Today Current Affairs 7th March 2016

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Capital Local Area Bank, a Jalandhar-based local area bank, has emerged as the first entity to have received the Reserve Bank of India's licence to start operations as a small finance bank. Sarvjit Singh Samra, managing director of Capital Local Area Bank, said it plans to start small finance bank operations on April 13, "on the auspicious day of Baisakhi". It plans to open 10 new branches on the first day .it plans to keep all its branches open for all seven days a week. Capital, which claims to be the largest local bank in the country, currently has 44 branches in five districts of Punjab and three more would be opened by March 31. "We will close the year with total business (deposits and advances) of Rs 3,000 crore," Samra said. RBI had in September last year granted in-principal approval to 10 entities, including Capital Local Area Bank, to operate as small finance banks.As a small finance bank, Capital can open branches across the country. Samra said the bank plans to have 216 branches and total business of Rs 11,800 crore in the next five years. Also during the first five years as a small finance bank, it will focus on northern region.

President Francois Hollande has awarded the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest honour, to visiting Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Naye.He was cited for his "efforts in the fight against terrorism and extremism.A Hollande aide said Nayef, who is the Saudi interior minister, received the honour as a "foreign individual, a common protocol practice", noting that Hollande himself received Saudi Arabia's top honour during one of his visits there. Bilateral ties are strong, sealed by major arms deals as well as Riyadh's participation in the fight against the Islamic State group. But news of the bestowal of the Legion d'Honneur on Nayef sparked harsh criticism on social media from opponents to the death penalty, many tweeting using the hashtag.Saudi Arabia carried out its 70th execution so far this year, beheading a man convicted of murder. On January 2, 47 were executed for "terrorism", including Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a driving force behind protests that began in 2011 among the kingdom's minority Shiites. Most people sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded with a sword.

With public sector banks under pressure to tackle their dismal bad loan scenario, consolidation is the way forward, and this could bring down the number of lenders to about six from the present 27, participants in the recently-held Gyan Sangam, a retreat for chiefs of public sector banks and financial institutions. The BBB, which will independently oversee consolidation and chalk out business plans for public sector banks, is set to be put in place by April 1, 2016.At present, public sector banks are fighting with each other for market share, but with so many payments and small finance banks coming in, the need is to consolidate and focus on strengthening the balance sheets to create big banks.The finance ministry is already looking to merge the newly-launched Bharatiya Mahila Bank. The government has maintained that it would not have any role to play in the merger exercise of public sector banks. The official said that in case certain banks show unwillingness, despite plans being chalked out by the BBB and the expert committee, then the government would intervene.

Patna Pirates beat U Mumba in the final to emerge as the winners of the third edition of the Pro Kabaddi in New Delhi on Saturday. Patna beat Mumbai 31-28 to lift the golden trophy amidst spectacular scenes of celebration. Patna’s Rohit Kumar was awarded the best raider prize and Mumbai’s Mohit Chillar  was adjudged the best defender of the match. Mumbai’s Rishank Devadiga emerged as the most successful raider of the season with 106 points. Patna won the title  for first time. It was Sandeep Narwal who put up a great show to give victory to the team. It was his early points that set the tone for a big lead for Patna.The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is a professional kabaddi league in India, based on the format of the Indian Premier League T20 cricket tournament. It is known as the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi for sponsorship reasons. The first edition of the tournament was played in 2014 with eight franchises representing various cities in India. It is currently managed by Mashal Sports

