Current Affairs August 2016
China, ASEAN countries agree to form South China Sea framework
China and a grouping of Southeast Asian nations aim to finish by the middle of next year a framework for a code of conduct to ease tension in the disputed South China Sea. The agreement was reached between both sides during a meeting at Inner Mongolia in northern China held on August 15 and 16, 2016. The two sides also agreed to get the framework for the code of conduct done by mid-2017. They also approved guidelines for a China-ASEAN hotline for use during maritime emergencies. They also agreed that a pact on unplanned maritime encounters signed by countries in the region in 2014 is applied to the SCS.
World’s Longest, Highest Glass Bridge To Open In China
The world’s longest and highest glass bridge will open to visitors. The bridge concreted with 99 panes of three layer transparent glasses, hangs between two steep cliffs 300 metres altitude is maintained from the ground. The bridge has set 10 world records spanning its design and construction.
Singapore ranked 6th in Global Innovation Index
India climbed 15 spots, from 81 last year, to 66 in the Global Innovation Index (GII) and maintained the top spot in the Central and South Asia regions, according to the rankings released by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Switzerland, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America and Finland have been placed ahead of Singapore as the top 5 in the index, while Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands and Germany follow, including in the top 10 most innovative economies.
Brazil free of measles WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Brazil free of measles, after no case of the disease was registered in the last year. The eradication of measles is the conclusion of work spanning several years. Brazil saw no domestic cases of measles from 1985 to 2000, although it broke out in 2013 in the northeastern states of Pernambuco and Ceara. The WHO will issue a certification for the eradication of measles to Brazil. Measles can be transmitted orally, through mucus or saliva and mainly affects children. It can be spread rapidly through the air due to sneezing or a cough, and the first symptoms appear after 10 days with red spots on the skin.
Canada to conduct world’s first Zika vaccine test on humans
Researchers from Laval University based in Quebec City, Canada are going to conduct the world’s first Zika vaccine test on humans. They are first international researchers team in the world to complete all of the steps in the regulatory process for the test. The development of the Zika vaccine has been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada. Until now, vaccines have been tested on mice. According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, including France’s Sanofi and India’s Bharat Biotech, are working on developing a Zika vaccine.
INDIA & WORLD
PM Modi, Russian Prez Vladimir Putin jointly dedicated Kudankulam to the Nation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa jointly dedicated to the nation Unit 1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant through a video conference 10 August. It has been built with Russian expertise following a pact between the then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Soviet leader Mikahil Gorbachev in November 1988. Now the first unit of Kudankulam power plant is generating its full capacity of 1000 megawatts of electricity.
India to attend SAARC young Parliamentarians conference in Islamabad
A three-member Parliamentary delegation would be travelling to Islamabad to attend the first SAARC Young Parliamentarians Conference (YPC) on `Peace and Harmony for Development’ scheduled to be held from 16 to 18 August in Islamabad. The Parliamentarians would be going to Pakistan days after the India-Pakistan show-down in Islamabad at the 7th SAARC Interior and Home Ministers conference. The YPC intends to offer young Parliamentarians’ narrative as a prelude to the 19th SAARC Summit that Pakistan will be hosting in November.
Indian-American girl becomes the youngest delegate at DNC
An 18-year-old Indian-American girl has become the youngest delegate at the Democratic National Convention which has nominated Hillary Clinton as the party’s presidential candidate. Sruthi Palaniappan from Cedar Rapids and a student of Harvard University is a strong supporter of Clinton, the first woman to be nominated as a presidential candidate by a major political party. Sruthi Palaniapan is a student of the prestigious Harvard University and an ardent supporter of Hilary Clinton, to make her as the first ever woman president of the United States.
BRICS policy planning dialogue concludes in Patna
The BRICS Policy Planning Dialogue was successfully concluded in Patna, Bihar. Delegates of BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa had attended the meeting. The two day (25-26 July 2016) dialogue provided a common platform to BRICS countries for sharing of best practices in foreign policy planning and assessment between the BRICS countries. It forwarded the Policy Planning talks initiated under the Chairmanship of Russia in 2015 in line with 2016 theme of “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions”. They also discussed the role of BRICS in international governance, ongoing cooperation at BRICS Forum and reflected on areas of convergence among BRICS.
