Current Affairs 27th August 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The IT-BT capital of the country, Bengaluru, will host the 2017 Bharatiya Pravasi Divas. Scheduled to take place on February 7, 8 and 9 of 2017, the Ministry of External Affairs held a meeting with Tourism Minister R V Deshpande for a preliminiary round of talks. The Bharatiya Pravasi Divas, scheduled to be hosted from February 7 to February 9, will see close to 3000 Non-Residential Indians (NRI) and PIO delegates from across the world. The event will also see 400 students from across the world participating in the event on the preliminiary day. Pravasi Divas 2017 will also see awards being given to 30 distinguished NRIs who have contributed to the growth of the country. This will be the 15th Bharatiya Pravasi Divas, meant to interact with representatives of the 30 million NRIs and PIOs around the world.

The 22nd edition of the Delhi Book Fair (DBF) began at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.  The nine day event will conclude on 4th of September 2016. Focus of the this edition of DBF will be to highlight initiatives undertaken by Union Government for its Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan to inculcate better reading habits among the younger generation. The Delhi Book Fair has been organised by Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) in association with Federation of Indian Publishers. National campaigns launched in the past two years by Union Government will be highlighted in the Theme Pavillion. Initiatives like Make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Digital India, Skill India, Startup India, Smart Cities and Startup India will dominate these pavillions.  It will also showcase a wide range of fictions and non-fictions, academic books besides plenty of children’s literature. It will also showcase other varieties of publications including digital innovations, in order to promote literacy and higher education among children and the youth. Exhibitors will include both Indian and foreign publishers, book sellers and distributors, educational institutions, periodicals and magazines and e-books Special facilities will be offered for students and the teaching community, who will be provided free entry to the fair.

Pakistan is going to host the 19th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit in Islamabad (capital city) and Murree on November 9 and 10, 2016. It will be the meeting of the head of states or head of government of the eight SAARC countries. Besides, nine observers of SAARC have also been invited to attend the Summit.  The 19th SAARC Summit was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in November 2014 with the theme Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity. It had focused on enhancing connectivity between the member states for easier transit-transport across the region South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)  : SAARC is regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia. It promotes development of economical and regional integration. As of 2015, SAARC member countries compromise of 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 9.12% of the global economy. Member Countries : Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan (joined in 2007). The seven founding countries had met for first time in April 1981 and then in 1985, they created SAARC Charter. The first SAARC summit was held in Dhaka (Bangladesh) in December 1985. The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu (Nepal) on 16 January 1987.

United States is going to create world’s largest protected marine reserve area named as Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off the Hawaiian coast. It will be created by expansion of present national monument off Hawaii. US President Barck Obama will use his power to expand this national monument. With this expansion, the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument will now span to 582,578 square miles. Thus, it quadruples in the size from present size.  The expansion will further help to protect more than 7,000 species and improves an ecosystem dealing with ocean acidification and warming. It will permanently protect coral reefs and underwater marine habitats which are home to marine species, including rare whales and sea turtles.  The monument was first designated by the US President George W. Bush in 2006 as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. It was renamed later in honour of Papahanaumoku and Wakea, the husband-and-wife Hawaiian gods of earth and sky. In 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had designated the area a world heritage site.  

Scientists in Japan studying earthquakes for the first time have detected a rare deep-Earth tremor, known as an S (secondary) wave microseism. Microseisms are very faint tremors. The detection was made by scientists from the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention in Japan. The rare deep-Earth tremor S wave microseism was detected for the first time and traced its location to a distant and powerful storm. The storm in the North Atlantic known as a weather bomb which was a small but potent storm that gains punch as pressure quickly mounts. During the storm, groups of waves had sloshed and pounded the ocean floor which struck between Greenland and Iceland.  Using seismic equipment on land and on the seafloor researchers found a tremor known as an S wave microseism. S wave Microseisms are very faint tremors compared to P (primary) wave microseisms and they occur in the 0.05 to 0.5 Hz frequency range. P wave microseisms can be detected easily during major hurricanes.  They are fast-moving waves and can travel through gaseous, liquid and solid materials. But the elusive S waves are slower and move only through solid rock, not liquid. Humans feel them during earthquakes. Significance of Discovery: It will help experts learn more about the Earth’s inner structure and improve detection of earthquakes and oceanic storms. Learning more about S waves microseismic will further aid to understand the deeper crust and upper mantle structure.

