Current affair of 16th August 2019

1. The Indian Navy is to host naval exercise MILAN in March 2020 in Vizag

The Indian Navy is to host the multilateral naval exercise named ‘MILAN‘ at Visakhapatnam for the year 2020 in the month of March. The announcement for this exercise was made by Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) at the INS(Indian Navy Ship) Circars Parade Ground in the ENC on the occasion of 73rd Independence day.

Key highlights:
  1. MILAN is a biennial exercise which was first started in 1995. Until last year the exercise was held at Andaman and Nicobar Command(ANC).
  2. For the first time, this exercise is to be conducted in the mainland of ENC, Vishakapatnam.
  3. Flag hoist: After hoisting the flag, the vice-admiral Mr.Jain, inspected ceremonial parade that comprised of naval platoons.
  4. Officials present:  Flag officers, Commanding officers of various ships and establishments in Visakhapatnam, several armed forces, civilian personnel and their families were present in the occasion.
  5. Tributes:  Vice admiral Narayan Prasad, Director General Naval Projects, Visakhapatnam paid tribute to the Martyrs who sacrificed their lives. The tribute was paid at ‘Victory at Sea’ war memorial on the Beach road, Visakhapatnam.
2. World’s 1st museum dedicated to the life of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu opened in Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister(CM), Mamata Banerjee has opened the World’s 1st museum dedicated to the life of a 16th-century saint and social reformer, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, designed by the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) in Kolkata, West Bengal. It is named as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu museum.

Key highlights:
  1. The museum is a 3-storeyed structure with an approximately 1,350 sq m of covered area, of which 1,000 sq m has been used to for the galleries, public utility and as a library.
  2. The floors of the museum dedicated to different phases of the saint’s life from his birth, marriage with Vishupria, journey in every part of the country to the period after he attained ”Sanyasa” (sainthood).
  3. It was also equipped with Life-size models, 3D(3-Dimensional) films, audio tracks, and animatronics.
  4. The project to build the museum was initiated by the Gaudiya Mission, a spiritual and philanthropic organization established in 1935 to spread the philosophy enunciated in the Vaishnava cult and the message of peace, love, and harmony, as propounded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
3. 5th Meeting of BRICS Minister of Environment held in Sao Paulo, Brazil

5th BRICS Minister of Environment Meeting held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which was preceded by the 2-day meeting of BRICS Joint Working Group on Environment. The Indian delegation was led by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar.

Key highlights:
  1. Make India free of single-use plastic campaign: During the meeting, Javadekar has announced massive campaign that will be launched to make India free of single-use plastic.
  2. Key Initiatives:  The Ministers of BRICS countries underlined the” Partnership on Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative (PUESI)” for sharing knowledge & experience on major issues such as waste management, cogeneration, reverse logistics, sanitation, urban air quality, urban green areas.
  3. Cooperation Platform: BRICS Environmentally Sound Technology (BEST) Cooperation Platform was highlighted for innovations, knowledge sharing and capacity building&
  4. Clean River of BRICS program: It was adopted for improvement of the river ecosystem and tackling marine waste.
  5. Affirmation: The Ministers agreed to support the development of Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework & they urged developed countries to meet their commitment under the UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and its Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement to provide means of implementation of climate finance, technology development and transfer and capacity-building support.
4. ANZ lowers India’s GDP growth in FY20 to 6.2%

According to a recent report of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), India’s GDP (gross domestic product) growth expected to grow by 6.2 % in 2019 (FY-Fiscal Year 2020) It revised downwards its outlook for FY20 from 6.5% due to sluggish domestic demand, and slowing down of Industry figures.

Key highlights:
  1. It also downgraded its forecast for the year to March 2021 to 6.5% from 7.1%.
  2. This will badly affect the government’s target of getting the economy at rates above 8%.
  3. The declining trends of Industry figures showed Auto mobiles sales volume plunged 30.9 % on July 2019 from July 2018, the 9th straight month of declines and the biggest drop since December 2000, along with investment indicators, such as the production of steel & cement.
  4. The policy rate cut by RBI (Reserve Bank of India) will help revive economic growth but it may take a much longer period to boost growth because of the time lag between the policy measures and response.
  5. Fitch rating: It projected a growth forecast of 6.8% for the2019 (FY-Fiscal Year 2020).It also stated that RBI’s rate cuts were not sufficient for “uplifting India’s economy”.
5. Air India is the first Indian Airline to fly over Zero Degree North Pole

Air India hoisted its Boeing 777 aircraft (Delhi-San Francisco flight AI-173 ) over the zero degrees the North Pole and became the first Indian airline to operate commercial flights overflying polar region. It usually overflies the Atlantic or the Pacific ocean. Flying over the North Pole saved fuel and time.

