Current Affairs Update - 17th September 2017
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE OZONE LAYER: 16 SEPTEMBER 2017
- The United Nations’ International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated on the 16th September every year. Commemorating the 1987 signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the day advocates activities that create awareness on topics related to climate change and ozone depletion.
- The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the sun's rays, thus helping to preserve life on the planet. As such, it is paramount that we protect the ozone layer from harmful substances such as HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons). HCFCs are both ozone-depleting substances and powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to the thinning of the ozone layer. Nearly 2,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in adding to global warming, the successful reduction of HCFC emissions remains one of the UN’s greatest challenges.
New Appointments: National
Abanti Sankaranarayanan elected chairman of The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)
- Abanti Sankaranarayanan, chief strategy and corporate affairs officer, Diageo India has been unanimously elected as the chairman of the board of The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the industry watchdog said in a statement on Thursday. She was earlier serving the advertising industry association as vice-chairman. Diageo Plc is a British liquor giant which runs its subsidiary United Spirits Ltd in India.
Sekhar Basu gets 1-yr extension as Atomic Energy Secretary
- Noted scientist Sekhar Basu was today given one-year extension as Atomic Energy Secretary, till mid-September next year.
- This is his second extension on the post. He was appointed to the post in October 2015 and his tenure was to end in September 2016. However in August last year, he was given one-year extension.
- The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the extension of Basu's tenure till September 19, 2018, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.
Delhi is ranked 142, while Bengaluru stands at 130, Kolkata at 131 and Mumbai at 138 in a global ranking on most stressed out cities of the world.
- Can’t seem to shake that stress off? No wonder – New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru are among the most harried cities in the world, according to a new study that reveals the world’s most and least stressful cities of 2017.
- Stuttgart is the least stressed out city across the globe, the 2017 Global Least and Most Stressful Cities Ranking says, with four of the top 10 relaxing cities situated in Germany. Of the 150 cities ranked, Hanover is in third place, Munich in fifth place and Hamburg in joint ninth place with Graz, Austria.
- Delhi is ranked 142, while Bengaluru stands at 130, Kolkata at 131 and Mumbai at 138.
India has favoured a discussion in the UN General Assembly, the first in 12 years, on ‘Responsibility to Protect’ and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
- As many as 113 countries, including India voted in its favour, while 21 others including Pakistan opposed the idea of having a debate. Seventeen countries registered their abstention.
- Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said that the discussions on the concept required open, inclusive and transparent deliberation.
Venkaiah Naidu lays foundation for vocational training institute in Hyderabad, the first of its kind in Telangana aimed at boosting skill development opportunities among women.
- The competent authority has approved the expenditure of Rs. 19.95 crore for the construction of the RVTI-Hyderabad building. The campus will be spread over approximately four acres of land within the campus of ATI-Vidyanagar, Hyderabad.
- Naidu said, “Setting up of RVTI in Hyderabad is one defining step towards women empowerment. It the duty of all government bodies, including gram panchayats, to do everything possible to empower women in society.”
- “There is a huge demand for a skilled workforce world over and it is right that we reap our demographic dividend and bridge this demand-supply gap,” he said.
Two hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh to be commissioned in 2018 - Kameng Hydro Electric Project & Pare Hydro Electric Project.
- The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) today said its two hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh are on the verge of completion and they would be commissioned next year.
- Commissioning of the 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project and the 110 MW Pare Hydro Electric Project was delayed by about a couple of months due to floods and landslides.
- "The Pare Hydro Project is set to be commissioned by February end next year, while the Kameng project would take another two months," NEEPCO Personnel Director S Borgohain said here.
Science & Technologies
'Shape-shifting' bacteria spotted on International Space Station
- Bacterial cells treated with a common antibiotic have been spotted changing shape to survive while aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
- The way bacteria act in near-zero gravity environments could pose a serious problem for treating astronauts with infections.
- The "clever shape-shifting" was detected in bacteria being experimented on in the near-weightlessness of space, and is believed to help the bacteria survive.
- An experiment on the common E coli bacteria subjected it to different concentrations of the antibiotic gentamicin sulfate, a drug which kills the bug on Earth.
Defence & Railway
Astra missile's final development flight trials successful over the Bay of Bengal at Chandipur.
