Current Affairs – May 08 & 09 2018
1. PM Modi among Forbes top 10 most powerful people in the world
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been ranked ninth on Forbes’ 2018 list of the world’s most powerful people. Chinese President Xi Jinping ranked first, followed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump at the second and third rank respectively. The only other Indian to feature on the list is Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani at 32.
2. Walmart buys Flipkart in world’s largest e-commerce deal
US-based retail giant Walmart has closed the largest e-commerce deal in the world by acquiring a majority stake in the Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has confirmed. According to reports, Walmart will acquire 77% stake in Flipkart for $16 billion, valuing the homegrown startup at around $20.8 billion.
3. Zuckerberg, Gates’ Foundations partner to improve education
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Bill Gates’ Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have partnered to accelerate breakthroughs in education. The initiative will focus on math, writing, and skills that correspond with things like memory and self-control. The teams would produce models, practices and other resources designed to achieve specific improvements in student outcomes.
4. Yahoo launches invite-only group messaging app Squirrel
Yahoo has launched a group messaging app called Squirrel on iOS and Android, focussed on friends, family and work groups. Users can add members to a group through invitation links and can create separate ‘chat rooms’ for specific people or topics. The app which is in testing mode also includes a Blasts feature to ensure participants see important messages.
5. Railways to use AI system to ensure hygienic food on trains
After a CAG report last year called the food served by the Indian Railways “unfit for human consumption”, the national transporter has decided to use an Artificial Intelligence system to ensure that hygienic food is served. As many as 16 kitchens have been equipped with eight CCTV cameras each to track anomalies during the preparation and packaging of meals.
6. 700-km-long hyperloop system proposed in Andhra Pradesh
High-speed transportation system developer Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has submitted a pre-feasibility route study for building a hyperloop system in Andhra Pradesh. The 700–800-kilometre-long system will connect the cities of Anantapur, Amaravati, and Vijayawada in the state. The system will enable cargo and passenger capsules to travel in low-pressure tubes at airplane speeds.
7. Nikol Pashinyan Becomes Prime Minister Of Armenia
Armenia’s parliament elected Nikol Pashinyan as a new prime minister in a 59-42 vote. His election comes after Serzh Sargsyan’s resignation as Prime minister of Armenia. Nikol Pashinyan is the leader of Civil Contract party. He is a former newspaper editor. Thousands of Pashinyan’s supporters, who had gathered in a central square in the capital, Yerevan, to watch the vote on large screens, erupted into cheers when the result was announced.
8. Google Names Nitin Bawankule Head Of India Cloud Business
Google appointed Nitin Bawankule as the country head for its cloud business in India, as the search giant looks at taking a larger share of the booming demand for those services in the country.
Bawankule has been with Google for six years and was previously head of sales for its e-commerce, retail and classifieds and education business. Bawankule will report to Rick Harshman, managing director of Asia Pacific for Google Cloud.
9. September 2019 Climate Summit To Be Held In New York: UN Chief
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced to hold a climate summit in September 2019 in New York to review the commitments of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The announcement was made at the opening ceremony of the 37th session of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
In March 2018, Guterres appointed former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as his Special Envoy for Climate Action who was tasked to support the United Nations (UN) in its climate strategy and in organizing the 2019 summit.
10. CSWRI scientists comes up with new sheep insemination technique
Scientists at central Sheep and Wool Research Institute (CSWRI) Avikanagar, Rajasthan have come up with new laparoscopy technique involves into the abdomen through a small incision. Using it, Reproductive track of sheep kept as a livestock. The new technique is resolved and finally 60% of survival in the birth of lambs. Using this technique, as many as females can be inseminated from a single ejaculate. It will be a great technique in the breed improvement techniques.
11. USA Withdraws From Iran Nuclear Deal
President Donald Trump announced US withdrawal from the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with Iran. Mr. DonaldTrump signed a fresh set of sanctions against Iran and warned countries against any cooperation with Tehran on its controversial nuclear weapons programme.
