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Important Current Affairs 28th September 2018 English

(National News)
Govt launches Agmark online system

 
The government Wednesday launched an online platform for processing applications related to quality certification mark ‘Agmark’ for agricultural products.
Agmark is certification mark that assures conformity to a set of standards approved by the government agency Directorate of Marketing and Inspection.
“The process of application will be simple, quick, transparent and 24x7,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh was quoted as said in an official statement.


Government constitutes Lokpal Search Committee headed by Justice Ranjana Desai
 
The Union Government on September 27, 2018 constituted the Lokpal Search Committee under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai for recommending names for Lokpal.

The notification was issued by the Department of Personnel and Training.
The members of the Search Committee are Justice Sakha Ram Singh Yadav; retired IAS officer Ranjit Kumar; SBI Chief Arundhati Bhattacharya; former Gujarat Police head Lalit K Panwar; former judge of Allahabad High Court Shabbirhusein S Khandwawala; Prasar Bharati chairperson A Surya Prakash; and ISRO Head AS Kiran Kumar.

Ayodhya land dispute: SC declines to revisit its 1994 judgment and refer it to larger bench
 

The Supreme Court on September 27, 2018 declined to refer the 1994 Ismail Farooqui judgment that mosques are not integral to Islam to a larger constitution bench.
The judgement was delivered by a three-judge bench with 2: 1 majority. The majority judgement was written by Justice Ashok Bhushan on behalf of himself and Chief Justice Deepak Misra. The third judge, Justice Abdul Nazeer presented a dissenting judgment.
The decision to not refer the issue of reconsideration of the 1994 observations on the Ayodhya-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case to a five-judge constitution bench paves the way for the apex court to hear the main Ayodhya land dispute.

Second Anniversary of Surgical Strike to be commemorated as Parakram Parv on 29 September
 
The second anniversary of the surgical strike will be commemorated by the Indian Army as the Parakram Parv or the Surgical Strike Day during September 29 - 30, 2018 to showcase the gallant action of brave Army in the conduct of Surgical Strikes on September 29, 2016.

The Day will also be marked to remember the sacrifice of soldiers during the 'Uri incident'.
Surgical strike
•    A surgical strike is a military attack which results in only damage to the intended legitimate military target, and no or minimal collateral damage to surrounding structures, vehicles, buildings, or the general public infrastructure and utilities.
•    A swift and targeted attack with the aim of minimum collateral damage to the nearby areas and civilians is a surgical strike.
•    Surgical strikes require not just detailed and exhaustive planning but also needs precision in execution undertaken by forces across the world.

(International News)

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 
 
The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was observed across the world on 26 September 2017 with an aim to educate the public and their leaders about the real benefits of eliminating nuclear weapons and the social and economic costs of perpetuating them.

Earlier on 7 July 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted with an aim of a world without nuclear weapons. The Treaty was the result of a global campaign focused on the unacceptability of the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

PM Modi, Cochin International Airport honoured with UN Champions of the Earth Award 2018
 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on September 26, 2018 awarded with the prestigious UN Champions of the Earth Award 2018, the highest environmental honour of the United Nations. 

The UN Environment jointly awarded PM Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in the Policy Leadership category for their efforts regarding the creation of the International Solar Alliance. 

PM Modi was also acknowledged for his unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single use plastic in India by 2022.
 

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Important Current Affairs 27th September 2018 English

 

(National News)

Cabinet approves National Digital Communications Policy-2018 
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has  approved the National Digital Communications Policy-2018 (NDCP-2018) and re-designation of the Telecom Commission as the "Digital Communications Commission”.
 Impact:
The NDCP-2018 envisions supporting India's transition to a digitally empowered economy and society by fulfilling the information and communications needs of citizens and enterprises by establishment of a ubiquitous, resilient and affordable digital communications infrastructure and services. 
 The ‘Customer focused’ and ‘application driven’ NDCP-2018 shall lead to new ideas and innovations, after the launch of advanced technology such as 5G, IOT, M2M, etc. which shall govern the telecom sector of India.

