Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 18 August 2022
Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 18 August 2022
In Russia, Doval holds talks on security issues
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, currently on an unannounced visit to Russia, discussed a range of issues related to bilateral security cooperation with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev.
This was the first in-person meeting between Doval and Patrushev since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February. It is understood that the regional security situation, including Afghanistan, figured in the discussions.
There was no official word from the Indian side on Doval’s visit or the meeting. A readout from the Russian side said Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s security council and Doval discussed a “wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation in the area of security, as well as topical problems on the regional and international agenda”.
The two sides “agreed to continue the dialogue between the two countries’ security councils, having emphasised the progressive development of the Russian-Indian special and privileged strategic partnership”, the readout added without giving details.
Doval’s visit comes against the backdrop of India’s decision to go ahead with purchases of discounted Russian commodities, primarily crude oil, despite opposition from Western countries.
The meeting also came a day ahead of a two-day meeting of senior security officials of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Uzbekistan. India is expected to be represented at the SCO meet by deputy national security adviser Vikram Misri.
The meeting of SCO security officials is part of preparations for the grouping’s summit to be held in Samarkand next month.
'When I heard he survived, I was surprised': Salman Rushdie's attacker – Report
Days after author Salman Rushdie suffered serious stab wounds after he was assaulted in New York, the man - accused of attacking him - has said that he was surprised that Rushdie survived. "When I heard he survived, I was surprised, I guess," 24-year-old HadiMatar told the New York Post.
He also expressed his displeasure with the 75-year-old author who has faced death threats - over the years - for writing "The Satanic Verses', which has been accused of blasphemy. However, he also clarified that he was not inspired by the 1989 edict, or fatwa, issued under Iran's former supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against Rushdie.
"I respect Ayatollah. I think he's a great person. That's as far as I will say about that," said Matar, who according to the Post, was advised by his lawyer not to discuss the issue. In the first interview since the attack, Matar also said that he has read "a couple of pages" of the controversial book. "I don't like the person. I don't think he's a very good person," he said.
He described Rushdie as "someone who attacked Islam". He attacked their (Muslims') beliefs, the belief system," Matar added in the interview. Rushdie, 75, was stabbed Friday while attending an event in western New York.
He suffered a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye, his agent said. He was likely to lose the injured eye. His condition is still serious while he is off ventilator. Matar was arrested immediately after the attack from the venue and was handed over to police. He is charged with attempted murder and assault and has pleaded not guilty in the court. He is now set to appear in court.
RBI moots 'tiered' charge on payments through UPI, seeks public feedback
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has sought feedback from stakeholders on the possibility of imposing a “tiered” charge on payments made through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), based on different amount bands.
The RBI’s discussion paper on charges in payment systems, released on Wednesday, seeks to structure its policies and streamline the framework of charges for different payment services or activities, such as UPI, IMPS (Immediate Payment Service), NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer), RTGS (Real-Time Gross Settlement), and payment instruments including debit cards, credit cards, and prepaid payment instruments (PPIs).
“UPI as a funds transfer system is like IMPS. Therefore, it could be argued that the charges in UPI need to be similar to charges in IMPS for fund transfer transactions. A tiered charge could be imposed based on the different amount bands,” the RBI said in the discussion paper.
Currently, no cost is incurred by users or merchants in the case of payments made through UPI.
The RBI has asked that if UPI transactions are charged, then should the merchant discount rate (MDR) be imposed based on the transaction value or should a fixed amount be charged as MDR irrespective of the transaction value?
Further, it has sought feedback on whether the RBI should decide on the charges or the market be allowed to determine if charges are introduced at all.
MDR is the rate charged to a merchant for payment processing services on various payment instruments.
For a person-to-merchant (P2M) transaction of Rs 800 on UPI, collectively, the stakeholders incur Rs 2 for processing the transaction, the RBI has explained.
UPI is the most preferred digital payment platform in the country, with over 6 billion transactions amounting to Rs 10 trillion processed every month. It is both a funds transfer as well as a merchant payment system. Back in 2020, the Union government had mandated a zero-charge framework for UPI transactions with effect from January 1, 2020.
::Science and tech::
Spacewalk terminated after battery problem in Russian cosmonaut suit
A Russian spacewalker had to rush back inside the International Space Station when the battery voltage in his spacesuit suddenly dropped.
Russian Mission Control ordered Oleg Artemyev, the station commander, to quickly return to the airlock so he could hook his suit to station power. The hatch remained open as his spacewalking partner, Denis Matveev, tidied up outside.
NASA said neither man was ever in any danger. Matveev, in fact, remained outside for another hour or so, before he, too, was ordered to wrap it up. Matveev's suit was fine, but Russian Mission Control cut the spacewalk short since flight rules insist on the buddy system.
The cosmonauts managed to install cameras on the European Space Agency's new robot arm before the trouble cropped up, barely two hours into a planned 6 1/2-hour spacewalk.
“You know, the start was so excellent," Matveev said as he made his way back inside, with some of the robot arm installation work left undone.
In March, water seeped into a German spacewalker's helmet. It was not nearly as much leakage as occurred in 2013 when an Italian astronaut almost drowned, but still posed a safety concern. In the earlier case, the water originated from the cooling system in the suit's undergarments.
NikhatZareen's emotional CWG video featuring mother blows the internet
Following the footsteps of her idol Mary Kom, NikhatZareen has emerged as one of India's biggest star in women's boxing. After claiming a gold at the Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria earlier this year, Nikhat continued her powerful show and won the World Boxing Championships in Turkey in May. Now in the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham, the pugilist went to add another gold in the women's 50kg light flyweight division.
Nikhat took to Twitter on Wednesday to relive her glory at CWG 2022 and shared an emotional video. The video was in reference to the promise made to her mother to bring gold from the Games, which was captioned: "A promise was once made".