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National Current Affairs
Vice President of India lays foundation stone for the first Regional Vocational Training Institute (RVTI) in Hyderabad
On 16th September 2017, Vice President Mr.M.Venkaiah Naidu laid foundation stone for Regional Vocational Training Institute, in Hyderabad.
Regional Vocational Training Institute (RVTI):
- This Regional Vocational Training Institute for women is the first of its kind in Telangana.
- This would increase skill development opportunities for women and provide them with job opportunities.
- RVTI would provide vocational training to 480 women every year in regular courses under Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS) and Craft Instructor’s Training Scheme (CITS).
- Almost equal number of candidates would be given various short term course trainings in areas that have high market demand.
- Courses such as Fashion Design & Technology, Architectural Assistantship, Cosmetology, Front Office Assistant, Secretarial Practice (English), Food and Beverages Service Assistant would be taught.
- Capital – Hyderabad
- Official languages – Telegu, Urdu
- Chief minister – Mr.K.Chandrashekar Rao
- Governor – Mr.E.S.L.Narasimhan
Assam government passes PRANAM Bill – Employees who dump parents will lose part salary
On 15th September 2017, the Assam state Assembly passed PRANAM (Parental Responsibility And Norms for Accountability and Monitoring) bill that makes it mandatory for state government employees to take care of their parents and needy siblings or face a cut in their income.
- Assam is the first state to approve such legislation. Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma introduced the bill. The bill was backed by all the ruling and opposition MLAs.
- The Bill will ensure that all government employees look after their dependents including parents and divyangs (Persons with disability).
- The parents or needy siblings who feel neglected can lodge complaints with the head of the department of the person who, after hearing both sides, may deduct 10-15 percent of the salary of the employee and give it to the parents for their survival.
India’s first Centre for Animal Law comes up at NALSAR University of Law
On September 15th 2017, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi inaugurated India’s first Centre for Animal Law that has been established at the NALSAR University of Law in Hyderabad.
- Humane Society International (HSI), India, will work with NALSAR to steer and coordinate the activities of the centre. NG Jayasimha, Managing Director of HIS, India, has been appointed as the director of the centre.
- The centre will create curriculum on animal welfare laws, including developing topics for research.
- It will conduct workshops on animal laws and animal welfare issues with judicial magistrates, animal welfare advocates, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders in the government.
- It will also conduct critical gap studies like the impact of China on Indian animals.
Ayurveda Students set Guinness Record in Jaipur
On September 15, Ayurveda students from across the country have set a new Guinness World Record for maximum number of people receiving ‘nasya panchakarma’ treatment at 1st Rashtriya Ayurved Yuva Mahotsav, the national event for students of ayurveda, organised by the National Ayurveda Student Youth Association (NASYA) in association with the Department of AYUSH.
The event was hosted by the National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA) in Jaipur. The record was set in eight minutes. ‘Nasya karm’ refers to the ayurvedic therapy that includes instillation of herbal oils, juices or powders through the nasal route. It works specifically on disorders of ear, nose and throat.
International Current Affairs
Tunisia lifts ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims
- Tunisia has abolished a ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims on the recommendation of the President Beji Caid Essebsi who called for the government to lift the ban dating back to 1973.
- President Beji Caid Essebsi seeked to secure equal rights for the country’s female population. He created a commission led by a woman lawyer and rights activists aimed at drafting revised rules.
- Until now a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Tunisian woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof.
- Tunisian man is allowed to marry a non-Muslim woman.
- Human rights groups in the North African country had campaigned for the ban’s abolition, saying it diminish the fundamental human right to choose a spouse.
- Capital: Tunis
- President: Beji Caid Essebsi
- Currency: Tunisian Dinar
Banking & Finance
IndusInd Bank partners with ADB to provide loans to rural women
On 15th September 2017, ADB (Asian Development Bank) signed a deal with IndusInd Bank to provide loans for low income women in rural areas, in India.
About the loan:
- Total amount of loan allotted is $200 million.
