Latest Current Affairs – August 11 & 12 2018
1. 50% reservation announced for women in Railway Protection Force
Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal announced a 50% reservation for women in the upcoming recruitment of up to 10,000 Railway Police Force jawans. He added that 13,000 jobs are also coming up in Railways for which a computer-based test will be conducted and no interviews will be taken.
2. Chandrayaan-2 lander named ‘Vikram’ to honour ISRO Founder
The lander of India’s second lunar exploration mission ‘Chandrayaan-2’, scheduled for next year, will be named ‘Vikram’ in honour of ISRO Founder Vikram Sarabhai. Marking his 99th birth anniversary on Sunday, ISRO also unveiled Vikram Sarabhai’s bust at its headquarters in Bengaluru. Further, as a tribute to Sarabhai, ISRO plans to launch 9 missions over the next five months.
3. VK Tahilramani becomes 3rd woman Chief Justice of Madras HC
Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, making her the third woman appointed to the position. She was appointed following the elevation of Justice Indira Banerjee to the Supreme Court. Born in 1958, Tahilramani has previously served as the acting Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.
4. Blue light from phone screens can speed up blindness: Study
Blue light emitted from smartphone screens and laptops can speed up blindness, according to a study by University of Toledo researchers. They claimed that prolonged exposure to blue light can damage vision and generate poisonous molecules in the eye’s light-sensitive cells. Researchers also suggested wearing sunglasses to filter blue light outside and avoiding browsing on smartphones in the dark.
5. NASA launches the first-ever mission to ‘touch’ the Sun
NASA successfully launched its Parker Solar Probe, aimed to enter the Sun’s corona (outer atmosphere), where no spacecraft has gone before. The mission will probe why temperatures in corona reach a million ºC while Sun’s visible surface below it only reaches about 5,500ºC. The spacecraft will make its first close approach in November and send data in December.
Parker Solar Probe is the first NASA mission to be named after a living individual, Dr Eugene Parker. In 1958, the 91-year-old American solar physicist predicted the existence of the solar wind, a stream of charged particles blasted from the Sun.
6. Jammu & Kashmir gets its first woman Chief Justice
Justice Gita Mittal was sworn in as the first woman Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court. Justice Mittal earlier served as a Delhi high court judge for 14 years, out of which 15 months were as the acting Chief Justice. She is known for her judgments on child abuse, disability, gender rights, environment, cleanliness.
7. Indian firm pulls heart drug from US amid cancer risk probes
India’s Hetero Drugs is recalling some batches of its blood pressure and heart medicine valsartan in the US amid a wider probe into cancer risks associated with the drug. Hetero was found to be using a similar manufacturing process to China’s Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical for the drug. Valsartan made by Zhejiang had been found to contain a probable human carcinogen.
8. Maldives asks India to withdraw troops from the country
The Maldives has asked India to withdraw its military helicopters and around 50 personnel stationed in the island nation following the expiry of an agreement in June. This comes as India-Maldives ties have strained after India called on the island nation to release former President Abdul Gayoom and Supreme Court justices and opposed the imposition of emergency earlier this year.
9. Kerala offers free sex change operations to transgenders
The Kerala government will foot the bill for transgenders willing to undergo sex change operations, CM Pinarayi Vijayan has announced. An amount of ?2 lakh will be reimbursed as hospital expenses, while those who have already undergone such surgeries can also apply for reimbursement. Earlier, Tamil Nadu had announced free sex change surgeries in government hospitals for transgenders.
10. Special meeting of Senior Officials of BIMSTEC held
A special meeting of Senior Officials of the Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-Sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was held in Kathmandu. The meeting was organised as part of preparations for the 4th BIMSTEC Summit to be held in Kathmandu on August 30 and 31. Senior officers from all member states and Secretary General of BIMSTEC attended the meeting.
BIMSTEC is a regional economic bloc comprising seven member states lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. The group was formed in 1997 and it brings together Bangladesh,Bhutan India,Nepal, Sri Lanka,Myanmar and Thailand. Nepal is the current chair of BIMSTEC.
11. NITI Aayog Hosts Investors Conference in Andaman & Nicobar, and Lakshadweep Islands
This NITI Aayog conference was inaugurated by Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog. The 11 anchor tourism projects are proposed to be implemented with private sector participation under the suitable risk-sharing model and through open-competitive bidding.
