A joint military exercise between India and Singapore ‘Bold Kurukshetra–2019’ started in Jhansi’s Babina Cantonment
A three-day joint military exercise between India and Singapore named ‘Bold Kurukshetra–2019’ started in Jhansi’s Babina Cantonment, Uttar Pradesh to strengthen cooperation against terrorism, develop defence technology and boost maritime security.
Colonel SP Singh led the Indian counterpart, and Lieutenant Colonel Tong Chong Kiat led the Singapore counterpart. Brigadier Ranjan Keron reviewed the march past of both the contingents.
Background of this exercise: An official agreement signed between India and Singapore in November 2017 to strengthen defence ties between their respective armed forces and for this agreement, personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces will receive training along with the Indian Armed Forces.
♦ Currency: Singapore dollar
♦ President: Halimah Yacob
♦ Prime Minister: Lee Hsien Loong
Vice admiral Bimal Verma drops petition challenging Karambir Singh’s appointment as navy chief
Vice Admiral Bimal Verma has dropped the petition to challenge the appointment of Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as the next Navy Chief. He will be seeking the “statutory remedy” of approaching the government first. According to him, present government is ignoring seniority as the basis to appoint a Service Chief. He is six months senior to Vice Admiral Karambir Singh.
It was aftermath when Admiral Verma was asked to file a statutory complaint to the Defence Ministry by the Armed Forces tribunal under the Navy Act.
Admiral Verma asked the judges to order the government to address his concerns in a time-bound manner.
Google’s Wing launches its first Commercial drone delivery service in Australia
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, launched its first commercial drone service through its Wing subsidiary in Canberra, Australia after the country’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), granted it regulatory approval.
The drones will deliver coffee, food, and over-the-counter medicines directly to clients’ homes using a connected smartphone app.
In the primary stage, Wing is coupling with Australian retailers including Capital Chemist, Drummond Golf, Pure Gelato, KickstartExpresso, Bakers Delight, Jasper + Myrtle, and Guzman Y Gomez.
Drones will not be permitted to fly over main roads and it has a specific timetable.
British Government’s ‘white paper’ named ‘online harms’ draws focus to users’ (mostly children’s) safety
The British government has published an “online harms white paper” which is open for public consultation (till July) focuses to make online social media platforms responsible to safeguard users, especially children. It is a joint proposal from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Home Office.
Since all of the social media platforms use strong algorithms leading to echo-chambers, where a user is bombarded with only blinkered content (according to the user’s web-browsing) instead of multi-directional content (i.e. seeing a variety of voices and opinions), all of which can affect children’s brain; the white paper proposes the compulsory ‘duty of care’ on various social media platforms for taking reasonable steps to protect users (focusing on children) from getting harmed.
Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu headed to Fifth Term as Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to head a historic 5th term as Israel’s prime minister with close-to-complete unofficial election results giving his right-wing Likud and other nationalist and religious parties a solid majority in parliament.
The results have dimmed hopes of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
With 97.4% of the vote counted, Likud and its traditional political allies were in command of a 65-55 majority in parliament.
♦ Capital: Jerusalem
♦ Currency: Israeli new Shekel
♦ PM: Benjamin Netanyahu
BANKING & FINANCE
India’s growth rate to increase from 7.3% in 2019 to 7.5% in 2020
According to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) report released by International Monetary Fund (IMF), India’s growth rate is estimated to rise from 7.3% in 2019 to 7.5% in 2020 provided it receives impetus from the fiscal policy and is backed by the ongoing recovery of investment and consumption within expanded approach of monetary policy.
As per the report, India’s growth rate was 7.1% in 2018 against China’s 6.6%. India will remain the fastest growing major economy in the world.
According to the report, India’s growth is approximated to stabilise at just under 7¾ over the medium term. This will be possible when structural reforms will continuously be implemented and infrastructure gridlocks would be eased.
Emirates Islamic, a bank in Dubai, becomes the world’s first Islamic bank to launch banking via WhatsApp
Emirates Islamic bank launched a chat banking facility for its customer via Whatsapp and become the world’s 1st bank in the Islamic banking sector to give such facility.
i. It was supported by Infobip.
ii. This chat banking solution allows customers to check account balances, temporarily blocking or unblocking of an existing card.
