Current Affairs GK Update - 3rd August 2017
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Canada opens Olympic Stadium to asylum seekers
- A recent surge in asylum seekers arriving from the United States has prompted Canadian authorities to open a temporary welcome centre in Montreal's Olympic Stadium. The stadium, which has a capacity of 56,000, has set up 150 cots for the asylum seekers so far, along with access to showers and a cooking area.
New Appointments: National
Payback announces Gautam Kaushik as new CEO
- Payback India has appointed Gautam Kaushik as the new Chief Executive Officer.
- Gautam Kaushik will spearhead the India operations and lead all the critical business areas including Strategic Business Planning and Development, Partner Management & Acquisitions and Customer Engagement.
- The company said in a statement that his primary focus would be towards driving engagement through new touch points and creating transformational customer experiences.
- Prior to joining PAYBACK, Gautam was working with American Express (AMEX) as Vice President (VP) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), wherein he drove several potential acquisitions and strategic partnerships impacting critical business growth for AMEX in India.
New Appointments: International
Peter O'Neill re-elected prime minister of Papua New Guinea
- After his People's National Congress emerged as the party with the most MPs from PNG's lengthy national election, Mr O'Neill has gained enough support in the parliament to begin a second five year term in the position.
- The Ialibu-Pangia MP-elect was nominated by Abau MP Puka Temu, before Mt Hagen MP William Duma seconded the motion and Tari MP James Marape closed the nomination.
- He won the vote 60 to 46, a significant decrease in the majority that Mr O'Neill commanded in the past term.
Google's Internet Saathi Digital Literacy Programme Reaches 100,000 Villages in India
- Over ten million women in India have Google to thank for making them more aware of the benefits the Internet offers them. Two years after Google announced the Internet Saathi program, an initiative to bring digital literacy to women in rural parts of India, the company says it has already reached 100,000 villages.
- That's a major milestone for Google, which is working in conjunction with Tata Trusts on the Internet Saathi program. Through the Internet Saathi program, Google is trying to address a major gender-gap problem India faces on the Internet. Even as about 400 million people use Internet in the country, only a small portion of this constitutes of women.
Germany tests facial recognition technology at railway station
- German authorities have launched a six-month test of automatic facial recognition technology at a Berlin railway station, which the country's top security official says could be used to improve security in the future.
- More than 200 people volunteered to have their names and two photos stored for the project at Suedkreuz station, where three cameras film an entrance and an escalator.
- Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement Tuesday "technical progress must not stop at our security services."
Defence & Railway
CCEA approves rail connectivity projects in Tamil Nadu and Kerala
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved three railway connectivity projects worth Rs3,940 crore in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
- The go-ahead for the projects to build double lines to run trains powered by electricity comes at a time when the railways is trying to fend off competition from airlines and road transport.
- These projects are 102km Vanchi-Maniyachchi-Nagercoil via Tirunelveli stretch in Tamil Nadu, 160km Madurai-Vanchi and Maniyachchi-Tuticorin stretch and 86.56km link between Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari, according to the government statements.
- According to a government statement, these projects would not only speed up the operation of goods and passenger trains, but also provide additional capacity for meeting increases in traffic in the future.
Isro's launch capacity will get boost with new facility at Sriharikota by year-end
- We will now be able to assemble parallelly the launch vehicle and bring it to existing two launchpads, said Isro chief.
- It will thus help boost the launch capability of the Sriharikota centre, he said.
- With the new assembly facility, we will be able to assemble more vehicles, he said.
IRCTC launches book now, pay later scheme for tatkal tickets named as "ePaylater" Scheme.
- People can now pay later for tickets booked under the tatkal quota on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC) website, it was announced on Wednesday.
- Till now, this service was available only for general reservations. For tatkal bookings people had to pay first via the standard online payment gateways before the IRCTC portal confirmed their ticket.
- For tatkal tickets, IRCTC users will be able to pay via cash, debit card or credit card by opting to have tickets delivered at their doorstep, said IRCTC payment provider Anduril Technologies.
