Current Affairs Update - 5th July 2017
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In a first by an Indian PM, Modi leaves for Israel
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday left for Israel, the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the Jewish nation. He will discuss with his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu the common challenges like terrorism and ways to boost economic ties.
- Mr. Modi will be in Israel till July 6 before travelling to Hamburg to attend a G-20 summit on July 7-8.
- In Israel, he will meet President Reuven Ruvi Rivlin and address the CEOs of the two countries as well as the Indian diaspora. He will visit the Yad Vashem Memorial Museum to honour the memory of the victims of the holocaust that counts among the greatest tragedies in human history. He will also pay his respects to the courageous Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during the liberation of Haifa in 1918.
N Chandrasekaran replaces Harish Bhat as chairman of Tata Global
- Tata Global was one of the Tata Group entities which was not chaired by Chandrasekaran despite him leading the group's holding company, Tata Sons. Traditionally, the chairman of Tata Sons also heads the group's flagship operating entities.
- With Tata Global under his wings, Chandra now chairs six listed entities of the group. The other five are Tata Consultancy Services, Indian Hotels, Tata Steel, Tata Motors and Tata Power.
- It is expected that Chandra will soon take over as the chairman of Tata Chemicals, whose board is chaired by group veteran Bhaskar Bhat.
ADB grants $220 mn for better road connectivity in Rajasthan
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday signed a $220 million loan agreement with India for improving road connectivity, transport efficiency and safety on state highways of Rajasthan, an official said here.
- "The ADB and the government on Monday signed a $220 million loan for improving connectivity as well as transport efficiency and safety on state highways of Rajasthan," a Finance Ministry statement said.
- The loan is the first tranche of the $500 million Rajasthan State Highways Investment Programme, approved by the ADB Board in May this year, that will upgrade about 2,000 km of state highways and major district roads to two-lane or intermediate-lane standards to meet road safety requirements, the ADB said in a statement.
Microsoft to equip 55000 Indian schools with digital classes
- Microsoft India on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) to equip 55,000 schools across 23 Indian states with digital classrooms. This partnership aims to create an enabling ecosystem for schools to improve accessibility, affordability, and quality of education. NISA currently caters to over 90 lakh students across the country.
Pune NGO wins UN prize for sustainable farming model
- Swayam Shikshan Prayog, a city-based NGO, has been awarded the United Nations Development Programme’s Equator Prize for devising an ecologically sustainable agriculture model to combat the adverse impacts of drought. It is the only Indian organisation to win the award, making the cut from more than 800 nominations across 120 countries.
- Fifteen projects from organisations across Africa, Asia and Latin America won the award in recognition of innovative solutions to tackle poverty, and environment and climate challenges. Initiatives from Pakistan and Kazakhstan won recognition for the first time.
India-Thailand military exercise begins in Himachal
- A 14-day joint military training exercise between India and Thailand started in Himachal Pradesh
- The joint exercise of the Indian Army with the Royal Thailand Army commenced at Bakloh in Chamba district, the official said.
- The aim of this exercise is to build and promote closer relations while exchanging skills and experiences between the two armies.
- "Exercise Maitree 2017 is a continuation of a series of joint exercises between the Indian Army and the Royal Thailand Army. The previous edition of the exercise was held at Krabi in Thailand in 2016.
India successfully test-fires QRSAM weapon system
- The QRSAM is also a truck-mounted missile system and it has a 360° rotatable, electro-mechanically operated, turret-based launch unit.
- India on Monday successfully test-fired indigenously developed Quick Reaction Surface-To-Air Short Range Missile (QRSAM) from a test range along the Odisha coast.
- The sophisticated missile developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was test fired at about 11.30 AM from a truck-mounted canister launcher from launch complex-3 at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near here.
NASA developing first asteroid deflection mission
- NASA is developing the first-ever mission that will deflect a near-Earth asteroid, and help test the systems that will allow mankind to protect the planet from potential cosmic body impacts in the future.
- The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) — which is being designed and would be built and managed by the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory — is moving from concept development to preliminary design phase, the US space agency said.
Signature Global ropes in Vidya Balan as brand ambassador
- Realty firm Signature Global, which is into development of affordable homes, has roped in Bollywood actress Vidya Balan as brand ambassador.
- Signature Global has launched 9 affordable housing projects, comprising about 9,300 units in a price range of Rs 15-25 lakh, in Gurgaon in the last three years of operations. All projects are under the Haryana Affordable Housing scheme.
- In May, Signature Global received Rs 200 crore funding from private equity player KKR, while it raised Rs 150 crore from ICICI Prudential last year.
Google Doodle Celebrates 140 Years of the Wimbledon Championships
- As Wimbledon 2017 kicks off on Monday, Google rolled out a new Doodle to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the world's oldest tennis tournament.
- The Doodle features a green background — an homage to the grass courts on which Wimbledon matches are played — and two animated tennis rackets playing a quick round. The Google letters form the audience, save for the letter L, which becomes the match's umpire.
- A bird tucked away on the top right corner is Rufus the Hawk, "who dutifully shoos away any pigeons who land on the court during a match" according to Google.
Ebola Outbreak Declared Over in Democratic Republic of Congo After Four Deaths
- A small outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is over, the World Health Organization said Sunday.
- Four people died and four survived being infected by the virus, WHO said. It was the first reported outbreak of Ebola since the 2014-2016 epidemic in West Africa that infected more than 28,000 people and killed more than 11,000 of them.
- This one was in a far more remote area but aid groups moved in as quickly as they could in a region with few roads and almost no communications to warn people and to control the virus.
Kambala is now legal in Karnataka, President promulgates ordinance
- In a massive victory to Karnataka and Kambala enthusiasts, President Pranab Mukherjee promulgated the ordinance legalising the sport.
- A communication from the top office said that the President has approved the promulgation of the prevention of cruelty to animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017. Now, Kambala is officially legal in Karnataka.
Revenue department removes additional excise duty on cigarettes, tobacco
- The finance ministry has removed additional excise duty on tobacco, pan masala and cigarettes with effect from 1 July, following the GST implementation
Nandan Nilekani, Helion's Sanjeev Aggarwal launch $100-million fund Fundamentum
- Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani and Helion Venture’s Sanjeev Aggarwal have launched an investment fund called Fundamentum with a corpus of $100 million to back startups looking for growth capital.
- The corpus may be extended to $200 million if the fund sees more opportunities, the two founders said. The fund, which has so far closed $50 million, will see one-third of the corpus coming from Nilekani and Aggarwal. Fundamentum has already brought onboard six entrepreneurs who will als ..
Snapdeal rejects $850 mn buyout offer from Flipkart
- Snapdeal's board has rejected a takeover offer of $800-850 million (around ₹5,500 crore) from larger e-commerce rival Flipkart, according to multiple reports.
- Snapdeal's board felt the proposed takeover amount undervalues the company, reports added. While this offer has been rejected, talks are still said to be on between Snapdeal and Flipkart for a possible deal.
India expresses interest in hosting FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019
- The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has submitted an expression of interest to host the Under-20 FIFA World Cup in 2019. Preparing to organise October's FIFA Under-17 World Cup, AIFF president Praful Patel has said that hosting the FIFA Under-20 World Cup would be the next "logical step for the development of football in India".