Current Affairs GK Update: 31st July 2017
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29 Indian cities and towns highly vulnerable to earthquakes
- 29 Indian cities and towns, including Delhi and capitals of nine states, fall under "severe" to "very severe" seismic zones.
- A majority of these places are in the Himalayas, one of the most seismically active regions in the world.
Researchers hack ATM to discharge cash till it's empty
- Researchers from security company IOActive have demonstrated how an ATM can be hacked to discharge cash till it's empty. They found an opening near the ATM's speakers that could be loosened by hackers to expose a USB port. IOActive's team plugged a netbook into the port and added a code into the ATM which tricked it to empty the cash.
July 30 Is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
- India (Mission Network News) — This coming Sunday, July 30, is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
- The International Labor Organization estimates at least 21 million people are in forced labor and sexual exploitation today. The blight is widespread, not isolated to particular countries and communities, and is something several Christian ministries are combatting as an affront to God’s creation.
- Food for the Hungry is one such ministry taking action against human trafficking. But they’re doing it both by rescuing victims and by getting in front of the problem. Food for the Hungry has partnered with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) to minister to the Banjara people in central India.
New Appointments: National
BCCI appoints Sunil Subramaniam as India team manager
- Former Tamil Nadu captain Sunil Subramaniam has been named India's administrative manager on a one-year contract. This is the first instance of the India team getting a full-time, professional manager, marking a departure from the system of ad-hoc appointments made by the BCCI on a tour-to-tour basis. Subramaniam will join the team before the second Test that begins on August 3 in Colombo.
NABARD takes first step to access Green Climate Fund
- India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) signed an Accreditation Master Agreement (AMA) with the Green Climate Fund on Thursday.
- “We need to take cognizance of the population size and income inequality and cannot ignore the basic requirement of electricity, housing and food for the poor. We expect GCF to partner with us on these issues and prioritize their work to overcome these challenges,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
RBI to procure 50 note verifying machines
- The RBI plans to buy 50 Currency Verification and Processing Systems for its regional offices for counting, sorting and authenticating banknotes of all denominations, including the scrapped ones of Rs 500/1,000.
- The machines, for which the central bank has floated a global tender, is proposed to be installed at its 18 regional offices throughout the country.
- As per the Request for Proposal (RFP), the machines should be computer based and microprocessor controlled and capable of processing, counting, sorting and authenticating banknotes into 'fit for circulation', 'unfit for circulation', 'reject notes', 'suspect/forged notes', and 'emission-wise sorting on design and series', among other categories.
- While specifying the system requirements and major technical specifications, the RFP said each system should have a capacity to process at least 30 banknotes per second.
Renault-Nissan alliance becomes world’s largest carmaker
- Renault reported record results in the first half of 2017, helping the Renault-Nissan alliance overtake rivals Volkswagen and Toyota to become the world's largest carmaker. The group sold 5,268,079 cars globally, largely due to the addition of Mitsubishi Motors to the alliance. Volkswagen, which was the world’s biggest carmaker in 2016 despite its diesel scandal, sold 5,155,600 during the period.
'India among top nations with potential for digital payments': Digital Evolution Index 2017
- India has emerged strong, exhibiting a high potential in terms of digital payments and has been categorised under the "break out" segment among 60 countries, according to the Digital Evolution Index 2017.
- The Fletcher School at Tufts University in partnership with Mastercard, unveiled the Digital Evolution Index 2017.
- The Index is a comprehensive research that tracks the progress countries have made in developing their digital economies and integrating connectivity into the lives of billions.
- The 'break out' segment refers to countries that have relatively lower absolute levels of digital advancement, yet remain poised for growth and are attractive to investors by virtue of their potential, a statement issued by Mastercard said.
India to become world's largest milk producer by 2026
- India tripled its milk production in the first quarter of the 21st century and is expected to become the world's biggest milk-producing nation, according to an OECD-FAO report. The country's milk output in 2016 was 160.38 million tonnes, and is expected to reach 227.78 million tonnes by 2026. Further, it will be one-third more than second-placed European Union.
Maharashtra's women commission to ink pact with UNDP
- Maharashtra's women commission will ink an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for rescue and rehabilitation of women who are victims of sex trafficking, acid attack and domestic violence, its chief has said.
- "We have had serious talks with the UNDP wing working in Maharashtra to work for rescue and rehabilitation of the women trafficked for sexual exploitation, victims of acid attack or domestic violence.
- "We are going to sign an MoU with the UNDP in the next 15 days," said Vijaya Rahatkar, chairperson of the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW).
