Current Affairs Updates - 21 & 22 October 2017
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Pakistan, N Korea not invited for global conference in India
- Pakistan and North Korea haven't been invited for the consumer protection conference, being organised in India at the request of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Consumer Affairs Minister said the countries aren't invited even though they fall in the region of countries being invited. The conference, scheduled for October 26-27, will see participation from 24 countries.
58th Police Commemoration Day observed at PAP in Jalandhar
- The 58th Police Commemoration Day was observed at the Punjab Armed Police grounds here on Saturday.
- DGP Suresh Arora laid the wreath at the martyrs' memorial erected inside the PAP campus here.
20th October is celebrated as World Statistics Day
- In the 41st Session of statistics day the United Nations Statistical Commission proposed celebrating 20th October 2010 as World Statistics Day.
- It was first observed in the year 2010 and 2015.
New Appointments: International
Sunny Verghese appointed as WBCSD Chair from 2018
- The World Business Council for Sustainable Development today announced that Mr Sunny Verghese, Co-Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer of Olam International, has been appointed as the new Chair of WBCSD. Mr Verghese’s term begins on 1 January 2018 for a duration of two years.
UAE appoints Omar Sultan Al-Olama as its first-ever Artificial Intelligence Minister
- UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Thursday announced the appointment of Omar Sultan Al-Olama as the country's first-ever Artificial Intelligence Minister. "The next global wave is artificial intelligence and we want the UAE to be more prepared for it," Al Maktoum said. The Gulf nation also introduced the post of Minister for Advanced Sciences.
Ine Eriksen appointed Norway's 1st female Foreign Minister
- Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen was on Friday appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, making her the first woman to hold the post in the Nordic country. Eriksen replaces Børge Brende, who was appointed President of the World Economic Forum last month. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said European Affairs Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen will take over the defence portfolio.
Cristiano Ronaldo Europe's richest sportsperson: Forbes
- Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has been named Europe's richest sportsperson, and the second-highest paid European celeb, in Forbes' list of highest-paid European celebs. The 32-year-old striker earned 93 million dollar (604 crore), 2 million dollar short of author JK Rowling, the richest celebrity on the continent. Roger Federer, at 64 million dollar, is second among sportspersons, and fifth overall.
GSTN unveils offline option for GSTR-3B returns filing
- The Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) has released an offline facility that will allow taxpayers to finalise their GSTR-3B forms on their own computers before uploading it onto the portal.
- The deadline for the filing of the GSTR-3B form for September was October 20. Taxpayers have to file the summary GSTR-3B forms each month till January.
Modi hails IFFCO’s measures for farmer’s upliftment
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that cooperative major IFFCO’s initiatives to train the farming community on right use of fertilisers, advanced techniques and cash-less transactions will help in doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
- “IFFCO’s contribution in the upliftment of farmers and co-operative organisations is praiseworthy,” Modi said in a message on the occasion of the cooperative’s golden jubilee year.
Hirasar greenfield airport project in Gujarat gets green clearance
- The Centre has given green clearance for a greenfield airport project at Hirasar, about 28 km from Rajkot in Gujarat, at a cost of over Rs. 1,400 crore.
- The state government has proposed a new airport in Rajkot district as the existing one is small and the earlier plan to extend the current runway could not materialise because of high land cost.
India among five countries responsible for 50% newborn deaths
- India is among the five countries -- Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo and Ethiopia being the others -- responsible for half of all new-born deaths in the world, according to a UN report.
- The report, "Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017", revealed that 5.6 million children died before reaching the age of five in 2016.
- However, this is a marked decrease compared to 2000 when nearly 9.9 million children had died before turning five.
Varanasi to start sewage treatment plants by March for treatment of Ganga water pollution
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency Varanasi will soon get two sewage treatment plants as part of the government’s bid to curb Ganga water pollution.
- The sewage treatment plants, having a total 260 million liters daily capacity, will be commissioned at Varanasi’s Dinapur and Goitha before March next year.
Govt sets up expert group for suggestions on artificial intelligence policy
- The government has recently drawn up a seven-point strategy for India’s tactical plan to use artificial intelligence.
- The Union ministry of electronics and information technology has set up an internal committee to advise the government on a policy on artificial intelligence (AI).
