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Current Affairs English

Daily Current Affairs 16th April, 2024

Daily Current Affairs 16 April 2024 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.

NATIONAL NEWS

India lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover since 2000

India lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover since 2000

  • India lost 2.3 million hectares of tree cover between 2001 and 2023, latest data from the Global Forest Watch monitoring project showed. The figure is equivalent to a 6% decrease since 2000. 
  • Five states from the North East accounted for 60% of all tree cover loss between 2001 and 2023 in the country, the report found.
  • Assam had the maximum tree cover loss at 324,000 hectares compared to an average of 66,600 hectares during the period. Mizoram lost 312,000 hectares of tree cover, Arunachal Pradesh 262,000 hectares, Nagaland 259,000 hectares and Manipur 240,000 hectares.
  • During this period, India reported the maximum tree cover loss of 189,000 hectares in 2017. In 2016, the country had lost 175,000 hectares of tree cover and 144,000 hectares in 2023, the report said.
  • From 2001 to 2022, Odisha had the highest rate of tree cover loss due to fires with an average of 238 hectares lost per year, the report said. Arunachal Pradesh lost 198 hectares, Nagaland 195 hectares, Assam 116 hectares and Meghalaya 97 hectares due to the same reason.
  • The Global Forest Watch, which tracks forest cover changes in near real-time using satellite data, among other sources, said that India lost 414,000 hectares of humid primary forest (4.1%) from 2002 to 2023. This makes up 18% of its total tree cover loss in the same period.

CDP-SURAKSHA, govt’s new digital platform to disburse subsidies to horticulture farmers

CDP-SURAKSHA, govt’s new digital platform to disburse subsidies to horticulture farmers

  • The BJP-led government has come up with a new platform to disburse subsidies to horticulture farmers under the Cluster Development Programme (CDP), the Centre’s initiative to promote horticulture crops. The platform is known as CDP-SURAKSHA.
  • The move seeks to push the growth of India’s horticulture sector, which contributes nearly one-third to the agriculture gross value addition (GVA), making a substantial contribution to the Indian economy. The total production of horticulture crops has also spiked in recent years. While in 2010-11, it stood at 240.53 million tonnes, the number rose to 334.60 million tonnes in 2020-21.
  • The CDP-SURAKSHA is essentially a digital platform. SURAKSHA stands for “System for Unified Resource Allocation, Knowledge, and Secure Horticulture Assistance.” The platform will allow an instant disbursal of subsidies to farmers in their bank account by utilising the e-RUPI voucher (more on this later) from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Govt sets coal production target of 170 million tonnes for FY25

Govt sets coal production target of 170 million tonnes for FY25

  • The government has set the target of producing 170 million tonnes of coal from captive and commercial coal blocks in the country during the current financial year.
  • In FY24, captive and commercial coal blocks produced 147.12 million tonnes (MT) of dry fuel, 26 per cent higher from 116 MT produced in FY23
  • According to an official, additional secretary, coal, M Nagaraju this week reviewed the coal production targets for FY25. Representatives of 74 coal mines were present in the review meeting.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

US, Japan, Philippines trilateral deal to change dynamic in South China Sea, Marcos says

US, Japan, Philippines trilateral deal to change dynamic in South China Sea, Marcos says

  • A cooperation agreement by the Philippines, the United States and Japan will change the dynamic in the South China Sea and the region, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said, while seeking to assure China it was not a target.
  • The three leaders expressed “serious concerns” about China’s “dangerous and aggressive behavior” in the South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion of annual ship-borne commerce with various maritime disputes among China and other countries.
  • China claims almost the entire South China Sea despite a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration found Beijing’s sweeping claims had no legal basis.
  • Philippine and Chinese ships have had a series of run-ins in the past month that included the use of water cannon and heated verbal exchanges.
  • The deepening China-Philippines row coincides with an increase in security engagements with the United States under Marcos, including expansion of U.S. access to Philippine bases, as well as with Japan, which is expected to sign a reciprocal troop pact with Manila.


