1. Venezuela President Maduro sworn in for the second term
- The socialist leader Nicolás Maduro (56-year) has been sworn in for the second term (first elected in 2013) as Venezuela’s president.
- Thousands of spectators gathered for the ceremony in Caracas, including Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and president of Bolivia Evo Morales.
- The May 2018 polls were marred by an opposition boycott and vote-rigging claims.
- The country’s National Electoral Council (CNE) put voter turnout at 46%, but political opposition groups allege it was even lower.
- The President of Venezuela leads the National Executive of the Venezuelan government and is the commander-in-chief of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces.
- Venezuela is one of the world’s largest oil producers and holds the presidency of oil cartel Opec until 2025.
2. Selection Committee chaired by PM removes Alok Verma as CBI Chief
- The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma has been transferred and appointed Director General, Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards.
- The three-member Selection Committee (Justice AK Sikri & Mallikarjun Kharge), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which appoints the CBI chief took the decision.
- The decision was taken by a majority with Mallikarjun Kharge opposing the move.
- Earlier, Alok Verma (1979 batch IPS officer) has been reinstated as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief by the Supreme Court.
Banking & Finance
3. GST exemption limit doubled for small businesses
- The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has doubled the GST exemption limit to Rs 20 lakh for northeastern states and Rs 40 lakh for the rest of the country.
- The scope of GST Composition Scheme, under which small traders and businesses pay a small tax based on turnover rather than value addition is raised to Rs 1.5 crore from Rs 1 crore.
- The twin move would give relief to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
- The changes will come into effect from 1st April this year.
- The council has allowed the state of Kerala to impose a cess of up to 1% on intrastate sales for two years.
4. Sri Lanka’s Central Bank Gets USD 400 Million Swap from RBI
- According to Sri Lanka’s Central Bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has agreed to provide USD 400 million under a swap arrangement to boost the island nation’s reserves.
- The RBI has agreed to provide the funds under its SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Corporation) Swap facility.
- These are to be made available under the SAARC SWAP facility.
5. Six States sign agreement for Renukaji Multipurpose Dam Project
- An agreement for Renukaji Dam Multipurpose Project has signed among the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
- The agreement has been signed in the presence of the Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari and all six Chief Ministers of the states in New Delhi.
- The project is aimed at meeting the drinking water needs of these states.
- Under it, three storage projects are proposed to be constructed on the river Yamuna and two of its tributaries – Tons and Giri in the hilly regions of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
- These include Lakhwar project on river Yamuna in Uttarakhand, Kishau on river Tons in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and Renukaji on river Giri in Himachal Pradesh.
- Most of the irrigation cost and the drinking water component of these projects will be funded by the central government.
6. Women and Child Development Ministry launches ‘#www: WebWonderWomen’ Campaign
- The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched an online campaign, ‘Web – Wonder Women’ also known as ‘#www’.
- The objective of the campaign is to discover and celebrate the exceptional achievements of women, who have been driving positive agenda of social change through social media itself.
- The Ministry partnered with the Breakthrough and Twitter India for ‘#www: WebWonderWomen’ campaign.
Science & Defence
7. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope’s premier camera shuts down
- The main camera onboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has been shut down after it encountered a hardware problem.
- The telescope will continue to perform science observations with its other three active instruments.
- The defect in the Hubble Wide Field Camera 3 is being investigated.
- The camera is equipped with back up electronics that can be called to action if the need arises..
8. Bopanna serves big in Tata Open title win with Sharan
- Top-seeded Indian pair Rohan Bopanna (37-year) and Divij Sharan (32-year) have won maiden ATP tour Tennis title at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune.
- Indian pair defeated British pair of Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Maara by 6-3 6-4.
- This was Bopanna’s 18th ATP tour title while Sharan has won his fourth tournament on the circuit.
9. IWF president named as Chef de Mission for Tokyo Olympics 2020
- President of the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF), Birendra Prasad Baishya, has been named Chef de Mission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
- It is for the first time that the Weightlifting has been accorded with the honour of Chef de Mission for the Olympics.
- Baishya is also one of the Indian Olympic Association Vice Presidents.
10. Sydney & Brisbane chosen to host USD 15 million ATP Cup in 2020
- Australian cities Sydney and Brisbane have been announced as the first two host locations for men’s tennis for the USD 15 million ATP Cup from 2020.
- The third Australian city for the tournament is yet to be determined.
- The tournament will comprise more than 100 players from 24 nations with USD 15 million in prize money and 750 ATP Ranking points.
11. Mary Kom attains number one position in AIBA rankings
- Indian Olympic boxer from Manipur M C Mary Kom (35-year) has attained number one position in the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) latest world rankings.
- She became the most successful boxer in world championships’ history when she claimed the 48kg category top honours in Delhi in November 2018.
- Mary Kom is placed top of the charts in the weight division with 1700 points.
- She will have to jump to 51kg in pursuit of her 2020 Olympic dream as 48kg is not yet included in the Games roster.
- Pinki Jangra is placed eighth in the 51kg category list.