Current Affairs Updates: 2nd August 2017
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New Appointments: National
Lt Gen Abhay Krishna named chief of eastern command amid China border tensions
- Lt. Gen. Abhay Krishna has been appointed as head of the Army’s crucial Eastern Command which guards a major part of Sino-India border including the Sikkim sector where armies of India and China have been locked in a face-off. Lt. Gen. Krishna, who was heading the Army’s South Western Command and has vast experience of the Sikkim sector, succeeds Lt. Gen.
- Praveen Bakshi, who retired today. “Lt Gen Abhay Krishna brings with him a great measure of professional competence and vast operational experience,” the Army said in a statement. He has served four tenures along the Line of Actual Control on the northern borders and commanded an infantry battalion in Sikkim.
New Appointments: International
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected as the 18th Prime Minister of Pakistan
- Pakistan's parliament on Tuesday elected Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the country's interim Prime Minister, after the Supreme Court last week disqualified Nawaz Sharif from the post over allegations that he lied on a wealth declaration. Abbasi will hold the post for 45 days while Sharif’s brother Shehbaz Sharif runs in a by-election to take eventually succeed him.
Sameer Garde named Cisco India and SAARC President
- Tech giant Cisco has named former Philips Healthcare executive, Sameer Garde as president for its India and SAARC operations.
- He succeeds Dinesh Malkani, who is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.
- When contacted, Cisco confirmed the development. "Sameer Garde will join the company on August 1, 2017 and take over as President, Cisco India & SAARC," it said in an emailed response.
Airtel Payments Bank ties up with HPCL for ATM services
- Airtel Payments Bank, which has achieved 10 million customer base since launch, has tied up with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited for enabling all its petrol stations that are typically cash surplus to be used as ATM points for customers of the bank. In order to grow scale and reach a larger customer base which may be unbanked, CEO Shashi Arora tells Gulveen Aulakh that the government should do away with the requirement of filling Form 60 for users who have annual income less than Rs 2 lakh.
Mukesh Ambani overtakes Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing to become second richest man in Asia
- Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has overtaken Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing to become Asia's second-richest man. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ambani's wealth has seen a rise of $12.1 billion with the oil-to telecom conglomerate's shares seeing a surge with investors rallying behind his decision to launch the cheapest 4G phone, according to a Bloomberg report.
- Mukesh Ambani in the Reliance Industries Annual General Meet last month announced the launch of the JioPhone. The phone is effectively free, but buyers will have to pay a refundable security deposit of Rs 1,500 which will be returned to the consumers after a period of 36 months. Ambani also announced that the board of directors of the conglomerate had had recommended 1:1 bonus share to shareholders. Bonus issue with a ratio of 1:1 means that shareholders will receive an additional share for every share of RIL they hold in the present
Royal Enfield parent Eicher Motors becomes most valuable bike maker in India
- Eicher Motors Ltd on Monday became India’s fourth most valuable automaker, displacing Bajaj Auto Ltd, which held that position so far. With this, Eicher, parent of Royal Enfield Ltd, has also become the country’s most valuable two-wheeler maker, beating Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp Ltd, which have much higher revenues.
Arvind Panagariya resigned as vice chairman of the Niti Aayog
- Arvind Panagariya resigned as vice chairman of the Niti Aayog today, saying he would like to return to academics in the US. The 64-year-old economist said he had discussed his exit two months ago with PM Modi, who is also the chairman of Niti Aayog. He also said he had written to the Prime Minister, requesting that he be relieved of his duties by August 31 as he was not getting an extension of leave from the Columbia University.
Supreme Court bans four toxic chemicals from crackers
- Ahead of the festive seasons of Dussehra and Deepavali, the Supreme Court on Monday prohibited the use of five chemicals, labelled as toxic by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), in the manufacture of firecrackers.
- A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta recorded in its short order that, “that no firecrackers manufactured by the respondents shall contain antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic and lead in any form whatsoever. It is the responsibility of the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure compliance particularly in Sivakasi.”
China building high-speed rail tunnel below Great Wall
- China is reportedly constructing a 12-km-long high-speed train tunnel through one of the portions of its iconic Great Wall to connect Beijing with Zhangjiakou city which will co-host 2022 Winter Olympics. The line is designed for trains traveling up to 350 kmph and is expected to shorten the single-journey time from more than 3 hours to approximately one hour.
