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Daily Current Affairs for June 15-18,2018 ( English)

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Important Days:
1.     June 15 - World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is observed every year to show opposition to the abuse and suffering experienced by the elders of our society by a partner, family member, friend etc. It may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and even neglect. The theme for this year is “Moving from Awareness to Action through a Human Rights based approach”.
2.     June16-International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR) is celebrated every year to highlight the significant financial contribution made by migrant workers to their families back home and to the sustainable development of their native countries. This day was adopted by the UN General Assembly in June 2018. This day aims to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) “One Family at a Time” produced for the International Day of Family Remittances 2018.
3.     June 17- World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The Theme of 2018 is “Land has true value – invest in.”
4.     June 18- Sustainable Gastronomy Day was observed all over the world. Gastronomy is the study of relationship between food and culture. Sustainable gastronomy can play a major role in promoting agricultural development, food security, nutrition, sustainable food production and the conservation of biodiversity.
5.     June 18- International Picnic Day was celebrated all over the world. The word “picnic” originated from the French language. It relates to informal outdoor meal. Picnic became a popular time pass in France after the Revolution. Charity events, school picnics and various types of group meals are held to commemorate this day.
1.     The Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources Shri Nitin Gadkari and Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Dr. Rajiv Kumar has launched  a report on Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) prepared by NITI Aayog. This would help enabling the states and Central ministries/Departments to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources. Gujarat as number one in the reference year (2016-17), followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. In North Eastern and Himalayan States, Tripura has been adjudged number 1 in 2016-17 followed by Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam. In terms of incremental change in index (over 2015-16 level), Rajasthan holds number one position in general States and Tripura ranks at first position amongst North Eastern and Himalayan States.
2.       Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Limited (NLCIL)’s three 100 MW Solar Power Projects for commercial operation was inaugurated and dedicated these projects to the Nation by the Union Minister for Railways, Coal, Finance & Company Affairs, Piyush Goyal. The Solar Power projects are located at Thoppalaakkarai and Sethupuram in Virudhunagar District and Sellaiya Sezhiyanallur in Tirunelveli District. These projects with an installed capacity of 100 MW each,were set up at a cost of Rs.1300 Crores. The power generated from these units will be provided to Tamilnadu Power Generation and Distribution Company (TANGEDCO) at a cost of Rs.4.41/- per unit.
6.     The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is proposed to set up a National Tribal Museum and a National Level Tribal Research Institute at New Delhi by. Secretary, Ms. Leena Nair said that out of 115 aspirational districts identified by NITI Ayog, Ministry of Tribal Affairs is focusing on 40 tribal dominated aspirational districts. She also talked about the Van Dhan Yojana launched in 2018 for providing livelihood for tribals by using non-timber forest produce having an estimated value of Rs 2 lakh crore per year.
7.     The annual allocation of Rs. 1813 crore to Telengana for railway project has announced by Railway Minister PiyushGoyal. The minister flagged off the extended Kacheguda- Nizamabad passenger train up to Karimnagar. South Central Railway (SCR) has become the first railway zone in the country to complete 100 per cent LED lighting at all the stations under its jurisdiction. Initiatives and passenger amenities to be provided by the South Central Railway and at Nizamabad station of ‘Grade A’ category.
8.     Yoga Ambassadors Tour’,a specialized trip for yoga professionals from around the world was inaugurated by Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik, as a  part of Kerala government’s tourism promotion programme, . It is a 10 day educational tour for yoga professionals.
9.     An all women Naval mountaineering team led by Lt Cdr Kokila Sajwan summited Mount Deotibba on 10th June 2018. Mount Deotibba is the second highest peak (6001M) in the Pir-Panjal range in Himachal Pradesh. It is one of the most difficult peaks to summit. The expedition was flagged off by Vice Admiral AK Chawla, AVSM, NM, VSM, Chief Of Personnel on 28th May 2018 from New Delhi. They started the trek from the road head (Bara Hazari) to the base camp at a height of 4250 m through Chikka and Seri. They passed through advance base camp at 4700 m and the Summit camp at 5250 m. After 12 hours of climbing, they summited the peak.
10.  On 14th June 2018 the new Incredible India website was launched by the Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism K.J. Alphons in New Delhi. The website is of international standard. It aims to project India as a “must-visit” destination. The website will be available in Hindi and major international languages soon. The Website Link is: The New Incredible India website portrays India as a holistic destination with experiences in spirituality, heritage, adventure, culture, yoga, wellness, etc.