12. PayPal and HDFC Bank partner to offer Seamless Payment Experiences
To initiate incremental digital spend, the HDFC cards will be presented as a payment option during enrollment and subsequent payments with the ability for consumers to easily open PayPal accounts and set it as their preferred payment method. This partnership will create a number of joint growth opportunities that will advance PayPal and HDFC Bank’s shared vision of offering consumers greater choice and flexibility.
13. Three northeastern States emerge as new HIV hotspots
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have emerged as the new hotspots for HIV. In terms of persons living with HIV (PLHIV) who are on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART), Maharashtra has the highest number (with 2.03 lakh persons) followed by A.P.(1.78 lakh ) and Karnataka (1.58 lakh persons).
14. Google launches Video Q and A App Cameos aimed at celebrities
This app allows people to answer questions about themselves, then share those answers directly on Google. With the Cameos app, famous personalities can address fans questions in their own voice, instead of leaving the answers up to other websites.
15. HSBC launched Online Platform MyDeal to Raise Funds via Capital Markets
The online platform contains all the information relating to a client’s capital markets transaction and is updated on a real-time basis. In its pilot phase, MyDeal raised over USD 25 billion in the first seven months through over 30 transactions globally.
16. India ranked 177 on the Environmental Performance Index 2018
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranking, India has been placed 177th rank out of 180 countries on the Environmental Performance Index 2018. The Union Environment Ministry has rejected the score by considering it as arbitrary and unscientific. India slipped 36 points from 141 in the 2016 report, prepared by Yale and Columbia Universities along with the WEF.
WEF said that India’s remark was linked to the poor performance in the environmental health policy and deaths due to air pollution categories. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change said that the reason for India’s decline is because of the change in parameters between two editions of the report.
17. Khangchendzonga became 11th biosphere reserve in World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)
The decision to include Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in WNBR was taken at the 30th Session of International Coordinating Council (ICC) of Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO held at Palembang, Indonesia.
India has 18 Biosphere Reserves and with the inclusion of Khangchendzonga, the number of internationally designated WNBR has become 11, with 7 Biosphere Reserves being domestic Biosphere Reserves.
18. RSS thinker S Gurumurthy, Satish Marathe appointed as directors on RBI board
The government appointed Swaminathan Gurumurthy and Satish Kashinath Marathe as as part-time non-official directors on the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) board, for a period of four years.
- Gurumurthy, an economist and chartered accountant by profession, is also the co-convenor of RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch. A vocal supporter of PM Narendra Modi’s policies, Gurumurthy had defended the demonetisation of high value currency notes.
- Marathe began his banking career with Bank of India, and then became chairman of The United Western Bank Ltd. He is also the founder of Sahakar Bharati, an NGO that supports co-operatives in India.
The RBI Act allows ten directors nominated by the government. With these two appointments, RBI’s board now has 10 government-appointed members.
19. Govt extended eVisa facility for citizens of 165 countries
In order to promote tourism, the Indian government has extended e-visa facility for citizens of 165 countries at 25 airports and five seaports. On March 2018, The Ministry of Tourism has launched the ‘Incredible India 2.0’ campaign, to promote various destinations and tourism products of the country including spiritual, medical and wellness tourism in important and potential source markets overseas.
20. Cabinet approved for four more NDRF battalions
The Union Cabinet approved for four more battalions of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). The estimated cost for the approval is Rs.637 crore. It aimed at reducing the response time considering the country’s vast geographic area.
Among the four battalions, initially, two battalions will be raised in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and one each in the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Assam Rifles. Once raised in the marked areas, these battalions will be converted into NDRF battalions.
21. TRIFED signed MOU with National Medicinal Plant Board
The main aim is to promote Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) forest produced for livelihood development of tribal people by promoting primary level value addition to MAPs produce from forest area at the grassroots level. Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) was established in August 1987 by the Ministry of Welfare, Government of India.
22. SBI launched unified payment terminal MOPAD
State Bank of India (SBI) launched its latest customer-friendly digital initiative Multi Option Payment Acceptance Device (MOPAD) at a shopping mall, in Visakhapatnam. The new device titled MOPAD is a Point of Sale (PoS) terminal that would along with cards accept payments through UPI, Bharat QR, and SBI Buddy wallet which till now required different tools to receive payments.
23. Rajya Sabha passes Immovable Property Amendment Bill
The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017 which was moved by Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, was adopted by a voice vote.
The Lok Sabha had passed the bill in December last year.
Aim:- To amend the regulations governing the compensation payable for acquisition of immovable property by the Centre for defence and security purposes.