Current Affairs 4th May 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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A group of researchers from University of Cambridge researchers have built the world's smallest working engine. The research was published in the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) on 2 May 2016.The engine is just a few billionths of a metre in size and uses light to power itself.The nanoscale engine could form the basis of future nano-machines that can navigate in water, sense the environment around them, or even enter living cells to fight disease.Professor Jeremy Baumberg from the Cavendish Laboratory, who led the research, has named the devices ANTs, or Actuating Nano-Transducers. Key highlights of the nanoscale engine:The prototype device is made of tiny charged particles of gold, bound together with temperature-responsive polymers in the form of a gel.When the engine is heated to a certain temperature with a laser, it stores large amounts of elastic energy in a fraction of a second, as the polymer coatings expel all the water from the gel and collapse.This has the effect of forcing the gold nanoparticles to bind together into tight clusters.However, when the device is cooled, the polymers take on water and expand, and the gold nanoparticles are strongly and quickly pushed apart.

President Pranab Mukherjee on 3 May 2016 conferred National film awards for the year 2015 in various categories at the 63rd National Film Awards Function held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.The President also conferred 2015 Dada Saheb Phalke Award toManoj Kumar.Amitabh Bachchan received the Best Actor honour for his role of a hypochondriac father in Piku. While Kangana Ranaut received the Best Actress Award for Tanu Weds Manu Returns.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its April 2016 Regional Economic Outlook for Asia and the Pacific forecast retained India’s growth rate at 7.5 percent for the year 2016.The IMF report titled Regional Economic Outlook: Asia and Pacific, Building on Asia’s Strengths during Turbulent Times said that this growth momentum is expected to be underpinned by private consumption, which has benefited from lower energy prices.It said that India that had a GDP growth rate of 7.3 percent in 2015 will have 7.5 percent growth in 2016 and 2017.But it called on the policy makers to speed up the structural reform implementation. It suggested them to capitalise on the favourable economic momentum to speed up the structural reform implementation.An incipient recovery in private investment is expected to help broaden the recovery. But the IMF also observed that weak exports and sluggish credit growth will weigh on the Indian economy.It said that the growth in Asia and the Pacific is expected to be 5.3 percent in 2016-2017, marginally lower than the previous estimate of 5.4 percent.In context of China and Japan, it said that the two nations will continue to face challenges. China's growth is forecast to moderate from 6.9 percent in 2015, to 6.5 percent in 2016 and 6.2 percent in 2017. Japan's growth is expected to continue at 0.5 percent in 2016, before dropping to -0.1 per cent in 2017.

Indian Information Service (IIS) officer Bhupendra Kainthola took charge as Director of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). Kainthola replaced Prashant Pathrabe, who had served as interim Director and shall have tenure of three years. About Bhupendra Kainthola: Kainthola is a 1989 batch IIS officer. He holds a Masters in International Relations from the University of Mumbai. Prior to this appointment he was serving as Director (News Room) with DD News since January 2015. He was responsible for ‘management of news operations and output’. Previously, he has worked with PIB, Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP), Directorate of Film Festival (as Director, National Film Awards and Indian Panorama) and also with the Lok Sabha Television. About Film and Television Institute of India (FTII): FTII is premier institute in the country that provides training for acting, film making, video editing, direction and production. It is an autonomous body under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Established in 1960 and is situated in Pune on the premises of the erstwhile Prabhat Film Company. Since its inception, FTII has become India’s premier film and television institute. Its alumni have become technicians, actors and directors in the film and television industry.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has selected Mexican diplomat Patricia Espinosa as the executive secretary of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). She will replace the incumbent Christiana Figueres when her term ends in July 2016. Prior to this selection she was serving as Mexico’s ambassador to Germany Earlier she had served as Mexico’s representative at the UN in New York for drug traffic, human rights, women promotion, social development and children’s rights. In her new role, she will play an important role in implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change that was approved by 195 countries in December 2015 during UNFCCC’s COP 21 held in Paris, France. About UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change): The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and entered into force in 1994. It has near universal membership as it has 196 countries and European Union (EU) as its members. It is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which was ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHGs) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

Australian entrepreneur and computer scientist Craig Wright has publicly identified himself as creator of virtual currency Bitcoin. He claimed that he is the real person behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin which was launched in 2009. Satoshi Nakamoto’s online cash system work in 2009 was the key for creation of the online cash system, but he remained anonymous and his work has since stopped. Craig Wright revealed his identity in order to stop the spread of misinformation about the virtual currency. He even sustained his claim by signing digital messages using cryptographic keys used during the early days of Bitcoin. What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is unregulated by any central bank or government, but still works for purchasing goods and services from retailers willing to accept it. It can also be traded on an open market and its exchange rate fluctuates much like a stock market i.e. based on the demand. Bitcoin is a distributed peer-to-peer digital currency that functions without the inter-mediation of any central authority. Bitcoin is also called a “cryptocurrency” since it is decentralized and uses cryptography to prevent double-spending, a significant challenge inherent to digital currencies.

