Current Affairs GK Update: 29th and 30th July 2017
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Jeff Bezos: Amazon founder overtakes Bill Gates to become world’s richest individual - for less than a day
- A rally in e-retail behemoth Amazon’s share price on Thursday propelled founder Jeff Bezos to the top of a list of the world’s richest individuals—for less than a day.
- Mr Bezos, who is also chairman and chief executive of the Seattle-based company, was worth almost $91bn (£70bn) after Amazon’s share price rose more than 1 per cent in morning trading in New York.
- That put his fortune ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates'. The latter has a net worth of around $90.7bn and has been at the top of Bloomberg’s rich list since 2013.
International Tiger Day observed on July 29
- The International Tiger Day, an annual celebration to promote a system for protecting natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness for tiger conservation, is celebrated worldwide on July 29. It was first observed in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit. Reportedly, the world has lost 97% of all wild tigers in a bit over 100 years.
World Hepatitis Day 2017: Hepatitis B can cause infertility in males- Observed on July 28.
- HBV impacts spermatogenesis negatively in males. This causes a reduction in the sperm count, free testosterone levels, motility, viability, and morphology which further impacts overall fertility and ability to produce an offspring in them.
- According to WHO, approximately 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. As per their latest assessment, in India, around 40 million people are chronically infected with HBV and 6 to 12 million are suffering from HCV.
- The ‘WHO Global hepatitis report, 2017’ indicates that a large majority of these people lack access to life-saving testing and treatment. As a result, millions face risk of chronic liver disease, cancer, and death. What the general public is not aware of is that HBV is also one of the reasons behind infertility in males.
New Appointments: National
PV Sindhu appointed Group-I officer in Andhra Pradesh
- Presenting the offer letter, Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu said he was hopeful that Sindhu would bring more medals to the country in future.
- Naidu had promised a Group-I post to Sindhu when she won the silver medal in Olympics; accordingly, she was appointed the deputy collector.
New Appointments: International
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi declared as interim Pakistan Prime Minister
- Former petroleum minister Shahid Abbasi has beenappointed as interim prime minister of Pakistan.
- Abbasi will be at the helm of affairs until Shehbaz is elected as member of parliament.
- The ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has selected Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to be the interim prime minister of the country, Times Now reported.
- According to Times Now, the decision was made by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during an informal consultative meeting of the party.
- Abbasi would serve as the chief executive of Pakistan for 45 days. In the meantime, Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif would contest elections to make his way into the country's National Assembly.
RBI sets up Supervisory Colleges for six Scheduled Commercial Banks
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has informed that supervisory colleges have been setup for the six Scheduled Commercial Banks which have sizeable international presence.
- The six Scheduled Commercial Banks are State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Axis Bank and Punjab National Bank.
- The objectives of the colleges are to enhance information exchange and cooperation among supervisors, to improve understanding of the risk profile of the banking group and thereby facilitate more effective supervision of internationally active banks.
NPCI receives final nod from RBI to function as Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit
- National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payment systems, has said it has received a final nod from the Reserve Bank of India to function as the Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) and operate the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).
- On August 31, 2016, 8 BBPS operating units, which received in-principle approval from RBI, took part in the pilot. Almost after a year of running the pilot, streamlining the technology and business processes, NPCI has now received final clearance from RBI.
- A. P. Hota, MD & CEO, NPCI said, “There is a specific direction from RBI to operate the Central Unit as a Strategic Business Unit of NPCI. Nearly 45 crore bills comprising electricity, telecom, DTH, water and gas are permitted under BBPS. This initiative will provide a major push to digital payments as it is a big step forward in formalising the bill payment system in the country.”
- The total number of Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOU) certified by NPCI now stands at 24. The certified units include three public sector banks (Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank), 10 private banks, five cooperative banks and six non-bank biller aggregators.
Indian Overseas Bank goes live with Bharat Bill Payment system
- Public sector Indian Overseas BankBSE -0.39 % has offered Bharat Bill Payment System, introduced by the National Payments Corporation of India, for its customers.
