Current Affairs 18th July 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Government has released Rs 100 crore towards its co-contribution for Atal Pension Yojana (APY) for 2015-16.  Under the scheme, individuals who have registered before March 31, 2016, will get a co-contribution from the government, which will be 50 per cent of the subscriber contribution up to a maximum of Rs 1,000. The co-contribution will be for 5 years from 2015-16 to 2019-20. Government of India through PFRDA has released co-contribution for 2015-16 for 16.96 lakh eligible APY subscribers amounting to Rs 99.57 crore. They have been advised by PFRDA to regularise their APY accounts so as to get the Government of India co-contribution in September.Government's co-contribution is payable only when accounts are regular and the admissible co-contribution is paid into the savings bank account of the subscribers.  The government is implementing Atal Pension Yojana (APY) through banks and the Department of Post.  The total number of subscribers registered under APY as on June 30, 2016, has crossed 30 lakh and every day, nearly 5,000 new subscribers are added, the statement said.  Only those users who are not income tax payers and not part of any other social security schemes are eligible for the central government co-contribution.  APY provides minimum guaranteed pension ranging between Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month for the subscriber from the age of 60 years. The same amount of pension is paid to the spouse in the case of the subscriber's demise.  After the demise of both the subscriber and the spouse -- the nominee would be paid the pension corpus. It also provides an option to the spouse to continue contribution in the APY account of the subscriber for the remaining period, on premature death of the customer before 60 years so that pension can be availed by the spouse.  

UK based chip designer firm, ARM Holdings PLC has confirmed that it agreed to buyout offer for around $32 billion by Japan's SoftBank Group Corp, marking a significant push for the Japanese telecommunications giant into the mobile internet.  If confirmed, the deal would be one of the largest in European technology to date and SoftBank's largest ever. Regarding this deal, a report stated that SoftBank will pay 17 pounds in cash for each ARM share.  ARM is the most valuable tech company listed in London and has a major presence in mobile processing, with its processor and graphics technology used by Samsung, Huawei and Apple in their in-house designed microchips.

The Uttar Pradesh government has signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Netherlands to set up a skill development center to help farmers. The MoU was signed by Dutch Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga and UP Chief Secretary Deepak Singhal in presence of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. The MoU would ensure that farmers would get information in food processing and modern techniques for better produce of sugarcane, potato, dairy development and flowers.  The Skill Development Centre established under this MoU aims to improve the cultivation skills of farmers.  As per the MoU, Netherlands will help Uttar Pradesh Government in solid waste management, urban development and infrastructure and water management. Besides it will also support Uttar Pradesh Government in water supply, cleanliness of water resources, sewage treatment, transport management and revival of water bodies. The MoU will be effective for 3 years and would also help in land reclamation of 1,500 acres in the Ganga basin in Kanpur and development of cultural heritage.

The Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) has become the first Indian company to issue rupee-denominated bonds “masala bonds” on London Stock Exchange (LSE). The bond will help HDFC, India’s biggest mortgage lender (home finance company) to diversify its borrowing profile and access global investors.  With this issuance of masala bonds, HDFC is planning to raise 750 million dollars from the overseas market during the current financial year. Earlier in September 2015, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had allowed companies to raise rupee-denominated bonds in order to reduce the risk of borrowing in foreign currencies. Since then Private and public sector companies have lined up plans to issue masala bonds. State-owned NTPC, Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) and India Infrastructure Finance Company (IFC) also have planned to raise funds through masala bonds. Masala Bonds : The Masala bond refers to a rupee-denominated bond through which Indian entities can raise money from foreign markets in rupee, and not in foreign currency. Basically, bonds are instruments of debt that are typically used by corporates to raise money from investors. By issuing bonds in rupees, an Indian entity is protected against the risk of currency fluctuation, typically associated with borrowing in foreign currency. Masala bonds also help in internationalization of the rupee and in expansion of the Indian bond markets. These bonds are usually traded on the LSE and not in India.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has added Sikkim’s Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) and Chandigarh’ Capitol Complex in its list of World Heritage Sites. Decision in this regard was taken by the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO held in Istanbul in Turkey. Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP)  : KNP was added in the ’mixed’ heritage site category of the list i.e. it exhibits qualities of both natural and cultural significance. With this, it becomes the first ‘mixed’ heritage site from India to make it to the list. KNP covers 25% of Sikkim and is home to a significant number of endemic, rare and threatened plant and animal species including large number of bird and mammal species.  Geographically the park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests. The park combines the religious and cultural practices of Buddhism as well as the ecological significance of the region. It signifies an outstanding example of traditional knowledge and environmental preservation. Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex  : Chandigarh’s famed Capitol Complex designed by Swiss-French architecture Le Corbusier was added in the list in the Transnational category. The site was added in the list as part of the UNESCO’s recognition of Le Corbusier’s architectural works in different parts of the world.  The Capitol Complex includes the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab and Haryana Secretariat and Punjab and Haryana Assembly. The complex was designed by Le Corbusier in the 1950s when the city was constructed as a symbol of independent, modern India. India’s three sites inscribed in Word Heritage :  List The 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO has three sites from India were inducted in Word Heritage List. Earlier Bihar’s Nalanda University was added in the list. With this, India becomes first country to get three sites inscribed in the Word Heritage List at a single session of the committee meeting. With these additions, India now has 35 world heritage sites, including 27 cultural heritage sites, 7 natural sites and 1 mixed site.

