Passport Seva Project launched
- The government of India launched ‘Passport Seva Project’ (PSP) in major consulates in the United States.
- The aim is to simplify the overall passport applications procedure and reduce the turnaround time for applicants from 10 days to 48 hours or less.
- PSP prints Indian passports in the US and reduces turnaround for applicants.
Congo’s Ebola outbreak is the second deadliest
- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the current Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo is now the second largest and second deadliest in history.
- The latest outbreak in Congo, which began in August 2018, has a case fatality rate of 57%.
- The deadliest outbreak occurred in West Africa in 2014, where more than 11,000 people were killed due to Ebola.
A report on HIV and AIDS released by UNICEF
- The report titled ‘Children, HIV and AIDS: The World in 2030’ was released by UNICEF on 29 November 2018.
- According to the report, in India, an estimated 120,000 children and adolescents aged 0-19 were living with HIV in 2017.
- The report noted that South Asia has made substantial progress in reducing HIV risks and vulnerability among children, adolescents, pregnant women and mothers.
2nd International Ambedkar Conclave inagurated
- The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the 2nd ‘International Ambedkar Conclave’ on 30 November 2018 in New Delhi.
- The conclave is the part of the commemoration of Constitution Day.
- The Conclave is being organised by the Forum of SC and ST Legislators and Parliamentarians and the Dr Ambedkar Chamber of Commerce.
‘Chidaoba’ wrestling got UNESCO heritage tag
- Georgian traditional wrestling called ‘chidaoba’ won recognition from UNESCO as a global cultural asset on 29 November 2018.
- The UNESCO had added it to its list of ‘intangible cultural heritage’.
- A match ‘chidaoba’ lasts for five minutes, during which wrestlers wearing traditional high-necked woollen coats try to defeat their opponent using various holds.
Manav Thakkar won Portugal Open TT
- Table tennis player Manav Thakkar won the singles and doubles titles at the Portugal Junior and Cadet Open on 29 November 2018.
- Manav defeated Jeet Chandra in the singles final match.
- Manav partnered with Manush Shah to win the doubles title.
- Previously, he won the bronze medal in the U-21 singles category in the ITTF Challenge Belarus Open on 16 November 2018.
India to chair Kimberley Process from Jan 2019
- India will chair the Kimberley Process (KP) from January 2019.
- KP is a global initiative to remove conflict diamonds from the global supply chain.
- The conflict diamonds are used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments in the world.
- India is the founding member of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
Irish sport of hurling won heritage status
- The Irish sport of ‘hurling’ was granted UNESCO’s special status of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ on 29 November 2018.
- The game is played by teams of 15 on a pitch with ‘H’ shaped goals at either end.
- According to UNESCO, Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is made up of oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events.
Dialogue on health system organised
- NITI Aayog began a series of ‘Development Dialogues’ from 30 November 2018.
- It will engage experts, thought leaders and government stakeholders across key avenues of long-term social and economic development.
- The first event was a conference on ‘Health Systems for A New India: Building Blocks’.
- The conference will feature senior government functionaries and experts in the healthcare space.
Magnus won the ‘World Chess Championship 2018’
- World number one Norwegian Magnus Carlsen has won the ‘World Chess Championship’ title on 28 November 2018.
- He defeated Fabiano Caruana from the United States in a tie-breaker event.
- He won the ‘World Chess Championship’ title for the fourth time.
- He won his first ‘World Chess Championship’ title in 2013 by beating Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand.
Georgia elects its first woman President
- Salome Zurabishvili has won Georgia’s presidential election on 29 November 2018.
- She became the first woman President of Georgia.
- She was the former French Diplomat.
- She was the former Foreign Minister of Georgia.
- The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi and its currency is Georgian Lari.
Indian economy likely to grow at 7-7.4%
- According to a report by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), the Indian economy is projected to grow at 7–7.4% in 2018-19.
- The real agriculture Gross Value Added (GVA) is envisaged to grow at 3% and real industry GVA at 7% in 2018-19.
- NCAER is a New Delhi based non-profit think tank of economics.
Slovenia appoints first female army chief
- Slovenia has become the only NATO country to appoint a woman as head of its army.
- Maj Gen Alenka Ermenc took up the post of Chief of Staff of the Slovenian army on 28 November 2018.
- Maj Gen Ermenc is currently serving as the army’s Deputy-Chief of Staff.
- She began her military career in 1991 when the country won its independence from the former Yugoslavia.
Global Nutrition Report 2018 released
- The ‘Global Nutrition Report 2018’ was released on 29 November 2018.
- According to the report, Forty-six million children in India are stunted because of malnutrition.
- In India, high rates of malnutrition lead to anaemia, low birth rates, and delayed development.
- The report is an independently produced annual analysis of the state of the world’s nutrition.
Keshav Ginde to get Pt. Bhimsen Joshi award
- Renowned flautist Pandit Keshav Ginde will be conferred with the prestigious ‘Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi Lifetime Achievement Award 2018’ for classical music.
- The award has been instituted by Maharashtra Governement.
- The award honours maestros in classical music and singing, and carries a cash award of Rs 500,000, a memento and a citation.
India & China to hold joint military exercise
- China and India will hold a joint 14-day military exercise ‘Hand in Hand’ in China’s Chengdu city from 10 December 2018.
- It will promote understanding between the two militaries and improve their capabilities in fighting terrorism.
- The exercise is being held after a gap of one year as both the sides were locked in a standoff in Doklam in the Sikkim sector of the border in 2017.
LEI mandatory for market participants
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) code mandatory for all participants undertaking transactions in the markets regulated by the RBI.
- The LEI is a 20-character unique identity code assigned to entities who are parties to a financial transaction.
- The LEI code is a measure to improve the quality and accuracy of financial data systems.
‘Cope India 2019’ will be held in West Bengal
- Air forces of the United States and India are scheduled to participate in a 12-day joint exercise ‘Cope India 2019’ in West Bengal.
- The exercise will be held from 3-14 December 2018.
- The ‘Cope India’ exercise is being held after a gap of eight years, with the last one having taken place in 2010.
- ‘Cope India’ was first held in 2004 as a fighter training exercise at Air Station Gwalior.
Interest subsidy for exporters increased to 5%
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) increased the interest subsidy on the post and pre-shipment export credit from 3% to 5%.
- This move will boost the exports of the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector manufacturers.
- The increased subsidy is applicable from 2 November 2018.
- Exporters get the subsidy under the ‘Interest Equalisation Scheme on Pre & Post Shipment Rupee Export Credit’.
Norms eased for NBFCs to securitise loan books
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) relaxed norms for Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) to securitise their loan books.
- They have been permitted to securitise loans of over five-year maturity after holding them for six months on their books.
- The RBI has also prescribed certain ‘Minimum Retention Requirement’ (MRR) for NBFCs for availing the relaxed norms.