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Important Current Affairs 30th October 2018 English

(International News)

Earth's Wild Animal Population Plummets 60 Per Cent In 44 Years

"Runaway consumption" has decimated global wildlife, triggered a mass extinction and exhausted Earth's capacity to accommodate humanity's expanding appetites, the global conservation group WWF warned.

From 1970 to 2014, 60 per cent of all animals with a backbone -- fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals -- were wiped out by human appetites and activity, according WWF's "Living Planet" report, based on a survey of more than 4,000 species spread over 16,700 populations scattered across the globe.

Important:

WWF International Director General is Marco Lambertini.


Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte holds bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte is underway in New Delhi. Both leaders are expected to discuss a range of issues of mutual interest. 

Both leaders will also attend the India-Italy Technology Summit which is being organised by Department of Science and Technology in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry. 

The objective of the Summit is to facilitate technology transfers, joint ventures, Research and Development and market access between industry and research institutions in India and Italy.

Important:

•    President:- Sergio Mattarella
•    Prime Minister:- Giuseppe Conte
•    Currency:- Euro
•    Capital:- Rome


INS Tarangini returns after Vogage across the World


The sail training ship of Indian Navy, INS Tarangini based at Kochi, returned after a seven month long sailing across the world to a grand reception at naval base, Kochi on 30 Oct 18.

The Voyage named “Lokayan 18” was flagged off on 10 Apr 18 from Kochi. During the voyage, the ship has proudly 'shown the flag' and highlighted the diverse culture of India across 15 ports in 13 countries. 

The ship sailed across the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Suez Canal, Mediterranean Sea, Strait of Gibraltar, North Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay, English Channel and North Sea, right up to Norway before commencing her homeward passage back to Kochi. 
The ship also participated in the culminating event of the ‘Three Festival Tall Ships Regatta’ at Bordeaux, France. 

(Science & Space News)
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe closest ever to Sun

 
NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe — enroute to the Sun to unravel its mysteries — has become the closest spacecraft to it. The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun’s surface on October 29, as calculated by the Parker Solar Probe team.
Parker Solar Probe
•    Parker Solar Probe is a NASA robotic spacecraft en route to probe the outer corona of the Sun
•    It will approach to within 9.86 solar radii (6.9 million kilometers or 4.3 million miles) from the center of the Sun and will travel, at closest approach, as fast as 690,000 km/h (430,000 mph).
•    Launch date was August 12, 2018
•    The project was announced in the fiscal 2009 budget year. 
•    The cost of the project is US$1.5 billion.


(National News)  
Supreme Court bans 15-year-old petrol & 10-year-old diesel vehicles in NCR to curb pollution

The Supreme Court has prohibited the plying of 15-year-old petrol and 10-year-old diesel vehicles in the national capital region due to the prevailing pollution situation.

Terming as "very critical" and "horrible" the prevailing pollution situation in Delhi-NCR, the apex court directed that a list of 15-year-old petrol and 10-year-old diesel vehicles be published on the website of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and transport departments of the NCR area.

India's largest dry dock to come up at Cochin Shipyard
The Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Mr Nitin Gadkari and Kerala Chief Minister Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan will lay foundation for India's largest Dry Dock at Cochin Shipyard.

Dry Dock

•    The Dry Dock will give an impetus to Make in India initiative under Sagarmala and raise India’s share in global market to two percent. 
•    The new Dry Dock is being constructed at a cost of rupees 1779 crores.
•    It will be 310 meters long and 75 meters wide and can handle both ship building and repair and is equipped with international safely standards. 


DoNER Minister lays foundation stone of ‘Technology Facility Center’ at Jorhat, Assam

Dr Jitendra Singh laid the foundation stone of new Science Centre, the "Technology Facility Centre" (TFC) in the premises of the CSIR-North East Institute of Science & Technology (NEIST) in Jorhat, Assam.

Dr Jitendra Singh referred to “North-Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project” (NERCORMP) and “North East Rural Livelihood Project” (NERLP), the two programmes run by the Ministry of DoNER and NEC, which were devoted to the cause of improving livelihood opportunities for unemployed youth, farmers, women and artisans. 

Twelve Projects Worth Rs 929 Crore Approved Under Namami Gange 

The Executive Committee (EC) of the National Mission for Clean Ganga on October 29, 2018 approved 12 projects worth Rs 929 crore under the Namami Gange programme in its 16th meeting. 


