Latest Current Affairs – August 29 & 30 2018
1. US based GEER to investigate the impact of the torrential rains that hit Kerala
A team of scientists from the U.S.-based Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association is to investigate the impact of the torrential rains that hit Kerala. The team will be arriving on September 3, 2018.
The delegation is led by Thomas Oommen, Associate Professor, Michigan Technological University and Richard Coffman, Associate Professor, University of Arkansas. Sajin Kumar K.S., Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, University of Kerala, will be coordinating the visit. The week-long study is sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).
2. Google to display technology in Indian vernacular languages
Google plans to introduce technology and product experiences which are locally relevant to users in India in vernacular languages. It has been observed, so far, that the majority of Internet users are Indian language users, a number expected to reach 500 million-plus in the next two years.
Earlier, Google launched ‘Project Navlekha’ which helps to easily make offline content fully editable and publish on a branded domain without expert digital knowledge. The search feed will now also display users’ topics of interest and news, from both English and Hindi sources.
3. World Bank signed to loan USD 300 million to EESL
Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), the Centre and the World Bank signed a $220 million loan agreement and an $80 million guarantee agreement. The loan amount is to be used for the India Energy Efficiency scale-up programme. The programme aimed to scale up the deployment of energy-saving measures in both the residential and public sectors, strengthen the firm’s institutional capacity and enhance its access to commercial financing. It also supports the UJALA and SLNP schemes. The programme plans to help avoid lifetime greenhouse gas emissions of 170 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and contribute to avoiding an estimated 10 GW of additional generation capacity.
4. India’s first interstate connected wind power project commissioned in Bhuj
126 MW wind power capacity, part of country’s first Inter State Transmission System (ISTS) auction, is commissioned in Bhuj, Gujarat. The energy generated from this project is being purchased by Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
This was a 1,000 MW bid for projects to be connected on ISTS (inter-state transmission system) wherein power generated from one state (renewable resource rich state) could be transmitted to other renewable deficient states.
5. Madhya Pradesh Government seeks revival of Cheetah Reintroduction Project
The Madhya Pradesh forest department has written to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to revive the plan to reintroduce cheetahs in Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary located in Sagar district of state. The ambitious project was conceived in 2009 but had hit roadblock for want of funds.
6. Cochin Airport resumes operation after the flood in Kerala
Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), the country’s first Greenfield airport, is to commence its operations after 15 days on 29th August 2018. The flood caused damage to the 30 lakh square feet of its built-up area and 1,400 acres of an operational area was covered under thick layers of slimy mud.
Floodwaters also smashed about 2.6 kilometres of its perimeter wall, besides 800 lights installed on both sides of the runway. The total loss incurred due to the flood sums around Rs.300 crore, including the damage sustained to the core infrastructure and machinery inside.
7. Sushma Swaraj inaugurated ‘Jaipur Foot’ camp in Vietnam capital Hanoi
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who is on a four day two nation tour of South East Asia which includes Vietnam and Cambodia, presented free India-made prosthetic limbs for 500 Vietnamese beneficiaries.
Last month, it was announced in Jaipur that about 1,000 differently-abled people in Myanmar and Vietnam would be provided ‘Jaipur Foot’. The Jaipur-based Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) has started an artificial limb fitment camp in association with the Central government at Myanmar’s Yangon city.
8. Tamil Nadu CM inaugurated India’s tallest Film Studio
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has inaugurated India’s tallest Film Studio named ‘MGR Centenary Film Studio’. The 56 feet tall, 110 metres long and 100 feet wide studio was constructed using funds collected by the Federation of Film Employees Union of South India (FEFSI), at Paiyanur. The studio is named after former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran.
9. National Sports day observed on August 29th
The legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand birthday is commemorated as National Sports day. He was famously known as ‘The Wizard’ for his superb ball control.
10. Punjab Assembly passed Bills against sacrilege
The Punjab Assembly, led by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, unanimously passed Bills for an amendment to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to make desecration of all religious texts punishable with life imprisonment.
The IPC (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018, has inserted Section 295AA. The Bill provides that whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the Holy Quran and the Holy Bible with the intention to hurt the religious feelings of the people shall be punished with imprisonment for life.
10. Google launches ‘Navlekha’ for Indian language publishers
At the fourth ‘Google for India’ event, Google has unveiled Project Navlekhā to help Indian language publishers take their content online. Navlekhā is a word derived from Sanskrit meaning ‘a new way to write. The new platform will allow 1.35 lakh Indian publishers to digitise their offline content by creating instant web pages using scanned documents or PDFs.
