Current Affairs Daily Digest – March 29 2019
1. GI Certification for five varieties of Indian coffee
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India has recently awarded Geographical Indication (GI) to five varieties of Indian coffee. They are:
- Coorg Arabica coffee is grown specifically in the region of Kodagu district in Karnataka.
- Wayanaad Robusta coffee is grown specifically in the region of Wayanad district which is situated on the eastern portion of Kerala.
- Chikmagalur Arabica coffee is grown specifically in the region of Chikmagalur district and it is situated in the Deccan plateau, belongs to the Malnad region of Karnataka.
- Araku Valley Arabica coffee can be described as coffee from the hilly tracks of Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha region at an elevation of 900-1100 Mt MSL. The coffee produce of Araku, by the tribals, follows an organic approach in which they emphasise management practices involving substantial use of organic manures, green manuring and organic pest management practices.
- Bababudangiris Arabica coffee is grown specifically in the birthplace of coffee in India and the region is situated in the central portion of Chikmagalur district. Selectively hand-picked and processed by natural fermentation, the cup exhibits full body, acidity, mild flavour and striking aroma with a note of chocolate. This coffee is also called high grown coffee which slowly ripens in the mild climate and thereby the bean acquires a special taste and aroma.
The Monsooned Malabar Robusta Coffee, a unique specialty coffee from India, was given GI certification earlier.
In India, coffee is cultivated in about 4.54 lakh hectares by 3.66 lakh coffee farmers of which 98% are small farmers. Coffee cultivation is mainly done in the Southern States of India:
- Karnataka – 54%
- Kerala – 19%
- Tamil Nadu – 8%
Coffee is also grown in non-traditional areas like Andhra Pradesh and Odisha (17.2%) and North East States (1.8%).
2. Germany adds six months to Saudi arms export ban
NSD Logo Germany has extended by six months an embargo on weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, instituted last October.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement order to halt authorised weapons exports to Saudi Arabia is extended by six months from March 31 to September 30, 2019.
3. Assam CEO Mukesh Sahu launches Enajori initiative in Guwahati
Assam Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Sahu launched the Enajori initiative in Guwahati. It is a special initiative for persons with disabilities with an aim that ‘No Voter to be Left behind’. It is a joint initiative of CEO Assam and Social Welfare Department with an objective to make Lok Sabha Elections accessible to Persons with Disability, PwD voters.
Under this initiative comprehensive mapping of PwDs will be done in consultation with Booth Level Officers, Divyang Sarothis and a woman mascot-Chandraprabha, to facilitate the PwD voters for barrier-free and inclusive accessible elections.
4. GST Authority clarifies on change/transfer in ownership of sole proprietorship
The Goods and Services Tax, GST Authority has clarified that transfer or change in the ownership of business will include transfer or change in the ownership of business due to death of the sole proprietor. In a circular, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, CBIC said, that the transferee or the successor will be liable to be registered with effect from the date of such transfer or succession, where a business is transferred to another person for any reasons, including death of the proprietor.
the applicant will be required to mention the reason to obtain registration as death of the proprietor, in the registration form, GST REG-01 to be filed electronically in the common portal. The legal heir of the dead sole proprietor will be required to give application for cancellation of the existing registration.
The GST Identification Number, GSTIN of transferee to whom the business has been transferred is also required to be mentioned to link the GSTIN of the transferor with the GSTIN of transferee. In case of death of sole proprietor, if the business is continued by any person being transferee or successor of business, it shall be construed as transfer of business. In case of transfer of business on account of death of sole proprietor, the transferee or successor will file Form GST ITC-02 in respect of the registration to be cancelled.
5. India beat Poland 10-0 at Azlan Shah Cup
India defeated Poland 10-0 in their final league match of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament at Ipoh in Malaysia .
6. Dr Rajendra Joshi conferred with ‘Pravasi Bhartiya Samman’
Swiss-based NRI scientist Dr Rajendra Joshi has been conferred with the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind.
The Indian Ambassador to Switzerland Sibi George handed over the award citation signed by the President to Dr Joshi at his residence in Switzerland.
Through the Rajendra and Ursula Joshi Group (RUJ) group, Dr Joshi has committed investments in excess of Rs 1000 crore in the areas including healthcare, Swiss precision technology, education and skill development in India.
7. UN council passes resolution to combat terrorist financing
The UN Security Council has unanimously passed the first-ever resolution ordering members to enforce laws against terror financing.
UNSC yesterday’s resolution demands all states “ensure that their domestic laws and regulations establish serious criminal offenses” to collect funds or financial resources to terrorist groups or individual criminals.
It also calls on members to create financial intelligence units. Nations that fail to carry out the resolution would face U.N. sanctions. U.N. counter-terrorism chief Vladimir Voronkov said the resolution comes at a “critical time,” adding terrorists have gotten their hands on cash through both illegal and legal channels.
8. Turing Award: ‘Godfathers of AI’ receive highest honour in computer science
Three researchers have won the 2018 Turing Award, known as the ‘Nobel Prize of computing,‘ for conceptual and engineering breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI).
Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun were named the recipients of the award by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
About the recipients:
Bengio is a professor at the University of Montreal in Canada, Hinton is vice president and engineering fellow, Google and professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, and LeCun is a professor at New York University and vice president and chief AI scientist at Facebook.
9. The World’s Best Airports in 2019 are announced
Changi Airport Singapore is voted the World’s Best Airport 2019 by international air travellers for the seventh consecutive year. The awards were held at Passenger Terminal EXPO in London, United Kingdom on 27th March 2019.
The Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in New Delhi featured at number 59.
Other Indian Airports in the list includes Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai (64), Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport (66) and Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (69).