India makes the first contribution to UN Trust Fund
India has contributed USD 100,000 to a trust fund set up for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. The fund was established at the end of March and continues to seek funds to support services for victims and address gaps in services. This is the first contribution to the Trust Fund the Secretariat has received. India has historically been one of the largest troop contributing countries in peacekeeping operations and is currently ranked as the second largest contributor of military and police personnel. Historically, India has been one of the largest troop-contributing countries in the UN peace keeping operations. Currently, India is second largest contributor of military and police personnel.
Union Govt allows Online Authentication using Aadhaar for new mobile connections
The Union government has allowed internet Aadhar authentication for new mobile sim connections. In this regard the Department of Telecom has issued guidelines for Electronic Aadhaar, know your client (e-KYC). The e-KYC seeks to make the online process of application and authentication faster and simpler for subscribers. Customer through their Aadhaar number and biometrics will online authorise UIDAI to provide demographic details. The details will include name, address, date of birth and gender, along with the digitally signed photograph, to the mobile operator.
Railway Budget set to be merged with Union Budget from next fiscal
The 92-year-old practice of presenting a separate Rail Budget is set to come to an end from the next fiscal, with the Finance Ministry accepting Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s proposal to merge it with the General Budget. The move is considered to be a relief to the national transporter, which was suffering from an additional burden of about Rs 40,000 crore on account the Seventh Pay Commission and close to Rs 35,000 crore on subsidy burden. If the merger happens, the Railways will get rid of the annual dividend that it has to pay for gross budgetary support from the government. According to a report, the finance ministry has given a go-ahead signal to the proposal by the Railways ministry and has set up a five member committee in this regard.
India’s first Nuclear Suppliers’ Insurance Policy unveiled by INIP
The country’s first Nuclear Suppliers’ insurance policy was unveiled by India Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP). The policy was unveiled by Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman Sekhar Basu in Mumbai, Maharashtra. INIP is the 27th global nuclear insurance pool which was launched by state run General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re), in association with non-life insurance companies. New India Assurance Co (NIAC) and INIP will issue the policy and administer the claims on behalf of the pool. Earlier NIAC had issued a policy for the operators of nuclear power plants under INIP by underwriting premium to the tune of Rs 100 crore.
Union Cabinet approves liberalization of FDI norms for NBFCs
The Union Cabinet has approved liberalization of foreign investment norms for the non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) to improve the ease of doing business. Decision in this regard, Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Cabinet has approved Foreign investment in NBFCs can now come under the automatic route provided they are regulated by any of the financial sector regulators. Entities not regulated by any of the regulators (RBI, SEBI, PFRDA etc.)/ government agencies will need approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). A NBFC is a financial institution that provides banking services without meeting the legal definition of a bank, i.e. one that does not hold a banking license.
Rajya Sabha passes Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016
Following the Cabinet approving the amendment made to the Maternity Benefit Act, which aims to raise maternity leave for women from 12 to 26 weeks, the Rajya Sabha has passed the amendment. The Bill seeks to amend the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The law protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a ‘maternity benefit’. The Bill aims at increasing women’s participation in the workforce which is “decreasing day-by-day.” The provisions of bill apply to every establishment employing ten or more persons and include mines and factories. No employer can remove any woman employee on the ground of pregnancy. It is a mandatory for every establishment having 50 or more employees to have a creche.
Parliament passes Central Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill, 2016
Parliament has passed the Central Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to help the north-eastern state achieve higher growth in animal husbandry sector. The Bill proposes to amend the Central Agricultural University Act, 1992 to include Nagaland under the jurisdiction of Imphal Central Agriculture University (CAU). The amendment will help Nagaland to reap the benefit of the Imphal Central Agriculture University which was established for the entire north eastern region.
India’s first BIO-CNG plant inaugurated in Pune
India’s first BIO-CNG fuel plant was inaugurated by Union Minister of surface Transport Nitin Gadkari and Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in Pune, Maharashtra. The plant was commissioned by Pune-based Primove Engineering Private Limited. It has been set up as a Proof of Concept (PoC) which can be replicated elsewhere. It uses special bacterial solution for treating agricultural waste in the process of generation of CNG. The gas generated is cleaned and compressed for use in vehicles. The bio-fuel will help in reducing the import of diesel up to 50% and therefore the huge amount of foreign exchange can be saved.