The committee sanctioned two Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) for Delhi for creating 340 MLD (Millions of Liters per Day) waste treatment capacity at a cost of Rs 580 Crore. 

Important:-

•    The committee sanctioned two sewage treatment plants for Delhi, various projects for Uttar Pradesh, two projects for West Bengal, and two projects under CSR category.

•    The Committee approved various projects for Uttar Pradesh at a total cost of Rs 128 crore.

•    For West Bengal, the committee sanctioned two projects at a cost of Rs 50 crore. 

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Important Current Affairs 29th October 2018 English


(National News)

Union Minister Smt Harsimrat Badal inaugurates Gujarat’s first Mega Food Park in Surat

 Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal today inaugurated the first Mega Food Park in Gujarat. Promoted by M/s Gujarat Agro Infrastructure Mega Food Park Pvt. Ltd the Park is located at Village Shah and Vasravi, Taluka Mangrol, District Surat. A 2nd Mega Food Park has been sanctioned by the Ministry in Mehsana District of Gujarat.
Important:
The Gujarat Agro Mega Food Park will benefit the people of Surat District and the people of nearby Districts of Navsari, Tapi, Narmada & Bharuch. This Mega Food Park has been set up in 70.15 acre of land at a cost of Rs. 117.87 crore.

SC to hear Ayodhya title dispute case in January 2019

•    The Supreme Court on Monday said the civil appeals on the Ram-Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute cases will be listed before an appropriate bench in January 2019. 
•    This was stated by a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.
•    The civil appeals arise from the Allahabad High Court's 2010 judgement in the land dispute case.
•    The appropriate bench will fix the schedule with regard to the hearing of appeals in the case.

    
Arunachal Pradesh Government, British Council ink MoU to build educational cooperation

In order to strengthen the educational and cultural cooperation between the state and the Kingdom, the British Council and the Arunachal Pradesh government inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on October 28, 2018.
About the MoU:
1. The MoU was signed by British Council director, Alan Gemmell and Director of Arunachal Pradesh Higher and Technical Education, Tayek Talom in presence of Chief Minister Pema Khandu at Tawang in the sidelines of the Tawang Festival.
2. The MoU celebrates the British Councils 70th anniversary in India and seeks to strengthen the relationship for the next 70 years.

(Science News)

Moths are key to pollination in Himalayan ecosystem
 
•    Moths are widely considered as pests, but a recent study by scientists of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has revealed that these groups of insects are pollinators to a number of flowering plants in the Himalayan ecosystem.
•    Under the project titled “Assessment of Moths (Lepidoptera) As Significant Pollinators in the Himalayan Ecosystem of North Eastern India”, scientists collected moth samples from different ecosystem. 
•    The analysis of proboscis, a long and thread-like organ used to suck flower sap, of a dozen moth species’ revealed the presence of pollen grains.Scientists develop web-based tool to monitor fake news on Facebook, Twitter.

 (Science & Technology News)

Scientists have developed a web-based tool to help monitor the prevalence of fake news on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Developed by researchers at the University of Michigan in the US, the tool uses a Platform Health Metric called the Iffy Quotient, which draws data from two external entities: 
NewsWhip and Media Bias/Fact Checker

•    NewsWhip, a social media engagement tracking firm, collects URLs on hundreds of thousands of sites every day and then gathers information on which of those sites have engagements on Facebook and Twitter. 

•    Iffy Quotient queries NewsWhip for the top 5,000 most popular URLs on the two social media platforms. Then the tool checks to see if those domain names have been flagged by Media Bias/Fact Check, an independent site that classifies various sources based on their reliability and bias.

 (Science & Space News)

Japan Launches Satellite to Monitor Greenhouse Gases

•    Japan's space agency on Monday launched a rocket carrying a satellite that will monitor greenhouse gases, as well as the first satellite built entirely in the United Arab Emirates.
•    The nation's H-IIA rocket lifted off Monday from the Tanegashima Space Centre, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
•    The Japanese rocket also released "KhalifaSat", the first satellite built entirely in the UAE by local engineers.

China, France Launch Satellite to Study Climate Change

•    The first Franco-Chinese satellite was launched into orbit on Monday to study ocean surface winds and waves around the clock, better predict cyclones and improve scientists' understanding of climate change.
•    A Long March 2C carrier rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China's Gobi Desert at 0043 GMT to enter orbit 520 kilometres (323 miles) above the Earth, according to China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.
•    The 650-kilogram (1,430 pound) machine is the first satellite jointly built by China and France and will allow climate scientists to better understand interactions between oceans and the atmosphere.

