Current Affairs 25th July 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore on Bank of Baroda in the alleged Rs 6000 crore forex related irregularities that came to light in October last year.  Pursuant to the internal audit of the Bank of Baroda, the Reserve Bank of India and investigative agencies in October 2015 were advised by the Bank of certain irregularities observed . The RBI carried out an inspection after Rs 6,100 crore import remittances were effected by Bank of Baroda's Ashok Vihar branch in New Delhi. Both CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are probing the huge remittances to Hong Kong from the bank.  The amount was allegedly transferred in the garb of payments for imports that never took place, investigators suspect.  Now the RBI investigation has noted deficiencies and failures in internal control mechanisms in respect of certain anti-money laundering provisions by the state-run lender.  These deficiencies relate to monitoring of transactions, timely reporting of suspicious dealings to the Financial Intelligence unit and assigning of Unique Customer Identification Code to its clients.  The Bank has implemented a comprehensive corrective action plan, to strengthen internal controls and to ensure that such incidents do not recur .  

FMCG major ITC has announced the appointment of Sanjiv Puri as its chief operating officer with immediate effect. The board of the company, in its meeting held"redesignated Sanjiv Puri, Wholetime Director, also as Chief Operating Officer of the Company with immediate effect  On December 6, ITC had elevated Sanjiv Puri as Director of its FMCG business replacing P Dhobale.  He also has responsibility for ITC's Packaging & Printing Business (PPB) and Paperboards and Specialty Papers Division (PSPD) business from January 22, 2016.  Prior to his appointment as director, Puri was President FMCG Businesses from December 2014, which takes care of segments as cigarettes, foods, personal care, education & stationery products, matches and agarbattis.  Puri had joined ITC in 1986. 

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton from Great Britain has won the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix title of Formula One. It his overall fourth Hungarian Grand Prix title after winning it in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013. Thus he holds record of most wins (drivers)     with 5 wins. Besides it was his fifth title of the 2016 season after Monaco Grand Prix (May 2016), Canadian Grand Prix (June 2016), Austrian Grand Prix (July 2016) and British Grand Prix (July 2016) Hungarian Grand Prix was the eleventh race of the 2016 season and was held at the Hungaroring is a motor-racing circuit in Mogyoród, Hungary. Rankings after 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix 1st position : Lewis Hamilton (Britain) of Mercedes. 2nd position: Nico Rosberg (Germany) of Mercedes. 3rd position: Daniel Ricardo (Australia) of Red Bull. 4th position: Sebastian Vettel (Germany) of Ferrari. 5th position: Max Verstappen (Netherlands) of Red Bull. 10th position: Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) of Force India. 11th position: Sergio Perez (Mexico) of Force India. Top Teams : Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and Force India.

Indian shooter Manavaditya Rathore has won the trap bronze medal in the Champion of Champions match at the Junior World Cup in Porpetto, Italy. Manavaditya won the bronze medal in trap event.  He son of Athens Olympics silver medallist and Minister of State (MoS) of Information and Broadcasting Col Rajyavardhan Rathore/ Besides, Anant Naruka won a bronze medal in the Champion of Champions in skeet event of the Junior World Cup.  In the Champion of Champions event, the medallists of the three Junior World Cups of the year had competed against each other.

China has completed the production of the world’s largest amphibious aircraft dubbed as the AG600. It was unveiled by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in the southern port city of Zhuhai. Features of AG600 : AG600, the massive seaplane is far larger than any other plane built for marine take-off and landing. The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes and is around the size of a commercial plane Boeing 737.  It has a maximum range of 4,500 km and is intended for fighting forest fires and performing marine rescues. It will be used for fighting forest fires and performing marine rescues.  Besides, it will wean off China’s dependence on foreign aviation firms for amphibious aircrafts. It could potentially be used to display China’s ability to conduct a variety of operations in the disputed South China Sea. The wingspan of AG600 is considerably smaller than that of the H-4 Hercules which was designed in the 1940s to carry Allied troops into battle. It was also known as the Spruce Goose and was regarded as by far the largest seaplane ever built. It had made one only flight in 1947.

