Current Affairs GK Updates - 8th September
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Railways seek security for India's first solar train
- The Indian Railways has sought additional security from Railway Protection Force to protect the solar panels installed on India's first solar-powered train running from Delhi's Sarai Rohilla to Haryana's Farrukh Nagar. "The train runs through rural areas and we have perceived a threat to the solar panels, which could be stolen by villagers," a railway official said.
2 Trains Derailed - Shaktipunj Express and Rajdhani Express in between 6 Hours.
- Two train derailments were reported within six hours, after the Ranchi Rajdhani Express derailed in Delhi on Thursday. Earlier, seven coaches of Howrah-Jabalpur Shaktipunj Express had derailed in UP, but no injuries were reported in both the accidents. The incidents are the first under Piyush Goyal as Railway Minister, taking the number of derailments within a month to four.
Airtel Launches GST Advantage Solution for Small Businesses, Offers 18GB Free Data for 3 Months
- Airtel Business has partnered with ClearTax to launch a new business service called Airtel GST Advantage. With the recent advent of GST and the lack of clarity around it, this solution is specifically designed to enable small businesses and startups to file their GST returns without hassle.
- All Airtel Business customers can sign up for Airtel GST Advantage for free by registering on www.airtel.in/gst-advantage. With GST Advantage, Airtel is offering 18GB of free additional data spread over three months (2GB/ month/ connection on a maximum of three devices) with any Airtel corporate connection or device, to help them upload returns without worrying about bandwidth charges.
Priyanka on US magazine Paper's 'Beautiful People' cover
- Actress Priyanka Chopra has featured on the cover of the fall issue of American magazine 'Paper'. She is one of the six 'Beautiful People' who will be featured on the magazine's cover. Talking about her career during an interview for the magazine, Priyanka said, "I'm extremely ambitious... Somehow, ambition and feminism have turned into bad words, and they are not."
Manekudy Varkey Mathew, who hails from Kerala, Indian man wins over Rs.12 crore in UAE lottery
- Manekudy Varkey Mathew, who hails from Kerala, reportedly won over ?12 crore in a mega lottery in UAE's Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Apart from Mathew, six other Indians won over ?17 lakhs each in the draw, as per reports. Last month, another Indian man had won over ?8 crore in a similar raffle ticket draw in the UAE.
UK school bans skirts to make uniform 'gender neutral'
- A secondary school in the UK has banned girls from wearing skirts in a bid to make its uniform gender neutral and deal with complaints about the "decency" of short skirts. Adding that increasing number of transgender students also makes the same uniform important, the school said, "We hope that it will provide a smart, comfortable and affordable alternative."
New Appointments: National
Viveck Goenka of Indian Express elected new PTI Chairman
- Viveck Goenka, Chairman and Managing Director of the Express Group, and N Ravi, a former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu daily, were on Thursday unanimously elected Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, of Press Trust of India, the country’s largest news agency.
- Goenka, 60, succeeds Riyad Mathew, who is Senior Assistant Editor and a member of the Manorama management. Ravi, 69, succeeds Goenka as Vice Chairman.
- The election took place at a meeting of the Board of Directors following the Company’s 69th Annual General Meeting here on Thursday.
SBI Life Insurance gets Sebi approval for Rs 8,400 crore ($1.3 billion) IPO, with launch targeted for the September 20-22 period.
- SBI Life Insurance has received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India for an IPO of up to Rs 8,400 crore ($1.3 billion), with launch targeted for the September 20-22 period.
- The launch period is subject to approval from the Registrar of Companies, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
- The IPO will involve 120 million secondary shares, or 12 per cent of the insurer's equity capital. State Bank of IndiaBSE 0.11 %, which currently owns 70.1 per cent of the insurer, will sell 80 million shares and BNP Paribas Cardif, holder of a 26 per cent stake, will sell 40 million.
ICICI Lombard gets Sebi nod for Rs 6,000 crore IPO
- ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company has got capital markets regulator Sebi's go-ahead for its estimated Rs 6,000 crore initial public offer, which could be the first by a general insurer in the country.
- Two state-run general insurers -- General Insurance Corp of India and New India Assurance Company -- as also two life insurance firms (SBI Life and HDFC Standard Life) have also lined up IPO plans and are awaiting Sebi's go-ahead for their respective draft papers.
- Among these, Sebi is awaiting "clarification" from insurance regulator IRDAI with regard to IPOs by HDFC Standard Life, New India Assurance and General Insurance, as per the latest update available with Sebi on these IPOs.
To provide a major thrust to job creation by enhancing India’s exports, an Expert Task Force has, today, been constituted with the NITI Aayog Vice Chairman, Dr. Rajiv Kumar, as its Chairperson.
- While the Indian workforce has high aspirations, a majority of the workers are still employed in low-productivity, low-wage jobs in small, micro and own-account enterprises. An urgent and sustained expansion of the organized sector is essential to address India’s unemployment and under-employment issue. An important strategy is also to enable a shift towards more labour-intensive goods and services that are destined for exports. Given the importance of exports in generating jobs, India needs to create an environment in which globally competitive exporters can emerge and flourish.
