMA leader Maulana Fazlur Rahman and PPP’s Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan.
About Arif Alvi
Arif-ur-Rehman Alvi was born on 29 July 1949 is a Pakistani politician who is the President-elect of Pakistan and will assume office on 9 September 2018.
He was a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from June 2013 to May 2018 and again from August to September 2018. A founding member of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), He studied at the University of Michigan and the University of the Pacific in San Francisco, as well as in Lahore, before making a career as a dentist and then entering politics.

Asia Index launches S&P BSE Private Banks Index 

Asia Index Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between S&P Dow Jones Indices and BSE Ltd, announced the launch of an index designed to measure the performance of private banks. 

The S&P BSE Private Banks Index is drawn from the constituents of the S&P BSE Finance Index, the Asia's oldest exchange said in a statement. 

Only common stocks classified as Banks by the BSE Sector Classification model and that are not classified under the BSE scrip category as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) are eligible, it added.

The S&P BSE Private Banks Index is designed to provide market participants with a transparent and rules-based benchmark that measures the performance of private banks listed in India.


Curtain Raiser: Indo-Kazakhstan Joint Exercise KAZIND 2018 
 
Indo-Kazakhstan Joint Army Exercise 'KAZIND' will be conducted between the Indian and Kazakhstan Army from 10 to 23 Sep 2018 in Otar region, Kazakhstan. 
This is the third joint military exercise between the two countries which have a history of extensive cooperation in the defence arena. The second edition of the exercise was held in India last year.
Aim: 

The aim of the exercise is to build and promote bilateral Army to Army relations and exchange skills and experiences between Kazakhstan Army and the Indian Army. The exercise will also serve as a platform for exchange of drills and procedures.

The fourteen days exercise with the Kazakhstan Army will follow a graduated continuum from orientation to a full scale mock exercise; the aim being to achieve optimum integration among the two contingents through enhanced mutual comprehension of each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures. The vast experience and expertise of Indian troops in counter insurgency operations holds special importance to the Kazakhstan Army. The conduct of the joint exercise will set the stage for greater defence cooperation and consequently will manifest in stronger ties between the two great nations.


6th East Asia Summit and 15th India-ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting held in Singapore 
 

Commerce & Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu attended the 6th East Asia Summit- Economic Ministers’ Meeting (EAS-EMM) and 15th India-ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM) in Singapore. Singapore is currently holding the Chair of ASEAN.
6th East-Asia Economic Ministers’ Meeting
The 6th East-Asia Economic Ministers’  Meeting was chaired by Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore, and was attended by Economic Ministers from  10  ASEAN countries  and their eight  dialogue partners,  Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation and the United States of America. 
The Ministers agreed to the importance of keeping markets open and fair as well as improving transparency and predictability of the business environment. The meeting recognized the importance of ongoing work to maximize the opportunities of, and address the challenges presented by, the digital economy and the rise of regional and global value chains, as part of their efforts to promote economic growth and integration in the region.
15th ASEAN Economic Ministers
The 6th EAS–EMM was followed by the 15th ASEAN Economic Ministers - India Consultation. It was co-chaired by Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore, and Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry, India. The meeting attended by Economic Ministers from 10 ASEAN countries took stock of the current level of trade and economic engagement between India and ASEAN and reaffirmed the commitment to further strengthen ASEAN-India economic relations. ASEAN has emerged as the second largest trade partner of India in 2017-18 with bilateral trade valued at USD 81.33 billion, comprising 10.58% of India’s total trade with the world.
Important:
It was also announced in the Singapore meeting that the next ASEAN-India Business Summit will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in November 2018 with the theme “Towards Building Strategic Partnership between ASEAN and India in the Era of the 4th IR and Digital Economy” which will be followed by the 4th India-ASEAN Dialogue Partner Expo and Summit scheduled for 21-23 February 2019, in New Delhi.

                                                                (Sports)


Sakshi Choudhary clinches gold medal at World Youth Boxing in Budapest

In boxing, former junior world champion boxer Sakshi Choudhary added the youth crown to her cabinet in the 57-kilogram category, claiming the gold at the World Youth Boxing in Budapest.
 
She beat Croatia's Nikolina Cacic. Manisha and Anamika settled for silver medals in the 64 kg and 51 kg. categories.

                                                   (National News)

Justice Ranjan Gogoi to take charge as the 46th Chief Justice of India

After Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra recommended the Justice Ranjan Gogoi as his successor to take charge as the 46th Chief Justice of India.
He is likely to assume the office of the Chief Justice of India on October 3, and will continue in that position for 13 months till November 17, 2019. 

Ranjan Gogoi 
Justice Ranjan Gogoi is a judge of the Supreme Court of India since April, 2012. Prior to his present post, he was the Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court. His father Keshab Chandra Gogoi was a Chief Minister under the Indian National Congress regime in the state of Assam in the year 1982.

Dipak Misra 

Justice Dipak Misra is the current and 45th Chief Justice of India. He is a judge of the Supreme Court of India and a former Chief Justice of the Patna and Delhi High Courts. He is the nephew of Justice Ranganath Misra, who was the 21st Chief Justice during 1990-91. He succeeded J. S. Khehar, the 44th Chief Justice.

Suresh Prabhu launches Coffee Connect app, Coffee KrishiTharanga services for coffee stakeholders
Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu on September 4, 2018 launched Coffee Connect mobile app and digital mobile extension services ‘Coffee KrishiTharanga’ for coffee stakeholders. 

About Coffee Connect mobile app

The ‘Coffee Connect’ mobile app has been developed to ease the work of field functionaries and to improve the work efficiency. 

The application provides solution by harnessing the power of mobility comprising the latest technology in easing the whole process of the field activities like digitisation of Coffee Growers & Estates with Geo Tagging, collecting the Plantation details.

It will also help in boosting transparency in the activities of the extension officers and officials, transparency in subsidy disbursement and real time report generation.

About Coffee KrishiTharanga services

The Coffee KrishiTharanga services are aimed at providing customised information and services to increase productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability. 

The “Coffee KrishiTharanga” was pilot tested in the Chikmagalur and Hassan districts of Karnataka, covering 30000 farmers during the first year and will now be extended to remaining growers in a phased manner. NABARD has partly funded the Pilot project. 

These services will help to reach maximum growers in limited period; improve the efficiency through digitization; and leverage existing mobile reach for wider delivery of improved technology.

Pilot projects 
Suresh Prabhu also launched pilot projects on data analytics, artificial intelligence, IOTS and blockchain.

The Coffee Board identified technological solutions to address some of the perennial coffee production and coffee farming issues such as rainfall, pests and diseases. 

Coffee Board in collaboration with EKA Analytics, a global leader in the data analytics and artificial intelligence, developed the hyper local weather forecast, pest (white stem borer) identification and leaf rust disease forecast applications for pilot testing.


Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot will attend the 3rd ASEM Conference

Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment left for Seoul Korea.  He is heading a 3-member Indian Delegation to attend the 3rdASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Conference on ‘Global Ageing and Human Rights of Older Persons’ jointly organised in Seoul during 5th to 7th September, 2018 by the Republic of Korea and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.
Asia–Europe Meeting 
The Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an Asian–European political dialogue forum to enhance relations and various forms of cooperation between its partners. It was officially established on 1 March 1996 at the first summit in Bangkok, Thailand, by the then 15 members of the European Union (EU) and the European Commission, the then 7 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the individual countries of China, Japan, and Korea. A series of enlargements saw additional EU members join as well as India, Mongolia, Pakistan and the ASEAN Secretariat in 2008, Australia, New Zealand and the Russian Federation in 2010, Bangladesh, Norway, and Switzerland in 2012, as well as Croatia and Kazakhstan in 2014. 
The main components of the ASEM process rest on the following 3 pillars:
•    Political & Security Pillar
•    Economic & Financial Pillar
•    Social, Cultural & Educational Pillar


HRD Ministry’s rankings of national institutes for 2018
 
The Ministry of Human Resource Development released its ranking of national institutes for 2018 on Tuesday. The MHRD has adopted the National Institutional Ranking Framework, which ranks the best colleges and universities in India.
Here are the top three institutions in each category:
Overall
Rank    Institute

1    Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
2    IIT Madras
3    IIT Bombay
Engineering institutions
Rank    Institute

1    IIT Madras
2    IIT Bombay
3    IIT Delhi

Management institutes
Rank    Institute

1    IIM Ahmedabad
2    IIM Bangalore
3    IIT Calcutta

Universities
Rank    Institute

1    Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
2    Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
3    Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

Medical institutions
Rank    Institute

1    All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
2    Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
3    Christian Medical College, Vellore
Colleges
Rank    Institute

1    Miranda House, New Delhi
2    St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi
3    Bishop Hebar College, Tiruchi


 

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Important Current Affairs 4th September 2018 English

Important Current Affairs 4th September 2018

                                                           (International News)

India to take part in tsunami mock drill 
India along with 23 other nations would be participating in a major Indian ocean-wide tsunami mock exercise (drill) on September four and five, which would involve evacuation of thousands of people from coastal areas in over half a dozen states.
About the Exercise:
The exercise, known as IOWave18, is being organised by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, which coordinated the setting up of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS) in the aftermath of December 26, 2004 tsunami.
The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC), based out of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, is an autonomous institution under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.
The purpose of exercise is to increase tsunami preparedness, evaluate response capabilities in each state and improve coordination throughout the region.
The exercise would involve the evacuation of more than 1,25,000 people from the coastal communities of Odisha, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat and Goa, the release said.