The India’s first Green Rail Corridor was inaugurated on the 114-km long Rameswaram-Manamadurai stretch in Tamil Nadu. It was inaugurated by Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu through video-conferencing from Chennai, Tamil Nadu.  The Green Rail Corridor ensures zero toilet discharge on rail tracks as part of its commitment to clean environment under the ‘Swachh Rail-Swachh Bharat’ initiative.  Trains in the section have been equipped with bio-toilets to ensure zero discharge of human waste on the rail tracks. Besides, Union Railways Minister also inaugurated high speed upgraded Wi-Fi facility, set up in association with Google, at Chennai Central Railway Station and Tiruchirappalli Railway Station. He also launched a traditional medicine centre under Ayush at Perambur Railway Hospital.  

Brazilian scientists have identified Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito infected by the Zika virus as another type of Zika-transmitting mosquito.  It was identified by researchers from the public Brazilian laboratory Fundacion Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz) in three out of 80 groups of mosquitoes analysed up until now. Up until now, transmission of the Zika virus was only known through the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same vector that spreads Dengue and Chikungunya.  The Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito is known as the domestic mosquito in Brazil. In Recife, where the majority of Zika cases of Brazil were registered, the population of this mosquito is estimated to be 20 times larger than that of the Aedes aegypti. Zika virus  : Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by mosquitoes. The virus is capable of causing serious birth defects i.e. neurological disorders and foetal deformation known as Microcephaly in which infants are born with abnormally smaller heads.  Besides a possible link between the virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system) is also suspected.

Narsingh Yadav, the Indian wrestler qualifier for Rio Olympics, in July 2016 failed a dope test. He was tested positive for a banned substance steroid in an out-of-competition test conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). In the samples collected at the National camp in Sonepat, he was tested positive for the methandienone — a banned anabolic steroid. A former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist qualified for the Rio Olympics in the 74kg freestyle category ahead of the two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar. The result means that Narsingh Yadav may miss out on participating in the coming Rio Olympics and if found guilty by the disciplinary panel then he may face a four-year suspension. Narsingh Yadav failing dope test is a big blow to India in the Olympics as he was an Olympic medal prospect. Also, there are no chances of Sushil Kumar benefitting from the episode as last date for sending Olympic entries, July 18, is well behind them now.

Oli’s resignation, who was heading Nepal’s eighth government in past 10 years, threw the nation into a fresh political turmoil. Oli, 64, who became prime minister of Nepal in October 2015, has been facing a no-trust motion after the Maoists withdrew support from the coalition government. Oli tendered his resignation after two key ruling alliance partners -- Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Democratic and Rastriya Prajatantra Party -- decided to support the no-confidence motion tabled against him by the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-Maoist Centre led by Prachanda. The allies of the multi-party coalition deserted his government by accusing him of not honouring the power sharing deals that helped install him as prime minister nine months ago. Key Highlight of Oli’s government was adoption of the new constitution, which was regarded as the first dawn of the country and would help to bolster Nepal’s transformation to a democratic republic. The constitution was termed as a democratically-framed constitution because it was conceptualized, developed and adopted by a representative Constituent Assembly.  

The Madras Music Academy has announced that it has chosen versatile violinist A. Kanyakumari for its coveted Sangita Kalanidhi Award for the year 2016 on 24 July 2016 . Kanyakumari was unanimously named for the award by the Executive Committee of the Academy. The violinist is the first woman violinist to get the award in the history of the Music Academy. She will preside over the 90th annual conference of the Academy to be held between 15 December 2016 and 1 January 2017. The award will be conferred on Kanyakumari at the Sadas on 1 January 2017. The Sangita Kala Acharya Awards will go to Rudrapatnam brothers, R.N. Thyagarajan and R.N. Tharanathan and K. Venkataramanan. TTK awards will be conferred on vocalist Nirmala Sundararajan and Thevaram singer M. Kodilingam. Musicologist Award will go to Rama Kausalya and Pappa Venkatramaiah Award will go to violinist Sikkil Baskaran. The Nataya Kala Acharaya Award will be conferred on Malavika Sarukkai on 3 January 2017. A Kanyakumari : Avasarala Kanyakumari is a violinist from South India who specializes in Carnatic music.She is a native of Vijayanagaram, Andhra Pradesh.She has been living in Chennai for more than 40 years.She had her initial training under Ivaturi Vijayeswara Rao.She created seven ragas under the title Saptadri, seven names of Lord Venkateswara of Tirupati. Sangita Kalanidhi : Sangita Kalanidhi is the title awarded yearly to an expert Carnatic Musician by the Madras Music Academy.This honour is considered one of the highest awards in Carnatic music.In 2015, vocalist Sanjay Subrahmanyan was awarded with the title.  

