Monday, November 19, 2018

October 2018, Current Affair’s

1.      President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to the Karnataka Good Samaritan and Medical Professional (Protection and Regulation During Emergency Situations) Bill, 2016. The bill provides legal protection to the good samaritans in Karnataka, who help accident victims with emergency medical care within the golden hour. In medical terms, the 'golden hour' is the first hour after a traumatic injury when emergency treatment is very crucial. Now, the legislation will encourage people to offer first aid to victims without the fear of legal wrangles. With this, Karnataka has become the India's first state to give legal protection to good samaritans. Under the new law, the Karnataka government will provide financial help to Good Samaritans who help victims. They will be exempted from repeated attendance in courts and police stations, and in case attendance is mandatory, expenses of such "running around to courts and police stations" will be taken care through the proposed Good Samaritan Fund.

2.      Indian midfielder Manpreet Singh will be captain of the 18-member Indian team at the 5th edition of Asian Men's Hockey Champions Trophy 2018, which is scheduled to be held in Muscat, Oman from October 18 to 28. This is India's first tournament after the retirement of Sardar Singh. The tournament will feature host nation Oman, reigning champions India, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea, and Japan.

3.      Four-time Olympic gold medallist athlete Sanya Richards-Ross will be the event ambassador for the Airtel Delhi half marathon to be held on October 21. She is the fastest American woman in the history of 400m with her time of 48.70s set at the 2006 IAAF World Cup. Ross was the best 400m runner in the world for a decade, ranking No. 1 in the world from 2005-2009 and again in 2012. In addition to her Olympic accolades, she is also a 7-time medalist at the World Championships in Athletics (five of which are gold)

4.      Dr. Evan Atar Adaha, surgeon and medical director at a hospital in Bunj of northeastern South Sudan, has won the prestigious the 2018 UNHCR Nansen Refugee for his outstanding 20-year commitment in providing medical services to people forced to flee conflict. He also provides health services to locals as well as refugees from Sudan's neighbouring Blue Nile State, in the small town of Bunj. South Sudan hosts nearly 300,000 refugees, of whom 92% are Sudanese from the South Kordofan and the Blue Nile regions close to the South Sudanese border. The prestigious award is presented every year to an individual or organization who has dedicated their time going above and beyond the call of duty to help people forcibly displaced from their homes. The Award is named after Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen, who served as the first high commissioner for refugees during the failed League of Nations. The 2018 award ceremony will be held on October 1st in Geneva, Switzerland

5.      Renowned hindi commentator Jasdev Singh (87), who was the voice of Indian sports on Doordarshan, has passed away in New Delhi on September 25, 2018. He was a rare commentator who excelled in commentating on every sport including hockey and cricket. Interestingly, he started his career in All India Radio (AIR) in 1955 at their Jaipur station. He was also the voice of sports in AIR for a long time. From 1963, he was also an official commentator on Independence Day and Republic Day parade broadcasts for 48 long years. He had covered 9 editions of Olympics from Helsinki (1968) to Melbourne (2000), 8 hockey World Cups and six Asian Games. Jasdev was also awarded the 'Olympic Order' by IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch at the Seoul edition in 1988 for his role in spreading the Olympic movement. He was conferred with the Padma Shri in 1985 and Padma Bhushan in 2008.

6.      Arun Kumar, a 1985 batch officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, has been appointed the new Director-General of Railway Protection Force (RPF). He will hold the charge as RPF's DG till his superannuation on June 30, 2021. He succeeded Dharmendra Kumar. Prior to this post, Arun Kumar was the as Special Director General of Border Security Force (BSF). He has worked in several senior positions including that of Joint Director in Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He was incharge of probe into high profile cases like the murder of 13-year-old Aarushi Talwar in Noida in 2008. The RPF is a security force of India entrusted with protecting railway passengers, passenger area and railway property of the Indian Railways .It has the power to arrest, investigate and prosecute criminals. The force is under the authority of Ministry of Railways. The motto of RPF is "Service and Loyalty".

7.      The Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporaton (KMC) has recently launched India's first Flood Forecasting and Early Warning System (FFEWS) for Kolkata City to help city officials and citizens act decisively to minimize damage before and during disasters. India's first comprehensive city-level 'FFEWS' will reduce economic loss and impacts on livelihood and improve flood awareness and safety at community level. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded the design and implementation of the FFEWS through a $1 million technical assistance to KMC from its Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund under the Urban Financing Partnership Facility.

8.      The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently launched a new alcohol control initiative 'SAFER' to prevent and reduce alcohol-related death and disability. It provides five high-impact strategies that can help governments reduce the harmful use of alcohol and related health, social and economic consequences. The WHO-led initiative and action package aim to support global target of reducing harmful use of alcohol by 10% by 2025. It is the newest WHO-led roadmap to support governments in taking practical steps to accelerate progress on health, beat Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) through addressing the harmful use of alcohol, and achieves development targets.

9.      The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to Dr. James P. Allison of the United States and Dr. Tasuku Honjo of Japan for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation. Both the doctors, working separately, showed in the 1990s how certain proteins act as "brakes" on the immune system's T-cells, limiting their ability to attack cancer cells, and that suppressing those proteins could transform the body's ability to fight cancer. They used immunotherapy to help the cells of the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells. Until their breakthroughs cancer treatment consisted of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Their work led to a fourth class of treatment, harnessing the immune system, what the Nobel committee at the Karolinska Institute called "an entirely new principle for cancer therapy."

10.  The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has expected India's economy to grow 7.0% in calendar year 2018 compared with 6.2% in 2017. As per the report "Trade and Development", the effects of demonetization are still evident in private consumption trends within the economy. It also emphasised that countries like India and Thailand, which have been most favoured by foreign investors and experienced the largest spike in asset prices, would be most vulnerable to capital outflows. Further, countries like India which are dealing with Current Account Deficits (CAD) have a tendency of reducing imports. This assumes significance in the wake of India putting in place measures to control the rising CAD and capital outflows.

11.  India's first AICTE Training and Learning (ATAL) Academy will be established by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in Jaipur. In a bid to introduce upgraded teaching methods and modules to make technical education more effective and accountable, AICTE is building the training academies where the faculties would be trained on the eight-module course. The training will be mandatory for new teachers from 2019 & it will be necessary for the existing teachers and assistant teachers while applying for promotions. Beside Jaipur, three other academies slated to come up in Baroda (Gujarat), Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) and Guwahati (Assam) by 2019. The academies were being built on land provided free of cost by the respective state governments with minimum built-up infrastructure facility around the area. These academies will equip candidates with the latest changes in technical education.

12.  The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has recently constituted an 11- member high-level committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to review the existing framework and guide and formulate the roadmap for a coherent policy on CSR under the companies law. The Committee, which will be headed by Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas, will analyze outcomes of CSR activities, programmes, projects and suggest measures for effective monitoring and evaluation of CSR by companies. Suggestions are also expected on innovative solutions, use of technology platform to connect stakeholders and social audit. The Companies Act 2013 mandates that firms with a net worth of at least Rs 500 crore or revenue of Rs 1,000 crore or net profit of Rs 5 crore should spend at least 2% of their net profit on CSR. The provision came into force from April 1, 2014. In India, around 14,000 companies are required to spend on various social projects under Section 135 of the Companies Act. The committee will review the Schedule 7 of the Act that defines the activities on which companies have to spend their CSR funds.

13.  Dr Susane Giti has been appointed the first-ever female major general in the 47 years history of Bangladesh. She was presented with the rank badge of Major General by Bangladesh Army chief General Aziz Ahmed and Quarter Master General Lt General Md Shamsul Haque on September 30. Currently, she is the HOD of pathology department of Armed Forces Medical College. According to the InterService Public Relations (ISPR), Giti joined the medical wing of the Bangladesh armed forces in 1986 as a captain. She was also the first woman to pass FCPS degree in Hematology in 1996.

14.  Gita Gopinath, professor at Harvard University, has been appointed chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The India-born economist will succeed Maurice (Maury) Obstfeld, who is to retire at the end of 2018.With this, Gopinath will become the 2nd Indian after former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan to be appointed to the position. According to the IMF statement, Gopinath who is a US citizen and an Overseas Citizen of India, is co-editor of the American Economic Review and co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). She is co-editor of the current Handbook of International Economics with former IMF Economic Counsellor Kenneth Rogoff. Currently, Gopinath is the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University. She is the third woman in the history of Harvard to be a tenured professor at its esteemed economics department and the first Indian since the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen to hold that position.

15.  The 17th century 'Oonth Kadal' is a Mughal period arch-shaped bridge, located at the middle of the picturesque Dal lake in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. Recently, it is in news because the Government of Germany has granted Rs 32 lakh for the conservation of the camel hump-shaped bridge. The restoration of the bridge will bring focus on significance of Dal Lake as part of global cultural and natural heritage. The Oonth Kadal project has come as a shot in the arm for the six Mughal gardens located near the Dal lake, which has made its entry into UNESCO's Tentative List of World Heritage Sites. Built in 1670s, Oonth Kadal attracted foreign photographers and Bollywood directors, who shot many songs around it. Of late, it was crumbling due to the apathy shown towards conservation by the local authorities. Oonth Kadal is a stone masonry bridge and was essentially part of the erstwhile Chaudhri Soth (also called Soth-i-Chodri) that started at end of Naidyar Bridge in Kralyar, Rainawari and opened at Ishber Nishat.

16.  Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan has recently launched an innovative initiative called SATAT (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) in New Delhi on 1st October 2018 to promote Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) as an alternative fuel. In it, Public sector oil marketing companies – Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum – will seek expression of interest from potential entrepreneurs to set up CBG production plants and make it available in the market for use as auto fuel. The Bio-gas is produced naturally through a process of anaerobic decomposition from waste / bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment plant waste, etc. After purification, it is compressed and called CBG, which has pure methane content of over 95%. Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential. Thus, this move will benefit vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.

17.  The nationwide Action Research Project of Gram Panchayat development scheme has been inaugurated by the Minister of Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar at a function organized at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh on October 1. The project is designed for the sustainable and holistic development of rural areas of the country. According to official information, the Project is currently being implemented in 467 Gram Panchayats covered in 98 clusters of 19 States of the country. Through this project, special efforts will be made to raise the standard of living of the poorest people of the society and to enhance human development. The main purpose of this project is to ensure the overall development by capacity building, administrative reform and public participation.

18.  Pandit Tulsidas Borkar (83), the legendary harmonium exponent, has passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra on September 29, 2018. Born in Borim (Goa), he was conferred with the Padma Shri award in 2016 for his contributions to Indian music. He was also a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2005. Borkar was known for both solo performances as well as his unique style of accompanying Indian classical singers. Among others, he had accompanied legendary singers such as Ustad Amir Khan, Bhimsen Joshi and Kishori Amonkar.

19.  On September 30, the Madhya Pradesh government has announced to set up a Ministry for Cows at a function in Khajuraho in Chhattarpur district to take care of cattle in a better way. It was attended by Digambar Jain monk Vidhyasagarji Maharaj. The cow ministry will replace the existing Madhya Pradesh Gaupalan Evam Pashudhan Samvardhan Board (MPGEPSB) because it (board) has limitations. If Madhya Pradesh implements the decision, it will become the 2nd Indian state after Rajasthan to get a cow ministry. Earlier, the MP government opened the India's first cow sanctuary under the board in September 2017 at Agar Malwa district. The sanctuary is spread over 472 hectares, with a capacity for housing 6,000 cows. The Board also runs 600 cow shelters across the state where there are roughly 1.4 lakh bovines. The state is slated for assembly polls later this year along with Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and possibly Telangana.

20.  Teenage shooting star Manu Bhaker has been named as the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent for the 3rd Youth Olympic Games to be held at Buenos Aires in Argentina from October 6-18. Goa Olympic Association Secretary Gurudutta D Bhakta will be the Chef-de-Mission of the contingent. It is India's largest ever contingent at the Youth Olympics. Hockey 5s has most number of Indian participants with 18 (nine each in men's and women's team) while track and field has seven athletes. Other Indian participants are: shooting (4), recurve archery (2), badminton (2), swimming (2), table tennis (2), weightlifting (2), wrestling (2), rowing (2), boxing (1), judo (1), sport climbing (1).

21.  On the occasion of 149th Gandhi Jayanti, the Odisha government has launched its own food security scheme to benefit 25 lakh poor people that were excluded from the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013. The scheme was launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the State Secretariat in Bhubaneswar. The beneficiaries will get 5 kg of rice per person per month at the rate of Rs 1 per kg. The State government will spend Rs. 443.5 crore per annum to support the scheme and Rs. 221.75 crore in the current financial year.

22.  India has been ranked 5th, jointly with Hong Kong and Thailand, in terms of the largest pictorial warning on cigarette packs with 85% of both sides of the packets covered, according to latest Canadian Cancer Society report. As per 2018 report, Out of 206 nations, Timor Leste has the largest warning on cigarette packages in the world with 92.5% on front and back, followed by Nepal and Vanuatu with 90% and New Zealand at fourth with 87.5%.The Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report 2018 highlighted that 118 countries worldwide have made pictorial warnings mandatory, representing a global public health achievement, and 58% of the world's population is covered by this regulation. The current report is the 6th Canadian Cancer Society international report on cigarette package health warnings. The report released in Geneva at the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) revealed that there was tremendous international momentum for plain packaging of tobacco.

23.  On the 149th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal hoisted India's tallest National Flag from the average city elevation at the Gandhi Mandap in Guwahati. The 9,600 sq ft flag stands on a 319.5 ft flag pole at Gandhi Mandap, a memorial for Mahatma Gandhi atop the Sarania Hill in the heart of Assam's principal city. The tip of the flag pole from the base of the hill is about 300 metres that makes it the tallest from the mean sea level. It carries a flag of 120×80 feet dimension. Though, considering only the height of the flag pole, the National Flag at Gandhi Mandap is the third tallest in the country after Punjab's Attari border (360 ft) and Pimpri Chinchwad Bhakti Shakti Chowk, Pune (351 ft). The total cost of the National Flag installation project is Rs 2.92 crore, which includes operations and maintenance for a period of one year.

24.  Thampi Kannanthanam (64), the noted Malayalam film director, has recently passed away in Kochi, Kerala on October 2, 2018. He was most active during the period 1980-90. His most notable directorial films include Rajavinte Makan, Vazhiyorakazchakal, Bhoomiyile Rajakkanmar, Indrajaalam, Naadody, Chukkan, and Maanthrikam. He had also directed a Hindi film 'Hadd' starring Jackie Shroff and Ayesha Jhulka. Kannanthanam had also penned the scripts for movies like Janmantharam and Freedom.

25.  The 6th edition of joint Multi – National Maritime Exercise "IBSAMAR 2018" between the Indian, Brazilian and South African Navies has started at Simons Town, South Africa from 1st Oct 2018. The aim of the 13-day exercise is to undertake collective training for participating navies, building inter-operability and mutual understanding as well as sharing of best practices. The Indian Navy is represented in IBSAMAR VI by Guided Missile Frigate Tarkash, Guided Missile Destroyer Kolkata, Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I, Seaking and Chetak helicopters as well as a MARCOS contingent. The exercise includes both harbour and sea phases with various navigation and seamanship evolutions, surface weapons firing, force protection exercises, antipiracy exercise, anti-air and anti-submarine exercise as well as flying operations. Apart from professional activities, sports and social engagements are also planned.

26.  The International Day of Older Persons is observed on 1st October every year to reaffirm the commitment to promoting the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by older persons. The 2018 theme is, 'Celebrating Older Human Rights champions'. The purpose of the day is to recognise the contributions of older persons and to examine issues that affect their lives. According to the United Nations, almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60, and by 2050, 2 billion people, over 20% of the world's population, will be 60 or older. The increase in the number of older people will be the greatest and the most rapid in the developing world, with Asia as the region with the largest number of older persons, and Africa facing the largest proportionate growth. With this in mind, enhanced attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by older people is clearly required.

27.  The Government of India (GoI) has recently constituted a 7-member ministerial panel headed by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi to examine modalities for revenue mobilisation in case of natural calamities and disasters. The panel would submit its report to the GST Council by October 31. The Group of Ministers (GoM) has been set up to examine the legality of imposing a new tax on certain goods to raise resources for natural calamity-hit states like Kerala. The panel would look into five issues flagged by the Council, including whether the new tax should be levied only in the state concerned or should it be an all-India levy, and that should it be on specified luxury or sin goods only. Besides, the GoM will look at whether National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)/ State Disaster Response Fund (SRF) mechanism is sufficient to deal with calamities as well as define circumstances where the 'calamity tax' can be imposed. Other issues such as the legal aspect of imposition of such a tax within the GST would also be looked at.

28.  The Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) has recently concluded in New Delhi on October 2. The purpose of the 4–day event was to share sanitation success stories and lessons from the participating countries. In it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres addressed the convention. MGISC is organised by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to mark the beginning of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi. The convention also coincides with the fourth anniversary of the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission. 53 Ministers of Sanitation from around the world and more than 160 international representatives from 68 countries participated in the convention. The international conference brings together Sanitation Ministers and other leaders in WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) from around the world.

29.  American scientist Arthur Ashkin, French engineer Gerard Mourou and Canadian professor Donna Strickland have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in the field of laser physics. Dr. Ashkin has been awarded the Prize "for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems. Dr. Mourou and Dr. Strickland have been awarded "for their method of generating high-intensity, ultrashort optical pulses". With this, Dr. Strickland has become the third female laureate to win the Nobel Prize in Physics, after Maria Goeppert-Mayer and Marie Curie.

30.  Rio Paralympic gold medallist Thangvellu Mariyappan has been named as flagbearer of the Indian contingent for the 3rd Paralympic Asian games to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from October 6-13. India will field its biggest ever contingent of 302 members including athletes, coaches, support staff, escorts and officials. The Indian contingent were initially denied entry on Oct 1 when they arrived at the Games Village as the Sports Ministry had not till then cleared funds to the tune of $2.5 lakh. However, the issue was later resolved.

