January 24 Current Affairs

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  • It will be time for big ticket diplomacy as the heads of state of the 10 ASEAN nations start arriving in New Delhi today. Leaders from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei will be in India for the India-ASEAN commemorative summit that will be held on Thursday. The event will mark 25 years of India’s ties with the southeast Asian bloc. The Republic Day parade this year will also see the record setting presence of the 10 ASEAN leaders. This comes at a time India is keen on changing its ‘Look East’ policy to ‘Act East’ policy.
  • “The prime minister’s intention that the ‘Look East’ policy should now be the ‘Act East’ policy is really taking shape,” said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. “And, by the very presence of 10 leaders from ASEAN during the Republic Day celebrations, India will definitely showcase its ‘Act East’ policy,” she said.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral meetings with the visiting ASEAN leaders. Prominent among those will be the one with the State Counsellor of Myanmar, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, today evening.

4. 2018 Oscar nominations: The complete list

  • The big day is here! The 2018 Oscar nominations are in and “The Shape of Water” led the way with a whopping 13 nods, followed by the epic war film “Dunkirk” with eight.
  • Other movies that scored big include “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” with seven nods, and “Lady Bird” and “Blade Runner 2049” with five nominations each.
  • The actors and actresses lists included some of the biggest names in the business: Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep and Allison Janney. But some young talent was also honored, with Saoirse Ronan, Daniel Kaluuya and Timothée Chalamet receiving nods .

5. RIL Becomes India’s 1st Firm to Cross Rs6-lakh crore Market Capitalization

  • Reliance Industries (RIL) become the first Indian company to cross the Rs6-lakh crore mark in market capitalisation as its shares touched a 52-week high of Rs974.5.
  • RIL is owned 40% by its chairman Mukesh Ambani, making him the richest Indian with the personal wealth of $40.7 billion and the 20th richest globally, according to Bloomberg’s billionaire index.
Takeaways
  1. HDFC Bank is the first lender to cross Rs5-lakh crore mark in market capitalisation.

6. Karnataka bandh on Thursday: Normal life likely to be affected; schools, offices may remain shut

  • Thursday’s statewide bandh is likely to disrupt daily life in Karnataka as several Kannada and farmer outfits protest against the “Centre’s apathy” towards the Mahadayi dispute.
  • Private schools and state government offices are expected to remain closed during the bandh. The Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka has asked private schools to keep the safety and security of staff and students in mind while deciding whether to remain closed or stay open. Various IT offices in Bengaluru have also asked their employees to work from home or to take the day off
  • The project is being undertaken to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and districts of Belagavi and Gadag. Attempts made by Karnataka to amicably resolve the issue pending before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal through discussion have failed to bear fruit. Repeated efforts by the state seeking Prime Minister’s intervention to solve the issue has also not been successful .

7. NIIF Makes its 1st Investment, Partnered with DP World

  • The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has made its First investment. NIIF has partnered with DP World to create an investment platform for ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India.
  • The first close of the NIIF Master Fund took place in October 2017 with contributions from a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and four Domestic Institutional Investors (DIIs), viz., HDFC Group, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Life and Axis Bank. An India-UK Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF) is also being set-up under the fund of funds vertical of NIIF and shall have anchor commitments of GBP 120 million each from Government of India (through NIIF) and Government of UK.
  • About NIIF in Brief-NIIF Ltd. is a fund manager that seeks to create long-term value for domestic and international investors seeking investment in energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure-related sectors in India. The company is jointly-owned by the Government of India and investors from India and abroad

8. Bus fare hike: Cannot interfere in govt’s policy decision, says Madras HC

Bus fare hike: Cannot interfere in govt's policy decision, says Madras HC

  • The Madras High Court has reportedly observed that it cannot interfere in the Tamil Nadu government’s policy decision to hike the bus fares.
  • The court cannot run the state administration, the court reportedly observed. According to reports, the court also ordered the Tamil Nadu government to paste the new fares in all buses.

9. S Somanath Takes Charge as Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre’s Director

  • ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) director S Somanath has taken charge as the new director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). It is ISRO’s lead centre for launch vehicles.
  • He has replaced K Sivan who has joined ISRO as Chairman.
Takeaways
  1. VSSC had a small beginning in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on the south-west coast of India, in 1962

10. GoI, Uttarakhand, and World Bank Sign $120 million Loan Agreement for Water Supply in Uttarakhand

  • The Government of India, the Government of Uttarakhand and the World Bank Board signed a $120 million Loan Agreement which will help increase access to improved water supply services in peri-urban areas in the State of Uttarakhand.
  • The Uttarakhand Water Supply Program for Peri-Urban Areas will help the State increase water supply coverage as well as ensure sustainable water supply service delivery in peri-urban areas. The $120 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and has a 5-year grace period.
Takeaways
  1. Jim Yong Kim is the 12th President of the World Bank Group.
  2. World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC, USA.

11. World Economic Forum Summit in Switzerland Concludes

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned home after concluding his visit to Davos, Switzerland. During the visit, the Prime Minister delivered a keynote address at the plenary session of the 48th annual meeting of World Economic Forum. He became the first Indian prime minister in two decades to join the world’s top business leaders in the Swiss resort town of Davos.
  • Mr Modi outlined climate change, terrorism and protectionism as three global threats. He also met his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau. Both leaders discussed issues of mutual interest and reiterated their commitment to stand firm in combating terrorism. The Prime Minister also held a meeting with Queen Maxima of the Netherlandsand discussed steps to deepen the bilateral relationship. At the end, Mr Modi interacted with top global CEOs at the International Business Council event.
Takeaways
  1. Capital of Switzerland- Bern, Currency- Swiss franc.
  2. The founder and Chairman of WEF- Klaus Schwab

12. Australian Open 2018: Caroline Wozniacki Stutters Into Semi-Finals

  • Second seed Caroline Wozniacki withstood a fightback from Spain’s unseeded Carla Suarez Navarro to stutter into the semi-finals of the Australian Open 6-0, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2 early. “I knew it was going to be tough against her because in the first set a lot of games were very close,” said the Dane, who is into a second semi-final at Melbourne Park .

13. Lifter Rakhi Halder Creates New National Record

  • Lifter Rakhi Halder created a new national record in clean and jerk to a gold medal in the 63kg women’s category in the 33rd Women Senior National Weightlifting Championships, in Mangaluru, Karnataka.
  • Rakhi lifted 128kgs in the clean and jerk for a total of 230kgs to create a new national record, bettering Karnam Malleswari’s feat (127kg) created in Athens in 1999.

14. Ursula K. Le Guin, Best-Selling Science Fiction author Passes Away

  • Ursula K. Le Guin, the award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer who explored feminist themes and was best known for her Earthsea books, has passed away at the age of 88.
  • Le Guin won an honorary National Book Award in 2014. Le Guin’s first novel was Roncannon’s World in 1966. Her book, ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ won the Hugo and Nebula awards top science fiction prizes .

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