Top 10 Weekly Current Affairs: 25 March to 30 March 2019
Rail Vikas Nigam IPO opens: Key Takeaways
Miniratna Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) came out with its first Initial public offering (IPO) on March 29, 2019. The state-owned company will not receive any proceeds from the offer as the Central Government is selling around 12 percent of its stake in the company. After the IPO, the Government's stake in RVNL will be pegged at 88 percent.
The IPO will close on April 3, 2019. After the closing of IPO, the RVNL shares will be listed on the BSE and NSE and the trading will begin within six working days from April 3, 2019.
Brunei to make gay sex, adultery punishable with death by stoning
At a time when countries across the world are liberalizing laws especially regarding the LGBTQ community, Brunei, a small Southeast Asian nation, announced the enforcement of a strict Sharia law, under which those found guilty of adultery or gay sex would be subjected to death by stoning from April 3, 2019.
The harsh Islamic law had been put on hold for four years amidst heavy criticism. Brunei had first announced its introduction in 2013, which resulted in vast international protest. Following the outcry, Brunei, a sultanate of about 430,000, had delayed carrying out the harshest provisions of its Shariah law.
The nation has now, quietly decided to implement the harsh punishment beginning April 3, 2019.
Artificial Intelligence-pioneers win Turing Award 2018
The three pioneers of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun were on March 27, 2019 awarded with the 2018 ACM A.M. Turing Award “for conceptual and engineering breakthroughs that have made deep neural networks a critical component of computing”. All the three winners will share the USD 1 million prize money.
Named as the “Fathers of the Deep Learning Revolution” by the Association for Computing Machinery, all the three winners belong to big names in the industry. Hinton is VP and Engineering Fellow of Google; LeCun is VP and Chief AI Scientist at Facebook and Bengio is Scientific Director at Mila and has inked deals with IBM and Microsoft.
US resolution to ban JeM Chief Masood Azhar
The United States on March 27, 2019 circulated a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to blacklist Chief of Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Masood Azhar. Azhar is linked to terrorism for "participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities carried out by JeM”.
The resolution states that Azhar will be added to the UN Al-Qaeda and Islamic State Sanctions blacklist. It would lead to global travel ban, an assets freeze and an arms ban for Azhar. The draft resolution condemns the Pulwama terror attack.
India becomes 4th largest space power
Prime Narendra Modi on March 27, 2019 announced that India has established itself as the world's 4th largest space super power. The Prime Minister stated that the feat is historic, as till now, only three countries in the world – United States of America, Russia and China have achieved this.
The Prime Minister announced the success of ‘Mission Shakti’, in which Indian scientists successfully targeted and shot down a live satellite on a Low Earth Orbit with an anti-satellite missile (A-SAT) within a matter of just three minutes.
He announced that India has joined the elite league of space powers and the whole mission required a lot of complex scientific maneuvers and techniques, which India was able to see through successfully.
RBI imposes Rs 2 crore penalty on PNB
The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a penalty worth Rs 2 crore on Punjab National Bank for non-compliance of regulatory directions with regard to SWIFT operations. The announcement was made by RBI on March 26, 2019.
SWIFT is a global messaging software, which is used for sharing information on inter-bank transactions by financial entities. In a regulatory filing, PNB stated that the Reserve Bank in a letter dated March 25 has informed the bank about the penalty.
Chandrayaan-2 to carry NASA instruments; ISRO to launch 29 satellites
Chandrayaan-2, the second moon mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will be carrying laser retroreflector arrays owned by the US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch 29 satellites including the primary payload EMISAT on April 1, 2019. The PSLV-C45 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), carrying these satellites onboard, will take off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
CBSE to include AI, yoga as new subjects
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to introduce artificial intelligence (AI), early childhood care education and yoga as new subjects in the school curriculum from the upcoming academic session.
CBSE would be introducing artificial intelligence as an optional sixth subject in Class IX from the 2019-2020 session onwards. The central board has decided that schools may start AI ‘inspire module’ of 12 hours in Class VIII itself, in order to enhance the multidisciplinary approach in teaching learning and also to sensitise the new generation.
Jet Airways Crisis: Explained
Jet Airways Founder and Chairman Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal resigned from the board on March 25, 2019 amid the reports of looming financial crisis in the airlines. However, the CEO of Jet Airways, Vinay Dube will stay on to steer the airline carrier out of the current financial crisis.
The board of Jet Airways accepted their resignation. Naresh Goyal is presently in London, and addressed all 23,000 employees from there. The Jet Airways was founded nearly 25 years ago by the Goyals in 1993.
Post their resignation, the Bank Led Interim Resolution Plan (BLIRP) came into effect for the revival of the airline. The board approved the invoking of entire 51 percent stake of Naresh Goyal in the airline for the conversion of USD 1 billion the outstanding debt.
What is minimum income guarantee scheme?
The President of the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi on March 25, 2019 announced a minimum income guarantee scheme for the poorest 20 per cent of Indian families if voted to power.
The announcement was made following the meeting of the Congress Working Committee. The leading opposition party claims that under the scheme, 20 per cent of India’s most poor families will get Rs 72,000 yearly in their bank accounts.
The minimum income support proposal will be called ‘nyay’. The scheme aims to bring justice to the poor in the country. Under the Nyay scheme, the minimum income line will be Rs 12000.