Top 15 Current Affairs 15th April 2017

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15 April 2017

A pornographic video was played on an LED screen installed at Delhi Metro's Rajiv Chowk station, according to footage recently surfaced online. The incident happened on April 9 wherein the video lasted for nearly a minute. Claiming that the screen was under commissioning and testing by a private contractor, the Delhi Metro has initiated a probe into the matter.

15 April 2017

National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Saturday won the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-poll after defeating PDP candidate Nazir Ahmad Khan by around 10,000 votes. Abdullah had faced his first electoral defeat in his over 35-year-long political career when he had lost to PDP's Tariq Hameed Karra in 2014 General Elections. Karra had later resigned from Lok Sabha. 

15 April 2017

Hortonworks Inc. stunned the tech industry a few years ago when it became the fastest enterprise software start-up to reach $100 million in annual revenue in just four years from inception. The California-based company said that it now saw its next big growth coming from international business and the Indian market is going to play a key role in it. It is betting big on selling its services and support for the Hadoop open-source data analytics technology framework to the Indian enterprises as well as government’s big data projects like the ID platform Aadhaar.“We have captured a significant amount of market in North America. I think a lot of our growth would come internationally and India would be a key part of that,” said Arun Murthy, the 35-year-old co-founder and vice president for engineering at Hortonworks, in an interview.The firm leads a bunch of companies that are pursuing the opportunity to monetise Hadoop, an open source software platform for distributed storage and processing of very large data sets on computer clusters built from commodity hardware. Hadoop was built at Yahoo! in the mid-2000s to help the Internet portal compete with Google. Origins at Yahoo! In 2011, serial entrepreneur Rob Bearden partnered with Yahoo! to establish Hortonworks with 24 engineers from the original Hadoop team including founders like Alan Gates and Arun Murthy. The original developer of Hadoop, Doug Cutting, who named the platform after his son’s yellow stuffed toy elephant, works at Cloudera, which is Hortonwork’s rival.Prior to co-founding Hortonworks, Mr. Murthy, an alumnus of Visvesvaraya Technological University was responsible for all MapReduce code and configuration deployed across more than 42,000 servers at Yahoo!. MapReduce, which is the core component of Hadoop, is the original framework for writing applications that process large amounts of data.In 2014, Hortonworks’ market capitalisation exceeded $1 billion in an initial public offering. But the market cap has now come down to about $662 million. To bolster its growth, Hortonworks is now eyeing opportunities in the Indian market as well as to hire talent here. This month, it opened a larger office in Bengaluru which houses the company’s engineering and support teams, in addition to the India sales team.“The consumption (of data) in this market, with Digital India, is phenomenal,” said Kamal Brar, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Hortonworks. He said that it has got customers in India which are already using Hadoop especially in sectors such as e-commerce and telecommunications. The government too was open to adopting such open-source technologies, he said. “That is proven with Aadhaar, digital locker and now the payment gateways coming through the demonetisation move,” said Mr.Brar.The big data industry in the country is expected to grow eightfold to touch $16 billion by 2025 from the present size of $2 billion, according to the IT trade body NASSCOM.

15 April 2017

Technical textiles or functional textiles, considered a sunrise sector in the country, is all set for demand taking off for products such as geo and agro textiles.“Technical textiles is a thrust area for the Government because of the value addition involved,” said Textile Commissioner Kavita Gupta. “It can be used in infastructure projects, including ports, roads, and railways, and in sectors such as agriculture. We want to promote use of textile products that will improve productivity, health standards, and infrastructure,” she said.Geo textiles, for example, are permeable fabrics that are used in association with soil and which have the ability to separate and filter, while agro-textiles are used in shading and in weed and insect control.In an effort to increase use of technical textiles in Government projects, she said, “We are trying to promote interface with other ministries. The Textiles Minister has spoken to four ministers so far and will be speaking to more.” Union Textiles Minister Smriti Zubin Irani has spoken to Agriculture, Urban Development, Health, and Surface Transport ministers and is expected to have discussions with defence, railways, and heavy industries ministers tooThe aim is to create awareness, promote use of technical textile products, then ensure the usage is mandated in at least some areas. “Development and use of products have to go up. Simultaneously, standards are being created,” she said.Functional textiles can be woven or non-woven. Automobile, geo, medical, industrial, and agro textiles are among the range of products that are made in the country. Foreign Direct Investments are also coming in, especially for geo textiles. There are a large number of units that are into production of items such as non-woven carry bags or wipes too.According to K.S. Sundararaman, vice-chairman of Indian Technical Textile Association, technical textiles is a fragmented sector with several small and medium-scale industries manufacturing specialised products. “It is difficult to give a definite number on the number of units, production, etc. But, a majority of them are in the SME sector,” he said.The main challenges for technical textiles in the country are awareness among consumers, need for technology and knowledge about it among entrepreneurs, the investments and time needed to be innovative and develop applications, and raw material availability.“China is a generation ahead in production of technical textiles. But, their costs are going up and this is an opportunity for India,” he said. The Government should select and support entrepreneurs to be sent abroad to learn about technical textiles, he suggested.