About Emirates Islamic
♦ CEO: Salah Amin
♦ Chairperson: Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim
♦ Launched: 2004
♦ Head office: Dubai
HDFC AMC claims first position in terms of Assets
According to data released by the AMFI (Association of Mutual Funds in India), India’s asset management companies have owned assets under management worth Rs. 24.46 trillion.
i. HDFC Asset Management Co. Ltd has achieved the top position with an average AUM of Rs. 3.42 trillion.
ii. ICICI Prudential Asset Management Co. Ltd has claimed the second position with an average AUM of at Rs.3.20 trillion.
About HDFC Bank
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ MD: Aditya Puri
India’s steel demand to grow by over 7% in FY19, FY20
As per the Indian Steel Association, India’s steel demand is grown by over 7 percent in 2019 and 2020, due to the sectors like construction, capital goods, and railways.
i. The forecast for steel demand growth is 7.1 percent in 2019 and by 7.2 percent in 2020.
ii. The consumption of steel in India is likely to cross 100 million tonnes (MT) mark in 2019.
iii. This growth is also due to some infrastructure programmes such as Bharatmala, Sagarmala, railway track electrification, dedicated freight corridors, metro rails, etc.
Manpreet Kaur banned for 4 years for Failing Dope tests
A National Anti-Doping Agency disciplinary panel has banned Asian champion woman professional Olympic shot putter, Manpreet Kaur for four years for failing dope tests on four occasions over a period of 84 days during 2017.
i. She had failed for an anabolic steroid in the Asian Grand Prix and for a stimulant in the Federation Cup, Asian championships and National inter-state championships.
Virat Kohli and Smriti Mandhana named Wisden’sleading cricketers of the year 2019
Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2019 has named Virat Kohli and Smriti Mandhana as the Leading male and female cricketer of the year 2019 respectively.
i. Smriti Mandhana bagged the women’s Leading Cricketer of the year for the first time while Indian men’s team captain was named for the third straight year.
ii.The Afghanistan leg-spinner, Rashid Khan, was named the Leading Twenty20 Cricketer for the second successive time.
iii. In 2018, Kohli scored 2735 runs across the three formats and Mandhana scored 669 and 662 runs in ODIs and T20Is respectively, during the course of 2018.
iv. Kohli was also chosen as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the year, along with Jos Buttler, Tammy Beaumont, Rory Burns and Sam Curran.
About Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack:
♦ Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack (“The Bible of Cricket”) is a cricket reference book issued annually in the United Kingdom.
♦ In 1998, an Australian edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and in 2012, Indian edition was launched.
♦ English Cricketer John Wisden established the Book in 1864.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Rs 100-crore penalty imposed on Andhra Pradesh Govt. by National Green Tribunal (NGT)
National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a penalty of Rs 100 crore on the Andhra Pradesh government for illegal sand mining in the state. Penalty has been imposed on the lines of plea filed by Andhra Pradesh resident Anumolu Gandhi, alleging illegal sand mining was causing damage to Krishna, Godavari rivers and their tributaries in the state.
i. The tribunal headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel who is the chairperson of NGT directed the state government to deposit Rs 100 crore ‘environment compensation’ with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPSB)within a month.
ii. Also, a committee has been formed consisting of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), National Institute of Mines, Dhanbad, IIT Roorkee and Madras School of Economics for the evaluation of environment damage within three months and to provide a report to this Tribunal.
About Andhra Pradesh
♦ Governor: S. L. Narasimhan
♦ Chief Minister: Chandrababu Naidu
♦ National Parks: Sri Venkateswara National Park, Papikonda National Park.
Periyar river in Kerala turns black
Kerala’s Periyar River has turned black near the Pathalam Regulator cum Bridge. This discolouration of Periyar and fish kills have been a serious issue for last couple of years.
i. About hundred Indian anchovies (Kozhuva) fishes were found dead along the banks of the Muttar river, a tributary of the Periyar.
ii. According to PCB (Pollution Control Board), the discolouration was due to the poor quality of water as a result of eutrophication.
♦ Capital: Thiruvananthapuram
♦ CM: Pinarayi Vijayan
♦ Governor: Palanisamy Sathasivam