31.  The Ministry of Railways has been declared the best department for its contribution to "Swachchta Pakhwada" under the "Swachchta Hi Seva" category of awards in an inter-ministry initiative organised by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to promote cleanliness in government offices and health facilities. The award was presented to the Railway Ministry on the 4th anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission. The 'Swachchta Hi Seva' campaign was launched in 2017 to spur the public to donate their time for building toilets and cleaning public places.

32.  On October 3, the Government of India (GoI) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed $240 million loan for providing safe and sustainable drinking water to about 1.65 million people in three districts of the state of West Bengal affected by arsenic, fluoride, and salinity. The purpose of the project is to mitigate these risks through provision of continuous potable water through metered connections to about 390,000 individual households in three districts – Bankura, North 24 Parganas, and Purba Medinipur. The project is supported by a grant of $3 million from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, financed by the Government of Japan, and a $2 million grant from ADB's Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF). This will support the state government in strengthening its smart water management system, improve flood-related early warning and response, and provide training on operation and maintenance as well as climate change and disaster resilience.

33.  The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister, Prakash Javadekar has recently announced the "Swachh Campus rankings 2018" under different categories. In it, Haryana's Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) has been declared the cleanest government varsity by the HRD Ministry, followed by Guru Nanak Dev University in Punjab's Amritsar. The rankings were decided on the basis of a survey under the 'Swachhta Hi Sewa' campaign. The Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in the national capital has been ranked third among the government institutions followed by Algappa University in Tamil Nadu's Karaikudi and Acharya Nagarjuna University in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur. The universities were assessed for toilets adequacy and maintenance, garbage clearance system, hostel kitchen hygiene and sophistication of equipment, water purity, storage, distribution facility, campus greenery and rainwater harvesting, use of solar systems and villages or neighbourhood adoption for hygiene.

34.  On the 149th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has launched a National Level Entrepreneurship Awareness Campaign – Udyam Abhilasha, in 115 aspirational districts identified by NITI Aayog in 28 States. The purpose of the campaign is to inspire rural youth in aspirational districts to be entrepreneurs by assisting them to set up their own enterprise. The 6-day campaign would run parallel from 3rd October across India. It would create and strengthen cadre of more than 800 trainers to provide entrepreneurship training to the aspiring youths, encouraging them to enter the admired segment of entrepreneurs. The SIDBI has partnered with Common service centres, e-Governance Services India Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle, set up by the Ministry of Electronics and IT for implementing the campaign. SIDBI is the principal financial institution for the promotion, financing and development of the MSME sector.


35.  The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018 with one half to Frances H. Arnold "for the directed evolution of enzymes" and the other half jointly to George P. Smith and British scientist Sir Gregory P. Winter "for the phage display of peptides and antibodies". Dr. Arnold and Dr. Smith are American scientists. Now, Dr. Arnold is only the fifth woman to be awarded the prize for chemistry. The methods developed by the laureates have been put to work to create new enzymes and antibodies used in promoting a greener chemicals industry, mitigating disease and saving lives. The prize highlights the narrowing of the gap between biology and some fields of chemistry as chemists turn to nature for inspiration.

36.  The World Habitat Day (WHD) is observed every year on first Monday in October across the world to raise awareness about need for affordable housing for all in urban areas, cities and towns. The purpose of day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. The day is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns. On 1st October 2018, the day is celebrated with 'Municipal Solid Waste Management' & slogan 'Waste-wise cities' to highlight the issue of municipal solid waste management challenge as global issue that affects everyone

37.  Barham Ahmed Salih, the veteran Kurdistan politician, has been elected as the new President of Iraq on 2nd October 2018. He received 219 votes and defeated Fuad Hussein, who secured 22 votes. Salih is a former prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government and a former deputy prime minister of the Iraqi federal government. The new president will have 15 days to task the nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc with forming a new government. However, President Saleh has named veteran Shia Islamist politician Adel Abdul Mahdi as prime ministerdesignate & ended months of deadlock. Now, Mr. Mahdi will have to oversee the reconstruction of Iraq following the four-year battle against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), which left tens of thousands of homes and business destroyed and displaced more than three million people. Under a de facto power-sharing deal agreed in Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein, the Iraq's presidency is held by a Kurd, while the prime minister is Shia and the speaker of parliament is Sunni.

38.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first-ever General Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi from 2nd October 2018. He pitched for "one-world, one-sun, one-grid", to harness the energy potential offered by the sun. Beside this, PM Modi also announced the "universalization" of membership for the first treaty-based international government organization headquartered in India that will help provide a platform for climate justice. The same event also marked the inauguration of the 2nd IORA Renewable Energy Ministerial Meeting, and the 2nd Global RE-Invest (Renewable Energy Investors' Meet and Expo). Over 150 speakers including 55 international speakers from 15 countries will take part in it. The India and France-led ISA is an intergovernmental treaty-based organisation of countries between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn to promote solar energy in the member nations.

39.  The 31st All India Railways Chess tournament 2018 has started at Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu on October 3. The 4-day tournament has formally inaugurated by General Manager of Southern Railway, SM Kulshreshta. The event is being conducted in Swiss League Format at both team and individual levels. Around 87 players including five grandmasters and 18 international masters from 14 Zonal Railways and seven Production Units from across Indian Railways are participating in the event. The successful players from this tournament will represent Indian Railways in the National Chess Championship to be held in November 2018.

40.  On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the world's largest dome at the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT)'s World Peace University (MIT-WPU) campus at Loni Kalbhor, Pune. The dome is 160 ft in diameter and 263 ft tall. It is larger in area than the dome at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City (which is 136 ft. in diameter and 448 ft. in height). The prayer hall can accommodate about 3,500 people and is embellished with more than 50 statues of saints, philosophers, scientists and statesmen from India and the world. Each of the statues, created by the noted artist 'Ram V. Sutar', is 4m in tall and weighs up to two tonnes. The dome will be home to teachings of saints, spiritual leaders, philosophers and scientists from around the world as it will profess humanity and world peace. It will house India's first library called Saint Dnyaneshwara World Peace Library which will have books sourced from over 100 countries across the globe

41.  On October 4, the first ever Indo-Vietnam Coast Guard joint exercise – Sahyog HOP TAC -2018' held in the Bay of Bengal off Chennai between Indian and Vietnam Coast Guards (VGC). According to an official press release, Coast Guard ships Shaurya, Arnvesh and inreceptor boat C-431 along with a Dornier aircraft and Chetak helicopter participated in the joint exercise. The purpose of the exercise was to acquaint the coast guards of the two countries with each others' capabilities and strengthening the working level relationship to rescue lives at sea. The highlight of the exercise was a scenario of hijacking an oil ship and subsequent rescue of its crew in the coordinated joint operation of both the countries. The exercise was conducted under the supervision of Inspector General Paramesh Sivamani Commander Coast Guard Eastern region, and was witnessed by Vietnam Coast Guard Commandant Major General Nguyen Van Son.

42.  The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. Dr. Mukwege, a gynecologist in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the helper who has devoted his life to defending victims of war-time sexual violence. Nadia Murad is a Yazidi Kurdish human rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State in Iraq. She is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against her and others. She has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims. The prize will be presented in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.

43.  The IIT Kharagpur (IIT-Kgp) has decided to establish an 'Academy of Leadership', which intends to develop innovative programmes combining the core curricula in science and engineering disciplines with philosophy and liberal arts. This academy will be based not only on scientific and technical training, but the teachings of ancient philosophies, reasoning, systems engineering and the past successes and failures of humanity. It will be called 'Partha S Ghosh Academy of Leadership', named after management consultant/strategist and philanthropist Partha S Ghosh. The institute has already received donation of $1 million from Ghosh, who is often addressed as a 'creative problem solver' and a 'visionary leader' by the government and industry leaders across multiple nations in Asia Pacific, Europe and America. Under this academy, programmes would be developed to nurture leadership qualities in individuals and organisations.

44.  Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu has recently released the policy on the biometric-based digital processing of passengers at airports called "Digi Yatra" to make hassle-free air travel for passengers. Digi Yatra is about Facial Recognition based passenger processing which is a common standard being adopted the world over. It will facilitate paperless travel and avoid identity check at multiple points. In the first phase in February 2019, Hyderabad and Bengaluru international airports will have the system on a pilot basis. In the second phase, in April 2019, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will roll out the programme initially at Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada airports later on, all airports will adopt the system. Under the Digi Yatra, passenger can get a Digi Yatra ID by sharing minimum details like Name, e-mail ID, Mobile number and details of one approved Identity proof where Aadhar ID is not mandatory. This DigiYatra ID will be shared by passengers while booking ticket. Airlines will share the passenger data and DigiYatraID with the departure airport

45.  The first-ever Regional Conference on 'Women in Detention and Access to Justice' has recently held in Shimla on October 4-5, 2018. The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) organized the conference in collaboration with the Prison Department, Himachal Pradesh. This conference is organised with a view to provide a platform for the prison personnel of all ranks at the national level to share their candid views on various operational as well as administrative issues not only with their counterparts, but also with other experts of national repute in this field and also to identify best practices and standards in the working of Correctional Administration to meet new challenges in the present day's context to bring out prison reforms in objective terms.

46.  The 'Operation Samudra Maitri'has been launched by the Government of India (GoI) to provide massive humanitarian assistance to the earthquake and tsunami victims in Indonesia. Two Indian Air Force aircrafts – C-130J and C-17 – departed recently with medical personnel and relief material. The C-130J aircraft is carrying a medical team along with tents and equipment to set up a field hospital. The C-17 aircraft is carrying medicines, generators, tents and water to provide immediate assistance. Three Indian Naval Ships – INS Tir, INS Sujatha and INS Shardul – have also been mobilised to carry out Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). These ships are likely to reach the Central Sulawesi province of Indonesia on October 6. The death toll in Indonesia's twin quake-tsunami disaster, which decimated parts of the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi, has already climbed to nearly 1,400. An estimated 2.4 million people were affected, 61,867 displaced and 66,000 homes destroyed.

47.  The scientists have recently identified regions in the wheat genome responsible for concentration of zinc in wheat grain. They have also identified candidate genes involved in zinc concentration in wheat. The findings can potentially help in developing wheat varieties with enhanced levels of the micro-nutrient. The researchers have found 39 new molecular markers and two genome segments that carry important genes for zinc uptake, translocation, and storage by analyzing zinc concentrations. A total of 330 wheat lines were analysed from different environments in India and Mexico. The genome-wide association approach, used in human disease research, was applied in this study to locate genome segments linked to zinc uptake. This study was jointly conducted by researchers from International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Flinders University, Australia; Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana; Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, Karnal; and Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi. It must be noted that about 30% of Indian population is estimated to have zinc deficiency. Children below 5 year of age and pregnant women are more vulnerable for nutrient deficiency.

48.  On October 5, the 4th edition of the India International Science Festival (IISF – 2018) has started at Indira Gandhi Pratishthan in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The mega science expo will be formally inauguratedby the President Shri Ram NathKovind. It is being organized by Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences in association with Vijnana Bharati. The theme of this edition of Science Festival is "Science for Transformation". IISF-2018 is expected to be represented by approximately 10000 delegates including 5000 students, 550 teachers, 200 students from North-East Region, 20 international delegates and approximately 200 startups

49.  India has signed $150 million loan pact with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to establish its first-ever Global Skills Park (GSP) in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The aim of the GSP is to enhance the quality of Technical and Vocational Education And Training (TVET) System in the State and create a more skilled workforce. The new GSP campus will consist of core Advanced Training Institutes including the Center for Occupational Skills Acquisition and the Center for Advanced Agricultural Training as well as other support services focusing on entrepreneurship, training of trainers, and skill-related research. The campus will have training facilities focusing on skills for manufacturing, service, and advanced agricultural jobs, benefitting about 20,000 trainees and trainers. The Project will also help in modernizing 10 industrial training institutes across the state by renovating training infrastructure and upgrading skills courses to align with industry and market needs

50.  The cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has been declared the "cleanest religious place" in the country. Over 81.78 pilgrims visited the shrine in Trikuta hills in the district in 2017. Mata Vaishno Devi shrine has won the prestigious 'cleanest religious place' award at Safaigiri Summit and Awards 2018 ceremony organised by the India Today Group in Mumbai on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. The award has been given in recognition of the significant strides made by the shrine board for ensuring sanitation and cleanliness all along the tracks and in the entire shrine area. The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVSB) has introduced water less urinals based on 'flush-me-not' technology to curtail water consumption significantly and reverse vending machines to promote scientific disposal and recycling of PET bottles. This is the 2nd successive year when the board has been awarded in the field of sanitation as in 2017 it had received the 'Special Swachh Iconic Place' award under the 'Swachhta Hi Seva' campaign of the Government of India (GoI)

51.  The 10th Biennial International Exhibition & Conference "India Chem 2018" was held in Mumbai, Maharashtra from October 4-6. The conference was jointly organised by the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). India Chem 2018 will showcase Government policy for sustained growth in the sector that will provide platform for investors, both domestic and international, and other stakeholders to interact and forge alliances. It is one of the largest composite events of Chemicals and Petrochemicals industry of the Asia Pacific region. The event comprises of an international exhibition and a conference of representatives of participating global giants from various associated fields.

52.  India has been ranked 28th among 73 countries in the Visa's 2018 Government ePayment Adoption Ranking (GEAR). The 2018 GEAR is an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) global Index and benchmarking study commissioned by Visa. This is the third edition of the study after those in 2007 and 2011. It ranks governments by quantifying their e-payment capabilities based on various indicators. The survey has lauded India for taking "rapid strides" in advancing government e-payments capabilities and called it one of the top- performing countries in terms of Citizen-toGovernment (C2G), Government-to-Citizen (G2C), Business-to-Government (B2G), Government-to-Business (G2B) transactions. Norway leads the pack in the 73- country ranking, followed by France and Denmark. The 73-country survey looks at availability of government electronic transaction services and the underlying environment of mechanisms that support digitisation for all transactions in a market, such as policy and infrastructure.

53.  The World Teachers' Day (WTD), also known as International Teachers Day, is held every year on October 5 to focus on "appreciating, assessing and improving the educators of the world" and to provide an opportunity to consider issues related to teachers and teaching. The day also commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. For 2018, the UNESCO adopted the theme: "The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher". It commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and serves as a reminder that the right to education cannot be realized without trained and qualified teachers.

54.  Pravin Srivastava, the 1983-batch Indian Statistical Service officer, has been appointed as new Chief Statistician of India (CSI). This appointment comes into effect from the date of his assuming charge of the post till the date of his superannuation (August 31, 2020) or until further orders, whichever is earlier. He has worked in the ministries of statistics and health in various positions, and briefly in the Union Public Service Commission, in his 35-year career. He was a secretary to the Indian Statistical Commission, popularly known as the Rangarajan Commission, which laid the foundation of the modern statistical system. The National Statistical Commission was set up in 2005 on its recommendations.

55.  In Assam, the Namrup-based Assam Petrochemicals Limited (APL) rolled out Asia's first cannisters based and India's first "Methanol Cooking Fuel Program" on 5th October 2018. The project has been promoted by NITI Aayog. The safe handling cannister based cooking stoves are from Swedish Technology and through a Technology transfer a large-scale cooking stove manufacturing plant will come up in India in the next 18 months producing 10 lakh Cookstoves and 1 Crore Cannisters per year. This technology is very unique, it handles methanol extremely safely, does not need regulator or any piping system. In it, Ritu Bordoloi of Namrup has become the India's first owner and user of a cooking stove fuelled by methanol. She was one of 500 people who were handed over a stove with two 1.2-litre canisters of methanol, as part of a pilot project by APL. The APL is the India's first public sector producer of methanol and formalin from natural gas as feed stock.

56.  Pankaj Sharma has been appointed India's Ambassador & permanent representative to United Nations Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. Sharma is currently the joint secretary (Disarmament and International Security Division) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). He will replace Amandeep Gill.

57.  Vikram Limaye, the MD and CEO of National Stock Exchange's (NSE), has been appointed the Chairman of the Working Committee (WoCo) and Director on the Board of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE). The decision was taken at the global body's 58th general assembly and annual meeting that is currently underway in Athens, Greece. The WFE is the global industry association for exchanges and clearing houses. It represents nearly 45,000 listed companies & has its headquarters in London. It works with policy makers and regulators around the world to support the development of effective rules and standards for exchanges and market participants.

58.  On October 7, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) of India Region, Zone III has started in Guwahati, Assam. The four-day conference will discuss on several issues on North East region. During the conference, Women empowerment, Skill development, connectivity are some of the topics that would be discussed. Sumitra Mahajan, the Lok Sabha Speaker will also launch the North East chapter of Speaker's Research Initiative during the conference. The MPs and MLAs from the North-East are likely to attend the conference.

59.  The Odisha and Andhra Pradesh Police have recently decided to conduct joint operations and share information to effectively combat the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in the border areas of the two states. This was decided in a meeting in Bhubaneswar, which was attended by Odisha DGP R P Sharma, his Andhra Pradesh counterpart R P Thakur and other senior police officers of both the states engaged in anti-maoist operations. The aim of the initiative is to enhance the inter-state coordination and cooperation, particularly conducting joint operations in the core areas like the CutOff area in Malkangiri district to effectively combat and contain the LWE menace.

60.  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has kept all key policy rates unchanged in its fourth bi-monthly monetary policy review, which is recently announced on October 5, 2018. A six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by Governor Urjit Patel, decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at 6.5% and the reverse repo rate at 6.25%. Repo rate is the rate at which RBI lends to banks, while the reverse repo is the rate at which RBI borrows money from banks. Accordingly, the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate too were kept at 6.75%. On the growth front, RBI retained GDP growth projection for 2018-19 at 7.4%.

61.  The bilateral maritime exercise "JIMEX 18" has started between Japan and India at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh on October 7. The aim of the 8-day exercise is to enhance interoperability, improve understanding and imbibe the best practices of each other. The Japanese vessels, under the command of Rear Admiral Tatsuya Fukada, Commander, Escort Flotilla-4 (CCF-4), are participating in the third edition of Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX 2018) with the ships of Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet. The Indian Navy would be represented by three indigenously designed and built warships and a fleet tanker. The ships participating are INS Satpura, multipurpose stealth frigate, INS Kadmatt, Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette, Missile Corvette and INS Shakti, the Fleet Tanker.