Maharashtra Government has unveiled ambitious Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway project in Mumbai. The 46,000-crore rupee ambitious project will create state-of-the art road connectivity within a period of three years and give a fillip to investment in the state. Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway project will be implemented by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). The project aims to create state-of-the art road connectivity within a period of three years and give a fillip to investment in the state. It will be a six-lane super communication highway covering a distance of 750 km through 10 districts.  It will connect entire breadth of Maharashtra It will require 9000 hectares of land and will be carried out in the Land Pooling model with farmers being made partners and some percentage of developed land given back to them. It will have facilities like trauma centres, electronic toll points, CCTV cameras, two lanes of service roads, utility shifting, bypass. Besides, it will also have other structures will be installed to enhance operational and safety standards.

The Union Finance Ministry has constituted 11 members high-level committee to suggest steps to promote card payments with an aim to discourage cash transactions. The 11-member committee will be headed by Principle Adviser for social sector in NITI Aayog and former Finance Secretary Ratan P Watal. Recommend various measures to incentivise transactions through cards and digital means, e.g., through tax incentives/rebates, introduction of cash back/lottery. Review the payments system in the country and recommend measures for encouraging digital payments. Study and recommend need for changes, if any, in the regulatory mechanism under various laws, relevant for the purpose of promotion of payments by digital modes.  Study feasibility of creating a payments history of all card and digital payments and ensure that merchants and consumers can leverage the data to access. Study and recommend ways for leveraging Unique Identification Number (UID) or any other proof of identity for authentication of card and digital transactions.  Study introduction of single window system of payment gateway to accept all types of cards and digital payments of government receipts. Look into the scope of integration of all government systems like Public Finance Management System, Bharatkosh, PayGov and eKuber. Identify regulatory bottlenecks and suggest changes. Study global best practices in payments and identify possible market failures along with suitable interventions. The Committee will submit its report in one year. Its member will include former RBI Deputy Governor H R Khan, Chairman of Indian Banks Association, President of Nasscom and CBDT Chairperson.  The high-level committee has been set up following a decision taken by the Union Cabinet in February 2016 for introduction of steps for promotion of cashless payments (transactions) through cards and digital means. The Cabinet had approved withdrawal of surcharge, service charge and convenience fee on card and digital payments. It also approved mandating payments beyond a prescribed threshold only through a card or digital mode. This decision was taken in pursuance of Union Government’s promise for measures that were announced in the 2015 Budget as one way to curb the flow of black money is to discourage cash transactions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the decision to set up a task force to prepare action Plan for the next three Olympics Games on 26 August 2016. The task force will be set up over the next few days. The announcement was made at the meeting of the Council of Ministers in New Delhi. The task force will prepare a comprehensive action plan for effective participation of Indian sports persons in the Olympic Games to be held in 2020, 2024 and 2028. The 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo. The task force comprising members in house as well as outside experts will prepare overall strategy for sports facility, training, selection procedure and other related matters. The decision was made in backdrop of the dismal performance of India at Rio Olympics in which the country was able to win only one silver and one bronze medal after sending the biggest contingent of 118 athletes.

Veteran Sri Lanka batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan has announced his retirement from international cricket on 25 August 2016. He will play his last ODI in Dambulla on 28 August 2016 against Australia (third of the five-match series). He will play his last T20 international in Colombo on 9 September 2016. Dilshan, who is most famous for inventing the Dilscoop, had already retired from Test cricket in 2013. He played 87 Tests and scored 5492 runs at 40.98, and also picked 39 Test wickets. Dilscoop is a process of hitting the ball behind the keeper. He also was a Test wicket-keeper. Tillakaratne Dilshan career : Dilshan, 39, made his one day debut against Zimbabwe in 1999 and has, so far, played 329 ODIs.He has amassed 10248 runs that include 22 hundreds and 47 half-centuries.He has scored 1884 runs in 78 Twenty20 Internationals, so far. He is only the fourth Sri Lanka batsman and 11th batsman overall to pass the 10000-run mark.His career-best score is 161 not out against Bangladesh in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. An all-rounder, he is also a capable off-break bowler, took 106 ODI wickets, with best figures of 4 for 4 against Zimbabwe in Pallekele in 2011. In 78 T20Is so far, Dilshan has 1884 runs, including a high score of 104 against Australia, in Pallekele in 2011. He took 7 T20Is wicket in his account.  