India, Cyprus ink two MoUs on financial intelligence sharing and environment
India and Cyprus have signed two MoUs in the field of sharing of financial intelligence and environment. The MoUs were signed between the two countries after delegation-level talks in Nicosia. 

India and Cyprus agreed for the revision in the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement made in 2016 to further enhance investment partnership to grow by strengthening the institutional framework to facilitate investment cross flows. 

Important Takeaways:

President invited Cyprus to become part of International Solar alliance. He said India and Cyprus can also cooperate in the field of generic medicine and vaccine and Healthcare where India has made significant advances. 
Also enhance business collaboration in the field of IT and IT-enabled services, tourism, shipping and renewable energy.


China pledges $60 bn to Africa, waives debt for certain countries
China  pledged $60 billion of financial assistance to Africa and announced it would waive the debt for certain countries in the continent amid the mounting criticism and suspicion about Beijing's "debt diplomacy".

Important To Know:

During the last summit in Johannesburg in 2015, China had announced the monetary assistance of a similar amount which was more or less implemented.

"China will extend $60 billion financing to Africa in the form of government assistance as well as investment, financing by financial institutions and companies," Xi said in his address at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

China is Africa's biggest trade partner. Officials and leaders from 53 countries of the continent attended the Summit. Of the 54 nations, only Eswatini is not attending the forum as it does not have diplomatic ties with China due to its recognition of Taiwan as a country.

Beijing has been heavily investing in the continent and building a variety of infrastructure projects, ranging from schools to hospitals and football stadia to parliament buildings.

Ukraine-NATO Joint Military Exercises 
Ukraine  launched joint military exercises with the United States and a string of other NATO countries. The annual Rapid Trident military exercises, taking place in the western Ukrainian village of Starychi from September 2nd to 15th, involve some 2,200 soldiers from 14 countries.
The drills start a week before Russia holds its biggest military exercises VOSTOK 2018 since the Cold War, in the east of the country and with the participation of China and Mongolia.
Rapid Trident
Rapid Trident is an annual, multinational exercise that serves as the validation for Ukraine's Ministry of Defense unit currently undergoing at the Ukrainian-led Combat Training Center, under the advisement of allied and partner nations.

                                                       

                                                         (National News) 
Health Ministry releases draft rules on sale of drugs by e-pharmacies

The Union Health Ministry on September 1, 2018 released draft rules on sale of drugs by e-pharmacies to regulate online sale of medicines across the country.
The draft rules on "sale of drugs by e-pharmacy" state that no person will distribute or sell, stock, exhibit or offer for sale of drugs through e-pharmacy portal unless registered

Objective
The rules aim to provide patients access to genuine drugs from authentic online portals.

Other Details
• The new draft rules prohibit the sale of tranquilizers, psychotropic drugs, narcotics and habit-forming drugs through the online portals.
• The draft also prohibits the e-pharmacies from advertising any drug on radio, television, print or internet or any other media for any purpose.
• The draft also has provisions of suspension and cancellation of registration of the e-portal if the latter contravenes any provision of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
Background
The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, governs the sale of medicines in India. Medicines can be sold from licensed premises only.
The Act, however, does not cover e-pharmacies at present and the government had decided to appoint a sub-committee, after receiving complaints of violations.
The draft released on September 1 is based on the sub-committee's recommendations.

September being celebrated as National Nutrition Month 

The National Nutrition Month is being celebrated across the country to mark the fight against malnutrition. 
Objective
In this National Nutrition Month, various programmes have been organized by the Women and Child Development Ministry to spread broad awareness on the issues related to malnutrition like stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth weight in children.
The Nutrition Month will also focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers to eliminate the deficiencies prevailing in the Health sector. 
Background
The decision to celebrate September as the National Nutrition Month every year was taken during the second meeting of National Council on India's Nutrition Challenges under the Poshan Abhiyaan held in July this year. With the aim to bring down stunting of children in the age group of 0-6 years from 38 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022, POSHAN Abhiyaan- the National Nutrition Mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 8th this year in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. 

 Mauritius tops India’s FDI charts
  
Mauritius remained the top source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into India in 2017-18 followed by Singapore, whereas total FDI stood at $37.36 billion in the financial year, a marginal rise over the $36.31 billion recorded in the previous fiscal, according to RBI data.
While FDI from Mauritius totalled $13.41 billion as against $13.38 billion in the previous year, inflows from Singapore rose to $9.27 billion from $6.52 billion. FDI from the Netherlands declined marginally to $2.67 billion as against $3.23 billion a year earlier.

                                                               (Sports)

Most Valuable Player' of Asian Games

Japanese swimmer Ikee Rikako has been named as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the recently-concluded 18th edition of the Asian Games.
The 18-year-old, who bagged six gold and two silver medals in the tournament, became the first female athlete to win the MVP title.
Rikako Ikee 
Rikako Ikee born on 4 July 2000 is a Japanese competitive swimmer. She is the national record holder in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly, and the junior world record holder in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly long-course events, and the 50- and 100-meter butterfly, and 100-meter individual medley in short course.
Rikako became the fourth Japanese athlete to win the MVP award since its inception during the 1998 Bangkok Games.

First set of Indian shooters to secure quota places for 2020 Olympics
Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela have become the first set of Indian shooters to secure quota places for the 2020 Olympics.

Moudgil finished second on the podium and won a silver in the women's 10m air rifle event of the International Shooting Sport Federation's (ISSF) World Championship in Changwon, South Korea. 

Chandela finished fourth in the same event. The 24-year-old Moudgil shot a total of 248.4 in the eight-woman final to open the Indian senior squad's medal account in the prestigious tournament. 

International Shooting Sport Federation
The International Shooting Sport Federation, also known with the acronym ISSF, is the governing body of the Olympic Shooting events in Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun disciplines, and of several non-Olympic Shooting sport events. ISSF’s activities include regulation of the sport, Olympic qualifications and organization of international competitions such as the ISSF World Cup Series, the ISSF World Cup Finals, the ISSF Separate World Championship in Shotgun eventsand the ISSF World Championship in all events.

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Important Current Affairs 3rd September 2018 English

                     

 Important Current Affairs 3rd September 2018    

                                        (National News, Appointment)

Binoy Kumar appointed as new steel secretary
 
Senior IAS officer Binoy Kumar took over the charge as Secretary in the Ministry of Steel.  He succeeds Aruna Sharma, who superannuated on August 31, 2018.
About Binoy Kumar
Kumar had been posted as officer on special duty in the ministry since May 21, 2018, the Ministry of Steel said in a statement. Prior to this, Kumar held the post of Special Secretary, Logistics, in the Department of Commerce, where he continued to hold additional charge till July 31, 2018.
He also held the post of Director General (Supplies & Disposals), where he developed the Government e-Marketplace (GeM). Kumar has also worked as Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser in the Ministry of External Affairs and Joint Secretary in Ministry of Defence.


NITI Aayog’s MOVE Cyclathon promotes clean mobility 
 
Hon’ble MoS Kiren Rijiju & Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog flagged off MOVE Cyclathon, a cycle rally to promote cleaner, accessible modes of transport. The cyclathon was held in the run up to the MOVE: Global Mobility Summit on September 7, 8 in New Delhi, and saw a participation of over 500 enthusiastic cyclists.

About ‘Mobility Week’
 ‘Mobility Week’ will see 17 events in 7 days—from 31 August to 6 September 2018. These events will facilitate interactions with various stakeholders across the mobility domain.
 Participants include global and Indian leaders from across the mobility sector such as OEMs, battery manufacturers, charging infrastructure providers, technology solution providers, representatives from the Indian government as well as foreign governments, various inter-governmental organizations, academia, and policy think tanks.
About MOVE: Global Mobility Summit
Steeply falling technology costs and business–model innovations are driving the world’s transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles. Against this backdrop, NITI Aayog, in collaboration with various ministries and industry partners, is organizing ‘MOVE: Global Mobility Summit’ in New Delhi on 7th and 8th September, 2018. 

SBI Hikes Benchmark Lending Rate By 0.2%
Home, auto and other loans would become slightly costlier as the country’s largest lender State Bank of India has increased its benchmark lending rates by 0.2 percent.
SBI has increased the lending rate by 20 basis points across all tenors up to three years, the lender said on its website.
•    Now SBI’s overnight and one-month tenors’ marginal cost of funds based lending rate stands at 8.1 percent as against 7.9 percent earlier.
•    The MCLR for a one-year tenor increased to 8.45 percent from 8.25 percent earlier. Most of the retail loans are benchmarked against one-year MCLR.
•    The MCLR for a three-year tenor increased to 8.65 percent from 8.45 percent.

