Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 3, 2018)
1. Iran oil: India to get U.S. sanctions waiver
Eight countries will be given exemptions and “weeks longer to wind down” their trade with Iran, once U.S. sanctions against Iran kick in on November 5.
This was clarified by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Friday during a conference call with some members of the press.
India — for whom Iran is the third largest source of oil after Iraq and Saudi Arabia — is expecting to be on the list as The Hindu recently reported.
In terms of entities granted exemptions, there would be no exemption for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a global financial messaging service, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was also on the call, said. SWIFT — which does not hold money itself but transmits information on transactions — has a network that spans 200 countries and some 11,000 financial institutions, as per the data released by the company. If it is sanctioned, that will have a significant impact on organisations that use it. SWIFT has been told it will have to cut off from sanctioned entities as soon as technologically feasible or could face sanctions, Mr. Mnuchin said.
The EU, which remains party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or the ‘Iran Deal’) has been frustrated by the U.S’s withdrawal, and has been searching for ways to work around the sanctions, including through the use of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). The U.S. plans to bring any SPV within its sanctions net as well. “…If there are transactions that go through there that have the intent of evading our sanctions, we will aggressively pursue our remedies,” Mr. Mnuchin said.
700 entities to be hit
Seven hundred entities — individuals and groups as well as companies — will be sanctioned on Monday, Mr. Mnuchin said. Most of them will be formerly sanctioned entities, but some 300 will be new.
2. Loans for MSMEs in 59 minutes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced 12 measures to boost the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, including a portal that would enable the units to get a loan in just 59 minutes and interest subvention of 2%.
“In the time taken for you to reach your office, you can now get a loan,” he said. “We had run a pilot and I had set a target of 72,000 MSMEs. As of today, 72,680 have been on-boarded.”
The Prime Minister said firms registered on the Goods and Services Tax portal would be able to avail themselves of this facility on the portal itself. “When you file GST returns, you will be asked if you want a loan,” Mr. Modi said. “GST-registered firms will also get a 2% rebate on interest rates. Being a part of the GST and being an honest taxpayer will become your strength.”
Mr. Modi said public sector companies had now been asked to compulsorily procure 25%, instead of 20%, of their total purchases from the MSMEs. He said that of the 25% procurement mandated from the MSMEs, 3% must now be reserved for women entrepreneurs.
Also, Mr. Modi announced a 2% interest subvention on fresh or incremental loans for all GST-registered MSMEs. “These 12 decisions will mark a new chapter for the MSME sector,” he said.
The Prime Minister recalled India’s strong traditions of small scale industries, including Ludhiana’s hosiery and Varanasi’s saris.
3. Navy planning to induct women as sailors
In a first, the Navy is looking at recruiting women in the rank of sailors. The matter was discussed at the three-day Naval Commanders Conference that concluded on Friday, official sources said.
4. Flip-flop over appointing acting CJ in Gujarat
Less than 12 hours after appointing Justice Anant Dave acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court late on Thursday evening, the Law and Justice Ministry appointed Justice Akil Kureshi in his place, cancelling on Friday morning its previous notification.
The acting Chief Justice was appointed after Chief Justice Subhash Reddy was elevated to the Supreme Court.
Quick volte face
Curiously, with Justice Reddy’s elevation, the Supreme Court collegium recommended transfer of Justice Kureshi to the Bombay High Court. However, the Ministry is yet to implement the transfer.
Justice Kureshi is the senior-most judge in the Gujarat High Court after the Chief Justice and hence was a natural choice as acting Chief Justice.
However, on Thursday, the Ministry issued a notification appointing Justice Dave.
Meanwhile, on Friday, another notification was issued stating that in place of the notification issued on November 1, the President is pleased to appoint Justice Akil Abdulhamid Kureshi, senior-most judge of the Gujarat High Court, to perform duties of the office of the Chief Justice.
5. Sri Lanka court demands arrest of military chief
A Sri Lankan court on Friday ordered the arrest of the country’s top military officer over the abduction and murder of 11 people during the Tamil civil war.
Colombo Fort magistrate Ranga Dissanayake reprimanded police investigators for failing to act on a previous order to detain Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne.
“The court ordered that the Admiral be arrested before November 9,” a court official said. “If they fail, there should be action against the police officer handling the case.”
The magistrate wants police to arrest Mr. Wijegunaratne, the chief of the defence staff, for allegedly shielding a Navy officer responsible for abductions and killings.
Police told the court that the Admiral had protected Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi, who is the main suspect in the killing of 11 men between 2008 and 2009. They are believed to have been killed while being illegally held by the Navy.
