Current Affairs 26th November 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Scientists from Czech Republic have developed a model of a functioning human lung using 3D printing and other technologies. It has received three patents for its modeling.  The model was developed by the research group from the Brno University of Technology. It can be used to simulate problems like asthma or other chronic diseases and their treatments. It is mechanical- and computer-based model of the lung developed by utilizing an array of modern technologies including 3D printing. It can help devise treatment methods with more precision than past testing and tailor it to individual patients.  It can also be used as a reference model for developing inhaled drugs. It can show whether an inhaled drug will settle in the concrete areas where we need it to.

The Union Government has constituted a new committee to form a strategy to expedite the process of transforming India into a cashless economy. The committee will be headed by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. It has been tasked with identifying various bottlenecks affecting access of digital payments. Identify and operationalise in the earliest possible time frame user-friendly digital payment options in all sectors of the economy. Identify various digital payment systems appropriate to different sectors of the economy and coordinate efforts to make them accessible.  Engage regularly with Central ministries, state governments, regulators, local bodies, district administration, trade and industry associations to promote adoption of digital payment systems. Estimate costs involved in various digital payments options and oversee implementation of measures to make such transactions between citizens and government cheaper than cash transactions. Implement an action plan on advocacy, awareness and hand-holding efforts among public-, micro-enterprises and other stakeholders. The committee was set up following a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to back up the demonetisation move. The Union Government is working towards moving all government transactions to the cashless mode, through a new single window e-payment system that businesses or individuals can use to make payments to any central or state department.

The Samvidhan Diwas or the Constitution Day of India is being observed on 26th November to spread awareness of Indian Constitution. On this day in 1949, constitution of India was adopted and came into force on January 26, 1950 marking the beginning of a new era in the history of free India. The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) is the nodal Ministry for the celebration of Constitution Day. This year it is second edition of the Constitution Day. On this occasion Prime Minister Narendra has released two books on Constitution ‘Making of Constitution’ and ‘New Version of Constitution of India‘. The Indian Constitution is a core legal document which has nearly 448 articles or provisions in 25 parts, 12 schedules. It is living fundamental document which makes the government system work effectively. It lists out fundamental rights of citizens, duties, role of the government, powers of the prime minister, president, governor and chief minister, interaction between the government and its citizens and defines how the federal structure of the country will be maintained.  It also defines the powers of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The key feature of the Constitution is separation of powers while keeping a check on each arm of the government. The Indian Constitution drafters had borrowed concepts and ideas from the Constitutions of UK, US, Germany, Ireland, Australia, Canada and Japan. In October 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared 26 November as Constitution Day as part of year-long nationwide celebrations of 125th birth Anniversary of Dr. B R Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee of Constituent Assembly.

Fidel Castro, the revolutionary leader of Cuba, died on 25 November 2016. He was 90. News of his death was announced on national television by President Raul Castro. The former Cuban President and leader of the Communist revolution ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century before handing over the powers to his brother Raul in 2008. His supporters praised him as a man who had given Cuba back to the people. Fidel Castro :  Born on 13 August 1926, Fidel Castro governed Cuba as its Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976. Politically Marxist–Leninist, Castro also served the country as its President from 1976 to 2008. He was the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba. He held the post from 1961 to 2011.His administration helped Cuba in turning into a one-party socialist state.Under him, state socialist reforms implemented throughout society and the industry and business were nationalized. In 1959, he along with his brother Raul Castro and Che Guevara overthrew the then Cuban President Fulgencio Batista by leading a guerrilla war against the then Cuban President Fulgencio Batista. He, who adopted the Marxist-Leninist model of development, converted Cuba into a one-party socialist state under Communist Party rule, which was first in the Western Hemisphere.Reforms introduced by Fidel Castro included Central economic planning Expansion of healthcare and education State control of the press Suppression of internal dissent  He also survived countless American assassination attempts. Being a divisive and controversial leader, Castro was decorated with several international awards, including South Africa's highest civilian award for foreigners, the Order of Good Hope. Besides, Castro also supported anti-imperialist revolutionary groups across the world. He backed establishment of Marxist governments in Nicaragua, Chile and Grenada. He sent tropps to aid allies in the Ethio-Somali War, Yom Kippur War and Angolan Civil War. From 1979–83, he also led the Non-Aligned Movement and helped in establishing Cuba’s profile on the world stage. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended condolences to the Cuban government and people of the country on the demise of Fidel Castro. In a series of tweets, PM Modi said that Castro was one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century.  

The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu, on November 24, 2016, adopted a decision to rename the Chief Minister’s Trophy for Football and Volleyball (men’s and women’s) after martyr Hangpan Dada. The decision was taken during the State Development Council (SDC) meeting convened under his chairmanship The state-level trophy for football and volleyball, both in men and women categories, would now be called as Hangpan Dada Memorial Trophy. The troph, had been launched at Sangay Lhaden Sports Academy at Chimpuin November 2013 by the then Chief Minister NabamTuki. Havildar Dada, who died in Kupwara on May 27, 2016 after killing three terrorists, was awarded Ashok Chakra on the eve of Independence Day by President Pranab Mukherjee.  

