Current Affairs Update - 22 September 2017
Do You Know?
Puerto Rico-based Arecibo Observatory, housing the world's second largest radio telescope, has shut operations to safeguard the 100-million dollar facility against Hurricane Maria.
- The storm, with wind speeds of over 140 kmph, also led to the shutdown of its website and phone lines. The 300-metre dish was used to discover the first exoplanets and detect organic molecules in a distant galaxy.
Three strong earthquakes were reported across the world in 24 hours, with the first one hitting Mexico on Tuesday with a magnitude of 7.1. The Mexico earthquake was followed by earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan.
- Three strong earthquakes were reported across the world in 24 hours, with the first one hitting Mexico on Tuesday with a magnitude of 7.1. The Mexico earthquake was followed by earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan on Wednesday, both measuring 6.1 in magnitude. Of the three earthquakes, Mexico's 7.1 magnitude earthquake was the deadliest, claiming at least 230 lives.
600 kg chocolate used to make 6-ft Durga idol in Kolkata
- A hotel in Kolkata displayed a 6-feet tall Durga idol made from around 600 kilograms of chocolate on Wednesday. The idol, which will be on display till September 29, was made by 3 people in 56 hours. The idol is a tribute to skilled artisans and idol-makers of Kumartuli, the hotel said.
International Day of Peace: 21 September. The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All”.
- The theme honours the spirit of TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes and those leaving in search of a better life.
- TOGETHER unites the organizations of the United Nations System, the 193 Member States of the United Nations, the private sector, civil society, academic institutions and individual citizens in a global partnership in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants.
- It was initiated during the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016.
New Appointments: National
B Sambamurthy appointed as NPCI interim Board chairman
- The Board of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payment systems in the country, today announced the unanimous appointment of B Sambamurthy as interim Chairman of the Board.
- Sambamurthy replaces retiring Chairman, Balachandran M, NPCI said in a statement.
Hong Kong-based AIA Group has agreed to buy the life insurance unit of Australia's largest bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, for 3 billion dollar.
- The deal would make AIA the biggest life insurer in Australia and New Zealand, with 13 million customers. AIA will team up with Commonwealth Bank for 20 years under the deal to provide life insurance products.
Cabinet revamps Khelo India, each athlete selected under scheme to receive annual scholarship worth Rs 5 lakh
- The PM Narendra Modi led Cabinet has approved the revamp of Khelo India scheme on Wednesday afternoon. The news was confirmed by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore during a press conference at the PIB Conference Hall, Shastri Bhavan. While addressing the media in the presence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Health Minister JP Nadda, Rathore said the decision to revamp Khelo India has been taken with twin goals: Sports For All and Sports For Excellence.
- He said that the revamped Khelo India aims at impacting the entire sporting ecosystem, with wide-ranging interventions. Along with this, the Sports minister also confirmed that each athlete selected under this scheme will receive an annual scholarship worth Rs 5 lakh for 8 consecutive years.
China launches world's fastest bullet train running between Beijing and Shanghai
- China on Thursday began to restore the world’s fastest bullet train, running at 350 kilometres per hour, from Beijing to Shanghai, six years after it reduced the speed of its trains.
- A ‘Fuxing’ bullet train, which will enjoy the high speed, departed Beijing South Railway Station at 9:00am local time (1 am GMT) for Shanghai, reported state-run Xinhua news agency. The speed hike will cut the Beijing-Shanghai journey to 4 hours 28 minutes.
- The new bullet trains, also known as electric multiple units (EMU), boast a top speed of 400 kilometres per hour and a consistent speed of 350 kilometres an hour, Xinhua news agency reported. The Fuxing has a 30-year life, 10 years more than the existing model, and consumes 10 percent less power when running at 350kph, the report stated.
Fifty countries signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, a pact that the world’s nuclear powers spurned but supporters hailed as a historic agreement nonetheless. Brazil was the first country to sign onto the ban Wednesday, followed by nations from Algeria to Venezuela.
- “You are the states that are showing moral leadership in a world that desperately needs such moral leadership today,” Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said as a signing ceremony began.
- Before the day was out, 50 states as different as Indonesia and Ireland had put their names to the treaty; others can sign later if they like. Guyana, Thailand and the Vatican also have already ratified the treaty, which needs 50 ratifications to take effect among the nations that back it.
Afghan Air Force gets its 1st US-made Black Hawk helicopters
- The Afghan Air Force on Tuesday received its first four US-made UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters as part of a planned replacement of its ageing fleet of Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters. The US, which has committed its military to fight Taliban militants, plans to supply a total of 159 Black Hawks to Afghanistan to boost the air force's capabilities.
India collaborating with Russia for Roppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh
- India said today it is collaborating with Russia to build the Roppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, the first initiative under a Indo-Russia deal to undertake atomic energy projects in third countries.
- This will also be India's first atomic energy venture abroad.
- "We are collaborating with our Russian and Bangladeshi partners on establishing Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh," Atomic Energy Commission chairman Sekhar Basu said at the 61st general conference of the global nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Sports: Awards & Honours
Indian Chinaman Kuldeep becomes first Indian spinner to take ODI hat-trick
- Indian Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav became the first Indian spinner to take a hat-trick in ODI cricket after achieving the feat in the second ODI against Australia on Thursday. Yadav took the wickets of Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar and Pat Cummins in consecutive balls in his eighth over. This was the first ODI hat-trick by an Indian in over 26 years.
Arjan Singh, Marshal of Indian Air Force, Dies At 98
- Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, the only officer of the Air Force to be promoted to five-star rank, has died at 98. He was admitted to the Army's Research and Referral hospital in Delhi this morning after he suffered a cardiac arrest.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited him earlier in the day, had said Arjan Singh's condition was critical. "Went to R&R Hospital to see Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, who is critically ill. I also met his family members," the PM had tweeted after visiting Arjan Singh.
World's richest woman Liliane Bettencourt dies aged 94
- World's richest woman and the heiress of cosmetics giant, L'Oreal, Liliane Bettencourt has died at the age of 94. Bettencourt topped the list of the world's richest women for the second year in a row in 2017 with an estimated net worth of 39.5 billion dollar. Her daughter, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, said in a statement that her mother left "peacefully".
'Babuji Dheere Chalna' actress Shakila passes away aged 82
- Yesteryear actress Shakila, who featured in the song 'Babuji Dheere Chalna' from the 1954 film 'Aar-Paar', passed away on Wednesday at the age of 82. Talking about Shakila's demise, her nephew Nasirr Khan said, "She was diabetic....she had some cardiac problems also. All these things led to her demise." Notably, Shakila has worked in films like 'CID' and 'China Town'.
Google bets anew on smartphones, pays 1.1 billion dollar for HTC's Pixel division
- Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google said it would pay 1.1 billion dollar for the division at Taiwan’s HTC Corp (2498.TW) that develops the U.S. firm’s Pixel smartphones - its second major foray into phone hardware after an earlier costly failure.
- The all-cash deal will see Google gain 2,000 HTC employees, roughly equivalent to one fifth of the Taiwanese firm’s total workforce. It will also acquire a non-exclusive license for HTC’s intellectual property and the two firms agreed to look at other areas of collaboration in the future.