Russia bans VPNs to stop users from accessing censored sites
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a censorship law that bans the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other technologies which allow people to access prohibited websites and surf the web anonymously. Amnesty International criticised the law which will come into force on November 1 this year, as the "latest blow in an assault on online freedom."
Serena calls for equal pay for black women in personal essay
- Tennis star Serena Williams wrote a personal essay in which she demanded equal pay for black women. In the essay, Williams said that for every dollar earned by men in the United States, black women earn just 63 cents. "The cycles of poverty, discrimination and sexism are much, much harder to break than the Grand Slam titles record," Williams wrote.
Science & Technologies
ISRO to launch a ‘back-up’ navigation satellite by August end
- The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is an independent regional navigation satellite system developed by India on par with US-based GPS.
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch its navigation satellite IRNSS-1H by the end of this month to augment the existing seven satellites of NavIC constellation, a senior ISRO official said.
- To be launched on board PSLV-C39, IRNSS-1H will be a “back up” navigation satellite for IRNSS-1A, one among the seven satellites in the constellation, as its three rubidium atomic clocks on board had stopped functioning.
- “IRNSS-1H on board PSLV-C39 will be launched by the end of this month. The exact date will be decided shortly,” a senior ISRO official told PTI.
- He said IRNSS-1H will be a back up for IRNSS-1A, whose three “imported atomic clocks had failed”.
Flipkart completes merger eBay India at $500 million.
- E-commerce major Flipkart on Tuesday said it has completed the merger with eBay India's operations.
- With this, eBay.in will now be a Flipkart Group company. The deal was announced in April when the Flipkart group raised $ 1.4 billion from global technology majors eBay, Tencent and Microsoft.
- In exchange of an equity stake in Flipkart, eBay had made a cash investment of $ 500 million and sold its eBay.in business to Flipkart.
Facebook acquires AI startup to make Messenger smarter
- To build out a more elaborate personal assistant for the Messenger users, Facebook has acquired an artificial intelligence (AI) startup Ozlo that specialises in understanding text-based conversations.
- The four-year-old start-up claims that its virtual assistants can understand and provide answers to questions which do not have simple "yes" or "no" answers.
- "By joining a team (Facebook) that shares our values and our vision, we will be able to continue to work on building experiences powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning," a post on Ozlo's website read.
- Ozlo has raised $14 million from a number of investors, including Greylock.
Sports: Awards & Honours
Jadeja and Ashwin at the top of ICC Test Rankings
- As the new ICC Test Rankings were revealed, India's star spinner Ravindra Jadeja retained his no.1 ranking on the bowling charts.
- Fellow countryman Ravichandran Ashwin displaced Sri Lanka's Rangana Herath to reclaim the second place.
- Others among the top 10 ranked Test bowlers include Rangana Herath, James Anderson, Josh Hazlewood, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Stuart Broad, Vernon Philander, and Neil Wagner, in that order.
Dhrupad maestro Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar dies aged 78
- Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, maestro and custodian of the venerable Dhrupad tradition of Hindustani classical music and a member of the eminent Dagar family, passed away aged 78 in Pune late on Sunday night after a brief illness.
- Known affectionately to his legions of disciples and admirers as ‘Saeed Bhai’, the maestro was born in Alwar in Rajasthan in 1939 and was the youngest among the eight famous Dagar brothers – all exponents of the ancient, complex and elaborate Dhrupad tradition.
Pulitzer prize winning playwright Sam Shepard passes away
- Playwright-actor Sam Shepard, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his play 'Buried Child', passed away at the age of 73. He died of complications from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Shepard also received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for his role in 'The Right Stuff'.
Kannada actor Dhruv Sharma passes away due to cardiac arrest
- Kannada actor Dhruv Sharma passed away on Tuesday morning at the age of 35, reportedly due to cardiac arrest and multiple organ failure. Dhruv was also a player of the team Karnataka Bulldozers in the Celebrity Cricket League. The actor was known for starring in films like 'Snehanjali' and 'Thippaji Circle'.
3 Indian firms in Forbes Asia 'Best Under a Billion' list
Three Indian companies have been featured on Forbes' 2017 list of 'Best Under a Billion' in Asia. This includes fruit juice maker Manpasand Beverages, software company 8K Miles, and Kellton Tech Solutions. The list ranks 200 listed companies with annual revenue between $5 million and $1 billion on the basis of profitability, growth, and indebtedness.
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