PM Narendra Modi launches Mission Bhagiratha in Telangana
Bhagiratha at Komatibanda Village, Gajwel, in Medak District of Telangana. The scheme has been launched by the State Government with an objective to provide safe drinking water to all. The Prime Minister unveiled plaques to lay Foundation Stones for important development projects. These included the 1600 MW Thermal Power station of NTPC at Ramagundam; revival of a Fertilizer Plant at Ramagundam; Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences, Warangal; and Manoharabad-
Kothapalli Railway line. He also dedicated to the nation the 1200 MW Thermal Power Station of Singareni Collieries at Jaipur, in Adilabad district.
Union Cabinet approves amendments in Central List of OBCs to AP & Telangana
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for making suitable amendments in the Central List of OBCs by way of inclusion/ correction/ deletion of castes/ communities applicable to the State of Andhra Pradesh and the newly formed State of Telangana as per the advice received from the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).“A total of 35 changes recommended by NCBC in respect of Andhra Pradesh and 86 New Entries in respect of Telangana State will be notified. The changes will enable the persons belonging to these castes/ communities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to avail the benefits of reservation in Government services and posts as well as in Central Educational Institutions as per extant policy. They will also become eligible for benefit under the various welfare schemes, scholarships etc. being administered by the Central Government, which are at present available to the persons belonging to the Other Backward Classes.
First green rail corridor opens in Tamil Nadu
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has inaugurated 114-km long Rameswaram-Mana Madurai route as the country’s first green rail corridor with zero toilet discharge section. Accordingly, 10 passenger trains consisting of 286 coaches moving in the section have been provided with bio-toilets enabling the rail corridor free from the discharge of human waste on the track.
Maharashtra CM launches pilot project of e-complaint system
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has launched a pilot project of e-complaint system on an experimental basis in Pune. After the pilot project, the system will be launched across the state within 8 months. It has been launched during the concluding ceremony of 14th Maharashtra Police Duty Meet at SRPF ground at Ramtekdi. Citizens can now register a police complaint online at any city police station from anywhere. As per current laws, FIRs have to be registered at the police station only. Also, a new SMS gateway has been launched where in people get an acknowledgment of the FIR on the phone through a system generated SMS, and also when accused are arrested, charge sheet/ final report submitted to the court.
BRICS women Parliamentarian’s forum begins in Jaipur
The meeting of BRICS women parliamentarian’s forum has begun in Jaipur, Rajasthan. BRICS is the grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The two day meeting was inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. A total of 43 delegates from member countries are participating in the meeting. The meeting will see the participation of 5 women parliamentarians from Brazil, 3 from Russia, 28 from India, 2 from China and 4 from South Africa.
First SAARC Youth Parliamentarians Conference begins in Islamabad
The First SAARC Young Parliamentarians Conference begins in Islamabad, with the key theme of “Peace & Harmony for Development.” The two-day (from August 16 to 18, 2016) intends to offer young Parliamentarians’ narrative as a prelude to the 19th SAARC Summit to be hosted by Pakistan in November 2016. 8 parliamentary delegates from 8 SAARC member countries are participating in the conference. Lok Sabha MP Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, is leading the three member Indian delegation. The goal of the conference is to build bridges between the future leaders of South Asia on a platform that supports continued engagement and cooperation.
WEF India Economic Summit in Delhi on October 6-7
World Economic Forum (WEF), will host its annual India Economic Summit on October 6-7 in New Delhi which would be attended by over 500 business and political leaders including top policymakers and CEOs. This year’s meet will be convened under the theme, ‘Fostering an Inclusive India through Digital Transformation.
India to host international summit on tobacco-control
India is going to host a crucial global summit in November to eliminate the illicit trade of tobacco products. The summit is scheduled for November 7-12 at the Indian Exposition Mart in Noida. In this summit delegates from 180 countries will take part. This is the 7th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC).
Policy planning dialogue meeting of BRICS has begun today in Patna
BRICS policy planning dialogue meeting has begun on 25 July in Patna. Delegates of BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are participating in this meeting. The dialogue meeting is being held ahead of the 8th BRICS Summit, which is going to be held in Goa on October 15-16 under the chairmanship of India. This year’s theme of dialogue is Building responsive, Inclusive and collective solutions. The dialogue will provide an opportunity for exchange on strategic assessments of an internal situation and the regional situation of each country. The dialogue will also seek to enhance sharing of best practices in foreign policy planning and assessment between the BRICS countries.