NDRF to raise four more battalions
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will soon raise four more battalions, adding to the existing 12, and will also be modernised to meet international standards, its Director General Sanjay Kumar said Wednesday.
The four new battalions would be stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and NCR Delhi.


Addressing a press conference after attending a Sainik Sammelan of the NDRF 10th Battalion at the Acharya Nagarjuna University campus here, they have also proposed to have exclusive women contingents within the battalions to take care of women during times of distress.

Government launches Financial Inclusion Index
The government has  announced three initiatives to take banking to the last mile comprising a financial inclusion index, geographical mapping of banking services and hassle-free online loans for MSMEs valuing up to Rs 10 million.  

After an annual review meeting of the public sector banks, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched a common online platform for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) credit which will enable businesses to get loans up to Rs 10 million approved through a completely automated process within just 59 minutes.

HSL to sign contract to build two Diving Support Vessels soon
Shipyard Limited with the stage set for signing of contract of agreement with the Navy for construction of two Diving Support Vessels (DSVs).

The agreement for an order of Rs. 2,050 crore will be signed in a month or two. The yard bagged the contract through competitive bidding last year.

HSL also bagged the order from the Navy for construction of four 50 tonne bollard pull tugs at a cost of Rs 250 crore.

(Science News)
IAF successfully test fires air-to-air Astra missile


The Indian Air Force (IAF) on 27th September successfully test fired the indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) Astra from a Su-30 aircraft.

The missile, tested at Kalaikunda Air Force Station, "successfully engaged a manoeuvring target with high precision meeting the mission objectives".

In the series of trials held till date, Astra has been launched in the complete Su-30 flight envelope.

(International News)
Govt hikes import tariffs on 19 items; ACs, refrigerators, footwear hit

The government has raised import duties on 19 items, including jet fuel and air conditioners, as it looks to check the widening current account deficit resulting from high crude oil prices and the rupee dipping to a historic low.

The enhanced duty rates, which will make these imported goods expensive, will come into effect from midnight of September 26-27.

"The total value of imports of these items in the year 2017-18 was about Rs 86,000 crore,”
 

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Important Current Affairs 26th September 2018 English

(National News)
5 northern states to fix the uniform tax rate on fuel amid rising petrol prices

Northern states Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and UT Chandigarh Tuesday agreed to fix uniform tax rates on petroleum products, amid rising fuel prices.
Besides, the states also agreed to bring uniformity in taxes on liquor and registration of vehicles and transport permit.

The finance ministers of five states and officials of UT Chandigarh held a meeting here to deliberate on fixing the uniform rate of taxes on petrol and diesel.

Home Minister chairs meeting of central Zonal Council in Lucknow
Home Minister Rajnath Singh today chaired the meeting of 21st Central Zonal Council in Lucknow in which Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand while representative ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh participated. 

The Council discussed various issues including road transport, Pradhanmantri Gramin Sadak Yojna, measures to tackle Naxal violence, modernization of Police, infrastructure development of airports, minimum support price, National health mission and issues related to primary schools. 
After the meeting, Home Minister said that total 22 issues were discussed today in meeting out of which 17 were resolved and on three issue directions were given, rest 2 issues between the states will also be resolved very soon. 


UN Announces Global Media Compact to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations announced today the launch of the SDG Media Compact, an initiative marking a new drive to advance awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were unanimously adopted by all world leaders at the United Nations in 2015.

 The Compact seeks to inspire media and entertainment companies around the world to leverage their resources and creative talent to advance the Goals.

Finance Ministry Launches Mobile Application “ Jan Dhan Darshak” as A Part of Financial Inclusion
 
Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance and National Informatics Centre  (NIC) has jointly developed a mobile app called Jan Dhan Darshak as a part of financial inclusion (FI) initiative . As the name suggests, this app will act as a guide for the common people in locating a financial service touch point at a given location in the country.
 
Some of the salient features of this App are as follows:
 
Find nearby Financial touch points,  based on current location (Branches/ATM/Post offices)
 Search by place name
 Search by place name also available with Voice Interface
 Phone number of bank branches available in app , with the facility of call button for integrated dialing
 Users’ feedback will go directly to the concerned bank for carrying out the necessary updation in data on financial touch points.

