Current Affairs Updates - 4th October 2017
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Indian startup offers travel services to disabled people
- Indian startup Enable Travel offers travel services to wheelchair bound, vision and speech impaired, and deaf people through its platform. Enable Travel provides equipment needed to facilitate easy to services like, amphibian wheelchairs that are used in swimming pools. The startup was launched earlier this year and touts itself as India's first accessible holiday specialist.
Ola raises 2 billion dollar from SoftBank, Tencent: Reports
- Homegrown ride-hailing startup Ola has reportedly raised 2 billion dollar in funding from Japan's SoftBank and China's Tencent. Reports added a venture capital fund jointly run by Ratan Tata and the University of California's investment arm have also participated in the funding. Founded in 2010 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola's investors also include Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital.
Urban inequality a growing risk in Asia: World Bank
- Widening inequality in Asia's teeming cities could lead to potentially risky social divisions, the World Bank warned today, urging governments to do more to help the urban poor.
New Appointments: International
Indian doctor Soumya Swaminathan appointed WHO Deputy DG
- The World Health Organisation on Tuesday announced 58-year-old Indian doctor Soumya Swaminathan as its Deputy Director General, the second-highest position at the UN's health agency. Swaminathan, who did her MBBS and MD from the Armed Forces Medical College and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences respectively, currently serves as the Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research.
UK swears in its first female President of Supreme Court
- Brenda Hale has been sworn in as the first female President of the UK's Supreme Court. Hale, who had earlier served as Supreme Court's first female Justice in 2009, was also the first woman appointed to be a Law Lord in 2004. Hale had favoured in ruling that the Parliament must authorise the UK's departure from the EU.
Indian academician Prajapati Trivedi elected as NAPA fellow in US
- Indian academician Prajapati Trivedi has been elected as a fellow of the prestigious National Academy of Public Administration in the US, becoming the first Indian to be bestowed with this honour. NAPA is an independent, non-profit and non-partisan organisation established by the US Congress in 1967 to assist government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable and transparent organisations.
Indian-American Ajit Varadaraj Pai to serve as the chairman of the powerful Federal Communications Commission
- The US Senate today confirmed the nomination of Indian-American Ajit Varadaraj Pai to serve as the chairman of the powerful Federal Communications Commission for the second time despite Democratic complaints that he will undermine net neutrality.
- The Senate voted on a bitterly divided partisan lines to confirm Pais nomination for his second five-year term.
- The FCC is an independent agency created by Congressional statute to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and US territories.
RBI to print new 100 notes from April 2018
- The RBI is expected to start printing redesigned ?100 currency notes around April next year, according to reports. The existing ?100 notes will be withdrawn gradually and will remain valid even after the new ones come into circulation. Reports added that the dimensions of the new notes will not be altered, ensuring ATMs can be compatible from the beginning.
With 6% growth, India to surpass China as fastest growing oil market in 2018: Moody's
- On the back of a 6 per cent demand growth, India will surpass China as the fastest-growing Asian market for petroleum products in 2018, says a report.
- This is possible as Chinese demand growth is seen halving to 2.5-3 per cent in 2017-18 from a higher 6 per cent in 2016-17.
- Despite the weakening growth numbers in both these countries, China and India will continue to be the key growth engines for the sector in Asia, representing over 80 per cent of the expected growth in 2018, says a report by Moody's.
GDP to hit 6 trillion dollar by 2027 on digital leap: Morgan Stanley
- India is likely to be the world's fastest-growing large economy in the next 10 years, driven by digitisation, favourable demographics, globalisation and reforms, predicts a Morgan Stanley report.
- According to the global financial services major, the trend line in India's annual GDP growth has been accelerating to 6.9 per cent in 2000s, from 5.8 per cent in the 1990s, and this momentum is likely to continue in the next decade as well.
Fitch lowers India's growth forecast to 6.9%
- Fitch Ratings has lowered India's economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 6.9 per cent from 7.4 per cent after the GDP growth "unexpectedly faltered" in the April-June quarter.
GIFT City's IFSC bags 10th place in Global Financial Centres Index
- Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City)'s International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) has bagged the 10th spot in the latest edition of Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), London, September 2017.
- GIFT IFSC is ranked tenth, ahead of Luxembourg, Seoul, Abu Dhabi, Toronto and Beijing in the list of the GFCI report, which has 15 centres that are likely to become more significant in the next few years.
Bhopal set to become first state capital to get trans toilet
- Over five months after the union government asked all states to allow transgender people to use any public toilet of their choice, Bhopal is set to become the first state capital to come up with an exclusive toilet for the transgender community. It will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan
King Salman set for first visit to Russia by a Saudi king
- King Salman of Saudi Arabia will arrive in Russia this week to conduct the first official visit to the country by a Saudi king, a senior Kremlin aide said Monday.
