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

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The Indian Space Research Organsiation (ISRO)  has started a series of ground and aerial tests linked to the critical Moon landing of Chandrayaan-2. These tests were started as ISRO’s new site at Challakere in Chitradurga district, 400 km from Bengaluru.  This site has simulated craters. ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) is the lead centre for the second Moon mission. It has artificially created close to ten craters to simulate the lunar terrain and test the Lander’s sensors.  ISAC will conduct many tests including on avionics and electronics, testing the Lander’s legs, followed by a combined full test. Chandrayaan-2 mission :  Chandrayaan-2 mission is tentatively set for late 2017 or early 2018. The mission includes an Orbiter, a Lander and a Rover.  The Orbiter spacecraft will be launched from Sriharikota will travel to the Moon and release the Lander, which will in turn deploy a tiny Rover to roam the lunar surface. The mission includes soft-landing on Moon and moving a rover on its surface. All three project components will be sending data and pictures to Earth.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has amended the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 to facilitate the e-transfer of postal ballot.  The new rules empower a returning officer in any constituency to send postal ballots to an eligible voter by electronic means as specified by the ECI. In India, postal ballots have played a critical role in extending the electoral process to voters who are unable to exercise their franchise due to either the nature of their job or geographical location of their posting. Under it, the returning officer can send ballot through a web portal with a ‘One Time Password (OTP)’ to voters.  The voter needs to download the ballot for voting. The voter after voting will physically return the ballot through post. It should be noted that two-way e-voting has not been recommended by the Election Commission, citing security and secrecy concerns. The e-transfer of postal ballot will replace existing system in which postal ballots were sent through the Department of Posts.  It will ease the logistical issues involved in ensuring that the ballot paper of the constituency, where a voter is eligible to vote, is sent in time. Thus, it will cut time in transmission of the ballot paper and help the EC overcome logistical problems.

India-born Rajeev Misra was appointed the SoftBank Vision Fund, constituted by Japanese telecom and Internet major Softbank Corp. The SoftBank Vision Fund intends to make investments in the technology sector globally. It is managed in the United Kingdom by a subsidiary of the Saudi Binladin Group (SBG). It is reportedly one of the world's largest of its kind and will be operated from London. Rajeev Misra : Prior to his new assignment, Rajeev served as Head of Strategic Finance at SoftBank Group Corp for nearly two years from 3 November 2014.He joined SoftBank in November 2014. He had spent five years at UBS as the Global Head of Credit and Head of Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities in Europe, Middle East and Africa. He also served as the Head of Credit Derivatives and Chief of Global Credit Trading at Deutsche Bank AG.He completed his schooling at Delhi Public School, New Delhi. Later, he pursued Chemical Engineering in IIT-Delhi for a year before switching over to Pennsylvania University, US where he completed his graduation in Mechanical Engineering and MTech in Computer Science. Subsequently, he obtained a degree in MBA from Sloan School of Management after which he joined Merrill Lynch.

Peace activist Tom Hayden, whose radical views were at the forefront of the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s, passed away on 23 October 2016 following a prolonged illness in Santa Monica, California. He was 76. He was a stalwart of America's New Left who served 18 years in California's State Legislature and gained a dash of Hollywood glamour by marrying actress Jane Fonda.  Tom Hayden : As an ideological leader of the influential Students for a Democratic Society, he authored its Port Huron statement, a visionary document that still inspires anti-authoritarian and pro-democracy movements today.  He ventured into the Deep South, where he joined voter registration campaigns and was arrested and beaten while taking part in the freedom rider protests against racial segregation.He became best known as one of the Chicago Eight activists, convicted on conspiracy and incitement charges following protests at the turbulent 1968 Democratic National Convention. He was ultimately acquitted of all charges. Later he became director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center, a nonprofit left-wing think tank devoted mainly to analysis of continued US military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  In later years, his writings were published in national publications including The New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Denver Post. He also served on the editorial board and was a columnist for The Nation magazine, and was the author of more than 20 books.

