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National Current Affairs
IOC sets up India’s first electric vehicle charging station in Nagpur
On 19th November 2017, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) launched India’s first Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station at a petrol pump in Nagpur.
- IOC, in collaboration with Ola, has launched India’s first electric charging station at one of its petrol-diesel stations in Nagpur.
- Nagpur, being the first city to introduce Electric Public Transportation Model in India, has added one more feather to its cap by adding the first electric charging station at IOC’s petrol pump in Nagpur.
- Indian governments’ National Electric Mobility Mission Plan launched in 2013 aims at gradually ensuring a vehicle population of about 6-7 million electric and hybrid vehicles in India by 2020.
India and France to act against Terrorism
On November 17, 2017, India and France decided to strengthen counter-terror cooperation, and asked the international community to oppose the countries which are supporting terrorism by providing financial assistance and shelter to terrorists.
- On November 17, 2017, Union External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj held wide-ranging talks with visiting French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian in New Delhi.
- Besides holding discussions on key regional and international issues, both the ministers also decided to strengthen cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
- Concrete measures to expedite operations at the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra were also discussed. Jaitapur nuclear power project is being developed under Indo-French nuclear cooperation agreement signed in 2008.
International Current Affairs
Sarajevo Haggadah listed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World
Sarajevo Haggadah, the 14th- century richly illuminated Hebrew manuscript, has been included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.
- Sarajevo Haggadah has been kept at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1894.
- It was brought to Sarajevo through the efforts of Jews fleeing persecution in Spain.
- In Hebrew, Haggadah means a handwritten story (on parchment). It is read by family members on the occasion of the Jewish feast of Passover.
- Sarajevo Haggadah has of 84 folios of parchment which contains a series of illuminations on one side of the page only. History from the Pentateuch, starting from the Genesis, through Egyptian slavery and the Exodus, until the blessing of Joshua has been shown in these illuminations.
UN Assembly Passes Pakistan-Sponsored Resolution On Self-Determination
On November 16, 2017, United Nations (UN) General Assembly unanimously passed a Pakistan-sponsored resolution that considers right of peoples to self-determination as a fundamental condition for the effective guarantee and observance of human rights.
- This resolution was co-sponsored by 75 member countries of UN and was adopted without a vote in UN General Assembly’s Third Committee.
- UN General Assembly’s Third Committee deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues.
- This resolution was introduced by Pakistan’s Ambassador to UN, Maleeha Lodhi. It will come up for General Assembly’s endorsement in December 2017.
- General Assembly’s firm opposition to acts of foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation has also been included in the text of the resolution.
- It states that foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation suppresses right of peoples to self-determination and other human rights.
- Foreign Policy and diplomacy experts consider this resolution sponsored by Pakistan as a veiled reference to its differences with India on Kashmir issue.
Banking & Finance
NRIs, PIOs don’t need to link bank a/c, PAN with Aadhaar: UIDAI
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has stated that Non-resident Indian (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) are not required to link bank accounts and other services with Aadhaar.
- UIDAI had to come up with this clarification as it received several representations about problems faced by Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Person of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), where some Departments and implementing agencies were asking them to submit or link their Aadhaar for availing services.
- It is to be noted that Aadhaar as an identity document can be sought only from those eligible for it as per the Aadhaar Act 2016, and most NRIs/PIOs/ OCIs may not be eligible for its enrolment.
- However, implementing agencies have been instructed by UIDAI to set up a mechanism through which genuineness of status of such NRIs/PIOs/OCIs can be ascertained.
Delhi’s Khan Market World’s 24th Most Expensive Retail Location
As per a latest report released by real estate consultancy firm Cushman & Wakefield, Delhi’s Khan Market is most expensive retail location in India and 24th most expensive retail location across the world. The report presented findings from a survey which covered 400 retail locations in 66 countries.
- Khan Market’s 24th rank in this year’s rankings marks an improvement over 28th rank in 2016 rankings.
- Khan Market has moved up in the rankings even though there has been no change in rental values which currently stands at Rs 1250 per sq ft.
- Devaluation in rentals of some key markets has been cited as the reason behind this surge in Khan Market’s ranking.
- In the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, Khan Market was ranked 11th, while other prime Indian locations DLF Galeria in Gurugram and Linking Road in Mumbai are ranked 19 and 20 respectively.