(International News)

Nepal to become world's first country to double its tiger population 
Nepal is set to become the first country in the world to double its tiger population as part of the World Wildlife Foundation's (WWF) 'Tx2' programme which aims to double the number of tigers all over the world.
The government of Nepal announced on September 23, 2018, on the occasion of National Conservation Day, that there are now an estimated 235 wild tigers in the nation, nearly double the number from around 121 in 2009.


(Defence News)

DAC approves procurement of Rs 2300cr-worth engines for T-72 tanks

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded approval for the procurement of 1000 engines for fitment in T-72 tanks of the Army under 'Buy and Make' category at an approximate cost of Rs 2300 crore.
Post the transfer of technology, most of these engines will be manufactured by the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB). The engines will enhance mobility, agility, and acceleration of T-72 tanks making them more versatile and effective in the battlefield.

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Important Current Affairs 25th September 2018 English

International News

4th India International Science Festival to be inaugurated by President of India
  

The fourth edition of India International Science Festival will be inaugurated by President of India in Lucknow on October 6, 2018. IISF-2018 is expected to be represented by approximately 10000 delegates including 5000 students, 550 teachers, 200 students from North-East Region, 20 international delegates and approximately 200 startups.
The first and second IISF were held in New Delhi and the third in Chennai. Ministry of Science & Technology; Earth Sciences in association with Vijnana Bharti or VIBHA is organising the four-day event from 5-8 October, 2018. 


BRICS bank approves $525 mn loan for infra projects in MP
 
The New Development Bank (NDB) of the BRICS countries has approved a $525-million loan to Madhya Pradesh for infrastructure projects.
The Board of Directors of the NDB approved a $350-million loan for the Major District Roads Project II of Madhya Pradesh and $175 million for building and upgrading 350 bridges.
The loan will be used by the Indian Government for on-lending to the Madhya Pradesh government for rehabilitating major district roads with a total length of about 2,000 km to improve the connectivity of the rural interior with the national and state highway networks, a press release issued by the Shanghai-based bank said.
The project will improve the road conditions and enhance the transport capacity, which will lead to a less travel time, reduced vehicle-operating cost, reduced emissions and improved road safety.


BSNL signs deal with Softbank, NTT to roll out 5G, internet of things

State-run telecom firm BSNL has inked a pact with Japan’s Softbank and NTT Communications to roll out 5G and internet of things (IoT) technology in India.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has recommended the auction of about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies at an estimated base price of ₹ 4.9 lakh crore. The government is yet to finalise details of allocation of spectrum for 5G services.

PM Modi inaugurates new airport in Odisha's Jharsuguda 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated a new airport at Jharsuguda, which he said will attract investors to the mineral-rich area and act as a lifeline in the western region of the state.
It would act as a junction for neighbouring Raipur and Ranchi and strengthen connectivity. Development of eastern Indian states, including Odisha, West Bengal and Assam, was essential for achieving balanced development of the country.

Defence News
India successfully test fires Prithvi Defence Vehicle

India successfully conducted an interceptor missile test off the Odishacoast last night, achieving a major milestone in developing a two-layerBallistic Missile Defence system. Defence sources said, the interceptor waslaunched from Abdul Kalam Island of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at 8.05 PM. 

A Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist said that thisPrithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) mission is for engaging the targets in theexo-atmosphere region at an altitude above 50 kilometres of the earth'satmosphere. 

According to DRDO sources, both the PDV interceptor and the targetmissile were successfully engaged. In an automated operation, radar-baseddetection and tracking system detected and tracked the enemy's ballistic missile.

Sports News
Sinisuka Ginting and Carolina Marin Won China Open 

 
In Badminton, Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting beat Japan's Kento Momota to take the Men's singles China Open title in Changzhou.  Spain's Carolina Marin beat China's Chen Yufei to take the women's singles title. The 3rd seed, Momota who took the Japan Open title on home ground last week, was beaten by world number 13th Ginting. 

Ginting last beat Momota at the Asian Games in Jakarta last month.  Top Indian shuttlers P.V.Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth lost their quarter-final matches earlier, drawing curtains to India's campaign at the China Open.