Scientists have developed world’s Smallest (Nano) Thermometer using DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) structures that can fold and unfold at specifically defined temperature functions. It was developed by the scientists at the University of Montreal and the study report in this regard was published in the journal Nano Letters. Key facts The world’s smallest thermometer is 20,000 times smaller than a human hair and is fully programmable. It was developed using basic idea of the DNA molecules which unfold when heated to certain temperatures. RNA, proteins and other bio-molecules in the DNA fold and unfold. With this idea researchers engineered DNA structures that are capable of folding and unfolding at specific temperatures making it nano-scale  temperature signalling device. Significance: It can help in understanding of natural and human designed nanotechnologies by enabling to measure temperature at the nanoscale. It can be incorporated in new electronic devices and has a wide range of applications across fields of chemistry and physics. Play a crucial role in answering a number of debatable questions in the field of science and technology. It may be used to create super-strong structures, repair cells and help nano-computing become more efficient. Help in understanding biological functions better and opens new avenues in the developing field of nanotechnology.

England's world number one Mark Selby on 2 May 2016 won World Championship title of Snooker. In the final match played in Sheffield, Selby from Leicester defeated China’s Ding Junhui 18-14.With this win, Selby also ended Ding’s chance of being the first Asian player to win the world title. This was Selby’s second trophy of the year, earlier he had won minor Gdynia Open event in Poland.This was Selby’s second World Snooker title, the first was won against Ronnie O'Sullivan in 2014. This win also added his name in the list of Steve Davis, Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan, the stars who have won at least two world titles since the event rocked up in Sheffield in 1977.

The retail tycoon, Kishore Biyani has been appointed managing director of Bharti Retail Ltd (BRL) as part of the reconstitution of the board following their merger pact announced last year. With the scheme of arrangement between Future Retail Ltd (FRL) and BRL for acquisition taking shape, another Biyani, Rakesh Biyani, joined the board of BRL as joint managing director.Bharti Enterprises vice- chairman and managing director, Rajan Mittal will continue to serve as a member of the board of directors of the company. However, Kishore Biyani would continue to hold office as non-executive director of Future Retail Limited. Future group operates some of the most popular retail brands in the country including Big Bazaar, EasyDay, fbb, Foodhall, Home Town and eZone.In May last year, Future group agreed to merge its retail business with rival Bharti Retail in an all-stock deal worth Rs 750 crore to create one of the biggest supermarket chains with Rs 15,000 crore turnover.Bharti Retail will get 9 per cent each in both these companies and will also hold ordinary convertible debentures worth Rs 250 crore.

State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) on Tuesday announced the commissioning of a 600 MW coal-based thermal power plant in Madhya Pradesh.“The unit has been commissioned at the 1x600 MW Jhabua Thermal Power Project (TPP) located in Seoni district in Madhya Pradesh,” BHEL said in a release.The project has been developed by Jhabua Power Ltd (JPL), a subsidiary of Avantha Power & Infrastructure Limited (APIL). This is the second project of APIL commissioned by BHEL after the 1x600 MW Avantha Bhandar TPP at Raigarh in Chhattisgarh, it said.BHEL’s scope of work in the contract envisaged design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of steam turbine, generator and boiler, along with associated auxiliaries and electricals, besides controls and Instrumentation and electrostatic precipitators, it added.BHEL is presently executing two supercritical units of 800 MW for NTPC at Gadarwara in Madhya Pradesh.

