DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS : August 7 & 8, 2019
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PM Modi describes passing of Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019 as momentous occasion
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed the passing of landmark bills pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir in Parliament, with overwhelming support.
- Earlier, Parliament had adopted the resolution revoking the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution, with Lok Sabha approving it last evening. The Rajya Sabha had adopted a similar resolution on Monday.
- The Lok Sabha also passed The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 through voting. Replying to the debate, Home Minister Amit Shah informed that scrapping of Article 370 is essential as it is a hurdle in connecting Kashmir to India’s mainstream.
- Mr Shah reiterated that Pakistan occupied Kashmir will always belong to India. Mr Shah informed that as soon as the situation normalises, at an appropriate time, Jammu and Kashmir will regain state status.
- The Minister assured that Narendra Modi government has no intention of removing Article 371, which gives special status to North eastern states to preserve their tribal culture. He added that Naga Accord and Article 370 have no relation at all.
Bangladesh Home Minister leaves for India for Talks
- Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has left Dhaka on a three day visit to Delhi to attend the 7th India- Bangladesh Home Minister level bilateral talks.
- The 6th round of home minister-level talks was held in Dhaka in July last year.
- Issues like trans-border security, cross border trafficking and border management are likely to come up for discussion during the talks.
- Ahead of the talks India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das called on the Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan in Dhaka on Sunday and discussed various issues related to border management and infrastructure.
India contributes USD 5 million to UN Palestine refugee agency
- India contributed USD 5 million to the UN Palestine refugee agency and called for ensuring sustained fiscal support for the organisation’s work.
- The cheque for the amount was handed over to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian Refugees by Representative of India (ROI) in Palestine, Sunil Kumar, at the Agency’s headquarters in Jerusalem.
- India increased its annual financial assistance to the UNRWA by four fold, from USD 1.25 million to USD 5 million, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Palestine in February 2018, the first-ever visit by an Indian Premier to Ramallah.
- The UNRWA has been providing health, education, relief and social services, as well as emergency humanitarian assistance, across its five areas of operations in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip since 1950.
Malaria kills over 1,800 people in Burundi this year, says UN
- The UN’s humanitarian agency informs Malaria has killed more than 1,800 people in Burundi this year.
- It informed the death toll rivals a deadly Ebola outbreak in neighbouring the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- In its latest situation report, the agency expressed, 5.7 million cases of malaria had been recorded in Burundi in 2019, a figure roughly equal to half its entire population.
- The tiny country of 11 million people in the African Great Lakes region has still not declared a national emergency, despite the UN’s humanitarian agency expressing the outbreak crossed epidemic proportions in May.
US ends visa-free entry for visitors to North Korea
- The United States has revoked visa-free entry rights to the country, for foreigners who have visited North Korea in the past eight years.
- This move may deal a new blow to the isolated country’s nascent tourism industry.
- The US allows citizens of 38 countries – including South Korea, Japan and France – to enter for up to 90 days without a visa under a waiver programme.
- But visitors who have travelled to eight countries including North Korea since March 1, 2011, are “no longer eligible”.
- As per details posted on the US Customs and Border Protection website, they will have to apply for tourist or business visas.
- The other seven countries – most of them in the Middle East – were already on the exclusion list.
- The change will affect thousands of people from visa waiver countries who have gone to the North as tourists or for other purposes in recent years.
- It will also put a damper on South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s hopes of promoting cross-border tourism projects.
- US citizens have been banned from visiting North Korea since 2017 after an American student detained in Pyongyang was released in a coma and died a few days later.
RANKING & INDEX
India tops latest ICC Test rankings
- India topped the latest ICC Test team rankings while New Zealand is placed 2nd and South Africa is in 3rd position.
- India skipper Virat Kohli retains his number one position in the latest ICC Test batsmen’s rankings.
- Australian batsman Steve Smith overtook India’s Cheteshwar Pujara to grab the No.3 spot.
- His elevation in rankings came after consecutive hundreds in the opening Ashes Test in Edgbaston. Pujara is placed fourth in the fresh standings.
- Australian speedster Pat Cummins retains his top position in Test bowling, with a seven-wicket match haul.
- Indian spinners Ravindra Jadeja is placed 6th and Ravichandran Ashwin 10th.
- In rankings for Test all-rounders, Jason Holder of the West Indies tops the list while Ravindra Jadeja is placed 3rd and Ravichandran Ashwin is in sixth place.
