1st December 2016 – Current Affairs

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National

India Switzerland Signs MoU to extend Indo-Swiss Building Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP) by five years

  • The objective of the collaboration has been to reduce the overall energy consumed in buildings through sharing of best practices between the two countries in energy efficient design, construction and technologies.
  • The extended MoU was exchanged between the two governments at the international conference – Energy Efficient Building Design: Experiences and Way Forward
  • The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) were designated as implementing agencies for the project.

Playing National Anthem in Theatres Before Movies mandatory

  • Aim:to instill a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism in citizens.
  • The national anthem is already played before movies in some states – such as Maharashtrasince 2003. It was mandatory for cinema halls to play the National Anthem after every movie in the 1960s, but the practice faded away.

NIT Agartala signs 3 MoUs with ONGC, NEEPCO business

  • National Institute of Technology (NIT) Agartala has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (NEEPCO) and iBuild
  • The MoU would be valid for five years in the sector of knowledge updating, collaborative research in oil sectors, imparting training and conducting short term courses
  • NEEPCO will provide internship training, joint collaborative research to mitigate industrial problems related to power generation
  • ONGC will provide space for the students’ in hand on experience in exploration works
  • iBuild will support for incubation, mentoring and funding to develop business models based on feasible innovation

Mumbai poetry festival to feature 51 poets from 5 countries

  • The ‘Poets Translating Poets’ festival held in Mumbai had Nearly 51 poets from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Sri Lankaand Germany participating in the festival.

Sex Ratio at Birth at decline in India: CRS data

  • Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) continues to worsen in India. The SRB has declined to 887 in 2014 from 898 in 2013. The  ratio  has  been  declining  since  2011  when  the  figure  was 909.
  • SRB based on CRS figures indicate the gap between registered male and female births, calculated as the number of females per thousand males.
  • Highest SRB has been reported in Lakshadweep (1043), followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1031) and Arunachal Pradesh (993).
  • Lowest SRB has been reported in Manipur (684), Rajasthan (799) and Tamil Nadu (834). These states have worst SRB.

International

India’s Ranks 102th among 136 economies in terms of enabling cross border trade

  • According to the ‘Global Enabling Trade Report 2016’ of World Economic Forum (WEF), India has improved its ranking by four places to 102nd position among 136 economies
  • Top 5 countries :
Rank Country
1 Singapore
2 Netherlands
3 Hong Kong
4 Luxembourg
5 Sweden

 

Singapore students are the World’s best in Mathematics and Science

  • List of  Top 5 Countries:
Secondary Math Secondary Science Primary Math Primary Science
1.   Singapore 1.   Singapore 1.   Singapore 1.   Singapore
2.   South Korea 2.   Japan 2.   Hong Kong 2.   South Korea
3.   Taiwan 3.   Taiwan 3.   South Korea 3.   Japan
4.   Hong Kong 4.   South Korea 4.   Taiwan 4.   Russia
5.   Japan 5.   Slovenia 5.   Japan 5.   Hong Kong

 

Chartered Plane Carrying Passengers Including Brazilian Football Team Crashed in Colombia

  • A chartered plane, carrying 77 people, including a top Brazilian football team, crashed on its approach to the city of Medellin in Colombia
  • The plane was carrying 68 passengers and nine crew members. 4 other people listed on the flight however did not board the plane. 21 of the passengers were journalists. 5 people survived the incident.
  • According to the initial report the aircraft was suffering electrical problems although investigators were also looking into an account from one of the survivors that the plane had run out of fuel about five minutes from its expected landing at Jose Maria Cordova airport outside Medellin.

Nepal proposes New Constitution amendment Bill to meet Madhesis demands

  • Nepal’s government registered the newConstitution amendment bill in Parliament aimed at carving out a new state in southern Nepal to meet the demands of agitating Madhesis and other ethnic groups
  • The Madhesi ethnic groups are unhappy with the constitution that was adopted last year in parliament as they were dissatisfied with the territory assigned to them in the new federal states in the constitution.
  • Protests lasted for months and left more than 50 people killed and paralyzed southern Nepal in 2016. Border points with India were blocked, causing severe shortages of fuel, medicine and other supplies in Nepal.

Business & Economy

Public Sector Bank’s Gross NPAs increased nearly Rs 80,000 crore

  • Public banks have seen an increase of almost  80,000 Crore in gross non-performing assets (NPAs) in the three months ended September 2016.
  • This works out to an increase of Rs.79,977 crore on quarter on quarter basis.
  • RBI has come out with a number of tools such as corporate debt restructuring, formation of Joint Lenders’ Forum, strategic debt restructuring scheme and sustainable structuring of stressed assets to fight NPAs.
  • During the first quarter ended June 2016, public sector banks have written off Rs 15,163 crore loans as against Rs 5,441 crore.
  • In the the last fiscal, public sector banks had written off Rs 59,547 crore while private peers Rs 12,017 crore.

Mahindra Group, IBM to develop blockchain solution for supply chain finance

  • It is the first projectsof its kind in India outside of banking industry
  • Blockchain solution is cloud-based applicationwhich is designed to transform supplier-to-manufacturer trade finance transactions through a permissioned distributed ledger.
  • This solution will enable all parties involved in the transaction to act on the same shared ledger, with each party updating only their part of the process, ensuring efficiency, consistency, trust and transparency, while safeguarding sensitive information.

Coal India arm signs pact with SBI Capital markets

  • Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd (CMPDI) the consultancy arm of Coal India Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding(MoU) with Mumbai based SBI Capital Marketsto increase their market share
  • SBI Capital Markets is an investment bank which is a wholly owned subsidiary and the investment banking arm of State Bank of India.