The rate hike by bank comes a month after the Reserve Bank of India hiked benchmark repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.5 percent.
RBI had last raised the repo rate on June 6 by 0.25 percent to 6.25 percent. That increase was the first since Jan. 28, 2014.

MoS Dr Jitendra Singh launches India Post Payments Bank at Jammu
The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh launched India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) in Jammu.
The launch was a part of the nationwide launch of IPPBs across the country that is aimed at reaching the population of the country through utilization of the postal network for banking services. 

Important:
The launch of IPPB marks another significant milestone in the Union Government’s endeavour to take the benefits of a rapidly developing India to the remotest corners of our country.
On the day of the launch, IPPB will have 650 Branches and 3250 Access Points spread across the country. Simultaneous launch events will be held at these branches and access points.
All the 1.55 lakh Post Offices in the country will be linked to the IPPB system by December 31, 2018.
IPPB will offer a range of products such as savings and current accounts, money transfer, direct benefit transfers, bill and utility payments, and enterprise and merchant payments. These products, and related services, will be offered across multiple channels (counter services, micro-ATM, mobile banking app, SMS and IVR), using the bank’s state-of-the-art technology platform.

ITI Limited partners with startups to boost manufacturing 
ITI Limited signed agreements with leading startups and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) covering the manufacturing of a wide range of ICT-IOT based solutions. 
These include civil and military advanced radar systems, advanced edge router systems, next generation 5G technology products, data storage and networking solutions, digital security solutions, advanced metering solutions, and wi-fi products and solutions.
ITI Limited has also entered into an agreement with Telecommunication Engineering Center (TEC), New Delhi for establishment of state-of-the-art telecom testing labs at its Bengaluru plant to facilitate mandatory testing of imported and indigenous telecom equipment in India. The foundation stone for a set of telecom testing labs– comprising EMI/EMC lab, Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) lab, Safety lab and Security lab – was laid today by the Minister.

                                                        (International News)

China-Maldives Friendship Bridge opens to traffic
 
The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, the first cross-sea bridge in the Maldives, opened to traffic.
Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen and representative of the Chinese government and head of China's International Development Cooperation Agency Wang Xiaotao attended the bridge opening ceremony.
The bridge is an embodiment of the long relations between the Maldives and China.
The Chinese government has always been a willing partner for the Maldives and the bridge has proven that nothing was impossible through genuine partnership.
The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge is an iconic project of the Maldives and China in co-building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The construction of the bridge started at the end of 2015, with China's CCCC Second Harbour Engineering Co Ltd. being the EPC contractor.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd September 2018 English

Important Current Affairs 2nd September 2018

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

India, Nepal sign MoU on Raxual-Kathmandu railway line


India and Nepal have signed MoU to build strategic railway line connecting Raxaul city in Bihar, India to Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. It was signed  after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks on all aspects of the bilateral ties with his Nepalese counterpart KP Sharma Oli on sidelines of 4th BIMSTEC Summit held in Nepal.
Raxaul-Kathmandu rail line 
It is expected to expand connectivity by enhancing people-to-people linkages and bulk movement of goods between both countries. It help to promote economic growth and development in the region. India’s Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. will conduct preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey of this new rail line in consultation with Government of Nepal. This will be followed by finalization of implementation and funding modalities of project based ondetailed project report.  

India and Pakistan have agreed to undertake Indus Waters Treaty mandated tours in Indus basin on both sides

India and Pakistan have agreed to undertake Indus Waters Treaty 1960 mandated tours by their water commissioners in Indus basin on both sides to resolve issues on various hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir. This was decided in recently concluded high-level bilateral talks on Indus Waters Treaty in Lahore, Pakistan.
Highlights on high-level bilateral talks
Deliberations were held on further strengthening the role of Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) for matters under 1960 Treaty. Technical discussions were also held on implementation of various hydroelectric projects under provisions of Indus Waters Treaty including Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) in Jammu and Kashmir.

18th Asian Games to conclude; India finishes with biggest ever medal tally


India ended their Asian Games 2018 campaign with the highest medal tally at the tournament ever, with a total of 69 medals which includes 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze medals. 
India have thus surpassed their previous highest tally of 65 medals which they registered at the 2010 edition of Asiad in Guangzhou.
The solitary event that is taking place on the last day of the Games today is Men's triathlon in which China, Republic of  Korea and Hong Kong among others, are competing. India is not participating in Triathlon.   
Indian women hockey captain Rani Rampal will be the country’s flag-bearer. She has expressed her gratitude to the Indian Olympic Association and Hockey India for giving her the opportunity to lead the India contingent at the closing ceremony.

NATIONAL NEWS

President of India Inaugurates a National Conference being Organised by The Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association


The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the National Conference being organised by the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association in New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that India’s judiciary is respected across the world as an upholder of justice for the defenceless. It is also true that our judges are overburdened by the sheer volume of cases. As a consequence, the Indian legal system is marked by long delays. He noted that there is a backlog of 3.3 crore cases in various courts of the country. Of these, 2.84 crore cases are in the subordinate courts. Another 43 lakh are in the High Courts and about 58,000 in the Supreme Court.

Vodafone Idea Ltd: Idea Cellular and Vodafone completes merger to create India’s largest telecom operator

The merger of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India has been completed after it was cleared by National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). This merger has created India’s biggest telecom service provider. The merged entity is named Vodafone Idea Ltd and dislodges current market leader Bharti Airtel from top position, by its sheer size and scale. New board has been constituted for merged entity with 12 directors (including six independent directors) and Kumar Mangalam Birla as its Chairman.
Key Facts 
The combined entity will have nearly 443 million customers surpassing Bharti Airtel’s 344 million users. Moreover, it will have all-India revenue market share of 32.2% and take numero uno slot in nine telecom circles. It will have broadband network of 3.4 lakh sites and distribution network with 17 lakh retail outlets.

Dr B.K. Misra named for 2018 Dr B.C. Roy National Award as eminent medical person of the year

Mumbai-based eminent neurosurgeon Dr B.K. Misra was named for prestigious Dr B.C. Roy National Award for year 2018 as Eminent Medical Person of the Year. It is highest medical honour of India and will be bestow ed upon him by President Ram Nath Kovind in July 1 , 2019 on the occasion of National Doctors Day.
Dr B.K. Misra
Misra is the Head of Department of Surgery as well as Neurosurgery and Gamma Knife Radiosurgery at Mumbai’s P.D. Hinduja Hospital. During his medical career, he has several firsts to his credit, including image guided aneurysm microsurgery, first doctor in South Asia to perform gamma knife radiosurgery and first in country to perform awake craniotomy for brain tumours.

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Important Current Affairs 1st September 2018 English

Important Current Affairs 1st September 2018

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

AYUSH Minister to inaugurate the Fourth International Ayurveda Congress at Netherlands 
 
The fourth International Ayurveda Congress (IAvC) aimed at promotion and propagation of Ayurveda will be inaugurated by Minister of state for AYUSH Shripad Naik in the Netherlands on 1st September.
The Minister is visiting the Netherlands from September 1-4 to participate in the Congress jointly organized by the International Maharishi Ayurveda Foundation, the Netherlands, All India Ayurvedic Congress, New Delhi, and the International Academy of Ayurveda, Pune, in association with the Indian Embassy in that country.
"The congress would focus on promotion and propagation of Ayurveda in the Netherlands and its neighbouring countries of Europe,”
A special Seminar is also being organized by the Indian Embassy titled "India-Netherlands collaboration in Healthcare, including Ayurveda" on September 3.
This seminar will be jointly addressed by the AYUSH minister and the Dutch Minister for Medical Care and Sport Bruno Bruins.
To give further impetus to promotion of AYUSH Systems of Medicine in Netherlands and its neighbouring countries, a high-level meeting has also been proposed in addition to the Congress by Embassy of India and Netherland between the Minister and government Authorities of Netherland.
An exposure visit of the delegation is proposed to the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, to discuss on establishing an Ayurveda Chair.

Germany to Provide Euro 120 Million Soft Loan for Clean Ganga Mission
 
In an effort to clean the Ganges, Germany is providing a soft loan of euro 120 million (Rs 990 crore approximately) to India to strengthen sewage water treatment infrastructure in Uttarakhand
Elaborating on the work done by the German Embassy, the project would focus on extension and replacement of sewerage system (around 360 kilometres) including complete house connection, construction of sewage treatment plants of around 15 million litres per day (mld).

The initiative also includes construction of 13 sewage pumping stations.

"The purpose of the project is to reduce the inflow of untreated wastewater in River Ganga and, thus, to improve the water quality of the river.
Background: 

In 2015, the German government to India committed an interest subsidised loan of up to euro 120 million through German Development Bank KfW for financing investments such as construction of sewerage network and sewage treatment plants

The German development agency GIZ has prepared a 'Ganga Box', aimed to target school-going children and inform them about the river.