G Balakrishna won the Mr Asia title at the 5th Phil-Asia bodybuilding championships in the Philippines. 25-year-old Balakrishna is a Bengaluru-based water tanker driver. G Balakrishna :  In 2013, he won Mr Universe Under-24 junior contest in Germany In 2014, he won Mr Universe title in the same category at the world championship in AthensHe joined the water-tanker business in 2010 in Whitefild, Bengaluru to supplement his income as a gym instructor. He is a resident of Ramagondanahalli near Varthur An ardent fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Balakrishna was trained by renowned bodybuilders from Mumbai and Punjab, named Sangram Chougla and Manish Kumar respectively As per reports, he is known as the Arnold Schwarzenegger of Whitefield  

Portugal’s Renato Sanches was awarded the 2016 European Golden Boy award. Sanches will be handed a trophy at a Monte Carlo ceremony. He defeated Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Bayern's Kingsley Coman and AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to bag the prize. Sanches was selected following a vote by journalists from 30 newspapers across Europe to name the best player in 2016 under the age of 21. Renato Sanches :  Renato Sanches is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for German club Bayern Munich and the Portugal national team. He began his career at Benfica, a Portuguese sports club. Later, he agreed a move to Bayern Munich for an initial 35 million euro, the highest fee for a Portuguese player leaving the domestic league. He made his full international debut in March 2016. He was chosen for UEFA Euro 2016 at the age of 18, making him the youngest Portuguese to play in an international tournament. He scored one goal throughout the competition and won the Young Player of the Tournament. Golden Boy Award  : The Golden Boy is an award that is given by sports journalists to a young football player playing in Europe perceived to have been the most impressive during a calendar year. All nominees must be under the age of 21 and play in a European nation's top tier.The prize was established by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport in 2003.In 2015, the award was won by France’s Anthony Martial.

Tiangong-2, the experimental space lab of China, on 23 October 2016 successfully launched a micro-satellite, Banxing-2 (the word means Companion Satellite). The micro-satellite is roughly the size of a desktop printer. At present, Tiangong-2 is orbiting the Earth with two astronauts on board. Banxing-2 :  Weighing 47 kilograms, the micro satellite has a series of visible light cameras, including a 25 megapixel camera and wide-angle imagers. Its mission is to take photographs of Tiangong-2 and the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, which docked with the lab on 19 October 2016. The satellite, which the media has nicknamed "Selfie Stick", also has an infrared camera that is temperature - sensitive. With three solar panels, the satellite can also generate enough power to adjust its orbit to shoot pictures of the lab and spacecraft. The Shenzhou-11 spacecraft carried two astronauts into space on the 17 October 2016. It docked with Tiangong-2 two days later. In 2008, its predecessor, Banxing-1, did the same work for Shenzhou 7.

Comedian Bill Murray was honoured with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour on 23 October 2016. He was presented with the award at the ceremony organised at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington DC. Murray was awarded the 19th Mark Twain Prize for making an impact on U.S. society similar to Mark Twain's. Bill Murray : Bill Murray is an American actor, comedian and writer. He first gained recognition on Saturday Night Live, a role which earned him his first Emmy Award. He is known for his roles in Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II,Groundhog Day among others.In 2003, he earned a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for Best Actor for his role in Lost in Translation. He won his won his second Primetime Emmy Award in 2014 for Olive Kitteridge. Mark Twain Prize for American Humour : The Mark Twain Prize for American Humour is an American award for humour awarded by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It is being awarded annually since 1998. It is named after the 19th century novelist, essayist and humorist Mark Twain. It is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to American humour.The prize is presented and show is taped in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington DC. Recipients of the Twain Prize receive a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt. In 2015, the honour was presented to Eddie Murphy.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra has appointed former Chief Justice of Orissa High Court Bilal Nazki as the chairperson of the State Human Rights Commission on 24 October 2016. In addition, former District and Session Judge Jang Bahadur Singh Jamwal was also appointed as the Member of the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission (JKHRC). The appointments will come to effect from the date they assume charge of their offices. Bilal Nazki : Justice Nazki retired as Chief Justice of Orissa High Court in November 2009. His tenure as a Chief Justice – four days – is the shortest tenure in the history of the Indian judicial system. Later, he was appointed as the chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Bihar. He also headed the committee set up by the Union Government to review the functioning of the Haj Committee of India and its state units in 2013.His father, Ghulam Rasool Nazki was a broadcaster, poet and literary figure who won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1987.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has released annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin on 24 October 2016. As per the bulletin, the average level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere across the globe passed 400 parts per million (ppm) in 2015. The statistics released by WMO is a symbolic and worrying milestone in growth of manmade climate change. Highlights of the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin : The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide (CO2) accounted for about 65% of radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases. The pre-industrial level of about 278 ppm represented a balance between the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere. Human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels has altered the natural balance and in 2015, globally averaged levels were 144% of pre-industrial levels.   In 2015, global annual average concentration of CO2 concentrations reached 400.0 ppm. Theincrease of CO2 from 2014 to 2015 was larger than the previous year and the average over the previous 10 years.In addition to reducing the capacity of vegetation to absorb CO2 the powerful, El Nino also led to an increase in CO2 emissions from forest fires. Methane (CH4) is the second most important long-lived greenhouse gas and contributes to about 17% of radiative forcing. Atmospheric methane reached a new high of about 1845 parts per billion (ppb) in 2015 and is now 256% of the pre-industrial level. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is emitted into the atmosphere from both natural (about 60%) and anthropogenic sources (approximately 40%), including oceans, soil, biomass burning, fertilizer use and various industrial processes. Its atmospheric concentration in 2015 was about 328 parts per billion. This is 121% of pre-industrial levels. It also plays an important role in the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects us from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. World Meteorological Organization : The World Meteorological Organization is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 191 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873.It was established in 1950. It became the specialised agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.It is a member of the United Nations Development Group.

Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah unveiled a book 'Andhere Se Ujale Ki Aur' authored by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at the BJP headquarters. Jaitley said that he was fortunate to work with some great political leaders and had seen several ups and downs in the party. Politicians generally jot down their political feelings in their lives when their political careers are over.

The World Free Zones Orgànisation (World FZO) has appointed P. S. Raman, Joint Development Commissioner (Retd), Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone, Special Economic Zone, Mumbai, as its Regional Representative for SAARC countries comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The World FZO is an international multilateral organisation registered in Geneva and headquartered in Dubai, committed to supporting management and continuous development of Free Zones.  

Mobile payment and commerce company Paytm is upgrading its board, with Amit Singhal, former head of search at Google being one of the new members. A top Goldman Sachs executive is also set to come on board in the next two weeks, as the company strengthens its financial and technology management.  Paytm’s board currently consists of its CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, along with SAIF Partners Ravi Adusumalli and Vivek Mathur, AliPay’s Jing Xiandong and Peng Yijie, In-Mobi’s Naveen Tewari, WhatsApp’s Neeraj Arora, Sapphire Ventures’ Jai Das and Tata Gorup’s Ratan Tata.  Singhal, 48, has been instrumental in shaping Google Search and was one of the earliest team members. The Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, born IIT-Roorkee graduate, rewrote search algorithms written by Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.   

Almatti dam, one of the largest reservoirs in Karnataka, was chosen for the World Bank’s Award of Excellence for best utilisation of funds for renovation to enhance the strength of the dam.  The World Bank had granted Rs.72 crore to the Krishna Bhagya Jal Nigam Limited to prevent seepage which could damage the dam. The project was taken up under the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) for strengthening the reservoir which is over five decades old.  While similar work was carried out in more than 250 dams across 10 States.

Rajasthan is all set to launch next month its own brand olive oil, which it claims, will be the country's first indigenously-produced brand. The state will be launching its olive oil under the brand 'Raj Olive Oil' at the Global Rajasthan Agri-tech Meet (GRAM) . After the product's launch, the state will work on avenues to market it and seek cooperation from experts to increase its production.  According to agriculture, the state till date has auctioned more than nine tonnes of olive oil and plans to market 4,500 litres under 'Raj Olive' at GRAM through Rajasthan Olive Cultivation Limited (ROCL)- a venture of the state government, India-based Finolex Plasson Industries, and Indolive Industries of Israel.  Rajasthan's tryst with olives began in 2008 with 1.12 lakh saplings brought from Israel and grown here. The saplings were planted in 182 hectares of government farms in seven agri- climatic zones - Bassi, Bakalia, Santhu, Barore, Tinkirudi, Lunkaransar and Bsabasina villages.  ROCL started transferring saplings to farmers in 2009 and till date has produce 11,574 kg of olive oil with Ganganagar, Bikaner, Hanumangarh and Nagore districts being the largest producers.  Rajasthan has seen a growing demand for olive cultivation among farmers with the fruit giving higher returns per hectare, besides the subsidies they get after the government declared it the state's 'first plantation crop'.  According to figures with the ROCL, India currently imports 14,500 metric tones of olive oil from countries like Spain, Italy and Greece, and the bottled varieties of extra virgin and pomace olive oil cost between Rs 700 and Rs 1,000 a litre.  Olive tea has its own health benefits. It is anti-oxidant which brings down bad cholesterol and prevents cardio-vascular problems .