62.  Eminent Gandhian Natwar Thakkar (86), popularly known as 'Nagaland's Gandhi', has passed away in Guwahati on October 7, 2018. The social activist had founded the Nagaland Gandhi Ashram at Chuchuyimlang village in Mokokchung district. His efforts to spread Gandhian philosophy and peace had earned him the sobriquet 'Nagaland's Gandhi'. He has also built a library in a remote village. In recognition of his selfless service and contributions towards the society, Thakkar was honoured with numerous awards including India's fourth higher Civilian Award Padma Shri in 1999 by the then President of India, K.R. Narayan. He belongs to the Maharashtra state of India but migrated to Nagaland for social work at the age of 23 in 1955.

63.  Keerthana Pandian from India has won the girls' title in the IBSF World Under-16 Snooker Championships by defeating Belarussian rival Albina Leschuk 3-1 in the final. It's her first international crown. In the corresponding boys category, Ben Martens of Belgium clinched the title in St Petersburg, Russia, according to information received from the media cell of International Billiards & Snooker Federation (IBSF).

64.  The 2018 Under-19 Asia Cup cricket tournament was held in Bangladesh from September 29 to October 07 at Chittagong and Cox's Bazar. In the final, India defeated Sri Lanka by 144 runs to win the tournament for the 6th time. India outplayed Sri Lanka in all departments by first scoring an imposing 304 for six after skipper Prabh Simran Singh won the toss and elected to bat. Openers Yashasvi Jaiswal (85) and Anuj Rawat (57) made solid foundation with 121-run stand. Ayush Badoni's unbeaten knock of 52 off 28 balls helped India to reach a mammoth total. The island nation were never in the chase as they were all out for 160 in 38.4 overs losing wickets at regular intervals with left-arm spinner Harsh Tyagi's registering brilliant figures of 6 for 38 in 10 overs. For his consistency (318 runs in the tournament), Jaiswal was adjudged man-of-the-tournament.

65.  The Arunachal Pradesh Government has recently launched the Chief Minister's Sashakt Kisan Yojana (SKY) and Chief Minister's Krishi Samuh Yojana (KSY) in Itanagar. The Sashakt Kisan Yojana (SKY) will subsume three state flagship programmes, namely – CM's Employment Generation Scheme (EGS), CM's AgriMechanization Programme (AMP) and CM's Flagship Programme on Tea and Rubber. The aim of the KSY is to empower the farmers through cooperative approach, by providing timely supports and marketing interventions of the government for better price realization and doubling farmers' income.

66.  Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has recently launched the Nirman Kusuma scheme for providing financial assistance to the children of construction workers for their technical education in the State. In it, an ITI student will be entitled to get financial assistance of Rs. 23,600 & a diploma student to get Rs. 26,300 per annum. A total of 1,878 students will get benefit from the programme. The total cost of the project is around Rs. 1.09 crore that has been deposited to the accounts of the beneficiaries.

67.  R N Ravi, the former Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), has been redesignated as the deputy National Security Advisor (NSA). He is also the Central government interlocutor for talks with Naga insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and will continue to be the centre's interlocutor for Nagaland. He has been shaping a peace accord with the NSCN (IM). Now, Mr. Ravi will be the third deputy reporting to national security adviser Ajit Doval after former RAW chief Rajinder Khanna and former diplomat Pankaj Saran. A 1976-batch IPS officer of the Kerala cadre, Ravi retired as Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau in 2012.

68.  The Government of India (GoI) has reconstituted Supreme Court-empowered Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), which is tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR). The tenure of the last EPCA expired on 3rd October 2018. Former secretary Bhure Lal will continue to be the chairman of reconstituted Pollution watchdog EPCA. The purpose of the EPCA is to protect & improve the quality of the environment, and prevent & control the environmental pollution in the NCR. The EPCA is also mandated to enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the city as per the pollution levels.

69.  India have opened their medal account in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games with two Silvers in Buenos Aires, Argentina on October 7. The first went to Tushar Mane in shooting and later Tababi Devi Thangjam in Judo in Girl's 44kg category. With this, Thangjam from Manipur has created history by becoming the India's first judoka to win a medal at the Olympics – junior or senior. While Mane bagged silver in the men's 10m air rifle event with a score of 247.5. India is being represented by 46 athletes in 13 sports in the prestigious event. This is India's largest ever contingent at the Youth Olympics. Earlier, India won two medals – a silver and a bronze – in the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing in China.

70.  US duo William D. Nordhaus and Paul M. Romer have won the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for research "about innovation, climate and economic growth". Laureate Romer was honoured for his work on the endogenous growth theory, which has generated vast amounts of new research into the regulations and policies that encourage new ideas and long-term prosperity. While Laureate Nordhaus was specifically honoured for "integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis". His research shows that the most efficient remedy for problems caused by greenhouse gas emissions is a global scheme of carbon taxes uniformly imposed on all countries. Nordhaus was the first person to create a quantitative model that describes the global interplay between the economy and the climate. His model is now widespread and is used to examine the consequences of climate policy interventions, for example carbon taxes. & The pair will share the 9 million Swedish kronor (S$1.3 million) prize.

71.  Recently, Infosys Foundation announced Rs 1.5 crores Aarohan Social Innovation Awards (ASIA) to push innovation in social work following increase in funds under the government rules. The awards would be given in six categories including healthcare, rural development and destitute care. The purpose of the awards is to recognise and reward individuals, teams or NGOs that are developing unique solutions for the social sector that have the potential to positively impact the underprivileged in India, at scale. The application for the first edition of the awards would be available from October 15 till this year-end. Participants can submit entries describing their work in the form of videos that can be uploaded on the Aarohan social innovation awards website. Under the government rules, it is mandatory for certain categories of company to spend, in every financial year, at least 2% of the average net profits made during the three immediately preceding financial years, in pursuance of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy.

72.  The Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has won the 'ISSA Good Practice Award' for Administrative Solution for Coverage Extension at the "Regional Social Security Forum for Asia and the Pacific" held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia recently. The award recognizes the measures taken by ESIC for extension of coverage-SPREE (Scheme for Promoting Registration of Employers and Employees), reduced rate of contribution rates for 24 months in newly implemented areas and raising the wage limit for coverage under the ESI Act, etc. The ISSA (International Social Security Association) is the principal international organization for Social Security Organizations, Govternments & Departments of Social Security. The Regional Social Security Forum for Asia and the Pacific is a triennial Forum, which is the most important social security event in the Region. The Forum provides unique opportunities to CEOs and Managers of ISSA Member Institutions to discuss key social security challenges and share their experiences.

73.  Well-known Malayalam poet Paloor Madhavan Namboothiri (86), popularly known as M N Paloor, has passed away at Kovoor, Kerala on October 9, 2018. Paloor, one of the early poets to have modern views, is the author of some of the finest Malayalam poems of the latter half of the 20th century. His poems traced the sufferings of mankind involving all the complexities of a highly urbanised system. He was honoured with the Sahitya Akademi Award for his autobiography 'Kathayillathavante Katha' in 2013. Some of his major collections include 'Pedithondan,' 'Theerthayathra,' 'Bhangiyum Abhangiyum,' 'Sangamasangeetham,' 'Pachamanga' and 'Sarga Dhara'. Paloor won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, the state's highest literary honour, in 1983 for his collection 'Kalikalam'. He also received the Asan Prize for poetry in 2009.

74.  The Union government has constituted the high-level Strategic Policy Group (SPG) to assist the National Security Council (NSC), which advises the prime minister on matters of national security and strategic interests. The SPG will be chaired by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and its members include the NITI Aayog vice chairman, the cabinet secretary, the chiefs of the three defence services, the RBI governor, the foreign secretary, the home secretary, the finance secretary and the defence secretary. The secretary of the Department of Defence Production and Supplies, the scientific adviser to the defence minister and the secretary (R), Cabinet Secretariat will also be members of the panel. The group will assist the National Security Council and undertake among other tasks, a long-term strategic review of country's security affairs.

75.  Jharkhand will be the partner state at Goa International Film Festival (GIFF-2018), which is scheduled to be held from 20th to 28th of November. The decision was taken recently in meeting between Secretary of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ,Mr. Amit Khare and Chief Secretary of Jharkhand, Sudhir Tripathy at Ranchi. This will allow Jharkhand to showcase its culture and favourable film making incentives announed by the state government. It was decided to open community radio station at every districts of Jharkhand. It was also decided to organize Jharkhand Film Festival (JFF), under Indian Panorama, in two towns of Jharkhand in the first month of next year.

76.  On October 9 , External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched the "India for Humanity" in New Delhi under which the Jaipur Foot artificial limb will be distributed free of cost to the needy across the world. The initiative is launched in collaboration with the charitable organization "Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti" (BMVSS) to honour Mahatma Gandhi's service to humanity. 'India for Humanity' features a year-long series of artificial limb fitment camps in a number of countries spanning the globe to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The purpose of the initiative is to provide for the physical, economic and social rehabilitation of the differently-abled around the world by helping them regain their mobility and dignity to become self-respecting and productive members of society. The BMVSS was founded in 1975 & is better known by its trademark limb Jaipur Foot. It is among the world's largest organisations for the fitment of artificial limbs and till date has served over 1.73 million amputees.

77.  On October 9, Weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga from Mizoram has scripted history by clinching India's first-ever gold at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In Men's 62kg Group A weightlifting, Jeremy posted successful attempts of 120kg and 124kg in snatch and 142kg and 150kg in clean & jerk. With his best successful attempts of 124kg in snatch and 150kg in clean & jerk for a combined 274kg, he won the gold medal.

78.  On October 9, Weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga from Mizoram has scripted history by clinching India's first-ever gold at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In Men's 62kg Group A weightlifting, Jeremy posted successful attempts of 120kg and 124kg in snatch and 142kg and 150kg in clean & jerk. With his best successful attempts of 124kg in snatch and 150kg in clean & jerk for a combined 274kg, he won the gold medal.

79.  The World Post Day (WPD) is observed every year on 9 October to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union in 1874 in the Swiss Capital, Bern. It was declared World Post Day at the 1969 UPU Congress in Tokyo, Japan. The proposal was submitted by Anand Mohan Narula, a member of the Indian delegation. Since then, the day has been celebrated all over the world to highlight the importance of the postal services. The 2018 theme is: "Imagine you are a letter travelling through time. What message do you wish to convey to your readers?". This year's observance of World Post Day highlights the sector's value not just for delivering the mail, but for delivering good.

80.  Javelin thrower Sandeep Chaudhary has clinched India's first gold medal at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Para Games with a best throw of 60.01m in Indonesia on October 8, 2018. In the 49kg men's powerlifting event, Farman Basha claimed the silver and Paramjeet Kumar won the bronze. Swimmer Devanshi Satijawon then picked up a silver in women's 100 metre butterfly category and Suyash Jadhav clinched the bronze in the men's 200 metre individual medley category. In Badminton, India lost to Malaysia 1-2 in the semifinals to settle for a bronze.

81.  The book "The Paradoxical Prime Minister: Narendra Modi And His India" has been authored by Congress parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor. It is divided in five sections comprising 50 chapters & will release on 26th October 2018. The first section takes a close look at Modi's life and times. The other four sections look at key aspects of the way in which Modi's government functions and the lasting and often "deleterious impact" it has had on Indian society, major institutions, the economy, foreign policy and our fundamental values. In this explosive new book, Tharoor gives us an extraordinary portrait of Narendra Modi and his years in power. The book is currently available for pre-orders on Amazon.

82.  Kishour Giri (63), the noted Assamese singer and music director, has passed away in Guwahati on October 7, 2018 . He lent his voice to various social issues. He would often be seen on the streets of Guwahati, strumming a guitar and singing or raising his voice against the many evils that plague the society. Giri, who could play a number of musical instruments, including the guitar, violin and mandolin, composed music for a few Assamese films and television serials. Recently, he had appealed to the public and the state government, in his signature style, for financial support to 'Village Rockstars', India's official entry to 2019 Oscars. Like the legendary Bhupen Hazarika, he too believed that the society needs 'gaan' (songs) instead of gun.

83.  On October 7, Badminton coach Pullela Gopichand has been honoured with the Ramineni Foundation's Outstanding Person award. The award was presented by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. He also presented special awards to Telugu literary wizard Garikapati Narasimha Rao, film director Nag Ashwin Reddy and writer C Venkata Ramana. The Ramineni Foundation, based in the US, was established in 1995 and ever since has been honouring eminent persons for their achievements in various fields. The outstanding person award carries Rs 2 lakh and special awards Rs 1 lakh each.

84.  The section 151A of the Representation of the People Act of 1951 mandates the Election Commission of India (ECI) to fill the casual vacancies in the Houses of Parliament and State Legislatures through bye elections within six months from the date of occurence of the vacancy. But, this is only if the remainder of the term of a member who is newly elected is one year or more. The term of 16th Lok Sabha is upto 3rd June, 2019. Therefore, it is understood that some newspapers have reported that the ECI on the one hand announced the bye elections to fill the 3 casual vacancies in Lok Sabha from Karnataka while the bye elections to fill 5 vacancies in LS from Andhra Pradesh have not been announced. As the vacancies from Karnataka have occurred more than one year before the expiration of the term of House, bye elections are required to be held under Section 151A of R. P. Act 1951 to fill these vacancies within 6 months from the date of occurrence of vacancies that is 18th& 21st May, 2018. In the case of vacancies from Andhra Pradesh, there is no need to hold bye elections as the remaining term of the Lok Sabha is less than one year from the date of occurrence of vacancies that is 20th June, 2018.

85.  NITI Aayog has organised Workshop on 'Best Practices in International Arbitration' in collaboration with ICC International Court of Arbitration in New Delhi on 10 October 2018. It purpose is to strengthen dispute resolution mechanisms and to not only encourage 'Make in India' but also to 'Resolve in India'. The workshop would cover basic concepts of international arbitration and include best practices on drafting, selection of arbitrators, enforcement of arbitral awards, role of courts in the arbitration life cycle, among other topics, with information sharing sessions to be conducted by world class faculty and practitioners from the United Kingdom, Singapore, Paris and India.

86.  The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) with the support of World Health Organization (WHO) is organizing the '2nd World Conference on Access to Medical Products – Achieving the SDGs 2030' at New Delhi from 9 -11 October 2018. The main purpose of the 2nd World Conference 2018 is to take forward the recommendations from the 1st World Conference 2017 and build on the work done for access to medical products in the context of SDGs (including trade agreements) in line with GPW 13 of WHO, foster new approaches in innovation landscape for medical products and health technologies for accelerating research and innovation and identify knowledge, information and policy options on the interface of international trade and health to achieve SDG 2030 goals.

87.  Shooter Manu Bhaker has become the first shooter from India to claim a gold at the 3rd edition of Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina on October 9, 2018. She finished on top of the podium in women's 10m air pistol event with a score of 236.5. With this, she also became the first Indian woman to win Gold in the ongoing event. Earlier, weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga won the India's first-ever gold medal at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Men's 62kg Group A weightlifting. At the Youth Olympics 2018, Manu Bhaker was also the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent.

88.  India has been ranked 81st at the 2018 Henley Passport Index with visa-free or visa-onarrival access to 60 destinations. The strength of the passport is determined by the number of countries a country gives free access to. The index is updated in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect. As per the 2018 index, Indians have access to travel without a visa to 60 countries – which includes Bhutan, Mauritius, Nepal, Fiji, among others. The index is topped by Japanese passport, which means Japanese passport holders enjoy the most visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to the most destinations at 190. Singapore acquired 2nd postion, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 189 destinations. France, Germany, and South Korea follow at third with visafree or visa-on-arrival access to 188 destinations. The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world's largest and most comprehensive database of travel information, and is enhanced by extensive in-house research. In it, Afghanistan and Iraq were ranked lowest on the index, as they have free-visa access to only 30 countries.

89.  Researchers at the Washington University in the US have developed the world's first bio-electronic medicine — an implantable, biodegradable wireless device that speeds nerve regeneration and improves the healing of a damaged nerve. According to the study published in the journal Nature Medicine, the device is the size of a dime and the thickness of a sheet of paper.The technology, called "bioelectronicmedicine," provides therapy and treatment over a clinically relevant period of time and directly at the site where it's needed, thereby reducing side-effects or risks associated with conventional, permanent implants. Though, the device has not been tested in humans, the findings offer promise as a future therapeutic option for nerve injury patients.

90.  Senior Advocate Tushar Mehta has been appointed as Solicitor General of India (SGI). He will remain in office till 30th of June, 2020 or till further orders. Mr Mehta is currently serving as the Additional Solicitor General. The post of Solicitor General was vacant since October last year after the resignation of Ranjit Kumar.

91.  The World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is observed every year on 10 October to raise the awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilize efforts in support of mental health. It is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. The 2018 theme is "Young people and mental health in a changing world".

92.  On the occasion of 86th anniversary, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has launched an innovative mobile health App named 'MedWatch' in keeping with the Prime Minister's vision of 'Digital India, Ayushman Bharat and Mission Indradhanush'. The app is conceived by the doctors of IAF and developed in house by Directorate of Information Technology (DIT) with ZERO financial outlay. 'MedWatch' will provide correct, Scientific and authentic health information to airwarriors and all citizens of India. The app is available on and comprises of host of features like information on basic First Aid, Health topics and Nutritional Facts; reminders for timely Medical Review, Vaccination and utility tools like Health Record Card, BMI calculator, helpline numbers and web links. It is the first mobile health app in the three Armed Services and was launched by Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa at New Delhi on 08 Oct 18.

