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Current Affairs Update - 8th & 9th August 2017

Current Affairs Update - 8th & 9th August 2017

Current Affairs GK Update - 8th & 9th August

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Do You Know?
Govt plans 24/7 virtual fence along India-Pakistan border

  • The government is planning to install a 24/7 seamless virtual fence with sensors along the India-Pakistan border to curb infiltration by Pakistan. "A pilot project for deployment of Comprehensive Integrated Border Management Solution which includes different types of sensors, radars, day and night vision cameras etc, has been taken up," Home Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju said in the Lok Sabha.

15 August to be celebrated as 'Sankalp Parva'

  • The Centre has decided to observe this Independence Day as ‘Sankalp Parva’ and asked the people to dedicate themselves to social causes and share their ideas to make a new India.
  • The 70th Independence Day on 15 August to be celebrated as the ‘Sankalp Parva’, the ministry of personnel said in an order.
  • Terming ‘Quit India Movement’ as an important milestone, the government has asked people to take a pledge to create a new India that is strong, prosperous and inclusive. The Quit India Movement or ‘August Kranti’ began on 9 August 1942.

New Appointments: National
Justice Dipak Misra set to become 45th Chief Justice of India w.e.f 28th August 2017.

  • Justice Misra once said, “No undertrial or prisoner shall remain without legal aid. Every case has a human face”.
  • The Centre on August 8, 2017 cleared the file for appointment of Justice Dipak Misra as the 45th Chief Justice of India with effect from August 28, 2017.
  • Justice Misra, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court after the current CJI, Justice J.S. Khehar, who is retiring on August 27, 2017, will have a tenure of about 14 months till October 2, 2018.
Banking/Economic Affairs
Mastercard and PayPal have extended their partnership into Asia Pacific to enhance the consumer experience and make Mastercard a clear payment option with PayPal.

  • The deal will expand PayPal's presence at the point of sale and enable Masterpass for Braintree merchants in the region. Additionally, both companies will collaborate to create opportunities to leverage Mastercard's new payment flow technologies, providing increased value to Mastercard cardholders, financial institutions, and PayPal customers.
  • PayPal will also have the opportunity to give consumers and small businesses across Asia Pacific the ability to cash out funds held in their PayPal accounts to a Mastercard debit card.

National Affairs
NITI Aayog selects Total 6 States for transformative change in Health & Education sectors

  • In a major push to competitive, cooperative federalism, NITI Aayog, today, announces partnership with three States each to radically transform their Health and Education sectors. 
  • NITI Aayog has selected Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Karnataka to improve healthcare delivery and key outcomes in these States. In Education, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Jharkhand have been selected for support to better learning outcomes. The six States have been chosen after a rigorous competitive process based on comprehensive metrics to determine potential for impact and likelihood of success. 
  • States were called to, first, express intent of collaborating with NITI Aayog to better their Health and Education indices. States then made presentations for each sector which was assessed by a committee comprised of senior members of NITI Aayog and Health and Education ministries. The States highlighted the initiatives undertaken by them thus far, their willingness to accelerate improvement and justified why they should be selected for the institutional support being offered by NITI Aayog. 

Worlds shortest woman "Jyoti Amge" unveils 51-feet high book, The book Kadve Vachan written by Jain saint Acharya Tarun Sagar Maharaj. 

  • The worlds shortest woman Jyoti Amge today unveiled a 51-feet high book at a programme here.
  • The book Kadve Vachan written by Jain saint Acharya Tarun Sagar Maharaj was unveiled by her in the presence of BJP state president Ashok Parnami.
  • Amge is considered to be the worlds shortest woman alive by the Guinness World Records at 62.8 cm.

Science & Technologies
Indian Institute of Science researchers have developed a highly sensitive nanometre-scale carbon monoxide(CO) sensor by employing an innovative fabrication technique. 

  • It is known that carbon monoxide (CO) can have adverse effects on the health of people exposed to it. Hence, it becomes necessary to have good, low-cost carbon-monoxide sensors. The research is published in Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.
  • Typically, a sensor would be a thin, current carrying plate whose resistance changes on exposure to carbon monoxide. This in turn changes the value of the current flowing through it. This change when measured indicates the level of carbon monoxide in the air. Most available sensors are in the micrometer range, a nanometer-sized detector would have a higher sensitivity, but the cost of manufacturing it goes up as the size decreases. This is where the work of C.S. Prajapati and coworkers of Indian Institute of Science comes in.

IIT Delhi team develops a new antibacterial drug-delivery system

  • The nanoconjugates will be useful for cancer patients suffering from bacterial infections
  • A new antibiotic drug-delivery system that improves the efficacy of drugs thereby reducing the dosage used for treating bacterial infections has been tested in a lab by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. A peptide, which has not been approved for clinical use, bound to gold nanoparticles was able to kill E. coli and Salmonella typhi more efficiently at lower dosages.