India unveils third National Wildlife Action Plan for 2017-2031
- India unveiled the third National Wildlife Action Plan for 2017-2031 on Monday spelling out the future road map for wildlife conservation.
- The third action plan comes after the first plan in 1983 and second from 2002 till 2016. The third National Wildlife Action Plan is unique as this is the first time India has recognised the concerns relating to climate change impact on wildlife and stressed on integrating actions that need to be taken for its mitigation and adaptation into wildlife management planning processes.
New Delhi (India) to host Global Wildlife Programme from October 2
- India will jointly host the Global Wildlife Programme (GWP) with World Bank and United Nations Development Programme. The programme will be launched on October 2.
- The GWP will address issues related to illegal wildlife trade across 19 countries in Asia and Africa. It will act as a platform to exchange knowledge and coordinate in on-ground action for combating illegal poaching of wildlife and improve governance on wildlife conservation.
- Speaking at a conference on September 29, Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change emphasised on the role of forest dwelling communities in the management of wildlife. He spoke on how plans for wildlife conservation have focused on national parks and sanctuaries, however, the strategies and programmes will now be based on the landscape of the region. He added that the impact of global warming, climate change and disaster management on wildlife and the people living around it will also be discussed.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu lays foundation stone for inland waterway in Andhra Pradesh
- Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday asserted that linking rivers in the country was the pressing need of the hour and said water conservation should become a national movement. The vice president laid the foundation stone for the development of an inland waterway project in Krishna river between Muktyala and Vijayawada in the Andhra Pradesh capital region of Amaravati.
PM Modi lays foundation stone of AIIMS in Himachal Pradesh
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday laid the foundation stone of AIIMS and IIIT in Himachal Pradesh's Bilaspur. Governor Acharya Dev Vrat, CM Virbhadra Singh and Union Min JP Nadda were present in the programme.
Taj Mahal mentioned in tourism booklet: UP Tourism Minister
- Uttar Pradesh Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Tuesday clarified that the Taj Mahal has been mentioned in the Uttar Pradesh government's recently released tourism booklet. "This conflict is completely unnecessary, and there should be an end put to it. The controversy arose probably because the photo (of Taj) is missing, otherwise, it is mentioned in the booklet," Joshi said.
Karnataka launches mid-day meals scheme for pregnant women
- The Karnataka government on Monday launched the ?302-crore Mathru Poorna scheme, aimed at providing free mid-day meals to pregnant and lactating women in rural areas. The meals, which will be provided in Anganwadi centres, will include an egg, rice, pulses, vegetables, and milk. "This is aimed at reducing child malnutrition and in turn curb infant mortality," said CM Siddaramaiah.
On Gandhi Jayanti, Rajghat gets first statue of Mahatma
- In a first, a statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been installed at Rajghat. A PIB release today said, “Rajghat, the Samadhi of the Father of the Nation in the national capital, has for the first time acquired a new feature that could appeal to the large number of visitors.
Govt to Make Arunachal Open Defecation Free by Year End
- Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday announced to make Arunachal Open Defecation Free (ODF) by December 31, 2017 and said that the state government is seriously pursuing to achieve the target.
AIIB, ADB approve 100 mn dollar loan for India's power sector
- China-led AIIB and multilateral funding agency ADB will co-finance a 100-million dollar loan for India to improve power transmission network and expand the use of solar and wind energy, state media reported on Monday.
- The loan, approved by the Board of Directors of the Beijing-headquartered Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), involves co-financing of 50 million dollar from the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB), state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.
Nepal, India to conduct first joint tiger count
- For the first time, Nepal and India will undertake a joint tiger census next month in their national parks, forests and protected areas adjoining the two countries using a globally-recognised method, officials said today.
Sports Min launches annual National School & College Games
- Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Tuesday announced the launch of annual National School and College Games to be held in December and January 2018, to tap talent at the school and college level. Rathore said that the event will be telecast live and 1000 children will be selected and given ?5 lakh for eight years for their training.
Mohammad Kaif may become Afghanistan's head coach
- Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif has reportedly been approached by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) for the post of the team's head coach. This comes a month after ACB decided not to renew the contract of current coach Lalchand Rajput. Kaif, who last played an international game in 2006, was appointed the captain-cum-mentor of the Chhattisgarh team last year.
Gandhi's statue unveiled in Wales on 148th birth anniversary
- A six-foot-tall statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled on Monday in Wales to mark his 148th birth anniversary. The £65,000 (?56.5 lakh) statue, which is made of Indian bronze, depicts Gandhi holding a stick in one hand and the 'Bhagavad Gita' in the other. The 300-kg statue was unveiled by Indian High Commissioner to the UK, YK Sinha.
