Daily Current Affairs – 30th Aug 2019

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Adani Green Energy to buy 205 MW Solar assets of Essel Group for Rs 1,300 crore
Subhash Chandra-promoted Essel Group has reached an agreement to sell 205 MW of operating solar assets of Essel Green Energy and Essel Infraprojects at an enterprise value of Rs 1,300 crore to Adani Group.
The solar assets, located in Punjab, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, will be acquired by Adani Green Energy. The assets have long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with various state electricity distribution companies. The average remaining PPA life for the portfolio is around 22 years.

Ajantha Mendis retires from all forms of cricket
Sri Lankan cricketer Ajantha Mendis has announced his retirement from all forms of the game. The 34-year old last played international cricket in 2015, an ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch.
The inventor of what became known as the “carrom ball” – legbreaks produced by flicking the ball like a striker on a carrom board – took 70 wickets in 19 Tests, 152 in 87 ODIs and 66 in 39 T20Is.
He would go on to become the fastest player to 50 ODI wickets, in just 19 games, a record he still holds.

Amazon fires: Brazil bans land clearance blazes for 60 days
Brazil has banned setting fires to clear land for 60 days in response to a massive increase in the number of fires in the Amazon rainforest. The fires devastating parts of the Amazon rainforest have led to global scrutiny of Brazil’s commitment to environmental conservation
The decree was signed by President Jair Bolsonaro, who has faced intense criticism at home and abroad for failing to protect the rainforest.
Meanwhile, UN Chief Antonio Guterres mooted a meeting of key countries to drum up support to tackle the fires that have also devastated swaths of Bolivia.

Bank frauds rise 74% to Rs.71,543 cr
According to the RBI’s latest annual report, the amount involved in bank fraud jumped 73.8 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to Rs.71,543 crore in 2018-19, against Rs.41,167 crore in 2017-18. The central bank said the increased amount involved in frauds was mostly related to occurrences in earlier years.
The number of cases of frauds reported by banks increased by 15 per cent y-o-y in 2018-19 to 6,801 against 5,916 in 2017-18.
Among bank groups, PSBs, which constitute the largest market share in lending, have accounted for the bulk of frauds (at 90.2 per cent of total fraud amount) reported in 2018-19. It was followed by private sector banks (7.7 per cent) and foreign banks (1.3 per cent).
The average lag between the date of occurrence and its detection by banks was 22 months. The average lag for large frauds – Rs.100 crore and above, amounting to Rs.52,200 crore reported during 2018-19 – was 55 months

Brexit: UK negotiators ‘to step up tempo’ on new deal talks
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised a renewed effort to secure a deal with the EU before the Brexit deadline. The UK’s Brexit negotiators will now meet their EU counterparts twice a week next month, in the run up to a crucial summit on October 17-18.
The EU said it expected the UK to come up with concrete proposals.

Britain, Germany, France express concern over tense situation in South China Sea
Britain, Germany and France have expressed concern over the tense situation in the South China Sea, a day after US Navy sailed a warship within 12 nautical miles of two contested islands in the region.
In a joint statement from the three countries released by the UK Foreign Ministry said they are concerned about the situation in the South China Sea which could lead to insecurity and instability in the region
The trio further called on the coastal states of the region to take measures that reduce tensions and contribute to maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability and safety in the region.

Centre defers investor summit
The Centre has decided to postpone by a month its planned maiden investor summit in Jammu and Kashmir. The meet, originally scheduled for October, had been postponed as arrangements, including those for security for the delegates, could not be made in time.
The Centre had planned to hold the investor meet in J&K from October 12 to October 14 this year, in a bid to garner investments in the conflict-torn state. The government had roped in Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the event.
The state, over the years, has seen one of the lowest degrees of investment in the state. However, experts say that it has been more due to unrest in the state, than because of special status the state.

Centre releases Rs.47,436 crore to 27 States for afforestation
The Union Environment Ministry has transferred Rs. 47,436 crore to 27 States for afforestation. These are long-pending dues part of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF), a Rs. 54,000 crore tranche that has been collected for nearly a decade as environmental compensation from industry, which has razed forest land for its business plans.
The amount to be paid by industry depends on the economic value of the goods and services that the razed forest would have provided. These include timber, bamboo, firewood, carbon sequestration, soil conservation, water recharge, and seed dispersal.
Odisha, the top recipient of funds, got nearly Rs.6,000 crore followed by Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh with Rs.5,791 crore and Rs.5,196 crore respectively. Kerala got the least with Rs.81.59 crore
The CAF Act 2016, which came into being more than a decade since it was devised, established an independent authority — the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority — to execute the fund.