AWARDS & HONOURS
UP announces Rani Laxmi Bai award for Sakshi Malik
The Uttar Pradesh government will honour Sakshi Malik, the first woman Indian wrestler to win a medal in Olympics, with the coveted Rani Laxmi Bai award. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 3.11 lakh. The 23-year-old won the bronze in the 58-kg category wrestling.
Havildar Hangpan Dada honoured with Ashok Chakra posthumously
Havildar Hangpan Dada, who died in Kupwara on May 27 after killing three terrorists, has been awarded Ashok Chakra, while Lt. Col. Niranjan Ek of the National Security Guard, who died during Pathankot operations, was awarded Shaurya Chakra on the eve of Independence Day by President Pranab Mukherjee. Dada, who laid down his life for the country on May 27 this year, valiantly fought at the treacherous Shamsabari range in North Kashmir eliminating four heavily-armed terrorists who had infiltrated into North Kashmir from Pak-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). Hailing from Boduria village in far-flung Arunachal Pradesh, the Havildar, who was popularly known as ‘Dada’ among his team, was posted at the high mountain range since late last year.
Kerala Tourism bags six National Tourism awards
Kerala Tourism has bagged six National Tourism awards for 2014-15 in the marketing category for states. It received two more awards, including the one for its Responsible Tourism (RT) initiative in Wayanad. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan presented the awards to Principal Secretary Venu V and Director U V Jose in the presence of Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma at a function at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. Kerala Tourism received three out of the six awards for states in the Tourism Promotion and Publishing category, including the one for ‘Most Innovative use of Information Technology’ – social media/ mobile app. The Wayanad initiative, which has transformed the hilly district’s economy through intensive participation of the local people, was selected for the award in the ‘Responsible Tourism’ category.
India’s CSIR ranked world’s 12th best Government Institute
The Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) has been ranked world’s 12th best government institution. The institutes were ranked by a prestigious Scimago Institutions Rankings that ranks institutes based on the research performance, innovation and social impact. France’s National Centre for Scientific Research was ranked first followed by Chinese Academy of Science, China.
Bezwada Wilson and T.M. Krishna win Ramon Magsaysay Award
Two Indians, social activist Bezwada Wilson and musician TM Krishna, have won the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award 2016. They are among the total six awardees selected for the 2016 Ramon Magsaysay Award, often regarded as Asia’s Nobel Prize. The 6 awardees are Bezwada Wilson (India), the National Convener of the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA) Thodur Madabusi Krishna (India): He has been recognized for ensuring social inclusiveness in culture. He is a Carnatic music vocalist. Conchita Carpio Morales (Philippines) Dompet Dhuafa (Indonesia) Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (Japan): The organisation has been recognized for building a world of genuine solidarity. Vientiane Rescue (Laos): The organisation has been recognized for volunteering to save lives at risk. They will be bestowed with this award at the awarding ceremony scheduled to be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City on August 31, 2016 i.e. on the birth anniversary of former Filipino President Ramon Magsaysay. Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honour and is often regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
SPORTS & GAMES
PV Sindhu becomes first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal
P V Sindhu became India’s first woman to win an Olympics silver medal on Friday, creating history and pulling an entire country out of its Games gloom with a stunning display of talent, power and grace. The 21-year-old Indian, who has been simply unstoppable in the tournament so far, crumbled under the tremendous pressure created by the two time World Champion from Spain to lose 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 in a high-intensity final that lasted for an hour and 23 minutes at the Riocentre in Rio de Janeiro. Sindhu thus became the fourth Indian to win a silver at the Olympics after shooters Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004, Athens) and Vijay Kumar (2012, London) and wrestler Sushil Kumar (2012, London).
Wrestler Sakshi Malik wins bronze for India in Rio 2016
Gritty woman wrestler Sakshi Malik ended India’s painful wait for a medal at the Rio Olympic Games by clinching the bronze in the 58kg category, pulling off a sensational 8-5 victory over Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan in the play-off bout. The 23-year-old became the 4th Indian woman to have ever won an Olympic medal.