11.   The Union Cabinet has approved withdrawal of Nalanda University (Amendment) Bill, 2013 pending in Rajya Sabha. The amendment bill was introduced to amend certain existing provisions of the Nalanda University Act, 2010 and add some new provisions mainly dealing with functioning of Governing Board of Nalanda University.
12.   The 10th Smart City Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) at Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh was dedicated to the country by PM Modi. The ICCC at Naya Raipur will control and monitor online water and power supply, sanitation, traffic movement, integrated building management, city connectivity and Internet infrastructure (data centre), under one roof. It is one of the three Smart Cities of Chhattisgarh selected under Smart Cities Mission. Other two cities are Raipur and Bilaspur. Under the ambitious Smart City Mission ICCC in nine cities are operational in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Pune, Nagpur, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam, Bhopal and Kakinada.
13.   CM Devendra Fadnavis was on week-long tour to Dubai, Canada and United States to bring business to Maharashtra. A MoU was signed by Maharashtra government with Quebec province of Canada to increase economic cooperation and welfare of tribal community in the state. Under the MoU, the key areas of focus are information technology (IT), biotechnology, artificial intelligence and welfare of the tribal community.
14.   The 23rd European Union Film Festival (EUFF) organized by Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting partnering with the Delegation of European Union (EU) and embassies of EU Member States in various city film club is going to host by India from 18th to 24th June, 2018 at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi. The European Union Film Festival will showcase 24 latest European films from 23 EU member states. It will screen movies from 23 EU states, thus celebrating diversity and will bring some unusual stories for the world cinema enthusiasts. The selected films as part of the festival will be showcased in 11 cities across India including New Delhi, Port Blair, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam, Puducherry, Thrissur, Hyderabad and Goa from 18 June to 31 August 2018. 
15.   The indigenously upgraded artillery gun Dhanush has successfully completed final user trials and is ready for induction into Indian Army. Dhanush is upgraded version of Swedish 155-mm Bofors howitzers, which India procured in the mid-1980s, based on its original designs. It is also called desi Bofors. It is 155mm x 45mm calibre artillery gun. It was the 3rd and final phase of testing which was done from May 31 to June 7th 2018 at Pokhran field firing range, six Dhanush guns were fired in battery formation with 301 rounds each. With this test, Dhanush artillery gun has been tested in all terrains. The first phase of trials was conducted between July and September 2016 at Pokhran and Babina ranges. The second phase was conducted between October and December 2016 at Siachen base camp with three guns. Total of 1,520 rounds have been fired in all the three phases. During these trials, guns travelled extensively in towed and self-propelled mode in desert and high-altitude terrains and each gun clocked over 1,000 km, demonstrating their mobility.
16.   The GPS (Global Positioning System) and wireless based 24×7 “mobile policing” service to control crime, mainly against women launched by the Tripura government on 16th June 2018. As per the ‘mobile policing’ service, a police van or a small vehicle with police personnel will be patrolling 24*7 in their assigned zone. The mobile patrolling will be in constant contact with the nearest police station, outpost and higher authorities.
17.   The Bengaluru-based KisanKraft intends to take the ‘aerobic rice’ technology to five states during this Kharif season and conduct demonstrations to reach out to more farmers. The aerobic rice technology is a solution for water-stressed paddy farmers. It would help in restoring soil conditions while contributing to national food security. As against up to 5,000 litres of water required to produce one kg of wetland rice, the aerobic rice requires only up to 2,500 litres. This would save more than 60 per cent in water and 55 per cent in labour. Except the Himalayas, the coastal areas and the hilly areas (with excess water), the rest of the country can grow aerobic rice. Black cotton soil and lowlands in submerged water conditions are unsuitable.
1.     An economic plan that will allow more foreign workers to work in the country has adopted by the Cabinet of Japan. Under the plan, Japan will relax visa requirements in sectors facing severe labour shortages such as agriculture, nursing care, construction and transport. Highly skilled professionals will be allowed in new categories of this visa regime. It will create new five-year visa category for non-professional foreign workers. This proposal will help rapidly aging country to make up for its declining workforce. In recent times, number of foreign workers in Japan has nearly doubled to 1.28 million.