6. Earth has lost 53% of its wildlife since 1970: WWF report

According to the first-ever global assessment of forest biodiversity, “Below the Canopy: Plotting Global Trends in Forest Wildlife Populations” by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the number of forest wildlife populations have declined on average by 53% since 1970 due to Habitat loss and degradation, over exploitation and Climate change.

Key highlights:
  1. LPI: The report was based on Forest Specialist Index, which was developed based on the method for the Living Planet Index (LPI), an indicator of global biodiversity.
  2. Reduction: The index included data globally, covering 455 populations (268 species). Out of this, half of the population declined at an annual rate of 1.7 percent, on average between 1970 and 2014.
  3. It also called on world leaders to declare a planetary emergency and secure a New Deal for Nature and People by 2020.
  4. Threats:  60 % of threats accounted from Habitat loss, 40 out of 112  forest-dwelling primate populations threatened due to over exploitation & 43% amphibian populations, 37 % of reptile populations, 21 %of bird populations were threatened due to Climate change.
7. Indian Army emerged as the winner in 5th ‘International Army Scout Masters Competition’2019

The Indian Army team participated for the 1st time& has emerged as the winner among 8 teams in five stages of the 5th  edition of ‘International Army Scout Masters Competition 2019’ held in Jaisalmer Military Station, Rajasthan from August 6-14,2019.

Key highlights:
  1. Organizer: Indian Army’s ‘Konark Corps’ was organized this event.
  2. Teams: Besides India, the teams from Armenia, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan,  Russia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan participated in this prestigious event.
  3. Stages: The 5 stages of the competition include infiltration and ambush, scout specialist course, scout trail obstacle course, small arms firing, floatation, and exfiltration.
  4. Infrastructure:  world-class infrastructure was created for the event, which included a challenging obstacle course for the infantry combat vehicles spread over 6.7 km with 15 obstacles and another tough obstacle course for the scout masters teams with 22 obstacles over 1.3 km.
  5. Closing ceremony: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was the Chief Guest at the Closing Ceremony & it was attended by General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, Lieutenant General SK Saini, General Officer Commanding in Chief Southern Command, officials from participated nations and members of the International Organising Committee.
8. India’s Men’s team clinched first cycling gold at UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships 2019

Cyclists Esow Alben, Ronaldo Singh and Rojit Singh of India won the first cycling gold by defeating Australia in men’s team sprint event at UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Junior Track Cycling World Championships 2019 held in Frankfurt, Germany. Bronze was won by Great Britain. The event was held from August 14-18, 2019.

Key highlights:
  1. The women’s team of Triyasha and Nikita finished 5th in the women’s team sprint event.
  2. 2020 UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships will be held in Cairo, Egypt.
9. Book on the History of Jammu & Kashmir from 1889 to 2019 titled ‘Kashmir’s untold story: Declassified’ to be released

Book titled ‘Kashmir’s untold story: Declassification’ by Bloomsbury publishers was announced on August 14, 2019. The book portrays the time of political and geographical consolidations of Jammu & Kashmir(J&K), beginning from the era of Maharaja Gulab Singh till the present day.

Key highlights:
  1. The book is authored by Delhi- based filmmaker Iqbal Chand Malhotra and defence analyst Maroof Raza.
  2. The book will be released on September 18, 2019.
  3. It shares the history of J&K when it first imposed central rule and dispossessed the rule of the then Maharaja Gulab Singh.
  4. Some of the contents in the book deals with the scrapping of Article 370 and 35A of J&K, the formation of two new Territories J&k and Ladakh.
  5. Other pressing issues like China’s interest in J&K, Islamic Jihad and Indus water treaty (IWS) – water distribution between India and Pakistan will be dealt with.
10. Tamil Nadu trifurcates Vellore district to form new districts

After taking a consensus from the ministers, MLAs (Member of the Legislative Assembly) and the general public, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu Shri Edappadi K Palaniswami made an announcement on trifurcation of Vellore district. Ranipet and Tirupattur are the new districts carved out of Vellore. After the trifurcation, Tamil Nadu now has 37 districts.

Key highlights:
  1. The announcement was made on August 15, 2019, independence day celebration at Fort St George in Chennai, TamilNadu. Now, Tirupathur and Ranipet need not travel long distances to reach the Collector’s office in Vellore, one of the largest districts in Tamil Nadu by area.
  2. He also announced that K V Kuppam of Vellore district would be upgraded to a new taluka.
  3. The year 2019 has saw the creation of 5 additional districts by the Edappadi K Palaniswami govt in TamilNadu.

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