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt wins Gold medal in 100 meters event at 2016 Rio Olympics
Jamaica’s speedster Usain Bolt has won the Gold medal in 100 meters final event at 2016 Rio Olympics by sprinting at recorded time of 9.81 seconds. With this he has retained his coveted title “Fastest man alive on the planet”. Besides, American Sprinter Justin Gatlin won silver medal (9.89 seconds) and Andre De Grasse of Canada won bronze medal (9.91 seconds). This was Usain Bolt’s third Olympic Gold medal in the 100m event after he had won in 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He also has all the sprinting world record to his name including the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. He is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records.
IOC gives nod to addition of five new sports in Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will now have five brand new games in its contest as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the recommendation of adding Baseball/ Softball, Karate, Skateboard, Sports Climbing and Surfing to the sports programme. The decision was taken by the 129th IOC session being held in Rio de Janeiro. The additional sports in Tokyo will not impact the athlete or event quotas of existing Olympic sports or be binding on future host cities. The inclusion of the new sports will add 18 events.
Lewis Hamilton wins 2016 German Grand Prix of F1
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton from Great Britain has won the 2016 German Grand Prix title of Formula One. It was his fourth consecutive win in the 2016 season and overall fifth title of the 2016 season. It was also his third win of German Grand Prix of F1 after winning it in 2008 and 2011. Earlier in 2016 season, he had won Monaco (May 2016), Canadian (June 2016), Austrian (July 2016), British (July 2016) and Hungarian (July 2016) Grand Prixes. German Grand Prix was the twelth race of the 2016 season and was held at the Hockenheimring motor-racing circuit in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
Patna Pirates wins 4th season of Pro Kabaddi League
The Patna Pirates have won the fourth edition of STAR Sports-ProKabaddi League by defeating Jaipur Pink Panthers. With this win Patna Pirates has become first team to defend its title which they won in the third season in March 2016. In the final match played at Gachibowli Stadium, Hyderabad (Telangana) the defending champion defeated Jaipur Pink Panthers by 37-29 score. The Puneri Paltan was placed at the third place in this edition after they defeated Telugu Titans by 40-35 score. Women’s Section: Storm Queens have won inaugural edition of the Women’s Challenge of Pro Kabaddi League. In the final match they defeated Fire Birds by 24-23 score.
Tata Power Solar commissions 100 MW project for NTPC
Tata Power Solar, one of the country’s largest integrated solar companies, announced that it had successfully commissioned a 100 MW solar project for NTPC in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. This is the biggest solar project commissioned using domestically manufactured solar cells and modules, the company said in a release. The plant is expected to generate nearly 160 million kWh of energy per year and help offset approximately 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in its first year of operation.
Microsoft acquires gaming startup Beam
Microsoft has acquired Beam, an interactive livestreaming startup that lets viewers watch and play along with game streamers in real time and did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Beam, launched in January this year, has 24 employees. The move will support Microsoft’s growth strategy around Xbox Live, one of the world’s most popular social gaming platform.
Google fined $6.8 million by Russian antitrust body
Russia’s antitrust body has slapped Google with a $6.8 million fine after ruling that the firm didn’t do enough to open Android up to other companies. Officials believe that the search engine has abused its dominant position by crowding-out domestic rivals like Yandex, commonly known as Russia’s Google. For instance, other firms aren’t able to pre-load rivals apps for navigation or search on Android devices that are certified ready for Google Play.
Intel buys AI startup Nervana Systems run by Indian-origin entrepreneur
Intel Corp said it would acquire startup Nervana Systems as the world’s largest chipmaker bolsters its artificial intelligence capabilities. Nervana Systems is led by former Qualcomm re-searcher Naveen Rao, founded in 2014 and headquartered in San Diego, California. Nervana will help develop Intel’s artificial intelligence portfolio and enhance the deep learning performance of Intel Xeon and Intel Xeon Phi processors.
Union Cabinet increases limit for foreign investment in Stock Exchanges from 5% to 15%
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for raising foreign shareholding limit from current 5% to 15% in Indian Stock Exchanges. The decision brings the investment limit of foreign entities at par with that of domestic institutions. This enhanced limit is for a stock exchange, depository, banking company, insurance company and commodity derivative exchange.
