Current affair of 26th August 2019

Lt Gen Puri became first serving first serving Lt Gen to complete 1,200 km Paris Brest Paris circuit

Lieutenant General Anil Puri completed France's oldest cycling event, 1,200km Paris-Brest-Paris circuit. He became the first serving Lieutenant General-rank officer of the Indian Army.
Lt Gen Puri, the 56-year-old officer completed the event by cycling non-stop for 90 hours. 367 participants represented India.

Key highlights:
  1. Rambouillet hosted the 1,200- km Paris-Brest-Paris circuit 2019 event. The event was started in 1931. Over 31,125 riders have managed to complete Paris- Brest-Paris Randonneur since then.
  2. Around 80 successfully completed the trek. Six army personnel secured berths at the event for having completed at least one 1,000-km non-stop cycling event during their respective careers.
Gujarat topped the CWMI 2.0 report in water management

Gujarat topped the second Round of Composite Water Management Index (CWMI 2.0). It was released by NITI Aayog in New Delhi. It measures the performance of states on a set of water indicators. The move comes at a time when various states across the country are facing a shortage in groundwater. The index assesses the performance of States on a comprehensive set of water indicators and reports relative performance in 2017-18 as well as trends from previous years (2015-16 & 2016-17).

Key highlights:
  1. Composite Water Management Index was released for the first time in 2018 to instill a sense of cooperative and competitive federalism among the states. It was the first attempt to create a pan-India set of metrics that measured different dimensions of water management and use across the lifecycle of water.
  2. CWMI comprises of nine themes that include attention to groundwater and restoration of water bodies.
  3. It said that 80% of states that were assessed on the Index over the last three years have improved their water management scores.
  4. States that topped the CWMI are Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh.
  5. These states have further increased the scores over the last three years.
  6. States including Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Bihar continue to be in the low-performing category.
Shri Narendra Modi launches RuPay card in UAE

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi launched the RuPay card. The UAE the first country in the Middle East to initiate the Indian indigenous system of electronic payment. RuPay card scheme was launched in 2012 to fulfill the Reserve Bank of India’s vision to have a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments.

Key highlights:
  1. RuPay facilitates electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions.
  2. India launched the RuPay card in Singapore and Bhutan.
  3. RuPay card scheme was conceived and launched by National Payments Corporation of India . It was created to fulfil the Reserve Bank of India's vision to have a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments. RuPay facilitates electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions.
PM Modi inaugurated Shreenathji Temple in Bahrain

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the $4.2 million improvement project on Shreenathji Temple and offered prayers.

Key highlights:
  1. It is a 200-year-old Lord Sri Krishna avatar temple in Manama, Bahrain. It is the oldest temple with a land measure of 16,500 sq. feet and a new four-floor structure covering 45,000 sq. feet with an overall height of 30m civilized with the qualities of peace, faith. The temple has 80% more capacity to host devotees.
  2. The temple mainly has facilities for ancient Hindu wedding ceremonies and different rituals, promoting Bahrain as a marriage destination and boosting touristry.
  3. The temple corridors are adorned with paintings by varied Indian and Bahraini artists and folks of all faiths area unit welcome. Around 3,50,000 Indian nationals live in Bahrain. The Indian community comprises a 3rd of Bahrain's total population of 1.2 million.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated new regional office Norka Roots

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the associate workplace of the Norka Roots at the underground station business building on the MG Road Metro Station, Kochi. This project aims to implement a lot of welfare schemes for the non-resident Keralites (NRK). The Chief Minister also inaugurated the primary business venture being started by a non-resident Keralite at the Edapally underground station.

Key highlights:
  1. Under the Santhwana scheme, Norka-Roots has already spent around Rs.25 crore in 2018. It provided financial support to NRKs returning to their native place.
  2. NORKA Roots has been established by Non-Resident Keralites' Affairs (NORKA). Norka’s theme to provide opportunities for the Keralites living abroad to involve with the govt. within the case of an emergency and conjointly helped to ascertain their own business within the State.
  3. The Kochi railroad line Rail Ltd (KMRL) and Norka Roots can be part of hands to produce investment opportunities to Non-Resident Keralites (NRK) in railroad line stations.
  4. The Non-Resident Keralites Affairs NORKA was established in 1996. The department aimed at redressing the grievances of Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs).
Indian team won 2 Gold medal in World Archery Youth Championship 2019

Indian junior (U-21) compound mixed team of Markoo Raginee and Sukhbeer Singh picked up the first gold for India. They defeated Switzerland rivals Andrea Vallario and Janine Hunsperger with 152-147 scores at the World Archery Youth Championships 2019.