(International News)
PM Modi Discusses Bilateral, Regional, Global Issues with Japan Leaders


•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and held productive, focused discussion on bilateral, regional and global issues.
•    PM Modi arrived in Japan on Saturday to attend the 13th India-Japan annual two-day summit which will seek to review the progress in ties and deepen strategic dimension of the bilateral relationship.

Sushma Swaraj Meets Emir of Qatar, Discusses Bilateral Ties

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today met Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani and discussed ways to move forward on the roadmap set by the top leaders of the two countries.
Ms Swaraj arrived in Doha yesterday on the first leg of her four-day visit to Qatar and Kuwait.

Background:-

The bilateral visit of the Emir of Qatar in March 2015 and Prime Minister of Qatar Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani to India in December 2016 and that of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Qatar in June 2016 have further boosted traditionally cordial and close ties between the two countries.

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Important Current Affairs 28th October 2018 English

International News

PM Modi reaches Tokyo to attend Annual India-Japan Bilateral Summit
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a 3 day visit to Japan. Modi visited his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in the Yamanashi Prefecture and discussed various issues. He has also visited the automation and robotic firm FANUC in the industrial city facing Mount Fuji. During this visit, modi will attend the 13th Annual India-Japan Bilateral Summit. 
Focus areas of 13th India Japan Bilateral Summit: To boost cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, carry out joint infrastructure projects in third countries and enhancing defence ties, including launch of talks for a logistic support pact between the two navies.

India to become world’s third largest aviation market around 2024


India will become the world’s third largest aviation market around 2024 surpassing the United Kingdom, global airlines’ body IATA said on Wednesday as it projected total air passenger numbers to touch 8.2 billion in 2037.
Releasing the latest update to IATA’s 20-year Air Passenger Forecast, the grouping also cautioned that growth prospects for air transport and the economic benefits driven by aviation could be curtailed if protectionist measures are implemented by governments.

National News    
New Supreme Court bench formed to hear pleas in Ayodhya dispute from October 29

A new Supreme Court bench has been constituted to hear pleas in the Ayodhya title suit from October 29 in connection with the Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid case.
The new bench will comprise of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and two other judges, justices SK Kaul and Justice KM Joseph. From October 29, they may decide if the case will be heard on a day-to-day hearing or fix a hearing schedule.

The old bench comprised of CJI Dipak Misra and justices Abdul Nazeer and Ashok Bhushan.

Obituary News

Former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana Dies At 82

Delhi's former Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana (82) passed away.
Madan Lal Khurana (15 October 1936 – 27 October 2018) was an Indian politician also was Chief Minister of Delhi from 1993 to 1996. He also served as Governor of Rajasthan in 2004.He was the Union Minister of Parliamentary affairs and Tourism in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He was a member of Rashtriya Swayansevak Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party.

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Important Current Affairs 27th October 2018 English

National

First Regional Review Meeting for “Sustainable Sanitation” Held In Nagpur

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, in coordination with the Water Supply and Sanitation Department, Government of Maharashtra, organized the first in a series of regional review meetings on Sustainable Sanitation today.

The regional review was held in Nagpur, attended by State Secretaries in-charge of rural sanitation, Mission Directors, and other State Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) officials, including representatives from 25 districts from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.

The regional meeting follows the official kick-start of the workshop in New Delhi on 24th October 2018, where the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation interacted with State SBM officials to review and communicate the various message of the Quality and Sustainability Mission. The series of sustainability regional workshops which will take place across the country have been scheduled within the next month to cover all States and Union Territories. Current locations include Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Nainital (Uttarakhand), Guwahati (Assam) and Kolkata (West Bengal).

Days and Dates

72nd Infantry Day Celebrations

To commemorate the selfless dedication to duty by Indian Army’s gallant Infantrymen, a wreath laying ceremony was organised at ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’. General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, along with senior officers, laid wreaths in a solemn ceremony.

Infantry celebrates 27 October each year as Infantry Day to commemorate the first Infantry action post independence. In response to the threat posed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our Nation, on this day in 1947, the leading elements of the Indian Army from 1st Battalion of the SIKH Regiment air landed at Srinagar and gallantly fought the raiders aided by Pakistan Army. This bold action by the Indian Army and indomitable courage displayed by the Infantrymen reversed the tide of events and thwarted the adversary's nefarious designs.