- IRCTC processes 130,000 tatkal transactions daily. A majority of these tickets is booked within minutes of the quota opening.
Application / Portal
Indian Army develops app for soldiers to track promotions, postings
- The Indian Army has developed a mobile application through which serving soldiers can track details like postings and promotions, an army official said today.
- Through the 'Humraaz' app, soldiers can also view their monthly salary slips and the Form 16 and also download them.
- The mobile app has been developed in-house by the Army and will be launched in the second week of August for prompt communication of information to junior commissioner officers and other personnels.
Schemes / Programme
Cabinet approves MoU between India and BRICs countries to set up BRICS Agriculture Research Platform
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed among India and various BRICs countries for establishment of the BRICS Agriculture Research Platform (BRICS-ARP).
- During the 7th BRICS Summit held on 9thJuly 2015 at Ufa in Russia, Prime Minister Shri Modi proposed to establish BRICS Agriculture Research Centre which will be a gift to the entire world. The Centre will promote sustainable agricultural development and poverty alleviation through strategic cooperation in agriculture to provide food security in the BRICS member countries.
India, Japan join hands for big infrastructure projects in the northeast
- Japan has joined hands with India to aggressively develop infrastructure projects in India’s northeastern states.
- As part of the strategy that is also being viewed as an attempt to contain China, an India-Japan Coordination Forum for Development of North East is being set up to focus on strategic projects such as connectivity and road network development, electricity and disaster management.
- This new initiative, with representation from the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura, comes in the backdrop of Chinese troops making repeated incursions into Indian territory.
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved the proposed merger between Bharti Airtel and Telenor India.
- The tribunal has instructed the companies to hold a meeting of equity shareholders and unsecured creditors. The Sunil Bharti Mittal-led company had announced in February that it would acquire the business of Telenor India for an undisclosed sum.
- Airtel would take over its spectrum in all seven circles — Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam. It would also acquire its licences and operations, including its employees and customer base of 44 million. This would help Airtel augment its overall customer base and network. It will also enable Airtel to bolster its spectrum footprint in the seven circles, with the addition of 43.4 MHz spectrum in the 1800 MHz band.
Kalyani Rafael venture to make missile systems for Indian Army
- In less than 10 months of commencing work, Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS), a joint venture between Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd of Israel, has inaugurated a facility to manufacture missile systems.
- Located about 40 km from here and close to the new international airport, the project will manufacture anti-tank guided missile systems for the Indian Army and thereafter strengthen the facility to make it a hub for supplies to other markets in South-East Asia.
Cabinet apprised of MOU between India and Spain on India-Spain cooperation in renewable energy
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Spain on India-Spain Cooperation in renewable energy. The MoU was signed on 30th May, 2017 at Spain.
- The MoU will help in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries with the exchange of expertise and networking of information.
- Both sides aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable energy issues on the basis of mutual benefit equality and reciprocity. The MoU envisages to establish a Joint Working Committee to review, monitor and discuss matters relation to areas of cooperation.
Summit /Conference / Events / Host
7th Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers held at Shanghai, China
- The 7th Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers was held in Shanghai from 1-2 August. A six-member delegation led by Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, along with Ambassador J.S. Deepak, PR to WTO participated in the meetings.Mr. Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce from China, presided over the meetings. The other delegations were represented by Mr. Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry (South Africa), Mr. Marcelo Maia Tavares de Araujo, Secretary of Commerce and Services of Ministry of Industry (Brazil) and Mr Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development (Russia).
Sports: Awards & Honours
Devendra Jhajharia today became the first paralympian to be recommended for India's highest sporting honour -- the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna -- along with celebrated former hockey captain Sardar Singh.
- Javelin thrower Jhajharia, the first Indian to win two Paralympic gold medals, was the first choice of the awards selection committee headed by Justice (Retd) C K Thakkar.
- The committee has picked 31-year-old midfielder Sardar as its second nominee for the top honour and has suggested that both Jhajharia and Sardar be considered for the award jointly.