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Daily Current Affairs Update: 13 March 2019

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

1. BMTC now aims for 1,500 e-buses facility

  • The brand image of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has been dented over its sputtering on the induction of electric buses.
  • A tender for operating 150 electric buses in a phased manner through a private company got embroiled in a series of controversies, which ultimately resulted in it being scrapped in mid-February.
  • But now BMTC has planned to launch 1500 e-buses

a. Key facts

  • On March 7, the BMTC called for 'expression of interest' for the supply of 1,500 electric buses.
  • The Cabinet approved the decision of the corporation's board.
  • This decision came at a cost with the corporation losing over ₹85 crore subsidy from the Centre under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles India (FAME India) scheme.

2. Discom to set up 4 solar microgrids in Delhi

  • Power distribution company BSES Yamuna has launched a pilot project to establish solar microgrids, becoming one of the first discoms in the country to do so in an urban setting.
  • A similar rollout is planned for south and west Delhi areas as well.

a. Key facts

  • This is a part of the discom’s green division initiative to accelerate the penetration of renewable energy.
  • These microgrids will combine rooftop solar energy storage systems with Lithium Ion (Li-ion) based batteries.
  • Four such microgrids have been setup at BYPL offices in east Delhi to demonstrate the technology. The energy generated through the rooftop solar caters to the internal power requirements of office loads and charges the batteries. The surplus is fed into the grid, which has the potential to reduce electricity bills.
  • According to experts, these microgrids have multiple benefits, both for the consumer and the discom, like — preventing outages by sharing the load with distribution transformers (DT), power availability even in case of an outage from the main grid, auto demand response in case of peak power, reduction in energy bills etc.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

1. Several countries ban Boeing plane

  • European Union, Australia and UK join countries that banish Boeing 737 Max.
  • Boeing Co staggered into a deepening global crisis as governments around the world grounded the company’s best-selling jet over safety concerns after a second deadly crash.
  • The European Union Aviation Safety Agency suspended all flights by the 737 Max as a precautionary measure while investigators probe why an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft plunged to the ground near Addis Ababa, killing 157.
  • The March 10 crash occurred less than five months after a Lion Air 737 Max 8 plunged into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia.

a. Key facts

  • The global rush to halt flights is leaving Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration isolated a day after they expressed confidence in the jetliner’s airworthiness.
  • Jurisdictions including China, Australia and Singapore had already grounded the Max, as had airlines from Latin America to Africa and the Middle East.
  • But the spread of the ban to Europe deals a major blow to Boeing as it grapples with the aftermath of the African tragedy.

2. In setback in Venezuela, US is withdrawing diplomats from its embassy

  • The United States is withdrawing all remaining diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, because of worsening conditions in the country.

a. Key facts

  • The move is a setback for the Trump administration, which had vowed to keep diplomats in the country to legitimize the opposition challenger to President Nicolás Maduro, who cut diplomatic ties with the United States in January.
  • the “deteriorating situation” in the country and the belief that the presence of U.S. diplomats “has become a constraint on U.S. policy.”
  • Top administration officials have said since the start of the political standoff in January that “all options are on the table.”

INDIA AND WORLD

1. Oyo to invest ₹1,400 cr in India, South Asia in 2019

  • Hospitality startup Oyo said it would invest $200 million (about ₹1,400 crore) in its India and South Asia business in 2019.
  • The money will go towards capital expenditure, technology and leadership as per the  chief executive of India and South Asia.

a. Key facts

  • Oyo is present in over 259 cities in India, with over 8,700 buildings and over 173,000 rooms.
  • It also operates in 10 countries, including Japan, Nepal and China.
  • Oyo recently raised $100 million from Didi Chuxing of China, completing the $1 billion fundraise it had planned last year.
  • At about $5 billion, Oyo is now the second-most valuable startup in India, after payments company Paytm.
  • The company also announced a new category called Collection O, which adds to Oyo’s mid-scale business hotel offerings.
  • It has also added a new SOS button on its app. The SOS button will allow customers to contact Oyo’s safety response team and local law enforcement at any time in the day.

ECONOMY AND BANKING

1. SBI offers doorstep services for seniors

  • State Bank of India (SBI) has launched priced ‘doorstep banking’ for senior citizens over 70 years of age, as also for differently abled and infirm customers, including those who are visually impaired.
  • The facility will be available for those living within a 5-kilometre radius of select bank branches.
  • These services are available against payment of a fee of Rs 100 for financial transactions and Rs 60 for non-financial transactions.
  • Customers will have to register at their home branch.

a. Key facts

  • The differently abled and infirm customers will have to submit a medical certificate to that effect to register for this service.
  • The RBI has directed banks to offer doorstep banking to those who cannot make it to bank branches.
  • In a circular issued in 2017, it said, “In view of the difficulties faced by senior citizens of more than 70 years of age and differently abled or infirm persons (having medically certified chronic illness or disability), banks are advised to make a concerted effort to provide basic banking facilities.”
  • Many banks, however, are yet to draw up a policy for providing doorstep-banking service for customers.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. The starry dwarf frog, named after Wayanad’s Kurichiya tribe, is found outside protected areas

  • It is just 2 cm long and sports pale blue spots and brilliant orange thighs.
  • The discovery of the starry dwarf frog, a nocturnal amphibian that lives under leaf litter on a mountaintop in Kerala’s Wayanad, has been published on March 13 in PeerJ, an international multidisciplinary journal.

a. Key facts

  • It was in June 2010 that frog researcher Vijayakumar S.P. first laid his eyes on the odd-looking frog and picked it up from a top Wayanad’s Kurichiyarmala.
  • He knew that it was a new species, it had many interesting morphological characters like shape and colour patterns that people haven’t seen in other Western Ghats frogs.