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG) held a 6th joint Experts Meeting on Corruption in Paris, France. The meeting was chaired jointly by the FATF President, Mr. Juan Manuel Vega-Serrano (Spain) and the G20 ACWG Co-Chair, Mr. Creon Butler (United Kingdom). On transparency and beneficial ownership given the topic’s priority in both the FATF and G20 agendas and its particular interest to the international community overall. A G-20 Seminar on Corruption & Global Economy was held two days before this meeting. It was organized in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Headquarters. Participants in this dialogue included 104 delegates from 36 jurisdictions and 16 international organisations.The delegation from India is headed by Joint Secretary (International Cooperation), DoPT, Shri Devesh Chaturvedi.

Arunachal Pradesh is one of the land of tribes. The festivals here are abound with zest and life – based on aspects related to nature and agriculture. Dance is the soul of all the festivals here; performed with pride and belief. Losar“ or The New Year festival is the most important festival of Tawang District in Arunachal Pradesh. The Monpa Tribe celebrated this as the coming of a new year. The Monpas are the major portion of the population in the Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh. The initial celebrations start with people cleaning their homes and discarding all the old items to welcome the festival. This festival mostly falls in the last part of February or early part of March. The festival generally lasts for eight to fifteen days and is celebrated with loads of fun and festivity. During the festival days, festivities prayers are offered for prosperity and good health.

A team from the Indian Army's Gorkha Rifles has won a gold medal at one of the most gruelling exercises in the world. Team 2/8 Gorkha was awarded a gold medal in Exercise Cambrian Patrol organized by the British Army. The British Army in Wales has tweeted a video of the ceremony where the Indian soldiers were awarded the medals. The medal went to the eight men of the 2nd Battalion of 8 Gorkha Rifles. The Cambrian Patrol is an annual international military patrolling exercise in the rugged Cambrian Mountains of Wales. It is regarded as one of the toughest tests modern soldiers can face. The exercise consists of a 55-km course that snakes across the Cambrian Mountains. It is a mission and task-oriented exercise, which means the participating team must complete tasks given to them. All this must be done within 48 hours.  The Cambrian Patrol is not a competition. Gold (75 percent), silver (65-74 percent) and bronze (55-64 percent) medals are awarded based on the number of points earned on completion of the gruelling course. Certificates are awarded to teams that finish with lower than 55 percent of the points.

World Development Information Day was observed on 24 October 2016. The day is annually observed to draw attention of world public opinion to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them. The General Assembly in 1972 instituted World Development Information Day via resolution 3038 (XXVII). The Assembly decided that the date for the Day should coincide in principle with United Nations Day, 24 October, which was also the date of the adoption, in 1970, of the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade. The Assembly felt that improving the dissemination of information and the mobilization of public opinion, particularly among young people, would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development, thus, promoting efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development.

As per new study, India’s school education system is under-performing in terms of quality in female literacy when compared to its neighbours, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.  These findings were released by International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (or Education Commission). It shows that India’s education system is under-performing. The proportion of women who completed five years of primary schooling in India and were literate was 48%, much less than 92% in Nepal, 74% in Pakistan and 54% in Bangladesh. The female literacy rates in India went up by one to 15% after completing two years of schooling. Corresponding numbers for Pakistan and Nepal were three to 31% and 11 to 47% respectively. Around the world, female literacy rates are improving. However, it is not clear if that is because of improvement in school quality.  India ranks low in global indices of female literacy as well. African countries Indonesia, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania all rank higher than India. India was ranked 38th among the 51 developing countries for female literacy rates when countries are ranked by earliest grade at which at least of the women are literate. For this research, researchers had devised a way to measure the quality of education around the world, with a specific focus on girls.  They had used data from nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) which is one of the most comparable data sources on living standards in developing world.

The board of Tata Sons Ltd has replaced Cyrus Mistry as Chairman of the India’s largest conglomerate and named his predecessor Ratan Tata as the interim chairman for four months on 23 October 2016. No reason was given for removing Mistry, but it is believed there were differences over management style and his approach of selling assets after writing them down. Mistry, 48, who replaced Tata, 78, as chairman in December 2012, was only the sixth group Chairman in nearly 15 decades and the first from outside the Tata family. He will remain a director of the individual companies, though his tenure as Chairman is the shortest so far at the group. Cyrus Pallonji Mistry Appointed as Chairman of Tata Sons Besides, the board also named a five-member search committee, which includes Tata, to choose a successor within four months. The other members of the committee include TVS Group head Venu Srinivasan, Amit Chandra of Bain Capital, former diplomat Ronen Sen and Lord Kumar Bhattacharya. All of them, except Bhattacharya, are on the board of Tata Sons. The Committee has been constituted with a mandate to complete the process in four months. Also, there will be no change at the level of CEOs in the operating company. Tata will be interim head of the group while a Selection Committee appointed by the company searches for a replacement.

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