International Current Affairs 2018 - Current Affairs Today

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  • Newly elected members of Pakistan parliament swore in

    Pakistan’s 329 newly-elected members, including Imran Khan, of the National Assembly took the oath on 13th August. Imran Khan is all set to form the next government, only the second democratic transition of power in the country. Speaker Ayaz Sadiq administered the oath to the leaders in the 342-member house. Imran Khan and other prominent leaders including Shahbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and former President Asif Ali Zardari also took the oath. The maiden session of the 15th National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, happened after the swearing of the members. The PTI’s final tally reached 158 after it was allotted 28 out of 60 seats reserved for women and 10 seats reserved for minorities.

    Rafael Nadal won Rogers Cup 2018

    Rafael Nadal defeated Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas.  He clinched his fourth Canadian Masters 1000 title at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.  

    BBC's Women Who Changed The World List: Marie Curie Topped

    BBC History Magazine conducted a poll of 100 women who changed the world. Marie Curie voted the woman who made the most significant impact on world history. Women from several fields in areas like politics, science, sports, technology, and literature were shortlisted.  Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel prize in physics, a first female professor at the University of Paris and also the first person to win a second Nobel prize. Here is the list of Top 5 from the BBC History Magazine's '100 Women Who Changed The World':  1. Marie Curie, 2. Rosa Parks, 3. Emmeline Pankhurst, 4. Ada Lovelace,  5. Rosalind Franklin. 

    Exim Bank signed MoU with BRICS Development Banks

    The MoU signed by Exim Bank Managing Director David Rasquinha. The main objective is to strengthen the cooperation under the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism. The signatories agreed to constitute a joint research working group which will formulate the research agenda and targeted outcome. About BRICS BRICS -  Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

    Macau set to overtake Qatar as world's richest place by 2020

    According to the Inter­national Monetary Fund (IMF), Macau in China would overtake oil-rich Qatar with the highest per-capita gross domestic product of any country or jurisdiction on earth, by 2020. Macau is the only place in China where casinos are legal and its gross domestic product has more than tripled from about $34,500 per capita in 2001, the IMF data shows. Three European countries -- Luxembourg, Ireland, and Norway -- made the top 10 places expected to be the world’s wealthiest by 2020, while the US came in at No. 12.

    Israel Opened Visa Application Centre In Kolkata

    Israel recently announced a reduction in visa fees to INR 1,100 rupees from its previous 1,700 charged from Indians. India recorded a half-yearly growth of 82 percent as compared to the same period in 2015 and has become one of the best-performing markets in Asia for Israel.  

    NASA launched Parker Solar Probe To Touch Sun

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched off a $1.5 billion spacecraft toward the Sun to protect the Earth by unveiling the mysteries of dangerous solar storms. The probe is designed Sun's mysterious atmosphere known as corona coming within 3.83 million miles (6.16 million kilometres). It is the first major mission under Nasa's Living With a Star program with 1.5 billions.  

    Google launches Video Q and A App Cameos Aimed At Celebrities

    This app allows people to answer questions about themselves, then share those answers directly on Google. With the Cameos app, famous personalities can address fans questions in their own voice, instead of leaving the answers up to other websites.

    HSBC launched Online Platform MyDeal To Raise Funds Via Capital Markets

    The online platform contains all the information relating to a client's capital markets transaction and is updated on a real-time basis. In its pilot phase, MyDeal raised over USD 25 billion in the first seven months through over 30 transactions globally.

    Ivan Duque Sworn In As Colombias Next President

    He was sworn in as the country's 60th president. About Colombia Capital: Bogota  Currency: Colombian peso.

