GK Update & Current Affairs: 11th and 12th November 2018
1. Palau Becomes 1st Country In World To Ban Reef-Killing Sunscreen
- Palau has become the first country to ban reef toxic sunscreen by 2020 in an attempt to protect its coral reefs after the president of the country signed a bill into law.
- Palau defines the banned “reef-toxic” sunscreens as containing any one of 10 chemicals, including oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are found in the vast majority of sunscreens sold in the U.S., according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
2. World’s First AI News Anchor Debuts In China
- Xinhua, China’s state-run press agency, recently unveiled virtual newsreaders that combine the images and voices of human anchors with artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
- Xinhua unveiled two AI newsreaders, one that speaks in English and one in Chinese. Xinhua developed the robot anchor with Chinese search engine Sogou.com.
3. Bangalore Ranked India’s Most Congested City: NBER
- Bangalore tops the index for the most congested city, and Mumbai in the second position, while Pune follows in the seventh place, according to a recent research published under the US-based organization, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
- Conducted by a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and three other U.S. universities, the research studies the current status of mobility in urban India, using Google maps.
- In another index of traffic speed, Kolkata has been found to be the slowest city, while Pune manages to hold down its position to the 20th place.
4. RBI Cancels Registration of 31 NBFCs
- The RBI canceled the certificate of registrations of as many as 31 NBFCs for unspecified reasons. It also canceled the certificate of registrations of 17 NBFCs following a request by them for the same.
- The action comes amid difficulties faced by the NBFCs sector. A majority 27 of 31 companies which lost licenses are from Bengal.
5. Tamil Nadu Gets SEBI Approval To Launch State Shelter Fund
- Tamil Nadu has received the nod from the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to launch its State Shelter Fund for attracting investments in the affordable housing segment. The Tamil Nadu government established the Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Fund which is the category-I Alternative Investment Fund.
- The announcement was made by the Deputy Chief Minister of the State O Panneerselvam at a conference on ‘Innovative and Alternative Finance for Business and Infrastructure Development in India’ organized by the United Economic Forum (UEF) Chamber of Commerce and World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation (WIEF).
6. Jawahar Lal Sarin Conferred With France’s Highest Civilian Honour
- Jawahar Lal Sarin, president of the governing body of Alliance Francaise, was conferred with France’s highest civilian honor by French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler at an event.
- France’s highest civilian honor ‘Knight of the Legion of Honour’ was bestowed on Sarin in recognition of his outstanding contribution to enhancing Indo-French cultural cooperation and promoting the French language, a French Embassy stated.
7. 33rd ASEAN Summit Begins In Singapore
- The 33rd edition of the ASEAN Summit has begun in Singapore. Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong is the Chairman of the Summit, which will continue till 15th November along with other related summits like East Asia Summit (EAS), Regional Comprehensive Economic Summit, (RCEP) and ASEAN plus summits.
- Fintech Conference which is a part of Fintech festival will also take place alongside. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and IMF, Managing Director Christine Lagarde will also address the audience.
8. UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards 2018 Announced for Cultural Heritage Conservation
- The renewal of the early 20th-century ‘Shijo-cho Ofune-hoko Float Machiya’ has received the Award of Excellence in this year’s UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
- Ten projects from five countries – Australia, China, India, Japan, and Thailand – have been recognized by an international Jury of conservation experts in this year’s Awards.
9. Swati Chaturvedi Won Press Freedom Award For Courage In UK
- An Indian freelance journalist, famous for her investigative reports, has bagged the 2018 London Press Freedom Award for Courage. Swati Chaturvedi, author of the book ‘I am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the BJP’s Digital Army’, beat shortlisted journalists from Italy, Turkey, and Morocco for her work in exposing the “IT cell” within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for keeping an army of angry trolls.
- The award was conferred on Swati at the first award ceremony organized by the UK chapter of Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders in London.
10. Mansi Gulati’s Book ‘Yoga And Mindfulness’ Launched
- Famous yoga exponent and author, Mansi Gulati’s book, ‘Yoga and Mindfulness’.
- The book was launched by the Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Conference Hall, Vice President’s House, New Delhi.
11. Ashok Kumar Gupta Appointed New CCI Chairperson
- Former IAS Officer Ashok Kumar Gupta has been appointed as the Chairman of the Competition Commission of India (CCI). His appointment has been approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
- Mr Gupta has replaced Sudhir Mittal. His tenure as the CCI Chairman will be till October 25, 2022, i.e. when attains the age of 65 years, or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
12. NBCC Inks Pact With Health Ministry To Buy Out HSCC
- State-owned NBCC (India) Limited (formerly National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited) has signed an agreement with the Health Ministry to acquire Hospital Services Consultancy Corporation (HSCC).
- Earlier NBCC had stated that it will buy out the government’s stake in consultancy firm HSCC for Rs 285 crore. HSCC, under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, provides consultancy services in healthcare and other social sectors in India and abroad.
13. S. S. Deswal Appointed DG of ITBP
- The ACC has approved the appointment of S. S. Deswal, IPS as Director General, Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
- He took charge from R K Pachnanda, the outgoing DG of ITBP, who superannuated recently. Mr Deswal will hold the additional charge of the post of DG, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) till further orders.
14. Veteran Marathi Actress Lalan Sarang Passes Away
- Veteran theatre and Marathi film actor Lalan Sarang had passed away in Pune where she was hospitalized for a month for multiple ailments.
- Sarang was 79 years old.
15. Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ananth Kumar Passes Away
- Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, and Chemicals and Fertilizers H.N. Ananth Kumar, also a senior BJP leader from the State passed away in Bengaluru. He was 59.
- Mr Kumar was diagnosed with lung cancer at an advanced stage in June. A six-time member of parliament from Bengaluru South Lok Sabha seat, Mr. Kumar was representing it continuously since 1996.