2.     United States has slapped stiff 25% tariff on US $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. It has accused China of intellectual property (IP) theft and unfair trade practices. This decision has triggered full-fledged trade war between world’s two largest economies.
3.     China in tit-for-tat action has imposed additional tariffs and duties on $50-billion worth of American products. It comes after US President Donald Trump slapped stiff 25% tariff on Chinese goods worth similar amount. This has triggered full-fledged trade war between world’s two largest economies. China imposed additional duties of 25% on 659 items of American products. Out of the 659 items, tariffs on 545 items worth about $34 billion including agricultural products aquatic products and vehicles will be effective from July 2018. The tariffs on remaining 114 items, which include chemical products, medical equipment and energy products, will be declared later.
4.     After Latvia assumed chairmanship of NSG for 2018-19, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) plenary meeting took place on in Jurmala, Latvia on 14th and 15th June 2018. With this, Latvia became first Baltic state to chair the NSG. The NSG plenary meeting was chaired by Ambassador Jānis Zlamets of Latvia. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, H.E. Mr. Edgars Rinkēvičs, welcomed the Participating Governments on behalf of Latvia.
5.     US officials from Pentagon will meet the Indian experts on negotiation of communications military agreements on 18th June 2018. The US had granted India the status of a ‘Major Defence Partner’ in 2016. The talks are based on the military agreement between India and US in 2016 on Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA). The agreements consist of COMCASA and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) and singing of the Indian counterparts are required for this to take shape.
6.     Seychelles President Danny Faure ahead of his state visit to India has said that India-Seychelles joint project to develop naval base at Assumption Island in his country will not move forward. He also mentioned that Seychelles will develop military facilities at the island on its own.
7.     The High Commission of India in Seychelles celebrated the 4th International Day of Yoga (IDY) 2018 at the iconic Palais des Sports indoor stadium in Victoria, Seychelles on June 17, 2018.The theme of the celebration was: ‘Yoga for Health’. The event was attended by over 1000 yoga enthusiasts comprising more than 1% of the country’s population.
8.     SAARC Development Fund will soon be launching a social enterprise development programme (SEDP) to fund 80 entities annually across the 8-member states including India. SDF is currently implementing 12 regional projects with more than 70 implementing and lead implementing agencies covering all the member countries under the social window funding. SDF would create access to financial services which can boost job creation, raise income, reduce vulnerability and increase investments in human capital in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (SAARC members). 
9.     US has surpassed India as the top destination to attract Greenfield FDI investment according to the FDI Report 2018 compiled by FDI Intelligence, a division of The Financial Times Ltd on June 17, 2018. India has been the top destination for 2015 and 2016 but the number of investments has fallen by 21% for 2017.In the Asia and Pacific region, China was on top in terms of FDI in total number of new projects and capital investment, followed by India, as per the FDI report.
Science & technology:
1.     NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who spent a record-breaking 665 days in space, has retired from the space agency on June 16, 2018. In 2008, she returned to the ISS and became the first female commander of the space station. She claimed the title for most spacewalks by a woman -10 spacewalks totaling 60 hours and 21 minutes and set the record for most time spent in space by a US astronaut, placing eighth on the all-time space endurance list.
2.       The indigenously developed Pinaka rocket system has converted into a precision-guided missile, with enhanced range and accuracy to hit its targets by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The rocket has been named after Pinaka, the bow of Lord Shiva. It is known for firing 12 rockets in just 44 seconds and destroy target area of 4 sq km at time. The missile has completed its initial trial and now is undergoing developmental trials. It is expected to be delivered to Indian Army in two years and complies with its policy of use of precision weapons. It already has been inducted into Indian Army and Pinaka Mark I was used in 1999 Kargil conflict. Its initial version (Pinaka Mark I) was upgraded into Pinaka Mark II, with enhanced range of 70 to 80 km with a five metre accuracy compared to Mark I, with a range of 40 km.
3.     106th Indian Science Congress will be held at Lovely Professional University (LPU) in Jalandhar, Punjab from January 3 to 7, 2019. It will be organised by the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA). The theme for the five-day science congress is ‘Future India: Science & Technology’. The science congress will comprise of 18 plenary sessions, including those of medical, environmental, chemical and other science domains. There will also be four parallel mega events, including women’s science conference, children’s science conference; science communicators meet and science exhibition.