15 April 2017

Kidambi Srikanth and Sai Praneeth set up an exciting all-Indian men’s singles final at the Singapore Open Super Series badminton tournament after comfortably winning their semifinal clashes here todaySrikanth, a former World No.3, notched up a 21-13 21-14 win over World No. 26 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting to reach the third Super Series final of his career.Earlier, Praneeth, who had been laid low by a shoulder injury, continued his rampaging return to the court by thrashing three-time Korea Masters Grand Prix Gold winner Lee 21-6 21-8 in a lop-sided semifinal match.It was double delight for India as, possibly for the first time in the history of the game, two Indians will clash for the title in a Super Series event.Praneeth was the first to make it to the summit clash after he executed his plans brilliantly to completely outplay his opponent in a 38-minute match.Srikanth then showed why he is considered one of the best Indian shuttlers right now, fighting back from 4-9 down in the opening game to never look back. Interestingly, Praneeth has a 4-1 head-to-head record against his more illustrious compatriot, who had clinched the 2014 China Super Series Premier and 2015 India Super Series and also reached the quarterfinals of Rio Olympics.

15 April 2017

Uber Technologies Inc. isn’t required to report its finances publicly, but the privately held company has decided to forgo that luxury for the first time. Uber said its revenue growth is outpacing losses, hoping to show the business is on a strong trajectory as it attempts to address a recent cascade of scandals.The ride-hailing giant more than doubled gross bookings in 2016 to $20 billion, according to financial information Uber shared with Bloomberg. Net revenue was $6.5 billion, while adjusted net losses were $2.8 billion, excluding the China business, which it sold last summer.Uber declined to report first-quarter numbers, saying they were in line with expectations but that the company hasn’t yet presented them to investors. The company said it’s pleased to see revenue growth far exceeding losses last year and that its business is still performing well this year even as it faces unyielding controversy. “We’re fortunate to have a healthy and growing business, giving us the room to make the changes we know are needed on management and accountability, our culture and organization, and our relationship with drivers,” Rachel Holt, who runs Uber’s U.S. ride-hailing business, wrote in an emailed statement.Valued at $69 billion by investors, Uber operates in about 75 countries. The company was spending aggressively to compete in China, with about $1 billion in losses there last year, bringing its losses to $3.8 billion globally. It sold the China business in August. As part of the deal, it received an 18 percent stake in local ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing and recognized the value of those shares in its financial statement. Uber said global net losses were $1.2 billion after accounting for the sale, taxes and other factors.Since it was founded in 2009, Uber has burned through at least $8 billion. The company said it has $7 billion of cash on hand, along with an untapped $2.3 billion credit facility. Uber Cash in hand - $ 7 billion Credit facility - $ 2.3 billion

15 April 2017

Sk. Rafi, a 33-year-old cloth merchant from Andhra Pradesh's Guntur who won a Rs 12 lakh cash prize under the Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana scheme, and received it from Prime Minister Narendra Sk. The scheme was lauched by NITI Aayog last year to promote cashless transactions. The winners of the lucky draw were picked by President Pranab Mukherjee on April 9.Rafi was one of three people who received cash awards from Prime Minister Modi on Friday. He received the third prize.He purchased a PoS machine from Karur Vyasya Bank, Ameerpet branch, in Hyderabad on December 1 and used it frequently with his customers. The manager of KVB's Amarpreet branch received the prize along with Rafi.