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI slashes repo rate by 35 basis points to 5.40% to give fillip to economy
- Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut repo rate by 35 basis points to 5.40 per cent to give a fillip to the economy.
- This is the fourth consecutive time that the Monetary Policy Committee has reduced the rates. In the earlier three policies, RBI had reduced repo rate by 25 basis points each.
- Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility stands revised to 5.15 per cent, and the marginal standing facility rate and the Bank Rate to 5.65 per cent.
- In its third bi-monthly policy announced today, RBI has decided to maintain the accommodation stance of monetary policy.
- On the inflation front, RBI has informed that actual headline inflation for first quarter of 2019-20 stood at 3.1 percent and in alignment with the Committee’s projections of 3-3.1 percent inflation figure for first half of the current financial year.
- While marginally lowering its GDP growth forecast for current fiscal to 6.9 percent from 7 percent as previously predicted, RBI has informed the base effect of policy transmission will turn favourable only in the second half of 2019-20.
AGREEMENTS & MOU
Bangladesh signs uranium supply deal with Russia
- Bangladesh today signed a deal with Russia for the supply of uranium for its 2,400 MW Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).
- Under the deal, Russia will supply the nuclear fuel needed for the plant during its entire life cycle.
- The deal was signed in Dhaka between the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission and Russian Nuclear Fuel Supply Company (TVEL).
- Work on the two units of the plants, each producing 1200 MW of electricity is scheduled to be completed in 2022 and 2024 respectively.
- The two countries have also signed ‘spent fuel sent back’ agreement in 2017 for management of the nuclear waste of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Chandrayaan-2 successfully completes its final earth-bound orbit-raising manoeuvre
- In yet another significant development in its journey towards the Moon, India’s lunar probe Chandrayaan-2 has successfully completed its fifth and final earth-bound orbit-raising manoeuvre today.
- The national space agency ISRO has informed, the operation began at 15:04 hours, by firing the engine onboard the aircraft and went on for 17 minutes and 21 seconds.
- The manoeuvre led the spacecraft to reach an orbit of substantial apogee that is the farthest point from the Earth, at nearly one lakh-forty three thousand kilometres.
- The next important move would be to inject Chandrayaan-2 in a trans-lunar path. It is scheduled to be held early in the morning on the 14th of this month.
- The country’s second lunar expedition to the Moon, Chandrayaan-2 is expected to reach an orbit around the Moon on the 20th of this month.
- ISRO expressed, all the spacecraft parameters are normal. It will have a touch down on the lunar South Pole on 7th September.
IIT Guwahati Researchers develop portable device to detect bacteria without cell culture or microbiological assays
- A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IIT-G) has developed a portable device to detect bacteria without cell culture or microbiological assays.
- The hand-held device, with bio-compatible sensor can also diagnose time-critical illnesses such as meningitis researchers informed.
- The bacterial infection is a common cause of morbidity and mortality across the world.
- Despite the development of a range of antibiotics, the challenge continues to lie in diagnosing bacterial infection early on.
- The present techniques are extremely time-consuming. Currently, cells derived from a patient are cultured or grown in laboratories to detect and microanalyses bacteria.
- The new portable device, however, can instantly detect the charges on the cell walls of bacteria. The rapid detection kits are like those used for blood sugar monitoring.
- The research has enabled rapid detection of bacteria, which is not just important in healthcare but also in anti- bioterrorism measures and environmental monitoring.
- The team work has been recently patented as well as published in the July 2019 issue of ‘Journal of Materials Chemistry of the Royal Society of Chemistry’.
India whitewash West Indies in three match T-20 series
- India completed a 3-0 clean sweep over the West Indies after winning the third and final Twenty20 International by seven wickets in Guyana last night.
- Indian skipper Virat Kohli and young wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant starred with the bat, helping India achieve the 147-run target with five balls to spare. Pant stitched a 106-run partnership with Kohli.
- Pant was brilliant during his unbeaten 65 off 42 balls while Kohli anchored the innings to perfection with 59 off 45 balls.
- Deepak Chahar, who claimed 3 wickets, was awarded Man of the Match while Krunal Pandya was adjudged player of the series.
- For the West Indies, Kieron Pollard contributed 58 off 45 balls while Rovman Powell scored unbeaten 32 off 20 balls.
- The three-match ODI series against the West Indies will begin at the same venue tomorrow.