4.     Glonass-M positioning satellite on board of Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket has been successfully launched from the Plesetsk space centre in Mirny, Arkhangelsk Oblast by Russia. With this launch, there are now total 26 Glonass satellites in orbit. The satellite is part of GLONASS network GLONASS (Russian acronym for Global Navigation Satellite System) which provides real-time positioning data for Global Navigation Satellite System) which provides real-time positioning data for surface, sea and airborne objects around globe, at accuracy reportedly at par with US Global Positioning System (GPS). It has design life of 7 years which is significantly higher than that of previous generation of Glonass satellites. It is about 2.4* 3.7 meters in size with solar array span of 7.2 meters.
1.     Japan’s Softbank Group Corp has decided to invest $60 bn – $100 bn in India’s solar power generation. In April, 2018 SoftBank teamed up with China’s GCLSystem Integration Technology Co Ltd on a $930 million Indian solar energy venture.
2.     PhonePe announced that, it has partnered with cab aggregator Ola, to enable riders to book rides using PhonePe’s payment platform. PhonePe is owned by Flipkart. PhonePe has also added ‘Auto-pay’ feature that enables users to make payments easily. Users can switch off ‘Auto-pay’ instructions at any time.
3.     The import duty on non-palm edible oils, both crude and refined ones has risen by 5-10% by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBITC) under Finance Ministry in order to protect interest of domestic oilseeds growers and processors. India has 60-65% import dependency in edible oils as there is huge demand supply gap in domestic market. The import duty on crude variant( Sunflower oil)  was increased from 25% to 35%, while that on refined variant from 35% to 45%. The import duty (Crude Groundnut oil) was increased from 30% to 35%, while that on refined groundnut oil from 35% to 45%. The import duty( Canola oil) was increased from 25% to 35%.
4.     India’s IT major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) became first listed company in India to close day’s trade with market capitalisation (m cap) of over Rs. 7 lakh crore (over $103 billion). M cap is value of company that is traded on stock market, calculated by multiplying total number of shares by present share price. TCS achieved this feat after its board approved share buyback of 76,190,476 equity shares of Rs. 1 face value at Rs. 2,100 per share for about Rs. 16,000 crore (over $2 billion). The buyback size was 1.99% of the total paid-up equity share capital.
5.     The financial assistance amounting to Rs. 5.5 lakh per family to West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs) has approved by the Union Government. The scheme comes into effect from June 2018. The amount of Rs. 5.5 lakh per family will be deposited in bank accounts of eligible beneficiaries based on authentication by State Government. It will benefit 5,764 families of WPRs settled in Jammu and Kashmir. Full expenditure for this scheme will be borne by Central Government. For smooth implementation of the scheme, the State Government will also appoint Nodal Officer for this scheme.
6.     The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has eased investment norms for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) in debt, especially into individual large corporates. This move is aimed at attracting more overseas flows and thereby helps to arrest recent fall in rupee and also lift recent fall in demand for corporate bonds.
7.     India has notified World Trade Organisation (WTO) of its decision to impose higher import tariffs (ranging from 20 to 50%) on 30 goods from United States. This will reportedly be the first time that India has imposed retaliatory import duties against US’s unilateral protectionist policies that range from tighter visa regime to higher import duties. It includes motorcycles (engine capacity of more than 800 cc), heavy machinery, certain iron and steel goods, boric acid as well as large number of agro products such as almonds, shrimps and chocolates. The proposed increase in import duties is aimed at countering the impact of higher US tariffs on certain Indian steel and aluminium products, which is going to put burden on $241 million on India.
8.     WhatsApp payment service has been in beta testing and almost one million people are testing the feature. This is being implemented with the help of NPCI and multiple banks. It has tied up with banks to facilitate financial transactions via Unified Payments Interface (UPI). The Reserve Bank of India has mandated all payment system operators to ensure that data related to payments is stored only in India giving firms six months to comply with it. It has been stated that sensitive user data such as the last digits of a debit card and UPI PIN is not stored at all.
9.     Banks Board Bureau (BBB) has recommended 22 general managers to be elevated as executive directors at the various public sector banks (PSBs). These recommendations were based on interactions held by BBB with eligible candidates from PSBs towards appointment against vacancies in PSBs for the period 2018-19. Now, Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister will take the final decision in this regard. This is the first major exercise undertaken by reconstituted BBB, headed by newly appointed Chairman BP Sharma, former Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training.