The Ministry of Railways has  developed the TRI-NETRA system on locomotives for enhancing the vision of Locomotive Pilots in inclement weather on 17 July 2016. TRI-NETRA stands for Terrain imaging for diesel dRivers INfra-red , Enhanced opTical &Radar Assisted system.TRI-NETRA system is be made up of high-resolution optical video camera, high sensitivity infra-red video camera and additionally a radar-based terrain mapping system. These three components of the system act as three eyes (Tri-Netra) of the Locomotive Pilot.  Highlights  : TRI-NETRA is designed to see the terrain ahead of the running locomotive during inclement weather by combining the images captured by the three sub-systems.It will create a composite video image which shall be displayed in front of the Loco Pilot on a computer monitor.  It will give the locomotive pilot a clear view of the track ahead in bad visibility conditions so that he can apply brakes well in time. It will also map the terrain ahead so that the driver knows when he is approaching a station or a signal.  TRI-NETRA : The concept of TRI-NETRA was developed by Development Cell under the guidance of Member Mechanical, Railway Board while brainstorming on how to use the technology employed by fighter aircrafts to see through clouds and operate in pitch darkness.  

SpaceX has  launched its unmanned Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station, carrying a key piece of equipment that was lost in 2015 due to rocket explosion on 18 July 2016. The launch to the ISS is a resupply mission for NASA. Dragon spaceship was packed with nearly 23000 kilograms of gear, including science experiments and equipment for the astronauts living in space. After blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the rocket separated after sending the cargo to orbit. Then the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket landed back on the solid ground in Cape Canaveral at the NASA facility.  As per the plan, the Dragon is expected to arrive at the space station early 20 July 2016. With this, SpaceX now has five successful rocket landings to its name. The first occurred in December 2015, when a Falcon 9 first stage came back to Cape Canaveral during a commercial satellite launch. The other three successful launches happened in April (one) and May (two), these launches were featured with sea landings, on a robotic ship named Of Course I Still Love You. Dragon spaceship : Dragon is a free-flying spacecraft developed by SpaceX, an American private space transportation company based in Hawthorne, California. It is launched into space by the SpaceX Falcon 9 two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle, and SpaceX is developing a crewed version called the Dragon 2.The spacecraft is designed to deliver both cargo and people to orbiting destinations. Dragon made history in 2012 when it became the first commercial spacecraft in history to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and safely return cargo to Earth, a feat previously achieved only by governments. It is the only spacecraft currently flying that is capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth.  

Nelson Mandela International Day was observed across the world on 18 July 2016 to honour the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela (1918-2013).The day is aimed at inspiring individuals to take action to help change the world for the better. The Day was celebrated for the first time on 18 July 2010 as per a UN General Assembly resolution of November 2009. In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. It recognized Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights.

The 73rd Senior National Squash Championship held from 12 July – 17 July 2016 concluded in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Women : Final Result : Dipika Pallikal Karthik (World no. 19) dethroned defending champion Joshna Chinappa 4-11 11-6 11-2 11-8 to regain the women's title. Dipika was playing in the nationals after a five-year gap when she won in 2011. Men : Final Result : Top seed Saurav Ghosal defeated fourth seed Harinderpal Singh Sandhu 11-7 7-11 3-11 11-8 14-12 in five hard-fought games to claim the title. With this win, Ghosal also created a history of winning the title for the 11th time and went ahead of RK Narpat Singh's feat of 10 titles, won from 1946 to 1955.