Rankireddy-Shetty jump seven spots in badminton rankings
- In Badminton, Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty today jumped seven places to enter the top 10 of the latest world rankings.
- This follows their historic win at last week’s Thailand Open. They are placed ninth in the doubles rankings.
- The other Indian men’s doubles duo of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy remained on 25th spot.
- In the men’s singles, Parupalli Kashyap moved up three places to 32nd spot, while Subhankar Dey climbed two places to 39th.
- However, there were no significant changes for other Indian singles shuttlers as Kidambi Srikanth (10th), Sameer Verma (13), B Sai Praneeth (19), H S Prannoy (31) and Sourav Verma (44) are all static at their respective positions.
- In the women’s singles rankings, Olympic medallists P V Sindhu managed to hold on to her fifth place and Saina Nehwal the eighth spot.
- In the women’s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy moved up a place to 23rd.
Players from Ladakh to continue to represent J&K
- Cricketers emerging from the newly-created Union Territory of Ladakh will continue to qualify to represent Jammu and Kashmir in all BCCI domestic competitions.
- Chief of Indian cricket’s Committee of Administrators Vinod Rai in New Delhi informed the arrangement remains the same like it is for Chandigarh which is also a Union Territory.
- Their players either play for Punjab or Haryana in domestic competitions.
- The J&K Ranji team is not known to have featured a player from Ladakh till date.
- The upcoming Ranji Trophy season is scheduled to start in December later this year.
South African quick Dale Steyn retires from Test cricket
- South African Dale Steyn, one of the great fast bowlers of the modern era, announced his retirement from Test cricket in a bid to extend his longevity in the shorter forms of the game.
- Steyn, who made his international debut against England in 2004 and last played a Test in February against Sri Lanka, is still contracted in the white-ball form of the game for the 2019/20 season and therefore remains available for South Africa in one-day internationals and T20s.
- Steyn made his debut in 2004 against England. In 93 Tests, he has 439 wickets at an average of 22.95 with 26 five-wicket hauls and five ten-wicket hauls.
- He remains South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in Tests.
National Handloom Day: August 07th
- The National Handloom Day is observed annually on 7th August to honour the handloom weavers in the country and also highlight India’s handloom industry.
- The Union Government had declared 7th of August as the National Handloom Day in July 2015 at the centenary of Madras University in Chennai.
- The objective of the day is generating awareness about the importance of the handloom industry to the socio economic development of the country.
- August 7 was chosen as the National Handloom Day to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on this day in 1905 in Calcutta Town Hall to protest against the partition of Bengal by the British Government.
- Union Minister of Textiles and Women and Child Development, SmritiZubinIrani, will preside over a function 5th National Handloom Day at VigyanBhawan in New Delhi to mark the occasion.
Veteran BJP Leader, Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj passes away
- Former External Affairs Minister and First Woman CM of Delhi Sushma Swaraj passed away in New Delhi last night after suffering a massive cardiac arrest. She was 67.
- The senior BJP leader was brought to the hospital around 9:30 last evening. Sushma Swaraj had a kidney transplant in 2016 and had opted out of contesting Lok Sabha polls earlier this year for health reasons.
- President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP President and Home Minister Amit Shah and several other leaders have expressed condolence over the demise of Sushma Swaraj.
- And also the International leaders have expressed condolence over the demise of Sushma who serves as seven times MP and three times MLA of BJP Party and also the Opposition leader of UPA II Govt.
Special postage stamp to be released to commemorate golden jubilee of IFFI
- A special Postage Stamp and First Day Cover will be released to commemorate the Golden Jubilee Edition of International Film Festival of India, IFFI.
- Competition for designing the Postage Stamp and First Day Cover has been launched by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting on MyGov platform.
- Those interested may log in on to www.mygov.in to participate in the competition. The festival will take place from the 20th to 28th November in Goa.
India-Bangladesh home minister-level talks held in Delhi
- The Seventh meeting of the India-Bangladesh Home Minister Level Talks was held in New Delhi.
- Home Minister Amit Shah congratulated his Bangladesh counterpart Asaduzzaman Khan on the resumption of the office for a second term.
- He reiterated India’s full support for Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s development agenda.
- Both the Ministers reiterated the significance of the bilateral relationship.
- During the meeting, the Ministers expressed satisfaction that both countries are working closer than ever before in every sector, including security and border management.