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Important Current Affairs 24th September 2018 English

National News
Three states Bag Award of Three Best Performing States in “Ease of Living Index” Under Amrut

 
Andhra Pradesh has topped the charts among States in terms of “Ease of Living Index” rankings launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). 
It was followed by Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.  The three States were awarded the three best performing States under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) at the National Dissemination Workshop on Ease of Living Index, 2018. 


PM inaugurates Pakyong Airport, as air connectivity reaches Sikkim
 
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Pakyong Airport in Sikkim. This is the first airport in the Himalayan State, and the 100th airport in the country.
Pakyong Airport
Pakyong Airport is a Greenfield airport near Gangtok, the state capital of Sikkim, India. The airport, spread over 400 ha (990 acres), is located at Pakyong village about 35km (22 mi) south of Gangtok. 
At 4500 ft, Pakyong Airport is one of the five highest airports in India. It is also the first Greenfield airport to be constructed in the Northeastern Region of India, the 100th operational airport in India, and the only airport in the state of Sikkim.


Inauguration of Two-day National Orientation workshop on National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA)
 
Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Shri  Arjun Ram Meghwal presided over the Inaugural Session of the two-day National Orientation workshop on National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA), organized by Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
NeVA  (NeVA-mobile app)
The NeVA (NeVA-mobile app) is a device neutral and user friendly app that has made information on conduct of business in Legislatures accessible anytime, anywhere to everyone. 
It is a work-flow based app deployed in Cloud (Meghraj) which helps the Chair of the House to conduct the proceedings of the House smoothly and the members to carry out their duties in the House efficiently. 
NeVA-mobile App is available for download from Play store and App store for Android and iOS mobiles respectively. 


Centenary celebrations of 'Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha'
 
President Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated the centenary celebrations of the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha in New Delhi. 
Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha
Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha is an organisation whose main goal is to improve Hindi literacy among the non-Hindi speaking people of South India. The headquarters are located at Thanikachalam Road, T. Nagar, and Chennai.


Science and Space News
Miniature human oesophagus grown in lab

 
In a first, scientists have successfully grown oesophageal organoids -- miniature, functional versions of the human food pipe -- using stem cells, paving the way for new ways to study and test drugs against gut disorders.
The research, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, shows how human oesophageal tissue was grown entirely from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), which can form any tissue type in the body.
The oesophagus is a long, muscular tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. It's around 25cm (10in) long in adults. When you swallow food, the walls of the oesophagus squeeze together (contract). This moves the food down the oesophagusto the stomach.

International News
India, Nepal agree to use satellite images in boundary survey work

 
India and Nepal have agreed to explore the possibility of using high-resolution satellite images in boundary survey work. 

During the 5th meeting of Nepal-India Boundary Working Group (BWG) in Kathmandu, both sides also agreed to continue mapping of No man’s land encroachment and cross-border occupation. 

Oscars 2019: Assamese film is India's official entry
 

Assamese film 'Village Rockstars' has been selected as India's official entry to Oscars 2019 in the Foreign Language Film category.
The announcement was made by Kannada filmmaker Rajendra Singh Babu, the Head of the Committee.


Day & Dates News
‘International Day of Sign Languages’ celebrated on 23rd September

 
“International Day of Sign Languages” was celebrated by Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on 23rd September. 
International Day of Sign Languages
International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated annually across the world on 23 September every year along with International Week of the Deaf. The choice of 23 September is the same date that the WFD was established in 1951. The theme of International Day of Sign Languages is "With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!” With Sign Language, Everyone is Included! IDSL held today, along with IW Deaf, which runs between Monday, September 24 and Sunday, September 30, 2018.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd September 2018 English

(National News)

PM launches Ayushman Bharat - PMJAY at Ranchi
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today launched the health assurance scheme: Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana - at Ranchi, Jharkhand.
At the same event, the Prime Minister unveiled plaques to lay the Foundation Stone for medical colleges at Chaibasa and Koderma. He also inaugurated 10 Health and Wellness Centres.
This scheme, which envisions health assurance of 5 lakh rupees per family per year, will benefit over 50 crore people, and is the world's biggest health assurance scheme. 
The number of beneficiaries of this scheme is roughly equal to the population of the European Union, or the population of America, Canada and Mexico, taken together.
The first part of Ayushman Bharat - the health and wellness centres, was launched on Babasaheb Ambedkar's birth anniversary, and the second part - the health assurance scheme, is being launched two days before Deendayal Upadhyay's birth anniversary.
The Prime Minister said it would cover 1300 illnesses, including serious illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. He said private hospitals too would be part of this scheme.