Key highlights:
  1. The event is organized by the World Archery Federation in Madrid, Spain from 19 -25 August 2019.
  2. 17-year-old Komalika Bari got 2nd Gold medal in the final of recurve cadet class Defeated by Japan’s Sonoda Waka with 7-3 scores.
  3. The Indian team of Sukhbir Singh, Sangampreet Singh Bisla and Tushar Phadtare won the junior compound men’s team bronze medal by beating Colombia’s Jagdeep Teji Singh Mejia, Gomez Zuluga Felipe and Toro Vasquez Manuel got 234-231scores.
  4. The Indians scored 60 out of 60 points in the final round. The Colombian team managed only 56 points.
PM received highest civilian award in UAE and Bahrain

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was awarded the King Hamad Order of the Renaissance by Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa on 24 August. The award recognizes his efforts to build a strong friendship and bilateral ties with the Gulf nation. Indian Prime Minister Modi is the first Prime Minister to visit Bahrain.

Key highlights:
  1. Modi also received the Order of Zayed, UAE's highest civilian award, by Abu Dhabi crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The award recognized his vital role in building the strategic relationship between the two countries.
  2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was honoured during his 3-day visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. The visit aimed to hold extensive talks with top leaders of the two countries on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. The visit strengthens India's connect with the six-nation powerful Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
  3. Several alternative Muslim nations honored PM Modi with their high civilian award namely:
  4. Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen of Maldives in June 2019
  5. Grand Collar of the State of Palestine in February 2018
  6. Emeer  Amanullah Khan Award of Afghanistan in June 2016
  7. King Abdulaziz Sash Award of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in April 2016
Prakash Javadekar inaugurates National Centre for Avian Ecotoxicology in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the National Centre for Avian Ecotoxicology at Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural Sciences ((SACON)  in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

Key highlights:
  1. The centre study the movement of chemical contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls and drugs through the food chain. 
  2. The ministry funded an amount of Rs 4 crore to the centre for modernization and to handle the challenges posed by the continued entry of newer chemicals into the environment.
  3. Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) is a national centre for information, education and research in ornithology and natural history in India. It was inspired by and named in honour of Salim Ali, the leading pioneer of ornithology in India. It is an autonomous organisation established in 1990 as a public- NGO partnership between the MoEF&CC, and the Bombay Natural History Society(BNHS) under the Centre of Excellence Scheme and registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act. Its headquarters are at Anaikatti, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India.
Shah Rukh Khan launches heritage postal stamp of Bandra station

Actor Shah Rukh Khan launched heritage postal stamp of Bandra station on the completion of 150 years of the railway station. Ashish Shelar, minister of School Education, Sports and Youth Welfare of Maharashtra present at the Bandra station. King Khan shared his fetish of writing letters. Indian actor, film producer, Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) introduced heritage postal stamp of Bandra station in Mumbai, Maharashtra on the completion of 150 years of the railway station.

Amazon to acquire a 49% stake in Kishore Biyani-led Future Coupons Ltd

American e-commerce giant is acquiring a 49% stake in a group entity Future Coupons Ltd.Mr. Kishore Biyani of the existing shareholders forming part of the promoter group and Future Coupons Ltd entered into a share subscription agreement and a shareholders' agreement with Amazon.Com NV Investment Holdings LLC (Amazon)," Biyani’s company Future Retail Ltd.

Key highlights:
  1. Amazon agreed to make an equity investment in Future Coupons for acquiring a 49% stake comprising both voting and non-voting shares. The Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
  2. As part of the investment, Amazon is also getting rights to acquire Biyani’s promoter group stake in Future Retail at a future date.This call option allows Amazon to acquire all or part of the Promoters' shareholding in Future Retail Ltd, and is exercisable between the 3rd to 10th years, in certain circumstances, subject to applicable law.
  3. The promoters have also agreed to certain share transfer restrictions on their shares in the Future Retail for the same tenure, including restrictions to not transfer shares to specified persons, a right of first offer in favour of Amazon.
PV Sindhu won gold at the 2019 BWF World Championships

Indian badminton and World number five PV Sindhu won gold at the BWF World Championships 2019. She became the first-ever Indian badminton player to win a gold medal at the event. This is her fifth medal at the world championships. With this, she has become only the fourth singles player ever to have a full set of world championship medals.

Key highlights:
  1. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Championships was held from 19 to 25 August in Basel, Switzerland. It is the 25th edition of the championship. 45 countries participated in the badminton tournament. 
  2. In the previous editions of the World Championships, she secured:
  3. Bronze in 2013
  4. Bronze in 2014
  5. Silver in 2017 
  6. Silver in 2018 
  7. Gold in 2019
Bandhan Bank join hands with standard Chartered for co-branded credit cards

Private sector lender Bandhan Bank entered into the partnership with multinational banking and financial services company, Standard Chartered Bank to provide co-branded credit cards . It have around 40 lakh savings bank account holders across the 1,000 branches.