- Atleast 95 % of the loan would be allotted to women borrowers.
- Atleast 70 % of the loans will be issued in less developed states of India.
- It is expected that $1 million would be allotted for technical assistance.
- This would enable IndusInd Bank to improve financial literacy among women borrowers and develop digitised processing methods.
About IndusInd Bank:
- Type – Private Bank
- Headquarters – Mumbai
- CEO – Mr.Romesh Sobti
India’s Forex reserves cross $400 billion for first time
According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves have crossed $400 billion mark for the first time. The increase was due sharp rise in foreign currency assets.
India is now at sixth position in forex reserves ranking behind China (3,053 billion reserves), Japan ($1,188 billion), Switzerland ($743 billion), Saudi Arabia ($489 billion) and Taiwan ($441 billion).
The Foreign exchange reserves act as buffer to be used in challenging times. The components of India’s FOREX Reserves include: Foreign currency assets (FCAs), Gold, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and RBI’s Reserve position with International Monetary Fund (IMF). FCAs constitute largest component of the Forex Reserves.
According to RBI, foreign currency assets were $376.20 billion, gold reserves at $20.69 billion, SDRs of $ 1.52 billion and $2.30 billion reserves in IMF.
The main reasons for rise in Forex Reserves are sharp increase in foreign currency assets, mainly huge inflows through foreign direct investments (FDI) in projects and portfolio investments. Foreign investors have pumped in Rs. around $ 6.7 billion in stocks and $20.55 billion in debt instruments in 2017.
It has resulted in strengthening of rupee 6% this year, making it best performer currency among major emerging economies. The rupee had slumped to 68.86 in November 2016 before recovering but now it is 64.09 to the dollar.
Amazon ties up with Bank of Baroda to offer micro loans to sellers
On 15th September 2017, Amazon, India’s leading e-commerce venture announced that it has joined hands with Bank of Baroda to offer micro loans to its sellers, in India.
About the tie up:
- The loans would be provided for amounts ranging from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.25 lakh.
- Interest rates would be low around 10.45 % – 11 %.
- The loans would be given only on invite-basis. Amazon would choose customers based on their performance.
- The repayment would be done through a locked account provided by Bank of Baroda.
- This is like an extension of its Seller Lending programme that was launched in 2016. That was achieved through partnerships with YES Bank and Capital First.
- Loans in the range of Rs.5 lakh – Rs.2 crore were given through that scheme.
- Type – American e-commerce and cloud computing company
- Headquarters – Seattle, Washington, US
- Chairman, President& CEO – Mr.Jeff Bezos
Air India launches first direct flight to Denmark
Air India has launched its direct flight from New Delhi to Copenhagen. It is the eleventh destination for the airline in Europe and described as connecting ‘Maharaja with the Mermaid’.
- Air India CMD Rajiv Bansal lit the traditional lamp at Terminal 3 of the airport in New Delhi to mark the launch of the Copenhagen flight.
- To mark the launch of the flight to Copenhagen, Air India is offering return fares starting from Rs 42,700, inclusive of all taxes.
- Denmark is Air India’s 44th international destination and 11th European non-stop destination.
- The Air India service to Copenhagen will be operated with a Dreamliner aircraft thrice a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
- The airline has also direct flights to Stockholm, Madrid, Vienna, Rome, Milan, Frankfurt, Paris, Birmingham and London.
About Little Mermaid statue
- “Little Mermaid” statue in Copenhagen is one of the city’s most famous monuments.
- The bronze structure sits on a rock by the waterside in the city and represents a famous character from a fairy tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.
- Capital: Copenhagen
- Prime minster: Lars Lokke Rasnummussen
- Currency: Danish Krone
Appointments & Resigns
IOC elects former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to head its Ethics Commission
On 14th September 2017, IOC (International Olympic Committee) elected former United Nations General Secretary Mr.Ban Ki-moon as the head of its Ethics Commission, in Lima, Peru for a term of 4 years.
