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Current Affairs Update - 20th September 2017

Current Affairs Update - 20th September 2017
Current Affairs Update - 20th September 2017
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Mahindra displays India's first driverless tractor.
  • Mahindra and Mahindra displayed India's first-ever driverless tractor on Tuesday. The tractor, which is expected to be available commercially from early 2018, can be programmed to carry out specific tasks and can also be operated remotely to perform in the field. 
  • The company said the technology will also be deployed across international markets such as the US and Japan.

New Appointments: National
Rajni Kant Mishra appointed new SSB chief 
  • Rajni Kant Mishra will be the new chief of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), it was announced on Monday. The decision was taken by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. 
  • Mishra, a 1984 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre IPS officer, will succeed Archana Ramasundaram, a 1980 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer, who is set to retire on September 30. 
  • Mishra, 58, a native of Patna in Bihar, joined the Border Security Force (BSF) as Inspector General in 2012. 

Punit Goenka re-appointed as president of Indian Broadcasting Foundation
  • Punit Goenka was re-appointed as the president of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) for a second consecutive term at its 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday.
  • Goenka is the MD and CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited. Board members also elected K. Madhavan from Asianet Communications, N P Singh from Sony Pictures Network, Rajat Sharma from India TV and Sudhanshu Vats from Viacom 18 India as Vice Presidents of the Foundation for the second consecutive term.

Global IT and networking major Cisco has announced that its CEO Chuck Robbins will be appointed as the Executive Chairman of the company.
  • The announcement came after John Chambers, the present Executive Chairman, notified the Board of Directors that he will not stand for re-election. 
  • "John's influence on the industry is immense and he built Cisco around a culture of integrity and innovation that will continue to serve our employees, partners and customers for decades to come," said Robbins, CEO, Cisco, in a statement late on Monday. 

Brand Ambassador
Akshay Kumar appointed Uttarakhand Swachh Bharat Mission brand ambassador.
  • Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar has been appointed as brand ambassador of the Swachh Bharat Mission. Announcing the same, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said that the actor has happily agreed to be the brand ambassador of the mission in the state.

Banking/Economic Affairs
World’s largest sovereign wealth fund hits 1 trillion dollar for first time. Norges Bank says 1 trillion dollar mark was never forecast. Dollar weakness a major factor
  • The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, the largest in the world, has officially hit 1 trillion dollar.
  • Norges Bank, who manages the fund for Norway, said on its website that the rainy-day pot was never expected to grow so large.
  • "I don't think anyone expected the fund to ever reach 1 trillion dollars when the first transfer of oil revenue was made in May 1996. Reaching 1 trillion dollars is a milestone, and the growth in the fund's market value has been stunning", said Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive officer at Norges Bank Investment Management.
  • The fund's administrators said that on Tuesday 19 September 2017 at 2:01 a.m. local time, the fund value hit 1,000,000,000,000 dollar, or 1 trillion dollar, for the first time.

National Affairs
India got its 1st woman Olympic medalist 100 yrs after debut
  • Weightlifter Karnam Malleswari became India's first female Olympic medalist, 100 years after the nation's debut at the Olympics, winning the bronze medal at the Sydney Olympic Games on September 19, 2000. The two-time world champion lifted a total of 240 kg to claim the medal. Malleswari is also India's only female weightlifter to win an Olympic medal.

Dr Jitendra Singh to inaugurate first ‘Pension Adalat’ 20th Sept. Pensioners for outstanding contribution towards ‘Anubhav’ to be awarded. Mobile App to avail the services of Pensioners’ Portal also to be launched 
  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh will inaugurate the first ‘Pension Adalat’ here tomorrow. 
  • He will also award the Pensioners for their outstanding contribution towards ‘Anubhav’ – a platform for retiring employees for sharing their experience of working with Government. Moving ahead from e-governance to m-governance, a Mobile App has been created to avail the services of Pensioners’ Portal which will also be launched by Dr Jitendra Singh tomorrow. 
  • As a measure of welfare to the pensioners of Government of India, a workshop on Pre-Retirement Counseling (PRC) of 300 retiring Central Government employees is also scheduled to be held. The event is being organized by Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India. 

