Current Affairs 21st September 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Ajay Shirke was re-elected unopposed as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary. The decision was made in the 87th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the BCCI . The cricket board also appointed former wicketkeeper-batsman MSK Prasad as the new chairman of selectors. Prasad has replaced Sandeep Patil as the chairman of selectors. Shrike, who has earlier headed the Maharashtra Cricket Association, was appointed as BCCI secretary in July after Anurag Thakur was elected the president, following Shashank Manohar's decision to move to the International Cricket Council (ICC). The Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha Committee had earlier warned the BCCI not to conduct any business in the AGM related to 2016-17.  

Junaid Ahmad has become the World Bank's Country Director for India, replacing Onno Ruhl who served a four-year term based out of the national capital.  Hailing from Bangladesh, Ahmad was Chief of Staff to the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim before being elevated to the current position.  Ahmad holds a PhD in Applied Economics from Stanford University, a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University, and a BA in Economics from Brown University.  As of June 2016, the bank's net commitments to India stood at $27 billion (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development $16 billion, International Development Association $11 billion) across 95 projects. 

The 193 countries of the United Nations (UN) have signed a landmark declaration to rid the world of drug-resistant infections or Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or superbugs. It is the fourth time a UN declaration has been reached on a health issue, following HIV in 2001, non-communicable diseases in 2011 and Ebola in 2013.  The signatory countries now have two years to submit action plan. These submitted plans are expected to address the seriousness and scope of the situation. It will also agree on sustainable, multisectoral approaches to addressing antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or superbugs :  Antimicrobial resistance happens when microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs. These microorganisms are also termed as “superbugs”.  As a result, the medicines or drugs become ineffective and infections persist in the body futher increasing the risk of spread to others. AMR has become one of the biggest threats to global health and endangers other major priorities, such as human development. All around the world, many common infections have become resistant to antimicrobial medicines used to treat them which resulted in longer illnesses and more deaths. At the same time, not enough new antimicrobial drugs especially antibiotics are being developed to replace older and increasingly ineffective ones.

The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has approved 10000 crore rupees Ken-Betwa project on 20 September 2016, India’s first inter-State river interlinking project. With this, India will have a river project will be located within a tiger reserve for the first time.  Ken-Betwa project : It will irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region but will also submerge about 10 percent of the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh.The main feature of the project is a 230-km long canal and a series of barrages and dams connecting the Ken and Betwa rivers. It will irrigate 3.5 lakh hectares in Madhya Pradesh and 14000 hectares of Uttar Pradesh in Bundelkhand.The key areas are the Makodia and Dhaudhan dams, the latter expected to be 77 m high and responsible for submerging 5803 hectares of tiger habitat in the Panna tiger reserve. Chhatarpur, Panna, Tikamgarh, Raisen, and Vidisha districts of Madhya Pradesh and Mahoba, Jhansi and Banda districts of Uttar Pradesh will benefit from assured irrigation supply, water supply and power.  On the other hand, about 6388 people in 10 villages will be affected due to the submergence by Daudhan reservoir. Around 13499 people living in the 28 villages will be affected due to the submergence by Makodia reservoir and will have to be resettled. Seventeen lakh residents of nearby towns and villages in both States will benefit from improved drinking water and irrigation facilities.

Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on 20 September 2016 released the third list of Smart Cities that will get funding for initiating urban reforms. The list includes names of 27 new cities. With this, the number of cities selected under Smart City Mission for financing implementation of smart city plans has gone up to 60. The 27 smart cities announced are from 12 States including 5 from Maharashtra, 4 each from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, 3 from Uttar Pradesh and 2 each from Punjab and Rajasthan. Nagaland and Sikkim have made it to the smart city list for the first time. List of the 27 cities Punjab  : Amritsar, Jalandhar  Maharashtra Kalyan: Dombivili, Nagpur, Thane, Nashik, Aurangabad  Madhya Pradesh Ujjain, Gwalior  Andhra Pradesh : Tirupati  Karnataka :  Managaluru, Tumakuru, Shivamogga, Hubbali-Dharwad,  Uttar Pradesh  : Agra, Kanpur, Varanasi  Odisha :  Rourkela  Tamil Nadu  : Vellore, Madurai, Thanjavur, Salem Rajasthan  : Kota, Ajmer  Gujarat  : Vadodara  Nagaland :  Kohima  Sikkim  : Namchi

Transportation app Ola has tied-up with Yatra.Com for Cab Booking Interface Integration. It has integrated its application interface on on 20 September 2016. Through this integration, users will be able to book a ride directly through Yatra.Com's app without having the Ola application installed on their devices. It will also give customers the access to availability, booking, estimation and tracking across categories, directly on the Yatra app.  Ola has also opened up its Application Programming Interface (API) to other apps like Makemytrip, Oyo Rooms and others to extend its mobility offerings to a larger user base.

