This Daily Current Affair Capsule aims to be a time-saving tool for going through relevant news from national dailies and government releases on PIB. Aspirants for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. will find it highly useful to cover for revision and awareness purposes.
National Important Current Affairs – 15 January 2018
■ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in New Delhi on a six-day visit to India. It is the first visit of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to India and takes place in connection with the celebration of 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. He was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after which Modi accompanied Mr Netanyahu to Teen Murti Memorial where both leaders paid homage to Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives to liberate Israeli city of Haifa in 1918. The new name of the war memorial located in a roundabout near the Teen Murti Bhavan, which was the official residence of the first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru will be, Teen Murti Haifa Chowk.
About Haifa Chowk: The three bronze statues positioned in a column at the roundabout represent Hyderabad, Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers which were part of the 15 Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade.
Battle of Haifa: On 23rd September 1918, during the last month of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War, the Indian soldiers led by Major Dalpat Singh successfully captured the city of Haifa from joint forces of Ottomans, Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire. 44 Indian soldiers died in the assault. The capture of Haifa and Acre cleared a route for the Allies to send supplies to the city through the sea.
Major Dalpat Singh, who led the Indian contingent, was awarded a military cross for his bravery and is known as the ‘Hero of Haifa’ for his critical role in the liberation of the city.
■ The 70th Army Day is being celebrated today. Every year on this day, the ‘Army Day’ is celebrated to commemorate the day when General (later Field Marshal) K.M Carriappa took over the command of Army from the last British Commander-in-Chief in 1949 and became the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army after Independence. In his message on 70th Army Day, Chief of Army staff General Bipin Rawat said, Army’s focus is towards infusion of technology for better capabilities in its weapon system. The Army Chief will review the parade at Cariappa Parade Ground in Delhi Cantonment on this occasion and also present gallantry awards.
■ The Armed Forces Veterans’ Day was celebrated by the Armed Forces across the country on 14th January. The day is commemorated in the memory of first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Field Marshal K M Cariappa becoming a veteran in 1953.
■ Makar Sankranti also known as harvest festival was celebrated in most parts of the country. The festival is seen as a celebration of the end of the winter solstice month and also marks the end of the winter harvest. The festival is celebrated as Pongal in South India, Uttarayan in Gujarat, Bhogali Bihu in Assam and Poush Sankranti in West Bengal.
■ Indian Navy has decommissioned INS Nirbhik and INS Nirghat warships at Mumbai Naval Dockyard (Maharashtra) after serving the Navy for 30 and 28 years respectively. These ships, belonging to the Killer squadron, are inheritors of a proud legacy as their original avatars were flag bearers of the naval offensive action on Karachi harbour during the India-Pakistan war in 1971. They have also participated in many operations including Operation Parakram and Operation Vijay.
■ A new study has found out that a phenomenon called urban heat island is resposible for clearing fog over New Delhi and other cities on the Indo-Gangetic Plain, which are covered by dense fog every winter.
What is urban heat island effect? The urban heat island is a phenomenon when the heat gets trapped near the earth’s surface as a result of a decline in green cover, rapid urbanisation, energy-intensive activities, and concrete structures.
Effect: The urban heat island effect is so strong in Delhi that it saw 50% less fog than surrounding areas. In Delhi, the heat island effect appears to suppress the very formation of fog. The analysis has also found a correlation between the size of the urban population and that of the fog hole. Population size is related to the intensity of urban heat islands since they are an indicator of urban growth.
Challenges posed: Urban heat islands can worsen air and water quality compared to their rural neighbours. UHIs often have lower air quality because there are more pollutants (waste products from vehicles, industry, and people) being pumped into the air. When warm water from the UHI ends up flowing into local streams, it stresses the native species that have adapted to life in a cooler aquatic environment.
■ The Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has signed a MoU with State of Bihar and Jharkhand for completion of balance works of North Koel reservoir project at an estimated cost of Rs. 1622.27 crore.
About the North Koel Reservoir Project:
North Koel river rises on Ranchi plateau and flows through Jharkhand. It joins the Sone a few miles north-west of Haidarnagar. The North Koel, along with its tributaries, meanders through the northern part of Betla National Park.
The North Koel Project is situated on North Koel river which is a tributary of Sone river which finally joins the river Ganga. The North Koel Reservoir is located in the most backward tribal areas in Palamau and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand State. The construction of this project was originally started in the year 1972 and continued till 1993 when it was stalled by the Forest Department of Bihar.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 15 January 2018
■ The 4th ASEAN-INDIA Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry was held in New Delhi, in which representatives from 10 ASEAN countries took part in discussing Food and agricultural future developments. The meeting was co-chaired by India’s Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare Radha Mohan Singh and Thailand’s Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Grisada Boonrach.
