Current Affairs Updates - 23rd October 2017
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Punjab decides to close 800 government schools which have fewer than 20 students
- In a move to improve the utilisation of teaching staff in Punjab, the state government has decided to merge 800 government schools with less than 20 students with adjoining schools situated within a kilometre of its radius.
New Appointments: National
Manika Jain appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Cambodia
Linking Aadhaar number to bank accounts is mandatory, says RBI
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Saturday clarified that linking bank accounts to Aadhaar is mandatory under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, dismissing media reports which suggested that such a linkage is not mandatory.
- “The Reserve Bank clarifies that, in applicable cases, linkage of Aadhaar number to bank account is mandatory under the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017 published in the Official Gazette on June 1, 2017,” it said in a statement.
Banks to provide funds at 7% to women SHGs: RBI
- The RBI on Wednesday said banks will provide funds to women SHGs (self help groups) in rural areas at 7 per cent under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) in the current fiscal.
- The central bank issued the revised guidelines on interest subvention scheme under DAY-NRLM, as received from the Ministry of Rural Development for implementation by 21 public sector banks and 19 private banks.
Nepal tops Asia-Pacific list of nations elected to UNHRC(Geneva), Pakistan also makes it
- UNHRC, Geneva-based highest intergovernmental body will look into the matters relating to protection and promotion of human rights globally.
- The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) today elected 15 States to serve on the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of which Nepal topped the countries representing the Asian Group in the 47-member council.
- UNHRC, Geneva-based highest intergovernmental body looking into matters relating to protection and promotion of human rights globally, elects its members through a secret ballot.
India 2nd largest fitness startups market: Report
- India is the second largest market globally for investments in fitness tech startups, according to a report by venture capital research firm CB Insights. While US-based fitness tech companies received approximately 64% of total global investment share since 2013, India has received 7% of the investment. India is followed by Canada which has a 5% share.
World’s First Floating Wind Farm Powers Up off Scottish Coast
- The world’s first floating offshore wind farm, located roughly 25 kilometers off the coast of Peterhead, Scotland, powered up October 18, delivering electricity to the Scottish grid.
- Hywind Scotland was developed by Norwegian oil company Statoil based on the results of an eight-year demonstration project located off the shore of Karmøy, Norway. The new farm consists of five 6-MW floating wind turbines covering about 4 square kilometers of water at depths between 95 meters and 129 meters. The farm has a total installed capacity of 30 MW. According to Statoil, the wind farm will power approximately 20,000 households.
Narendra Modi in Gujarat: Ports key to prosperity, Sagar Mala project can provide 1 crore jobs
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated inaugurated the first phase of the Rs 615 crore 'roll-on-roll-off' (ro-ro) ferry service between Ghogha in Saurashtra and Dahej in south Gujarat. He said that with the beginning of this project, the dream of 6.5 crore Gujaratis has been fulfilled. This is his third visit to the poll-bound Gujarat in as many weeks.
Govt to set up portal for NRIs to track adoption requests
- The Central Adoption Resource Authority is planning to set up a portal to help foreign applicants directly track the status of their adoption applications. They can track whether their application has been approved by CARA and also find out when the children are referred to them for adoption. The move will benefit NRIs, OCIs as well as foreign nationals.
Karnataka to set up two new courts in Bengaluru's Yelahanka
- The Karnataka government has issued a notification to set up two new courts in Bengaluru's Yelahanka, including an Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court and an Additional City Civil and Sessions Court. Some judicial officers said that the move will not only reduce crowds in city courts but will also help the litigants, as cases will be disposed off speedily.
Power exports from India to meet 25% of Bangladesh demand
- Electricity imports from India may meet nearly a quarter of Bangladesh’s total demand for power in the next couple of years, according to a senior Bangladeshi official.
- India currently exports 660 MW of electricity, on a daily basis, to Bangladesh. Of the total, 250 MW is sold through a bilateral agreement at India’s domestic generation tariff. The rest are open market purchases.
- Of the total supplies, 500 MW is transmitted to Bangladeshi power grid through Bheramara in Mursidabad and the remaining 160 MW through Suryamaninagar in Tripura to meet the local demand of South Comilla district of Bangladesh.
Ranjit Kumar resigns as Solicitor General of India
- Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, the government's second highest legal advisor, has resigned citing personal reasons.
- After tendering his resignation to the law ministry on Friday, citing "family issues" Kumar told reporters that he wanted to spend more time with family. Kumar's resignation comes months after Mukul Rohatgi had resigned as Attorney General of India, the government's chief legal advisor, citing personal reasons, in June. He was replaced by K K Venugopal.
Nasscom to set up centres of excellence on Artificial Intelligence, data science in Bengaluru and Hyderabad
- The software industry lobby Nasscom is setting up centres of excellence on artificial intelligence (AI) and data sciences for a better understanding on the emerging technologies, a top official has said.
- With the tech world getting divided between whether or not to regulate AI, the body feels that technologies should be freely allowed to mature first before any regulation comes in, President R Chandrasekhar has said.