- BBPS is an integrated bill payment system that offers inter-operable online bill payments to customers.
- The services include online payments of electricity, telecommunication, DTH, water and gas bills, the Chennai headquartered bank said in a statement.
- Indian Overseas Bank is one of the three public sector banks (apart from Bank of Baroda and Union Bank of India) to get the approval from RBI for providing the service.
ICICI Prudential Life asked to take over Sahara India Life Insurance Company
- Less than two months after appointing an administrator to manage the affairs of Sahara India Life Insurance (SILIC) and acting on a report from the official, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has directed ICICI Prudential Life Insurance to take over the life insurance business portfolio of the beleaguered SILIC effective July 31.
BSE inks cooperation pact with Egyptian Exchange
- Leading bourse BSE today joined hands with Egyptian Exchange (EGX) for cooperation in exchange of information across business areas.
- In a statement, EGX Executive Chairman Mohamed Omran said that the exchange aims to cross list and trade securities that would provide new investment alternatives to investors in both markets.
- The exchanges signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), through which they have created possibilities for a range of opportunities to be studied and explored for the development of their businesses, products and markets and to share knowledge and build on both bourses' strategies to strengthen international connectivity.
PNB ties up with Bajaj Allianz General for distribution
- State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance have signed an agreement for the distribution of insurance products through the branches.
- Under this agreement, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance will offer personal lines of insurance products such as health, personal accident, home, motor and travel along with commercial line of insurance products such as property, marine and engineering insurance, etc to the bank's customers, a joint statement said today.
- The bank has widespread network of around 7,000 branches.
- The insurance company will also cater to the bank's significant base of rural and semi-rural customers by offering them its wide range of rural insurance products.
Bengaluru ranks 40 among top 50 cities for women entrepreneurs: Dell
- Bengaluru may be India's Silicon Valley but ranks at the 40th spot among the top 50 global cities that foster high-potential women entrepreneurs, according to a report by tech giant Dell.
- The only other Indian city in the top 50 tally is Delhi, that at the 49th spot, just ahead of Jakarta.
- Dell, as part of its annual Women Entrepreneur (WE) Cities Index, ranks cities in terms of its ability to attract and foster growth of women-owned firms.
- New York ranked numero uno in the list, followed by Bay Area, London, Boston and Stockholm.
- Singapore was at the 8th spot overall, the only city from Asia Pacific and Japan region.
HS Prannoy climbs to 17th spot in BWF rankings
- Courtesy his US Open Grand Prix Gold title triumph, Indian shuttler HS Prannoy has jumped six places to be at 17th position in the latest BWF world rankings.
- Parupalli Kashyap, who reached his first final at US Open in more than two years after recovering from multiple injuries, also gained 12 places to be at the 47th spot.
- Sameer Verma, who has qualified as the fourth Indian for the World Championship, jumped four spots to be 28th in the standings.
J&K tops list on human rights violation under AFSPA
- The Home Ministry has revealed that human rights violations under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) are highest in Jammu and Kashmir with 92 complaints against Indian Army and paramilitary forces in 2016. Assam comes second with 58 complaints and Manipur third at 21, reports added. Ministry asked security personnel in AFSPA-governed zones to follow strict code of conduct.
India is world's third-biggest beef exporter
- India is the world's third-biggest exporter of beef and is projected to hold on to that position over the next decade, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD).
Delhi Metro first to become 100% 'green'
- Delhi Metro has become the only completely 'green' Metro system in the world for adhering to green building norms for its residential colonies, officials said on Friday.
- Delhi Metro has secured the platinum rating for adherence to green building norms for its 10 residential colonies from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
- The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had earlier received the green certificates for its Phase-3 stations, depots, and sub-stations said a statement.
PM Narendra Modi launches deep-sea fishing scheme for Rameswaram fishermen
- Acceding to a long-pending demand of the Tamil Nadu government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a deep-sea fishing scheme for fishermen of this region, saying it would help them overcome problems of fishing in Palk Strait.
- Under the initiative taken up under the "Blue Revolution" scheme, the Centre would allocate Rs 1,500 crore over a period of time for conversion of bottom trawling boats into deep sea liners.