The World’s Top 10 Airports of 2019 are:
- Singapore Changi Airport
- Tokyo Haneda International Airport
- Incheon International Airport
- Hamad International Airport
- Hong Kong International Airport
- Chubu Centrair International Airport
- Munich Airport
- London Heathrow Airport
- Narita International Airport
- Zurich Airport
10. IIT-Delhi develops AI-based system to detect malaria, other diseases
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi have developed an Artificial Intelligence-based electronic hardware system to detect malaria, tuberculosis, intestinal parasite, and cervical cancer in milliseconds. their system can be used for healthcare access in resource-constrained areas with limited access to human specialists.
“Microscopy-based diagnosis depends on availability of skilled technicians, of which there is a critical shortage. As a result, diagnoses are often made on the basis of clinical signs and symptoms alone, which is error-prone,” the institute said.
11. Nepal unveils projects worth $30 billion in forum
Nepal unveiled dozens of private and public projects worth $30 billion at the start of a two-day investment forum. The government is looking to boost growth in the Himalayan country, which is classified by the UN as one of the world’s 48 least developed countries.
More than 600 investors and high-level officials from multinational companies and organisations from 40 countries were expected to take part in the Nepal Investment Summit 2019.
12. Google dropped from LGBT equality index
An anti-LGBTQ app on the PlayStore that influences a person’s sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual interventions has raised questions about Google’s corporate equality ideals leading to the search engine’s suspension from the CEI rating.
The app “Conversation therapy” originates from a non-profit organisation Living Hope Ministries which “proclaims a Christ-centred, Biblical world-view of sexual expression rooted in one man and one woman in a committed, monogamous, heterosexual marriage for life because anything less than this ideal falls short of God’s best for humanity”.
US-based LGBTQ civil rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation has suspended Google from its 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for failing to remove the app from PlayStore.
In 2018, Google scored a full 100 per cent on the CEI report.
13. Aussie football legend Tim Cahill officially retires
After four World Cups, an illustrious club career and having risen to the rank of Australian sporting icon, Tim Cahill has officially quit professional football. in November, the 39-year-old announced he will no longer represent Australia at an international level even though he continued to play for Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League.
14. Gonzalo Higuain retires from international football
Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 31. Higuain has not played for the Albiceleste since last year’s World Cup in Russia as manager Lionel Scaloni looks to revamp his squad for this year’s Copa America, reported Xinhua news agency.
Higuain is sixth on the list of Argentina’s all-time top scorers with 31 goals in 67 matches in an international career that spanned a decade.
15. 2019 UNDP human development report to focus on inequality
The 2019 Human Development Report (HDR), with its focus on inequality, will be released around this year’s last quarter, the UNDP said.
The report will provide a comprehensive picture of the many forms of inequality that are shaping the 21st century. In a statement, the United Nations Development Programme acknowledged that today’s world remains deeply unfair.
It said: “The life and prospects faced by a newborn in a poor country or in a poor household are radically different from those of wealthier children. In all societies, long-standing forms of inequality persist while gaps are opening in new aspects of life”.
16. Reliance Jio buying Haptik for Rs 200 cr
Reliance Jio is reportedly acquiring Mumbai-based Haptik one of the world’s largest conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms for over Rs 200 crore, the media reported.
17. Nobel Prize recipient Amartya Sen to be awarded with Oxford University’s Bodley award
Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen was awarded with the prestigious Bodley Medal, the highest honour granted by the University of Oxford’s world-famous Bodleian Libraries.
The medal is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the fields in which the Bodleian is awarded are, including literature, culture, science, and communication.
Other people to win the award:
The other winner of the Bodley Medal this year is Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, who will hold an in-conversation event with Ovenden next week to celebrate the honour.
18. Pioneering Russian cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky dies at age 84
Russia’s space agency says pioneering Soviet-era cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky, who made the first of his three flights to space in 1963, has died at age 84.
Bykovsky was one of 20 Soviet military pilots in the first group picked to prepare for space. He first flew to space in June 1963 as a member of the Vostok-5 crew.
19. Former Governor’s Book Titled ‘Indian Fiscal Federalism’ Launched
The Chairman of 15th Finance Commission of India, N.K. Singh launched the book “Indian Fiscal Federalism”. The book has been written by Dr. Y. V. Reddy, former Governor of RBI and Chairman of the 14th Finance Commission of India along with Dr. G. R. Reddy, Advisor (Finance) to the Government of Telangana.
20. Wipro and IIT Kharagpur partner for advanced research in 5G and AI
Wipro Limited, a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company, and Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on high-impact, industry-focused applied research in the areas of 5G and AI.
Research outcomes from this partnership will be leveraged by Wipro to develop solutions for its customers, across industry verticals. IIT Kharagpur will benefit from the commercialization of the joint research insights and Wipro’s real-world industry expertise.
21. PNB Sells 13.01% Stake In Housing Finance Arm for Rs1851.60 crore
State-owned lender Punjab National Bank (PNB) had sold stake in its housing finance arm, PNB Housing Finance (PNBHF) to General Atlantic Group and Varde Partners for Rs 1,851 crore at Rs 850 per share. Both VardePartners and General Atlantic Group will buy 1.089 crore shares each at Rs 850 per share in the housing finance company from Punjab National Bank.
After the transaction, Punjab National Bank will continue to hold a strategic stake of 19.78% in the housing finance company and will remain the promoter and strategic shareholder of the company, the lender informed the stock exchanges.
22. Manohar Ajgaonkar replaces Dhavlikar as Deputy CM of Goa
A day after Goa Tourism minister Manohar Ajgaonkar broke away from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and joined the BJP, he was on Thursday designated as the Deputy Chief Minister of the state.
Mr Ajgaonkar is now the second deputy chief minister along with Goa Forward Party (GFP) leader and state minister Vijai Sardesai.