Daily Current Affairs

Current Affairs Daily Digest: February 22, 2017

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for February 22, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs

National Current Affairs

Government launches Bharat QR code

The Union Government has launched Bharat QR code, a quick response (QR) code to enable digital payments without card swiping machines. It is world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution launched by Indian Government to move towards less-cash economy. Read more

Government launches Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi for Botnet cleaning and Malware analysis. It was launched by Union Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad as part of Union Government’s ambitious digital India initiative to create a secure cyber space by detecting botnet infections. Read more

CCEA approves investment proposal for Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project in Nepal

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved an investment proposal for generation component of Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project in Nepal. The project is implemented by Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Limited, a Central Public Sector Enterprises of Government of India. It will generate 900 Megawatt of hydro power at an estimated cost of 5723.72 crore rupees. The decision demonstrates government’s commitment to promote clean and green energy in India and the sub-continent.

Cabinet approves capacity hike for solar parks & projects

The Union Cabinet has decided to enhance solar power capacity from 20,000 Mega Watt (MW) to 40,000MW for development of solar parks and ultra-mega solar power projects. The enhanced capacity will ensure setting up of at least 50 solar parks each with a capacity of 500MW and above in various parts of country. This will help in long term energy security of country and also lead to abatement of around 55 million tonnes of CO2 per year over its life cycle. It will also contribute to long-term energy security of the country and generate large direct and indirect employment.

Government notifies protocol amending tax treaty with Israel

The Revenue Department has notified the protocol amending the India-Israel tax treaty to provide for exchange of information on tax matters including bank details to check flow of black money. The amended treaty provides that information in respect of an Indian resident received from Israel can be shared with other law enforcement agencies like the CBI and Enforcement Directorate. It also provides for levy of capital gains tax in India on sale of shares or interest in a trust, partnership or other entity. It also provides ‘Limitation of Benefits’ Article as an anti-abuse provision in order to enable enforcement of domestic law in case of misuse of the treaty.

India, Japan ink pact on rail safety

India signed Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with Japan for enhancing railway safety in the Indian Railways with focus on railway track and rolling stock safety. Under this agreement, the areas of cooperation include rail inspection, rail wielding, automatic railway track safety inspection, maintenance of rolling stock. Besides, it will also cover any other relevant railway safety matters jointly determined by both sides with the aim to prevent major rail accidents.

Environment, Science and Technology Current Affairs

Scientists discover four new miniature frog species in Western Ghats

Scientists have discovered four new species of miniature night frogs no bigger than a human thumbnail in Western Ghats, a global biodiversity hotspot. These species were discovered among the seven new ‘Night Frogs’ by a team of researchers from the University of Delhi and Kerala Forest Department. Read more

Scientists discover 60,000-year-old microbes in mine

Scientists from NASA’s Astrobiology Institute have discovered living microorganisms (most of them bacteria) trapped inside crystals for as long as 60,000 years in a Naica mine in Mexico. These ancient microbes have evolved so they can survive on a diet of sulfite, manganese and copper oxide. The discovery has caused concern for astrobiologists about bringing back samples collected on space missions in the solar system as dangerous extraterrestrial organisms could accidentally enter into Earth on a returning spaceship. Besides there is also risk that Earth organisms could contaminate other planets in the course of missions.

States Current Affairs

Punjab Government prohibits sale of processed, flavoured tobacco & nicotine products for 1 year

Punjab Government has banned the manufacture, sale, storage or distribution of gutkha, pan masala, flavoured/ processed/processed/scented chewing tobacco and any other food products containing nicotine or tobacco for one year. The ban has been imposed in view of the orders of the Supreme Court and shall continue on packaged or unpackaged or sold as one or separate products throughout the state.

International Current Affairs

South Africa’s decision to leave ICC ruled invalid

South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been ruled invalid and unconstitutional by the High Court. The court ordered the government to revoke its notice of withdrawal. In October 2016, South Africa had notified the UN of its intention to leave ICC, accusing it for undermining its sovereignty. The decision to pull out came after a dispute over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashar’s visit to the country in 2015 for attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg. South African authorities had refused to arrest Mr Bashir despite facing an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes.