93.  The International Day of the Girl is observed every year on October 11 to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights. Today's generation of girls are preparing to enter a world of work that is being transformed by innovation and automation. Educated and skilled workers are in great demand, but roughly a quarter of young people, most of them female, are currently neither employed nor in education or training. Of the 600 million adolescent girls that will enter the workforce in the next decade, more than 90% of those living in developing countries will work in the informal sector, where low or no pay, abuse and exploitation are common. Hence, under the 2018 theme "With Her: A Skilled Girl Force", the day will mark the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to highlight, advocate for and invest in girls' most pressing needs and opportunities to attain skills for employability

94.  India's first second generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-Refinery will set up in Bargarh district of Odisha by 2020, where ethanol will be produced from rice straw. The proposed plant will be set up by the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore. The foundation stone of which was laid on 10th October 2018. The bio-refinery will have a capacity to produce 3 crore litre of fuel-grade ethanol annually using rice straw as feedstock. The Bargarh Bio-Refinery will utilise about 2 lakh tonne of rice straw annually as feedstock which will be sourced from nearby locations including Bhatli, Ambabhona, Attabira, Sohela, Burla and Lakhanpur. The refinery will be based on zero-liquid discharge plant technology where water will be recycled back into the plant. Blending of ethanol in petrol will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions as compared to fossil fuels. Apart from Odisha, BPCL will also set up bio-refineries in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. . The National Biofuel Policy of India 2018 targets 20% Ethanol blending to Petrol by 2030. However, due to nonavailability of Ethanol, the current Ethanol blending in Petrol is about 3 to 4%.

95.  India has been ranked 147th among 157 countries at the UK-based charity Oxfam International's 'Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index' 2018. The 2nd edition of the annual index finds that countries such as South Korea, Namibia and Uruguay are taking strong steps to reduce inequality. However, countries such as India and Nigeria "do very badly" overall. In reference to India, the index finds that the tax structure looked reasonably progressive on paper but in practice much of the progressive taxation, like on incomes of the richest, was not collected. India also fared poorly on labour rights and respect for women in the workplace.The index was topped by Denmark, followed by Germany, Finland, Austria and Norway.

96.  The 17th edition of Old World Theatre festival 2018 is being organised by India Habitat Centre and the audiences will be able to experience 15 plays starting from October 20 in New Delhi. The theatre festival has been recognised by UNESCO as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity". It will open with "Kutiyattam", which is one of the most stylised and earliest forms of Sanskrit theatre. The 9-day fest will bring to stage productions that mirror the continuities in Indian theatre from the earliest to the most contemporary with a special focus on the next generation of theatre artistes and directors.

97.  On October 10, Pistol shooter Saurabh Chaudhary clinched Gold in the 10-metre air pistol event at the 3rd edition of Summer Youth Olympic Games 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is India's third gold medal in the history of Youth Olympic Games (UOG) and all three have come in this edition in Buenos Aires. Earlier, Shooter Manu Bhaker became the first shooter from India to claim a gold at the ongoing event. She finished on top of the podium in women's 10m air pistol event with a score of 236.5. While, Weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga won India's first ever youth Olympics Gold.

98.  On October 10, Archer Harvinder Singh clinched men's individual recurve gold by defeating China's Zhao Lixue 6-0 in the W2/ST category final. The W2 category of impairment covers athletes with paraplegia, diplegia or double leg amputation below the knee, requiring wheelchair.The ST category is for archers with limited impairment and who may take aim without having to need a wheelchair. In the track and field events, Monu Ghangas claimed the silver in the men's discus throw F11 category, which deals with visual impairment. While Mohammed Yasser fetched a bronze in the men's shot put F46 category. The F46 category of disability covers upper limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement. Now, India clinched 37 medals including 7 Gold.

99.  The Maharashtra Prison department has rolled out a smart video- calling facility for female prisoners and inmates lodged at open jails across the state, after gaining success in its pilot project at Pune's Yerawada Central Prison (YCP). A prisoner can talk to his/her family members for five minutes and will be charged Rs 5. The department has obtained the smartphones for video calling through the Prisoners Welfare Fund. However, the face to face talking facility with the family members will only be available on the mobile phone numbers registered with the department. For security reasons, the conversations will also be tracked by a police constable to ensure that the talks centre around family issues. There are around 28,000 prisoners, which includes both convicts and under-trials, lodged across 54 jails, including 13 open prisons and 2 women prisons in the state.

100.    The Haryana government has decided to set up an Anti-Terrorist Force (ATF) 'Kavach' to strengthen the present-day security arrangements in the state. The selected Haryana police recruits will be trained by the National Security Guard (NSG). The headquarters of Kavach would be at Gurugram and it would be headed by an officer of inspector general or additional director general of police rank. To deal with terrorist activities, Kavach would have 150 police personnel who would be provided 14 weeks training by the NSG at Manesar.

101.    Veena Sendre from Chhattisgarh has been chosen as India's first 'Miss Trans Queen'. She defeated Namita Ammu of Tamil Nadu to claim the title at the national-level beauty contest organised in Mumbai on October 7. Sendre, a former Miss Chhattisgarh, belongs to Mandir Hasaud village in Raipur

102.    On 10th October 2018, Ghatam maestro Vikku Vinayakram has recently won the special lifetime achievement award from the Music Academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Vinayakram is one of the best-known faces of percussion from South India. He plays Carnatic music with the ghatam (an earthen pot), and is credited with popularising the ghatam. This award does not fall under the institution's annual recognitions and honours. It is conferred once in a while to artistes of outstanding calibre who the Music Academy feels deserve an independent recognition. Mr. Vinayakram is the third musician to receive special lifetime achievement award from the Music Academy. The earlier recipients of the award were dancer Kamala Lakshminarayanan and violinist Lalgudi G Jayaraman.

103.    At the 2018 Asian Para Games, Indian javelin thrower Sundar Singh Gurjar won a silver in the men's F46 category with an effort of 61.33m in which two-time Paralympic gold medalist Devendra Jhajharia finished fourth. In the same event, Rinku picked up a bronze to make it an India-dominated podium. The F46 category of disability covers upper limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement.

104.    IIT-Madras has collaborated with Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA) to enhance data-driven governance. Through this engagement, the Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBC DSAI ) at IIT-Madras has agreed to support the State government on various data science and ICT-related challenges. The collaboration is expected to contribute towards various aspects of governance, including education, healthcare, and agriculture. TNeGA is the State nodal agency under the IT department to support and drive all e-governance initiatives of the State government while RBC DSAI is an inter-disciplinary centre for research in AI.

105.    Senegal will host the 4th summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2022, the first to take place on the African continent. The 2022 decision was taken at a two-day International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting on the sidelines of the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympics. Senegal will host the youth games in three places: Dakar; a new city of Diamniadio, close to the capital; and the coastal resort of Saly. The games will be held in May or June, at the end of the dry season to greatly reduce the prevalence of tropical diseases. Thousands of athletes age 15-18 from over 200 countries usually participate in the summer games competing in over 40 sports as diverse as badminton, boxing, fencing, table tennis, rugby, and weightlifting

106.    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has participated in the 17th Council of Heads of Government (CHG-2018) meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan from October 11th to 12th .The SCO CHG meeting is a forum that enables India to engage with SCO member countries and Observer states of Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia. It is the first major meeting since Kyrgyzstan took over as chair of the Organisation. The leaders discussed prospects for further development of SCO and exchanged in-depth views on current international and regional issues. This was the 2nd CHG meeting since India became a full member of SCO in June 2017. Last year, CHG meeting was held in Sochi, Russia and was also attended by EAM.

107.    The Meghalaya government will launch a new scheme 'Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries' on 26th October 2018. The Blue Revolution is being implemented to achieve economic prosperity of fishermen and fish farmers and contribute towards food and nutritional security through optimum utilisation of water resources in a sustainable manner keeping in view the bio-security and environmental concerns. Under the Blue Revolution, the state government will develop new ponds on another 1,000 hectares of land, feed mills and retail outlets since many people do not know the places where they can get local fishes. For the scheme, the Central Government has sanctioned Rs 51 crore.

108.    Tata Group veteran Sunil Bhaskaran has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) of low cost carrier AirAsia India with effect from November 15, 2018. He will oversee the next phase of expansion and growth of the company, AirAsia India said in a statement. The airline, jointly owned by Tata Sons and Air Asia Bhd, has been without a CEO for the past six months. Currently, Bhaskaran is vice president of corporate services at Tata Steel and has over three decades of experience in the fields of manufacturing, export and commercial operations with the Tata group. AirAsia India has a market share of less than 5% and a fleet of 19 aircraft.

109.    In Jammu, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has recently signed pact with the Central University of Jammu (CUJ) to set up the 'Satish Dhawan Center for Space Science' to expand its presence to the northernmost state of India. The space centre at CUJ is proposed to be spread on an area of about 1,150 square metres. It will have facilities for Geospatial Data analysis that will help in sustainable use of natural resources and planning land-use pattern. It will have ground-based observations for Atmospheric Studies, research lab for astrophysics, Atmospheric Sensing and Glacier studies Lab for better use of large quantity of water stored in the form of seasonal snow, ice and glaciers in the rivers of North India. Apart from this, Disaster Management Center will also be set up here that would be able to take up research in the area of different disasters like flood, Landslides, forest fires, drought and climate change.

110.    On October 11, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) launched a Roll onRoll off (Ro-Ro) service in Assam from Neamati to Manjuli island. This service will reduce the road route distance of 423 km that trucks take from Neamati to Majuli Island via Tezpur Road Bridge to only 12.7 km with the use of river route. The IWAI has procured a new vessel MV Bhupen Hazarika at a cost of Rs 9.46 crore for the new service. The vessel which is 46.50 meter long and 13.30 meter wide has a carrying capacity of 8 trucks and 100 passengers. The vessel can sail at the speed of 22 km per house. Majuli is one of the biggest riverine islands in the world located on river Brahmaputra and faces serious challenges of connectivity. It has 144 villages with a population of over 1,50,000. The RoRo service was launched in collaboration between IWAI and Assam government.

111.    Annapurna Devi (91), the renowned Hindustani musician, passed away in Mumbai on October 13, 2018. Born in Maihar (Madhya Pradesh) in 1927, she was the daughter and disciple of Allauddin Khan (who was the founder of Maihar gharana). She was given the name 'Annapurna' by former Maharaja Brijnath Singh of the former Maihar Estate (M.P.), and it was by this name that she was popularly known. Annapurna was an Indian Surbahar (bass sitar) player of Hindustani classical music. She was married to sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, but he divorced her and went to USA in 1962. After her divorce, she never performed again in public. She had had notable disciples viz.: Hariprasad Chaurasia, Nityanand Haldipur, Nikhil Banerjee, Amit Bhattacharya, Pradeep Barot, Sudhir Phadke, Sandhya Apte and Saswatti Saha.

112.    India has been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) with the highest number of votes among all 18 countries in the five regional categories. It secured 188 votes in the Asia-Pacific category for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2019. It is followed by Fiji with 187 votes, Bangladesh 178, Bahrain and Philippines 165 each. This will be the fifth time that India will serve on the Genevabased Council, the main body of the UN charged with promoting and monitoring human rights.

113.    On October 13, the Coffee Day Malnad Ultra Marathon 2018 has flagged off successfully from Lalbaug Estate in Chikmagalur, Karnataka. He event is split into three categories – 50km, 80km and 110km. Here, 811 runners from 13 countries and 22 states from across India gathered at the start line for the flag off of the ultra marathon. There were as many as 43 international runners from UK, Poland, France, USA, Maldives, Germany, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Singapore, Colombia, Japan, and Malaysia who participated in the run with USA having the highest representation of 7 endurance runners. The endurance run also had an incredible number of 143 female runners and also saw participation from people up to 75 years of age. The ultra marathon course will take the runners through the hilly and enchanting terrain of the Western Ghats while offering scenic views of the coffee plantations.

114.    NITI Aayog has signed pact with Microsoft India to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to address challenges various sectors such as agriculture and healthcare. As per the pact, Microsoft will support NITI Aayog by combining the cloud, AI, research and its vertical expertise for new initiatives and solutions across several core area. It will also accelerate the use of AI for the development and adoption of local language computing, in addition to building capacity for AI among the workforce through education. Under the agreement, Microsoft will provide Niti Aayog advanced AI-based solutions such as farm advisory services, healthcare screening models at primary health centers along with building capacity for AI through education.

115.    India's first-ever India-Israel Innovation Centre (IIIC), an entrepreneurial technology hub, was launched at the 3rd edition of IoT India Congress in Bengaluru, Karnataka on October 10, 2018. The IIIC is a significant step towards facilitating penetration of Israeli companies in India and aims to forge local partnerships and joint ventures between companies from the two countries. It will provide an ecosystem to support entrepreneurship, partnership with vendors, mentoring and non-formal community development that will assist the growth of the companies in different verticals and covers business, technology, investors and customers. The start-ups that are part of IIIC will be given mentorship and guidance and opportunities to participate at all IIIC's global events and experience networking avenues with potential customers. The IIIC was launched by Ramanan Ramanathan, the Mission Director of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)

116.    The biography of late Anumolu Ramakrishna titled 'Building a Legacy' is authored by city-based Chartered Accountant V Pattabhi Ram. It was recently released by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. Ramakrishna, former President and MD at Larsen and Toubro (L&T), was posthumously awarded Padma Bhushan in 2014. He was instrumental in constructing several path breaking buildings including Tirumala queue complex, Hitech city, and Nehru Indoor Stadium. Ramakrishna was born in December 1939 and died on August 20, 2013 at Hyderabad.

117.    The IIT Kharagpur and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have signed an MoU to facilitate cooperation in research and education between the two institutes in New Delhi on October 11. NTNU is an expert in Hydro Power, Ocean Modelling, Deep Sea Resources and Marine Technology which will be key areas of focus under this MoU. IIT KGP has three departments and centers working in these areas — the Department of Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture, the Center for Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere and Land Science and the Department of Civil Engineering with its core areas in Hydrodynamics, Coastal, Marine and Hydraulic Engineering and Wave Modelling .Both IIT KGP and NTNU have trans-disciplinary academic and research programs encompassing science and technology, medicine, social sciences to arts and fine arts and more areas of common interest will be explored in future.

118.    Sikkim has won the Gold at the 2018 FAO's Future Policy Award (FPA) for its achievement in becoming the world's first totally organic agriculture state. All of its farmland is certified organic. At the same time, Sikkim's approach reaches beyond organic production and has proven truly transformational for the state and its citizens. Uniquely, the state has totally banned the sale and use of chemical pesticides. The transition has benefitted more than 66 000 farming families. The Sikkim tourism sector has benefitted greatly from the state's transition to 100 percent organic: the number of tourists increased by over 50% between 2014 and 2017. Sikkim beat out 51 other nominees from around the world for the award. Brazil, Denmark, Quito and Ecuador shared the Silver award. Nicknamed the "Oscar for best policies", the award is coorganised with the FAO by The World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM — Organics International, and recognises "the world's best laws and policies promoting agroecology".

119.    The World Bank (WB) has recently released its first-ever Human Capital Index (HCI), which ranked 157 economies on parameters like child mortality, health and education. India is ranked at 115th position in the index with its score of 0.44 on a scale of 0 to 1 coming even below the average score for South Asia. Though, Government of India (GoI) has rejected the findings of the index. India's neighbours Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka were better placed at 106th, 102nd and 74th position, respectively. Singapore topped the poll after it was highly rated for its universal healthcare system, education exams results and life expectancy figures. It is followed by South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Finland.

120.    The National Stock Exchange (NSE) has recently signed pact with the Uttarakhand government to provide access to capital to MSMEs, which will fuel growth of such entities in the state. The bourse will play an active role in nurturing the SMEs and startups by increasing awareness along with the government on the opportunities to raise capital, SME exchange guidelines, listing processes, compliances with listing agreement among others. As part of the pact, the exchange will support the efforts of the government in enhancing the financing opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the state, through listing on NSE's SME platform– Emerge. On its part, the government will facilitate MSMEs to get listed on the NSE Emerge, by supporting such entities financially or otherwise, in bearing the expenses related to listing

121.    The World Egg Day (WED) is celebrated every year on the second Friday in October and was first celebrated in 1996. The day helps to raise awareness of the benefits of eggs and their importance in human nutrition. Eggs are one of nature's highest quality sources of protein, and indeed contain many of the key ingredients for life. The proteins contained within eggs are highly important in the development of the brain and muscles, have a key role to play in disease prevention and contribute to general well being. The 2018 theme is "Protein for Life".

122.    Great Britain lifted the 8th edition of Sultan Johar Cup Junior Hockey tournament in Johor Bahru, Malaysia on October 13, 2018. In the final, Great Britain defeated India 3- 2. The other teams in the tournament were Japan, Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand.

123.    India has been ranked 103rd among 119 countries in the 2018 Global Hunger Index (GHI). The 2018 GHI report was prepared jointly by global NGOs namely – Concern Worldwide (Ireland) and Welthungerhilfe (Germany). The index indicates that the level of hunger and undernutrition worldwide falls into the serious category, at a value of 20.9, down from 29.2 in 2000.

124.    Dr. Teejan Bai, the folk artist from Chhattisgarh, has won the 2018 Fukuoka Arts and Culture Prize, one of the top honours of Japan. It was the first time she had been formally recognised abroad and she was flabbergasted that anyone in Japan had heard of her or her art: Pandavani. Dr. Teejan is a leading performing artist and a contemporary exponent of Pandavani, a narrative singing of the ancient Indian epic "Mahabharata".

125.    Maryse Conde, a French (Guadeloupean) author of historical fiction, has won the 2018 New Academy Prize in Literature, which is formed in protest to the Nobel Literature Prize. Conde will win about £87,000 raised from crowdfunding and donations, and will receive the prize at a ceremony on 9 December, one day before the Nobel banquet. In 2018, the Nobel Prize in Literature was postponed for the first time since 1949 because of a sexual misconduct scandal that came to light as part of the #MeToo movement.

126.    India and China have launched their first joint programme for Afghanistan to train its diplomats from October 15-26 under the aegis of the Trilateral Cooperation between India, China and Afghanistan. The joint training programme is being held after an understanding for such a cooperation was reached during an informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held in April 2018 at China's Wuhan city. This will be a first such project in the war-torn country where China while trying to expand its influence has tacitly backed Pakistan, which has been accused by Afghanistan and the US of backing the Taliban and its most violent attacks in the country destabilising any attempts to restore peace.

127.    Novak Djokovic, a Serbian professional tennis player. has recently won the 2018 Shanghai Masters Tennis tournament in Shanghai, China. In the final, he beat Croatia's Borna Coric by 6-3, 6-4 to claim his fourth Shanghai title and second Masters title of the year. Djokovic now has 18 consecutive wins. With this win, he overtook Roger Federer and returned to the #2 ranking for the first time since the 2017 French Open.