Turkish musician Kudsi Erguner was on 10 July 2106 appointed as the UNESCO Artist for Peace by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova. Erguner was appointed for the post at a ceremony held at the Congress Center in Istanbul (Turkey) after the opening ceremony of the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee, which ends on 20 July 2016. Kudsi Ergüner was named in recognition of his efforts : To promote the universal values of music, an essential instrument of dialogue between cultures.For his contribution to the protection of musical heritage.His support for the International Decade of the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) His unwavering commitment to the ideals of the Organization.His responsibility as a UNESCO Artist of Peace includes work for the updating of the forgotten musical heritage. Kudsi Erguner : Born in Turkey in 1952, Kudsi Ergüner is a musician, one of the best-known players of the Turkish ney (reed flute), composer, musicologist, teacher, author and translator. Trained by his father, Ulvi Ergüner, the last great master of the ney flute, he has given concerts all over the worl.He is considered a master of traditional Mevlevi Sufi music, built on Persian and Turkish traditions.He has helped in reviving the traditional musical trends. His collaborations with prestigious artists such as Peter Gabriel, Maurice Béjart, Peter Brook and Didier Lockwood helped to spread this music to Western audiences. UNESCO Artists for Peace : UNESCO Artists for Peace are internationally renowned personalities who use their influence, charisma and prestige to promote the message and UNESCO programs. UNESCO is working with them to increase public awareness regarding key development issues and the role of the Organization in these areas.

Virender, 30, took all 10 rounds to dismantle the 34-year-old Australian Hope and record his seventh straight win in the circuit. He scored 98-92, 98-92, 100-90 to be the unanimous winner. With this, Singh also became the country’s first-ever professional boxing title holder. The win also helped him to climb to 15th in the world in his category. Previous six bouts for Vijender Singh were Vijender Singh vs Sonny Whiting in Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK: The knockout match played on 10 October 2015 was won by Vijender Singh. Vijender Singh vs Dean Gillen ay National Stadium, Dublin: The knockout match played on 7 November 2015 was won by Vijender Singh. Vijender Singh vs Samet Hyuseinov at Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK: The knockout match played on 19 December 2015 was won by Vijender Singh. Vijender Singh vs Alexander Horvath at Echo Arena, Liverpool, UK: The knockout match played on 12 March 2016 was won by Vijender Singh. Vijender Singh vs Matiouze Royer at Copper Box Arena, London, UK: The knockout match played on 30 April 2016 was won by Vijender Singh. Vijender Singh vs Andrzej Soldra at Macron Stadium, Bolton, UK: The knockout match played on 13 May 2016 was won by Vijender Singh. The Indian Boxing Council's undercard bouts includes  IBC Super Welterweight national title: Siddharth Verma of Maharashtra won the title by defeating Haryana's Dibagh Thakran. Heavy weight title: Haryana's Sumit Rangi won the title by defeating debutant Naveen Rao from Delhi. Light-heavy title: Gaganpreet Sharma from Chandigarh defeated Deepak Sheoran Super Lightweight title: Indian-origin Brit Sanjeev Sahota defeated Vikas Lohan. Special women's bout: Negeinihat (from Mary Kom's Manipur-based academy) defeated Bichong via a unanimous decision.  

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has launched the facility of virtual and digital classrooms across 32 ITIs in the state on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day (15th July). According to him, the facility of virtual classrooms will bridge the urban-rural divide and open the doors of knowledge. Mr. Fadnavis asked students to master their passion, and assures that jobs will come in plenty due to the power of skill development.  Announcing an initiative called 'Skill Sakhis' for women empowerment, Mr. Fadnavis informed that girls comprise half of 40,000 students being also trained for skill development.