According to the President, the deal gave Iran millions in cash and did not prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. The historic nuclear deal was reached in Vienna in July 2015 between Iran and the P5 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) along with Germany and the European Union.
12. Carlos Alvarado Sworn In As Costa Rican President
Carlos Alvarado was sworn in as the new President of Costa Rica. Alvarado swept to victory against conservative Protestant singer Fabricio Alvarado Munoz. At 39, Alvarado is the country’s youngest president in modern history. In his first speech as president, Alvarado said he intends to improve employment, education and health and fight poverty as the Central American nation nears the 200th anniversary of its independence in 2021.
13. India Ranks 4th In Asia-Pacific On Power Index
India ranked fourth out of 25 nations in the Asia-Pacific region on an index that measures their overall power. The US has topped the list. India pegged as a “giant of the future”. India is ranked fourth on the parameters economic resources, military capability, diplomatic influence and fifth on resilience. India ranks third for its aggregate resources score and is set to become the fastest-growing economy in the region, predicted to grow 169% between 2016 and 2030.
14. Google launches Android Things for IoT platform
Alphabet Inc’s Google launched Android Things (codenamed Brillo), a variant of an Android Operating System for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Its goal is to enable IoT machines developers to be built faster, cheaper and more secure.
15. ISRO Develops Atomic Clock For Indigenous Navigation Satellites
The Indian Space Research Organization developed an atomic clock to be used in navigation satellites. It is supposed to measure precise location data. Once it successfully clears all tests, the desi atomic clock will be used in an experimental navigation satellite to test its accuracy and durability in space. At present, ISRO imports atomic clocks from European aerospace manufacturer Astrium (EAMA) for its navigation satellites.
16. CBDT approves Amendment of India-Kuwait Tax Agreement
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) notified the protocol amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Kuwait.
The protocol updates the provisions in the DTAA for the exchange of information as per international standards, and also enables sharing of information received from Kuwait for tax purposes with other law enforcement agencies, subject to an authorization of the competent authority of Kuwait and vice versa.
17. Third Edition of UNPCAP Inaugurated in New Delhi
The third edition of the United Nations Peacekeeping Course for African Partners (UNPCAP) was inaugurated in New Delhi. The course is being conducted by the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping in India (CUNPK) in partnership with the United States.
The main aim of the course is to build and enhance the capacity of the African Troop Contributing Countries to the UN and to further train the trainers from these countries.
18. Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission approves modern animal-free testing for drugs
The Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission has approved modern, animal-free tests for drug manufacturers. In the 2018 edition of Indian Pharmacopoeia, that provides guidelines on tests for drugs manufactured and marketed in India, the IPC has replaced the pyrogen test carried out on rabbits and the abnormal toxicity test carried out on guinea pigs and mice with tests that can be done in test tubes.
With the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission’s new mandate, the pyrogen test will be replaced by a bacterial endotoxin test or a monocyte activation test which can be carried out in test tubes. Vaccine manufacturers can apply for waiver for the abnormal toxicity test by getting a compliance certificate from the National Control Laboratory instead.
19. Arun-3 Hydropower Project: Nepal grants license to India’s Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd to generate power
Nepal has granted an Indian government-owned subsidiary the power generation licence from a 900-megawatt hydropower project, days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to the country from May 11. Investment Board Nepal (IBN) recently granted the licence to Satluj Jala Vodyut Nigam Power Development Company, a subsidiary of Indian government-owned Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd, to generate power from the Arun-3 Hydropower Project located in eastern Nepal.
Arun-3 is the largest capacity project in the history of hydroelectricity that is scheduled to be constructed within the next five years.
20. Business Optimism Index: India slips to 6th position globally in first quarter of 2018
India slipped to the 6th position globally in the business optimism index for the first quarter of this year. With a score of 89, India is at the sixth place in the index. The top five nations are Austria, Finland, Indonesia, the Netherlands and the US. Indian businesses have been citing regulations and red tape, availability of skilled workforce, lack of ICT infrastructure and shortage of finance as the biggest growth constraints.