    Mike Pence disclosed the plans of U.S. in building its 6th Space Force

    Mike Pence, U.S. Vice-President, disclosed the details of the plans to build a U.S. Space Force, the sixth branch of America’s massive military. It was President Donald Trump’s vision to create the Space Force. Trump said that the Pentagon needs it to tackle vulnerabilities in space and assert U.S. dominance in orbit. Mr.Pence also said that an independent Space Force was necessary to counter Russia and China, who are working towards anti-satellite capabilities. U.S. will be investing an additional $8 billion in U.S. space security systems over the next five years.

    Ramco Systems acquired a multi-million dollar order from AP Cargo Logistic Network Corporation

    Ramco Systems, a Software firm, acquired a multi-million dollar order from Manila-based air freight leader AP Cargo Logistic Network Corporation with an aim to implement its logistics software. It is expected that AP Cargo would implement the software to streamline its freight operations countrywide. AP Cargo partnered with Ramco after the partnership with the Philippines as it was adopting IT solutions to ramp up its logistics capabilities and infrastructure. The freight and logistics market is expected to reach $60.22 billion by 2023.

    Taiwans Wistron to invest Rs.1,150 crore in Karnataka

    Taiwan’s Wistron, a contract manufacturer of Apple iPhones in India, has plans to invest Rs.1,150 crore in Karnataka during the first phase of operations. It is expected to manufacture components in Phase II and Phase III. As Apple is demanding tax concessions from the State government it is not directly investing but has given the contract to Wistron.

    Largest museum of US to return 2 ancient sculptures to India

    An eighth-century stone sculpture of Goddess Durga and a  third century limestone sculpture 'Head of a Male Deity' will be returned to India by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest museum in the US. The stone sculpture of Durga Mahishasuramardini was donated to the museum in 2015. The limestone sculpture, donated in 1986, was part of Nagarjunakonda Site Museum's excavated inventory.

    Rashida Tlaib set to become 1st Muslim woman in US Congress

    She (42-year-old) is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants and won a Democratic primary election to represent Michigan's 13th district, securing 33.6 percent of the vote. Tlaib is set to replace John Conyers. She served in the Michigan state house from 2009 to 2014, and was also the first Muslim woman ever elected to the state’s legislature.

    Israel launches fresh airstrikes on Gaza

    Dozens of rockets were fired from the enclave into its territory.  The rise of the issue comes after the Hamas leadership convened for a rare meeting in Gaza on Friday.

    Former Chile president Bachelet named new UN human rights chief

    UN (United Nations) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has chosen former two time Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to be new UN high commissioner for human rights. She would replace Jordan's Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein. Bachelet who ranks among the world's most powerful women in politics, also served in 2010 as the first director of UN Women, the UN agency promoting gender equality worldwide.

    Japan commemorates 73rd Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombings

    On August 6, 1945 at 8:15 a.m., the US B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped the 20 kiloton atomic bomb "Little Boy," on Hiroshima, which devastated most of the city, killing 80,000 people instantly, leaving 12,000 missing and 40,000 wounded. On August 9, 1945, at 11:01 a.m., another US bomber dropped the 21 kiloton atomic bomb "Fat Man" on another Japanese city - Nagasaki - killing about 40,000 people and leaving 60,000 injured. Japan: ♦ Capital - Tokyo. ♦ Currency - Japanese Yen. ♦ Prime minister - Shinzo Abe (Since 2012)

    UK announces new organ donation plan to address Indian origin shortages

    The UK government has announced new plans to change the law for organ and tissue donation to address the urgent need for organs within the Indian-origin communities in the country. The proposed new system of consent for organ and tissue donation is expected to come into effect in England in 2020, as part of a drive to help black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people desperately waiting for a life-saving transplant.

    UK rejects India's request to ban pro Khalistan event in London

    A US-based pro-Khalistan group ‘Sikhs for Justice’ (SFJ) will hold a so-called “London Declaration” to further its ‘Referendum2020’ agenda on August 12 at London's Trafalgar square. On the same day, Indians based in London will gather to celebrate India’s 71st Independence Day at the venue. The group's ‘Referendum2020’ calls for the people of Punjab to determine independence from India.