Science & Technologies
Apple dongle lets users charge, use headsets simultaneously
- Technology giant Apple has started selling dongle worth ?2,300 that lets users charge their iPhones and use their headsets simultaneously. The dongle features a 3.5mm jack and a Lightning port and works with the newly launched iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8 models. The dongle which is manufactured by Belkin, requires iOS 10 or later to work.
High-speed magnetic particles may bypass Moore's Law: Study
- In 1965, Intel Co-founder Gordon Moore observed data storage abilities of computer chips double every year, later observed at 18 months. Now, an MIT study has shown magnetic particles called 'skyrmions' can store data on surfaces a few atoms wide, likely bypassing Moore's Law. The system could potentially encode data at high speeds, substituting conventional storage devices like hard disks.
Schemes / Programme
Chandrababu Naidu launches 'Swachh Andhra Mission' on Gandhi Jayanti
- Taking the cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Mission, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Monday launched Swachh Andhra Mission on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.
- Ace shuttler PV Sindhu, who has been chosen as the brand ambassador of Swachh Andhra along with state minister for Information Technology and Rural Development Nara Lokesh and public representatives, were the dignitaries who joined Naidu on this occasion.
Summit /Conference / Events / Host
Sumitra Mahajan to attend special parliamentary session in Sri Lanka
- Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will attend a special parliamentary session in Sri Lanka that is being convened to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Parliament there.
- The Sri Lankan Parliament is also hosting the eighth conference of the association of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Speakers and Parliamentarians.
Yatra partners OYO to expand hotel inventory
- Yatra Online Inc today said it has tied up with OYO to bring the hospitality firm's inventory on its platform.
- The partnership brings OYO's inventory onto a online travel agent platform and with this Yatra's total hotel inventory will expand to over 70,000 hotels in India, Yatra said in a statement.
Awards & Honours
Ministry of Health adjudged best for Swachhta Pakhwada, receives award
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been adjudged as the best department for its contribution during Swachhta Pakhwada, an inter-Ministry initiative of Swachh Bharat Mission of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. The Health Ministry observed the Swachhta Pakhwada from 1st February, 2017 to 15th February, 2017. The award was presented to the Ministry on 2nd October, 2017, the third anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission. Shri C K Mishra, Secretary (HFW) received the award on behalf of the Ministry.
2017 Nobel Physics Prize awarded for gravitational wave detection
- American scientists Rainer Weiss, Barry C Barish and Kip S Thorne from the LIGO/VIRGO collaboration, which first detected the gravitational waves, have been awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. Predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916, the ripples in space-time created by colliding black holes were first detected in 2015. The three scientists will share the 1.1 million dollar prize money.
The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Jeffrey C Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W Young.
- The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded for "discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythms". The scientists successfully isolated a gene in fruit flies that controls the body's inner clock synchronised with Earth's 24-hour cycle. The discovery would help understand its exact role in regulating behaviour, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature and metabolism.
Sports: Awards & Honours
Jagan Kumar wins sixth straight title at National Motorcycle Racing Championship
- TVS Racing’s mascot Jagan Kumar notched his sixth straight title in the premier Super Sport Indian (165cc) class on a rain-affected day to bring down the curtain on the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship on?Sunday.
President appoints commission to examine sub-categorization of OBCs
- President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday appointed a five-member Commission headed by Delhi High Court's former Chief Justice G Rohini to examine sub categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) under Article 340 of the Constitution, an official statement said.
- This decision has been taken to ensure that the more backward among the OBC communities avail the benefits of reservation, added the statement from the social justice and empowerment ministry.
No service charge on train e-tickets till Mar 2018: Railway
- The Railways Ministry has decided to extend service charge exemption on train tickets booked online till March 2018. In an attempt to encourage online bookings, the government had waived the service charges, which range from ?20-?40 per ticket, after demonetisation last year. Almost 33% of the IRCTC revenue comes from the service charge collected on online bookings, according to officials.
J&K to set up juvenile homes in every district
- The Jammu and Kashmir government will set up juvenile homes in every district to protect and rehabilitate children detained for anti-social activities, state Information Minister Choudhary Zulfkar Ali said. Highlighting the issues faced by children, he added that children who faced abuse and domestic violence were more likely to grow with fragile and often disturbing anti-social personal traits.
Suu Kyi stripped off 'Freedom of Oxford' over Rohingya issue
The British city of Oxford has revoked the 'Freedom of Oxford' honour awarded to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi over her response to the Rohingya crisis. The council which granted the honour to Suu Kyi in 1997 for her "struggle for democracy" said it was "no longer appropriate" for her to hold it.