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Evening News Digest: 22 January 2018

OP Rawat appointed as new chief election commissioner

  • Om Prakash Rawat will take over as the new chief election commissioner (CEC) on January 23, 2018. He will replace Achal Kumar Jyoti, who retires on January 22.
  • Former finance secretary Ashok Lawasa has been appointed the new election commissioner.
  • OP Rawat: He is 64 and has previously held various portfolios at the Centre and in the states. He was also deputed to South Africa in May 1994 as the United Nations' election observer to oversee the first post-apartheid elections there.

Govt. reduces minimum export price of onion by 150 dollars to 700 dollars per tonne

  • The government has reduced the minimum export price (MEP) of onion by 150 dollars to 700 dollars per tonne. Directorate General of Foreign Trade in a notification issued that this rate will remain in force till 20th February.
  • Onion MEP was scrapped in December 2015 but brought back in November 2017 with an aim to check rising prices of onion. The government reduced the MEP as the price has now started moderating.
  • As per the Price Monitoring Cell of the Department of Consumer Affairs, retail onion prices are ruling at about Rs 40 per kilogram in most cities. However, the key vegetable ingredient was selling at Rs 51 in Delhi. The country exported 1.2 million tonnes in April-July of this fiscal, up by 56 per cent from the year-ago period.
  • MEP: An MEP is the floor price below which exports are not allowed

India's automated ocean pollution observation system to become functional in April 2018

  • By this year, India is planning to have its own automated ocean pollution observation system. Apart from offering insights on how the marine system is changing, the system will aid to keep a check on ocean pollution levels.
  • Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) stated that, by the month of April, the system will be fully operational, and the cost of the project is estimated to be at Rs. 100 crore.
  • This is for the first time India will have such kind of system. his is a very effective system in getting the data about the ocean pollution.
  • The new system will help in monitoring the pollution level of the ocean water and the impact of climate change. It will also provide data that will help scientists to understand how the marine system is changing.

Germany scientists develops ultra thin electronic skin tattoos

  • Scientists in Germany have developed ultra thin electronic skin tattoos that can help control virtual and physical objects with mere hand gestures.
  • About the tattoo: The polymer foil in the tattoo have extremely thin sensors and almost invisible. It sticks to the palm of the hand like a second skin. These sensors will enable people to manipulate everyday objects.
  • It will also help control appliances both in the physical world and in augmented or virtual reality with mere gestures similar to how we use a smartphone now.

Jamaica declares state of emergency in Montego Bay

  • Jamaica has declared a state of emergency in the island's second city Montego Bay, where authorities are battling to stem a wave of killings. Tourists have been urged to remain in their resorts following the declaration by prime minister.
  • Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced a state of emergency for St. James Parish and deployed the military to the area amid a rise in violent crime.
  • Montego Bay has seen its murder rate rise over several years with a record 335 deaths in 2017, most tied to gang violence, and an illegal lottery scam that has fleeced hundreds of mostly older Americans out of millions of dollars.
  • Under the state of public emergency the security forces will have extraordinary powers. The move was also supported by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, citing the danger violence represents to the tourism-dependent economy.

Waste-made Qutub Minar installed near IGI Airport

  • A replica of the iconic Qutub Minar made out of municipal waste, which cost nearly Rs 16 lakh, has been erected in a newly-created street roundabout near the Delhi international airport. Termed 'Waste to Art', it is one-of-its-kind installation in the capital.
  • Lt Governor Anil Baijal inaugurated the project, alongside a beautified site underneath the Mahipalpur flyover in south Delhi.
  • The plan, involving construction of boundary wall with designer grills, internal walkways, fixing of 750 bollards & and 800 floodlights, landscaping, plantation, etc., was agreed to be provided at the site.

Maharashtra govt. prepares proposal to shift from paper to online lottery

  • The Maharashtra government has prepared a proposal to shift from paper to online lottery in order to earn more revenue.  
  • The state government of Maharashtra is studying the lottery model of Kerala, which earns a huge revenue through it. Maharashtra earns only Rs seven crore from the state-owned lotteries. Compared to this, a small state like Kerala earns Rs 1,300 crore annually.
  • The proposal has been made to introduce an online lottery system which should be unveiled by April this year. The state gets a mere Rs 132 crore from lotteries.
  • The online lotteries are gaining popularity. In Kerala, lotteries are organised for building public utilities like water supply projects or bridges. The online lotteries of other states do good business in Mumbai.

India to become fastest growing large economy in 2018

  • India will overtake China to be the fastest growing large economy in 2018 and the country's equity market will become the fifth largest in the world.
  • India will become the fastest growing large economy in the world, eclipsing China. Indian equity market will jump to become the fifth largest in the world.
  • A major factor that has changed is that the domestic buyer now sets market prices. Domestic mutual funds bought equities worth USD 15.3 billion against USD 8 billion by foreign investors in 2017.

Soloman Deksisa wins 15th edition of Mumbai Marathon

  • Mumbai Marathon, the richest race in India with a prize money worth 4 lakh 5,000 dollars came to a conclusion with Ethiopia’s Soloman Deksisa winning it.
  • Another Ethiopian, Shumit Akalnaw became the first runner-up, while Joshua Kipkorir from Kenya came second.
  • Indian Olympic athletes T Gopi and Nitender Singh Rawat also took part in the Tata Mumbai Marathon. While T Gopi won in the Indian Elite category, Nitender Singh Rawat came second. Sudha Singh of Central Railways won the Mumbai Marathon in the Indian Elite Women category.
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