About the appointment:
- Ban Ki-moon was the United Nations General Secretary from 2007-2016.
- The head of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and former IOC member Carlos Nuzman is being investigated for corruption regarding selling votes for cash to make Brazil win.
- IOC member Pat Hickey was arrested during the Rio Olympics due to a ticket scandal. He has resigned from his position and is trying to prove his innocence.
About IOC (International Olympic Committee):
- Motto – Faster, higher, stronger
- Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland
- President – Mr.Thomas Bach
India’s first foreign coach for women boxers Stephane Cottalorda resigns
On 14th September 2017, India’s first foreign coach for women boxers Mr.Stephane Cottalorda resigned from his position within 1 month of joining.
- Stephane Cottalorda has stated delay in salary and other payments as a reason for his resignation. He has also mentioned that Boxing Federation of India (BFI) lacks professionalism.
- BFI has said that payment of salary is carried out by SAI (Sports Authority of India) for all sports bodies in India.
- BFI explained that due to lack of PAN card, payment in Mr.Stephane’s salary faced issues. However 70 % of his salary was credited. After obtaining PAN card rest of the salary would also be paid.
Suresh Chitturi appointed as Vice-Chairman of International Egg Commission
On 15th September 2017, Mr.Suresh Chitturi, Managing Director of Srinivasa Farms, was appointed as Vice-Chairman of International Egg Commission, in Belgium.
About his appointment:
- Suresh Citturi would hold this position for the next two years.
- Suresh is the second person from India to be appointed as a top executive of the International Egg Commission.
- B.V.Rao of Venkateshwara Hatcheries was a top executive of IEC 25 years ago.
- Full form – International Egg Commission
- Chairman – Mr. Ben Dellaert
- Location – London, United Kingdom
Awards & Recognition
MPEDA bags Rajbhasha Keerti Award for third consecutive year
President of India, Mr.Ramnath Kovind handed the National level Rajbhasha Keerti Award to MPEDA Chairman Mr.A.Jayathilak on 14th September 2017, at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
Rajbhasha Keerti Award:
- MPEDA bags the award for the third consecutive year.
- MPEDA was honoured with this award for the best implementation of official language in the organization.
- Full form – Marine Products Export Development Authority
- Headquarters – Kochi, Kerala
Science & Technology
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft ends 20-year-long epic journey
On September 15, 2017, NASAs Cassini spacecraft ended its 20-year-long epic journey with a fiery plunge into the Saturns crushing atmosphere, while sending back never- before-seen images of the ringed planet and its moons.
- The Cassini–Huygens (commonly called Cassini) mission was a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to send a probe to study the planet Saturn and its system, including its rings and natural satellites. It is the first spacecraft to enter into the orbit of Saturn and to study its moons, Enceladus in particular.
- The craft were named after astronomers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Huygens.
- It was used to study the subsurface ocean and signs of hydrothermal activity.
- The probe discovered seasonal changes on Saturn, a hexagon-shaped pattern on the north pole and the moon Titans resemblance to a primordial Earth.
- It found liquid-filled canyons on Saturns moon Titan for the first time. They also found a global ocean on the moon Enceladus, with ice plumes spouting from its surface.
Books & Authors
Unstoppable: My Life So Far, Book by Maria Sharapova
The book titled Unstoppable: My Life So Far is authored by tennis star Maria Sharapova was launched in September 2017.
- The book describes Sharapova’s rise of tennis stardom, and the unending fight to stay on top.
- The book talks about how a seventeen-year-old Maria Sharapova became popular by defeating the two-time defending champion Serena Williams to win the prestigious Wimbledon.
- In the book it has been described about the winner of five Grand Slam titles to date, Russian tennis player Sharapova also stars on the fashion pages and is notable for her charity work.
- Her career has zigged and zagged, particularly with the recent two-year ban now reduced to 15 months after testing positive for a prohibited drug.
Quick glance on Maria Sharapova
- Maria Sharapova hails from Russia and she is a Russian professional tennis player.