15 April 2017

The Central Salt Department recently closed down all quality check laboratories in the State, excepting one in Tuticorin. The laboratories at Cuddalore, Vedaranyam, Marakanam, Veppalodai near Tuticorin and one at Tuticorin had been established to check the quality of iodised salt and quantity of salt produced.Sources in the Department said the laboratories became irrelevant after quality control of salt came under the purview of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). “We have no authority under any Act to penalise salt manufacturers if the salt is not of the prescribed quality. But the FSSAI can... so it made sense to shut down the labs,” explained an official. Another reason for the closure was that the country had become self-sufficient in production of salt and produced quality salt. Employees — three attached to each lab — have been redeployed by the Government of India, said an official.In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh too laboratories at Ongole, Chinna Ganjam and Naupada have been closed. Only the one at Kakinada continues to function.Tamil Nadu produces about 27 lakh tonnes of salt a year with Tuticorin being the highest producing centre. Tuticorin, Vedaranyam, Marakanam and Kovalam are the other big production centres. There are several small salt producing centres including Nagapattinam and Morekulam in the State. Andhra Pradesh produces 3 lakh tonnes of salt annually.Salt manufacturers in the State say the move to close the labs is yet another step towards the closure of the department itself. “The government is not for continuing the present leases to salt manufacturers. They had planned to lease out through tender system. But that has been put on hold. They are not renewing leases and instead plan to convert the land as real estate, ” alleged a salt manufacturer. Tamil Nadu Manufactures - Tuticorin. The laboratories at Cuddalore, Vedaranyam, Marakanam, Veppalodai  Tonnes - 27 lakh per year 

15 April 2017

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday prohibited the inscription of names of any government functionaries, including ministers and MLAs, on foundation stones and inaugural plaques. This comes after Cabinet Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot was caught on the camera threatening to suspend a school principal after he found that his name was third on the inaugural stone.The CM himself is not excluded from these orders, which are aimed at building a stronger connect between the government and the people by removing the VIP culture barriers, an official spokesperson said on Friday.All projects and programmes, including those inaugurated by the CM or any of his cabinet colleagues, MLAs or other officials, would from now be “dedicated to the people of Punjab”, Amarinder has announced.The spokesperson said while there was no bar on government functionaries and leaders inaugurating or laying the foundation stone of any building or project, the practice of having their names inscribed on such stones or plaques was being discarded with immediate effect, following explicit orders from the CM.The CM has also urged his ministerial and party colleagues to be humble in dealing with any member of the public. “We are in this position today because of the people of the state and it is our duty to treat them with full respect and humility at all times,” the CM said, according to the spokesperson.But the CM mentioned no express reasons in the press note for his decision.

15 April 2017

The two-day BJP national executive meeting began here on Saturday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah expected to underline strategy for a big saffron push in states like Odisha where it has traditionally been weak.A meeting of BJP office-bearers has started to finalise the agenda of the executive meeting, expected to begin after Mr. Modi reaches here later in the afternoon.The executive meets against the backdrop of the party’s stunning win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand besides maiden conquest in Manipur.It will focus on expanding the party in politically important states like West Bengal and Odisha, which are key to Mr. Shah’s 2019 Lok Sabha poll strategy.The choice of Odisha as the national executive venue highlights Mr. Shah’s focus on the state as he believes that the party can boost its prospects here due to anti-incumbency against BJD chief and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been in power since 2000, and declining fortunes of the Congress.An impressive show by the BJP in recent local body polls in the state, and internal fights in the BJD have boosted its morale.Mr. Modi will be accorded a warm welcome when he arrives in the city with the party planning receptions for him at several places on his way from airport to the Raj Bhawan, where he will stay tonight.Mr. Shah was also presented with a garland of 74 lotus, a reference to the majority mark in the 147-seat Odisha assembly.Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan called Odisha a “laboratory” for the pro-poor policies of the Modi government as he hit out at the state government a day before the executive begins.Mr. Modi will also felicitate the members of 16 families associated with an 1817 rebellion in Odisha against the British rule.Continuing with the BJP’s Dalit outreach, the party has named the venue of its executive meet after noted Odia poet and reformer Bhima Bhoi.

15 April 2017

Mann Kaur, a 101-year-old great-grandmother, will represent India at the World Masters Games, considered as the "Olympics for veterans", in Auckland from April 21. Kaur will compete in the 100-metre, 200-metre, shot put and javelin events in the 100-plus category. Currently training at Punjabi University, Patiala, Kaur is presently clocking 1 minute, 10 seconds in the 100-metre sprint. Mann Kaur The Chandigarh resident is eyeing glory at the World Master Games.For the last five months, Mann Kaur and her 79-year-old son Gurdev Singh, are training at the Punjabi University, Patiala.“In Chandigarh, the stadium is little far away from our place, and because of her age, I was finding it difficult to take my mother to the stadium daily. So we had to shift our base to Patiala,” said Gurdev, a Canadian passport holder who will represent his adopted country in the Games. His previous best in the Games was fourth place in 200m in 2005 and 2009.