INS Sahyadri enters Australia’s Port of Darwin: KAKADU Exercise
 
Indian Naval Ship Sahyadri entered the Port of Darwin, Australia, to take part in a multilateral maritime exercise.
The ship was deployed in the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean for over four months, which included representing the Navy in multinational exercises MALABAR 18 at Guam and RIMPAC 18 at Hawaii. 
Exercise KAKADU
Exercise KAKADU, which started in 1993, is a premier multilateral regional maritime engagement hosted by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and supported by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Land immigration centre along Myanmar border opened
 
India has opened an immigration check-post in Mizoram along the border with Myanmar, a reflection of its growing closeness with the eastern neighbour.
The central government has designated Zokhawthar land check-post in Mizoram as an authorised immigration centre for entry into and exit from India with valid travel documents for all passengers to or from Myanmar.
The move came days after India and Myanmar opened the land border crossing at Zokhawthar-Rih. Zokhawthar is in Champhai district of Mizoram, while Rih is in Myanmar's Chin province.
Zokhawthar will be the second immigration check-post in Mizoram along the Myanmar border, after Zorinpui in Lawngtlai district, which was opened in September last year.
Zokhawthar border trading post is one of the largest trading centres after the state capital Aizwal.
India shares a 1,643-km-long border with Myanmar which touches Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. ACB ACB ABH ABH

6TH RCEP Ministerial Meeting begins in Singapore 
 
Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu,is leading the Indian delegation for the 6th RCEP Trade Ministers’ Meeting which begins in Singapore .
The Minister will participate in the meeting consisting of 10 ASEAN countries and six ASEAN FTA partners namely, India, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. 
The meeting is being held on 30th-31st August 2018.  India has been constructively engaged in the RCEP negotiations with an aim to work towards a high quality, balanced and inclusive outcomes that take into consideration sensitivities and interests of member countries.
 The Ministers will give guidance to the Trade Negotiating Committee of RCEP to enable negotiations move forward.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) 
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six Asia-Pacific states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).


Environment Minister Releases India’s National Redd+ Strategy 
 
Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released National Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) strategy for India. 
 Significance:
REDD+ activities will help in sustainable livelihood of local communities and also in conservation of biodiversity. 

REDD+ strategy will help the country to fulfill its NDC commitments and will also contribute to the livelihood of the forest dependent population.

REDD+ actions at the State level will be coordinated by the committee headed by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) & Head of Forest Force (HOFF) of the States.

In simple terms, REDD+ means “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”, conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries. 
Aim: 

REDD+ aims to achieve climate change mitigation by incentivizing forest conservation. 

The strategy seeks to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and also developing a roadmap for enhancement of forest carbon stocks and achieving sustainable management of forests through REDD+ actions.
Background:

Paris agreement on climate change also recognizes role of forests in climate change mitigation and calls upon country Parties to take action to implement and support REDD+. 

India has communicated in its Nationally Determined Contribution under Paris Agreement, that it will capture 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of Carbon dioxide through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

NATIONAL NEWS


PM to launch India Post Payments Bank on Saturday, 1st September
 
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will launch the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi on September 1st, 2018.
IPPB has been envisioned as an accessible, affordable and trusted bank for the common man, to help speedily achieve the financial inclusion objectives of the Union Government. It will leverage the vast network of the Department of Posts, which covers every corner of the country with more than 300,000 Postmen and Grameen Dak Sewaks. IPPB will hence significantly augment the reach of the banking sector in India.
The launch of IPPB marks another significant milestone in the Union Government’s endeavour to take the benefits of a rapidly developing India to the remotest corners of our country.
On the day of the launch, IPPB will have 650 Branches and 3250 Access Points spread across the country. Simultaneous launch events will be held at these branches and access points.
All the 1.55 lakh Post Offices in the country will be linked to the IPPB system by December 31, 2018.
IPPB will offer a range of products such as savings and current accounts, money transfer, direct benefit transfers, bill and utility payments, and enterprise and merchant payments. These products, and related services, will be offered across multiple channels (counter services, micro-ATM, mobile banking app, SMS and IVR), using the bank’s state-of-the-art technology platform.

Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARRIA) Introduced 
 
The HRD Ministry introduced the Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARRIA) which will rank educational institutions as per their innovation output based on global parameters.
The new ranking – named Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) – will be formally launched on October 15, the birth anniversary of former President APJ Abdul Kalam. The first results will be declared on February 28, 2019, which is also Science Day.
ARIIA – named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee – will focus on: budget expenses and revenues generated; facilitating access to advance centres; ideas of entrepreneurship; innovation ecosystems supported through teaching and learning; and innovative solutions to improve governance of the institution.

Launch of Innovation Cell
 
The Union Minister for HRD, Shri Prakash Javadekar and Union Minister of State for HRD, Dr. Satya Pal Singh launched the Innovation Cell.
MHRD Innovation Cell (MIC)
Innovation cell is MHRD’s initiative established at AICTE with a purpose to systematically foster the culture of Innovation in all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the country. 
The primary mandate of Innovation Cell is to encourage, inspire and nurture young students by exposing them to new ideas and processes resulting in innovative activities in their formative years fostered through Network of Innovation clubs in Higher Educational Institutions.
 

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Important Current Affairs 31st August 2018 English

Important Current Affairs 31st August 2018

                                                                 (National News)

Arunachal Assembly passes bill for creation of 3 new districts

The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly has passed a Bill for the creation of three new districts -- Pakke-Kesang, Lepa Rada and Shi Yomi - in the State. Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein had introduced the Arunachal Pradesh Re-Organisation of Districts (Amendment) Bill, 2018, in the House. The Assembly passed the Bill by voice vote.

Indian Railways and GAIL (India) Limited sign an MoU 
 
Indian Railways and GAIL (India) signed a Memorandum of Understanding towards expanding usage of environment-friendly fuel, Natural Gas across all applications of the Indian Railways.


This historic partnership will pave the way for supply of Natural Gas to Railway workshops, integral coach factories, loco workshops, DEMU sheds, etc. located along the existing and upcoming pipeline networks of GAIL. Along the prestigious eastern India pipeline project under execution- 'Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga' network alone there is a scope to supply natural gas to over 10 workshops of Indian Railways and shall be connected in a phased manner.


MoU between the two leading organisations of the country is a step towards fulfilling Central Government's vision of developing a Gas-based economy in India and progress towards expanding the share of Natural Gas in the energy mix from 6.5 % to 15 %.


New Wage Agreement Signed for Port and Dock Workers

The Shipping Ministry on August 30, 2018 signed a new wage settlement agreement for Group C & D category of Port and Dock Workers in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The move will benefit around one lakh 35 thousand port and dock workers and pensioners in 12 major ports across the country.

Key Highlights

• The new agreement will provide 10.6 per cent wage hike to workers and pensioners.

• The lowest grade of workers would get a pay-scale of Rs 20900-43600 and the highest grade worker would get a pay-scale of Rs 36500-88700.

• The workers and pensioners will get this benefit for a period of five years, beginning in January 2017. 

• The total financial implication of the settlement for all the major ports for serving and pensioners is expected to be around Rs 560 crore per annum.

• More than 32,000 Port and Dock workers and 1, 05,000 Group C and D pensioners across all major ports will be benefitted from of this settlement. 

Other Details

The settlement was signed between six Port and Dock Workers’ Federations and the Port Management under Section 12(3) of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, before the Regional Labour Commissioner, representing Chief Labour Commissioner. 

It has been into force from January 1, 2017. This is a five-year settlement arrived at in the port sector against the ten-year periodicity in many of the major public sector enterprises.


Supreme Court defers hearing on Article 35A till January
 
Supreme Court has adjourned the hearing on the constitutional validity of the Article 35A relating to the special rights and privileges enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir, till January 2019. The contentious issue has brought life in Kashmir to a standstill due to a complete shutdown in the state. 

What is Article 35A? 
Article 35A was added to the Indian Constitution in 1954 as part of the deal between the Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, and the republic of India to protect the privileges of Kashmiri residents. 

It has a provision that gives J&K Assembly the power to decide who all are the 'permanent residents' of the state that can have permanent settlement rights in the state, get scholarships, receive public aid and acquire immovable property. 


Launch of National Mission on Government e Marketplace (GeM) on 5th
 

National Mission on Government e Marketplace (GeM) will be launched on 5th September 2018 to accelerate the adoption and use of GeM by major central Ministries, State Governments and their agencies. 
The aim of the National Mission is to promote inclusiveness, transparency and efficiency in public procurement and achieve cashless, contactless and paperless transaction. This will increase overall efficiency and lead to cost saving on government expenditure in procurement.
GeM:
The GeM platform provides online, end to end solution for procurement of commonly used goods and services for all Central Government Departments and State Governments, Public Sector Units and affiliated bodies.
The GeM has completed two years and as on 26th of August 2018, it has crossed Rs 10,800 crore in value terms and 6.96 lakh in volume of transactions through the platform. 

