Today Current Affairs 6th September 2016

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The UK has appointed an ambassador to Iran for the first time since 2011, restoring diplomatic relations. Nicholas Hopton, a former British ambassador to Qatar and Yemen, will take up the role.  The decision comes nearly five years after Iranians invaded the British Embassy and one year after the British Embassy reopened in Tehran, which reflects gradual thawing of relations in the wake of the Iranian nuclear agreement. Hamid Baeidinejad, has been appointed the Iranian ambassador to the UK. Reports suggest that the move came as British Airways restored direct flights to Tehran six days a week and British banks continued to increase operations. Iran downgraded its relations with the UK in November 2011 when stronger international sanctions were imposed. A group of students had also attacked the UK embassy compound in Tehran, damaging property and driving the embassy staff away.

IT major Tata Consultancy Services today announced that it has partnered with Thanjavur-based SASTRA Deemed University to train over 2,000 teachers from Tamil Nadu on digital teaching methods, and also set up a teacher’s training centre at the varsity campus. Tata Consultancy Services has partnered with SASTRA University, Thanjavur to establish a Teacher’s Training Centre at the University with the objective of familiarising the teachers with emerging digital teaching methods. The training programme would be offered predominantly to school teachers across primary, secondary, higher secondary and to professional college teachers. Each six-day training programme would be organised in batches of 45 at the centre. The first batch is expected to commence in October.

Indian researchers have made a major discovery by understanding the mechanisms by which preterm births (between 28 and 32 weeks of gestation) occur. Normally, a pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, but in case of preterm births has gestation between 28 and 32 weeks. India with 35% accounts for the highest burden of preterm births in the world. For the first, Indian researchers have found that gram-positive Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria that produce small balloons called membrane vesicles. These small balloons contain toxins that kill both foetal and maternal cells and destroy the collagen that binds the cells together.  The GBS bacteria normally are found in human vagina and their numbers can shoot up in some pregnant women. They are associated with premature rupture of amniotic membrane and preterm birth. The team tested its hypothesis by injecting vesicles into 15 pregnant mice. All the injected mice gave birth to preterm babies and nearly 40% were born dead (stillborn). In mice, the babies were born two days preterm. The preterm babies were much smaller and unhealthy. This is equivalent to two months in humans as the gestation period in mice is 21 days. Preterm babies are not fully prepared to live outside their mother’s womb. They get cold more easily and may need more help feeding than full-term babies. Their bodies are not fully developed and they may have problems breathing and can also suffer from other complications including infections. 

The Union Health Ministry has recently launched the “Leprosy Case Detection Campaign (LCDC)” to eradicate leprosy from the country. The 2-week-long massive campaign was launched by Union Health Minister J P Nadda. It will be focusing on 149 endemic districts in India. LCDC aims to cover more than 1,600 blocks in the 149 districts across 20 states where nearly 3 lakh health teams will undertake door-to-door visits to detect leprosy cases.  Under it nearly 3 lakh health teams will undertake door-to-door visits to detect and treat leprosy and stop its spread. The campaign will be till September 18, 2016. The leprosy has been successfully eradicated at the national level and most of the states have also eradicated it, but it exists at the districts and block level. According to National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP), a centrally-sponsored scheme, India achieved the goal of elimination of leprosy as a public health problem, defined as less than 1 case per 10,000 population till December, 2005.

A newly discovered fish of the genus Tosanoides was in September 2016 named in honour of US president Barack Obama for his commitment to protect nature through the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. The fish is found only within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a World Heritage site encompassing 1510000 square kilometres of ocean waters, including ten islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The site is the largest swath of protected land or water on Earth and is home to millions of seabirds, endangered turtles, endangered monk seals, and more than 7000 species. This is not the first fish to be named after Barack Obama. A species of darters found only in the Duck River and the Buffalo River in US was named Etheostoma Obama in 2012.