Persons in News

Shurhozelie Liezitsu sworn-in as Chief Minister of Nagaland

Shurhozelie Liezitsu (81) was sworn-in as the 17th Chief Minister of Nagaland. He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor PB Acharya at a ceremony in the state capital Kohima. He succeeded TR Zeliang, who had resigned as the Chief Minister following widespread protests over reservation to women in local body elections. Besides CM, 10 other members of the Council also took oath. Read more

Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre appointed Chairman of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal

The Union Government has appointed Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre of the Supreme Court as Shairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. He was nominated by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar. In December 2016, Union Cabinet had cleared a proposal to set up a single, permanent Water Disputes Tribunal to adjudicate all inter-state river water disputes subsuming existing tribunals. It also had proposed to float some Benches to look into disputes to speed up water sharing disputes among States.

Days, Events and Observances

National Biodiversity Congress 2017 held in Kerala

The National Biodiversity Congress (NBC) 2017 was held in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala. The event is hosted by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board. NBC is one of the significant biodiversity mega events of the country. It aims to identify practical, evidence-based case studies at the regional level to support the plan of action. Read more

February 21: International Mother Language Day

The International Mother Language Day (IMLD) was observed across the world on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic, multilingualism and cultural diversity. This year it is the 17th anniversary of IMLD. The observance of this day signifies importance of mother language as the greatest weapon to express one’s feeling. Mother Language of one country is the sign of independence of that country. 2017 Theme: “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education”. Read more

Sports Current Affairs

India beat South Africa in final of ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017

India has defeated South Africa by one wicket in the final match of ICC Women World Cup Qualifier 2017 held at Colombo, Sri Lanka. India achieved the target of 245 runs on the last ball of the 50th over. Deepti Sharma of Indian was the highest scorer with 71 runs followed by Mona Meshram who made 59 runs. Harmanpreet Kaur remained unbeaten at 41. Earlier, India’s Rajeshwari Gayakwad had claimed three wickets, while Shikha Pandey took two wickets to bowl out South African team at 244 runs in 49.4 overs. Both women teams already have booked their berths in 2017 ICC World Cup. India was only unbeaten team in the tournament.

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Current Affairs Daily Digest: February 21, 2017

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for February 21, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs

National Current Affaris

India, Rwanda sign MoUs in innovation, aviation and visa requirements

India and Rwanda have inked three agreements in the fields of innovation, aviation and visa requirements to boost bilateral relations. These agreements were signed in Kigali in the presence of Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari and Rwandan Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi during a business forum meet. Vice President is the first Indian leader to officially visit Rwanda. He launched India-Rwanda innovation growth programme.

Government launches SAATHIYA Resource Kit and SAATHIYA SALAH mobile app for adolescents

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched SAATHIYA Resource Kit and SAATHIYA SALAH mobile app for adolescents as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) programme. The kit and app will help Peer Educators (Saathiyas) who are introduced under the RKSK programme. Read more

Government announces expansion of rotavirus vaccine in 5 states

The Union Government has announced the expansion of rotavirus vaccine in five additional states under Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). They are Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. The announcement comes after 38 lakh children were vaccinated when the vaccine was first introduced in four states – Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.  Read more

Government releases new format for recording, reporting road accident data

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has released the new format for recording and reporting road accident data. The uniform accident-recording format has been drawn on the lines of developed countries. It has been forwarded to all state police and transport departments for adaptation and to furnish annual road accident data. Read more

MoU signed for welfare of Handicraft Artisans belonging to Scheduled Castes

The Union Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment have signed MoU to step up interventions for the welfare and economic development of scheduled caste artisans. The MoU was signed between Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles and National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC), a CPSU under Ministry of Social Justice. Read more

States Current Affairs

J&K to observe 2017 as Year of Apple

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has declared 2017 as ‘Year of Apple’ in a major bid to promote the famed Kashmiri apples in domestic and foreign markets. It was announced after she launched High Density Apple Plantation Scheme in Srinagar. Under this scheme, state government provide high-density apple plants to the farmers. Government will provide 50% subsidy. The high density plants have a yield of 50-70 metric tonnes per hectare against 10-12 tonnes in case of conventional plants. J&K at 11.2 metric tonnes is the largest apple producing State in India, which accounts for 71% of national production.