    Venezuela's President Maduro survives 'assassination attempt'

    Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, has survived an apparent assassination attempt after the detonation of the explosives overhead during a speech he was making at a military event. Maduro replaced the socialist Hugo Chávez after his death from cancer in 2013.

    Pakistan PTI officially nominated Imran Khan as Prime Minister

    Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has been officially nominated to be Pakistan’s next Prime Minister. He was selected unanimously by the party. In order to assume the office, he will face a vote in Parliament where he will have to defeat Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, who was nominated by the joint opposition.

    PHDCCI and CNI signed MoU To Set Up Indo-Nepal Centre

    The MoU was signed by Anil Khaitan, President of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and Hari Bhakta Sharma, President of Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) in Kathmandu. The main aim of the MOU is to promote Indian investment in Nepal, work with Indian ventures in Nepal, resolve problems being faced by them and also to promote industrialization in Nepal,  also to provide training to Nepali entrepreneurs.

    ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meet Held In Singapore

    Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong chaired the 51st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers meeting in Singapore. The main aim of the meeting is to meet the need for ASEAN countries and also trade union setup between United States and its long-time trading partners, including China, the EU and Canada. About Singapore Official languages: English, Malay, MandarinTamil Recognised national languages: Malay Singapore ranks 5th on the UN Human Development Index and the 3rd highest GDP per capita

    Gaganjeet Bhullar won European Tour Title

    Gaganjeet Bhullar golf player won around 9 Asian Tour titles. He became the most successful Indian player on Asian Tour. He defeated Anthony Quayle of Australia.   

    Magnitude 7 Earthquake struck Indonesia

    Powerful earthquake hit the popular Indonesian resort island of Lombok and Bali. The National Disaster Management Board reported that the death toll had risen to 37, then to 82. Earlier on July 29, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit Lombok and killed 16 people. Important Notes: Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 2,30,000 people in many countries.

    United Kingdom announces new organ donation plan to address Indian-origin shortages

    The proposed new system of consent for organ and tissue donation is expected to come into effect in England in 2020. This announcement comes as a recent report called on the National Health Service (NHS) to take more proactive action to address the high death rate among Indian-origin people in Britain due to low levels of organ donation within the community.

    Netherlands crowned as world champions for the eighth time at Women's Hockey Tournament

    Kitty van Male, top scorer at the Women's Hockey Tournament. Spain won the third-place match by beating Australia 3-1 to claim their first ever World Cup medal. India finished the tournament at the 8th spot.

    India and Kyrgyzstan deepen bilateral ties on health, tourism, defence and security

    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev discussed possible areas of collaboration and the areas discussed during the bilateral meeting includes political and parliamentary exchanges, defense and security, science and technology, economic, health and tourism. About Kyrgyzstan Official languages: Kyrgyz (national and official) Religion: Islam, Christianity Currency: Som (KGS)

    AAI to joint venture with Sri Lanka in Mattala airport project

    India’s Airport Authority of India (AAI) joint ventures with the Airport & Aviation Services in Sri Lanka to run the loss-making Mattala airport, located in Sri Lanka’s Southern Province. So far, three rounds of official negotiations were completed. After detailed negotiations, the two governments have agreed that India, with a 70% stake in the joint venture, will contribute $225 million to revamp and run the airport, while the Sri Lankan side will invest the balance. India will operate the airport on a 40-year lease. Once the technical aspects of the joint venture are prepared, the draft agreement will be presented for Cabinet clearance.

    Chinese researchers create worlds first single-chromosome yeast

    Researchers from China have claimed to have created the world’s first single-chromosome yeast while not affecting the majority of its functions. The researchers involved in the creation are molecular biologists from the Centre for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences in China. The research was published on the website of the journal – Nature on August 2, 2018.