PM addresses Kisan Sammelan at Janjgir-Champa; lays Foundation Stone for important infrastructure projects
 

At Janjgir-Champa, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi visited an exhibition on traditional handloom and agriculture. 
He laid the foundation stone for national highway projects, and the Pendra-Anuppur 3rd railway line. 
The Prime Minister also handed over certificates etc to select beneficiaries of various welfare schemes of the Union and State Governments.

(Days and Dates)

100 years of Battle of Haifa celebrated
India is commemorating hundred years of the liberation of Israel's Haifa by the Indian troops in 1918.
The centenary celebrations will culminate with a grand function in Delhi today. The Battle of Haifa is also being commemorated in Israel and Jaipur.
September 23 is commemorated every year as Haifa Day by the Indian Army to pay its respects to the Indian Cavalry Regiments, Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers, that helped liberate Hafia in Israel after a cavalry action by the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade.
Army chief General Bipin Rawat, who took part in the centenary celebrations to commemorate the day in Jaipur on September 22, said that Indian Army has potential to deal with any situation.

(Space Science)
Japan lands robot rovers on asteroid's surface
Japanese space agency JAXA has claimed that it created history on Saturday by successfully landing two unmanned rovers on an asteroid.
After the rovers separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft and landed on the asteroid Ryugu, JAXA, in a statement, said that the two rovers are in good condition and are transmitting images and data.
Known as MINERVA-II1, the rovers are collectively world's first mobile exploration robot to land on the surface of an asteroid.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd September 2018 English

National News

First Indian station to be redeveloped on the lines of Germany’s Heidelberg

    
Habibganj railway station is being reconstructed on the lines of Germany’s Heidelberg railway station by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation, a special purpose vehicle of the railway ministry, along with a private firm, Bansal Pathways Habibganj Private Ltd The IRSDC is the nodal agency of the project. The station redevelopment phase has a deadline of July 2019. The station redevelopment programme was initiated by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee when she was railway minister.
 

PM Modi inaugurates new airport in Odisha's Jharsuguda 
 Only one major airport existed in Odisha for so many years. A new airport at Jharsuguda, will attract investors to the mineral-rich area.it would act as a junction for neighbouring Raipur and Ranchi and strenghten connectivity.Modi also inaugurated the Garjanbahal open cast mine of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd.The prime minister also launched the 53.1-km long Jharsuguda-Serdega railway line constructed by the MCL .

India’s Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor will achieve criticality by 2019

India's first indigenously developed 500-megawatt (mw) prototype fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu is expected to achieve criticality next year. Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) secretary Sekhar Basu said at the 62th General Conference of International Atomic Energy Agency held in Vienna.

International News

Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang dies at 61
 Quang, 61, died in a military hospital in Hanoi from a “serious illness”. Vietnam has no paramount ruler and is officially led by the president, prime minister and Communist Party chief.

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Important Current Affairs 21st September 2018 English

Awards
NATIONAL SPORTS AWARDS -2018 announced
 
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu will receive the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award- India's highest sports honour.
CWG and Asiad gold medalist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, Asiad double medalist sprinter Hima Das and Indian batswoman Smriti Mandhana will receive Arjuna Awards 2018.


National News
India puts four more nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards
 
India has decided to place four more reactors under the IAEA safeguards. Accordingly, two Russian-designed Pressurised Light Water Reactors and two Pressurised Heavy Reactors being built with Indian technology will be covered.
With this, a total of 26 Indian nuclear facilities will be under the international nuclear energy watchdog. This was stated by Sekhar Basu, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, at the 62nd General Conference of IAEA Vienna, Austria.


