July 25, 2018

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NATIONAL NEWS

  1. Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018 passed
    • It proposes a ‘shield’ for government staff, including those retired, from prosecution by making it mandatory for investigating agencies like the CBI to take prior approval from competent authority before conducting any enquiry against them.
    • The bill also has a provision to punish bribe-givers, who are not covered in any of the domestic anti-corruption legislation.
    • The updated Section 7 defines a corrupt public official as any public servant who tries to obtain or accept from any person an “undue advantage with the intention to perform or cause performance of public duty improperly or dishonestly.
    • This also includes receiving an undue advantage as a “reward” for improper or dishonest work.
  1. India’s ministries of finance and power are discussing a plan to sell government’s stake in hydro-power producer National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Ltd. to its state-run peer National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) Ltd., the nation’s biggest electricity generator by capacity.
    • The government’s 67 percent stake in NHPC is worth about Rs 182 billion ($2.6 billion) as per current prices.
    • The sale will boost NTPC’s green portfolio as it makes a gradual shift away from fossil fuels.
  1. To mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, The Ministry of Women and Child Development launched a contest named – “ #Childline1098”.
    • To invite people to share images of the Childline 1098 logo that they can spot and send it with a tagline.
    • This is a part of the steps taken to address trafficking and sexual abuse of children.
    • CHILDLINE is India’s first 24-hour, free, emergency phone service for children in need of aid and assistance. The number is ‘1098’.
  1. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik set up ministerial committee headed by Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera to draft policies for development of Odia film industry, known as Ollywood.
    • It would suggest the steps to be taken to revive the film industry and also for renovation of the Kalinga Studio, located on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
  1. A Scheme named ‘Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Diverse Cultural Traditions of India’ is implemented by the Ministry of Culture.
    • The Scheme is implemented through: Sangeet Natak Akademi
    • Objective of the scheme: reinvigorating and revitalizing several institutions, groups, individuals, identified non-MoC institutions, non-government organisations, researchers and scholars in order to help them involve in activities or projects for strengthening, protecting, preserving and promoting the rich intangible cultural heritage of India.

 

  1. Golden-hued tea became Assam’s most expensive tea variety when it fetched ₹39,001 per kg at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC).

 

  1. Byju’s, India’s largest educational technology company, has acquired Math Adventures for an undisclosed sum.

 

  1. Azim Premji, chairman of India’s third-largest software services exporter Wipro, said developed nations, including the U.S., were responding to the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project with barriers to free trade triggering a trade war that is detrimental to India.
    • The BEPS refers to corporate tax planning strategies used by multinational companies that artificially shift profits from higher tax locations to lower ones, eroding the tax base of the higher tax locations.

 

  1. Insurance regulator IRDAI has constituted a 16-member committee to examine motor third party insurance pricing aspects and make recommendations on the premium rates for 2019-20.
    • This is for the first time the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has formed such a committee.
    • J. Joseph has been appointed as the Chairman of this committee.

 

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented 200 cows to poor villagers in Rwanda to support President Paul Kagame’s ambitious initiative for poverty reduction and tackling childhood malnutrition.
    • The Girinka (meaning ‘May you have a cow’) programme started in 2006 to provide one cow to every poor family for their nutritional and financial security.
    • Modi gifted the cows to poor families at Rweru Model Village.

 

  1. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik launches Green Mahanadi Mission
    • A total of two crore saplings will be planted on the banks of the Mahanadi, Tel and Ib rivers under the Green Mahanadi Mission.

 

  1. As Punjab struggles to check the menace of drugs, the State government has asked the Centre to grant it special category status under the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission.

 

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are the most widely chosen domains for reskilling, followed by Big Data and Data Science, said Simplilearn Career Impact Survey 2018.

 

  1. Lokpal Selection Committee, headed by the Prime Minister, was scheduled to meet to set up a search panel for recommending a panel of names for the appointment of the anti-graft ombudsman and its members.

 

  1. Andhra Pradesh launched ‘e-Pragati core platform’ at Undavalli.
    • e-Pragati, a forward-looking digital initiative, is aimed at connecting the citizen to 34 departments, 336 autonomous organisations and 745-plus services.
    • Through this project, the State government intends to realise the vision of ‘Sunrise AP 2022’.
    • The e-Pragati authority will achieve the goals of the project by supporting the seven development missions launched in the areas of e-Governance, Social Empowerment, Skill Development, Urban Development, Infrastructure, Industrial Development and the Services sector.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  1. General elections are scheduled to be held in Pakistan on 25 July 2018 to elect the members of the National Assembly and the four Provincial Assemblies of Pakistan.
    • Polls have opened in Pakistan for the country’s parliamentary elections that will see the second civilian-to-civilian handover of power in its history.
    • Four military governments had ruled Pakistan for almost half of its existence and in its young democracy, no civilian Prime Minister has ever completed a full, five-year term in office without some sort of crisis.

 

  1. Researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute have developed an origami-inspired sampler Rotary Actuated Dodecahedron, using folding polyhedral sides that can trap deep sea soft creatures without causing them any harm.

 

 

BANKING AND ECONOMY

  1. State Bank of India (SBI) expects to recover half of the assets that turned sour in the initial 12 large bad loan accounts that were identified for bankruptcy resolution.
    • “The recoveries will be around 50% and most banks are holding provisions in excess of 50%.
  1. India needs to allow its rupee to be driven by market forces to minimize external risks and should intervene only to address “disorderly market concerns” as per International Monetary Fund.
    • The average Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) for rupee in 2017 appreciated by about 1% over its 2016 average.
    • As of May 2018, the REER depreciated 3.6% relative to its 2017 average.
    • REER is the nominal effective exchange rate divided by an index of costs.

 

 

APPOINTMENTS

  1. Justice Tahira Safdar was made the Chief Justice of the Balochistan high court,
    • This makes her the first woman Chief Justice of any court in Pakistan.

 

 

SPORTS

  1. India’s Mannu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy won the men’s doubles title at Lagos International Badminton in Lagos, Nigeria.
  2. The Indian Blind Cricket Team defeated Sri Lanka 4-1 in the T20 bilateral series held at Colombo.
    • India’s Sunil Ramesh won the ‘Man of the Series in B3 category’, while India’s Ajay Reddy and Sri Lanka’s Ajith Silva were awarded the same in the B2 and B1 categories.