Rajnath launches SSB’s new intelligence unit
  • Inaugurating a new intelligence wing in the Sashastra Seema Bal home minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday that anti-national elements are trying to foment tension in the society by posting unverified information on social media, while asking the jawans to not believe such information.
  • The intelligence wing will have 650 men who will gather intelligence on terrorists, illegal immigrants, drugs/fake currency/wildlife smugglers etc on Nepal and Bhutan borders. Earlier, the border guarding force had to depend on IB reports for intelligence about terrorists' movements and smugglers.

Jammu and Kashmir governor N N Vohra today inaugurated the second International Yoga Festival and International Yoga Sports Championship 2017 in which about 300 people from across the world are participating.
  • The festival is being organized by the Yoga Society of Kashmir at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre, an official spokesman said here, adding that about 300 participants from various parts of India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Canada, Bulgaria, USA and Nepal are participating in the festival.
  • Welcoming the participants, the governor complimented Shabir Ahmed Dar, Yoga therapist and Coach, for establishing the Yoga Society of Kashmir and organizing the championship.
  • Observing that Yoga is enormously beneficial for the growth of a healthy mind and body, Vohra emphasized that learning to practise yoga, especially from a young age helps in developing the required mental and physical discipline which enables the practitioner to lead a wholesome, stress free and balanced life, the spokesman said.

Amit Shah launches ‘Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana’ in Jharkhand to provide houses to freedom fighters
  • As the Jharkhand government under the leadership of CM Raghubar Das completed its 1,000 days, BJP chief Amit Shah headed towards Jharkhand to revive economy in the state again. On Sunday, he launched many schemes to develop villages of freedom fighters, called Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana. 
  • Under this scheme, the rural hamlet of Ulihatu where the tribal leader Birsa Munda was born will be transformed. The village is in Maoist-hit Khunti district which invites greater threats from the jungle. Ulihatu, a village in Arki Block, had remained virtually inaccessible for a long time after Independence because of Left-wing extremism. 
  • However, the government will take action under this scheme and provide basic amenities to the people. In fact, Shah met the descendants of Birsa Munda and gave away gas connections and solar lamps to some of the beneficiaries. Both leaders, Das and Shah even planted saplings there, indicating growth. 

International Affairs
Bambawale new envoy to China, Bisaria takes his place in Pakistan
  • India's high commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale has been appointed the ambassador to China and India's ambassador to Poland Ajay Bisaria will be the next high commissioner to Pakistan, top South Block sources told TOI Saturday night.
  • The reshuffle was necessitated by appointment of India's ambassador to China Vijay Gokhale as Secretary (Economic Relations) in MEA. Gokhale played the lead role in defusing the Doklam crisis with Beijing and is now being tipped as India's next foreign secretary in case government doesn't give another extension to S Jaishankar in January.

Singapore To Set Up Skill Center In Northeast: Dr Jitendra Singh
  • The Government of Singapore will set up a Skill Center at Guwahati which will cater to the entire North-Eastern region. Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh stated this after a meeting with a high-level delegation represented by the High Commissioner of Singapore, Mr Lim Thuan Kuan here yesterday. 
  • The Indian side was led by Dr Jitendra Singh, consisted of senior officers from the Ministry of DoNER, Department of Space and Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, which are the three main areas where Singapore has expressed its keenness to collaborate with India. 

The largest US toy store chain, Toys"R"Us, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US after its debt increased to 5 billion dollar.
  • The company doesn't plan to close its stores, and said its locations across the globe would continue normal operations. Notably, the company has also announced that it intends to seek bankruptcy protection for its Canadian unit.

New Zealand was the first nation to allow women to vote
  • On September 19 in 1893, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to grant national voting rights to women. The Electoral Bill was the outcome of years of suffragette meetings across the country. Notably, India granted the voting rights to women as soon as it became a Republic in 1950.