International Day of Peace was observed across the world on 21 September 2016. The 2016 theme for the day is The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace. The day is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell was rung at UN Headquarters in New York City. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as "a reminder of the human cost of war"; the inscription on its side reads, "Long live absolute world peace". Earlier in September 2015, the 193 member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The new ambitious 2030 agenda calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve these goals over the next 15 years. It aims to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. The Sustainable Development Goals are integral to achieving peace in our time, as development and peace are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

China became only the third country to win more than 100 gold medals at a single edition of the Paralympic Games 2016. Seven of those came in athletics with another two each in table tennis and swimming as China ended the day with 105 gold, 81 silver and 51 bronze medals. The United States and Britain are the only other nations to achieve a century of gold medals at a single Paralympics. Both did so at the 1984 Games in New York, when the US claimed 136 victories and Britain 107.

P V Bharathi, General Manager, Canara Bank, has been elevated as Executive Director with effect from September 15.  Bharathi began her banking career in December 1982 as a probationary officer in Canara Bank and has risen to the post of General Manager in August 2012.  She has wide exposure in the operational areas of banking and headed various functional wings and possesses in-depth knowledge of corporate credit, risk management, retail credit, recovery.

The Bombay Stock Exchange has tied up with Twitter, which will give its investors live status, opening and closing figures of the market and stock prices. This makes it the first collaboration in Asia between a stock exchange and a social networking site. BSE has been running a Twitter handle since 2012 but gives no real time updates and hence has comparatively less impact. BSE and Twitter admitted that this collaboration would democratise the financial information by enabling the millions of Indian investors to access the stock updates. To help investors follow the market thoroughly, Twitter has activated four new features. They are, hourly tweets, autoresponder tweets for Sensex 30 stock prices, auto direct messages for opening and closing figures of Sensex30, and a live display photo that will change every two minutes to project the Sensex figure. BSE will, through its Twitter handle @ BSE India, send hourly tweets of the Sensex figures, level, and company stock prices.

Infrastructure lender IDFC Ltd has issued commercial papers (CPs) worth Rs 700 crore . The company issued Commercial Papers for an aggregate amount of Rs 700 crore on September 12, 2016 having maturity date of September 29, 2016. IDFC said the CPs have been rated as A1+ by ICRA.  Instruments with the aforesaid rating are considered to have a strong degree of safety regarding timely payment of financial obligations and such instruments carry lowest credit risk.  The aggregate amount of commercial papers outstanding as on date is Rs 700 crore. CPs are unsecured, short-term debt instrument issued by a corporation, typically for the financing of accounts receivable, inventories and meeting short-term liabilities.

The Telangana government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Goa government to help the latter in information technology (IT) development. The Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Telangana IT minister K T Rama Rao signed an MoU and decided to work together in IT development. The Goa government sought help and cooperation from the Telangana government in IT, skill development and innovation sectors. Through this MoU, Telangana will help the Goa government in formulating relevant policies. It is mutual cooperation between both the States, the release said quoting KTR, adding that an outpost of T-Hub(Telangana Hub) will be set up in Goa. T-Hub is India's largest incubator for startups, located in Hyderabad.

The Harvard Foundation named Nobel laureate and Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi its 2016 Humanitarian of the Year in a ceremony, while students from the Harvard Islamic Society stood outside to protest what they consider her silence toward the country’s persecuted Muslim minority. Suu Kyi, elected head of Myanmar’s government in April, was placed under house arrest in 1989 for protesting against the country’s dictatorship and served 15 years in detention.  In 1991, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her "non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights."

A first-of-its-kind Indian music and dance festival aimed to showcase the country's rich and diverse culture was kicked off in iconic Sydney,Australia. The 10-week festival "Confluence: Festival of India" was inaugurated by Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma last night with spectacular joint performances by Indian and Australian artists. Almost 2000 people attended the two-hour long show which showcased the rich and diverse culture of Indian music and dance along with Australian performers.  The festival, an initiative of Indian government supported by the Australian side, will run across seven cities including Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide.  The concert which marked the launch of the festival included the famous Manipuri drummers, Sufi singing artist Sonam Kalra, odissi, Kathak and Bharatnatyam dancers, Australian musicians and aboriginal dancers who received a standing ovation from the jam-packed audience. 

Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) US have developed a novel spectroscopic technique to find signs of present or former extraterrestrial life on the Mars.  The technique incorporated on instrument dubbed as SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals) may help NASA’s new Mars rover to be launched in 2020 to find signs of life on Mars. The new Mars rover will be tasked to probe a region of the planet scientists believe could hold remnants of ancient microbial life. It will collect samples of rocks and soil, and store them on the  Martian surface and these samples would be returned to Earth so that scientists can meticulously analyse them. The rover can quickly and non-invasively identify sediments on the Mars that are relatively unaltered, and that maintain much of their original composition.