India successfully test-fires short-range ballistic missile Prahaar
 
India successfully test-fired the indigenously developed surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile Prahaar from the Odisha coast on 20th September.
The sophisticated missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was mounted on a mobile launcher and was test-launched from Launch Pad-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, at about 1:35pm.

International News
MHA signs MoU with ISRO to set up an Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response 
 
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Department of Space signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up of a state-of-the-art Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response (ICR-ER) in Ministry of Home Affairs. 

The ICR-ER will cater to the requirement of Disaster Management as well as Internal Security. 
ICR-ER will address the requirement of receipt of information on near real-time basis, strategic level monitoring, situation awareness, command and control, preparedness and response in the diverse internal security situation and disaster related emergencies. 

International Day of Peace 2018 observed globally
 
The International Day of Peace was observed across the world on September 21, 2018 to recognise the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace. The International Day of Peace is also a day of ceasefire.
About it
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/67 of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with the opening session of the assembly, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first International Day of Peace was observed in September 1982.


World Bank approves framework to support India’s transition to high-middle income country
 
The World Bank board has approved an ambitious five-year Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for India that is in line with India’s objectives of high, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The framework sets the strategic focus for the World Bank’s engagement with India for the period FY18-22, to support its transition to a high-middle income economy.
Significance
Through the CPF, the World Bank aims to support India's transition to a higher middle-income country by addressing some of its key development priorities such as resource efficient and inclusive growth, job creation and building its human capital.

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Important Current Affairs 20th September 2018 English

(International News)

India, Bangladesh jointly inaugurate three projects
 
Prime Minister Narendra  Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated multiple projects in Bangladesh, through video conferencing.
•    The first project -- Supply of 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh through Baharampur - Bheramara interconnection was unveiled by Prime Minister Modi, Bangladeshi counterpart Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
•    The second project -- construction work of the Bangladesh part of Akhaura-Agartala railway link was inaugurated by Indian and Bangladeshi Prime Ministers, and Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb.
•    The third project on the rehabilitation of Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways was jointly inaugurated by the Prime Minister of both the countries.

India, Germany sign MoA on skill development
 
India and Germany has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on skill development, which will provide dual vocational training to Indian youth.
According to a note issued by the German Embassy, students who complete specific training courses in India will get a certificate that it is recognised in India as well as in Germany. They can apply for jobs in companies in India and Germany as well.
A joint body called German Indian Institute of Vocational Education and Training (GIIVET) that has been set up will look after the programme.
Dual Vocational Training Programme
In Germany there is a special way of learning a trade: the Dual vocational training system. As part of the dual system, you will attend classes at a vocational school and receive on-the-job training at a company.


India and Morocco sign Air Services Agreement enabling greater connectivity
 
India and Morocco signed the revised Air Services Agreement between the two countries enabling greater connectivity through a modernized agreement.
Objective:-
This milestone is enabler for greater air connectivity between India and Morocco and will enable the airlines of each side to enter into code share with airlines of other party, as well as provide greater freedom in mounting direct flights.  
These developments in the Civil Aviation sector will enable the people of each country to travel to the other country leading to better economic and cultural ties.


Construction of India-Bangladesh oil pipeline
 
Assam based Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) and Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has signed a sale-purchase Agreement for supply of High Speed Diesel (HSD) through the proposed 131 km Indo-Bangla friendship pipeline.
According to NRL, this long term Sale-Purchase Agreement pertains to sale of HSD by Numaligarh Refinery Limited to Bangladesh Petroleum Limited through the proposed Indo-Bangla Friendship pipeline from NRL’s Marketing Terminal in Siliguri to BPC’s Depot at Parbatipur. 
The pipeline will cost Rs. 363 crore, the route survey for the pipeline has been completed based on which the Detailed Feasibility Report has been prepared by Engineers India Limited (EIL). 

World-class convention centre to be built in Delhi
 
•    The foundation stone of India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC) was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on September 20, 2018.  
•    The IICC is being developed as a state-of-the-art centre to promote meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) to boost industrial development in the country.
•    The project is planned over an area of 221.37 acres in Sector 25 Dwarka, New Delhi, at an estimated cost of Rs 25, 703 crores.
•    Upon completion, the centre will be the biggest indoor exhibition space in India and will rank among the world’s top 10. It is expected to host more than 100 national and international events every year.