BANKING & FINANCE

PayU partners PayPal to improve cross-border payments for Indian merchants

PayU partners PayPal to improve cross-border payments for Indian merchants

  • PayU, a leading online payment solutions provider will announce its partnership with the US-based fintech company PayPal to enhance the cross-border payment experience for Indian merchants. 
  • With the new partnership, the company will be able to leverage PayPal ISU 2.0 to checkout the offer customers a more personalised and inclusive payment experience.
  • With this integration, customers will get the flexibility to choose from a variety of payment methods at checkout, including PayPal, PayPal Pay later, and various local Alternative Payment Methods (APMs) from customers outside India,such as Apple Pay, Venmo, Discover, MyBank, GiroPay, Blik, SoFort, Bancontact, and Trustly, among others, where available. 

LIC hikes its stake in Hindustan Unilever Limited over 5%

LIC world's strongest insurance brand: Brand Finance Insurance Report

  • Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) said its stake in FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has crossed 5 per cent.
  • The Corporation has increased its shareholding in Hindustan Unilever Limited from 11,74,63,555 to 11,77,18,555 equity shares, i.e., 4.99 per cent to 5.01 per cent of the paid-up capital of the company, LIC said in a regulatory filing. 
  • The Corporation purchased additional shares from the open market in the ordinary course of transaction, it said.

IMGC ties up with Bank of India to offer mortgage guarantee-backed home loan products

IMGC ties up with Bank of India to offer mortgage guarantee-backed home loan products

  • India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation (IMGC) has announced its strategic partnership with the Bank of India (BOI) to offer mortgage guarantee-backed home loan products. 
  • This collaboration will focus on salaried and self-employed home loan customers in the affordable housing segment.
  • Leveraging IMGC’s guarantee expertise and BOI’s network of over 5,100 branches across India, this collaboration will enable the public sector bank to provide home loan products with greater flexibility and security to potential homeowners. 


BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Apple Loses Top Phonemaker Spot To Samsung As IPhone Shipments Drop, IDC Says

Apple Loses Top Phonemaker Spot To Samsung As IPhone Shipments Drop, IDC Says

  • Apple’s AAPL.O smartphone shipments dropped about 10% in the first quarter of 2024, hurt by intensifying competition by Android smartphone makers aiming for the top spot, data from research firm IDC showed. 
  • Global smartphone shipments increased 7.8% to 289.4 million units during January-March, with Samsung 005930.KS, at 20.8% market share, clinching the top phonemaker spot from Apple.
  • The iPhone-maker’s steep sales decline comes after its strong performance in the December quarter when it overtook Samsung as the world’s No.1 phone maker. It’s back to the second spot, with 17.3% market share, as Chinese brands such as Huawei gain market share.

India’s goods trade deficit narrows to 11-month low of $15.6 bn in March

India's current account deficit dips to USD10.5 billion in October-December: RBI

  • India’s goods trade deficit narrowed by nearly 17% in March compared with the previous month, official data showed, as imports fell steeply, while exports rose only marginally.
  • The deficit fell to $15.6 billion in March, down from $18.71 billion in February, and $16.02 billion in January, commerce ministry data showed. This is the lowest it’s been in 11 months—the last time the deficit was narrower was in April 2023 when it came in at $14.44 billion.
  • The March figure exceeded economists’ expectations of the deficit coming in at $18.55 billion, according to a Reuters poll.
  • Goods exports rose marginally to $41.68 billion in March, from $41.40 billion in February amid the slow pace of pickup in global trade during 2024, following a contraction in 2023 that was driven by the lingering effects of high energy prices and inflation.