The Central government has appointed Gopal Murli Bhagat as Executive Director of Corporation Bank for a period of three years. Prior to his elevation, Bhagat was General Manager with Bank of India. Corporation Bank : Corporation Bank is a public sector banking company headquartered in Mangalore, India. The bank has pan-India presence with 8,000 functional units comprising 2200 branches, 1800+ ATMs and 3,000 branchless banking units as of 30 January 2015. 

Maharashtra  state government has decided to launch an initiative 'mission transform' of 1,000 villages across state to improve livelihood condition and sustainable development of villages with the help of corporate sector and civil society. The mission will be kicked off with 100 villages on October 2, birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. This is the first kind of initiative in the country. The contribution for the mission will be 50-50% of the government and partnering agencies. mission transform' Fadnavis means, sustainable development for livelihood, taking initiative to improve Jal (water), Jameen (land) and Jungle of the villages through scientific planning of water resources and conservation, agriculture, to connect locals with the various skills, to improve health and education indications of villages as well. About the criteria of selecting villages CM said, "25% villages will be from tribal area whereas remaining villages will be of low Human Development Index (HDI). Of total 50% villages will be selected by partnering agencies. However overall structure will be finalise in the governing council, which will be headed by CM. According to the 2010 Census villages data, the maximum number of villages are in Vidarbha and Marathwada region. Out of the total 39,588 census villages, 16,023 villages are in Vidharbha and 8,600 villages in Marathwada region. CM Fadnavis also said that most of the low HDI villages are from these areas. The existing government schemes will be converged in to this mission which will be help to fill the lacunae, he said. Fadnavis informed that Rajashree Birla, Aditya Birla Group, is keen to take 300 villages of the 1,000 under her ambit to develop.

India's Saina Nehwal has been dropped 4 points to be 9th, while compatriot PV Sindhu remained in the 10th spot in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings despite getting a silver in the women's singles competition at the recently concluded Olympics in Rio. The women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa dropped four places to the 26th spot following their failure to reach the knock-out stage in the Rio Games.  However, men's singles shuttler Kidambi Srikanth, who reached the Olympics quarter-finals, jumped a place to be 10th, while Ajay Jayaram improved his 22nd rank by a position.

The National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) has identified and registered nine new breeds of indigenous farm (livestock and poultry) animals. Decision in this regard was taken based on approval of the Breed registration Committee. These new indigenous breeds were registered based on scientifically produced evidence. The new germplasm of indigenous farm animals registered as breeds includes 1 breed of cattle, 2 breeds each of goat and sheep, 3 breeds of pig, and 1 breed of chicken. The 9 newly identified and registered breeds are Badri cow (Uttarakhand), Kodi Adu goat (Tamil Nadu), Teressa goat (Nicobar Island), Kendrapada sheep (Odisha), Chevaadu sheep (Tamil Nadu), Nicobari pig (NicobarIsland), Tenyi Vo pig (Nagaland), Doom pig (Assam) and Kaunayenchicken (Manipur).  With this, the total number of indigenous breeds of livestock in the country has reached to 160. It include 40 cattle breeds, 13 buffalo breeds, 26 goat breeds, 42 sheep breeds, 6 horses and ponies breeds, 9 camel breeds, 6 pig breeds, 1 donkey breeds, and 17 chicken breeds. They are identified and registered as part of an exercise to conserve them, taking in view their area-specific suitability and disease resistance capabilities. The process aims at creating a sense of ownership among local communities responsible for development of indigenous breeds. It also helps in inventorisation, conservation, improvement and sustainable utilisation of animal genetic resources of the country. National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR)  : NBAGR is premier institute for identification, characterization, evaluation, conservation and utilization of livestock and poultry genetic resources of the country. It is located in Karnal, Haryana. It was established by merging National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources and National Institute of Animal Genetics in September 1995.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has launched Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses, POCSO e-box, in New Delhi. POCSO e-box is a platform where a child victim of sexual abuse can report such cases online. It is initiative of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, for direct online reporting of child sexual abuse. Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Raj and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion. Highlights : The e-Box is an online complaint management system for easy and direct reporting of sexual offences against children and timely action against the offenders under the POCSO Act, 2012.It is incorporated on the home page of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) website register complain, a complainant will have to push a button named POSCO e-Box, which will navigate him/her to a page where he/she will have to select at least one picture option (describing the category of harassment). Later, he/she will also have to fill a form with details such as mobile number, e-mail and description of the harassment followed by the ‘submit’ button, after which a unique auto-generated complaint number will be flashed.Under POSCO Act, any human being up to the age of 18 years is recognised as a child.