Defence & Railway
  • For the first time, the US Army has opened a permanent base on Israeli soil, flying the Stars and Stripes inside an IDF base.
  • “Due to the close cooperation between us and the American forces in the field of air defense, as well as the extensive experience accumulated by the Aerial Defense Division, it was decided that the first permanent base of the American army would be established at the School of Air Defense,” Brig.-Gen. Zvika Haimovich, head of the Aerial Defense Division, said on Monday.

Schemes / Programme
Gorakhpur, Koraput and Thane to launch Zero Hunger Programme on October 16 
  • Three districts - Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Koraput in Odisha and Thane in Maharashtra - will initiate India's ambitious 'Zero Hunger' programme through interventions in farm sector on October 16 (World Food Day). 
  • Though many more districts will eventually be covered under this dedicated farm-based programme in sync with India's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger by 2030, these three would act as a model of an integrated approach to deal with hunger and malnutrition by adopting suitable agricultural\horticultural practices. 

Summit /Conference / Events / Host
Union Petroleum Minister (Shri Dharmendra Pradhan) co-chair 13th Inter-Governmental Commission meeting at Astana, Kazakhstan
  • Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan will be visiting Astana, Kazakhstan from 19 - 20 September 2017 to co-chair the 13th Meeting of Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) with Kazakhstan. Mr Kanat Bozumbayev, Minister of Energy of Kazakhstan will co-chair the meeting from Kazakhstan side.
  • The IGC meeting aims to follow up on the agenda set between India and Kazakhstan during the two visits of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Kazakhstan in July 2015 and June 2017.

Awards & Honours
India win four medals by grabbing one gold, two silver and one bronze through track and field athletes on the third day of fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, in Ashgabat.
  • Indian opened its medal account in style by grabbing one gold, two silver and one bronze through track and field athletes on the third day of fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, in Ashgabat on Monday.
  • Purnima Hembram bagged the lone gold in the women’s pentathlon event as she collected aggregate 4062 points from five events.
  • Tejinder Pal Singh Toor and Sanjivani Jadhav won a silver medal each in men’s shot put and women’s 3000m respectivley while Neena Varakil took a bronze in women’s long jump.

British cyclist Mark Beaumont sets world record by cycling around the world in 79 days
  • A British cyclist has broken the world record for cycling around the world in 79 days – 44 days shorter than the previous record.
  • Mark Beaumont, 34, arrived at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris one day ahead of schedule after cycling 18,000 miles and an average of 240 miles per day.
  • The cyclist from Perthshire set a new world record in 2008 at 194 days, and it has been consistently broken over the years, with a previous record set at 123 days.

Austria's Mensur Suljovic, also known as 'The Gentle', defeated two-time world champion Gary Anderson to win the 2017 Champions League of Darts in Cardiff. 
  • The 45-year-old world number seven won all five matches over the weekend. This was the second edition of the championship, with Phil Taylor winning the inaugural edition of the tournament.

Sports: Awards & Honours
The senior Indian women's hockey team beat the Belgium junior men's team 4-3 in their last Europe Tour match in Antwerp.
  • India's captain Rani Rampal and defender Gurjit Kaur scored twice each to hand India their first win of the tour. The match was coach Sjoerd Marijne's last match with the women's team.

Dr Kirpal Chugh, India’s father of nephrology, dies at 85
  • Dr Kirpal Singh Chugh, fondly called father of nephrology in India, passed away on Sunday. He was 85.
  • Belonging to Patti in Tarn Taran, he was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, in 2000.
  • Dr Chugh, a professor emeritus and former head of Nephrology Department at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh,  was diagnosed with blood cancer (multiple myeloma) around two years back.

Soviet officer Stanislav Petrov, who prevented a possible nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, has died aged 77.
  • Petrov was monitoring a radar in 1983 when it showed that the US had launched nukes at Russia. However, Petrov decided not to retaliate doubting the radar reading, which was later revealed to be false.

Tata Group to enter online grocery retail business
  • Tata Group plans to venture into online grocery business under the Starquik brand. A pilot venture will be reportedly rolled out within the next two months as an online channel for Trent Hypermarket, a joint venture between Tata and UK's Tesco. Notably, Tata Group runs three formats under Star banner, and has around 42 stores.
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