                                                      (International News)

Cabinet approves Trade Cooperation Framework between India and Rwanda 
 

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the trade cooperation framework between India and Rwanda.   The trade cooperation framework was signed on 23rd July, 2018. 
The trade cooperation framework will facilitate better trade and economic relations between the two countries.

Cabinet apprised of the MoU between India and Republic of Korea on the cooperation in the field of railways 
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the cooperation between Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), India and Republic of Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) to strengthen and promote scientific and technical cooperation in the field of railways.  The MoU was signedon 10thJuly 2018.
 
Impact:
 
The MoU will provide a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector with its Korean counterpart. It will facilitate exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and seminars/ workshops focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing.
 
Background:
Ministry of Railways have signed MoUs for technical cooperation in the Rail sector with various foreign Governments and National Railways. The identified areas of cooperation include high speed corridors, speed raising of existing routes, development of world class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure, etc. The cooperation is achieved through exchange of information on developments in areas of railways technology & operations, knowledge sharing, technical visits, training & seminars and workshops in areas of mutual interest.

Russia to conduct largest military exercise Vostok-2018

Russia will next month hold its biggest war games since at least the 1980s, with around 300,000 troops and 1,000 aircraft.
Vostok 2018 is a large-scale upcoming Russian military exercise, to be held from 11 to 15 September 2018, throughout Siberia and the country's Far East.  The exercise will involve units from the Army, Air Force and Navy. 
The Vostok-2018 exercises will be carried out from September 11 to 15 in the country's east with the participation of China and Mongolia. This will be something even bigger of a Zapad-81, exercise Zapad-81 was the largest military exercise ever to be carried out by the Soviet Union, according to NATO and US sources. It was conducted from September 4, 1981 and lasted approximately 8 days. 


ADB to provide $346 mn for improving Karnataka highways
 
India signed a $346 million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance improvement of over 400 km of state highways that will enhance connectivity and access to economic centres across 12 districts in Karnataka.
This would be in addition to an ongoing road improvement project financed by the ADB with a loan of $315 million which involves upgradation of about 615 km of state roads.
The new loan will continue ADB support to the Karnataka government's statewide road improvement programme, and will also help improve road safety.
Benefits:
These state highways provide a crucial link to population and economic centres.
The support to the development of the state highway network in Karnataka through this project will promote economic activities and foster inclusiveness.
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in '1966, it is owned by 67 members--48 from the region.


India’s First Global Mobility Summit 2018


Government think tank Niti Aayog will hold on September 7-8 here the India's first 'Global Mobility Summit', to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The six themes of the summit are: Asset utilisation and service, comprehensive electrification, alternative energy, reinventing public transit, logistics and goods transport and data analytics and mobility.
Objective 
The summit will help drive government's goal for vehicle electrification, renewable energy integration and job growth and also speed up India's transition to a clean energy economy.
'MOVE: Global Mobility Summit' will be organised in collaboration with various ministries and industry partners.
Over 1,200 participants from across the world including government leadership, industry leaders, think tank and civil society organisations are likely to attend the summit.

                                                                        (Sports)
Nitu clinches second successive gold 
 

Defending champion Nitu (48kg) claimed her second successive gold at the World youth boxing championship.
Nitu, who is also an Asian champion, defeated Thailand’s Nillada Meekoon in a split decision. 
She had won her previous World championship gold last year at Guwahati. 
 

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Important Current Affairs 30th August 2018 English

Important Current Affairs 30th August 2018

                                                        (International News)

India and ADB Sign $375 Million Loan to Improve Irrigation Efficiency in Madhya Pradesh
Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $375 million loan agreement to contribute to double farming incomes in Madhya Pradesh by expanding irrigation networks and system efficiency.
About the Project:
The Madhya Pradesh Irrigation Efficiency Improvement Project will develop 125,000 hectares of new, highly efficient and climate resilient irrigation networks and improve water use efficiency in more than 400 villages, benefiting over 800,000 people in Madhya Pradesh.
 
“The ADB funds will be used to develop a large-scale pressurized and automated irrigation system for boosting irrigation efficiency,” said Shri Mitra. “The Project will support institutional innovations through introduction of a design-build-operate contracting approach.”


 
MoU between India and USA in insurance regulatory sector
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the Federal Insurance Office, USA.

Impact:

The MoU provides a framework for cooperation and coordination, including for the exchange of information and research assistance with respect to each Authority’s overview and other lawful responsibilities.  

India and USA have also agreed to continue to facilitate cooperation on international standard-setting activities, financial stability and the development and implementation of consumer protection through sound prudential regulation of the insurance sector.

Background:

IRDAI is a body set up under the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance and re-insurance business in India. Similarly, in USA, Federal Insurance Office (FIO) is vested with the authority to monitor all aspects of the insurance sector and to represent the USA on prudential aspects of international insurance.
 
India and USA have strong business relations with each other and both the countries have been in regular discussions at various political and official levels. Various institutional mechanisms have also been put in place over time to strengthen bi-lateral cooperation on wide ranging multi-sectoral issues between the two countries.
 


Umbrella scheme O-SMART of Ministry of Earth Sciences Approved
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the umbrella scheme “Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART)”, for implementation during the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20 at an overall cost of Rs.1623 crore.  

The scheme encompasses a total of 16 sub-projects addressing ocean development activities such as Services, Technology, Resources, Observations and Science. 

What comes under the scheme?

Under the scheme, the important deliverables envisaged in the next two years include strengthening of ocean observations, modeling, ocean services for fishermen, setting up marine coastal observatories for tracking marine pollution in 2018, setting up Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant (OTEC) in Kavaratti in Lakshadweep.

The scheme also includes acquisition of two coastal research vessels, continuation of ocean survey and exploration of minerals and living resources, technology development for deep ocean mining- and setting up six desalination Plants in Lakshadweep, according to the statement.

The O-SMART is expected to provide necessary scientific and technological background required for implementation of various aspects of Blue Economy, setting up of the state-of-the-art Early Warning Systems to effectively deal with ocean disasters like tsunami, storm surges.

Cabinet approves signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Morocco
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the revised air services agreement to be signed between India and Morocco. After the new Air Services Agreement comes into force, the existing Air Services Agreement of December, 2004 shall stand superseded.  
 
Benefits:
The Air Services Agreement signifies an important landmark in the civil aviation relations between India and Morocco and has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries.  It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security.
 
Background:
Keeping in view of the growth in the civil aviation sector and also with a view to modernize and improve seamless air connectivity between the two sovereign nations, the existing Air Services Agreement between India and Morocco has been updated.
The existing Air Services Agreement between India and Morocco was signed in year 2004 and does not have the updated clauses on Safety, Security, Designation of Airlines, Commercial Activities, Tariffs etc. Besides, the provisions of Cooperative Marketing Arrangements which enable both sides to establish the code share on each other flights and also on the flights of 3rd country carriers are also not available in the present Air Services Agreement.

Health Ministry asks States to ban e-cigarettes

The Union Health Ministry has instructed all the States that e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) should not be sold under their jurisdiction.
Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have already prohibited the use of e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, E-Shisha and e-nicotine-flavoured hookahs, and have prohibited the manufacture, import, sale and distribution of ENDS. The Health Ministry has issued an advisory for the other States to follow suit.
“ENDS products are a great health risk to the public at large, especially to children, adolescents, pregnant women and women of reproductive age. States and Union Territories are advised in larger public health interest, and in order to prevent the initiation of ENDS by non-smokers and youth, with special attention to vulnerable groups, to ensure that ENDS are not sold...,” it said.
Thirty countries including Australia, Singapore and Sri Lanka have already brought in such bans.

Cabinet apprised of tripartite MoU on animal husbandry
The Union Cabinet was apprised of an agreement between India, the UK and Northern Ireland for cooperation in the field of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries.
As per the MoU signed on April 17, 2018, a joint working group consisting of representatives of each country will be created.
The group will chalk out joint programmes and facilitate cooperation and consultation.
The MoU would promote consultation and cooperation in matters of mutual interest, collaboration in livestock health and husbandry, breeding dairying and fisheries management.
Besides, the agreement would put in place a mechanism to enrich feed and fodder nutrition and its bulk transportation in deficit areas to realise higher productivity and production in livestock.
It will also help in developing high tech fodder tree species nurseries with fodder crops.
Among others, the MoU will encourage collaboration for joint research for cross-learning with regard to innovative agriculture extension approaches including the use of information and communication technology (ICT).

India's economic growth rate to grow at 7.4 % in current financial year: RBI
 

The Reserve Bank expects India's economic growth rate to grow at 7.4 per cent in the current financial year on pick up in industrial activity and good monsoon.

According to RBI’s annual report, due to the evolving economic conditions, real GDP growth for 2018-19 is expected to increase to 7.4 per cent from 6.7 percent in the previous year.


                                                     (Science & Technology)

MoU signed between DBT and IEA on Enhancing Innovation for the Clean Energy Transition
 The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Enhancing Innovation for Clean Energy Transition.