Appointments

Sanjay Kumar Mishra appointed interim director of Enforcement Directorate

The Central Government has appointed Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer Sanjay Kumar Mishra as interim director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for three months.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared his name as interim chief of the agency on the last day of Karnal Singh’s tenure.

A 1986 batch IRS Officer of the Income Tax cadre, Mr. Mishra has been appointed as Principal Chief Director of ED and given charge of the Director of ED for three months.

Economy and Banking

Storing data locally since October 15: Visa

Payments major Visa said it has begun storing data of local users within India, signalling partial compliance with the mandate of the Reserve Bank, which has been steadfast in its demand that all payments companies — global and local — retain transaction data of Indian users on local servers.

Visa has also submitted a status update to RBI, including a plan on how it will tweak its existing global processing systems to fully comply with the requirement to store data only in India.

While Visa has been retaining data of Indian users locally from the day of the RBI deadline, it continues to process the data outside the country. India had over 1 billion debit and credit cards as of August 2018, according to RBI. Nearly 98% are debit cards issued by Visa, Master-Card and local player RuPay. Around 40 million credit cards are in circulation in the country.

International News

Lankan President Suspends Parliament As Crisis Deepens After PM Sacked

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday suspended parliament, deepening political turmoil after he sacked the country's prime minister.

Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was sacked by the president late Friday, had earlier called for an emergency session of parliament so he could prove his majority.

The parliament had been due to meet again on November 5 to unveil the 2019 annual budget.

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Important Current Affairs 26th October 2018 English

National

India Mobile Congress 2018 held in New Delhi
The second edition of India Mobile Congress (IMC-2018) was held New Delhi from October 25-27, 2018. It was organised by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). The theme was “New Digital Horizons. Connect. Create. Innovate”. It saw participation of more than 200,000 professionals from telecom industry, encompassing 5G, start-up ecosystem, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Smart Cities and allied industry sectors. The exhibition featured more than 1,300 exhibitors.

India wins Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management Award, 2018 
India has won Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) Award, 2018. The award was announced at Annual General Members Meet held at Georgetown, Guyana. Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) under Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions is institutional member of Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM). Unnayan Banka initiative for reinventing education using technology of Banka District, Bihar was awarded under Category “Innovation Incubation”.

United Nations Day
The United Nations Day is observed every year on 24th October to mark anniversary of entry into force of UN Charter in 1945. ‎With ratification of this founding document by majority of its members, including five permanent members of UN Security Council, United Nations officially came into existence. Since then, 24th October is celebrated as UN Day. On this day all member states of UN contribute finances to its operation to help further its goals.

Government announces winners of Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony
Union Government (Ministry of Culture) has announced winners of Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for year 2014, 2015 and 2016. The awardees were selected by award jury headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and included Chief Justice of India Justice (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami and national vice president of BJP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.

Award

Jyoti Shelar won the first place in the English category of SCARF
Jyoti Shelar, The Hindu ’s Mumbai-based correspondent won the first place in the English category of Schizophrenia Research Foundation’s (SCARF) media for mental health reporting award. Ms.Shelar’s report on suicides by farmers and the resultant impact on the mental health of their families won her the award.

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Important Current Affairs 25th October 2018 English

Sports News

West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo announces international retirement

West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo announced his retirement from international.
About Dwayne Bravo
The 35-year-old Trinidadian, who made his West Indies debut in 2004, played 40 tests, 164 one-day internationals and 66 T20 internationals. 
Bravo, known for his big-hitting ability and a wide range of slower deliveries, ends his international stint with 2,200 runs at an average of 31.42 in tests.
In ODIs, he finished with 2,968 runs at 25.36, while claiming 199 wickets at an economy rate of 5.41.
Bravo plays for the Chennai Super Kings franchise in the Indian Premier League and has also represented T20 outfits in England, Australia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Caribbean.

Virat Kohli becomes fastest batsman to reach 10,000 ODI runs
 
•    In Cricket, Indian skipper Virat Kohli today broke Sachin Tendulkar’s record as the fastest batsman to score 10,000 one-day international runs.
•    Kohli has become the fifth Indian to reach the mark in ODIs. Apart from Kohli, Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni have scored over 10,000 runs in ODIs.

Award News
Malayalam author Benyamin’s 'Jasmine Days' wins first JCB Prize for literature


Malayalam author Benyamin has bagged the inaugural JCB Prize for literature for his book 'Jasmine Days', which explores the lives of South Asians in the Middle East.
Benyamin’s book, originally written in Malayalam and translated by Shahnaz Habib.
Benyamin was awarded a cash prize of Rs. 25 lakh, along with a magnificent trophy created by Delhi artist duo Thukral & Tagra, titled 'Mirror Melting'. Habib received an additional prize of Rs. 5 lakh.