- Amit Shah raised India’s concern regarding the illicit movement of undocumented persons across the border, with a view to finding a solution to this problem especially in North East India.
West Bengal observes death anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore
- West Bengal is observing the death anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore today.
- Viswa Bharati has organised a painting exhibition of Tagore to mark the day.
- People from all walks of life paid floral tributes at Nimtala burning Ghat where he was cremated.
- People also paid homage at Jorasanko Thakurbari, the birthplace of Tagore in North Kolkata.
- West Bengal Government has organised a special musical programme, Barshamongol based on Tagore’s songs and writings in Kolkata this evening to mark the day.
US approves sale of helicopters to S Korea
- The US government has approved the sale of 12 multi-mission Seahawk helicopters to South Korea worth 800 million US dollar.
- The announcement came hours after US President Donald Trump announced that South Korea had agreed to pay more for US military presence in their country.
- The helicopters bolster anti-surface and anti-submarine missions and can handle secondary missions like replenishment, search and rescue and communications relay.
- The two countries have been in a security alliance since the 1950-53 Korean War which ended with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty, with more than 28,000 US troops stationed in the South to guard against threats from North Korea.
US, Britain back rapid trade deal post-Brexit
- The top American and British diplomats announced that they are prepared to move “as soon as possible” on a trade deal after Britain’s planned withdrawal from the European Union (EU) on 31 October this year.
- In Washington, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged the EU to negotiate a new pact on Britain’s departure to avoid a potentially calamitous “no-deal” Brexit.
- Raab informed after meeting the United States’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the two sides agreed on the need for quick negotiations on a two-way deal after Brexit strands Britain outside the US-EU trade pact.
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI announces NEFT facility will be available round-the-clock for customers
- The Reserve Bank of India announced that the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) facility will be available round-the-clock for the customers.
- RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das informed the RBI will make available the NEFT system on a 24×7 basis from December 2019.
- Currently, NEFT payment system operated by the Reserve Bank as a retail payment system is available for customers from 8 AM to 7 PM on all working days of the week except 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.
- The RBI has also decided to create a central payments fraud information registry system to deal banking frauds adding that the details of the same will be shared later.
- In order to leverage the advantages of the Bharat Bill Payment System and harness its full potential, it has been decided to permit all categories of billers (except prepaid recharges) who provide for recurring bill payments to participate in BBPS on a voluntary basis.
- The BBPS, inter operable platform for repetitive bill payments, currently covers five segments that are direct-to-home, electricity, gas, telecom and water bills.
Loans to get cheaper as RBI cuts repo rates
- Loans are set to get cheaper as Reserve Bank of India cut repo rate by 35 basis points to 5.40 per cent yesterday.
- Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility stands revised to 5.15 per cent, and the marginal standing facility rate and the Bank Rate to 5.65 per cent.
- Within hours of the steep reduction in the repo rates, country’s largest lender, State Bank of India announced a 15 basis points reduction in its lending rates.
- The SBI, the new rates of 8.25 per cent will be effective from 10th of this month. After this cut, SBI home loans have become cheaper by 35 bps since April.
- The bank is offering a repo linked home loans from 1st July this year.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
US formalizes ban on govt contracts to China’s Huawei
- The United States unveiled rules formally banning technology giant Huawei and other Chinese firms from government contracts.
- The move is a part of the escalating trade war between the two countries.
- The interim rule will preclude any US federal agency from purchasing telecom or technology equipment from the firms as a substantial or essential component, or as critical technology as part of any system.
- The new rules are part of a sweeping effort by President Donald Trump’s administration to restrict Huawei, which officials claim is linked to Chinese intelligence.
AGREEMENTS & MOU
UP extends bilateral cooperation MoU with Netherlands in several fields
- Uttar Pradesh government and Netherlands have extended the existing bilateral agreement of cooperation in several fields by another five years.
- A memorandum of understanding in this regard was signed by officials in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the Netherlands ambassador to India, Marten van den Berg extending the cooperation between two countries till 2024.
- The MoU, inked earlier, sought cooperation and exchange of the knowledge and techniques in the fields of solid waste management, spatial planning, water management including restoration of water bodies and mobility planning.
- The MoU is also related to cooperation in fields of transport management, energy efficiency, sewerage and effluent treatment, agriculture, dairy and horticulture.
