Current Affairs in Short: 24 May 2018

US expels two Venezuelan diplomats

• The United States has ordered two top Venezuelan diplomats to leave the country within 48 hours, in a response to a similar action taken by Venezuela against two of its top diplomats.
• The Charge d'Affaires of the Venezuelan embassy and the Deputy Consul General of the Venezuelan consulate in Houston were declared personae non grata and directed to leave within two days.
• The action was in reciprocation to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's decision to declare the Charge d'Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Caracas personae non grata.

IRCTC introduces VIKALP scheme

• Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation has introduced VIKALP scheme for passengers in wait-listing to provide berth in another train.
• Under the scheme, passengers from all classes & trains would be able to select 5 trains. However, the scheme does not guarantee a confirmed berth.
• The passengers would also need to be prepared, as they could be shifted to another train leaving even 12 hours prior to the booked one.

Odisha to launch mobile app for advance info on lightning

• The Odisha government has decided to introduce a special mobile application to provide advance information on lightning which has claimed at least 61 lives between April and May 2018.
• The mobile application will be developed to alert smartphone users if they are in a lightning zone. The people using smart phone will get information regarding possible lightning in their areas at least one hour ahead of the calamity.
• The move would enable them to move to safer places and save their lives. The aim of the initiative is to reduce death toll due to lightning.

Pravin Agrawal appointed BHEL director

• Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited has appointed Pravin L Agrawal as the part-time official director on its board.
• Agrawal, an Indian Forest Service officer, is presently serving as the joint secretary in the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI), Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
• Established in 1964, BHEL is India’s largest power generation equipment manufacturer.

Railways to spend Rs 350cr to train drivers on simulators

• The Indian Railways will spend around Rs 350 crore to train 1.5 lakh drivers and assistant drivers through virtual reality techniques to bridge the gap between theoretical and practical learning.
• The training will be conducted in 47 centres across zones and the national transporter will soon float a global tender to acquire about 40 simulators for the purpose.
• Fitted with computer-generated motion images, the simulators will have a man-machine interface, a host of computers and a video camera to capture the movements of the driver.

NYSE to have its first female leader

• The New York Stock Exchange has appointed Chief Operating Officer Stacey Cunningham as its first female president.
• Cunningham will replace Tom Farley as the head of NYSE. She was previously appointed as NYSE’s chief operating officer in June 2015.
• The move means two of the top three US stock exchange operators are led by women.


UNICEF launches data visualisation app

• The UNICEF on May 24, 2018 launched a 'data visualisation app' which provides a user-friendly visual representation of complex analytics of the education scenario in the country.
• The app has been made with technical inputs from the UNICEF, in collaboration with the National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA) and the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
• It uses the UDISE (Unified District Information System for Education), the NAS (National Assessment survey) and demographic data and can be used as a visual tool by policy makers, senior government officials, academia and researchers to address gaps and monitor programs in the field of education.

Malaysia gets its first Sikh minister

• Gobind Singh Deo, an Indian-origin Sikh politician in Malaysia, has become a cabinet minister in the nation.
• He is the first member of the minority community in Malaysia’s history to be appointed as a minister.
• He has been given the communications and multimedia portfolio.
• He is among the two politicians of Indian descent that have been included in the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s Cabinet.

Sushant Singh Rajput to promote BHIM app, Women Entrepreneurship Platform

• Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput would be promoting two major initiatives of NITI Aayog - BHIM app and the Women Entrepreneurship Platform.
• The agreement will be signed soon by the actor with NITI Aayog.
• In an official statement, the NITI Aayog said, as part of its larger mandate to promote digital payments across the country, it has been successfully driving the digital payments campaign in the country.
• The institution collaborates with youth leaders and public figures to promote the cashless payment systems across the country.


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