128.    Dr. Shekhar C Mande, a biologist, has been appointed Director-General of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Secretary of the Department of Scientific and Research (DSIR). The position of CSIR DG fell vacant recently with its previous chief Girish Sahni superannuating on August 31. At present, Dr. Mande is the director of the Pune-based National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) and a top functionary of Vijnana Bharati, the RSS-affiliated swadeshi science movement. He is a fellow of all three major science academies: The Indian National Science Academy, the National Academy of Sciences India, and the Indian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Mande has also worked at the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad.

129.    The International Day for Disaster Reduction is observed every year on October 13 to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. The day celebrated how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the risks associated with them. The 2018 theme is 'Reducing Disaster Economic Losses'.

130.    The book "Maharana Pratap: The Invincible Warrior" is authored by noted historian Rima Hooja, who describes in detail how Maharana Pratap managed to elude capture by the mighty Mughal army for so long and never bowed down to Akbar. This new book on Maharana Pratap examines the life of the great Rajput warrior and also revisits the famous battle of Haldighati with the Mughals saying it remained inconclusive and there was no clear winner. According to author, the story of Haldighati is a story of great courage and sacrifice; of the clash of indomitable wills; of Mughal ambition and expansion versus Rajput pride and honour.

131.    The India International Silk Fair (IISF-2018) has inaugurated by Union Minister Smriti Irani at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi on October 16. The fair will give a platform to exporters to display their products and to overseas buyers an opportunity to place orders and source their merchandise. In it, over 108 exhibitors of silk and blended silk will display their produce. Over 218 buyers from various countries will participate in the 3- day fair. Artisans from Jammu & Kashmir and north-east will showcase their unique products from their region which will be an added attraction for buyers. The IISF-2018 is expected to generate business of over $20 million for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) engaged in producing silk and blended silk garments, fabrics, accessories and floor covering. India is the second largest producer of silk in the world. The country's silk industry is agriculture based and labour intensive and provides gainful employment to around eight million artisans and weavers in rural areas.

132.    Prema Gopalan, founder of Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), has been honored as the India Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) 2018 for her work in promoting women's entrepreneurship at the grassroots and ensuring rural livelihood. The SSP model comprises four ventures: a federated network of 5,000 self-help groups; a resilience fund for women-led businesses; a rural school of entrepreneurship and leadership for women; and a market aggregator that provides warehousing, branding, marketing and distribution services to last-mile business women. The SEOY award was jointly founded by Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in 2010. It recognizes promising and high-impact social entrepreneurs who implement practical and sustainable solutions. The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is a sister organization of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

133.    Priyank Kanoongo has been appointed the new Chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) for a period of 3 years. The post of chairperson fell vacant after Stuti Kacker's tenure ended on September 16, 2018. The NCPCR is a statutory body, which was set up by an Act of Parliament in 2007 under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.

134.    The 4th edition of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays 2019 will be hosted by Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF) at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama (near Tokyo), which is scheduled to begin from May 11- 12, 2019. The 2019 edition of IAAF World Relays will serve as a qualifier for the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Top 12 teams in world rankings will be qualified for the competitions in Doha while the best eight will make their way to Tokyo.

135.    The 6th RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting (IMM) was held in Singapore on 12- 13 October, 2018. The Ministers from 16 RCEP countries discussed modern, comprehensive and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement among ASEAN and ASEAN's FTA partners. The Indian delegation was led by CR Chaudhary, the Minister of State for Commerce & Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. The meeting also reviewed developments since the 6th RCEP Ministerial Meeting held in August 2018 in Singapore. The RCEP stands for "Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership". It is a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the 10 member states of the ASEAN (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six AsiaPacific states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).

136.    Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas is celebrated every year on 15th of October to increase active participation of women in agriculture & allied sectors. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh will address the function in New Delhi this afternoon. Women farmers, entrepreneurs, farming organizations, agricultural scientists and researchers from different states will participate in the event. In 2016, the Ministry had decided to observe 15th of October as Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas. Women are contributing invarious aspects of agriculture including sowing, planting, fertilizing, plant protection, harvesting, weeding, and storage.

137.    Paul Allen (65), who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates, has passed away in Seattle on October 15 , 2018. In 1975, they founded the Microsoft at Albuquerque in New Mexico to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800 hobby-kit personal computer. It was Allen who came up with the name Microsoft and had left the company in 1983. After that, he became the billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel, arts and culture and professional sports. Allen was on the list of America's wealthiest people who pledged to give away the bulk of their fortunes to charity. At the time of his death, he ranked 44th on Forbes' 2018 list of billionaires with an estimated net worth of more than $20 billion.

138.    The SRiX Agri-Business Academy, which is an Indo-UK collaborative initiative, has been launched at SR Innovation Exchange (SRiX) Campus in Warangal. It is India's first agri and food business online learning platform and was launched by Andrew Fleming, the British Deputy High Commissioner at Hyderabad. SRiX is a technology business incubator under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. It is focused on startups in Agriculture, Cleantech and IoT. Sarras Academies Ltd (a UK-based company) and SriX have joined hands to launch the Academy. This highlights the collaboration between Telangana and UK.

139.    The 14th edition of the Men's Hockey World Cup will be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar from 28 November to 16 December, 2018. Turtle Olly has been declared as the official mascot of 2018 tournament at the Puri sea beach in Odisha. Alongside the promotion of the event, the mascot aims to raise awareness about the conservation of the Olive Ridley turtle, which is said to be on the verge of extinction in the state of Odisiha. From the games perspective, Olly personifies the spirit of sportsmanship and encourages the participants to play the sport with complete fairness and in the right spirit. In the 18-day mega event, 16 countries are participating including India.

140.    The International Day of Rural Women is celebrated every year on 15th of October to recognize the crucial role of women and girls in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing. The 2018 theme "Sustainable infrastructure, services and social protection for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls", places empowerment of rural women at the heart of fulfilling the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. To mark this day, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres stated that the empowerment of rural women and girls is essential to building a prosperous, equitable and peaceful future for all on a healthy planet.

141.    The ICICI Bank was originally established by ICICI Limited as a wholly owned subsidiary in 1994. Though, Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) was formed in 1955 as a joint-venture of the World Bank, the Government of India (GoI) and representatives of Indian industry. The principal objective was to create a development financial institution for providing medium-term and long-term project financing to Indian businesses. Recently, it is in news because the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved appointment of Sandeep Bakshi as Managing Director and CEO of the private sector lender ICICI Bank for 3 years. He succeeded Chanda Kochhar, who is facing enquiry over the charges of nepotism and conflict of interest. Ms Kochhar had quit the bank on October 4 before her current tenure was to end. She also resigned from all subsidiaries of the bank, including ICICI Securities where she had sought reappointment as the chairperson.

142.    The book titled "Half the Night is Gone", which is shortlisted for The Hindu Prize 2018 in the fiction segment, is authored by Amitabha Bagchi. It tells the story of a celebrated Hindi novelist Vishwanath, heartbroken by the recent loss of his son. The book raises questions of religion, literature and society that speak to our fractured times.

143.    Nimesh Shah, the MD & CEO of ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund, has been elected as new Chairman of Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI). He succeeded A Balasubramanian, CEO of Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund. Shah has been appointed as Chairman at a time when volatile equity markets and fears of liquidity at IL&FS are keeping investors jittery. As Chairman of AMFI, Shah's challenge will be to focus on investor-centric initiatives through which industry will be able to attract inflows and grow its Assets under Management (AUM).

144.    Suraj Panwar has won the India's first medal in athletics at the Youth Olympic Games 2018 after claiming the silver in the men's 5000m race walk event at the Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was India's third overall medal in athletics in the history of the Youth Olympic Games.

145.    Recently, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has officially adopted a proposal to rename the historic city of Allahabad as Prayagraj. The city was known as Prayag before 16thcentury Mughal emperor Akbar built a fort near the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna and named it "Ilahabad". His grandson Shah Jahan renamed the entire city "Allahabad". An area near the confluence of the river continues to be known as Prayag. The confluence of two rivers is a 'prayag', and in Allahabad three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati meet. Hence, it is the king of 'prayags'. That is why it is 'Prayagraj'. Now, the proposal will now go to the Centre before the city is officially renamed even though an Uttar Pradesh minister seemed to suggest the change has already come into effect.

146.    The Government of India (GoI) has launched a nationwide campaign 'Swasth Bharat Yatra' from October 16 on the occasion of 2018 World Food Day (WFD to create consumer awareness about eating safe and nutritious food for becoming healthy. As per the campaign, a pan-India cycle rally is being organized by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to sensitize people about eating safe food and be healthy. About 7,500 cyclists are expected to participate in over 18,000 km relay cycle rally travelling across six tracks through almost every state and UT over 100 days to propagate a powerful message 'Eat Right India'. The cyclathon will culminate in the national capital on January 27. The 'Eat Right India' movement is a collective effort of key stakeholders and citizens and is aligned with Government's recent focus on public health through its three key programmes – 'Ayushman Bharat', 'Swachh Bharat Mission', and 'POSHAN Abhiyaan'.

147.    The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed every year on October 17 to recognize the struggles of the impoverished and to make their voices heard by governments and ordinary citizens. The 2018 theme is "Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity". This year marks the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is important to recall the fundamental connection between extreme poverty and human rights, and that people living in poverty are disproportionately affected by many human rights violations.

148.    The World Food Day (WFD) is observed every year across the world on 16th of October to commemorate the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945. The theme for WFD 2018 is "Our Actions Are Our Future ! A #ZeroHunger World by 2030 is possible". Zero hunger means working together to ensure everyone, everywhere, has access to the safe, healthy and nutritious food they need. To achieve it, we must adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, work with others, share our knowledge and be willing to help change the world – for the better.

149.    The 12th Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit 2018 will be held in Brussels, Belgium from October 18 with theme "Global Partners for Global Challenges". Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu will lead the Indian delegation at the two-day summit. This will also be the first multilateral summit that Vice President will be attending after taking office in August 2017. Besides One to One meeting with the King of the Belgians, Mr. Naidu will have bilateral meetings with various Heads of State on the sidelines of the Summit. The ASEM summit is the highest platform for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe in the areas of trade, investment, security and tourism.

150.    The festival of Fulpati has recently celebrated with traditional gaiety and religious fervour in various parts of Nepal. Fulpati is observed on the 7th day of Dashain festival. In Nepali, "Phool" means flower and "Pati" means leaves and plants. There is a tradition in Nepal to bring nine types of Fulpati into the home on the seventh day of Navaratri. It is believed that Fulpati represents nine Goddess and they brings health, wealth and prosperity to the homes. The tradition started during the period of King Prithvi Narayan Shah. The main function was held at Basantpur Durbar Square in Kathmandu, where Fulpati was brought to Dashainghar from Jamal in a traditional procession with Vedic rituals

151.    The World Trauma Day (WTD) is observed every year on October 17 to highlight the increasing rate of accidents and injuries causing death and disability across the world and the need to prevent them. It emphasizes the importance of saving and protecting a life during the most critical moments and preparing and applying critical measures to deal with and avoid trauma fatalities.Trauma means "any injury caused to the body". The injury may be caused due to many reasons like road accidents, fires, burns, falls, acts of violence and crimes against the vulnerable population including women, children and elderly.

152.    On October 18, the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit has started in Brussels, Belgium with theme "Global Partners for Global Challenges". The summit will prioritise issues related to connectivity, trade and investment, sustainable development, climate change, terrorism, migration, maritime security and cyberspace. The meeting will bring together Heads of state of 30 European and 21 Asian countries, besides top representatives of the European Union and Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu will lead the Indian delegation at the two-day summit. This will also be the first multilateral summit that Vice President will be attending after taking office in August 2017.

153.    Irish Author Anna Burns has won the prestigious 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for her novel 'Milkman'. With this, she became the first Northern Irish author and the first woman since 2013 to win the prize. Milkman is an exploration of Northern Ireland's three decades of sectarian violence told through the voice of a young woman. The novel chronicles the struggles of a middle sister in a family as she confronts rumour, social pressures and politics amid violent sectarian divisions in her community.She had previously authored two novels – 'No Bones' and 'Little Constructions

154.    Akash Malik from Haryana has become the India's first silver-medallist in archery at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. He lost a one-sided final to Trenton Cowles of the USA by 0-6 in the men's recurve final. With this, India concluded the youth Olympics with 13 medals, namely, 3 gold, 9 silver, and one bronze. In it, Jeremy Lalrinnunga won India's first ever Youth Olympics Gold medal.While Tababi Devi won the first ever youth Olympics medal for India in Judo and later also won a silver in the mixed team event under mixed-NOC. Further, Manu Bhaker became the first Indian girl to win a Youth Olympics Gold medal. Both Boys' and Girls' Hockey 5s teams won silver medals in their debut

155.    India has been ranked as the 58th most competitive economy on the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) for 2018. The WEF stated that India's rank rose by five places from 2017, the largest gain among G20 economies. On the list of 140 economies, the US topped the list followed by Singapore and Germany. As per the report, India leads the region in all other areas of competitiveness except for health, education and skills. It further added that India has invested more heavily on transport infrastructure and services. As per the report, India's greatest competitive advantages include its market size and innovation. Among the BRICS economies, China topped the list at 28th place. India, however, remained the "South Asia's main driving force". The GCI 4.0 is a composite indicator that assesses the set of factors that determine an economy's level of productivity – widely considered as the most important determinant of long-term growth.

156.    Canada has officially become the 2nd Country in the world to legalize the recreational use of marijuana nationwide after Uruguay. The Cannabis Act (or Bill C-45) came into force on 17th October 2018. The new regulations aim to protect public health and safety by allowing adults access to legal cannabis and is a social experiment that the rest of the world will be carefully watching. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant intended for medical or recreational use. With this, Canada has also became the the first G7 nation to legalize the drug's recreational use. It must be noted that the use of medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001. The Group of Seven (G7) is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

157.    On 16th October 2018, China has successfully tested the world's largest unmanned transport drone "Feihong-98 (FH-98)", which can carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes, at Baotou test site in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region. The Feihong-98 has a maximum takeoff weight of 5.25 tonnes, a flight height of 4,500m, a cruising speed of 180 km/hr and a maximum range of 1,200 kms. The FH-98 was adapted from the prototype of the Shifei Y5B, a China-developed transport plane. It is developed and modified by the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology (CAAET).

158.    The World Students' Day (WSD) is observed every year on 15th of October to mark the birth anniversary of former President of India and great scientist Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Dr. Kalam was also the great author. Among his books are: 'Wings of Fire', 'My journey', 'Ignited Minds – Unleashing the power within India' and 'India 2020 – A Vision for the New Millennium'. In 2015 the United Nations declared 15 October "World Students' Day". The day is a celebration of multiculturalism, diversity and cooperation among students across the globe.

159.    As per clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution, President Ram Nath Kovind has recently accepted the resignation of M J Akbar from the Union council of ministers on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He resgined from the post of Minister of State for External Affairs due to allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by several women journalists.

160.    The first-ever Indo-Japan joint military exercise "Dharma Guardian- 2018" will be conducted at Counter Insurgency Warfare School, Vairengte from 01 November to 14 November. During the 14 day long exercise, due emphasis will be laid on increasing interoperability between forces from both countries. Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario. Experts from both sides will also hold detailed discussions to share their expertise on varied operational aspects. The exercise will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect for each other's militaries and also facilitate tracking the worldwide phenomenon of terrorism.

161.    The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered chatbot– Ask Disha (Digital Interaction to Seek Help Anytime) to answer customer queries pertaining to various services offered by IRCTC. It is a first-of-its-kind initiative, which is jointly developed and initiated by IRCTC and CoRover Pvt. Ltd. With this, IRCTC has become the first and only government corporation in India to launch a chat-enabled helpdesk service program. Ask Disha will take the stress out of travel bookings and help provide smooth travel experience to the domestic/foreign traveller on the Indian Railways network. It is a special computer programme designed to simulate conversation with users, especially over the internet. It will support several regional languages and will be voice-enabled and will soon be integrated with IRCTC Android App in the near future. The essential features of chatbot includes zero waiting time for the query to be answered and ability to provide round-the-clock customer support.

162.    Social Entrepreneur Suheil Tandon has been conferred with the IOC Sports and Active Society Development Grant award for 2018 for his contribution to sports for development. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) award ceremony was held during the Olympism in Action forum at Buenos Aires. Suheil is the founder of Pro Sport Development (PSD) and Executive Director of Martha Farrell Foundation (MFF). He is committed towards using sport as a tool for the holistic development of youth rather than just for their sporting development. He also uses sport as a tool to challenge unequal and harmful gender relations, with the goal of ending violence against women and girls. The sports-based programmes of PSD are empowering marginalized communities in India, especially children and youth, by creating a level-playing field.

163.    The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nokia Solutions and Networks India Pvt Ltd to leverage Industry 4.0 for manufacturing excellence at Nokia's Chennai factory. The project also marks India's first 'real-world' application of Industry 4.0 at the Nokia Conscious Factory in Chennai. The Industry 4.0 relies on low-latency, high reliability networks and capabilities in robotics and AI to drive new levels of automation and data exchange in manufacturing industries. This results in improved operational efficiency and reduces costs. In Industry 4.0, machines become smart, share data and includes Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and others.

164.    The famous Shahi litchi of North Bihar has got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. It is the 4th product from the state after Jardalu mango, Katarni rice and Magahi paan to have got the GI tag. GI is a name or sign used on products to certify that they possess certain qualities for being made or produced as per traditional methods or enjoy a certain reputation due to its geographical origin. Shahi Litchi is mainly cultivated in Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Vaishali, East Champaran and Begusarai and some parts of adjoining areas in agro-climatic areas of the state. According to agriculture scientists, due to high calcium content in the soil, litchi is better in these areas. A total of 3 lakh metric tonnes of different varieties of litchi were produced in Bihar in 2017-18, out of which 60 per cent were Shahi litchis.

165.    The 5th edition of the Women of India Organic Festival will be held from October 26 to November 4 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi. It is being organised by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry to promote women organic farmers and entrepreneurs. The move aims to empower women to boost organic culture and promote women organic farmers and entrepreneurs. Over 500 women entrepreneurs from across the country would take part in the fest with their organic products such as cereals, rice, pulses, skin-care products, fabric and jewellery.