15 April 2017

Eight coaches of Meerut-Lucknow Rajya Rani Express derailed near Rampur in Uttar Pradesh today leaving at least two passengers injured, railway officials said.The accident happened between Mundapandey and Rampur railway stations, Northern railway spokesperson Neeraj Sharma said.He said while two passengers have been injured there was no casualty in the accident.Moradabad Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) has reached the spot to oversee the rescue and relief operations. A medical team has also reached the spot, he said.The official said causes of the accidents are not known yet. Earlier, police officials in Rampur had said 15 passengers were injured and rushed to hospital.Meanwhile, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an enquiry to look into the causes of the accident and said that he is personally monitoring the situation. The Minister also said that an ex gratia of Rs.50,000 will be given to the injured.

15 April 2017

The Income Tax department has launched the second phase of the ‘Operation Clean Money’  on April 15th to investigate over 60,000 individuals with an aim to detect black money generation post demonetisation.The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy-making body of the income tax department has detected the flow of black money into the banks amounting to over Rs 9,334 crore between November 9, 2016 and February 28, 2017.  The first phase of ‘Operation Clean Money’ was launched on January 31, 2017. In the first phase, the department went through e-verification of large cash deposits into the banks after the demonetization and had sent online queries and investigated around 17.92 lakh persons.

15 April 2017

Asian countries escaped the currency manipulator label in the latest U.S. Treasury report, but remain wary of possible trade friction as President Donald Trump maintains his administration will seek to address trade imbalances.Mr. Trump has said some U.S. trading partners, particularly China, manipulated their currency, but has since backed off that claim and acknowledged that China had not weakened the yuan to make its exports cheaper.China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan remained on a list for special monitoring of currency practices, China by virtue of a massive trade-surplus with the United States.“Fixing trade imbalances will be an issue for the U.S. in its dialogues with China and Japan, while the manipulator threat has been put on the backburner,” a Japanese government official told Reuters.The semi-annual U.S. Treasury currency report released on Friday did not name any major trading partner as a currency manipulator, although it seemed to leave open the option for action in the future.Mr. Trump has softened his rhetoric against China's trade practices as Beijing has intervened in foreign exchange markets to prop up the value of its yuan, and as he looks to China for help dealing with rising tension on the Korean peninsula.“I think the United States decided to forego [labeling China a currency manipulator] this time because it wants China's cooperation on North Korea,” said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute in Tokyo.“Depending on how the North Korean situation develops, we don’t know what will happen in half a year [when the next currency report is due to be published]. Trade Imbalances USA - Partnering Countries China - Manipulated currency to maintain Yuan and to make exports cheaper.

15 April 2017

The government on Friday called off talks between the two countries on maritime security which was scheduled for April 17. India officially conveyed to Pakistan that it wasn't prepared to host a delegation of Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) which was supposed to travel to India on Sunday.A delegation led by Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency (MSA) was to visit New Delhi April 16-19 to discuss issues related to fishermen and search and rescue operations.Coast Guard sources said the Ministry of Defence has not given clearance for the delegation’s visit.The development comes amid tension between the two countries over Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer, being awarded death sentence by a Pakistani military court. Maritime Security meeting  India - Pakistan Scheduled - 17 th April Now Cancelled due to issue of Death sentence of Jadhav.

15 April 2017

The number of Islamic State fighters killed by a massive US bomb in eastern Afghanistan has nearly tripled to at least 90, Afghan officials said on Saturday.The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb dubbed the "Mother Of All Bombs" -- was unleashed in combat for the first time, hitting IS positions in eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday.The bomb smashed their mountain hideouts, a tunnel-and-cave complex that had been mined against conventional ground attacks, engulfing the remote area in towering flames."At least 92 Daesh (IS) fighters were killed in the bombing," Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari told AFP on Saturday. Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani gave a toll of 90.Afghan officials had earlier said the bombing had killed 36 IS fighters.Mr. Shinwari insisted there were "no military and civilian casualties at all".Security experts say IS had built their redoubts close to civilian homes, but the government said thousands of local families had already fled the area in recent months of fighting.The massive bomb was dropped after fighting intensified over the past week and US-backed ground forces struggled to advance on the area. An American special forces soldier was killed last Saturday in Nangarhar while conducting anti-IS operations.President Ashraf Ghani threw his support behind the bombardment.But some officials close to him condemned the use of Afghanistan as what they called a testing ground for the weapon, and against a militant group that controls only a tiny sliver of territory and is not considered a huge threat. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB  commonly known as the Mother of All Bombs) is a large-yield conventional (non-nuclear) bomb Developed - United States military by Albert L. Weimorts