A new study suggests that man-made global warming has been around for nearly two centuries. The study was published on 24 August 2016 in the journal Nature. The results of the study suggest that global warming began during the early stages of the Industrial Revolution. The warming was first detectable in the Arctic and tropical oceans around the 1830s. Highlights of the study : The researchers studied reconstructions of climate for the past 500 years to determine exactly when the current trend of sustained warming of the planet began.The researchers evaluated climate histories preserved in corals, cave decorations, tree rings and ice cores across the world. They also evaluated thousands of years of climate model simulations, including data used for the latest report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.They also used climate models to separate the human-induced warming from natural factors such as volcanoes. They found that even the major volcanic eruptions in the early 1800s were only a minor factor in the early onset of climate change.According to the research, even relatively low levels of greenhouse gas emissions in the first decades of the Industrial Revolution contributed to a temperature increase.Climate warming appears to have been delayed in the Antarctic, possibly due to the way ocean circulation is pushing warming waters to the North and away from the frozen continent.

Forbes has released the sixth annual list of The World's Most Innovative Companies 2016 on 24 August 2016. The list ranked companies using an algorithm to measure investor enthusiasm. The list is topped by Tesla Motors for the second consecutive year. Moreover, five major Indian companies including Asian Paints, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Consultancy Services, Sun Pharma and Larsen & Toubro have been ranked among other companies in the list. Highlights  : Tesla Motors tops the list for the second consecutive year, followed by  Salesforce at the second position in the list. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals grabbed the third spot in the list, followed by Incyte at fourth place and Alexion Pharmaceuticals at fifth place.Innovation upstarts like Under Armour Inc. at sixth position and Monster Beverage Corp. at seventh position have dethroned former innovation leaders in their field like Nike and Coca Cola. fetched the eleventh spot in the list by outdistancing Walmart. Life science and biotechnology companies occupy half of the top ten spots on the list.  Nine of the top ten companies on the list are US based.   Indian Companies on the List : The list encompasses five Indian companies including Asian Paints, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Consultancy Services, Sun Pharma and Larsen & Toubro. At number 18, Asian Paints is the highest-ranked Indian company on the list, featuring on the list for the fourth time in a row.  Hindustan Unilever  fetched the 31st spot, Tata Consultancy Services got the 66th spot, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries ranked at 73rd position and Larsen & Toubro stood at 89th spot.  

Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee was voted as the Hilton Asian Tour Golfer of the Month for July 2016 on 25 August 2016 . Thongchai won the award ahead of Chinese Taipei's Chan Shih-chang and Carlos Pigem of Spain. They were nominated by a selection panel before going into a voting process. Thongchai Jaidee : Thongchai Jaidee is a Thai professional golfer who plays on the Asian Tour and the European Tour. On the Asian Tour, he holds the record for the most career earnings and is second in victories having won 13 times.He has won the Order of Merit on the Asian Tour three times during his career.In February 2004, he became the first Thai to win a tournament on the European Tour by winning the Carlsberg Malaysian Open, an event which was co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour. In 2006, he received a special invitation to play in the Masters Tournament. He was thesecond Thai to play in the Masters after Sukree Onsham. By doing so, Thongchai became thefirst Thai to play in all four major championships. He topped the Asian Tour order of merit for a third time in 2009. He won for the fifth time on the European Tour in June 2012 at the ISPS Handa Wales Open.He qualified for the 2015 Presidents Cup squad for the first time. With this, he became the first player from Thailand to earn the honour. In September 2015, he won his seventh European Tour title at the Porsche European Open in Germany.He claimed his eighth European Tour victory in July 2016, with a four stroke victory at the Open de France.

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