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18-19 August Current Affair For All Competition Exams

1. Indian scientist-academician, N Raghuram, has been elected Chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI)

  • Indian scientist-academician, N Raghuram, has been elected Chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI), a global policy-making initiative.
  • A professor at the GGS Indraprastha University, New Delhi, Raghuram is the first Indian and Asian to be elected to the Chair.
  • Raghuram specialises in the biological determinants of nitrogen use efficiency in crops. He has been the President of the Indian Nitrogen Group and a Steering Committee member of the UNEP Global Partnership on Nutrient Management.
  • The new chairs will formally take up their roles on January 1, 2019.

Related Information

The International Nitrogen Initiative

  • The International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) is an international program, set up in 2003 under the sponsorship of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP).
  • The key aims of the INI are to:
    (i) Optimize nitrogen’s beneficial role in sustainable food production, and
    (ii) Minimize nitrogen’s negative effects on human health and the environment resulting from food and energy production.
  • The program is currently a sustained partner of Future Earth.
  • It is coordinated by a Steering Committee, led by a chair and six regional centre directors representing, Africa, Europe, Latin America, North America, South Asia and East Asia.
  • The INI holds a conference once in every three years.
  • The next INI conference will be held in Berlin, Germany, in 2020

Source- The Hindu

2. Hajj ‘nap pods’ being introduced for pilgrims to Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi Arabia plans to introduce sleep pods, reminiscent of Japan’s famed capsule hotels, in the western city of Mina in the coming days, as an estimated two million Muslims gather for the six-day hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.

Related Information

Nap Pod

  • Each fibreglass pod – less than three metres long and just over one metre high – features a mattress, clean sheets, air conditioning and a large, well-lit mirror.
  • The pods can be lined up horizontally or stacked vertically to save on space.

Source- The Hindu

3. India In Talks With Fiji For Broader Security Support

  • Indian naval ship Sahyadri, which was on a visit to the island nation, entered the Port of Suva.
  • Sahyadri is the third and latest ship among the Shivalik Class of indigenously built stealth frigates and forms a part of the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy.

Related Information

INS Sahyadri

  • INS Sahyadri was built at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) located in Mumbai.
  • It was launched on 27 May 2005.
  • It was commissioned on 21 July 2012 into the Eastern Naval Command headquartered at Visakhapatnam.
  • It is a Shivalik-class stealth multi-role frigate built for the Indian Navy.
  • This class features improved stealth and land attack capabilities over the preceding Talwar-class frigates.

RIMPAC( The Rim of the Pacific Exercise)

  • RIMPAC, the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise.
  • RIMPAC is held biennially during June and July of even-numbered years from Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • It is hosted and administered by the United States Navy’s Pacific Fleet, headquartered at Pearl Harbor, in conjunction with the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and Hawaii National Guard forces under the control of the Governor of Hawaii.
  • The first RIMPAC, held in 1971.
  • RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in a series that began in 1971.
  • The Indian Navy was an observer for the 2006, 2010 and 2012 editions of the exercise.
  • In 2014, INS Sahyadri was deployed for the 24th edition of the exercise and in 2018 also, while INS Satpura took part in 2016.

Source- The Hindu

4. China to expand energy footprint in Iran

  • Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA has reported that China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the world’s third-largest oil and gas firm, has replaced Total, the French energy giant, in the South Pars 11 project.

Related Information

South Pars/North Dome field

  • The South Pars/North Dome field is a natural gas condensate field located in the Persian Gulf.
  • It is by far the world’s largest natural gas field, with ownership of the field shared between Iran and Qatar.
  • On the list of natural gas fields, it has almost as much recoverable reserves than all the other fields combined.
  • It has significant geostrategic influence.

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Source- The Hindu

5. NPCI launched UPI 2.0

  • UPI 2.0, an upgraded version of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)’s Unified Payment Interface, has been announced with several new features.