166.    The book titled "Indian Sports: Conversations and Reflections" has been authored by Vijayan Bala, the veteran commentator and cricket statistican. The book is a compilation of interviews of eminent sports-persons he has conducted since 1971. Bala, who has also been a member of BCCI's Statistical Committee apart from being an English teacher, has interviewed Olympians like Balbir Singh Senior, Abhinav Bindra, Sushil Kumar, Sakshi Malik, Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to name a few. Among the cricketers of yesteryears, he has interviewed MAK Pataudi, GR Viswanath, Eknath Solkar while Gautam Gambhir, Unmukt Chand are some of the current day players interviewed by him.

167.    On October 17, the 8th edition of the European Congress on SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) has started at Kotawice, Poland with theme "Business-Self-Government Together for Economy". The SMEs from around 50 countries are participating in the 3- day event. From India, Ms. Alka Arora (Joint Secretary in Ministry of MSME) is leading the delegation of 32 Indian SMEs. In order to fructify the opportunities for Indian SMEs, the Congress will be anopportunity to make direct business relations between European and Indian SMEs. The visiting Indian delegation is also expected to showcase Indian products and services at the Expo in the Indian Pavilion

168.    The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR) , Lucknow has developed an innovative technology for "Drinking Water Disinfection System" with Trade name "OneerTM" . ONEER TM is useful for continuous treatment of water and eliminates all disease causing pathogens such as virus, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and cyst to provide safe drinking water to domestic and communities settings as per National and International standards prescribed for potable water (BIS, WHO etc.). It will provide access to safe and clean drinking water at a cost of just 2 Paise / Ltr. The technology will be helpful especially for rural people since it can be solar powered and this development is in line with the 'Make in India' Mission. The smaller unit of Oneer is particularly suitable for homes, street food vendors and small establishments.

169.    Kerala is now set to become the India's first smoke-free State with public sector oil companies eyeing 100% LPG penetration here. It is estimated that one crore tonnes of emissions, from poisonous gases like firewood cooking, have been contained and 25 lakh trees have been saved with the introduction of LPG in villages. The target has almost been achieved in most villages, mofussil towns and cities in the State under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). The Indian Oil has 50% of the market share while the remaining are shared by the HPCL and BPCL. The Indian Oil is also prepared to provide the State with new generation fuels like CNG and other green fuels. Piped gas supply of LPG is also being attempted by the company. As per PMUY, an adult woman member of a Below Poverty Line (BPL) family identified through the SocioEconomic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.

170.    Mohammed Zahur Khayyam Hashmi (91), the National Award winning music director, has been named for the 2018 Hridaynath Award for Lifetime Achievement. He is famous as 'Khayyam'. The award, which is instituted by the Hridayesh Arts, carries a cash prize of Rs 100,000 and a memento. The veteran composer, lyricist and writer Khayyam started his music career in Ludhiana in 1943 at the age of 17. His some notable works are as follows: "Umrao Jaan", "Kabhi Kabhi", "Trishul", "Razia Sultan", "Aakhri Khat", etc.

171.    Piyush Goyal, the Union Minister of Railways & Coal, will be honoured with the 2018 Carnot Prize of Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Design. The 2018 Carnot Prize is a recognition of India's efforts towards eliminating energy poverty with sustainable energy solutions. It is the most prestigious award in the energy sector. The Prize is named after French physicist Nicolas Sadi Carnot who recognised that the power of the steam engine would "produce a great revolution" in human development. The Carnot Prize is intended to honour those leading revolutions in energy policy to further progress and prosperity. The Carnot Prize is the Kleinman Center's annual recognition of distinguished contributions to energy policy through scholarship or practice.

172.    The first-ever joint maritime exercise will be conducted between ASEAN and China in the South China Sea near the city of Zhanjiang in an effort to reduce tensions in the disputed region. This exercise will provide very good opportunities from the navies of ASEAN and China to work together using the CUES (Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea). Four ASEAN members — Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam — have conflicting claims in the South China Sea with Beijing. China claims sovereignty over almost the entire area, including waters near the shores of smaller countries. Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand are Asean's other members. The concerns have escalated dramatically in recent years as China started building artificial islands on reefs in disputed waters, and it has also constructed military facilities and airstrips.

173.    The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) will form new government in Bhutan after the party winning 30 seats in 47 member National Assembly, the lower house of the parliament. The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) has got remaining 17 seats. This is the first time in Bhutan's decade old parliamentary democracy that a new party has been chosen to form the government. According to the Election Commission of Bhutan, 71.46% polling was recorded in the third general election. DNT President Dr. Lotay Tshering won from South Thimphu constituency with a huge margin and vowed to work for "nation building" in the country which is battling high foreign debt, mainly owed to India, as well as youth employment, rural poverty and criminal gangs.

174.    The European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have successfully launched an unmanned Bepi Colombo spacecraft into orbit from an Ariane 5 rocket for a joint mission to Mercury, the planet closest to the sun. The spacecraft has been named after Italian scientist Giuseppe "Bepi" Colombo. The unmanned spacecraft will have to follow an elliptical path that involves a fly-by of Earth, two of Venus and six of Mercury itself so it can slow down before arriving at its destination in December 2025. When it arrives, Bepi Colombo will release two probes – Bepi and Mio – that will independently investigate the surface and magnetic field of Mercury. Mercury's extreme temperatures, the intense gravity pull of the sun and blistering solar radiation make for hellish conditions. The probes are designed to cope with temperatures varying from 430 degrees Celsius (806 F) on the side facing the sun, and -180 degrees Celsius (-292 F) in Mercury's shadow. The ESA-developed Bepi will operate in Mercury's inner orbit, and JAXA's Mio will be in the outer orbit to gather data that would reveal the internal structure of the planet. The only other spacecraft to visit Mercury was NASA's Mariner 10 that flew past the planet in the mid-1970s.

175.    On Oct. 27, Turkey will host the four nation summit on Syria crisis in Istanbul to discuss the conflict in Syria and efforts for a lasting solution to the war in the Arab country. The summit will be held between the leaders of Turkey, France, Germany and Russia. Russia is a main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government while Turkey has been helping insurgents trying to remove him from power. Though, in September 2018, Russia and Turkey reached an agreement to set up a demilitarized zone around the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib preventing a government offensive on the last rebel stronghold in the country. Idlib and adjacent areas are the last stronghold of rebels. The area is also home to an estimated 3 million people, more than half of whom have already been displaced once during the war. Hence, all aspects of the Syrian conflict are expected to be discussed, including the situation on the ground, the Idlib agreement and efforts for a lasting solution to the conflict.

176.    The 3rd edition of Bihu festival, which is also known as Kati Bihu or Kongali Bihu, was celebrated to bring peace and prosperity in Assam. On the occasion of Kati Bihu, women, both in urban and rural areas, try to ward off evil and pray for a rich harvest by lighting earthen lamps. The festival derives its name from the Assamese month of Kati. This is a much sombre festival when compared to the other two Bihu festivals of the state – the Rongali and Bohagi Bihu. The festival is held at this time of the year since the granaries of the farmers usually remain empty and therefore it is known as Kongali (poor) Bihu. As a part of the festival, farmers also tie a special kind of lamp, known as Akash Bati, to poles and the poles are placed in the paddy fields.

177.    By using Hubble Space Telescope, the scientists of NASA have found that violent flares from the Young Red Dwarf Stars may make planets orbiting it uninhabitable by affecting their atmospheres. Hubble is observing such stars through a large programme called HAZMAT — Habitable Zones and M dwarf Activity across Time. The purpose of the HAZMAT program is to help understand the habitability of planets around lowmass stars. The word "HAZMAT" describes substances that pose a risk to the environment, or even to life itself. "M dwarf" is the astronomical term for a red dwarf star. The programme is an ultraviolet survey of red dwarfs at three different ages – young, intermediate, and old. According to NASA, Stellar flares from red dwarf star, are particularly bright in ultraviolet wavelengths, compared with Sun-like stars. The flares are believed to be powered by intense magnetic fields that get tangled by the roiling motions of the stellar atmosphere. When the tangling gets too intense, the field breaks & reconnects, and unleashes tremendous amounts of energy. Red dwarf is the smallest, most abundant and longest-lived type of star in our galaxy.

178.    Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten has won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer Of The Year (WPY) 2018 for his stunning portrait of two endangered golden snubnosed monkeys in China's Qinling mountains. The winning image – named as 'Golden Couple' – showcases a beautiful golden fur-blue face male monkey rested briefly on a stone seat, joined by female baby monkey. The golden snub-nose monkeys are little known outside of their native range of China's Qinling Mountains. They represent the poorly known primate diversity found in China, much of which is silently sliding toward extinction. The WPY is one of the most prestigious and also the largest wildlife photography competition in the world. Started in 1964, the winning entries and runnersup are published in a book format each year since 1992.

179.    Arshdeep Singh (10) from Jalandhar has made India proud by winning the 2018 Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year (Asia) Award (10 years and under age category) for his photograph 'Pipe Owls. The award ceremony was held at the Natural History Museum, London on 15th October 2018. The award winning photograph portrays two owlets closely sitting inside a pipe. The image was clicked when Arshdeep was travelling through Punjab's Kapurthala with his father.

180.    An Indian-American woman, Minal Patel Davis has been honoured with a Presidential award by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for her extraordinary contribution towards combating human trafficking in Houston. She is the special advisor on Human Trafficking to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Davis was appointed to the post in July 2015 since then she has made a local impact on human trafficking in America's fourth largest city from a policy-level perspective and by helped in advancing systems change.

181.    The Government of India (GoI) will host the 4th Edition Of Global Partners' Forum in New Delhi on December 12-13, 2018. This unique forum aims to unite PMNCH's 1,000+ partners around common strategies so that every woman, child and adolescent – no matter where they live – can survive, thrive and transform our world. The forum will be co-hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) and PMNCH (The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health). A big focus of the forum will be to share stories of how countries are successfully collaborating across sectors and stakeholders to fast-track improvements in health and well-being of women, children and adolescents.

182.    The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has formed a panel to examine the feasibility of payment of general and health insurance claims in instalments. It will be headed by Suresh Mathur, ED (Health) in IRDAI. The panel will look into the need for allowing settlement of personal accident and benefit-based health insurance claims in instalments by general and health insurance companies.

183.    On 21st October 1943, the Azad Hind Government was formed by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who was the leader of Azad Hind Government and also the Head of State of this Provisional Indian Government-in-exile. It was a part of the freedom movement, originating in 1940s outside India with a purpose of allying with Axis powers to free India from British rule. Pertinently, the role of Azad Hind Fauj or the Indian National Army (INA) had been crucial in bequeathing a much needed impetus to India's struggle for Independence.It is in news recently because the Government of India (GoI) has recently celebrated the 75th anniversary of the formation of Azad Hind Government on 21st October, 2018 by hoisting the National flag at the Red Fort, Delhi

184.    President Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated a 3-day 'Vishwa Shanti Ahimsa Sammelan (VSAS-2018)' at Mangi Tungi in Nashik district of Maharashtra on October 22. The VSAS, which is also known as World peace and ahimsa conference, has been organised by Bhagwan Rishabhdev Murti Nirmaan Samiti. The President will also give away the first international 'Bhagwan Rishabhdev Award' to Teerthanker Mahaveer University based in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. The award, which carries a cash prize of Rs. 11 lakh, a memento and a citation, will be given to the chancellor of the university, Suresh Jain. President Kovind will also release a book, titled 'Sarvoccha Digambar Jain Pratima', on the occasion. Thousands of people from different parts of the country are expected to take part in the conference.

185.    US-based Dalit writer Sujatha Gidla has won the prestigious 2018 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize for her book "Ants Among Elephant: An Untouchable Family And The Making Of Modern India". It is an account of growing up in an 'untouchable' family in modern India. The winner receives a cash award of Rs 2 lakh and a trophy. The prize is funded by the Shakti Bhatt Foundation & was set up in 2008 in memory of young writer Shakti.

186.    The 27th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2018) has started in Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat on October 22. The 3-day event is organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and hosted by the Department of Atomic Energy and Gandhinagar-based Institute of Plasma Research. The purpose of the Conference to serve as a platform for sharing the results of research and development efforts in both national and international fusion experiments that have been shaped by these new priorities, and to thereby help in pinpointing worldwide advances in fusion theory, experiments, technology, engineering, safety and socio-economics. Experts from across the world will discuss the new challenges being faced by the fusion community in the light of a number of next-step fusion devices being implemented currently.

187.    The parliamentary standing committee on labour, which is headed by BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, will examine the functioning of retirement fund body Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), its coverage and recovery of arrears. It will review the implementation of labour laws, social security and welfare scheme for workers. The committee has selected a wide range of subjects related to labourers, including the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions binding on India and the measures taken by the government to implement them. It will also look into the working conditions and welfare of mine workers, and review the working of Directorate General of Mines Safety.

188.    The State Bank of India (SBI) has become the India's first PSU bank to introduce comprehensive wealth business services for its clients. The wealth hub was inaugurated by SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar at the Lalbagh branch in Mangalore. The bank has rebranded its wealth business as "SBI Wealth" offering best-in-class personalised banking and investment services to its elite High Net worth Individual (HNI) clients through a dedicated team of relationship managers. HNI clients would be offered best products across categories from leading fund houses. They will also have the flexibility to invest, transact and view their portfolio,through digital channels like internet banking, mobile and remote relationship model.

189.    Indian researchers have developed a new skin gel "poly-Oxime" that inhibits the absorption of the most commonly used pesticides such as Organophosphorous compounds, that can cause serious ill effects on health and, in worst cases, result in the death of pesticide handlers such as farmers. The 'poly-Oxime' does not act like a physical barrier but like a catalyst to deactivate organophosphate. The gel has been prepared by researchers at Bangalore-based Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (InStem) from a nucleophilic polymer. The 13-member team led by Dr. Praveen Kumar Vemula have formulated and patented the poly-Oxime gel made of chemically modified chitosan — found in the shells of crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs and shrimps. The gel deactivates these chemicals, preventing them from going deep into the skin and organs like the brain and the lungs. It has been found to be effective in tests done in rats and researchers hope to soon test it in humans.

190.    The book "Nehru and Bose: Parallel Lives" has been authored by Rudrangshu Mukherjee. It brings to light the riveting story of two contrasting personalities – Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru – who would go on to define modern India. It tracks the growth of these two towering figures against the backdrop of the independence movement, delicately tracing the contours of a friendship that did not quite blossom as political ideologies diverged and delineates the shadow that fell between them for, Gandhi saw Nehru as his chosen heir and Bose as a prodigal son.

191.    India's first domestic cruise 'Angriya' has recently been flagged off from Mumbai to Goa on October 20 to boost the country's lagging cruise service sector. The cruise has six decks and 104 cabins. It can ferry 399 passengers at a time. It has eight types of rooms – from dormitories to luxury rooms. The price range of the cruise will be from Rs 7,000 to Rs 12,000 for one-way. The ship will run four times a week, except during monsoons. It is named after India's first naval commander Admiral Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre, who served in Shivaji's armament, and who believed one should have a separate Navy to control the waters.

192.    India has been ranked as the 9th most valuable nation brand in the world, according to UK-based consultancy Brand Finance's Nation Brands 2018 report. Despite, India lost one spot to rank, its brand value increased by 5% to $2,159 billion. The US topped the list with a brand value of $25,899 billion, an increase of 23% from the previous year. China ranked 2nd position with a brand value of $12,779 billion, followed by Germany ($5,147 billion), UK ($3,750 billion), Japan ($3,598 billion) and France with $3,224 billion of brand value. The Brand Finance measures the strength and value of the nation brands of 100 leading countries using a method based on the royalty relief mechanism employed to value the world's largest companies. Its research covers nation brand strength, royalty rate, revenues, Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) and brand valuation, among other things.

193.    On October 22, renowned jurist Fali S. Nariman has been honoured with the 19th Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration for year 2018 by the Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu. The award was instituted by the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management in 1995 in the field of Public Administration, Academics and Management. Each year, the award honours an Indian who is an exceptionally outstanding and distinguished business leader, management practitioner, public administrator, educator or institution builder for his/her sustained individual contributions and achievements.

194.    The Sittwe Port is a deepwater port at the mouth of the Kaladan River in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State in Myanmar. The port was constructed by India in 2016. Recently, it in news because India and Myanmar inked a crucial MoU for the appointment of a private Port Operator for the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of Sittwe Port, Paletwa Inland Water Terminal and associated facilities included in the Kaladan Multi Model Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) in implementation of India's Act East Policy. That pact will boost connectivity and help in creating local job opportunities as the two sides discussed bilateral issues as well as topics of common interest, including developments in the strife-torn Rakhine state. The Sittwe port will connect India's landlocked north-east region to the Bay of Bengal through Mizoram. It will also provide an alternate route to Kolkata.

195.    On October 21, the UN-backed Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved $43.4 million for enhancing climate resilience for millions of people living in India's coastal communities in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha as part of its efforts to combat extreme impacts of climate change. The grant is a part of more than $1 billion approved by GEC board in its 21st meeting in Bahrain's capital Manama for 19 new projects to help developing countries tackle climate change. The new project will be supported through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and is an essential step for India in reaching its goals outlined in the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

196.    The National Police Commemoration Day (NPCD) is observed every year on October 21 to remember the sacrifices of ten policemen who died in Chinese firing in 1959 in Ladakh's Hot Spring area. Indian Police personnel were responsible for manning the 2,500 mile long border of India with Tibet until the autumn of 1959. In 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the National Police Memorial (NPM) in New Delhi to the nation in recognition of the sacrifices made by soldiers from the paramilitary forces and state police since India's independence. The Prime Minister also announced an award in the name of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, to honour the police and paramilitary personnel, involved in disaster response operations. The award would be announced every year, recognizing the bravery and courage displayed in saving lives of people, in the wake of a disaster. Since independence, 34,844 police personnel have lost their lives while protecting the country. This year, 424 lost their lives.

197.    The Mumbai cricket team clinched the 2018 Vijay Hazare Trophy after a gap of 11 years with a 4-wicket victory over Delhi at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. It's their 3rd title. Mumbai last won the trophy way back in 2006-07 when they defeated Rajasthan.