Top-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain on 24 July 2016 defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-4, 7-5 to win the 2016 Swiss Open Gstaad.It is Lopez’s first title on clay and his fifth overall. Feliciano Lopez : Feliciano Lopez is a professional tennis player on the ATP Tour.He achieved his career-high singles ranking of world no. 12 in March 2015.He has appeared in more consecutive majors than anyone, dating back to the 2002 French Open.In 2005, he was the first male Spanish tennis player to reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon since 1972. He repeated the feat in 2008 and 2011.He was the winner of the 2004 Vienna Open, the 2010 Johannesburg Open and the Eatsbourne open in 2013 and 2014. Swiss Open : The Swiss Open is a tennis tournament held in Gstaad, Switzerland.It is held since 1915.The tournament is played on outdoor clay courts. The 2016 Swiss Open Gstaad was the 49th edition of the Swiss Open, and a part of the ATP World Tour 250 Series of the 2016 ATP World Tour.Austria’s Dominic Thiem was the winner of the 2015 Swiss Open Gstaad.

Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation on 22 July 2016 constituted a committee to prepare guidelines for desiltation of river Ganga. Madhav Chitale, an Expert Member of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) has been appointed as Chairman of the committee. The tenure of the committee would be for a period of three months. Terms of Reference of the Committee are : It will provide guidelines for desiltation of river Ganga from Bhimgauda (Uttarakhand) to Farakka (West Bengal).It will establish difference between desilting and sand mining in the river.It will establish need for desilting for ecology and e-flow of the river Ganga. The other members of the four-member committee are  : Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation,Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change,Dr. Mukesh Sinha, Director, Central Water and Power Research Station, Pune The committee was constituted in the backdrop of Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti’s call to form a committee which will look after desiltation of river Ganga. She announced the plan of constituting the committee while chairing the 6th meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority in New Delhi on 4 July 2016.  

The fourth edition of the Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival commenced on 22 July 2016 in Guwahati, Assam. The festival pays homage to the rich culture of northeast India and is dedicated to the film fraternity of the region. Six short films and six full-length films from northeast states like Manipur, Assam, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh will be presented at the three-day fest. The festival is organised by Tattva Creations. The aim of the Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival is to bridge the gap by bringing engaging storytellers from within and outside the region under one roof. Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival : Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival (BVFF) pays homage to the rich culture of Northeast India.The film festival is dedicated to the film fraternity of the northeast region of India.It is an initiative for new and professional filmmakers to come together and rediscover different aspects of movie making. The festival includes some of the best movies, Documentaries and short films of the region.It also showcases some of the best works of nationally and internationally acclaimed filmmakers. BVFF first started in 2013 and have completed three editions.

The Union Ministry of Science and Technology has launched ‘Solar Power Tree’, an innovative way to generate electricity by harnessing maximum solar energy in a limited space. It was launched by Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi. Features of Solar Power Tree : The Solar Power Tree has been developed by the CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CMERI). It can harnesses solar energy for producing electricity with an innovative vertical arrangement of solar cells. It reduces the requirement of land as compared to conventional Solar Photovoltaic layout.  It keeps the land character intact and is viable in both rural and urban areas. It takes only 4 square feet of land for installing a 5 KW Solar Power tree. But in a conventional horizontal layout for generating 5 KW it requires 400 square feet of land. On an average, it harnesses more sunrays for one hour in a day as photovoltaic panels are placed at higher height.  It can harness up to 10-15% more power in comparison to a conventional layout on ground. It has a battery back-up of 2 hours on full load and can give light even after sunset. It is facilitated with water sprinkler at the top for self-cleaning of panels which help to increase the efficiency of the solar panels. CMERI : It is a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Renowned Music Director and singer Bapi Lahiri was honoured with Mahanayak award by the West Bengal Government. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee conferred the Mahanayak Samman upon Bapi Lahiri on the occasion of 36th death anniversary of Uttam Kumar.  In addition, Bengali films “Bela sheshe” and “Shankhachil” were jointly awarded as the best Bengali films of the year. Besides, critically-acclaimed filmmaker Goutam Ghose and director-actor Kaushik Ganguly were also honoured with the award for best director.  Paran Bandyopadhyay and Jishu Sengupta were also bestowed with best actor (male) award and Sohini Sarkar received the best actor (female) award.  Mahanayak awards : They were instituted in 2012 by West Bengal Government in the memory of Bengali matinee idol Uttam Kumar who is revered as “Mahanayak (Great hero)” in this part of India.