- “We are setting up a centre of excellence on AI and data sciences in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. They will look at mapping the resources available in the country, promoting start-ups in that area and also best practices globally, including regulatory aspects,” he told PTI recently.
WHO removes Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as goodwill ambassador
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Sunday cancelled Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's appointment as the body's goodwill ambassador to help tackle non-communicable diseases such as heart attacks and asthma across Africa. This comes after WHO member states and activists criticised the appointment, saying that Zimbabwe's health care system collapsed under Mugabe's regime.
Science & Technologies
Tech to detect earthquakes using fiber optic lines developed
- Researchers at the Stanford University have developed technology that detects earthquakes using fiber optic lines. In case of seismic activity, laser interrogators detect disturbances in the fibers and send information about the magnitude and direction of earthquake tremors. Researchers have detected around 800 seismic events so far using a 3-mile fiber loop on the Stanford campus.
Defence & Railway
500 long-distance trains to run quicker from next month
- The Indian Railways will soon cut short the running time of over 500 long distance trains by up to two hours, a senior railway official said today.
- The new timings will be updated in the November timetable of the railways, he said.
IN Ships Tir, Sujata, Shardul, and ICGS Sarathi are visiting Jakarta, Indonesia from 18 to 22 Oct 17
- The visit is aimed to expose the trainees to the conduct of IN warship in foreign waters, port familiarisation and foster bridges of friendship between the two countries. The ships belong to the First Training Squadron of the Indian Navy functioning under the Southern Naval Command, headquartered at Kochi and comprises six indigenously built ships, namely, Indian Naval Ships Tir, Sujata, Shardul, Indian Coast Guard Ship Sarathi and two Sail Training Ships, viz. INS Sudarshini and INS Tarangini.
Tesla signs deal to set up manufacturing factory in China
- Electric carmaker Tesla has signed a deal with the Shanghai government to set up its own manufacturing facility in the city's free-trade zone in China. The agreement could enable Tesla to slash production costs, while incurring China's 25% import tariff. The electric carmaker intends to "clearly define" production plans in China by year's end, a Tesla spokesperson said.
Zeta has partnered Kotak Mahindra Bank to launch a multi-wallet digital prepaid solutions platform called Paymint.
- Digital employee benefits solutions provider, Zeta has partnered Kotak Mahindra Bank to launch a multi-wallet digital prepaid solutions platform called Paymint. Companies that have tied-up with Kotak for salary accounts will be able to manage multiple reimbursements and allowances such as meal vouchers, medical reimbursements, leave travel allowances, gift cards, conveyance, fuel allowances, and driver salaries among others via Paymint. Kotak currently manages nearly 2 million salary accounts.
Awards & Honours
Indians bag nine medals at Worldskills competition
- The Indian team comprising 28 competitors also won nine Medallions of Excellence across key skills. India had won a silver medal in 2009 and five medallions of excellence in 2015.
- Two Indians bagged a silver and a bronze at the global skill competition in Abu Dhabi, showing the best ever performance by India since the country began participating in the WorldSkills’ challenge in 2007. The Indian team comprising 28 competitors also won nine Medallions of Excellence across key skills. India had won a silver medal in 2009 and five medallions of excellence in 2015.
Adesina (President of the African Development Bank) Receives 2017 World Food Prize Laureate Award
- Adesina who is also the current President of the African Development Bank received the award at the event held on Thursday at the Iowa in the United States.
- The event had in attendance representative from 50 countries in the world’s agriculture community.
Sports: Awards & Honours
India's Kidambi Srikanth wins his 3rd Superseries title of 2017 to win the Denmark Open
- Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth defeated South Korea's Lee Hyun Il to win the Denmark Open, his third Superseries title this year. Srikanth, who won the Indonesia Open and the Australian Open earlier this year and was runner-up at the Singapore Open, defeated the world number 22 21-10, 21-5. Srikanth's first Superseries Premier title was at the China Open in 2014.
Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar wins 8th Asian Tour title at the Macao Open
- Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar won his 8th Asian Tour title at the Macao Open on Sunday. Bhullar finished with an aggregate score of 13-under 271, lifting his first Asian Tour trophy of the year. Bhullar's compatriot Ajeetesh Sandhu and Filipino Angelo Que shared second place in the tournament. Bhullar had also won the Macao Open title in 2012.
Indian compound team (Trisha Deb, Lily Chanu Paonam and Jyothi Surekha Vennam) claims 5th World Archery C'ship silver in Mexico city
- The Indian compound archery team of Trisha Deb, Lily Chanu Paonam and Jyothi Surekha Vennam won India a silver medal at the World Archery Championships in Mexico City on Saturday. The silver is the fifth for India at the world event and the first for the country in the compound team archery section at the World Championships.
French cinema legend Danielle Darrieux dies aged 100
- French actress and singer Danielle Darrieux has died aged 100 in her home in Bois-le-Roi, France.
William Lombardy, Chess Grandmaster Turned Priest, Dies at 79
- William J. Lombardy, who was one of the most talented and promising chess players of his generation, winning titles and accolades while he was still a teenager, but who all but gave up the game at the height of his career to become a priest, died on Friday in Martinez, Calif. He was 79.