Collegium nod for four new judges in SC
The Supreme Court Collegium have recommended four high court judges for appointment to the apex court.
The Collegium led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recommended the Chief Justices of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, Rajasthan and Kerala High Courts, V. Ramasubramanian, Krishna Murari, S. Ravindra Bhat and Hrishikesh Roy, respectively, as apex court judges.
The Supreme Court vacancies have increased to four after the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Bill of 2019 was made the law. The new law increased the judicial strength from 31 to 34, including the CJI.

Dindigul lock, Kandangi saree get GI tag
The Dindigul lock and the Kandangi saree were given the GI tag by the Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai. While the application for the lock was made by the Dindigul Lock, Hardware and Steel Furniture Workers Industrial Co-operative Society Limited, the Amarar Rajeev Gandhi Handloom Weavers Co-operative Production and Sales Society Limited filed the application for the Kandangi saree.
The famous Dindigul locks are known throughout the world for their superior quality and durability, so much so that even the city is called Lock City.
The Kandangi saree, which is manufactured in Karaikudi taluk in Sivaganga district is manually made using a winding machine, loom, shuttle and bobbin. These sarees are characterised by the large contrast borders, and some of them are known to have borders covering as much as two-thirds of the saree.

Draft UN report warns of rising seas, storm surges
According to the special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), humanity should brace itself for serious blowback over the next few centuries from oceans and Earth’s frozen zones.
The report stated that the longtime habit of loading the atmosphere with planet-warming CO2 has spawned a host of consequences, starting with irreversible sea-level rise.
It stated that Earth will likely see more than a 100-fold increase in the damages caused by superstorms and 280 million people displaced by rising seas.
The planet’s ice or snow-covered regions, known as the cryosphere, have also been hit by man-made warming, with ice sheets shedding more than 400 billion tonnes in mass each year.
According to the report findings one third to 99% of the world’s permafrost could also melt by 2100 if emissions continue unabated, potentially releasing a carbon bomb of greenhouse gases the report concludes.
The report concludes that by 2050, many low-lying megacities and small island nations will experience “extreme sea level events” every year.

Gross NPA ratio of banks declined following early resolution of stressed assets: RBI
Early recognition and resolution of stressed assets have helped banks contain their gross non- performing loans ratio at 9.1 percent in FY19 down from 11.2 percent a year before, says the monetary authority RBI.
Fresh slippages have also come down and as a result, the system-level provision coverage ratio has jumped to 60.9 percent during the period.
The report notes that the new NPA recognition and resolution norms issued in June 2019 provide incentives for early resolution, with discretion to lenders on the processes.
The report also said that the scheme insolvency and bankruptcy code is proving to be a game-changer.

India bags gold in 10-meter air pistol event in Shooting World Cup
Abhishek Verma won the gold medal and Saurabh Chaudhary the bronze, in a dominant display by Indian shooters in the men’s 10m air pistol event of the World Cup at Rio de Janeiro. Verma shot 244.2 in the eight-man finals, while Chaudhary’s 221.9 was good enough to get him the bronze.
India were placed at the top of the medals tally with two gold, one silver and a bronze.

India, Nepal book spots in U-15 SAFF Championship finals
India and Nepal secured the top two spots in the Under-15 SAFF Football Championship at the Kalyani Stadium in West Bengal. India beat defending champions Bangladesh 4-0, while Nepal trounced Bhutan 6-0.
Both Nepal and India are now set to face each other in the final on Saturday.

India, Nepal organize training programme on EXIM Bank’s guidelines
The Embassy of India in Nepal and National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) of Nepal organized a two-day training programme in Kathmandu on the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of India’s Line of Credit guidelines and procedures.
Senior experts from the EXIM Bank of India conducted the training programme which was attended by 27 officials from Government of Nepal.
The training programme was organized as part of a bilateral understanding reached between Government of Nepal and Government of India during the 7th Line of Credit (LOC) Review Meeting held in June 2019 in India.
The two sides also agreed to collaborate on future capacity building efforts of the Government of Nepal officials who would be working on the Government of India’s Line of Credit supported projects.

Kharif production to decline in 2019, post 3 years of record high production
India’s kharif foodgrain production is set to decline in 2019 after three consecutive years of record high production, said ratings agency CRISI. Kharif food grain production was at 170.7 million tonnes in marketing year (January to December) 2018, up by 2% over previous year.
Crisil researchers said that the crop damage and lower yields in key crops like paddy is expected to impact kharif 2019 production.