- Development of smart cities in UP, cultural heritage and the cycle track infrastructure development in various cities of the state.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Tamil Nadu: IT minister dropped from cabinet
- In Tamil Nadu, a minister has been dropped from the state cabinet. Dr Manikandan was serving as the state Information Technology Minister.
- However, a release from Raj Bhavan last evening announced, on the advice of the Chief Minister, he has been divested of his portfolio.
- It adds, the portfolio has been allocated to Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar, who will be known as the state Revenue and Information Technology Minister.
Bangladesh to host Zimbabwe despite ICC ban
- Bangladesh will host Zimbabwe for a tri-nation Twenty20 tournament in September despite the African nation being suspended by the International Cricket Council.
- The ICC suspended Zimbabwe last month over the country’s failure to keep the sport free from government interference, putting its participation in multi-nation events in doubt.
- Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman, Jalal Yunus announced, they have been informed by the concerned officials that there is no bar on Zimbabwe playing in bilateral matches as they are only suspended from ICC events.
- Afghanistan is the third team in the tournament scheduled to be held from September 13 to 24.
- Bangladesh were originally scheduled to play a bilateral series against Afghanistan in September, but officials said Zimbabwe had been included in the series following a request from the strife-torn country.
Mary Kom, Lovlina Borgohain selected for world boxing C’ship
- Six-time world champion M C Mary Kom and Lovlina Borgohain have been selected for the upcoming women’s world boxing championships based on their recent performances.
- The 36-year-old Mary Kom, who has already claimed two gold medals this year India Open and a recent tournament in Indonesia, has been selected in the 51kg category.
- World and Asian bronze-medallist Borgohain will be competing in the 69kg category.
- The world championships are scheduled from October 3 to 13 in Russia.
Cancer researcher Fiona Kolbinger becomes first woman to win cycling’s Transcontinental Race
- German paediatric cancer researcher Fiona Kolbinger, 24, has won the Transcontinental Race, becoming the first woman to do so after cycling nearly 4,000km from Bulgaria to France unassisted in just 10 days, two hours and 48 minutes.
- Kolbinger rolled into Brest, in northwestern France’s picturesque Brittany region, at 7:48am on Tuesday after pressing on through the night to the finish.
- She beat a field of 263 competitors, all but 40 of whom were men.
- Completing a distance greater than that of the three-week-long Tour de France entirely unaided, the Heidelberg-based medical student crossed the finish line at a Brest youth hostel with about 10 curious bystanders on hand to witness the feat.
- It was Kolbinger’s maiden ultra-endurance race.
77th anniversary of Quit India movement: Aug 08th
- The 77th anniversary of the August Kranti Din, which is considered as one of the important milestones in the history of freedom struggle of our country, is being observed today.
- On this date in 1942, Mahatma Gandhi gave a clarion call to end the British rule and launched the Quit India Movement at the session of the All-India Congress Committee in Mumbai.
- After the failure of Cripps Mission, Gandhiji gave the call to Do or Die in his Quit India speech delivered at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai.
- The grateful country is today paying homage to the freedom fighters and remembering the supreme sacrifices of the martyrs during the freedom struggle.
Veteran Filmmaker J Om Prakash, dies in Mumbai
- Veteran director and actor Hritik Roshan’s maternal grandfather, J Om Prakash, passed away in Mumbai. He was 93.
- His last rites were performed in the presence of family and friends.
- Prakash was best known for his collaboration with two of Bollywood biggest superstars, late Rajesh Khanna with whom he made Aap Ki Kasam and Aakhir Kyon and Jeetendra who worked in big hits like Apnapan, Aasha, Arpan, Apna Bana Lo and Aadmi Khilona Hai.
- He also produced box office hits like Ayee Milan Ki Bela, Aaye Din Bahar Ke, Aya Sawan Jhoom Ke, Aas Paas and Aandhi.
Noted Educationist Mrs. YGP passes away
- Noted educationalist and founder of the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan (PSBB) Group of Schools, YG Rajalakshmi Parthasarathy, passed away at a city hospital following a cardiac arrest at the age of 93.
- She started her career as a journalist with The Hindu and later joined the Tamil magazine Kumudam.
- She married playwright YG Parthasarathy and quit her job to start PSBB in 1958 with just 13 students.
- The classes were held in the terrace of her house. Since then there was no looking back as PSBB went on to become one of the most renowned schools in the country and has grown manifold with over 8,000 students and 500 staff members
- In 2010, she was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civil honour, for her contribution to literature and educationpadma .
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