Dr. Sirshendu De, Professor & Head, Department of Chemical Engineering has been selected for the Innovation Award 2016 for Developing Low Cost Eco-friendly Laterite based Arsenic Filter for Providing Safe Drinking Water by Indian Desalination Association (South Zone).A complete indigenous material developed at IIT Kharagpur, capable of adsorbing arsenic to the extent of 32mg / gm of material. It is made from naturally occurring red laterite soil. This material is undergone chemical treatment to enhance its capabilities to adsorb arsenic. dvantages like: (a) Ultra low cost of the filter media compared to available such filters, appropriate for the socio-economic conditions of our country, (b) Arsenic concentration of filtrate is always within the WHO drinking water permissible limit, independent of the ground water concentration (c) Extremely long life of the filters (about five years), (d) No regeneration of the adsorbent (filter medium) is required during its lifetime, (e) No power requirement for the household filter, (f) Removal of arsenic (below 10 ppb), iron (below 0.3 ppm) and bacteriological contamination (more than 98%) together in a single unit, (g) Upon exhaustion of the filter, the filter medium can be safely dumped without any risk of leaching and further contamination, (h) The capacity of domestic filter is in the range of 80-100 litres/day, (i) Easy operation and maintenance free, as the filter does not require any regeneration or backwashing, (j) Cost of the treated water is less than 3 paisa/liter.

Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of email and the man who picked the @ symbol for addresses, has died aged 74. Ray was the man who brought us email in the early days of networked computers.The tech world reacted with sadness over the passing of Tomlinson, somewhat of a cult hero for his 1971 invention of a program for ARPANET, the Internet's predecessor, that allowed people to send person-to-person messages to other computer users on other servers.Originally from Amsterdam, New York, Tomlinson went to school at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and MIT in the 1960s, and was working at research and development company Bolt Beranek and Newman - now Raytheon BBN Technologies.Around the time email started to become a household word, Tomlinson began receiving worldwide recognition for his achievement.In 2000, he received the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum. From there followed honors that included a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Science, and an Innovation award from Discover magazine, and the Eduard-Rhein Cultural Award, according to his biography.

Scientists say they have discovered what might be a new species of octopus while searching the Pacific Ocean floor near the Hawaiian Islands.A team found a small light-coloured octopus on February 27,2016 at a depth of about 4km in the ocean near Necker Island, Michael Vecchione, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.The octopus "did not seem very muscular" and was light colored.It is unusual to find an octopus without fins so deep in the ocean, said Vecchione, who noted that the previous depths at which an octopus without fins was found were all less than 4km.Two scientists he has consulted agreed that this is something unusual and is a depth record said Vecchione, who is with NOAA's National Systematics Laboratory.The octopus was discovered during a search of the ocean floor by a remotely operated vehicle from NOAA's Okeanos Explorer

Renowned Dogri poetess and writer Padma Sachdev has been awarded Krutitava Smagra Samman for 2015 by the Kolkata's Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad.Sachdev received this award for her outstanding contribution in literature and great service to Dogri Language.West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi yesterday presented the award to the poetess. The award carries an amount of Rs. one lakh, a shawl and citation.Padma Sachdev (born 1940) is an Indian poet and novelist. She is first modern woman poet of Dogri language. She also writes in Hindi. She has published her several poetry collection including Meri Kavita Mere Geet (My Poems, My Songs) that has won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1971. She has also received the Padma Shri, the Indian fourth highest civilian award in 2001. and the Kabir Samman for poetry for the year 2007-08

India lifted their sixth Asia Cup title. This is the first time the Asia Cup was held in T20 format and India proved why they are No.1 side in T20 Internationals.India finish their unbeaten run in the Asia Cup with a strong performance in the final. Bangladesh fought hard in phases but a victory with six balls to spare and eight wickets in hand is a pretty emphatic one in the end. Bumrah and Ashwin were the stars for India with the ball, before Dhawan and Kohli sealed the chase with that partnership. Dhoni had played only nine balls in the tournament.The Details of Match: Captain of India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Captain of Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza. Man of the Match: Shikhar Dhawan. Man of the series: Sabbir Rahman (Bangladesh). Most runs in the series: Sabbir Rahman (176) of Bangladesh. Most wickets in the series: Al-Amin Hossain (11) of Bangladesh.India led by some fine batting performances from Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni, won the Asia Cup Twenty20 championship in grand style. India won the finals by 8 wicket against Bangladesh in Mirpur

