Current Affairs May 30, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of May 30, 2019 in Short Notes form for preparation of IBPS, Banking, CLAT, SSC, Railway, UPSC, IAS/PCS, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, RPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and all other competitive examinations of India.

1. Murray Gell-Mann (89), a Jewish American physicist who theorized the existence of the quark and won a Nobel Prize for his method of classifying particles, has passed away in New Mexico on May 24, 2019. He transformed physics by devising a method for sorting subatomic particles into simple groups of eight, based on electric charge, spin and other characteristics. He called his method the “eightfold way” after the Buddhist Eightfold Path to enlightenment. Later he developed the theory that identified “quarks,” indivisible components of Earth’s matter that make up protons, neutrons and other particles.

2. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a 6-member committee to review the existing state of mortgage securitisation in India and suggest measures to deepen it. The committee on the development of housing finance securitisation market, headed by Bain & Co Senior Advisor Harsh Vardhan, will review the regulations relating to Mortgage-Backed Securitization (MBS) currently in place, and make specific recommendations on suitably aligning the same with international norms. It will recommend specific measures for facilitating secondary market trading in mortgage securitisation instruments, such as broadening the investor base, and strengthening the market infrastructure.

3. The Trump administration has recently removed India and Switzerland from its currency monitoring list of major trading partners. Both the countries were removed from the list because for two consecutive reports they had both met only one of three criteria necessary for inclusion on the monitoring list. According to the report, India had a significant bilateral surplus & Switzerland had a material current account surplus. The watch list contains the names of countries that have potentially questionable foreign exchange policies and are suspected to be manipulating their currencies to gain trade advantages over the US. However, the list includes China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam among others.

4. President Muhammadu Buhari has been sworn-in for his second term as President of Nigeria in a ceremony at the Eagle Square in Abuja. He won 56% of the votes to defeat his main rival Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 February election. Buhari will face a number of challenges during his second term as he tries to fulfil his election promises, including dealing with security threats and managing a sluggish economy and a high unemployment rate.

5. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a six-member task force, headed by Canara Bank chairman T.N. Manoharan, on the development of secondary market for corporate loans. The terms of reference of the task force would include review of the existing state of the market for loan sale or transfer in India as well as the international experience in loan trading. Further the task force will be required to make recommendations on required policy or regulatory interventions for facilitating development of secondary market in corporate loans, including loan transaction platform for stressed assets. The task force has been asked to submit its report by the end of August 2019. In India, banks sell their stressed loans to the Asset Reconstruction Companies, but have practically no other alternatives. However, globally, there is a healthy corporate loan market where banks can offload their stressed assets and those get traded.

6. Actor Carmine Caridi (85), who is best remembered for playing Carmine Rosato in "The Godfather: Part II," has passed away in California, United States on May 28, 2019. Besides "The Godfather" series, he also starred in TV shows including Phyllis, Starsky and Hutch, Taxi, NYPD Blue as Detective Vince Gotelli and Fame as Angelo Martelli. Interestingly, in 2004, Caridi became the first person to be expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) after sharing screeners. He was booted out for passing on screeners of movies vying for Oscar attention. He along with Russell Sprague were sued by Sony and Time Warner on civil charges of copyright infringement. Caridi was cleared of wrongdoing.

7. India has been ranked 43rd most competitive economy in the 2019 edition of the IMD World Competitiveness Rankings on the back of its robust economic growth, a large labour force and its huge market size. In the 2019 rankings, India has scored well on several economic parameters and tax policies but has lagged in terms of public finance, societal framework, education infrastructure, health and environment. Singapore has topped the index, followed by Hong Kong SAR and United States. The IMD World Competitiveness Rankings, established in 1989, incorporate 235 indicators from each of the 63 ranked economies to evaluate their ability to foster an environment where enterprises can achieve sustainable growth, generate jobs and increase welfare for its citizens.

8. N Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), has been conferred the lifetime recognition award by the Confederation of Horticulture Association of India at the International Conference on Innovative horticulture at Pantnagar, Uttarakhand on May 28, 2019. The award has been conferred for his outstanding contribution in the field of horticulture and academic leadership focussed on human resource development in agriculture.

9. On 30 May 2019, James Marape has been nominated, elected, and sworn-in as the 8th Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG). He is a former finance minister and critic of a major global gas development deal. His appointment comes after the outgoing leader Peter O'Neill resigned recently. Papua New Guinea is a South Pacific nation of 7.3 million people. It has rich reserves of copper, gold, and oil, but development has been hampered by public order issues, rugged terrain and disputes over land.

10. To celebrate 2019 World Environment Day (WED), the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) has recently launched the song 'Hawa Aane De' to spread awareness about Air pollution. The theme song is written by Swanand Kirkire and sung by Shantanu Mukherjee, Kapil Sharma, Sunidhi Chauhan and Shankar Mahadevan. The film has been directed by Romanchak Arora. Every year, Union Environment Ministry celebrates WED focusing on the theme declared by UNEP and organizes several events. This year, the theme of Environment Day is ‘Air Pollution’. Hence, the events will include launch of film competition on environment, release of several books and three thematic sessions on Air Pollution, Waste Management and Forests: the Green Lungs of cities. It is noteworthy that to combat air pollution, MoEFCC has recently launched the National Clean Air programme (NCAP) which is a mid-term 5 Year Action Plan with targets of 20-30% reduction of PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentration in 102 cities, out of which 84 cities have already submitted their action plan. The main objective of NCAP is to control and abate air pollution across the country. It is a multi sectoral and collaborative approach with mainstreaming and integration.

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