Gujarat Assembly passes Aadhaar Bill, 2017

The Gujarat Assembly has passed Gujarat Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2017. The bill seeks to empower the state government to use Aadhaar number as the sole identifier for the delivery of various subsidies and benefits in an effective and targeted manner. Read more

International Current Affairs

Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond McMaster appointed as new National Security Advisor of US

US President Donald Trump has appointed Lt Gen Herbert Raymond McMaster as new National Security Advisor (NSA). Currently, he is serving as Director of the Army Capabilities Integration Centre. His appointment comes following the ouster of Michael Flynn who was forced out by Trump following misleading revelations about discussing sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the US during the presidential transition.

Iran launches advanced rockets during military exercise in desert

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard has launched sophisticated smart and advanced rockets during a military exercise Grand Prophet 11. In this test, rockets with ranges of more than 100 kilometers as well as the Fajr-3, Fajr-4 and Fajr-5 rockets, all believed to have under 100-kilometer range, were successfully tested. Three-day exercise was held in Iran’s central desert. These tests comes even after United States put Iran “on notice” after it earlier test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile.

Banking, Business & Economy Current Affairs

SBI rebrands corporate website as bank.sbi

India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has rebranded its corporate website as ‘bank.sbi’ from earlier sbi.co.in. The new domain name bank.sbi is the highest domain protocol known as generic top level domain (gTLD). With this, SBI became first banking organisation in India to use a gTLD for its online presence and providing an exclusive experience of security and assurance to its customers. gTLD will enables an organisation to use its corporate name as their website’s top-level identifier, instead of using a more traditional ‘.com’ domains. It will also simplify the digital experience of customers and bring in enhanced security against phishing and lookalike websites.

Flipkart, Microsoft announce strategic cloud partnership

Software giant Microsoft Corp. has announced a strategic partnership with Flipkart. Under this partnership, Flipkart will adopt Microsoft Azure as its exclusive public cloud computing platform. Microsoft’s Azure starting with computing infrastructure will add a layer of advanced cloud technologies and analytics to Flipkart’s existing data centres. It will allow Flipkart to leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics capabilities such as the Cortana Intelligence Suite and Power BI to optimize its data for innovative merchandising, advertising, marketing and customer service.

Apple acquires Israeli start-up RealFace

Electronics giant Apple has bought Israeli startup RealFace, a cybersecurity and machine learning firm specializing in facial recognition technology for undisclosed amount. RealFace founded by Adi Eckhouse Barzilai and Aviv Mader has developed facial recognition software that offers users a smart biometric login. This software make passwords redundant when accessing mobile devices or PCs. This acquisition will help Apple to further boost its prospects in the world of artificial intelligence (AI).

Environment, Science and Technology Current Affairs

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket successfully launches robotic Dragon cargo ship to ISS

California-based SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket successfully launched Dragon cargo ship with about 2,500 kg of supplies and science experiments to International Space Station (ISS). The rocket was launched from NASA’s Launch Complex LC-39A at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. With this, SpaceX became first private company to launch rocket from NASA’s launch facility. The launch pad was originally built for the NASA’s 1960s-era Apollo moon program and  was leased to SpaceX in 2014.

Sports Current Affairs

Virat Kohli becomes first sportsperson to ink 100-crore deal with Puma

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli became the first Indian sportsperson sing a Rs 100-crore endorsement deal with a single brand. He achieved this feat after signing an eight-year deal with sports apparel brand Puma worth Rs 110 crore. With this, he join Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Thierry Henry, among others, as a global ambassador for the brand. So far only Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have been in the Rs 100-crore club through multi-year contracts with multiple talent management agencies. They have never been signed by a single brand for such a big amount.

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