- Global ranking is topped by Upper 5th Avenue in New York, followed by Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay and London’s Bond Street at 2nd and 3rd rank respectively.
Centre doubles import duty on crude edible oil
On November 17, 2017, Central Government doubled the import duties on most varieties of crude edible oil.
- This decision has been taken to support local oilseed prices such as groundnut, soybean and sunflower, which have dropped below their minimum support prices (MSPs) in this kharif season.
- Import duty on crude palm oil has been increased to 30 per cent from 15 per cent while for refined palm oil, it has been increased to 40 per cent from the earlier 25 per cent.
- Import duty on soybean seeds has also been increased to 45 per cent from earlier 30 per cent.
- It is to be noted that import duties on edible oil was earlier hiked in August 2017. However, it proved ineffective in supporting the prices.
- Owing to the latest hike in import duty, prices of edible oil variants are expected to rise by Rs 5-6 per kg.
Appointments & Resigns
Sarah Clarke becomes first female Black Rod after 669 years
Sarah Clarke, a former director of the Wimbledon tennis championships, has been appointed as Black Rod at the House of Lords. It is the first time a woman has held this position in the UK parliament’s 669-year history.
- Sarah Clarke, who is currently championships director at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, will take on the Black Rod in early 2018, after David Leakey steps down at the end of 2017.
- Black Rod is the senior official responsible for maintaining order at the House of Lords. The duties would include summoning MPs to hear the Queen’s Speech at Parliament’s state opening.
- Sarah Clarke will be known as Lady Usher of the Black Rod. Black Rod is named after the ebony staff topped with a golden lion as a symbol of the office’s authority. It is used to knock three times on the door of the House of Commons ahead of the Queen’s Speech.
Awards & Recognition
Sri Lankan author Anuk Arudpragasam bags 2017 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature
Sri Lankan author Anuk Arudpragasam’s “The Story of a Brief Marriage” has bagged the $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017.
- Bangladesh Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith presented the award to Arudpragasam at the magnificent Bangla Academy in Dhaka during the closing ceremony of the three-day long Dhaka Literature Festival on 18th November 2017.
- Arudpragasam announced that, he would donate one-third of the prize money ($25,000) to the organisations working in northeast Sri Lanka, to the cause of Rohingya Muslims and to those providing aid to Muslims in Kashmir.
- “The Story of a Brief Marriage” is a touching tale of a young man trapped on the frontlines between the Sri Lankan Army and the Tamil Tigers.
Manmohan Singh selected for Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (85) was selected Indira Gandhi Prize for peace, disarmament and development for his leadership of the country between 2004 and 2014 and for enhancing India’s stature globally.
- He was unanimously chosen for the award by an international jury chaired by former President Pranab Mukherjee.
- Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development The prestigious award accorded annually by Indira Gandhi Trust since 1986.
- It has been named after former prime minister Indira Gandhi. It is awarded to individuals or organizations in recognition of their creative efforts towards promoting international peace, development.
Yuki Bhambri outlasts Ramkumar Ramanathan to win KPIT-MSLTA Challenger in Pune (tennis)
On 18th November 2017, Yuki Bhambri clinched his first title of the 2017 season on the ATP Challenger Tour following a win over Ramkumar Ramanathan in the final of the KPIT-MSLTA Challenger in Pune.
- Yuki Bhambri, India’s top singles tennis player, overcame Ramanathan by 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the finals of singles event in Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune.
- He’s ranked 137 now and 80 points earned from his event will put him close to 120, when the new rankings list is released on 19th November 2017.
- It is Yuki’s sixth singles title at the Challenger level. His next event is Bengaluru Open, where he is seeded third and faces N Sriram Balaji in his opening round.
Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan win bronze in Sweden Open (table tennis)
On 17th November 2017, India’s table tennis doubles pair A Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan won a bronze medal at the Seamaster 2017 World Tour Swedish Open.
- Earlier, Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan beat Quadri Aruna from Nigeria and Diogo Carvalho from Portugal, 3-1 to make it to the semifinals.
- But they lost 1-3 (10-12, 3-11, 11-7, 4-11) to Hong Kong’s Kwan Kit Ho and Chun Ting Wong and missed out the chance to make to the title round.
- On 17th November 2017, Sharath and Sathiyan won the opening game 11-7. But the Quadri Aruna – Diogo Carvalho pair came right back, and won 11-13.
