Current Affairs Daily Digest: February 16-17, 2017

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for February 16-17, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs.

National Current Affairs

Cabinet approves signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Rwanda

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Rwanda. It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity as well as commercial opportunities to the air carriers of both countries and also ensure greater safety and security. The agreement has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between both countries by bringing it in tune with developments in the civil aviation sector.

President appoints five new SC judges

President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed five new judges to the Supreme Court as per Article 124 of the constitution. The new judges are Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Shantanagoudar Mohan Mallikarjunagouda, Navin Sinha, Deepak Gupta and S. Abdul Nazeer. The appointments come at a time when the judicial strength of apex court had dipped to 23 from sanctioned 31, an all-time low in recent years.

 

SC introduces Middle Income Group Scheme

The Supreme Court has introduced Middle Income Group Scheme, (MIGS) a self-supporting scheme for providing legal services to the middle and relatively lower income groups. Under this scheme, middle class people who cannot afford the expensive litigation in the apex can avail the services of the society for a nominal amount. Read more

International Current Affairs

European Parliament approves free trade deal with Canada

The European Parliament has approved a landmark Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a free trade deal with Canada. EU lawmakers backed the agreement by 408 to 254 votes  The deal will come into force eight years after negotiations began. It will eliminate almost all trade tariffs between the European Union and Canada. It also has provisions for the investor court system which will require ratification by EU member states which could take years.

States Current Affairs

Kalimpong declared new district of West Bengal

West Bengal Government has declared Kalimpong as the new district of the state. It will be 21st district of the state and is separated from Darjeeling. It spreads over 1,056 square kms and will be Bengal’s least populated district with a population under 50,000. Kalimpong was once a breeding ground for Gorkhaland statehood agitation.

Edappadi K Palaniswamy sworn-in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

Edappadi K Palaniswamy was sworn in as the new chief minister of Tamil Nadu. He was administered oath of office and secrecy in a simple ceremony held at the Durbar Hall of Raj Bhavan in Chennai, state capital. Along with Palaniswamy, 30 other ministers also took oath, with the total strength of the cabinet at 31. Now Palaniswamy will seek vote of confidence on the floor of the state Assembly. Read more

Banking, Business & Economy Current Affairs

Dassault, Reliance form JV for Rafale

Reliance Aerostructure Limited has incorporated a 51:49 joint venture (JV) with Dassault Aviation to capture a major share of the offset business arising from defence deal between India and France for Rafale fighter jets. The joint venture has been named as Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DARL). The facility will come up at Dhirubhai Aerospace Park at Mihan, Nagpur. In September 2016, India and France had signed a purchase agreement for the supply of 36 Rafale fighter jets for €7.87 billion. The contract includes a 50% offset obligation or about Rs, 30,000 crore, the largest-ever offset contract in India.

Airbus signs MoU for setting up centre of excellence in Hyderabad

Airbus, a multinational aircraft manufacturer has singed MoU with Telangana government, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) of India and AEROCAMPUS France to establish centre of Excellence at Hyderabad’s Begumpet Airport. The centre will provide skill development training on aerospace manufacturing and assembling to young aspirants to enhance their employability. It will train candidates ranging from high school graduates to experienced aviation personnel on aircraft manufacturing, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), logistics, ground handling and other special aviation processes. It will offer short-term refresher modules as well as long-term certificate and diploma courses.

India ranks 143rd in 2017 Economic Freedom Index

India was ranked 143rd out of 186 economies in the annual Index of Economic Freedom 2017 that measures the degree of economic freedom in the countries of the world. The index was released by top US based Think Tank, The Heritage Foundation. In this edition, India’s overall score was 52.6 points, 3.6 points less than scored in 2016 when it was ranked 123rd. Read more

RBI allows multilateral FIs to invest in masala bonds

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has permitted multilateral and regional financial institutions (FIs) to invest in ‘masala bonds’, rupee denominated bonds issued by Indian entities. This decision will allow multilateral agencies like Asian Development Bank (ADB) and BRICS led New Development Bank (NDB) to invest in these bonds. Read more

Environment, Science and Technology Current Affairs

First Indian genomics beacon launched in UK

The Global Gene Corp and Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) has launched first-ever beacon for Indian genomics data in United Kingdom. It will enable the scientists in developing more effective drug delivery systems. A Genomic beacon is an online web service that allows researchers to determine whether an institution has particular genomic data in its data set. Its aim is to address the gap in shared Indian genomics data, which helps scientists better understand disease and develop more effective therapeutics and drug delivery systems.

Antarctic sea ice hits record low: Scientists

According to data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), Antarctic sea ice extent has shrunk to the lowest recorded-level in last four decades. The sea ice in Antarctic now covers just 2.26 million square kilometres, dipping below the earlier 1997 record low. The sea ice is likely to decrease further as it usually melts to its smallest for the year by February 2017 end in the summer of southern hemisphere. Sea ice at both poles of the earth have been expected to decline as the planet heats up due to man-made global warming.

 

UAE unveils 100 year plan to build first city on Mars by 2117

The UAE has unveiled plans to build the first city on Mars by 2117. In this regard energy-rich country has announced the 100-year national project on which it will collaborate with specialised international organisations and scientific institutes. The 100-year plan will involve scientific research programmes to nurture national cadres specialised in space sciences at universities in UAE. The new project will be associated with research themes featuring the exploration of transportation means, energy and food on the Mars. It will also try to find faster transportation methods for travelling to and from Mars.

Persons in News

Vikas Swarup appointed India’s High Commissioner to Canada

Senior IFS officer Vikas Swarup was appointed as India’s High Commissioner to Canada. He replaces Syed Akabarudddin who was shifted to United Nations as Permanent representative of India. Currently, Vikas Swarup is working as the spokesperson of Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). In his diplomatic career, he had served India’s several embassies including US and Turkey. He has authored few books and is best known for his novel ‘Q&A’ which has been adopted into a movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.

Indian-origin officer Shand Panesar wins UK’s Bravery Award

Indian-origin Scotland Yard officer Shand Panesar along with his colleague Craig Nicholson was awarded 2017 Outstanding Bravery of the Year Award in special award ceremony of the Total Excellence in Policing Awards. The duo were honored with this UK’s top bravery award for risking their own lives to save a family trapped in a burning house in Hillingdon in September 2016.

Hindi Scholar and writer Surendra Verma selected for 2016 Vyas Samman award

Renowned Hindi Scholar, litterateur and playwright Surendra Verma (75) was selected for the prestigious Vyas Samman 2016. He was chosen for this award for his novel Kaatna Shami Ka Vriksha : Padma Pankhuri Ki Dhar Se, published in 2010. Read more

Observances and Events

International Conference on NexGen Technologies for Mining and Fuel Industries held in New Delhi

The 2017 International Conference on NexGen Technologies for Mining and Fuel Industries (NxGnMiFu-2017) was held in New Delhi.  It was organised by CSIR-Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research, Dhanbad as a part of CSIR’s platinum jubilee (completing 75 years) celebration. The purpose of the event was to discuss of ways for innovating new techniques, technologies and applications for clean, safe, symbiotic sustenance of environment, society and industries in post-2020 era. Eight distinguished luminaries from the mining, fuel sectors along with 800 delegates from India and 50 countries  had participated in the event.

Indian Panorama Film Festival held in Port Blair

The Indian Panorama Film Festival was held in Port Blair, capital of Andaman & Nicobar. It was jointly organised by Andaman and Nicobar administration and Directorate of Film Festivals, Government of India. The inauguration event was followed by the screening of Telugu film Bahubali directed by SS Rajamauli. About 15 films of different languages and genres were screened in this festival.

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