Current Affairs in Short: 16 October 2018
The United Nations has observed that at least three million Afghans are in urgent need of food and could face famine if they do not get help. A dry spell mainly across northern and western Afghanistan has devastated crops, livestock and water supplies, forcing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
India to set up special desk to facilitate investments from UAE
• India will soon set up a special UAE desk to facilitate investments and resolve any business issues between the two nations.
• The announcement was made by Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu after co-chairing the sixth meeting of UAE-India High-Level Joint Task Force on Investments in Mumbai on October 15, 2018. The meeting was also attended by Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
• During the meeting, both India and UAE held discussions on the opportunities for cooperation and investment in the railways, logistics, highways, airports and infrastructure sectors.
• Both sides also expressed satisfaction on the ongoing strong engagements in the hydrocarbon sector.
Two-day Agri-startup and Entrepreneurship inaugurated in New Delhi
• The Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh inaugurated a two-day Agri-startup and Entrepreneurship in New Delhi on October 16, 2018, on the occasion of World Food Day.
• The theme of the event was unleashing potentials in agriculture for young agri-preneurs. The conclave included deliberations on various issues faced by young agri-preneurs in the production of seasonal crops.
• Addressing the conclave, the Minister said that the government is continuously working on achieving the goal of zero hunger by 2030 in a systematic manner.
• He further said that 45 models on integrated farming for 15 different climate zones in the country have been devised. Using the models, there is an increase in the agricultural production despite the adversity of climate change. The innovations aim to help in increasing farmer’s income.
Goa Maritime Symposium 2018 held
• The 2018 Goa Maritime Symposium, the second edition of the Goa Maritime Symposium (GSM) was inaugurated by the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil in Goa on October 16, 2018.
• The theme of the seminar this year was “Building Stronger Maritime Partnerships in Indian Ocean Rim (IOR)”. It upholds the forum’s aim of fostering friendly relations with India’s maritime neighbours.
• The deliberations at the forum were focused on capacity building among IOR Navies to tackle emerging maritime threats, in addition to discussing cooperative strategies for enhancing interoperability among partner maritime agencies.
• Renowned national and international speakers articulated their views on these crucial issues, followed by theme based discussions.
• The international seminar was attended by delegates from many countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius, Sri-Lanka, Singapore and Thailand.
World Food Day observed globally
• The World Food Day was observed globally on October 16, 2018. The day is viewed as a day of action dedicated to tackling global hunger.
• The theme of World Food Day 2018 is ‘Our actions are our future – A zero hunger world by 2030 is possible’.
• The focus of the Indian Government is that food is a basic need and a fundamental human right. India aims to transform its agricultural sector to contribute to the achievements of global environmental objectives.
• India has also launched a new project known as ‘Green-agriculture: transforming Indian agriculture for global environmental benefits and the conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes’.
• Recently, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana, a national level programme, was launched to create world-class food processing infrastructure. This is expected to leverage the investment of five billion US dollars, benefit two million farmers and generate more than half a million jobs over the next two years.
PM Narendra Modi interacts with global oil and gas experts, CEOs
• The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on October 15, 2018 met with the CEOs and experts from the oil and gas sector, from both India and abroad.
• During the interaction, global CEOs and Experts appreciated the steps taken by the Union Government over the last four years, for ease of doing business and specifically in the energy sector in India. The experts made a special mention of India’s competitive ranking from the upstream investment point of view, which has gone up from 56 to 44.
• The subjects including expansion of oil and gas infrastructure in India, enhancing exploration and production, the potential in solar energy and biofuels and the Union Government ’s holistic approach to the energy sector came up for discussion.
• The Prime Minister, while interacting with the global leaders of the energy sector, highlighted the significant positioning of India in the oil and gas market. He noted that the oil market is producer driven, and both the quantity and prices are determined by the oil-producing countries.
• Though there is enough production, the unique features of marketing in the oil sector have pushed up the oil prices. The PM also made a strong case for a partnership between the producers and consumers, in the oil market, as it exists in other markets. He said that it will help stabilise the global economy which is on path of recovery.
Sri Lanka sets up committee to formulate strategy to help businesses invest more in India
• Sri Lanka has set up a committee to formulate a strategy to help its businesses invest more into the Indian market.
• The ‘Break into India Strategy Committee’ appointed by the Ministry of Development strategies and International trade will include members from several top firms as well as representatives from research institutions and consulting companies.
• The Ministry stated that the opportunity for Sri Lanka is clear as it stands at the doorstep of an economy with a middle-class consumer market that is 10-times Sri Lanka’s domestic market.
• The committee is mandated with preparing an interim report and a market entry strategy before the end of the year.
• India and Sri Lanka recently held the 11th round of talks on Economic and Technological cooperation agreement to expand free trade agreement beyond goods, to cover services and investment.
At least three million Afghans in 'urgent' need of food: UN
• The United Nations has observed that at least three million Afghans are in urgent need of food and could face famine if they do not get help.
• The UN humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan Toby Lanzer said in Kabul that a dry spell mainly across northern and western Afghanistan has devastated crops, livestock and water supplies, forcing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
• The drought comes at a time when the country is already grappling with a 17-year conflict.
• The UN is spearheading international efforts to reach 2.5 million of the three million people most in need of food by mid-December.
North Korea, South Korea and UN Command begin talks on demilitarising border
• North Korea, South Korea and the US-led United Nations Command on October 16, 2018 began talks on demilitarising a section of the heavily fortified border dividing the peninsula.
• The first meeting between the South, North and the UNC on disarming the Joint Security Area (JSA) is being held at Panmunjom.
• The JSA, also known as the truce village of Panmunjom, is the only spot along the 250-kilometer frontier where troops from the two countries stand face to face.
• It was a designated neutral zone until 1976, when North Korean soldiers attacked a work party trying to chop down a tree inside the Demilitarized Zone, leaving two US army officers dead.
• South and North Korea agreed to take measures to ease military tensions on their border following a meeting in Pyongyang in September 2018 between leaders Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un.
• The two sides have, in fact, begun removing landmines at the JSA as part of the deal.
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