International News
India to be among top three broadband users

After catapulting India to being the world’s largest mobile data consuming nation, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani Thursday said Jio’s fibre-based broadband offering can place the country among the top three nations in fixed broadband from a low rank of 135 currently.
India has moved from 155th rank in mobile broadband penetration to being the number one nation in mobile data consumption in the world in less than two years.

International Agreement News

India and Taipei Bilateral Investment Agreement 

 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) between India Taipei Association (ITA) in Taipei and Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC) in India.

•    The BIA is likely to increase investment flows between the parties.
•    It will provide appropriate protection to investments on a reciprocal basis between ITA and TECC.  
•    It would help project India as a preferred foreign direct investment (FDI) destination.

India and Singapore on setting up of a joint working group on FinTech
 

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Singapore in June, 2018 on the constitution of a Joint Working Group (JWG) on FinTech.
Financial technology 
Financial technology (FinTech or fintech) is the new technology and innovation that aims to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services.
Beneficial in the fields of:
Development of Application Programming Interfaces (APls), Regulatory Sandbox, Security in payment and digital cash flow, integration of RuPay-Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS), UPI-FAST payment link, AADHAR Stack and e-KYC in ASEAN region and cooperation on regulations, solutions for financial markets and insurance sector and sand box models.


Approval for MoU among BRICS Nations on Environmental Cooperation

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed among the BRICS Nations on Environmental Cooperation. The MoU was signed during the 10th BRICS Summit in July, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The MoU identifies the following stress of cooperation:
•    Air quality;
•    Water;
•    Biodiversity;
•    Climate Change;
•    Waste Management;
•    Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals; and
•    Other areas of cooperation as mutually agreed upon by the Participants.

National News    

President of India inaugurates International Arya Mahasammelan-2018

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the International Arya Mahasammelan – 2018 today (October 25, 2018) in Delhi.
Important:
This is the 11th such international Arya Mahasammelan since 2006, according to the Arya Samaj.
We will be celebrating 200th birth anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati in 2024. We will also celebrate the 150thanniversary of the Arya Samaj in 2025. 

 Appointment News


Paytm Payments Bank appoints Satish Kumar Gupta as MD and CEO

Paytm Payments Bank, a unit of One97 Communications Ltd., had appointed Satish Kumar Gupta as managing director and chief executive officer of the digital bank.
Satish Kumar Gupta, who has over 35 years of leadership experience, previously had stints as the chief product officer at National Payments Corporation of India and State Bank of India.
Satish Kumar Gupta is replacing Renu Satti.

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Important Current Affairs 24th October 2018 English

Award News

PM awarded the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize

The Seoul Peace Prize Committee has decided to confer the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

He is the fourteenth recipient of this award.

PM Modi was selected for this prestigious award in recognition of his dedication to improving international cooperation, raising global economic growth, accelerating the Human Development of the people of India by fostering economic growth in the world's fastest growing large economy and furthering the development of democracy through anti-corruption and social integration efforts.

Background

The Seoul Peace Prize was established in 1990 to commemorate the success of the 24th Olympic Games held in Seoul, Republic of Korea – an event in which 160 nations from across the world took part, creating harmony and friendship and a worldwide atmosphere of peace and reconciliation. 

M.S. Swaminathan to be awarded World Agriculture Prize

Agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan will receive the first World Agriculture Prize instituted by the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) in New Delhi.

The prize will be presented by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu at Vigyan Bhawan at a special session, named Swaminathan Global Dialogue on Climate Change and Food Security organised by the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture.

World Agriculture Prize

The prize has been instituted by the ICFA with an aim to recognise individuals who have served humanity through agriculture. It will carry a cash component of $1, 00,000. 

International News

Cabinet approves MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Certified Professional Accountants Afghanistan (CPA Afghanistan)

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of a MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Certified Professional Accountants Afghanistan (CPA Afghanistan).

The MoU will establish mutual co-operation framework in the areas of Capacity Building of "Afghanistan Accountancy Board (AAB)", strengthening the IT Capacity and Quality Assurance in Afghanistan through facilitating Knowledge Transfer; Students and Members Exchange Programs; Conduct of Seminars, Conferences and Joint Activities mutually beneficial to both the parties.