2. Diabetes and pollution linked, says 11-year China study on 88,000 people

  • Long-term exposure to the major air pollutant PM2.5 increases the risk of diabetes, an international study conducted in China has found.
  • Experts from the Fuwai hospital in Beijing under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Emory University in the US evaluated the association between long-term exposure to PM2.5 and diabetes incidence based on data collected from more than 88,000 Chinese adults.

a. Key facts

  • The large-scale study conducted over a decade found that the risk of the disease increased by about 15.7% for an increase of 10 micrograms per cubic metre of longterm concentration of the pollutant, considered one of the worst.
  • The adverse effects of PM2.5 were larger among young-to- middle-aged subjects, females, non-smokers and subjects with lower body mass index as per the study.
  • China is said to have the largest number of diabetes patients in the world.
  • It also has a relatively higher concentration of PM2.5 in the air despite improvement in air quality in cities like Beijing in the last few years.
  • Even though there are no India-specific long-term studies, the co-relation will be more or less the same as far as India is concerned because pollution is severe in India and both Indians and Chinese people are pre-disposed to diabetes.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY

1. Third test firing of guided Pinaka is successful

  • Guided Pinaka developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was successfully test fired at Pokhran ranges after two successful trials on, March 11, 2019.  
  • All the three trials met mission objectives.

a. Key facts

  • The consecutive successful missions of Guided Pinaka proves the efficacy, reliability and high precision capabilities of the weapon system.

2. China, Pakistan upgrading fighter aircraft such as JF-17,  FC-1 used against Indian Air Force

  • The JF-17, or the FC-1, is a single-engine multi-role light fighter jet jointly developed by China and Pakistan for export, according to the website of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
  • China and Pakistan have begun upgrading their jointly developed JF-17 fighter jet, the current version of which was reportedly used by the Pakistan air force (PAF) in the dogfight against Indian fighter aircraft near the Line of Control (LoC) last month.
  • Key facts
  • The F-16 was part of the two dozen fighter aircraft that PAF had scrambled during the dogfight with the IAF.
  • The current version is said to be a contender of India’s indigenously developed Tejas aircraft.

SPORTS

1. Pictograms unveiled 500 days before start of Tokyo 2020 Olympics

  • The pictograms for next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics were unveiled at an event to mark 500 days to go until the Summer Games.
  • Pictograms for each sport, including the five new sports that will feature at Tokyo 2020, will feature on tickets, television graphics and venues and are one of the key visual elements of any Olympic Games.
  • Baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding, surfing and speed climbing will all feature at Tokyo 2020 as organizers target a younger audience.

a. Key facts

  • When Tokyo last hosted the Summer Games in 1964, it was the first Olympics to include pictograms and they have featured at every Games since.
  • The concept was introduced to make all sports easy to comprehend across the world.
  • The sports pictograms were officially used for the first time at the 1964 Tokyo Games as Japanese designers, predecessors, pioneering designers, created this great legacy.

APPOINTMENTS

1. Three special Central Observers appointed by ECI for J&K

  • The Special Central Observers Dr. Noor Mohammad, IAS (1977, retd) , Sh Vinod Zutshi , IAS (1982, retd) and Sh. A.S.Gill, IPS (1972, retd), appointed by the Election Commission of India for assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • They met with the Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora, Election Commissioners Shri Ashok Lavasa and Shri Sushil Chandra at ECI Headquarters in New Delhi.

a. Key facts

  • The 62 Commission will be regularly and on real time basis monitoring the situation in J & K and will also be taking inputs from all necessary quarters and decision regarding holding Legislative Assembly elections in J & K will be taken soon.
  • During the meeting it was requested to the Special Observers that they may kindly visit the State at the earliest, a suggestion which was accepted by them.

PERSON DIED

1. Legendary drummer Hal Blaine dies at 90

  • Hal Blaine the acclaimed drummer who played on dozens of chart toppers for artists including Frank Sinatra and The Beach boys dies at 90.
  • He gained fame in the 60s for his genres.

a. Key facts

  • Hal Blaine was an American drummer and session musician who is considered one of the most recorded studio drummers in the history of the music industry, claiming over 35,000 sessions and 6,000 singles.

 

Attempt Daily Current Affair Quiz: 13 March 2019

Posted By:

Ragini Joshi

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