Latest Current Affairs – September 15 & 16 2018
1. NASA launches $1-bn laser-shooting mission to track ice melt
NASA launched its most advanced space laser, ICESat-2, a $1-billion mission that will shoot lasers towards Earth to track the planet’s melting ice. The preceding mission, ICESat, which lasted from 2003-2009 revealed that ice cover was disappearing from Greenland and Antarctica. The new laser will fire 10,000 times per second, whereas ICESat fired 40 times a second.
2. Research into human cannibalism wins spoof scientific award
A British researcher’s comparative analysis of the difference between consumption of animal flesh and human flesh has won the Ig Nobel award in the Nutrition category. Other Ig Nobel awards distributed were for researches including an investigation into the effectiveness of using voodoo dolls against bosses and a research into whether human saliva is a good cleaning agent.
3. Philippines hit by world’s strongest storm this year
Super Typhoon Mangkhut, the world’s strongest storm this year, hit the northern coast of the Philippines, bringing winds of up to 200 kmph and heavy rains. At least 12 people have died in the storm. Typhoon Mangkhut is heading west into the South China Sea, towards Hong Kong and southern China.
4. India ranks 3rd globally in family-owned businesses: Report
India ranks third globally in terms of number of family-owned businesses with 111 companies having a total market capitalisation of $839 billion, according to a Credit Suisse report. India followed China (159 companies) and the US (121 companies). Indian family-owned companies generated 13.9% annual average share price return since 2006, compared to 6% by non-family owned peers.
5. India in UN’s ‘shameful’ list over attacks on rights activists
India has been included in the UN’s list of 38 “shameful” nations for intimidating people cooperating with the global body on human rights. The annual report accused these countries of torturing, killing victims and their human rights defenders, and also carrying out surveillance against them. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Israel have also been included in the list.
6. India moves up one spot to 130 in UN Human Development Index
India has climbed up one spot to rank 130 out of 189 countries in the latest Human Development Index (HDI) released by the United Nations Development Programme. India’s HDI value for 2017 is 0.640, putting the country in the medium human development category. Between 1990 and 2017, India’s HDI value rose from 0.427 to 0.640, an increase of nearly 50%.
7. IBM partners IIT Bombay for AI research in India
American technology firm IBM has teamed up with IIT Bombay to ‘accelerate’ AI research in India through its AI Horizons Network. Students and teachers from the institute will partner IBM scientists to work on application of artificial intelligence, machine learning and related technologies to business and industry. It will be the first institute outside North America to join the network.
8. European Union to stop changing of clocks in 2019
The European Union (EU) will stop the twice-yearly changing of clocks from October 2019. The clock changes were implemented during the two World Wars and the 1970s oil crisis to save energy. EU countries are required to move forward by an hour on the last Sunday of March and back by an hour on the last Sunday of October.
9. North and South Korea open first liaison office since WWII
North and South Korea opened a liaison office in the North Korean city of Kaesong for the first time since the Koreas were divided at the end of World War II in 1945. The office is aimed at facilitating better communication between the two countries. The two Koreas previously communicated by fax and special telephone lines.
10. ISRO successfully launches two Earth observation satellites for UK
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its PSLV-C42 rocket carrying two British Earth observation satellites from Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota. The two satellites, NovaSAR and S1-4, are intended to improve UK’s disaster management capabilities. This marks the 44th flight of the PSLV and the third launch by ISRO this year.
11. Syria holds 1st local elections since the start of civil war
Municipal elections were held in Syria for the first time since the civil war broke out in the country in 2011. Over 40,000 candidates are competing for more than 18,400 council seats, the Syrian state media reported. Areas outside the government control, including the Kurdish-held regions, were excluded from the polls.
12. Advani renominated as chairman of Lok Sabha ethics panel
Senior BJP leader L K Advani has been renominated as the chairman of the Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. The Committee examines complaints relating to unethical conduct by members of Parliament. L K Advani represents Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency from Gujarat. Former Uttarakhand CM Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ of the BJP was renamed the chairman of the Lok Sabha Committee on Government Assurances.
13. India and Malta to come together for strengthening cooperation in Tourism MoU to boost economy for both countries
The MoU will help in increasing tourist arrivals in both countries that will lead to a boost in the economy. The Main objectives of the MoU are to encourage the quality destination of tourism industry in both countries. The increase tourist arrivals in both countries from the entire world through the territories of India and Malta. Promoting human resource development in tourism and travel-related industries in both countries.
14. India approves MOU on joint Blockchain Research with BRICS Members
The research is jointly conducted by Export- Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) and one bank from each BRICS member states. The MoU was initially proposed at the 10th International BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg in July. The main focus of which was cooperation in economic development in the face of the fourth industrial revolution.
15. New Majerhat bridge to be constructed in West Bengal
The West Bengal government is to demolish the Majerhat bridge in South Kolkata. A portion of the bridge collapsed on September 4 and killed three people. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said an expert panel headed by Chief Secretary has suggested opinion to raze the bridge completely and to construct a new bridge in a year. She also mentioned that talks were on to construct a level crossing at the site.
16. Minister For Minority Affairs launched ‘National Scholarship Portal Mobile App
The “National Scholarship Portal Mobile App” will ensure a smooth, accessible and hassle-free scholarship system for students from poor and weaker sections. All the scholarships are being given directly into bank accounts of the needy students under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode through the National Scholarship Portal which has ensured that there is no scope for duplication and leakage.
17. Cabinet approves 4 New National Institutes of Design
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the amendment of National Institutes of Design (NID) Act, 2014, thereby granting approval for introduction of a Bill in Parliament for the declaration of four new NID as Institutions of National Importance (INIs).
The four new NID will be come up in –
♦ Amaravati/Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh;
♦ Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh;
♦ Jorhat, Assam;
♦ Kurukshetra, Haryana.