Scientists have planned to undertake field trials of three new strains of oil-degrading bacteria in Kochi, Kerala. Earlier, laboratory tests of these new strains conducted were successful.  The field trials will be conducted by the Malabar Botanical Garden and Institute of Plant Sciences (MBGIPS), Kozhikode and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). The study will pave the way for the development of bioremediation agents to clean up petroleum pollutants from the environment. Oil-degrading bacteria (microorganisms) have enzyme systems to degrade and utilise hydrocarbons as a source of carbon and energy. Based on this concept, scientists from MBGIPS successfully isolated key hydrocarbon-degrading enzyme produced by the bacteria.  The three new strains isolated by MBGIPS include two species of Burkholderia and one species of Pseudomonas. These oil-degrading bacteria have been sequenced and submitted to the Genbank database on organisms. Bioremediation :  Bioremediation is an environment-friendly mechanism that uses microorganisms to degrade environmental pollutants. It is safer, environment-friendly mechanism to clean up contamination caused by leaks and accidental spills during exploration, transport, refining and storage of petroleum products. Advantages  : Bioremediation is less expensive environment-friendly mechanism to remove pollutants from the environment. Conventional methods like mechanical removal, burial, evaporation, dispersion, and washing to remove environmental pollutants are expensive. Besides, these traditional methods also can lead to incomplete decomposition, leaving residual contaminants to pollute soil and water.

Kerala Government has launched Kochi Water Metro project, the first ever Water Metro project in the country. It was launched by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at Kochi. The project aims to provide water connectivity to people living between islands in the Kochi agglomeration area and the city. Kochi Water Metro project is an integrated water transport project developed as feeder service to the Kochi Metro Rail. It will become operational in two years.  The project will implemented by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL). It will be built at an estimated cost of seven hundred and forty seven crores Rupees. The project is funded by German Development Bank (Kfw).  In this regard KMRL has signed agreement with Kfw. The Water Metro will connect the islands spread across Kochi backwaters to main city.  The project involves construction of jetties, roads and other basic facilities apart from boat services. It would make the urban water transport network in the city modern and safer.

Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra (18) has created history by becoming first Indian Junior athlete to create a World Record in Junior athletics Championship.  He achieved this feat, by throwing javelin at a record distance of 86.48 m in his second attempt in the IAAF Under-20 World Athletics Championship held in Bydgoszcz, Poland.  He won gold medal in this event. Besides, South African Johan Grobler (80.59m) won the silver medal and Anderson Peters (79.65m) of Granada won the bronze medal. With this, Neeraj Chopra broke the previous record of 84.69 metres held by Latvian Zigismunds Sirmais by nearly two metres.  Neeraj Chopra is only the third Indian athlete who has won a medal in the U-20 World Championships i.e. in the Junior athletics Championship.  Other two are discus throwers Seema Antil Punia (won Bronze medal in 2002) and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (won Bronze medal in 2014).

One of the biggest electronic music festivals Tomorrowland began on 22 July 2016 in Boom, Belgium. The year 2016 also marks Tomorrowland 10th edition. More than 350000 tickets for the festival were sold out in an hour of their opening in February 2016. Tomorrowland : Tomorrowland is one of the biggest electronic music festivals held in the world.The first edition of the festival took place on 14 August 2005, which was organised by ID&T Belgium. Tomorrowland has been winning the International Dance Music Awards in the category Best Music Event since 2012. In 2015, Tomorrowland won the inaugural award from DJ Magazine for The World's No.1 Festival.It also won the Red Bull Elektropedia Awards in the Best Festival category in the year 2011, 2012 and 2013.

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