Korean countries sign agreement on denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula
 
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on September 19, 2018 signed an agreement on denuclearisation, reducing military tensions and defusing crisis on the Korean peninsula.

Korean peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula located in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 1,100 km (680 mi) from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan (East Sea) to the east and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the two bodies of water.


( National News)

K N Vyas appointed Atomic Energy Commission chief
 

Director of Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) Kamlesh Nilkanth Vyas has been appointed as Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy and Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission. 
Appointments Committee of Cabinet approved Mr Vyas' appointment for a period till he attains the age of 64 years that is upto 3rd of May, 2021. 
  
Besides, senior IAS officer Anindo Majumdar has been appointed as Secretary, Central Vigilance Commission.
 Atomic Energy Commission
•    The Atomic Energy Commission is the governing body of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India. The DAE is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister.
•    The Indian Atomic Energy Commission was set up on 3rd August 1948 under the late Department of Scientific Research. 


(Defense News)
Exercise Aviaindra-18 Commences at Lipetsk (Russia) 

 
Exercise Aviaindra 18 is being conducted at Lipetsk, Russia from 17 Sep to 28 Sep 18 and will be conducted in Jodhpur, India from 10 Dec to 22 Dec 18. 
Exercise Aviaindra is an Air Force level exercise between India and the Russian Federation. First Aviaindra was conducted in 2014 and has been planned as a bi-annual exercise.
Aim of this Exercise:
The aim of the exercise is focused towards anti-terrorist operations in a bi-lateral scenario. The exercise would further enhance the co-operation and understanding each other’s Concept of Operations. In addition to flying exercise, there would be formal interactions, discussions, exchange of ideas and friendly sports matches to enhance bonhomie between the two Air Forces.


 

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Important Current Affairs 19th September 2018 English

National News
Union Home Secretary launches ‘e-Sahaj’ portal for grant of Security Clearance 

 
The Union Home Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba launched an online ‘e-Sahaj’ portal for grant of Security Clearance. 
The portal will facilitate an applicant to submit application online and also to view the status of his application from time to time. The aim is to strike a healthy balance between meeting the imperatives of national security and facilitating ease of doing business and promoting investment in the country.
Role of MHA
MHA is the nodal Ministry for security clearances in certain sensitive sectors before issue of licence/permit, permission, contract etc, to companies/ bidders/individuals by the administrative Ministry. 
The objective of national security clearance is to evaluate potential security threats, including economic threats, and provide risk assessment before clearing investment and project proposals in key sectors. 


Union Cabinet approves Triple Talaq Ordinance, making triple talaq an offence
 
The Union Cabinet on September 19, 2018 approved an ordinance making instant triple talaq a punishable offence. 

The ordinance has similar provisions as mentioned in original the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha in December 2017. However, the bill was stuck in the Rajya Sabha. 

It faced a stiff resistance in the Rajya Sabha where several opposition lawmakers argued over the criminal provisions in the draft law. 

In view of the growing opposition, the Government on August 9, 2018 approved three amendments in the instant triple talaq bill, making it permissible for a magistrate to give bail for the offence.

International News
India to launch agriculture project worth $33.5 million with UN's FAO in five states

 
The government along with United Nations body FAO has launched an agriculture project with $33.5 million grant from Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The $33.5 million project is being funded by the GEF and implemented by the government of India (agriculture and environment ministries) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The project, to be implemented in five landscapes in Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, strives to bring harmony between conservation and development efforts of the country.
Objective of this Project:-
The project aims to transform agricultural production to generate global environmental benefits by addressing biodiversity conservation, land degradation, climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management.
This project seeks to bring transformative change in the farm sector through conservation of biodiversity and forest landscapes.
Global Environment Facility (GEF) 
The Global Environment Facility was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems.  Since then, the GEF has provided over $17.9 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $93.2 billion in co-financing for more than 4500 projects in 170 countries.