198.    Japanese-born Marine biologist Osamu Shimomura (90), who won the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry, has passed away in Nagasaki, Japan on 19th October 2018. Shimomura and two American scientists shared the 2008 Nobel prize for the discovery and development of a jellyfish protein (or Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)) that later contributed to cancer studies. He was born in northern Kyoto in 1928 and studied in Nagasaki, where he survived the Aug. 9, 1945, U.S. atomic bombing at age 16. In 1960, he moved to Princeton University, where he isolated the protein in samples of thousands of jellyfish taken from the U.S. West Coast. The protein known as GFP lets off a glow when it is illuminated with ultraviolet light and has become a key tool in studying biological processes in cells.

199.    China has officially opened the world's longest sea-crossing bridge, which connects the Chinese city of Zhuhai to the semi-autonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau. It includes an undersea tunnel allowing ships to pass through the Pearl River delta, the heart of China's manufacturing sector. The 34-mile-long bridge forms a physical link between the mainland and Hong Kong, an Asian financial hub that was handed over from British to Chinese control in 1997 with the assurance it would maintain its own legal and economic system for 50 years. The bridge is part of China's plan to create a Greater Bay Area, including Hong Kong, Macau and nine other cities in southern China. The area is currently home to 68 million people. In the past, travelling between Zhuhai and Hong Kong would take up to four hours – the new bridge cuts this down to 30 minutes. It costs about $20bn and build in almost a decade.

200.    In Cameroon, Paul Biya, who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1982, won the 7th presidential term with a landslide victory in a controversial presidential election on October 23, 2018. According to the Constitutional Council of the country, Biya had won 71.3% of the ballot in the October 7 presidential election, marred by allegations of widespread fraud, a low turnout and violence in the poll run-up. The President of Cameroon is elected by first-past-the-post voting; the candidate with the most votes is declared the winner with no requirement to achieve a majority. Biya is currently the longest-ruling non-royal leader in Africa and the oldest ruler in Sub-Saharan Africa after Robert Mugabe stepped down during the 2017 Zimbabwean coup d'état.

201.    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been chosen for the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize in recognition of his dedication to improving international co-operation, raising global economic growth, and accelerating the Human Development of people in India. The Seoul Peace Prize Committee recognised Prime Minister Modi's contributions to the growth of the Indian and global economies, crediting 'Modinomics' for reducing social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor. The Committee lauded Mr Modi's initiatives to make the government cleaner through anti-corruption measures and demonetisation. The Committee also credited the Prime Minister for his contribution towards regional and global peace through a pro-active foreign policy with countries around the world under the 'Modi Doctrine' and the 'Act East Policy'.

202.    The 2018 WETEX (Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition) has started at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Dubai from October 23. It is considered as one of the leading sustainability exhibitions in the Middle East and North Africa region. More than 40 Indian exhibitors having expertise in the field of water, solar and renewable energy, electrical, oil and gas, wire and cables etc. are participating in the three-day exhibition. The India Pavilion at WETX 2018 is in line with the vision and commitment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have sustainable and inclusive growth for all with access to clean water, electricity and housing. The 2018 WETEX shows the latest solutions in conventional and renewable energy, water, sustainability, and conservation.

203.    Nishtha Dudeja from Haryana has recently won the Miss Deaf Asia 2018 title at an international pageant held in Prague , Czech Republic. She is the first Indian to have won any title at the Miss Deaf World Pageant. Prior to this title, Nishtha had also won the 2018 Miss Deaf India title in Jaipur, Rajasthan on February 26. She is the brand ambassador for Sivantos India Pvt Ltd. (Formerly Siemens hearing Instruments Pvt Ltd.), the world's leading brand of hearing aids.

204.    Agricultural scientist Prof. M.S. Swaminathan will be honoured with the ICFA's firstever World Agriculture Prize for his basic and applied research in genetics, cytogenetics, radiation and chemical mutagenesis, food and biodiversity conservation. The Agriculture prize will be launched with a special session, named "Swaminathan Global Dialogue on Climate Change and Food Security" on Oct 26, 2018, as part of the Global Agriculture Leadership Summit and AgroWorld 2018 in New Delhi.The prize has been instituted by the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) with an aim to recognise individuals who have served humanity through agriculture. It will carry a cash component of $1,00,000. It will be an annual prize and would be presented to any individual or institution, importantly from Asian, African or Latin American countries who have played a seminal role in transforming agriculture globally and saving humanity from the curse of hunger.

205.    India's investment promotion body, Invest India has won the 2018 UN Award for excellence in promoting investments in sustainable development at the World Investment Forum, Geneva. The awards were organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The other winners of the award were Bahrain Economic Development Board (BEDB) and the Lesotho National Development Corp (LNDC). Invest India received the award for excellence in servicing and supporting a major global wind turbines company in the establishment of a blade manufacturing plant in India while committing to train local staff and produce 1 gigawatt of renewable energy. Invest India is set up as a non-profit venture under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Government of India.

206.    The International Conference on Status and Protection of Coral Reefs (STAPCOR 2018) was held at Bangaram Island, Lakshadweep with theme "Reef for Life" from October 22-24. It was organised by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in coordination with the local administration. The Conference highlighted the importance of coral reefs and the need for its protection, emphasising on converting science into adequate policies for conservation. Around 150 delegates from the US, UK, Kuwait, Italy, France, Maldives and Sri lanka participated in this mega event.

207.    The joint military training exercise 'Druzhba (Friendship)-III' has started between the armies of Russia and Pakistan in the mountains of northwestern Pakistan, which will continue till November 4. The servicemen from the two countries' armed forces will perform tasks at the altitude of 1,400 meters above the sea level. The purpose of the 15- days exercise is to boost ties between the two militaries and swap experience, especially in field of counterterrorism. This is third exercise as part of the Pakistan-Russia bilateral training cooperation. The exercise will include the destruction of conditional fighters (terrorists).

208.    The 15th edition of International Dance Festival "Udbhav Utsav 2018" was held in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh from October 20-25. It was inaugurated by Uzbekistan Ambassador to India Farhod Arziev. The main purpose of the competition-festival is to give opportunity to performers for creative communications, to present new talents and to facilitate acquaintance with pieces of national culture and arts in different countries. The dance troupes from Bulgaria, Turkey and Sri Lanka, apart from 25 teams from India, participated in the event.

209.    India's first engine-less train "Train 18" is set to hit the tracks for trials on October 29, which is designed and manufactured by the Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at a cost of Rs 100 crore. It is being regarded as a successor to the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express. The swanky 16-coach prototype without a locomotive (engine) will cut travel time by 15% compared to the Shatabdi.Train 18 is driven by a self-propulsion module sans a separate locomotive & is capable of running at a speed of up to 160 kmph. It comes with technical features for enhanced quick acceleration. The train 18 has diffused lighting, automatic doors and footsteps besides GPS-based Passenger Information System. The footstep in a coach's doorway slides outward when the train stops at a station enabling passengers to alight safely with comfort in view of the variation in height between a train's floor and the platform. Shatabdi was introduced in 1988 and is presently running on over 20 routes connecting metros with other important cities.

210.    The Government of India (GoI) has recently constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to examine the existing legal and institutional frameworks for dealing with matters of sexual harassment of women at the workplace. It will be chaired by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The GoM will recommend action required for effective implementation of the existing provisions, as well as for strengthening the existing legal and institutional frameworks for addressing issues related to sexual harassment at workplace. Beside this, the Ministry of Women & Child Development (MoWCD) has also launched an Electronic Complaints Box 'SHe-Box' that enables women, irrespective of their work status, to raise their voice against sexual harassment at workplace.

211.    In New Delhi, Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar launched the web portal of the Scheme "Impactful Policy Research in Social Sciences (IMPRESS)" on October 25 to strengthen the research ecosystem in the country. The objective of IMPRESS is to identify and fund research proposals in social sciences with maximum impact on the governance and society. It will provide an opportunity for social science researchers in any institution in the country which includes all universities (Central and State), private institutions with 12(B) status conferred by UGC. The scheme will be implemented at a total cost of Rs. 414 crore till March, 2021. Under IMPRESS, 1,500 research projects will be awarded for two years to support social science research in the higher educational institutions. The Indian Council of Social Science and Research (ICSSR) will be the project implementing agency. The research work under both the scheme would start from January 2019.

212.    The 11th edition of Global Agriculture Leadership Summit 2018 in New Delhi from October 24 with theme "Connecting Farmers to Market". The purpose of the 2-day summit is to discuss the national and global marketing scenario and success models to provide the best marketing models and linkages to Indian farmers through policy reforms and collaborative efforts. In it, Agriculture Minister Somi reddy Chandramohan Reddy received the Global Agriculture Leadership Award in the 'Policy Leadership' category on behalf of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. The award is given in recognition of the path-breaking policies that address issues of farmers and other stakeholders pro-actively making substantial difference in their lives and contributing to the growth of agriculture. The Agriculture Leadership Awards were instituted in 2008 to recognise excellence and leadership roles played by individuals and organisations to empower farmers and bring about rural prosperity. The awards jury was chaired by pioneer of India's Green Revolution MS Swaminathan.

213.    India, Afghanistan and Iran has recently hold their first trilateral meeting on Chabahar port project in Tehran during which they reviewed its implementation. The Indian delegation was led by TS Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations). The Afghan and Iran delegations were led by respective deputy ministers of Transport. The meeting assumes significance as the strategically-located port on the energy-rich Iran's southern coast was coming under the ambit of US sanctions on Tehran. In it, it is decided to constitute a follow-up committee that would hold its first meeting within two months in Chabahar port. The committee would discuss and aim to finalise protocol to harmonise transit, roads, customs and consular matters for making the route attractive and decrease logistic costs. In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan had signed a pact which entailed establishment of a transit and transport corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs. Chabahar is located less than 100 nautical miles from the Chinese built port of Gwadar in Pakistan.

214.    The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently approved the constitution of a High Level Steering Committee for periodically reviewing and refining the National Indicator Framework (NIF) for monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with associated targets. The committee will be chaired by Chief Statistician of India and Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI). The data source Ministries / Departments will be responsible for providing regular information to MoSPI on these indicators at required intervals and disaggregation for national and sub-national reporting of SDGs. Advanced IT tools will be used for close and effective monitoring.

215.    The United Nations Day (UND) is observed every year on October 24 to make known to the people about the aims and achievements of the United Nations (UN). The day also marks the 73rd anniversary of the UN Charter, which came into force in 1945. UN is an intergovernmental organization tasked to promote international co-operation and to create and maintain international order. It's a replacement for the ineffective League of Nations & was established on 24th October 1945 after World War II with the aim of preventing another such conflict. It's headquarters is located in NewYork. The UN Charter of 1945 articulated a commitment to uphold human rights of citizens and outlined a broad set of principles relating to achieving 'higher standards of living', addressing 'economic, social, health, and related problems,' and 'universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

216.    Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Minister for Women and Child Development will inaugurate the 5th edition of the Women of India Organic Festival on October 26 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi to boost organic culture and promote Women Organic Farmers and Entrepreneurs. The 10- Days long Organic festival will have producers and manufacturers of Organic Products from 26 Indian States. Over 500 women entrepreneurs from Leh to Kanyakumari and from Kohima to Kutch, will come together with their organic products including 1,200 varieties of rice, several varieties of millets, cereals, pulses, spices, chilli chocolates, marmalades, chutneys, juices, dry fruits, organic ice creams, ready-to-eat meals and snacks, mushrooms, herbs, cosmetics, water hyacinth crafts, etc. In addition to the organic extravaganza on offer, there will also be cultural performances during the 10-day festival, focusing on folk music and dance. Visitors will be able to enjoy and be a part of soulful Baul music and scintillating performances from the North-East, Punjab and Rajasthan, to name a few. To make the organic movement more accessible to public, the Ministry has changed the venue for the 2018 edition to IGNCA and has kept Entry and Parking Free for All.

217.    The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated the International Arya Mahasammelan – 2018 in New Delhi on October 25. The Arya Mahasammelan is touted as being a platform for the Arya Samaj to project its views on major caste-related issues and problems concerning backward sections of society. The convention also aims to spread a message of human welfare originating from the Vedas, promote universal brotherhood and ensure safeguarding of social morals.

218.    On October 25, Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar launched the web portal of of the Scheme "Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)" in New Delhi. The aim of the SPARC is to improve the research ecosystem of India's higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian and foreign institutions. It is a scheme for promotion of academic and research collaboration. Under the scheme, the Union Government will provide Rs 418 crores for 600 joint research proposals. The Indian institutions which come in top 100 or a top 100 in category wise in NIRF and the best institutes in the world from selected 28 nations with overall top 500 ranking and top 200 subject wise institutes in QS world university ranking will be part of the scheme. IIT-Khargapur is the national Coordinating Institute to implement the SPARC programme. The research work under both the scheme would start from January 2019.

219.    In Cricket, Indian captain Virat Kohli has recently become the fastest batsman to reach 10,000 runs in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) after scoring a second consecutive century against West Indies in Vizag on October 24. He broke the record of compatriot and batting great Sachin Tendulkar, who had reached the milestone in 259 innings. Kohli, who took only 205 innings to achieve the record, has become the fifth Indian to reach the 10,000 mark in ODIs. Apart from Kohli, Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni have scored over 10,000 runs in ODIs. It must be noted that Kohli's last 1,000 runs came from just 11 innings, which is also a world record. His strike rate at 92.5 is the highest among batsmen with 10,000 runs in one-day format.

220.    The World Development Information Day (WDID) is observed every year on October 24 to draw the attention of the world to development problems and the necessity of strengthening international cooperation to solve them. The special day, which was established by UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 1972, coincides with the United Nations Day (UND) which also falls on 24 October. It aims to disseminate information and mobilize public opinion, particularly among young people, in order to create awareness of the problems of development, promoting efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development.

221.    Renowned sculptor Ram Vanji Sutar, who has designed the Statue of Unity in Narmada district in Gujarat, will be conferred with the prestigious 2016 Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony. Beside Sutar, the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the years 2014 and 2015 is being conferred on the doyen of Manipuri dance Sh. Rajkumar Singhajit Singh and Chhayanaut (a cultural organization of Bangladesh), respectively. The award recognizes Rajkumar's contribution in keeping the tradition of Manipuri dance alive and vibrant, promoting harmony through dance and also pays tribute to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. Chhayanaut, established in 1961, was part of the movement for an independent Bangladesh and provided a platform for cultural expression and assertion of Bengali identity. The award was instituted by the Government of India (GoI) during the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore in 2011. It carries an award prize of Rs 1 crore, a citation in a scroll and a plaque.

222.    The international ed-tech conference – Transforming Education Conference for Humanity (TECH 2018) will be organized by UNESCO MGIEP (Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development) in association with Government of Andhra Pradesh at Novotel, Vizag City from November 15 – 17, 2018. The aim of the 3-day conference is to showcase the role of games and digital learning in enabling a shift from "transmissive pedagogies" to "transformative pedagogies" to create peaceful and sustainable societies. The MGIEP is the UNESCO's Category 1 Research Institute in the Asia-Pacific region focused on mainstreaming socio-emotional learning in education systems.

223.    India and Bangladesh have recently signed several agreements for enhancing inland and coastal waterways connectivity between the two countries for trade and cruise movements. The two countries have signed an agreement to use Chattogram and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh for movement of goods to and from India. A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has also been signed for movement of passenger and cruise services. In addition to this, an addendum to 'Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade between the two countries has also been signed for inclusion of Dhubri in India and Pangaon in Bangladesh as new Ports of Call. These agreements will facilitate easier movement of goods and passengers between the two countries, giving an impetus to trade and tourism. The two sides also agreed to include Rupnarayan river (National Waterway-86) from Geonkhali to Kolaghat in the protocol route and to declare Kolaghat in West Bengal and Chilmari in Bangladesh as new ports of call.

224.    The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Singapore in June 2018 on the constitution of a Joint Working Group (JWG) on FinTech. As per the pact, both countries will improve their regulatory connect to exchange best practices by sharing experience on policies and regulations related to fintech. The JWG will encourage collaboration of entrepreneurs and startups of both countries and develop fintech solutions for business/financial sectors. The MoU will benefit both countries to excel in the fields of development of Application Programming Interfaces (APls), Regulatory Sandbox, security in payment and digital cash flow. The collaboration will also lead to integration of RuPay-Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS), UPI-FAST payment link, Aadhaar Stack and e-KYC in ASEAN region and cooperation on regulations, solutions for financial markets and insurance sector. It will also encourage cooperation between India and Singapore on digital governance, financial inclusion and partnership in the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN) agenda.

225.    In New Delhi, Malayalam author Benyamin has bagged the first JCB Prize for literature for his book 'Jasmine Days', which explores the lives of South Asians in the Middle East. The novel was originally written in Malayalam and translated by Shahnaz Habib. It tells the story of a young woman in a city where the promise of revolution turns into destruction and division. It revolves around the Jasmine Revolution that sprang up in December 2010 and was quelled by January 2011. Benyamin was awarded a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh, along with a magnificent trophy created by Delhi artist duo Thukral & Tagra, titled 'Mirror Melting'. Habib received an additional prize of Rs 5 lakh.

226.    The Hindu's Mumbai-based correspondent Jyoti Shelar has won the first place in the English category of Schizophrenia Research Foundation's (SCARF) media for mental health reporting award 2018 in Anna Nagar, Chennai. Her report on suicides by farmers and the resultant impact on the mental health of their families won her the award. The other two winners of the award are S Ramanathan of 'The Newsminute' and Disha Shetty of 'The Wire'. In the Tamil category, Usha Narayanan's interview with a medical professional on addressing issues due to domestic problems and N. Maheswari's review of a documentary film on autism were chosen for awards.

227.    An ancient Greek merchant ship dating back more than 2,400 years has been found virtually intact at the bottom of the Black Sea by an Anglo-Bulgarian team. An international team of maritime archaeologists believed that the 23m (75ft) wreck is the world's oldest intact shipwreck where it appears to have lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years. The vessel is one of more than 60 shipwrecks identified by the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project including Roman ships and a 17th-century Cossack raiding fleet. The ship, which is lying on its side with its mast and rudders intact, was dated back to 400 BC — a time when the Black Sea was a trading hub filled with Greek colonies. The project team said the vessel, previously only seen in an intact state on the side of ancient Greek pottery, was found at a depth of more than 2,000 metres (6,500 feet). The water at that depth is oxygen-free, meaning that organic material can be preserved for thousands of years. The project's main investigator said that this would change the understanding of ship building and seafaring in the ancient world.

