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Current Affairs in Short: 29 August 2018

First SAARC Agri Cooperative Business Forum begins in Kathmandu

• The first South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Agri Cooperative Business Forum began in Kathmandu on August 28, 2018.
• The theme of three-day Forum is the 'Organizing and Strengthening Family Farmers’ Cooperatives to attain the Sustainable-Development-Goals-1 and 2 in South Asia'.
• It is being co-organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Asian Farmers’ Association with the support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
• The forum aims to bring together representatives both from government and non-governmental entities from the member states of SAARC as well as from the regional and international organisations.

Government to launch India Post Payments banks at 650 places

• The Union Government is planning to launch India Post Payment Banks-IPPB at 650 places. The information was shared by Communications Minister Manoj Sinha.
• The Minister said that savings accounts, current accounts, money transfer, enterprise and merchant payments will be the highlights of the India Post Payment Banks.
• The Minister also said that by December 2018, the IPPBs  will provide doorstep banking at rural areas and with the help of National Payment Corporation of India and RBI , IPPB will give last mile connectivity to banking.
• The Minister also added that presently there are 17 lakh postal saving accounts and efforts are on to give these saving accounts holders to avail benefits of IPPB.

Centre issues advisory to protect children from the suicidal online game MOMO challenge

• The Union Government has issued an advisory to protect children from the suicidal online game, MOMO challenge.
• In its advisory, the Information and Technology Ministry has outlined the signs and symptoms that the child can show if they are under the influence of the game.
• The sign includes becoming withdrawn from friends and family, loss of interest in activities and wound marks on any part of the body of the child.
• The advisory said that parents should monitor their children's online and social media activity to ensure they are not engaging with the game.
• The advisory added that parents should take reports from child counselor present in the school at regular intervals.

French Environment Minister resigns over sluggish progress on climate goals

• French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot resigned on August 28, 2018 in frustration over sluggish progress on climate goals and nuclear energy policy, dealing a major blow to President Emmanuel Macron’s already tarnished green credentials.
• Hulot, a former TV Presenter and green activist, who consistently scored high in opinion polls, quit during a live radio interview following what he called an accumulation of disappointments.
• Hulot was among the first ministerial appointments that Macron made after his landslide election win in May 2017.
• However, the centrist President has watered down a series of campaign pledges on the environment, including a commitment to cut the share of nuclear power in French electricity to 50 percent by 2025 and boost renewable energy.

Foodgrain production rises to a record 285 million tonnes in 2017-18

• The production of foodgrains touched a record high of 284.8 million tonnes in 2017-18 on the back of last year’s normal monsoon, as per the fourth advance estimates of crop production by the Agriculture Ministry, which were released on August 28, 2018.
• The latest estimates are an upward revision from the 277.5 million tonnes estimated in February.
• According to the agriculture ministry, while production of rice is estimated at 112.9 million tonnes in 2017-18, 2.9 per cent higher than the previous year, production of wheat touched 99.7 million tonnes, about 1.2 per cent higher than the previous year.
• The data further showed that while production of coarse grains rose to 46.9 million tonnes in 2017-18, up 7.3 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y), output of pulses grew to a record 25.2 million tonnes, about 9 per cent higher than 2016-17.
• However, production of oilseeds during the year was stagnant at 31.3 million tonnes.

Google partners with AP State FiberNet for Wi-Fi services

• Google on August 28, 2018 said it has partnered with Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Ltd (APSFNL) to facilitate Internet access to more than 12,000 villages, benefitting around 10 million people.
• The tech giant also rebranded its 'Tez' as 'Google Pay' as part of its efforts to take the digital payments app to more online and retail merchants across the country.
• Google, through 'Google Station', provides Wi-Fi services in public locations in partnership with various entities.
• Previously, Google had partnered RailTel to offer Wi-Fi access across 400 railway stations in India.

 
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