Haryana Bans Use Of Liquid Nitrogen In Drinks, Food Items
- Following hospitalisation of a Delhi businessman for drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen this month, the Haryana government has prohibited flushing/mixing of liquid nitrogen with any drink or food article, an official said today.
- Food and Drugs Administration Department's Commissioner (Food Safety) Saket Kumar said orders to this effect haved been issued under Section 34 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, (Central Act 34 of 2006).
- Mr Kumar said according to expert medical opinion, any drink or food article whose preparation involves flushing/mixing of liquid nitrogen is harmful for humans.
Mumbai Metro launches India's first mobile ticketing system
- Mumbai Metro One on Wednesday announced the launch of India's first Mobile Ticketing System 'OnGo' which will help commuters pass the AFC gates using their mobile phones, an official said here.
- The system is in the final advanced stage of testing and will be implemented by mid-August. With this, the days of queuing up for single-return tickets, tokens, top-ups and store value passes will end.
- Through the Mumbai Metro App, commuters will be able to buy their token or pass and generate a QR Code which will be used to gain access through the automated fare collection (AFC) gates.
- The 'OnGo' will be particularly convenient for those commuters wanting to book their journey through tokens or passes at their own convenience even from outside the Metro stations and avoid queues before ticketing windows.
Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday launched 'Sagar Vani' system.
- Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday launched 'Sagar Vani' system to communicate and help the coastal community, especially fishermen, with advisories and warnings related to the safety at sea.
- The Integrated Information Dissemination System (IDS) 'Sagar Vani', a first in India, was launched as the Minister inaugurated the 11th Foundation Day of Earth Sciences Ministry here.
- 'Sagar Vani' seeks to target the reach of information to the 9.27 lakh people involved in actual fishing either full or part time.
NITSER (National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research) Amendment Bill passed in Rajya Sabha
- NITSER (National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research) Amendment Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha on 26 July 2017.
- The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 28 March 2017. Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of State (HRD) in Rajya Sabha informed that the Bill proposes to introduce two new Institutions namely Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Tirupati and IISER Berhampur in the Second Schedule of the NITSER Act, 2007.
- Five IISERs at Kolkata (2006), Pune (2006), Mohali (2007), Bhopal (2008) and Thiruvananthapuram (2008) mandated with promoting quality education and research in the sciences were established. With the establishment of the two new IISERs there are now seven IISERs.
Niti Aayog clears six proposals for high-tech public transport
- Mass rapid transportation technologies such as hyperloop, metrino and pod taxis could soon be a reality in India after Niti Aayog cleared half-a-dozen proposals of the transport ministry exploring options to improve public transport.
- Following the go-ahead, the transport ministry has formed a six member committee, headed by a former top official of Railways, to study safety parameters associated with these technologies and global practices.
- A senior government official at Niti Aayog told ET, the think tank approved the proposals of the transport ministry with a condition that the ministry conducts trial run of all these technologies and puts in place safety measures before starting commercially operation.
Sehwag, Usha named in Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award committee
- Former India opener Virender Sehwag and celebrated athlete P T Usha have been named in a 12-member Committee which has been handed the job to pick this year’s Khel Ratna and Arjuna awardees.
- The Committee, to be headed by Justice (retd) C K Thakkar, will meet on August 3 to select this year’s awardees.
- The Committee has Mukund Killekar (boxing), Sunil Dabbas (Kabaddi), M R Mishra (Journalist), S Kannan (Journalist), Sanjeev Kumar (Journalist), Latha Madhvi (Para athlete), Anil Khanna (sports administrator), Injeti Srivastava (DG, SAI) and Rajvir Singh (joint Secretary, Sports Ministry) as the other members.
Indonesia, Australia host counter-terrorism meeting
- Indonesia and Australia on Saturday co-hosted a counter-terrorism meeting to address the rising threat of foreign fighters, as the Philippines battles pro-Islamic State militants.