    UNICEF warns of another cholera outbreak in Yemen

    World Health Organization (WHO) warned Yemen may be on the verge of another cholera epidemic, which could be deadlier than previous ones because of widespread malnutrition in the war-torn country. Since April 2017 to February 2018, more than 1,060,000 suspected cases of cholera and 2300 deaths have been reported in Yemen.   

    U.S. and Mexico border wall endangers more than 1000 species at risk

    Scientists said that more than 1,000 species of animals are severely endangered due to the construction of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The wall reduces the available area and quality of land. The construction would severely hinder movement, thus fragmenting populations, and affecting food cycles and mating patterns. The Peninsular Bighorn sheep, Mexican gray wolf and the Sonoran pronghorn antelope would be among the species most at risk. Sixty-two of the 1000 species are already listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

    NASA selects Indian origin Sunita Williams among 9 astronauts for human spaceflight

    Williams has been named for the Boeing programme to the ISS (International Space Station), the first test flight scheduled to take place in the middle of 2019. The eight active NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) astronauts and one former astronaut-turned-corporate crew member will launch on Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Dragoncapsules to the International Space Station beginning in 2019. The Eight other astronauts are: Victor Glover, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins, Douglas Hurley, Eric Boe, Christopher Ferguson, Josh Cassada, and Nicole Mann. 

    Japan overtakes China as World's 2nd biggest stock market

    As a result of China's trade war with the US and its campaign to cut debt, the value of China's stock market fell to $6.09 trillion, losing its position as the World's second biggest stock market to Japan ($6.17 trillion). The U.S. has the world's largest stock market at just over $31 trillion. China's stock market overtook Japan's in 2014 and soared to an all-time high of over $10 trillion in 2015.

    Mauritiuss SBM gets Reserve Bank of India approval for Subsidiary

    State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) is the first foreign lender to receive such a license after local incorporation was introduced in 2013. SBM started in India since 1994 and currently operated through four branches, in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Ramachandrapuram.

    Emmerson Mnangagwa of ZANU-PF party wins Presidential election in Zimbabwe

    Emmerson Mnangagwa won 50.8 percent of votes to 44.3 percent for opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of MDC party. He needed over 50 percent of the vote to secure victory without a second-round run-off.

    Korea returned the remains of US soldiers killed in Korean War

    Korea returned the remains of US soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War. The U.S. received the remains contained in 55 caskets which were arrived by military cargo jets from South Korea. Earlier in the month of June, President Donald Trump received a commitment from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Singapore Summit. Mr.Trump thanked Mr.Kim for sending home the remains of the great and beloved soldiers.

    Lewis Hamilton Won 6th Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix

    Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes won the Hungarian Grand Prix for the 6th time, at the Hungaroring circuit, in Hungary.  This is the 67th career victory for Lewis Hamilton.  Daniel Ricciardo was named Driver of the Day by Formula One for finishing at fourth position after starting from the 12th position.  

    Afghan announced that the Presidential election will be held on 20th April 2019

    Afghanistan announced that the next presidential election will be held on April 20, 2019. Abdul Badi Sayad, chairman of the Independent Election Commission announced the date of the election in presence and with the unanimous consent of the Afghan political parties and the Civil society activists. The tenure of the incumbent, President Ashraf Ghani, will end in the year 2019. It is expected that he will stand for another five-year term.

    Facebook to introduce time management tools

    Facebook (and Instagram) has announced that it is to introduce a time management tool which will be like a daily reminder. This tool will help people to manage their time by restricting them in spending time on the platforms.  Using this tool the users can set a time limit to be spent on the app. They will be alerted when they reach the time limit. It is also introducing an option to deactivate notifications on smartphones.

    Imran Khan Invites Aamir Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev to Oath Ceremony

    Imran Khan, Pakistan's prime minister-to-be, has invited Bollywood star Aamir Khan and former cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Navjot Singh Sidhu to his oath-taking ceremony on August 11.  Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party emerged as the single largest party in Pakistan's national assembly after the July 25 general election.

