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Evening News Digest 17 July 2018

PIL in top court for barring candidates from contesting election from more than one constituency  

  • The Centre has opposed in the Supreme Court a PIL for barring candidates from contesting from more than one constituency in a general election.
  • In an affidavit, filed by Deputy Secretary with the Ministry of Law and Justice, KK Saxena, the government said, the plea failed to establish that fundamental rights of citizens were being infringed upon in any way.
  • The affidavit, which would be considered by a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said a person has been allowed under the Representative of Peoples Act to contest election from two constituencies simultaneously and the law has to be amended for disallowing the same.
  • The PIL, filed by BJP leader Ashwani Upadhyay, had sought directions to the authorities to take appropriate steps to discourage independent candidates from contesting Parliamentary and state Assembly elections as suggested by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution.
  • Background :
  • Art.326 of the Indian Constitution guarantees Universal adult suffrage to all Indian Citizens.
  • The same has been re-iterated in Section 62 of Representation of People Act, 1951. Principle of equality and non discrimination were in the minds of the makers.


LIC board approves acquisition of up to 51% stake in IDBI Bank

  • LIC’s stake buy will help the debt-ridden state-owned bank get a capital support of ₹10,000- 13,000 crore.
  • The board of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India has approved the proposal to buy 51% shares in the state-run IDBI Bank on Monday, paving the way for stake sale in the cash-strapped lender.
  • The LIC board has approved the proposal to buy 51% share in IDBI Bank.
  • The IDBI Bank’s financial health has deteriorated with yearly loss widening to ₹8,238 crore in FY18 from ₹5,158 crore in FY17.
  • Its gross non-performing assets at the end of March was 27.95% of advances. The lender is under the prompt corrective action framework of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • While LIC holds 8% stake in the IDBI Bank, the government holds about 86% and has been trying to shed stake in the beleaguered bank for about two years now. Since public holding is low, an open offer to minority shareholders is not material in this context.
  • Open offer may or may not come about because public shareholding is very small, only about 5%. And the pricing formula may not be too attractive. But they will go through that process if necessary.
  • According to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulations, any company that acquires 25% stake in a listed entity has to make an open offer to acquire 26% additional stake from the public shareholders.
  • Last month, insurance regulator IRDAI had cleared LIC’s proposal to pick up up 51% stake in the IDBI Bank.
  • The next step for the deal would be to secure approvals from the IDBI Bank board and the government.
  • Background:
  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is an autonomous, statutory body tasked with regulating and promoting the insurance and re-insurance industries in India.
  • It was constituted by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999,an Act of Parliament passed by the Government of India.The agency's headquarters are in Hyderabad, Telangana, where it moved from Delhi in 2001.
  • IRDAI is a 10-member body including the chairman, five full-time and four part-time members appointed by the government of India.


BBC World Service launches its first Gujarati language television news bulletin

  • The BBC World Service launched its first Gujarati language television news bulletin as part of an ongoing expansion drive in India.
  • ‘BBC Samachar’ will broadcast live five days a week from Delhi and will air on the broadcaster’s partner station GSTV at 8 pm local time.
  • The launch is part of a wider BBC World Service expansion, which has seen 12 new language services launched around the world over the last 12 months.
  • Four new language services have been launched online in India – Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and Telugu.
  • ‘BBC Samachar’ joins the Telugu TV bulletin ‘BBC Prapancham’ and the nightly Hindi TV news bulletin ‘BBC Duniya’.


BrahMos supersonic missile successfully test-fired from ITR at Chandipur

  • Supersonic cruise missile BrahMos was test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha.
  • Under life extension program BrahMos is the first Indian missile whose life has been extended from 10 to 15 years.
  • The Indian Army has already inducted three regiments of BrahMos in its arsenal. All are equipped with Block-III version of the missile. The land-attack version of BrahMos has been in operation in the Indian Army since 2007.
  • Dubbed as one of the most lethal weapons systems that currently exist in the world, BrahMos is capable of flights at supersonic speeds, making it hard for enemy radar to track.
  • Developed by an Indo-Russian joint venture,the missile can be fired on three different targets or in a variety of other combinations near simultaneously.
  • The fire-and-forget missile has the capability to take on surface targets by flying a combined hi-lo trajectory, thus evading enemy air defence systems.


China to launch 300 low-orbit satellites to provide worldwide communication services

  • China plans to launch 300 low-orbit satellites to provide worldwide communication services, with the first in the series to be launched later this year.
  • Known as the Hongyan constellation, the first in the 300-satellite array, is set to be launched.The constellation will be built in three stages.
  • China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said, once completed, the satellite communication network will take the place of the ground-based network and allow a mobile phone to be connected everywhere on the planet, either in a remote desert or at sea.