LeEco buys US-based VIZIO for $2 bn
Chinese handset maker LeEco said it has acquired US-based consumer electronics firm VIZIO for $2 billion. As part of the definitive agreement, LeEco will acquire all of the VIZIO hardware and software operations, technology and intellectual property and the transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2016. The VIZIO hardware and software businesses will be owned and operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of LeEco, while VIZIO’s data business – Inscape will spin out and operate as a separate, privately owned company. The acquisition will offer LeEco a steady install base of users and a brand that is both popular and successfully distributed through out major North American retail channels.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Airlander 10 World’s largest aircraft embarks maiden flight
The world’s “largest aircraft” has embarked on its maiden flight, four days after a previous attempt was abandoned due to technical issues. The Airlander 10 – part plane, part airship took to the skies amid cheers and applause from crowds gathered at an airfield in Cardington, central England. It is a hybrid airship made by Hybrid Air Vehicles in United Kingdom. Its successful flight comes 85 years after another airship the ill-fated R101 took off in October 1930 from the same airfield before crashing in France. Airlander 10 is hybrid ship i.e. it is a partly plane and partly airship filled with helium gas. It is 92-metre-long and 43.5m wide. It can fly at up to 4,880 metres and reach speeds of 148 kilometres per hour. It can also carry a 10-tonne payload.
CSMCRI researchers develop photocatalyst to completely degrade industrial dyes
Scientists at the Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavanagar, Gujarat have been able to completely degrade three industrial dyes – methyl orange, methylene blue and reactive black-5 in the presence of sunlight. The researchers developed a photocatalyst using titanium dioxide doped with red seaweed polymer carrageenan to degrade the dyes.
China successfully launches world’s first quantum satellite
China has launched the world’s first quantum communications satellite which boasts of establishing hack-proof-communications between space and the ground as it is equipped with security features to prevent wiretapping and intercepts. The 600 kg spacecraft blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Center in the Gobi Desert. The satellite nicknamed “Micius” was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre. Quantum communication boasts of ultra-high security as a quantum photon can neither be separated nor duplicated. It is hence impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through it.
IMD to use supercomputer to forecast monsoon based on dynamical model
The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has announced that India Meteorological Department (IMD) will use supercomputer to forecast India’s annual summer monsoon. The forecast made by a supercomputer will be based on a dynamical monsoon model and will be operational from year 2017. This model will be used along with the present traditional en-semble model. The dynamical monsoon model works by simulating the weather on powerful computers (supercomputers) and extrapolating it over particular timeframes. This modern forecasting model is being tested at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune. The dynamical monsoon model is also called the Coupled Forecast System version 2. So far it has achieved only 60% accuracy in forecasting the monsoon.
Solar power tree developed for the generation of electricity
The Ministry of Science and Technology has come up with a ‘Solar Power Tree’, an innovative way to generate electricity using solar power in a limited space. The Solar Power Tree model is actually designed like a tree with branches made of steel to hold the photovoltaic panel. It has been developed by the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Durgapur, a laboratory of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
PERSONS IN NEWS
Microsoft appoints Sriram Rajamani as MD of its India lab
Microsoft has announced the appointment of Sriram Rajamani as new managing director of its India lab. Based in Bengaluru, he will spearhead Microsoft India’s continued focus on world-class research, innovation and collaboration with the scientific community. He will replace Chandu Thekkath, who was the managing director of the lab for two years.
Dinesh Kumar Khara appointed as Managing Director of SBI
Dinesh Kumar Khara was today appointed Managing Director of State Bank of India (SBI). He is presently working as MD and Chief Executive Officer of SBI Funds Management Pvt Ltd. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has appointed Khara for a period of three years, extendable by two years after review of his performance. Gopal Murli Bhagat and Himanshu Joshi were also appointed as executive directors of Corporation Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC), respectively.
Air Marshal Neelakantan takes charge of Southern Air command
Air Marshal S Neelakantan has assumed charge as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command. The traditional Guard of Honour was presented to him by the ‘Air Warriors.’ Air Marshal Neelakantan, who was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force on December 28, 1977, is an alumni of National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and Tactics and Combat Development Establishment.
Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale sworn in as Chief Justice of Allahabad HC
Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale was sworn in as the new chief justice of Allahabad High Court. The oath of office was administered by governor Ram Naik in Allahabad. Chief Justice Bhosale was serving as acting chief justice of high court of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Born in Mumbai in 1956, Justice Bhosale was first appointed as judge of Bombay high court in 2001, and later in 2012, he was transferred to Karnataka high court.
European Commission appoints Michel Barnier as Chief Brexit Negotiator
The European Union’s executive appointed Michel Barnier, former French Financial Services Commissioner, as its Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom’s exit from the bloc. He was appointed under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. He will be a prominent figure in the negotiations over Britain’s exit from the union. In June 2016, Didier Seeuws, a Belgian diplomat, was appointed as head of a Brexit task force by the European Council.
Bill Maris, the CEO and founder of Google Ventures quits
Bill Maris, the chief executive, and founder of Alphabet Inc’s , venture capital arm of GV, is leaving the company. Maris, who will leave on Friday, will be replaced by GV managing partner David Krane. GV, previously known as Google Ventures, was founded in 2009 and has invested in more than 300 companies from life science, healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, cyber security, and agriculture, and more.
Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger retires
German professional footballer, Bastian Schweinsteiger has retired from the national team, marking the end of a glittering international football career. The 31-year-old midfielder was an instrumental player for Germany when they won the World Cup in 2014 and earned 120 caps for his nation – scoring 24 goals.
Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli resigns ahead of a no-confidence vote
Nepal’s Prime Minister, Khadga Prasad Oli has resigned from his office. He resigned ahead of a no-confidence vote. Oli, 64, who became prime minister of Nepal in October 2015, has been facing a no-trust motion after the Maoists withdrew support from the coalition government. Oli tendered his resignation after two key ruling alliance partners -Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic and Rastriya Prajatantra Party decided to support the no-confidence motion tabled against him by the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-Maoist Centre led by Prachanda.
Noted actor & director Gobind Tej passed away
Noted actor and director Gobind Tej passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital. He was 88. He received the Odisha State Film Award for Best Director for movies like ‘Kaberi’, ‘School Master’, ‘Tunda Baida’ and ‘Gare Sindura Dhare Luha.’
Award-winning Malayalam screenwriter TA Razaq passed away
Noted Malayalam filmmaker-scriptwriter TA Razaq passed away in Kochi. He was 58. Razaq was reportedly undergoing treatment related to liver-related ailment at a private hospital, where he breathed his last.
Former minister S.P. Sarguna Pandian passed away
Former DMK Minister S.P Sarguna Pandian, who began her political career as a platform speaker even when she was a school student, died. She was 75 years old. She was elected to the Assembly from the R.K. Nagar constituency in 1989 and again in 1996. As a Minister she held the portfolio of Social Welfare between 1996 and 2001. In the 2006 Assembly elections, she contested unsuccessfully from the Royapuram constituency.
Nobel Laureate Ahmed Zewail has passed away
Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian-American chemist Ahmed Zewail, a science and technology advisor to President Barack Obama and the first U.S. science envoy to the Middle East, has passed away in the United States. He was 70 years old. He was an author of some 600 scientific articles and 16 books, he also is credited with developing a new research field dubbed four-dimensional electron microscopy.
Akshardham founder Pramukh Swami passed away
Pramukh Swami, the 95-year-old founder of Akshardham temples and a saint of the Swaminarayan sect, passed away after prolonged illness at the Sarangpur temple. He was the president of the Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS), a sub-sect of the Swaminarayan sect, which during his tenure expanded globally, with over 3000 temples built in five decades worldwide. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the late President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam were among his followers. Kalam had written a book on his “spiritual experiences with Pramukh Swami” and during his tenure as President, he had inaugurated the Akshardham temple complex in New Delhi.
Wang Yi visits India
Mr. Wang on his three-day visit met Prime Minister Narendra Modi & Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi. India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, during their talks in New Delhi, decided to put in place a new mechanism at the level of Foreign Secretaries to discuss various aspects of bilateral ties which have witnessed strain in the recent past.