- She has been ranked world No. 1 in singles by the WTA on five separate occasions, for a total of 21 weeks.
- She is one of ten women, and the only Russian, to hold the career Grand Slam.
- She is also an Olympic medalist and bagged silver for Russia in women’s singles at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
- According to Forbes, she has been named highest paid female athlete in the world for 11 consecutive years and earned USD285 million including prize money since she turned pro in 2001.
- On 8 June 2016, she was suspended from playing tennis for two years by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Duminy announces retirement from Test Cricket
On 16th September 2017, South African all-rounder JP Duminy announced his retirement from test cricket, in South Africa.
- JP Duminy was removed from test cricket team in July, 2017.
- He has now decided to concentrate on limited over cricket matches.
- He has been playing for the South African cricket team for 16 years.
- He has played 46 test matches for the team.
International Coastal Cleanup, 16 September
The International Coastal Cleanup day is conducted in various parts of the world on the third Saturday of September every year under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and under the aegis of South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) in the South Asian Region.
People all over the world remove trash from the shores and document what they find. The data is compiled and published in an annual global report on marine debris by the Ocean Conservancy.
World’s Oldest Person Dies at 117 In Jamaica
Violet Mosse Brown had passed away in Jamaica 6th Sep 2017. She was born on 10th March 1900.
- The oldest person in the world who was the last living subject of Queen Victoria and worked for ‘masters’ on a Caribbean sugar plantation has died at the age of 117.
- It takes 38 days, taking the title from Italian Emma Morano, whose life spanned three centuries and was born in 1899.
Arjan Singh: Sole marshal of IAF passes away
The sole Marshal of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Arjan Singh passed away following cardiac arrest in New Delhi. He was 98. He was known for shaping IAF in its early years as well as during some of its most difficult junctures.
In 2002, on the occasion of Republic Day, he was granted honorary rank of Marshal, highest military rank attainable, which before him only two Army chiefs, K M Carriappa and Sam Manekshaw, had achieved.
He was selected to Empire Pilot training course at Royal AirForce (RAF) Cranwell at age of 19 years. He had served on different positions in RAF during British Rule.
On August 15, 1947, he had achieved a unique honour of leading a fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in Delhi. He had served as the IAF chief from August 1964 to 69. He was the first Indian Air Chief to be elevated to the rank of Air Chief Marshal in 1966.
He had led the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. He had launched IAF’s Operation Grand Slam that targeted at the vital town of Akhnoor of Pakistan. He retired in August 1969 and later was appointed as Ambassador of India to Switzerland and High Commissioner to Kenya. He also had served as Lieutenant Governor of New Delhi from 1989 to 1990.
Awards and Honours:
In recognition of his lifelong services, Union government conferred the rank of the “Marshal of Indian Air Force” on him in 2002 making him the first and the only ‘Five Star’ rank officer with the IAF. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan for his astute leadership of the Air Force during the India-Pakistan war.
Snow leopard no longer endangered: IUCN
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has downgraded conservation status of snow leopard from “endangered” to “vulnerable”. It was changed after three-year assessment process by international experts.
The change in status comes 45 years after snow leopard was first declared endangered in 1972. However, experts have warned that snow leopard species still faces serious threats from poaching and habitat destruction.
- Endangered Species: According to IUCN, species are considered ‘endangered,’ if they are fewer than 2,500 and experiencing high rate of decline.
- Vulnerable Species: Species are fewer than 10,000 and its population has declined at least 10% over three generations.
- Snow leopard (Panthera uncial) is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia- including Himalayas, and Russia’s remote Altai mountains. It inhabits in alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m. In the northern range countries, it is also found at lower elevations.
- It is threatened by poaching for their fur, habitat destruction by infrastructure developments and climate change. It mostly feed on wild animals, but also prey on livestock. It usually hunts at dawn and dusk and is able to kill prey up to three times their own weight. It is National Heritage Animal of Pakistan and Afghanistan.