228.    Sri Lanka has been chosen as the best travel destination among the list of countries to visit in 2019, according to Lonely planet's Best in Travel 2019 book. The projection done by Lonely planet said that Sri Lanka topped the list primarily because travel has become much easier there since the civil war ended in 2009. Germany acquired 2nd position, followed by Zimbabwe, Panama, Kyrgyzstan and Jordon.

229.    The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) observes the Vigilance Awareness Week every year during the week in which the birthday of Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel (31st October) falls. This year, the Vigilance Awareness Week is being observed from 29th October to 3rd November, 2018 on the theme "Eradicate Corruption-Build a New India". It seeks to motivate stakeholders to collectively participate in the fight against corruption and also aims at raising public awareness regarding the detrimental consequences of corruption

230.    The Punjab Government has decided to ban the sale of glyphosate, a herbicide which is extensively used in the State to control a wide variety of weeds in almost all the crops. This chemical has been observed to be a Group 2A cancer-causing material. Besides cancer, this chemical is also known for causing other health problems and has the potential to damage human DNA as per the opinion of experts from PGIMER, Chandigarh. Glyphosate is sold in the country under various trade names such as Round-up, Excell, Glycel, Glider, Glydon, etc.

231.    The Government of India (GoI) has recently notified that the State Bank of India (SBI) has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 29 Authorised Branches from November 1 to 10, 2018. The bonds will be issued in multiples of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 1 crore. As per provisions of the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018, Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. Only the Political Parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than 1% of the votes polled in the most recent Lok Sabha or State election , shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds. Donors can donate the bonds to their party of choice which can then be cashed in via the party's verified account within 15 days. It must be noted that an electoral bond is designed to be a bearer instrument like a Promissory Note — in effect, it will be similar to a bank note that is payable to the bearer on demand and free of interest.

232.    Madan Lal Khurana (83), the former Delhi Chief Minister, has passed awayin New Delhi on October 27, 2018. He was a member of Rashtriya Swayansevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In addition to holding posts including national vicepresident and Delhi president within the BJP, Mr. Khurana also served as Governor of Rajasthan in 2004. He was the Union Minister of Parliamentary affairs and Tourism in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

233.    The researchers at the University of Michigan in the US have developed a web-based tool to help monitor the prevalence of fake news on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The tool uses a Platform Health Metric called the Iffy Quotient, which draws data from two external entities: NewsWhip and Media Bias/Fact Checker. NewsWhip, a social media engagement tracking firm, collects URLs on hundreds of thousands of sites every day and then gathers information on which of those sites have engagements on Facebook and Twitter. The Iffy Quotient queries NewsWhip for the top 5,000 most popular URLs on the two social media platforms. Then, the tool checks to see if those domain names have been flagged by Media Bias/Fact Check, an independent site that classifies various sources based on their reliability and bias.

234.    India's Sourav Kothari defeated Peter Gilchrist of Singapore 1134-944 to clinch the 2018 World Billiards Championship title at Leeds in UK. The former national and Asian Billiards champion Kothari was pipped at the post for the coveted World Billiards crown on two occasions in the last two years, including a loss to Gilchrist in the 2016 final in Bengaluru.

235.    Sanjay Kumar Mishra, a 1984-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer of the Income Tax cadre, has been appointed as the principal special director in the central probe agency and entrusted with the "additional" charge of Enforcement Directorate (ED) director for three months. Mishra succeeded Karnal Singh. The post of ED director is an additional secretary rank post in the Union government. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India. It is part of the Department of Revenue under Ministry of Finance. The ED enforces two major laws in the country to check black money– the criminal Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)

236.    Indian table tennis player Ayhika Mukherjee has won a silver medal in the under-21 women's singles category of the ITTF Challenge Belgium Open. She lost 1-3 to Korea's Youjin Kim in the final. In the semifinals, Ayhika had defeated Hong Kong's Chengzhu Zhu 3-1 to enter the finals. Her compatriots Anthony Amalraj and Sanil Shetty too fought their way into the medals' bracket, bagging a bronze in the men's doubles.

237.    The researchers at IIT-Madras have designed and booted up India's first indigenously developed microprocessor that can be used in mobile computing devices, embedded low power wireless systems and networking systems besides reducing reliance on imported microprocessors in communications and defence sectors. The 'Shakti' family of processors was fabricated at Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL) of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Chandigarh. Hence, it is claimed that the launch would help reduce reliance on import of microprocessors. The SCL is an autonomous body engaged in research and development in microelectronics to meet strategic needs of the country.

238.    IIT Kharagpur has recently organised a science and technology competition 'Young Innovators Programme YIP 2018' for students of class 8 to 10 to make the younger generation more oriented towards scientific and technological innovations. The competition was attended by many schools in the country and also from Singapore. The students of different participating teams came up with solutions to problem statements in the areas of Clean Energy, Health and cleanliness, Resource management, Hardware Modelling, Product Designing and Disaster Management in the YIP 2018. The competition was topped by Kaanger Valley Academy of Raipur (Chattisgarh) for devising a low-cost home-made herbal mask to help breathe in a polluted environment. The first runner-up was The Crossword School from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh which developed an electronic device for instantly fixing potholes for smooth and safe surface transport which they named 'Pothole Warrior'.

239.    The Government of India (GoI) has recently donated $300,000 for a peacekeeping initiative at the United Nations (UN) that will focus on issues of conduct along with sexual exploitation and abuse and help develop the capacity of future commanders and managers to lead by example. The programme will, over a period of three years, help develop the capacity of future commanders and managers to lead by example and raise awareness of UN standards of conduct among their personnel. The programme will equip future commanders and managers to respond to allegations of misconduct including through collaborating with the various stakeholders in mission settings during the investigation and disciplinary process. India is also noted as the first contributor to the Trust Fund in Support of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. The country is also a signatory to the Voluntary Compact on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and a member of the Circle of Leadership of the Secretary-General on the prevention and response to sexual exploitation and abuse.

240.    On October 30, the Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will lay the foundation of India's largest Dry Dock at Cochin Shipyard in Kerala. The new Dry Dock is being constructed at a cost of Rs 1799 Crore. It will be 310 m long, 75m wide, with a depth of 13 m and drought of 9.5m. The dock will be designed to handle both ship building and repairs, and bear a load up to 600 T/m. It will be equipped with international safety standards. The dock will also have a water treatment plant and Green Belt Development. The project is expected to be completed by May 2021 and generate employment opportunities for about 2000 people. The Dry Dock will give an impetus to "Make in India" initiative under Sagarmala and raise India's share in global shipbuilding to 2%. With this, Cochin Shipyard will be able to build specialized and technologically advanced large vessels.

241.    The Government of India (GoI) has recently signed $75 bn bilateral currency swap agreement with Japan to bring greater stability in foreign exchange and capital markets in the country. The currency swap pact would enable the two major Asian economies to swap their local currencies – either Indian rupee or the Japanese yen against the US$ up to 75 billion. It will be used only when required, and will help meet short-term liquidity mismatches. The facility will also help in bringing down the cost of capital for Indian entities while accessing foreign capital market. The facility is entered between the central banks of both the countries. However, this is not the first time there has been such an offer from Japan. Japan had offered a $50 billion currency swap in 2013 as well and even before that, one for $3 billion in 2008.

242.    The Arunachal Pradesh Government has recently signed pact with British Council to strengthen educational & cultural cooperation between the state and the United Kingdom. The overarching MoU celebrates the British Council's 70th anniversary in India and seeks to strengthen the relationship for the next 70 years. As a result of the MoU, 50 faculty members from government higher education institutions of the state would be trained by the British Council every year, starting in December 2018. The MoU will also work towards improving English communication of state's civil servants, developing capacity-building initiatives in the state, supporting improvements in the teaching of Mathematics and Science, capacity-building programmes for faculty and senior administrators of higher education institutions and it will seek to increase student and academic mobility, for the state.

243.    The 5th National Summit on Good and Replicable Practices and Innovations in Public Health Care System in India has started at Kaziranga in Assam on October 30, 2018. The purpose of the 3-days summit is to share and learn the good practices and innovations being implemented by several states and organizations for the betterment of the health sector. Senior officials, public health experts, representatives of development partners, experts from academic institutions are participating in the summit.

244.    The Manipur government will celebrate the "2018 Sangai Festival" at three venues namely Keibul Lamjao, Imphal (Hapta Kangjeibung and Lamboikhongnangkhong) and Mao from 21st to 30th November. It is an annual cultural festival organised by Manipur Tourism Department to promote state as a world class tourism destination. This year, Thailand Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will visit Imphal to attend the fest. For the first time in the history of Manipur, the U.S. Ambassador to India will also be present during the Festival. The fest will showcase the best of what the state has to offer to the world in terms of art and culture, handloom, handicrafts & fine arts, indigenous sports, cuisines & music, eco & adventure sports as well as the scenic natural beauty of the land. It is named after the State animal 'Sangai' the brow-antlered deer found only in Manipur.

245.    Professor Qazi Abdussattar (85), a noted Urdu writer and former head of Aligarh Muslim University(AMU)'s Urdu department, has recently passed away in New Delhi on October 29, 2018. Born in Machretta village of Uttar Pradesh's Sitapur district in 1933, Abdussattar joined the AMU as a researcher in 1954. He started his career as a short story writer. His most famous short story "Peetal Ka Ghanta" drew acclaim in the Urdu literary world. His early writings focussed on the decline of zamidaari culture in Avadh region. Later, he made a mark as a writer of historical novels. His most famous works include "Darashiko", "Khalidbinwalid" and "Ghalib" which are considered as masterpieces in this genre.Winner of several national and international awards, Abdussattar was awarded Padma Shri in 1974. He was also the first recipient of Ghalib Academy Award in 1978.

246.    In Brazil, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro has won a sweeping victory in the 2018 Presidential elections. He is scheduled to take office on 1st January 2019 and will succeed Michel Temer. Mr Bolsonaro was elected with 55% of the popular vote against 45% for Fernando Haddad from the left-wing Workers Party. In his victory speech, the president-elect stated that he would defend the constitution, democracy and freedom. The President of Brazil is both the head of state and the head of government of the Federative Republic of Brazil. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the Brazilian Armed Forces

247.    In Men's Hockey, India and Pakistan were declared joint winners of the 5th edition of Asian Champions Trophy 2018 at Muscat in Oman on October 28, after the final was abandoned due to bad weather conditions. Meanwhile, Malaysia finished at the 3rd place after defeating Japan 3-2 in the penalty shootouts in the bronze medal match. India remained the only undefeated team in the tournament. Before this edition, both India and Pakistan had won the tournament twice each. Faizal Saari from Malaysia was the top scorer of the tournament with 8 Goals. From India, Akashdeep Singh and P. R. Sreejesh were declared the Best Player and Best Goal Keeper of the tournament, respectively.

248.    On October 29, Justice A.S. Bopanna has recently taken oath as the new Chief Justice of the Guwahati High Court. He took charge from the acting Chief Justice AK Goswami. The Guwahati High Court was established on 1 March 1948 after the Government of India Act 1935 was passed. It has largest jurisdiction in terms of states, with its area covering the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Mizoram. The principal seat of the High Court is at Guwahati in Assam.

249.    Michael D Higgins has been re-elected as the President of Ireland after receiving 56% of the country's votes in the elections. He is serving the post of President since November 2011. His 2nd presidential inauguration will take place on 11th November 2018. The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland and the Supreme Commander of the Irish Defence Forces. He holds office for 7 years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute discretion. The President acts as a representative of the Irish state and guardian of the constitution.

250.    The 2nd International Day of Diplomats was recently celebrated in Brasilia on 24th October 2018 to highlight the contributions of diplomats as everyday peacemakers. Diplomats from over a dozen countries including Austria, India, Brazil, Egypt, Netherlands and Zimbabwe came together to mark the day dedicated to all diplomats, no matter where do they come from or which country they represent. The celebration of International Day of Diplomats was started in Brasilia in 2017 by Indian-poet diplomat Abhay K on October 24. The day, which also coincides with the United Nations Day, is observed to recognise the hard work and sacrifices of diplomats and their families.

251.    Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai will be honoured by Harvard University for her work promoting girls' education. The award will be conferred with the 2018 Gleitsman Award at a ceremony on 6th December. Currently, Yousafzai is a student at Oxford University in England. The Gleitsman Award provides $125,000 for activism that has improved quality of life around the world. Yousafzai became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 when she was recognized for her global work supporting schooling for all children. As a teen in Pakistan, she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban. She later founded the nonprofit Malala Fund to support her work.

252.    Yeshwant Deo (91), the veteran Marathi musician, has passed away recently in Dadar, Maharashtra on October 31, 2018. He had composed music for many films including Shabana Azmi-starrer "Saaz". Born on 1st November 1926, Deo was a revered figure in the Marathi music circle and industry where he composed music for more than 40 Marathi films and plays. He worked in All India Radio (AIR) as a sitar player. A recipient of the Lata Mangeshkar award, Yeshwant was also known for his composition in Bhav Geet. He won several awards such as Maharashtra state award for music direction for the play Amrapali (1974). He also published books on devotional music.

253.    Justice Naresh Harishchandra Patil has been sworn-in as the new Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao administered the oath of office to Justice Patil at a brief ceremony held at Raj Bhavan. The Bombay High Court is one of the oldest High Courts of India and its principle seat is at Mumbai. Its jurisdiction covers the states of Maharashtra and Goa, and the Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

254.    The world's largest airport terminal "under one roof" has officially been opened in Istanbul on October 29, which marks the Republic Day of Turkey. It is dubbed as phase-1A of the project – Istanbul New Airport – will have a capacity to handle 90 million passenger per year. The first phase has costed 7.5 billion Euro. The airport has been envisioned to have a total capacity of up to 200 million passengers, once all four phases are completed in the next 10 years. The new terminal once fully functional by December-end will allow passengers to use its five pier blocks as well as 77 boarding gates and 143 aero-bridges. The new airport is located near the Black Sea coast on the Europe side of Istanbul. It features two runways, while 114 narrow body aircraft can dock with the terminal building at the same time. This new airport is also slated to become Turkish Airlines' new hub.

255.    The Andhra Pradesh government is building a world-class and India's first 'Justice City' within its new capital Amaravati with the vision to provide a state-of-the-art ecosystem built on latest technology for supporting the judicial system in the state. The Justice City will comprise integrated judicial hub spread across 3,309 acres with an estimated population of 2.5 lacs. It is expected to generate employment for more than 1.3 lac people. The Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA). is the nodal agency which is developing Amaravati.

256.    Louis Cha Jing-yong (94), a Hong Kong journalist and best-selling Chinese martial arts novelist, has passed away in Happy Valley, Hong Kong on October 30, 2018. Cha's first novel, "The Book and the Sword," was published in 1955 and became an instant hit. He went on to write 14 martial arts novels, often under the pen name Jin Yong. His works have the unusual ability to transcend geographical and ideological barriers separating Chinese communities of the world, achieving a greater success than any other contemporary writer. His works have been translated into many languages including English, French, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese, Malay and Indonesian. According to 'The Oxford Guide to Contemporary World Literature', Jin's novels are considered to be of very high quality and are able to appeal to both highbrow and lowbrow tastes.

257.    The scientists at CSIR have developed Less Polluting 'Green' Firecrackers which are not only environment friendly but 15-20 % cheaper than the conventional ones. These crackers have been named as Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL) and Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR). The commonly used pollution-causing chemicals – aluminium, barium, potassium nitrate and carbon – have either been removed or sharply reduced in the green crackers to reduce emissions by 15-30% . These eco-friendly firecrackers have the unique property of releasing water vapour and /or air as dust suppressant and diluent for gaseous emissions and matching performance in sound with conventional crackers. SWAS eliminates usage of (KNO3) Potassium nitrate and Sulphur, while STAR eliminates usage of KNO3 and S. On the other side, SAFAL has minimal usage of aluminium (only in flash powder for initiation) as compared to commercial crackers.The main point to be noted here is that these crackers match the same sound intensity with that of commercial crackers in the range of 105- 110 decibel. The new crackers have been developed by scientists of two national labs of CSIR- Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI) based in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur.

258.    The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) organized a seminar on Gandhian Thought and Swachhata in Wardha district of Maharashtra on October 29, 2018. It was part of 150th birth year celebrations of Father of the Nation. The seminar was centered on the Gandhian ideology on sanitation and the implementation of the same through the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). It addressed on topics such as appropriate technologies in rural sanitation, organic waste management, and preventive sanitation. The main focus of the seminar was the Gandhi ji's concept of Swachh evam Swawalambhi Sankul. The SBM campaign is a massive people's movement, which has shown significant progress with the rural sanitation coverage having increased from 39%, at the launch of the SBM in 2014, to over 95% today. With 8.7 crore toilets constructed, 5.15 lakh villages, 530 districts and 25 States and Union Territories have been declared ODF. The campaign was officially launched on 2nd October 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

259.    The Kingdom of Netherlands will be the Partner Country at the 25th DST – CII Technology Summit 2019. It was recently announced by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment,Forest and Climate Change. The Minister highlighted the successful bilateral research cooperation between India and Netherlands in sectors such as affordable medical devices, urban water systems, big data and Internet of Things (IoT). The Summit will be organised by Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with the Netherlands government.

260.    Recently, the 19th meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) held under the Chairmanship of the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reviewed the current global and domestic economic situation and financial sector performance. Apart from liquidity in NBFCs (segmental liquidity position and in mutual fund space), the FSDC discussed on various economic issues ranging from oil prices, rupee, inflation to improving cyber security in the financial sector including "progress made towards setting up of a Computer Emergency Response Team in the Financial Sector (CERTFin) under a Statutory Framework". The FSDC is an apex-level body to strengthen and institutionalise the mechanism of maintaining financial stability, financial sector development, inter-regulatory coordination along with monitoring macro-prudential regulation of economy

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