Invasive species of Giant African Land Snail (GALS) was sighted near Goa University campus at Taleigao plateau.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural resources (IUCN) has listed GALS (Achatina fulica) as one of the world’s 100 most invasive species. GALS (Achatina fulica) is gregarious, nocturnal and can be aggressive in its feeding frenzy. Their length ranges from 7 cm to 20 cm and the Goa University specimens are identical at 11 cm in length. They are known to be dangerous, as they can reproduce faster and take over entire ecosystems. Potential threat: (i) To agro-horticultural crops and local flora in Goa (ii) Could also displace local land snails species (Xetatle Konge). (iii) Pose a health threat as they are vectors of human disease such as brain fever (eosinophilic meningitis). An invasive species is a non-native organism that causes ecological harm after being introduced to a new environment. Once they enter a new ecosystem, they can outcompete native organisms for resources like food, especially if they lack natural predators. Some invasive species also carry diseases that kill native organisms and many will consume native plants and animals.  Invasive species can ultimately cause the decline or extinction of native species, decreasing biodiversity in an ecosystem. Humans are responsible for the spread of a majority of earth’s invasive species, often carrying them to different parts of the world on ships.  

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was has conferred with the prestigious membership of the Asia-Pacific Aerospace Quality Group (APAQG) under the category Full Member with voting rights on 16 September 2016.With this, India became the seventh nation to join the APAQG under TRHE International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG). The other nations of APAQG are China, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan. Highlights of the membership :  HAL is now a part of Global Quality team dedicated to bring improvements in the Aerospace Quality. The company can participate in international forums and contribute to the development and revision of current and new quality Standards. The membership enables HAL to have access to various Quality System Standards and other guidelines developed by IAQG.  To become a part of IAQG, HAL has to be a member of APAQG and then graduate to IAQG as a voting member. TRHE International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) : The IAQG is an international non-profit cooperative global organisation that brings aviation, space and defence companies together to deliver more value at all levels of the supply chain. It establishes and maintains Quality Management System standards (9100 series) and controls the certification system.The IAQG comprises Americas (AAQG), Europe (EAQG) and Asia-Pacific (APAQG) sectors.

A once-in-12-years festival of Buddhist spirituality, culture and tradition began on 16 September 2016 at the Hemis monastery of Drukpa lineage in Ladakh region of India. The festival will conclude on 22 September 2016. Hundreds of thousands of monks, devotees and tourists have reached Ladakh for the Naropa Festival, which is also called as the Kumbh Mela of the Himalayas. The Naropa Festival draws huge numbers of Buddhists, especially those from the Drukpa branch which is traditionally practised in Ladakh and Bhutan. Dancers in bright, silk costumes and striking headgear performed to drum and pipe music as part of the festival being held in a mountain village to commemorate the 1000th birth anniversary of Buddhist saint Naropa. On the other hand, a 60-foot-tall silk embroidery brocade of Buddha Amitabha was unfurled on 19 September 2016. The 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the 1000-year-old Drukpa Order based in the Himalayas, unfurled the brocade amidst chanting of prayers. A special stand was erected at the Naropa Palace, the venue of the carnival, to display the largest silk embroidered thanka or brocade. Saint Naropa : Naropa was an Indian Buddhist Mahasiddha.He was a contemporary of Atisa, a Buddhist Bengali religious leader and master. Naropa was born in a high status Brahmin family of Bengal.At the age of 28, he entered the famous Buddhist University at Nalanda where he studied both Sutra and Tantra. He eventually gained the title Guardian of the Northern gate.He was the disciple of Tilopa and brother, or some sources say partner and pupil, of Niguma.Some accounts relate that Naropa was the personal teacher of Marpa Lotsawa. Other accounts suggest that Marpa held Naropa's lineage through intermediary disciples only. Hemis Monastry : The Hemis Monastry is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Drukpa Lineage, located in Hemis, Ladakh. The monastery existed before the 11th Century.Saint Naropa is connected with this monastery.The monastery was re-established in 1672 by the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal.

The World Leaders has adopted the New York Declaration at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly's (UNGA) first-ever Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016.The delegations adopted the landmark Declaration containing bold commitments to address current issues and to prepare the world for future challenges, including, to start negotiations leading to the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018. Highlights  : Protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status. This includes the rights of women and girls and promoting their full, equal and meaningful participation in finding solutions.Ensure that all refugee and migrant children are receiving education within a few months of arrival.  Prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence.Support those countries rescuing, receiving and hosting large numbers of refugees and migrants. Work towards ending the practice of detaining children for the purposes of determining their migration status.Find new homes for all refugees identified by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as needing resettlement. Expand the opportunities for refugees to relocate to other countries through labour mobility or education schemes.Strengthen the global governance of migration by bringing the International Organization for Migration (IOM) into the UN system. The adoption of the New York Declaration means that more children can attend school; more workers can securely seek jobs abroad and more people will have real choices about whether to move once the conflicts are resolved.  

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