WPI inflation scales 3-month high of 0.53% in March 2024

India's retail inflation to remain above 5% till May: SBI Research report

  • The headline wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation inched up to a three-month high of 0.53 per cent in March from 0.2 per cent in February. It thus remained in positive terrain for the fifth consecutive month, after it was in deflationary territory for the major part of financial year 2023-24 (FY24).
  • Data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry showed that the uptick in factory gate inflation during March was driven by increase in prices of food articles, electricity, crude petroleum and natural gas, among others. 
  • The overall FY24 wholesale headline inflation stood at -0.7 per cent compared to 9.6 per cent in FY23. Within this, the food inflation was at 3.2 per cent in FY24, down from 6.4 per cent in the previous financial year.
  • Whereas, the prices of fuel (-4.4 per cent) and manufactured products (-1.7 per cent) contracted during FY24 compared to 29.4 per cent and 5.7 per cent, respectively, in FY23.


SPORTS

Mohun Bagan pip Mumbai City to win maiden ISL League Shield

Mohun Bagan pip Mumbai City to win maiden ISL League Shield

  • Mohun Bagan Super Giant became the Indian Super League (ISL) Champions by defeating Mumbai City FC by 2-1 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. 
  • The Mariners thus wrested the title back from the Islanders courtesy of a goal each by Liston Colaco and Jason Cummings in this championship-winning clash in the City of Joy.
  • This was Mohun Bagan’s first victory over the two-time Shield Winners across four seasons as the Mumbai heavyweights were also unbeaten over them in previous eight matches, winning six of them.
  • The win also sealed their berth in the AFC Champions League 2 for the first time as 60,000 chanted ‘Mohun Bagan, Mohun Bagan’ reverberated across the Salt Lake Stadium stands.

Badminton Asia C’ships: Wang Zhi Yi wins 2nd gold, Jonatan Christie bags maiden title

Badminton Asia C'ships: Wang Zhi Yi wins 2nd gold, Jonatan Christie bags maiden title

  • Indonesian Badminton player Jonatan Christie won his first Asian Badminton Championship by defeating the Chinese player Li Shi Feng in the final of the 2024 Badminton Asia Championships. The 41st  Badminton Asia Championships was held in the coastal city of Ningbo, located in the Zhejiang province of China. 
  • The current All England Open champion, Jonatan Christie, was in good form and won his match in straight sets 21-15,21-16. Jonatan Christie lost in the final of the 2022 Badminton Asia Championship held in Manila, Philippines.

Badminton Asia C’ships winners:

  • Singles Men – Jonatan Christie (Indonesia)
  • Singles Women – Wang Zhi Yi(China)
  • Doubles Men’s – Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang(China)
  • Doubles Women’s – Baek Ha-Na and Lee So-Hee (South Korea)
  • Mixed Doubles – Feng Yan Zhe/Huang Dong Ping (China)

Aishwarya Mishra’s 400m bronze at 2023 Asian Championships to be upgraded to silver

Aishwarya Mishra’s 400m bronze at 2023 Asian Championships to be upgraded to silver

  • Top Indian athlete Aishwarya Mishra’s 400m bronze medal at 2023 Asian Championships will be upgraded to silver as original second-place finisher Farida Soliyeva of Uzbekistan failed a dope test.
  • Soliyeva’s urine sample collected on July 13, during the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok last year, contained prohibited substance Meldonium and the Athletics Integrity Unit, the international federation’s body for combating doping, disqualified all her results from that date.
  • The AIU has banned Farida Soliyeva (Uzbekistan) for 3 years from 13 September 2023 for Presence/Use of a Prohibited Substance (Meldonium). DQ (disqualify) results from 13 July 2023. 

Lithuanian discus thrower Mykolas Alekna breaks longest standing men’s track and field world record

Lithuanian discus thrower Mykolas Alekna breaks longest standing men’s track and field world record

  • Lithuanian discus thrower Mykolas Alekna broke a world record that had stood for four decades at the Oklahoma Throws Series World Invitational meeting in Ramona
  • The Lithuanian’s throw of 74.35 meters surpassed Jurgen Schult’s effort in 1986, when the German threw 74.08m. Schult’s landmark effore had been the longest-standing record in track and field. 
  • He became the youngest athlete to throw beyond 70m. He is also a two-time medalist at the World Championships, and the 2022 European champion.