Yatra Online, Inc. and Terrapin 3 Acquisition Corporation on 14 July 2016 entered into a definitive merger agreement. The transaction values Yatra at an enterprise value of 218 million dollars (1458 crore rupees). Yatra in its statement said that it intends to be listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol"YTRA" following completion of the transaction. The combined company will continue to be led by Yatra's experienced management team under the leadership of chief executive and co-founder Dhruv Shringi. Yatra Online : Founded in 2006, Yatra is one of the fastest growing consumer travel platforms and online travel agents in India with more than 4 million customers. Yatra has emerged as the most trusted eCommerce travel brand in India and has won three awards at the Indian government's Ministry of Tourism National Tourism Awards and they are Outstanding performance as a Domestic Tour Operator (Rest of India),Outstanding performance as a Domestic Tour Operator in Jammu and Kashmir,Outstanding performance as an Inbound Tour Operator-Category C Terrapin 3 Acquisition Corporation : TRTL is a special purpose acquisition company formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, acquisition, or similar business combination. TRTL was founded by Nathan Leight and was co-sponsored by affiliates of Terrapin Partners, LLC and affiliates of Macquarie Group Limited.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN cultural agency added nine new sites on its World Heritage List. Decision in this regard was taken at the 40th session of The World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. With these inclusions, the recorded sites on the World Heritage now stand at 981 which include both cultural and natural wonders. Heritage sites in india  : Three sites are included in India.These are  Nalanda (Bihar, India) - 5th to 12th centuries Khangchendzonga National Park (Sikkim, India) The Architectural Work Of Le Corbusier (Chandigarh, India)-20th century Old city of Ani (Turkey) : It is Turkish province of Kars. Once it had served as the capital of the Armenian kingdom in the 10th century.  Zuojiang Huashan rock art cultural landscape (China) : Dates back to the 5th century BC. The landscape straddles steep cliffs in southwest China and represent the only trace left of the Luoyue people.  Qanat (Iran) : They are ancient aqueducts trapped into alluvial aquifer and transported water underground across vast valleys. It helps in sustaining agricultural life and settlements in the arid areas.  Nalanda Mahavihara (India) : It is an archaeological site having remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BC to the 13th century AD.  Artificial islets of Nan Madol (Micronesia) : They are 99 artificial islets made of basalt and coral boulders. They are home to ruins ranging from temple to tombs dating between 1200 and 1500 AD. Stecci Sites : Located in Bosnia, central and western Montenegro, southern Croatia and western Serbia.They are medieval tombstones and graveyards carved from limestone, they feature decorative motives and inscriptions.  Ancient Philippi (Spain) : It is Greek archaeological site founded in 356 BC by the Macedonian King Philip II. It is located in the present-day region of eastern Macedonia and Thrace.  Antequera Dolmens (Spain) : It is comprises of three megalithic monuments as well as two natural mountainous formations.  Gorham’s Cave Complex (Britain) : They are natural sea caves in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. The site provides evidence of Neanderthal occupation over a span of more than 125,000 years. UNESCO World Heritage List  : The UNESCO World Heritage Site list includes sites of special cultural or physical significance. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The committee comprises of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly. Each World Heritage Site included in the list remains part of the legal territory of the state where it is located. But inclusion of sites in the list by UNESCO is in the interest of the international community to preserve each site. Presently, Italy with 50 sites is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites.

The Union Commerce Ministry has launched an e-marketplace portal for online purchase of goods and services by various central government ministries and departments. It was launched by the Union Minister of State (MoS) Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi. The e-marketplace portal has been developed by the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D). The e-marketplace portal aims at bringing in more transparency and streamlining the government procurement of goods and services.  Using this, portal all the government departments and ministries can procure goods and services. It will help to aggregate demand which will lead to lower prices, better choices and faster procurement. Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) : It is department under the Union Commerce Ministry and carries out the government procurement.

Pema Khandu (36) of Congress Party was sworn in as the 10th Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh. With this,he became the youngest Chief Minister in the country. He was administered the oath to office and secrecy by Governor Tathagata Roy at the Rajbhavan in Itanagar. Besides, Chowna Mein was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister. Pema Khandu was selected as CM of Arunachal Pradesh after he had staked claim to power on the basis of the support of 45 party MLAs along with 2 independents in the 60-member House with an effective strength of 58.  Now he has to prove his majority in the floor test. He is also supported by the ousted Chief Minister Khaliko Pul, who has returned to the Congress party with 30 dissident Congress MLAs. Pema Khandu  : Pema Khandu Born on 21 August 1979 in Gyangkar village, Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh. He is the eldest son of former Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, who had died in a helicopter crash in May 2011.  Following his father’s death, he was elected unopposed from Mukto (ST) constituency and was included in state government as Cabinet Minister of Water Resource Development and Tourism.  

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