CURRENT AFFAIRS GK UPDATES: 2ND SEPTEMBER
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Sri Lanka bans plastic amid garbage disposal crisis
- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday banned plastic bags and other disposable products after one of the country's biggest dump collapsed in April leading to a disposal crisis. The collapse had destroyed several homes and killed 32 people. Violators could be fined over 4,000 and jailed for up to 2 years.
- Angels Flight, the shortest railroad in the world, reopened on Thursday in Los Angeles, four years after it was closed following accidents and derailments. It was originally opened in 1901 to carry residents from Victorian mansions to the city centre, but later became a tourist destination. It was recently featured in the movie 'La La Land'.
National Nutrition Week to be observed from 1st to 7th September
- The National Nutrition Week will be observed throughout the country from 1st to 7th September. The theme of the National Nutrition Week for 2017 is "Optimal Infant & Young Child Feeding Practices: Better Child Health". The basic objective of this annual event is to intensify awareness generation on the importance of nutrition for health which has an impact on development, productivity, economic growth and ultimately National development.
New Appointments: National
Rajiv Kumar takes charge as NITI Aayog Vice Chairman
- Economist Rajiv Kumar on Friday took over as the Vice Chairman of policy think tank NITI Aayog. Kumar replaced Arvind Panagariya, who left NITI Aayog to return to academia. Notably, Kumar was the Secretary General of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) earlier. He has also served as chief economist of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Sunil Arora appointed Election Commissioner
- Arora, 61, who retired in April last year, will get four years in the Election Commission and will most likely oversee the conduct of Lok Sabha polls in 2019 as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).
- Mehrishi, a 1978-batch Rajasthan cadre IAS officer, will replace SK Sharma, who is retiring on September 24. Mehrishi retired yesterday from the post of Home Secretary after serving a period of two years.
Bureaucratic reshuffle: Rajiv Kumar DFS secretary; Anita Karwal CBSE chief
- Senior bureaucrat Rajiv Kumar was appointed Secretary in the Department of Financial Services (DFS) while Anita Karwal was named CBSE chairperson as part of a major reshuffle effected today.
- Senior IAS officer Arun Kumar has been appointed as Mines Secretary as part of a minor top-level bureaucratic reshuffle effected today by the government.
- Kumar, a 1983 batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, is at present working as Special Secretary in Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
New Appointments: International
Indian-origin civil servant appointed Singapore's acting president
- J Y Pillay, an Indian-origin veteran civil servant, was on Friday appointed Singapore's acting president until a new head of state is sworn in later this month.
- Pillay, 83, took over from Tony Tan Keng Yam who completed a six-year term on Thursday.
India paid a hefty price for note ban: Ex-WB Chief Economist
- The downturn in India's GDP growth is "very worrying", World Bank's former Chief Economist Kaushik Basu said, adding that this is the "hefty price" India had to pay for demonetisation. "[O]ver 99% of the notes demonetised have come back. This suggests that the rich...have virtually all managed to redeem their money. It is the...poor who suffered most," Basu added.
- Public lender Canara BankBSE 0.38 % has reduced interest rate on savings bank accounts by 50 basis points to 3.5 per cent on deposits of up to Rs 50 lakh.
- However, the bank will continue to pay 4 per cent interest on deposits of above Rs 50 lakh.
- The economic growth of India slipped to a three-year low of 5.7 per cent in April-June as disruptions caused by demonetisation spilled over to the third straight quarter amid slowdown in manufacturing activities. According to the government data, the GDP had expanded by 6.1 per cent in the preceding quarter.
CSIR ranked 9th public research institution of the world
- India's largest autonomous public research and development organisation Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been ranked ninth in the world.
Karnataka to provide free education for girls till post-grad
- The Karnataka government has reportedly decided to provide free education to girls in the state up to post-graduation level, including private educational institutes. The state currently provides girls free education only in government schools and colleges up to undergraduate level. The government's first priority is reportedly to reimburse the fee paid by the students in the form of scholarship.
- The price of non-subsidised LPG was hiked by 73.5 to 597.50 per cylinder in Delhi on Friday. Further, subsidised LPG price was also hiked by over 7 to 487.18 per cylinder. The government had earlier asked state-owned oil companies to raise subsidised LPG prices by 4 per cylinder every month to eliminate all subsidies by March 2018.
- Rajiv Pratap Rudy resigned as the Union Minister of State Skill Development and Entrepreneurship on Thursday, ahead of a reported reshuffle of the Cabinet. Reports suggest that he will be given organisational assignments in the BJP. Notably, Rudy served as the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry in 2001 and as the Civil Aviation Minister in 2003.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked tax officials to use data analytics to track undeclared wealth and fix clear targets for improving tax administration by 2022.
- Inaugurating the second edition of the annual 'Rajaswa Gyan Sangam' — the joint conference of direct and indirect tax officials — the Prime Minister asked taxmen to clear pendency of cases and create an environment that instills confidence among honest taxpayers and uproots corruption.
- Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries launched Common Food Processing Incubation Center for Shallots (Small Onions) in Chettikulam village in Perambalur District of Tamil Nadu through video conferencing from here today.
China Opens First Civilian Drone Base In Shanghai
- The Civil Aviation Administration of China on Friday announced the opening of the country's first test-flight base for civilian drones in Shanghai.
- The base, located in the district of Qingpu, will provide service to thousands of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in a country where private drones have become very popular.
Science & Technologies
Black holes likely filled the universe with light: Study
- After the Big Bang the universe is believed to have been completely dark, while it expanded. Eventually it became more transparent and was filled up with galaxies, that give off visible light. Based on distant X-ray source having varying brightness, researchers suggest that black hole winds which eject matter, are responsible for making the universe transparent and light-filled.
India, Switzerland sign two MoUs on Railways
- The first MoU is between Ministry of Railways and Federal Department of the Environment, Transport and Communications of the Swiss Confederation for technical cooperation in Rail Sector.
- The second MoU is between Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich. This was signed by Sanjay Gupta, CMD/KRCL and Prof. Sarah Springman, Rector, ETH Zurich.
- Mumbai based digital payments company and financial exchange Ebix’s ItzCash, has partnered with non life insurance provider HDFC ERGO to offer general insurance products through its physical retail outlets. With Ebix’s major play as one of the world’s largest insurance exchange, this association will further strengthen ItzCash’s position in the Financial Exchange market.
Sports: Awards & Honours
India wins bronze at World Boxing Championships
- India's Gaurav Bidhuri won a bronze at the World Boxing Championships, after losing his bantamweight (56 kg) semifinal bout against American Duke Ragan on Thursday. Bidhuri is now the fourth Indian pugilist to win a World Championships bronze, after Vijender Singh, Vikas Krishan and Shiva Thapa. India thus ended this year's edition with a lone bronze medal.