Rashmi Kumari Wins National Women’s Carrom Title For The 12th time

Rashmi Kumari Wins National Women’s Carrom Title For The 12th time

  • Three-time World Champion Rashmi Kumari beat K Nagajothi 25-8, 14-20, 25-20 in the women’s final of the 51st National carrom championship organised by the Madhya Pradesh Carrom Association.
  • Rashmi has etched her name deeper into the annals of Indian carrom history by claiming her 12th National Carrom Championship title. 
  • Rashmi’s remarkable achievement is a testament to her unwavering dedication and the relentless pursuit of excellence that has defined her illustrious career.
  • The 51st National Carrom Championship, sponsored by the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) and SYNCO carrom company, attracted a strong field of 237 men and 174 women participants from across the country.

ACC Men’s Premier Cup T20 International | Nepal’s Dipendra Singh Airee becomes third batsman to hit six sixes in an over

ACC Men's Premier Cup T20 International | Nepal’s Dipendra Singh Airee becomes third batsman to hit six sixes in an over

  • Nepal’s hard-hitting Dipendra Singh Airee became the third batter to smash six sixes in an over in T20 internationals in Al Amerat. Airee achieved the feat against hosts Qatar during the ongoing ACC Men’s Premier Cup T20 International fixture in Al Amerat.
  • Thus, Airee joined an elite company of Yuvraj Singh (against Stuart Broad during T20 World Cup 2007) and Kieron Pollard (against Sri Lanka’s Akila Dananjaya in 2021) as batters with six maximums in one over.
  • The 24-year-old Airee remained unbeaten on a 21-ball 64 that included three fours and seven sixes at a monstrous strike rate 304.76.

Stefanos Tsitsipas wins Monte Carlo Masters for third time

Stefanos Tsitsipas wins Monte Carlo Masters for thi

  • Stefanos Tsitsipas completed a Monte Carlo Masters trophy hat-trick, holding off Casper Ruud 6-1, 6-4 in a display of “ruthless” tennis.
  • The 12th-ranked Greek, who will return to top 10, also won the title in the principality in 2021 and 2022. Tsitsipas produced 30 winners to the 20 of Ruud who had reached the final with victory over world number one Novak Djokovic. 
  • He is the fifth man to win three or more Monte Carlo titles, joining Rafael Nadal (11) and Bjorn Borg, Thomas Muster and Ilie Nastase who won three apiece


APPOINTMENTS

Kristalina Georgieva selected for second term as IMF managing director

Kristalina Georgieva selected for second term as IMF managing director

  • The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) selected Kristalina Georgieva to serve as IMF Managing Director for a second five-year term starting on October 1, 2024. Georgieva’s five-year term would start on October 1, 2024. The Board’s decision was taken by consensus.
  • Ms. Georgieva led the IMF’s unprecedented response to these shocks, including the approval of more than USD 360 billion in new financing since the start of the pandemic for 97 countries, debt service relief to the Fund’s poorest, most vulnerable members, and a historic Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation equivalent to USD 650 billion.
  • Under her leadership, the Fund introduced innovative new financing facilities, including the Resilience and Sustainability Facility and the Food Shock Window. It replenished the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, with the capacity to mobilize concessional loans to its poorest members, and co-created the Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable. 

Senior IPS officer Anurag Kumar join as Joint Director of CBI

Senior IPS officer Anurag Kumar join as Joint Director of CBI

  • Senior IPS officer Anurag Kumar has been appointed to the post of Joint Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a tenure up to February 24, 2027, according to a Personnel Ministry order.
  • Anurag Kumar is a 2004 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, currently working in the Bureau of Police and Development.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Step Down, Hands Over Power to Deputy Lawrence Wong

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Step Down, Hands Over Power to Deputy Lawrence Wong

  • Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, after two decades in office, will step down on May 15, passing the baton to his deputy, Lawrence Wong. The transition marks a significant moment for Singapore as it prepares for new leadership amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Lee, 72, will formally advise the city-state’s president to appoint Wong, who is currently deputy prime minister and finance minister, to succeed him. 
  • Lee has served as prime minister and head of the PAP since August 2004. Lee announced last November that he would retire this year and has already named Wong as his designated successor.


