DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS –16th May 2019

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GS-II (Governance)

Ban on LTTE extended for 5 years

  • The central government has extended the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for five years with immediate effect.
  • The ban has been extended under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
  • The notification stated that the LTTE’s continued violent and disruptive activities are prejudicial to the integrity and sovereignty of India.

IN’s SSB inaugurated at Kolkata

  • Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of Naval Staff inaugurated Indian Navy’s first full-fledged Service Selection Board (SSB)at Diamond Harbour, near Kolkata on 14 May 2019.
  • This is the fifth Service Selection Board of the Indian Navy and caters for selection of both Permanent and Short Service Commission officers.

India Pavilion at Cannes Film Festival 2019 inaugurated

  • The India Pavilion at Cannes Film Festival 2019 was inaugurated by Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare today.
  • A special IFFI poster marking its Golden Jubilee Edition was also released, along with a comprehensive Film Guide to showcase the importance of the film ecosystem and government incentives to shoot in India.
  • The India Pavilion has been set up to showcase Indian cinema across linguistic, cultural and regional diversity, with the aim of forging international partnerships in distribution, production, filming in India, development, technology, promoting film sales and syndication.
  • It will serve as a platform for the Indian Delegates to meet International Delegates attending the Festival to promote networking with other countries and organizations
  • The Pavilion will also serve as an information dissemination point about India and Indian Cinema for the Global Film Community.
  • The Indian Delegation will interact with key stakeholders of Cannes as well as other members of the film fraternity during the Festival, along with promoting the Golden Jubilee Edition of IFFI to be held later this year.
  • To take advantage of the availability of technicians and skilled professionals, the Delegation will showcase India as a post-production hub to promote collaborations for films with international production houses.

  GS-II (INTERNATIONAL)

US lawmakers brought bill

  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced identical resolutions that would require the US government to develop a list of scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
  • The bill seeks to prohibit individuals employed or sponsored by these Chinese military institutions from receiving student or research visas to the United States.

Trump declares national emergency over IT threats

  • US President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to protect American computer networks from foreign adversaries.
  • Trump signed an executive order which effectively bars US companies from using foreign telecoms believed to pose a security risk to the country.
  • Mr Trump does not name any company specifically in the order. However, analysts suggest it is mainly directed at Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
  • A number of countries – including the US – have raised concerns that the company’s products could be used by China for surveillance.
  • Huawei work does not pose any threat. The US is also embroiled in an escalating trade war with China.

China blocks all language editions of Wikipedia

  • China has broadened its block of online encyclopedia Wikipedia to include all language editions.
  • According to a report by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), China started blocking all language editions of Wikipedia last month.
  • Previously, most editions of Wikipedia — besides the Chinese language version, which was reportedly blocked in 2015 — were available.
  • China’s online censorship apparatus — dubbed the ‘Great Firewall’ — blocks a large number of foreign sites in the country, such as Google, Facebook and The New York Times. Topics that are deemed too sensitive are also scrubbed.
  • In November, China had removed over nine thousand accounts on Chinese social media platforms like messaging app We Chat and the Twitter-like Weibo that it accused of spreading politically harmful information and rumours.

 U.S. orders staff to leave Iraq Embassy

  • The department ordered “non-emergency U.S. government employees”, at both the Embassy in Baghdad and the Consulate in Irbil, to leave the country.
  • The order applies primarily to full-time diplomats posted to Iraq by State Department headquarters in Washington, and visa services in Iraq would be suspended as a result. Contractors who provide security, food and other services will remain in place for now.
  • The administration had received intelligence related to “Iranian activity” that put U.S. facilities and service personnel at “substantial risk”.

Xi Jinping rejects ‘clash of civilisations’ theory

  • China’s President Xi Jinping debunked the “clash of civilisations” theory, and appealed for harmonious dialogue and coexistence between civilisations.
  • Without naming the U.S., President Xi, in his address at the maiden conference on Asian Civilizations Dialogue, advocated equality, and rejected superiority of the U.S.-led West.
  • “If someone thinks their own race and civilisation is superior and insists on remoulding or replacing other civilisations, it would be a stupid idea and disastrous act,”.
  • “We should hold up equality and respect, abandon pride and prejudice, deepen our knowledge about the differences between our own and other civilisations, and promote harmonious dialogue and coexistence between civilisations.”
  • Rejecting isolationism, Mr. Xi stressed that, “If countries retreat to secluded islands, human civilization will die out because of a lack of exchanges.”

ECONOMY

NABARD announced rs 700 cr capital fund

  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development announced a Rs 700-crore venture capital fund for equity investments in agriculture and rural-focused startups.
  • NABARD has been contributing to other funds till now and this is the first time that the rural development bank has launched a fund of its own.
  • The fund has been launched by Nabventures with a proposed corpus of Rs 500 cr.

 ENVIRONMENT

Fully recyclable plastic created

  • The scientists have created a next-generation plastic that can be fully recycled into new materials of any colour, shape, or form, without loss of performance or quality.
  • A team of researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has designed it.
  • All plastics are made up of large molecules called polymers, which are composed of monomers.

 NGT directed 18 states to submit action plan

  • The National Green Tribunal directed 18 states and 2 Union Territories to submit an action plan within three months to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
  • This is being done to ensure utilization of treated waste to reduce pressure on the groundwater resources throughout the country.
  • The states which have not submitted action plans include Gujarat, Assam, Bihar, and Punjab.

SCIENCE AND TECH

1st women astronaut to go on Moon

  • Mission Artemis will likely carry the first woman astronaut to the Moon.
  • The mission has been named after the Greek Moon goddess who was also the twin sister of the Apollo.
  • The first men to walk on the Moon did so under the Apollo missions between 1960 and 1972.
  • Now, 50 years later, NASA has planned to send the first woman to the Moon in a manned lunar mission in 2024.

The moon is shrinking

  • The Moon is steadily shrinking, causing wrinkling on its surface and quakes, according to an analysis of imagery captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).
  • A survey of more than 12,000 images revealed that lunar basin Mare Frigoris near the Moon’s north pole has been cracking and shifting.
  • Since the moon’s crust is brittle, these forces cause its surface to break.

APPOINTMENTS

  • RBI has appointed former deputy governor Rama Subramaniam Gandhi as an additional director on the board of Yes Bank for two years, from 14 May 2019 to 13 May 2021.
  • Former Supreme Court judge A K Sikri has been appointed as the chairperson of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority.

SPORTS

Jaisalmer to host Int. Army Games

  • International Army Scout Masters Competition as a part of International Army Games will be organised at Jaisalmer from 24 July-17 August 2019.
  • The event will witness participation of the Mechanised Infantry Scout Teams of eight countries including Russia.
  • The Competition will be conducted in 5 stages, which will test the overall skills of Mechanised Infantry Scouts.

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