Indian government cuts down on US lobbying to lowest in 7 years
- The Indian government has slashed its expenses towards lobbying in the US with a total payment of USD 120,000 to its registered lobbyist firm in the second quarter of 2017 -- the first cut in nearly seven years.
- The disclosure has been made by BGR Government Affairs, which lobbied on behalf of Republic of India on issues relating to "bilateral US-India relations"
- According to the latest quarterly disclosure report filed with the US Senate, BGR has disclosed total income of USD 120,000 from Republic of India towards "all lobbying related income from the client (including all payments to the registrant by any other entity for lobbying activities on behalf of the client)."
Amethi women to get toilets as Raksha Bandhan gifts
- As part of a campaign to make Amethi open-defecation free, 854 persons in the district have registered themselves as "brothers" with the district committee to gift a lavatory to their sisters on Raksha Bandhan. The registered brothers will build lavatories with their own resources. Later, a lucky draw will be conducted to give up to ₹50,000 cash to three winners.
12 National Highways to serve as emergency landing airstrips
- The Indian Air Force has cleared 12 out of 21 National Highways named in a proposal to convert highways to also serve as emergency landing airstrips. This will enable rescue teams to reach affected areas easily, reports said. The highways will be blocked and used for aircraft landing during emergencies but will remain open for public otherwise, an official said.
Science & Technologies
India to see launch of two moon missions in early 2018
- The country will witness the launch of two lunar missions from Indian soil early next year: Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will launch its Chandrayaan-2 mission, an advanced version of its 2018 mission with the objective of deeper lunar surface probe, and another mission by Team Indus, a group of space enthusiasts who want to unfurl the tricolour on the moon’s surface as part of a global lunar competition.
Scientific mission sets sail to try to uncover the secrets of land mass that once joined Australia and New Zealand that broke apart and sank 75 million years ago
- Zealandia joined Australia and New Zealand together millions of years ago, The area broke away from Australia 75 million years ago and sank into the sea
- A team of 55 scientists will spend two months at sea researching the lost land. Pacific 'Ring of Fire' hotspot for volcanoes and earthquakes developed post-Zealandia
- Australia and New Zealand were once joined by a massive land bridge that disappeared 75million years ago.
- Now, a team of scientists have set sail to discover the secrets of the mysterious land of Zealandia, which snapped off in an earth shattering event and sank into the sea.
- The Australian National University team hope their mission will also produce new knowledge about the Pacific 'Ring of Fire', the hotspot for volcanoes and earthquakes and developed after Zealandia collapsed.
Sports: Awards & Honours
India finishes sixth in world junior squash
- India finished sixth overall in the girls' team event of the 2017 WSF-World junior squash championship in Tauranga, New Zealand, on Saturday.
- In the match for the 5th-6th positions, India went down to USA 1-2, said a SRFI press note here.
- The Indian women’s basketball team defeated Kazakhstan 75-73 in a thrilling contest to climb to Division A of the FIBA Asia Cup 2017, in Bengaluru on Friday.
- In the Division B final between two undefeated teams, India and Kazakhstan, it was the home team that came out victorious.
- India are now promoted to Division A for the next edition of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.
- Kazakhstan held the size advantage over the Indian team and this was punctuated by the play of Kazakh centre Nadezhda Kondrakova. She was able to score from inside and outside to begin the game.
- City football giants Mohun Bagan will confer former club captain and coach Subrata Bhattacharya with the prestigious Mohun Bagan Ratna award while India Women's cricket team veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami will be given a special award at the club's annual day programme in Kolkata on Saturday.
- Former club striker Balwant Singh, who has been signed by Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) draft, will be awarded the best football player of the year prize.
- Debabrata Das will get the best cricket player of the year award. The lifetime achievement award will be bestowed upon former Bengal batsman Shyam Sundar Mitra.
- An exhibition match involving former players will be played to start proceedings at the club ground. There will be also be an opening performance by singer Sagnik Sen.
- Ferrari's Formula One racer Sebastian Vettel won the Hungarian Grand Prix title, finishing ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas. Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton finished fourth in the race. With the win, Vettel extended his lead over rival Lewis Hamilton to 14 points in the drivers' championship table.
Accenture develops artificial intelligence-powered solution for visually impaired
- Accenture today said it has developed an artificial intelligence powered solution to help visually impaired people improve the way they experience the world around them and enhance their productivity in the workplace.
- The solution, called Drishti, was developed as a part of Accenture's focus on Tech4Good, which aims to apply technology to improve the way the world lives and works by solving complex social challenges, a company release said.
- Accenture, plans to introduce Drishti to more than 100 visually impaired employees in India.