6. Cuban President meets Putin on Moscow visit
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday met Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel who was making his first official visit to Moscow. In a joint statement, Mr. Putin praised “friendship, mutual support and help” which mark the two countries’ relations, and said that they had “substantive and effective talks”.
7. Atul Goel takes over as MD, CEO of UCO Bank
Atul Kumar Goel on Friday assumed charge as Managing Director and CEO of UCO Bank. Prior to this assignment, he was executive director of Union Bank of India. Goel takes over from R.K. Takkar, who completed his three-year tenure on November 1, 2018. Goel, who holds a Bachelor degree in Commerce, is considered one of the youngest and dynamic executives in the banking industry, UCO Bank said in a statement.
8. India enters final
India marched into the Division B final of the FIBA U-18 women’s Asian championship following a lopsided 83-38 victory over Hong Kong at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium here on Friday.
India will play Kazakhstan for the title on Saturday, knowing a win will fetch promotion to Division A.
Division A: Semifinals: China 69 bt Korea 51; Japan 90 bt Australia 77; Fifth place: New Zealand 75 bt Chinese Taipei 47.
Division B: India 83 (T. Dharshini 15, Harshitha Bopaiah 18, Pushpa Senthil Kumar 12, Srishti Suren 11) Ishwarya Janardhanan 10) bt Hong Kong 38 (Wing Nga Poon 11); Kazakhstan 76 bt Syria 56; Fifth place: Iran 63 bt Singapore 51.
9. Sindhu bats for Pro Volleyball League
World No. 2 badminton player P.V. Sindhu will be the brand ambassador of the inaugural edition of Pro Volleyball League along with legendary American spiker David Lee.
The inaugural season of the Pro Volleyball League will start in February 2019.
10. Laxman re-traces his journey
V.V.S. Laxman says his forthcoming autobiography ‘281 And Beyond,’ in collaboration with well-known cricket correspondent R. Kaushik and brought out by Westland Publications, will trace his journey and share the experiences right from his childhood to being teammate to some of the biggest names in Indian cricket.
In an informal chat with select media after formally releasing the paper cover of the biography here on Friday, the elegant Hyderabadi reveals the the challenges, both on the field and off it, right from childhood to the post-retirement.
11. NASA’s historic Dawn mission comes to an end
NASA’s pioneering Dawn spacecraft — which orbited the two largest objects in the asteroid belt — has run out of fuel, ending a 11-year mission that unravelled many mysteries of our solar system, the U.S space agency said on Friday.
The $467 million Dawn mission, launched in 2007 to study the protoplanet Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres, missed scheduled communications sessions with NASA’s Deep Space Network on October 31 and November 1, NASA said in a statement. The spacecraft lasted two years longer than originally planned.
After the flight team eliminated other possible causes for the missed communications, mission managers concluded that the spacecraft finally ran out of hydrazine, the fuel that enables the spacecraft to control its pointing.
“Today, we celebrate the end of our Dawn mission — its incredible technical achievements, the vital science it gave us, and the entire team who enabled the spacecraft to make these discoveries,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate here.
“The astounding images and data collected from Vesta and Ceres are critical to understanding the history and evolution of our solar system,” he said.
On Tuesday, NASA had announced that its Kepler Space Telescope had run out of fuel, and the craft would be commanded to cease operations.
12. Hip implant patients get J&J aid offer
Johnson & Johnson Private Limited on Friday announced a programme to address the needs of patients of faulty hip implants in India.
The “ASR India Patient Assistance Program” provides for the reimbursement of eligible tests and revision surgery up to 15 years from the date of primary surgery.
“Our ASR IPAP helpline is open… and we urge any patients who received an ASR Hip system to register at, +91 44 421 44842 or 0008000501443 between 9:30AM to 6:30PM from Monday to Friday or email us on email@example.com,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.
The ASR IPAP provides for the reimbursement of expenses for testing and revision surgeries related to the ASR Hip system recall within 15 years from the date of primary surgery.
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME)
Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety (CCRS)
14. Things to Remember:
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel
15. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – A natural liking for and understanding of someone or something.
Example – ‘he had a special affinity with horses’
Synonyms – empathy, rapport, sympathy, accord, harmony, like-mindedness, relationship, bond, connection, propinquity
Meaning – 1.1 A similarity of characteristics suggesting a relationship, especially a resemblance in structure between animals, plants, or languages.
Example – ‘a semantic affinity between two words’
Synonyms – similarity, resemblance, likeness, kinship