Current Affairs Updates - 13 November 2017
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The Dubai Police set a one-of-a-kind record during the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC), when a group of police officers teamed up to pull an Airbus A380 for a distance of 100 metres. They broke the previous such record, involving 100 people who pulled a 218.56 ton plane in Hong Kong.
- Major-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police, received the record certificate from Huda Kassab, director of the Guinness World Records, in Dubai after the achievement that saw the jumbo towing Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft, weighing 302.68 tons along the 100 metre stretch.
More than 1.3 lakh Indian space enthusiasts have submitted their names to NASA to be carried to Mars onboard the US space agency’s mission to the red planet next year.
- Last month, NASA invited members of the public to send their names which will be carried on the InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission to Mars.
- Those who submitted their names were provided online ’boarding passes’ for the mission.
- The names are being etched on a silicon wafer microchip using an electron beam to form letters with lines one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair. The chip is affixed to the InSight lander deck and will remain on Mars forever.
New Appointments: International
NASSCOM has appointed Debjani Ghosh, former MD, Intel South Asia, as the NASSCOM President-Designate, succeeding R Chandrashekhar upon the completion of his term in March 2018.
- The industry is today at a very interesting inflection point and NASSCOM has a key role to play in catalysing the next phase of growth of the sector. Under Debjani’s leadership, NASSCOM will further enhance its initiatives in innovation, disruptive technologies, skilling and new market access,” said Raman Roy, Chairman, NASSCOM.
- The Indian IT-BPM industry has been a growth driver for the country and is today a 150 billion dollar sector representing multiple sub-sectors. Moreover, the intersection of digital technologies across every business provides a great opportunity for the industry to achieve its aspiration to reach 350 billion dollar by 2025.
UNESCO’s member States have voted to confirm the nomination of former French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay as the body’s new leader.
- Ms. Azoulay, 45, was nominated last month by the U.N. cultural agency’s executive board in a highly politicized race overshadowed by Middle East tensions.
- The agency’s general conference, which includes all 195 members, on Friday formally approved Ms. Azoulay''s four-year term.
Federal Bank has obtained RBI approval to open representative offices at Kuwait and Singapore. MD & CEO: Shyam Srinivasan.
- The bank has been the preferred banker for NRIs and the NRI friendly measures have resulted in increasing inflow of foreign remittances.
- Last financial year, the bank had handled around 15 per cent of the total personal inward remittances to India. While the full spectrum of digital products keeps customers connected with the bank from any part of the world, opening up of these representative offices will facilitate liaising with NRIs for catering to their various financial requirements. The new offices will be opened as soon as clearance is obtained from the host countries, Shyam Srinivasan, MD & CEO, said.
In a bid to facilitate seamless banking for all sections of the society, the Reserve Bank of India directed all banks to implement doorstep banking facilities for differently-abled citizens and those above 70 years of age by December this year.
- The central bank citing Section 23 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 said "in view of the difficulties faced by senior citizens of more than 70 years of age and differently abled or infirm persons (having medically certified chronic illness or disability) including those who are visually impaired, banks are advised to make concerted effort to provide basic banking facilities, such as pick up of cash and instruments against receipt, delivery of cash against withdrawal from account, delivery of demand drafts, submission of Know Your Customer (KYC) documents and Life certificate at the premises/ residence of such customers."
7th Pay Commission: Govt triples home loan limit for central govt employees to Rs 25 lakh from the earlier limit of Rs 7.50 lakh.
- Incorporating the accepted recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, the government on Thursday raised the maximum amount that a central government employee can borrow from the government to Rs 25 lakh for new construction/purchase of new house/flat.
- Earlier this limit was only Rs 7.50 lakh.
- The move is going to benefit about 50 lakh central government employees across the country.
The Island Development Agency (IDA) decided to develop an airport at Minicoy Island to boost tourism and promote tuna fishing industry for improving livelihoods in Lakshadweep.
- The IDA was set up on June 1 this year, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s review meeting for the holistic development of islands.
- Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the second meeting of the IDA here today.
- It was noted that site development potential reports have clearly mapped and delineated environmentally—sensitive zones in the project islands, and considering the unique maritime and territorial bio-diversity of the islands, enhanced connectivity has been recommended as one of the key priorities, according to a press release issued by the home ministry.
Cabinet approves Development of 2037.39 crore Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre at Dwarka, New Delhi
- Development of Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (ECC), Dwarka and allied infrastructure in PPP and non-PPP Mode (including Exhibition & Convention spaces, arena, trunk-infrastructure, Metro/NHAI connectivity, hotels, office and retail spaces etc.) at an estimated cost of Rs. 25,703 crore by year 2025.
- Incorporation of a new Government company as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the implementation and development of the project with 100% equity from Government through Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. Government of India will provide budgetary support of Rs. 2037.39 crore to the SPV as equity over a period of 3 years to fund trunk infrastructure, a part of Exhibition centre, Foyer, Convention Centre, Metro connectivity, NHAI road connectivity including cost of land to be paid to DDA, water & Sewerage infrastructure, Railway land for Metro Connectivity and expenses towards other Non-PPP components.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari today announced World Bank-supported Rs 6,000 crore scheme to improve the irrigation facilities and water accessibility capacity in several states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
- Gadkari announced this at the inauguration of Agrovision Exhibition here today. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who was present on the occasion, performed e-jalpoojan of Nerala Lift Irrigation Scheme and right bank canal of Gosikhurdh Irrigation project. “A proposal Rs 6,000 crore project has been sent to the World Bank from my ministry and this scheme will start very soon in these states,” the minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources said.