Defence & Railway
Flexi fare scheme: Railways earns additional Rs 540 crore in less than a year (This Scheme is applicable only Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains)

  • The Railways has earned an additional revenue of Rs 540 crore in less than a year through the flexi fare scheme and there is no plan to discontinue it, a senior ministry official said.
  • The scheme, launched on September 9 last year, is applicable in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains, allowing 10 per cent of the seats to be sold at normal fare and thereafter increasing it by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold with a ceiling of 50 per cent.
  • "We have earned money from flexi fare and there is no reason why we should discontinue it. In fact, we have gained 85,000 additional passengers in these trains since we launched the scheme, showing that even passengers are not averse to the scheme," said a senior official of the ministry.

Books & Authors
The Punjab chief minister was in the national capital to release a book on the popular author titled 'Khushwant Singh: In Wisdom and in Jest'. The book is co-authored by Vijay Narain Shankar and Onkar Singh.

  • Amarinder recounted several interactions with Khushwant and said a general feeling of bitterness prevailed in Punjab post-Operation Blue Star in 1984.
  • A team was appointed to bring down tempers with Khushwant Singh being a prominent member of it, he said.
  • The Congress leader said the celebrated author believed in truth and wrote it, adding that his books would live in the hearts and minds of people.
  • In response to a question on Khushwant's decision to support the imposition of Emergency and sterilisation programme by the then Indira Gandhi government, Amarinder said one could agree or disagree with the methods adopted at that time, but the fact is that population is a matter of serious concern.
  • The Punjab chief minister was joined by former Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee.

Agreements (MoU)
Amazon India and Telangana Handloom & Textile department signed an agreement to educate, train and enable weavers and artisans to directly sell their products to Amazon customers across the country.

  • Amazon India has said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Telangana Department of Handloom and Textiles, to educate, train and enable weavers and artisans to directly sell their products to Amazon customers across the country.
  • According to a statement issued by the e-commerce giant last night, with over 17,000 handlooms in the state, this association will further help elevate popular handloom products from clusters such as are Pochampally, Warangal, Gadwal, Narayanpet and Siddipet which have a tremendous potential and demand in urban areas.
  • “Amazon India through this association with the weavers and artisans in Telangana will help them boost their business by training them to list and sell their products online on the marketplace.

ONGC Videsh to pump $150 million in Colombia, Kazakhstan & Bangladesh 

  • ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of the state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp, plans to invest $150 million in exploration this fiscal year to drill more wells in Colombia, where it just made a commercial discovery, as well as in Kazakhstan and Bangladesh. 
  • ONGCBSE 0.58 % Videsh, which operates the CPO-5 block of Colombia, has made a commercial discovery in its exploration well Mariposa-1, managing director Narendra Verma has said. The company is now drawing up plans for the development of the Mariposa-1well that has begun a test production of 4,500 barrels per day, he said. The success has also opened opportunity for further exploration in the block. 

Iran signs its biggest-ever car deal with France’s Renault

  • Iran’s official news agency says two Iranian companies have signed the country’s biggest-ever car deal with French multinational automobile manufacturer Group Renault to produce 150,000 cars, beginning in 2018.
  • IRNA says the deal was signed on Monday in Tehran.
  • The €660 million — or $778 million — deal follows the lifting of international sanctions after Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers.
  • It’s expected to create about 3,000 jobs for the two companies, Iran’s IDRO and the privately owned Negin Group. Renault has a 60% partnership in the deal.
  • Last year, French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen reached a deal with Iran Khodro to open a plant producing 200,000 vehicles annually.
  • Iran produces about 1,350,000 vehicles a year, though authorities hope that number will reach 3 million annually by 2025.

India, Iran Call For Early Operationalisation Of Chabahar Port (Situated Sistan and Baluchestan Province).

  • India and Iran have expressed commitment for early completion and operationalisation of Chabahar Port besides strengthening bilateral ties.
  • Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari was on a two-day visit to Tehran on August 5 and 6 to represent India at the inauguration and oath taking ceremony of Hassan Rouhani as the President of Iran for a second term where he also held discussions with Iranian officials on wide ranging issues including Chabahar Port and proposed rail link between Chabahar and Zahedan.
  • "In the meetings, both sides positively assessed the progress in implementation of the decisions taken during the Indian Prime Minister's visit to Iran last year, including the progress of Chabahar Port. Both sides reiterated their commitment to complete and operationalise the port at the earliest," Ministry of Shipping said in a statement today.