Upma Chowdhary, a 1983 batch IAS officer of Himachal cadre, has been appointed Director of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) at Mussoorie, the first woman to be named for the post. The post has been upgraded to Secretary rank and Chowdhary would be the 23rd director and first woman director of the prestigious academy, imparting training to officers of civil services. She will replace Rajeev Kapoor.  Currently posted as Additional Chief Secretary in Himachal Pradesh, Chowdhary had preceded on leave after she and her husband Vineet Chowdhary, a 1982 batch officer, were ignored for the post of chief secretary.  During her 33 years service as IAS officer, she served in several positions in the state and at the centre.  Chowdhary, who is likely to join her new posting next month, said "It is a challenging job as and my endeavour would be keep the momentum going and orient the training programmes to meet the requirements in fast changing scenario.

BSH Household Appliances Group, Europe’s largest manufacturer of home appliances, opened its first technology centre in India at Adugodi (Bengaluru). Synonymous with German engineering and highest quality standards, BSH is globally renowned for its innovative and futuristic products and solutions sold under its total of 14 global brands.  The new 2,500-sq m centre will help BSH to further develop localised technologies for the Indian market and to become the heart of product development for the Asia Pacific region as well as emerging countries in South America and Africa. To begin with, the BSH Technology Centre Asia Pacific will focus on developing innovative technologies for the cooling and laundry categories, and gradually extend across categories.  The BSH Technology Centre Asia Pacific currently houses around 100 research scientists and plans on expanding the ambit to around 400 employees over the next three years. Committed to create a conducive environment to spur innovation, the technology centre boasts of a fun, transparent and dynamic environment, with employees across regions collaborating to enable fresh and innovative thinking. BSH Hausgerate GmbH is a globally leading company in the home appliance sector with revenue of approximately € 12.6 billion in 2015 and more than 56,000 employees. BSH manufactures its products at around 40 factories and is represented by over 80 companies in approximately 50 countries. Alongside the global brands such as Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau and Neff, the portfolio comprises the local brands, namely Thermador, Balay, Coldex, Constructa, Pitsos, Profilo, Ufesa and Zelmer, as well as the label brands Junker and Viva.

South Indian Bank has announced the launch of its contactless debit card. The Near Field Communication (NFC) technology makes the contactless cards very secure, as the card does not leave the cardholder’s possession. Customers can also opt to use their card as a normal CHIP card and transact in a ‘contact’ mode too. Once the merchant enters the purchase amount in the contactless PoS terminal, the customer simply has to just wave the card on the terminal and the payment is processed wirelessly in a fast and secure manner. With the fast changing digital banking in the Indian market and RBI’s recent guidelines of promoting PIN-less small ticket transactions, South Indian Bank believes that the contactless technology in cards will be the next big revolution in digital banking in the country. Going forward, supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants and fuel outlets in India will see higher usage of contactless cards as they would play a key role in significantly reducing the overall transaction time. The ease of transacting and the speed of contactless payments will enhance the shopping experience. Contactless is a core element in the future of payments in India. Since its launch, Visa payWave has gained strong momentum and now is accepted at over 150,000 merchants. Visa is committed to making India a less-cash society where electronic payments are secure and seamless.

Mumbai (also known as the city of dreams), the financial and entertainment capital of India may be set to witness an increase in domestic and international tourist footfalls as new research from Booking.com sees the city rank among the world’s top trending destinations for 2017.   The data experts at Booking.com analysed the top 300 destinations based on growth in search and bookings to find the most up-and-coming places to visit in 2017.  When analysed against wider trends, Mumbai has recorded increased volume of travel and higher than average growth in bookings, while  moving up  ten places among the most searched destinations relative to last year. Besides Mumbai, Reykjavik(Iceland),Cairns (Australia), Savannah (US), Puerto Rico, Kyoto (Japan) and Jericoacoara (Brazil) also ranked among the top spots. 1.Reykjavik, Iceland 2.Cairns, Australia 3.Savannah, US

Railways may soon get an advanced system, called "Tri-Netra", on its trains which will help reduce train accidents by keeping a record of the track maintenance and will also provide better visibility during foggy days. Senior railway officers said Tri-Netra system is made up of a high-resolution optical video camera, high-sensitivity infrared video camera and a radar-based terrain mapping system.  Tri-Netra stands for ­ "terrain imaging for diesel drivers infrared, enhanced optical and radar assisted system". The system provides a locomotive pilot a clear view of up to one kilometre on a straight track, even during inclement weather. This helps in maintaining high speed in poor visibility and avoid delay in arrivals.  The new technology has been used on a trial basis and has shown good results. 

