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Current Affairs - 14 August 2018


Somnath Chatterjee passes away at 89
  • Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee passed away on Monday morning. He was 89. 
  • The former Speaker’s body was taken to the Calcutta High Court little after mid-day where members of the Bar Association paid homage to him.
  • Mr. Chatterjee was given gun salute in the State Assembly following which his body was taken to his residence at around 3 p.m. where Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and other leaders paid their last respects to him.
  • Mr. Chatterjee’s body was donated to SSKM Hospital later in the evening.
  • Born into a family of jurists and parliamentarians, the former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had learnt the ropes of politics from his father, Nirmal Chandra Chatterjee, a barrister, judge and parliamentarian. Nirmal Chandra, an influential non-Congress politician of his time, had been the president of the All India Hindu Mahasabha.
  • He was a Hindu nationalist and won in the first Lok Sabha election in 1952 .
  • He briefly aligned with the centre-right Swatantra Party and even won the 1963 Lok Sabha election with the support of the Communist Party of India
  • In politics, he was acceptable to all and it is one of the reasons the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance backed him as the Speaker of the 14th Lok Sabha in 2004; Mr. Chatterjee was the unanimous candidate for the post.
  • Mr. Chatterjee was elected 10 times to the Lok Sabha — first from Burdwan (1971) and then twice from Jadavpur (1977, 1980). Between 1985 and 2004, he won seven times from Bolpur.
  • He lost only once (in 1984 in Jadavpur to Mamata Banerjee).
Pune tops Ease of Living Index

  • Three cities in Maharashtra — Pune, Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai — top the first Ease of Living Index brought out by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • New Delhi is ranked 65 among 111 cities, while Chennai is in 14th place.
  • The three cities at the bottom of the rankings are Rampur, Kohima and Patna.
  • A city’s ranking reflects its ability to provide data, as well as its actual performance on four different parameters — institutions or governance, social indicators, economic indicators and physical infrastructure. Senior Ministry officials told The Hindu that cities which were unable or unwilling to provide data received low scores.
  • Releasing the Index, Housing and Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the ranking marks “a shift to a data-driven approach to urban planning and management.”
  • Particular complications were seen in indicators such as health —where local governments did not have access to data from private hospitals.
  • The other cities in the top 10 include Tirupati, Chandigarh, Thane, Raipur, Indore, Vijayawada and Bhopal.
India rejects U.K. proposal on DNA tests for ‘illegalmigrants’
  • India rejected a proposal by the UK to use DNA sampling to establish the nationality of illegal migrants living there citing “privacy issues.”
  • Although a Memorandum of Understanding on return of illegal migrants was initialled after due approval of the Union Cabinet in January by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, India refused to sign the final pact during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to U.K. in April.
  • As per the original MoU, security agencies in India were to verify the antecedents of illegal migrants without documents in the U.K. within 72 days and those with documents within 15 days.
  • If no report was given within the stipulated time frame, the illegal migrant would be deported automatically.
  • The agreement was put on indefinite hold after National Security Adviser Ajit Doval conveyed that the 15-day limit was unworkable.
  • According to the British government’s estimates, there are around 1,00,000 Indians overstaying their visa in the U.K.
  • India has contested this and said that as per their estimate, the number will not be more than 2,000.
Blue stickers for petrol, CNG; orange for diesel
  • The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to a proposal of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to have hologram-based coloured stickers on vehicles to indicate the nature of the fuel used in them.
  • The MoRTH told a Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur that hologram-based sticker of light blue colour will be used for petrol and CNG-run vehicles while similar sticker of orange colour would be placed on diesel vehicles.
  • The date of registration of the vehicle would also be printed on these stickers, the Ministry told the court.
  • The Bench asked the Ministry to implement the use of coloured stickers on vehicles plying in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) by September 30.


China to expand energy footprint in Iran
  • The next episode of friction between and Washington could be staged in Iran, where a top Chinese energy firm, defying latest U.S. sanctions, is likely to expand its stake in a giant Iranian gas field.
  • Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA has reported that China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the world’s third-largest oil and gas firm, has replaced Total, the French energy giant, in the South Pars 11 project. 
  • China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has replaced Total of France with an 80.1% stake in the phase 11 of the South Pars (gas field).
  • South Pars is the world’s single largest natural gas field, which is being developed in several phases.
  • In 2017, Total acquired a 50.1% stake in the South Pars 11 project, following the 2015 sanctions-easing Iran nuclear deal.


Turkish lira drags rupee down 
  • The Turkish lira’s woes rattled emerging market currencies on Monday with the rupee slumping 1.6%, its biggest one-day fall in five years, to hit a new closing low of 69.93 to a dollar.
  • The dollar index was trading higher at 96.18.
  • A weaker rupee will make exports competitive.
Retail inflation slows to 9-month low at 4.17%
  • Retail inflation eased to a nine-month low of 4.17% in July as food inflation cooled to its lowest level since July 2017, according to official data.
  • Inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) slowed from the 4.92% pace set in June.
  • Within the index, food category inflation was 1.73% in July, easing from 3.11% in June. The other significant slowdown in prices was in the pan and tobacco category, which saw growth of 6.34%, down from 8.05% in June.
  • Growth in the fuel and light category accelerated to 7.96% in July, from 7.22% in June.
Centre tells Amazon to secure customer data via local storage
  • Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad has asked Amazon India to set up storage servers in India ‘on priority’ to store data of its users within the country.
  • Greater clarity, as to what type of data will have to mandatorily be stored in India, will emerge once the law on data protection is finalised.
  • He added that data analytics would soon become a big segment of growth, especially given the large amounts of data generated by Indians.
  •  In the draft personal data protection bill 2018 released last month, the Justice B.N. Srikrishna-headed panel has also suggested that critical personal data of Indian citizens be processed in data centres located in the country.


Nadal shows who the Master is
  • Rafael Nadal held off a late surge from birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas to claim the 80th title of his career with victory at the Masters.
  • Nadal overcame a second set fightback from Greek youngster Tsitsipas to claim a 6-2, 7-6(4) victory in just under 1hr 45mins.
  • At Montreal, World No. 1 Simona Halep held her nerve in a rollercoaster duel with Sloane Stephens to win the WTA Montreal crown for the second time.

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