Key highlights:
  1. The co-branded cards are available in three variants. The variants includes One- for the mass market,Plus- for the affluent segment and Xclusive- for the premium segment. The credit period offered will be of 52 days.
  2. Standard Chartered Bank will take the risk of credit failure & Bandhan Bank will be responsible for identifying and issuing cards to its customers.
  3. Standard Chartered currently have 100 branches in 43 cities in India . It has 12 lakh customers base having credit card.
Shri Prabhakar Singh to be awarded the 2019 Eminent Engineer Award

Institution of Engineers (India) (IEI) has chosen Shri Prabhakar Singh, Director General of Central Public Works Department (CPWD) for the prestigious Eminent Engineer Award for the Year 2019. The award recognizes his distinguished and exemplary service in the field of Engineering and Technology. He will be awarded on the Engineers Day on September 15, 2019, in New Delhi.

Key highlights:
  1. Mr.Singh is a B.Tech with Honours in Mechanical Engineering from IIT-Kharagpur. He is a post-graduate MBA from Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon. He has played a vital role in transforming the Premier Engineering Organisation of the Central Government. He has dedicated his Service to the Nation as an Eminent Technocrat.
  2. IEI was formed in September 1920 and is headquartered in Kolkata. It is the National organization for Indian engineers. IEI is the world's largest multi-disciplinary engineering professional society in the engineering and technology world.
PM Narendra Modi holds 'fruitful discussions' with UN chief Antonio Guterres

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres held "fruitful discussions" on a wide range of key issues and discussed ways to strengthen efforts to mitigate climate change. He sidelines of the G-7 Summit held in this picturesque southwestern seaside French town. The prime minister arrived in Biarritz from Manama, the capital of Bahrain concluding the first-ever prime ministerial visit to the Gulf nation.

Key highlights:
  1. There is extensive deliberations on key issues, most notably ways to strengthen the efforts to mitigate climate change,
  2. PM Narendra Modi met with UNSG Antonio Guterres on the margins of G7 summit in Biarritz. The special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories.
  3. The two leaders are here to attend the G-7 Summit. 
  4. Modi arrived in Biarritz from Bahrain his three-nation tour to France, the UAE and Bahrain.
  5. A rare closed-door consultations on Kashmir by the Security Council ended without any outcome or statement from the powerful 15-nation UN organ dealing a huge snub to Pakistan and its all-weather ally China to internationalise the issue, The majority stressed is a bilateral matter between New Delhi and Islamabad.
  6. The meeting of Modi and Guterres after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called the UN chief to apprise him about the evolving and delicate situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
BJP Veteran and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley passed away

India's former Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley passed away on 24th August. He died at the 66 due to prolonged illness.
The Minister had triple heart-bypass surgery when he was 52. He was a diabetic and had bariatric weight-loss surgery in 2014. He underwent a kidney transplant in 2018 and travelled to the United States in 2018 for unspecified medical care.

Key highlights:
  1. Arun Jaitley passed his Law degree from Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi and Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. 
  2. In the 1970s, Mr.Jaitley got involved in politics as a student leader. In 1974, he became the President of the University Students' Union. The lawyer-turned-politician is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
  3. Since 2000, he has been the party leader of BJP and a member of Rajya Sabha. In 2003, he served as the law minister during former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's tenure. He held various posts such as Ministries of Commerce, Industry, Law & Justice, Information & Broadcasting, Finance, and Defence.
  4. Jaitley led the enactment of bankruptcy code and a national goods-and-services tax (GST) law during his tenure as Finance Minister.
Henley Passport Index India slips 5 spots

Henley Passport Index for the year 2019 released. The report ranks India at 86th position of 189 countries in 2019. It secured a score of 58. It slipped 79th place in its previous index. The report stated that Japan and Singapore as the “world’s most powerful passport” in 2019.Japan topped the list for the second consecutive time in a row 189 countries.

Key highlights:
  1. Around 8 nations added to India’s list of  visa-free access between 2010 and 2019 It is ranked lowest among BRICS nations. It shares the spot with Mauritania, and Sao Tome and Principe.
  2. Mobility score mainly states that the no. of countries a person can visit without visa restrictions. India denotes that a person can access 58 countries to which holders are eligible to travel without a visa in prior.
  3. It is a global ranking of countries to travel freedom for their citizens.
  4. It started in 2005 as Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index (HVRI). Later it was modified and renamed in January 2018.
International dialogue on South-South and Triangular Cooperation addressed by Commerce & Industry Minister

Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, Shri PiyushGoyal addressed the International dialogue on South-South and Triangular Cooperation The event is held in New Delhi. The World Trade Organisation(WTO) is the key topic addressed
South-South and Triangular Cooperation organized by Research and Information System (RIS) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation(UNOSSC).

Key highlights:
  1. The member countries of WTO to engage in rule-based, transparent, and non-discriminatory governance required for free trade in a non-discriminatory manner, keeping in mind the interests of member countries with disparate (essentially different in kind) GDP.
  2. The world economy is likely to fall into a recession followed by the member countries made of trade concession
  3. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for the target year 2030 discussed.
  4. A recession is marked by two consecutive quarters of decline in a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). 
  5. Recession result in unemployment. The yield curve indicated the recession which financial crisis similar to the year 2008 is expected.

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