The Culture Ministry released commemorative coins to mark the 500th anniversary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's arrival in Vrindavan to locate the "lost holy places" associated with Lord Krishna.  In 1515, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who propagated the worship of Lord Krishna and popularised the chanting of 'Hare Krishna' Mantra', visited Vrindavan with the objective of locating the lost holy places associated with Krishna's transcendental pastimes. The government is commemorating the 500th anniversary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's coming to Vrindavan by organising various programmes and exhibitions on his life and teachings in association with Vrindavan Research Institute and ISKCON.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Punjab on November 25, 2016 to attend a function marking the 350th birth anniversary of tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh ji at Sri Anandpur Sahib in Rupanagar district. During the visit Prime Minister  offered prayers at Gurdwara Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur Sahib, the second holiest of Sikh shrines after Amritsar’s Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple and was presented a ‘siropa’ or robe of honour by the Sikh priests at the historic gurdwara. During the visit, Mr Modi also laid the foundation stone of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bathinda.  Modi was accompanied by Punjab Cm PS Badal, Punjab Deputy CM, Sukhbir Badal, Union Health Minister JP Nadda, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Vijay Sampla and many other Akali leaders.

MC Mary Kom, the Olympic bronze-medal winning boxer from India, will receive the 'Legends Award' on 20 December 2016. She will receive the award from the International Boxing Association (AIBA) on its 70th anniversary. At present, the Olympian and a five-time world champion is a Rajya Sabha MP. President Pranab Mukherjee nominated her as a member of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament in April 2016. Mary Kom is also a multiple-time Asian champion and was named an AIBA brand ambassador during the 2016 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships. Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom : Nicknamed "Magnificent Mary", Kom belongs to Kom-Kuki tribe of Manipur, India. She is the only woman boxer to have won a medal in almost each one of the six world championships.She is a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion. She is the only woman boxer from India who qualified for the 2012 Olympics for competing in the flyweight 51kilogram category, where she won the bronze medal.She is also the first woman boxer from India to get a Gold medal in the Asian Games in 2014. The 2014 Asian Games were held in Incheon, South Korea. Awards conferred on Mary Kom includes Padma Bhushan Arjuna Award (Boxing Padma Shree (Sports) Contender for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award People of the Year- Limca Book of Records  Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award Book: Unbreakable is her biography. Mary Kom is a biographical film about her life. Priyanka Chopra has played the lead role in the film.

Scientists in the third week of November 2016 developed a new smart cane that can help transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired by allowing them to sense the obstacles which are beyond the physical length of their walking stick This smart cane is named as 'mySmartCane'. It was developed by the researchers from The University of Manchester in the UK. Smart Cane will be helpful for the visually impaired :  It works much like a common car parking sensor. The ultrasonic ball in the cane wirelessly measures the distance towards the approaching objects and converts this data into an audio signal.The visually impaired user can determine the object distance from the frequency of the sound, before the cane reaches an object. The user can hear the sounds through single headphone or through a pair of boneconducting headphones. This will enable them to listen to their external environment as well without losing their freedom. This modernised white-cane is simple and low-cost as it is fixed with 3D printing and cheap sensors to create an ultrasonic sensory ball, which attaches to the bottom of most existing white-canes. Vasileios Tsormpatzoudis, from the University’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, upgraded the white cane by adding a low-cost embedded computer. For centuries, it was used only as a mobility tool.  He was inspired to develop mySmartCane after witnessing the struggles of his mother who has retinis pigmentosa, a hereditary eye disorder which affects the retina.  

Noted journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of the ‘Times of India’, Dilip Padgaonkar passed away on 25 November 2016, following a heart attack and multi-organ failure. He was 72. He was brought into a private clinic in a critical condition on 18 November 2016, where he was put on ventilator support and dialysis. Though there was a team of doctors trying to revive him, his condition showed no improvement.  Padgaonkar along with Information Commissioner Prof. M M Ansari and Prof. Radha Kumar formed a three-member interlocutors team, who were chosen by the Union Government in 2010 to conduct dialogues with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.  Dilip Padgaonkar : He was born in Pune in 1944. His educational background includes schooling from St. Vincent’s High School, graduation from Fergusson College and finally a doctorate in humanities from the Sorbonne in France.  Being fluent in French, he joined the Times of India as a correspondent from Paris and continued thereon to serve the company in different positions until he was appointed as the editor in 1988. He also worked with UNESCO in Bangkok and Paris from 1978-1986.  Liberal at heart, Padgaonkar throughout his career spoke vehemently against communalism, Hindu nationalism and terrorism. He conveyed the same message through several essays and articles and his book titled ‘When Bombay Burned’, which was based on the 1992-93 Mumbai riots.  He was also passionate about cinema and arts. He even wrote a book on Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini’s visit to India titled ‘Under her Spell’, which was published in 2008.

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