The MoU seeks to deepen co-operation in support of clean energy innovations to accelerate the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of clean energy technologies in India and will help support the generation of data for policymaking and improve knowledge of good policy practices for innovation in India and around the world.

Department of Biotechnology
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is an Indian government department, under the Ministry of Science and Technology responsible for administrating development and commercialisation in the field of modern biology and biotechnology in India. It was set up in 1986.
International Energy Agency 
The International Energy Agency is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. The IEA was initially dedicated to responding to physical disruptions in the supply of oil, as well as serving as an information source on statistics about the international oil market and other energy sectors.

Gaganyaan programme: ISRO
The Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO, unveiled India's Gaganyaan programme for manned space flight before 2022 as announced by the Prime Minister on the Independence Day

About MISSION:

GSLV Mk III, the three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle, will be used to launch Gaganyaan as it has the necessary payload capability. Two unmanned Gaganyaan missions will be undertaken prior to sending humans.

The total programme is expected to be completed before 2022 with the first unmanned flight within 30 months. The mission will aim to send a three-person crew to space for a period of seven days. The spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 km. The programme is expected to cost less than Rs 10 billion.

India will be the fourth country after the USA, Russia and China to send humans to space.


ISRO to outsource production of Polar Satellite and Small Satellite Launch Vehicles to private Industries

The Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO will outsource the production of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and Small Satellite Launch Vehicles to private Industries. 

The Indian Space agency Chairman K Sivan that private industries will play a major role in capacity building. 

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is a system developed and operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is a Medium-lift launch vehicle. It was developed to allow India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun-synchronous orbits, a service that was, until the advent of the PSLV in 1993, commercially available only from Russia. PSLV can also launch small size satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).

                                                             

                                                                      (Sports)

Asian Games Update
Arpinder Singh Clinched a gold medal in the men’s triple jump event

Arpinder Singh won a gold medal in the men’s triple jump event. This is India’s first gold medal in men’s triple jump at the Asian Games in 48 years. The last gold was won in 1970 by Mohinder Singh Gill.
Arpinder Singh 
Arpinder Singh born 30 December 1992, is an Indian triple jumper. He also claimed a bronze medal in the sport in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He is supported by Anglian Medal Hunt Company, a company that supports young Indian athletes towards international competitive success, with an especial aim at the Olympics.

Swapna Barman women’s heptathlon gold medal winner
Swapna Barman won the gold medal in the women’s heptathlon at the 2018 Asian Games. A heptathlon is a combined event consisting of 7 track and field events. In the women’s event, these seven are - 100 metres hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 metres, long jump, javelin throw and an 800m race.

Swapna Barman
Swapna Barman was born 29 October 1996, is an Indian heptathlete. She was placed first in the Heptathlon at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships. She is supported by the GoSports Foundation through the Rahul Dravid Athlete Mentorship Programme.
 

                                                         (National News)
Government constitutes new science and technology council to advise PM
 

The Union Government has constituted a 21-member science and technology council to advise Prime Minister Narendra Modi on matters related to science, technology and innovations.

The council, named as Prime Minister's Science Technology and Innovation Advisory Committee (PM-STIAC), will be headed by K Vijay Raghavan, the principal scientific adviser to the Union Government.

Key Details  : PM-STIAC

• The panel will advise the Prime Minister on all matters related to science, technology and innovation and monitor the implementation of PM’s vision on the same.

• It will facilitate the formulation and implementation of policies and decisions and provide action-oriented and future preparedness advise and assist in directing science and technology to solve the socio-economic problems in the country.

• It also aims to lay special emphasis on driving innovation in education and research.

The key members of the panel include:
Manjul Bharghava: Noted mathematician and professor at Princeton University.
Major General Madhuri Kanitkar: First woman dean of Army Forces Medical College, Pune.
A S Kiran Kumar: Former ISRO chief
VK Saraswat: Member of NITI Aayog and former DG of DRDO
Ajay Sood: Professor at Indian Institute of Science
Subhash Kak: Professor at Oklahoma State University, United States
Sangamitra Bandopadhyay: Director of Indian Statistical Institute
Baba Kalyani: Indian Industrialist and MD of Bharat Forge


 

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Important Current Affairs 29th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 28th August 2018

                                                  (International News, Agreement)


Government of India and the World Bank sign $300 Million Agreement

 
The Government of India and the World Bank signed a $220 million Loan Agreement and a $80 million Guarantee Agreement for the India Energy Efficiency Scale-Up Program. 
The Program, to be implemented by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), will help scale-up the deployment of energy saving measures in residential and public sectors, strengthen EESL’s institutional capacity, and enhance its access to commercial financing.
The $220 million loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to EESL, has a 5-year grace period, and a maturity of 19 years. The $80 million IBRD guarantee will partially cover re-payment risks to commercial lenders or investors, to enable EESL to raise funds for its program.
The Key Components of the Operation include: 
Creating sustainable markets for LED lights and energy efficient ceiling fans; facilitating well-structured and scalable investments in public street lighting; 
Developing sustainable business models for emerging market segments such as super-efficient air conditioning and agricultural water pumping systems; strengthening the institutional capacity of EESL. 
Also the Program will help to increase private sector participation in energy efficiency, including through private sector energy service companies. 


The Government of India, Government of Rajasthan and World Bank sign a $250 Million Agreement

The Government of India, the Government of Rajasthan and the World Bank signed a $250 million Development Policy Loan (DPL) to support the Government of Rajasthan in improving the performance of its Electricity Distribution Sector under the State’s 24x7 Power for All program. 
The Second Programmatic Electricity Distribution Reform Development Policy Loan for Rajasthan is the second in the series of two operations planned for a comprehensive turnaround of Rajasthan’s electricity distribution sector. The First Loan closed in March 2017.
The loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 3-year grace period, and a maturity of 21 years.
The key areas that the program will support include: 
Strengthening Governance in the Distribution Sector in the State by establishing Annual Performance MoUs between the DISCOMs and the State Government; 
Financial Restructuring and recovery in the Sector by transferring considerable amounts of the DISCOMs debt to the State; 
Taking initiatives in reducing the costs of energy procurement; 
Improving the operational performance of the DISCOMs through initiatives like publishing feeder level energy audits and increased usage of IT among others.

                                                         (Day & Dates)

National Sports Day on 29 August

National Sports Day is celebrated on 29th August every year to mark the birthday of legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand. 
About Dhyan Chand
Dhyan Chand born on 29 August 1905 and died on 3 December 1979 was an Indian Hockey player, who is considered as the greatest Hockey player in the history of the sport. He is known for his extraordinary goal-scoring feats, in addition to earning three Olympic gold medals (1928, 1932, and 1936) in field hockey, during an era where India was the most dominant team in Hockey. The Government of India awarded him the third highest civilian honour of Padma Bhushan in 1956.

                                                     (Science & Research)
EU, India to collaborate on developing next generation influenza vaccine
 
The European Union and India will collaborate in research and innovation for developing a next generation influenza vaccine to protect people worldwide and they have earmarked about Rs 240 crore for the project.
The EU and the Indian government's Department of Biotechnology have committed 15 million Euros each to fund this joint project. The EU is funding is under its programme for research and innovation 'Horizon 2020'.
Objective:
Aim at advancing the efficacy, safety, duration of immunity, and reactivity against an increased breadth of influenza strains and to develop cost-effective and affordable influenza vaccine rapidly without compromising quality.

Ganga drying up in summers due to groundwater depletion: Study
 
Ganga, the 2600-km-long trans-boundary river of Asia, has witnessed "unprecedented low levels of water in several lower reaches" in the last few summer seasons.

This is as per a study was undertaken by a professor of IIT-Kharagpur. Abhijit Mukherjee, associate professor of Geology in IIT-Kharapur, along with researchers Soumendra Nath Bhanja from Canada and Yoshihide Wada from IIASA Austria, found out that the drying of the river in the recent years during the summer seasons was "possibly related to the groundwater depletion in the Gangetic aquifers".

The study used a combination of satellite images of groundwater levels of Ganga, numerical simulations and chemical analyses to draw the conclusion. The study asserted that the decline of groundwater inflow (base flow) is also impacting the health of the river. The study also observed that in the forthcoming summers, for the next 30 years, groundwater contribution to river Ganga will continue decreasing.

                                                       

                                                          (International News)
A new platform for Indic language publishers Navlakha launched by Google
 

The search giant wants to bring India's 135,000 local language publishers online by making web hosting smooth and simple.

At the fourth 'Google for India' event, the internet search giant unveiled Project Navlekha - its new initiative to bring India's 135,000 Indic language publications online in a hassle-free manner.

Navlekha, which means 'a new way to write' in Sanksrit, will allow local publishers who do not have websites to make their offline content fit for online publishing in less than a minute. They can simply scan documents or PDFs and create instant web pages on the platform. No expert digital knowledge is required in the process, claims Google.