India first country in the world to develop document on Cooling Action Plan 
 
Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan has released a draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) during World Ozone Day celebrations.
The ICAP provides a 20-year perspective (2017-18 to 2037-38) to address the cooling requirements across sectors and ways and means to provide access to sustainable cooling for all.
India is the first country in world to develop such a document - ICAP, which also gives thrust towards looking for synergies in actions for securing both environmental and socio-economic benefits.
India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)
The India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)—first of its kind in the world—has listed various interventions, including guidelines to all commercial buildings to maintain an internal temperature between 24-25°C on a voluntary basis and adopting various passive measures in buildings to reduce the cooling demand by 20-25% by 2037-38.

India signs Financing Loan Agreement with the World Bank for US$ 74 Million
 
A Loan Agreement for IBRD Credit of US$74 million equivalent for the Uttrakhand Workforce Development Project (UKWDP) was signed with the World Bank. 
Project objective
The Project objective is to improve the quality and relevance of training at priority Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and to increase the number of labor-market-relevant workers through short term training in Uttrakhand. 
The Project has three components: 
(1) Improving the quality and relevance of ITI Training; 
(2) Increasing the number of skilled workers certified under National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQE) - Compliant Short Term Training; and 
(3) Policy and Institutional Development and Project Management.
Uttarakhand Workforce Development Project:
The program development objective is to help improve the quality of training at select Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and increase the number of labor-market-relevant workers through short-term training in Uttarakhand. 


7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism
 
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is organizing the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism: A 2030 Vision for Urban Tourism, on 16-19 September, in Seoul, Republic of Korea, jointly with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, the Korea Tourism Organization and the Seoul Tourism Organization. 
About World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
The Summit provides a unique platform to discuss the key issues shaping the future of urban tourism in the context of the 2030 Urban Agenda. 
It brings together high-level representatives from National Tourism Administrations, city authorities and related stakeholders, serving as a platform to exchange experiences and expertise and set a shared vision on urban tourism that embraces innovation, digital transformation and sustainability.

Delhi and Seoul Sign MoU to Tackle Air Pollution
The Delhi government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Seoul Metropolitan Government to work closely in the fields of environment, tourism, waste water and solid waste management, infrastructure and public health.
The Mou on the 'Friendship and Cooperation Agreement' was signed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Seoul mayor Park Won-Soon in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The Delhi CM particularly sought the city’s expertise in dealing with transport and air pollution.

Key points to remember:
The agreement has listed 11 areas for exchange of expertise and cooperation including environment, culture, tourism, smart city, transportation, education, land use planning and management, science and technology, MICE industry, waste water and solid waste management, infrastructure and public health.
The 'Twinning Agreement' will remain in force till three years from September 14, 2018, and it could be amended by written agreement between the two parties.


Awards
All-women crew of INSV tarini receives tenzing norgay award

 
All-women crew of INSV Tarini has bagged the prestigious Tenzing Norgay National Adventure award for beating the odds in water with their enduring skills and sailing across the world for eight long months.
The award is the highest national recognition for outstanding achievements in the field of adventure on land, sea and air.
Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award
The Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award is the highest national recognition for outstanding achievements in the field of adventure on land, sea and air.
A cash Award of Rs.5.00 lakh and a certificate of honour is given to each Awardee. 
This Award is at par with the Arjuna Award for sporting excellence. Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Awards are conferred by the Hon’ble President of India, along with Arjuna Awards, in a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in the month of August every year. 
INSV Tarini 
INSV Tarini is the second sailboat of the Indian Navy. She was constructed at Aquarius Shipyard located in Goa. After undergoing extensive sea trials, she was commissioned to Indian Navy service on 18 February 2017.

Kerala Tourism Bags PATA Gold Awards 2017
 
Kerala Tourism Department has won 'The Pacific Asia Travel Association Grand and Gold Award 2017’ for its Film Tourism Brochure in the Marketing Media-Consumer Travel Brochure category.
P Bala Kiran, IAS, Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala received the award at the 32nd edition of the PATA Awards, held at Macao, in recognition of its trend-setting marketing initiatives, which have boosted the state's profile as a must-visit destination.
PATA Gold Awards 
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. 
These awards, generously supported and sponsored since 1995 by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).

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