Current Affairs Daily Digest – March 16 2019

Current Affairs Daily Digest –  March 16 2019

1. RBI issues guidelines to prevent market abuse

The Reserve Bank of India has come out with guidelines to prevent misuse of price-sensitive information by participants in markets for financial instruments. The RBI said market participants, either acting independently or in collusion, shall not undertake any action with the intention to manipulate the calculation of a benchmark rate or a reference rate. The guidelines have become effective from yesterday.

About regulatory action on market abuse, the RBI said market participants who are indulging in any such activity are liable to be denied access to markets in one or more instruments for a period that may not exceed one month at a time. These directions would exclude transactions executed through the recognised stock exchanges and not apply to banks and the central government in furtherance of monetary policy, fiscal policy or other public policy objectives.

2. Swati Shingade bags first prize of DD Mahila Kisan Award

Swati Shingade of Pune, Maharashtra has bagged the first prize of DD Mahila Kisan Award for 2018-19. Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash gave away the award to Ms Shingade at a grand finale event organised by DD Kisan Channel in New Delhi.

As many as 110 women farmers participated in the award competition, out which five were selected for the grand finale.

3. India’s trade deficit narrows; exports up by 2.44%, imports decline by 5.4%

India’s trade deficit narrowed in the month of February this year to 9.6 billion dollars.

According to data released by the Commerce Ministry , the country’s exports grew by 2.44 per cent year-on-year to 26.67 billion dollar while imports declined by 5.4 per cent to 36.26 billion dollars.

The exports grew on account of higher shipments in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, engineering and electronics, the ministry said.

4. Modi launches ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign, calling everyone who were fighting corruption, social evils and working hard for the progress of India, as watchmen.

“Your Chowkidar is standing firm and serving the nation. But, I am not alone. Everyone who is fighting corruption, dirt, social evils is a Chowkidar. Everyone working hard for the progress of India is a Chowkidar,” Modi said

5. US jury awards Qualcomm $31 mn in Apple case

A US jury has decided that Apple needs to pay chip-maker Qualcomm $31 million for violating three of its patents. “Apple violated three Qualcomm patents and should pay the chip-maker $31 million for infringing on its technology,” the jury decided.

One Qualcomm patent allows a smartphone to quickly connect to the Internet once the device is turned on. Another one deals with graphics processing and battery life, while the third lets apps on smartphone download data more easily.

6. Interactive art ‘theme park’ to open in New York

A New York-based design studio is set to unveil an interactive art ‘theme park’ in the city that will host three playful installations a year. The exhibition titled “Snark Park”, will be displayed at a space in the city’s Hudson Yard area.

Previous interactive installations by the design studio, Snarkitecture, which was established in 2008 by Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen, took over galleries, shopping malls and public spaces around the world.

One of Snarkitecture’s most popular travelling works, “The Beach”, transforms indoor locations (from a museum in Paris to a mall in Bangkok) into holiday resorts complete with “water” made from over a million recyclable, antimicrobial plastic balls.

7. FIFA mulls expanding 2022 World Cup to 48 teams

The 2022 football Qatar World Cup may see an expansion from 32 to 48 teams, the FIFA President Giovanni Infantino, has said.
FIFA decided in 2018 that the 2026 World Cup, to be hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico, would use the new 48-team format. The feasibility study has identified potential venues in Qatar’s neighbourhood Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates that could host the 16 additional matches.

Expanding the field to 48 teams would create three additional berths for Europe, an extra four each for Africa and Asia, three more spots for North and Central America. And the first time, Oceania would get a guaranteed slot.

8. World commits to reduce single-use plastics by 2030

After five days of talks at the Fourth UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi ,Kenyan capital, ministers from more than 170 UN member states delivered a bold blueprint for change, saying the world needed to speed up moves towards a new model of development in order to respect the vision laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

They also expressed support for UN Environment’s efforts to develop a global environmental data strategy by 2025.

9. Got RBI nod for Gruh Finance merger: Bandhan Bank

Bandhan Bank has received “no objection” from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the proposed merger of Gruh Finance with it.

The merger would help the bank to achieve product and geographic diversification while improving penetration in its core customer segment. On the other hand, the housing finance company would get access to a wider distribution network, a larger customer base and low cost deposit base of the bank.

10. Wipro opens third industrial IoT centre in Kochi

IT major Wipro Ltd opened its centre of excellence for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in Kochi in Kerala.

“The centre marks Wipro’s commitment to developing innovative IIoT solutions that span across technologies for customers in the industrial manufacturing, automotive, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, consumer products and goods, and utility space,” Bengaluru-based Wipro said .

11. Sushant Digvikar to star in pride anthem

Sushant Divgikar, who won Mr Gay India 2014, features in a single “Love is love”, a pride anthem by Swedish artiste Petter Wallenberg.

Wallenberg, founder of international LGBTQ organization Rainbow Riots, has been in Mumbai for over a year, collaborating with the country’s queer pioneers. The result is the upcoming music and activist project Rainbow Riots India, part of the movement behind one of the greatest victories for human rights of our time.

12. Santosh Jha appointed as Ambassador to Uzbekistan

Santosh Jha, presently Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Washington, has been appointed as the country’s next Ambassador to Uzbekistan. Anurag Bhushan (IFS:1995), presently Joint Secretary in the Ministry, has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to Malawi.

13. Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant to head transformative mobility panel

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant will head the National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage, which is being set up to promote clean and sustainable mobility initiatives in the country.

The Union Cabinet had approved setting up of the National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage.

According to a notification by the Niti Aayog, other members of the panel include secretaries of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Power, Department of Heavy Industry, Department of Science and Technology, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, and Director General of Bureau of Industrial Standard.

14. India to host FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2020

India were awarded the rights to host the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in 2020. The decision to award the rights to India was taken at the FIFA Council meeting in Miami .

By virtue of being the host country, India will take part in the tournament for the first time in its history. In 2017, India had hosted the Under-17 Men’s FIFA World Cup.

15. Kent RO receives the Best Domestic Water Purifier Award 2019

One of the leading brands in the water purifier industry, Kent RO Systems Pvt. Ltd. has been bestowed with the Best Domestic Water Purifier Award 2018-19 for its RO+UV+UF technology at the Water Digest Water Awards organized at The Lalit, New Delhi.

Water Digest Water Awards backed by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and UNESCO, is a prestigious domestic water award with the vision to awaken the ‘Eco-Consciousness’, it is an eminent platform to appreciate the outstanding and exceptional accomplishment in the environment sector.

16. Aviva Life Insurance launches WINGS program to empower women at workplace

Aviva Life Insurance announced the launch of WINGS, a specially designed mentorship program to empower women workforce. The WINGS program is an initiative of the SHE division of Aviva Life Insurance for mentoring all the women employees in Aviva. SHE was conceptualised in 2016 by Aviva India’s Women Network , an active community of socially enabled women who take up the charge of addressing causes in the interest of women empowerment.
The new initiative has been aimed to empower the women in Aviva to fulfil their professional and personal goals.

17. Argentina, Colombia set to be co-hosts of 2020 Copa America

Argentina and Colombia are poised to co-host the 2020 Copa America after South America’s ruling body CONMEBOL once again ruled out a US proposal to host the tournament.

CONMEBOL, which comprises the 10 member federations in South America, said in a statement it had accepted “the nomination of Argentina and Colombia as joint venues for the 2020 edition of the Copa America.”

The decision marks the first time in the modern Copa America era that the tournament will be split between two countries.

18. India, Myanmar conduct coordinated operation against insurgents posing threat to Kaladan project

The armies of India and Myanmar conducted a “coordinated operation” from February 17 to March 2 against insurgents in Myanmarese territory to avert a possible threat to the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project. However, the Indian Army did not cross the border during the operation.

The focus of the operation was to crack down on the members of the Arakan Army, an insurgent group in Myanmar.

19. SBI launches cardless ATM withdrawal with YONO Cash

India’s largest bank State Bank of India (SBI) announced the launch of YONO Cash using which customers can withdraw money from ATMs without using a card. This feature on YONO is designed to help its users withdraw cash without a physical debit card. it also maximizes convenience and enhances the banking experience for its customers.

YONO will be secured with two-factor authentication and will also eliminate the risk of skimming and cloning.

20. Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper appoints Pankaj Kumar as CEO

Vedanta Ltd named metals industry veteran Pankaj Kumar as Sterlite Copper CEO, amid struggles to reopen its smelter in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, that was shut after police killed 13 demonstrators protesting against the plant.

Pankaj Kumar replaces P. Ramnath, whose eight-year tenure at Sterlite Copper saw the Thoothukudi plant shut down twice.

21. Tata, Reliance and Airtel emerge best Indian brands of 2019

Tata, Reliance and Airtel emerged as the top three Indian brands of 2019, according a report published by Interbrand, part of the Omnicom Media Group, an advertising and public relations conglomerate.

Tata continued to hold the top position in the best Indian Brands ranking as its brand value grew by 6%, mainly due to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Knocking its competitor Airtel off from the second spot, Reliance’s brand value grew by 12%, bolstered by the success of Jio.

The Interbrand’s annual ranking is based on three key components — financial performance, the brand’s role in influencing customer choice and strength, and the premium price that the brand commands. The combined value of the top 40 brands stood at ₹50.03 billion in 2018, a 5.2% growth over the previous year.

22. U.S. spl Ops Forces hold exercise with NSG in Hyderabad

The United States Special Forces Group stationed in Japan is involved in a joint exercise with India’s National Security Guard , aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the armed forces of the two countries.

The US forces are from the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) stationed out of Okinawa in Japan. The Hyderabad-exercise would help build interoperability and comradeship between the two forces and was designed to enhance the capabilities of both Indian and U.S. armed forces, it said.

23. Nara Lokesh, Poonam Mahajan among Indians in Young Global Leaders list: WEF

Andhra Pradesh IT minister Nara Lokesh, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan and Xiaomi India head Manu Kumar Jain are among the Indians featuring in the list of Young Global Leaders, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The list has 127 of the world’s “most promising social activists, business leaders, public servants, artists and technologists under the age of 40”.

Apart from Lokesh, Mahajan and Jain, Telangana government’s Chief Innovation Officer Phanindra Sama, SaveLife Foundation’s Piyush Tewari and Kaleidofin’s co-Founder Sucharita Mukherjee are also in the list.