Google has acquired a business technology start-up founded by an Indian-origin entrepreneur as part of its plans to scale training offerings for Google Apps to its customers and customers’ users.Varun Malhotra is the founder and CEO of Toronto-based Synergyse, which was launched in 2013 with an aim to teach users how to use Google Apps.Google did not disclose the financial details of the deal. Google Apps Operations Senior Director Peter Scocimara said in a blog post on Monday that Google and its thousands of Google Apps customers have been “excited” about Synergyse. The Google Apps product suite, which includes Gmail, Calendar, Drive and Docs, was built to provide cloud-based productivity and communications and is now used by more than two million paying businesses around the world, Scocimara said.“As more businesses sign up, we wanted an elegant way to scale our training offerings to our customers and our customers’ users,” he said adding that Synergyse builts a virtual coach inside of the Google Apps interface. With voice and text interactive modules that are searchable by topic within its apps, Synergyse will help users get up to speed quickly - including when new features are rolled out. He said Synergyse will be joining Google, and the company intends to make the product available as an integral part of the Google Apps offering later this year.“By providing the right help at the right time, Synergyse will help our customers with the critical task of change management in the enterprise, and bolster the training and support programs we already offer today,” he said.Synergyse said by joining the Google Apps team, it can accelerate its mission because the company will be working closer with the teams that build Google Apps.According to his profile on his commonly page, Malhotra specialises in training and strategy and has over 10 years of experience in the enterprise space.

Parliament has passed Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016. The Bill amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The amendment Bill was first passed in the Lok Sabha in March 2016 and later in the Rajya Sabha in May 2016. Key facts Transfer of mining leases: The Bill provides for transfer of mining leases, which have been granted through procedures other than auction and where minerals are used for captive purpose. This provision will allow for merger and acquisition of companies with captive mining leases. Leased area: The also bill adds the definition of leased area as the area within which mining operations can be undertaken. This will also include the non-mineralised area required and approved for the activities defined under Mines Act 1952.

Maharashtra leg-spinner Sunil Gudge passed away at his residence in Pune following a heart attack. Born in Pune on December 31, 1959, the leg-spinner and handy lower order batsman played 55 first class matches during his decade-and-a-half career. Gudge, an integral part of the strong Maharashtra team of the 1980s led by Raju Balelar, Milind Gunjal and Surendra Bhave, took 110 wickets with 5 for 46 as his best from among five wickets in an innings hauls. He also scored 1,033 runs from 61 innings with a century to boot. Gudge was also part of the Under-22 side that played against the visiting England side at Pune in 81-82. He also played for the Board Presidents XI against the touring Sri Lanka and West Indies teams of 86-87 and 87-88 at Gwalior and Visakhapatnam respectively.

London-based firm Romex has developed an application that can block a user's phone while driving, by monitoring the phone's GPS system. The application will flag work-related messages, but won't allow the users to read the messages until they've pulled over. The paid-for service will work along with an app called Guardian, which allows monitoring drivers' location and speeding information.

Telagana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Raoperformed the Bhoomi Puja for the Kaleshwaram Project. Venue: Kaleshwaram pump house located at Mahadevpur mandal in Karimnagar Aim: Connecting the Godavari River through a series of barrages, reservoirs and enhanced irrigation schemes.CM stated that new formed Telangana state will get water from both Krishna and Godavari rivers as per allocations doneThe State proposes about 160 tmc of water using lift irrigation facilities by utilizing water from Pranahitha and Godavari at Medigadda in Karimnagar.Chief Minister expressed his dreams towards the projects and laid the foundation stone for the project.He insisted to complete the project within two years.Districts would be benefitted from the project: Hyderabad, Yellampalli, Mid-Manair and Medak  Future Plans:Chief Minister plan to ink a pack with Maharashtra Government to enable the state to get sufficient water for use in the project. Due to Construction of several barrages in Maharashtra upstream, there is deficiency in water flow into Godavari.Irrigation facility for 18 Lakh acres and stabilizing about 12 Lakh acres.Proposed to develop three barrages on the river course at Medigadda, Annaram and Sundilla and reservoirs at several locations with barrages storing about 39 tmc and reservoir 150 tmcPower requirement: 4500 MW to evacuate water through pump sets. Telangana to set up Spices Park in Nizamabad:The Spices park will be set up in Padigal in Nizamabad district with investment ofRs. 31 CroreServicing to farmers in Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Adilabad and Warangal

The Supreme Court of India has decided against extending the deadline for phasing out diesel cabs in National Capital Region (NCR). It ordered the diesel cabs to go off the roads from 1 May 2016. The earlier deadline for phasing out diesel cabs was 1 April 2016, but it was extended for a month. The earlier extension was given so that private cab aggregators could switch to compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles by 1 May 2016. However, the Supreme Court allowed Delhi Police and Delhi Jal Board to buy and register the new diesel-run vehicles of 2000 cc engine capacity and above for transportation of undertrial prisoners, arms and ammunition and supply of water. It had stopped sale of diesel SUVs and luxury cars with more than 2000 cc engine capacity in the national capital in 2015.