Invest India Wins Top UN Award for Promoting Renewable Energy Investment


Invest India has received the top UN Investment Promotion Award in recognition of its efforts to boost investments in the renewable energy sector in India.

The award was presented by Armenian President Armen Sarkissian to Deepak Bagla, the CEO of Invest India in Geneva at the inaugurations of the World Investment Forum organised by the UN Convention on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The other winners of the award were Bahrain Economic Development Board and the Lesotho National Development Corp.


India, China sign agreement on security cooperation

The first India-China high-level meeting on bilateral security cooperation held in New Delhi.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed issues of mutual interest including bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism and welcomed increased cooperation between India and China in the area of security.

An Agreement on security cooperation was also signed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and State Councilor and Minister of Public Security of China, Zhao Kezhi.  

3rd Decadal International year of Reefs-2018


The International Conference on Status and Protection of Coral Reefs (STAPCOR – 2018) with the theme “Reef for Life” was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan on 22nd October at Bangaram coral Island of Union Territory of Lakshadweep.
About 150 delegates both International and National are participating in this mega event at Bangaram Island from 22nd to 24th October, 2018. 

National News
Government removes CBI Director Alok Verma and appoints M Nageshwar Rao

 The Union Government on October 23, 2018 removed CBI Director Alok Verma from his post. He was appointed as CBI Director in 2016 for two years and his tenure ends in December 2018.

M Nageshwar Rao will take over the duties and functions of CBI Director with immediate effect. Rao, a 1986 batch Odisha cadre officer, joined the CBI as Joint Director and was promoted as Additional Director in 2018 itself.

Appointment News

Suresh Nambath appointed as next editor of The Hindu

•    The board of directors of The Hindu Publishing Group has appointed senior journalist Suresh Nambath as editor of The Hindu with effect from March 1 next year.

•    He will succeed Mukund Padmanabhan, who has been editor of the prominent newspaper since March 2016.

•    Nambath joined The Hindu as principal correspondent covering Tamil Nadu politics in October 1996 and served as the newspaper's Tamil Nadu bureau chief between July 2006 and February 2012.


 

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Important Current Affairs 23rd October 2018 English

(International News)

India – Czech Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation held in Prague

 
•    The eleventh session of India – Czech Republic Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation (JCEC) was held on 22nd – 23rd October 2018 at Prague.
•    Both sides reviewed developments in their bilateral trade since the 10th Session of the Joint Commission held in New Delhi in January 2015 and welcomed the increasing trend in the volume of trade.
•    Czechoslovakia is preparing a project called Czech Industrial Cluster (CIC) near Bengaluru. The CIC will comprise administrative and production units and will serve as a hub for Czech companies that intend to settle down in India. 


Forty-five Indian companies participate in SIAL Paris exhibition


Forty-five Indian companies are participating in the SIAL Paris exhibition – the largest international market place for food service professionals.  Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) has inaugurated a special Indian pavilion in the ongoing mega exhibition for the participating companies. 
SIAL Paris exhibition
The Global Food Marketplace (French: Salon International de l’alimentation, or SIAL) is a trade fair held every two years, which specializes in the food processing industry. This event was first held in 1964 in Paris.


Netherlands becomes first country to issue gender-neutral passport


•    Netherlands has become the first country to issue a gender-neutral passport to one of its citizens.
•    The news came after a court in the country gave a ruling earlier this year saying that a third gender should be recognised for people who don’t identify as male or female.
•    The first gender-neutral passport was given to 57-year-old Leonne Zeegers. Their passport now has an 'X' mark as their gender specification, rather than an 'M' for mannetje (male) or a V for vrouw (female).

China opens world's longest sea-crossing bridge

Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially opened the world's longest sea crossing bridge, nine years after construction first began.
Important to Know:
•    Including its access roads, the bridge spans 55km (34 miles) and connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.
•    The bridge has cost about $20bn (£15.3bn).
•    Mr Xi attended the opening ceremony of the bridge, which took place in Zhuhai, along with the leaders of Hong Kong and Macau.
•    The crossing connects three key coastal cities in southern China - Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai.
•    The bridge, designed to withstand earthquakes and typhoons, was built using 400,000 tonnes of steel, enough to build 60 Eiffel Towers. 
•    It is part of China's plan to create a Greater Bay Area, including Hong Kong, Macau and nine other cities in southern China.

