Current Affairs in Short: 17 May 2018
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that the EU countries agreed that the Iran nuclear deal was ‘not perfect’ but insisted it should be preserved. The statement comes after Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the accord, throwing its future in doubt.
Ram Jethmalani moves SC against Karnataka Governor’s decision
• Senior lawyer and jurist Ram Jethmalani in his own capacity moved the Supreme Court on May 17, 2018, challenging Karnataka Governor’s decision of inviting the BJP to form the government in the state.
• Considering the submission of Jethmalani seeking an urgent hearing, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that a three-judge special bench, which had heard the matter in the early hours, would hear the matter tomorrow.
• In his plea Jethmalani said that he had not come before the court in favour or against any party but simply because he had been hurt over the unconstitutional decision taken by the Governor.
EU countries agree Iran deal 'not perfect': Merkel
• German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on May 17, 2018 that EU countries agreed that the Iran nuclear deal was ‘not perfect’ but insisted it should be preserved, after the US withdrawal threw the accord into doubt.
• The EU leaders meeting in Sofia have backed a ‘united’ approach to keeping the deal alive after US President Donald Trump pulled out and re-imposed sanctions.
• Merkel stated that everyone in the European Union shares the view that the agreement is not perfect, but that they should remain in this agreement and conduct further negotiations with Iran on the basis of other issues such as the ballistic missile programme.
• French President Emmanuel Macron said that the bloc was working to keep the existing agreement alive so that their businesses can remain in Iran.
• Macron added by saying that the 2015 agreement needs to be completed by a nuclear agreement beyond 2025, an agreement on ballistic activities and Iran's regional presence.
Indian exports rose to $25.9 billion in April 2018
• India’s exports rose by 5.17 per cent year-on-year to USD 25.9 billion in April 2018 with good performance by sectors including engineering, pharmaceutical & chemicals.
• The non-petroleum, non-gems and jewellery exports in April 2018 were valued at USD 19.8 billion as against USD 17.7 billion in April 2017, showing an increase of 11.73 per cent.
• India recorded a trade surplus in services sector at USD 6.5 billion.
SC Collegium defers decision on Justice Joseph's elevation to apex court
• The Supreme Court Collegium on May 16, 2018 again deferred its decision on the issue of recommending Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph for elevation to the top court after it was returned by the Centre.
• The Collegium comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and four senior most judges including Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph deliberated over the issue for more than an hour.
• This was the Collegium's second meeting in five days. At its last meeting on May 11, the Collegium had agreed in principle to reiterate its recommendation for elevating Justice Joseph as a judge of the apex court, almost three weeks after it was returned by the Centre, but could not decide on a date.
Meeting of stakeholders on Samarth scheme held in Delhi
• A meeting of stakeholders on Samarth – Scheme for capacity building in textile sector under the Skill India Mission was held in New Delhi on May 14, 2018.
• The meeting, chaired by Union Minister of Textiles- Smriti Zubin Irani, was aimed at familiarising the stakeholders about the scheme and its guidelines.
• The concerns of the stakeholders and challenges faced by them during implementation of the previous scheme were discussed during the meeting.
• The feedback of the concerned stakeholders was also taken on how the scheme can contribute and benefit the textile industry and boost skill development in the respective sector.
• The key objective of the new scheme is to skill the youth for gainful and sustainable employment in the textile sector covering the entire value chain of textiles, excluding spinning and weaving.
Amitabh Bachchan most engaging Indian actor on Facebook
• Superstar Amitabh Bachchan has been voted the most engaging Indian actor on Facebook in a new survey.
• According to Score Trends, the 75-year-old actor has over 30 million followers on the popular social networking site.
• The survey ranked Bachchan at number one position with 100 points on Facebook, closely followed by Salman Khan with 95 points and Shah Rukh Khan with 68 points.
• The ‘Padmaavat’ actor Ranveer Singh was ranked fourth with 52 points and Akshay Kumar was ranked fifth with 49 points.
Researchers discover fastest growing black hole
• Researchers have spotted the fastest-growing black hole ever found in the universe.
• The researchers observed the black hole consume a mass equivalent to Earth’s sun in every two days.
• Researchers used newly released data from the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite to confirm that the brightly shining object is a black hole, which appears to have been the mass of about 20 billion suns when the light was released.
• The researchers found that the hole was growing by 1 percent every million years and the energy emitted from it was mostly ultraviolet light along with radiated x-rays.
• The discovery of the new supermassive black hole was confirmed using the spectrograph on the ANU 2.3 metre telescope to split colours into spectral lines.
Punjab to set up panel to check security expenditure
• The Punjab government stated on May 16, 2018 that it would be setting up a committee to streamline the system of providing security to officials and non-officials, taking cognizance of reports claiming the state lacked a rational policy.
• The decision was taken after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh took cognisance of media reports claiming that absence of prudent norms was causing avoidable financial loss to the state.
• The committee will be headed by additional chief secretary (home), with director general (intelligence) and additional director general of police (security).
• It has been tasked with checking excess expenditure while maintaining desirable security standards.
• The government will also set up another committee that will help eliminate discrepancies in the reattachment of villages to police stations.