The 2016 G20 Summit was held for two days on 4 September and 5 September 2016 at the Hangzhou International Exhibition Centre, Hangzhou, China. The theme of 2016 G20 Summit was Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy. Highlights of 2016 G20 Summit  : G-20 leaders pledge have pledged to continue to work for a globally fair and modern international tax system, foster growth and refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies.  They will continue the work on addressing cross-border financial flows derived from illicit activities, including deliberate trade mis-invoicing, which hampers the mobilisation of domestic resources for development. They vowed to go ahead on the ongoing co-operation on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), exchange of tax information, tax capacity-building of developing countries and tax policies to promote growth and tax certainty.  They also vowed to use all policy tools to achieve the goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. T hey agreed at the summit that refugees are a global issue and the burden must be shared. They called for strengthening humanitarian assistance for refugees. The 2017 G20 summit will be held in Hamburg, Germany from 7-8 July 2017.

Religare Enterprises Limited (REL) has appointed Sunil Godhwani as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on 5 September 2016. Godhwani is appointed the Whole Time Director and CEO for the remaining period of his tenure. Sunil Godhwani : Sunil Godhwani has been the Managing Director since 9 April 2007 and Chairman since 6 April 2010 of Religare. He holds a BS and MS degrees from New York University Tandon School of Engineering.He actively participates in various business platforms such as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). Religare Enterprises : Religare Enterprises Limited (REL) is the holding company for one of India's leading diversified financial services groups.It is headquartered in New Delhi, India. It offers an integrated suite of financial services through its underlying subsidiaries and operating entities.It has one million clients in India and more than 1700 offices across India.

Sri Lanka was declared malaria-free on 5 Sep 2016 and will get a certificate from the World Health Organization on September 6. It is the second country to eradicate malaria in the region after Maldives, which has been free of the disease since 1984. The last locally-transmitted case in Sri Lanka was in October 2012, with the island nation bringing down malaria from 264,549 cases cases in 1999 to zero in November 2012. The certification will done at the 69th session of Regional Committee For South East Asia in Colombo. Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted to people through the bite of infected female anopheles mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, headache, chills and vomiting. How Sri Lanka won the war against malaria.

Assam-based ecologist and conservation activist Bibhuti Lahkar has become the first Asian to be awarded the prestigious Heritage Heroes Award by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Mr Lahkar received the award at the IUCN’s on-going World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr Lahkar was among five conservationists across the globe to be nominated for this year’s Heritage Heroes Award, aimed at recognising “outstanding efforts” around the world in making a difference in the conservation of World Heritage sites in challenging situations. He has been working to save the grasslands, flora and fauna of Manas National Park area for the past two decades and is currently engaged as Manas Landscape Administrator for Aaranyak, an NGO working for biodiversity conservation in Northeast India. On receiving the award, he thanked all who helped him along the way and said he felt humbled and honoured by the recognition for his work.

Former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has been appointed brand ambassador of his home state Tasmania and will join a government-led trade mission to the subcontinent that will explore export opportunities. Ponting has been given the role of Ambassador for Tasmania for the trip from September 2 to 11 in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Singapore. The delegation will involve representatives from the state's education, energy, tourism and hospitality sectors. Ponting will participate in just the trip to India where he will engage high-level business contacts, promote education initiatives with ties to Launceston, and promote the state's high quality experiences, food and beverages. Ricky Thomas Ponting, nicknamed Punter, is an Australian former cricketer who was captain of the Australia national cricket team during its ‘golden era’; between 2004 and 2011 in Test cricket and 2002 and 2011 in One Day International cricket. He is a specialist right-handed batsman, slips and close catching fielder, as well as a very occasional bowler. Ponting holds the incredible record of being the only cricketer in the history of Test cricket to be a part of 100 Test match wins.

The Goa forest department will host the first “Bird Festival” in the coastal state in November, state Environment and Forest Minister Rajendra Arlekar said The bird festival will be held over three days from November 11 to 13 and participants at the event will be treated to bird-watching sessions at the state’s numerous wildlife sanctuaries including Dr. Salim Ali bird sanctuary. The participants will also watch a series of films screened on birds and their habitats, and engage with well known ornithologists who would be conducting technical sessions at the event. The Western Ghats constitute one of the richest mega biodiversity hot spots in the world and by virtue of its location, the state represented a unique confluence of two diverse ecosystems; one influenced by marine environment and the other by terrestrial forest.

The Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), Malappuram, has won the Unesco Confucius Prize for Literacy. The award has been conferred on the JSS in recognition of its literacy-linked skill development activities among the underprivileged in rural areas. The JSS bagged the prestigious international award for its initiatives in applying new technology in literacy.  Innovations such as Braille applications and the talking pen used by the JSS impressed Unesco. UNESCO is known as the "intellectual" agency of the United Nations.  At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and sustainable development, people must rely on the power of intelligence to innovate, expand their horizons and sustain the hope of a new humanism. 

Infosys has entered into a joint venture with the Saudi Prerogative Company to offer IT services in the middle eastern country . The Bengaluru-based IT services firm will own 70 per cent of the JV. The investment in the JV will be a little over $300,000 in the equity share capital of the proposed joint venture company, Infosys said in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange.  Infosys Limited is an Indian multinational corporation that provides business consulting, information technology and outsourcing services. It is headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka. Infosys is the second-largest Indian IT services company by 2016 revenues,and the fifth largest employer of H-1B visa professionals in the United States in FY 2013.

Noted Odia poet Dr Hrushikesh Mallick will be honoured with the 37th edition of prestigious Sarala Award for his outstanding poetry. The annual award carrying a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh and a citation would be conferred on Mallick for his poetry work "Jeje Dekhi Nathiba Bharat", the Sarala Award Committee announced. The annual Sarala Award was instituted in 1979 by Indian Metals Public Charitable Trust(IMPaCT). IMPaCT is the charitable wing of IMFA Group, the leading and the only fully integrated producer of ferro alloys in India. Sarala Award is recognised as the foremost literary award of Odisha.  This award is one of the finest contributions of IMPaCT to glorify Odia literature. The Ekalabya Award also instituted by IMPaCT crowns promising sports talents of Odisha.

Noted Assamese poet, author and literary critic Nalinidhar Bhattacharyya passed away in Guwahati, Assam due to age-old ailments. He was 95. He was a former principal of Arya Vidyapeeth College, Guwahati and was elder brother of well-known Assamese litterateur Birendra Kumar Bhattacharyya had won  Jnanpith Award in 1979. Nalinidhar Bhattacharyya  : Born in 1921 at Meleng Kathgaon near Jorhat, Assam. He had started his literary career as a poet, but later emerged as a leading essayist and literary critic. His best-known collections of poems include Cherashalir Malita, Ei Kunwolite, Ahata Sapon, Bidai Phular Din and Noni Asane Gharat.Awards and Honours : Soviet Land Nehru Award (1983), Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award (1991), Sahitya Akademi Award (2002) and Assam Valley Literary Award (2006). In 2010, he was honoured with the Sahityacharya title by Asam Sahitya Sabha.

Urjit R Patel has assumed charge as the 24th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 4 September 2016. The handover ceremony will take place on 6 September 2016. Patel had been serving as the Deputy Governor since January 2013. Patel succeeds Raghuram Rajan, who after serving a three-year term, is going back to academia. On 20 August 2016, the appointment committee of cabinet approved the appointment of Patel for three years. Urjit R Patel : Urjit Patel headed a panel that recommended landmark changes to monetary policy in India. The changes included a switch to inflation-targeting and the creation of a panel to set interest rates. In January 2016, he was reappointed as the Deputy Governor in Charge of monetary policy, the department he headed from 2013. Earlier between 1990 and 1995, he had worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) covering US, India, Bahamas and Myanmar.He carries a doctorate from Yale University.He also carries M Phil from Oxford.

India's mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy on 5 September 2016 won the 2016 Brazil Open Grand Prix. It was their maiden Grand Prix title. In the final clash, the top seeded Indian pair, ranked World no. 65, defeated Canadian combo of Toby Ng and Rachel Honderich 21-15, 21-16 in straight games at Costa Cavalcante. The 23-year-old Sikky won as many as five international challenger titles in 2015, which includes two mixed doubles and three women's doubles crowns. She was also a part of the bronze medal winning Indian team at the 2014 and 2016 Uber Cup. So far, she played mixed doubles with six different partners, including V Diju, Alwin Francis, Tarun Kona, Manu Attri and K Nandagopal. Pranaav was part of the Indian team that stunned mighty China 3-2 to win a bronze in the Asia Badminton Team Championships.