AWARDS

Actor Ram Charan awarded honorary doctorate in literature from Vels University

Actor Ram Charan awarded honorary doctorate in literature from Vels University

  • Actor Ram Charan has received an honorary doctorate from Vels University at the institute’s 14th Annual Convocation which was held at its Pallavaram campus in Chennai.
  • Along with Ram Charan, the university also awarded Dr P Veeramuthuvel, the Project Coordinator at Chandrayaan, Dr GSK Velu, the Founder and CMD of Trivitron Healthcare, and table tennis player and Padma Shri awardee Achanta Sharath Kamal. TG Sitharam, the Chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education, was also present at the event as its chief guest.


OBITUARIES

Noted Carnatic musician K.G. Jayan passes away at 90

Noted Carnatic musician K.G. Jayan passes away at 90

  • Noted Carnatic musician K.G. Jayan died at his residence at Thripunitura in Ernakulam district of Kerala. He was 90.
  • Identified by the brand “Jayavijaya,” Jayan and his twin brother K G Vijayan created compositions that deeply moved audiences, evoking feelings of love and devotion, and their music had a significant impact across the state of Kerala.
  • Their musical odyssey began with the creation of a hymn dedicated to their beloved deity, Lord Ayyappa. Jayan maintained the musical identity ‘Jayavijaya’ despite his brother’s death.

Jack Clarke: Former Cricket Australia Chairman passes away at 70

Jack Clarke: Former Cricket Australia Chairman passes away at 70

  • Former Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Jack Clarke has sadly passed away at the age of 70 in Adelaide, Australia. 
  • Clarke served as a Board member of Cricket Australia and as an International Cricket Council (ICC) delegate. He was also a beloved figure at the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA).
  • During his tenure as chairman of Cricket Australia from 1999 to 2011, Clarke played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of Australian cricket.
  • He oversaw the launch of the highly successful Big Bash League (BBL) and commissioned the Argus review following Australia’s defeat in the 2010-11 home Ashes series.

Legendary Kannada actor-producer Dwarakish no more

Legendary Kannada actor-producer Dwarakish no more

  • Legendary Kannada actor, producer and director Dwarakish passed away at his Bengaluru residence. He was 81.
  • Dwarakish made his debut in the Kannada film industry as an actor with ‘Veera Sankalpa’ in 1964. He played a comedian in his maternal uncle, Hunsur Krishnamurthu’s film. Eventually, he became a producer by floating his banner, Dwarakish Chitra, and bankrolled more than 50 films. Dwarakish directed 19 films and also acted in many projects. 

England spin legend Derek Underwood passes away aged 78

England spin legend Derek Underwood passes away aged 78

  • Derek Underwood, the most successful spin bowler in England’s Test cricket history, has died at the age of 78. 
  • Underwood took 297 wickets in 86 Tests with his distinctive brand of brisk left-arm spin and was noted for being particularly effective on uncovered pitches, which were in use for much of a 24-year first-class career that ran from 1963 to 1987.
  • He famously bowled England to a Test victory over arch-rivals Australia at The Oval in 1968 on such a surface, taking 7-50 when a draw had seemed inevitable. 


BOOKS & AUTHORS 

“Maker of Modern Goa: The Untold Story of Pratapsingh Rane” book

Maker of Modern Goa: The Untold Story of Pratapsingh Rane" book

  • The book titled “Maker of Modern Goa: The Untold Story of Pratapsingh Rane” written by Vijayadevi Rane has been released recently. The book was published by Rupa Publications. 
  • The elegantly draped hardbound book is mostly about Rane, the man who never lost an election in 50 years, and remained Goa’s Chief Minister for over five cycles. But sprinkled with elements from Portuguese, Goan Catholic and Hindu ethnicity, the narrative becomes complex but thereby more interesting.


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