Infosys, Finnish firm in AI alliance

•    Leading global corporations Pöyry and Infosys announced the release of Krti 4.0® Artificial Intelligence (AI) Framework for Operational Excellence.
•    The framework overcomes some complex and expensive lifecycle management challenges faced by organisations across operational technology (OT) systems.
Krti 4.0 model
•    The Krti 4.0 model based data driven framework applies AI, cognitive/machine learning and Machine to Machine (M2M) capabilities to the industrial environment.
•    Krti 4.0 is designed to dramatically reduce system maintenance costs and expensive operation shutdowns, and improve reliability, employee and environmental safety.

(Sports News)

French Open Badminton tournament begins in Paris


•    French Open Badminton tournament begins in Paris this afternoon. 
•    Ace Indian shuttlers, including defending champion Kidambi Srikanth, PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will be eying their first major title of the year. 
French Open Badminton tournament
The French Open is an annual Badminton tournament held in France since 1909 and hosted by the Fédération française de badminton (FFBa). The tournament was halted between 1915 and 1934, in 1965, 1970, 1972, 1994 and 2006.

 (National News)
 “Harit Diwali-Swasth Diwali” campaign launched by Ministry of Environment 

•    Environment Ministry has launched Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali campaign. This campaign was initiated in 2017-18 wherein large number of school children participated and took pledge to minimize bursting of crackers. 

The Ministry has initiated the campaign on the similar lines but extended to a pan-India. 
•    The Harit Diwali-Swasth Diwali campaign is now merged with “Green Good Deed” movement that has been initiated as a social mobilization for conservation and protection of environment. The Ministry is encouraging all schools and colleges to be part of this campaign. 
•    Air pollution is a serious health issue in the country especially in the northern parts during winter seasons. It is attributed to dust, burning of crops in certain states, burning of garbage construction and prevailing climatic conditions. Diwali falls during the same period.

PNB Metlife launches AI-powered customer service app

 
•    Life insurer PNB Metlife has unveiled an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered customer service app ‘Khushi’. 
•    The app is designed to be a one-stop shop providing insurance-related information, anytime, anywhere, such as policy features, premium due details besides providing fund value and portfolio details. It has the ability to understand customer intent and provide tailored responses.
•    Khushi can interact with customers via text as well as speech. When requested, the app can also locate the nearest PNB MetLife branch, arrange a call back from call centre representatives, fix an appointment with an advisor and much more, according to the company.
•    In 2016, the company had launched ‘conVRse’, virtual reality (VR) service platform as well as ‘eBranch’, a paperless digital platform enabling real time transfer of information. 

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Important Current Affairs 22nd October 2018 English

National News


Insolvency Law Committee submits its 2nd Report on Cross Border Insolvency 
 
The Insolvency Law Committee (ILC) constituted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to recommend amendments to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code of India, 2016, has submitted its 2nd Report to the Government, which deals with cross border insolvency.  
The ILC has recommended the adoption of the UNCITRAL Model Law of Cross Border Insolvency, 1997, as it provides for a comprehensive framework to deal with cross border insolvency issues.  
The Committee has also recommended a few carve outs to ensure that there is no inconsistency between the domestic insolvency framework and the proposed Cross Border Insolvency Framework.
Important:
The UNCITRAL Model Law has been adopted in as many as 44 countries and, therefore, forms part of international best practices in dealing with cross border insolvency issues.

Tejas wins Rs. 111 crore Indian Navy order
 
Tejas Networks, a maker of networking product, has received a Rs. 111 crore purchase order from Sterlite Technologies to implement Indian Navy’s country-wide next-generation digital communications network.
Tejas Networks will supply its terabit capacity Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) systems and high-performance layer-3 multi-gigabit ethernet switches for Navy's pan-India network, according to a company statement.

Women of India Organic Festival to be held at IGNCA, New Delhi
 
The Ministry of Women and Child Development is organizing the 5th edition of the Women of India Organic Festival from 26th October to 4th November, 2018 at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Janpath Road, New Delhi.
Aim:
This is aimed to boost organic culture and promote Women Organic Farmers and Entrepreneurs. Being the country's largest organic festival, it bears witness to the fact that women are the torchbearers of the nation's organic movement.
Important:
Ministry of Women and Child Development: Maneka Gandhi 

Ayushman Bharat has benefitted 100,000 within a month of its launch
 

Union Health Minister JP Nadda on October 21, 2018 announced that nearly a month after the roll out of the health insurance scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY)’ (Ayushman Bharat), one lakh people have availed of the ambitious programme. 