First SAARC Agri Cooperative Business Forum begins in Kathmandu
 
The First South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Agri Cooperative Business Forum began in Kathmandu on 28th August. 
The theme of three-day Forum is the 'Organizing and Strengthening Family Farmers’ Cooperatives to attain the Sustainable-Development-Goals-1 and 2 in South Asia'. 
It is being co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Asian Farmers’ Association with the support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development. 
Significance
South Asia is home to around a quarter of the global population and majority of whom live in the rural areas and depend on natural resources like land, freshwater, coastal fisheries and forests. Much of the agricultural production in the region is undertaken by small landholders. 
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2015.


Satya Tripathi appointed Assistant Secretary-General & Head of New York Office of UNEP 
 
UN Secretary General António Guterres has appointed veteran Indian development economist and UN official Satya S Tripathi as Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Tripathi, who will succeed Elliott Harris of Trinidad and Tobago, has since 2017 served as Senior Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at UNEP. 

About Satya S Tripathi
A development economist and lawyer with over 35 years of experience, Tripathi has worked for the United Nations since 1998 in Europe, Asia and Africa on strategic assignments in sustainable development, human rights, democratic governance and legal affairs. Tripathi was previously the Director and Executive Head of the United Nations Office for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.


Cabinet approves signing of MoU between India and Bulgaria in the field of tourism

 
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bulgaria for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism.

The main objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding are:

•    To expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector
•    To encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders including Hotels and Tour operators,
•    To   establish   exchange   programme   for cooperation   in   Human   Resource Development.
•    Foster bilateral cooperation through film tourism for promoting the two countries as attractive tourism destinations.

Background:

India and Bulgaria had previously signed an Agreement on cooperation in the field of tourism on 26.05.1994. Bulgaria is a potential tourism markets for India (India received approximately 5288 tourists from Bulgaria in 2017). The signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Bulgaria will be instrumental in increasing arrival from this important source market.

                                                                    (Sports)
Asian Games 2018 Updates:
 
In Athletics, Manjit Singh won gold in men's 800 metres while Jinson Johnson took silver. 
India bagged two medals in Kurash, a form of wrestling indigenous to central Asia, with Pincky Balhara winning silver and Malaprabha Yallappa Jadhav bagged a bronze, both in women's 52 kg. Category.
Asian medallists Bhavesh Kattimani (52kg) and Ankit Khatana (60kg) settled for bronze medals in the world youth boxing championships after losing their semifinal bouts. 

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Important Current Affairs 28th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 28th August 2018

                                                              (National News)

Committee on review of penal provisions of Company Act 2013 submits final report 

The Committee constituted by Government of India in July 2018 to review the existing framework dealing with offences under the Companies Act, 2013 and related matters and make recommendations to promote better corporate compliance, has submitted its report to the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley by Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Shri Injeti Srinivas, who chaired the committee. 
The main recommendations of the Committee are as follows:
(i)    Restructuring of Corporate Offences to relieve Special Courts from adjudicating routine offences
(ii)   De-clogging the NCLT
(iii)  Recommendations related to corporate compliance and corporate governance.

Government announces regulations for drones
 
The Government announced regulations which will enable the safe, commercial usage of drones. The regulations will be effective from 1st of December this year. 
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said, the regulations are intended to enable visual line-of-sight daytime-only and a maximum of 400 feet altitude operations. 

Also air space has been partitioned into Red Zone in which flying is not permitted, Yellow Zone that is controlled airspace and Green Zone for automatic permission.

These progressive regulations will encourage a vast Made in India drone industry. He expressed confidence that many new and exciting applications will emerge which will take India’s economy forward.
 

MoU signed for skill development of Arogyamitras under the PMJAY

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and National Health Agency (NHA), to provide capacity building for Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) to ensure effective rollout and continued quality implementation. 
As per the MoU, NSDC will ensure quality training of Arogyamitra through its network of Skill Development Centres functioning under PMKVY and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras(PMKK). All the currently recruited/ deputed Pradhan Arogyamitras will be certified by health care sector skill council, the body notified as non-statutory body for health sector under the aegis of NSDC.
National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) 
The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is an Indian not-for-profit company set up to address the need for providing skilled manpower across various industry sectors. It was founded in 2009 by the Ministry of Finance, and is currently under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India.
Important
Shri Dharmendra Pradhan is the Minister of skill Development and entrepreneurship & Petroleum and Natural Gas and Shri J.P.Nadda, Minister of Health and family Welfare

Railways planning to enable WiFi in 6 thousand railway stations

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal addressing a Smart Railways Conclave in New Delhi has said that the railway is planning to enable wifi in six thousand railway stations in the next 6 to 8 months. 

Figure & Facts

Currently railway is offering free wi-fi service at more than 700 stations across the country. 
Government is taking fibre optics to country's remotest corners and on the other hand, Railways is working to get technology across the Railways network. 

In May 2014 the optic fibre cable was about 358 kilometres and today it is about two lakh 30 thousand kilometres in four years. Also 60 per cent of villages are already connected with optic fibre. 

Centre signs MoU with 6 states for Lakhwar Yamuna basin project in Uttarakhand


The Centre signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the six Upper Yamuna basin states for the construction of Lakhwar multi-purpose project in Uttarakhand. 

The states are Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan,  Haryana,  and Delhi.  Union Minister for Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari inked the MoU with the Chief Ministers of these states in New Delhi for the project worth 3966.51 crore rupees.   

Lakhwar Project

The Lakhwar project envisages construction of a 204-metre high concrete dam across river Yamuna in Uttarakhand with a live storage capacity of 330.66 million cubic metre, MCM.

This storage will provide 78.83 MCM water for domestic and industrial use in the six basin states. It will also irrigate  33,780 hectares of land and generate 300 Megawatt of power.  

Background:
 
Upper Yamuna refers to the stretch of River Yamuna from its origin to the Okhla Barrage in Delhi. The six Upper Yamuna Basin states had signed a MoU on 12th May 1994 regarding allocation of surface flow of River Yamuna. 

                                                            (International News)

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman calls on Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha

The Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called on Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in Bangkok. The delegation led by Mrs Sitharaman also called on the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Thailand. 

Both the leaders discussed matters concerning strengthening India-Thailand strategic ties. Earlier, Smt Sitharaman inspects the Guard of Honour in Bangkok, Thailand. 


Fourth Asian electoral stakeholders forum in Colombo 
 

Sri Lanka, the fourth Asian electoral stakeholders forum (AESF-IV) will begin in Colombo tomorrow to discuss the state of elections and democracy in the region. The two-day forum is being held for the first time in South Asia with support from the Election Commission of Sri Lanka and the Asian network for free elections (ANFREL). The AESF will be attended by more than 250 delegates from 45 countries. 

The theme is, 'Advancing Election Transparency and Integrity: Promoting and Defending Democracy Together'. The forum gives an opportunity for Asian election commissions, election observers, non-government organizations, and interstate bodies to gather and discuss the state of elections and democracy in the region. India is being represented by Chief Electoral Officer of Maharashtra Ashwini Kumar and an NGO.

Nashik Police Commissioner Ravinderkumar Singhal wins the Ironman triathlon

Nashik Police Commissioner Ravinderkumar Singhal has successfully completed the Ironman triathlon which involves a set of physically gruelling activities.

The event, which includes cycling for a staggering 180 km, swimming for around 4 km and a 42-km full marathon, was held in France.

Singhal, 53, completed the triathlon in 15 hours and 13 minutes as against the stipulated time of 17 hours.

Earlier, model-turned-actor Milind Soman had successfully completed the race in 2015 and Maharashtra's senior IPS officer Krishna Prakash participated in it last year.

                                                      (Sports News)
Asian Games: Neeraj Chopra becomes first Indian to win gold in javelin throw
 
Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian javelin-thrower to win an Asian Games gold medal as he shattered his own national record by clearing a distance of 88.06m in Jakarta. The 20-year-old’s winning throw came in his third attempt. He began with 83.46m and fouled the second attempt.
Neeraj Chopra’s gold is only the second medal India has won in javelin throw in Asian Games history after Gurtej Singh won bronze in 1982 in New Delhi.
Neeraj won the Federation Cup in March with 85.94m, clinched a gold in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with a throw of 86.47m. He was the 2016 IAAF World U20 Champion and holds world junior record setting 86.48 m at the U20 championships. 

Asian Games: P V Sindhu becomes first Indian shuttler to win Silver medal

PV Sindhu became the first Indian to win a Silver medal in Badminton at the Asian Games.
In the Gold medal match at the 18th Asiad in Indonesia, Sindhu seeded 3rd, lost to world number one Tai Tzu-Ying of Chinese Taipei in straight games, 13-21, 16-21 to give India its third Silver of the day. Earlier, India bagged two Silver medals in Archery. 
About PV Sindhu
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu born on 5 July 1995 is an Indian professional badminton player. She became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal, and one of the two Indian badminton players to ever win an Olympic medal – other being Saina Nehwal. Sindhu won silver in Women's singles at Commonwealth Games 2018 . She was also a silver medalist at the 2017 BWF World Championships and 2018 BWF World Championships consecutively.
 