- The indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) — Astra — underwent a series of successful trials+ for four days over the Bay of Bengal, marking completion of its development phase.
- "The final development flight trials of Astra BVRAAM were successfully conducted over the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chandipur in Odisha during September 11-14. A total of seven trials were conducted against pilotless target aircraft successfully," the defence ministry said in a statement today.
India Signs 76 Million US Dollar Loan Deal with Japan International Cooperation Limited (JICA) to Upgrade Alang-Sosiya Shipyards
- The Government of India signed a loan deal worth $76 million with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), for a project to upgrade the environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards.
- This project will help the Alang-Sosia ship-recycling yards to comply with international safety & environmental regulations. This will attract more business at the recycling facilities at Alang, thereby further consolidating India's share in the global ship-recycling industry.
- The total cost of the project will be 111 million dollar out of which 76 million dollar will be provided as soft loan from JICA. Out of the remaining amount, 25 million dollar as taxes and fees will be borne by Government of Gujarat and the balance 10 million dollar will be shared by Ministry of Shipping & Government of Gujarat. The project will be executed by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and is likely to be completed by 2022.
India and Japan today signed an (open sky agreement) agreement that will allow their airlines to operate unlimited number of flights between the two countries.
- The pact followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe holding strategic discussions on a wide range of issues.
- An official release said India and Japan exchanged RoD (Record of Discussions) on civil aviation cooperation with respect to open sky.
- "It opens skies between India and Japan ie. Indian and Japanese carriers can mount now unlimited number of flights to the selected cities of each other's countries," the release said.
Amazon ties up with Bank of Baroda to offer micro-loans to sellers
- Online marketplace Amazon India is ensuring that sellers on its platform have adequate working capital. The Indian arm of the US e-commerce giant plans to provide unsecured micro-loans, as low as ?1 lakh, at interest rates as low as 10.45-11 per cent at a short span of 3-5 days. The company has tied up with Bank of Baroda for the loans, which can go up to ?25 lakh.
- For Amazon India, this is a kind of extension of its existing Seller Lending programme, which was launched last year, wherein it has partnerships with YES Bank and Capital First for loan amounts of ?5 lakh-2 crore. With the Bank of Baroda tie-up, the company wants to cater to every strata of sellers. The bank will at present offer the loans on an invite-only basis to the marketplace sellers.
Awards & Honours
Salman Khan honoured with Global Diversity Award at Britain’s House of Commons
- Bollywood star Salman Khan on Friday received a Global Diversity Award at Britain’s House of Commons.
- Salman, who recently finished the Abu Dhabi schedule of Yash Raj Films’ Tiger Zinda Hai, received the award from Keith Vaz, British Parliament’s longest-serving Asian MP.
- “The Global Diversity Award is given to people of immense stature in terms of what they have done for diversity in the world, and he is certainly one of them,” Vaz said.
- Keith Vaz praised Salman Khan for being “not just a megastar for Indian and world cinema, but also someone who has done so much for humanitarian causes”.
World’s oldest person and last living subject of Queen Victoria Violet Mosse Brown dies aged 117
- Known as ‘Aunt V’ to friends, she was born in Trelawney on March 10, 1900 and lived there all of her phenomenally long life.
- Violet was named ‘World’s Oldest Person’ on April 15 this year.
- She succeeded Italy’s Emma Morano, who was the last person whose life spanned three centuries, from 1899 to 2017, and had an more unusual recipe for long life – staying single and eating raw egg every day.
Harry Dean Stanton, cult American actor, dies aged 91
- Prolific character actor, who appeared in scores of films including Paris, Texas, Alien, Repo Man and The Straight Story, died in an LA hospital on Friday.
- Harry Dean Stanton, the veteran American actor who ballasted generations of independent and cult films, has died aged 91.
- The subject of the late critic Roger Ebert’s “Stanton Walsh Rule” – “No movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad” – Stanton was famed for his ability to project his hangdog, laconic charm into minor roles, which ensured he worked continuously for over six decades. Directors who cast him include David Lynch, Sam Peckinpah, Ridley Scott, Alex Cox and Wim Wenders, but he was never nominated for an Oscar or any of the other principal acting awards.