Haryana has emerged as the first state in the country to treat Hepatitis-C patients through oral medicine, health minister of the state confirmed.
- No patient in the state would suffer from Hepatitis-C disease. For the first time, the state government has included oral medicine in government hospitals. This medicine would be provided free of cost to permanent residents of all categories at district level. This has benefitted lakhs of patients in Haryana," Health Minister Anil Vij, during a training workshop organised by the health department here, said.
The Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the appointment of a second national judicial pay commission for the subordinate judiciary.
- The commission will decide on a salary hike for almost 21,000 judges of the subordinate judiciary level.
- Judges and judicial officers of subordinate courts got their last pay hike in 2010, a three-fold jump, from the salaries decided in 1999, according to PTI.
- The current entry-level salary for a junior civil judge is Rs45,000 while a senior judge gets nearly Rs80,000.
Officials from India, Australia, the US and Japan met in Manila on Sunday and discussed issues relating to cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, seen as a first move to set up a quadrilateral grouping to pursue common interests in the strategically key area.
- The external affairs ministry said the discussions focused on cooperation based on converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region. "They agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large.
- The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity," it said in a statement.
Investments in the Indian capital market through participatory notes (P-notes) plunged to an over eight-year low of Rs. 1.23 lakh crore at September-end in view of stringent norms put in place by regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
- The total value of P-notes investments in Indian markets - equity, debt and derivatives - slumped to Rs. 1,22,684 crore at September-end after hitting seven-and-a-half year low of Rs. 1,25,037 crore at the end of August, according to SEBI data.
- This is the lowest level since August 2009, when the cumulative value of such investments stood at Rs. 1,10,355 crore.
- P-notes are issued by registered foreign portfolio investors to overseas players who wish to be part of the Indian stock market without registering themselves directly. They, however, need to go through due diligence.
When National Capital is hitting the headlines over alarming levels of pollution, a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has found that the air quality of holy city Varanasi is most polluted among the 42 cities monitored recently. Varanasi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) at 4 PM was at an alarming 491.
- The stubble burning by farmers in northern states of Punjab and Haryana are speculated to have added to the factors causing pollution in the northern belt of India.
- The air pollution in the national capital has worsened in the last few days, with air quality dropping to ‘severe’ category and a thick toxic smog enshrouding the region. Besides hampering visibility on road, the situation has become a public health emergency.
Summit /Conference / Events / Host
India to hold Dubai's 1st-ever 'International AYUSH Conference and Exhibition 2017' with the theme of 'Lifestyle diseases: Prevention and management through AYUSH' from November 9-11 by Science India Forum, a voluntary group for propagation of science among masses, with the support of Ministry of AYUSH to spread awareness about the prevention and management of lifestyle diseases through Yoga and Ayurveda.
- The conference for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Sidha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) practitioners, policy makers, industrialists, researchers and students is being organised under the patronage of Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member and Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development with the Indian missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The conference will have 30 invited talks, 150 oral presentations and 100 posters. As many as six workshops are scheduled on Cupping Therapy, Varma Therapy of Sidha, Herbal product registration, Ayurvedic dietetics, Marma and Ayurveda (healing through stimulating vital points) in the conference to be attended by 1200 delegates from AYUSH systems from more than 20 countries.
For the first time, the nation’s financial capital will host the 34th annual conference of the Asian Bankers Association (ABA) this week in the megapolis from November 16 and will be hosted by State Bank, with the theme of ‘Asia’s turn to transform’.
- The event is expected to see the presence of over 160 domestic as well as international bankers and Reserve Bank deputy governor Viral V Acharya will deliver the special opening address on the second day, a SBI spokesperson told PTI.
- Founded in 1981, the ABA serves as a forum for advancing the cause of the banking industry and promote regional economic cooperation across the continent.
- With around 80 members from 25 countries, the association holds conferences on issues of concern to the banking sector, policy advocacy discussions, and training programmes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday left for the Philippines, where he will participate in various bilateral and multilateral programmes, including the India-ASEAN Summit.
- On the eve of his departure, the Prime Minister had said that his visit to the Philippines to attend the India-ASEAN Summit symbolises the country’s commitment to deepening ties with the ASEAN member states and the Indo-Pacific region as part of the ‘Act East Policy’.
- Apart from participating in the ASEAN-India and East Asia Summits, in the three-day visit, Mr. Modi would also take part in special celebrations of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Leaders’ Meeting and ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.
Awards & Honours
Transport for London gets 'Bad Grammar Award' 2017 by The Idler Academy in Britain to highlight the incorrect use of English by people and institutions who should know better
- Transport for London has been given the 2017 'Bad Grammar Award' by The Idler Academy in Britain. The shortlist included tweets by US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka, supermarket giant Tesco and the Metropolitan Police. The award was instituted by the academy to highlight "the incorrect use of English by people and institutions who should know better."
Veteran cyclist Ashok Khale, a resident of Dadar in Central Mumbai who was recently injured in an accident on the Sion-Panvel highway, died on Saturday in a hospital during treatment.
Khale, a resident of Dadar in Central Mumbai met with an accident near Mankhurd last Sunday when he was on cycling to Khopoli.
The cyclist, who was injured in the suspected hit-and-run case and was battling for life in the Bombay Hospital, breathed his last on Saturday night, his family members said.