15 April 2017

Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Central Library was renamed Dr B. R. Ambedkar Central Library amid protests and sloganeering by students on Friday.Students who were holding a dharna outside the building stormed into the library during the function that although saying they have no problem with the administration renaming the library, they had an issue with the JNU administration-MHRD-UGC nexus trying to destroy Dr. Ambedkar’s message of ‘Educate, Agitate, Organise’.“By reducing the intake of research scholars, they have destroyed the dreams of many students looking for a good education. Also, over the past year, they have banned and criminalised agitations. They have also successfully spread misinformation to divide student organisations,” said JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU), which led the protest.Initially, Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar was supposed to inaugurate the revamped library and the students had prepared to welcome him with a “warm protest” and questions on “seat-cut” and attacks to shutdown and change the inclusive policies of JNU.However, the Minister's participation was reduced to a video message in which he told students to remember that it was the “poor, tax-paying people of the country due to which their education was being subsidised and that in whatever career they choose, they should aim towards giving back to society.”To add to the drama of the event, the power went off while the video message was being played.Once the electricity was back and the event continued, students from outside stormed the hall a few minutes later to interrupt the speech delivered by chief guest Milind Kamble, chairman of the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries.The JNUSU said that Mr. Javedekar did not turn for the event as he did not want to face the questions from students.

15 April 2017

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared in a massive parade in the capital city on Saturday celebrating the birthday of his late grandfather and North Korea founder Kim II Sung.North Korean state television showed Mr. Kim, wearing a black suit and white shirt, stepping out of a black limousine and saluting his honor guard before walking down a red carpet. He then walked up to a podium and clapped with senior government officials to address the thousands of soldiers and a massive crowd taking part in the parade at Kim Il Sung Square.The parade may also feature some of the country’s most valuable military hardware, such as its prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles.National defense strategy. The country under his watch has been aggressively pursuing a goal of putting a nuclear warhead on an ICBM capable of reaching the continental United States.In his annual New Year’s address,  Mr Kim said that North Korea’s preparations for an ICBM launch have “reached the final stage.” U.S. satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.North Korea conducted two of such tests last year alone, which analysts say would have taken the country a step forward in gaining the knowledge to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles. The North also last year launched a long-range rocket that put a satellite into orbit, which Washington, Seoul and others saw as a banned test of missile technology. North Korea Founder - Kim II sung  Birthday - 15 April 1912

15 April 2017

US President Donald Trump has said that terrorism is one of the gravest threats to religious freedom around the world and hoped for a “better tomorrow” when people of all faiths, including Hindus, can worship according to their conscience.In his weekly radio and web address, he said the US has cherished the freedom of worship “from the very beginning”.“That is the promise the first settlers saw in our vast continent  and it is the promise that our bravest warriors have protected for all of our citizens in centuries since, a long time ago,” he said on Friday.“Sadly, many around the globe do not enjoy this freedom and one of the gravest threats to religious freedom remains the threat of terror,” he said.On Palm Sunday, as Christians around the world celebrated the beginning of the Holy Week, IS killed 45 people and injured over 100 at two Christian churches in Egypt.

15 April 2017

The South Central Railway has loaded 9.44 million tonnes (MTs) of freight traffic in the month of March, around 8.36% more compared to the same month last year, according to a release here on Friday.This improvement in performance has reversed the sluggish trend on account of fall in imports and market conditions. The loading also contributed to maximise SCR’s freight loading for the financial year 2016-17 which went up to 96.83 MTs.The annual revenue of SCR, generated on freight traffic, was to the tune of 7,934.7 crore for the year 2016-17. During this period, the loading of iron ore on SCR was to the extent of 0.63 MTs, raw material for steel plants was 3.18 MTs (+13.6% over last year), coal loading was to the extent of 52.65 MTs and loading of other goods was 4.88 MTs.The initiatives undertaken to boost freight traffic in the zone in 2016-17 include opening of six freight terminals. New customers were tapped for loading onions in Nanded division, timber waste from Jagityal, fertilizer from Kakinada, containers from Eluru and cement from Chittapur. The release said that various steps were undertaken to increase the average speed of goods trains by 20 % resulting in improved wagon turnaround. The release said that General Manager Vinod Kumar Yadav has chalked out an elaborate plan and reviewed all the aspects pertaining to freight loading on a continuous basis. He impressed upon officials the need to optimise freight loading in the current fiscal year for meeting the needs of customers and reaching out to new avenues of freight business.