- The one-day gathering in North Sulawesi brings together six countries including Malaysia, Philippines and New Zealand.Ministers are due to discuss the challenges posed by growing terrorism in Southeast Asia as well as concerns that IS is trying establish a regional caliphate in the Philippines, where government forces are pitted against Islamist gunmen holed up in a southern city."I am hopeful that this meeting will produce a valuable outcome so together we could fight terrorism, especially in Marawi, Southern Phillipines," Indonesia's chief security minister Wiranto told journalists late Friday ahead of the event.
Chongqing welcomes BRICS labor and employment ministers
- Labor ministers from the BRICS countries are attending the two-day 2017 BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers' Meeting in China's southwestern municipality of Chongqing.
- More than 100 officials are attending the meeting, which aims to ensure continued progress in labor markets, as well as acknowledging a number of shared challenges, including the need to raise labor force participation rates and to address high levels of inequality.
- The third meeting of the BRICS' labor and employment ministers has a focus on the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the future of the workplace.
- China, president of the group, says it will place people’s livelihoods first and prioritize employment.
China produces gas from 'flammable ice' under South China Sea
- China has successfully produced natural gas from methane hydrate, also known as "flammable ice", in an experimental project in the South China Sea, the land and resources ministry said on Saturday.
- A drilling platform deployed off the coast of the southeastern Chinese city of Zhuhai for 60 days produced a total of 309,000 cubic metres of natural gas, a record extraction volume from gas hydrate, the Ministry of Land and Resources said in a notice on its website.
Science & Technologies
Iran claims launch of satellite-carrying rocket into space
- Iran successfully launched its most advanced satellite-carrying rocket into space, the country's state media reported Thursday, in what is likely the most significant step yet for the launch vehicle.
- A confirmed launch of the "Simorgh" rocket would mark another step forward for the Islamic Republic's young space program, but is likely to raise alarm among its adversaries, who fear the same technology could be used to produce long-range missiles.
- The U.S. State Department called the launch "provocative." Iranian state television said the rocket, whose name means "phoenix" in Persian, is capable of carrying a satellite weighing 250 kilograms (550 pounds). The report did not elaborate on the rocket's payload. Other state-linked agencies including the semi-official Fars news agency also described the launch as successful.
New AI system can create 3D models from photos
- Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a new artificial intelligence software that can create 3D models from two dimensional photographs, an advance that could allow future robots to navigate in the real world.
- When fully developed, the method called SurfNet could have significant applications in the fields of 3D searches on the internet researchers said. “The “magical” capability of AI deep learning is that it is able to learn abstractly,” said Karthik Ramani, professor at Purdue University in the US.
- “If you show it hundreds of thousands of shapes of something such as a car, if you then show it a 2D image of a car, it can reconstruct that model in 3D,” Ramani said. “It can even take two 2D images and create a 3D shape between the two, which we call ‘hallucination’,” he said.
Defence & Railway
India’s first unmanned tank Muntra is here.
- India's first unmanned tank developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been rolled out of the Chennai lab.
- Muntra, the unmanned tank, has three variants - surveillance, mine detection and reconnaissance in areas with nuclear and bio threats.
- It is likely to be used in Naxal-hit areas. Recently, two remotely operated vehicles designed like an armoured tank were on display at an exhibition as a tribute to former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
Application / Portal
National Centre for Seismology launches ‘India Quake’ – An App for Earthquake Parameter Dissemination
- Union Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Dr. Harshvardhan launched an app “India Quake” on the occasion of Foundation Day of Ministry of Earth Sciences in New Delhi today.
- National Centre for Seismology (NCS) operates national seismological network with 84 stations. These stations are connected to NCS headquarter through VSAT for real time data communication.
- In the event of an earthquake NCS locates them using data from its network and disseminate earthquake parameters to all the concerned government department and other stake holders through SMS, email and fax. However this causes some delay in dissemination and also restricts the number of recipients.
Schemes / Programme
Punjab govt launches 'Care Companion Programme'
- Brahm Mohindra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab today launched its flagship health scheme “Care Companion Programme” (CCP) targeted at improving patient outcomes through better family engagement and education.