An MoU was signed between the Indian Army and IndusInd Bank on the Defence Salary Package today.  The signing ceremony was chaired by  Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma, Adjutant General and was attended by top dignitaries of IndusInd Bank headed by Shri Anil M Rao, Head-General Banking Operations, IndusInd Bank.The first MoU between IndusInd Bank and the Indian Army was signed in 2011 and was valid for a period of three years.  The revised MoU is tailor made to suit the requirements of serving soldiers.  Number of additional facilities have been incorporated in the revised MoU.The basic features of the MoU includes free / concessional services including free drafts, free cheques books, free funds transfers to any bank in India through RTGS / NEFT and free ATM cards. Some features which have been improved from the previous MoU are that the PAI cover has been freshly included this year for an amount of    Rs 2 lacs (for JCO/OR) to Rs 5 lacs (for Offrs) respectively and time period for issue of NOC has now been stipulated as 72 hrs (3 days) from the date of application.

Noted Malayalam actor and comedian Kalabhavan Mani . The actor passed away in Kochi, on, March 6,2016. He was 45.The actor, who had acted in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu movies breathed his last at a private hospital in Kochi, where he was undergoing treatment for liver-related ailments.Mani began his career as a mimicry artist in Kalabhavan made a notable entry as a film actor in the Malayalam movie "Aksharam" in 1995. He is also known for his folk songs and has acted in more than 200 films in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. He is also a receipent of the National Film Special Jury Award and Kerala State Special Jury Award for his performance in the movie "Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njaanum" in 1999.

The State Bank of India is among four new foreign banks given preliminary approval to open 100 per cent-owned branches in Myanmar, the latest move by the Southeast Asian nation to woo investment to the country long ruled by the military and hit by Western sanctions.The four new banks that have been given initial approval by the Central Bank of Myanmar are Vietnam's Bank for Investment and Development, Taiwan's E.SUN Commercial Bank, South Korea's Shinhan Bank and the State Bank of India.The Licensing Committee has decided to grant preliminary approval to prepare for commencement of banking operations in Myanmar to four Foreign Banks.This is the second time Myanmar has allowed foreign banks to open 100-per cent-owned branches inside the country in more than five decades following permits to nine foreign banks in October last year to operate in the country.Both the outgoing military-backed government and Nobel Laureate and Aung San Suu Kyi's incoming National League for Democracy have promised to allow enhanced capital flows to spur investment and promote economic growth.The State Bank of India is India's largest bank and it has branches in major world capitals and leading cities.

US commission scheduled to visit India to discuss and report on the conditions of religious freedom in the country has been denied visa by the Indian government.A three-member delegation of US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) wanted to make a one-week visit starting Friday to meet with government officials, religious leaders and activists in India.One would expect that the Indian government would allow for more transparency than have these nations.USCIRF's principal responsibilities include reviewing, through the lens of international human rights law, the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and making policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress.USCIRF will continue to pursue a visit to India, given the ongoing reports from religious communities, civil society groups, and NGOs that the conditions for religious freedom in India have been deteriorating since 2014," George said.USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan US federal government commission with commissioners appointed by the President and the leaders in both Houses of Congress.

Technology seems to be the latest mantra in the Indian Railway, with the national transporter set to create a special unit for conducting in-house research. Named SRESHTA (Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology and Holistic Advancement), the new entity will comprise mostly scientists and railway experts. Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), railways' current research arm, will focus only on day-to-day issues, while SRESTHA will be responsible for long-term research for improving the functioning of the public sector behemoth. The new research unit will be headed by a reputed scientist, who will report directly to the Chairman, Railway Board, said a senior Railway Ministry official, adding "the need for such a wing was felt for long". Use of latest technology in improving passenger amenities is a key area where the new body will focus, he added. Besides, a dedicated cross functional team called Special Unit for Transportation Research and Analytics (SUTRA) would be set up for carrying out detailed analysis for optimal investment decisions and operations. The team would comprise professional analysts and have best in class decision support systems and optimization engines. 

