Current Affairs Daily Digest – May 4 2019
1. Former Finance Minister V. Viswanatha Menon passes away
V. Viswanatha Menon, a former Finance Minister of Kerala, passed away in Kochi .
He had been undergoing medical treatment. He served as the Finance Minister in the Left Democratic Front government led by E.K. Nayanar in 1987.
Mr. Menon was elected to the State legislature from Thrippunithura Assembly constituency and had also served as the Member of Parliament twice. He was a former member of the State Committee of CPI (M).
2. Asia-Pacific to grow 5.7% this year: ADB
The Asia-Pacific region is expected to power ahead growing at 5.7% this year but escalating trade tensions are a source of worry, according to Takehiko Nakao, President and Chairperson, Asian Development Bank.
Addressing the opening session of the Board of Governors at ADB’s 52nd Annual Meeting here, Mr. Nakao said that consumer and investor behaviour could be undermined by trade tensions between countries.
3. UK Becomes First Parliament To Declare Climate Emergency
Britain’s opposition Labour Party called for “real action” after parliament became the first in the world to vote to declare a climate emergency.
4. Air traffic growth hits 5-year low in FY19 at 11.6%, cargo at 6%
The pace of growth in air traffic hit a five-year low at 11.6 percent in fiscal 2019, pulled down by low growth of 3.9 percent in the March quarter as against a healthy 14.9 percent in the first three quarters.
Cargo traffic growth also moderated in the year to 6 percent, as against double-digits growth witnessed over the past two years. According to Icra, domestic passenger traffic declined by 1.1 percent in March, overall traffic saw a de-growth of 0.1 percent in the month as international aircraft movement dipped by 1 percent while domestic aircraft movement was flat.
5. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway buys Amazon shares
Buffett revealed that Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) has been buying Amazon shares, noting that the exact amount will be disclosed in Berkshire’s quarterly report to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission later this month.
6. 16th Ministerial Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue
The 16th Ministerial Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) was held in Doha, Qatar. Gen. (Dr) V.K. Singh (Retd), Minister of State for External Affairs led the Indian delegation. Earlier, Mr. Manish, Joint Secretary (South) attended the Senior Officers’ Meeting (SOM) held on April 30.
Emphasizing on the theme “Partners in Progress”, he underlined India’s desire for working cooperatively with all ACD Member States in line with the Government of India’s approach of “Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth”.
7. US Air Force General Tod Wolters sworn in as NATO commander
U.S. Air Force General Tod D. Wolters has been sworn in as the top military officer of the 29-nation NATO military alliance. The former pilot, who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, became Supreme Allied Commander Europe at a ceremony on Friday at NATO’s military headquarters in Mons, southern Belgium.
Wolters, who replaces U.S. Army General Curtis M. Scaparrotti for a term likely to run two to three years, will also be commander of U.S. forces in Europe.
8. Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez announces retirement
Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has announced that the 2018/19 season will be his final one as a professional footballer.
Xavi, who currently plays for Al-Sadd in Qatar, holds the all-time appearances record at FC Barcelona with 767, and scored 85 goals from 1998 to 2015.
9. Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew passes away
Actor Peter Mayhew, who won over fans worldwide as the Wookiee warrior Chewbacca in the blockbuster Star Wars movies, has died at the age of 74, his family announced .
10. India, Australia agree to further deepen counter-terrorism co-operation
India and Australia have agreed to further deepen counter-terrorism co-operation through regular exchange of information and sharing of best practices on countering extremism and radicalization.
The two countries held the 11th Meeting of Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism at Canberra yesterday. In a release, the External Affairs Ministry said, the two sides discussed contemporary counter terrorism challenges such as financing of terrorism, the use of the internet for terror purposes, radicalization and Foreign Terrorist Fighters.
Both sides welcomed the listing of Masood Azhar, leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, as a Global Terrorist by the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee..
11. King Maha Vajiralongkorn crowned Rama X of Thailand
Thailand has crowned its new King Maha Vajiralongkorn, marking the first ascension of a new monarch in seven decades.
The key rituals of the elaborate three-day coronation ceremony began in Bangkok today. King Vajiralongkorn is the tenth monarch of the Chakri dynasty, which has reigned since 1782. The last coronation was held in 1950 for the king’s father Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Thailand has been run by an arch-royalist junta since 2014. The monarchy takes primacy in the country but it is buttressed by the army.
12. World Bank gives 545 million dollars for cyclone-hit southern Africa
The World Bank will extend more than half-a-billion dollars in grants for cyclone-ravaged southern African countries. A total of up to 545 million US dollar will be disbursed to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi – the three countries hit by Cyclone Idai in March.
World Bank’s president David Malpass made the announcement as he concluded his visit to Mozambique, the worst affected country.
Cyclone Idai devastated the port city of Beira and its surrounding areas when it hit on March 14, killing more than 600 people.
13. RBI imposes fines on PPIs for violating norms
The Reserve Bank of India said that it has imposed penalties on five prepaid payment instrument (PPI) issuers, including Vodafone m-pesa and PhonePe, for violation of regulatory norms.
Also, penalties have been imposed on Western Union Financial Services Inc and MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc, both US firms, for non-compliance of guidelines.
The central bank said in a statement that a penalty of Rs 3.05 crore was imposed on Vodafone m-pesa and Rs 1 crore each on Mobile Payments, PhonePe, Private and GI Technology.
15. Foreign exchange reserves rise by 4.3 Billion
The country’s foreign exchange reserves soared by USD 4.368 billion to USD 418.515 billion in the week to April 26. The RBI data showed that foreign currency assets rose by USD 4.387 billion to USD 390.421 billion.
According to the data Gold reserves remained unchanged at USD 23.303 billion.
The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund was down by USD 5.9 million to USD 1.449 billion. The country’s reserve position with the Fund also declined USD 13.6 million to USD 3.341 billion
16. US Air Force General Tod Wolters sworn in as top military officer of NATO
US Air Force General Tod D. Wolters has been sworn in as the top military officer of the 29-nation NATO military alliance.
The former pilot, who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, became Supreme Allied Commander Europe at a ceremony today at NATO’s military headquarters in Mons in southern Belgium.
Wolters’ term is likely to run two to three years. He will also be commander of U.S. forces in Europe. The post has always been held by an American military officer.
17. Former Sports Editor Krishnan passes away
S. Krishnan, The Hindu’s former Sports Editor, passed away. He was 74 and is survived by his daughter, son-in-law and grandson.
A grandson of Kasturi Srinivasan, The Hindu’s former Editor, Krishnan was an active sportsman in his youth and dabbled in cricket and tennis besides playing table tennis.