Over 1000 Dancing Robots Set Guinness Record In China
A new Guinness World Record for the most robots dancing simultaneously has been set in China where 1,007 robots shimmied in unison, nearly double the previous record. Each of the 43.8 cm tall dancing machines at the Qingdao Beer Festival were controlled using just one mobile phone and they had to dance for a full minute in order to count towards the record total, the Guinness World Records said. A few robots were dis-qualified because they did not dance or fell over, but the majority of the mechanical dance troupe completed the 60 second routine in perfect unison. Each of the 43.8 cm tall dancing machines at the Qingdao Beer Festival were controlled using just one mobile phone and they had to dance for a full minute in order to count towards the record.
Six-year-old Indian boy enters Guinness World Record
In a proud moment for the nation, a six-year-old boy from Karnataka set the world record for covering longest distance by limbo-skating under cars. Om Swaroop Gowda clinched the Guinness World records title after a successful attempt to travel a staggering 65.283 metre distance while holding his body just above ground and maintaining a splits position throughout. Om managed to clear 36 cars during the incredible challenge at Orion Mall in Bangalore. Official Guinness World Records ad-judicator Rishi Nath attended the event to ensure that all the rules for were followed correctly.
TCS top employer in IT industry, says Nasscom
Software services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been ranked as the top employer in the Indian IT industry by the representative body Nasscom. Though Cognizant is a US-based IT firm, it has the largest number of employees in India with development centres in Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The Mumbai-based firm was followed by its peers Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro and Capgemini, Nasscom said in a statement. At the end of June 2016, TCS had a total headcount of 3.62 lakh while Infosys and Wipro had 1.97 lakh and 1.73 lakh, respectively. Others in the top 10 include HCL Technologies, Tech Mahindra, Genpact, Intelenet Global Services, and Aegis.
PLACES IN NEWS
Over 10000-Year-Old Camping Site Discovered in Ladakh
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered an ancient camping site dating 8500 BC in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), indicating humans were camping in the area 10,500 years ago. This site was unearthed at 14,000 feet above the sea level on the way from Saser La to Ladakh.
Books in News
‘Grassroots Innovation’ authored by Prof. Anil K. Gupta has released
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee received a copy of book ‘Grassroots Innovation’ authored by Prof. Anil K. Gupta of IIM Ahmedabad who is also the Vice Chairman, National Innovation Foundation at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The book was about stories of extraordinary men and women who are silently contributing to the innovation movement for the economic development and advancement of society.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book launched
The book based on the script of the play ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ launched today globally. This is JK Rowling’s eighth Harry Potter story written along with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. Thorne scripted the two-part play based on the original story, which begins 19 years after ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, which was published in 2007.
Govt sets up National Committee on Trade Facilitation
India is setting up a national panel that will cut red-tape for the export-import industry while also ensuring faster clearances of merchandise, in line with the commitment to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The NCTF will facilitate domestic co-or-
dination and TFA provisions’ implementation, and help develop the pan-India trade facilitation road map. The committee is a mandatory, institutional arrangement under TFA.
Govt to set up panel to review e-commerce rules
Govt to set up panel to review e-commerce rules into all issues including foreign direct investment norms pertaining to the fast growing e-commerce industry in the country. The committee will be headed by the NITI Aayog CEO. The other members in the panel include officials from commerce and industry ministry and department of electronics and IT among others. It will look at all the issues, including FDI pertaining to the e-commerce sector. The committee would suggest ways to further promote the growth of the sector.
T V S N Prasad Committee to explore possible alternatives to pellet guns in Kashmir
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has setup a seven-member expert committee for exploring the other possible alternatives to pellet guns as non-lethal weapons. The Committee will be headed by T V S N Prasad, Joint Secretary in the MHA. It will submit its report within two months. Other members of the committee: Atul Karwal (IG, CRPF), Rajeev Krishna, (IG Operations, BSF), Tushar Tripathy (DDG, Small Arms, Ordnance factory Board) and Naresh Bhatnagar (Professor at IIT, Delhi). Earlier Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had announced in Lok Sabha that an expert committee will be set up to recommend alternatives to pellet guns.
Madhav committee constituted to prepare guidelines for desiltation of River Ganga
The Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a committee to prepare guidelines for desiltation of Ganga River. The four member committee will be headed by Madhav Chitale (Expert Member of NGRBA). The tenure of the committee would be for a period of three months. The committee will prepare guidelines for desiltation of Ganga River from Bhimgauda (Uttarakhand) to Farakka (West Bengal).