New features:

  • With the initial version of UPI, customers could only connect their saving and current accounts to the payment interface.
  • Customers now can link their overdraft (OD) account to UPI in its latest version. Customers will be able to transact instantly and all benefits associated with OD account will be made available to the users.
  • UPI 2.0 has a feature whereby customers can check the invoice sent by merchant prior to making payment.
  • Customers can pre-authorise a transaction and pay at a later date.
  • A quick response (QR) code feature has been introduced for customers to check the authenticity of merchants while scanning the code. It notifies the user with information to ascertain whether the merchant has verified UPI merchant or not.

Related Information

United payment Interface

  • UPI is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood.
  • It also caters to the “Peer to Peer” collect request which can be scheduled and paid as per requirement and convenience.
  • UPI version 1 was launched in April 2016.


  • NPCI is an umbrella organization for all retail payments in India.
  • It aims to allow all Indian citizens to have unrestricted access to e-payment services.
  • Founded in 2008, NPCI is a not-for-profit organisation registered under section 8 of the Companies Act 2013.
  • The organisation is owned by a consortium of major banks and has been promoted by the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India.

Source- The Hindu

6. Country’s first penguin born on Independence Day at Byculla Zoo

  • The baby penguin was born to Flipper and Mr Molt, two of the seven Humboldt penguins brought to Byculla Zoo from South Korea in July 2016.

Related Information

Humboldt penguins

  • The Humboldt penguin (also termed Peruvian penguin, or patranca) is a South American penguin that breeds in coastal Chile and Peru.
  • The penguin is named after the cold water current it swims in.
  • The species is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.
  • Humboldt penguins are medium-sized penguins.
  • They have a black head with a white border that runs from behind the eye, around the black ear-coverts and chin, and joins at the throat.
  • They have spines on their tongue which they use to hold their prey.

Source- The Hindu

7. Odisha to showcase its biodiversity

  • The Odisha government is setting up a world-class interpretation centre at Dangamal near Bhitarkanika National Park to showcase its efforts in protecting crocodiles and preserving its rich mangrove diversity.
  • The project, which has been approved under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project.

Related Information

Bhitarkanika National Park

  • Bhitarkanika National Park is a national park located in Kendrapara district of Odisha in eastern India.
  • It was designated as the national park on 16 September 1998 and as a Ramsar site on 19 August 2002.
  • Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary lies to the east and separates swamp region cover with the canopy of mangroves from the Bay of Bengal.
  • The national park is home to Saltwater crocodile, Indian python, King cobra, black ibis, darters and many other species of flora and fauna.
  • It hosts a large number of mangrove species and is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India.
  • The national park and wildlife sanctuary is inundated by the rivers Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra, Pathsala.


  • Native to the northern part of the Indian subcontinent.
  • The gharial is one of the longest of all living crocodilians.
  • The male gharial has a distinctive boss at the end of the snout, which resembles an earthenware pot known in Hindi as Hence the name.
  • It is critically endangered under IUCN Red List.
  • It is under Schedule-I of the Indian wildlife act, 1972.

Project Crocodile

  • Project Crocodile began in 1975 under the auspices of the Government of India with the aid of the United Nations Development Fund and Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • The project included an intensive captive breeding and rearing program intended to restock habitats with low numbers of gharials.

‘BAULA’ Project at Dangamal

  • ‘Baula’ is the Oriya term for Saltwater Crocodile.
  • At Dangmal in Bhitarkanika sanctuary, salt-water crocodile eggs have been collected locally and young crocodiles have been released in the creeks and the estuaries.
  • This operation has been reasonably successful and the crocodile population in the Bhitarkanika river system has gradually been built up.

Source- The Hindu

8. FSSAI sets up the panel to review red-labelling draft.

  • The government has put on hold the draft that proposes red-labelling of packaged food products containing high levels of fat, sugar and salt.
  • The expert panel will be headed by B Sesikeran, former director of the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN).
  • In April, food safety regulator FSSAI had come out with the draft of Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations 2018 that proposed mandatory red-label marking on such packaged food products.

Related Information

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • The FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India.
  • FSSAI is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.
  • The FSSAI is headed by a non-executive Chairperson, appointed by the Central Government, either holding or has held the position of not below the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
  • The FSSAI has its headquarters at New Delhi.
  • The authority also has 6 regional offices located in Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, and Chennai.

Source- The Hindu

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