- Top sources said that the expert committee will advise the IT ministry on the most apt technologies for India. The government’s main focus is to reduce cyber attacks with AI. The main policy will be drawn up once the committee gives its report.
GVK Power ‘set to’ bag 16,000-cr Navi Mumbai airport project
- GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd is close to bagging the mandate for the mega 16,000 crore Navi Mumbai greenfield airport project with the Project Monitoring Committee approving its financial bid.
- The financial bid, which was made by the GVK-led Mumbai International Airport Ltd, which had developed the existing airport in Mumbai, was approved by the committee this week.
- It now has to secure the government’s approval, which is likely in early November.
Dharmendra Pradhan launches Odisha's first PNG supply in Bhubaneswar
- Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday inaugurated Odisha's first PNG (Piped Natural Gas) project in Bhubaneswar.
- The PNG supply, a part of 'Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga', was launched almost six months before the deadline of March 2018 set by the Minister.
- The project's target is to provide one crore PNG connections in the state by 2020.
Assam govt rolls out new Tourism policy
- The 'Tourism Policy of Assam 2017', effective from January next year till December 2022, gives special emphasis on making the state a destination of film making by offering a range of incentives to movie producers.
PM Narendra Modi to launch projects in Kedarnath
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kedarnath on Friday, a day before the Himalayan shrine dedicated to Shiva is closed for six winter months.
- Considering the “incomplete flood protection works and reconstruction of Kedarpuri that needs to be done”, Modi will be laying the foundation stone for projects “worth hundreds of crores of rupees”, Uttarakhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt told The Indian Express. This will be the PM’s second visit to Kedarnath in less than six months.
Kerala academics to get sabbatical leave to begin startups
- Kerala government has passed a proposal allowing regular teachers in state colleges to avail sabbatical leaves to establish their own startups or along with their students. A government-appointed panel will select ten teachers on pilot basis for the project. Calling it a first-of-its-kind government project, officials said teachers' participation will bring responsibility to the startup ecosystem.
PM Modi to launch India's first 'Ro-Ro' ferry service in Gujarat
- On his third visit to Gujarat this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be launching India's first roll on-roll off or 'Ro-Ro' ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej, on October 22. The ferry service, which costs 615 crore, will reduce the eight hour-distance between Ghogha and Dahej to one hour. Its foundation was laid in 2012 under then CM Modi.
Lebanon's parliament passes first budget since 2005
- Lebanon's parliament has approved the country's first budget in 12 years after government failed to do so amid past political crises.
- The budget was approved late Thursday after three days of discussions by parliament.
- Sixty-one legislators voted in favor, eight abstained and four voted against.
Application / Portal
Mumbai civic body opens online portal for business approvals
- The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has introduced an online single window system to issue permissions for new businesses and factories. All new business permissions will now be available through the online portal and the BMC will stop accepting physical applications, civic officials said. The system will also display real-time status of the application.
NRCB signs agreement with AP govt.
- The National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB), Tiruchi, has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Andhra Pradesh government and would serve as a knowledge partner in developing technologies relating to banana production.
Awards & Honours
Indian-American girl Gitanjali Rao wins 2017 Young Scientist Challenge for water contamination detection device
- Indian-American Gitanjali Rao, 11, was announced the winner of Discovery Education’s 3M Young Scientist Challenge 2017 on Wednesday for her prototype water lead contamination detector, called ‘Tethys’. The sensor-based device detects the quality of water and shares the results to a mobile application via bluetooth. The aim of the competition, open to citizens of the US who are enrolled from Class 5 to 8, is to identify a solution to an everyday problem that directly impacts either the contestant or the global population.
Environmental scientist Joachim Schellnhuber receives Blue Planet Prize
- The world's most prestigious award for pioneers in environmental science was given to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber this week in Tokyo.
- He is Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), a member of the Leibniz Association. The Blue Planet Prize, coming along with 50 million yen, honors outstanding thinkers who help to meet challenges of planetary dimensions.
Sports: Awards & Honours
India beat Pakistan 4-0 to reach Asia Cup final for 7th time in Hockey Asia Cup
- India defeated Pakistan 4-0 in their Hockey Asia Cup Super 4 encounter in Dhaka on Saturday to reach the final of the tournament for the seventh time. The victory was India's fourth in as many games against arch-rivals Pakistan this year. India have won the Asia Cup twice, while they finished as runners-up on five occasions.