Tata Steel’s Gopalpur ferro-chrome plant inaugurated

  • The plant is a unique environment-friendly unit with state-of-the-art pollution control equipment and technology such as ETP(Effluent Treatment Plant) and STP(Sewage Treatment Plant).
  • It is the first plant in India to use briquetting method of chrome ore fine agglomeration.

Arunachal Pradesh and Thailand signs MoU to promote cooperation and collaboration.

  • The MoU was signed between Surindra Rajabhat University Regional Development Strategies (SRRURDS) Foundationof Surin Province, North East of Thailand andMahabodhi Lord Buddha College (MLBC) in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The MoU aimed at the development of friendly international cooperation with mutual interests in developing programs of academic exchange and for establishing a long-term mutually beneficial association between the two institutes for fostering cordial relations between the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Thailand.
  • As per the MoU, both the institutes agreed to carry out the activities in academic and research cooperation, cultural activities for international development in educational institutions using international journals, magazines as a stage for academic exchange.

Awards

Four India-born CEOs on Fortune Businessperson of the Year list 2016

  • 1. Microsoft’s Satya Nadella ranked 5th among 50 global corporate heads.
    2. CEO of Milwaukee-based maker of water heaters A O Smith Ajita Rajendra on the 34th spot
    3. HDFC Bank’s Managing Director Aditya Puri on the 36th position
    4. Mastercard’s Ajay Banga on 40th spot.
  • The list is topped by Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.

Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography “Playing it my way” named Book of the Year

  • Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography“Playing it my Way” has won the Crossword Book of the Year Award (Autobiography category)
  • Earlier, it also had entered the Limca Book of World Records for being the best-selling adult hardback across both fiction and non-fiction categories.
  • It also holds the record for logging up Rs. 13.51 crore in retail value terms, with its cover price being  899.

Deepika as International women and Ranveer as International man of the year

  • At The sixth Esquire Man at His Best Awards 2016, celebrated the achievements of men and few women across the middle east the past year.
  • International Woman of the Year Award: Actress Deepika Padukone
    International Man of the Year: Bollywood’s Ranveer Singh
    Humanitarian of the Year: Omar Samra
    Athlete of the Year: Qatari high-jumper Mutaz Barshim,
    Esquire’s Man of the Year: founder of the Mara Group, Ashish J Thakkar.

People in News

Dr Seema Verma, Second Indian-American to be Nominated to top Administration post

  • US President-elect Donald Trump nominated a second Indian-American woman, Dr. Seema Verma to a top administration position as in charge of a federal agency within the health department.
  • Dr Seema Verma, a leading expert in the country on Medicare and Medicaid, will serve as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  • Congressman Tom Price is nominated as the Health and Human Services Secretary.
  • Indian-American Nikki Haley was named as US envoy to the United Nations by Mr Trump becoming the first-ever Indian-American to be appointed to a cabinet-level post in any US administration.

Environment & Ecology

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Recorded worst coral die-off

  • Warm seas around Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in less accessible north have losttwo-thirds of a 700-km (435 miles) stretch of coral in the past nine months.
  • The reef suffered its most severe bleaching in recorded history, due to warming sea temperatures during March 2016 and April 2016.
  • There is a minimal damage in the central and southern regions, including major tourist areas around Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands, of the reef.
  • The northern region will take at least 10-15 years to regain lost corals. A fourth major bleaching event may occur before that, which will impede the recovery.
  • The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia and composed of over 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands.
  • The reef is so vast that it can be seen from outer space. In 1981, it was selected as a World Heritage Site.
  • A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use.

Science & Technology

Israel Scientists Creates World’s First “Water-Wave Laser”

  • Scientists in Israel has developed the world’s first “water-wave laser,” that generates laser radiation through the interaction between light and water waves.
  • The technology could be used to create tiny sensors for the study of cell biology or to test new drugs.
  • Scientists can use the laser to study light-fluid interactions at a small scale.

CBSE launches portal ‘Parinam Manjusha’for easy access to academic documents

  • Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has launched its digital portal named ‘Parinam Manjusha’ to provide easier access to academic documents online.
  • Students can find their marksheets, pass certificates, and migration certificates from this portal.
  • Educational institutes have to first register on Parinam Manjusha and get verified by the board to access this portal

Sports

IAAF launches online portal to report doping

  • International Association of Athletics Federations has launched an online portal for reporting suspicions of doping
  • The secure portal on its home page is available insix languages and offers full confidentiality.

Kohli continues surge towards top with career-best third rank in Tests

  • Virat Kohli has moved up to a career-best third spot in the latest MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen
  • Starting the series in 15th position, Kohli has risen at a fast pace scoring 405 runs in the three Tests against England.

Hashim Mansoor of Kashmir won Asian Youth Karate Championships

  • Seven-year-old Hashim Mansoor from Kashmir’s Bandipora district has won a gold medal at the Asian Youth Karate Championships
  • He clinched the gold in the three day championship in the sub-junior category (below 25kg) after defeating his competitors from Bhutan and Malaysia in the first two rounds and his Sri Lankan opponent in the final
  • Participants from 19 countries took part in the tournament organised by the All India Youth Karate Federation.
  • Earlier, eight-year-old Tajamul Islam had become India’s first player to clinch a gold in the sub-junior category at the World Kick-boxing Championships.
  • The Asian Karate Championships are the highest level of competition for sport karate in Asia.

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