Uttar Pradesh Assembly passed the UP Revenue Code (Amendment) Bill 2016 replacing an ordinance that will allow Dalits to sell their land to non-Dalits in the state.The ordinance to amend the pre-British era revenue law was replaced by UP Revenue Code (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill allows Dalits to sell their land to non-Dalits even if they are left with less than 3.5 acre of land. The Revenue Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav said the amendments in the code were in the interest of Dalits and common people. "This will help them (Dalits) get right price of their land.BSP termed the Bill as "anti-Dalit" and BJP staged a walkout. Radha Mohan Das Agarwal (BJP) feared that land mafia would buy their land at throwaway prices with this amendment and suggested setting up of independent revenue courts. 

The Nagaland Information Commission (NIC) has been rated as "one of the best" Commissions in the entire country.This was revealed by Nagaland Chief Information Commissioner, Bukchem Phom while addressing the decade celebration of RTI Act in the state on the theme RTI: Trust Through Transparency in Kohima.Recounting the activities of the Commission in the last 10 years, Phom said the Information Commission in the state has been working under the policy of Trust through Transparency and has involved NGOs.Of the total number of 92 public authorities audited, he said two were described as highly transparent, 45 as reasonably transparent, 43 as limited transparency and two with poor level of transparency, he said.Nagaland State Commission along with Chhattisgarh has conducted gender break-up records and also the economic profile of applicants through the RTI applicants.

US novelist Pat Conroy, who wrote several acclaimed novels and memoirs, died on 4 March 2016 in Beaufort, South Carolina. He was 70. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer.  Two of his novels, The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini, were made into Oscar-nominated films. He is recognized as a leading figure of late-20th century Southern literature.Donald Patrick “Pat” Conroy (October 26, 1945 – March 4, 2016) was a New York Times bestselling American author who wrote several acclaimed novels and memoirs.Two of his novels, The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini, were made into Oscar-nominated films.Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he was the eldest of seven children (five boys and two girls) born to Marine Colonel Donald Conroy, of Chicago, and the former Frances “Peggy” Peek of Alabama.Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he was the eldest of seven children (five boys and two girls) born to Marine Colonel Donald Conroy, of Chicago, and the former Frances “Peggy” Peek of Alabama.

Veteran singer Stevie Wonder was honoured with Global Green Hero award at the 13th Annual Global Green USA pre-Oscar party.  The 65-year-old music icon, who was joined onstage by his two sons, was presented with award, which he in turn presented back to his sons as a gesture to "encourage their generation to care about the planet," reported People magazine. The Grammy-winning singer also performed a nine-song set of his greatest hits also pointed out that climate change and its environmental impact are issues that he has always been invested in. Wonder then donated his harmonica to Global Green to auction off, adding, "One that has a lot of spit in it, so you can raise money for a good cause.

Indian paddlers made history twice in less than 24 hours with both women’s and men’s teams emerging triumphant in the second division of their respective sections at the 2016 World Table Tennis Championships. The Indian women’s team beat Luxemburg 3-1 in the second division final before their male counterparts overcame a stiff competition from Brazil 3-2.In the women’s team final, Mouma Das gave a winning start to her team when she defeated Danielle Konsbruck 3-0 in a quick bust. Manika Batra then put behind yesterday’s loss and began with a bang, leading 2-0 against Tessy Gonderinger, who managed to grab the third game. However, Manika clinched the fourth game to win 3-1 and provide India with a 2-0 lead.Worse was to come when Anthony Amalraj, who led 2-1 in the third rubber, went down to Thiago Monterio, putting India in a precarious position.However, Ghosh made amends with a fantastic 3-0 win over Cazuo Matsumoto to keep the team hopes alive.Harmeet then played the decider and he lost the first game but the Indian held his nerves to restore parity. The real turnaround in the rubber came when, trailing 6-9, Harmeet kept his cool and closed it down to 9-10.Then when he deuced at 10-10 for the first time, it was a tense moment. After saving two game points and two deuces Harmeet won 15-13, much to the relief of the Indian camp.