10.  The Insurance Regulating body IRDAI has formed a 10 member committee to review regulations of the Insurance marketing Firms (IMF). It would recommend measures to strengthen the distributing channel by including products under the jurisdiction of other financial sector regulators. The committee is expected to deliver their recommendations by July 31,2018.
11.  India had trade deficit with as many as 10 member countries out of 16 of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) nations according to the data of Commerce Ministry on 17th June 2018. These RCEP bloc nations include China, South Korea and Australia.
1.     Swajal Scheme has launched by Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation to provide clean drinking water in 115 Aspirational districts of India. Swajal is community owned drinking water scheme or programme for sustained drinking water supply. Under it, 90% of project cost is taken care by the Government and remaining 10% is contributed by beneficiary community. It will involve outlay of Rs. 700 crores through flexi-funds under existing National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) budget. Under this scheme, government aims to provide villages with piped water supply powered by harnessing solar energy. The operations and management of the project is taken care by the local villagers. Moreover, hundreds of rural technicians will be trained under this scheme for operation and maintenance of Swajal units.
2.     A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the State Health Ministers of 20 States by the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Shri JP Nadda,   to launch the Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) at a Health Ministers conclave in New Delhi. AB-NHPM aims to target over 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 (SECC) database. It will cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year, taking care of almost all secondary care and tertiary care procedures. There will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme. The scheme integrates two on-going centrally sponsored schemes viz. Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).Around 10 states and union territories are expected to implement the scheme through a trust model, while five may do so through a mixture of trust and insurance. Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Jharkhand are some of the states. West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka, Punjab and Delhi are yet to implement this programme. Another 5 states and Union Territories will join this programme by the end of June.
3.     Under government’s Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu laid foundation stone for sewage management system and Storm water drainage system in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh on June 16, 2018. The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015 with the focus to establish infrastructure that could ensure adequate robust sewage networks and water supply for urban transformation by implementing urban revival projects. Rajasthan was the first state in the country to submit State Annual Action Plan under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
4.     Under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) programme, National Skill Development Corporation announced its partnership with Muthoot Fincorp Limited On June 17,2018 to train over 10,000 youth over the next three years and make them job ready. NSDC has approved a target of 3,000 candidates in the first year and 3,500 each in the subsequent two years.The Muthoot Pappachan Group will also absorb 80 per cent of the trained students 8,000 into the Group for regular positions (Job Roles), after successful completion of training and assessment of the candidates.
1.       Dhivya Suryadevara, an Indian-American woman has been named the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of General Motors (GM). She will be the first woman CFO in the auto industry and Mary Barra is the first woman CEO in the auto industry, as no other major global automaker has a female CEO, or a CEO and CFO who are both women.
2.       Omar al-Razzaz has appointed as the country’s prime minister by Jordan’s King Abdullah II on 17th June 2018. Omar Al-Razzaz is a former World Bank economist, previously served as Jordan’s education minister. He will be succeeding former Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki who had resigned due to mass protests.
1.     Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan became the first Indian to score a century before lunch on the first day of the one-off test match against Afghanistan in Bengaluru. He has become the sixth batsman in the world to achieve this in the test format.
2.     New Zealand’s teenage player Amelia Kerr has created a world record in the women’s ODI cricket by scoring an unbeaten 232 runs in a match against Ireland in Dublin on 13th June 2018. She became the highest individual scorer in women’s ODI. She broke the 21-year-old record held by Australian Belinda Clarke, who scored unbeaten 229 runs against Denmark in 1997. Amelia Kerr has also become the third-highest individual run scorer in the history of men’s and women’s cricket. She has also become the second woman in the history of cricket to score a double hundred. She is also the youngest cricketer to have scored a double century.
Books & Authors:
1. Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Shipping, Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari released a book ‘Water productivity mapping of major Indian crops’ published by NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) at an event in New Delhi. The book ‘Water productivity mapping of major Indian crops’ is about a study on 10 major crops done by a team lead by eminent agricultural economist Dr. Ashok Gulati. The 10 major crops are: rice, wheat, maize, pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane, cotton and potato etc. The book recommends to realign cropping pattern with focus on water scarcity of irrigation, ration irrigation supplies in canal irrigation system, enhance micro-irrigation and invest in water harvesting and artificial recharge and promote participatory irrigation management through water user association and farmer’s producer organisation.
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