    India and USA Military Cooperation Meeting begins In New Delhi

    The meeting was co-chaired by Lt Gen Satish Dua, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) and Lt Gen Bryan Fenton, Deputy Commander, Indo-Pacific Command.  External Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would meet their US counterparts in 2 plus 2 meeting in September in New Delhi.  The main aim of the meeting is on strengthening defense and strategic ties.

    France Parliament signed Into Law, Asylum And Immigration Bill

    This bill is designed to accelerate asylum procedures by cutting the maximum processing time from the current 120 days to 90 days after entering France.  About France President: Emmanuel Macron Capital: Paris Prime minister: Edouard Philippe  Currency: Euro, CFP franc.

    India and Germany Sign Pact On Financial And Technical Cooperation

    India and Germany have signed an agreement on financial and technical cooperation focusing on sustainable urban development and renewable energy. The government-to-government Umbrella Agreement on Financial Cooperation and Technical Co-operation 2017 is worth about 5,000 thousand crore rupees.  The agreement under the Indo-German Bilateral Development Cooperation was signed between Joint Secretary in the Finance Ministry, Sameer Kumar Khare, and German Ambassador to India, Martin Ney, in New Delhi.  About Germany  Currency: Euro  Capital: Berlin Chancellor: Angela Merkel.

    UAE launches amnesty programme to aid foreign visa violators

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched a landmark three-month visa amnesty programme, which will benefit hundreds of illegal foreign workers, including Indians, who are overstaying their permits in the gulf nation.  The programme will allow the workers to leave the country without paying penalty and it will also give them six months to find a job. According to Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), the authority responsible for entry and residence of foreigners in the UAE, visa violators will be able to rectify their status legally during the amnesty period. The foreign workers will also be given a six-month temporary visa to stay in the country and look for work.

    World Economic Forum claps for Indian Railways for its efforts for green environment

    One of the lifelines of India for transportation, Indian railways was praised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for its solar train launched which helped to keep the environment clean.  WEF has also posted a video describing the features of the solar powered railway station and train of our railways. India’s massive diesel-guzzling railway network is getting serious about its experiments with solar. On July 14, Indian Railways rolled out its first train with rooftop solar panels that power the lights, fans, and information display systems inside passenger coaches.  Although the train will still be pulled by a diesel-powered locomotive, a set of 16 solar panels atop each coach will replace the diesel generators that typically power these appliances.  The railways estimate that a train with six solar-powered coaches could save around 21,000 litres of diesel every year, worth around Rs 12 lakh. In 2014, Indian Railways consumed 2.6 billion litres of diesel, accounting for around 70% to the network’s total fuel bill of Rs 28,592 crore.

    North Korea builds intercontinental ballistic missiles

    Washington Post reported that North Korea seems to be building one or two new liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles at a factory at Sanumdong. It also said that the advancement of the missiles is unknown. North Korea has produced the country’s first missiles which are capable of reaching the United States. This is the latest evidence that suggests the ongoing activity at North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities despite of the Singapore Summit in June between the US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

    United States to grant India the STA 1 trading status

    US President Donald Trump decided to grant India the STA-1 (Strategic Trade Authorization) status equivalent to American allies for procurement of military weapons. This is a big rebuff to China for blocking India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The US President has relaxed a key condition set by the Obama Administration that India would be eligible only after it had secured the membership of all four technology control regimes - the NSG, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group. India became a member of three of these, except for NSG where China has continued to block a consensus.

    Pakistans PTI invited MQM P to form the federal government

    Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party after winning the majority in Pakistan’s Parliamentary election invited the support of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) to form the federal government.  PTI’s Jahangir Tareen flew to Karachi from Islamabad to meet with MQM-P to invite them to join the PTI-led government.  In the July 25 election, the party MQM-P won 6 National Assembly seats, 4 in Karachi and 2 in Hyderabad.

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