Peru declares 60-day state of emergency on its border with Colombia

  • Peru has declared a 60-day state of emergency on its border with Colombia in order to guarantee security in a region rife with drug trafficking.
  • There are security problems created by Colombian citizens crossing the border and there was a need to reestablish the state's presence.
  • Police and armed forces used five helicopters and three planes in joint operations with their Colombian counterparts in the first patrol in the area.

8th India-Oman Joint Commission Meeting Begins in Muscat

  • The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, today co-chaired 8th session of India-Oman Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) along with Minister of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy of Oman.
  • The Commerce Minister said that the Government of India has launched several investment friendly programmes like‘Make in India’ with a trillion dollar business opportunity in the country.
  • He said that both countries are keen to expand collaborations to their mutual benefit in the fields of energy, health, business, finance and investments, infrastructure, travel and tourism.
  • He said that the Sultanate of Oman is a strategic partner of India in the Gulf and the two countries enjoy warm and cordial relations.
  • India-Oman Joint Investment Fund (OIJIF), a joint venture between State Bank of India and State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) of Oman, a special purpose vehicle to invest in India, has been operational and the initial corpus of US$ 100 million has been fully utilized.
  • OIJIF has raised another $ 220 million for the second tranche which is being invested.


MAHAGENCO Pipe Conveyor System inaugurated

  • Inauguration of the MAHAGENCO Pipe Conveyor System -An Initiative by WCL & MAHAGENCO
  • The Union Minister of Railways, Finance, Corporate Affairs and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal inaugurated the MAHAGENCO Pipe Conveyor System for coal transportation from cluster of mines of Western Coalfields Limited (WCL).
  • The first Pipe Conveyor project of 6.3 Km length is a dedicated system for Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station of MAHAGENCO by taking coal from Bhatadi OC mine, Chandrapur Area and feeding to MGR at Padmapur.
  • The second project of approx. 20 Km length will have five feeding Open Cast Mines of Nagpur Area of WCL, namely Gondegaon, Kamptee, Inder, Bhanegaon and Singhori dedicated to Khaparkheda and Koradi Power Plants of Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd. (MSPGCL).
  • This project is being carried out in two phases. On completion of this project, road transportation of coal will be stopped and 100 per cent coal production from these mines of WCL will be transported through Koradi & Khaperkheda Coal pipe conveyor.
  • Effects:
  • The pipe conveyor system is a step in the direction of developing a modern, efficient and eco-friendly mode of coal transportation from mines of WCL to the Pit head Power stations of MAHAGENCO, Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd. (MSPGCL) has taken up the installation of Pipe Conveyor System through WCL acquired land.

May announces new 2 bn pounds UK-Italian fighter jet project

  • A new 2.0 billion pounds (2.3 billion euros, USD 2.7 billion) programme with Italy's Leonardo to design a new generation fighter jet as Britain aims to project aerospace prowess into its post-Brexit future.
  • Williamson announced 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) of government funding for a concept aircraft through 2025, when a final decision would be taken on the program’s future.
  • The plane -- nicknamed the Tempest -- is a joint venture of Britain’s BAE Systems Plc and Rolls Royce Holdings Plc, Italy’s Leonardo SpA and the U.K. arm of MBDA, Europe’s biggest missile company.


Ramesh Powar named Indian women's team interim coach

  • Former India off-spinner Ramesh Powar has been appointed the interim coach of the national women’s cricket team until the BCCI finds a suitable replacement for Tushar Arothe.
  • Powar will oversee the women’s team camp which begins in Bengaluru from July 25. The BCCI has already invited applications for the full-time coach’s job with July 20 being the deadline to apply.
  • The 40-year-old played just two Test matches for India, claiming six wickets, while his 31 ODI appearances fetched him 34 scalps. His first-class career was more prolific and he claimed 470 wickets in 148 games.

USA win inaugural athletics World Cup

  • The United States of America recorded a comprehensive victory in the inaugural edition of the Athletics World Cup after dominating the second day of the event in London.
  • Event pitted eight of the world’s top countries in track and field against one another in a two-day competition in London.
  • By the time Sunday’s events wrapped the U.S. had 219 points, beating second-place Poland’s 162 points, while the joint team from Great Britain and Northern Ireland were third with 155 points.

Background :

  • The Athletics World Cup is a team-based international athletics competition inaugurated in 2018.
  • The inaugural edition will feature eight national teams based on world rankings, with each team entering one athlete per event, and points gained on the basis of finishing position.
  • While the event is organised outside of the official IAAF structures, the IAAF has expressed support for the event notwithstanding the existence of its own IAAF Continental Cup event.

Listen Daily Current Affairs: 17 July 2018

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