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Current Affairs- 28 August 2018


Protocol will not stop me meeting leaders, says Malik

  • The newly appointed Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satya Pal Malik is the first politician to be appointed to the position in over half a century. 
  • Mr. Malik said his brief was to “reach out to the people of the State, to listen to them and after listening, do whatever is in their interests.”
  • “I will be inviting leaders of political parties to meet with me and if anyone feels uncomfortable to come to me, I will go to them. Protocol will not stop me,” Mr. Malik said.
  • He, however, did not comment on whether these “political” leaders would include leaders of the Hurriyat Conference.
Jatropha powers India’s first biofuel flight
  • A blend of oil from jatropha seeds and aviation turbine fuel propelled the country’s first ever bio jet fuel-powered flight on Monday between Dehradun and Delhi.
  • The 43-minute flight was operated by SpiceJet’s Bombardier Q-400 aircraft.
  • A blend of 25% of bio jet fuel and 75% of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) was carried in one of the two engines of the plane, while the other carried only ATF. International standards permit a blend rate of up to 50% biofuel with ATF.
  • “It has the potential to reduce fuel costs by 15-20%,” SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director, Ajay Singh said.
  • Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said, “A policy will soon be framed on bio jet fuel for aviation industry and placed before the Cabinet.”
  • The indigenously developed fuel has been nearly eight years in the making by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research lab based in Dehradun along with the Indian Institute of Petroleum.
  • The institute started its experiment on biofuel soon after Virgin Atlantic carried out the first test flight globally in 2008.
Indus treaty talks to begin 
  • India and Pakistan will resume their talks on various aspects of the Indus Waters Treaty in Lahore, the first bilateral engagement since Imran Khan took office as Prime Minister.
  • The last meeting of the Pakistan-India Permanent Indus Commission was held in New Delhi in March, during which both sides had shared details of the water flow and the quantum of water being used under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.
  • The official said Pakistan would raise its concerns over the 1000-MW Pakal Dul and the 48-MW Lower Kalnai hydroelectric projects on the Chenab river.
  • The session is also expected to discuss ways and means for the timely and smooth sharing of hydrological data on shared rivers.
  • The 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, brokered by the World Bank and signed by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and former Pakistan President Ayub Khan, administers how the waters of the Indus River and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be utilised.

Myanmar Army had ‘genocidal intent’
  • Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent” and the Commander-in-Chief and five generals should be prosecuted for the gravest crimes under international law, UN investigators said.
  • In a report, they called for the UN Security Council to set up an ad hoc tribunal to try suspects or refer them to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. 
  • The Security Council should also impose an arms embargo on Myanmar and targeted sanctions against individuals most responsible for crimes.
  • They blamed the country’s de facto civilian leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, for failing to use her ”moral authority” to protect civilians.
  • A year ago, government troops led a brutal crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on 30 Myanmar police posts and a military base. Some 7,00,000 Rohingya fled the crackdown and most are now living in refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.
  • Ms. Suu Kyi’s government has rejected most allegations of atrocities made against the security forces by refugees. It has built transit centres for refugees to return, but UN aid agencies say it is not yet safe for them to do so.
Wuhan spirit should spur India to join Belt and Road initiative: China
  • China called India its “natural partner” in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and advocated better ties between New Delhi and Islamabad within the Eurasian framework.
  • Asked to respond to India’s objections to the China-Pakistan Economic Project (CPEC) on grounds of sovereignty, Mr. Zhang, China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, focused on the big picture. He signalled that differences between New Delhi and Beijing on the project were overridden by the rapid turnaround in their ties after the Wuhan summit.
  • The Chinese official stressed that, “CPEC is an economic initiative. Implementing CPEC does not jeopardise China’s position on Kashmir.”
  • Refusing to accept India’s permanent exclusion from the BRI in the post-Wuhan scenario, Mr. Zhang said that “historically India was an important country on the ancient Silk Road, and it is fair to say that India was a natural partner [then] and [is one now] in the Belt and Road Initiative.”
  • Separately, the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday welcomed India and Pakistan’s joint participation in a Eurasian counter terrorism military exercise under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

No relief to power sector on RBI’s stressed assets norms: Allahabad HC
  • The Allahabad High Court refused to grant any relief on Reserve Bank of India’s revised framework on the resolution of stressed assets, a large part of which is in the power sector.
  • The deadline for the resolution of these stressed assets lapsed and they now have to face insolvency proceedings.
  • The RBI, on February 12, issued a circular scrapping all previous restructuring mechanisms such as strategic debt restructuring (SDR). 
  • The new rules said that if a borrower delays even by a day the repayment of a loan, the debt would be classified as stressed and the lenders should begin the resolution process. The rules also said that the lenders had to do this within 180 days of the first default, failing which they had to initiate proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in 15 days.
  • The power sector accounts for the highest share of banks’ NPAs.
  • According to the RBI, the total outstanding loans of scheduled commercial banks to the sector stood at ₹5.65 lakh crore as on March 2018. About 80% of this is accounted for by public sector banks with stressed assets in the sector making up a fifth of this exposure.
eMudhra plans U.S. digital certifying foray in 2019
  • eMudhra, a licensed Indian certifying authority that issues digital signature certificates, expects revenue to grow 30% from last year’s ₹78 crore and plans to enter the U.S. market next year, Kaushik Srinivasan, senior vice-president, strategy, and innovation, said.
  • “We have already set up a strong market presence in select markets in APAC, Middle East, and Africa,” Mr. Srinivasan said
  • Digital transaction management is poised to grow globally into a $30-billion market by 2020, according to Aragon Research, a U.S.-based research and advisory firm.
  • In India, cybersecurity and paperless transformation, as a result of Digital India, were proving to be big drivers for eMudhra’s growth, Mr. Srinivasan said.
  • “In the coming year, we expect revenue from smart city projects for IoT security. Blockchain projects are still in pilot stages and as a technology, it will take a few years to go mainstream,” he said.
  • The Bengaluru-headquartered company, which is licensed by the Controller of Certifying Authorities, has a research and development centre in the city and is building its own campus in the Bangalore IT Park to accommodate 2,000 people. “We currently have 400 people and we plan to grow to 1,000 people in the next 3 years,” Mr. Srinivasan said.

  •  Neeraj Chopra let his throws do all the talking as he shattered his own National record on his way to the men’s javelin gold at the Asian Games.The 20-year-old now becomes the country’s first javelin thrower to strike gold at the Asiad.
  •  India also won three more silvers through 400m hurdler Dharun Ayyasamy, long jumper V. Neena and steeplechaser Sudha Singh.
  • Saina  Nehwal ended her campaign with a bronze, her first in three attempts in singles at these Games.

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