Major Steps Taken:The steps outlined by the taskforce to address this challenge of creating well-paid, formal sector jobs, include:
- Proposing a comprehensive plan of action to generate employment and alleviate under-employment in both goods and services sectors and low wages by boosting India’s exports in key labour-intensive industries
- Recommending sector-specific policy interventions in key employment sectors
- Recommending measures to enhance trade in services with high employment potential
- Identifying key macroeconomic factors constraining exports and suggesting methods to address these constraints
- Assessing the effectiveness of existing schemes to promote exports
- Addressing issues related to logistics, export credits and trade facilitation
- Suggesting ways to enhance the availability of data on trade such that it is reliable, globally comparable and timely, particularly with respect to trade in services.
Oyo closes $250 million funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund, Hero Enterprise
- Hotel aggregator Oyo has closed a $250 million (about Rs 1,600 crore) round of funding, which was led by its existing backer SoftBank, with new investor Hero Enterprise also coming on board.
- The Tokyo-headquartered conglomerate has invested through its $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund, making this the second major bet placed by the world's largest pool of private capital in India over the course of the last two months.
U.S. proposes sanctions banning oil to North Korea, freezing assets
- In the wake of North Korea's sixth nuclear test, the U.S. delegation to the U.N. has circulated a draft resolution that would ban all exports of natural gas and oil to the country, as well as freeze assets of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his government around the globe.
- The proposed resolution would mark the first time Kim's assets have been personally targeted by economic sanctions. CBS News obtained a draft of the resolution Wednesday.
- The draft, which was circulated to the 15-member Security Council, would impose an oil embargo, ban payments to North Korean "guest workers" and ban textile exports, with the goal of punishing North Korea for its rapidly progressing missile and nuclear programs.
Defence & Railway
India and US to conduct joint military exercise 'Yudh Abhyas 2017'
- India and the United States of America will conduct ''Yudh Abhyas'' joint exercise between their armies in September.
- The exercise Yudh Abhyas – 2017, will be held from September 14-27 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the US.
- Exercise Yudh Abhyas is one of the largest joint running military training and defence corporation endeavors between India and USA. This will be the 13th edition of the joint exercise hosted alternately between the two countries.
Schemes / Programme
Energy Efficiency Services Limited ( EESL) , under Ministry of Power, Government of India has launched UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable Lighting for All) Scheme in the State of Melaka, Malaysia
- The Scheme was launched by Chief Minister of Melaka Datuk Seri Utama Ir. Hj. Idris Bin Hj. Haron. In due course of time, the successful Indian model of UJALA scheme has become a sought-after example for the different nations of the world and will now be implemented in Melaka to extend programme benefits to people of the region.
IBM and MIT partner $240 million on artificial intelligence research
- IBM is planning to spend $240 million over the next decade to create an artificial intelligence research lab at MIT.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday announced the formation of the new MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. It will support joint research by IBM and MIT scientists.
- Its mission will include advancing the hardware, software and algorithms used for artificial intelligence. It also will tackle some of the economic and ethical implications of intelligent machines and look at its commercial application for industries ranging from health care to cybersecurity.
- MIT President L. Rafael Reif says the new AI lab builds on a decadeslong research relationship between IBM and MIT.
- It will be based at the university and IBM's nearby research center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
India and Japan have agreed to collaborate closely in defence production, including on dual- use technologies, as the two countries resolved to ramp up overall military engagement under the bilateral special strategic framework.
- Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera yesterday held wide-ranging talks, as part of the India-Japan annual defence ministerial dialogue in Tokyo during which issues relating to the US-2 amphibious aircraft also figured, a joint press statement said.
- The decision by India and Japan to boost defence ties comes amid escalating tension in the region in the wake of the nuclear test by North Korea and China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea.
Exide Life Insurance has announced a partnership with Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC Bank) to offer its protection and savings products to the latter’s customers.
- PMC Bank is a multi-State scheduled urban co-operative bank with 127 branches spread across Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Exide Life Insurance works with around 50 banks. In 2016-17, it posted a profit of ?112 crore on a premium income of ?2,400 crore.
Awards & Honours
India’s first operational Smart City and IFSC, Gujarat International Finance-Tec City (GIFT City), has won the prestigious Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) Services Excellence Award.
- At a summit held in New Delhi, GIFT SEZ was honoured for its contribution to the growth of the International Financial Services and Technology Hub in India, Ajay Pandey, Managing Director and Group CEO, GIFT City, said in a statement here on Wednesday.
- The event recognised the contribution made by GIFT City in the financial services and technology sector in India. The services sector is a dominant contributor to the GDP of India and GIFT City holds great potential in attracting significant foreign investment flows, contribute to export of services as well as provide large-scale employment. The Awards were presented in the categories of Tourism and Hospitality, International Financial Services and Technology Hub, Banking and Financial Services, Insurance, IT/ITES etc.
Sports: Awards & Honours
Australian spinner Nathan Lyon overtakes Jadeja to become 2017's top Test wicket-taker.
- Following his 13-wicket haul in the recently concluded Test against Bangladesh, Australian spinner Nathan Lyon has become the leading wicket-taker in Tests in 2017. Lyon, who has 46 wickets from seven Tests at an average of 21.95 in 2017, overtook India's spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who have each taken 44 wickets till now.
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