Summit /Conference / Events / Host
Dawn of cruise tourism in India’ inaugurated in Mumbai

  • In order to promote cruise tourism in India, a special event, ‘The dawn of cruise tourism in India’ was inaugurated in Mumbai on Tuesday.
  • The preparedness of Mumbai Port and Ministry of shipping to host cruise vessels in the country is revealed to a worldwide audience at the event. It also saw the launch of three reports, “Mumbai Port SoP’s for cruise operations”, “Road map for Sea cruise tourism” and “Cruise terminals in India”.
  • According to the reports, this initiative has a potential revenue gains to all stakeholders of close to Rs. 35000 crore. Promotion of cruise tourism is expected to create over 2,50,000 jobs. With this new initiative, number of cruise ships visiting India could go up from 158 per year to 955 per year.
  • Union Minister for Shipping, Nitin Gadkari expressed hope for bright future of cruise tourism in India. He said that bureaucracy and systems are the reasons for delay in several projects.

Awards & Honours
Dev Patel(The Indian Origin Actor) to be honoured with Asia Society Game Changers Award at New York

  • Indian-origin actor Dev Patel is to be honoured by a leading educational organisation for making a “transformative and positive” difference for the future of Asia and the world.
  • London-born Dev Patel, who became popular with his debut film Slumdog Millionaire, will be felicitated with the Asia Society 2017 Asia Game Changers Award at a ceremony to be held at the United Nations, New York, in November.

Firoz Merchant, Indian businessman, receives UAE’s community service medal

  • Firoz Merchant, a Dubai-based Indian businessman and philanthropist, became the first expatriate to receive prestigious community service medal in UAE. 
  • The 59-year-old businessman is the founder and chairman of Pure Gold Jewellers. Merchant, who has donated 15 million dirhams ($4 million) to pay off the debts of more than 10,000 prisoners in the country, was honoured by UAE government, as per a report by Arab News. Merchant received his award from the UAE’s deputy prime minister and interior minister, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Sheikh Saif appreciated Merchant’s philanthropic work and also urged him to continue it. He promised all necessary cooperation from government to Merchant.

Sports: Awards & Honours
Alexander Zverev(Tennis Player) beats Kevin Anderson to win Citi Open and his fourth ATP title of the year.

  • Alexander Zverev issued a warning to top ATP rivals Sunday after winning the Citi Open for his fourth title of the year -- he’s not the next generation, he’s the now generation.
  • The 20-year-old German defeated South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 to capture the $355,460 (302,000 euros) top prize at the US Open tuneup event on the Washington hardcourts.

Hockey tournament: ONGC wins Murugappa Gold Cup

  • A seasoned ONGC put all its experience to fruitful effect by subduing Bengaluru HA 4-2 in the final of the 91st MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup all-India hockey tournament here on Sunday.
  • Both teams played their hearts out in an entertaining contest. The major reason for ONGC’s triumph was its excellent defensive organisation. Most of its counter-attacks were measured, and during turnovers, the defence seldom allowed Jenjen Singh, Rajkumar Pal or any of Bengaluru’s forwards any leeway. This was especially so in the second session.

IAAF World Athletics Championships 2017: Jamaica's Omar McLeod wins 110 metres hurdles gold

  • Jamaica's Omar McLeod added the world 110 metres hurdles title to his Olympic crown in London on Monday.
  • However, world record holder Aries Merritt's dream of winning at least a medal two years after a kidney transplant were dashed as the American 2012 Olympic champion finished fifth.
  • McLeod, 23, led from start to finish to take the title in 13.04 seconds from defending champion Sergey Shubenkov with Balazs Baji of Hungary taking a surprise bronze.

2 silver, 6 bronze medals for India at Asian Junior boxing: Total 8 Medals.

  • Gold eluded India as Satender Rawat (80+kg) and Mohit Khatana (80kg) settled for silver medals after losing their final bouts in the Asian Junior Boxing Championships in Puerto Princesa, Philippines today.
  • Satender lost to Uzbekistan's Almatov Shokrukh in a split verdict, while Mohit went down to Kazakhstan's Togambay Sagyndyk.
  • India thus finished the tournament with two silver and six bronze medals, a creditable performance by the team.
  • Earlier, Ankit Narwal (57kg), Bhavesh Kattimani (52kg), Sidhartha Malik (48kg), Vinit Dahiya (75kg), Akshay Siwach (60kg) and Aman Sehrawat (70kg) had claimed bronze medals.

Govt declares entire Assam as ‘disturbed’ area under AFSPA for another month

  • The Centre has declared entire Assam as a “disturbed” area under the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for one more month, citing various violent activities by insurgent groups ULFA, NDFB, and others.
  • The Union home ministry also declared Meghalaya’s border areas adjoining Assam, and three districts in Arunachal Pradesh as “disturbed” under the AFSPA for two more months with effect from August 3.
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