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, considered as the world's largest health insurance programme, was launched pan-India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Jharkhand on September 23, 2018.
Important:
Ayushman Bharat, the government-sponsored health insurance scheme, will provide free coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year in any government or even empanelled private hospitals all over India. 

The Ayushman Bharat programme will be funded with 60 percent contribution from the Centre and the remaining from the states.


President to inaugurate 'Vishwa Shanti Ahimsa Sammelan' in Maharashtra
 

President Ram Nath Kovind will inaugurate a three-day 'Vishwa Shanti Ahimsa Sammelan' at Mangi Tungi in Nashik district of Maharashtra on 22nd October.
The President will also give away the first international 'Bhagwan Rishabhdev Award' to Teerthanker Mahaveer University based in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh.
The award, which carries a cash prize of  11 lakh rupees, a memento and a citation, will be given to the chancellor of the university, Suresh Jain.  
President Kovind will also release a book, titled 'Sarvoccha Digambar Jain Pratima', on the occasion.

PM Modi to attend fourth edition of NITI Lecture Series on artificial intelligence 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the fourth edition of NITI Lecture Series being organised at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. 
The keynote address will be delivered by Jensen Huang, President and Co-Founder of NVIDIA Corporation. 
This year's theme is 'Artificial Intelligence for All: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for Inclusive Growth'.   
 

International News


NASA names gamma-ray constellations after Godzilla, Hulk
 
NASA scientists have devised a new set of 21 modern gamma-ray constellations and named them after fictional characters such as the Hulk and Godzilla. The constellations, constructed with sources visible through its gamma-ray telescope, were devised to celebrate the completion of 10 years of operations of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Since July 2008, Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT) has been scanning the entire sky each day, mapping and measuring sources of gamma rays, the highest-energy light in the universe.

China to ban polluting tourist vehicles near Mt Everest in Tibet
 
China is planning to ban polluting tourist vehicles at the Mount Everest base camp in Tibet from next year as part of its efforts to reduce pollution in the area that has a fragile environment.
Some 2.26 tons of human waste, one ton of mountaineering trash and 5.24 tons of household waste have been removed from the world’s highest peak since April. A further eight tons of trash was removed between 5,200 meters and 6,500 meters above the sea level.


Stephen Hawking wheelchair, thesis up for sale
 
The online sale announced by auctioneer Christie’s features 22 items from Hawking, including his doctoral thesis on the origins of the universe such as “Spectrum of Wormholes” and “Fundamental Breakdown of Physics in Gravitational Collapse.”
The auction includes one of five existing copies of Hawking’s 1965 Cambridge University Ph.D. thesis, “Properties of Expanding Universes,” which carries an estimated price of 100,000 pounds to 150,000 pounds ($130,000 to $195,000).
Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration and a global celebrity.
 

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Important Current Affairs 21st October 2018 English

International News

India to Host Fourth Edition of Global Partners’ Forum 2018

India will play host to the largest-ever Partners' Forum on 12th and 13th December 2018 in New Delhi.

PMNCH (The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health) will bring together 1,200 partners from over 100 countries dedicated to the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) movement and to the achievement of the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (Global Strategy). This unique forum aims to unite PMNCH’s 1,000+ partners around common strategies so that every woman, child and adolescent – no matter where they live – can survive, thrive and transform our world.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa to form new govt in Bhutan

The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) will form new government in Bhutan. The party has won 30 seats in 47 members National Assembly, the lower house of the parliament.
The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) has got remaining 17 seats.
This is the first time in Bhutan’s decade old parliamentary democracy that a new party has been chosen to form the government. 

Science News

Scientists Develop Gel That Could Protect Farmers From Toxic Pesticides
 
Indian researchers developed a gel which, when applied on the skin, can inhibit some pesticides from getting absorbed into the body. 
It thus averts serious adverse effects and even death. Organophosphate-based pesticides, which are commonly used by farmers in India, are toxic to the nervous system and heart and can cause cognitive dysfunction. 
The gel, named poly-Oxime, has been prepared by researchers at the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (InStem), Bengaluru, from a nucleophilic polymer.

National News 

India’s longest bridge to be built across Brahmaputra
 

India’s longest river bridge will be built across the Brahmaputra, connecting Dhubri in Assam to Phulbari in Meghalaya, and will cut road travel by 203 km as also travel time. The 19.3 km, four-lane bridge will be built by 2026-27.

    

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