11. DBS Named World’s Best Bank in nod to its Digital Innovation
It is the first Asian bank to receive the accolade from the New York-based publication, which last year gave the title to ING Bank. DBS branches and offices in China, Dubai, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, United Kingdom and The United States.
12. China uses Robot teachers in Kindergarten
China is using robots to teach the Kindergarten children. The 60cm high, autonomous Keeko robot is an unconventional teacher. It covers things like storytelling and problem-solving. More than 600 kindergartens across the country use Keeko robots. The robot makers are hoping to expand it into Greater China and Southeast Asia. Beijing has invested money and manpower in developing artificial intelligence as part of its “Made in China 2025” plan.
13. Indian women’s hockey team enter Asiad final for 1st time in 20 years
The Indian women’s hockey team defeated three-time champions China 1-0 in the semi-final to reach their first final at Asian Games since 1998. Indian defender Gurjit Kaur scored the only goal of the match. India will face Japan in the final match on Friday, August 31.
14. Cabinet approved 79.3% rise in outlay for postal bank
The Cabinet approved an increase of 79.3% in the project outlay for setting up the India Post Payments Bank to Rs.1,435 crore. The approval comes three days ahead of the nationwide roll-out of the payment bank by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The additional sum of Rs.635 crore in the revised cost estimates is on account of Rs.400 crore for technology costs and Rs.235 crore for human resource expenses.
Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha said that the launch will more than double the number of bank branches in the country, from the present 1.40 lakh to more than 2.90 lakh.
15. SBI changes names, IFSC codes of nearly 1,300 branches across India, post merger with associates
Names and IFSC codes of a total of 1,295 branches have been changed across the country as per the SBI list enlisting the old and new IFSC codes after rationalisation/merger with six associate banks and Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB).
The merger of six associate banks and Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with State Bank of India (SBI) came to effect from April 1, 2017 resulting into increase in size and valuation of the bank. SBI had 22,428 branches across India by the end of the first quarter of the current fiscal.
16. Mahabaleshwar beats Cherrapunji to become India’s wettest place this year
Maharashtra’s Mahabaleshwar has become the wettest place in India this year, leaving behind Meghalaya’s Cherrapunji. India Meteorological Department (IMD) data revealed that the hill station in the state of Maharashtra received a staggering 5661.6 mm rainfall this season till now, much more than Cherrapunji’s 4735 mm.
Cherrapunji holds two Guinness world records for receiving the maximum amount of rainfall in a single year, 26,471mm (1,042.2 in) of rainfall between August 1860 and July 1861 and the maximum amount of rainfall in a single month (9,300mm) in July 1861.
17. Arunachal Cabinet passed Bill for creation of 3 new districts
The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly passed a Bill for the creation of three new districts, namely Pakke-Kesang, Lepa Rada and Shi Yomi, in the State. Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein had introduced the Arunachal Pradesh Re-Organisation of Districts (Amendment) Bill, 2018, in the House. The Assembly passed the Bill by voice vote. Arunachal Pradesh as of now has 22 districts.
- The Pakke-Kessang district will be carved out of East Kameng district with five administrative units.
- The Lepa Rada district would be created by bifurcating the Lower Siang district with headquarters at Basar and four administrative units.
- The Shi-Yomi district would be created by bifurcating the West Siang district with its headquarters at Tato and four administrative units.
18. Exercise Peace Mission 2018 ended in Russia
Exercise Peace Mission 2018, the joint military exercise of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), ended in Russia. Eight-member states participated in this joint training on combating terrorism. The exercise began on August 24 at the firing ranges in Chebarkul. This is the first time India and Pakistan participated in the exercise.
India, China, Kazakhstan and Russia showcased their armoured and mechanised forces while Pakistan has sent only Special Forces personnel. The Indian delegation was led by Lt. Gen Satish Dua, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff.
19. Swapna Barman becomes first Indian to win Asian Games gold medal in the women’s Heptathlon event
The 21-year-old Swapna Barman logged 6026 points from the seven events competed for two days. She won the high jump (1003 points) and javelin throw (872 points) events and finished second-best in shot put (707 points) and long jump (865 points).
she is only the Fifth Women to cross 6000 points. The heptathlon consists of seven events including 100m race, high jump, shot put, 200m race, long jump, javenlin throw and 800m race.
20. Cabinet approved Rs.1,623 crore to set up more disaster warning systems
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs cleared at an outlay of Rs.1,623 crore to get more disaster warning systems and desalination plants along Indian coasts. The system will be functioning under the programme called O-SMART (Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science). O-SMART is monitored by the Union earth sciences ministry.
O-SMART provides economic benefits to a number of user communities in the coastal and ocean sectors, namely, fisheries, offshore industry, coastal States, defence, shipping, ports, etc.