Current Affairs Today – December, 21st, 2017 | Latest News and Updates

INDIAN AFFAIRS

India to Host Meeting of WTO Member Countries on Food Security

  1. Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has said on Tuesday that the India has been going to host the meeting of about 40 WTO members in February to muster support for food security and other issues.
  2. “We are trying to call a meeting of almost 30-40 countries (WTO ministerial) in Delhi in February just to help the multilateral process,” Prabhu said here at an event organised by the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC). He, however, did not give details of the meeting.
  3. On Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union, Prabhu said, he had a meeting with the EU minister to discuss various issues. “When we talk of FTA there are always trade-offs…as a country we have to find how a trade-off can benefit us,” he said.
  4. “EU is great market for India for garments, which is an employment generating sector, the minister said, adding that the government is preparing a standard operating procedure for any new FTA to be entered. Besides the EU,” he said, India is also in discussion with Canada and Australia for the FTA.
  5. Speaking at the same event, “Textile Minister Smriti Irani said the department will do a lot in the coming year for the sector. She said skilling is another focus for the government and assured all support to garment manufacturers.”

KEYS:

  1. The World Trade Organization is an intergovernmental organization that regulates international trade
  2. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
  3. Purpose: Regulate international trade
  4. Founded: 1 January 1995
  5. Membership: 164 member states
  6. Formation: 1 January 1995; 22 years ago
  7. Official language: English, French, Spanish

Global Innovation Index- India Ranked 60th Most Innovative Country, Switzerland Tops

In the term of the top-ranked economy in Central and South Asia, India has set itself on the top up six places to the 60th spot among 130 nations on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017.

Ranking Country
1 Switzerland
2 Sweden
3 Netherlands
4 US
5 UK

 

 

NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar Retires

  1. In court number 1, where Justice Swatanter Kumar has served as Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal from the five years, there has been the celebration of the event has been organised as the memorial for his retirement. Serving his last day as Chairperson, Justice Kumar would vacate his office on Wednesday for Justice U D Salvi as the officiating Chief.
  2. At the event, Justice Kumar spoke of the complicated environmental cases that he had to face and how the current environment is posing as a challenge to public health.
  3. Justice Kumar said, “Unlike today, environmental cases at that time neither involved such complex questions of law nor were they contested with such vehemence. Even the regulatory authorities were not so effective in enforcement of environmental laws. The obvious reason could be that the environment had not degraded to the present limits and threat to public health was not of the present magnitude.”

 

BJP wins absolute Majority in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP has get his power once again by getting the 44 constituencies as the results of the Himachal Pradesh elections showed the ouster of Congress party.
  2. There has been the counting of the seats that is of 68 seats in Himachal Pradesh began at 8am. The Election Commission of India announced the final votes counted for the 68 seats in Himachal Pradesh election on Monday night.
  3. People in the hill state have, in recent times, alternated between the Congress and the BJP in assembly elections every five years.
  4. There are 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh assembly, elections to which were held on November 9. A party needed 35 seats to be able to form a government.

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Iraq Overtakes Saudi Arabia as Top Oil Supplier to India

  1. Iraq has overtaken Saudi Arabia for the first time to made the India’s top crude oil supplier in the current fiscal, that has been get in the help by sales of discounted heavy crude, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today.
  2. Saudi Arabia traditionally has been India’s top oil source but in the month of April-October period of 2017-18, Iraq dethroned it, supplying 25.8 million tonnes (MT) of oil.
  3. There has been the reply of the question in the written format in the Lok Sabha, Pradhan said Saudi Arabia supplied 21.9 MT of crude oil in the first seven months of 2017-18. For the second year in a row, Iran continues to be the third largest supplier to India by selling 12.5 MT oil during the period.
  4. Iran was India’s second biggest supplier of crude oil after Saudi Arabia till 2010-11 but western sanctions over its suspected nuclear programme relegated it to the 7th spot in the subsequent years. In 2013-14 and 2014-15, India bought 11 MT and 10.95 MT respectively from it.

BANKING AND FINANCE

ICRA Launches Fixed Income Indices for Debt Markets

  1. With the aim of to create the Indian debt market, ICRA Management Consulting Services (IMaCS), an arm of ICRA, on Tuesday has launched a set of four fixed income indices including one on corporate bonds.
  2. ICRA Gilt Indices, ICRA Liquid Indices, ICRA Corporate Bond Indices and ICRA Composite Debt Indices, the four indices launched, would help asset managers and financial services companies make objective analysis and provide comprehensive benchmarking of debt portfolios.
  3. “ICRA fixed income indices will enable asset managers and investors with effective benchmarks to measure the risk returns dynamics of the fixed income markets,” IMaCS Managing Director and CEO Sanjeev Sinha told reporters here.
  4. “We have set up a internal committee to maintain the indices and it is a robust system where the valuation and prices will be captured on a daily basis,” IMaCS head (fixed income) Ashwini Kumar said.