- Disclosing this official spokesperson of the Health Department said that during the launch of this ambitious scheme Mr. Brahm Mohindra said that Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Punjab, has entered into an MoU, with Noora Health India Trust, a healthcare non-profit organization dedicated to patient and caregiver education that works to improve patient outcomes through better family engagement and education through the award winning Care Companion Program (CCP).
- He said that This innovative program turns hospital hallways/wards into classrooms and taps into the most compassionate and willing resource available for care i.e. the patient's own family, by teaching the family high-impact medical skills to take care of their loved ones in the hospital and at home.
Australia sends its first uranium shipment to India
- Australia has sent its first uranium shipment to India for testing purposes ahead of possible commercial sales. This comes after India and Australia signed an agreement for civil nuclear cooperation in 2014 to meet India's growing energy needs. This is a first of its kind agreement as India is not a party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Sri Lanka signs deal on Hambantota port with China
- The deal had been delayed by several months over concerns that the port could be used by the Chinese military.
- The government has given assurances that China will run only commercial operations from the port, on the main shipping route between Asia and Europe.
- Sri Lanka's government says money from the deal will help repay foreign loans.
- Under the proposal, a state-run Chinese company will have a 99-year lease on the port and about 15,000 acres nearby for an industrial zone.
- The plan envisages the eviction of thousands of villagers but the government says they will be given new land.
- China has pumped millions of dollars into Sri Lanka's infrastructure since the end of a 26-year civil war in 2009.
- Protests against the agreement, which were organised by the Port Workers Union, took place on the streets of the capital, Colombo, on Saturday.
Russia signs deal to use Syria air base for 49 years
- President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Russia to keep its air base in Syria for almost half a century, official documents show.
- The original deal, signed in Damascus in January, sets out the terms under which Russia can use its Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province which it has used to carry out air strikes against forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad.
- Putin approved the agreement on Wednesday, after the two chambers of the Russian parliament backed it earlier this month, according to the government's official information portal.
Summit /Conference / Events / Host
Indonesia to host AFC U-19 championship
- The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Competition Committee on Wednesday officially awarded Indonesia the hosting of the AFC Under-19 championship next year.
- The decision was made during a meeting of the AFC competition committee, held on Tuesday night, reports Xinhua news agency.
- The AFC U-19 championship is scheduled to be held from October 18 to November 4 of next year.
- The committee felt that Indonesia was regarded as the most favourable among the bidders.
- The appointment was expected to assist the country's recovery and development of soccer following the recent FIFA ban.
Sports: Awards & Honours
Lovepreet Singh Clinches Bronze Medal at Asian Youth & Junior Weightlifting Championships
- India’s Lovepreet Singh on Friday clinched a bronze medal in Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships at Kathmandu. Lovepreet, in 105 kg men junior category, finished third as he lifted 151 kgs in snatch and 180 kgs in clean and jerk. Taking his combined effort to 331 kgs.
- Lovepreet’s effort won India its fourth medal in the championships. India has now won one gold and three bronze medals at Asian Youth & Junior Weightlifting Championships in Nepal.
Junior Weightlifting Championships: Ajay Singh strikes bronze, India get its third medal
- India's Ajay Singh has clinched the bronze medal in Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships to take his country's tally to three medals in Kathmandu on Thursday evening. The weightlifter finished at the third spot in 77 kg men's junior category after lifting 143 kg in snatch and 172 kg in clean and jerk.
- Earlier, S Nirpupama Devi had bagged a bronze medal in 69 kg women youth category while Konsam Ormila Devi had won gold in 44kg weight category on the opening day on Wednesday.
- On the last day of the championships today, Kosum Taba will compete in 94 kg men junior category while Lovepreet Singh will take part in 105 kg men junior category.
16-year-old golfer Diksha Dagar wins silver at Deaflympics
- Indian golfer Diksha Dagar won a silver medal in the women's individual golf event at the Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey. The 16-year-old amateur golfer from Haryana lost to 25-year-old Kaylin Yost of USA in the final round. Diksha is the only Indian golfer (Under-18) to be ranked in the top 500 worldwide.
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