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on 3 May 2016 launched e-enabled application, Project Management & Information System (PMIS) at Rail Bhawan in New Delhi. The application will used for proper monitoring of all the Railway projects throughout the country. Salient Features of the Application:Indian Railways have over 600 major projects of network expansion and modernization costing around 4.5 lakh crore rupees.The need of proper monitoring and management of the big projects has become a demand of the Indian Railways.Indian Railways needs two things; one is money and the second is proper monitoring of projects in which that money is to be spent.It is believed that the newly launched Project Management and Information System (PMIS) system will contain all the information about the ongoing projects.It is a web-enabled IT- application to create a technology and knowledge platform to manage the entire lifecycle of complex railway projects.PMIS is being implemented in the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramullah Rail Link (USBRL) Project. It has complexities of fragile geological formations and unstable geomorphology of young Himalayan Mountains. It is planned to roll out PMIS to all the major projects across the country. Benefits expected to be accrued from bringing all the projects on PMIS platform include online monitoring and mid-course correction to ensure faster execution, repository of design, drawings, resources, schedules etc.The application will help in reducing the completion time of the project.It will help in better estimation and planning, improved designs and standardization of drawings, optimal utilization of resources and faster decision making.It also helps in fixing the responsibility for delay in projects on the other hand officers would be awarded for timely/early completion of projects.

Astronomers discovered three planets which have similar sizes and temperatures those of Venus and Earth, using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. They have been found orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth.The discovery was published in the Journal Nature on 2 May 2016.Michael Gillon-led team of astronomers of the University of Liege in Belgium used the TRAPPIST telescope to observe the ultra-cool dwarf star 2MASS J23062928-0502285, now also known as TRAPPIST-1.They found that the dim and cool star faded slightly at regular intervals which indicated that several objects were passing between the star and the Earth.On the detailed analysis, it showed that three planets are present around the star. An ultra-cool dwarf star-TRAPPIST-1: It is much cooler and redder than the Sun and barely larger than Jupiter.Despite being so close to the Earth, the star is too dim and too red to be seen with the naked eye or even visually with a large amateur telescope.It lies in the constellation of Aquarius (The Water Carrier).After crossing checking with larger telescopes like the HAWK-I instrument on ESO’s 8-metre Very Large Telescope in Chile, the three planets showed to have sizes very similar to that of Earth.Two of the planets have orbital periods of about 1.5 days and 2.4 days respectively, and the third planet has a less well-determined orbital period in the range 4.5 to 73 days. Although the three planets were found to orbit very close to their host dwarf star, the inner two planets only receive four times and twice, respectively, the amount of radiation received by the Earth. They were defined to have surface temperatures where liquid water can exist, although it is still possible that they possess potentially habitable regions on their surfaces.The third, outer, planet’s orbit is not yet well known, but it probably receives less radiation than the Earth does, but maybe still enough to lie within the habitable zone.

New Delhi, May 2 (PTI) Star Indian opener Rohit Sharma today became the Brand Ambassador of world famous watch brand Hublot becoming second renowned cricketer after former Australian captain Michael Clarke to be associated with the brand. Rohit will be seen promoting the companys signature Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph edition in the coming days. It has been created to celebrate the sport of cricket. "I have always been a watch fanatic; so being associated with a brand like Hublot is an absolute delight. They create some incredible timepieces, unique and different, so to be on their roster and them on mine is incredible. Their involvement in sport has been remarkable, so that makes our association even more exciting," said Rohit. Hublot on their part expressed their excitement to be associated with the stylish Mumbai batsman who has the highest individual ODI score to his credit and is among the top-10 ODI batsmen in the ICC list. "Hublot sees a lot of common between the Brand and Rohit Sharma as he combines traditional batting technique with entertainment," a press release stated. 

Sameer Chadha was on 3 May 2016 appointed as the partner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KPMG's offshore arm in India.Chadha joined KPMG Global Services (KGS) from Barclays Shared Services, where he was the Chief Executive Officer. About Sameer Chadha:Chadha has 25 years of experience with leading organisations across the financial services and consumer goods sectors. Chadha began his career with Nestle India.Prior to working with Barclays, he held strategic leadership roles at firms such as Bank of America, First Source Solutions and Lehman Brothers.He is a chartered accountant and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. About KPMG India Pvt Ltd:KPMG was established in India in September 1993 and has rapidly built a significant competitive presence in the country since then.KPMG India Pvt Ltd offers financial advisory services, business advisory services, tax and regulatory services and risk advisory services.The firm operates from its offices in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad in India.

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