- Sharath and Sathiyan beat England’s Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford 3-2. They lost the first two games 4-11, 10-12 but recovered well to win the last three 12-10, 11-8, 11-8.
Leander Paes-Purav Raja lift JSM Champaign Challenger trophy (tennis)
On 18th November 2017, Leander Paes and Purav Raja won the JSM Champaign Challenger trophy, their second title together, winning over Ruan Roelofse and Joe Salisbury.
- Leander Paes-Purav Raja pair defeated the British-South African combination Ruan Roelofse and Joe Salisbury by 6-3, 7-6(5), 10-5 in the final of the JSM Champaign Challenger, the USD 75000 hard court event.
- It was second title-clash for Paes and Raja pair. It was fifth Challenger title of the season for Paes, having won events at Leon and Ilkley with Canadian Adil Shamasdin, Tallahassee trophy with American Scott Lipsky and Knoxville Challenger with Raja recently.
- Raja before teaming up with Paes had won Bordeaux Challenger with Divij Sharan and also made the final of the ATP 250 Chennai Open.
Gleadovia konyakianorum: Parasitic plant found in Nagaland
Scientists from Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered a new species of parasitic flowering plant named Gleadovia konyakianorum. The species was named in honour of Konyak tribe of Nagas.
- The plant was discovered in the semi-evergreen forest at an altitude of 1,500-1,600 metres during an exploration near Tobu town of Mon district in eastern Nagaland.
- Parasitic plants are often referred to as curious plants, as they steal their nutritional needs from the host.
- Gleadovia konyakianorum is a holoparasite (complete parasite) plant that derives its entire nutritional requirement from the host plant, which is a Strobilanthes species
- These plants attach themselves to the tissue of host plants with the help of a specialised structure referred to as haustorium in botanical parlance. It derives nutrition from the host plant and sustains itself through an inbuilt vascular system.
British motorcyclist Daniel Hegarty dies after crashing in Macau Grand Prix
On 18th November 2017, Daniel Hegarty, a British motorcycle racer, was killed after hitting the barriers on the outside of the circuit and losing his crash helmet, at the Macau Grand Prix, in Macau.
- Daniel Hegarty, the Topgun Racing Honda rider, who regularly competed at the Isle of Man TT, was taking part in his second Macau Grand Prix having finished 16th in 2016.
- The race was immediately stopped as Daniel Hegarty crashed on a part of the track known as Fishermen’s Bend. He was treated but died on his way to hospital.
- He is the first rider to die at Macau since Portugal’s Luis Carreira was killed in qualifying in 2012. The race was not restarted and Glenn Irwin was declared the winner.
National Integration Day – November 19
On 19th November 2017, National Integration Day was observed all over India.
- National Integration Day is observed every year on 19th of November all over India. It is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of the first woman prime minister of the India, Indira Gandhi.
- National Integration Day promotes the unity in diversity and feeling of oneness amongst people to a great level. It brings a type of racial and cultural similarity among people of different community.
- National integration day is also known as the Quami Ekta Divas. On this day, meetings, symposia and seminars were organized to emphasize the themes of secularism, anti-communalism and non-violence.
International Men’s Day – November 19
On 19th November 2017, International Men’s Day was observed all over the world.
- The theme for 2017 International Men’s Day is ‘Celebrate Men and Boys’. This day was inaugurated in 1992 on 7 February by Thomas Oaster.
- Objectives of International Men’s Day include a focus on men’s and boy’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.
- It is an occasion for men to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care while highlighting the discrimination against them.
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims – November 19
On 19th November 2017, the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was observed all over the world.
- Theme for 2017 World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is ‘2020 Target: reduce road fatalities AND serious injuries by 50%’.
- On October 26, 2005, the United Nations declared every third Sunday in November each year as World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
- Since then it has been observed worldwide by several non-governmental organizations, including the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR)and its associated organizations.
- Remembrance services and flower-laying ceremonies are held in memory of dead road victims around the world on this day.
November 19: World Toilet Day
The World Toilet Day (WTD) is observed every year across the world on 19 November to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. The theme for year 2017 is Wastewater.
- World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.
- Observance of the day seeks to draw attention of people around world to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation which in fact is a human right along with clean water.
- It is coordinated by United Nations-Water in collaboration with Governments of member countries and relevant stakeholder.
- WTD was instituted by World Toilet Organisation in 2001.