■ Nepal has started accessing the internet from China after commercial operation of Nepal-China optical fibre link via Rasuwagadhi gateway across Himalayan Mountains became operational. By opening this new optical fibre link, Nepal has ended India’s monopoly on internet access. The Chinese optical fibre link enters Nepal at Rasuwa, which is just 175 km north of the capital Kathmandu.
Till now, landlocked Nepal was totally dependent on India for access to the internet through connections at Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and Birgunj, for which it paid a substantial sum as fees and royalties. Besides state-run Indian firms, Nepal has been acquiring bandwidth from private players such as Tata and Airtel and BSNL.
Note that: Data use in Nepal has been increasing constantly with more people using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and communication platforms such as Viber, Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat, especially to communicate with family members abroad.
■ India has signed an MoU with the UK to enable the return of illegal Indian immigrants within a month of their detection. India and Britain have also agreed to share criminal records and intelligence. The development comes close on heels of India seeking Britain’s help in the extradition of liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya from Britain to face the law at home in connection with cases of fraud and money laundering amounting to around 9,000 crore rupees.
The memorandums of understanding (MOUs) were signed by Britain’s Minister of Immigration Caroline Nokes and Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju. The statement has said MoU on criminal records exchange will lead to British and Indian law enforcement bodies sharing criminal records information and assist the police in protecting the public from known criminals.
■ The 13th edition of joint military drill exercise “Iron Fist 2018” has between American and Japanese forces at Camp Pendleton in California and will continue till February 12. More than 500 U.S. Marines and sailors are partnering with about 350 members of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force to train in fire support operations and amphibious assaults.
Iron Fist is an annual, bilateral training exercise where U.S. and Japanese service members train together and share techniques, tactics and procedures to improve their combined operational capabilities.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 15 January 2018
■ While launching agri-commodity options in Guar seed in New Delhi, Minister of Finance has said that the Centre is trying to increase the income of farmers. The Agri-options initiative by the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Limited will give stakeholders a new set of financial instruments to hedge their price risks. Agri Options initiative will protect farmers from downward price movement as well as give them an opportunity to sell their produce at higher prices in case of a price increase. This will create a win-win situation for farmers, irrespective of their price movement.
Options are derivatives which give a buyer the right but not the obligation to buy or sell an underlying asset or instrument at a specific price on or before a certain date.
■ The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)‘s India International Exchange has listed the first green bond on its Global Securities Market. This bond is issued by Indian Railways Finance Corporation (IRFC) and is one of the highest credit rated bonds issued by an Indian corporate. It is IRFC’s first foray into the Green Bond market.
■ In its first “Readiness for the future of production” report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked India at 30th position on a Global Manufacturing Index (GMI). The report has placed India in the Legacy group along with Hungary, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, Thailand and Turkey, among others. The report said that India’s manufacturing sector has grown by over 7% per year on average in the past three decades and accounts for 16-20% of India’s GDP.
- The report has found that Japan has the best structure of production and is followed by South Korea, Germany, Switzerland, China, Czech Republic, the US, Sweden, Austria and Ireland.
- Among BRICS nations, Russia is ranked 35th, Brazil 41st and South Africa at 45th place. China figures among ‘leading countries while Brazil and South Africa are in nascent ones.
Sports Current Affairs – 15 January 2018
■ The five days Ice Hockey Tournament 2018 has concluded at Goshan International Ice Hockey Rink, at Drass in Jammu & Kashmir. The Cup was lifted by Goshan A by 2 Goals defeating Himalayan B.
■ Indian tennis player Ramkumar Ramanathan won the 2nd round qualifying match after beating France’s Gleb Sakharov at Australian Open qualifiers in Melbourne.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 15 January 2018 “
Q1. Who has been honoured with the Janakavi P Sawlaram award?
- A) Meenakshi Shinde
- B) Vishwas Patil
- C) Jaishree T
- D) Sudhir Dalvi
Q2. Which of the following has become India’s first railway station to have sanitary napkin vending machine?
- A) Mumbai railway station
- B) Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station
- C) Kolkata railway station
- D) Bhopal railway station
Q3. Sarjubala Devi has clinched gold in which of the following category at the 2018 National Women’s Boxing Championship?
- A) 57kg category
- B) 48kg category
- C) 54kg category
- D) 62kg category
Q4. Who has been appointed the Chairman of the newly formed Finance Commission by Indian Olympic Association (IOA)?
- A) Anil Khanna
- B) BS Landge
- C) GS Mander
- D) Tarlochan Singh
Q5. Who has been appointed as the new Chairman of Kerala Maritime Board (KMB)?
- A) V J Mathew
- B) M.A. Asif
- C) M.P. Shibu
- D) Prakash Iyer
Answer these questions in the comments below. We encourage you to discuss your thoughts on the news and issues mentioned in today’s current affairs post. The idea is to promote healthy discussions on interesting issues to make preparation fun. Have a good day!