 

Bharti Airtel to buy Millicom’s Operations in Rwanda

  1. Bharti AirtelBSE -1.45 % has signed the agreement with the Millicom International Cellular under which Airtel Rwanda Limited will acquire 100% equity interest in Tigo Rwanda Limited, thus consolidating the Rwandan telecom market by putting AirtelBSE -1.45 % has a strong No 2 operator in Rwanda.
  2. “Airtel has taken proactive steps in Africa to consolidate and realign the market structure in the last few remaining countries where its operations are lagging on account of lower market share and presence of too many operators. Airtel and Tigo have already merged their operations to create a strong viable entity in Ghana. Today, it has taken yet another important step to acquire Tigo Rwanda to become a profitable and a strong challenger in a two-player market,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel.
  3. “We are also committed to the long term viability of our operations in two other countries i.e. Kenya and Tanzania, to ensure that in 2018 all our 15 operations in Africa start contributing positive margins and cash flows towards a healthy and profitable Airtel Africa,” Mittal added.
  4. Raghunath Mandava, MD and CEO, Airtel Africa, said, “The acquisition reinforces our commitment to the Rwanda market and is a significant step towards creating a stronger presence in the country. It will create synergies with our existing business and help boost operational efficiencies in the market.”

 

Ola Acquires FoodPanda India Business, to Further Invest $200 million

  1. Taxi aggregator Ola has decided to bought the Foodpanda India from its German parent Delivery Hero group in the term of the deal of the amount of the $40 million, re-entering a resurgent food-delivery market that has matured and become more competitive in the past year.
  2. “Ola will eventually become an integrated services network, where Ola Money will be linked to not only booking cabs or paying for meals at restaurants, but also a host of other services including food-delivery and possibly a re-entry into the grocery segment in 2018,” said an analyst, speaking anonymously.
  3. “For Ola, the synergy is the customer base that this acquisition gives, along with a fairly decent number of restaurants on board and some brand recall value though miniscule,” said an investor in the food-delivery space, declining to be identified. “Through this deal Ola will easily take on UberEATS, which is failing to pick up traction for varied reasons… But whether Ola can cement a significant position in the food-delivery space through Foodpanda is questionable.”
  4. “Foodpanda has come to be a very efficient and profit-focused business over the last couple of years,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO of Ola, in a statement. “Our commitment to invest $200 million in Foodpanda India will help the business be focused on growth by creating value for customers and partners. With Delivery Hero’s global leadership and Ola’s platform capabilities with unique local insights, this partnership is born out of strength.”

 

SPORTS

India Finishes 1st at Junior Boxing Championship in Germany

  1. Indian junior boxers has set the one of the fifth International Sven Lange Memorial Tournament, clinching six gold, four silver and a bronze medal to finish as overall champions in the German city of Schwerin.
  2. At the top of the Bhavesh Kattamani (52kg) picked up the best boxer trophy along with his gold medal. There has been the three-day tournament saw pugilists from all over the world flocking to Schwerin for this prestigious tournament as they looked to prove their mettle.
  3. The other gold-medallists for India were Vijeydeep (63kg), Akshay (60kg), Ish Pannu (70kg), Lakshay Chahar (80kg) and Vinit (75kg).
  4. The silver-winners were Anil (48kg), Swapnil Shinde (50kg), Aman (54kg) and Satender, while the lone bronze- medallist for the country was Aakash (66kg).

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Bengali Poet Joy Goswami to Get 31st Moortidevi Award

  1. Eminent Bengali poet Joy Goswami has been given the award of the 31st Moortidevi Award for the year 2017, a selection board meeting announced here today.
  2. This is done by the comeeti that is chaired by poet and scholar Satya Vrat Shastri, unanimously decided to confer the award upon Goswami for his poetry collection titled ‘Du Dondo Phowara Matro’.
  3. It is the first time the award will be given to a Bengali poet. ‘Du Dondo Phowara Matro’ is an autobiographical account of the poet’s life featuring his close ones including a pet cat.
  4. Born on 10 November 1954, Goswami is considered one of the most powerful poets in the post-Jibanananda Das era of Bengali poetry lending his voice against violence, war and genocide through his poetry.

OBITUARY

Bernard Law, Powerful Cardinal Disgraced by Priest Abuse Scandal, Dies at 86

  1. Cardinal Bernard Law, the US former archbishop who had became a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church’s systematic protection of paedophile priests because of his failure to stop abuse in Boston, has died at the age of 86 years.
  2. “To all those who have suffered from my shortcomings and mistakes, I both apologise and from them beg forgiveness,” Law said when he stepped down in December 2002.
  3. “I am particularly cognisant of all who experienced the trauma of sexual abuse by clergy, whose lives were so seriously impacted by those crimes, and their families and loved ones. To those men and women, I offer my sincere apologies for the harm they suffered.”
  4. He added that Law served at a time when the church “failed seriously” in its mission to provide pastoral care for people, with tragic outcomes.He also defended “other dimensions” of Law’s life, including his early role in the US civil rights movement in Mississippi.

 

Sandeep Kumar

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