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Important Current Affairs 27th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 27th August 2018

                                                           (International News)

Indian Ocean conference on August 27, 28 in Vietnam
 
The third edition of Indian Ocean Conference is set to begin on August 27 at Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
The theme of the two- day conference will focus on 'Building Regional Architectures', particularly with regards to trade and commerce, security and governance, on better cooperation, strategic collaboration and governance architectures. 
This conference will serve a platform to the countries to come closer and exchange better views on the economic and strategic importance of the region and neighborhood.
Key People 
The key speakers include Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Vietnam H.E. Pham Bihn Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health & Population, Nepal, H.E. Upendra Yadav and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Singapore, H.E. Vivian Balakrishnan along with other notables. Representatives from Indian and foreign Think Tank will also grace the conference.
Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj along with other dignitaries will inaugurate the conference on August 27.
Important:
The Indian Ocean Conference initiated by India Foundation along with its partners from Singapore, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is an annual effort to bring together Heads of States/Governments, Ministers, Thought Leaders, scholars, diplomats, bureaucrats and practitioners from across the region.
Two successful editions of the Conference have been hosted so far in 2016 and 2017 in Singapore and Sri Lanka respectively. 

2nd Protocol Amending India – Singapore CECA Signed
 
India and Singapore has signed the Second Protocol amending the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in New Delhi. 
Signing of the Second Protocol formally brings to closure, the negotiations on second review of CECA, which began on 11th May, 2010. Both sides agreed to expand the coverage of tariff concessions, liberalize the Rules of Origin, rationalize Product Specific Rules and include provisions on Certificate of Origin and Cooperation on its verification.  These measures will further facilitate trade between India and Singapore and also improve utilization of CECA.
The CECA was the first comprehensive agreement covering trade in goods, services and investments, which India had signed with any of its trading partners.  The CECA was signed on 29th June, 2005 and its first review was concluded on 1st October, 2007.
Important:
Singapore is the second largest trading partner of India within ASEAN and India is the largest trading partner of Singapore in South Asia, with a bilateral trade of USD 17.7 billion in 2017-18.  Singapore’s trade with India constitutes about 21.8% of our total trade with ASEAN and 2.3% of our global trade.  India had a trade surplus of USD 2.73 billion with Singapore in 2017-18. 


India - Kenya Joint Trade Committee meeting held in Nairobi
 

The 8th meeting of India-Kenya Joint Trade Committee was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 22nd – 25th August, 2018. 
The meeting was co-chaired by Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhuand Mr. Peter Munya, Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Government of Kenya.
The discussions during the meetings covered India’s contribution in implementation of Kenya’s Big Four Agenda – food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing, expansion and diversification of bilateral trade.
Kenya’s readiness to join the International Solar Alliance, implementation of Lines of Credit, of over US$ 220 million, extended by Government of India in power transmission were discussed.
 At present, India is one of Kenya's largest trade partners and the second largest foreign investor in Kenya. Indians are the third-largest group of tourists to Kenya. The last meeting of Joint Trade Committee was held in New Delhi in February 2015.
Important:
Kenyan President is Uhuru Kenyatta, and Deputy President is Mr. William Ruto. 

                                                     (National News)

Launch of ‘Speedex’ Contract by IAF

The Stores, Proactive, Efficient and Expeditious Despatch of Extra Size/ Wt Consignment (SPEEDEX) contract was formally launched.
The contract with acronym ‘SPEEDEX’ has been concluded on 28 Jun 18 with M/s Balmer Lawrie & Co Ltd and M/s Ashok Travel and Tours for the Air & Surface component respectively. 
About (SPEEDEX) contract
Aim of the contract is to overcome the delay in piecemeal dispatch of consignment and to move operationally urgent stores by air and normal consignments by surface mode.  This would include door to door pickup and delivery facility with fixed timelines, lesser than Speed Post. This contract will enhance support to IAF maintenance activities and improve operational preparedness.


BNHS to open its regional Centre

 The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), one of India’s premier avian research institutes, will start operating its regional centre on the campus of Wetland Research and Training Centre near Chilika Lake from Monday.
The BNHS has been active in avian research in the Chilika Lake, which hosts nearly one million birds with 97 species being intercontinental migratory in nature during the winter season. The avifauna observatory will be inaugurated by BNHS director Deepak Apte.
The centre will carry out research on avian disease by collecting samples and monitor the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary, said Susanta Nanda, Chief Executive of Chilika Development Authority.
Bombay Natural History Society
The Bombay Natural History Society, founded on 15 September 1883, is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in India engaged in conservationand biodiversity research.  It supports many research efforts through grants and publishes the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society.

                                               (National News, Defence)    
INS Vikramaditya to be have marine hydraulic systems
 
INS Vikramaditya, Indias only aircraft carrier, is going to be fitted with marine hydraulic system for the first time as part of its upgrade that will give an edge to the air-capable wing of the ship.
The systems would be fitted by Russia’s Rostec State Corporation through its subsidiary, Technodinamika.
Technodinamika specializes in development, manufacture and after-sale servicing for systems and equipment for civil and military airplanes and helicopters.
Important:
The GS-1MF and GS-3 marine hydraulic systems are used for refuelling, cleaning and pressurization of hydraulic systems of aircraft and helicopters which form part of the air-capable wing of INS Vikramaditya.
GS-1MF hydraulic system is used for helicopters while GS-3 are used for aircraft. The upgradation would take place in India only and would include installation supervision, commissioning and sea trials of the ship.
INS Vikramaditya 
INS Vikramaditya meaning "Brave as the Sun" is a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier which entered into service with the Indian Navy in 2013. She has been renamed in honour of Vikramaditya, a legendary emperor of Ujjain, India.
Currently it is most powerful aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy. It was built in 1987 and had served the Soviet navy named as Baku.

IAF Trans Himalayan Mountain Terrain Biking Expedition (The MTB)
    
Indian Air Force is celebrating its 86th Anniversary on 08 Oct 2018. To commemorate this event, IAF has launched a unique event in the form of Trans-Himalayan Mountain Terrain Biking Expedition (THE MTB). 

The team for the expedition consists of 18 Air warriors (12 riders and 06 support staff) which also includes two women officers. The expedition started on 17 Aug 18 from Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in Ladakh for Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh. DBO and Kibithu are the two forward most outposts of India in the North and in the East with DBO being the highest Airfield at 16614 feet. The team will cover a distance of more than 4500 Km through mountain terrain of the states of J&K, HP, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
 The Adventure ride that the team is undertaking involves camping and living outdoors, managing and surviving on their own in snow, rain and extreme climatic conditions throughout the expedition. This is the first time that a mountain terrain biking expedition of such a magnitude is being undertaken by IAF. The expedition is led by Wg Cdr S Sharathchandra. The aim of this expedition is to promote spirit of adventure among Air Warriors to undertake daunting challenges and ‘Go Green’ initiative


DAC Approves Procurement for Services amounting to Nearly Rs. 46,000 Crores 
 

 The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Hon’ble Defence Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, accorded approval for procurement for the Services amounting to approximately Rs. 46,000 crores.
 
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), in a landmark decision, approved procurement of 111 Utility Helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of over Rs. 21,000 crores.  
This is the first project under the MoD’s prestigious Strategic Partnership (SP) Model that aims at providing significant fillip to the Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme. 

In further quest for modernisation of the Armed forces the DAC also granted approval to a few other proposals amounting to approximately Rs. 24,879.16 crores, which included approval for procurement of 150 numbers of Indigenously Designed and Developed 155 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems for the Indian Army at an approximate cost of Rs 3,364.78 crores. 
 
 

India's first biofuel-powered flight
    
India's first biofuel-powered flight that aims to reduce costs of air travel by replacing the costly aviation turbine fuel was successfully tested today. A 72-seater SpiceJet aircraft, powered by biofuel, took off from Dehradun for Delhi today on 27 August.
The biofuel is made partially from renewable resources such as agricultural residues, non-edible oils and bio-degradable fractions of industrial and municipal wastes. Biofuel flights could make air travel cleaner and more efficient, thus drastically reducing the cost of airline operations by reducing the dependency on aviation turbine fuel.
SpiceJet's biofuel is a mix of the oil extracted from the seeds of Jatropha plant and aviation turbine fuel. Five hundred farmer families in Chhattisgarh are involved in the production of the partially-refined biofuel used in today's flight.
While twenty five per cent of the right engine of the aircraft will have the biofuel mix, the left engine will run on aviation turbine fuel. The efficiency of the engine running on biofuel is expected to be slightly higher than that of the other engine.
If today's test brings success, India could join a select few countries such as USA and Australia who have had biofuel-operated commercial aircraft.


New train service Naini-Doon Jan Shatabdi Express between Kathgodam- Dehradun
 
Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal  flagged off Kathgodam-Dehradun Naini-Doon Janshatabdi Express via video conferencing from Rail Bhavan.
The new train will be providing direct connectivity between two important hill stations of Uttarakhand-- Mussoorie and Nainital. It will operate five days a week except for Thursday and Sunday, making five stops between the source and destination.

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